Part 4 of French Vanilla Serie
Finally I’m back ! I still have a lot of homework to do but well, here I am. My laptop’s screen just decided to fucked me up 2 weeks ago , so this chapter was delay. However, here it is ! Enjoy !
The Glade is a coffee shop/bar at the corner of University Boulevard. It is almost like a common spot for everyone that go to school in the area. The owner, Rachel, is a WCKD post graduate and a biologist, of course she would come up with something like The Glade. The coffee shop’s design itself is such a curiosity. The actual place is surrounded by a man-made maze built with enormous high blocks of rock and ivy curling from the top. It has 8 fake doors that lead to nowhere and 1 real door which just make poor freshmen got lost when they come to the place for the first time. It is a maze, of course it will contains deathly traps , such as there is this hallway where you will got water spraying all over you from top to toe if you step a foot in there. That’s why The Glade is such a fascinating hang out destination for many students and youngsters in the area. Everyone love a little adventure, aren’t they?
It is a sunny day, the breezes are cool and the weather is perfect for a day out. Minho smiles softly, his eyes following the shadow of the blonde boy in front of him, follows him unknowingly into the Maze, his hands in his jeans pocket. Newt, meanwhile, is too busy chatting with Thomas to notice the pair of eyes on his back, laughing loudly at Thomas’s joke, his hair shining under the sunlight. It takes them a good 5 minutes to reach the main entrance, a replica of a metal box with a ladder to the top, Minho, who is not paying attention, gets catch by surprise when a hand in front of him, smiling sweetly.
- Hey Greenie. Welcome to the Glade.
Newt is blindingly beautiful with the sun shining behind his head, his cherry red lips smiling , his soft little hand waiting from the top of the ladder. Minho hides his smile, reaches for that little hand,and somehow he knows that he will never let it go.
- Hello sunbaenim* !!!! Welcome to the Glade !
Chuck almost gives him a heart attack when the kid jumps out from behind of a door, greeting him with a wide smile, his chocolate chip frappuccino in his left hand, already half empty. Sitting around the wooden table is Teresa, who is waving at him happily, and a guy he does not know. He is a muscular young man dressing in a white shirt and jeans, walking casually toward them and putting his hand over Newt’s shoulder, holding him closer than Minho’s comfortable with. The new guy gives him his hand, again, showing his bright smile.
- You must be Minho. I’m Albert, this little jack-head ‘s childhood sweetheart.
- Alby !!!
Newt, who is blushing deeply, hit Alby’s on the chest before glances at Minho shyly, his smiles never leaves his lips. Alby, who is laughing with his whole body, putting his hands over his head in surrender, checking Minho from top to toe, his hand still waiting for a handshake. Minho, awkwardly laughs, shakes Alby’s strong hand , suddenly remind himself to talks to Alby about the Cross Country’s tournament sometimes later.
- And you must be Alby.
- Yep. The one and only.
- Hey Minho ! You want to see the rooftop ?? It is AWESOME up here.
Chuck, who just reappear on the square hole above Teresa’s head, yelling loudly at his roommate, his voice fills with excitement.Thomas, who is climbing up the wooden ladder, turns his head in addition, causing Minho to turns his head over to Newt, who is looking at him sweetly, does not quiet know what is he asking for.
- You not going ?
- Nah, you go. I heard the view is awesome up there. Maybe you can spot the top of the Maze.
Minho, not really paying attention to the exact words Newt was using, start to walks over to the ladder behind Teresa’s chair, high fives with her before starts to climbs up the square hole, leaving Newt behind with Alby, who just give him the ” so that’s your crush look ” and receive another punch from the blonde boy.
- This is Homestead, as Rachel called it. Enjoy it. We got it reserved !
Chuck, who is smiling widely from the white swing at the corner of the garden, waving at the bonsais and mushrooms around them. Thomas, who is standing at the balcony, enjoying the cool breeze and sunlights. Somehow, Minho knows his classmate wants to talk to him. Standing at the highest place of the Glade, Minho cannot helps himself but feels a little bit scare, however, as Thoma begins to talk, he does not pay much attention to the grassfield under them as much.
- What do you think of Newt ?
- What do you mean?
The black haired kid does not quiet understand what does his friend means. Thomas, whose eyes do not meet him but put somewhere at the peeky top of the Maze, repeat himself.
- Like, what do you think of him?
- Newt? He is nice, handsome and talented. I am not surprised if he gets himself a movie contract in a few years.
- He is our most dedicated one. Don’t hurt him.
Alby ‘s sudden appearance next to him causing Minho to jumps a little bit. Yet again, none of their eyes meet his, making Minho feeling a little bit uncomfortable. Looking at Alby as the guy continue to talks, deep somewhere in Minho’s mind, he knows he understand something, maybe just a little bit, but it is something he will never learn elsewhere.
- We are friends since Newt was born. I am a year older than him, our parents are friends since high school. For all those years knowing him, I know him better than myself. He is smart , funny and sweet. He never hurts a fly. He is strong, but yet, just don’t hurt him. He suffers enough already. You know I trust you when I tell you these things, but , I know somehow , maybe you are the one, maybe you will make him truly happy, I don’t know. You know he has kind of a limp thing with his leg?
- Uh… Yeah…
- And he said ” I heard ” when he talked about Homestead ?
- Oh.. yeah…
Minho just feels confuse and suddenly , scared. He feels that Alby, the guy he met just 5 minutes ago is going to tell him something very important, something personal, something will changes all of his perspectives on Newt. And somehow, they trusted that Minho is trusthworthy enough for Alby to tells him so.
- It happened when he was 16. We went to this private school so even though I am older, we were still in the same campus. He were in a relationship with this guy, you know, a kind of cute high school love story thing. I thought he was happy, he truly was, however, that guy, he wasn’t. It was the stupidest thing I ever let him did. We grew up together you know, we did so many things, but it was the stupidest thing I ever let Issac did. It was the school’s year end annual camp, it suppose to be our last camp before we moved to London to study and so he could attend RADA*. He even got a special scholarship from them. But that guy, he destroyed everything.
Alby’s hand forming into a fist, his breath shorten, hiding his anger under his words. Teresa, who just climbed up here minutes ago,squeezing his shoulder softly, making Minho suddenly remember that Thomas once told him that Teresa is ” Newt’s friend from high school in Manchester”, whatever that guy did, she knows, Alby knows, his best friend definetly knows. Minho’s heart suddenly fills with anxiety, he suddenly does not want to know what happened.
- Talking about it make it sound so dramatic, but, I cannot make the same mistake again. It was the last day of our camp, after dinner party, Newt told me that that guy wanted to talked to him at the camp’s lookout tree, he told me to went to bed first. I thought they just wanted to talked, as hundreds of couples in our school did,but no, I was wrong, so wrong. You know what he did? That sick bastard, after dating Newt for almost a year, told him that it was all a joke, it was just a bet with some kids, showing him the money he made from the bet and told Newt to got lost, calling him a queer and told him to go kill himself. One of them pushed him, taunting him, scared him you know, causing him to fell out of the tower. I have no idea what happened until one of our teachers woke me up in the middle of the night, asking where Newt was. I thought he was still made out with the kid somewhere, and told them they were at the tree. Minutes later, I still could not remember how I could arrived at the hospital, or how the teachers stopped me from killing those guys.
– It was the worst moment of my life, looking Newt’s parents and he just lay there, still as if he was dead. He was in coma for a week with both of his legs broken, his brain hemorrhage and three broken ribs. It was the scariest thing ever happen to me. We never realise he developed a fear of height until we got home and he refused to went to his rooftop garden. It used to be his favorite place. Now it is his worst fear. He dropped the scholarship at RADA and moved here. His doctor drugged him for the flight, pretending that he was okay and he never, ever, ever talked to anyone about the incident ever again. Not me, not his parents, not even Alby. No one.
Minho does not quiet know what to do. He does not even quiet sure what is he thinking anymore. Everything are just a mess in his brain, spinning and twisting like the inner of a broken clock. His hands curling themselves, forming a fist, he does not know what to say, or what to do. Teresa’s eyes are wet with fresh tears, her arms wrapping around Alby’s neck as he pulls her into a hug, letting her tears fall on his shoulder. Minho cannot breathe. He cannot concentrate, cannot think of anything. What he should do? What can he do? He suddenly feel scare, knowing how much Newt’s friends trust him to told him this story, a personal one, a dedicated one.
He feels Thomas’s arm over his shoulder, patting his shoulder slightly, his sky blue eyes looks at him in sympathy. Minho sharply breathe out, lower his voice as he tries not to broke it.
- You knew?
- Yeah…Last year… We went here by ourselves and I tried to dragged him to this rooftop. Alby later told me. I never felt so bad about myself. He did not come back to our room for more than a week. Last night when Ben broke his leg, he went back early.He never told me, but he does not need to, he is the vice director of the play, he supposed to be there but Mark sent him home.
-Look Minho, we don’t want to scare you or peer pressure you alright? We just want to say that please, whatever it takes, just don’t hurt him. He is my brother, my family, I don’t want to see my getting hurt. I know you like him, you are a good man. But we all make mistakes, I will help, Teresa will help you, we all want to, just…
Alby leaves his sentence unfinished, sigh out loudly and gives Minho a smile. Patting on his shoulder, Alby and Teresa leave the rooftop, leaving Thomas standing next to Minho silently. The black haired one slides down on the balcony, his back facing the iron fences, Thomas next to him. Hiding his face in his hands, Minho wants to scream out loudly. The brunet gives him a small smile, patting his shoulder, his voice blends into the wind.
- You deserve him Minho. You do.
- I don’t want to hurt him. I just … It feels like I can’t…
- You are a good man. Alby trusts you. You know, about a week ago, we had a long conversation, him, Teresa and me. They are worried, and protective, but they trust you. We don’t want to make you feel the pressure, but we trust you. Otherwise, Newt also likes you doesn’t he? What we said are not as important as how Newt feels about you.
Minho lifts his head off his hands to look at Thomas, replies his best friend with a smile. What is he thinking, Thomas doesn’t know. But he knows one thing for certain, Minho will never ever hurt Newt, not in a million years.
- Sunbaenim ! What do you want ? Oh ! And come down here a little bit.
Chuck’s head peeks up from the square hole , holding a new cup of frappucino, smiling happily. Minho looks at him, reminds himself to teachs Chuck more Korean. Climbing down the ladder, he sees Newt’s blond hair in the corner of his eyes, laughing with his whole body next to Teresa, looking at her phone.
- What is it ?
Minho asks, walking over to the table and his heart almost fell out of his chest when a high pitched scream comes out of the phone and Teresa turns her phone to show a figure of someone.
- OH MY GOD MINHO !!!
- Yep, ladies and gentlemen, Minho Park is here. Now deposit that $10 into my bank account thank you very much.
Ben Franklin, who is laying in his hospital bed, screaming at the top of his lung, not very believe in his eyes. Teresa is laughing, her hand shaking and Newt checking his phone for the money deposit. Minho, who is currently has no idea what is happening and why it involves him, looking confusing at Ben.
- Oh my god… I thought that you like, you will be here and scream at my face, not hanging out with Newt of all people and the gangs at the freaking Glade. Honestly , shank, why you not here?
- I don’t feel like comforting you. Beside, you will all those drugs in your system… I am pretty suprise that you haven’t told us your bank password.
- Oh ! It’s 924 ….
Teresa presses end call for Ben’s shake. Still shaking from the laugh, Newt looks up at Minho, his amber eyes sparkling brightly, his cherry red lips forming a perfect smiles. Everything around them seems to be blur out, just Newt, shining brightly like an angel in the dark, giving him a lovely smile, his eyes full of affection. Minho dated some girls in the past, and no one, none of them give him this feeling. The feeling of butterflies in his stomach, of roses blooming every time Newt smiles, the feeling of being protective , to hug him and cherish him. Minho smiles,his hand, in subconsciousness, ruffling Newt’s hair, causing the smaller boy’s smile freeze as his ears slowly turns red in embarrassment.
Later, when the whole group is playing Monopoly and Alby is screaming about changing his major to Business because he is too good at this game, Newt’s expression does not get out of his sight. As the blonde boy looking at his phone in his lap,his lips forming a toothy smile, Alby believes he has trusted the right person.
From : Minho Park
To : Newt
Are you free tomorrow night?
To : Minho Park
Yeah, maybe, I will check. But probably will anyway.Why?
From : Minho Park
To : Newt
I know this Asian restaurant in downtown. Wanna try some Chinese?
To : Minho Park
Is that a date?
From : Minho Park
To : Newt
Yeah… It is a date. So tomorrow , I will pick you up at 7.
As Minho looks up from his phone and smile brightly at the blonde British boy across the table, Thomas knows everything is gonna be okay.
* RADA : Royal Academy of Dramatic Art ( Tom Hiddleston is one of their alumnies )
* sunbaenim : a Korean term to call an older person or someone with higher experiences in a particular major.