[00] bonus chapter: enchanted

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3rd Person POV

When Chan had came to school that morning, he felt sad. As usual. However, there he was again, forcing laughter and faking smiles. And he had gotten so good at bluffing that no one knew it was a lie. No one knew how he truly felt after Aera left. 

Chan sighed as he made his way through the halls of the same old tiring and lonely place. He knew he wasn't alone; no, he had Minho and Changbin and Hyunjin and Jisung and Felix and Seungmin. And yet, despite his friends, he felt lonely. He felt like he was all alone in this big world, with its walls of insincerity. After Aera left him behind, he couldn't help but feel that everyone lied to him when they said that he mattered. Aera had made that obvious when she left. 

When he sat down in his first class next to Felix, he noticed his classmate's shifting eyes and the new vacant desk in front of him. "What's going on?" He whispered to Felix as their teacher walked into the classroom. 

Felix replied in the same hushed tone, "I think there's a new student. Wait, just listen to her—"

The friends shut up and tried to listen to whatever their teacher was saying. "I hope you treat her well," she finished, and everyone's heads turned to the door as though they were bobbleheads. 

Chan followed their gaze and felt time stop. All his worries, his thoughts about Aera, vanished when he saw her face. 

He zoned out through her introduction, only catching her name. Bae Nabi. She was a butterfly. His butterfly, hopefully. 

The two of them made eye contact, and Chan couldn't help but feel as though his eyes were asking, "Have we met?" And maybe they had, in another life. Maybe she was his train's final stop, not Aera. 

Maybe it was time to move on. 

From across the room, her silhouette started to make her way towards him— no, not you, dumbass, Chan tried to remind himself. She's only going to her desk.

He couldn't help but want to be her first friend. And if possible, anything more. And that was when their playful conversations started, filled with witty jokes, flirtacious comments, and quick remarks. 

The first night Chan couldn't sleep after he met Nabi, he called her. He wasn't totally sure why his half-concious self decided to call her, but he did. They stayed together on the phone the entire night, and Chan couldn't help but feel the thrill of doing something forbidden, even though he knew it wasn't. It felt as though he was sneaking out late at night, or passing notes in secrecy. 

Then sometime later, he watched her approach the basketball court when he was practising with his team. He had stepped out of line, hoping to go greet her, but Hyunjin beat him to it. And as Nabi and hyunjin hugged, Chan felt something twitch inside him that he hadn't felt since he was with Aera. Jealousy.

When they walked home that night, Chan couldn't help but feel flustered. Nabi was standing so close to him in the sparkling night, and even if she was closer to Hyunjin, he was wonderstruck, blushing all the way home. And yet, he felt a bit disappointed when Nabi's cousin, Lia, thought that Hyunjin was Nabi's boyfriend. 

He couldn't help but want to be him. 

Another twinge of emotion in his stomach. 


But even as he left the group, walking towards his own house, he couldn't help but thinking that he wanted to spend forever with Nabi if she knew about his feelings for her. 

But if Aera didn't care about them, why would she? The nasty voice in the back of his head called. You know she loves Hyunjin.

But if she truly loved Hyunjin, would she lead him on like she did? The lingering questions kept Chan up until 2 AM. Who do you love, Bae Nabi? He asked himself, wide awake and unable to fall asleep. 

I never felt this confused and nervous with Aera, he thought. But maybe I didn't love her. Maybe I love Nabi.

But the pesky voice in the back returned. But she doesn't love you. Aera did. 

Frustrated, Chan got out of bed, pacing back and forth through his dim-lit room. He couldn't help but wish for a moment that he was the main character, and Nabi was the female lead. He couldn't help but imagine that Nabi would suddenly show up at his front door, and would greet him with a small "Hey" after he opened the door. 

But you're not the main character, dumbass.

Chan flopped back onto his bed, exhausted by overthinking. He hoped that it was their first page. He let himself hope that that wasn't where their story would start to end, but he has a sinking feeling his hopes would fail. Please don't be in love with someone else, he begged to her, wishing that there was a way Nabi could hear his thoughts. 

But there wasn't. 

And Chan couldn't help but hate his life.  

He hated it even more after. After the night he saw Nabi and Hyunjin almost-kissing. The night when he confessed everything to Nabi. The night when he found out that Aera didn't leave him; she had died. The night he was ready to do the same. 

These are the words I held back, Chan thought to Nabi as he delicately wrote his last letter, a single tear dripping onto it. 

He wanted her to make sure she didn't leave anyone waiting on her, like Aera left him. He wanted to make sure that she didn't leave behind Hyunjin because of her guilt. He couldn't let that happen. Hyunjin was his friend. He couldn't hurt him like that. 

And as Chan sat on the edge of Incheon Bridge, hours later, he was prepared to die. He was ready to meet the love of his life in heaven, because he knew there was no where else she would be. He was ready to bid the world goodbye. 

And although Aera had a special place in his heart, he knew that he would never forget Nabi, either. 

I was enchanted to meet you, Bae Nabi. 

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