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“You can’t seriously want to go there… do you?”  Juyeon whines as Hyunjoon made his way to a thrift store.

“I-...well you can’t really miss a good deal, Juyeon,” Hyunjoon responds, shoving his phone in his pocket. “Besides, Kevin’s Birthday is soon and I totally forgot to buy a gift.”

“And so you, the boy who has a closet full of Gucci, Versace, and other expensive stuff, choose to go to this retail store?” Juyeon remarks, a questioning look on his face.

“-Okay so MAYBE my dad is restricting my bank account so I can ‘humble myself’” Hyunjoon retorts, reluctantly rolling his eyes and airing quotation marks, “But you know me. There’s no way I’m stooping so low as to replace my wardrobe with the cheap and ugly stuff. I’d rather go a whole year wearing out of date clothes than go a day wearing it.”

The two finally make it to the store and step inside. “And besides,”  he adds, “ Kev’s standards are WAY lower than mine. I’m sure if I make it stylish looking enough he’ll accept it.”

Juyeon let out a small sigh as he treads behind Hyunjoon through the store.

——————————————————————-

“Woah, is that...is that a Limited édition Gucci leather jacket?!” Chanhee says as he looked at the new customer from the register, astonished. “He really living the life. Why is he here?”

He reaches to his side and taps the younger employee on the head, who was sitting crouched by him.

“Hey Eric, get up! I think I found a customer you may want to ‘test your skills on’”.

Without a lick of hesitation, Eric jumps from his position.

“For real? And here I thought I was going to do nothing today!” He exclaims, bouncing up and down and scanning the store. It is his first job since his second year of high school, and he’s extremely determined to fill up his resume.

Looking around, the young one immediately locks eyes with the dashing boy with the silver hair. Be it only for a second, his cold yet charming glare left Eric feeling a bit fuzzier inside than usual, and he could feel his ears getting red.

“Woah,” He gasps, gently clasping his left ear, and keeping the gaze with sparkling eyes. “He’s… he’s GORGEOUS holy shit!”

“Yeah, the dark-haired one’s a looker,” Hyunajae said cutting in from the next cash register. His head was gently resting on his palms, eyeing the guy next to the silver-haired one.

“Hyunjae that’s not who I-”

“Jesus Christ, just go already!” Chanhee interrupted, pushing Eric in the new customer’s direction.

That was sudden. He stumbles a bit, but heads over. Butterflies immediately start forming in his stomach.

‘Oh god. Eric, you can’t back out now! ‘ He thinks to himself, ‘ Just act like yourself. Sure! His eyes may be a bit intimidating and he’s A LOT taller than you expected as you get closer, but that’s to be expected when working in retail!’

Still second-guessing, he starts to shuffle onward, Chanhee and Hyunjae looking on.

“...Bet ten dollars it’ll click.” Chanhee remarks to Hyunjae with his arms to his hips.

“Deal”

——————————————————————-

“Will he- oh my god.” Hyunjoon complains, looking at the racks arrayed in the aisle, “I have no idea what Kevin would consider ‘good’. All these clothes are shit, honestly.”

“Hyunjoon don’t be so mean, dude.” Juyeon groans, already grabbing his phone. “We should just get you home if all you’re gonna do is trash talk every basic retail store we walk into.”

He sighs but got interrupted by a slight tapping on his shoulder before he could comply.

“Hello! Sorry to not have greeted you by the entrance,” An employee greets as he turned around.

Hyunjoon looked slightly down to meet a boy probably his age. His vibrant red hair was the first thing that catches his attention, his blue-green contacts following. His whole aura automatically screams ‘flamboyant’.

“My name’s Eric! I’m new here. Very glad to meet you!” The employee flashed an... admittedly cute slanted smile as he presented his name tag. “I’m sure you might need assistance, no?”

Hyunjoon glances back at Juyeon, who stopped dialing and gave him a look of doubt. A look that said ‘well? Are we leaving or what?’ He fiddled a bit.

“Well…” he begins, pushing back his bangs. “My name’s Hyunjoon. I’m looking for an outfit I can give to a friend but the clothes I’ve been looking at just won’t suit him. Y’know?”

“Hyunjoon, huh?” He replies, his eyes lighting up. “That’s such a nice name! That aside, hopefully, I can help you! Come with me!”

“Uhm...thank you for the compliment?”

“No problem!”

Eric lightly started walking out to another part of the massive store, with Hyunjoon and Juyeon following.

“I thought you wanted to leave,” Juyeon whispered.

“Well-” Hyunjoon responds, a small grin forming on his face. “It’s his first day on the job. Don’t want to disappoint them.”

“Oh please…there’s got to be a reason why. I may be denser than a rock but even I can tell you would have left this ‘shithole’ in a heartbeat. Something?.... Someone?”Juyeon eludes, gesturing towards the small salesman.

“Eric? You make me laugh. Like I would fall easily for a guy like him” He snickers. “Besides, I’ve met people like him. Always going for the money. We’ll just see what he has to offer.”

——————————————————————-

‘Alright, I got this. Totally.’ Eric played with his lanyard while guiding the two towards the men’s department. He’s nailed the interactions so far, all he needs to do is sell them a few things and then he’ll be good. He glances back a bit to see them talking amongst each other, and notices the way Hyunjoon’s hair looked softer than a unicorn's, and how his cheeks seemed squishier than a baby’s. He immediately shook off those thoughts. ‘Agh. No way I’m gonna like this guy. I just think he looks nice. That’s all. I’m sure he doesn’t see me like that anyways’.

They made it to the second-floor men department and Eric gestures towards the closest racks to him.

“Here’s probably what you guys might like!” He introduces, then takes a slight pause. “Uhm, what does your friend look like, exactly? Just for a reference.”

Hyunjoon whipped out his phone and gave it to him, on it was a picture of a selfie containing two people. ‘ Okay. Am I to just assume who it is?!’

“Okay people think that I look like him but I don’t. Especially with my hair now.” Hyunjoon scoffed. “He’s the one with the black hair. His name’s Kevin.”

Taking a quick glance, Eric could spot some similarities between the two, but nothing too similar. Maybe they looked alike when they both had black hair.

“Okay, Hyunjoon I’m gonna leave you with him,” Juyeon said, his patience obviously wearing out. “You’re probably gonna take forever choosing something so just give me a call when you do.”  

Well, Juyeon was now roaming the store; hopefully, Hyunjae gets to talk to him. Boy is he gonna be happy. Eric quickly texts Hyunjae about the news.

“Ah well anyways,” Eric continued as he tucked his phone in his sweatshirt and started to scroll through clothes. “Maybe there’s something in here that just screams ‘I am perfect for Kevin! I will suit him very well!’”

“Hope you’re telling the truth” Hyunjoon replies as he steps beside him to search.

“But wait.” Eric begins again. “Do you know what size he even is? It’ll help me if you knew.”

Hyunjoon lifts his head to think, and then goes blank.

“....no, no I don’t think so.” He says.

He turned his head and looked at Eric in an inspecting manner, which made Eric tense up a bit as if he was being judged.

“Well,” Hyunjoon began again, his face softening. “You basically have the same torso size as him. Shoulders may be a bit broader but he likes big sleeved clothes anyways.”

“Really? We can get stuff my size then! Then I’ll try them on and it’ll be up to you to decide if you wanna get it.”

“Okay.”

——————————————————————-

Is Eric really Kevin’s size? Probably not. But he doesn’t want to text Kevin or call for another person. He’ll have to do.

The upstairs department the two are in seemed a lot better than the downstairs one. At least that’s a plus. However, nothing really caught his eye. It was all beige, brown, green, or some disgusting orange. Maybe there isn’t much hope here.

“Ah, how about this shirt?” Eric suggests, holding up a white shirt overlaid with a black plaid.

“Well, it’s cute?” Hyunjoon says with a questioning look. “But it’s extremely bland. I don’t like it.”

“Aw come on, man! A shirt isn’t gonna be the ONLY thing.”

Eric grabs three more garments and dashes to the dressing room. Hyunjoon reluctantly following behind, he begins to actually inspect the employee. He moved like a fairy, taking light and swift steps. It didn’t take long for him to come back out with a full outfit. He was dressed in the flannel with a black shirt underneath. The outfit was accompanied with a baseball cap and the silver necklace he wore before. His hair was a lot more vibrant, since it clashed with the monotone aesthetic of the outfit, and his eyes glistened as much as his necklace. The outfit itself was average, but man did he make it work.

“W-well it-” Hyunjoon stumbles for words but regains his posture.

“I mean it isn’t the worst.” he diverts his eyes a bit as he scoffs. “But not very suitable for Kevin.”

Eric pouts a bit but it didn’t take long for the smile to come back and the atmosphere to recover quickly to his overflowing bubbly nature. “Oh. Okay, I’ll put it back then and we can look for something else!” He exclaims.

“Ah well…” Hyunjoon interrupts, “If we can’t find anything else, I’ll buy it.”

“Oh for real?! We should find something better, though.”

‘God…’ Hyunjoon thought as he went back to the racks, ‘ What a goddamn kiss up. Bet he’s gonna offer me the most expensive shit in this store so he can get more than minimum wage this month.’

His mind blanks out a bit before he finishes his thoughts.

“Such a shame too. He’s pretty cute.” He mutters under his breath.

Hyunjoon freezes at his action. His eyes grew cold and his face heating up in a panic. ‘ Did...did I just say that out loud?!??’

——————————————————————-

‘Did...did he just say that I was cute?!’

Eric started to face away from Hyunjoon in embarrassment, as his face began to turn red.

‘Ah, no way. No way this dude could have meant me. Maybe Kevin? No, wait he has a boyfriend-‘

Eric turned to glance at Hyunjoon, but accidentally made eye contact with him. Quickly turning back, he scrolls through the clothing racks, butterflies in his stomach.

‘Ah, fudge. Do I just act like I didn’t hear it?’

“...uh so I found another outfit you can-“

“I didn’t say shit, alright?” Hyunjoon interrupts. His ears were red and there was obvious frustration in his eyes. Perhaps it’s best Eric didn’t push it. He silently nods.

“Uhm so as I was saying!” He begins again, “I think this outfit will DEFINITELY suit him. If he’s the spunky type, that is.”

“That’s just a shirt and suspenders.”

“Like last time, this isn’t gonna be the only thing. Have patience, will ya?”

Once again, he sprints over to the dressing room with Hyunjoon following close behind. Coming back from the dressing pod, he is wearing a sweater over the shirt, with accompanying pants. The outfit definitely wasn’t his style, but hey, it may be Kevin’s.

“So?” Eric asks, “Is it good?”

Hyunjoon takes out his phone. He looks at Eric, and back. He goes silent for a whiles

“Hm. Sure. That works.” Hyunjoon replies with a grin.

“Great! Let me take you to the cash register!”

——————————————————————-

The only thing in Hyunjoon’s view is the little scarlet tuft of Eric’s hair as the two made their way towards the cash register. Hyunjoon smiles a bit at how the employee jumped a bit at every step he was taking. His eyes then glance over to what he was holding. Both outfits in his hand, he lifts them up to fill his vision. Eric really wasn’t a bad stylist. ‘ If he was able to make some tacky clothes look decent, he has potential- ‘

“Hey” Eric begins, stopping a bit, “A-“

Without time to react, Hyunjoon bumps into Eric. Since they were walking pretty swiftly, the two fell over, leaving Hyunjoon was left slumped over Eric, who was on his side. The racks around them didn’t move much besides the one in front of them, which had scooted over a bit.

Suddenly realizing what happened, Hyunjoon jolted up and padded out his jacket, his face a bright red.

“I-I’m sorry-“ He began, “Ah, shit. My fucking Gucci jacket is all scratched and dusty now.”

“Just wash it out with some water-“ Eric suggested hastily fixing the misplaced rack.

“Once again. My fuckin GUCCI JACKET is all scratched and dusty now.”

“Isn’t that leather?”

“...You can’t be serious. Do you know any expensive brands? Balenciaga? Versace?”

“ ….those were brands? I thought they were some dudes’ names”

“Now ur fucking pulling my leg. No way anyone’s THAT ignorant, ya kiss up.”

Hyunjoon’s nose began to scrunch at the smaller one, only to be met with a smiling face.

“Ah, well I don’t really care for that kinda stuff.” Eric replied with his hand rubbing the arm he fell on, “To be honest, as long as the clothes look good I don’t care if it’s cheap or not. And kiss up? Guess you’ve never met a humble poor person before or a person that genuinely likes you!”

So...so he was being genuine with everything? Such a concept was new to Hyunjoon. It was weird, it was different, but not bad. The negative thoughts about the employee began to flood in, and Hyunjoon started to feel regretful of what he thought but also began to become overwhelmed with feelings for him. The first ever person I’ve met that doesn’t want to milk my money….

“...That’s new” Hyunjoon muttered softly, turning his head a bit and towards the floor. He could feel his cheeks get dark red.

It was then and there that Hyunjoon finally admits to himself that he liked Eric. More than whoever he’s had a crush on before. The time he spent with him was short, but that didn’t change much. He opens his mouth to speak but notices the crowd of people beginning to seep into the store. It was already prime time, and Hyunjoon was supposed to leave by then to avoid too much-staring eyes.

Shit. I’m being too irrational. What the hell am I doing? I’m rushing it.

Glancing back at Eric again, he sees that he’s been fiddling with his lanyard, holding the clothes that Hyunjoon was carrying. Maybe I’ll tell him another time.

“Let’s just… get to the cash register. Yeah?” Hyunjoon says with a grin.

There was no way I was going to risk embarrassing myself in front of a growing crowd.

——————————————————————-

Well, THAT was awkward. Eric regained his posture and started to head towards the cash registers. He could have sworn Hyunjoon was turning red, but once again he didn’t want to push it. Still, he wanted to know what he was going to say.

He looked back a bit to see Hyunjoon still following him. He seemed to have regained his posture from the fall pretty easily. As expected of a chic looking person like him. Who woulda thought the guy was rich? Doesn’t change his opinion about him though.

The two finally make it near the cash registers. Granted, they could have gone to the upstairs ones, but Eric prefers he goes to his friends instead. Walking over, Eric notices Hyunaje talking to the Juyeon guy from earlier. Score! Chanhee was reading a textbook for school at the next register.

“Chan-Chan!!” Eric called Chanhee, waving his arms, “Care to be the cashier to these sets of clothes right here?”

Chanhee looks at the two meticulously then grins a bit.

“Well, why don’t you handle this one, Eric?” He says, “I’ll help you a bit but you should learn to use the register for when I’m gone.”

“Okay!”

Eric swings over to the other side and scans the items. Nothing too difficult, but that’s okay.

“Your total isssssss $50.26!”

As if it was nothing, Hyunjoon pulls out $70 in cash as if it was pocket money and gave it to Eric. He printed out Hyunjoon’s receipt and handed it over to him along with the bag.

“Have a nice day!!”

“Wait I wanna tell you something” Hyunjoon interrupts, grabbing Eric’s shoulder and leaning over towards his ear.

Eric could feel himself tense up as the two got closer, and his face began to heat up from the sudden gesture.

What is he going to tell me? A secret? What secret? He’s a murderer? He isn’t actually rich? He-

Without time to think of anything else, he felt the light and soft touch of Hyunjoon’s lips making contact with the tip of his ear. Eric’s eyes widen as Hyunjoon backed his face up a bit with a slightly hesitant expression on his face. Making eye contact, he grinned a bit.

“You can keep the change, by the way!” He finally said before rushing with Juyeon out of the store.

The shock started to cool down, and Eric buried his face in his hands out of embarrassment, giggling silently as he melted on the desk.

“So? You hit it off? Hyunjae, you owe me!” Chanhee cheered.

“I hit it off with his friend so I don’t care,” Hyunjae remarked, throwing the bill to the other.

Going back to Eric, Chanhee patted him on the back in congratulations.

“You go, ya champ! But hey, why you still so smiley?”

“Sorry,” Eric said through a smile, “I’m just glad I won’t embarrass myself once he reads the note I left on his receipt.

“WAIT WHAT DID YOU WRITE- NO TELL ME EVERYTHING” Chanhee squealed.

——————————————————————-

“So, how did the shithole go?” Juyeon asked casually, getting ready to dial an Uber to pick them up. “You certainly got quite a bit of stuff.”

Hyunjoon didn’t really listen to his friend, as he was distracted by the receipt. He notices some writing on the back and begins to make it out. The penmanship wasn’t the best, but still completely legible.

So uhm, Hyunjoon! I know you probably won’t read this...BUT  I just wanted to tell you that I find you really cute and I like you. A lot. I know it’s a bit of a shitty confession, but I’m not very good at those. So...yeah my phone number’s attached below so we can stay in touch (and maybe go out sometime)!  I just… hope we can see each other again. ♥︎Eric

“I’m going to come back tomorrow,” Hyunjoon said, a giant dumb grin plastered on his face.

 

~END~