He couldn’t do it anymore. It’s been month since he painted something worth exposing.
“I can’t paint anymore,” whined dramatically the tallest boy in the room, head thrown back to look at the two other boys behind him. He placed one slightly curled hand on his heart and with the other, he covered his eyes as he continued his false crying.
“The city doesn’t inspire me anymore. I can’t paint anything remotely nice.” The youngest of the other two boys, Sehun, rolled his eyes at the dramatic antics of his brother.
And before anyone could give the man an answer he continued screaming with fake tears, “I lost my sparkle Sehun, it’s gone... FOREVER!”
“Oh, man…” sighed Junmyeon.
He could already feel an oncoming headache hitting him at full force with each whiny words coming out of Chanyeol’s loud and dramatic mouth. But Junmyeon knew that behind his fake tears and annoying complaints, Chanyeol was actually sad.
“Maybe you should take a break away from the city to recover your sparkle,” said his brother, fingers twitching to air quote the word sparkle with his usual impassive face.
“Or I should just open my ferret farm like I always wanted,” Chanyeol deadpanned.
Letting out a groan, Junmyeon took his phone and coat before saying his goodbye, because, as he said, “I can’t deal with your dramatic ass today again, Chanyeol. I have a job to do, Sehun take care of him for me. Bye.”
Sehun was already complaining about the unfairness of this request by the time Junmyeon had shuffled out the door to put on his shoes. Why should he be the one taking care of the crying, and annoying, painter just because they were related? Thus, that was how he joined his brother in a endless symphony of whines and complaints even when he knew Junmyeon was long gone.
An hour or two later, after thinking hard about his life and what he needed to do about it, Chanyeol suddenly got up, mumbling ‘I need fresh air’ before grabbing his coat and scarf. Sehun watched his retreating back making his way to the door, and after it closed did Sehun scream that he would stay there and take a nap, adding; ”in case you care, dear brother.”
While he wandered alone in the night, through the streets of Seoul, Chanyeol thought back on his recent lack of inspiration.
The city, the people. They didn’t make his heart flutter like they once did. Busy metro lines suffocated him now. Not even the saxophonist on the way to town, line 612 could take away his upside down smile. He felt like all joy had left his body, turning him in an empty canvas. Everything had become dull and grey in the last few months. It was scary to just think about it.
There was a time where Chanyeol could see the most trivial things, looking at everything and anything at the same time, like a child. Big bright eyes sparkling like fireworks during New Years, mind blowing with ideas, and sceneries like flowers in Spring. Vibrant colors everywhere.
Now everything was monochrome.
The city lights in the night would transform people into hollow shadows, looking sad and always in a hurry. Not even his favorite hidden places in town could sparkle a reaction from him. He couldn’t hear the once beautiful sound flowing through the air from the saxophonist on the metro line 612. Only distant muffled noises would accompany him now.
Little details that were once sources of inspiration, would fade under the dull veil of black and grey that had fell in front of his eyes. His life had become tasteless.
His paintings. It seemed like each and every one of them looked the same no matter how much he tried to point out the unique features his paintings hold. He couldn’t really see any difference between his two last pieces. His works seemed to have lost their souls. Or maybe it was him. His paintings were a reflection of him, after all.
Every flick of his wrist felt the same. Every day. A brush in his hand. Dipping in the red, in the green. A touch of white for the light, one of dark grey for the shadows. A stroke of blue for the sky. Rinse and repeat. Brushstroke after brushstroke he felt himself fall deeper and deeper in a spiral of boredom, anger and frustration towards himself.
Boredom. Frustration. Anger.
He felt bored. Always drinking the same smoothie at the same coffee shop, served by the same barista every day. Again and again.
Frustration stemming from having to view from his window the dash of orange and pink of the same sunset every evening. Annoyed at the shining dots of yellow and blue that the neon signs in the street would cast through his window each night.
Angry at himself for letting the bad critics of his last exposition getting to him. Angry for always being rude and for lashing out all those negativity in him on the people around him. The people who only wanted to help him.
Junmyeon had seen broken brushes and torn up canvas thrown away in a rush of anger, or frustration. He saw it all. He felt useless the more he saw his friend’s pain, seeing him hitting rock bottom. Junmyeon knew Chanyeol didn’t have any strength to help himself get up. He had witness the sparkle in Chanyeol’s eyes die down, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He felt like the worst manager but before all, like the worst friend.
But Chanyeol had always acted like everything was okay, like he hadn’t just bear through a breakdown just a few minutes ago. He was all fake smiles and fake laughters resonating through the air.
“That’s it,” said Junmyeon, a few weeks later when both brothers were slouched on the sofa while watching Zootopia once again — Chanyeol had won rock, paper, scissors, to Sehun’s despair.
“Chanyeol, I’m sending you away.” Chanyeol snapped his head up to dart his eyes toward Junmyeon with a confused expression. He looked up so fast it was a miracle his neck didn’t break.
“Uh…” Chanyeol pursed his lips into a grim line, brows furrowing into a small frown.
“Yeah… I uh—” Chanyeol’s puppy eyes were so intense and conveying so much confusion that it made Junmyeon lose track of his words (Junmyeon always had trouble resisting them anyway).
“Yeah, I called your grandma. She said you could come spend time with her.” Junmyeon finished, voice firm and unwavering. Times like these, he’s glad he’s older than Chanyeol.
It’s true that since his last exposition which got bad reviews, Chanyeol hadn't been in the best moods, falling in a self-destructive spiral. But Junmyeon was determined to get the sparkle back in the painter’s eyes, whatever it takes. He was his friend — and manager — after all.
“You know to… uh...” Junmyeon cleared his throat, his cheeks turning a fade shade of pink and eyes casted down.
“Well...to restore your sparkle...” Junmyeon mumbled softly, cheeks dusted red as it heats up.
Sehun who was already snickering at the side the whole time, bursted out laughing. Junmyeon was clearly embarrassed to have used Chanyeol’s petulant words to express himself, but there was no better way to show how serious he was.
And the tension in the air was gone at Sehun’s next words; “I want to go too.”
And here we go again. With fingers pinching the bridge of his nose, Junmyeon closed his eyes and let out a loud big sigh. Sehun didn’t notice the vexation in Junmyeon’s stance and said, “I mean, I’m her favorite grandson after all.”
Chanyeol gasped, scandalised, turning to face his brother with an outraged expression, looking like he was ready to counter Sehun’s words back with rage. Junmyeon shuffles out of the room, he could sense an incoming headache.
Escaping to the kitchen, he prepared himself a snack and a drink. He could still hear the two brothers bickering about who was their Grandma’s favorite. Being their friend wasn’t always easy and peaceful but he loved them still. Just a tiny bit, not too much, he would lie to himself.
“Anyway, I love grandma but there's no way I’m going to the countryside,” mumbled Chanyeol, out of breath, hair tousled in every direction, taking the chair to face the older.
“There’s nothing there except kilometers of fields. And cows. You know I don’t paint animals that aren’t puppies, no?” Teased Chanyeol, puppy eyes in full action.
Junmyeon gives a small smile in response to Chanyeol’s playful remark. And with mock annoyance, he flicked Chanyeol’s forehead with his fingers.
“Chanyeol, it’s been weeks now since the last time you painted something. Or even touched a brush.” Even though Junmyeon was sporting an upset expression, his tone was gentle.
Junmyeon’s eyes were full of genuine concern for his friend, his eyes showing only determination and love. Chanyeol could see it. He knew what would come next. And frankly speaking, he didn’t want to hear it. It would make everything become real. He wasn’t ready to acknowledge the hell of the past few weeks that he had been through, all the negative emotion he had been feeling.
“I’m really worried about you,” said Junmyeon, voice and expression full of worry and concern. His tone had dropped into a soft tone, his comfort tone.
Shooing away Sehun’s thieving hands from his snacks, Junmyeon continued, “some fresh air could help you, I really think you need it.” Junmyeon sighed, a small and caring smile adorning his face. He only wanted the best for the painter, and Chanyeol couldn’t say no to the help he knew he needed.
“Plus Minseok still lives there, he said he would take care of you.”
Minseok was one of his friends from when he still regularly visited his grandma during summer. He was closer to Junmyeon as a friend than to him. Chanyeol wasn’t sure he could still call him a friend. It’s been so long since he last visited the town of his childhood, maybe nobody would remember him. Chanyeollie, the funny, chubby kid with glasses always ready for adventures. Not gonna lie, it scared him a little.
But two pairs of caring and loving eyes looked at him. They just loved him and wanted the best for him. He could feel their love radiate, and sometimes he felt like they could see through him, read him like an open book — they probably had always known him more than he knows himself — but he was still scared. Afraid of acknowledging his inner turmoil and facing the truth. That everything wasn’t fine.
Letting out a soft scoff, he slouched himself against his chair. That was his way of saying yes, giving up and letting himself being helped, cared for. Maybe they were right and the fresh air of the countryside would be the solution to all his problems.
“Good. You’re leaving next monday. Take a break, breathe some fresh air, stroll in beautiful meadows and focus on yourself,” added the older man, taking a sip from his glass of wine — when did he even get the wine? — a satisfied expression on his face.
“You can’t come back until you feel better and you’ve painted your best piece.”
And that’s how Chanyeol found himself at the train station of Hadong. Three hours away from Seoul, surrounded by kilometers of fields and the sound of a (probably red and old) tractor in the distance.
“A new kid came yesterday,” was Kyungsoo's best friend greeting in this chill summer morning in Hadong. It was expected to be hotter later in the day, and Kyungsoo really hoped that his hen house tour would be over before that. He wasn’t really keen to get a heat stroke.
Both boys made their way toward the fields and chicken house side by side, quietly for Kyungsoo and not really for the other boy who started babbling about the new kid and everything.
“Well, he’s not really a new kid,” continued Baekhyun. His brown messy locks sticking out from under his ridiculous flourished golden straw hat.
“He’s Grandma Park’s grandson.”
That, caught Kyungsoo’s attention. Grandma Park was his neighbor, a kind old lady who loves cooking. She makes the best and tastiest apple pie in town and it wasn’t rare for her to invite every stray kid in the area she’d come across to take a break and eat a slice of pie at her place. Baekhyun and Kyungsoo were no exception. Because, after all, who would say no to a break and free apple pie?
“It’s funny he used to come every summer, though he stopped the summer you moved.”
Only nodding to let Baekhyun know he was still somehow listening, he lets the chatterbox beside him talk alone. He was too lively for this early in the morning, 6AM to be exact. Kyungsoo couldn’t relate.
“I’m kind of excited though. When we were young he was so funny, with too big ears and glasses. We would do the worst things together, he was like my best friend.”
Baekhyun was getting excited. Too excited for Kyungsoo who was still in a sleepy state. Kyungsoo really hated conducting the chicken house tour. Baekhyun was not bothered by his silence and seemed more than happy to talk for the both of them.
“But don’t worry. You’re my best friend now.”
Baekhyun latched onto Kyungsoo’s arm, bringing him closer in an attempt to kiss him. Kyungsoo’s free hand was in his face in a matter of seconds, trying to prevent his wet lips from coming closer to his face, only allowing the cheeky boy to lick his hand, before running away in direction of the barn. Kyungsoo tried his best to grab Baekhyun by his shirt, but the latter managed to slip away.
“BYUN FUCKING BAEKHYUN YOU’RE SO DEAD TO ME!!” Screamed Kyungsoo from the junction where their paths differ.
He could still see the little shit running, laughing his ass off, his stupid straw hat ready to fly away if not for his hand holding it. Every single day, Byun Baekhyun had his ways to make Kyungsoo wonder why they were even friends.
Wiping his still wet hand on his overall, Kyungsoo sighed and made his way towards the poultry house, silently cursing his friend offhandedly. Just like that, he forgets about the new kid.
Minseok himself came to pick Chanyeol up at the train station, driving in an old beige van with “Golden Coffee Shop” written in pretty black cursive on the side, bolded and huge to catch people’s attention.
Minseok was a few years older than Chanyeol and the owner of the only coffee shop in the small town. He was short — but everyone was short next to Chanyeol. Minseok had beautiful, dark brown eyes like pools of honey, eyes a unique, sharp shape that gave him a gentle touch to his gaze. A soft mess of fluffy, black hair rests atop his head. He was pretty and Chanyeol could see himself painting him, if he ever gets his sparkle back. Maybe soon.
“So how are you doing?”
Chanyeol was playing with the radio, trying to catch something to avoid the awkward silence, but stopped at the other’s words.
“Uh, not really good I guess?” His tone was unsure as if he asked Minseok the question instead of answering.
Minseok let an embarrassed giggle before concentrating on the road again. “I shouldn’t have said that,” he quietly said before murmuring a soft sorry, cheeks hot with embarrassment.
The tips of Chanyeol’s ears were flaming red, he could feel himself burning with embarrassment too. But what was he embarrassed for? For not being alright? For breaking the mood with his uncertainty? Or maybe because he wasn’t close enough with Minseok to talk about these kind of troubles at their first encounter since years. He didn’t really know which one embarrassed him the most.
There was a few minute of uncomfortable silence before Chanyeol spoke again.
“So...” Chanyeol trailed off for a second, trying to change the topic. “You have your own coffee shop now, huh?”
Feeling glad that Chanyeol himself had changed the topic, Minseok happily started talking about his business, his regular clients, the behind the scenes of the job. And just like that the rest of the car ride went, easily talking about everything and anything; the town, its people. Singing to — loudly screaming for Chanyeol — the radio song they were both familiar with.
They met around a week or so after Chanyeol moved.
It was on a warm friday night, around 8 in the evening. Under an orange sky striped with red and purple, Kyungsoo made his way to the Park house after he received the dinner invitation from the elderly woman. His parents were out of town for business and Kyungsoo wasn’t the kind of person to say no to free food.
So here he was at her front door, his hair styled up. His old leather jacket hugged his figure, and his feet were buried in an old pair of Doc Martens boots. He was ready to ring the doorbell and be allowed to eat until he was too stuffed for more.
He expected everything to be normal. He’d go in and have dinner, talk with Grandma Park about life and he’d go back home as soon as it was late enough. He just didn’t expect to be greeted by the most breathtaking sight he’s ever seen. And he’s seen a lot of pretty sunsets. Nothing prepared him enough for the moment Kyungsoo set his eyes on him.
That night, Kyungsoo fell in love with Chanyeol, Grandma Park’s grandson. The one who had moved in not so long ago. The one who Baekhyun couldn’t stop talking about, mentioning ferrets, other animals, and the adventures Baekhyun went on with him. Him who Kyungsoo thought was a complete heartthrob.
And, oh boy, was this heartthrob cute.
Actually, Chanyeol was the epitome of adorable. Chanyeol was tall. Had messy, silver locks that would make anyone else look like a wreck, but with his silver strands falling over his two big sleepy eyes, Kyungsoo completely understood why his heart seemed to like skipping beats. A pair of ears, too big for the average person, sat on either side of Chanyeol’s head. On everyone else, they’d look foolish with such big ears. But on Chanyeol, it seemed to be his charm point. Chanyeol had lips that adorned the prettiest shade of dull pink Kyungsoo has ever seen. His lips seemed to jut out, like it was naturally pouty. He wore a Rilakkuma shirt that was a little too big for him as one side of the shirt hangs a little too low from his shoulder. As Kyungsoo surveyed his figure, he sees a pair of sweatpants messily stained with splotch of colours here and there. It looked suspiciously like paint.
Okay, woah, do you believe in love at first sight? Kyungsoo certainly didn’t. He thought it was stupid. But then. At that exact moment, maybe he thinks it’s not stupid at all.
Heat rose to his cheeks and neck, and his heart started to beat wildly in his ribcage. He could faintly feel his heart thrashing so wildly in his chest that it scared him a little. Kyungsoo thought to himself, as Grandma Park invited him in, that he did believe in love at first sight. Because the boy he saw in front of him was the prettiest boy he had ever seen in town, if anyone asked him.
Chanyeol and Baekhyun were in the kitchen, fondly catching up with each other’s lives while his grandma cooked. Baekhyun was in the middle of recounting the time he almost caused a huge fire in Minseok’s coffee shop when the doorbell rang.
Leaving Baekhyun, Chanyeol got up to open the door. He didn’t know they were expecting more people, but for as long as he’s been back here, he discovered that his grandma tended to invite every kid she met while she was out before dinner. Chanyeol was prepared for when Baekhyun came barging in, so he thought he could handle a few more.
But maybe, just maybe he wasn’t ready for this one.
The door swung open and Chanyeol found himself staring at the cutest guy he’s ever seen. He was small, with big, round eyes fitted beautifully below a set of thick eyebrows. Lips coloured in a dull shade of red, short hair gelled into a trendy hairstyle; the comma. And maybe Chanyeol fell in love.
Okay, scratch that, Chanyeol definitely dived in love as soon as cutie gave him a smile. His plump lips morphing into a heart and his big eyes into crescents. His cheeks flushed a faint pink. He was… he was beautiful.
Suddenly remembering what he was wearing, Chanyeol froze, everything above his thorax colours in red. Chanyeol let slip a strangled sound in between a scream and a groan, before slamming the door in the cutie’s face.
“What the hell just happened?” was Kyungsoo's first thought. Did he get the wrong house? He took a look at the name engraved into a plate hammered right under the bell and— “Nope house sixty-one, this is definitely her house.”
“Red. Red suits him. That blush suit him,” was his second one — even though Kyungsoo technically didn’t know who that was.
After the tall cutie hadn’t come back to open the door for him, he decided to knock on the door again. It noisily swung open again, but now instead of the tall cutie standing there, Kyungsoo’s greeted by Grandma Park herself.
“Oh! Hello, Kyungsoo.” A small and gentle smile graced her lips as she shifted to the side to let him in. “How was your day?” She asked while closing the door behind him.
“It was okay. How about you, Grandma?”
“Oh, I cooked the whole day, it was nice. Uneventful, but it was still nice.” She beamed.
Kyungsoo honestly had only one of his ears listening to Grandma Park. He was preoccupied by the fact that there was no sight of the gigantic cutie anywhere. A soft rumble of disappointment settled in his chest. Was he already that whipped for pretty boy? His heart was still beating fast, cheeks still glowing a light shade of red as a result of embarrassment from before.
Before he could shuffle into the kitchen where he heard Grandma Park’s voice, the tall cutie from before came downstairs, now wearing a black hoodie that’s still a little too big for him. His ears were still a little bit red, his hair a mess, sticking out everywhere.
Chanyeol cleared his throat before he sent a small wave in Kyungsoo’s direction who stood at the end of the stairs. Kyungsoo flushes again, heart skipping as he sent Chanyeol back a small nod of his head. Kyungsoo turned around, now starting to walk into the kitchen as he tried his best to keep his cool. The painter followed after his new guest into the kitchen, eyes shying away.
Holy fuck. He was so cute. Kyungsoo would never get bored of Chanyeol’s shy face.
Wait, why was Baekhyun already there?
“Heyya, Kyungsoo!” chirped Baekhyun, gloved hands holding a pan filled with pasta in it.
Kyungsoo wasn’t sure why Baekhyun was there but that wasn't important anymore when Chanyeol took the place next to him.
Chanyeol standing up was huge, Chanyeol seated down was still huge. But now he’s slouched over in his seat, seemingly shrinking into himself, he’s making himself seem smaller than Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo broke out into a gentle smile, directing it at Chanyeol before he vigorously snapped his head away, face all red.
That night, between good food and laughter, Kyungsoo learned that Chanyeol was a pretty famous painter — he also was Baekhyun’s childhood sidekick a long time ago, being there for his most stupid ideas of adventure. He has a brother named Sehun — a brat, as Chanyeol said — and his friend who’s also his manager, Junmyeon.
He also learned how clumsy Chanyeol really was (he spilled his water twice and almost dropped their dinner right smack onto the floor, but that one was Baekhyun’s fault, mostly). Chanyeol apparently blushed quite easily. Red was really his color.
Baekhyun was long gone when Kyungsoo said his last goodbye, because he kept delaying his depart to talk to Chanyeol. Even Grandma Park took her leave a couple of hours ago, leaving them to talk alone.
Kyungsoo was in a good mood that morning. It’s been two months since Chanyeol moved to town and in those two months none of his plans to ask him out had worked.
He had tried to court him with roses but Chanyeol, red as a tomato, told Kyungsoo how he was allergic to it before sneezing so hard that some petals got blown away. Kyungsoo tried to take him out for a picnic too, next to the forest’s lake where there’s plenty of grasslands and calming winds, only for heavy rain to spoil his surprise, forcing them to retreat into Chanyeol’s home. They indulge themselves with rerun episodes of Charmed along with hot cups of cocoa sprinkled with marshmallow.
Okay, maybe the second one wasn’t a complete failure since he still spent the day with Chanyeol. Seeing Chanyeol in his soft, big rilakkuma pajamas, ears pink from his shyness, and eyes trying their best to avoid looking at Kyungsoo (he had watched Chanyeol’s beautiful side profile more than the TV show, to be honest, and he did not regret it one bit). There were more failed attempts to ask the tall painter out afterward and frankly, Kyungsoo was growing desperate now. He’s not one to back off no matter how much it seemed like the world’s going against his wishes.
So this time. This time it had to work.
So yeah he was in a good mood today. He had passed all the previous nights with Baekhyun, planning today. It needed to be perfect.
First he needed to go wake Baekhyun up, then they would take the cows in the pasture, where they had laid the hay yesterday. He would then go fetch Chanyeol during his break and bring him to the field to then hopefully — and finally — get a date from the cute giant at the end of the day. Just the thought of Chanyeol’s smile when he’d finally see the cows forming a heart just for him made Kyungsoo grin like a madman.
With a light skip in his pace, head bobbing to a beat only he could hear, he made his way to the house next to his. It was Baekhyun’s mom who opened the door.
“Good morning, Kyungsoo,” she said with a small and warm smile, shifting to the side to let him into the house.
“Is Baek awake, Madam?” asked Kyungsoo, eyes already roaming wild in search of a blondie once he set foot in the living room. She allowed a dramatic little sigh past her lips, before letting a small ‘no’ slip out.
Kyungsoo turned to look at her, eyes turning into crescents and lips forming a heart. He showed her a flexed arm, patting it for emphasis before adding, “I will wake him up, don’t worry.” She tittered at his antics and dismissed him, which gave him an idea that it was his cue to go. Chuckling, Kyungsoo then made his way across the first floor to where Baekhyun’s room was.
Bursting into the room, Kyungsoo jumped on the bed, screaming and laughing at the sleeping boy to ‘wake the fuck up’, because it was D-Day. The Big Day. Groaning, Baekhyun kicked Kyungsoo until the latter ended up sprawled on the floor with a loud thud. It must have hurt. Baekhyun really hoped it hurt.
He wasn’t disappointed, rather pleased, when he popped his head out from under the blanket to see Kyungsoo on the floor, massaging his back with a pout on his face.
“That hurt, Baek,” whined the one on the floor, getting up with a hand still on his back. Baekhyun clicked his tongue.
“You deserved it, you almost killed me,” cried a yawning sleepy blonde head.
While scratching his butt — ew — Baekhyun stood up, walking toward his bathroom door to wash up. Kyungsoo sat at his desk, spinning around in the chair.
Suddenly stopping, a hand on the knob of the bathroom door, he turned facing his friend with a big grin, oblivious to the other boy deep in his thought still turning by himself. It was D-Day.
“Anyway, are you ready to get in your man’s pants today?” Baekhyun teased him. Freezing, Kyungsoo glared at his friend. Baekhyun hurriedly opened the door, scurrying into the bathroom before the scissors could reach him. Baekhyun laughed his ass off once he was safely behind the door. Kyungsoo, red like a tomato, could hear him laugh like crazy, the little shit.
He really needed to revise his choice of friends once again. As soon as possible.
Overalls: check. Boots: check. Once Baekhyun had freshen up, and was ready to go, they silently made their way toward the barn, occasionally trying to push each other in a muddy puddle, softly snickering at each other.
“Hello girls! How are we doing today?”screamed an out of breath and excited Baekhyun while opening the door to the cows.
He had run the rest of the way there, fearing for his life after having splashed Kyungsoo with mud. Shaking his head at the antics of his best friend Kyungsoo let out a sigh, following the other boy into the stable with a smile.
“Françoise!!” boomed the energetic blond, dashing towards his favorite cow. Françoise was the eldest cow of the Byun’s franchise. She was living her remaining days peacefully in the pasture, grazing all day. A good and nice cow, if you asked Kyungsoo.
“Time to play out!” added Baekhyun, patting the cow’s head with enthusiasm. The cow had fallen sick a few weeks ago, but here she was, still up and ready to stroll down the meadow today again.
Removing her bangs, Baekhyun kissed her on the forehead with an exaggerating smack noise. Eww! Kyungsoo got a thrill of disgust. He will never get used to his best friend’s strange habit. Never.
They took the cows out to the meadow where they’ve spread the hay out to form the shape of a heart the day before. Once that was done, Kyungsoo went to fetch Chanyeol from Minseok’s coffee shop. Ever since Chanyeol’s step foot in this town, that was where he spent most of his time, learning how to make coffee art and sometimes even sketching the people there.
Chanyeol had once made him one. It looked like the drawing could have been a heart (it looked more like a potato after), only if Chanyeol hadn’t have tripped over his own feet. Nobody got hurt though, but half of his coffee was on the floor and Chanyeol had been a cute fluttering mess because of that. He nearly knocked himself out on the table while bowing furiously to apologise. A precious mess. Kyungsoo was definitely whipped.
“Hey!” Kyungsoo greeted the tall man behind the counter and grins, eyes crinkling behind a set of healthy teeth.
Chanyeol’s smile reaches his eyes too, like always, when he spots Kyungsoo. He had the most breathtaking smile, Kyungsoo noted; wide, with too many teeth displayed. His left eye tends to twitch too, and it seemed unusual at first, but Kyungsoo’s grown to think that it was perfect.
Oh, God! He wasn’t aware of missing this smile that much.
“Hi.” The heat has already creeped upon Chanyeol’s cheeks. “How you doing? No chicken houses to visit today?” Chanyeol teased, still red. He was wiping a cup behind the counter, his beige apron hugging his slim waist tightly. The shop was empty save for a couple of regulars.
“No.” Kyungsoo chuckled. “I came to see you”
Chanyeol almost dropped the cup he was holding at Kyungsoo’s words.
“I mean, I came to see if you had some time for me. I have a surprise.”
“Oh.” Chanyeol flipped his dyed silver locks out of his eyes, a little smile on his pretty pink lips. Damn it, he was really adorable!
“I finish in five minutes, if you don’t mind waiting for me.”
Of course he didn’t mind. He could wait hours if it’s means spending time with Chanyeol.
“I’ll wait for you,” he gently said before making his way to an empty table at the back to wait for his soon-to-be-boyfriend. Well, at least that’s what he hoped. Kyungsoo decided to text Baekhyun to see if everything was going according to the plan.
the wind has risen but everything is fine
we’ll be there soon
also thank you for everything
got ya boo
send me a heart back
send me a heart too ㅠㅠ
Soon enough Chanyeol, apron gone and hands clean, stalks towards Kyungsoo. Chanyeol seemed excited for some reason, a huge boyish grin splashed across his jaw. Satisfaction from seeing Chanyeol so happy made Kyungsoo mimic Chanyeol’s expression, and he quickly answered his best friend before getting up to join Chanyeol.
“So where are you taking me?”
“It’s a surprise, Chanyeollie!” Kyungsoo chortled. “Wouldn’t be fun if I told you.”
Walking side by side to the fields, they filled the silence with their chatter, talking like how they always do. They talked about everything; farm works, Chanyeol’s training in coffee art, how he started sketching again and a lot more.
“I don’t know, something about this town makes me want to paint,” he mumbled as he shrinked in on himself again. Chanyeol does that a lot. It’s a sign of shyness. “It’s good isn’t it?”
“I mean, this is why you came in the first place. I’m really happy for you, Chanyeol.” Kyungsoo casted Chanyeol a gaze full of fondness, a ghost of a smile brushing his lips. That was one of Chanyeol’s favorite kind of smile, one that made his heart skip a few beats.
Chanyeol’s confession about how he’s starting to want to paint again only made Kyungsoo even more excited. As positivity flooded back into Chanyeol’s life, Kyungsoo wanted to be one of those positive things that would make Chanyeol happy again. He wanted to see Chanyeol’s eyes grow wider in surprise when he sees the cows forming a heart. Kyungsoo’s already playing the whole thing out in his head, the way he’d ask Chanyeol to be his boyfriend.
But nothing happened as expected.
Once at the field, they’re welcomed with a chaotic scene. Baekhyun was running after a cow, screaming at her to come back. Another cow has her front leg on the other side of the fence. The hay Baekhyun and him had laid out the day before was scattered all around as a result of strong winds.
Kyungsoo ran after Françoise before she could escape the meadow, trying to assess the chaotic field.Things weren’t supposed to turn out like this, that’s for sure. The cows should’ve been forming a heart right now, not running wildly everywhere with the hay they laid yesterday scattered all around them thanks to the wind. He should be asking Chanyeol to be his boyfriend at this moment, not running after a cow.
His surprise was a failure. Françoise who was by his side nudged him with her big nose — wetting a small part of his favourite shirt — as if she could feel his distress and was trying to comfort him. He felt like actual tears could burst out at any time now. At the other end of the field, Baekhyun’s head hung low. He knew how much Kyungsoo wanted things to be perfect, how much he wanted to surprise his gentle giant.
“Hey,” Chanyeol said, “I got a cow too!”
Chanyeol held his hand up, showing the rope he was holding as a nonchalantly goofy smile was plastered onto his lips. With that, the three of them bursted out laughing, tension and sadness vanishing with the strong wind. Maybe Kyungsoo’s heart melted a tiny bit at seeing Chanyeol laugh… just maybe.
Together they bring the cows back to the barn in time before the suspicious grey clouds decided to break and bury them in heavy rain.
Grabbing Chanyeol’s hand as they run like mad men to avoid being soaked wet down to their bones. Baekhyun was in front of them, running too. Their laughter echoing through the air. Chanyeol realised that this was happiness. It’s been a long time since Chanyeol had this much fun. Real and sincere laughters sounding like the chimes of glee slipping past his lips, cheeks aching from grinning this widely.
Yeah. He was happy.
Kyungsoo has never seen Chanyeol’s eyes sparkle this much in the short time they’ve known each other. Taking the silver-haired boy to Seoul’s summer fair was really worth all those long days he pulled and the few muscle aches he got in return just to fill in for an early day.
Kyungsoo had worked twice as hard at the farm to harvest all the corn and eggs, then packed them for the next delivery in town. Up at dawn and asleep after the sunset, he haven’t had the time to pay a visit to Chanyeol and see how his painting was going. Yes, Chanyeol seemed to get some of his inspiration back. Kyungsoo missed him. But in the end, all the hardwork and little heartaches would worth it.
He asked his dad for the old truck, promising to be careful and fast with it. His old man had given him permission, begrudgingly though. Kyungsoo had asked Chanyeol if he wanted to accompany him to town. Chanyeol said yes of course, it meant he could go pick up more paint and one or two more canvases.
They had gone to the city, delivering the merchandises and chatting with the clients. Well, Chanyeol was discussing with them while Kyungsoo… well, he worked. After his last customer — a nice and quiet old lady, who was the owner of an equally nice and quiet coffee shop, who also gave them free coffee and pie — Kyungsoo was ready to put his plan into action. Instead of driving up the road back home, he made his way further towards the center of Seoul.
At Chanyeol’s confused gaze, he giggled and started explaining.
“I have a surprise for you,” turning right at the corner and stopping at the red light, he turned his head to face the cause of the butterflies fluttering in his belly. Seeing the lost and slightly panicky expression on the other boy, he continued before the other could.
“I mean, i-if you… well, yeah if you don’t, I can still bring you home,” finished Kyungsoo, suddenly shy and unsure if his foolproof plan was really foolproof. Eyes focused on the road, and hands tightly gripping the wheel, he only released a relieved sigh when he hear the booming and excited voice of Chanyeol.
“I love surprises! So where are we going?” asked the taller, puppy eyes in action. Kyungsoo knows it without even having to look at him.
“This wouldn’t be a surprise anymore if I tell you, Yeollie.” Snorted the shorter boy, missing the way Chanyeol grew quiet and flustered because of what Kyungsoo called him. Chanyeol liked how Kyungsoo pronounced the nickname, his voice was always lower and sweet, tasting like honey. He wiggled slightly and opened the window. It was suddenly really hot in the car.
After half an hour filled with loud singing, giggling and more stolen glances, they finally arrived at the destination. Amazed and excited, Chanyeol jumped out of the car at the speed of light and bounced everywhere while clapping his hands and laughing loudly.
With an incessant number of “oh! my God!”, “really?” and a lot more of “Kyungsoo, look here!” they walked side by side to the gate of the amusement park.
They took place in the Ferris Wheel, Chanyeol needing a break from all the fast ride they did since they arrived. Sitting close, closer than necessary, but no one was complaining. And no one talked since they entered the cabin, Chanyeol who was feeling too shy to look at him only looked through the window, admiring Seoul’s nightlife while Kyungsoo searched for proper words to voice out.
“Can I kiss you?” Chanyeol’s eyes opened wider if that was even possible, the tip of his ears turning red at Kyungsoo’s request. It was the perfect timing to ask. They’ve spent hours in that amusement park and they’ve decided to take a break from the thrilling rides. They got on the most romantic ride in the amusement park last — courtesy of Chanyeol pulling him to other faster and more exciting rides.
A few awkward minutes of silence hung around them — layers and layers of overbearing silence — with just them looking into each other’s eyes before Chanyeol shyly nodded his head. And there, on top of the Ferris Wheel, above the nightlife of Seoul, they shared a kiss.
Kyungsoo leaned towards a flustered Chanyeol. Slowly. Soft pink lips against plump red lips. Nose bumping together just the slightest and eyes gently closing. Heads tilted and hearts racing loudly.
Chanyeol’s cheeks were dusted red at this point and with unsure trembling hands, he nervously grabbed Kyungsoo’s neck, clumsily deepening the kiss. Kyungsoo tightened the grip of his hand on the painter’s hips, gently pulling him closer. He was practically on top of Kyungsoo’s lap now, not that he was complaining.
He felt Kyungsoo change the angle of the kiss, his tongue licking into Chanyeol’s mouth. Chanyeol let him explore his mouth, licking and nibbling his bottom lip till it turned a darker shade of red. He felt Kyungsoo’s strong hands gently cup his face, thumb affectionately running against his burning cheek, making his heart beat a little louder, a little harder if possible.
He was nervous. Could Kyungsoo hear his rapidly beating heart? He swore he was able to hear Kyungsoo’s against him. Or maybe it was his. After all, Kyungsoo had been his crush for the past few months. To think the cute gentle farmer would reciprocate his feelings, Chanyeol couldn’t believe his luck.
Breathlessly, they parted.
Chanyeol looked ethereal. The different lights flowing through the window made him look unreal, silver grey hair tousled in every direction casted by the colored lights of the town, the tip of his elf-like ears were red cerise, like his shiny puffed lips. He was beautiful.
Kyungsoo was as pretty as the man in front of him. Full lips grinning, shiny and red, black hair disheveled wildly due to Chanyeol’s roaming hands. His cheeks and neck were dashed with furious pink, amber eyes dark and heavy, looking at Chanyeol like he was the 8th Wonder of the World.
Smiling widely Chanyeol cleared his throat, embarrassed to be looked at with such obvious love. How could he have missed the hint that his crush wasn't one-sided.
good morning pretty boy go to your window
just do it
it’s a surprise
Getting out of his bed, one side of his large rilakkuma shirt hanging low on his shoulder, Chanyeol walked to his window. What time was it even? He could still hear the rooster screaming like bloody hell. The sky was still wearing its usual orange and pink stripes.
He stood in front of his window, one hand over his mouth as he yawned while the other scratched his belly. Chanyeol crumbled in a fit of giggles. Smiling widely at the scene unfolding before — well more like below — him.
There in the field behind his grandmother's house was Kyungsoo, in his overalls, arms up and sporting a huge heart-shaped grin. Behind him, a few cows were grazing hay. They were forming what looked like an heart, that was what Chanyeol noticed first.
i love you Chanyeol
Chanyeol was grinning like an idiot, watching Kyungsoo run toward the cows, hands up in the air and probably an equally as huge grin on his face too.
i love you too ♡♡♡♡
Chanyeol was still grinning to this day while narrating to people how he got a boyfriend and an idea for his most recent exposition. “L’amour est dans le pré” he called it (a french title, courtesy of Byun Baekhyun and his obsession with french things).
It was nothing like Chanyeol’s ever painted before. Various tableaux composed of sceneries of Hadong. Minseok, his coffee shop and the regulars, Chanyeol’s grandma cooking and Baekhyun laughing happily with Françoise by his side. A field of sunflowers bathing in the morning sun, the forest’s swarming with youngsters jumping in it. But the heart of it was his favorite. It was Kyungsoo with his heart shaped smile, cheeks pink and a straw hat on his head. Far behind him a few cows forming a heart.
“Well, seems like the countryside treated you good,” Junmyeon teased as they stood in front of Kyungsoo’s tableau.
“Yeah, it did.”
Looking back at Kyungsoo discussing with Minseok, Baekhyun, and Sehun, a big and soft smile took place on his face. Eyes fond and sparkling beautifully. Junmyeon couldn’t be happier, Chanyeol and his sparkle were back, better than ever and in love too. At that moment, Junmyeon decided that love was a good look on Chanyeol because he was glowing.
They both made their way towards their friends who were waiting for them, to carry a toast for Chanyeol and his new successful exposition. Chanyeol took the place next to his boyfriend, Sehun on his other side next to Junmyeon. They raised their glasses, happiness and laughter flowing easily through the rest of the night.
Kyungsoo’s hand subtly slid into Chanyeol’s big, callous one, a gentle smile on his face, and the intention of never letting go apparent with it.
He was happy.