JGY#1Superfan (18:49) > omgomgomg you won't believe wht just happened!!! omgomgomg
NormalPersonFriend (18:50) > What?
NormalPersonFriend (18:50) > Superfan, our final is in literally 10 min
NormalPersonFriend (18:50) > Where tf are you??
JGY#1Superfan (18:51) > Audio Recording
[breathless, sounds of someone running on wet pavement, traffic in the background]
“I JUST MET JIN—” [incomprehensible]
[recording cuts off]
NormalPersonFriend (18:51) > Are you ok?? Do I need to call 110???
JGY#1Superfan (18:52) > sorry
JGY#1Superfan (18:52) > hands shaking. dropped phone jst now
JGY#1Superfan (18:52) > i’m fine
JGY#1Superfan (18:53) > probably
JGY#1Superfan (18:53) > i mean i wouldn’t mind if u called 120 tbh i think my heart stopped
JGY#1Superfan (18:53) > bc holy fck i just met jgy!!! MY IDOL 😍😍😍
JGY#1Superfan (18:53) > do you know how hard it is to get tickets to his concerts??? i’m too broke for resellers
NormalPersonFriend (18:53) > Oh.
NormalPersonFriend (18:53) > I see.
JGY#1Superfan (18:53) > and i got his autograph!!! i can die happy!!! 😭
NormalPersonFriend (18:54) > So are you coming, or should I inform our prof of your untimely passing
NormalPersonFriend (18:54) > ?
JGY#1Superfan (18:54) > and
JGY#1Superfan (18:54) > and
NormalPersonFriend (18:54) > What?
JGY#1Superfan (18:54) > i saw him…
JGY#1Superfan (18:54) > i saw him kiss the boy he was with!!!!!!! it was so sweet hkdfjaslddks;fkdl;fjk >//////////<
NormalPersonFriend (18:55) > Ok. I’ll tell the prof.
[End of message history]
Superfan was not having a good day. She wasn’t even having an okay day, not even a barely acceptable day, because…her life was about to end. And probably at her parents’ hands too.
Superfan was about to fail her very first (and very last, it seemed) final of her short uni life. Which would take place in an hour—she flicked her phone screen on halfheartedly—make that just under an hour . She could feel that tiny, hateful clock ticking down. Tick, tick, tick…the glaive descending towards her throat.
18:05, the screen said, blinking the seconds away.
What did she suffer those torturous entrance exams for, what felt like ages ago? If she was going to just fail out immediately? Oh, the disgrace. The shame. The number of desserts she could have eaten instead with that wasted tuition. She could just. Stuff herself to death. Happily.
Which was exactly what she was doing now as she watched the dreaded exam loom near through the rain-stained window, mottled by the light of passing traffic.
Superfan whined pitifully under her breath and nuzzled her nose into the crook of her elbow. Tapping her spoon against the porcelain bowl before her, she thought, Even the delicate sweetness of shaved ice can’t save me now…
She closed her eyes and focused on breathing. It felt like a great serpent was constricted around her lungs, freezing her in place and making every breath a struggle. Oh, yes, she must be dying.
The bell jingled as someone entered the shop, but Superfan didn’t react. Let me play dead for a while, she thought. Don’t call the ambulance…just let me pass in peace.
“One large strawberry ice, please.”
Superfan’s ear perked up, though she remained in place. That voice was…familiar?
“With extra whipped cream on top.”
Superfan cranked her head back up like a rusted hinge and turned around slowly.
She couldn’t be sure. She professed herself his #1 fan, but really, recognising someone based on two sentences alone? Moreover, his back was to her, his head (and his hair) obscured by a hat. A patently ridiculous hat.
Why was it so tall.
Yao-mei, if it’s really you…
What the f*** is that hat supposed to be?? Are you compensating for your height????
Oh no that’s actually so cute wtf?????? Yao-mei, don’t do that; you don’t need to do that; you’re adorable and perfect as you are—
Superfan blinked. Jin Guangyao (or at least she suspected him to be) had disappeared. She blinked again, then spotted him sitting across the shop in a dimly lit corner booth, a screen of bamboo blocking the view.
Oh, how atmospheric.
But she could see the profile of his face now. And even at that distance and in that lightning with so little visible, Superfan knew.
It was really him.
It was ✨DESTINY✨. Like full-on red-thread-of-fate kind of destiny, except of course Superfan would never dare imagine herself being with Jin Guangyao. Because Jin Guangyao was untouchable, and before him, she was but an unworthy peasant kneeling before the steps to his throne. She was nothing like those insane stalker fans, and this…this was just a chance encounter. A blessing.
She was about to jump out of her seat and say god-knows-what embarrassing things when she realised:
Shy!!! Horribly, inconsolably, way too shy!
Her cheeks were burning. Her temperature was probably through the roof. And, oh heavens, she wasn’t even wearing any makeup, not even the barest “natural” look, because exam stress had just about killed her, and she was a bloody disaster (a veritable zombie!!!).
How could she approach him like this?
It wasn’t like her at all. Superfan had an iron will, and she was known for it even by her seniors. But in the face of the golden brilliance that was Jin Guangyao, even Superfan had to admit her inferiority.
No, better to just observe for now. Better to plan out her approach, because holy shit she wasn’t going to ruin her first meeting with Jin Guangyao. She wasn’t going to make an embarrassment out of herself, never mind that she was about to become the greatest disappointment to her parents. Oh, just no.
Actually, now that she paused to reconsider, she realised something important:
Jin Guangyao wasn’t alone.
Who. Is. That. Boy.
They were holding hands across the table they shared, fingers entwined.
Superfan squinted. She really squinted very hard. But she couldn’t hear what they were saying (really, why was the music so loud ), and it wasn’t like she could lip read or anything. Although…
Jin Guangyao was smiling. A foolish kind of smile, heavens apart from anything she’d ever seen on him before. Compared to his picture-perfect photoshoots, it was somehow special. Superfan had the sudden impression he wasn’t aware of his own expression. Because Jin Guangyao was always so perfect in presentation and flawless down to the last detail. He wouldn’t allow himself to be seen like this. He probably didn’t think anyone would recognise him here.
Well, he was wrong.
The boy said something, then picked up a spoon.
HOLD UP. STOP RIGHT THERE.
Were they. Sharing. A dessert? She’d just heard Jin Guangyao order one strawberry ice, right?
Superfan looked again. The boy was spooning a mouthful of cream into Jin Guangyao’s mouth.
Oh dang. Oh that was. That was actually really cute. They were actually really cute. As in make your heart flutter like a caged butterfly kind of cute.
Holy shit. What am I witnessing —
The boy laughed a pretty, bell-like laugh. Then he leaned over and casually wiped a spot of cream from Jin Guangyao’s lower lip with his finger. Before—and Superfan nearly died of heart failure right then—putting it in his mouth and sucking it clean.
She clasped her hands over her mouth to prevent herself from exclaiming in surprise.
That had to be illegal! It was too…it was too much for her weak heart to handle!!
Superfan had to do something before she combusted on the spot. So she clambered over to the counter, trying hard not to look at the pair, acquired a pen from the clerk (who was quite bemused, not seeing the cause of Superfan’s flustered state), and began to make her way towards the bamboo-concealed table.
All the while chanting this mantra in her head:
“Jin Guangyao’s such a gentleman… He’s always kind to his fans… He won’t be upset… He won’t think I’m a bother!
“And I’ll make a good impression!!”
Somehow, she made it across the shop without knocking anything (or anyone) over, even with her eyes squeezed tightly shut. Well, probably—to be quite honest, Superfan could have bowled over an entire pyramid display of desserts and she wouldn’t have noticed then.
She had her head bowed, pen and menu clutched in her hands (obtained from an unoccupied table along the way, for she lacked in paper as well as writing utensils—she wasn’t here to study, you know?). She’d just taken a huge preparatory breath, like the Big Bad Wolf before he huffed and puffed, and was about to yell ‘Please sign your autograph, Yao-mei!!’ or something unintelligible because she really wasn’t in any state to be making coherent sounds come out of her mouth when…
She heard something odd. Like someone caught between a gasp and a giggle.
She peeled one eye open. Cautiously.
Were they really
Well, it was actually more like Jin Guangyao had just given the unknown boy a light peck on the nose. But still. And, well, maybe Superfan had a bit of a thing for cute gestures like that, because all she could think was:
I’m never blinking again. I’ll just burn this blessed image onto my retinas.
They were staring at her.
She made a choked squeaking noise, deflating like a popped balloon. Oh, she was so dead now. She’d interrupted something, hadn’t she? And looking so foolish, too…
Jin Guangyao had on one of his signature ‘killer’ smiles, dimples on full blast. There was murderous intent in the air, and Superfan thought she could hear threatening BGM playing from the speakers.
(The clerk from earlier jumped in his seat, almost dropping his phone in the process, then hurried to change the song before mouthing a silent apology.)
But no. That was wrong. Yao-mei is pure and would never think such thoughts! It had to be that triple espresso she’d downed earlier, right before indulging herself with a mountain of sweets. Yeah, let it be known that Superfan wasn’t exactly in the right state of mind to be judging anyone’s intentions.
The other boy looked between them with concern, his cheeks slightly flushed.
“Yao-ge,” he implored, and he must have hit one of Jin Guangyao’s weaknesses, because his face softened immediately.
“You must be one of my fans,” Jin Guangyao said, and Superfan could only nod, her very breath still absent from her lungs. “A-Sang and I are working on an upcoming collab…”
She nodded along, but she heard no more of what he was saying. In her ears was only a persistent ringing noise and the sound of her brain whirring.
Duo Hen Sheng.
Of course, Superfan had seen the teasers already. She had watched them over and over again to the point that she could recite each scene and beat. Naturally, she knew who the collab was with, though she’d never paid any attention to him before.
The Head-Shaker. He was known by his stage name alone, a famous pianist who never showed his face, always hidden behind a fan.
So that was him? She never would have guessed they’d known each other before the collab had been announced. Their music was completely different, after all. But it was obvious that they were close and must have been for a long time.
Click. Jin Guangyao’s phone displayed a message notification.
“Who’s it from?”
Jin Guangyao was making a fond, amused expression. “Jiang Cheng. Jin Ling’s in trouble again.” He got up and pulled on his coat. “Let’s go.”
Superfan just watched, overloaded and more than a bit starstruck, as they left together, ‘A-Sang’ clinging tightly to Jin Guangyao’s arm, who didn’t look like he minded in the least.
When she finally regained her senses, she looked down at her hands to see that the menu had been signed. In fact, it had been signed by them both, and their signatures joined together to form a heart at the centre. What's more, there was a message written below:
Superfan, good luck on your exams! We believe in you (ง •̀_•́)ง
How did they…?
Later, after a lifetime’s worth of breakneck running, puddle-hopping, and car-dodging, Superfan burst into the exam hall just as the students began writing, nearly taking the doors down in the process.
The professor glanced her over and observed, “You look like you just came back from the dead.”