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Chapter 18 – In Which Boxing Day Becomes the Day I Will Always Remember as the Day I Almost Killed Shim Changmin

Deer Luhan,

At first, I felt like dying from humiliation.  Then I felt like dying from excitement.  And now I feel like dying from heartbreak, terror, mortification, confusion, feels, and a certain somebody’s adorably cute way of expressing himself with embarrassment.



Kai found me at seven-thirty the next morning in the practice room in much the same position as Chen had once fallen asleep in the dorm living room: I was lying (asleep, until he jumped on my stomach with an excited cackle) on the ground with my arms spread wide and my feet up in the air, resting precariously on the CD player.

I came awake winded and doubling up as he bounced off me, and nearly sent the CD player flying with my flailing feet.

“You drool when you sleep!” he told me chirpily.  “Luhan would die if that gets out and people though it was Ree Lee him.”

I coughed weakly and rolled over.  It was far too early in the morning.  I hadn’t even had coffee.

“You’re a horrible person,” I wheezed out.  He just grinned and backed towards the door.

“I’m on it, Five.  Two strong espresso shots and some water, okay?  Stay here.”

I didn’t even have enough breath to tell him I wasn’t going anywhere when he’d jumped on me like that.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if his attack had created a dent in the floor under me.

After a couple of lonely minutes on the cold floor, I picked myself up and dusted myself off.  My stomach still hurt a lot, and I suspected it might bruise.  D*mn kid.  I stretched, trying to open up my diaphragm.  It really hurt, but after forcing myself to do a couple of jumping jacks, the pain dulled to a slow throb, and I got on with my usual stretching routine.

The door opened and a wild Taemin appeared.

“Hey, Luhan,” he said, looking around.  I hastily tugged my hoodie down to hide my chest compressor, a sliver of which had been on show when I reached up to stretch my arms out properly.  “Is Kai here?”

“Coffee errand,” said Kai’s voice from behind him, and Taemin moved aside.  Kai was balancing three cups as he manoeuvred around the door.

“Ooh!” said Taemin, reaching for a cup.  “Is one for me?”

Kai shook his head.  “Not unless you want Luhan to turn into the Hulk.”

I gratefully accepted the three cups he proffered to me and downed them all as fast as I could.  Taemin stared at me as I shook my head rapidly, feeling the familiar zing as my brain started up and the rest of my body switched from autopilot to Leigh-manual.  I beamed at Kai.  His response, like Sehun’s whenever I’d just drunk coffee, was to back off.

“Wow,” said Taemin.  “That is one creepy smile.”

“Yeah, we live with this every morning,” Kai told him.  “The coffee in Europe did something to him, I swear.”

“Did what?” I protested.

“You look like you’re an old creepy guy with a life ambition of finding kids to give sweets to,” Taemin told me.  Kai and I both looked at him, confused.  Kai’s expression was the first to clear.

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