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The First Step

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Clothes? Check. Hair? Check. Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Confidence? ...maybe?

Ocean eyes stare into the mirror. Can I really do this? He takes a deep breath, working the muscles in his jaw. I suppose it doesn’t matter if I can, I have to... need to. Gripping his keys tightly, he turns to the front door, quickly exiting and locking it before he can even think of changing his mind. The party was about to start any minute now. He would be late regardless, but if he didn’t leave now, he might never.

He keeps his eyes forward as he heads to the car, not chancing a glance back for fear he may lose his nerve at any moment. Opening the driver's side, he plops himself into the seat, swiftly closing the door, buckles up, and shoves the key into the ignition.

He manages to keep his nerves steady as he pulls on to the road, despite what his white knuckling of the steering wheel may make it seem. His shoulder slump and he sighs, perhaps disappearing for two years wasn’t the answer to finding yourself.

Well, disappearing wasn’t the right word. It was more he went backpacking and barely communicated with anyone back home. There was the occasional letter or call to update Maya and Jumin on himself, but he didn’t do much else.

God, he misses them. The couple wasn’t exactly happy that he was leaving once they finally got him back, but they’d been supportive of him and his self-growth. It was what he needed at the time, someone to understand that he needed time to himself, to work on himself.

Of course, it may have taken a lot less time if he had a constant support system, but no one could fix V but V. The mint haired man softly scowls. No, V was not someone that needed to be fixed, but discarded. V was Jihyun, but Jihyun was not V. V was all Jihyun’s fear of commitment to his passion, the fear of failing. V was a mask, a persona he often hid behind. It was Jihyun who needed fixing. Jihyun who needed to find himself. Jihyun who needed to learn to love.

It took awhile to come to that conclusion. That he didn’t have to hide behind fear. That failure was okay, that criticism didn’t mean his work was bad. It meant he had room to improve, to hone his ability. It was a chance to get better. 

Photography had been the medium of choice because everyone could appreciate a nice photo. Not everyone could appreciate a drawing or painting, something that he’d put his heart into, but now that didn’t matter. He just wants to create out of love for the arts. To show his soul through a visual expression of his own making.

Jihyun still doubts parts of himself-- his ability to make desirable art, if he were a desirable person-- but he’s comfortable with who he is now. He doesn’t like everything, but he’s come to value his person. It used to be that he kept going on for others, but now he's trekking forward because he wants to see what life can offer him. He wants to reconnect with those he’d left behind, maybe connect with new people. He wants to experience life for all its highs and lows, its beauty and flaws. He wants to see his friends and family be happy. Wants to find happiness for himself. Grow old with his loved ones.

He knows that he’s probably thinking too far ahead, but knowing that he has a future to look forward to makes his imagination go wild. Jihyun isn’t sure what he’s going to do with this newfound freedom, but he’s determined to not waste it.

No more secrets. No more holding back , he thinks as he pulls up to the party’s venue. He’s going to pursue what he wants and earn the happiness that has seemed to evade him for so long.

He steps out of his car, taking a deep breath. You can do this, they haven’t forgotten about you. He desperately hopes they haven’t. 

Jihyun straightens his clothes in the reflection of his car window and hands his keys to the valet. He wasn’t sure if his plan would work, as some people don’t really like surprises, but it was worth a shot. He looks to the doors to a party that he once thought he’d never have the chance to attend again.

The mint haired man squares his shoulders and strides forward, eagerness being his drive. He just hopes that the people he desperately wants to see will want to see him too.

And maybe, just maybe, return the love he is so willing to give.