“Jinyoung-ssi, are you also married?”
If only Park Jinyoung had a thousand won for every person who asked him that question.
Although he assumes, it is a risk he had to take given the chosen industry that he worked in. Being a wedding designer is more of an artistic and financial need rather than a passion for him. He spent four years – take note: Four Years – studying in a fashion design institute and one thing that he had learnt is that the wedding industry is a billion dollar industry.
(Also money is really important, because not everyone makes it in the fashion industry and Goddamnit, he is gonna make it.)
And he did make it. For a twenty six, turning twenty seven years old up and coming designer, he already has his own shop, several magazine features and a regular invitee to many local and international fashion week. He was indeed living the dream and he loves it.
So here Park Jinyoung was, in his final fitting appointment of the day with a bride-to-be and her entourage of girlfriends and doting mother and mother-in-law. He sees the sparkle on her eyes; the one that tells him that ‘Yup, this is THE dress I’m looking for. Holy shit. I’m gonna get married next week’. To Jinyoung though, it meant, ‘Another job well done man, you’re getting paid.’ He already has a dainty, lace covered tissue box prepared beside the mirror because 102% of the time, someone will end up sobbing.
It was not like he hated the idea of weddings. It was more of he was a bit weary of the concept of ‘love’. What is love really anyway? To answer your question, nope, he did not have his heart broken. There was no drama here; no tragic story of his first love leaving him for some other person because of some arranged marriage or stuff like you see in soap operas and such. No, Park Jinyoung was just a normal guy who had had several long term, short term relationships in the past and many of which came to an end because he just lost interest on them for the most part.
And he was totally fine with that.
His best friend, Youngjae was starting to get worried he would die alone in his apartment with a bunch of cats. Jinyoung does not see the problem in that. Cats are awesome.
He thought like it was just another Friday night. It was a little over nine in the evening when the soon-to-be bride along with her family and friends had left the shop. Just as his usual routine, Jinyoung started to close the shop. Tomorrow will be a busy day, he reckons, as his shop bursts with customers the most every Saturday. He tries to limit his clients as much as possible, but that does not stop people from visiting his shop and admiring his work. That was why usually, he does not schedule anything during the weekend. It will be better if he would be well rested tonight.
As much as his friends has advised him to get an assistant, Jinyoung had always preferred to work alone. He wants every pattern and every measurement down to the sequins details to be only touched by him. If not, then let’s just say someone will get burnt. It was not like he had anything else to do in his free time anyway. After work, he usually just goes home and work some more.
Youngjae told him there was a term invented for him: Workaholic.
He was just at the back gathering some of the new patterns he had made for his new clients and was about to slid them in his bag when he heard someone bursting into his shop and yelling a loud “HE SAID YES!!! HE SAID YES!!!!! HE SAID YES!!!!” as if there was anyone inside the shop anymore to listen to him. Jinyoung however was not even surprised anymore since he already recognized the voice, especially the one that follows it saying, “Shut up, Jaebum! At this rate the whole block will know we’re engaged!”
Jinyoung could only shake his head and roll his eyes, smiling, as he finally goes out and meet the (newly engaged, obviously) couple. Despite his best friend berating his boyfriend – oh, fiancé, sorry about that – earlier, there was a large smile on his face as he held up his hand and showed off the beautiful diamond ring on his finger. Jaebum finally did it, Jinyoung thought in amusement. It has been hellish couple of months as Jaebum felt the need to whine to him whenever his plans of proposing to Youngjae always failed. The two have been dating since they were in middle school and Jinyoung felt really happy to see them finally settling down.
Okay, so maybe in that very dusty corner of Jinyoung’s mind he does believe that a thing such as a romantic love does exist. But then again, he does believe that as much as the world runs in a certain kind of order, there are those rare things that are exception to the rules; Youngjae and Jaebum are one of those.
“Oh my gosh!” Jinyoung ran to give his best friend a tight hug. “Choi Youngjae! Finally! I’m so happy for you two!”
“I know! Oh my God!” Youngjae says excitedly. There was a proud smile on Jaebum’s face when Youngjae pulled away from him. “Promise me you’re gonna be my best man, Park Jinyoung! Okay?! Promise me!”
“Of course!” Jinyoung exclaimed. “I’m gonna be pretty pissed at you if you choose someone else!”
“OH MY GOD! YAY!” Youngjae exclaimed in return, going for another hug. This hug might be longer than the first since a little bit later he felt Jaebum’s hands separating the two of them.
“Hey, hey, hey, Park Jinyoung,” Jaebum said warningly with a frown on his face. He then emphasized his point and wrapped his arms on Youngjae’s shoulder. “That’s a little bit too long, don’t you think? You’re hugging a soon-to-be married man. Know your boundaries, man.”
“Okay, okay!” Jinyoung chuckled, backing off with his hands up. “Sorry for that. You two look cute though. How did it happen?”
“Ahhh,” Youngjae’s face turned read as if on cue, so was Jaebum’s. “Jaebum was so nervous the whole time. He was knocking things all over the place; his glass of wine, his fork and all. It was a mess. He just ended up going down on one knee and by the time we both realize it, we’re both crying our eyes out. I don’t think Jaebum was done asking the question, but I was already saying yes!”
“I bet it looked lovely.” Jinyoung says thoughtfully, giving Youngjae a pat in the head.
“Yeah,” Jaebum agreed. “Everyone in the restaurant appreciated it. I had to make that one guy on the other table send me the video of the proposal. We might keep it as a souvenir or some sorts.”
“We need to start preparing for the wedding soon, Jinyoung-ah!” Youngjae gasped as if he only realized this fact just now. “You have to be there, okay? I won’t be able to do it without you. We need to pick caterers and music and cakes...”
“I will be there, I promise.” Jinyoung replied with an assuring smile. “And if you want, I can design both of your suits for you two. On the house. That’s at least one little thing you won’t have to worry about.”
“For real?! You’re the best, Jinyoungie!” Youngjae yelped another time and wrapped his arms around his best friend once more. Jaebum did not appreciate it any less.
“By the way,” Jinyoung asked while he let Youngjae strangle him like his favorite stuffed toy. “Who’s gonna be your best man, Jaebum?”
His name was Mark Yien Tuan. Jinyoung has never met him before, but he has heard so much about him from Youngjae and Jaebum. He was Jaebum’s best friend from the university and was Youngjae’s object of jealousy for quite a short while. He remembers video calling his best friend at wee hours in the morning trying to calm him down. Jinyoung was studying that time overseas and trying to earn his degree. Time difference, he realized, was a bitch. But it turns out; there was really nothing to worry about. After that Jinyoung was just relieved he was getting full night of sleep once again.
From what he has heard, Mark has also earned his law degree a couple of years ago and has been practicing as a divorced lawyer since then, going back and forth between Seoul and Los Angeles. There really was not any chance to meet and get acquainted. He has seen Mark’s photos maybe a few or more so times in Youngjae and Jaebum’s SNS, but not enough to really recognize him if they met each other in the street or something. All he knows was that Mark Yien Tuan is a handsome, young lad who likes to make peace gestures on cameras and very far from being a lawyer, let alone a divorce lawyer.
So when Jinyoung arrives Sunday morning at the café for a bit of wedding planning, he was not really expecting anything. The happy couple is already there sans the other best man. Youngjae was waving at him joyfully to their seat. Jinyoung stopped by to order himself by the counter to get himself a nice cup of iced Americano.
“Hi, I hope you didn’t have difficulties finding the place.” Youngjae greeted once Jinyoung arrived at their table. “Mark’s on his way. He should be arriving soon. After that, we can start. I can’t wait for you two to meet up!”
“No, problem.” Jinyoung says, taking a sip on his drink. He notices the big obnoxiously yellow binder on Youngjae’s table. “Oh my God! You still have the binder!” Oh, the binder. Youngjae had made The Binder ever since they were in middle school, right after a month he and Jaebum started dating. It contains all the details that Youngjae wanted for their dream wedding and Jinyoung had made several snide remarks about it – to no avail, it looks like. Although he had to admit, he thought it was just a phase, but he was wrong again. He had not seen that binder since he was fifteen and man, did it get bulkier?
“Of course!” Youngjae said proudly, hugging his beloved binder. “I’ve been working hard on this since I was thirteen. Why won’t I let it serve its purpose?”
“Aww... Baby,” Jaebum cooed pinching Youngjae’s cheeks and making their noses touch. “You’ve known we’re getting married since then?”
“Eww, guys. Seriously.” Jinyoung cringed in disgust. “Too much fluff and rainbows and shit! Do you want me to die?”
“Brighten up, Jinyoungie.” Youngjae breathlessly says after Jaebum smothered his face with kisses. Jinyoung wanted to drown himself in a pool of iced Americanos. His friends should have known by now how allergic he was with public displays of affection. “You should be used to it by now, especially now that we’re getting married! As my best man AND best friend, you should love me for what I am and stop judging me, because you cannot stress out the groom.”
“Ugh,” Jinyoung groaned from his seat.
It must have been because his friends were busy cuddling in public, but Jinyoung was the first notice the arrival of the other best man. He saw a motorcycle pulling in the driveway, just beside Jinyoung’s car. He was wearing black all over: black skinny jeans, black leather jacket, black undershirt, black helmet, black boots, you name it. Now, Jinyoung has met a lot of intimidating people in his entire life, but he was pretty confident that he was not easily daunted. But this guy, whew, Jinyoung felt himself tightening his hold on his cup, especially when he saw Mark removing his helmet. Maybe he could refer Mark to a fashion model agency, because seriously how can this guy be a divorce lawyer?!
“Hi, I’m Mark Yien Tuan, but just call me Mark.” There was an easy smile on his face as he went and shook Jinyoung’s hand. Not really the divorce lawyer Mark Tuan that he was expecting and not exactly the motorcycle head he thought he saw earlier. This Mark Tuan... seems like a nice, carefree guy who kinda gives off a boy next door impression. “I can’t believe I’m finally meeting the great Park Jinyoung! Youngjae has told me so much about you!”
“Likewise,” Jinyoung says in return. For some reason, he does not like that this guy is catching him off guard from the beginning. He better watch out because it was literally his duty to at least tolerate the guy for twelve months. That could be bad news for him.
Despite Jinyoung being the wedding designer, Mark had provided more input regarding the wedding planning. He knows about motifs and stationeries and fonts – who the hell has time to research about calligraphy anyway? Mark Yien Tuan, that’s the one. Jinyoung ended up just agreeing and disagreeing whenever Youngjae asked his opinion. But can anyone blame him? He only knows about fashion and drawing and sequins and fabric.
“You seem to know about a lot about weddings.” Jinyoung comments when they were left alone. Youngjae was craving for cake, but he cannot decide which flavor to choose, so Jaebum came to his rescue and to have the two best men bond. “That was a surprise.”
“I do love them. And I’m a sucker for sickeningly sweet proposals.” Mark admitted with a smile. Jinyoung might have cringed on his seat, because Mark turned to look at him curiously. “Why? Don’t you like them?”
“Nope, I’m not really a fan of the whole romance concept.” Jinyoung shrugged. “I mean, I love Youngjae and Jaebum. I love them more as a couple, but really, be honest. How many couples in this world end up like them? Falling in love is not really practical these days.”
He saw Mark narrowing his eyes at him. “You’re a wedding designer, Jinyoung.”
Jinyoung narrowed his eyes at him in return. “And you’re a divorce lawyer, Mark.”
Mark snorted. “Did you know that divorce lawyers earn millions annually? That’s just basically the main reason I went into the field. Besides, as much as I’ve had my share of bitter divorces, not all divorced marriages are sad. At least, those people took the chance to take the leap, fall in love and be happy even for a limited time. Isn’t that enough to make you believe that love makes the world go round?”
“That’s a nice way of seeing things on your end.” Jinyoung commented. “But there’s just so many investments you had to make financially and emotionally. Human are just programmed to just seek companionship, but that will come to an end eventually if not soon, then in the near future.”
“Your cynicism astounds me.” Mark says.
“And your romanticism baffles me.” Jinyoung retaliates.
“This is gonna be an interesting year.”
Hell yes, it’s gonna be.
“So both of Youngjae’s and Jaebum’s parents agreed to share the budget for the wedding which is a good thing.”
The four of them decided to meet up this time inside Mark’s office. Jinyoung’s shop, albeit being the bigger one was just too cramped these days since his fabric supply had just arrived. Jinyoung had expected Mark’s office to be all mahogany furniture and paperwork, but he was starting to catch up not to assume about Mark Tuan so much because everything was so bright and cozy. The couch was so soft, Jinyoung was initially tempted to lie down, roll around and sleep. He saw Mark’s motorcycle helmet and for some odd reason, it looked out of place. He cannot help but wonder what other sides of Mark Tuan he has not seen yet.
“But still, we need to make sure both of your parents won’t go bankrupt.” Mark gave Youngjae and Jaebum a stern gaze, which made the couple shift guiltily on their seat. Maybe one day, Jinyoung could ask Mark how he does it. It definitely might come in handy when Youngjae and Jaebum are being incredibly showy in public. “I guess you both are lucky Jinyoungie is willing to make your wedding suits pro bono. That gives you some allowance for the venue, but still I don’t think butterflies coming out as you exit the ceremony is a bit excessive, don’t you think?”
Jinyoungie? Jinyoung frowned. To be honest, he really does not have any issues with anyone calling him as such. But this is literally the second time they met and this Mark guy is already giving him nicknames. Jinyoung is becoming a bit testy.
“I do like butterflies.” Jinyoung commented all of a sudden, causing Youngjae to cheer and give his best friend a hug. “Youngjae wants butterflies, Jaebum likes butterflies. Why deprive the grooms of what they wanted? It is their wedding after all.”
“But....” Mark tried to explain. “They can just use it for more practical stuff like food or transportation.”
“Oh, so now you’re talking about practicality!” Jinyoung exclaimed. He did not mean to be that mean, but seeing Mark squirm for a bit is a little gratifying at some point. That does not mean he got less handsome none the less. For some reason seeing Mark frowning at him kind of derailed Jinyoung a bit. “Weren’t you just talking about how you like love and romance the other day? Butterflies are romantic!”
“I do want a perfect wedding for Jaebum and Youngjae, of course.” Mark answered calmly, which irked Jinyoung more. “But at the same time I want them and their family to not starve to death, so as a nice friend and a best man, I am giving them options for them to make informed decisions. If in the end, if they still want butterflies, then I’m okay with it. Isn’t this why we’re meeting up in the first place?”
Youngjae and Jaebum looked at him as well. Okay, alright, so he did snap a bit. Enough already. “Damn lawyers.” He muttered under his breath.
“Give Mark a chance.” Youngjae whispered to Jinyoung later as he hugged him goodbye. “And don’t spout your anti-romance movement so much. He’s not used to it yet, so try to ease him into it a bit, Jinyoung-ah. He’s a sweet guy. I’m sure you and him will be good friends soon. Just don’t freak him out this early. I’ll see you soon, okay? Love you!”
“Hey! Jinyoungie! Hey!” Mark called after him as Jinyoung was making his way to his car. For a second, Jinyoung had this wild idea of breaking into a run, but after really thinking about it, why should he? “Wow, you walk so fast!” Mark says breathlessly when he caught up with him.
“Oh, sorry about that,” Jinyoung apologized. “I was supposed to be back at the shop soon. I forgot some stuff.”
“I see.” Mark nodded before asking. “Say, are you in a hurry? Do you want to go for a coffee?”
Jinyoung looked at him, curiously narrowing his eyes. “Are you asking me out? Because if you are, I’m telling you right now...”
“It’s just coffee, Jinyoungie.” Mark patted his shoulders. “Consider it a co-best men bonding if you’re feeling uncomfortable. It’s just that we’d be planning together for a year and won’t that make us kind of like a team? So? It’s my treat.”
“Okay,” Jinyoung agreed with a roll of his eyes. “But stick to your word! It’s your treat, okay?”
Who’s In? Who’s Out?
“So?” Youngjae looked up at him while they were inside Jinyoung’s office. “I heard Mark asked you out, you said yes and you two went out on a date. Is it true?”
Jinyoung looked at Youngjae wearily. They were inside Jinyoung’s office, narrowing down the guest list for the wedding while the two other boys dropped off Youngjae’s parents to the train station. This should be a catch up moment for the two of them since Youngjae has been preoccupied with a lot of things since the engagement. However, Youngjae seemed to have other ideas on his mind right now and Jinyoung is starting to realize that the two of them hanging out like this might be a trap.
“No,” Jinyoung answered flatly. This is classic Youngjae. Whenever his best friend sniffs a potential love interest looming around, he would make it a big deal than it really was. It was like he was very scared that Jinyoung would really take his words seriously and just end up alone in his life. “It’s not like that. He wanted coffee. I wanted coffee. We ate donuts because we’re hungry. We talked and he went back to his office, I went back here. That’s it.”
“Isn’t that a date already?” Youngjae asked.
“Youngjae, you go out on a date with someone you’re interested in.” Jinyoung says exasperatedly. “That’s just two guys who went out and got to know each other, because they want to be two good best men to their engaged best friends whom they love so much and wishes to help them have a wonderful wedding.”
Youngjae shrugged and Jinyoung was starting to suspect that he was just doodling in his paper instead of listing down names on who he they wanted to come at the wedding. “But you gotta admit, Mark’s good looking and hot.”
Jinyoung did not answer, instead he says, “Why are we even talking about these frivolous things! This wedding is about you and Jaebum. We should be worrying about that, you know.”
“Aha!” Youngjae yelped triumphantly from his seat. “You at least think he’s hot, don’t you?! Don’t even try to deny it! I’ve known you since we’re babies and pooping our diapers! I’m right, aren’t I?”
“He is naturally handsome, it’s just facts.” Jinyoung tried to explain, racking his brain on using the right words so his best friend will not make it a huge deal. “....and he kind of got me with his motorcycle boy get up, BUT! That’s it. Nothing else. I’m not gonna make this a big deal. And don’t you think it’s a bad idea if we dated? He’s Jaebum’s best friend, and I’m yours so if that ended badly, it would just cause unnecessary awkwardness which can be avoided.”
“Well, who says it had to end badly, Jinyoung-ah.” Youngjae reached for his hand. “It does not have to end badly. In fact, if it’s the right person, it does not even have to end.”
“Youngjae, it’s me.” Jinyoung squeezed his hand, looking at his best friend. “Even though things are running smoothly, I would always find a way to end it in shatters. So let’s save everyone’s wit and just enjoy planning your wedding, okay?”
“You know, Jinyoung-ah,” Youngjae says. “A time will come when someone will come knocking down on your heart. I’m not saying it’s Mark, alright? But someone will come, I’m sure of that! And it will be up to you to decide if you’re gonna let him inside or outside. I just hope that you’ll find that someone who you’d be willing to let in and be happy and be sad and all of those stuff, because you deserve it, Jinyoung-ah. And I hope that person will do the same for you, let you in and share his whole world with you.”
When? Where? And Where? (The Venue)
“Oh, hell no, I am so not riding that!”
Of all the days his car would decide to act up, it had to be today. He was supposed to drive up north along with the others to visit one of the potential venues for the wedding. Unfortunately for him, looks like his car battery ran out and no nearby car repair place is open since it was Sunday and it was half past five in the morning. He tried to send an SOS call to Youngjae, but his and Jaebum’s car were already full of their parents and sibling. Jinyoung was already thinking of not coming, so Youngjae tried to send in the next available option.
And that next available option arrived at his doorstep half an hour, dressed in his black leather outfit and revving his engine to notify Jinyoung (and his neighbors) that his ride has come.
“It’s fine,” Mark says after removing his helmet. Did Youngjae bring Mark into this? Jinyoung thought Mark does not have to remove his helmet that way, but he still does. “Come on, I do know how to safely ride a motorcycle, so don’t worry. I had eight hours of sleep last night, took a shower, ate breakfast and drank coffee; so you can forget about me sleeping during the way up. Besides,” He says tossing a helmet towards Jinyoung’s direction. “You can wear the dorky helmet. Isn’t that fun?”
“I don’t look dorky.” Jinyoung says rolling his eyes at the bucket helmet he was putting on. “I’m a respected wedding designer, Mark-ssi. I have a reputation to uphold for your information!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Mark chuckled as he watched Jinyoung. “Can we just go now? It’s seriously my pet peeve to not arrive at the given time, so hop on, princess.”
Jinyoung made sure Mark saw his glare. Although, by the looks of things, Mark hardly cared for it. He just laughed louder. Jinyoung would have thumped him that exact moment, but Mark already started his motorcycle. Jinyoung had no other choice but to hold on to him tightly.
“Just hold on tight and trust me, okay?” He heard Mark say. “I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Jinyoung does not realize how much he held onto those words.
“Oh?” Jinyoung heard Jaebum reacted once they have arrived at the venue. “What’s this? You let other people ride at the back of your motorcycle now, Mark Tuan? I was supposed to be your best friend. That already gives me first dibs!”
“Youngjae called me to ask a favor, man.” Mark explained as he got off his bike, Jinyoung in his tow. “You can’t deny a request from one of the grooms, can you? And no, you can’t still ride my bike.”
“Oh, come on!” Jaebum whined. “I promise I’d wear your dorky hat. Seriously Jinyoung, you looked like an egg wearing it.”
“Hey!” Jinyoung protested. He did see himself in Mark’s mirror. Yes, he looked like the hardboiled egg he ate for breakfast this morning.
“Aww come on,” Mark says, playfully punching Jaebum’s arm. “Don’t be like that to Jinyoungie. He looked cute wearing the dorky helmet! Hell, he looked so well; he’s wearing it all the way back home, won’t he?”
“You guys are mean,” Jinyoung groaned. “Where’s Youngjae? He’s the only one who loves me here. Where is he? I need to tell on you two.”
Youngjae was touring the place with his parents and soon-to-be in-laws. When Jinyoung and Mark finally met them up, Jinyoung was pretty convinced that this is going to be THE venue, basing it mainly on how his best friend’s eyes were sparkling the whole time. Youngjae has always dreamt of having a spring wedding beside a lake, and this place has one. There is a little courtyard, which, as the owner has can be converted into a wedding reception. Even Jinyoung was convinced when he saw the beautiful fountain in the middle of it. Yup, ten months from now, his best friend will be married here.
“You like fountains?” Mark asked him while Youngjae and Jaebum walked back to the owner’s office to finalize the reservations for next year. This time, the sun is fully up and Mark asked him to go for a walk and explore the place.
Jinyoung shrugged, “I don’t know. It’s not like I go online and google fountains, but the one back there looks so pretty. I’m glad they chose this place. It would look wonderful in the photos.”
“Finally buying into the romance side of things, huh?” Mark chided, but Jinyoung do not have an answer to that. “It’s okay not to know, you know? Most of the amazing things in life are only wonderful if you learn how to discover them little by little. At least let it unfold before your eyes, Jinyoungie. You’ll realize it’s there once it’s finally in front of you.”
“What is ‘it’ exactly?” Jinyoung asked.
“The thing that’s missing in your entire life.” Mark replied. “At least, make that person earn it a little so he’d feel a little bit of self-accomplishment.”
“I don’t think somebody will come.” Jinyoung says with a frown.
“Someone will come,” Mark says with conviction. “I’m sure of it.”
“Everybody seems to be telling me that these days.”
“Someone will come if you just believe for a little bit.”
Band or DJ?
Youngjae wants to have a band. Jaebum wants to have a DJ.
Unfortunately both of them are not able to come, because Youngjae caught the flu and Jaebum has to stay behind and take care of him. So Jinyoung had no choice, but to go along with Mark and audition some of the bands/DJ’s over the weekend – by audition, meaning driving around town, gate crashing wedding receptions to listen to the music. Fortunately, the happy couple gave them free reign on the decision (but Youngjae still texted Jinyoung to largely consider a band to play their music on their wedding – BUT WHATEVER THEY DECIDE IS STILL FINE EITHER WAY.)
“So what do you think? Band or DJ?” Mark asked while they drove to the first wedding party. Apparently, Mark Tuan does have an actual car like a normal person, but that did not stop him from making Jinyoung squirm at the thought of them riding his motorcycle once again (and wear that hideous helmet) before telling him that this time, he had indeed brought a car.
“Well, I don’t know” Jinyoung shrugged as per usual. “As long as they play Youngjae and Jaebum’s song, I’m fine with that. It really doesn’t matter does it?”
“Of course it does matter!” Mark exclaimed, completely disarming Jinyoung. It was the first time he had really heard Mark raise his voice and well, his voice is kind of... hot. Ugh, damn you Choi Youngjae for instilling that word in my head. “They will be responsible on playing the music during your first dance as a married couple. It will mark the start of your new life. Every new chapter of your life needs to have a legitimate soundtrack.”
“Soundtrack?” Jinyoung thought in amusement. “Like in a movie?”
“Yeah!” Mark looked at him briefly with a silly smile on his face. “Don’t you have that moment when you’re driving to work and you’re listening to the radio? All of a sudden your song comes up and you’d be pumped all day, like nothing could go wrong.”
“Uhh...” Jinyoung trailed off trying to think about anything that happened to him even remotely close to that. Nothing.
Mark shook his head at him in feigned disappointment. “Seriously, Park Jinyoung, live a little. Listen to music and dance. You can’t live your life without a soundtrack, man.”
“I am living my life like that right now, just so you know.” Jinyoung said in his defense. “And I’m perfectly fine the ways it is.”
“Yeah, but you don’t believe in love, which makes you sad.” Mark joked and Jinyoung pretended as if he was about to hit him. “Hey! I’m driving! But don’t you have that song that when you listen to it, you’d be like, ‘I’m gonna play this song in my wedding.’?”
“Nope,” Jinyoung replied. “Did you forget who you’re talking to right now? I’m not even planning on getting married ever”
“Hey, nothing is set in stone, Park Jinyoung-ssi.” Mark smiled. “Do not resign yourself on that thinking alone. You don’t know what will happen in the future yet.”
“I bet you ten bucks that I won’t get married.”
The first wedding had a band. There were so many people there; nobody even noticed that they arrived. The band just started to play the song “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. Mark asked him to dance and even though he stepped on Mark’s foot a couple of times, he did not say anything.
They went to a few more weddings after that and danced some more, but once he was home, Jinyoung only played one song the whole night. It took over his playlist the entire week.
“You look like you’re in a good mood these days, Jinyoung-ssi.” One of his clients commented and Jinyoung caught himself humming to himself that same melody once again. “Did something good happen?”
“Maybe something,” Jinyoung says cryptically. “I’m not sure if it’s anything good yet.”
“If you’re smiling like that. It must be something great.”
Let us just say, Youngjae got what he wanted. Band it is.
“Ugh, don’t get me started. I just had a bridezilla in my office, and all I just want to do right now is eat till I had to waddle my way back to the car.”
Jinyoung was late. Although he really hated labelling someone as the “B” word (because he had long since learned and understood that when a person gets engaged, they are at allowed to freak out a little bit), but this last client that he had was just... problematic. He knew she would be so he made sure there was at least an hour and a half of allowance for him to go from his office to the caterers, in case of any unexpected breakdowns. Well, Jinyoung was still forty five minutes late.
“That’s fine. Are you alright?” Mark asked while he patted Jinyoung’s shoulders. Jinyoung nodded with a pout. The last meal that he ate was the apple on his counter that morning and nothing else. “Unfortunately though, food tasting is over and Jaebum and Youngjae are now deciding the menu for the wedding.”
“Damn it....” Jinyoung whispered under his breath. “Youngjae’s not mad at me, is he?”
“He’s not, but he’s really worried.” Mark explained. “You’re fine. Say, if you’re really hungry, we can go out and eat. I saw a barbeque place a block from here.”
Jinyoung narrowed his eyes at him suspiciously, “Are you asking me out again? Mark, I already told you...”
“I’m not.” Mark widened his eyes with his hands raised. “I mean, who gets full eating food samples anyway? I’m starving too and... I may or may not want to see you waddle back to your car. Why are you even so keen on me asking you out? Do you really want me to ask you out, Jinyoungie?”
“Ugh,” Jinyoung really does not have any patience about Mark’s teasing right now. He is hungry and he needs to stuff his tummy with meat and rice. “Stop it. Let me just say go and say hi to Youngjae and Jaebum really quick. I’ll be back.”
“Oh! Jinyoung-ah!” Youngjae said giving him a hug as soon as he saw his best friend. “How are you? That client did not give you too much hell, did she?”
“What else can she give me aside from hell?” Jinyoung joked. “How are things here? Sorry, I wasn’t able to join you guys.”
“Everything’s well,” Jaebum chimed in. “Just finalizing the menu and all that jazz.”
“If you want, while we’re doing this, you can order something from the menu?” Youngjae suggested. “You must be starving and I am telling you the food is amazing!”
“Thanks but,” Jinyoung said giving Youngjae another brief hug. “It’s alright. I’ll be blown away with everyone on your wedding. Mark and I are going go out and eat. I’ll see you at my shop soon for the fitting?”
He did not see Youngjae and Jaebum sharing a look while he was walking away.
“OH MY GOSH...” Jinyoung said in relief as he finally stuffed his face with delicious, sinful food. “This is seriously the best meal I’ve had in a while!”
“Look at you,” Mark chuckled while he sneakily takes some of Jinyoung’s kimchi away ‘Yah!’ “I thought the great Park Jinyoung has a reputation to uphold?”
Jinyoung can only roll his eyes at him as he and Mark has a little chopsticks battle about the stolen kimchi. “I haven’t eaten since seven in the morning. I think the fashion world would forgive me a little for making sure I won’t die.”
“You sure looked like you’re having the time of your life there.” Mark snorted. “Should I give you and your food some alone time?”
“I don’t mind.” Jinyoung says carelessly waving Mark away. “My plan tonight is to waddle back to my car and Goddamnit, I’m gonna waddle!”
“And I support you.” Mark looked on at him with obvious amusement. “But you know what the best thing about tonight is? It’s this.” He poured Jinyoung a cup of soju.
“You’re not trying to get me drunk, are you?” Jinyoung asked suspiciously before drinking his shot.
“Drunk?” Mark snorted as he drank his own glass. “Far from it. I don’t want you driving home drunk. That’s dangerous. We’ll finish this bottle and sober up... Maybe eat some ice cream first. The point of tonight is for you to unwind, eat as much as you can and like you mentioned, get you waddling back to your car.”
“Why?” Jinyoung asked curiously. “Why do you like hanging around with me? I bet you have lots of more important things to do than eat and drink with a co-best man. It’s not like I didn’t like it. I’m just curious.”
“I don’t know.” Mark shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know how to answer that question, to be honest. Does it really matter? Does everything we do must have some profound and complex meaning behind it? If I say I wanna hang out with you and all because I wanted to, shouldn’t that reason be enough?”
Jinyoung blinked at him. For me, it does matter. I don’t want to just take the leap alone and find out you won’t be there to catch me at the bottom.
Say Yes to the Dress (or Suit).
“Do you think this looks right? I feel like it’s a bit tight on the arm part.”
Youngjae looks magnificent in his wedding suit. Given that it was just a sample one Jinyoung had premade for today, he felt that he had at least followed the design he and Youngjae agreed with a month before.
“I’ll make sure to give it some adjustment.” Jinyoung noted on his pad. “That’s why where here taking your measurements with Jaebum’s coz I only based those samples on your body types. Besides, I know you’re excited to wear a suit so that’s a little treat for today.”
“Aww, I’m so lucky to have you, Jinyoung-ah.” Youngjae says.
Jinyoung dropped his notepad on the floor when he noticed his best friend tearing up. “I didn’t mean to get so emotional this early, crap.” Youngjae says while trying to wipe down his tears – which was useless since fresh tears keep coming out. “It’s just.... It’s true what they say. It doesn’t really sink into you unless you see yourself wearing the suit. And now, I just feel so... happy and nervous and excited all at the same time. I can’t believe this is happening. Jaebum and I... we’re really doing this, aren’t we?”
Jinyoung took out his handkerchief from his pocket and started wiping his best friend’s tears away. He was trying to hold himself back and not get emotional as well. God knows they do not need to blubbering men in the fitting room. “Yes, you are. Both of you will be amazing and loving, especially after you walk down the aisle.”
Both he and Youngjae’s head turned towards the door to see Jaebum staring at his fiancé in awe. His eyes twinkling as he took in the sight.
“Hey! It’s bad luck to see the groom in his wedding suit!” Youngjae exclaimed, before turning to Jinyoung. “Is it, Jinyoung-ah? Or does it only apply to brides?”
Jinyoung shrugged, laughing. “Doesn’t matter. It’s just a sample suit anyway, so you guys will be fine. Why don’t I leave you two alone for a sec?” He says before taking his leave. “Oh, and no naughty, naughty stuff! I have a security camera installed!”
Mark was lounging on one of the couches in the dress shop when Jinyoung found him a few moments later. He was browsing a magazine where Jinyoung was featured in a few months ago. On a professional and personal point of view, Mark really was handsome, even though he was just wearing a simple white shirt and tattered jeans. Jinyoung had to stop his twitching hand from taking a photo.
“You look good with that measuring tape around your neck. It’s kinda sexy.” Mark smiled looking up at him. What a big, handsome flirt.
“Alright, whatever.” Jinyoung said as he beckoned Mark to come over. “Come on, I’m gonna take your measurements now.”
“Me?” Mark pointed to himself. “No. I’m good. I thought it was only Jaebum and Youngjae who’ll be doing the fitting today. If Jaebum told you...”
“Then what are you gonna wear on the wedding?” Jinyoung asked. “Don’t tell me you’re just gonna wear something that you’ve already worn in court or something. You’ve got to have a more sense of occasion than that, Mr. Romantic.”
“I do! I’m gonna buy a suit.” Mark explained.
“A store bought suit?” Jinyoung tried to look offended. “Are you saying you’d rather buy one from the mall than wear a suit by one of the country’s most revered wedding designer? For free?”
“Wow, Jinyoungie. You don’t have to....” Mark shook his head, but Jinyoung’s not having it.
“I wanted to.” Jinyoung said flatly. “Now come on, I don’t have all day.”
“Are you just doing this so you can touch my body?” Mark commented suggestively as he followed Jinyoung to his office. There was a teasing smirk on his face that Jinyoung wanted to scratch on. “Jinyoung, I’m telling you now. I can get really wild-...”
Jinyoung could feel Mark’s piercing stare at him while they remained seated on the office. Jaebum and Youngjae’s parents had arrived and they were now choosing their outfits for the wedding.
“What is it?” Jinyoung asked, not looking up from his pad.
“Why?” Mark asked quietly from his seat.
“Why what?” Jinyoung finally looked up at him.
“Why the suit?” Mark asked.
“Why? Because I wanted to.” Jinyoung looked at him in the eye, trying to figure out what Mark’s gaze was telling him, what it was asking about. “Shouldn’t that reason be enough?” He echoed back Mark’s statement months ago.
Jinyoung sketches Mark’s suit on his bed before he slept. He was not sure if it was the wine he was drinking a second ago or fatigue, but he found himself sketching another suit beside it. He stared at it for a long time, almost tore it off, throw it in the garbage bin and bury himself under the covers. But he did not.
Instead, he left his pad on his bedside table and spent the whole night wondering, who the other suit was for.
To You in Full Bloom.
Mark’s sister, Jinyoung just found out, was a florist. And as it turned out, Youngjae and Jaebum hired her for the wedding. Unfortunately for them, there was a conflict in schedule with the wedding officiator, so it was again up to
their dependable co-best men to handle the job.
“Roses,” Jinyoung gasped from his seat. Mark thankfully decided to bring his car today, since he had to bring some things for his sister. “So many kinds of roses! I didn’t know there’s so much! Did you know there’s a yellow rose? Weird!”
“Yes, I know.” Mark looked at him in delight. “And it’s pretty common, you know? Haven’t you seen one ever?”
“Well, sorry,” Jinyoung used his sassy tone as a joke. “I told you I’m bad at this stuff. I can’t say you weren’t warned, Mark Yien Tuan.”
“Full name, wow, Park Jinyoung.” Mark teased. “Now I’m really scared.”
“Hmph!” Jinyoung looked away with his nose in the air. “I just... I thought it was kind of cliché when Youngjae chose roses for the flowers. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘whoa that’ll be a lot of red.’, but it’s not! I’m just... fascinated?”
“Look at you. You’re like a little kid.” Mark chuckled as he drove on. “Do you have a favorite flower, by the way?”
“I like cherry blossoms.” Jinyoung replied. “There’s a lot of cherry blossom trees where I grew up, and whenever I see one, it makes me think of home. I also like lilies and if ever – I’m not saying that I am, because I won’t! – I do get married. I would like it to have lilies all over the place and cherry blossom petals falling down the aisle.
“Sounds like an expensive wedding.” Mark chuckled. “But look at you saying stuff about weddings! Should I feel proud?”
“Haha, very funny, Mark.” Jinyoung said with a roll of his eyes. “I said it was hypothetical!”
“Uncle Mark!” A little girl, possibly around two or three years old welcomed them when they arrived at Mark’s sister shop.
“Oh! You’ve grown tall!” Mark exclaimed happily as he picked his niece up from the ground. “But I’m glad you still remember me. I’m your favorite aren’t I?”
Mark’s niece nodded happily as he gave his uncle a kiss. She then turned her wide, rounded eyes to Jinyoung. “Uncle, who is he? He’s uncle too?”
“Oh! Sorry about that.” Mark approaches Jinyoung, who recoiled out of instinct. He was never really good with kids. He was an only child and his cousins with children lived far, so he never really had a chance. He felt like they could feel he was not good with them. “Lily, meet Uncle Jinyoungie.”
“Uncle Jinyoungie~” Lily reached out her little palms against Jinyoung’s cheek. “Lily wants up! Lily wants up!”
“Ooh, looks like she has a new favorite.” Mark smiled up at him warmly, leaning as if he was letting Jinyoung carry his niece. Oh, that was what he was doing! Jinyoung nervously rounded over and held the little girl in his arms. “Don’t worry, you’re doing just fine.” Mark whispers to him quickly before giving his niece a little pat in the head.
“I am?” Jinyoung asked nervously, since Lily started to pinch his cheeks happily.
“Yeah, you are.” Mark gave him a wink and turned to his niece. “Now Lily, Uncle Mark’s just going to talk to Mommy, okay? Uncle Jinyoungie will play with you. He likes lilies.”
“What?” Jinyoung asked in panic. “Mark...”
“That’s okay?” Lily said resting his little head on Jinyoung’s shoulders. “Lily likes Uncle Jinyoungie. Lily’s gonna marry him someday.”
“Oh, looks like you’ll have to marry her, Jinyoungie. You can’t break a little girl’s heart, can you?”
“Your niece is so adorable.” Jinyoung says while they were on their way home. Mark’s backseat is filled with pots of lilies for Jinyoung to bring home. Mark’s sister has been kind enough to give him some especially when Mark told her of his love for lilies. “She’s literally the only kid I only like in the world right now.”
“That’s nice.” Mark said with a smile. “She’s a nice kid. I had to admit, I got a bit jealous though. She stuck with you the whole time we were there.”
Jinyoung cannot help himself, but giggle a little. “Aww, don’t be sad. Don’t worry. I won’t be there the next time you see her. She’s all yours.”
“That’s not what I was jealous...” Mark shook his head. “Anyway, I won’t mind if you’re there when we visited again. I’m starting to think my family loves you more than me already. Next time, we can visit my parents. They have this place near the mountains and there’s a bridge full of cherry blossom trees. You’re gonna love it there. I swear.”
Jinyoung looks at Mark. His face full of his excitement and his words full of promise. He looked out the window as the dull ache on his heart he had been ignoring for months seemed to grow. He wondered, how much of those words were truly meant and how many promises will be met when all these were said and done.
How much of his heart would he be willing to give? How much more can he stop himself from just giving in and start falling?
He called Youngjae at eleven in the evening. Hoping to heavens that his best friend was still up. “Youngjae-ah, I need your help. Is this a good time to call?”
“Yup,” Youngjae asked worriedly. “Don’t worry. Jaebum’s just clipping his toenails (‘hey!’ Jaebum yelled from the background). Did anything happen?”
“I think someone’s already knocking.” Jinyoung said quietly.
“Knocking?! Is somebody there... Oh.” Youngjae stopped on his tracks, finally getting what Jinyoung’s getting at. “I see. How are you? Do you want me to go there? I have ice cream.”
“I’m alright. No need to go here.” Jinyoung sighed. “I’m just a little bit lost and scared. Maybe a little bit relieved. And I don’t know what to do.”
“Everything’s going to be fine.” Youngjae assured. “Now all you have to do is to figure out if you’re gonna let him in or not.”
“THAT’S IT! I’M CALLING OFF THE WEDDING!”
For the first time, Jinyoung was the first person to arrive at the meeting place. Today is cake day and Jinyoung loved his sweets to death, so he made sure to clear his afternoon schedule. What he did not expect though was his best friend bursting into the bake shop with his fiancé smiling apologetically to everyone who heard.
“Is everything alright...?” Jinyoung tried to ask, but a very furious Youngjae was already turning to his fiancé.
“No, Im Jaebum!” Youngjae said with his hands on his waists. “How many times do I have to tell you? We are not having a large cookie for our cake!”
“But, hon,” Jaebum tried to explain, but Youngjae’s not having it.
“I said no!” Youngjae gasped at him.
“What’s up?” Jinyoung heard Mark’s voice from over his shoulder, making him jump. It might have been the scare, but man, Mark really smells good right now. “Are you okay? You look pale.”
“It’s because you surprised me.” Jinyoung says holding his chest. He can still feel his heart racing. Because of what exactly, that he was not sure anymore. “Anyway, it seems that Jaebum suggested they have a cookie cake for the wedding and now Youngjae is threatening to call of the wedding”
“Call it off?” Mark snorted. “Them? Nah, they’re Jaebum and Youngjae. They won’t call it off.”
“Agreed.” Jinyoung says with a nod.
In the end, Youngjae and Jaebum did not call of the wedding, but they did reach a compromise. They agreed for a red velvet flavor cake (which Youngjae loved), but shaped like a huge chocolate shaped cookie. The cake maker did promise she would make a heart shaped cookie so all was well with the engaged couple.
Jinyoung, on the other hand, had the time of his life of his life filling himself up with cakes in all shapes and sizes. He might have been too obvious of eating too much that he noticed Mark filling his plate with cakes coming from his.
“Don’t have a sweet tooth, huh?” Jinyoung asked right after swallowing a huge mouthful of buttercream cake.
“I do like cheesecakes.” Mark admitted. “And strawberry shortcakes. It’s just...” He picked got a piece of tissue and wiped the mixture of icing from the corner of Jinyoung’s lips. “You look so darn happy eating all of these cakes. You look like a little kid.”
“You know, usually I would have been offended, but,” Jinyoung pointed his fork at Mark. “I really do love cakes and I won’t take it against you if you said I looked like a kid. You have a free pass today. However, I feel bad for eating your share. Why don’t we just eat the rest on my plate?”
“I’d like that.”
In the end, Mark had let Jinyoung eat most of what was left. There was a small smile on Mark’s face when Jinyoung looked at him and he again wondered what that had meant. Now that he realizes it, there really was so much he has not yet learned about Mark and that selfish portion of his heart wanted to learn more; everything from the good side and to the bad.
“Hey, Jinyoung,” Mark asked as they got out of the bakeshop. “Do you want to go grab some tea?”
“Sure, I’d love that.” Jinyoung replied, following Mark to his motorcycle.
Mark stopped on his tracks and stared at him curiously. “Aren’t you gonna ask me if I’m asking you out?”
Jinyoung returned his curious gaze. “No, why? Should I?”
“If you want me to,” Mark answered with a snort. “Now don’t go freaking out on me. I’m just teasing you.” He handed Jinyoung the little dorky hat he has grown fond of. “Now hop on, princess. You can wear your favorite dorky crown.”
Jinyoung wondered why Mark feels so warm whenever he puts his arms around him. Even if the cool evening breeze kept blowing on his skin, Jinyoung was never bothered by this. Mark had always made him feel safe even if he kept pushing Jinyoung beyond his comfort zone. He feels himself tightening his hold on Mark.
I wish you’ll always keep me safe, even if it was too much to ask. I can already feel myself falling off the edge and I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.
“You look wonderful.”
This time, Youngjae did not get emotional during suit fitting. However, he was now adamant that Jaebum does not see him in his suit, so Jinyoung made sure that the shop was on a total lock down the whole time. He looked so happy though, practicing his walk in the mirror acting as if Jaebum was already there beside him, saying their ‘I do’s’.
“Do I?” Youngjae smiled widely doing a pirouette. “How was Jaebum’s? I don’t suppose anything’s wrong, does it?”
“Everything’s great.” Jinyoung replied. “He’s very anxious to see you right now, but I told him you’re gonna call off the wedding if he tries anything.”
“Great!” Youngjae laughed. “Now I’d like to see him try.”
“It’s Jaebum,” Jinyoung deadpanned. “He’s definitely gonna try something, anything just to see you.”
Jinyoung sees Youngjae inhaling deeply before, “IM JAEBUM, I KNOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE. IF I SEE YOU SNEAKING A PEEK I WILL SERIOUSLY CALL OFF THIS WEDDING!!!”
Needless to say, they hear a loud bumping noise from outside the fitting room, followed by a loud “ow!” from Jaebum.
“How are you and your door knocker?” Youngjae asked after giving the door a fond rolling of his eyes. “Any progress yet?”
Jinyoung shrugged. “Nothing so far. I mean, I’m not sure of myself yet, why would I go suddenly chasing after a guy just because I may have a crush on him.”
“Crush...?” Youngjae chuckled. “That’s seriously so adorable. Park Jinyoung, you’ve never had a crush on anyone before!”
“I may one or two back in kindergarten.” Jinyoung defended. “Don’t exaggerate. It’s not like I’m a robot or something.”
“I know you’re not.” Youngjae says while pinching his cheeks. “But it’s wonderful to know that now; you’re starting to believe that you deserve to have your share of happiness too.”
“If this is a happy ending.” Jinyoung says. “I don’t even know if he notices me. What if he just sees me as a friend? This may just be a tragic one for me.”
“If it is, then you can try again.” Youngjae said simply. “A perfect ending does not mean a happy ending. Happiness does not last. Most of the time, reality kicks in and it will be one hell of a bitch. But when you’re with someone who’s willing to share with you to hell and back, then maybe you’re with someone who truly deserves your heart.”
Jinyoung smiled to himself. “I wish I’m like you, too. I wish I’d also end up with my first love.”
Youngjae widened his eyes. “First love?!”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“How handsome do I look?”
Mark has a huge smile on his face when Jinyoung entered the room. He looked so handsome in his beige three piece suit. Jinyoung was a bit undecided when he was picking up the fabric for Mark’s outfit. He wanted it to at least up to his standards. Mark was the kind of guy who would look good in anything he wears, so Jinyoung wanted to show it off for a bit (although not too much that he would take the spotlight away from the newlyweds).
“Very handsome.” Jinyoung picked up the coat from the hanger and helped Mark put it on. “It’s something that I made. I’m Park Jinyoung. I have a reputation to uphold.” He notices Mark’s crooked tie and proceeded to stubbornly fix it.
“And thank you for living up to your expectation.” Mark gives him a smile. “Should I get down on one knee and propose?”
“Ha! You wish!” Jinyoung says with a light tap on his chest.
Jinyoung finally realized how close the two of them are. There was something in the way Mark looked at him. His eyes looked so gentle and sincere, Jinyoung felt like he Mark was going to figure him out if they keep this up for too long. So with a short clearing of his throat, he flattens out the uneven fabric on Mark’s chest and hesitantly pulled his hands away.
Mark’s hands were too quick for him, holding them back. He feels their warmth above his own. “Let’s just stay like this for a little while longer.” He says; his voice low.
Jinyoung thought there was no turning back now. If he was already falling, then he would definitely commit to taking the plunge. He steps a little closer, burying his nose into Mark’s shoulder. He never felt so scared and so protected in his entire life. However, as he soaks in Mark’s warmth enveloping his entire being, maybe, it was okay to feel like this. Maybe this was how it should feel: not knowing what the future holds. Having someone with you who would hold your hand and tell you, “It’s okay to be scared. I’m right here with you. You and me, we’ll figure this out together.”
Rings, rings, precious rings.
“So, rings. There’s so many rings to choose from.”
Mark had to accompany Jaebum to the jewelry shop as per Youngjae’s request, since unluckily, his best friend tend to be distracted too easily and they might end up with another cookie cake incident. On his part, Mark did not mind. He quite had a heavy morning today with three divorcing couple who, for some reason had their lives intertwined at some point – Couple A’s husband is sleeping with Couple B’s wife while Couple C’s wife is having relations with Couple A’s wife. The best part though was when he found out that Couple A, B and C’s husbands were actually cousins and were having some competition about the family’s fortune.
Let’s just say, Mark was just relieved that none of them has amnesia, because he really felt like he was sucked in some weird telenovela dimension.
“Why are we here anyway?” Mark asked curiously as he perused the ring displays. “I thought your grandma gave you her wedding ring.”
“My sister blackmailed me into giving it to her.” Jaebum explained. “Says she won’t attend the wedding if I didn’t give it to her. Mom went nuts.”
“That sounds lovely.” Mark snorted.
“Oh well, you know her already.” Jaebum said with a shrug. “But Youngjae’s fine with us having new rings. I got his size here. I just need to find the right one though.”
“A simple one’s fine.” Mark reminded. “Youngjae said to remind you well; since he feels you’re gonna buy something out of this world. I don’t think he would make a big deal out of a ring, as long as you’re the one putting it on his finger anyway.”
“He’s the best, isn’t he?” Jaebum replied swooning. If Mark was just some random guy in the shop, he would have thought Jaebum was high, bur oh well. His best friend is in love and about to get married with the love of his life. Who was he to take that away from him?
“Whipped.” Mark says chuckling, but Jaebum just stared at him.
“Speaking of whipped...”
Mark rolled his eyes. He already knew where this is going. “You can save the talk, alright? Youngjae already called me up and did that.”
“He did?” Jaebum looked at him in surprise. “When? He hasn’t told me about that.”
“That day when I first asked Jinyoung out for a coffee.” Mark explained. “He told me, ‘If you wish to marry Park Jinyoung, you’d have to prepare yourself because it won’t be easy.’ Don’t be mad at Youngjae. I made him promise not to tell anyone anyway.”
“And so?” Jaebum asked.
“And so what?” Mark asked in return.
“Are you still keen on marrying him?” Jaebum looked at him curiously. “It had been months since Youngjae had talked to you. Have you had any changes of heart?”
“Jaebum,” Mark says, eyes gazing at his best friend, full of intent. “I’ve told myself I will end up with Park Jinyoung the first time I saw him and now that I’ve got to know him, I have never been so sure in my entire life. I will marry that man. You’ll see.”
Shall We Dance?
The last time Jinyoung attended dance lessons was probably in first grade. But here they are in a dance studio on a Saturday evening, since Youngjae was too worried that they will screw up their first dance since Jaebum only knows b-boy dances and they will not have that in their wedding.
Unfortunately, Jinyoung was left alone to watch since his co-best man, aka his supposed partner, was still stuck in the office with his most recent clients. (He heard from Jaebum that it was about three divorcing couples at the same time, and blah, blah, blah, soap opera stuff – Jinyoung did not get it anyway when it was explained to him.) He was just left to himself tapping his feet away, watching the almost married couple waltz around.
“I’m here!” Mark yelled in as he burst into the studio. He was breathless and sweaty from probably running upstairs. Jinyoung was not able to stop himself as he stood up from his seat in anticipation. “Sorry, I’m late, but I’m already here! You can, you know, proceed.” Mark gestured at the instructor to proceed. Youngjae and Jaebum giving him amused looks as they continued with their little waltz.
“Now,” Mark flattens his clothes and fixed his hair for a little bit. He then walked up to Jinyoung, who was waiting for him with his heart racing. Mark bowed to him like an English aristocrat during the Victorian era. “Will you accept this hand for a dance, good sir?”
“You look silly.” Jinyoung teased, but taking Mark’s hand nonetheless. “Just so you know I don’t just dance with anyone.”
“I’m glad you bestowed this honor upon me then,” Mark said pulling Jinyoung’s waist closer to him. And all Jinyoung wanted was to bring himself closer and kiss him, but he was pretty sure this was not the right place and moment, so he just chose to close his eyes and enjoy the warm feeling of being wrapped in Mark’s arms.
“No fair! Sit down, you two!” Youngjae protested all of a sudden. “No one should be sweeter than the dancing newlyweds on their own wedding! I hereby ban you two from dancing at my wedding!”
“Sucks that Youngjae banned us from dancing at his wedding.” Mark said after they had left the studio. “I was so ready to show you my moves.”
“Ah, too bad I wasn’t able to see it.” Jinyoung commented ruefully.
Mark seemed to think about it for a second. “Say, are you going home? Want to go somewhere first?”
“This is my secret place. I found this when I was studying in law school.”
They were on top of a deserted hill overlooking the city. It looked so beautiful. The city lights looking like stars on the night sky. Jinyoung felt like he was choking from the overwhelming feeling. He had lived in Seoul most of his life and he did not realize something as wonderful as this existed just a few distances from him.
“It looks amazing.” Jinyoung says in awe, breathing in the fresh night air. “I hope you’re okay with me being here and all. It’s your secret place after all. If I have something as beautiful as this, I would’ve kept it a secret from anyone else.”
“What are you saying?” Mark says laughing. He slowly removed his coat and carefully placed it on Jinyoung’s shoulder, making his heart skip, not just a beat, many, many, beats. Jinyoung was not even sure if he was still breathing. “I was the one who invited and brought you here. Of course I am totally fine with you here.”
“Thank you,” Jinyoung said quietly, pulling Mark’s coat around himself. “I’m glad you brought me here. I’m happy being with you tonight.”
“Shall we continue what we started then?”
Jinyoung felt Mark’s hand taking his and pulling him closer. He feels Mark holding the small of his back, delicately, with Jinyoung instinctively wrapping his arms around the other’s shoulders. He can feel Mark’s cool breath fanning his face, their noses touching as close as possible. But Mark does not go beyond that.
Instead, he leads Jinyoung in a slow dance. A slow, intimate dance that was made only for the two of them, under this beautiful moonlight. There was no music, but Jinyoung did not feel the need for one.
The steady beatings of his heart was enough.
Boys Night Out!
“No strippers! No bachelor parties!”
Youngjae had made it clear a month ago that there will be no bachelor parties that will happen in any way, shape or form, which was very unfortunate, because Jinyoung and Mark had perfectly planned everything down to the *coughs* naughty stuff.
“He says no.” Jinyoung pouting heavily when he walked back to an expecting Mark. “He did not even want to see the PowerPoint presentation I made.
“Ah well,” Mark says with a comforting rub on his back. “It was a long shot anyway. Jaebum thinks it was a bad idea too.”
“They’re already turning into a boring old couple.” Jinyoung groaned in defeat. “What else is better than lots and lots of alcohol and totally hot, sexy, topless dancing men to bid farewell your single life?! My sole purpose of being a best man is lost.”
“I’m sure Youngjae would love to hear that.” Mark says smiling. “Well, if it’s alcohol and topless dancing men that you want, I can dance for you and just so you know, I can dance really, really well, Park Jinyoung. You might forget your name.”
Jinyoung definitely choked on his tongue. “Stop being so flirty. You can’t seduce me with your dance moves and your body, Mark Tuan.”
“Correction.” Mark shook his finger at him with a click of his tongue. “I’m gonna seduce you with my sexy dance moves and my sexy body.”
“Shut up.” Jinyoung says with a roll of his eyes, pushing Mark’s annoyingly handsome face away with his hand.
No bachelor party then. That was why Jinyoung and Mark planned the next best alternative.
“A staycation?” Jaebum gasped as he and Youngjae stared at the brochure they gave the happy couple. “For us?”
“Yeah, it’s not as good as your honeymoon though.” Mark explained. “We both felt that you two would rather see each other naked than other guys, so there you go. Wish granted.”
“You guys...” Youngjae’s eyes were twinkling at them. “I don’t know how to thank you. This is amazing!”
“Well, you both owe us a bachelor party.” Jinyoung replied sulkily.
“Yeah, yeah,” Youngjae says absentmindedly. “When you and Mark get married, Jaebum and I will arrange a bachelor party for you.”
Youngjae must have said it as an offhand comment, but Jinyoung can feel his face burning up. Mark seemed to not have minded since he was laughing.
So here they were, a week before the long awaited wedding. Jinyoung must have been drunk out of his mind or totally gone crazy for ten seconds, but he found himself spending his Friday night in his apartment with Mark. Yes, the Mark Tuan.
Youngjae and Jaebum were already away for their weekend staycation and Jinyoung felt a little bit lonely not doing anything after spending the whole year with his best friend’s wedding preparations in mind. Luckily, Mark was more than willing to join him for the night.
“You know it’s interesting.” Mark says as he inspected through Jinyoung’s apartment. “We’ve known each other for a year, but this is the first time you’ve really invited me back to your place.”
“That’s interesting?” Jinyoung says while fluffing the couch pillows for movie time. They have ordered pizza for dinner, but the delivery guy had not arrived yet. “How so? You’re the one who hasn’t invited me to your place.”
“I would’ve but,” Mark looked at him intently. “You might think I’m asking you out.”
“And what exactly is wrong with that?” Jinyoung asked before he can stop himself.
Mark looked like he was about to say something, but Jinyoung’s doorbell already rang. Jinyoung wanted to explain himself and clear things up, but the doorbell rang once more. He hesitantly broke their eye contact and headed to the door.
He should not have said anything. All of a sudden, there seemed to be this huge elephant in the room and Jinyoung cannot concentrate on the movie anymore. They were supposed to be watching something hilarious, but no one is laughing. He noticed Mark only ate a couple of pizza slice, despite telling him earlier that he was starving to death.
Jinyoung had not eaten any.
He just wanna crawl up to his room and hide there forever.
He can feel Mark's pinky slightly touching his, and all of a sudden, that was the only thing he was aware of and it was slowly choking him. Never in his life had he wanted something as this. Jinyoung wanted to hold his hand, to kiss him till the morning, to feel his touch and be held on those arms, to tell Mark... the whole world that he lo-
“Jinyoung.” Mark was looking at him and he was not sure for how long. He sees Mark reaching out a hand to his cheek, wiping the tears that he did not notice were already falling. “It’s alright. I’m right here with you. You don’t have to be scared.”
Mark gathers him up in his arms and Jinyoung buried his face in his chest. Mark’s heartbeat slowly calming him down. He feels Mark kissing his temple, making him hold on to him tighter. Mark smells of unspoken promises and total bliss and uncertain futures and to hell with it, love. He does not feel scared anymore.
Jinyoung wanted this. He wanted to continue with this freefall although the uncertainty that Mark will not be able to catch him still looms around. He wanted to find out what it feels like to let someone else in and share his world with him and to have his world shared with his that he will not be able to tell which was his and Mark’s anymore.
“I want to know what’s gonna happen next.”
Mark looked up at him curiously. He headed off to the kitchen a little while later to get him a glass of water, when he was entirely sure that Jinyoung had finally calmed down. However, Mark has not been gone ten seconds when Jinyoung found himself running after him.
“Next? After what?”
“After falling in love.”
He sees Mark’s eyes widening slightly before they were replaced by a warm smile. “After falling in love?”
“Yeah,” Jinyoung replied with a smile of his own. “I wanna find out what it feels like longing for you, because the last text you’ve sent was an hour ago, but I know you’re with a client so I know I can’t bother you. I wanna find out your little quirks; your pet peeves and your little habit of acting cool even though you’re annoyed that I have so much icing on my face. I want us to fight and shout out mean things to each other and make each other cry, but still end up sleeping, albeit grumpily, in the same bed at night. I want to know the ugliest side of you; I also want to know the messiest side of you. I want to spend boring Sundays, getting annoyed when there’s nothing good on the television. But all in all, I want to be happy with you and to wake up every morning thinking that yes, you’re the one I love.”
“Jinyoung,” Mark started to say and Jinyoung held his breath. If Mark was about to turn him down, he should at least keep his composure. “You were seriously checking me out the first time we met at the café, right?”
“What? How is that relevant...?” Jinyoung found himself saying before realizing what Mark had said. After all those cheesy things he told him... “I was so not checking you out!”
“You sure were,” Mark said confidently, before stepping forward and reaching out for Jinyoung’s hand. “But that’s not the point I was trying to get to.” He says leaning towards Jinyoung closely. “I saw you from my bike. You looked so beautiful and I thought to myself, ‘this is the one I will end up with.”
“Mark,” Jinyoung bit his lip. “All along you...?”
“Yeah,” Mark said running a thumb on Jinyoung’s cheek. “But I didn’t want to push you. You were so set in your ways that I figured to let just things flow in its own way, spend time together and just be ourselves. I just wanted to show you that finding your happiness in the most simple things is possible, Jinyoung-ah. All you just needed to do is to believe.”
“And so I did.” Jinyoung said softly. “Thank you.”
“No need,” Mark replied. “You don’t do things halfway, Jinyoung-ah. You won’t be telling those things to me if you’re not one hundred percent sure. Now, how about we go and find out what’s gonna happen next?”
“Mark, are you asking me out?” Jinyoung said with a teasing smile.
“Yeah,” Mark said finally, returning his smile. “So?”
“I would love to.” Jinyoung said as Mark leaned in.
There was no fireworks like what they were saying in movies. Instead, it felt like a huge gust of wind passes through Jinyoung’s soul, accompanied with a large tidal wave of his feelings, sending shivers down Jinyoung’s spine. Mark’s lips, like everything about him, felt so warm and comforting against his, tasting so sweet and hot at the same time, making Jinyoung feel the love and passion the other has for him.
“I told you I can seduce you with my sexy body.” Mark kidded when they pulled back for air.
“No naughty stuff tonight.” Jinyoung says quickly before eagerly seeking Mark’s lips once again, smiling slightly when he heard the latter groaning in his throat.
Some Rest and Relaxation.
“You look silly. What are you doing?”
Jinyoung looked up from his phone. It was a day before the wedding and Youngjae and Jaebum decided to spend the night apart, so like the awesome best man that he was, Jinyoung offered his place for his best friend to spend the night. And so, they decided to make the most of it and just do the entire beauty regimen in Youngjae’s arsenal.
Although on Jinyoung’s part, he had been sending silly pictures to Mark for the last hour or so.
“Nothing.” Jinyoung answered as he locked his phone away. Mark was at the gym with Jaebum right now, because apparently one way to relax yourself before your wedding is to do weight training and boxing.
(Mark was sending him too many of his own provocative photos in return and Jinyoung was beginning to regret starting this selfie battle.)
Both he and Mark decided to keep their relationship a secret in the meantime. They agreed to just tell their best friends about it once Youngjae and Jaebum are back from their honeymoon, since Jinyoung was still feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Still, despite being a total novice about everything, Jinyoung had never felt he was a total beginner. Even though Mark must have been light years away from him with this relationship and romance, not one had he made Jinyoung feel that he was left behind. They will do this together. They are doing this together; figure things out after the fall.
What are you doing? We just arrived home. I’m super tired. :(
I’m now tucked in the bed. Youngjae’s already. Try to go to sleep after you take a shower. It’s the big day tomorrow.
I want you in bed with meeeeee.
Jinyoung snorted at Mark’s text. He can totally imagine Mark’s voice saying that to him. He felt silly while excitedly typing in his reply, the good kind of silly – the one that makes you feel giddy till the tips of your toes.
I miss you. He typed in nervously. He only hesitated for half a second before pressing ‘SEND’.
He got a reply a moment later. Not as much as I miss you.
You obviously have no idea. Jinyoung texted in reply. He held his phone against his heart, thinking of Mark. He absolutely has no idea how much he misses him.
D-Day (Not that D... Maybe later.)
The wedding looked amazing. The lake looked magnificent against the beautiful spring afternoon. Everything until the very last detail – even the cookie shaped red velvet cake – looked like they all came out of Youngjae’s binder. Youngjae and Jaebum looked divine in their suit, especially when they were saying their vows to each other. Jinyoung might have choked up a bit, but everything turned out fine. He feels Mark squeezing his hand comfortingly and Jinyoung could only squeeze his hands back in reply. Thank you.
On a last minute change of heart, Youngjae lifted the ‘no dancing on my wedding!’ rule he had imposed on him and Mark. Jinyoung was still playing with Mark’s niece, Lily the flower girl, when he felt Mark hastily pulling his hand to the dancefloor.
“You owe Lily an ice cream,” Jinyoung said as he rested his head on Mark’s shoulder. “Uncle Mark’s being mean.”
“I’ll try and find a way to make it up to her later.” Mark laughed softly in his ear, caressing Jinyoung’s hair slowly.
“I can’t believe Youngjae and Jaebum are actually married now.” Jinyoung says trying to hide his happy tears from Mark. “And I can’t believe you’re here with me right now.”
“You better start believing now coz I’ll be here for a very, very long time and I’m very hard to get rid of. Park Jinyoung. I’m telling you now.” Mark holds Jinyoung’s cheeks in his hand and leaned in, kissing him for all he was worth.
Jinyoung heard Youngjae’s gasp and Jaebum’s loud whooping. Their agreement of keeping things a secret fleetingly cross Jinyoung’s mind. However, that seemed to be thrown out of the window when Jinyoung returned Mark’s kisses with equal fervor, telling him once and for all that ‘You’re the love of my life. You welcome to stay with me for a long time.’
A Little Ways down the Road (aka Five Years Later).
“OH MY GOSH! I’M TELLING YOU, HE’S GONNA PROPOSE!”
Jinyoung can only roll his eyes at his best friend. This was classic Youngjae. Whenever Jinyoung tells him something along the lines of Mark surprising him, he would always have these kinds of outburst –even if it was in the middle of the day at the center of Jinyoung’s customer filled shop.
”Youngjae, you said that the last time,” Jinyoung sighed. “But it turned out he just bought me a bunch of gourmet cakes from his business trip.”
“But you wanted him to ask, don’t you?” Youngjae followed him around with beady eyes. “You told me the other day that the third anniversary of your first kiss is coming up.”
“So?” Jinyoung shrugged. “We do celebrate little anniversaries like that every now and then. It’s nothing new. We did it last year, and the year before that....”
“Oh, don’t lie to me, Park Jinyoung.” Youngjae says with arms on his waist. “You told me you saw Mark hiding something from you the other day! And isn’t this about time? You guys have been dating five years and living in together for three! I don’t see any problems here! I saw your binder!”
Jinyoung blushed. He never thought anyone would see that. Then again, this is Choi Youngjae we are talking about. It was just a small notebook he had started over the years and definitely way modest compared to Youngjae’s binder. It was just a simple compilation of the suit he sketched while designing Mark’s suit, the lyrics for “Can’t Help Falling in Love’, places with magnificent cherry blossom trees and such, but that does not mean he was keen for Mark to ask him to marry him. Like everything else in their relationship, Jinyoung wanted for everything to fall in the right place, at the right time. There was no need to be in a rush since there was no need for it anyway.
Despite denying it with Youngjae over and over again, Jinyoung can still feel his heart racing when Mark brought him to his – their – secret place the following week. It was not like this has been the first time since they went back there. On the contrary, over the years they usually visit the place whenever they crave for some alone time and just want to watch the beautiful cityscape during night time (they also went there during those moments when they feel adventurous and just want to make out like horny teenagers without getting interrupted – but that one was a secret.)
“Hey,” Mark playfully says while he played with the hem of Jinyoung’s sweater. Mark’s fingers feels so ticklish against his skin that he cannot help but shiver slightly.
“Hey,” Jinyoung said back, tucking a lock of Mark’s hair behind his ear. “You look good tonight, did something happen?”
“Something really good will happen. “ Mark replied with a smirk.
If Jinyoung’s heart was just racing earlier, now he feels his heart going into overdrive. He remembered the other night when he saw Mark excitedly discussing something with Jaebum on the phone when he thought Jinyoung was already sleeping. He also saw Mark tucking something in his briefcase yesterday, but could not figure out what was it because he changed the combination. Jinyoung’s mind really, really did not want to assume too much and be left disappointed, yet it seemed that his heart was telling him otherwise.
Is this it?
“Jinyoung,” Mark said quietly as he took a deep breath. Jinyoung did not say anything. He was not even sure if he was still breathing. “I’ve been made partner at the law firm.”
It took a few seconds before Jinyoung realized what Mark had said. “Oh.” He said simply, feeling his heart breaking into pieces. He was too busy weeping inside that he did not notice Mark’s expecting look at him. “Oh! Oh my god, Mark! I’m so happy for you!” Jinyoung jumped into his arms.
Proposal or not, Jinyoung did know how much Mark has been working hard for this promotion. ‘I have to make sure I work hard for our future, baby.’ He would always tell Jinyoung when he became too worried his boyfriend was not getting enough of sleep.
“I wanted to tell you first before anyone else.” Mark says, finally smiling. “I wanna see the look on your face.”
“And did I live up to the great and handsome Mark Yien Tuan’s expectations?” Jinyoung batted his eyes at him.
“Definitely,” Mark peppered kisses from Jinyoung’s neck up to his jaw. “My Jinyoungie always exceeded expectations.” His voice was so rough; Jinyoung had to hold his whimper in his throat.
“I really wanna see how you’d react,” Mark repeated with a smug expression on his face. “That’s why I decided to tease you first.”
“Tease me?” Jinyoung blinked up at him in confusion. “What do you mean...?”
But whatever Jinyoung was about to ask was already forgotten, especially when Mark bended on one knee. He takes out a tiny, blue velvet box from inside his pocket and Jinyoung’s breath hitched when he saw Mark’s sparkling eyes behind the diamond ring.
“Park Jinyoung,” Mark started, he has a small, boyish smile on his face, which Jinyoung adored so much. He cannot describe how happy he was, knowing he will marry this man. “Right from the moment I met you, I knew I was going to marry you. And now, five years later, I’m still very much smitten by you. You are the one, Jinyoungie. Now, I wanna continue knowing happens next after falling in love. I want to continue missing you even though I know you’re just in the kitchen. I want you to still nag me whenever I do not turn of the lights before going to sleep. I want us to bicker over the most trivial things and make each other cry, because I know that even if you tell me to sleep on the couch, I know that I’ll be waking up next to you since you’re too sad alone on the bed. But all in all, I just want to tell you that I want to spend the next fifty years of my life with you, Park Jinyoung. I don’t just a happy ending with you. I want the perfect ending; the happiness, the sadness, even the boring moments, because at the end of the day, I know in my heart that you’re the one next to me, holding my hand tightly.”
“Mark,” Jinyoung choked up. It was useless hiding his tears anymore, but he does not mind looking like a crybaby right now. “Are you asking me to marry you?”
Mark’s eyes sparkled as he got up, booping Jinyoung’s nose with his, “Yeah. Will you marry me?”
“Yes.” Jinyoung nodded his head quickly. He must have looked atrocious right now, his face covered in tears and snot. Mark did not seem to care though, because despite that, he still pulled Jinyoung for a sweet lingering kiss.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“So, what happens next?”
Well, Happily Ever After. (And all the other stuff that comes with it.)