He’s like that hot guy who’s your friend. Your hot guy friend. It’s a weird thought to have right now, after watching the guy rip off his shirt and show off his hard, slick abs while swinging his hips and crooning 22 songs in all the ways it’s possible to melt your bones. His concert was two hours of his smooth voice and cool hip hop swagger, ending with you as a puddle of satisfied fangirl on the floor. His voice belonged with the stars. His songs were earworms that lived with you for days on end. Price of admission was worth it, definitely. You might have even underpaid. But yeah, you thought he was beautiful and sexy but in that let’s-be-friends kind of way. Like if this was a marry-bang-kill game he’d be the kill shot by sad default, a shiny boy but maybe not shiny enough to get to you.
You felt proud of these thoughts, of your ability to fall in love with the love song but not with the lovely boy who sings it, not necessarily. A mature, logical fandom. Compartmentalization. Maybe it came with age. You were still basking in the glow of that realization as you walked down the hotel corridor to this room you’ve booked for the night, banging your shoulder against the wall as your tired limbs wobbled. You jumped and danced and pumped your arms and screamed a lot tonight, so tiring. You rounded the corner and found yourself face to face with the lovely boy in question.
Oh. My hot guy friend, was your stupid thought. But what you blurted out was ‘Annyeonghaseyo. Saranghaeyo.’ While staring right into his eyes too, because he was polite like that, apparently, keeping eye contact long enough to greet a total stranger. So when your face crumpled and your cheeks raged fire he was witness to the whole phenomenon. You fell back and took a deep bow, bursting with apologies. But he laughed and bowed right back and of course the top of your head knocked against his head and you were tripping over your own feet, and he had you by the shoulders—lightly, because you’re strangers—and then he was setting you right.
“I’m sorry,” you murmured again, properly upright now, your back against the wall. He’d dropped his hands but he was still there, still looking at you.
It’s really him isn’t it? This is real, isn’t it? You’d seen his face enough times in music videos and posters and album jackets to know this for sure. You’d pinch yourself if only it wasn’t more tempting to pinch his smooth cheek instead, and get a touch of those sharp cheekbones and that stubble on his chin while you’re at it. You’d pinch yourself only if you didn’t want this to be real. Thank you, universe, I love you.
It’s been about an hour since his concert ended, you realized. You’ve spent the time lining up at a coffee shop and getting your midnight caffeine dose. And that was enough time for him to shower apparently. To get rid of the sweat that he was drenched in during the show, visible even in the monitors, from your far-flung seat. You’d watched those beads glisten on his biceps and along his neck and down the trench between his chest down his stomach as he sang and danced. He’s cleaned up now, wearing a fresh white shirt and tight jeans, his cap on backwards, looking like a normal person, just like you. You would have missed him if you hadn’t been the klutz walking around banging up against walls in a distracted haze.
He bowed, a small one this time, friendlier, and gave a small smile. If you were blushing before you’re pretty sure you’ve degraded into a white sheet now.
“I’m a fan,” you burst out because you couldn’t stop yourself, who were you kidding. So much for being a mature, compartmentalization-able fangirl. “I’ve just been to your concert. You were amazing.”
“Thank you,” he said, as if surprised. As if he hadn’t been expecting a run-in with a fan in the hallway.
You had an idle moment of wondering if you’d taken a wrong turn to your room. If there was a security detail you’d somehow slipped through. You looked up at the same second he’d chosen to look back and swipe a scanning glance around him. You noticed his hand grip his phone and his feet shuffle, and realized he had his own reason for walking so close to walls and corners.
“Can I get a picture before you go?” you dared ask. Because really, when ever would something like this happen to you again? And also you knew he had to go, to wherever it was he was sneaking out to.
“Sure,” he said, flashing another small smile, breaking a little bit more of your heart as he did. He stood still as you fumbled with your phone, with your own clammy fingers. When you finally made the thing work he took your phone from your hand and took over the task. Coming up beside you, one hand light on your shoulder, phone up at an angle and the screen filled up by both your faces. You smiled when he did. It was easy. He took about a million pictures. There was bound to be at least one good shot in there.
“Thank you,” you said together.
You backed up now, because there’s only so much of his heat and light that a mere mortal like you could take. His mouth opened and you stopped moving, and waited, and just watched his beautiful lips move. Hot guy. Your thoughts swam.
“I’m hungry.” He shook his head and tried again. “I’m tired out and I need ramen. Do you know where to find a decent bowl of ramen around here?”
Ramen is life. Of course you knew where to find ramen. You nodded.
“Take me there?”
Yes. No. Okay. Take me, take everything. He’s a stranger. You’re alone. You don’t know him. What if he’s not as nice and fluffy as he is in the interviews and all the reality shows? That moment you found out just how many thoughts your brain could shuffle through in a span of a few flutters of this man’s long eyelashes.
You took a deep breath, praying for calm.
Why don’t you find out?
“Okay.” It was your voice and it came from your mouth, you were certain. The word came out shaky but it was you, and you were game and you were sure. It was your city anyway, your country, your hood. And he was friendly. Your hot guy friend.
“Okay,” he repeated. He laughed a bit then, which was good because you’d snorted out a giggle. He’d spread out one arm, allowing you the first step, then leading the way as you exchanged names. “I don’t really do this often,” he said, scratching the back of his head and you thought sure you don’t, letting loose a shameless scoff. The bravest sound you’ve made in all of these past few minutes.
It’s okay, you decided. He’s a shiny boy, even more so up close, but maybe just the kind of shine you needed to get to you.
Big Bang, Dong Youngbae and Dawn for the prompt.