At 7.40 he was outside his apartment building, kicking around tiny stones and forming invisible patterns with the tip of his shoe on the pavement.
It's just a normal meet up, he thought. Nervously he looked left and right, waiting for Junmyeun to appear, then he looked down on himself. He tried to pick normal clothes that said 'I have my life together'- but not too much.
Why the hell am I even thinking about his?, he thought and considered that his overthinking might make him go crazy.
Biting his lip he combed with his fingers through his red hair, which was not as messy as it used to be this week. He needed to dye his roots again, but he kinda liked the look. A short while ago Kyungsoo had decided that this hairdo looked best on him, after he finally overcame his horrible egg-hair phase, which resulted in him cutting off all his hair because it was damaged from bleaching and he was just overall frustrated. Of course he regretted it instantly, but what can you do?
Down the road he heard the motor of Junmyeuns Porsche 911 Carrera.
When he had purchased that car, all Kyungsoo could do was laugh at him because it was just so.. Junmyeun. This guy had too much money, and even if he liked to brag about it a lot, he never hesitated to treat his ,not as fortunate, friends.
With his bleached hair, black roots showing, the sunglasses that looked like they were straight out of the closet of a pimp and the roof of the car opened, Junmyeun stopped in front of Kyungsoo with a wide grin.
"You look like the biggest asshole the world has ever seen", Kyungsoo said with a dead serious face.
"That's what all the jealous haters say", he replied comletly unfazed by the comment .His friends completly over the top confidence made Kyungsoo smile a bit and he opened the door to get in the car.
"How many fucking times are you planning to listen to that song?", he noted as he saw the paused track on Junmyeuns phone.
"Russian Roulette is a masterpiece and nobody is going to stop me"
Kyungsoo had no intentions to do so, knowing too well that Junmyeun would never let him forget it if he knew that he was blasting Shakira in his apartment when alone.
As they drove through the city Kyungsoo felt eyes on him from time to time.
"What is so interesting?"
Junmyeun hesitated, and Kyungsoo noticed that his grip on the wheel tightened.
"How much did you sleep yesterday Soo?"
Kyungsoo avoided making eye contact. Warm wind played around his hair and messed it up, while the clouds looked like an Monet painting in orange, pink and yellow. The clouds formed beautiful patterns that looked almost floral. It was a nice evening, he noticed.
"Don't do that"
"..What?", Kyungsoo asked confused.
"You always do that. Avoiding the questions. It may work in a group but for fucks sake we are alone in a car what do you expect to happen?"
"I slept enough, don't worry"
"The bags under your eyes tell me something else"
"I just went to sleep very late, but I got a good enough amount"
He wouldn't dare to tell Junmyeun what helped him sleep. He had been clean for a good two month before he started smoking almost daily again, but it calmed him and numbed him. Would the others see him the same way? Exhausted, tired, a mess in general? Nervousness crept up his spine and he felt his heartbeat fasten. He knew it wasn't a good idea to skip the last two pizza evenings, because with that the questions came. They accepted his poor excuses, well knowing that those were lies, but nobody attempted to actually talk about this topic.
They came to stop at a red light, finally Kyungsoo looked to his left. Junmyeun gave him a warm smile, warmer than the evening sun, his platin hair coloured slightly rosé in the sunset light and Kyungsoo felt calmer. "We're here, Soo. I am here. Don't worry"
"Thank you Junmyeun", he said silently and focused his view on the sky again.
Da Nino was going nearly bankrupt when a student at the nearby culinary school took over. Former owner Nino was an alcoholic guy in his mid 50s who couldn't care less about business, even if he said that this restaurant was his life. After he ruined himself he was forced to sell the restaurant which was then worth nearly nothing, because the reputation of the place was speaking for itself.
Now, thanks to the new owner, it was blooming in new glory with wonderful food, amazing coffee and a cozy atmosphere while still being busy. It was hard to get a table, but since they went every Thursday, they were known and welcomed. Well, it didn't harm that Junmyeuns boyfriend was the owner, but he wouldn't consider this the only reason for their regular table.
They parked the car near the entrance and crossed the terrace, where a lot of people where seated, eating, talking, drinking wine and coffee. The restaurant garden was simple but still elegant and welcoming. In a corner next to a small olive tree their friends where already seated, having a cheerful conversation with owner Minseok.
Suddenly someone approached Kyungsoo from the side.
"Long time no seen Grumpy cat!", He found himself next to an intimidating broad figure compared to his own small height.
Seokjin was the co-owner of the restaurant, who Minseok met in culinary school, discovering that they both shared the wish to open a small business, with Seokjin focusing on food, while Minseok was head over heels for coffee. So they found a compromise in an Italian restaurant and café
"I know, I'm sorry. But you know I can't survive without your food for long anyways"
Seokjin chuckled and patted his shoulder.
"I know I'm extraordinarily awesome"
Kyungsoo rolled his eyes but it was true. His delivered pizza was tolerable, almost good even but nothing compared to Seokjins cuisine. But the first problem was that Kyungsoo was way too poor to afford their food every day (and he was too proud to accept the friend discount) and Da Nino boycotted delivery services because, quote Seok-Duo 'The food would loose it's quality and the lack of personal interaction and service is not our business policy'
But the main reason would be that Kyungsoo didn't want his friends to know that the once passionate hobby cook was living off cheap delivery food right now.
Junmyeun was already next to Minseok, chin on his shoulder, grinning like the happy idiot he was and talking some cheesy nonsense.
As Kyungsoo approached the table, heads turned.
Jongin was the first to react, getting up from his seat in superhuman speed and caging him in a tight hug.
"God Nini, you're suffocating him", chuckled Tao, with real concern in his voice.
"Our egg is back, let him be happy", said Sehun rather unimpressed but with a smile while sipping on his glass of wine.
"Egg..fuck you're one to talk Sehun!", said Minseok and turned to the bundle of Kyungsoo and Jongin. "Soo, same as always I guess?", He asked but left without waiting for an answer. Kyungsoo was way to distracted anyways right now, being overwhelmed by the realisation that he missed being here. "I missed you Soo", said Jongin quietly and placed his head on Kyungsoos shoulder, just like Junmyeun had done it to Minseok before, but it meant something completely different for them. Kyungsoo had missed his best friend, he had missed his overly touchy personality (even if he would never admit that) and the literal sunshine that surrounded Jongin. He let himself fall into the embrace and breathed with deep regret. His friends were all here, loving him, they had missed him, and instantly he felt like the worst person in this world for neglecting them like he did.
"I missed you too, Nini"
"Now you two sit down. Soo, we already ordered your favourite wine and Minseok will join us soon" Jongin grinned at him and took his place next to Junmyeun, while Kyungsoo took place next to him and Sehun, who fiddled around with his chocolate brown fringe, parted in the middle of his forehead.
"Good having you back", he said and handed Kyungsoo a glass of his favourite wine.
For one second he wanted to say that's it's only been three weeks but he decided against it. They would ask, or did they know?
A cold wave ran down his spine, he needed to distract himself ,so he grabbed his wineglass and took a sip.
The fruity taste was like home to him, the taste of endless evenings spend in this restaurant, at this table in summertime and at the corner table inside in wintertime.
Minseok returned with several plates of mouthwatering looking pizzas soon after the first two bottles of wine where gone and they had fallen into casual conversation. Kyungsoo mostly listened and only spoke when asked, but this was not unusual. For one thing he didn't like being the centre of attention and secondly he had nothing to talk about anyways.
It was nice, it was carefree. Already slightly tipsy Tao couldn't hide his excitement when Seokjin appeared behind Minseok and placed a plate carefully in front of him.
"Are you going to join us?", he asked the cook.
Seokjin shook his head. "My work is not done yet, honey. Maybe after the shift" He gave Tao an air-kiss, watched him giggle in amusement and left back through the open doors into the restaurant.
Minseok distributed the plates and took his place next to Junmyeun, who got his special plate.
"Seokjin is still shaking his head every time he has to do the vegan pizza for you", he said to his boyfriend.
"Oh so he is still an ass about it?", Junmyeun asked while making a face in the direction of the restaurant.
"No, actually he likes the change and creativity, unlike other people who always order the same thing"
Kyungsoo glared at him. He had found something that he liked. Why would he change it?
He still enjoyed his dish like the first time he tried it, and with that in mind he started eating.
For a while they ate in silence until Sehun eyed Jongins last piece.
"How can you be almost finished already?", He tilted his head innocently and smiled. "Do you mind letting me try something off your last piece?"
"You know how the chicken pizza tastes like, you yourself had it like twenty times", whined Tao while Minseok was rolling his eyes as Jongin reached over the table and let Sehun take a bite. The eye-contact was unnecessary long and saying he was confused would be an understatement on Kyungsoos side. He frowned. This was..odd. He looked over to Junmyeun who was giving him The Kim-Junmyeun-Eyebrow. Instantly but trying to look casual he unlocked his phone.
To: $umoney (21.23)
What the hell was that??
From: $umoney (21.24)
When you're old enough your parents will explain to you ;)
Kyungsoo watched over to Junmyeun to see him obviously amused winking in his direction.
To: $umoney (21.24)
From: $umoney (21.25)
Well, when two people like each other very much, sometimes something magical happens.
Minseok leaned over to see the display of Junmyeuns phone.
"Don't be a prick", he whispered and elbowed his boyfriend in the side.
From: $umoney (21.25)
It's been weird since two weeks I guess. Dancing lessons seemed to get a little more interesting. Didn't Jongin tell you about it?
He didn't. Exactly he hadn't much contact with Jongin over the past weeks. Mostly because Kyungsoo tended to read his messages, swore he would reply later and never did.
Guilt was overcoming him and a little.. jealousy? Anger?
Why didn't he tell him?
Everyone seemed to know?
But it was his fault. He hasn't been there, hasn't even asked, had no chance to actually notice something was off. What else was different since he was gone?
Kyungsoo felt pain in his chest and his nose started tingling.
Suddenly he felt distance between his and his best friend. Not only the distance that he was responsible for, the distance he evoke through the lack of contact or his disability to be a proper friend. It was a new kind.
What else didn't Jongin tell him?
Did he even cared about Kyungsoo anymore? Did anyone even cared about him?
He took a deep breath and grabbed his wineglass, which he emptied with one sip. Fast he filled up the glass again and emptied it.
"So now that we are on the edge to being drunk and happily filled with food I want to tell you something", Sehun announced with a grin.
Everyone was watching him in anticipation.
"I actually got a modelling contract with a big magazine today!"
Tao squealed and hugged his friend happily, Minseok congratulated him just to insult him seconds after, Jongin had the proudest smile ever and Junmyeun lifted his glass.
"This needs a toast!", he announced.
"To future fashion icon Oh Sehun!", Kyungsoo said and earned a warm smile from Sehun.
"Indeed!" Seokjin was turning around the corner and placed a small shot in front of everyone, including himself.
They spoke another round of gratulation and emptied their glasses, after Seokjin assured Tao that it was totally acceptable to drink during your shift when you're the owner of the restaurant.
Tao was obviously more than tipsy and joked around with Minseok and Junmyeun, while Sehun and Jongin were talking about their dancing lessons.
Kyungsoo listened, then not anymore.
He hated this topic. As much as he was happy for their friends, as much he saw his own life in front of him. Actually he saw nothing. Against his will he became slightly pissed, pissed about himself, about the universe, about everyone being able to talk with each other carefree, about sitting alone in silence and watching how his friends lived their lifes perfectly without him.
How could he be so arrogant to think that Jongin would tell him anything? It didn't mattered anymore. Kyungsoo was a looser without perspective and ambitions. What could he contribute to that friendship that was worth keeping it?
His fist tightened, but he tried to relax fast.
Don't be that asshole that ruins everything for them too, he thought, You've done enough.
Absent he piddled on his nails, staring into the void, while trying to look like he was at least partly following the conversation and considering if he should send that text he was about to write.
Don't deny it, you're sending it anyway, asshole. Don't act like you have any dignity left.
He surrendered in front of himself and stared at the screen.
To: Kris (22.17)
Hit me up?
From: Kris (22.25)
How much do you want?
To: Kris (22.26)
For 40.000Won. Possible?
From: Kris (22.27)
Always. I'll be there at 0.30?
To: Kris (22.28)
Easier in his chest he put the phone back in his pocket. At least he would be able to sleep tonight.