39 | christmas wonderland

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ding-dong!

with only a week to go until winter break, christmas was in full flow in the park household.

"mom! where's the tinsel?"

"fifth box to the right of the tree!"

jinyoung rummaged through the box and found an abundance of brightly coloured sparkly tinsel inside. his mom always knew where everything was.

the doorbell rang suddenly and jinyoung's dad looked over from where he was up a ladder, pinning up strings of fairy lights around the house.

"i'll get it!" jinyoung decided.

he opened the door to reveal a cuddly-looking jaebum, wrapped up warm in a big coat and a long red scarf. in his hands was a pile of paper, slightly crumpled from the wind.

"merry christmas, jaebum!" said jinyoung merrily, welcoming him inside out of the cold.

jaebum just handed him the pile of papers, which jinyoung raised his eyebrows at.

"what are these?" he asked, flicking through them.

"essays," said jaebum, "for literature. i've been writing them after football practise."

"you have?" jinyoung gaped. "but... why?"

jaebum pressed his hands to his ears and rubbed them to warm them up. "i'm determined on doing zero work over winter break, so i put all the effort in now instead," he explained. "could you mark them for me?"

jinyoung stared at him. then he poked his cheek. "who are you and what have you done with im jaebum?"

jaebum grinned at him.

"who's that at the door, jinyoung?" mrs. park called.

"it's jaebum, mom!"

"well don't just stand there dawdling. invite jaebum inside and he can help decorate!"

jinyoung smiled at jaebum sheepishly. "wanna come in? i'm gonna need help putting the star on top at least."

"well..." jaebum hesitated, "i don't really want to get in the way-"

jinyoung grabbed his hand. "just come in," he insisted. "mom will probably even let you try one of her cookies. if she likes you, of course."

"well, i mean if you really want me-"

and just like that, jaebum was whisked into the christmas festivities.

"jinyoung?" mrs. park called, "should i give the gingerbread men red or green bowties?"

"green!" yelled mr. park.

"no, they should be red!" jinyoung argued.

"jinyoung, can you seriously be telling me that red is a more christmassy colour than green?" mr. park asked him, raising an eyebrow.

"yes!" jinyoung said firmly.

"but christmas trees are green!"

"and santa is red!"

"santa isn't even real!"

"do them both colours, mrs. park," jaebum contributed.

"thank you, jaebum," said mrs. park. "at least someone here can give me a definite answer."

jaebum chuckled, looking down at the floor, his smile refusing to hide his pleasure at being welcomed into the park household in such a warm way.

some time later, mrs. park decided it would be the perfect opportunity for her and mr. park to go and complete their christmas shopping, so they headed out, leaving jinyoung and his 'friend' alone in the house.

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