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Kim Mingyu wasn't anything special.

He wasn't a loser, a total outcast, or lonely. He was actually more on the popular scale. He’d had many girlfriends, was on the football team, and was friends with all the "high and mighty" popular kids. He was just a cliché. Everyone has met a boy like him. He wasn't someone who would be the main character in a story, his life was simply predictable—after every football game he wins he goes to parties, gets drunk, stumbles home. Each week he has a new girlfriend, maybe single for 2 or 3 days. His report card is full of C's and maybe one B+, not amazing, but passable grades. He has a good family, and a fair amount of money. He lives in a nice house with his his lawyer father, stay at home mom, and 14 year old sister. Everything about him was a cliché, not to mention his total uninteresting personality and stories.

You have to figure, there's got to be a turning point in everyone's life while they're a teenager. Whether they lose a friend, gain a great new best friend, go through an awful breakup, get their first real job, get an F on their report card, something of the likes, something that sort of "jumps the shark" in a teenager's life, whether it's a good or bad thing.

For Kim Mingyu, there wasn't any turning point. The boy was coming up on his 17th birthday, and has the same friends he's had all four years of high school, same grades, same hobbies and interests.

Mingyu is the kind of person who has one person who they can say, "that's my best friend" about, but no one could say, "Mingyu is my best friend," despite the large amount of friends he had. He really had no one he could actually connect with. For every friend he had, there was something that he disliked, or that irked him about that person.

Kim Mingyu sat at his normal lunch table on a warm Friday afternoon, picking at his foam lunch tray as he silently listened to his "friends" shit talk other kids in their grade. Mingyu's lunch table consisted of Yoon Jeonghan, the almighty. He was one of the most popular boys in their school, majorly known for his killer good looks. Jeonghan liked to shit talk, though, and could NOT keep a secret for his life. There's also Choi Seungcheol, another very popular boy, quarterback of the school's football team. To Seungcheol, every word Jeonghan speaks is like gospel, he listens to everything Jeonghan says and does whatever he asks, which was surprising to Mingyu, because Mingyu could hardly stand Jeonghan. Then there's Jihoon, Junhui and Joshua, all of which were actually tolerable. Jihoon could be an asshole sometimes, but wasn't judgmental, and could be really kind if he tried. Joshua and Junhui were both fairly quiet, and they both were actually really nice and friendly.

"Are you guys coming to my party tonight?" Jeonghan asked while scrolling through his phone.

"I don't know. I'll try to if my parents don't interrogate me on where I'm going." Jihoon sighs.

"Well, like everyone is coming so it would be lame if you didn't show." Jeonghan muses, pushing his ugly fake glasses up the bridge of his nose.

"I guess I'll go. I've got nothing better to do." Seungcheol says.

"You kind of have to. I'd beat your ass if you didn't." Jeonghan hums before taking a handful of chips out of Seungcheol's bag.

"That goes for all of you. My parents aren't going to be in town for a whole week so it can get wild, I've got loads of time to clean up."

Mingyu rolled his eyes as he got up to throw away his trash, making his was across the cafeteria to the row of trashcans against the wall. Every day he sat and listened to his friends spew shit about other people and talk about huge parties they're throwing or are going to. As he dumped his lunch tray into the garbage—something on the floor caught his eye. The curious teenager bent down and picked up the small book, before fingering through some of the pages. The book looked to be a journal, belonging to someone in their grade.

This could be interesting, the boy thought to himself before slipping the book into his jacket pocket just as the bell rang.

-

Mingyu sat in the back corner of Mrs. Arderbridge's history class as the grey haired teacher attempted to teach 30 bored teenagers about how "interesting" the revolutionary war was.

Mingyu tried to listen to her talk, he really did. But his mind kept drifting back to the journal he had picked up in the cafeteria earlier. He pulled the leather covered journal out of his jacket and opened the cover up.

This journal belongs to:
_Jeon Wonwoo_

The name was familiar, he had been in the same school as the boy since elementary school. The boy was more of a loser. He was a goody two shoes quiet antisocial boy with a perfect record and straight A's. However, he was good friends with Leiah, Mingyu's crush since freshman year.

Mingyu never liked reading. He never had the patience to read something, but this was one of the most interesting things he had ever read.

In just the course of 30 minutes he had learned about how Wonwoo was gay, and has a huge crush on Mingyu's friend Junhui because they were lab partners in chemistry for a few weeks, and according to Wonwoo, Junhui was nice and funny. 

Mingyu was in the middle of reading a page about how sad Wonwoo was that they got new partners in chemistry when the bell rang. Mingyu shoved the journal in his pocket, put his things in his bag before swinging the bag over his shoulder and leaving the classroom.

As the blonde haired boy exited the building, an arm slung over his shoulder and he was met with a smiling Seungcheol.

"Hey, you should really come to Jeonghan's party. I know you weren't planning on it, but Leiah and her boyfriend broke up today and she told me she's going tonight. Maybe you guys can talk." Seungcheol suggests with a charming smile.

Mingyu contemplated this for a minute. He was really looking forward to laying in bed and watching old Disney channel original movies from 2008 on Netflix... but the begging look Seungcheol was currently giving him was too hard to say no to.

"I guess I'll go... but only if you pick me up from my house. You're the only one my mom trusts anymore." Mingyu said with an over-exaggerated sigh.

"Yeah, okay. I'll be there at 5:45. See ya." Seungcheol smiled and waved goodbye to Mingyu before walking to the student parking lot, as Mingyu climbed up the stairs to his regular bus.

Mingyu had a pretty good feeling about tonight. Maybe he'd ask Leiah out. Maybe he'd find a new friend or meet some cute new girls. Whatever it was, it left a giddy feeling in the pit of his stomach as the bus jolted forward and he was on his way home.

———

"Stop ogling yourself in the mirror. You look fine."

Mingyu's sister Joohyun walked into his room as he tried to decide what he'd wear to the party tonight, her long black hair tied up in a high ponytail, her arms crossed across her chest.

Mingyu sighed and looked at himself one last time in the mirror, clad in a black muscle tank and ripped jeans.

Mingyu sighed.
"I guess this is good enough."

"So... what, or rather, who are you trying to impress with that outfit." Joohyun says, as mingyu sprays on cologne.

Mingyu falters for a second before finally answering with, "I'm not trying to impress anyone in particular, just trying to look good for a party, smart ass."

Joohyun hums.
"Sure."

Just then, the doorbell rings.

"Shit..." Mingyu whispers under his breath, as he grabs his jacket off of his bed.

"Go get em tiger!" Joohyun winks as Mingyu prepares to leave.

"Oh fuck off." Mingyu says as he traipses down the stairs and out the front door, ready to get into Seungcheol's car and have fun.

"Leiah, this is fucking stupid." Wonwoo sighs, as Leiah gels his hair up for him in an attempt to make him look cool, since he usually looks the complete opposite.

"Wonwoo, you need to learn how to be more social, and act like a normal teenager. Going to parties is part of being a normal teenager. Plus, you look hot. Like, really hot, like—"

"Okay! Okay! I get it! I just—I dunno... I feel like I look kinda like a douche."

Wonwoo was wearing a black t-shirt, with a red and tan leather jacket, and ripped jeans. He couldn't argue against the fact that he looked good, because... well— he looked pretty damn good.

"You look amazing. Now let's go, I need a beer." Leiah smiles as they leave Wonwoo's house.

Leiah and Wonwoo had been very close since middle school, after his mother fell in love with her father and married him. The pair had became step siblings and had been inseparable since their families moved in together. The only downside to this was that Leiah was extremely popular and pretty, and Wonwoo—well... isn't.

Soon enough, Leiah pulls up to a large house, music blaring through the open windows and drunk teenagers all over the lawn. This definitely was not Wonwoo's scene.

Upon entering the house, Wonwoo spots Junhui across the room speaking to two other boys, one tall with blonde hair, and the other with brunette hair. They were all very attractive and popular. Wonwoo sighed. Being with Junhui, or even being friends with Junhui was such a ridiculous notion, but he couldn't help but long for the boy.

Wonwoo wipes the thought from his head as he walks over to the kitchen and grabs himself a beer. He hates alcohol, but he needed to be a little buzzed for tonight to go alright.

"Hey, Wonwoo," a voice sounds from behind him. Wonwoo whirls around on his heels just to see one of the boys he'd seen Junhui talking with earlier—the tall blonde one.

"Um... hey. Did you need something?"

The boy hesitates for a moment.

"Well, my name's Mingyu... Kim Mingyu... I don't know if you knew that but um..." he trails off.

"Are you just here to waste my time?" Wonwoo says flatly.

"No! I just wanted to talk to you. Outside."

"Oh. Sure. Why?" Wonwoo says as he follows the tall boy outside.

Once the pair is outside, Mingyu seemed to ease up a bit, before becoming a bit more stern.

"I need your help."

"Okay... do you need me to do your homework or tutor you or something?"

Mingyu sighs.

"No, you idiot. Your step sister. I want to get with her, I need to get closer to her."

"And why do you need my help? I'm pretty damn sure you're a big boy and can ask her out yourself. You're attractive enough."

"It's not that simple. If I want a real relationship and not some 3 day fling, I need to get close to her first, and you can help me do that." Mingyu says, folding his arms across his chest with confidence.

"And why should I help you?" Wonwoo deadpans.

"Because I have something of yours that may or may not completely ruin your reputation if I spread it." Mingyu says with a smirk, as he pulls Wonwoo's journal from his pocket.

Wonwoo's mouth dropped open at the sight, his face went completely pale.

"Did you r-read it?" Wonwoo stuttered.

"Yup. And I know about your little crush on Jun. Wouldn't he love to find out that is quiet little chemistry partner has a big fat gay crush on him?"

"Fine! I'll help you, you asshole." Wonwoo grumbles.

Mingyu smirks at that and walks away after telling Wonwoo that he made the right decision, and that he'll text him.

Fuck you, Kim Mingyu.

————

Okay, so basically Wonwoo is in hot shit right now. After Mingyu had told Wonwoo he'd text him, Wonwoo stayed outside, leaning against the deck and sighing.

His journal is where he wrote all the things he couldn't tell anyone, and suddenly this greasy asshole has his hands on it and is ready to tell the entire world his deepest and darkest secrets. Yeah. Wonwoo's definitely in hot shit.

Wonwoo pushes himself off of the deck railing, making his way back inside to grab a drink. His stomach was flipped completely upside down now, Mingyu's words replaying in his head. After grabbing a drink, Wonwoo makes his way through the thick crowd of teenagers, looking for his step sister.

After a few minutes of scanning the crowd for Leiah, he gives up. Looks like he'll be walking home from here. Just then, he feels a hand on his shoulder, and a familiar voice saying, "Looking for someone?"

Wonwoo turns around to be met with Kim Mingyu, once again.

"Yeah." Wonwoo says, pushing the boy's hand from his shoulder.

"It's getting late, I'm sure Leiah is fine by herself. You need a ride?"

"I do... but definitely not from you."

"Okay.... so you're coming with me then." Mingyu concludes, dragging Wonwoo past groups of people, and out the front door of the house. "My car's the black Jeep at the bottom of the driveway."

Despite wanting to ditch Mingyu and go back inside to search for his stepsister, Wonwoo follows Mingyu to his car.

The tall boy opens the passenger door for Wonwoo.

"Ladies first." Mingyu says with a wink.

"Oh fuck off." Wonwoo retorts as he climbs into the seat.

After giving Mingyu his address, Wonwoo finally works up the courage to ask Mingyu for his journal back.

"Not quite yet. I need to see that you're actually going to help me before I do that."

"You know, what you're doing is really mean. I don't know if you knew, but Leiah isn't into assholes. You're out of your league."

Mingyu is silent for a moment, obviously angered.

"I wouldn't cross me if I were you, Jeon. I know your phone number, your address, and your biggest secrets. A fight against me is a fight you'll lose."

Mingyu isn't really that cocky, he's usually sweet and funny, and easy to talk to. But this time, Mingyu figured he'd need to put up a front to get what he wants. So, Mingyu decided to put up the asshole ladies man facade, one that had never failed him. In reality, he did feel a little bad for the pressure he'd put on Wonwoo, but it was needed.

After a couple minutes of silence, Mingyu pulls up to the front of Wonwoo's house.

Wonwoo opened his door and hopped out of the car without a word.

"I'll call you later!" Mingyu calls as Wonwoo slammed the door shut and walked up his driveway.

——————

After quietly entering his room, Wonwoo flopped onto his bed and called Soonyoung.

Fifteen minutes later, an annoyed Soonyoung and a tired Seokmin sat on Wonwoo's bed as he explained what had happened with Mingyu earlier.

"I don't like any of those guys. They're all assholes. Except for Joshua. He's okay. But don't even get me started on Jihoon... or Jeonghan. They're all bad news, Wonu." Soonyoung warns.

"I mean Mingyu seems kind of friendly, we used to be close in middle school and as freshmen, I didn't expect him to be that much of an asshole." Seokmin counters.

"Well, he's a grade A asshole." Wonwoo sighs

"Maybe you should just listen to him and do what he asks, that way it can all be over soon and you both get what you want."

"No! You cannot let Kim Mingyu and his troupe of dickwads step all over you! Don't listen to Seokmin, his brain isn't functioning properly right now." Soonyoung says before flicking Seokmin in the forehead.

Just as Seokmin punches Soonyoung in the stomach, Wonwoo's phone lights up with a notification.

(320)-857-7379
it's mingyu. are you free tomorrow? let's go to the mall and talk.

Seokmin hums as he and Soonyoung analyze Mingyu's text.

"Sounds kinda suggestive. Maybe he's into you. Maybe he's tryna get some." Soonyoung says, wiggling his eyebrows.

"Okay, definitely not. That's your cue to go to sleep." Wonwoo sighs as he pushes the two boys off of his bed and onto the floor.

"Ow!"

"Can we at least have blankets?"

"You know where they are. Can you two just go to sleep? I need silence to wallow in my own anxiety—and no making out on my floor."

"Yes sir!" exclaims an excited Soonyoung.

Wonwoo left mingyu on read and closed his eyes, hoping that he'd just wake up tomorrow and all of this will have been a weird nightmare.

—————

Chapter Text

Mingyu did feel a little uneasy about the way he’d treated Wonwoo. After all, Wonwoo did seem like a pretty chill person, and Mingyu hated people who went out of their way to make others unhappy. He’s such a hypocrite. Mingyu seriously considered meeting up with Wonwoo just to say he was sorry and return the journal. By this point, there was no turning back. He’d made it clear to Wonwoo what he wanted and how he intended to get it. That wasn’t so bad, right? If Wonwoo chooses to make Mingyu become the bad guy, then so be it. Mingyu believed he was right to do what he’d done. Yet, then again, Wonwoo was never mean to Mingyu, they probably would get along if their circumstances were different.

Mingyu sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He didn’t like being mean, he didn’t even know what had compelled him to be so mean to Wonwoo. Maybe this was the wrong move. Maybe being an asshole to your crush’s close friend and stepbrother wasn’t a way to win her over. After all, Wonwoo did say Leiah doesn't date assholes... Mingyu was definitely overthinking things. If Wonwoo played his cards right, maybe they even could be friends.

Yet, the unwritten laws of high school state that kids like Mingyu—handsome, popular, athletic, outgoing, and kids like Wonwoo—not too bad looking, unpopular, scrawny, and introverted could never be friends.

Suddenly, a notification on Mingyu’s phone snaps him out of his overthinking. He opens his phone to see a text from Wonwoo.

Wonwoo - r u here?

You see, last night, Mingyu decided that he and Wonwoo would need to talk in person in order for Mingyu to lay down his plan of action to get the girl of his dreams. So, the pair were meeting up at the mall, so they could sit at a table in the back of Barnes and Noble, since, according to Mingyu, no kids their age go into Barnes and Noble, so no one would see them and assume they were friends.

Mingyu gets out of his Jeep, shutting the door and locking it before texting Wonwoo back as he walked towards the entrance of the mall.

Mingyu - yeah. coming to b&n.

-

“Took you long enough.” Wonwoo says flatly as Mingyu sits down at the table across from him.

“Sorry. There was traffic.” Mingyu lied. What he should have said was, “Sorry, I spent 15 minutes sitting in my car overthinking everything I’ve said to you in the past 3 days and considering calling this whole thing off because I’m a pussy and I don’t know how to be mean to people without immediately feeling guilty about it”

“Oh. Well. Just say what you need to say so I can go home.” Wonwoo says while playing with the sleeves of his jacket.

Shit. Mingyu didn’t really think about what he was even going to tell Wonwoo. He knew what he wanted, but he never really thought about how to vocalize it. 

“Well... as you know, I want to date your stepsister, and I need you to tell me what she looks for in a boyfriend. I know she typically doesn’t date, but I think I can woo her perfectly and get her to be with me. I really like her. I think that with your help I can win her over.” 

Wonwoo laughs. Wonwoo. Laughs. Not a little giggle, a full body laugh. He tips his head back a little his nose scrunches up. It would be cute if it were anyone but Wonwoo. It would also be way cuter if he weren’t laughing about Mingyu announcing all his feelings about his giant crush. 

“Why are you laughing? Did I say something funny? I’m being serious!”

Wonwoo’s laughter dies down as he sighs. “What’s so funny is the fact that you think you can ‘woo’ Leiah with your face and a couple presents. She looks for more than looks and money in a relationship, which are pretty much the only two things you’ve got going for you.”

Mingyu grits his teeth. Mingyu was definitely a nice, compassionate, empathetic, caring person, who definitely had more going for him than looks and money! Well, that’s what Mingyu’s mother always told him. Mingyu takes a deep breath before he speaks to Wonwoo again. 

“Are you forgetting who has all the power here? Are you forgetting what’s on the line here?” 

“Just because I think your goal is dumb doesn’t mean I won’t help you, after all, you’re kind of forcing me to. Also, I hope you’re not seriously expecting me to be nice to you, after you threatened me and threatened to out me against my own will, when that’s the last thing I want. Now let’s get this over with. I can tell you her favorite candy, her favorite books and hobbies, what she admires in a person, hell, I’ll give you everything i know about her, but the last thing I’m going to give you is my respect.”

Boom. Just like that, Mingyu was out of words to say. Mingyu stayed silent for a moment before saying something else.

”We don’t have to be friends, just consider me your...” Mingyu stopped for a minute to think of what to say. “your coworker. just help me out okay, let’s do this quickly. What does she admire in people in general, and what does she look for in a boyfriend?”

”Well, she likes people who are nice, and caring, who don’t just treat her like a plaything that they can dispose of when someone hotter comes along. She doesn’t care about looks. She likes smart people who are well spoken and easy to talk to and who don’t pretend to be someone else for the sake of saving their reputation or trying to look cool.” Wonwoo lists off some of the things that Leiah likes and Mingyu smiles. She’s too kind and sweet for her own good, just why Mingyu had always liked her.

Yes, Mingyu’s had other girlfriends since he’d started liking Leiah, but not one girl came close. Leiah was beautiful and smart, she always stood up for what’s right. She was quiet when need be yet extroverted  She firmly believed in what’s inside a person being far more important than what they’re like on the outside. She was popular, but not mean or dumb, she was perfect, she had qualities Mingyu admired so much, she was just the mo-

“Mingyu! Snap out of it! I’m almost done.” 

Mingyu mumbled an apology and listened to the rest of Wonwoo’s speech.

”Just- what does she like? Like if i were to get her a gift and ask her out, what would she want?” Mingyu said, paraphrasing what Wonwoo hadn’t been saying on the notes app on his phone.

”She doesn’t directly state thing she wants unless it’s a wishlist of some sort. For a partner, she likes things that show lots of thought, that show that someone really cares about her and thought of her enough to get her a gift. She doesn’t care about physical things, she cares about the thought and motivation behind people’s actions.” Wonwoo explained with a dull look on his face.

”But I don’t really talk to her outside of the two classes we share together, how do I know what she likes?”

Wonwoo rolled his eyes. “Then obviously you’re not trying hard enough. Are we done here for today?”

Mingyu stopped for a second, unsure of himself. “Yeah, I guess. I’ll talk to you Monday.”

Wonwoo huffed and pushed in his chair, speed walking towards the exit wordlessly.

——————

“He's an asshole. Leiah wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole if she really knew him and knew about all the things he’d said to me! Like sure, he’s got a nice face but that’s the only nice thing about him”

Soonyoung and Seokmin were both quiet as they listened to Wonwoo rant about Mingyu.

”He's popular right?” Soonyoung asks as he grabs a handful of popcorn from Seokmin’s bowl, earning him a slap on the hand from the other boy.

”Yeah. He’s friends with Jeonghan and his band of assholes. I can't believe someone as sweet and smart like Junhui hangs out with those guys” Wonwoo rants, pacing back and forth through Soonyoung’s kitchen. 

“Damn. Maybe Junhui just pretends to like them because he has no one else. There’s a lot of kids like that at our school, right Seok?” Soonyoung says, elbowing Seokmin lightly to ensure he was paying attention, to which Seokmin automatically nods.

 “And to even think someone like Mingyu even has the very capacity to like someone as smart and independent as Leiah, she’s nothing like all the other bimbos Mingyu’s dated!” Wonwoo rants, at this point, both Soonyoung and Seokmin wouldn’t be surprised if smoke started pouring out of the boy’s ears with how fired up he was about Mingyu. 

“Maybe he’s like a nice guy deep down but puts up a bad boy facade to try and keep his reputation, you know? It’s like a Wattpad story... the bad boy has a crush on the smart good girl” Seokmin points out. 

“Ooh that’d be too good” Soonyoung laughs.

“Definitely not. Mingyu is a downright asshole and there’s nothing that could convince me otherwise!”