Subin's injuries were patched up. The intern closed the first aid kit and opened another box containing syringes and vials.
"What's that for?" Subin was visibly panicked.
"Your injuries came in contact with soil. So a Tetanus shot is necessary." The intern smiled apologetically and God! His smile was just so gorgeous that Yul immediately felt butterflies in his stomach.
Reluctantly, Subin had to take the injection, despite wanting to run away as Yul was holding him in place.
"All done," the intern smiled again as if dealing with a child patient. "Be careful from next time." Subin managed to give a faint smile and nod.
"Zeng, I am out of cotton swabs." The second intern called out from the other side and Yul had to hurriedly avert his eyes.
"Just a second, I'll take out the new batch." The intern named Zeng hurriedly went away to open a box.
Subin got up and Yul helped him on his feet. There was no more reason for them to stay here and so left they left with Yul taking a last glance at the intern named Zeng, before stepping out of the tent.
Afternoon arrived and lunch break started for the trainees. The canteen served them according to the food time table.
The academy had a strict diet plan. Two boiled eggs and a glass of milk in the morning, a nonveg-vegetable combined dish with a maximum of three bowls of rice for the afternoon lunch and any local non-vegetarian dish for dinner. In summary, all their three meals were filled mainly with proteins, as rightfully required for extreme physical training.
After staying there for more than a year, the Seniors very well knew what they would be having today, Moo Goo Gai Pan, a chicken and vegetable stir-fried dish. This was better than all other six afternoon dishes. The Second Years lined up and took their meal, the First Years after them.
Yul and Subin sat on the table along with their batchmates. Subin started gobbling up the lunch, same as the others. However, Yul looked so out of it. He felt fiddling with his chopsticks, staring blankly at the plate.
Subin noticed it and asked him what was wrong but Yul merely sighed and shook his head in desperation. Subin didn't pester him to tell as he knew his friend wasn't someone who would share his thoughts so easily. He would have to wait and Yul would surely tell him if it's important.
Yul was in his own thoughts for the rest of the day. He messed up while training, got scolded by the supervisors, repeatedly failed scoring in basketball and even wore his shirt inside out after changing into nightwear.
Now that the sun had dawned and the moon rose, their nightly roll call was done. Soon after, Subin took Yul into the Juniors' den. Around 4 bottles of vodka along with some snacks was arranged on the floor itself.
Alcohol and other stuff were strictly prohibited inside the Academy. But being in the rebellious phase, who cared about rules?
By midnight, all the bottles laid empty on the floor along with the juniors, arms and legs sprawling in all directions. Some on the floor, some on the bed and some half-half.
The two Seniors now we're sitting in the common balcony where all the boys hung up their clothes for drying. Yul was already dazed and Subin fiddled with the glass of drink. The breeze was cooler by the night. It was the perfect time for a heart to heart talk between the bros and so Subin began first,
"I am going back to Korea to give idol auditions after we graduate from the Academy."
Yul was caught off guard, "You serious?"
The other nodded, "Yes, I am. I have been thinking about it for quite a while." He looked at the moon. "Music is where I belong. I wasn't interested in coming to the academy from the start itself. It was my Appa's dream that I become a Police Officer. After his death, I at least wanted to pay tribute by fulfilling his dream. However, I forgot the most important life lesson he had given me. He said, 'Always follow your heart, no matter where it leads you to. So that the day you leave this world, you will have no regrets. Appa will always watch over you, no matter what you choose.' "
He smiled, "I believe he would be happy with my decision. Convincing my Amma won't be easy but I will somehow manage it. She will eventually understand my love for music. I have to try. I am not letting this chance go. If I do, I will always regret it for the rest of my life."
Yul felt as if the last sentence was directed towards him. He somehow got the courage to speak up, "I also want to say something." Subin urged him to go ahead.
"I think I fell in love."
"Woah! Cool, who's the lucky girl and since when?" The cheery guy asked, lifting the glass to his lips and took a sip.
"That male intern who treated your injuries today, I think I fell in love with him."
Subin almost choked on his drink and spat it out. Wiping the remnant of the alcohol from his chin with the back of his hand, he asked casually, "Dude, are you bisexual?"
"I don't know." Yul ruffled his hair in confusion. "I was straight as an arrow before seeing him. But then… I don't know man. I am so confused. This is so freaking confusing. I think I am losing my mind." He was talking to himself. Then peeked at Subin, "You don't think I am weird, right?"
Subin clicked his tongue, "I am not biased regarding gender or preference. But isn't it too early to fall in love with that intern? Like, you just met him this morning."
"It was love at first sight," Yul defended himself.
Subin chuckled heartily hearing Yul's reply, "Never did I ever imagine you falling in love at first sight!" He patted Yul's shoulder, "Good for you. So what was it like? How did you feel?"
Yul smiled to himself, "It was not anything extravagant. Just one glance at that person and I wanted to keep looking at him forever. It wasn't about his external looks. I didn't even notice that until the last moment. It was something more than that. A warm feeling, it felt something like, I want to live the rest of my life for this person... with this person. It was subtle yet special. I can't exactly say what it was but it felt nice."
Subin listened while gaping, "Oh boy, you really are so in love. Congratulations my man!"
Yul smiled widely. He felt a burden lift from his chest. He felt much better after talking it out with someone. His mind had been a mess since this morning. Now that he had shared it with someone, his heart felt at ease. Now he had to plan out what to do next... about his feelings... about everything.
That night, he couldn't sleep well. He kept smiling to himself every now and then, twisting and turning in his bed, preparing himself for what to say tomorrow, how to act in front of that person. He kept forming sentences and discarding them.
'Hash! Was proposing always this tough?'
The whole dorm was sleeping while he was wide awake, his heart beating at the peculiar pace and a blush rising on his face every now and then.
Oh boy, he was so in love!