Minjae's point of view
Not that I was great at sleeping in general…but it was completely pointless to even try that night.
There was a small dance studio downstairs in our new dorm, at the end of a short hallway, next to an even smaller home recording studio. The code to the lock was deeply imprinted in my muscle memory—my fingers typed it practically on their own. The lock clicked, and I opened the door to a room that had quickly become my safe haven. I hadn’t been back from the army for more that two weeks, yet I had been here countless nights already.
None of which were as bad as this night was going to be, though.
The sound of my footsteps echoed around the otherwise silent space. The bold numbers on the big digital clock on the wall, reading 23:04, cast a red hue over the place. It was all the light I needed as I pulled the door closed behind me.
It was too quiet, especially for tonight.
I resorted to my old survival tactics, which included connecting my phone to the speakers via bluetooth before putting on my favorite playlist. A slight smile even made its way to my lips as I cranked the volume up until the bass vibrated through my whole body, effectively erasing all negative thoughts. I didn’t even have to worry about the noise; the room was soundproofed to near perfection.
Above all else, I managed to forget that he was due to arrive shortly.
My body started moving to the beat on its own. Closing my eyes, I let loose—there wasn’t better therapy than dancing. The piece I was dancing to was an instrumental version of a personal favorite. In an instant, I was in my happy place. Music has always had the ability to make my mind go totally blank. All my senses were focused on the story and mood of the music, instead of my own demons.
Unfortunately the song was over all too soon, and another song started playing through the speakers. One I recognized from the first two beats, even. At once, my whole being channeled an entirely different image… something forbidden—something hidden. Which was, after all, the song’s message.
It was one of the oldest duets I had recorded with him—my friend, my bandmate…and also my pretend-partner for fanservice. Despite the fact that the track was one of my personal favorite songs out of our whole arsenal, I wasn’t very into performing it live. It was just…too much. Too many real feelings were involved. I had managed to erase it from our actual concert setlists ages ago. Most of the fans had likely forgotten it even existed. Called “Antithesis,” it was about us. Or rather, the fairytale that was supposed to be us.
The steps from the choreo appeared in my head upon hearing the beat, as if they had never left. The choreo was insanely difficult, even for me, but more importantly, it was straight up contemporary (aka: right up my alley). I had trained for it from a very young age. It had become hard to resist the urge to dance to it—even though the whole thing was made purely for fanservice purposes.
“Whatever,” I muttered to myself as I gave up and let myself dance.
For old times sake.
It was almost too easy to recall the whole choreography—and the countless memories I thought I had buried deep a long time ago. Starting slowly, I made my way across the room, not even counting the steps as they came straight from my spine. My heartbeat matched with the tempo, my muscles tensed and relaxed as if they were specifically designed to move to the beat of this one particular song.
By the second chorus, I was already so immersed in it, I could almost sense him right next to me, dancing his part of the choreo. Too bad the daydream was to meet a sudden end, as during the bridge, he was supposed to lift me up by my waist.
Imagine my surprise when a pair of hands grabbed my waist and my feet actually did lift off the ground. My heart skipped a beat or two and I flashed my eyes wide open—only to find my best friend grinning at me straight in the eyes in the mirror.
“Hey, Min,” he mouthed.
I was too startled to reply.
Also, my body refused to stop and take distance from him…which was what it should've done to spare me the heartbreak later. Instead, it automatically continued the choreo, as that’s what it was trained to do. No matter what, the show had to continue. Always.
So, I slid down until the tips of my toes landed between his feet. With my full weight I still leaned against him, my other leg raised and curled around his hip — the ending pose. Our faces were a mere two centimeters apart; I could feel his rushed breath on my face, and my heart no longer beat in rhythm with the music. Rather, it beat double the speed.
The song ended, shattering the magic sizzling in the air.
Finally, I gained back the control of my body—thank all the gods there are—and took some distance. Once I put at least a meter between us, I could finally breathe.
Damn, the choreo was demanding.
“I’m surprised you still remember that,” he said.
Evading his eyes, I replied, “Ditto.”
“It has been a while.”
“I missed you.”
I missed you, too.