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say goodnight 'n go

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I've always searched for something.

Pretty much since I could understand and see myself as a individual human being.

"Jackson, what are you doing?" Mother asked me when she found me alone in my room, talking to someone I pictured in my head, the boy I found in the beach a couple of days before. 

I was eight.

"I'm introducing him to my power rangers," I murmured, completely absorbed in my imagination, watching as the invisible boy paid attention to my mother as she smiled in a understanding way, thinking it was weird and funny at the same time.

"What's your imaginary's friend name?" She kept smiling, not really getting into my room, but leaning on the doorstep. A party was happening in the house and outside the door everything was loud and full of known faces, faces that I was learning to know that applied meaning in my life, as the shy kid that I was.

Family.

  He's not imaginary, you met him at the beach," I explained myself as I made moves with my dolls. The black Power Ranger was my favorite.

"At the beach? You mean, that boy that tried to push and fight with you?" She twisted her bronzed, toned by the sun face. All sharp and with some artificial touches here and there.

"He was just nervous, but he's cool." I explained, watching the boy smiling at me.

I knew it was in my imagination, but something stronger than me wanted it to be real.

I have never seen him again in my entire life and I was twenty one now. I have changed too much. I couldn't even picture how he would look like nowadays.

"D'you want something to eat?" She offered me, sunglasses covering her chinese eyes. A wrap in her right hand, the one she used to give it to me not really paying attention.

"Thanks." I felt the sun burning my right arm, being exposed in the sun in a area that the parasol couldn't reach. The humid, white and fine sand covered my feet and my body was confused between feeling cold or too hot.

The waves were crashing in front of our eyes. Blue sea with green undertones, people everywhere. 

It wasn't summer, but it was for us, natives. The temperature was twenty degrees and it was considered one of the hottest years in Hong Kong. We traveled back home to celebrate a holiday in family, as we usually did.

It was April 4th, Saturday, Qingming festival, year of 2015. Middle of spring.

My mind just kept reminding me of that day, when I was a kid, 13 years ago. I was shy and timid, even though my insides were burning with excitement and ideas on how to properly celebrate the holiday. 

I met a Korean kid, round face, sharp and dark eyes, like most of them had. Black hair, sun-kissed skin, glowing under the sun, but he had this displeased face, as if his favorite food was over.

I had no idea who were his parents and where they could possibly be. The water was warm where we were sitting side by side in silence, each with one of my Power Rangers. He was holding the black one, making me nervous and slightly uncomfortable.

Mostly jealous.

I had to play with the red one and although I didn't quite liked him, I kind of felt like him most of times: proud, brave, sometimes explosive and a fire starter. 

But I liked the black. He was powerful, mysterious, full of tricks and low-key antissocial. I was nothing like him, but I had this subconscious admiration towards him. And he was holding it too strong.

"Why are you so pensive? Are you tired?" My dad asked, out of education. He was too busy reading a programming book, which made him look younger than he truly was - and of course, he knew about it. A hundred percent forced.

"I'm just thinking. I met a boy at this same spot 13 years ago when we came to this same festival."  I commented, knowing that if my dad was really listening, he would emphasize the part that it was a boy, just to look like the cool, accepting parent that he wanted to be. Ironically, my parents were more conservative when it came to making up my bed every morning after I got up then with whom I chose to relate emotional and sexually - which was a relief.

"A boy," He repeated in another type of voice, as if teasing me, but there was nothing to be teased about, actually.

"Yeah. He was Korean and he was really deep into the idea of killing my black Power Ranger with the strength of his chubby fingers, I just can't forget it."

 "Hm," He stared at me, having a gulp of his iced beer. A spot on his face with non-spread sunscreen, leaving a white mark on the bridge of his nose, made me smile.

"I also couldn't understand a single word he was saying, but we managed to communicate, somehow." I stared at the horizon, watching as the one in the afternoon big clouds faded into the blue sky. The sun was almost blinding, shining and reflecting in the water where children were playing. A familiar scene and feeling. I loved the beach.

"Incredible. You have your dad's communication skills." Was all he said, before returning to his book.

These were the conversations between me and my parents. They were never the grown up ones, always talking about themselves and forgetting to focus on me.

I wasn't finished. There were plenty of details I wanted to add, like: I was concerned about the boy. He had bruises in his legs and arms. At that time I thought he was just too adventurous or maybe he got into a lot of fights since he was so aggressive. He took the black Power Ranger from my hand and the only word I was able to understand was pabbo. The way he smiled when he looked at my disappointed face, as if he was happy to make me miserable. It was such a shocking scene. Something I would never forget. Something to be present in all moments for the rest of my life, and so I searched for something.

I didn't quite knew what. If it was some object, money, a status or someone. I just had this feeling that I've lost something out there. Something that it deeply belonged to me, in all forms and ways.

It was somehow connected with that boy. With the way he made me feel.

I wasn't referring to my doll, though, nah. 

He gave it back to me, with a smile on his round face, squishy cheeks showing me his teeth for the first time. It simply made me smile too.

I got it. I got the way he felt and he was right. He had the right to be aggressive. The way his dad shouted at him for silly things or made unnecessary observations, just to make him feel uncomfortable in some way. It bothered me, but the feeling wasn't as strong as the way I felt when he played with me and how happy he was about it, even if we couldn't understand each other. It lasted all the afternoon and when we waved each other goodbye, it broke my heart.

I had my heart broken for the first time that day, with only eight years old. 

He had to leave me, in tears. His mother tenderly carrying him away.

I cried to sleep too and no one understood. No one saw.

 

I didn't even knew his name.

 

"I love this place." I sighed, resting my head between my crossed arms jolted back.

Painful memories made me the best of me, surprisingly.

I became better and better with every sad memory that popped in my mind.

"I'm going for a swim." I announced, taking my shirt off, standing up and giving them no time to say something. Not that they would.

Moving pass other people sitting closer to the water, I sniffed the smell of the sea. The salty, refreshing and humid air, full of memories. I watched the kids running, having fun in their imaginary worlds, sand castles and plastic toys. The sweet memories I had were so vivid in my head that I could feel the same things every single time my feet touched the warm, transparent water underneath me. 

I shivered at the small feeling, as if the sea was inviting me in, just waiting for my body to be immersed, so then the waves would wash my soul and take away all the negativity dwelling in the depths of my heart.

I was alive. Even though there was something missing.

 


Busan, April 12th, Sunday, 2015.

  

I was taking the trash out when I saw my new neighborhood.

My mom said they moved yesterday, but I haven't had a sign of anyone since their arrival.

She saw the woman in the arrival day and they actually had a conversation. She said the woman had a son and was divorced. A recently-divorced, actually. Her son was the same age as me and we went to the same university, but he was in an acting major and I was an movie arts producer. 

 "Annyeonghaseyo." I said, not really sure if I should speak to him.

 He turned to me, wearing a cap and loose black clothes, making a gesture with his chin like he was talking back, but without saying a word. I could barely see his face because of the shadows, but somehow his smell got to me. I felt his perfume and turned back to what I was doing, closing the trash can and walking back home. It was citric and kinda sweet. 

Familiar.

 Nothing else was said, but I had a strange feeling inside my body. Like I was feeling cold from inside - maybe I had a fever. Maybe I was sick, maybe it was the lunch I made myself earlier with ingredients that wasn't supposed to be on the fridge anymore, I just didn't seem to care. My dad was too busy to stop his work and manage what the hell was going on in the kitchen. Dad was always working and my mom was never home, due to her religious group meetings - the ones I was always rebellious - not that it would make any difference if she was home. Most of the time I was alone in the house, but I loved it. I loved that I could put whatever songs that I liked or be loud without having to be careful with the neighbors, as it was back in Hong Kong. I loved that I could speak out loud to myself without anyone pointing me as insane, because it was something I was just too used to do since I was little. 

Right now it was not one of these moments. My mom was home making what she likes to call dinner and my dad was watching some american football on TV and it was a Sunday night. I was alone in my room, deciding if the sensual pictures I took would look better in black and white or colored with some vintage shit. 

Editing skills.

I could make any picture in the world look perfect, except for mines.

"Jackson, dinner's ready!" My mom screamed from the kitchen and I wasn't excited at all, but I was starving, so I jumped off my bed and ran out to the kitchen, eyeing the traditional Korean foods -that she actually knew how to make.

Which was a relief.

"I met the new neighbor." I said, starting the discussion. My dad came to the table and we started making our plates. Mom served us with rice and I served my dad with sundubu jjigae. "The awkward dude."

"Hmm... How was he like?" My dad spoke. 

The part that compensated my dad's absence was that when he was home, he spoke like crazy, even though he still kept not really paying deep attention.

"I don't know, couldn't see his face." My shoulders automatically made that move when you don't care that much about something.

"What did he said?" My mom served me and finally settled down, curious about something involving someone that was not part of that family, so she'd have something to share with her friends. It made me kind of disgusted, but only because it was her.

"Nothing. I greeted him, but all he did was raise his chin and do the same thing I was doing with the trash." I was remembering his face - mostly his jawline - and trying to find out what he was up to. Maybe what were his vibrations, energies. If he was cool or if I should keep my distance.

"Maybe he's still tired. You know how moving can be exhaustive." Mom said, filling her mouth with rice.

"I know. I'm not expecting anything though." And it was true, I wasn't.

"Well, you should. It'll be great to have a friend that close from home.''

And she was such a cliche. Pushing her son to someone she found interesting just so she could have control and responsibility over a situation. Fuck off.

After that the dinner went silent, but it was comfortable, at least out of my mind.

  


 

"Are your things settled for tomorrow, Jackson? I don't wanna be late for work because of you." My mom was mostly severe all the time, but being raised like that, I've grown used to it.

Actually, it made me stronger.

"Yeah." Also made me quieter. Made me simple and direct, even if I completely changed when I was alone with my friends - I was scandalous, vivid, spontaneous and extra. 

And with that hidden "goodnight, son. Sleep well", everyone slept. I slept after finishing the edits on the pictures, around midnight and I knew I wouldn't be ready for college the moment I woke up the day after, but whatever. What is life if not moments you don't want to do something, but have to?

"Wake up..." My mom had this strange behave every morning, to knock on my door, thinking I was still asleep - probably because when I was a kid, I would never wake up. I could be extra reluctant on going to school to try to learn math and all these kind of things that I just couldn't understand.

"I'm on." I said, hoping she could listen, but not really making the effort. I had to beat myself in the shower, just to make sure none of them would listen to my moans in a specific shit voice by the morning.

Grabbing the towel from my chair, I got out of my messy room to finally start my routine. With the shower on and naked, I caressed every single part of my body in a way to check if everything was okay, as if I was able to change it instead of having to deal with my flaws silently, ha. I stared to clean myself with my favorite vanilla soap and feel my body slippery, touching myself and equally caressing, thinking about nothing specific.

I considered funny that I was easily distracted when I was touching myself. Everything could take away my focus and today, the faceless boy with black loose clothes was the thing keeping me from thinking about the last porn video I've watched.

I pictured the woman being fucked in one side of my brain and in the other side, his smell was coming and I started to feel nervous. I haven't fantasized on him or something like this, obviously. Actually, anything could come to my mind when I was trying to touch myself, from dogs, to a series or the vision of flowers, for example.

If I subconsciously thought it was an intriguing scene, consciously I wouldn't let go of it.

But I knew I made it when I felt a twitch coming somewhere down. I felt close when I stroked hard the enough and then I was cuming one more time, letting some breath moans come out of my throat and it felt oh, so good.

I was good at touching myself and equally good at containing my moans knowing exactly what I liked, the pace and the places. That made me satisfied on being alone - I mean, single - most of the time. I've been masturbating since I was fourteen and I could say I was a pro at pleasure.

With four relationships in my back and twenty two Korean years old, I could say not everyone had the lucky opportunity to be touched by me, but the ones I did never forgot my hands. I was an openly pansexual and my parents couldn't care less about it. I was a hundred percent honest with my mom about my relationships and my dad had a clue I was more into men than women, but he never truly cared about the difference in my conception, so I was comfortable. All of my friends were luckily open-minded and a couple of them were bisexual. I was a lucky boy. Given the freedom to be who I was in a society that couldn't deal pretty good with girls wearing tops and boys not completely paying the bills whenever they had a blind date.

Lucky.

Getting out of the shower, I dressed up for my classes and fixed my hair. After some cologne and skincare, I was definitely ready. My mom was rushing me, but at the same time forgetting a lot of things and my dad was in the shower - he would start working later. When opening my mom's car door, throwing her stuffs and mine inside, I saw the boy again. He used the same uniform as me, but the difference was that I wore a grey sweater on top of the shirt and he wore a loose tie, upon a shirt the clearly was not ironed. Relatable.

"Good morning, Jaebeom-ah!" My mom was scandalous, making him realize he wasn't alone outside his house. Same, I thought. My mom could be invasive even out of her house, what a woman.

"Good morning misses Wang." He bowed and his expression couldn't be more blank. He was trying to tie his lunchbox on the back of his bike, but stopped the moves, probably feeling scared of my mom.

I wanted to laugh. He was so fucking relatable.

"Going to UNI? Leave your bike, I can give you a ride!" She wore her best smile with super white teeth, trying to convince the boy that after hearing the "I", looked at me for the first time, turning his body around and I could finally see his face. He wasn't that pale, but he had a typically Korean face, sharp brows and eyes, long nose and thin lips. His jawline was marked, an uncommon feature and he had two moles on top of his left eye, making it look like a piercing. Talking about piercing, he had a lot on his ears and he was taller than me. His shoulders were wide and his legs were slightly out of place, but like the moles, it was a charm.

I just had the feeling I knew him.

I mean, I probably swept my eyes over him once or twice, just because it was impossible not to do it, but...

Still...

What a familiar face.

"Thank you misses Wang, but I'm used to do this everyday." And I could finally hear more of his voice. A soothing but powerful tone, seemingly to come out splat by the nose and the throat. He had a strong tone and some marking confidence in the way he spoke - fast and cutting.

I kinda liked how he dismissed my mom, even knowing how rude it was to decline someone else' kindness in Busan. Maybe he wasn't that Korean after all.

"Oh, come on boy," She walked down the stairs of our enormous deck. "It's ridiculous, we are going the same way at the same time..." She wouldn't accept a no as an answer. I just opened the door from behind and got in. "Hurry up, we're gonna be late!" I was inside the car, watching him from the inside mirror. His arched eyebrows and pout becoming evident, until it was just too noticeable - cute.

There was no turning back now.

He untied his lunchbox from his bike and started towards walk the car. I pretended to be surprised, messing with nothing special on my phone when he opened the right back door to get inside, having myself feeling the same smell from before, but stronger. Something tropical and sweet.

It was good, I was getting familiarized with it more than I should. It matched my cologne, something more like wood and fresh.

His hair had bangs, but the sides were buzz-cut and it was a dark black. It was so hydrated that it densely glowed. I wanted to touch him and find out if they were as smooth as they looked like.

"I believe you already met my son, Jackson." My mom got in the car and smiled through the mirror, trying to be sympathetic, but I knew she was trying hard for me to be friends with him, not admitting that I had my own ways of doing things and approaching people. It was like I was a teenager.

"Neng." He said, not looking at my face, but turning to me, which made me kind of upset.

I was probably too used to visual contact and not receiving this attention made me nervous. Made me eager to get it at all costs.

Was he going to be a challenge?

His voice was dry and I was starting to think he didn't liked me, just by the energy he was emanating. I didn't say anything when she started to drive. The silence was mortal, so thick that you could actually grab it. We got my mom's friend on the way and she sat beside her in the car, as usual. "Good morning Jackson!" She spoke to me with the same everyday voice. "And who's this?" She smiled at the boy by my side, having no idea of his temper.

I looked at Jaebeom and he had a clueless face. His untied bow tie making me nervous - why couldn't he just do it properly?

Realizing the continued silence, I decided to speak before it got too weird. He could own me one after that.

"This is our new neighbor, Im Jaebeom. We go to the same UNI." I smiled, trying to end the subject with a simple phrase that revealed everything that she might wanted to ask.

"Nice to meet you, Jaebeom!" She replied, forcing sympathy.

He slightly bowed at her and pushed his lips trying to make a smile, but I didn't liked. It was a smile that didn't suited him - at least I thought, even though I had no idea how his true smile would look like.

Then my mom and her friend went all the way talking. We stood in silence and waited for the final destination.

Getting there, my mom gave me some money to buy lunch and said goodbye to Jaebeom in a expressive happy way, but he only bowed again, thanking her politely, going against the lack of Korean manners I thought he didn't have. He was weird and slightly not interested about anything. It got to a point where it started to trigger me.

"What time do you finish your classes? We can go home together." I said, after almost five minutes of silence, walking through the campus side by side. I was not normal at all for me to be so silent and controlled.

"Around five." Simple, short and cutting. Exactly the way someone replies to you when they don't want to extend a conversation.

Why did he have to stay three more hours? Were his extracurricular activities the same as mines? 

"Why do you stay here till five?" I was too curious.

"I have some activities after class." He always spoke only the necessary and part of me loved it, but the other part just grew stressed and anxious It made expectations bloom inside my head.

Of course I knew he had activities, but I wanted to know which ones. And he knew I wanted to know.

Was he playing hard to get on purpose?

"What activities? Like, extracurricular?" I looked at one side of his face, waiting for him to cut me off. In a couple of seconds of conversation, I just knew he was the dismissive type.

"Yep." Too much, too little.

I gave up and we returned to the silence. We got to the main entrance and my friends screamed my name, probably startling him, sending him the double of miles away he already was from me.

It lasted five seconds: I smiled, said hi and something else and when I turned back, the boy disappeared. I could only see the back of Im Jaebeom walking away to somewhere else, until he became invisible in the middle of a ton of students dressed the same way.

  


    

Three and fifty o'clock. Time to go home, at least for today, since the dance teacher had something else to do and those responsible for the class couldn't find someone to replace him in time, so no dance class for today.

 I walked to the entrance of the university with my friends and we went all together to the bus stop, talking louder than it was necessary.

My mind kept bugging me about Jaebeom and what he could possibly be doing, what were his extracurricular activities and if he was okay.

If he was okay was deep thought. I made no sense, but it was there.

Of course he's okay, he's just shy and... Really uninterested about the world around him.

"Yah, Jackson-si... Are you coming or not?" Jinyoung's voice was deep and husky, and even being younger than me, he had some control over my body and I was not blind... I liked.

"On my way." I said, without rush. 

"What's up?" He continued, knowing me too well to tell when my mind was thinking seriously about something. I looked back at him with an intriguing face. He pressed his hand at the side of my body, warming my waist and looking inside my eyes with his deep brown cat ones.

"Nothing." It wasn't a lie. It was just that my thoughts were not that important.

"Hm..." He made that sound when you doubt but at same time, don't insist. "Let's go to my house, then." He looked at me that way again.

Oh yeah, Jinyoung was more of a gay than the bisexual he always claimed to be - and he was mostly a bottom, which was great and necessary. 

"What am I going to do at your house, Park Jinyoung?" I arched my eyebrows, looking nowhere. He was hungry and horny and absolutely crazy about the idea of me doing most of the things he imagined to do, things his family could never dream off.

"Just... Chill and you know..." Yes, I knew.

"Not today, Jinyoung-ah." I smiled at him, looking at his lips on purpose, trying to make him impatient - and it didn't take that much.

"Oh, come on... We can have fun... Let's make that night of ours something to be repeated..." He squeezed my waist, going down to my ass. Eyes wandering around, paying attention to the eyes on us.

"My god, are you that horny?" I arched my eyebrows even higher, our friends kind of far from hearing us. He back-hugged me suddenly and pressed his lips on my neck, too daring for someone like him.

"Please, we don't have to do something serious, just some things..." He begged and I loved when someone begged.

"I have homework..." I said, trying to test him.

"Fuck it, I can help you, let's go." It was a final decision, not a question.

He squeezed me one more time after biting my neck and then released me, catching my right hand and intertwining our fingers.

"You don't have to do this, you know?" I said, pointing at our hands, having extra fun at the way he blushed at the intimate contact, knowing we just played couple, but we would never really commit.

"Shut up, I know what I'm doing." He was an asshole.

"Asshole." I said.

We finally got to the bus stop and our friends noticed our hands, but didn't cared at all - they knew. I had everything and nothing in my mind at the same time and the bus to my house was about to pass. Then I sensed this smell... Tropical and sweet, but had more like a wood in the middle, making my body feel sensations.

The bus was coming when his face came out of nowhere. Jaebeom was there, passing through me, trying to reach the entryway of the bus. 

"Jaebeom!" I called, more excited than I could manage to control. Saying his name was like being electrocuted. Just something to remember.

I loosened the grip on Jinyoung's hand and the other looked at me through the bus window, walking to the end of the vehicle at the same time. 

"Mianhae, Jinyoung, I need to go!" I didn't even look at my friend's face when I let go of his hand, running to take the same bus.

"Yah!" Was all I heard from him when I tapped the card inside the bus, the doors closing, my eyes looking for the boy with dark hair and sharp eyes.

The bus gained movement and I saw him on the back, sitting in one of those high double sits. He was sitting on the window, looking through it.

"Yah..." I said, sitting by his side without asking if I could. "What are you doing here at this time? Don't you have extracurricular activities?" I was curious, but I realized I was also being invasive.

"I don't have extracurricular activities today." Was all he said, still looking through the window. Or ignoring me completely.

"Wae?" I forced. Blame my curiosity.

"My mentor was busy and they couldn't find someone else to replace him in time." 

Uh, so he pays dance classes, just like me and the boys...

How the hell I've never seen him before?

"Got it." Yes, I know, I made the subject come to an end, but don't lose hope yet. "Are there any other extracurricular activities that you do?" I restarted.

"Photography." He finally said.

Photography? What the hell?!

"That's completely unexpected..." I added a giggle a the end of my phrase, so it would sound less I know it all and more I had a feeling about you.

"Unexpected?" His voice changed in tone and volume. He turned his head to the front of the bus, as if it was the best he could do to give me some attention. I smiled at nothing, feeling glad that he was falling for the baits I was smartly throwing. I thought it was going to be harder than that.

Until...

"How can you be so sure you know me? Isn't that rude?" He looked in the driver's way avoiding my gaze. I copied, feeling the smile growing dryer and dryer, eventually disappearing. "Why are you sitting here anyways? Did I gave you permission to do so? Did I invited you to join me?" Now he was even more defensive, voice expanding to a new tone, that I supposed it was directed only to express his anger.

"Dude, calm down, I didn't mean to sound so invasive..." I stared at the side of his face, not receiving the same attention back. He was turning into something else and it was a matter of seconds until he looked a hundred percent pissed. 

"Well, surely sounding invasive it's not the only thing you can successfully do, but you are the full package yourself, getting into things no one asked you for." He looked straight at me for the fist time since we met and I had a full vision of his black, really dark eyes, sharp when focusing on me and I heard imaginary noises, as if the wind was passing through gaps and making this whistle sound. He kept staring and I kept blushing and feeling as a shiver ran down my spine. He was so familiar. Yet I couldn't recognize him. 

Where have I seen his face before?

"D'you need some written expelling letter? Get lost!" His gaze was deep and strong and he wouldn't let me in. There was a lot going on at the same time, his eyes, lips, eyebrows, his body language, the heat circling around my body, in my cheeks and ears. My dry mouth and lips, trying to formulate the perfect answer capable of calming him down, but nothing ever came out of me. "What are you looking at? Are you deaf?!" His voice started to grow louder and people around us started to look, wondering what in the world did a foreign like me do to make a native so stressed and disrespectful. 

In a jump, I focused on where I was again, standing up and feeling as if I had two left feet. The movement of the bus made me lose my balance for a millisecond or two, but not wanting to embarrass even more, I managed to sit somewhere else, as I was still trying to understand what the hell happened to my mind. Why did I heard things and why I was so hypnotized by the absence of color on his eyes, just simply black and deep. The fact that he had been rude to me didn't metered that much after all, but I still had to understand why did I make him so angry.

Was I that invasive?

I liked to believe I had great communication skills and no one ever felt insulted or uncomfortable, even if they were shy.

What did I do wrong?

He didn't say anything or made any facial expressions, but I had the worst view of him now, from the back of the bus in on of the highest banks.

How did I managed to fuck everything so fast and so hard like this? In a couple of seconds he passed from the potential friend that I could have to the only person on this planet that didn't liked me without a reason. Yes, because to everybody else who disliked or even hated me I gave at least one reason or two and I had no regrets.

But coming from Jaebeom, I just wanted to start all over again and make it right.

 


 

The entire trip was silent and then we got out of the bus. 

Silent for seven minutes having him three meters away from me, I paid attention on the way he walked. Slightly brushing his feet on the ground and moving his hips in a cutting way. His legs were crooked for the inside and his torso was bigger than them. He's back was arched, but his face was always down, looking at the ground, jet black hair falling on his eyes. His hands in the pockets of his pants and I couldn't hear his breath.

He was such a man... Wide shoulders, muscular, strong body.

The seven minutes walking home were never this fast when I was alone. Sooner, we were in front of his house, he never hesitating to leave me behind - and that said a lot to me.

"Take a ride with us at the same time tomorrow." It was an affirmative phrase. I wasn't asking and I was feeling impulsive. I just couldn't control myself.

Also, I opened the door faster than him, giving no time for a 'no' as an answer, and when I got to my house, I felt out of breath for no reason. A small smile in my lips, the same cold feeling inside, like a fever.

I was not stupid, I was curious, just for the way he made me feel, but I needed time to find out what type of interest was that that kept me returning to think about him.

Chapter Text

"Jackson! Hi! Good morning!" Jaebeom's mom opened the door and I swear to god, I never wanted to restart from a point in my entire life like I wanted right now.

Just kidding, I had much worse situations in my mind palace, but still.

"Good morning, misses Im. Is Jaebeom ready?" He was five minutes late and my mom was about to put me to adoption. Not that I would mind that much if it was even possible. I just wanted for Jaebeom to get out of his house really quick, so we could go to the campus and never need to speak to each other.

But that I definitely didn't wanted.  Not at all.

Not even a single bit.

"Jaebeom? He has left for almost half an hour now..." Her face was not as confused as mine, I swear. I was confused, mad, and about to be put for adoption thanks to my mom, who clearly let her narcissistic desires out the moment the ordered me to make sure Jaebeom was going to be there at exactly seven and thirty five.

But he wasn't. And I made us late. 

I was fucked.

No one should start a Tuesday like this.

"Oh... Okay, I thought he was coming with us..." I commented, expecting for her to support me and making sure she would control the next time he dared to dismiss another ride.

"I thought that too, jagi... Maybe he forgot?" Her apologizing smile was the best - she wasn't lying. She was as triggered as I was, but adding our frustrations together still wasn't going to get close to my mom's and her difficult temper when I returned with my hands empty.

"Probably. Thanks misses Im, I'll see you again soon!" I bowed and ran to my mom's car, feeling like trash.

"He's gone, mom. Don't bother." I tried to cut the topic as soon as I could, knowing my mom would extend it until she could find something else to focus her anger.

"What do you mean? You sure you warned him about the ride today?" Yes, I was the liar of the family. Usually everything was my fault, I did it all wrong and I was supposed to fix it.

"Neng." Was all I said, feeling stressed. 

He actually had the courage to ghost me, like I was nothing.

Again, both sides of my brain were divided... One side was calling him all the bad names I knew - I mean, the sad, disappointed, furious side - and the other - the side that wouldn't let me give up on him - was taking it as a challenge. 

Do I need to be bolder to make him understand he's already on my radar?

 


  

My classes were the same thing, I always had a lot of fun with my friends and I could say I was kinda known by most people. "Wang Jiaer!" I heard a known voice calling my name from behind me and in a blink of an eye I made a map of people who knew my Chinese name, but one of them had no reasons to be that scandalous, leading me to my final answer: Jinyoung.

I had the audacity to scream "MEO?" Back at him, loving as everyone in the corridor watching us. I turned around and the look on his face could kill, but not me, I was immune. I've learnt to be immune. He walked past me and grabbed my wrist, taking me away to the campus without even looking in my face.

"What the hell was that yesterday?!" He finally let go of me and I just wanted to laugh because he was trying to look mad but he wasn't doing good the enough.

"I had to go, sorry." I bowed, like he was overreacting and as if our relationship was nothing more than professional.

"WHO WAS THAT AT THE BUS?" He screamed-whispered violently, scaring me for an innocent second.

"My neighbor, his name is Im Jaebeom." I simply said, not taking my friend for real. I knew when Jinyoung was for real and it was nothing this scandalous.

"I know, we have same acting classes." Park Jinyoung was a fake ass person. The way he shifted from actor Park to my friend with benefits was just amazingly scary. Definitely something to be watched out.

"What- Then why did you asked me? Why d'you never told me? You already know him? Is he good?" I was curious...

No, not curious... I had more like a hungry feeling and I needed to be fed.

"Because you never asked...?" He made that face like I was being pathetic. "And yes, we actually were good partners at the scenes. He's good, but not as good as me, of course." He rolled his eyes and I did it do, but for a drastic different reason.

"Jinyoung, you are so gay, you have no idea-" I teased.

"I'M BI!" He slapped me in the left arm.

"You mean you're biologically gay, right? It's just a natural condition, nothing to worry about-" He slapped me in my chest, but his face gave me an authentic smile. "How come you know him and I don't?" I was kinda sad, hopping to be Jaebeom's first and official best friend, just to feed my own egoistic desires, but the last person I could imagine in the world to be his friend got there first.

"What? You like him? Why? He's not your type and you're not his..." He changed the mood of the conversation, talking more seriously.

Too seriously, actually.

"I don't like him, he's just my neighbor. I haven't seen him today, my mom got upset." I tried to explain, pushing Jinyoung against a tree. "And how could you possibly know what's my style?" I crossed my arms when he bumped against the wooden trunk, teasing him.

"I just know... And I'm not done with you yet." He looked around, searching for people who could care too much at our nastiness and pulled me closer by my shirt at the same time, stretching the material. I was already smiling and feeling excited for the possibilities of making out with other guy at the UNI's campus.

"Thought you were done with me yesterday at the bus stop..." I knew how to push his buttons, but he also knew mines too well.

"Shut up, Seunie." He smiled with his cheeks and closed the distance between us, not really caring anymore if someone was around.

I bet he was thinking of it as a punishment for my live ghosting yesterday. Such a sadist. 

Jinyoung had a dense and thick energy when he kissed, he knew which moves to make. His hands wandered around my torso, going down to my waist and I teased his neck with my fingers and nails.  Our kiss didn't meant any deep feelings, even if being deep itself. He moved intensely against my lips and I opened his mouth with my tongue, going deeper for real.  He let out a low sound when our tongues touched and pressed me more against himself.

Jinyoung was at least, a great kisser. I couldn't deny, once I taught him everything from the first day we went to university together - three years ago, when we first met. 

"You're doing great." I cut the kiss just to let him know, but it was nothing that he never admitted to himself. Jinyoung was the type that kissed me senseless for the fifth time thinking he knew it all about kissing, the proud son of a bitch. As months kept going, he just grew more impatient. Not to fuck me, no... We did it after the third time we met. The problem was that Jinyoung never wanted to stop. He would always come with new positions, lasting more or less, doing this or that; planning it all just to feel satiated. He was a hardcore fucker, but sometimes he would request some gentleness, whenever he felt alone or bad.

 My mouth flew straight to his jawline and my hands slipped to his butt, squeezing both cheeks, knowing all to good the way that he liked and how his body passed me the way he wanted to feel right at that moment.

"I had to learn something after such a long time, right?" His voice got out rusky and low in my left ear and I was living for the feeling. His right hand started to go down from my torso to my stomach and he wasn't willing to stop for the strength he was using to keep me there.

"Jinyoung-, you crazy? If someone catches us here like this we can be expelled..." I looked around, seeing nobody. His false laugh contained me inside the sexy vibe he created.

"Let's go to my house today, I miss you..." And when he said that, I knew it wasn't about sex. It was about caressing each other and spending some time together. It was about watching something and chilling in his room, and yes, maybe a blowjob or a hand job coming from both of us, but these were extra things. Jinyoung was the type of person who needed someone to look forward to and right now he was focused on me - until the day he would find someone to truly love and care.

"We see each other every single day, Jinyoung..." I cupped his face with my hands, looking at his eyes with a tender smile escaping from me.

"I know, but its been a while since we didn't have a moment just for us. Let's just relax at my house..." It was his way of saying he missed my body and my time just for him. "You know, we can have pizza or Korean food if you prefer... And we still have a lot of The Office episodes to watch..." He kissed me fast in the lips, hands now resting on my waist.

"Fine, I'm going... Just because I miss spending some time with you too." And I wasn't lying, it's been a couple of days since me and Jinyoung got drunk and had sex in silence, afraid of waking up his parents, but after the sex, there was always a better talk between us.

Actually, it's been a long time since we just stood next to each other watching the time go by. He and I... We had the same insecurities. Talking about them with someone who really understood was something above relief.

"I'll be waiting for you at the front gate. Around four." He caressed me like a teddy bear, looking into my eyes intensely. Suddenly I had a feeling he had something serious to say.  Whatever it was, it had to wait till we got on his room.

We just continued our routines apart. Jinyoung had acting classes and I was more of an engineer, but somehow, artists and producers always found each other.

 


  

We decided to go to Jinyoung's house by walking to avoid being noticed by our friends in the bus, but before that, we waited for them to leave and Jaebeom was there. Right there in front of me, looking like a god with his perfect posture and daring eyes. I was feeling weird around him, since he so rudely refused the ride for school, so I didn't speak. Jinyoung had his fingers intertwined with mines as a thing he liked to do when he couldn't caught himself noticing and we had smiles in our faces, laughing of terrible jokes. I was curious about his face, but he never looked in my direction more than twice. 

He was strange.

At four, the boy's bus passed, leaving us three and students we didn't know alone.

"Can we go?" Jinyoung squeezed one of my cheeks, making me push his hand away by instinct.

I felt eyes burning on my back and when I turned to see, Jaebeom was staring, but then he cut it, facing the bus that in another reality we would take to our houses. Together.

"Yah... Can we go?" Jinyoung pulled my face to look at him again and I lost my sight, not watching Jinyoung nor Jaebeom.

"Yeah, let's go." I pulled his left hand, guiding us without looking back.

I didn't want to confront him about this morning. I didn't even want to see his eyes because I was still mad, but he made that eye contact with me and I felt my body going out of control. Something just pushed me right back at him, but I didn't want to obey the feeling while I was with Jinyoung. Didn't want to give him reasons to feel jealous.

I kept walking with the tight grip in my hand and the intense gaze from Jinyoung's cat's eyes whenever he thought I wasn't paying attention.

 


 

 

"Do you want something sweet? We have a lot of salty snacks... I need something spicy..." Jinyoung looked through the shelves of snacks as I was picking a soda for our little encounter slash date slash hangout.

"Yeah, I want chocolate. And maybe strawberries..." I missed eating strawberries...

"Neng." He was cute doing convenience grocery shopping, like a real married man.

I took the strawberries and suddenly we had everything and maybe a little more just for a movie afternoon. It has been such a long time since our first "date" that we didn't even needed to make a classification about each one. We were not boyfriends and certainly, good friends didn't had sex like us.

"How much do you have in cash?" I asked, because I could definitely pay for everything.

"You pay for this and I pay for dinner?" He already knew and that was what made me believe me and Jinyoung had something unique.

"Deal." I said, in English.

Walking more five blocks till his home, he finally opened the door and we settled everything. We turned his room's TV on and took everything with us. I selected the next episode of The Office and we did our magic, saying absolutely nothing through the show, me waiting for him to say what was on his mind.

"So, you know I saw the way you and Jaebeom looked at each other at the bus stop, right?" He was direct - just because it wasn't about him.

"Jinyoung, don't." I took a deep breath, my back laid on the wall behind us, he laid by my side.

"No, seriously, what's going on?" He lifted his head just to look straight into my face.

"How did he looked at me?" I kind of changed the focus of the conversation. I knew he was about to use something against me.

"Like he was about to murder you-"

"Woah." Yes, I did noticed.

"-and steal you from me at the same time." He finished, still expecting an explanation from me.

"What? Where did you take that from?" I looked back like it was absurd. "And what do you mean by 'steal' me at the same time?"

"I don't know, he's a really expressive guy... You should pay attention to his face. You can easily know when he's happy or mad or sad..." He rested back on my shoulder again. "And of course he had this mixed emotions when he looked at us. I think he was jealous." 

"Jealous?" I said in a ironic tone. "Park Jinyoung, you are out of control." I laughed at him, eating a piece of my chocolate bar. That reminded me that if I wanted to be closer with him, I'd had to play it right. I texted my mom, telling her to say misses Im that Jaebeom should take a ride with us everyday, otherwise, she would feel offended. She told me she would do it, just because it was true and I wasn't ashamed of this emotional manipulation at all. "He was supposed to take a ride with me and my mom today, but he ran away. She got late and I was really confused... I think he hates me." I shared my thoughts about Jaebeom for the first time with somebody else.

"I'm not sure of his feelings for you... But his emotions are definitely strong and mixed. Have you spoken to him at all?" He was being a good friend by listening before we started to make out. It made me feel more of a human and less of a sex machine.

"Yeah, yesterday when I took the bus, I sat beside him... We talked about his extracurricular activities and out of nowhere, he kicked me out of where I was sat beside him. He's an artist and he's really cold and... Chic. He talks too little and his voice is cutting. I felt like he was constantly cutting me off, but I still wanted to know him. Then when we got home, I told him: 'See you tomorrow for the school ride', but he got out earlier from his house today... He's definitely avoiding me, right?" I was hopeless after hearing myself saying these things. If it wasn't me, I would say 'Please, forget about this person, move on, this will take way too much of your energy', but I was insisting that there was something else, hopping Jinyoung would understand me.

"Maybe he's just shy and you are misunderstanding his actions. Maybe he only looked at you this way because he was recognizing you in the middle of a lot of students."

"Maybe he found strange that we had our hands intertwined." I loosened my tongue. "And he definitely hates me. It was pretty evident yesterday."

He looked straight at me again and I was reading his mind.

"What?" He started, I smiled. "You think he's an homophobic?" He copied my smile, ignoring the second part of my speech completely.

"I don't know, you tell me! You're both actors, maybe you have a code or something..." I was already laughing and he followed me, putting his hand in front of his mouth as something really annoying he was used to do.

"I don't know about codes, all I know is that is really hard for you to be an actor if you can't get into some type of character... Our bodies are just vessels..."

He was the sweetest human alive trying to explain to me how your mind should be prepared for any situation as an actor. His lips made a pout when he spoke difficult words in hangul, his face was squishy and cute and I felt really protective of him. He was the greatest friend I could ever ask for and I thought about all things he represented for me while he talked and I looked deeply in to his eyes.

"You're not listening to anything that I'm saying, are you?" He made a face to me and I felt too offended by his cuteness.

"Kiss me." I said and he did without thinking.

It was nothing, really. Two friends who loved each other and found out that making out was a good way of expressing this love.

With our lips and bodies together, we cuddled all afternoon, eating and saying shitty things. Soon it was dinner time and we asked for Chinese food. We cuddled and kissed more, making fun of each other and it was time for me to go home. He left me at the bus stop and we exchanged some soft kisses before I had to leave, feeling the adrenaline of the possibility of some neighbor catch us twisting our tongues around each other.

Thirty minutes later I had to do the seven minutes walk to my house and when I got to my block, I saw Jaebeom filling the tires of his bike.

Should I say something? Should I just walk straight to my house?

He's the first in a while that makes me question my own attitudes, I'm fucked.

I took a deep breath - I didn't want to start a passive-aggressive war with him. I would probably win and I didn't want for him to lose.

"Yah." I manifested myself, but he had already noticed me, turning his head to the other side as if that was capable of stopping me. "What happened this morning?" I wasn't angry anymore, just a little bit disappointed and hungry for an explanation.

He made a face like he couldn't remember, debauch evident on his body language for the first time since we met.

Now I was starting to feel triggered.

"We were waiting for you..." I rested my hands in the pockets of my pants, never stopping the look at his face.

"Sorry." Was all he said. A dry and solid 'sorry', and it looked like he didn't even meant it.

"Really?" I blinked. "You don't look like you're sorry." I could hear his breath coming out way too dramatic.

"What do you know about me anyways? Can we get over this discussion?" He raised from the ground and stared at me, arms crossed. His bangs falling on his eyes, the perfect posture, - he was wearing a tank top and for the first time I could see his muscles, his shoulders were really that wide and I could sense a six pack under the cheap black fabric.

"Hey, if you don't want the ride, you could've just said it, okay? It's not my mom's fault if everyday is a bad day for you, she was just trying to be nice." I acted defensive and I was capable of everything to win an argument, but I wasn't expecting an answer, so I calmly took my keys out and opened the door, closing behind me without hesitating - and he didn't say a thing.

Tomorrow was another day and I was about to follow my own advice: don't waist that much energy with these type of people. I was about to figure out if he had his reasons or if he was just an asshole.

  


 

So it was time for us to go out again. I was packing the lunch my mom made and we were silent - like always. 

"Can you please take these bags for me?" My mom was always caring too much for her own size and I knew from who my volition to be stronger and better came from. I did what she asked and finally opened the door - facing a surprise: There was a basket full of fruits and a card, really simple, but with all things: apples, peaches, grapes, bananas, kiwis, blueberries and strawberries. A lot of boxes with strawberries. 

"What is this?" My mom read my mind.

"No idea." I said in english, just because I was too startled. I took the card and opened, reading out loud.

"To: misses Wang. Sorry I couldn't catch the ride yesterday. I had some morning activities that made me wake up really early and go straight to class. Please, accept my apologies: Im Jaebeom." And then was shocked. The beast had a heart after all.

Never in this century someone gave a basket full of fruits to somebody else just because they missed a ride.

What kind of soul did he have? How old was he? How could he have such a bad behavior in front of me but act like a gentleman to my mother?

"What the fuck?!" I said out loud, without mattering about my manners.

"Oh my god!" Mom finally said something. "He's such a gentleman!" And I rolled my eyes. "Put that inside! God knows how long it's been here!" She was out of control.

"I can't believe this." Of course I thought it was crazy and of course, I took one of the strawberry boxes with me.

"I'll send you to call him and his mother for dinner tonight, so get ready." She gave me this order and I was angry and excited at the same time.

How long could Jaebeom play this nice?

 


 

"I'm not fucking kidding, he gave us this basket full of fruits just to apologize to my mom!" I was telling all my friends that cared to hear.

"What did your mom said?" Youngjae - one of them, the cutest of them - asked.

"She wants me to invite him for dinner tonight..." I took one strawberry to give to Jinyoung, who was sitting by my side at the refectory. We were all together having lunch and I was serving the tea.

"Uhh... Look who's right there..." Bambam pointed out. At the other side of the refectory, Jaebeom was sat at a table full of people, all of them using headphones, ignoring each other and just eating. They probably weren't even friends, for sure.

"He's so serious..." Bambam continued, all five of us looking straight to him.

If he was sensitive like I was, he would probably feel the staring. I made a countdown in my head, but I needed to make the boys keep looking.

"What is he eating?" I teased, finding the perfect reason to keep the staring intense. It was too much energy to ignore, the five of us staring at him.

"I think it's some sort of omele-" Bambam was cut by him, raising his head, probably looking for something that gave him a strange feeling. "Oh shit." My thai friend turned back around, just like the others, but not me.

I couldn't focus in anything else but him, and I wanted him to look back, to notice.

I took a strawberry and waited for the perfect timing, and then it was happening.

He turned in our direction unpretentiously, looking at us like we were a background... But then he looked again to focus on my face.

I took a bite of the strawberry and gave Jinyoung a piece, looking straight into his eyes. All he had was this confused, intense gaze, eyebrows slightly up and jawline tensed. His lips made a pout and he raised his eyebrows even harder as we chew and then, returning back to what he was doing.

I died to see what his reaction would be like as he saw us together and now I new he didn't liked us.

"Jackson, you're staring." Jinyoung murmured in my right ear, waking me up, even though he knew I wasn't that distracted. Could Jaebeom's eyes make me float and feel like falling at the same time? Yes, but I knew I was staring and Jinyoung knew that I knew. He just didn't want me to do it, for unknown reasons.

"Sorry." It was an automatic answer, making me focus on my meal, but then again, it was the strawberries...

"Are you teasing him with the fruits he gave your mother?" Jinyoung always hit right on the spot.

"Yes, and I have a theory that he didn't do the hole fruit basket thing. I think it was his mom, she's sweet."

"You know, being her son, he must be sweet too. And two things: the ones that show themselves too tough outside, have a jelly inside. Like a crab. And second: sweet it's your favorite flavor." With that I looked at him like he was a cheap movie that I paid to watch, but it turned out really good and worth it, even though I would never admit it.

"Jinyoung, you are insane."

"Says the one who tried to tease a man with a strawberry, and you can't deny that." The answer came quick - as always. Jinyoung was smarter than I thought.

"You're saying a lot of shit today, babe." I caressed him on the arm, half aggressive, half only caressing.

He was right. 

"You're crazy to think I don't see what you're doing." He gave me his final words.

Chapter Text

And the time came. 

I was in my room when my watch marked six at night. My mom was asking for some korean delivery and my dad was working on his room. By six, Jaebeom was probably home and I was anxiously counting the seconds for my mom to make me go to his house and call him for dinner. I was convinced - and kinda not hopping - that she had forgotten. As I was only wearing loose cotton pants, I decided to wash my face and put a shirt on. Suddenly - but well calculated -, I got to the kitchen, just to fake myself drinking water.

"Yah! Have you called Jaebeom and his mom for dinner yet? It's probably coming in fifteen minutes... They have to be ready!" She shouted at me and I pretended to be reluctantly surprised.

"Whatever..." I was already putting some shoes on just to ring their doorbell. Doing it one time only and passing my fingers through my messy strands of hair, I watched as he opened the door, looking at me like I was a kid selling cookies, ready to refuse them.

"Is you mother there?" I asked, cutting the crap.

"Obviously. What do you want?" But his mother appeared right behind of his grumpy figure, making us both switch our behaviors and expressions.

"Misses Im!" I announced, making the woman look at me with a genuine smile.

"Jackson! Jaebeom, what are you doing, let the boy in!" She pushed him, offering her hand to me. I silently took it, smiling genuinely at the situation.

"Thank you so much, but I just came to invite you for a dinner at my house... The delivery arrives in fifteen minutes and I know you like Korean food, misses Im..." I had my most bright smile and by now, Jaebeom was behind her with his arms crossed, paying attention to every word I said.

"That's so sweet of you, Jackson... But what is the occasion?" She touched my arm, I was the sweetest person alive in front of this woman and I wasn't even faking. How someone like her gave birth to a person like Jaebeom? Was he even human?

"Jaebeom." I said and she had a surprised look in her face, turning to look at her son. "Jaebeom gave us a basket full of fruits this morning and my mom - we wanted to say thank you." She intercepted the looks between me and Jaebeom, a surprised and suspicious expression as she did it.

By now of course I already knew he had the idea by his own and bought everything with his own money. Now I was truly surprised.

Two traces about Jaebeom's personality:

One: he was as impulsive as me. When I wanted to do something, nothing ever could stop me and I would find a way to make my ideal something tangible. He had the idea by the night and somehow, on the other day, he had everything ready. I could say that if was something common to give midnight baskets to other people, he would certainly not wait for the next morning to come.

Two: he acted in secret, which was something I was never capable to do, but I've always wanted. He probably didn't asked for help or money. He acted on his own and he kept it to himself, even in school. He knew how to keep his business to himself and I had to admit it was such a man's attitude.

Chic and elegant.

"Did he?" She asked, doubting of her own son's kindness. "Why you didn't tell me? And why you had to give the basket anyways? What did you do, Im Jaebeom?" What was admiration turned into something out of control. She probably thought he did something absurd and the basket was a fair way to apologize. But it was nothing, really.

"Don't worry, misses Im. Jaebeom had morning activities yesterday and he couldn't catch the ride with us. My mom got worried and he sent the basket as an apology..." I was looking into his eyes while describing everything. I wanted to make sure to read all the emotions he was emanating, like Jinyoung told me to do and he was starring back at me. The gaze between us was probably super intense, but I didn't mind at all. "So now, my mom wants to compensate with a dinner and," I made a pause to look at her really quick. "She would love to see both of you there." I looked back at him and he was really that expressive. Almost like I could read his mind.

His face was blank as if he was saying 'I don't have time for this shit, seriously', but he was also excited about something - not something, but the food. He wasn't able to deny the food.

"I can't, I have homework to do." He said, while still looking at me, until he cut the gaze.

"What are you talking about, boy? Yes, Jackson, we are going!" Misses Im smile warmed my hole body - because he was coming. I smiled back, waiting for her to finish. "We will take these fifteen minutes to organize ourselves, okay?" She tapped me on my right shoulder.

"Perfect! We're gonna make everything ready there!" I was starting to retire myself slowly.

"Great, son! Wait for us!" I touched and twisted the door handle, opening and starting to get out. Of course I looked at Jaebeom one more time and the energy I felt was curiosity, more of a doubting, differently than a look that was trying to murder me.

I closed the door and ran back to my house. Everything had to be perfect.

 


 

The food was at the table, just like everything else we needed to eat and my dad had soju hidden somewhere in the fridge. I changed my shirt for a black one and fixed my hair just a little bit, to look more clean. One minute later and the doorbell rang.

"Jackson, open the door." My mom ordered. Dad stood up and I was running to do as she said.

"Welcome!" I said, smiling - to both of them, but I barely had the time, once my mother was pushing me to the side so she could take over.

"Hello, darling!" My mom practically jumped in front of me to receive them - and she was even wearing casual clothes instead of these comfy ones you wear inside your house. "Come on in, the food's here!" 

I gave them space and my dad stood up from the sofa. I just watched everyone complimenting from aside, not wanting to interrupt but having eagle eyes at the same time. A couple of minutes later, with our parents talking non-stop, we were all sitting at the table, Jaebeom and I sitting in opposite ways at the end, kind of isolated from the adults. We waited till our parents to serve themselves and I made the next step.

"What do you want, Jaebeom-ah?" I asked, but instead of waiting for instructions, I started to put everything on his plate, including a considerable amount of rice.

"Do your thing." He answered after a couple of seconds, realizing what I was doing. His gaze was burning me, but I liked the attention.

I had a vain smile in my face, kinda ripping me in two - there was no way he was eating all that.

I gave back to him without looking at his face and started to make my own combination, sitting after sometime.

"And who would like some soju? I have plenty!" My dad stood up, reaching for the alcohol at the fridge.

"Uh, I'd love to." Misses Im smiled.

"We all would like to, dear. Jaebeom, would you like it?" 

"Sure." He made a yes with his head.

And with that, our mouths were full of food.

 


 

"Who wants dessert?" My mom looked at everyone with expectations, but I was too distracted to answer.

Im Jaebeom had nothing left on his plate.

Nothing.

Not a grain of rice in his bowl.

I was staring and he knew it - it was the main reason why he had that smile on his face.

"Me." He raised his hand, seeming a little out of control because of the shots of soju he had as he ate.

"Me too! Jaebeom and I have the same manly appetite..." My dad was being cool and I just raised my eyebrows at the comment. My mom stood up to get the cheesecake we made a couple of hours ago, already planning for them to come.

"Oh yes, Jaebeom always had this monstrous manners when it comes to food, since he was a baby... He would always repeat the meal..." His mother pushed him to the side. 

"How great!" My mom came from the kitchen. "Jackson was always abnormal when it comes to food... Too much or almost nothing..." I didn't even cared about the subject. "He used to spend days without proper food when he was younger... Almost got anemic. His father was crazy about it."

I was focusing on Jaebeom focused on the cake. 

"Get ready for the cheesecake! And we have caramel, strawberry and peach sauce!" I looked at him, who had a smile in his face. "Jackson, please, do the manners!" She ordered in the best way she could.

I swallowed my saliva, obviously giving the first slice to his mom, than to my mom and my dad. I didn't even looked at him when I putted a slice on his plate.

"What sauce do you want?" And then I looked on his eyes - he was already staring at me - he was staring me all along, from cutting the slice to anything else.

"Put the cream on top and... One side with strawberry sauce and the other side, caramel..." He wasn't asking, he was demanding and I was even more choked.

"So your favorite flavor is sweet, right?" I made a joke, trying to make his dessert the most beautiful among the others and this thing was irrational at first, but suddenly I got myself trying to please him.

But it wasn't because of him specifically. I just liked when people liked what I was doing and I had a really strong aesthetic sense inside my brain. I had to make everything beautiful.

"Jaebeom has a sweet tooth... Always had..." His mom was almost too busy eating.

"Looks like they have a lot in common, my friend..." My mom was enthusiastic, but I just smiled. We were both artists and we both liked sweet more than any other thing. 

"Looks like." I repeated, testing his reaction, but he was too distracted eating.

And then I cut a slice for myself, applying caramel, cream and taking a box of the strawberries my mom didn't used - from Jaebeom's basket.

We looked peaceful together, the TV making a background sound.

It hasn't finished, but I was thinking about the next opportunity.

 


 

"It was a pleasure, I hope to have you guys here often... Don't forget your neighbor, dear!" My mom guided Jaebeom and his mother through the door. I was standing behind her, but not that close.

"See you tomorrow for the class, Jaebeom." I forced a fake smile, which was completely unnecessary, since I truly wanted to smile.

"Uh! What type of exercise he does? Jackson goes to the gym at least three times a week, maybe they can go together!" My mom really thought she was being the sweetest person ever, Jaebeom probably already hated her - and of curse I laughed out loud, no one understanding.

"Jaebeom has dance classes, at least is what he says... I've never watched... Something like b-boying, whatever that means. And then he runs. The space he goes is like, twenty minutes from here by bike..."

"Yes! The same academy Jackson is applied to! It looks like the stars are aligned for you two!" My mom was too much - but thank god.

"Seems like it!" His mom looked at him but he had this ass expression on his face, not being against it, but not liking the idea either. Such a no jam. "Thank you guys... We're going. Day is busy tomorrow... Bye, Jackson-dear!" My mom slowly closed the door.

"Such great people..." She smiled.

I wasn't an idiot by the end of the eating. I tried to escape to my room before she-

"Jackson! You do the dishes!"

Oh, for fucks sake... That's why I don't wanna have children... Poor creatures.

 


 

"Did you take the breakfast that I made?" My mom spoke always aggressively with me and to leave her statements clear just wasn't an exception. 

I knew there was breakfast and I knew where it was... But burnt sandwich and watered chocolate milk wasn't my ideal for it. I thrown my diet on the trash and it made me feel too full.

Turning back to the door, I gave her space and took everything from the american table. I knew something in that sandwich would eventually kill me, but I always made the effort anyways. When I got out of the house, too busy chewing and holding my shit at same time, trying to close the door, I saw him - and the sun was too bright, the wind too warm and the birds were too noisy.

Im Jaebeom standing beside the car, waiting for us, completely ready for school.

"Good morning dear! It seems like you are more prepared than Jackson today!" She said that because she knew I wasn't a morning person - I was the type to exchange the nights for the days. 

Couldn't say the same about him. He looked like the type that used to wait for his alarm to ring.

"Yah!" I bragged, mouth full of whatever that was that she made me.

He said nothing. Silent 24/7. It annoyed me and made me deathly curious.

We went all the way in silence - both of us. He constantly looking through the window and I checking on him without him noticing. It was just too interesting to analyze him. The way he intertwined his fingers on his lap, the calm breathing, the muscles from his back tensed. The way his eyes looked at things but didn't focused at the same time, like he was inside his own world.

He looked like a passionate person. Daydreaming, thinking about ways to be happy, pensive and considerate. I waited for the reason that would explain me why he was so mad at me all the time if he truly just looked like a scared cat.

I must've had scared him for real to throw him miles away from me like that. How disappointing.

 


 

"Did you try to hold a conversation with him?" Jinyoung was patiently listening to me as the good friend that he almost never had the decency to be.

Just kidding. He was the greatest.

"No, he never gives me an opportunity to talk to him alone. We are always surrounded by our family." I was laying on a bank, head resting on his lap, his fingers caressing my head, but not in that obvious way, so people won't tease us about it - even though nobody was there.

"Judging by the way you're mister Obvious in everything you do, he probably noticed your interest. If he noticed, either one is happening: he's scared or he feels repulsive about it." He grabbed some of my strands, kinda putting some pressure.

"I hope is not the second one." My mouth spoke without filter.

"You should approach him here in school... I mean... Like a colegue. Nothing serious, just join him for lunch and ask about his day. You're so good at keeping clean conversations with unknown people..."

"Are you calling me superficial?" I was intrigued.

"Well, being a social butterfly has it's issues. Keep it real." One of Park Jinyoung's problems was that he was really sincere. Really. Like throwing you from the six.

But his other version was a disgusting and expensive liar.

"You really think I'll be able to be friends with him?" I looked at his face, taking my right hand to his chin, squeezing one of his chubby cheeks. He slapped my hand, but let go right after.

"Honestly, from what I see in Jaebeom, he's pretty much of an introverted... Intuitive, feeling and judgemental, INFJ. Almost the opposite of what I think you are. You'll need more than stupid jokes and weather talks if you want to be friends with him, he's complex... You need to dig deeper."

"Oh my God, what are you?" I was starring him.

"I read a lot." I knew it already, but I had no idea of the amount of information Jinyoung could keep. "I would say you are an ESFP... Extroverted, sensitive, feeling and perceptive. There's a lot of people like you out there, Jackson... But Jaebeom's type is the rarest... He's probably the one and only you'll meet like that."

"Wooah, you're such a nerd, I love it... It's sexy..." I squeezed his waist in a ugly hug. "I want to kiss you for that. You're so smart..." I teased.

"Shut up, you dumb ass." He trickled me and we did whatever that was until our ten minutes break was over. Students walking around, going back to their classes and both of us still triggering each other.

"Hey, since when I gave you permission to tease me like that?!" I rose my chin, making fun.

"You are so pathetic, I'll kill you-" But I stood up, walking backwards. He starting to follow me, but stopping at subtle. 

My back pushed someone and Jinyoung reached for me, keeping me there and looking at my face deadly serious.

"Oh, sorry, Jinyoung-ah is kinda-" I turned around meeting Jaebeom behind me, his arms resting on the sides of his body, but I had my back at his torso.

I felt the weird pressure of Jinyoung pushing me more instead of helping. "Jaebeom..." I said his name faster than I could ever control.

"Is Jaebeom-hyung. I can't believe you don't know your manners, it's not the first time you do it." He was dry, cold and rude, pushing me away- back in to Jinyoung's arms. He didn't looked back when moved away to his class and I just couldn't stop staring.

"Perfect." Jinyoung genuinely said.

"Yeah, now he hates me." I completed, standing right beside him.

"No, you idiot. Now you have the perfect subject to talk to him about in lunch time. This is the thing with his type: pay attention to the simplest details and use it against them. He will notice you are actually focusing on him - as a sensitive with feeling reactions, he will start valorizing you, not like something he wants to do, but something he'll do mostly when he don't notice." His voice was smooth like he was giving a game instructions to a kid.

Well, I quite felt like a kid when he took care of me.

"Jinyoung-ah..." I grabbed both sides of his face, everyone was already in their classes, we were about to lose ours. "Saranghae." I kissed him really fast and we both ran to our classes.

I just couldn't stop planning the lunch scene in my head.

 


 

"Go! Go now before someone else sits besides him, you fucker." Jinyoung crossed his arms, pointing at the boy sitting alone at an isolated table.

"What should I say?!" I was being pressured and I new I was about to act impulsively.

"Just say hi and don't hesitate!" He pushed me.

I hesitated. Every step till there was hesitated.

But my behavior changed as soon as I touched the table on his opposite way.

"Yah, Jaebeom-ah..." I stared. He looked at me like I was doing something absurd, raising his brows and chewing carefully. My knees got weak. "I'm sorry, I mean, Jaebeom-hyung..." I gave my best smile, but he kept staring at me. "I'm sorry for pushing you earlier..." My words came from my heart, but he didn't say anything and after a minute he also didn't looked at me anymore - like I wasn't even there. "So, when where you born? I think my mom told me about you being a period earlier in here, but I thought we had the same age..." I was getting more and more confident as the words were being said, but he had the same behavior.

"I was born on January sixth, Jackson, before the new year of the moon. That's why I'm older and that's why you should respect me as your hyung." Dry, cold, rude... The same adjectives as I always described him.

"Oh, but that's like... A month and a couple of days older... Does it really matter? I'm Chinese..." I justified myself - it was weird to call him hyung, like somehow he knew better than I did or he was my superior, but the feeling wasn't like that at ato. 

"It matters. I'm not discussing this with you. Are you done? Get out of here." His voice was angry and slightly out of control, his jaw was tensed and I was starting to feel in danger.

"But what if-"

"I'm only gonna tell you one more time...: get... out..." He pointed at somewhere else, his eyes almost popping out and his jaw about to drop, but I just considered talking later, in private.

I stood up feeling like a kicked dog and walked back to my friends.

"So?! How was it?!" Jinyoung was the first to pay attention to me - at my devastated face.

"I suck. And he definitely hates me." I was defeated.

"What did you say? What did he say?!"

"His birthday is in January, which means he's only like, one month and a couple of days older than me, but he is fearlessly strict about the older line thing. He said I must call him hyung and after that he almost kicked me out..."

"Hm... I don't think he hates you. He must've felt triggered for something and then he focused this energy on you..." Jinyoung pulled me to seat by his side, caressing my back and holding my hand, more of a way to try to contain my emotions.

"It's okay, I got the message. I'm not insisting." It was the final decision. I wasn't wasting time on someone who was pissed at me for most of the time - maybe for no reason.

"I told you it wasn't going to be easy. Just do what you feel like you should and maybe it naturally can happen." He looked at me intensely one more time and then got back to his food. Our talk was isolated from the rest of the boys.

"We have dance classes today... Which makes me happier..." 

"True. We're gonna have fun." He passed an arm around me and my mind already started to forgot the last episode.

Not Jaebeom and his tensed jawline at me, but the way he sent all these bad energies in my direction, as a form of repulsing me.

 


 

And there we were... Dance classes at two and a half in the afternoon, the room relatively full of people and all of my friends in there - even Mark, who used to hate moving in general.

"Yah, stay close to me..." I told them, not wanting to be drifted apart.

"Guys, good afternoon, I would like to start today's class saying that we have new students... Would you please introduce yourselves?" Our teacher said, four students with their backs to us.

The first who turned around had red hair and was really pale, his face was wide with strong expressions and his body was toned, even under a all black clothes.

"Anneyonghaseyo, my name is Jooheon and I'll be your colleague for the next three months, please, take care of me." He bowed and I smiled, already feeling excited by the idea of having new friends - and I actually felt a great energy coming from him, I just wanted to say something. "And this is my friend Minhyuk, but don't expect nothing from him, he's a regular guy." He pointed and side hugged the other guy with sharp features and jet black hair, kinda skinnier than him. I already liked both just by their smiles and charisma.

The third student I couldn't even remember the name, since I paid attention to the two friends, teasing each other and then came the fourth... Which made me groan in disbelief.

"Anneyonghaseyo, my name is Im Jaebeom and I'm glad to be starting my dance career here." Was all he said and his bow couldn't even be considered as one.

"What the fuck?" I whispered and Jinyoung pointed at me, making my friends laugh openly. 

Then a good part of the class was looking at us and I had to hide - just from Jaebeom.

"Thank you, boys... Please, find yourselves a partner, today's class is special..." Our teacher encouraged us and I was fucked.

"Jack, I'm gonna stay with Mark today because it's his first day and he don't want to present himself..." It wasn't a request, it was a warning! A fucking 'dude, get your shit together' warning!

"Jinyoung, what the actual-" I was cut.

"C'mon everyone!" Our teacher wasn't joking.

Well, I was fucked, because before Mark came today, we were the perfect four with Bambam and the rest of the class was already paired... I made the loudest buff that I could possibly do.

"Jackson, what are you doing? Get your ass moving, Jaebeom is alone." He pointed at me, both of our looks matching, considering to run away.

I can't fucking believe this... It has to be the ugliest bullshit ev-

"Okay, everyone! Get in your pairs and pay attention to the sequences me and my two assistants prepared for you, the first pair goes for the first sequence, the second for the second and the third for the third, no mystery! The sequences are only going to be danced one time, so pay attention!" 

"Don't fuck this up, okay?" Jaebeom came out of nowhere, tagging with me before the professor's assistant could see me alone and pair me up with someone else, which it wasn't going to be a problem, but NOW I had one. Surprisingly, Jaebeom decided in a couple of seconds that pairing up with me was less inconvenient than pairing up with someone he'd never seen before, so I was somewhat shocked. 

"Three." One of the assistants touched us at the same time in our arms, indicating our third choreography.

Good, at least we had the time to digest the fact that we had to work together.

 


  

The first and second choreography later, Jaebeom and I were a hundred percent focused on the dance to the point we were not really caring about each other.

"Stick with dancer number two, I go to the floor." He ordered, without cutting the watch. He honestly had no communications abilities. What a weirdo.

"Whatever." I whispered, but he heard. We had no time to discuss and I was pretty nervous, since I sucked at having to copy someone's coreo from the eye in that short time. I was hoping not to forget, even if the dance lasted only for forty five seconds, and then it was over. I moved to a corner less full of people and tried to start the moves I pictured in my head. They wasn't the hardest, but the one who didn't have to do floor moves had to be more clean.

I danced and a couple of seconds later, Jaebeom appeared in front of me, hands in his hips.

"Don't disappear, okay? I need to succeed." I didn't even looked or responded, just kept dancing and sometimes paid attention to the others who had the same moves - I didn't gave a fuck about what he needed.

He started to dance by my side, doing his own thing and I noticed he had loose hips and shoulders... He was flexible - sometimes too much - and he had a certain confidence.

Focus, Jackson, you have to improve...

Then I remembered I wasn't alone. I ran for the boys and asked for help.

"Which pair of you got the number three?!" I was desperate.

"Jinyoung and Mark." Bambam responded, because Jinyoung was too busy passing Marks moves - that were also mine - with him, like a perfect teacher that he always was.

I watched from behind and I already felt more confident about the time and the rhythm.

"Yah, where is your partner? Weren't you supposed to work on this together?" Park turned at me and when I looked in his eyes, I knew he had something to deal with the hole partnership thing.

"Jackson, what is your problem?!" He appeared right behind me, crossing his arms and almost screaming. Mark and Bambam looked like puppies at the furious man.

"My friends has the same choreo as us! What's the matter?!" I also raised my voice. He squeezed his eyes at me, locked his jaw and right when I thought he would hit me or something, he grabbed my arm and pulled me away from my friends, a tight grip making that region burn. He took me to an empty corner, pushing me against the wall. I was trapped.

"What are you doing- This is so unnecessary, I was just-"

"Shut up!" He cut me, hitting the wall by my side as he caged me, maybe trying to make our discussion more personal and less for everyone to see. "If you need help to remember or if you need assurance, just tell me." And his voice was mortal. It sounded like someone ready to kill a person through a venomous bite, as crazy as it sounds. My eyes were locked on his face, his cutting eyes judging me back, my hands and feet frozen. It was a decision, not an suggestion and by now I already knew Jaebeom was used to give people the final word.

"Now let's do it together one time." His hand were sliding through the wall, until he turned his back at me.

At this moment I went insane, because the only thing I could remember was his about-to-explode face at me and my heart was going crazy.

"Five, six, seven, eight." He commanded and I followed automatically, feeling as someone else was controlling me - and it was probably him and his energy.

We made the sequence with a flow, but I wasn't confident, which was surprising. I used to feel like the king of this class with Jinyoung, but now I was just feeling insecure, as if the world was upside down.

"Great, let's do in one more time, stay closer, you're too far." His voice was fast and slicing. I didn't have to move an inch, as he just came to me. I felt a shock going through my spine, making me shiver. "Remember to stay sharp, don't hesitate."

The second time I was ordered not to hesitate today, but I felt like the forces where against me.

"Okay." I said in english, taking a deep breath. I dried my sweat on my own shirt, taking it of, only using a not so cut tank top, throwing beside me.

He looked at me like someone who passes through the front of a really nice vitrine, but decides not to get in to check what was calling his attention.

I felt offended.

"Neng. One, two three..." And it was amazing how my body would start moving like a machine, without thinking too much if I was doing the right thing.

Dancing was never something I had to know, but it was a passion. I didn't need dancing skills for an art production, but somehow I felt different that afternoon, striking all the moves, still hesitating, but not so much after hearing a "great, let's try one more time". That meant I wasn't too bad, right? 

I felt like watching myself dancing with him as I was out of my body. How our bodies moved together in a beat that only played in our minds... It felt somehow right.

 


 

And then it was time for our presentation, right after Jinyoung and Mark - who did great, but obviously Jinyoung was better.

"Let's go." He did it again: pulled me by the arm like I was a doll, choosing the center of the room, closer to the mirror. Everyone looking at us and expecting something different, but I couldn't see their faces. All I could see was myself, nervous, afraid of doing something wrong and being scolded by him.

"Are you both ready?" The teacher asked, looking at us.

"Always." He answered, releasing confidence out of his pores and I was mad.

"Okay, play it."

And then it started. My mind was blurry, all I saw was us in the mirror. I focused in my own thing and made sure to do some faces at myself at the reflection, just to hide my nervousness. We switched places and moved around each other, he throwing himself on the floor and standing up again in the most precise move - he was great. Of course he was. I was starting to think there was nothing he couldn't do. And then we finished, hearing praises and I could see Jinyoung making a face that communicated a lot of things to me. I thanked everyone and ran on his direction, pretending to choke him.

When I looked back, a lot of people were around Jaebeom - mostly the girls -, making it impossible to see his reaction.

"You guys are great together, do you know him?" Mark asked as I just stood with all of them.

"He's my neighbor." Was all I said, not wanting to take it deeper - because we were not friends at all or something like that. 

"Uh, you must know each other really well then. It's pretty visible by the way you both danced." I looked at him, arching my eyebrows.

"We don't know each other at all, actually." And then I rested on Jinyoung's shoulder. Mark left to talk to the other two again.

"Don't do this again, please." I whispered at his ear.

"Why? You two look great together..." He went for my hand, I looked away, still touched by the moment. At how easily Jinyoung dropped me for his stupid manners.

"Please, just don't... That idiot is so boss-"

"Great job, Jackson." Someone bumped at me and I could only see his back. Jaebeom easily escaping, hiding behind a lot of people after probably listening to our conversation.

"He heard us." Jinyoung said the obvious.

"I know." And I wasn't feeling bad, it was the truth and I would say in front of him if I needed to.

"Are you apologizing?" 

"I don't know." 

"I think you should." He looked at me, trying to manipulate me.

"You think so? He grabbed me by the arm after the stupidest scandal..." I challenged, but I also needed a good reason. "Just as if I was the nastiest of dogs!"

"Yes. He also came here just to tell you you did a great job, and don't pretend he had no reasons to be mad, you ignored him and came here by yourself instead of asking for help." 

"Well, he always tries to show me how unsatisfied he is whenever I'm around, so yeah, maybe I had my reasons not to ask him for help?!" I said in a ironical tone, growing frustrated. Too many opinions in my head, something that happened to me whenever I had to chose between things. "At the same time it's like he is trying to make me look inferior... I would never ask him for help, he's an ocre." I made a face.

"I don't think so. I think he genuinely wanted you to know you did a great job and then you fucked up."

"But I know I did a great job, I don't need him for that!"

Did I? 

Deep down I knew I needed someone to tell me I did a good job, because my ass wasn't sure of anything in this world when it came to myself and that's why I was always pairing up with Jinyoung. 

"Okay, you're right. But I still think he just wanted to let you know. Maybe he found the one thing he admires about you, Jackson, have you thought about that?" He kept trying to tease me. "I don't dislike him. He's good." He confessed, not caring if it was going to hurt on me - and honestly, it didn't. 

"You should pair up with him next time, then." I raised my eyebrows.

"I should." He gave zero fucks and I pushed him, making us laugh.

Five minutes later, we had another practice and I was putted side by side with the Jooheon guy. I had Bambam in front of me, someone else in my right side, Jinyoung in the front and Jaebeom all the other way. I felt more comfortable without having to improve myself to anyone, just enjoying the moves. In a blink of an eye, the class was over and I had to go back to take the shirt I forgot on the floor in a tense moment.

He was still there and we were alone. I didn't looked at his face, but I heard a noise, like he had fell on the floor and when I turned around, he was b-boying all the way up, twisting and posing upside-down like some crazy dance machine.

"Woah..." I didn't meant to, but my mouth was bigger than my entire body. I was more than surprised with his skills and I couldn't stop watching. With my arms crossed, I rested my body against the wall in the corner and kept admiring him silently, holding my shirt. After three minutes not giving a fuck, I noticed he was getting tired and so I left before he could finish and shout me away.

"What took you so long?" Jinyoung was waiting with the other boys on the front gate after everyone changing or taking showers.

"I couldn't find it." I murmured, showing my shirt. Then Jaebeom came from behind me, holding his backpack, passing through all of us.

"You sure? Wasn't you distracted with something?" He pointed out, laughing like the snake that he was.

"You know what? I prefer a jealous Jinyoung, can we please go back to the way it was?"

 


 

We were all at the bus stop, my friends going home, eventually leaving some of us behind.

"Yah, Jackson-hyung!" Someone called me, but I didn't recognized the voice. When I looked back, Jooheon was smiling, coming at our direction - because me and Jaebeom were kind of close.

"Hi!" I smiled back, completely changing my mood.

"You did great, your facial expressions, your moves... It was a great presentation!" When he smiled, dimples appeared at the corner of his mouth and I though he had the cutest face ever.

"Thank you, you did great too! Maybe we should pair up one of these days!" I answered really excited, expecting to get away from the person behind me.

"I don't think it's possible, Minhyuk wouldn't let us..." We laughed together like old friends and I missed having this kind of connection with someone. "Plus, you and Jaebeom have a special vibe, bro... Hope to see more of you guys soon!" And then he was running away with the rest of the students to get a different bus, waving me goodbye.

I liked people like him. It didn't take took much effort to have a decent or more than a funny conversation.

I was left alone with the reason of my doubts, but I would never dare to look at him or speak to him again, because I was still embarrassed about everything. I plugged in my headphones and played the music I was listening to this morning. The bus came and it stopped in the middle of us, as if trying to make us decide who would get in first, but I wasn't feeling like fighting. I just wanted to go home.

I walked slowly, waiting for him to get in and so I got inside myself, sitting in the front - leaving him behind. Again, there was only us inside and the travel was silent - as if I could hear anything but music...

Almost half an hour later and we were there.

The seven minutes walk waiting for us.

I took a deep breath still inside the vehicle until it completely stopped and I got down, walking through the empty, sunseting street. The sky was in shades of pink and purple and the golden hour was about to come. I felt an unconditional love and hate by the warm colors, like it was attacking me and giving me reasons to stay in harmony with myself at the same time. The orange was violent, aggressive, bloody, but the golden and the yellow were comforting, happy and pure. Intense and with a big energy included, which made me feel peaceful.

When I looked at my right side, Jaebeom was there, also wearing his headphones, but walking side by side with me.

I felt weird. 

I really felt like I should say something to make us more soothing, but I didn't know what or how.

I hesitated.

I stood in silence and then it was too late, his house was in the corner and mine was right after.

That was it. It was over.

Chapter Text

"We said nothing, I said nothing, we're not speaking." I answered to Jinyoung after he asked me why I was so quiet and after me trying to deny my reasons at least five times, but he knew me.

"And that's it? It's over?" He said my words, but with a different connotation.

"Yep." It hurt to hear myself putting an end to something that didn't even had the chance to begin.

Was I expecting too much from two strangers who could barely speak with each other without fully understanding?

Probably yes.

"I can't believe it and at the same time, I told you. He's not your type." It was one of these breaks when the teacher just leaves the class earlier and you have nothing else to do until the next one.

"You talk like I was trying something more than a healthy relationship with him." I was again laying on Jinyoung's lap, just like the day before.

"So you wasn't?" He caressed my head.

"Hajima, Jinyoung-ah. Let's just forget it, okay? Let's continue our lives like they are the same as last week, when everything was normal. No one's going to die because of it."

"You're right. Actually, no one really cares about it. No one but you, and that's why I still think you should apologize. Or at least end with the things clear between the two of you. Trust me, you will regret it if you don't."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean you should say sorry for not sticking with him at the class yesterday and for saying he was an idiot and a bossy. Just apologize and live your life, leave all this behind after you do it. I'm sure he wants the same." Jinyoung seemed dead serious.

I had to reconnect to the side of my brain that was completely lost in the middle of that mess. I knew I had to, but I also didn't had the time to waste.

"Okay, I'll figure this out." I let out a deep breath. "Now just take care of me... Actually... Can I go to your house today? Are you busy?" I looked at him in the eyes. I felt more connected with Jinyoung than ever.

"You can if you wait for my acting class to end, which is around three twenty or a half." His right hand wandering up and down on my body, caressing warmly, forgetting everyone around us.

"Can I watch?" I did the same gesture on his arm, squeezing the muscles and feeling great.

"Sure, babe." He smiled at me, relaxing later and so I closed my eyes, enjoying the moment. 

Then after five minutes of nothing in my mind with a little bit - a lot - of Jaebeom, I decided I needed a distraction.

"I want to kiss you." I said, being careful with people around us.

"Now?" He held me in his arms, giving me that smile.

"Now." I smiled back.

"Here?" He raised his eyebrows and I got closer, as if I was going to kiss him, but we laughed at the same time, getting away and looking around like kids about to get in trouble.

"C'mon." I stood up, pulling him with our hands connected.

We passed through a door in our way to the washroom and I looked inside with a smile still present in my mouth. Then I saw Jaebeom already looking at me with killer eyes, an angry expression on his face. He was sitting up on a table, facing the door and with his legs bouncing. His left hand was holding his phone and his right was almost crushing the table. He kept looking at me like I did the most absurd thing, until we passed the door and it was no longer possible to see each other.

"D'you see that?" I turned around to Jinyoung, which was already looking significantly at me. He made a yes with his head, but still took us to the washroom, where we waited for no more people suspecting at us as we walked through a box together and started to make out. I pushed Jinyoung to seat on the toilet and I sat on his lap, our mouths not wasting time, neither our tongues and our hands. I squeezed his body as much as I could and his hands flew to my ass.

"What are we doing today?" He teased me.

"Nothing too much risky, since I just got the idea of going to your house now." I left kisses all over his neck as I whispered, not wanting for someone else to hear.

"You're not prepared?" He asked and we were speaking the same language, which I loved.

I wasn't prepared to be fucked and that was the problem with the gay shit, you couldn't just decide to go out and expect to be the perfect bottom. Shit might happen.

"Nope." I gave him quick bites on his ear.

"I can prepare myself if you want." And he said that like it was the most natural thing. That made me a little bit hard, but I was not a kid, I knew how to control myself.

"Ugh, I wanted to be treated today, you know? Not feeling pretty active these days..." I stopped and we looked at each other intensively.

"I could prepare you, Jackson. Don't be scared."

"I'm not scared... I just feel weird." It was true, I would never be scared of Jinyoung, the guy could be violent with words, but never without a reason and most importantly: never without saying sorry. 

"Okay, I'm up to whatever you want. We can do something else, you know we can." Oh no, I was awakening the beast inside this sweet boy and I was about to be eaten alive.

"Just kiss me now." I said, feeling as he attacked me. 

 


 

 

"I'm gonna be here. Does she mind?" I asked my best friend, indicating a seat in the middle of the theater.

"Not at all. Just make yourself not noticed that much, don't be loud and don't use your cellphone with maximum light." He squeezed me in a hug one last time before going up on the stage. I sat and got quiet, waiting for their practice with my phone in hands. Lunch was the same - except for the fact that Jaebeom wasn't there, and he was also nowhere to be seen, until he appeared on the stage, passing through me.

Jinyoung's class was getting ready for a Phantom of the Opera performance, but it wasn't like the original one. Basically, there was no opera, but there was still some singing here and there, which was great. I never saw the spectacle live, but all I knew was that Jinyoung was the depressive, weird and dramatic guy and he had a lot of appearances, which made me conclude he was one of the main characters. I noticed that he was the phantom when he had to wear a freaky mask and I felt betrayed by the fact that he didn't tell us he was doing such an incredible job as the shining star of his acting class.

The next scene was with another men, that I could identify as Jaebeom and his facial expressions where the best even singing. It seemed like he also had a important character, but I had no idea who it was.  I wondered how many talents did he had and how he was managing to show all of them in his unique way. I hoped for the best, because there was nothing he couldn't do.

They had a break and Jinyoung came to me, holding a mini fan and a bottle of water. "So, how's the show so far?" He sat on my lap and I held his fan for him. People were going all around, trying to refresh and resume the lines.

"I didn't know you were so good... Why don't you talk about this with me and the boys?" I encouraged him in a weird way.

"It's no big deal. Also, she's a new teacher and most of us hates this show. They are probably going to cancel it just from our facial expressions at the final practice." He stared at some point somewhere, probably trying to refresh his body.

"Yeah, the Phantom of the Opera is kind of a big specific deal, I don't think it matches with our talents here... We need something fresh, something people feel in common..."

"Wow, mister Producer... Please, make us better..." He caressed my cheek.

"You know what, I think we'll probably gonna have to work together really soon..." I moved the fan to another spot, at his nape.

"That would be fun." He smiled, having ideas. "We should try it. We should give the ideas to our teachers, every actor gets together with a producer and we create short movies. Then we could have a festival and present all of them, we pick the winners and give them the prize." His eyes were glowing and my heart has getting warm watching his squishy face smiling with so many expectations.

"We should probably do that. We can have a group of a maximum seven people, two people working on the back and five acting." I kept thinking.

"Yes, we could have our own group, you and Bambam could give ideas for the scenes, shot everything and edit, me, Mark, Youngjae and Jaebeom could act-"

"Wait, wait, wait a minute..." I cut our dreams. He looked at me. "First of all, Mark is a graphic designer... Youngjae is a musician and Jaebeom...? How did you come up with this idea?" I was looking at him like he was completely insane. Couldn't imagine the mess that it would be to have our group together to work for something.

"Mark likes standing in front of the cameras and Youngjae has to perform his feelings anyway when he sings, I see no difference. As for Jaebeom-" He was cut again, but not by me.

"Neng, what about me?" He stopped at us in the middle of the theater.

I froze, looking at his face, but he was not looking back.

"Jackson had this idea for a work project that can reunite a group of seven people or more for a short movie festival and the winners for the best movie get a prize. We were putting you in our team." And he indeed said all that without thinking twice.

"Wow, wait a minute...-"

"What kind of prize?" It was the first time I saw Jaebeom truly smile, even though just a little bit.

"I don't know, it could be bonus points or money..." They continued the conversation without me.

"Guys, wait-" I tried to say something, but it was too late, they were already excited.

"No, that's boring... How about a trip or a week in a nice hotel... It could be even a weekend at a spa or something..." Jaebeom was speaking non-stop and I never saw him behaving like a normal person for more then one minute before.

"Uh, that would be great... I'm totally up to. We need to present this to our teachers..."

"Oh my God..." To me, everything was just a joke, a nice and pleasing joke, but now it started to terrify me. Laying back on the velvety sit, I felt hopeless.

"What? You don't like the idea? You were the one who started..." Jinyoung cupped my jaw with his hand, forcing me to look at him. I grabbed his hand on mine in a loving gesture.

"This is complex, okay? I was just joking. It could be a lot of work and I don't know if we'd have that much time..." I stared at his dark brown eyes, we were speaking without words.

"Don't think too much... Let's just share this idea with our teachers and hear what plans they have for us. They might even say no anyways..." He caressed my hand, distracted, but I was absorbed in my thoughts, about money and time spent... The good part was that maybe with this huge project, our exams could be cancelled or just based on it.

"Whatever." I surrendered, feeling them both looking at me in different ways. Jaebeom still seemed mad and Jinyoung made himself too comfortable in my lap, lover's eyes as he paid attention to me.

"We can talk about this later. Are you in the team, Jaebeom?" What? 

"Only if we are going to win." He answered with a silly smile, walking away from us as the teacher announced the end of the break.

"Why d'you put him in the middle of this? What were you thinking?"

"What? You don't wanna win? Jaebeom is one of the bests... We couldn't win without him." His proud smile looking at the man getting on the stage was bothering me.

"He fucking hates me! You saw the way he looked at me! How could we possible work together!?"

"You're out of control, jagi-ah... I gotta go." And he left a kiss on the corner of my lips, not caring if someone could see us. "We'll talk about it later." He stood up and walked away from me. 

"Later we'll be fucking, not talking!" I shout-whispered, making him release a loud laugh, not making the effort to hide.

Now I had more problems and the list seemed to get bigger and bigger as I tried to solve them.

 


 

 

We were all gathered together at the bus stop, except for Bambam, who was still having classes till five. "What do you think, Mark?" Jinyoung shared the idea with two more potential participants in our future group.

"I think it's a great plan, Bam will love it."

"Youngjae?" We turned to the boy with a thinking face.

"Hm... I think it can be a great opportunity if we win the first place. The school can post all the works online and then we have a possibility to be recognized not only here... It's a win-win to everyone." He had a strategic thinking and I was becoming nervous. They not only wanted to make this huge, changing the school programs and projects, but they also wanted to win the first place and go viral - which was admirable, but put me in a major position and I was going to be the responsible for a possible failure.

"You guys are crazy..." Because there was no way our university would agree with that, right? It was going to crash against the future projects and the official exams, plus, some teachers were really specific about what they wanted and if somehow their demands crashed against what we wanted to do, maybe it could lower our grades and having low grades meant more difficulty to find a job!

"Jackson, you need to be more positive about your own ideas..." Jinyoung lightly pushed me, breaking the obsessive compulsive thoughts coming out of nowhere.

"It wasn't my idea, I just scratched the match! You went all the way up!" I emphasized 'you'.

"Whatever! Let's make this happen! We all want to be artists! It's not easy to start from the bottom... We can start from here!" He blind-walked, making gestures at me.

"I'll think about it." Was everything I said.

"I'll convince you... Just wait till we get there." He insinuated himself to me and when he turned around, walking like someone normal, I slapped his ass on the left cheek. He made a noise like a contained moan, looking at me once more, teasing.

Our bus was about to come, so we ran to catch in time.

I looked back and the guy behind me looked like a pissed ghost, staring like I was killing bunnies and kicking puppies. He glared straight at my face and for a moment I tried to understand what he was so mad about, but it was hard to read his mind. I felt it: the pressure of an impulsive action coming. It was stronger than me, I had to let it out.

"Jinyoung, do me a favor and get things ready while I go for grocery shopping, okay? The next bus will come in ten minutes, I need to do something before I go..." I tried to explain myself too fast. Jinyoung noticed and as far as I could read, he didn't have a satisfied expression on his face, more like worried and slightly... Disappointed? Getting inside the bus that waited for him to climb in, he looked at me and dodged to somewhere else outside, probably noticing Jaebeom and smiling in a week push of lips, nodding with his head.

"Let me know if you're still coming, okay?" I smiled back, feeling nervous. The bus left with my three friends on it and now we were alone.

I looked back and he was facing the opposite side, arms crossed, body resting against the wall as he waited for the bus.

"We need to talk." And this was my impulsive act - something I always did when I had to deal with difficult things. It was always easier to be moved by the pressure of an impulsive thought, since I was the type of person that changed my opinions really fast and I never paid too much attention to myself, but the others and how they felt as a result of my actions. Being impulsive kind of added to the way I tried my best not to hurt others or seem disrespectful, so whenever I made a mistake, I immediately apologized. This way I could continue my path on being the type who changes and chooses really fast and when I'm wrong, I just do what I need to do and move on.

But he didn't even moved, although I could see his back tensing.

"Jaebeom, I need to apologize to you." I tried again, coming closer, feeling that way I've always did when confronting an intimidating situation. Throat closing, air escaping from my lungs. Noticing he wasn't turning around, I kept talking. "I didn't mean to call you an idiot or bossy yesterday, I was just really nervous and I was used to dance with Jinyoung." It wasn't a good justification, but I had to try. He was still silent and I wondered if he was even listening, and I know, I was an idiot, but I also knew I deserved a chance to redeem myself. "Can you please, look at me, so I know you're listening?" He didn't moved or answered. I decided to make it easier.

Walking over him, I pushed his right arm against the wall, making he face me with a furious gaze, but I wasn't hesitating anymore. I didn't care. 

"I'm sorry." I said, looking at his beast eyes. His brows were high for two or three seconds, but starting to go back normal. There wasn't too much space between us and he was taller than me, so when he released his breath in slow motion I could feel it. "Don't go around there thinking I'm a bad person because I'm not, I know how to recognize my mistakes and I do apologize for them. So, do you forgive me?" I reinforced.

He stared back, snorting. "Don't touch me again." Was all he said and I copied his deep breath release, slowly calming myself, feeling as the pace of my beating heart tried to return to normal.

"I won't, ever again." I took impulse against him, his gaze still following my actions. "Don't worry." Turning my back at him, getting that he forgave me. I was never talking to him again and I hopped I didn't have a reason to. Dealing with him was complicated and I always ended up doing stupid things. Nothing was said when the next bus came, a bus I could take to go to Jinyoung's house. I climbed, leaving him behind. I felt my heart kind of breaking somehow, in big pieces, but not really falling apart, just knocking into pieces. I wanted to be friends with him but the guy was constantly mad and for that I got scared, so I would say something stupid and he would get even more angry... There was no fucking way.

 


 

 

Fifteen minutes later, I walked the two lasting blocks to Jinyoung's house, already calling him.

"Yah, I'll be there in five." I said after he picked up, breathing against the phone.

"Kay, I'm ready... And there's no one here... My parents got out with my sisters - apparently." I could feel his smile through the phone. That definitely made me more excited.

"What time are they coming back?" 

"Late... We have plenty of time." He simply said. I freaking loved his voice through the phone. It was rusky and deep. It made you want to squeeze him to death.

"Do you still have my clothes there? I was thinking about spending the night." And I could, without a warning just like that. Just because Jinyoung's house sometimes felt more like a home than anywhere else.

"Sure, you have plenty of clothes here, actually. Can you buy something for us to drink in the way? I'm making dinner...

"I thought dinner was ready!" I joked.

"Yours is, not mine... I need something consistent..." Who looked at Park Jinyoung for the first time would never say he was a pervert. But he was. One of the nasty ones.

"I can help you with that, baby." I smiled, feeling his smile. "Do you have everything you need for cooking?" I kind of broke the vibe.

"Yeah, just bring alcohol... We still have snacks for later, if you want.

"I want everything." I teased.

"Oh my God, Jackson, you suck..." His laugh was cute.

"Alright, tiger. I'll hung up now, I'm at the convenience store. See you later." 

"Neng." Then we hung up.

I got out of the convenience store with a big bottle of soju in my hands. The guy looked at me with worry, after all, it was a Wednesday. I texted my mom just to say I was going to sleep at Jinyoung's house for a project and I wasn't lying - it was a dick project. Three minutes walking later and I saw Jinyoung waiting for me at the door on the other side of the street, like the loving husband he was. I crossed the avenue and smiled at him.

"What are you doing here? Did you wait for me for too long?" I side hugged him, his arms going around my waist, pushing me into the warm house, decorated with painted artworks hanging in the white walls. It was all traditionally Korean and made by natives.

"Nah, I had a feeling you were coming, I just opened the door." He took the alcohol from me, putting everything on the fridge. "I'm making some ramyun and frying some pork. No big deal. I just missed cooking for us." He was wearing glasses with dark thick frames, a loose white cotton shirt and beige sweatpants.

"For us?" I played dumb and included myself.

"Yeah, me and you." He looked back at me like I was stupid, but I didn't care, I just wanted to love him like that, like the domestic figure that he was for me whenever we were together at his house.

"You are so sexy." I sat by the balcony, watching him move around the kitchen like he mastered where to put, take and move things. "You have no idea how sexy you are." I just kept complementing.

"Stop..." He covered his smile, turning his back at me, but I knew he was blushing. The ramyun smelled great and he started to put the meat on a high heated pan. It was five and fifty and my stomach was already in pain. The sun still bright outside the window, as the summer was coming.

"Tell me how did the conversation go." He turned around, resting against the balcony. My phone vibrated in the pocket of my social pants - probably a message of confirmation from my mom.

"We were close enough after you left so I could say sorry." I rested my chin against my right hand.

"You didn't even look at him to say sorry? Jackson, I didn't raise you like that-"

"Yah, calm down, mom." He fixed his glasses against his face. "Let me continue." And he went to the fridge to reach for two cups filled with soju.

"Please." He demanded, opening the bottle and serving the liquid with the strong smell.

"He didn't turn to me when I started speaking, so I pushed him against the wall by the arm. He was capable of anything, I'm telling you-"

"Wait..." He cut me with a dramatic pause. "You pushed him against the wall by the arm?!" He ended the phrase shouting. "JACKSON, WHAT THE HELL?!"

"Stop, it was nothing like that!" I slapped his arm. "He was about to hit me!" I tried to clarify the scene in his mind.

"Yeah, he was about to slap you with his fUCKING LIPS-" He took his glasses of, staring at me with large eyes. 

"PARK JINYOUNG, I THINK HE'S A HOMOPHOBIC!" We were screaming in the kitchen, but we were not fighting. It was more like we were drunk and out of control. 

"NO FUCKING WAY, THERE'S NO WAY-"

"Oh my fucking god..." I threw my forehead against the table, frustrated and in pain after the bang when I hit the wooden material. "He said 'don't touch me', looking like he was about to hit me..." I imitated his voice, failing miserably. "I swear, he was like this to me..." I tried to make the same face with an tensed chin, flexing all the muscles of my face. "And all I said was sorry for calling him a bossy idiot... Seriously... He hates me. You know the way he looks at me every time." He was silently watching me, paying attention to the way I tried to imitate him. "After the 'don't touch me' thing, I said 'I won't ever.' Told him not to worry about it at all." 

"Hm..." I looked up at him. He had a serious gaze staring at my eyes, probably trying to put himself inside Jaebeom's pants. "Yes, I noticed every single look he gave you since the beginning and mostly every time we were together, and Jackson... They are different." I buffed, expecting for him to make a theory out of this, but I was tired.

"Different how, Jinyoung?" I drank the soju with no mercy.

"Okay, let me finish these things first. I need to think carefully." I rolled my eyes as he flipped the pork and turned the ramyun fire down. "The ramyun is ready, but the pork needs more five minutes... So... I'm gonna be honest here." He mixed the ramyun with long chopsticks and then turned back around, having one more sip of the alcohol.

"Go ahead, Sherlock." 

"I have a theory he only hates when we are together." I squeezed my sight, thinking if it was possible for someone to get drunk with only two sips of soju. Obviously, because his words made no sense at all. "Just think of it, yesterday at the dance class he was the one who touched you, he pulled you away from me, but not before he almost shout at you in front of everyone. After that, he took you away from us to a corner just to say 'if you need something, talk to me instead of running back to your friend', remember? He don't look at you the same way he looks at us together, and yes, he hates us. He doesn't hate you, because if he did, he would never get to you just to say 'great job, Jackson'. He also don't hate me, we make a great team together. He was hurt when he heard those things from you. Are you with me?" He waived a hand in my face, snapping his fingers.

"Yes, but I don't get it."

"Does he treat you bad when you're both home?"

"Like what?" I was trying to see the end of the tunnel. The final line that would put an end in all this.

"Like screaming and trying to piss you off?" Jinyoung's expressions changed every time he tried to explain me how he meant his words.

"No, he kinda just looks at me like I'm a kid or something. I teased him before, but all he did was laugh or just watch me. Nothing like in the UNI." I remembered when I shouted at him because of my mom and he just stared at me without saying or doing anything. And when I purposely put too much food on his plate, thinking he wouldn't handle everything, but he just smiled at me and ate it all, without coming back for me after it.

"See? You know what I'm saying?" 

"Yeah, but still makes no sense! Why would he change like this? How can he not be an homophobic if he hates to see us together?"

"It makes a lot of sense to me, Jackson. He treats you bad specially after our interactions and we are always together. He's not trying to make your life a living hell. He likes you, and most importantly, he's jealous." My eyes popped and I felt my body going warm. Something inside of me starting to burn.

"What the hell?!" He openly laughed at me.

"He's jealous, Jackson." He was happily holding a smile on his face, having fun at my confusion.

"Are you drunk?" I gave up, moving my bottle away.

"Don't pretend this over... You know it makes sense and before you sleep in my bed tonight, after we fuck the hell out, you're gonna consider this. You will wake me up in the middle of the night just to say that I'm right." He had the most irritating smile on his face and I just wanted to die and end my suffering.

"Please, just shut up. I'm hungry. Let's eat." I changed the subject.

"Hungry, hm...?"  

 


 

"So, there's this party Saturday at the club and is thematic... It's like a drama thing, you have to dress to kill and the ambiance is going to be crazy... You up to?" He held my hand up in the table, eyes becoming dazed because of the alcohol. I was probably the same.

"What? Drama? What do you mean?" I tried my best to make my last two brain cells work - my stomach was full and the drinks made me sleepy.

"Like makeup and sexy things... We can meet new people and have some fun, drink and dance... Summer party..." He squeezed my hand.

"It's not summer yet..." I laughed, finishing my fifth soju bottle.

"Shut the fuck up, we are going. And the boys are going. Let's forget about our regular lives a little bit..."

"You know what? I think everyone in our group is gay. Why are we never chasing the girls in school? Why things always happen just between us?" I stopped to think.

"Uh, I forgot to tell you... Mark and Youngjae are in the middle of something... So be nice and don't tease them." He stood up from the chair to do the dishes. I did the same, in order to help him.

"Who told you?" I was trying to remember a moment where my two friends let out something that would say they were looking for something else, but I wasn't being a good friend lately.

"No one, I saw." He answered like it was obvious.

"You saw? And just because you saw something in your way of reading things, you assume they are having something?" I looked back at him like he was a large peace of food dancing in the kitchen.

"Since when I'm wrong?" I was triggered.

"You're crazy. Nothing you say makes sense to me." I dried every peace of utensil we used, putting them back on their place.

"Keep talking like that and I'll throw you through the six out of this house!" He pushed me, but he just was not strong the enough to move me. I laughed and back-hugged him, nuzzling against his nape.

"Sorry, baby. Just finish this so I can fuck you the way you deserve." I covered my face on his back, hands already wondering his body without shame, feeling the firm muscles under my fingers, the way they reacted to me like they were dancing.

"You are so hungry... We just ate." His soju breath was warm and I just wanted his hot, plump lips all over my body.

"Jinyoung..." I begged, pushing myself against him to the sink, my half hard dick pressing in the middle of each cheek of his ass, firm and toned, the way a dancer's body should be.

"Aish..." He moaned, wanting as much as I did. "Don't do me in the kitchen, it would be too much for my conscience..." His voice was weak and he held the syllables longer than normal. "Can't imagine myself cooking here after we... I wouldn't be able to do anything right."

"Finish this and let's get to the point..." I touched his arms with both of my hands, slowing him down.

"Jackson, if I leave something dirty, my mom will come to me and make me clean and god only knows what we'll be doing when she interrupts, now do we want that?" He pushed me back and away from him, laughing and making things faster, as I wasn't a distraction anymore. I just breathed in and out, still checking him from behind. My body was starting to get excited and I loved the feeling. Just knowing I was going to give him what he wanted made me burn internally. What looked like one minute and a half later, he dried his hands and turned back at me, still looking affected by the alcohol. 

You see... Jinyoung wasn't so different when he was drunk, he just became more daring and fun. He still took care of me and he was more attached to anyone he got close to. Sometimes he was the king of the party, not necessarily being friends with everyone, but still enchanting them. People wanted to meet him, to dance with him and to even touch him, just because his muscles were perfectly sculpted and he was sexy. He had a sexy aura and no one could deny.

"I think there's nothing else missing..." He came to me, after we looked at each other's faces, analyzing our emotions in awkward seconds.

"Are you sure? You got nothing else to do?" I was being ironic and he smiled at me with daring.

"I'm sure, everything is clean. No reasons for someone to interrupt us..." He detached my crossed arms and started to pull my shirt off.

"Wait, I think there's this little thing right there that we need to examine... Look..." I pointed behind smiling and everything from now on was drunk talk.

He didn't answer, but he pulled me through the shirt to his room, locking the door behind me. I turned the bedside lamp and pulled the drawer, taking a condom and a tube of lubricant, not wasting time.

"Seunie, you're going too fast..." He laughed at me, but I kept trying to get him naked.

"Don't try to make me feel sorry, Park Jinyoung..." I took my pants of, standing in front of him with only boxers on.

"I'm not, it's just that..." He looked at me from head to toes. "Lay there, let me take care of it." And we switched places. I was half-laying on his couple bed, waiting for the instructions. "Don't move." As if I was going to. And then he pushed his pants and boxers altogether, the white light making his body pale, his defined muscles showing, as long as a line of thin dark hairs, going down to his awakened cock hidden under white Calvin Klein boxers.

He then came to me, laying in between my legs, forcing them down and without hesitation, he grabbed my cock with his right hand, starting to stroke slowly, as if feeling the entire extension and I was right there, hard and red, bigger than him, craving for more. There wasn't a moment he stopped looking at me and his eyes where poison. If Jinyoung had superpowers, he would definitely be able to control people's minds. He was controlling mine now and I was a hundred percent given to his commands.

We didn't make sounds when he started to go faster and I begun to lack sanity, but I could no longer control myself when he opened his mouth and gave it a simple hot lick. I stared at the unknown part of his soul as if I was challenging and he looked back as if he was accepting. Going like this, he cut our gaze and started to make art out of sucking, tongue sliding through, using me like I was a candy. Everything about Park Jinyoung was dirty and he was proud of it - which I loved.

After that we fucked.

That's it, that's what happened. No mystery, no drama. We knew our ways and perfect hidden places and with no one home we made no effort to be discreet.

He had his body flushed and now somehow satisfied, non-expecting extra doses of how wild we could be when alone. That was the best part after being with Jinyoung - the after-fuck. It felt like a piece of his paradise was shared and we we're both seeing stars. Our mouths connected with our eyes open - it made no difference. We couldn't things around us, we could only feel the lasting pleasure. That orgasm everyone talks about, kind of magic, in it's own simplicity.

I laid on his heavy breathing chest and waited for something. A sign that I was back on Earth, that I could talk at perfect sense again and that I could return to be Jackson, despite the moment me and Jinyoung became one for a couple of minutes.

To ignore that was beyond rudeness.

For a moment you get this invisible authorization and someone let's you invade their nature, as if you're diving into unknown lands, asking permission to get in for the natives, the ones who truly take care of that place, whom understands how it works and how much you can take from it.

Jinyoung was a tropical land with it's butterflies, wide leaves plants, blue warm waters and pale sand. He had a volcano at the center, responsible for keeping the live happening, despite it's explosions every once and now destroyed essential living things. The lava sliding down the rocks left a reminder that the island was awake and you should never forget about it. The same way it could give you shelter, it could also kick you out in a blink of an eye. All it takes it's a explosion, a match.

Jinyoung was kind the enough to let me in, enjoy the pleasures and eat from the sweetest fruits as I always had something new to see, but from wandering around so much in his space I also came to learn how to avoid traps made out of emotions and unexpected cliffs, separating the good lands from the bad lands, but they were so close from one another that you could spy the bad lands from the top of a good place, where you was.

Five minutes: I was still immersed in the idea of Jinyoung as an island.

Seven minutes: we were completely mute, silent. His fingers played with my hair, our feet were cold.

Ten minutes: We both recovered our sanity and I raised my head to look at him, but his eyes were closed. I wondered if I was an island too, and if I yes, then what kind of.

"D'you feel sleepy?" I admired his pale skin with a fine layer of natural oil, shining in the poor light of his room. The house was completely silent and it was already nighttime.

"I feel at peace." He opened his dark eyes, looking at me fearlessly. Right. His eyes were like caves, keeping the bluest of the waters deep down, but it was too dangerous to get there if you didn't know where to step. He had to take my hand and lead me.

I just let him.

"Good." I returned to his chest, he continued stroking my hair. Probably two minutes passed till we spoke again.

"You know what... This was really nice." I heard his voice through his chest and it was a thousand times more deep. What a pleasant opportunity the universe has given me.

"You think so?" I just wanted for him to talk more. Hearing his voice made me complete, somehow.

"Yeah..." I hummed at his response. "I like this. I like what we have. It feels good..." And yeah, maybe he didn't sound so sure, just because our relationship was constantly coming and going, but it was still safe somehow.

It feels like somehow is the word that describes us the most.

"Me too. It's interesting that we don't have a closed, firm relationship. Maybe we could last forever and we would never know. Maybe we would break up two days before making it official, who knows..." I commented, opening my heart.

"True." His deep breath was released in my head, something that I felt it changed his mood. "I feel like we would be very successful... Like truly partners..."

"Hm..."

We held onto a sweet silence.

"But I have a theory." He hummed at me. "Maybe if we took this seriously, you would get tired of me."

"You think so? Why would I?" I was interested by the way he kept the subject going even though he was clearly concerned about how the conversation was going to end. I was too, but more concerned about our relation after the conversation.

"Because we get together from time to time and so things naturally change and flow between us and we still are interested in other people... Maybe if you stick with me all the time you would get bored. Sick and tired." His voice gradually got slower as I presumed he grew unsure of what he was trying to say. I shivered myself at that.

"What do you mean?" I raised my head to look straight at him.

"What? Haven't you been fucking other people while we hookup?" Hookup. It wasn't like this, we were still friends... Now I was confused. Jinyoung would be the first to know if I had somebody else. Not because we were together like this, but because hes my best friend and I trust him.

"What? No... I haven't been fucking anyone it's been a while." He paused still looking at me, I frowned. "I mean, I could, if I wasn't lazy and if this city wasn't fulled by assholes that just want to stick their dicks in someone's ass like we're sex dolls. Gross." He pouted pensively at my words and it was the cutest thing ever, the way he would search for answers in his own mental palace.

"So you don't look out for other people while we're together?" I raised my brows at his direct question.

"Aish... If they want me, they must come to me. I'm done with the bullshit. And if it happens for me to really want someone, I'll get them." Because it was this simple, right? I wasn't a thirsty teenager anymore, my desperate years had passed. He kept me satiated the enough for me to not search for something else out of our four walls.

"Hm... Same for me... And! You'll be the first to know if it ever happens." He tightened his arms around me, squeezing the air out of my lungs only for five seconds. "What makes me really curious is the fact that you consider hooking up with other people something really natural... Which it is, but... It makes me think you must like someone, but for some reason, you can't have them." I looked at him again, blank. "Do I already know his name?" He smiled, teasing me.

Was this a test? Was he emotionally manipulating me?

"What the hell?" I wasn't even trying to be rude, it was just what came first in my mind.

"You like him, Jackson. Just admit it. There's no point in trying to hide it." He smiled and his cheeks squished, but he couldn't hide the hurt inside his eyes from me - which I ignored, but I really did not know if I should.

Why was him so bothered by it? It was not like I'd had to share my attention between them both, Jaebeom hated me and he acted like he had all the reasons to do so. What made Jinyoung so insecure?

Yes, because this all could never be just out of curiosity.

"I'm not even fighting this out." I laid on him again, rolling my eyes and pressing my lips together in a straight line.

"I don't know if you have ever heard of it, but the more quantity of people who knows you like someone, the bigger is the energy and pressure for you to stay together... So you should tell me." He pulled my hair with a calculated strength, making me raise my eyes and look at him again.

"I don't like him, that's the stupidest conclusion you've ever made and surprisingly, you are one of the smartest people I know. Can you imagine how many different feelings and energies are mixed to create this social pressure between two people, though? The possibility of failure it's much more significant!"

"So there are feelings, right?" He pulled me to him again, leaving our faces really close. His skin smelled like worn out perfume and sweat, kind of salty. "We got this, we can make him want to kiss your lips and do way more than just that, just like I want right now." He smiled one more time before stealing one kiss from me. I was scared and I had too much to think about while he pressed out mouths together, like: He was curious, slash, bored, slash, worried, slash he wanted to help me to get Jaebeom, but at the same time he talked about what would life be like if it was just the two of us... I-

He deepened, suddenly feeling thirsty. I corresponded because from all the lips I've ever kissed before, Jinyoung's were the ones whom I truly enjoyed, despite my body being as confused as my mind. Jinyoung was just too busy squeezing my butt and rubbing his body against mine to notice the difference.

"This kinda makes me wish for a round two." He interrupted, head popping for the right side as he tried to breath, a cheap smile on his red, plump and soft lips. This made the entire conversation migrate to another subject, which was relieving and stressing in equal ways.

"Oh my god... I'm still inside of you!" I just noticed as I tried to move off of his body, laughing loud at each others faces, like awkward kids. The relationship subject was long gone and I honestly wanted to stop the obsessive thoughts before they could take control over me. 

"We're kind of wild. Have you ever had this kind of thing with someone else?" He murmured, not really waiting for my answer and while he was distracted, I got out of him, quickly, so it would hurt less. "Uh, I felt that..." He looked at me in that unique way, as if he was a virgin found in the desert, waiting for the opportunity to make himself wet.

 "Park Jinyoung, I think you need a dildo..." And we laughed again, ignoring the sexy air of the night.

 Because we spent a lot of energy the entire day, our bodies were tired, so we just took a long shower together - as I was giving him a blowjob, so he could fully relax -, picked a movie and then we snuggled together, naked and against all the laws of the nasty nature - proving that two human beings couldn't be in the same space naked, especially if the were attracted to each other without having sex. We didn't got nasty - maximum would be long, wet kisses with a little bit of biting and teasing.

We fell asleep in each other's arms with the TV on.

Chapter Text

"Good morning misses Park." I said, once I got out of Jinyoung's room straight to the kitchen, now fully dressed and more decent.

 The sweet woman turned around to smile at me surprised.

"Jackson, son!" And she was indeed, loving, just like Jinyoung. "I'm glad you announced yourself down here before I started to make breakfast... I'll make your favorite eggs, jagi-ah." She turned around with a smile and just ignored me, since I wasn't quite a visit after almost four years of friendship with her son.

"Do you need me to do anything, eomma? Jinyoung is taking a shower..." Without her asking, I started to set the table for everyone, like her son does.

 "Just set all up and prepare the tea that you and Jinyoung like so much. I can deal with the rest. How's your mom?" She was mixing eggs and cutting meat at the same time like a superhero. She had a warm face when asking for my mom.

"She's doing great, we miss you back home. She says you never came to visit us anymore and it's true..." 

"Oh, angel... I've been really busy with the school projects... You know how kids can take all your time." Jinyoung's mother was a coordinator at an elementary school and sometimes she would come up with projects ahead of the institution, causing the teachers a lot of work and driving the kids insane - and that is why Jinyoung, his sisters and I admire her so much. She's almost completely open-minded. 

Almost. 

"I know, eomma... And that is great. She understands." I smiled, putting some water for the tea to boil. "Drop by whenever you have time. Bring everyone for dinner." 

"I'll try. I promise." And she would. Just because she would never break a promise.

I envied Jinyoung's family environment. He had all the structure, care, time, understanding, love and whatever you can imagine. His sisters loved him to the core and his parents we're truly caring, they had perfect family encounters, pets and Christmas celebrations with a lot of delicious foods and people coming from all South Korea. He was raised like an angel surrounded by good girls, had his mind clear of worries and never had to care about money. 

I love Jinyoung and everything that comes with him, including his blind fear of failing in life, which makes him self destructive, even though he's probably the greatest student that I and all of our friends know. It's because his family is so perfect and so full of structures that he was deadly scared to become an ordinary person, an unwanted artist or not even an artist, just a common lawyer or counter. He had the brain to be anything in this world, but he wanted to act, to entertain, to be heard and known, and he deserved to be. I admired him and his fear - it was noble.

I was going to be there for his first job interview and whenever he won a prize for his acting skills. I was going to encourage him to continue whenever he failed and cheer him up for the next try. I was at a phase that I couldn't see myself not being in Jinyoung's life. We were too attached. Too good for each other.

I waited for the water to boil, but noticing it would take some time, I returned to the room, thinking about getting my UNI clothes ready. 

Just when I walked into the space, locking the door behind of me, he opened the bathroom one. 

"Hey." I said. The first words of the day directed at him. 

Is worth it to say that I was distracted with a drop of water coming down from his torso to his lower parts, till it disappeared in the towel he was holding at his waist. He was so pale. It just made me want to mark him. 

"Good morning...?" He was ironic, a debauched expression as he looked at some point at the top of my head. "I woke up and there was no one beside me...? And...! You didn't even speak to me before getting out of the room! I was almost fully awake!" He said the words as he walked naturally closer, using his hands to touch me like this thing that he always do when he's trying to make his point. His eyes were fake-hurt and he would continuously look at the top of my head with a blank face - Jinyoung's signature for when he was acting. 

"I'm sorry, baby..." I pretended to ache, looking at him like I was trying too hard.

"Are you? How can you sleep in my bed, cuddle to me all night, eat from my ramyeun, shower to my water, use my body and not have the decency to say 'Good morning, Jinyoung! Saranghae!'?" He pushed me against the bed, making my legs hit at the bottom. My body being thrown at the sheets and pillows that smelled like us, all over the place. It was a domestic feeling.

He stood by the bed and I supported myself in my elbows as if watching a show. He grabbed the towel up, revealing his under body and dried his wet hair, clearly pretending not to see as I paid attention to him. Some water coming off of it as he moved towards me with the energy of a dog after a shower with the intention to make you wet. 

"I'm really sorry." I repeated automatically, since I was hypnotized by the great view of his ass and cock almost at my face. 

"Prove it." He throws the towel at the chair beside him blindly, but he scores the maximum points when the fabric never falls. I sit up and pull him against me, feeling his now cold skin in my warm hands. He straddles me and we both fall down on his bed again. His lips meet mine without the morning brush, though I had absolutely no halitosis ever. The move was still raw for a morning pace, but there was never a couple of minutes out of hell when I was with him. It wasn't a rushed kiss. It was more of a loving and provocative, with slow hands and almost no moving. 

He was beautiful.

The way he looked at me with a timid smile and the way the morning sun light up his pale sculpted body... Was too much. He was too perfect for me, like a doll.

For that, I knew someday he would find someone as perfect as him, whom he would form a family and be a great parent. Not me. I didn't want a family.

In the right time, I'd have to let Jinyoung go.

"What are you looking at?" He stood on top of me, hands in my chest, cat eyes and perfect posture.

I took a while to try to say the words, but I managed to do it properly in a simple way:

"You are perfect." And I could admire him forever. I could paint his image on a canvas just from the pictures I took in my mind.

He smiled, confused, making a face and pouting his lips. 

"What...? You woke up in love?" He teased, but something in his voice would tell me that this idea wasn't so ridiculous to him.

"I do love you. I've been thinking about you since I opened my eyes today and saw your naked back. You looked so good, so strong and noble, like a prince. I wanted to keep those seconds in a bottle and be able to open up and release the moment whenever I felt like." I confessed and now I was scared. Not of my feelings, but... From the way he would get my words. I didn't want to play with his emotions or create expectations, I just felt that way in that moment and it was all true.

Because we were close and slept together, we shared emotions, ideas and we were part of each others history. There was no way to erase that and I didn't want to. 

I didn't got an answer, so I felt like I needed to explain it more precisely.

"What I mean is-"

"I know." He cut me. His eyes fixed at some point of my face, not really looking at me. Now he was talking the truth. It was written in the way he would try to hide his shining, glossing gaze towards the kneaded sheets.

"Do you?" I wanted him to be sure. The more my lack of specific words, the more I would confuse him - and maybe hurt him.

I sat once more, still having him on my lap, expressionless waiting for the next step.

Staring at me again, he tried to read my mind. "I think so." He closed his legs around my body, hands now hanging between us, covering his intimate parts in a natural way. 

"Let me tell you, then." It was a suggestion, but it sounded like the only solution to our issue. "I love you.And I was thinking about how much I admire the way you were raised, like a lord or someone royal. How much I love being part of every family party you invited me. How I was honored to be there in every single struggle you had since I met you and how we helped each other so efficiently. I admire your determination and I value your fear of failing, that proves me that you are capable of anything to achieve your dreams. I know it sounds like a marriage vote, but I just wanted to allow myself to be grateful for everything, since the very beginning. I do love you and I always will, no matter what happens to us." Saying all that looking at his eyes was easy, of course. We don't struggle to say the truth to someone we truly care about.

Watching his reaction was the hard part, looking at the way he contained his cute smile.

He was amusingly shocked staring at me. His ears getting red, showing how embarrassed he felt when sustaining his look in my eyes. I just smiled, feeling enchanted.

"I love you too." He said low and quiet, looking at me then throwing himself against my arms, hiding. "But of course, you already know that. It's probably written in my forehead whenever you're around, but so what." Jinyoung wasn't the type to confess his love for someone. It was easier for him to show everyday. I knew those words were nothing compared to our every day partnership, but taking for his personality style, it was a lot. A hella confession.

 "Thank you." And the moment went from sexy to cute and now was slightly weird, since he was hugging me really tight while being naked on top of my body and he smelled like the sea products that he used for skincare everyday, as the perfect Korean he was born to be.

"You smell great." I cut the tension and we laughed together.

"Thanks." He kissed my neck, caressing my back with his soft cold hands, breathing slowly, like a child. 

I must've do something really good in my past life to have the pleasure and happiness to meet Jinyoung at this one.

"Jagi, everything is great, but I need to take a shower and you need to get ready. I already spoke to eommaPark. She's waiting us downstairs for breakfast." With that, he looked at my face again. Some strands of his dark wet hair were falling on his face and I swear to god, it almost made me stop in space and time once more, but I decided to distract myself.

"How is the queen this morning?" He whispered, bringing the towel again to dry his hair - still sat on my lap.

"She's spectacular, of course, just like you. Now give me a kiss, I need to get properly ready." I grabbed his waist, watching him dry his thin deep brown hair. He took the towel and covered our heads with it, blindly shocking our lips together under the fabric. The action made me laugh and he took the moment to use my open mouth. It was calm, filling and almost shy, except for the fact that he was naked on top of me - and it was amazing that at the same time, this wasn't a big deal. We were so used to see each others naked bodies that we knew when it was time to be sexual. This was only love. 

And somehow, friendship. 

"Okay, now let me go." I broke our moment, still smiling. Grabbing his thighs and his body as I stood up, I gave him a quick peck, just to head to his bathroom and close the door. 

"Breakfast will be ready when you come out!" He announced behind the door because he knew how much I took just to shower.

"Ah." I confirmed.

"Your clothes too!"

"Thank you, honey." He was such a husband.  

 


 

We arrived at the UNI too late for me - because I used to leave my house earlier thanks to my mom's job - but Jinyoung and I came by bus. A crowded bus, of course, because it was that time of the day where everyone needs to get going. Everyone pushing against each other, the driver asking for us to go to the back of the bus and some other things that we just let it be - like kids being loud or old people being too slow to get in and out, but I wasn't supposed to be that of a jerk. We survived and we were there, passing through the gate, meeting a few people and going up till the third floor to leave our things in our sits, just to meet again on the bank sit outside where we always stood till the free time was over. 

"Thanks for washing my clothes, I had no idea that you kept one extra uniform for me... It's cute and really polite of you." I started the conversation as we sat together.

"Polite is my middle name." He smiled in a genuinely way, but my breaking laugh interrupted. 

"Right, yeah, right." I said, ironically agreeing, having him staring back in a frightening way.

"You left the sweater and the social shirt it's been a while in a Friday. You slept there, I washed your clothes and kept them. Now you have just one social shirt, since you're wearing the sweater and the same pants as yesterday, but still, I'm a gentleman." I hummed, admiring the way he took care of me.

"Yeah, sure. You gotta be a gentleman in the eyes of society indeed, since you're naturally a demon in non-social situations." I crossed my arms, a smirk rising like it was crawling out of my face.

"You honestly want me to kill you while you sleep, don't you?" His eyes were about to pop out in a way that I learned to love and admire. The way he squeezed his lips in a thin, straight line was making his cheeks burn in anger.

"Why d'you have to wait till I fall asleep?" I teased more, sincerely not giving a fuck about the natural warnings his body was sending me, a firm grip on his own thighs, feet nervously tapping, lips being bitten aggressively. "You might as well do it right now for everyone to see how d'you express this visceral love that you cultivate towards me." I laughed again, but not emitting any sound, just releasing the air in a brusque way.

Jinyoung jumped on me, leading his hands to my neck, trying to suffocate me, but not really putting a major strength to do so. He choked me at the same time he shook my torso in a hysterical way, making me shout a incredible loud laugh, echoing through the corridor. 

A couple of seconds later, he released me, slapping my chest before sitting back by my side.

"Don't forget to give me back my underwear, you fucker! I'll be fucking furious-" Than he passed as Jinyoung almost shouted these words inelegantly, like the real demon that he made the effort to hide every single second. Jaebeom passed through us looking straight, but once recognizing Jinyoung's voice, he stared at us. "...if you don't wash them!" I heard my friend's last words about his underwear but my mind was concentrated in the fact that Jaebeom had to come alone with my mom in the car because I wasn't there.

But that was okay, right? I wasn't the centre of the universe and he didn't take my mom's rides because of me, but because it was perfectly logical. 

Plus, he hated me, so good for him that I wasn't there. He probably had the best morning ever since he arrived here.

He was staring at Jinyoung, but then he stared at me for what I felt like it was hours. The same shock passing through my spine. The wind blowing really far, reaching my ears somehow.

It reminded me of the beach.

"Jinyoung, I forgot my phone in your house." I commented, completely distracted while we were still looking at each other. 

"You didn't, Sseun-ah, I put it in your backpack." The answer was immediate, showing that Jinyoung was the pretty opposite of me. Jaebeom glued his lips together and continued his walk not paying attention anymore. I could see some tension on his face and his jawline was jolting. 

"You think about everything, don't you?" I cut the gaze and closed my eyes, leaning on him, whom embraced me with his warm limbs. 

"I do." He had a tender voice to say that. As if he knew exactly what I was thinking. How I was feeling.  

We spent the last of our minutes together, till the bell rang and everyone was running to all sides. I was lazy, but Jinyoung forced me to go, but also leaving me behind with a warm smile. There was something different about Jinyoung's emotions lately. He was too warm, too caring, too focus on the details, more than he already was. He was closer to me than ever and every second we spent together was special somehow. 

I was going to ask him later.

Now I just had to focus at not dying from bore since the first class was production's theory.

 


 

"Where is Bambam?" I asked Mark in the line to our lunch. 

My tall best friend looked elegant even with his shirt sticking out of his social pants. His tie was correctly precise, though. His honey-brown hair was neglected the enough to look like a charming trait, thrown to his left side; some strands falling over his dark eyes.

"Keeping our table. Youngjae is also there. Where is Jinyoung?" We selected our meals and drinks as the line went further. 

"Might appear at any time by now. His mother made him lunch." I placed a knife and a fork at my tray, taking the same cutlery for Mark, placing at his left side. 

"D'you slept on him? Thanks." He switched to English out of sudden, just something that we used to do as often as we spoke. 

"Yep. Literally." My brain automatically switched too.

"How's this relationship of you guys? It seems so complicated..." He added salad and an extra portion of rice. I was waiting at the end of the line.

"It's not, we have matching feelings and objectives." I waited for him to follow me as we walked ahead to our table. "And we are best friends. There's no secret between us. I feel like Jinyoung knows me better than I do." 

"Probably. Jinyoung knows us better than ourselves. The only person he doesn't know is himself." Mark was always this deep, which was great when you needed some advice and I always had these episodes of my life where I felt lost, melancholic and confused. He was always there like a light in the dark. 

That was probably the reason why he never spoke too much. People would talk about silly things and joke around most of the time. Mark needed more than this. Also, he had nothing to say on stupid things. Maybe he would laugh at them and remember them once in a while, but that was it. He had no patience and brain cells to spend on stupidity. "You should talk to him about it, though." Fuck, he was always so intuitive.

I stared at him, walking slower, so we could talk about it more in particular. "You think so? I was thinking the same thing just this morning, but I thought I was getting paranoid. It's not hard though." I felt my own eyes popping out as it was the first time I spoke about it somewhere out of my head.

"You're not, I've been noticing that too. I don't know for sure what it is-"

"Cut the shit, I know you can read minds, just tell me what it is." My expression went from surprised to bored. Mark pouted, not resisting to my protest even though I didn't had to do anything.

"Maybe... Just maybe..." I rushed him repeating ppalliat least three times. "It's about feelings, Jackson, you know how hard it is to talk about someone else's feelings, that's why you should talk to-"

"Seriously?!" I gasped, interrupting him once more as he sighed at my impatience. 

"Just talk to him yourself." He cut me, returning to walk towards our table. Having nothing else to do, I just followed, thinking about what could it possibly be.

Maybe Jinyoung was growing sick of me...?Which was a hundred percent understandable, since sometimes I would grow sick of myself and my stupidity. He obviously deserved something more, I knew it. I could never be mad at him for his decision to move on with his life, actually, he should definitely do it.

Maybe he just wanted some time to himself. 

Maybe he already found the one and he's ready to let me go. He can even get married in two years and move out with his partner, oh my god, how amazing that would be?

"Yah... What took you guys so long?" Bambam wasted no time when coming to complain. "Picking up the rice takes less time than you both choosing between kimchi stew or stewed kimchi." 

"The line. The line took us time. Actually, if I had kimchi, I'd stick it up in your-" Mark answered in a deep cutting voice and that was what I was talking about. He had no time to waste on stupidity.

"Ouch." I managed to make things smoother by cutting him.

"Mark hyung, you are always so mean to me..." Bambam came closer to me at the rounded table, but Mark didn't answered, all eyes on the food.

"Where's your lunch?" I asked, filling my mouth with rice. 

"I'm not hungry." And that was the indication that something was wrong. Bambam, mostly like me, was always hungry and when he wasn't, there was a problem.

A real one.

"What's up?" I looked at him seriously and my voice was directed only to him. Mark was now sharing some food with Youngjae, who was already eating quietly.

"What?" He looked back and through his gaze, I saw sad emotions.

"Why are you like this?" I had some spoons of my seafood soup.

Bambam stared at me first with a lazy look, then it turned out to be a surrendering.

"It's nothing." He insisted, but I was more determined.

"Tell me." I ordered. With Bambam you couldn't waste time in doubt, whether he was struggling with something or not. You had to assume there was something wrong and insist for him to share with you. If you'd waist too much time, he would come with something else and distract you from the real problem. Bambam was the type of person who would never burden someone with his problems, which was admirable and most of times, annoying, mostly because he strongly believed a human being could solve all their problems alone.

"Jackson, for real, is nothing." 

"Jesus fucking Christ, don't start this shit or I swear to God- I swear... I'll beat your skinny ass..." I threatened. 

He looked at me like he always did when I started to get violent - with amuse and tension.

"I'm not telling you, but thanks for your consideration. It's really sweet from you. " And I officially gave up.

The second thing about Bambam: Once in a while he would come at some of us or all of us together and have a panic attack from keeping everything inside. I just had to wait for that and respect his nature.

"Anneyonghaseyo..." Jinyoung touched my arm and Mark's, sitting at the empty middle space between us with a natural majesty. "So, what's the subject?"

I looked at him like I was trying to say 'we're talking' and I could say he understood when he looked at Bambam's sad figure.

"As you're not saying, I'll do the honors: Bam has a problem but apparently, it's so fucking concerning that he can't even open up to us. So we'll do as we always did and wait till he feels comfortable or desperate the enough to share with us. Right?" I squeezed his nape in a loving gesture, paying attention as he nodded and avoided visual contact. "You're the only one that can make you move on, Bambam, no one can do it for you. It doesn't matter what I say or what Jinyoung says or I don't know, what Kendrick Lamar says. We are here no matter what path you choose to go. We support you." And I had nothing else to say. There was nothing else I could do for him. 

"Jackson is right. Trust yourself. You are the only one who knows what you had to come through to get here." Jinyoung reached his right arm around me, just to grab Bambam's left shoulder and shake him.

"Okay... Thank you for what ever this was." Was all he said, still not convinced proceeding to mess with his phone.

"Daddy Jackson, you're the best." Jinyoung whispered to me, being extra careful.

"What? This phrase makes me really confused." I whispered back. "Are you saying you're the mom or am I also your dad?"

"There are no moms here, jagi." And we laughed like Bonnie and Clyde. "Also, what was that starring moment between you and the rude boy that makes your pants tighter passing through us this morning?" He teased. 

"Don't joke at that... He had to come here alone in my mom's car today. I hope it wasn't that awkward." I changed the subject.

"It was super awkward if we take his starring into consideration. You know he has feelings for you and you do nothing about it. I just don't know why." He started to eat.

"Because whatever it is, I don't feel the same." And it was the truth, wasn't it? 

If it's anger, I don't feel the same. Revenge, I could never.

And desire would be impossible. The guy looks straighter than Jinyoung's dick when I show up naked.

"Are you not even a little bit curious at what it might be?" He pushed me using his elbow. I stared back feeling the frustration growing from inside. 

"Are you testing me?" I raised my brows, letting go of my chopsticks.

He contained his smile just because of the food inside his mouth, but he had the same cat eyes focusing on me. I waited a few seconds while he was chewing just to have some sips of my drink.

"I'm not."

"Yes, you are. I just don't know why." I gave him his words. "I don't know why you want me to like Jaebeom this much."

His smile grew bigger and his ears became slightly red. We shared the amusement just between us.

I was starting to feel confused. Jinyoung was behaving different. More loving and less funny. But he also never stopped asking me about my feelings for Jaebeom, trying to find ways and excuses to relate me to him.

I felt the disharmony of the situation when I couldn't face where Jaebeom was, since my back was turned to him, but it was okay. Even if it was out of the regular ambiance.

"Are you staying for the dance class today?" He pulled me back to reality.

"Yep. I hope I have regular shoes in my locker at the studio, otherwise I'll have to dance barefoot." Since I slept at his house, I couldn't bring my stuffs with me for the typical Friday class.

"I don't have extra shoes to give to you." And apparently that was the only problem my husband could not solve.

"It's okay, you already took care of me." I continued to eat. 

"Ew, guys, get a room..." Bam murmured and now we were not whispering anymore.

It felt like a regular Friday and we loved the vibes that came from it.

 


 

"Jackson!" Mark shouted from the other side of the locker room.

"Ah!" I answered.

"Have you found a pair of shoes yet?" He practically announced to everyone in the room and it was loud as fuck. Maybe intentional.

"Ani!" But I didn't really care. It was almost dance time and I still had a pair of socks. In the worst case, I would dislocate my feet or something and never be able to dance again.

"Jooheon-i said he has extra shoes, his going to get them for you at his mom's car!" He screamed back and left, just like everyone else and I had a real weird expression in my face.

Then my watch marked one and a half, it was dance time. I closed my locker' door and turned around, bumping into someone coming my way.

My body released the air that my lungs were long holding and I looked up to apologize by instinct.

"So-" 

"I have extra shoes." He said and he was Jaebeom. Eyes sharp and eyebrows more round than straight as he rose them in a new expression to me. Glare directly into my weak eyes. 

I was in shock first, but then I remembered Jooheon and the effort he was making by going for the shoes wherever they were, but Jaebeom didn't seem to know or to care, he just passed through me and went to his locker in another line. 

"Uh- I don't need it anymore, Jooheon is going to burrow me a pair. He's coming back by now-" And then he appeared again with black

converses that were too dirty and seemed too big for me on his left hand.

"We don't have time to waste, everyone is pairing up and the teacher will scold him for being late. Let's go, you can pair up with me." He gestured his shoes at me, waiting for me to grab them. I could pair up with him? Was he feeling like an idol or something? I could pair up with anyone if I wanted, I was the king of the party!

His eyes were not looking at me and I could tell he was in a rush by the velocity of his voice.

"That's really nice of you, but I'll wait for him." I denied with a weird smile, like I was predicting shit was about to happen. It came straight from my organs, the feeling of confronting him, but I was too coward, at least at the moment.

"Jackson, we don't have time for you to act cool, put the fucking shoes on." He ordered me. Now he was staring and I had the impression that he suddenly became physically bigger, as if he was stuffing his chest and looking down at me from his five or six centimetres taller, but I wasn't afraid - actually, I was starting to feel annoyance.

"Jaebeom, I get that you're trying to be nice, but seriously-" 

"Jesus, why can't you just take the fucking-" He interrupted me. 

"Jackson, I got the shoes!" Jooheon showed up, interrupting our close-to-be-a-fucking-nightmare fight. We both looked at the tall guy holding a pair of Nike's, his eyes slightly concerned, excitement running through his body as he rushed the best that he could to do what he just did.

My reactions were quick: I ran to him, sat on the floor and started to loose the shoelaces, forcing them against my feet.

"Minhyuk is waiting for me! See ya later!" And the big pale boy disappeared, leaving me and Jaebeom alone behind.

I couldn't see him since he was hidden behind a line of lockers, but by the noise, I could tell he was keeping the shoes again.

Just when I finished tying the laces, he came back, furious gaze on his face, completely ignoring me.

Great, here we go again. One more reason for the bad blood flooding between us.

I ran till the studio right ahead of us and everybody was already warming up. The same people together, resulting on me and Jaebeom pairing up again, for hishappiness.

By that I mean rhetorically. 

"Jackson Wang! Im Jaebeom! There must be a good reason why two of my most talented students are late!" He was severe and angry.

I was amazed when Jaebeom didn't say a word, thinking he would brag about me to the teacher.

"It was my fault." I confessed, trying to make my best apology face -and I was good at it.

"How's that, Wang?!" He was still screaming when he came to face us. 

"I-“ 

"He lost his shoes, so he had to find another pair, sir." And it was the first time I've seen Jaebeom so respectful, voice so down and hesitant, interrupting me just to defend me, but the redness in his neck described the amount and intensity of rage he was feeling. Still I was surprised to be present at a moment he had to defend me, because if it was someone describing the situation, I would never believe.

"And how the hell did you lost your shoes, Wang?! And are you Jackson Wang, Im Jaebeom?! Shut up and warm up, you already made me waste plenty of time!" He pointed a place for us to be and we immediately started to work.

"Mianhae." We murmured at the same time.

What the hell was this?

I looked for my friends noticing they had a concerned look directed to me, but they were okay just the enough to laugh at the same time. 

I turned back at Jaebeom and he was expressionless for the first time ever, so I decided to be silent not to worse the situation. I had done enough for a class, but I still couldn't understand why he got himself inside my mess. None of my friends had an extra pair of shoes, but they clearly announced the news to everybody, so a good soul could lend me one and they succeeded - Jooheon was amazing. I didn't even knew him and we barely spoke since the first time we met, but he was obviously someone I would look forward to be close to. 

But Jaebeom?

What apparently reasons he would have to be nice to me? I gave him enough reasons not to, but there he was, crazy mad of me because his help was refused.

Did he cared?

That was it? He wasn't my friend and he would hate me at every single end of our failed conversations, but he wanted to lend me his shoes? Jaebeom was an enigmatic and confusing guy and I didn't had the skills to decipher his behavior, even though my mind kept me reminding of him, right by my side, seeming completely absorbed by the warming up task.

After what felt like forever, we were dismissed. We didn't had to do much for the class, but keeping the doubles made our teacher's job easier, somehow - and I wasn't the one to complain after my lack of responsibility - . I couldn't control my mind anymore and when I least expected, my thoughts became actions.

"I'm sorry for making you be scolded." I turned to him, who was breathing intensely by my side at the floor, just like I was.

He kept breathing and breathing, not really paying attention to my attempt, so I stood up and ran to the locker room, looking forward to give Jooheon his shoes back. I was still wearing the same clothes as the beginning of the day, which meant I couldn't take a shower or even change. Lucky for me I had an old tank top at the bottom of my locker and I got really mad for finding it too late, but at least I could change to something less gross.

"Jooheon, can I take your shoes home and wash them before I give you back?" I suddenly had a better idea.

The man turned back at me shirtless, almost taking his sweat pants off. 

"There's no need to... I don't really use them, I just keep them in my car if something happens and something definitively happened today... You actually got lucky... I don’t drive my mom’s car often, but I drove it today and the shoes happened to be there...” He threw his towel on his right shoulder, pushing his hair back with the other hand. All his moves got me hypnotized and I blame at the way his muscles were moving. I had a thing for muscles and Jooheon was exactly my type.

"I feel really lucky... And I insist... I wanna be nice back..." I concentrated my energies on him, trying to give him a piece of something different that he would eventually ask for more. 

"If you really wanna be nice, let's go out together... You seem to be a funny guy,.. I wanna know you..." He did that again with his hair and even though he was all covered in sweat, he had a cologne smell. A masculine smell. I could feel my eyes shinning at the possibility.

We were flirting, right?

"Of course!" I was too excited and he copied my smile. "There's this party me and my friends are going tomorrow... You should come..." And I cursed myself a couple of times for sounding so excited, afraid to shoo him away. 

"Drama party? Yeah, I'll be there... Dress up nice, huh?" Was he flirting?! What was that stare that he gave me all of sudden?! 

"I will." I raised my brows and I tried to look more intense than I actually was. When I stared back at him, I could feel my face warming up and it wasn't because of the dance.

I wasn't afraid to look stupid, though, it was all about having fun.

  


 

"And he invited me to the party..." I explained to Bambam. We were all together at the bus stop. 

"Yeah, but I invited you to the party first." Jinyoung reminded. 

"Ugh, how can you make friends so easily anyways?" Youngjae asked between whines and smiles.

"You just have to be born a social butterfly..." Jinyoung intercepted once more. "Then people will naturally come to you." 

"I think that's a weird thing to say, but is true. And you don't have to be born, you can just open yourself up to people and BUM, there you go, social butterfly." I tried to explain, failing miserably. Even though I would consider myself a natural born butterfly, I still was aware of magnetic people who wouldn't speak a word, but still, they would appear like an invitation to other people's curiosity - and that was my favorite type of all. They just had to be there, doing absolutely nothing and people would naturally feel attracted to them. "Though, you can be magnetic and mysterious enough to attract people, not having to say or do anything. I think I'm strongly attracted to that..." And it was part of being a social butterfly to expose what was in your mind just like I did - because I'm a natural. 

"Like what? Like wearing all black and smoking?" Bambam suggested, ironically.

"Uh... Wearing black has a meaning... It's like you don't want to show off or you don't have a necessity to make yourself noticed..." Jinyoung was interested.

"Yeah, it can be like that, but not necessarily it. It's a thing that comes from inside, like the person has some sort of control over other people and no one really notices. I like it. Like an invisible power. Plus, wearing black is more complex than being introverted, it's a color of reflection. Explaining in a more specific way, wearing black was associated with dark places, like caves or when you simply close your eyes. People naturally close their eyes to think, and that is why wearing black means that your mind is currently working on something."

"Wooah, were you preparing to say that in front of the mirror?" Bambam teased me, making Jinyoung laugh.

"You're an idiot and no, I made some researches a long time ago because black is one of my favorite colors and I wanted to know why I was so attracted to it anyways." I sighed. "I'm still attracted to it though, and to people who wears it often. It gives me a sensation of control and discipline."

"But Jackson, how someone like that that you described would ever match with you? You get easily irritated when receiving orders and you're constantly out of control..." Mark pointed out and he obviously knew me.

"I guess the thing with Jackson is that he's always attracted to the challenges." Jinyoung intertwined our hands. "The harder, the better."

"You're right. It would feel like a chall-"

"I need to talk to you." I was interrupted - which was something that I truly hated, but this seemed to be how things worked between me and...

Jaebeom. 

I stared at him while he was still deciding if I was worth of his attention or not. That was just the enough for me to impersonate a defensive character.

A bus passed, making the wind carry some leaves, but I couldn't tell which was the bus. If was taking me home or taking Jinyoung.

"Yah, Jackson... Call me later." Jinyoung came to give me a side hug. "And tell me everything." He whispered in my right ear in a intimate moment, running for the bus seconds later as the boys followed him. I released a sigh watching my friends leaving me alone, knowing whatever this was, it needed a lot of patience.

"Yes?" I crossed my arms. The man in front of me turned around and stared directly in my eyes.

For a moment I forgot I was about to be scolded by something I didn't even know.

For a moment I could feel how was like to have Jaebeom's eyes exclusively on me and they were dark, black and powerful, wild and controlling. 

For a moment I felt my knees giving up, but only for a moment, because his face was disapproving me one more time.

"First of all, you've been disrespecting me." He was deadly serious, almost angry.  

Almost.

But he was right.

I was always putting him in trouble in a certain way, always having to apologize about something.

"I'm your hyung." He said like crystal clear and my jaw dropped. What? My hyung? That was the main problem?

"What the hell?" I answered at his face, like he was being ridiculous.

"I was born before you, so have to call me Hyung." And like that he turned to the street again, his eyes no longer focusing on me. "You can't be that stupid..." He murmured in a voice tone that tried to put me down. 

"What are you saying? I was born in March, what month are you, February? You have to be fucking kidding me." I refused to understand what I was hearing.

"I was born in January and as you know, is the end of the moon calendar." 

"What? What does it mean?" I walked to his front, forcing him to give me attention.

I could be fucking needy just like that.

"It means you were born the next year, at the beginning. It can't justify why we are in the same years of college though, because I started later, but still..." His voice was bored and impatient, like he was trying to teach a kid how to make calculations. "It's not that hard to understand."

"Okay, BUT," It meant nothing, the moon calendar was just a cultural slash religious thing, not really meaning the reality... "You were still born in 94 January... We have the same age..." Now I was growing impatient. "Of course it's hard to understand, since it's something symbolical and cultural. I'm fucking Chinese."

"I'm still older, Jackson, so don't mess it up. Also, please, make some effort not to make me look like a idiot in front of someone I respect again. This was the first and the last time. That's all." He also crossed his arms and focused again on the horizon, waiting for the bus as if the subject was over just because he wanted it to be. He was probably too used to have things on his own way, because he was a single child or something, but not me. My brother and I used to fight for the last dumpling in the plate when we were younger and the fact that I've always ate one more when comparing to him never stopped me to stole the last one to myself.

I was a fucking fighter.

A Chinese fighter.

"Hold up cowboy, you think because you said this looking at me with daddy eyes and being six centimeters taller than I am, I'm going to do as you please? You might as well stuck your head in the toilet and flush the water, so you can wake up from this pink shitty dream you're having!" And oh, I had so much confidence saying these words that I was impressed at my capacity of speaking Hangul.

"What did you said, Jackson?! SAY IT AGAIN!" He shouted, but I wasn't afraid. I was not buying his aggressive behavior anymore.

"WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? BEAT ME?" I shouted back, but I hated to lose control like this, so, I released the air from my lungs. "What you gonna do when I appear at your doorstep and tell your mom what you did to me? What are you going to say to MY mom?!" His body grew bigger like the time he was giving me his shoes, and I could say he was putting some effort to look intimidating. If I wasn't born and created in Hong Kong, maybe he would've scared me.

"I swear to God, I'm about to-" He kept coming and I let him. I let him press his chest against mine and look at me with his ridiculous six centimeters extra, but I still wasn't afraid. His eyes were the opposite of his facial expressions. While his chin and brows tried to put him like he was the devil, all I saw was hesitant eyes. Controversial body language when compared to mine. You could notice my body wasn't attacking him, it was receiving, but his eyes were not coming after me, they were running away and I was the one following.

"You're about to what?" I simply said, raising my brows at the pause he made. "Why are you always trying to attack me? Why can't you just relax?" I was breathing the same air as him and I could feel his lungs hyperventilating, as if he was a crazy beast or something, but it was slowly calming down.

We kept starring at each other and I had a weird vibe around my body, like a feeling that something big was about to happen, but I was clueless...

"Just call me hyung... And we won't have any problems." I could tell his voice was at least ten times more softer, but still dangerous enough to show he was capable of harming me, either with words or actions.

"Maybe you should say 'please', once in a while, you know?" I teased, still feeling that arousal, like there was something in the air we were sharing. "Like normal people do." And with my last words, his face came incredibly closer, so close that he had to look at one of my eyes at the time. Now I was breathless and I would lose myself completely if he said the magic word.

"Hm." It was an ironical murmur, he was slowly backing off of me and turning to take the bus that was magically standing at the stop.

How didn't I noticed? Was I that much into that moment?

I climbed and tapped my card, following him. I wasn't going to let go of that so easily and it was better for him to be prepared.

The bus had like six or seven people and he chose the out seat, away from the window, also stopping me from sitting by his side.

"Hey, we still have some things to talk." I restarted, but everything I got back was silence and zero attention. "Why d'you came back to give me your shoes?" I wasn't letting this go and I was also trying to seem the least threatening as I could, but he didn't answered and I considered the idea of teasing him again, just to hear his voice and get a reaction. "Can you please, not be so weird and answer? I'll keep asking you until you eventually hit me or something." I pressured, but still the same silence. "Before you start with the 'Hyung' thing, you said 'First'... Is there anything else you want to say?" I insisted, but deep down I knew I wasn't getting anything back. "You have no idea how annoying you are."

"Shut the fuck up before I make you." His voice was fast, cutting and emotionless.

"Oh, I would like to know how would you do that." I got no reaction, despite the provocative words. "Next time, maybe." I surrendered.

I sighed out loud, keeping it to myself, feeling sick.

This wasn't supposed to be like this. We should be best friends and go to one another's house, help with homework, play video games, go out to eat, walk around the campus together and share each others lives. Why he had to be so difficult and reluctant? Why we couldn't have a normal conversation and know each other just a little be better?

Also... Why I had to insist on listening and trying to speak with him?

But if you stop to think, all the times we had a discussion, he was the one coming for me.

Except for that time he was having lunch and I interrupted.

I just kept silent until our stop and my mind was tired the enough already. I got myself thinking about what I was going to wear at the party the next day and I still needed to talk to Jinyoung, about today and about us.

We stepped off of the bus and he was a lot ahead of the way, far from me.

I felt frustrated.

Suddenly, my feet stopped walking and I was frozen in the empty street. The sun was coming down in an ugly way and I was suffocated, kind of hopeless.

Just get home and rest, Jackson, my mind communicated me and then I was walking again.

There was no breeze and I desperately needed a bath. When I reached for the fence gate, I couldn't see Jaebeom anymore and I didn't care that much, I was just curious. The house was empty - thank god. I took a shower and I had a lot of work in my productions, but I'd try to finish before tomorrow's night party.

 


 

Nine and thirty seven at night.

I was almost naked laying down in my bed, working on my stuff, when my phone lights up, stopping the music.

Jinyoung's name written with a picture of us together, making silly faces.

"Hey, sorry I didn't call, I had to catch up with a lot of work here..."

"Yeah, I know, it's okay. And how is the project going?" Oh, Jinyoung's voice on the phone...

"You didn't call to hear about my projects, did you?" I stood up just to sit at a couch I had by my window, looking at the dark sky with a few stars.

"Not really..." We laughed at the same time. "Tell me exactly what happened today in all moments I wasn't there..." I released the air in my lungs, feeling tired.

"Honestly, I think I'm going back to cigarettes... I feel tense and I hate it." My parents didn't know I had cigarettes since I was sixteen and if they knew, they wouldn't really care the enough to scold me, but I was never proud of my not so strong addiction.

"Oh, please... There are other ways you can find relief..." And now I could tell he was focused.

"Jinyoung, you fool people everyday with this clueless cute face of yours, you sex-monster." I joked but basing on facts.

"We gotta go with what we have, right? Now tell me..."

"Okay... You were warming up when Mark announced Jooheon had extra pair of shoes to lend me and he was on his way to give me. In less than ten seconds everyone was out and I was going too, but then Jaebeom bumped at me, saying he had a pair to lend. I explained Jooheon was coming for me with the shoes, but he ignored and kept insisting... When we were about to fight, Jooheon appears and throws his Nikes at me, telling me to hurry because they are about to start and then after I put the shoes on, Jaebeom and I got back to the class and this part you already know..."

"Yes, the part he defends you and puts himself in the light, so the blame would be shared... Cute." His voice was deadly serious.

"Well, it's nice of you to see things in such a romantic way, because in reality, he was furious at the fact that I didn't take the Converses he gave me and he said we didn't had time for me to act cool about it. Like, what the fuck...?" I was almost going back to my frustrated form.

"Uhhh, he's been watching you..."

I got silent for a second or two. "What do you mean?"

"Well, he said you both didn't had time for your coolness, which means he knows how you behave in a dramatic way. He could only know this by watching you." And the way Jinyoung spoke would say he was teased by it, at the same time he felt interested.

Not me, though. I felt like panicking.

"Why would you think he'd watch me?" Was he going crazy?

"Because he's interested! I'm trying to make you understand this it's been a while now!"

"Jinyoung, can't you see he's humiliating me?! For fucks sake, he just keeps pushing me to the edge of my patience!" Wasn't it obvious?

"Sure, he wanted you to wear his shoes because he wanted to humiliate you... You're right, Jackson... So fucking smart..."

"Stop! I'm trying to figure this out and you are actually making it worse!"

"Fine! I'll let your last two brain cells get this, but just know, Jackson... You are pretty damn slow lately! Now please, continue!" His voice was irritated and impatient and I wasn't so different.

"Ugh... Okay, so... After that, we spoke again at the bus stop... More like he shouted at me and was fucking rude all the time, but basically, he said I was disrespecting him because he's my Hyung... Can you believe this shit?! He's one month and a couple of days older, yet he thinks he's my dad, like what the fuck-"

"Was that what you told him? Oh my God, he's probably hard till now- Did you called him Daddy?"

"You know what, I'm gonna hung off right now-"

"Xiba- Okay, Jackson, it was a joke, sorry, sorry..." I could hear his laugh, but I was taking a deep breath. Suddenly I decided not to mention the part that Jaebeom was this close to my face. Better left unsaid.

"Anyways... We had another fight because I stood against him without being afraid and I was this close to being punched, but in the middle of our discussion he calmed down and we took the bus back home. I know there are plenty of things he still wants to fight me about, but he managed to stay silent and I gave up on maintaining a conversation. The rest you already know, we are not talking."

"I know there are plenty of things YOU are not saying, but I won't fight this back." I sighed, annoyed by the way I couldn't hide anything from Jinyoung even if I could. "You should consider what I'm saying though. For real. Don't be too close-minded, I know you're fighting against what you truly think of this and I know you know it won't last long..." We made a pause at the same time. "Don't forget about me, Jackson." And the mood dropped in what seemed to be like magic seconds.

"What?" I released. "Jinyoung, I think we need to talk..." My mind brought back important things that I've been thinking these days. "I think there is something different about us lately and we need to be honest-"

"There's nothing going on, Jackson. I need to go now. Promised I would help my mom with the dinner's dishes-"

"Jinyoung, wait, I mean it!" I scrunched my face.

"I know, babe... We'll talk about this later, I'm sure it can wait. See you tomorrow."

"Hey, what the fuck?!"

"Byee!" And he hung off. On my face.

"What the actual fuck?!" I murmured to myself. 

Strange things were happening these days and I felt like a kid. I also felt that thing going around me, like something big and important was about to happen. In any possible way, I had no mind for my projects now, since my problems would occupy half of my brain and the other half was subdivided in two, half presenting creative resolutions to the problems and half wanting to disappear. 

I decided to fry my muscles at the gym.

Chapter Text

"Mom, have you seen my black pants? I can't find them anywhere and they are extremely important right now!" I shouted hopping my mom would hear me from the living room.

"Check in the dry clothes basket..." She replied. I was hoping they were there because I couldn't go out without them, but if they were there, it meant I'd had to flat iron them.

"Shit."

I got down with a towel wrapped around my waist, but I had a shirt on - not the official shirt, but one that I could sweat on of get myself dirty with makeup if necessary.

Going through a lot of clothes, I found the damn pants - and I was twenty minutes late, out of the Korean costumes.

"Yah! Don't get naked here, boy!" My dad shouted, but I was already running back to my room, one hand holding the pants and the other holding the flatiron.

I didn't waste time putting everything together and as the iron was heating, I finished my makeup - which was something that I loved to do, just to feel out of character. I had some skin moisturizer and I smelled like strawberries mixed with other red fruits. My boxers were white just like my socks and my cologne was like an intense fruit mixture - just because I was supposed to be dramatic and I was going to meet new people - hopefully to do more than dance and talk.

When getting back to my room, the iron was on point, so I worked on my pants - we honestly needed one of those vapour-straightening things, which were a lot easier. More fifteen minutes later and I was ready, my wallet and phone in my hands, smelling and looking like a famous actor that produced himself before a premiere - but no one knew. I got downstairs and warned my parents, having already ordered an Uber and according to my phone, he would be turning the corner in two minutes.

 


  

Arriving at the party around ten, I could tell everyone was already wasted - since Koreans liked to drink so much and so heavily. The music was loud and it was actually good, not a normal pop, but something with more taste. The club was one of the most known around the downtown area, but this was a closed party, only for us - which meant all UNI was there and if I was lucky, some people would bring friends from other UNI's and it would be more fun.

As I got in, passing through a crowded and disorganized entry, securities completely distracted, I saw what everyone would see: half club (mostly girls) dancing and the boys eating them with their eyes - which was disgusting -, and then there was my people: guys actually taking the dance floor (mostly gay, queer or bi) and girls getting drunk at the bar. I could recognize faces; Mark, Bambam, Jinyoung, Jooheon, Minhyuk and a lot more. I missed Youngjae.

I found myself dodging everyone till Jooheon actually saw me, going scandalous and wild.

"HYUNG, FINALLY-" He shouted and he was completely drunk. I looked forward to be the same in an hour, if I was lucky.

"HYUNG!" Minhyuk also came to me. I already had Jooheon squeezing me against him and I needed alcohol to be daring like this. "LOOKING SEXY!"

Surprisingly Minhyuk said that right on my left ear and I looked at him in a way I bet it was comic. Their relationship was a mystery, but Minhyuk's sexual orientation was pretty obvious.

"COME ON, LET'S DRINK" Jooheon pulled me away, not even letting me talk to everybody. "ASK WHATEVER YOU WANT, IS ON ME!" He came closer to say that and I forgot to state mentally: he was still squeezing my waist with no shame.

I knew he wasn't straight, but I thought Minhyuk and him were together for real...

"YAH, THERE'S NO NEED!" I spoke for the first time. At the bar, the barman waited for my command. "SOJU, PLEASE!" He nodded. "JOOHEON, I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING-" I hated that I had to scream to be heard, so I did the same thing and leaned closer to him, passing my arms around his torso. His shirt felt wet and he smelled of oriental wood mixed with alcohol. I had to ask immediately, before he got so drunk that he wouldn't even be able to formulate a single word - and I bet he was this type.

"NENG" He waist-hugged me, turning his right ear to me. I covered the sides with my hands, trying to make myself heard easily. 

"Are you and Minhyuk together?" I spoke slowly so he could understand my messy Korean, then I got some distance to see his reaction. Laughing loud - scandalously -, he still kept me on the embrace. I smiled back just because of the excitement of the ambiance and because his dimples were showing on his pale face, wasted eyes shining and flushed cheeks proudly showing off.

He pulled my face to him and turned to my left ear. Gentle, cold fingers brushing on the hot skin of my jawline, making me control a jolt.

"Why don't you spend some time with us and find out, huh?" He didn't screamed and maybe he wasn't as drunk as I expected - which was dangerous. People pretending to be drunk were the best to make you open up with them and then you'd never know if you're secrets were safe - or how many of them you shared.

Of course they were together, but I had to pay attention to what made them different from any other couple or pair. Plus, he wanted for me to participate and this was obvious by now.

Perhaps they had an open relationship like me and Jinyoung.

"I'll try..." I whispered back, smiling in amusement.

Oh, I loved that... Call me a whore, I won't deny, I had a personal desire for games like these.

"SOJU FOR YOU!" The bartender cut us, giving me a bottle with what smelled like pure alcohol.

"YAH, ARE YOU IGNORING US?!" Bambam appeared out of nowhere and Jooheon gave him some space, taking the opportunity to ask for one more bottle of beer.

"BAM!" I hugged him, not even sipping my drink.

"LET'S JOIN THE OTHERS" He suggested and now I could see how build up he was, makeup with glitter, provocative shocker, open shirt and nice shimmering black pants.

"YAH, JOOHEON, I'LL BE AROUND!" I warned him while Bambam pulled me away through the people.

"I HOPE SO!" I heard him and yeah, I was excited for it to happen.

Then we were walking, feeling the warm bodies and moving along with them. Some girls would stare at me, girls that didn't have the guts to even look at my shadow when in the UNI.

"FINALLY, PRINCESS WANG!" Mark side-hugged me - apparently it was easy, since everyone was taller than me.

"PRINCESSES NEED TIME TO LOOK FLAWLESS-" I joked back and Mark looked like Hades. I mean, if I imagined Hades, he would look like Mark. "DID YOU DIE YOUR HAIR RED OR...?" It was a view, trust me. It suited him more than it should, his face features were at least ten times stronger.

"I DID! D'YOU LIKED?" He smiled with his vampire teeth, shining more than ever.

"YOU LOOK DANGEROUS, MARK. WATCH OUT, WE DON'T WANT TO BURY SOMEONE TONIGHT-" I made a party out of it and everyone laughed, including Jinyoung, who was just looking at me, secretly having ideas that he would never share.

I ignored everyone just to get to him, who smiled in his typical way, timid, but magnetic and even a little bit contained - just because he was a beast inside.

"Hi baby." I said on his ear once we hugged. My hands not wasting time, going for his ass.

"You look too hot." He delicately spoke in my ear. "Don't I look dangerous too? I want to be able to keep you in case someone appears." He kissed my neck.

"You're looking wild, baby. Loved your hair." Because he had it sleeked back and it was showing more of his round, sculptured face. Letting go of him, I finally drank from my bottle for the first time, feeling the liquid burning my throat, then icing my insides.

"What are you drinking?" I said on his ear again.

"Sangria... It's refreshing... Your makeup looks professional, seems like Bambam is doing you well..." His right hand touched my face with the same delicacy, not to screw my hard work.

"You too, you look like my favorite snack... Can't walk around like this..." I teased, knowing he felt pleased when I paid attention to him like that.

"You're the worst..." He smiled. "But you better take care of me, someone might steal me tonight..." He smirked.

"Not on my watch, baby." We were whispering in each others ears like teenagers. "But does this means that you have someone in your radar? Do I know him?" I teased, raising my eyebrows.

"You're funny, jaggi-ah." He kissed my neck again.

It wasn't a gay night or a LGBT club, so we had to watch out for how far we could go without being caught by some crazy assholes. It was a dangerous place to be this free and sometimes I hated Korea's controversy.

"MARK, WHERE IS YOUNGJAE?" I dodged some of the attention we were probably catching, but I kept Jinyoung close, tight grip at his free hand.

"HAVEN'T ARRIVED YET, HIS PARENTS KINDA DIDN'T ALLOWED FOR HIM TO COME, SO HE'LL SNEAK OUT. HE'LL BE HERE BY ANYTIME." His face showed worry and suddenly he was tense. Mark was someone to keep. The way he worried for the dude was truthful and admirable.

"HOPE HE ARRIVES SOON, IT'S NO PARTY WITHOUT HIM-" I had a smile on my face and putting the worry in the back of my head, I was having fun.

The people dancing around us were giving the place some life and everyone was drinking like there was no tomorrow. All of my friends were there and I was surrounded by people with good will, which meant if something happened to one of us - in the worst case scenario - there would be more people to hold everyone up. With that in my head, I started to finish bottles and I knew I was starting to get there when I felt hot and cold at the same time. Youngjae arrives and we are all having fun, dancing and drinking together. Jinyoung moves his body with mine at the rhythm and we are starting to get sensual, hands all over our bodies and a warm sweat coming from both us. Unexpectedly, Mark and Youngjae are around a corner, in the dark, making out and Mark is being completely wild and daring. Since I haven't seen any strange movement - considering the alcohol messing with my head -, I became more daring with Jinyoung too, but never getting there or never kissing. I was seeing the lights and feeling the music when he turned me around to face him.

"Kiss me..." I could tell he was going crazy by the way I rubbed myself against him on purpose.

"We can't..." I was partly concerned and partly teasing.

"No one's looking..." He wasn't holding any drinks at the moment, so one of his hands was on my waist and the other was dangerously caressing my stomach, going up and down. His eyes were tiny and glowing, his face more squishy than normal. Some strands of hair would fall on his face and his cheeks were rubberized.

"Jinyoung, it's dangerous..." I insisted and I just couldn't ignore the scenario.

"Jackson... Why?" He whined, two hands on my waist now.

"YAH, WE ARE GOING OUT FOR SOME AIR!" I heard Mark warning us from a distance and when we all looked, they were already leaving. Bambam was dancing with some people, but even wasted, he heard.

"You know why, baby... I know Mark and Youngjae are brave, but-"

"What? Are you having some kind of sensation?" He hugged me and I did it back, still holding my soju bottle. Jinyoung knew when I had weird premonitions and after we been through a robbery together without actually being assaulted because of me, he believed.

"You know me... I don't have a good feeling about this... You can go to my house later and we can see what we can do." I whispered on his ear, taking the hug as a pair dance, trying to convince him that to hold back now was to release later.

"Hm... What's going to happen at your house?" His hands squeezed my ass and our bodies where completely glued now. It worked.

"All kinds of things... But we have to be quiet, y'know? I have to be quiet, since I go crazy when you do that to me..." I gave him a preview of what meant as I was going to be a bottom, since this time I was ready for him and I kind of owned him one.

"Fuck, Jackson, you'll let me fuck you?" I pushed him to the wall that was right behind of us, his head going back, eyes fixed on mines. His lips were bitten and his hair was naturally out of control, wet out of sweat.

"If you behave, I'll ride you baby..." Now I was using my free hand to tease him, touching the skin of his arms in a more receptive way.

We smiled together and played with each other a little bit on that dark spot at the club, sometimes whining at each other, sometimes giving up on keeping quiet.

"Funny how you touch me like this, but you don't want to kiss me..." He teased. "What's the difference..." He whined once again, pushing the weight of his body against the wall, sulking.

"Kissing would be visually too daring... No one can see if I do this to you..." I caressed his half-hard dick as I hid my hand between our bodies, passing my nose through his neck.

"Ah, Sseun-ah..." He tightened the grip on my ass, not even a little bit discreet.

"Enough... Let's enjoy the party..." I backed off, making him look at me with anger.

"You owe me one..." He was deadly serious, even with a smirk on his chubby red lips.

"I do, now let's dance!" I pulled him by the hand, moving the focus from his drunk mind.

"Actually, I need to tell you something, Jackson..." He pulled me back with a serious face. I frowned.

"What, baby? What is it?" I cupped his face with my hands, starting to get worried at the serious words after he just showed me he wasn't really able to be coherent.

"It's nothing serious... I mean, it kinda is, but is not bad... I think. It's just something I've been fighting to tell you it's been a while..." I could barely hear him, so I read his lips and as far as I read, it was something serious, kind of bad.

"You're starting to make me worried... Tell me..." I looked inside his eyes and he kept it firmly, passing me the tension.

"Wait, I need to use the washroom..." He rose his brows, escaping from me and not looking back when slowly finding his way out of there. Now I was half hard and half nervous.

I got back to Bambam and later on Jooheon and Minhyuk also appeared. My vision was one hundred percent blurred and I was moving my body uncontrollably. I didn't know how long we danced together, but by the time I was growing tired, I heard some people screaming.

"What the hell?!" Jooheon turned back at the noise, letting go of Minhuyk's grip. Eventually, everybody did the same and people were still being scandalous.

I had an anxious feeling in my chest, like something was really wrong.

"THEY'RE FIGHTING!" Some girl screamed loud enough for us to hear. I looked at Bambam and I could identify my people around me, but then Mark and Youngjae came in my mind like a loud alarm.

"LET'S GO! JOOHEON, I'LL NEED HELP!" At the moment I said it, I felt like being electrocuted and I made the boys feel the same.

There WAS something wrong, after all.

"NENG! GUYS, C'MON!" But I didn't know how many we were, all I did was scream for people to get out of my way till I got outside, feeling chilly and terrified. I knew something really bad was happening and I followed the noise, passing through people until we got to a street with a dead end, where a circle of men were kicking and punching each other blindly, but there was something in the middle.

Until my eyes widened in a velocity that I wasn't capable to control and I knew who was there.

"MARK!" I saw his face in the crowd and his red hair was going everywhere, but mostly I saw him using his Taekwondo against some of the aggressors, not succeeding so much. There were a lot of people and I could identify some trying to protect them both, even without knowing them, but they were losing.

I don't know how my feet lead me there, but I knew it was real when I pulled one man by the shirt and I punched him, throwing him back like garbage, searching for the next body.

Then my mind was confused by the emotion.

I saw myself pushing them away and kicking on the low parts. I saw Jooheon and Minhyuk hitting dudes till the ground and I saw Bambam trying to take them away.

I felt a sudden pain in my neck and then someone was pushing me against the wall, suffocating me faster than I could react, even though I was using all my energy to kick him, seeming worthless.

"YOU FUCKING FAGGOTS, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!" He screamed at me, letting go of one of my hands just to punch me in the mouth.

I felt numb instead of aching. The alcohol had its miracles. I wasn't hurting that much, but my body would not obey me, it was like I had no more energy to fight back. I was going crazy.

All I could think about was Mark and Youngjae and how I failed to protect them.

They could be dead by now and it was going to be my fault.

"JACKSON!" I heard Jinyoung's voice from afar, but I couldn't answer. "LET GO OF ME YOU PIECE OF SHIT!"

"THIS ONE TOO!" Someone shouted back, like giving a command to go after Jinyoung.

"No..." I managed to say, but then I felt the guy in front of me kicking my stomach, leaving me breathless and useless, laying on the ground.

I coughed instantly, watching blood coming out of my mouth. My ears were deaf, I heard things like they were from thirty meters afar.

"YOU WANNA FUCKING DIE?!" I could listen, just because it sounded strong, wild and like an animal growling. Then I was left on the ground, my senses confused by everything. I couldn't see two meters ahead of me, but I had the impression I knew that voice.

I also heard punching sounds, strong ones, and some sort of deaf movements.

"I'LL FUCKING KILL ALL OF YOU!" The voice kept shouting completely out of control and under a lot of layers of anger on it, I could recognize him.

"Jaebeom...?!" I said impulsively, not having idea of how loud I was.

How drunk was I? Seeing and hearing things like this wasn't normal. Did I unconsciously wished for him to be there so bad that my imagination was starting to trick me?

"Jaebeom..." I called again, trying to pay more attention and see if I was wrong.

But I wasn't. He was right there moving in a pace I couldn't follow, hitting like a monster, furious like the red dragon I pictured in my head from the stories I heard when I was a kid.

"DON'T MOVE, I'M COMING FOR YOU!" It was his voice replying me and apparently it was only for me, completely different from seconds ago, more human. Maybe he didn't want to scare the shit out of me but it was too late. My hands were shaking and I couldn't feel my feet. Or maybe it was the alcohol.

"DUDE, WHAT THE FUCK!" It was a new voice, higher and younger. I didn't know this one.

I felt like passing out, but squeezing my eyes in an attempt to focus, I could see things that made me relieved. Mark was being held in Youngjae's arms and some people were trying to help them, which meant they were safe.

I looked ahead of me and Jooheon was also being held by Minhyuk, but not defeated, just controlled. His face and neck seemed like about to explode even in the poor street yellow light. Minhyuk tried to talk some sense to him and there was a few people on the wall taking a breath, trying to keep it together.

There were a lot of men in pain on the ground, next to me.

"CAN'T YOU FIND SOMEONE THE SAME SIZE AS YOURS TO FIGHT?!" The same high pitched voice shouted again and I heard what sounded like the last punches, deaf noises of bodies falling on the ground.

"JACKSON!" Was Jinyoung's voice calling me, but I felt too weak.

"YAH! He needs to breath..." The new voice said.

"DON'T FUCKING TOUCH HIM!" Jaebeom warned in a violent and impatient shout, then I felt arms around my waist and hands on my chest, pulling me up from the dirty ground.

"Ugh... Fuck..." I growled in pain, trying to stand up and control my more than naturally heavy body.

"Slow down..." He was close, his hands were holding me tight next to him and his words sounded like commands, but in their best way. Also, he still smelled citric and sweet, like something addictive. "I'll call an Uber." He had dominance in his voice, but also some gentleness, as if he was really taking care of me. I could barely hear anything anymore, but I could hear him, because he had me on his chest and I felt his crazy heartbeat in my ear, also his voice vibrated on my face. "Don't move, Jackson." It was an order and I was growing used to it. Comfortable with it. To the point I liked.

"Why d'you never say 'please'?" I teased, holding on to him with the ultimate strength that I had, but when I tried to laugh, I felt breathless. A thin pain coming from inside me, making me whine.

"Don't say anything..." His voice was going far and it was soft, pleasant. "I'm taking you home..." Was the last thing I heard, the last worried face I saw and I felt at ease. I felt safe even though I was in the middle of a dead end street with a lot of people coughing blood.

My mind blacked out.

 


 

When I gained consciousness, I felt the light coming into the place I was. I was laying at something comfortable and soft, with a different smell. It wasn't my room. It wasn't Jinyoung's room, because he had blackout curtains. It wasn't Mark's apartment because there was no dog smell...

"What the hell..." My voice was sour and dry. My throat was hurting, as a corner of my lip, but as it was dormant, my hole face felt weird.

Then, in a wave, I felt my body aching...

My body...

Passing my hands through myself I felt no clothes, but I still had my boxers on.

The sheets were soft around me and the pillows were one of those that goes in the shape of your head and it smelled really good and sweet, though I really hated it's material. I dared to open my eyes, fighting against the heaviness and clarity. An exaggerated headache coming, like I was coming back to life after a long time.

Oh, it's a couple bed... I noticed when I spared my legs, but I felt no one around. Using my right arm, I stood up on the bed, pushing myself straight to the window view.

With my eyes kinda open, I saw what looked like my backyard, but in a different side view. I paid attention to the house details and I saw a room on the same floor that looked like mine.

"What the hell...?" I repeated.

My head was really aching right now and something was about to come back straight from my stomach. I knew I was going to throw up when I felt my mouth getting wet and wet and nausea started to involve me.

"Shit!" I forced myself out of the bed to the first door I saw in the room and when I opened, I was thankful that it was an empty bathroom.

My fingers opened the toilet and in less then two seconds, I was putting everything out, a weird tasted liquid, yellow colored.

"Shit, Jackson, put it all out..." Someone held my back and I almost jolted back, but another wave was coming out of me, leaving me breathless and weak.

It was Jaebeom.

My mind was making less effort to identify him or his voice at every passed moment and I was surprised with such an unexpected ability.

When I felt like it was over, I touched my belly with my right hand, wondering what was wrong, since I considered myself a pro at drinking like a fucked up college boy and waking up in a morning glow the following day.

"What happened? Why are you here? And where am I?" It was too fast. My mind was still half sleeping. Was that blood on the toilet along with the vomit? "Am I bleeding?"

"Shhh, why don't you get in the tub and take a warm bath?" Was that really Jaebeom? With that soft voice? Holding me with a gentle, yet firm grip? "Come on, stand up..." But I made no effort, he just grabbed my body by my waist and took me to the tub as if I was an old man, opening the tap and making the hot water come out aggressively.

"Ugh, it's too hot...!" My body was in shock, so I made some brusque moves, still trying to hold on to him.

"Okay, I'll turn around, now slow down..." He turned the tap and now it was too cold, but I didn't complained. I felt less sick and somehow that helped me feel at ease. "Just relax..." He pushed my body back to lay down by my chest and I felt goosebumps. "I'll be right back." Now his voice was more like the one I knew; cutting, straight and slightly high pitched.

He disappeared from my sight and I wanted to die just to stop the feeling of the world spinning around.

Without much warning, I took a deep breath and adjusted myself under the water, closing my eyes and slowly releasing the air in my lungs. When I felt breathless I reached for air, going down again right after.

Now I was deaf and blind, but my heart beat so strong that it gave me the illusion of being inside my head.

"...u doing?!" He pulled me out and closed the tap, the water almost coming out of the tub as my body created waves in the way he brought me back. "D'you wanna die?! Like, right now? In my house?" I managed to look at him for the first time and I slowed down... Hypnotized.

He was staring at me with a growing anger, but nothing as strong as the worry he was passing. I noticed Jaebeom for the first time, even dying from headache and feeling as if I had to go through a thousand surgeries to replace my organs.

His skin was flawless, pores closed, same tone everywhere and not a trace of acne, but he had a tone of yellow around his eyes, which made him look intense. He was probably the type of person with insomnia problems or just unregulated hours of sleep. His eyebrows were sharp and black, flawless. He had two moles under the left one and his eyes were equally sharp, if not more. His nose reminded me what a wolf nose would be like and I could see some expression lines, going from the sides of his nose to his lips, thin, soft and with some light red spots, like he would bite them and make them bleed from time to time. His cheeks were high and highlighted, demarcated, but pale. In all, his face was sharp and I could even see his mom on him - because he had a feminine face, if not by his chin.

"You kinda look good." I don't know what he was saying before, but my words obviously caught him off guard, making his high cheeks go pink and his brows go up. "I like your nose." I looked closer and I could definitely picture a wolf or a down-turned arrow.

Too close, almost intimately. I liked in a level I couldn't bear.

"I think you're still drunk. Take the medicine I left for you. When you finish, there's a towel right there, you can use it. If you take too long, I'll call the police and tell them there's a dead man in my bathroom, so rush." He threw everything at me and stood up to leave, closing the door right behind of him.

And there was the Jaebeom I knew.

When I looked to the floor, there was a small plate with two different pills on it and a cup with orange juice filled till the top.

"Jeez... Why is he so hard to deal with..." I murmured, taking the medicine. "But still, he takes care of me like he means it."

I used a liquid coconut soap that was hanging next to the tap with other products, not hesitating at all.

How the hell did I ended up at his house? Was he at the party? Why my belly ached so much and why there was blood mixed with my vomit? How did I woke up almost naked on Jaebeom's bed and why would he ever agree to this? Where was my phone and my wallet?!

That came to me like a rush and I needed to finish the bath to go for answers.

I used some shampoo without even reading its composition, but I smelled strawberry right after.

Strawberry? Really?

So Jaebeom was actually soft inside, right?

After ten minutes, I was clean and feeling a lot better, so I got out of the tub, letting it go empty.

I dried my body completely and took the plate and the cup, opening the door only wearing the towel around my waist. 

There was no one in the room, but he left some shorts and a tank top on his bed for me.

Wait... Where did he slept?

I made a face, letting the plate and the cup at his writing desk and quickly getting dressed, afraid of someone opening the door, finding me naked.

When I was about to put the shirt - having his shorts squeezing my thighs -, he opens the door abruptly, looking like a scared cat.

I want to laugh, because his first expression was fearless but then he became embarrassed once he saw me still half naked.

"What? You took my clothes of, slept at the same bed with me almost naked, watched me vomit my dignity out and now you're embarrassed?" I smirked, joking, trying to break the ice.

He had a confusion going on inside, but the final expression was a mad one.

"Do you really have to speak nonsense like that inside my house too?" He came to me just to take the cup and the plate from my side. My eyes never left his face, but he hardly looked at me.

"Okay, sorry, I was just kidding." I still smiled, because there was something cute on his facial expressions even when he wanted to kill me.

"You're a joker, aren't you, Jackson?" He cut, going out of the room.

Of course I followed him.

"Jeez... Are you normally like this in the mornings?" We got downstairs.

"Mornings?" He laughed with irony. "It's two PM, time for you to go home!" He yelled from the kitchen. I putted his shirt on just in time to see his mother passing in the same place.

"No way, he's not going home hungry!" His mother smiled at me and I smiled back, wondering if Jaebeom's personality was more like his father.

"Misses Im, good afternoon, I'm sorry to come here under these circumstances..." I truly apologized, because I had no idea of the fuss I made when we arrived here probably in the dawn.

"Don't be sorry... Jaebeom told me the awful things that happened... You can stay as long as you want, there's still soup from the lunch: take it. It'll do great for your hangover." Wait, she actually ordered me, so Jaebeom's personality was a mix, just like everybody else. "It'll detox your stomach... Jaebeom will cook you whatever you want and then he will take care of this cut of yours right there in your mouth. Make yourself comfortable..." And she was grabbing her purse from the table. "I'm going out for some groceries and ice cream with my friends, but don't worry..." She grabbed each one of my shoulders, making me smile even wider. "He might look as though as a rock, but his heart is as soft as a pudding. As far as I can read you, you are fearless. Keep it up, dear!" It was a whispered shout.

She quickly passed through the door and locked up.

Why I had the impression Misses Im was pushing a situation between me and Jaebeom? Why was she so happy? What did she knew?

Was she encouraging me to be friends with her son for something specific?

I had the most stupid smile on my face when he was back from the kitchen. Hair invading his face and a blank expression. I kept starring at him like I knew all the secrets of the universe.

"What?" He raised his brows. I noticed it was something he used to do no mattered the situation.

"Your mom told me some things." I slowly walked to his direction, making pauses.

"What did she tell you?" He crossed his arms, biceps becoming evident and shoulders becoming even wider. I wasn't intimidated... I just felt different.

"She told me you're going to cook lunch for me..." I putted my hands on the pockets of my borrowed shorts as if I truly owned them, still coming closer.

"What?!" He made a face, not backing up.

"And...! She told me you're going to take care of this cut right here... Can you see?" I pointed to the corner of my lip. He actually squeezed his eyes, trying to see where it was. I came closer, almost in front of him. "Right here, you blind grandpa..." I kept pointing.

Then he came to me, only one arm crossed, the other bringing his hand to my face, touching me abruptly without hesitation. He was really that close, touching my face...

"Take off your hand, idiot..." He pushed my hand away and then stopped right in front of me, using both of his hands now to scrunch my face.

But that actually hurt.

"Ouch... Jaebeom..." I didn't backed off, but I put my hand on top of his, trying to loose the grip. The touch was warm in both of our hands and his was dry, as if he was the type to use them frequently for hard works.

Like b-boying.

"I didn't do anything..." He came even closer, scrunching more. I could see a smirk rising on his lips, even with him still sustaining a serious face.

Of course he was doing on purpose.

"Ah, ah, ah..." I whined, feeling like my mouth was fresh cut. I stared into his eyes and I saw a shimmer on them. "Don't open the bruise again..." It was supposed to be a command, but judging by the situation that I was, it sounded more like a kid.

We became silent when he took his hands away, coming even closer and looking at me from the top.

"You are such a drama queen." Then he pushed me back by my chest, turning around, going back to the kitchen.

"Excuse me..." I followed. "King." I corrected, sitting at the balcony. "What are you preparing, chef?" I was excited. I knew Jaebeom was good at eating, but... Was he of any use in the kitchen? He didn't seemed like someone who knew how to hold a pan at all.

"Ramyeun." He was short and cutting, leaving it quite obvious the idea that he was not accepting a discussion over it. With his left hand, he pushed his hair back, reaching for two packs at the upper cabinets with his right.

"What? I can eat ramyeun when I get home, just try to surprise me!" I supported my chin in the back of my right hand, carefully watching all his moves.

"Great! So you can go to your house! It's right there!" He crossed his arms again to me.

"Fine, but I want tofu soup too... And I also need protein... It's part of my diet." I didn't look at him to see his reaction, but I knew he was mad when I noticed the unnecessary strength he used just to open the refrigerator.

If today was my one and only opportunity to be friends with him, I would not say no to the universe.

We spent like three minutes silent. The water was boiling and he had two eggs, tofu and meat out of the refrigerator.

"So... What happened last night?" I started, truly confused.

"What do you mean? You don't remember anything?" He came to me with the tofu and some vegetables and green onion at the top of a cutting board, opening a knife drawer at the other side of where I was sitting. He picked up a knife and started to cut everything with ease and... Talent? Precision?

Resuming: He was good. He fucking knew how to cook. What a fucking idiot...

He was making it hard for me to hate him.

"All I can recall is that I was dancing with my friends, when Jinyoung went to the washroom and we started to hear screams..." I left unsaid the part that me and Jinyoung were making out and he had something really important to tell me.

"After the screams, a lot of people went outside and there was a fight..." He kept cutting with an amazing ability that made me stare completely pleased. He left the tofu in one side and stared to cut the green onions. "You went outside the club screaming too and your friends followed you. When I got outside, everyone was going crazy. That friend of yours, Joohyon-"

"Jooheon..." I corrected.

"Fuck this..." He threw the knife on the board making me jump, then moved back to the boiling water. "He started to defend your other friends, Youngjae and Mark, who were at the dead end of the street. There was a lot of people hitting blindly at each other and Minhyuk was really good at the hook punch..." He smirked, putting the vegetables with some of the things that already came on the ramyeun pack, excluding the one that gave it a spicy taste. I automatically smiled at it for no reason, just by the fact that he was considering my preferences. He took other sauces to replace the spicy powder, like mirin, soy and other things. "Mark also knows how to fight, even though he was drunk, but you... You were a shame." He took other pan, applying some oil to it and throwing a good quantity of sliced garlic, mixing with large pieces of green onion.

"How do you know all that and didn't got there to help us?" I was starting to recover my memories and I remember being really hurt before he got there.

"I wasn't there as soon as it happened... What I'm telling you is what people told me and what people said was that you were a terrible drunk fighter." He mixed everything up at the same time as he threw the eggs end the ramyeun on the soup.

"I can tell I still made a difference at this fight, though." I was now being bullied.

"Of course, those men needed a dead weight to discount all their hate." His smirk was getting bigger.

"Shut up... I can remember, but then I also remember hearing your voice when I was on the ground and I felt like dying... What happened? You were really angry... Like a beast..."

"Hm..." He cleared his throat like the grandpa he was, taking some time to continue. "After that, Yugyeom and I finished the last six guys that insisted on standing up to fight, but they were trash. Then Jinyoung tried to jump at you, but they didn't know what you had, like, broken bones or something, because you were hung at the wall by your neck and then thrown away like garbage, so they gave you space to breath." I was slowly remembering everything, but in my head it was a little bit different.

And the food was starting to smell...

"I thought this friend of yours, Yugyeom, was actually holding Jinyoung back, so I would stay on the ground... I remember hearing his voice, I’m sure it was him.” That was it, I was sure... But at the same time, why would he do this? Why would he let Jaebeom deal with it?

"Uh, ani." He threw the sliced meat on the pan with the vegetables and put some soy sauce, sugar and salt. "After that, I took you home by Uber. Actually, you still have to pay half of the ride." He mixed the meat in the pan just by shaking it and then he started to take some special soup porcelain dishes to serve us. I was still amazed by the velocity that everything got ready and how he managed to do it in such a clean and organized way.

"I will, just because you're being nice and preparing me something to eat." I smiled, even though he wasn't facing me to see.

After that we got silent. He brought the dishes with spoons and chopsticks, then served me with the same orange juice, but for him, there was strawberry juice.

"What is this? Why do you have special treatment?" I complained.

He looked at me with his chin and muscles tense and I knew I didn't have intimacy to be that playful with him yet.

But look how we were... I was waiting for the food he cooked me at his table, at his house... After practically being showered by him and sleeping with him at his bed almost naked... That was something, right? He couldn't ignore me anymore.

"The ramyeun is almost ready, lets just wait a little bit for the eggs and for the meat to get some color, since you like your food tasteless." Jaebeom crossed his arms, supporting his body against the opposite counter.

"Not tasteless, just not spicy..."

"What is your problem with spicy flavored foods anyway?"

"I get all sweaty and I cry a lot. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that you're not ready to see me like that." I stared at his face, still paying attention to his body language and he was not that uncomfortable anymore, just reluctant.

"Yet you bled in your clothes and vomited on my toilet..." Now he stared back and I wasn't ready to maintain the look, so I just looked away.

"So that's what happened to my clothes..."

"Yes, I threw them away..." He slowly walked back to where I was. My eyes popped out when I looked back at him feeling nauseous.

"WHAT?" Not my clothes! They were expensive and they were mine!

"Just kidding. My mom washed them with neutral soap and vinegar in cold water. They look new." The way he said that without hesitation or blame, or even without seeming to joke, it just made me shiver, even though it was nothing special.

"You like to see me desperate, don't you?" I copied him, left hand sustaining my face, eyes on him, tired look in my face.

"I do." He said at ease, staying there for almost ten seconds and it was enough to get awkward, but I couldn't breath normally nor think straight... He liked me, right? Even if just to play with me, but he liked me... "The food is ready." He announced, still staring at me, until he turned around to turn the fire off and I was dizzy.

I felt my heart beating at a weird pace and I felt funny. Strange that I could learn how to be comfortable with him in such little time, but I guess it's part of being a social butterfly... Right?

He seemed much less aggressive than the normal, almost like he was someone else.

He came back putting the pan between us and serving the meat in a normal plate.

"Why are you having lunch at two PM by the way?" I curiously asked.

"It's my house, I can have lunch anytime I want." He said that like it was a normal answer.

I looked at him like I was about to commit suicide.

"Okay, I'll never speak to you again." I raised my hands in surrender.

He laughed.

He laughed innocently.

And it was a nice sound. I wanted to make him laugh more often. Because of me.

I was probably looking at him in a weird way because of the way he looked back when he finished serving me. I caught myself and focused on the food. My stomach made an unexpected sound.

"Thank you for the food." I said, bowing.

"Wait, wait... There's something missing..." He stopped me and right now I was so hungry that I felt like fainting.

"What?" I looked hopeless.

"That thing you should call me, but you just are not educated the enough to do it..." And I rolled my eyes. "Did you rolled your eyes at me, Jackson?! Just when I thought you deserved to eat after the show yesterday..." Then he started to eat, like an animal, cracking the egg and taking it's vessel off.

So he was paying attention to my actions? But why...?

"Okay... Thank you for the food, hyung."

"Hyung who?" He made a signal with his hand, positioning behind his left ear.

"Jaebeom-hyung." I rolled my eyes one more time.

"Ah... Now it feels right." He continued to eat.

It felt right with me, right? It felt right on the way I was speaking and how our interaction was happening. That's what he meant, wasn't it?

It did felt right, for the first time since we met.

He wasn't shy and silent. Not at all.

He just didn't liked me at the beginning and I didn't know what feelings he had towards me now, but I could tell it wasn't hate.

Not anymore.

And if it was, he sucked at demonstrating.

We got silent while our mouths were working. I peeled my egg too and everything was surprisingly delicious, even without spice.

"How did you learn how to cook?" I asked, not really caring if he was going to cut me again or not. I was learning to dodge his tough personality and eventually I would get to his soft side - by insisting, of course.

"I thought I heard you saying you were never going to speak to me again..." He raised his eyebrows, but I was ready for that answer.

"Well, you didn't tell me to shut up when I called you Jaebeom-hyung, Jaebeom-hyung." I copied him.

He smirked at me, directly, without hiding or holding back and his teeth were beautiful.

He was beautiful, somehow. And now I could see it. But that was not surprising at all, I had the ability to see beauty in everything.

"Fine." He stopped filling his mouth with food, just processing what he was already chewing. I waited with my eyes completely focused. I wouldn't have another chance to make him like me, it was all or nothing. "When I was a kid, my grandma and auntie liked to teach me how to cook. They made me help in the kitchen and I used to make a lot of sweets and desserts or help at special dinners, cooking meat, chicken and sea food..." He said everything pausing each sentence, slower than he ever did and I wondered if he was making it up or just trying to contain his memories - probably the second one. "After my parents got the divorce, I had to change my life. I had to go do a different school, live in a different house in also a different neighborhood. I had to separate completely from my dad and his family and when I got here at this neighborhood with my mom, she used to leave me alone in the house. I had to learn how to cook, otherwise I'd starve to death, since she never learned to do it well." He served himself with more ramyeun and meat.

"How old were you when all this happened?"

"Eight to nine years old." Then he returned to the food.

I did the same, because I didn't want to stress him with so many questions and the mood was too good to be screwed. I never imagined him being good at something that demanded so much patience and care, in a general vision, he was always angry and his behavior was aggressive. He constantly fought against natural forces and he always had an answer ready for you, but now I could see the good things too, even if he was reluctant to them.

His mom said he had a soft jelly big heart, but the thing about those was that because they were too big and vulnerable, impulsive emotions would make them do intense things in a blink of an eye. He would love too much, but also hate too strong and he would never manipulate, because his impulse wouldn't let him think before acting...

I wasn't like that, I was more relaxed when it came to my emotions, but I had deeply desires, fast burning fires and moments of uncertainty. I never held a grudge for too long and I could easily get jealous or not give a fuck about it at all.

"Aish..." I felt hot ramyeun touching my sore bruise and as a reflex, I dropped my chopsticks and spoon on the plate.

"Here." He gave me a napkin out of nowhere, but he didn't looked at me.

Maybe the fact that I was bleeding made him uncomfortable... I could understand, but I wished that he would just freely take care of me.

"Thank you." I pressed the napkin against it and it made it less itchy, but the pain was still there.

We finished our meals when there was nothing else to eat and I took everything out of the table by myself, doing the dishes.

The silence was starting to get weird, when I remembered I still haven't checked my phone and I didn't know where my wallet was.

"Jaebeom-hyung, where is my phone and my wallet?" I had finished, drying my hands in a microfiber fabric.

"In my room, writing desk." He had this thinking face and his left hand would mess with his left ear in a distracting way.

"Thanks..." I left the fabric there and went back to his room.

"I'll be there to see these bruises of yours..." He warned from the kitchen, but I didn't answer.

I had like two minutes to truly examine his room now, before he came at me with a first-aid kit.

When you opened the door, that was it: you walked up straight to his desk. There were a lot of books on white shelves all around the room, a lot, and when you turned to the right, there was his couple bed, with three pillows and-

"Jeez!" I felt my heart coming out of my chest.

Was that a fucking cat? On top of his bed?!

"What?" He appeared at the doorstep, concern in his face.

"I didn't know you had a cat..." I tried to sound the less terrified as I could, but I wasn't expecting that at all...

"I have four." He got in, pulling his desk chair closer to the bed, sitting next to the edge.

The cat was peacefully sleeping until he started to caress his head, then he opened his big eyes end just became aware of everything, not really moving.

"What's his name?" I still didn't moved since I first saw him.

"Her name is Kunta." He evidenced the her.

"Is she okay if I sit there?" I didn't want to invade her space and she obviously had a special relation with Jaebeom's bed, since she wasn't bothering at all. I could understand. I never saw him look at a living thing the same way he looked at her. Was it possible for me to like him just by the way he loved something else? Was it too much?

Well, it was the way I felt, impulsively and intensely.

"I don't know," He stopped caressing her and turned to me, waiting for my moves.

I was kinda scared of the pressure, since I didn't want to be rejected by something he cared and loved so much.

Actually, it is a big problem about me: I didn't know how to deal with rejection, coming from anything alive. It would deeply hurt if Kunta rejected me and I'd become obsessed with ideas to make her change her mind...

"Let's find out." He was still waiting for me to sit there right beside her, so after having his eyes on me, my feet moved out of control.

Okay, let's see what I can do to seem less invasive than I'm actually being.

I got on my knees on the floor, supporting my body in the bed right in front of me. With some hesitancy and a lot of paranoia, I offered the back of my hand to the cat really slow, coming closer at one second at the time. She stood up, sitting and I had a bad feeling about that, like she was about to run to the opposite side.

But she just stood there, curious, watching my hand come closer to her natural field and after five seconds of smelling and analyzing...

She came to my hand, scratching herself against it.

I released the air that I didn't know I was holding and I surely relaxed all the muscles of my back.

I caressed her feeling a smile stretch my face.

"What was that?" He cut our moment and for a second, I forgot he was there, watching everything from real close.

"What?" I made a stupid out of myself, standing up just to sit in front of him. When I looked at his face, he was smiling all his teeth out, but not looking in my eyes.

"D'you have a trauma...? Or something?" Now he looked at me back and I felt a cold shimmer running from my neck down to my spine. Kunta was coming to me, laying by my side, rubbing her back against my tight. "She's probably feeling my smell in your clothes..." He explained, now smiling less, but still caressing her - never touching me.

"She probably feels your smell all over me, I used your soap and your shampoo..." I had an apologetic smile in my face now, but he didn't seem to care.

"I know, I expected it and I felt the smell too..." I felt that shimmery thing again and it seemed like my body was running cold and hot in different areas. Ugh, what the hell?!

"And I actually do think I have a trauma... But not with cats." He stopped caressing her to stand up and go to his bathroom, where I could see him washing his hands with soap.

"Hm." Was that saying that he was listening or saying that he wished me to shut up?

"I don't like being rejected." I said anyways, acting impulsively. It felt easy to talk to him, seemed like heavy things didn't have the same weight, but honestly, I've always been an open book.

"Hm." He did it again.

Okay, maybe he was just listening - I guess.

He got back with a blank face, sitting in front of me.

Maybe what I just said didn't mattered to him at all. Maybe he wasn't even listening... It made me come back down from my cloud - what was I thinking? He was just following his mom's orders, no strings attached.

I was too dependent and strong people like him didn't really got along well with me.

"This will hurt." He said, simple and fast, opening the box in a careful and even gentle way - which was really new.

In reality, I was already surprised that he washed his hands after coming for real to mess with those things, it showed that he had responsibility as a trace of personality.

I watched everything I could inside the box, caressing Kunta, who was still leaning on me.

"Where are the others?" He took a new gauze, watering with hydrogen peroxide and coming to me.

"Hiding from you." He said that as he came to me with that smelly thing, getting closer to my mouth. I stared at his face and I could say he wasn't joking.

Concentrated, he fixated the gauze in my stitch and I felt a slight difference, but it wasn't pain, neither he was pushing it strongly against me. I felt inebriated by some sort of energy, making my feet shake impatiently.

"Stop moving." He ordered and that made me freeze to my bones. I didn't felt pain at all and I couldn't stop staring at him. It was ridiculous... I could do this by myself without having his face as a distraction. He removed the gauze, closing the product.

Now he was looking for something else.

"This was easy, I could do this by myself... And it didn't hurt at all."

He looked at me for a second, but he wasn't angry or stressed.

"Would you honestly sit in front of a mirror and clean this back at your house, you lazy ass? I don't think so." He was ironical, raising his eyebrows. "That wasn't the painful part. Now is."

He found a new medicine, without name and description. All I could see was a yellowish red liquid, eventually being poured at the gauze and it smelled even worse.

"What the fuck is that?" I distanced my face when he came at me.

"Stop moving." He ordered again, but the impulse of running away was stronger than me, so I kept going back.

"No way José... You're not putting this on me..." But he grabbed the back of my neck with a tight grip, pushing me back to him. "OW!" The grip was really tight, making me feel like a dog being scolded. "Is that really necessary-" He pressed the gauze on the corner of my lip and the pain was immediate. "Aaah!" I growled.

"Is going to be better, trust me." He still held me and Kunta flew away from us.

It was making me feel nervous, how the pain was growing bigger at each second. I grabbed his hand, but I could control myself not to push him away, after all, he was just trying to help me and he had no obligation.

"It's burning, Jaebeom-ah..." I complained.

When he removed the gauze, he came closer to me, blowing exactly at the spot and it actually made it better.

"It's over..." He said, taking the closest look at me ever.

"It burns..." I tried to make wind out of my hands, but it was useless.

"You're such a kid... Just give it a minute, it'll be gone."

Okay, by the end of his sentence the intensity wasn't the same anymore, but I would never admit it.

I stood there silently, having his body this close from mine, feeling his burning gaze on my lips. It made me imagine weird things...

Like if we could actually try some things...

"What are you looking at?" He blinked, taking some distance from me, as if he could read my mind.

"U-uh... Nothing... Just thank you. For, hm... Taking care of me." Because there was no need for him to do it... All he had to do was walk me back to my house once I woke up... I haven't touched my phone since yesterday and that was crazy! He made me entertained till now and I hadn't seen him messing with his phone either... Was that even possible nowadays?

"It's okay." He stood up, putting his chair back at the desk and I already missed our proximity. "Now take off your shirt."

"What?!" My eyes were about to jump out.

"In case you haven't noticed, you have bruises at your stomach area..." He pointed and I took a deep breath. What was wrong with me?

What, Jackson? You were never the type to dream about other people's bodies and now you're having teenage shivers?!

"U-uh, sure..." And then he left the room, taking his first-aid kit with him. I released the air I was holding again.

What the fuck?! Was I that horny and desperate? That was crazy!

How good was I looking, though?

Should I make some exercise before he comes back?

No, he will notice my lack of breath and find it weird...

Just take off your shirt, idiot!

No, it's not like that, I'm not okay with this...

Are you retarded? He slept with you only wearing white boxers! He doesn't give a fuck!

My mind was driving me crazy... I felt anxious without any rational reasons and I had the impression it would get worse.

I only rose my shirt, not really taking off. He came back five minutes later holding a frozen liquid bag, and a towel not to burn my skin.

"Just lay down and put this on top of it, it'll do you good. Here are your stuffs." He gave me my phone too, so I could distract myself while waiting for that thing to unfreeze.

"Thanks."

Then I laid back and he sat at his desk, opening his laptop.

That was it. End of interactions.

I unlocked my phone, shocked with the amount of messages waiting for me. Some even desperate.

 

Markeu (seen last at 04:39):

jacks i know jb is taking care of u, but if something goes wrong, Ill bring u here, just call me (03:50)

Hey is everything ok? R u awake? Call me x (04:10)

Jacks, Youngjae is grounded for the rest of his life, Bambam made it home and im here by myself. As long as i know, junior went home with that guy, friends with jb. We need news from u... (04:30)

Yah, im going to sleep but Ill be next to my phone all the time. Call me ASAP x (04:37)

 

So he wasn't awake yet... But he got really worried about yesterday...

"Hyung, have you spoke to anyone since yesterday?" I looked at him, raising my torso, but feeling muscular fatigue on my abs.

"Except for Yugyeom, no, why? Did somebody died?" He spoke too fast and he didn't even looked at me.

Maybe he don't know Jinyoung slept at his friend's house...

"No, not really." I got back to my phone.

 

Double B(itch) (last seen at 14:37):

boi u alive? (03:56)

If jaebum bothers u, im coming for him!!1!1 (03:57)

Mark is taking youngjae home, im going with them since we decided de later he arrives, de worse (04:05)

Hey we r worried call us when u see this! Also jinyoung is at yugyeom's house if ure wondering (04:23)

BRO R U ALIVE (05:00)

i give up bye (05:20)

JACKSON GIVE US NEWS U LIL SHIT (14:35)

 

Jeez, Bambam was something else...

"You should call them." I heard Jaebeom's voice unexpectedly.

Was he worried? Was he paying attention to my actions? Was he hearing my thoughts?

"I'm texting them..." 

 

PepiJy (last seen at 05:03):

Sseun-ah are you okay? (03:21)

The boys are not talking to me about you, idk what happened (03:23)

Jackson, i cant believe youre at jaebeom's (03:37)

Srsly i can't believe you did this to me, i hate you (03:38)

Am i that easy to let go? You know how i feel about you! Why you fucking did this right now?!? (03:40)

Fuck you (03:41)

We are fucking done jackson wang, u and ur fucking timing (03:41)

I HATE YOU (03:45)

 

WHAT THE HELL? "Jaebeom-hyung, what exactly did you say to the boys?" I tried to control my tone and how my voice would come out, but I sounded tense and worried.

"I told Yugyeom that you were here at my house and you would spend the night. He probably told everybody else. Why?" Now he turned around, but I covered my face with my hands, trying to seem okay.

"It's nothing, I guess we drank too much..." I was really trying not the express my nervousness.

"What is going on?" He stood up, coming to me.

"Really, is nothing, just some drunk people drama giving me a real hard time." I whined, feeling frustrated.

"Hm." He brought his laptop to his bed and laid down by my side, not really caring about how domestic it was. My body froze without any explanation, and honestly, I didn't want to know what I was feeling.

Maybe someone told Jinyoung that me and Jaebeom were being more than UNI colleagues, maybe someone misunderstood the way Jaebeom had my back and touched me - which was reasonable, since he was so intense and furious to anyone who would get to me at the heat of the moment - and maybe it was his alcohol acting, but to the others, it seemed like he truly was biased to me.

Even I though that as I coughed blood...

But the real situation was that his way back home was my way back home and my mom would panic like his mom if she saw me the way I looked after some punches and kicks. Besides, we were not even close at the party until the moment he saw me on the ground, so...

"Hyung...?" I called for him again, this time for a detail that we left unspoken.

"Uh." He stared at me, even having his laptop at his face. Was I bothering him?

It was hard to have all his attention, but it was even harder to understand the meaning each time he stared at me.

"You know the reason why the fight happened yesterday, right?" I maintained the look, even though I was shy because of him. He kept his eyes on me and his lips sharply expressionless.

"Neng." He didn't moved any bit to confirm.

"You sure?"

"Neng, neng, neng." He just acted like the situation wasn't shit, going back to his things and part of me felt relieved.

"Just to make sure, I'll explain it to you anyways..." But he looked good while focused on whatever that was, like a business man. "Mark and Youngjae were alone in the corner when some violent men arrived..." I raised my eyebrows and held the bag in my stomach as I turned to his side, supporting my head in my right hand.

"You mean, they were making out." He also raised his eyebrows, but kept focus at the laptop.

My chin dropped, never imagining him to say it by himself, even if he had nothing to deal with it.

And his voice wasn't raised or embarrassed. It just sounded like nothing to him.

Which was good, right?

"Yes, Mark and Youngjae are together." I confessed, but it honestly felt like nothing to say these words. He remained silent, as if waiting for me to continue - or maybe he wasn't interested at all. "That was the main reason, for real. They were making out and some stupid assholes got to them like out of nowhere..." I was angry now, just because I didn't thought about the situation since I woke up and now I was frustrated. I felt muscular pain again because of the tension.

"I know you're angry, but you really should rest. It's over now. We won." He was dead serious and I needed answers.

We? Was he only part of the fight or was he putting himself in our group?

"By the way, I wanted to ask you... How did you got involved? What made you defend us?"

"I just knew you guys and Yugyeom insisted. It was wild, someone had to finish it." Again, not looking at me, not giving in.

"So you just jumped into...? Did they hit you somewhere?"

"No, they didn't. I'm fine." And maybe he wanted to continue at his own world and I wasn't letting him. Maybe he was even hiding some bruises just to look cool, but I couldn't risk, I had zero idea.

With that, we went silent again.

 

Markeu (last seen at 04:39):

You: hey, I'm good, Jaebeom-hyung took care of me, I slept at his house. I'm resting now, my abs hurts. I had some vomiting going on and headache, but he gave me medicines, made me lunch and right now we are resting together. Sooner I'll go home. Call you later, bro x (15:50 - delivered)

 

I copied the message and sent it to Bambam, but my answer to Jinyoung was obviously going to be different.

Chapter Text

"Jinyoung is not talking to me." I let it out, but at the same time I felt lost in what secrets we could possibly be hiding from each other. I didn't wanted to hide my relationship with Jinyoung, because it was real and somehow, consistent. I felt like Jaebeom was someone completely different here and in school or in front of other people.  

Alone with me he was relaxed, chill, cool, caring and almost loving. 

"Why's that." He wasn't asking, it sounded like an affirmation and the tone in his voice wasn't the same. He sounded more cold and avoidant. 

I noticed it was because of Jinyoung. Now I could see it. I just needed to understand the right motives.

"I think he's confused." Was all I said, not getting into details. I still had no clue if was his or his friend's fault that Jinyoung thought we were together.

Something in the middle of our communication was wrong, maybe was the alcohol or maybe someone wanted to see us going down.

"Boohoo." And now he was 100% different. Not even looking at me, just being automatic and weird.

Maybe it was time to go home. Maybe I was being too abusive when trying to be friends with him and honestly, it was our first day and first time spent together, but the way we just accepted each other gave me the feeling we got along too well. We just needed a chance and a lot of patience - and of course, the right subjects.

After a minute or two in silence, I decided.

"Do you think my clothes are dry already?" I asked, innocently. He turned his face at me, but didn't looked in my face.

"It's impossible, its been there for only about five or six hours now. They must be lighter though." Then returned to his laptop, completely inconsiderate about the idea.

"And what are you doing at your laptop? It's been awhile and I wish I had half of your focus..." I smiled. 

But it was a game, actually. I was good at saying what people wanted to hear, but at the moment he made me really confused. 

If he wanted me to leave, he would say my clothes are dry, right? Or at least, almost there... But he said it was impossible... Did that meant something or was he being rational about the time and weather?

I took the focus out of my clothes just to have him more at ease. 

"I've been writing some songs and I'm producing them... But I'm still learning." And then I was impressed at how he just shared one more talent like that, with no one forcing him to say or show something.

"Are you kidding? All this time you've been producing there and you didn't shared with me? I'm a producer, you idiot!" I raised myself to lay beside him, facing the laptop.

My stomach hurt with the move, but it was bearable, just because of the ice.

"Call me idiot again and watch me taking all your teeth off." He was focused, using an editing program that I knew very well.

"Let me help you-"

"No." He put his arm between me and the thing, right when I was about to touch it.

"What? Are you ashamed? Are the lyrics bad?" I raised my eyebrows, teasing him.

He turned to me, getting really close to my face, almost too close. He gave me that gaze and I felt time freezing. "Don't." Was all he said. He was starting with the anger problem again, tensing his muscles, dropping his chin, trying to look like a predator.

"Okay, weirdo." I slowly backed off, laying on the bed with my stomach down, feeling the cold from the bag under me. He also returned to his duty and nothing was said until I spoke again. "I think I should go home..." I said, but the sound was changed, since my face was hidden.

"What?" He asked.

"I have to go home." I repeated, now looking at his right side face.

"Uh..." He paid attention, closing the laptop and turning to my side. "Yeah, I'll take your clothes. Don't forget your phone and wallet." He warned, starting to stand up.

I needed to have a conversation with Jinyoung and there was no safe place as home.

"Thank you for everything. I need to have a conversation with Jinyoung, so..." I lowered my head, looking at the messed white sheets under me.

"Sure, sorry for keeping you here. My mom kind of forced me to take care of you, so..." I looked up immediately.

Now I was starting to feel anger. Now I wanted to fight. What was his problem? Was is so hard to be nice for someone? Did that make him feel lower? Less cool?

Admit that he was the one concerned about me would make him lose a arm or a leg?

Right, I had to learn not to deposit my expectations in someone that wasn't me.

What I truly wanted to say was 'I know, your mom was here all along making you clean my wounds, right?', but all I said was:

"Yeah, right." Ironically. Because there was no way in hell that that was true.

Even feeling tempted to throw some truths on his face, I held it all inside. In the name of our future friendship.

"C'mon, I'll walk you to the door." He got out of the room and that gave me space to stretch and stand up at my pace. I took my phone and wallet, going downstairs, thinking of finding him where the clothes were.

"There's no need to, I know where is it." The arrogant beast was starting to wake up in my chest. It would eventually be stronger than me.

Why he had to be so... Cold?

Then he looked at me like I had just proposed a challenge.

And maybe I did.

"Oh, okay then." He had a ironic tone on his voice, one that I've learned to hate in such short period of time. Giving me my clothes, we both walked out of the kitchen. At the front door, I took my shoes, deciding to go back to my house barefoot. "You already know how to open a door, right? Sorry that my mother made you stay here for too long." He crossed his arms, raised his brows for the Nth time and watched me from afar.

Now HE was starting to be cruel and the entire world knows how I behave when people try to make fun of me... 

"You must think I'm really dumb..." I said it in a completely disrespectful way, but I didn't care anymore. I hated to feel like a burden and he was a pro at doing it, but not only it. He was also a master at the arts of teasing me, which obviously would lead us to a fight. I saw the end of it in the very beginning...

"Get out of my house before I-" Then I twisted the door handle, but it was... Locked.

I did it again and again, but nothing. The door was one hundred percent locked.

"Well, genius... The door is locked. Grab the keys and open." I genuinely ordered him for the first time and it felt...

Great.

"What the fuck? Are you really that dumb?" He came in my way, pushing me, thinking the door was jammed or something.

"Check again, genius. Maybe the next time you try, it will magically open!" I gave him my worst smile and I positioned like I was ready to have a proper argument.

"Jackson, shut the fuck up or I swear, I'll make the other side of your mouth bleed and it will be bad..." He growled, pulling the door.

"IS NOT JAMMED, YOU IDIOT, JUST GRAB YOUR KEYS AND OPEN! And if you hit me, guess what-, You'll have to clean it! How wonderful!"

"THERE ARE-" He stopped himself, taking a deep breath as his chin was jolting. The amount of strength he was putting into controlling himself being clearly visible. "There are no other set of keys in this house." He sounded terrible low, forced and contained. His panther inside about to jump in my face and end me once and for all. 

"And why the hell's that? What goes through your mind?! HONESTLY, FOR A MOMENT I REALLY THOUGHT I WAS THE PROBLEM, BUT I HAVE NO INSECURITIES NOW, HYUNG, YOU ARE DUMB!" I was screaming to his back until I finished that phrase and he turned around red like a tomato and mad like a beast, coming after me.

I ran.

I ran like the devil was coming behind me and I was really scared, since we were not on the streets and there was nobody around. 

He would beat my wild ass up.

"YOU THINK YOU CAN RUN FOREVER?! I'LL KILL YOU!" He furiously came behind me even through the stairs, but I managed to get to his room and lock myself inside it before he could catch me. "OPEN THE FUCK UP!" And oh man, he was really mad, hitting the door like there was no tomorrow.

"Can I hear your password, sir?" I joked, laughing loud just to tease him more.

"JACKSON, GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY ROOM! NOW!" Oh, he was about to blow... I had it coming one hour or another, but I would enjoy it as I still could.

"Sir, if you don't behave, we'll have to call the security..." I took my phone out of my pocket, starting to shot a video from the moment.

"YOU ARE FUCKING DEAD!" He kept punching and hitting the door like a lunatic and I thanked God there was no one in home for him to scare to death.

"C'mon, Jaebeom-hyung... You really don't have extra keys to your own house... Oh, I bet you're gonna make a set as soon as you wake up tomorrow, huh?"

"FINE, FUCKING STAY THERE, THEN. LET'S SEE HOW LONG YOU CAN TAKE!" He sounded more ironic than angry right now and everything was being recorded.

"I don't know what you're talking about... Here I have internet, a bathroom, your laptop WITH TOUR SONGS, a lot of books... And I don't really feel hungry, hyung... So it seems like you're out of luck..." I walked around the room, having a better look at everything.

"Jackson, don't you DARE MESSING WITH MY LAPTOP!" He punched the door so strong that it made me jump and conclude that maybe we was capable of breaking it by just using his anger.

"Hyung, don't be too mad... Your chin might drop..." I laughed nervously, but I wasn't missing the opportunity at all.

"UGH!" It was the last thing I heard before he got silent, which made me even surprised.

Was he really this short determined? Damn it... I needed someone more persistent...

And that reminded me of Jinyoung. The main reason why I wanted to return home.

But I could try to call him from here. I was in danger, but it was safe enough. Jaebeom wouldn't hear anything.

So I returned to his bed, calling for Park, crossing my fingers for him to pick up.

"The number you called couldn't be reached. Please, try again." Was all I heard. Again and again.

Like ten times.

Okay, maybe he was still asleep or maybe his phone was dead...

It would be okay, he was drunk and vulnerable. Nothing that a talk wouldn't solve.

 


 

One hour and a half later, I was laying in his bed, entertained with my phone. I spoke with everyone except for Jinyoung and I took some time to say my thank you's to Jooheon and Minhyuk. Without them we would probably be at the hospital right now.

The house was silent. Completely quiet. 

It was around 4:25 PM and still, Jaebeom's mom wasn't arrived. 

I decided to make an attempt and get out of the room. He couldn't expel me because there was no way for me to leave the house - except for the windows, but they were too small.

Leaving everything in his room, I got to the stairs, having a upper vision from the rest of the house.

He was laying in the couch, remote control on top of his stomach, head resting in a pillow. 

He was asleep, really like a grandpa in the couch.

I continually got down, step by step, walking to him, having his figure now in front of me, breathing heavily and slow.

Almost like an angel.

Or a kid.

Excluding the fact that he was actually the devil.

His hair was falling around all his face and his lips were slightly open. His facial features looked stronger now, cheekbones and chin, heavy eyebrows and a perfect distance between his head and neck, making him look longer, endless. But even sleeping, he represented a strong, manly figure, even if inside he had a different behavior, more artistic, good and kind, in a weird and contained way.

With my knees in the polished dark wood floor, I got closer to him, having the words more than ready in my brain.

I grabbed his left hand (the one he would probably use to punch me, because he was a left-handed) gently and caressed slowly, trying to wake him up.

"Hyung..." I called for him, watching his body breaking the regular deep sleep breathing, meaning he was coming back to reality. "Jaebeom-hyung..." Did I hated to call him hyung? Yes, but I didn't wanted him mad right now. 

I would have future opportunities to tease him for real.

He slowly opened his eyes, but he had a fast reaction.

"Jackson, you asshole-"

"I know, I know, listen..." I forced him to lay down again, still holding his hand, tightening the grip. He laid back again, but starting to make his engines work. Anger shinning bright in his eyes. "I'm sorry..." I had my best puppy face... There was no way he would resist it.

I could make it to his heart by being cute, right? By being loving and kind... I would make him melt and beg for more time with me... I would make him the center of my universe. Like the sun, and yeah, I couldn't stop the giggles from escaping just to think like this.

I would make him more than like me. He would love me.

Starting by now.

"I'm sorry for screaming at you... For being scandalous and ungrateful... I'm sorry that you had to bring me here and have this burden of taking care of me given by your mother... She's so kind-hearted..." I of course, looked deep into his eyes to say all that and I could see his fire burn at a slow pace. Slowly listening and letting himself breath.

"Right..." He whispered.

I can't believe is working, OH MY GOD!

I wanted to laugh really hard, but I had to keep up my acting.

"Please, forgive me..." I released his left hand and lowered my head, pretending I was about to cry, using my implosion of laughter.

"Yah, stop!" He pushed me and I controlled my face the best that I could, trying not to let a smile out, but I failed... I was smiling when he looked at me again. "Jackson..." He called my name, not really understanding anymore and that was exactly when I needed to explode. I released the loudest laugh that I could manage to and I was already lacking air. "I can't believe you were lying!" He grabbed my neck with his left hand and my left shoulder with his right hand, shaking me and putting some pressure. I was laughing so hard that I threw myself around and I looked like a caterpillar, a mess of laughs and completely out of breath. "I will kill you..." But I bet he couldn't even hear himself, since I was hysterical.

"I-I'm s-sorry..." Then another explosion of laughs. He raised me up and pushed me against the other couch, where I stood lifeless, trying to breath...

"Who do you think you are to go around my house like that, huh?" He putted himself with a knee at each side of my tights, but not really sitting on me.

His hands going to my neck again, an attempt to suffocate me. I didn't even understand why I was laughing so much, maybe it was a mixture of each face he would make at every second or the fact that I could see he was trying to maintain his anger, but was failing, or even maybe how ridiculous the situation was...

"I'm no one... I'm sorry..." I tried to breath and now the laughs were slowly going away. I had tears in my eyes. My hands supported themselves at the sides of my body, so they grabbed his thighs without a command.

"Will you do it again?" He came closer to me now, putting some weight in my body. My hands also tightened the grip on his thighs, being a reflex of my scared body, afraid of being beaten again.

"I don't know..." I teased, letting one last laugh escape because of his face.

He came closer to me, now really using some strength to suffocate me. His face was so close to mine that he surely felt the last warm breath I released, but he seemed not bothered at all. Actually, there was some kind of glow in his eyes, one that I've never seen before, and for someone hard to open up, he was really comfortable at top of me. Thinking about this I felt heat rising up to my face.

"Say that again..." I could feel his warm breath on my face, his closer to mine, our chests touching slightly.

"I won't... Hyung." I managed to be more serious now and look at us...

I was sitting on the couch, but he was leaning on me, dominating me and being completely satisfied at it. Loving the words I said, still trying to breath even with his grip on my neck... Like I was a dog...

I could identify a patronized behavior in his actions. 

He needed to control me, to dominate me... He liked to grab my neck and make me do or say things. I could read on his eyes, completely focused, kind of obsessive and still angry somehow, but with a touch of fun on his smirk.

"Good." He got what he wanted, but he knew it would only be for now. He knew I wasn't going to be easy and he liked. I could see he that liked.

I was a challenge... And I was excited to make him lose.

He stared at my eyes one more time, just to let go of my neck and stand up like that was nothing.

But it wasn't.

Observations: 

1 - He didn't start shouting;

2 - He didn't hit me;

3 - He wasn't that angry and explosive anymore;

4 - He definitely wasn't afraid to be touchy with me and that was a fact since he grabbed me by my arm at our first dance class;

5 - He was capable of a lot of things just to make me do what he wanted me to do, like getting on top of me and suffocating me just to make me say sorry.

I had a lot of other observations, that made me construct his hole image and by now I could conclude he was more than a son and less than a Grandpa.

He was a hole dad material - not necessarily in that way, y'know.

From the way he looked at my promiscuous moments with Jinyoung in a judgmental way (considered absurd by the Korean conservative society), to the way he made me call him hyung, even if he was only a month and a half older. From hiss tsundere way of taking care to me to his manners, by sending my mom a basket of fruits.

He was a leader. A good one.

For that I respected him - which was a lot better than my feelings of frustration whenever he was around.

He went to the kitchen, leaving all this past minutes for me to look at him and analyze his personality as I looked into his eyes.

Not weird at all, having our eyes meeting for a minute or so.

Maybe he was also analyzing my personality.

Oh, I was curious to know what he thought about me...

"We'll have to wait for my mom to arrive for you to go home, so let's make it easier:" He warned from the kitchen, so I couldn't see him. I stood up, following him. When I got to the space, he was serving himself with birthday cake ice cream, a good amount of it - and when I say good amount, I mean: it could serve two people. He didn't pay attention to my figure staring at his moves. "Don't mess with my things. Don't be noisy and relaxed. Don't insult me and if you are thinking about talking shit; stay quiet." He took a spoon and put away the ice cream back in the fridge.

"Yes sir!" I smiled, looking at him in a romantic way, just to tease him.

He then walked back to the living room. I grabbed another spoon, having the amazing idea of sharing without his permission.

When I also returned, he was sat at the couch with his legs crossed, choosing a movie on Netflix - it was a Sunday after all.

"Uhh, let's watch some drama!" I was being extra, really extra. 

"We don't watch dramas in this house." And he was doing some effort to sound dry and rude, but again, I was learning to dodge it.

"And what are you going to watch in this house with your favorite guest?" I threw myself beside him, pushing against his body as if I was used to do so.

"Yah! Stay away!" He protested, making a face and pushing me away, breaking my expectations.

"I can't eat ice cream with you from that far without dropping on the couch..." I justified myself like a kid.

If he so desperately wanted to be a Dad, I could manage to be a kid.

I would be the worst kid ever.

"Who told you I was going to share?!" He frowned, turning to me. I went to his recipient, stealing his ice cream.

"Hajima... The amount you putted is a sign clear enough to me..." I ate happily, watching his face go absurd.

I laughed again, feeling truly happy.

"Aishh... I don't want it anymore." He gave me the hole recipient.

Oh, but that wouldn't be fun at all...

"Aish, hyung... C'mon, just choose whatever you want and let's enjoy..." But I kept eating.

He returned to the TV, choosing a horror movie, but I wasn't surprised. I could be slightly shocked at horror movies, but I was never truly terrified.

But I could pretend I was... Just to know his reaction.

"Why didn't you just grab some ice cream to yourself, you idiot?" He murmured, pouting like a baby.

"Because I wanted yours, of course." Uhhh, the teasing.

I was a master.

"Honestly, Jackson, you are so annoying..." He took the ice cream mug from me, starting to eat too.

It was good to see that we were not being truly aggressive with each other, just... Sulky.

"Yeah, I know, let's watch the movie now..." I pointed to the TV, cutting his chances to protest, receiving his looks of despise on me, making me only grin to myself. He eventually let it flow.

With that, we became silent, sharing his black mug filled of ice cream.

 


 

One more hour and a half later, the movie was at its climax, the spirits were making a party and the living guests were about to lose their shit. It was kinda scary seeing so much horror with spirits, since I believed in them, but nothing that two or three days of sleepless nights wouldn't fix. He was half laying, half sitting, unconcerned. The ice cream was long over and I was slowly getting closer to him.

In a unexpected moment, there was a jumpscare scene, and predicting that, I didn't paid attention, focusing at his own jump instead.

I wanted to laugh, but If I made him wake up from his illusions, he would push me away from him and I didn't wanted that. At all.

So he stood straight in the couch, leaning his back on it, crossing his arms. His muscles were buffing again, but this time I could see them naked, how beautifully sculpted they were.

"Jaebeom..." I got closer. He didn't moved a finger.

"What?" His voice was distracted.

"I'm scared." My voice sounded the way I planned: soft, small and slow.

"Ah, just cover your eyes." He was static and I wanted that. I wanted for him to be surprised, so much that he would actually allow me to lay on him, looking for protection.

"Jaebeom..." I repeated his name, looking at him with a seriousness. He blinked twice and came to look at me back.

"What?" I could see him wondering what was wrong with me, looking for something that could be a problem. He now was completely focused on me, waiting for what was taking his attention off of the movie to be worth it.

I blinked, trying my best to seem like a terrified cat.

And talking about cat, the four of them had already showed up, but only Nora and Kunta came to me.

"D'you want me to stop and put something else?" He suggested, still pensive. 

Jeez... How can someone be so stupid?

But it was cute anyways.

"I don't want to interrupt you, it's okay..." I forced, expecting some sort of answer.

"But if you're scared...-" He gave me what I wanted.

"Just... Keep watching, I'll find a way to feel more at ease." I confirmed with my face, my eyes passing him a security of decisions, but he wasn't a hundred percent sure yet, which was exactly how I calculated.

"Are you sure?" He raised his brows at me, looking in my eyes. I was melting inside out.

I nodded intensely, enchanted by the way he was truly concerned about me. He then took a deep breath and returned from where it stopped.

Ten minutes later, his back was leaning firmly on the couch and I finally took it as an opportunity.

Friends that leaned in horror movies together, stick together.

I slowly leaned back too, slightly brushing our arms. Not having a negative response, I came closer, and closer and closer.

Then our bodies were touching, our thighs, waists, arms and shoulders. I gently let my head fall on top of his shoulder, not putting too much weight, not to scare him.

After five minutes like that, I decided to go further. I needed to make him notice me, but in a positive way, like I belonged there. So I waited till the next jumpscare to make him shake in his vessel, to somehow, manage to slide closer to him, pretending I was also terrified.

It could be anytime.

Then it came.

We heard shouts on the TV, possessed voices and help callings. He jumped again and then laughed, probably thinking of how ridiculous he looked right now.

I didn't care, he was too cute.

I had an goal and I was going for it.

Like it was nothing, I grabbed his left - and dominant - arm, twisting mines around it, hiding my face behind his shoulder.

He laughed, imagining how scared I was, but I had to be quiet in the name of the plan and for him to keep his focus on the way I was scared.

It was a success. I already had his arm, but honestly, I doubted I could have more than this in a night. He wasn't giving me space do it. It somehow had to be half his wanting and mine. I know I was practically kicking his walls down, but I also wanted him to want them down, and he had a good pace, so I had no reasons to force things between us.

We came from two people who couldn't have a decent conversation to two people relaxing in the same bed, preparing food for the other, sharing the ice cream and watching movies together, horror movies. I had enough and I knew his boundaries. 

I was never an introverted, but I had my hard times, wanting to be alone because I felt like the world around me was not worth it. It changed for me, even though sometimes I'd still have pessimistic thoughts. It could change for him too, whenever his anger came from and what made him like this. 

He was never letting go of his introverted nature, just because we don't work like that, but I wanted to make him comfortable on his own shell, just so he wouldn't have a reason to hide.

 


 

It turned out that his mother was right. He was jelly inside and like all jelly, he had to protect himself from everything capable of crushing him. Poor pudding.

He had a better idea of me now, since the horror movie was over and I stole the remote control, continuing the drama I was watching these days.

"So, her mother finds out about some young and handsome guy that she's currently seeing, and of course is Jun-hui, but she can't see his face from the car." I pointed to the characters. 

"Hm." He had his arms crossed, still being reluctant - and my right arm was still curled on his left.

"Jun-hui's sister starts to figure out their rendezvous, and so everything starts to fall apart." I finished telling the story from the beginning, so this one hour and twenty minutes episode could make sense. "But of course, if you like it, you need to watch it from the start, so you can see the cute moments they spend together before realizing their love for each other..." I squeezed him when I said cute.

I also left the 'if you liked' part really clear, so he'd know he was still in control of his decisions, even though he was not, not really. I had to make him think that he was the one responsible for his decisions, but I was behind all of them and right now, I wanted him to start watching dramas.

"What makes you think I'll watch this when you go out of that door?" He pointed at the locked door with his thumb finger.

"I don't know, it's all on you, so it's a mystery." I wiggled my eyebrows, staring at him with a smirk.

"It's not. I won't watch it." He threw his head back. 

I smiled anyways just because some hours before he was the 'we don't watch dramas in this house' dude and now he was watching my favorite drama of all times with me, who he supposedly hated too, at least two days ago.

"Fine..." But I laid on him, resting my head on his shoulder. 

After that, I paid attention to the episode, having my body the same way for a couple of more minutes.

Till I heard it. The door being unlocked. 

I waited for his reaction, but he stood the same way. Maybe he was okay with the fact that his mom could see us together like that.

The door quietly closed, Misses Im probably guessing we were asleep in the couch, doing some effort to be quiet.

Then she showed herself, coming at us to see our situation and I decided to remain awake.

She was surprised when I looked at her with a smile and she smiled back, a gigantic one, capable of lighting up the dark house.

I slightly raised my head from his shoulder just to say hi and seeing her denying with her hands, she didn't wanted me to move. I made a 'O' with my mouth and returned to Jaebeom's shoulder, but not before looking at him and noticing he was asleep.

Jeez, where did this guy took so much restlessness from?

Whatever. I just had to return to the ending episode. 

His mother went to the kitchen, trying her hardest not to wake her son up with the big plastic bags with food inside.

The song of the ending episode started to play and in my way to reach the remote control on his other side, I made some moves on top of his body. Moves that awakened him.

"Uh... Is it over?" He turned to look at me, voice raspy, not bothering our closeness at all. Then he looked at the TV, the slides with pictures of the couple passing by.

"Neng." I whispered, since my own voice was weird from the time I was silent.

"Ah." He affirmed. 

He passed his right hand through his hair and touched my right tight with his left one, probably completely aware of anything - which I loved. 

"Do you mind if I watch another one?" I asked, hiding behind his broad shoulder.

His hand was still on my thigh.

My thumb caressed his arm really softly, but I wasn't controlling it, it just happened.

He didn't noticed.

"Ani... Do whatever you want." He took a lazy deep breath.

"Are you going to sleep again, grandpa?" I laughed, tightening my hands around his arm.

He turned back at me, feeling offended.

"Yah... I doubt no one wouldn't sleep watching this..." He raised his brows. I laughed.

"You will like it once you start from the beginning." I guaranteed.

It was really nice having this moment with him. I could feel my heart full, like I was doing something right. There wasn't a missing feeling.

Then he laughed, loud.

"You can't make me watch this..." He challenged.

"Hm..." I had an idea. I also had his eyes focused on me. "Rock, paper and scissors to decide if you'll watch it or not?" I retorted.

"I'll not watch it even if I lose..." He smiled, probably loving the competition.

"C'mon, I can give you something for you to fight for..." He couldn't deny the proposition. "If you win, I'll do anything you want." Oh, it was a risky game...

He was aware of a lot of my weaknesses.

"Anything?" His body turned completely to me, but now his hand was back at his own lap.

"Just chose one thing and I'll do it. Of course... If don't you lose. If you lose, you'll have to watch it."

"You want me to watch that shit this bad? You realize there's a lot in game, right? Since I can ask for anything..." He raised his brows, like a real player. I could see the excitement in his dark eyes, looking straight at me.

"I'm not afraid." I had a feeling he wouldn't ask for something so absurd. Maybe something that would give him more control over me, but not so absurd.

When I said that, it looked like I had just whispered him the lottery numbers.

"Let's do it then." He sat completely facing me now and I had to let go of his arm, but again, he didn't noticed.

"Wait, what do you want if you win?" I got myself ready, big smile in my face, mirroring his.

"I want a wish. And then when I need it, I'll use it. It can be whatever I want, at anyplace and anytime..." Oh, he was playing dangerous. I admit it, I wouldn't mind losing just to see what he would ask for. "You up to?" He smirked, face sharp, hair falling in his eyes.

I took a deep breath.

"Deal." I said, already excited for any results.

"One time or best out of three?" He was really serious about winning. Was Something In The Rain that of a bad drama?

"Oh my God, you really don't want to watch it, huh?"

He didn't answered, but smiled again. "Best out of three."

I shifted my body, as if relaxing for a very important competition.

"Kay, but you'll have to win the three of them... You ready?" He copied my moves, good humor all around him.

"Neng."

"Okay. Rock, paper-"

"Scissors!" We said together.

He was paper, I was rock.

"Shit!" I was shaking now.

"YES!" He celebrated, like he had already won. "Rock, paper and scissors!" He shouted the second round.

I was scissors and he was rock.

"Fuck yeah..." I was so nervous that I didn't even shout.

"Okay, last chance, Jackson..." He was careful, sleeking his hair back, but it continuously insisted to fall off on his face.

"Okay... Rock, paper and scissors!" I finished it, just testing my luck, and wow...

I was scissors again and he was paper.

"AISH!"

"WOAH!" I screamed proudly, laughing really loud right after.

"I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" He shook me by my shoulders.

"NEITHER DO I, I THOUGHT-"

"AISH, JACKSON-AH!"

"... YOU WERE GOING TO WIN!" We laughed genuinely hard and happily.

"Yah... Seems like you both are having extra fun..." Misses Im appeared at the kitchen's doorstep, making us stare at her.

"EOMMONI!" Jaebeom shouted again, looking from her to me and from my natural and explosive excitement, I faded.

It meant I had to go back home.

"Are you two fighting or celebrating?" She smiled at us, clearly seeing our happiness.

"When did you arrived?" Jaebeom got to her and I knew my moment to disappear.

I went upstairs to take the clothes I had left since my locked up moment and after finding the other two cats for the first time - being scared as fuck -, I returned downstairs.

"Jackson, why didn't you wake me up?" He came to me, but he wasn't mad, just worried.

Then it happened: he stretched his hand, going for my shoulder, but when he was about to touch me, he backed off and I was really disappointed. I wanted him to touch me for no reason. I wanted him to feel more at ease with me, but it seemed like it was a big deal for him. We still had all those walls to demolish.

"I don't know... I didn't want to bother you..." I certainly looked like a kid who ate someone else's piece of cake on the refrigerator without asking for permission, and let's say Jaebeom really appreciated a good slice of strawberry cake. I had no right to take it away from him.

"I wasn't going to be angry... But you need to go home, you mom might worry..." He chose his words carefully, staring from my eyes to somewhere above them, in the most attentive way. 

My mom...? My mom was okay, the only problem was Jinyoung...

SHIT, JINYOUNG! I FORGOT!

"I need to go!" I put everything I owned in my pockets. At the door, I grabbed my shoes, but not putting them. "Close the door for me!" Than I ran.

"Wait!" He shouted, coming right behind.

Shit, was Im Jaebeom asking me not to hurry back to my house? 

Funny, because four or less hours ago he would throw me out of the window...

"What?" I froze in the middle of his mother's small garden. He walked to me, also barefoot.

"Do I really need to watch that drama...?" He made a face, but I could see his contained smile behind it.

I can't believe Im Jaebeom was asking for my permission to sabotage our deal...

He was really soft...

"Let's make a new deal..." I openly smiled, knowing he would agree without looking back. His eyes were on me, like cat's eyes. It kinda reminded me of Jinyoung's, just because of the security they passed, but besides that, they were completely different. "If you watch three episodes, send a picture watching and explain them to me the next day, I'll give you your wish." I raised my brows, letting my smile count.

His face lighted up with possibilities.

"And do I have to watch everything eventually or...?"

"That's on you. If you desperately need a wish from me, then watch it."

"Why would I desperately need a wish from you?" He crossed his arms, enjoying the moment.

He was so ambitious... Jeez...

"No idea! You tell me! So!" I supported one hand in my waist, using the other to hold my clothes. "Are you in?"

"Can I think about it? Can it be two episodes instead of three?" 

"Yah, decide right now! And yes, two is okay." I made some pressure.

"Ugh... Fine... Deal." He gave me his hand to shake, but I grabbed and held it, sealing our deal with a good eye contact.

After a couple of seconds, we both released at the same time, still looking in each others eyes.

"Right. Now I really need to go, I have to talk to Jinyoung-ah..." He crossed his arms again, gaining his pose back. "Thank you for everything, see you tomorrow!" I shouted, waving my hand, eventually running.

He still was looking at me from the garden when I unlocked my door, smiling one last time and getting in.

The lights in my house were off and I saw no one in the main floor. I wasted no time, running to my room and recharging my phone, also calling Jinyoung and putting on the speaker.

It took like seven seconds and three beeps and a half, when I heard the background sound before Jinyoung spoke.

"What?!" Was the first thing he said, sounding impatient, but not explosive.

"Yah! Jinyoung, what happened?! I called you like ten times!" 

I locked my room's door, sitting by the window, where I could see Jaebeom's window front-siding mine.

"What happened? Well, what happened is that I was ignoring you after you went to Jaebeom hyung's house to spend the fucking night, like I don't even exist!" As he shouted, I looked for my headphones, afraid someone might hear him.

"What the fuck are you talking about? Are you still drunk? Are you by yourself now?"

"Yes, Jackson! I'm by myself, in a fucking playground square, waiting for your call to explain yourself, because I couldn't stand staying inside the fucking house

and I swear to God, I'll fucking kill you!" He shouted at plain lungs, in a way I had to turn the volume down in order not to be deaf.

"JESUS!" I shouted back, starting to mix my anxiety with anger. "What did I do?! Why are you so mad?!"

"Because I was told you went to Jaebeom huyng's house, so you could have some privacy! And of course this means FUCKING!" He was turning into a beast and I really wanted to punch someone right now. The same person who told him me and Jaebeom were together in a deeper and fake meaning.

"What the hell are you talking about, Jinyoung! THAT'S ABSURD! YOU KNOW WE CAN BARELY STAND EACH OTHER!"

"WHAT? NOW YOU DENY IT? AFTER SPENDING THE NIGHT AND THE ENTIRE DAY THERE?!"

"I'M NOT DENYING ANYTHING BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED, CAN YOU PLEASE LISTEN?!"

"DON'T SCREAM AT ME! I SWEAR I'LL FUCKING END THIS RIGHT NOW!"

"WHAT...?- Fine!" I dropped my voice, realizing nothing would be solved if we kept screaming. "Please, don't hang up... Just listen..." I took a deep breath, feeling him doing the same. "Nothing happened between us, Jinyoung... I was in pain on the ground and he happened to just be there, sober and ready to help... When I saw Mark and Youngjae in the middle of the wild, I hadn't hesitated to go punching the idiots who caused the whole confusion, but I wasn't at my best. Actually, people said I was a shame trying to defend them, but I had to try, even if I was only a dead weight for them to focus their anger on... I'd rather have them punching me then watch my friends getting hurt and you know it..." I took another deep breath, knowing he was following my reasoning. "It turned out that I was fucking beaten up and tomorrow I'll still be in pain and you will see the bruises in my stomach and neck. Jaebeom came to finish the fight and he took me home, not because he's a hero or because we have something, but because he's my neighbor. That's everything. I don't even remember getting to his house, he probably had the hardest time ever... When I woke up, I threw up on his bathroom and I was probably still drunk, but in general I was feeling like shit. He gave me medicines and I had lunch there, but I couldn't go home as soon as we finished, because his mother got out and locked us up inside. You should be thanking them for feeding and taking care of me, really-"

"You two were locked up alone inside his house?!"

"Jinyoung, please..." I begged. "It wasn't a big deal. We fought in the middle of the afternoon and I called you. I gave the boys news about me, but you were the only one I couldn't contact... After that, we waited for his mom to arrive and and I left, and now I'm here with you... I know you're better than this, I know that you know it makes sense," I didn't shared a lot of things, but they were not important. Not for the serial killer at the other side of the line just waiting for the opportunity to finish me irrationally.

"And how do I know you're telling me the truth? How do I know you both didn't do anything in my back?"

What was this conversation? Did I slept at something and miss the part that made our open relationship something else?

Suddenly we were monogamous and no one told me!

Why should I feel guilty for absolutely nothing! 

"Ask Jaebeom hyung tomorrow... I don't care if you don't trust me. Actually, it offends me that you don't trust me, but this is another conversation-"

"You call him 'Hyung' now? Great. It seems like you're closer than I think! Trusting you is the hardest thing to do right now, if only you put yourself in my shoes!-"

"Don't!... Start this." I spoke slowly, really trying to be better than a idiot completely out of control. "Just check with him tomorrow and after that, we'll have this conversation." I threw myself in my bed, feeling mentally tired from a day full of emotions. "And I'm terminating this conversation. Hope you think about it and we can have a civilized talk tomorrow." I finished.

"I hope so, Jackson." He had the audacity to say, before hanging up in my face.

"He has to be fucking kidding me..."

Seriously? I was going to find the person who told him Jaebeom and I needed a moment and I was going to commit a murder.

 


 

"How was the party and where did you slept Saturday?" My mom was quick at the interrogatory. We were all finishing the family breakfast at the table.

"Great-" I lied. "And at Jaebeom's house. I was trash and you know how loud I can be when I drink." I tried to anticipate her questions by giving reasonable answers.

She made a face.

"You sure it wasn't at Jinyoung's house?"

"Why do you say that?" It was not possible that the universe was against me like that.

"I don't know, maybe you were too drunk to remember or something..."

"Is the idea of sleeping at Jaebeom's house that impossible to happen?" I raised my eyebrows, shocked at my mom's reactions.

My dad was just messing on his phone, not really caring.

"Well... Yes? I thought he didn't liked you." She putted a piece of apple in her mouth.

I raised my brows even more at her intuition... Was there anything my mom didn't know about? Was that even possible?

"Yah, mom...!" My voice was affirmative and confused. "How could you possibly know that?"

Chapter Text

"I'm not blind... I guess this feeling kind of changed...?" She looked at me suggestively.

She was unbelievable... 

I stopped to analyze my answer and make it as accurate as I could. "Jaebeom can seem tough and hard from outside... Intimidating, at least. And don't get me wrong, he can be really aggressive... Really..." I paused to think of how to explain his truly side without making him look like a complete pudding, like his mother had no hesitation to tell me.

She must've really trusted me.

"But?" She continued.

The witch was more anxious than ever, oh my god...

"But... He's good. Golden heart, you know?" I blinked at her, trying to make him cool in her eyes. 

"Yes, I do." She smiled a hundred percent confident, as if she knew Jaebeom better than I did, which was really annoying.

"He's what we call cold hands, warm heart, right?" I blinked again, because I loved to make this reference. It reminded me of myself years ago, getting in a relationship where I had the warm hands, but my heart was never truly owned by the one I loved.

For all the effects, I'm still like this, until I find someone who can make my hands cold and heart warm.

"That's good... It means he just needs some time to learn how to deal with you... I genuinely thought he didn't liked you..." She shrugged.

"Mom!" Now I was starting to feel like I was the problem.

"Sorry!" She started to laugh. "It's just that you are too much, you know?" I was intrigued, but I didn't had the intentions to deny. "You're too loud, too funny, too sympathetic, you show yourself too much and you're just... Extra... Jaebeom is the type who likes things more directly..." I looked at her like I was offended - and she believed it. "It's not that you don't, is just that you tend to hide what you truly mean, instead, saying what the other person would like to hear..."

"When did this became a therapy section?" I looked at Dad, who just laughed, showing that he wasn't talking, but he was listening very well.

I was even more shocked.

Was she calling me a superficial?!

"I'm not superficial, okay?" I stood up, finishing my toast.

She did the same, putting her plate in the sink.

"If you say so..." And I hated when she did this. This ironic I-know-better-than-you-do mood. "I like him." She confessed, grabbing her purse.

"Of couse you do! He gave you a basket full of fruits! Who does that?" I opened my arms widely, the same amount I felt like she liked him.

Or the same size of the basket, honestly, I wasn't carrying too much.

"Shush! Let's go, I'll be late. Bye honey!" She shouted from the door, all the keys in her hands, reminding me of Jaebeom's one-key-only to his front door.

My mom opened the wooden object the same way she does everyday, probably expecting the same scene as always, but today was different.

Because Jaebeom was sitting at the steps of the house, waiting for us.

Not that he usually doesn't wait, it's just that he would wait around the car - and not looking at my face for as long as he could, but never being rude to my mom.

"Jaebeom-ssi!" My mom so excitedly greeted him. He, somehow, looked better than ever for unknown reasons. Like he woke up at the right side of the bed.

"Good morning Misses Wang. How are you today?" Was this smiling figure asking how my mom was today for real? 

What happened?!

"I'm radiant! It looks like you are too!" I imagined my mom flying towards the car, speaking like she was someone's godmother fairy.

"Of course..." He was smiling and not hiding his face, all charms. He was prince charming itself. How cute.

I was deadly curious. Should I speak to him? Was the day at his house all made in my imagination? Did we actually broke the ice yesterday?

Was this good humor of his somehow connected with the day we spent together?

Having so many questions, I decided that remain silent was the best option, waiting for his approach, not wanting to look too desperate or scare him away. I was not controlling myself that much, though, because Jaebeom never made me feel like an alien or like us together wasn't right, as surprising as it sounds. I was just carefully learning how to deal with him. Carefully invading his space.

We followed my mom still in silence. He didn't said a word to me, nor looked in my direction. Now I was starting to worry.

Did I had to break his walls every time we met or was he only being honorably educated yesterday, not really letting me in?

Funny, because he didn't looked like someone who would do things to please someone else.

When we sat side by side inside the car, I felt some tension: we had to put our sit belts without looking or accidentally touching each other. 

I just began doing it, thinking about finishing first, so he would had the space all to himself, but I failed.

Because he had the same idea as me.

So of course our hands were this close to touch and our heads too, since we both inclined at the same time. When my hair brushed on his, it was too much to pretend that nothing happened.

"Sorry." I murmured. Was I shy? I have never been shy in my entire life! I didn't even known the meaning of 'insecure'!

He looked up and our eyes met like a lightening. He was looking really fine, skin perfectly toned, but a little bit yellowish around his eyes and nose, perfect brushed eyebrows and his jet black hair aligned, recently brushed. His eyes were still not that awake, but they were focusing on me in a tender way, that made my heart beat weakly warm. He didn't cared. I could read it on his face.

"It's okay." He said, lips pushing a soft smile, which I almost failed to see.

There was something really weird changing Jaebeom's natural killer mood...

He was... cute.

Cuter than ever.

Controversially, I proudly smiled, not being able to contain how happy I was that he didn't cared. Like those simple words were capable of changing my expectations for a day in the simplest first hours. He had no idea how powerful he was, not only to me. It was like I was deciphering the secret code to his heart, number by number.

"Okay..." My mouth was dry. I didn't want to start a conversation and make things weird. No. I could bare this comfortable silence.

Five or six minutes later, my mom was already talking non-stop with her friend and as they were distracted, the talking noise made me even more relaxed, like a seven out of ten.

I watched the view from the window. The everyday view. The same streets, same people doing the same things. Same traffic at specific avenues and same relief when we got out of them. 

I was used to sit behind my mom's friend and Jaebeom was everyday sat behind my mom, still smelling kind of sweet and slightly strong, as ironical as it sounds. There was just something about his smell. About how it was proudly always there, marking presence. Strawberry and coconut, but a little bit more sophisticated as he added a imported perfume. It smelled like Montblanc, Legend. 

I knew it because I had a particularly good taste in perfumes and I liked everything that could add a little something to someone's aesthetic. 

I liked his.

I liked the relaxed way he let his naturally dried hair swing freely at top of his head, even though I knew at the party he used the blow drier to style it. I preferred the natural him, natural skin glowing, all his moles and the pout on his pinky lips. It felt like he extended his morning routine and had no reasons to leave his bed at all.

What a cat creature. 

Vain, naturally beautiful, clean and with a slight touch of laziness, only to fed up his charm.

His voice was low and melodic, relaxed and peaceful. Harmony and balance seemed to walk along with him. It made me comfortable.

I hated routines, but I was learning to get used to ours, even though I had to be careful with having Jaebeom like this, knowing he wasn't this prince charming all the time.

So I felt it, coming from my left hand, to my arm, my spine and warming my heart even more.

He touched my hand. I looked at his direction like I was going crazy.

"So... Let me tell you..." He had a funny face staring at me, as if he was as unused to do this as much as it was unusual for me to feel the way he was making me feel. Something wrong went with my breathing process, shit was just confuse.

Four following seconds and he let go of my hand. Eyes still focused. I could see some of his white teeth showing, perfectly aligned and formed, framing a new type of smile.

"What?" I managed to say, still whispering for no apparently reason. It seemed like I was malfunctioning and I had no idea how to make it stop.

What the hell was happening to me?

"We have a door that leads to the backside of my house that is constantly unlocked in case something happens..." And I swear to God, Jesus and all of the saints above, that was the longest sentence he had ever said to me in the morning.

And also, I didn't understood why was that important. 

My face was clearly clueless, because then he smiled even more widely at me as he returned to explain. "You could've get out of my house through that door, but I didn't know..." He bent his head, looking even more good than the normal.

Aish... So that was the reason why he was so happy, right? The fact that he figured a way to put me out of his house.

"Oh!" Now my voice was unnatural again. Disappointed. Louder.

He laughed silently, but his mouth opened at a full power and his eyes almost disappeared.

I laughed too, just looking at him. It wasn't funny at all, since I didn't truly wanted to get out of his house, but he would never know. Neither I knew, before I had a great time with him. "I don't mind it, though... We had a great time..." I had my hopes too high... I just wanted for him to share the same feeling as me, but I knew it was too much. 

Right?

"Maj-a..." He confirmed, looking back through the window - and I'm glad he did it, since my chin dropped from disbelief.

Hold up... Was I putting my expectations too high or was I just being ridiculous? Or both?!

Did Jaebeom just confirmed that we had a great time together?!

I went full silent after that and my heart was fluttering. I desperately wanted to understand why his behave would make me so nervous... There was nothing in there, he was just too quiet before and now he would touch my hand just to call my attention... That was nothing... I had tons of friends who were really shy with me at first, just to hide their crazy asses... I was used to all kinds of people, so why was he making me so uncomfortably nervous?

What was this about him? Since when he has this kind of power?

As I struggled in a inner battle with myself, we arrived at the UNI. Mom gave me money and he got out of the car as I was having one of my episodes of depersonalization, seeing my body moving like I was watching from a big screen from inside, trying to understand how I was able to put myself out and give me the illusion of incapacity at the same time.

This would happen whenever I felt confused and excited at the same time, like it was a defensive mechanism to lower my energy.

"You okay?" I heard him speaking two feet in front of me, noticing my silence and paralyzed face.

"Yeah, why?" I got back into myself.

No one had ever noticed this thing about me. How I'd have these episodes from time to time, being really quiet and feeling out of place.

Jinyoung was the closest I had from someone being aware of this, but even him would ask me to come back to earth.

But it wasn't like this.

"You seemed pretty lost. Are you there?" He didn't looked at me again to say this, but I knew he thought the same as my best friend.

But I wasn't a lunatic, I just felt like a player, using its only available shape for the game, stuck in a level that it seemed to last forever and ever.

I was tired of repeating.

Of going back and forward, coming and going.

This wave used to hit me more when I was in high school, but it would make its visits once in a while.

"Yeah..." Prolonging the subject was not really on my plans, so I just changed it. "But hey... I just wanted to say thank you again for taking care of me... Let's have lunch together today. I'll treat you with whatever you want." He turned to look at me, probably not expecting it, but he also had a displeased surprised face, turning into a disappointed one right after.

"Uh... I'll pass. By the way, I dreamed of you, but I'll tell you some other time." He saw something behind me and he made no effort to hide that he was leaving. "See you around." Then he walked away, as if he'd seen a ghost.

Okay, I admit. 

I worked hard trying to be weird, but Jaebeom worked harder...

He just refused a free lunch and I was the lunatic...

We must be perfect for each other's minds.

"Yah..." A voice that I knew too well in a lot of aspects spoke to me, someone bumping on my left shoulder, messing with my balance.

When I turned around, Jinyoung had this mix of expressionless face with anger, eyes fixed on me, kind of red, so of course he's been crying.

"Hey." He crossed his arms as I spoke, like he was already defending his point of view without even listening to mine, which was stupid and unfair.

Shit, this was going to be hard...

"So, I can see that you both are doing great. Of couse, your performance is perfect in a bed, after all. Unfortunately, Jaebeom-hyung has good taste." He was really mean in his way of saying those words to me, never hesitating or even blinking, as if he was truly convinced of that.

"We're gonna have this conversation. Not here, not now." Right, that was the thing in the back of my head making me frustrated and anxious. The main reason why I had depersonalization - more like a escape land, a safe room, even though I felt not safe at all.

Not that deep inside I knew it was the reason why Jaebeom refused my company, here and at lunch time. I would probably not have time to lunch at all... Mouth busy trying to convince and understand Jinyoung through a long and complicated talk.

"I hope you have your fucking arguments ready. I'm not letting this go." He proudly walked away from me too, tongue twisting with curses, something he rarely did, mostly in mornings.

"Neither am I." I said to myself, watching as he walked away and even mad at me he looked just delicious. I wanted to end him right then and now.

He was making me confused in a way I couldn't explain. Our relationship was making me frustrated and his confidence in my supposed betrayal was making me angry. I had a lot of questions to make and I knew I wasn't talking as much as he should talk to make himself clear to me.

 

 


 

So that was it.

After a lot of intermissions between classes, only seeing Jinyoung, but not talking to him, the lunch time arrived.

I haven't met any of our friends in my way to the refectory, so they were probably altogether. "Jackson." Mark touched my shoulder as we got down the stairs.

"Hey, Mark... How are you feeling?" Mark never asked me to call him Hyung and honestly, the fact that he was american made us ever more closer. Like we shared the same culture.

"Better than yesterday, for sure. How are you feeling?" He slipped his hand through to my right arm, holding there.

"Well..." I showed him the bruises my formal shirt was hiding in my neck and stomach. "I'll survive." I laughed.

"Woah..." He moved my shirt again, to check my neck. "I'm gonna treat you with whatever you want, bro... I don't know how to apologize..." His face was scrunched.

"It's okay... Let's go for some ice cream after the dance practice today. I still need to have a conversation with Jinyoung and I know I'll need something to refresh myself." The stairs were over, so now we needed to walk three blocks till we find everyone.

"Fine, but it'll be a big ass ice cream just 'cause you deserve it." We laughed. "And what happened between you and Jinyoung?" He still held my arm firmly through everyone in the corridors.

"Ah, man..." I released the air from my lungs. "After the fight I went to Jaebeom's house. Actually, still in the fight, Jaebeom-hyung saved me and finished the guys who were still trying to get to you and Youngjae. I'm pretty sure the way things happened made Jinyoung, who was really drunk, imagine and see things."

"Imagine?" He was following my thoughts.

"Yes, you were there, maybe you remember him screaming my name and Jaebeom also out of himself, telling everyone not to touch me - including Jinyoung..."

"Woah... I can remember everything, but I was focusing on keeping Youngjae alive, after the punches he received. And I think... Jaebeom was probably really wasted or... He really cares about you... Getting into a fight without actually having something to fight for it's ridiculous, don't you think?" He stared at me and I stared back, because this was a new fact for my brain and Mark was strangely, but not rarely right.

"I don't think it was me, I think he understood the situation and thought of it as as absurd as everyone who tried to help." Yes, Jackson... This was one of the possibilities... Maybe he cared about the situation, maybe he just saw us earlier and tried to help after seeing us, maybe he identified himself with the act between Mark and Youngjae and moved by the injustice, he did amazing things. Maybe it was just me and my face that he saw. Just maybe. "There are a lot of possibilities, Mark, but the most accurate of them is: He knew us and saw us. He came to help." I wandered back to the front, not really focusing on anything as I we walked at the same pace towards where the smell of food was coming.

"No moral beliefs attached?" He knew what I was talking about and there was no fucking way...

"Nah." I made a face, one that Mark and I shared too often whenever we had different opinions. "I think he's a homophobic..." I lowered my voice to say that and we were almost at the cafeteria.

"How the fuck do you know this?" He came closer to me and whispered, knowing this was a secret.

"Every time I talk about Jinyoung, or even when we are together, he becomes somebody else, much rudder and non-receptive. He can't even hide it." I looked at my friend's face one more time, to express how serious I was taking that argument forward.

He understood one more time, nodding, staring deep into my eyes just to return to the flux of people getting in and out of the common area we were about to reach.

"So you know there are way more combinations of probable situations as to why he saved you and all of us, right?" He raised his eyebrows, making me take a deep breath. 

"Hm..."

"Maybe he's not homophobic, maybe he's just jealous of you two and he might emphasize with the rest of us..."

"But what if he's a homophobic, but has us like exceptions to his phobia because he somehow knows us? Maybe he felt directly attacked...?" I rented my head.

"Maybe, but I think is hard for a homophobic to have exceptions to something he truly believes, it's not like he can control it... Like, 'I'll be accepting on LGBT's now because I need to defend these people, but it's just for a minute and then I'll return to my boring life'," Mark failed to mimic Jaebeom's voice because it was higher than his, but I could totally get what he was saying. We stopped at the center of the refectory, having people moving around us and speaking at the same time. "He'd had to love us too much to defend us, passing through what he believes like that, which I think it's hard." I sighed, hearing his point of view.

"So you have the same arguments as Jinyoung." I raised my eyebrows again, gesticulating with my hands. I'd had to find my arguments to defend that there was nothing going on behind Jinyoung's back. Mark frowned. "He thinks Jaebeom is secretly having a crush on me and for that he saved me from having a internal bleeding on that nasty ground. He thinks me and Jaebeom had something yesterday at his house and I cheated on him, as if this is even possible, since we have a polyamorous relationship."

"And what's the truth?" He supported his hands on his waist, making me offended for thinking that there was a possibility that we could have something, exceeding all the invisible rules between Jinyoung and I's relationship - which seemed to consist in 'you can hook up with anyone, EXCEPT for Im Jaebeom'. 

I was honestly growing tired of denying that me and the boy who I just had the chance to meet yesterday had something - just because the idea was too impossible in my head. 

"The truth is that Jaebeom did took care of me, from the club to the last minutes I had in his house and yes, we are kind of friends now, but that's all." That was great. Was exactly what I had to say to Jinyoung when he stated his accusations, but it proved nothing.

"So are you sure that there is no possibility that you both are together in a romantic way...?" He insisted, making me roll my eyes back.

"Yes, I'm more than sure. It would be impossible. Guy's as straight as palm tree and has a lot of trouble open up to me and that's why I believe there's no danger on him getting attracted to me. I can't prove that he's a homophobic, but it's pretty evident the way he shows his despise for homoaffectivity. Not because he secretly wants me or something, but because after all the great times we spent together, he still runs away or avoids the 'Jinyoung' thing and he's just antisocial. But he also has a normal relationship with Jinyoung. They are acting partners. If the problem was him, they would not necessarily get along well, he's too aggressive for that." I was hopeless. The situation seemed like an endless hole. That's what you get for trying to guess other people's feelings. "The problem is when Jinyoung and I are together. He stares at us like he's going to commit a crime."

"I get it now..." Again, I released a deep breath. "I hope Jinyoung understands too. I know how emotional and impulsive he can be. It might be in his way to fully comprehend you. Just keep trying. Everything about it makes sense." He assured me, wrapping his arm around my waist.

"Thank you, Mark. This helped me a lot." It did. As much as it made me impatient and sick, it also kept my arguments in place and I had my mind less blurred.

"I'm always here, bro. Now let me take care of baby Youngjae." We were almost at our table. Bambam, Youngjae and Jinyoung were there.

"Yah, I can't believe he came today! Mark, he needs to rest!" I shout-whispered, referring to Youngjae's face, as if he had visited hell for a night just to say hello and returned with more than simple assurance that he didn't belonged there.

"I know, but his mother made this like a punishment for his sneak-out. I'm taking care of him, don't worry." He smiled tenderly at the terrible vision of a Youngjae with a purple eye and bruises in his youth and cheeks. 

Poor boy.

I could respond in the same intensity to the boys who did this to him if I met them again.

"Jackson, you look great!" Bambam pointed out once we got to the table, trying to get to Youngjae indirectly.

"Yah, Bambam! I see you!" Youngjae protested.

"Thank God!" He answered and all of us laughed at the tricky commentary, except for the poor Choi and Jinyoung - who looked like a kid without friends.

"Let's go." I lowered my torso, trying to not attract attention at all, so he could listen and follow me.

And he did. Never looking in my face.

I guided us through the way to the campus, where we had plenty of space for him to shout at me and make a scene without everyone noticing. I already knew a quiet Jinyoung. It meant fire in his eyes, since he was boiling his emotions from inside out. One touch and he would throw it all in someone's face without hesitating.

Once we got to a big empty field, I turned around to him with my arms crossed.

I feel tired. I have no energy to fight him.

"Okay, now say it." I asked, looking at his stressed face, like he was warming up in our way till here.

Completely different from me.

I was irritated back at the table, but just making my way through here, I felt tired.

"So, tell me exactly what is going on between you two." He crossed his arms again - bad sign. It was funny though, the way he strongly believed Jaebeom and I had something, making it more than clear how insecure he was when it came to Jaebeom, for reasons I still had to know.

Jinyoung knew me. He knew I wasn't capable of keeping a secret of mine, much less from him. I was an open book.

"We are friends." Was all I said.

"Just friends?" It was irony hidden behind the question, which meant it was going to take me much more than three words to make him believe in me.

"Jinyoung, why don't you believe in me? Why is it so hard to see that you're being completely extra about this? Is a fight really necessary? We need to begin the real conversation." I pressed my hands against each other, looking around dismissively.

"Okay, your turn, then." He hid his small but strong hands in his pockets, eyebrows raising in debauch. He was so fucking stubborn, it was making me stressed.

I came two steps closer, since this was going to be real.

Proximity always made him more receptive. Blame it on his necessity of physical contact. 

He never had enough touches, always wanted more.

"I know you're truly thinking a lot of shit about me staying at Jaebeom's house, thanks to this unknown person that said we were going to have a "great time" or what ever - which I'm going to murder sooner or later, but..." He looked somewhere else and I knew he was hiding something. Something about this third person. It made me thirsty for answers. "Since I can remember... Our relationship is polyamorous..." He looked in my eyes again and now I could see hurt mixed with a lot other things as he slowly lose his composure. "So why couldn't I hookup with anyone else in that party if I wanted? Would you behave like this if it was anybody else but him or are you specifically jealous of him?" 

Those were the real questions. It was so important that he dropped a tear from each eye without blinking. His gaze was intense on me and his nose was starting to get red.

Shit... I knew this talk would have no space for rationality, what ever it was that he was about to say.

"That's what I tried to tell you that night, before I went to the washroom and then all that shit happened." He dried his tears, using the sleeves of his grey sweater - which made him even more cute. I had a weak point when it was about Jinyoung.

More like all of me became weak, actually.

"Tell me now." I got one step closer and only two more steps would be enough for us to touch and I wanted it. But I couldn't be so weak. He took a deep breath, staring at the ground, blinked twice and returned his intense gaze at me, as if gaining courage. As if deciding if it was now or never.

"Jacksseun-ah." My name was beautiful coming out of his mouth, pouty pink lips expressing every syllable, I had to admit it. The way he would make it sound Korean, the sweetest thing ever. I really loved his voice and I missed it since the night of the party. I missed it speaking sweetly to me, melting me like caramel. I felt an arousal around us, like this attraction. I just wanted to touch him. "What I have to say is..." One more tear escaped from his left eye. I fell for it the same way the drop feel on his grey sweater, being absorbed and disappearing by the fabric that suited him so well, as if he was strong, well build up and cuddlable. "I don't want you to like and be with anyone else but me." He then tensed his jawline. He had a strong moon-shaped face and intense brown eyes, sinking inside his orbs. "Because I like you. I truly like you. Only you." He confessed through tears, but never failing to look me in the eyes. "And I want us to be together, as a couple." 

Deep shit.

I wasn't supposed to have this though as the first one related to a serious relationship, but I couldn't control my nature.

That was deep shit.

It means if he falls for someone else, is cheating. If I fall for someone else, is also cheating, but worse. Because it's me.

It means having excessive responsibilities, like taking care of a baby. I don't know if I'm mature enough for that.

I'm not mature enough to answer every single good morning and goodnight text. I would forget it. He would get hurt. He would learn to hate me.

I don't want him to hate me.

Well, he will hate me now if I say no.

I really don't want him to hate me.

I know how possessive and jealous Jinyoung can be with these things. I have a lot of friends. Friends who flirt with me openly and I like it.

Yes, I like it. It's like a game.

But this right here is real and he's waiting for me to say something.

It's not that I don't like him, no... I love him, but it's different.

Just give it a try, Jackson. Maybe it'll be the same thing as always. Except that I'll have no right to be who I truly am - a slut.

But that's okay, everyone has to grow up someday...

Right?

What if I break his heart? What if he needs more emotional support? I'm not emotive at all!

But what if the sex gets better? More intense?

What if is not sex anymore, what if is making love?

"So..." He interrupted my wave of thoughts and I almost forgot I had to answer.

Almost.

His eyes were still red and sensible and it made my heart melt.

I had to do it.

I had to try.

I wasn't going to allow myself to regret on something I never did.

"Okay." I said, watching him closely, as his expression minimally changed. From a pout, his lips looked sexy in a real soft smile. His fortress breaking down right in front of me. His brows rose up slightly, the surprise being expressed. His eyes opened in a magic way. He was containing. Containing his happiness, but I could feel it, densely running through my veins as it reached for me like a wave. A strong one.

He came to me then, touching my chest with his trembling, insecure hands. They were pale and his fingertips were pink. I felt all the delicacy he tried to maintain when the warmth surpassed my clothes, resting on my skin.

"Yeah?" He wanted to be sure. I also wanted to be sure and to record my words, so I prepared them in my head.

"Okay, Jinyoung. Let's do this. Let's try, huh?" He was so close now, that I looked at one of his eyes at a time. He nodded, opening a true toothy-smile, and then he had his squishy face back. "It won't change anything, right? We get along really well. Let's not lose this." It was my only wish. It was the main purpose why I accepted it. I was not ready to let go of him yet.

"Yeah." He came to me, body asking for a seal to our words, so I kissed him, feeling that shared joy. It was vivid and vibrant, I could see the colors of our kiss. The way his hands held my chin and my neck, my hands eager to touch his hair. We knew these moves. We made them a lot of times, but now everything came from him with a heavy meaning. Now I had to keep his heart safe in my hands, just like I kept his body and mind.

 


 

"So, how did it go?" Mark came to me like we were talking about drugs in our changing lockers - before the dance class.

I seriously looked at him.

"We now successfully have a monogamous relationship." Was all I said, watching as Mark's face lighted up like fireworks.

Only now I realized Jinyoung kind of gave me reasons for his behavior, but he didn't answer any of my questions.

"Ooooh!" It was a 'I get it now!' sound. "So that was the problem! That's why he was putting so much pressure on Jaebeom-ssi... But it could be anyone else, right? You're such a trash, how did you not noticed the change on him before? You know these things are easily noticed when we feel connected to someone, right? When the one you love is smiling too much or needs you too much..." Then he squeezed his eyes, like a detective. "And Jackson...?"

"What." I knew what was coming. His previous words gave me information just the enough.

"Are you sure you want to be in a commitment position with Jinyoung?" He crossed his arms at me and I wanted to laugh because I had no idea Mark knew me this much.

"Why do you say that?" I asked, holding a laugh, pretending I didn't understand the situation, but he knew me better than anybody else.

"Because... You ain't serious about a thing... You know it actually takes effort to date someone, right?" He pulled me by my neck like we were going to get inside my locker. "In other words, I don't know if you know it, but... When you have a monogamous relationship, you can only stay with one person..." We looked inside my locker like it had something really precious on it. Irony long present in his voice, followed by an annoying smile.

"Mark, do you honestly think I'm that of an asshole? I'm not a cheater..." I murmured, slightly intrigued, trying to remove his filthy paws away from me, but he got me.

"Ha, you were not a cheater because you didn't had a name before, but now you do and it's boyfriend." He slapped my shoulder three times. "So hold your horses, social butterfly. Your field is limited now. There's nothing to conquer, but there's a lot to maintain. I'm sure you know how it feels." Then he pulled me back, making a face that perfectly represented his sarcasm.

"What are you guys looking at inside this thing?" Jinyoung appeared out of nowhere right behind of me, then once I turned to face him, he came to hug me. The sweetest smile on his entire face, trying not to look into my eyes as the shy Korean he was raised to be.

"Baby, what's up?" It was the most natural I could sound, hugging him back. Mark released one of his iconic laughs before leaving us.

He was now wearing black sweat pants like everyone else and a same color cotton blouse with long sleeves. 

"Why is Mark behaving like he's mean? It's time. Are you paired up with someone already?" He frowned and quickly changed the subject, looking out for all I kept inside my boring, grey locker full of sweaty clothes.

"Not really, but you know how it is... Something always comes up for me." I was tense just because I felt like it was a lot of pressure in the things I said and done now. Every move had to be calculated, so I wouldn't hurt him.

He wanted to pair up with me now, but a week before he wouldn't mind at all if someone else danced with me.

In fact, there was still something I had to ask him to make our situation 100% clear.

"I know..." He kissed my cheek, seeing almost no one in the lockers anymore. "Let's pair up, then. Let's go. We need to warm up." He pushed my locker, taking me by my wrist.

I just followed, watching as the rest of the students watched us. It was like the walk to the main room meant something else. As if it had another meaning. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, at least not yet.

Once we arrived at the salon, almost everyone was there.

Mark and Youngjae, Bambam and someone he was friends with, Jinyoung and I, Jooheon and Minhyuk.

Jaebeom and someone who's face was familiar, but I had no idea how.

He was really tall, with big, perfectly sculpted legs, had a perfect posture and his hair was longer than the normal, colored midnight-blue. He was also really pale and his face had really strong cheekbones, round and harmonious.

He was handsome.

"Who's that?" I asked Jinyoung, who was looking at his own stretching figure on the mirror, not really paying attention.

"He's new here. He's not a student at the UNI, but because he's a great dancer, he won a scholarship only for this class, so he'll drop by from now and then." 

"Uh. I think he's familiar, but I just can't remember where I've seen him." I frowned.

"His name is Kim Yugyeom." Then he stood up again, twisting his body, not paying me any attention.

Maybe he was at the party, but we didn't had the chance to talk.

 


 

 

We were covered in sweat by the end, resting our bodies on the dirty floor. Jinyoung had this mysterious gaze towards the new boy. I couldn't decipher if it was jealousy of the body control he had when dancing or if he was just admiring him in the most ironic way.

"Don't worry. You will improve." I threw the bait, hoping he would reveal more than he was showing.

"Yeah, I know. We will." He blinked a couple of times, but his eyes kept returning to him, hypnotized.

Also, the boy wasn't tired. He just kept moving with no sound as everyone was staring, loving the attention he was receiving. He was a free style dancer and his moves were too sensual for someone his age. Not that I would ever be against it, but maybe that was the hole thing calling Jinyoung's attention, since his dancing was mostly technical, moves clean and sharp, cute as he constantly was. 

I have always wondered how a beast like him could hide his true nature so well, but I guess that was the magic with the actors.

I gave Jinyoung the peace white flag, even though it was wrong, just because sometimes it takes bending to avoid breaking. As his boyfriend, I should be more concerned and even jealous, but it wasn't like me at all.

I just let him.

 


 

So now we were all clean again after a shower and Mark and I were negotiating how many balls my ice cream would have.

"Yah, I didn't even thought about real ice cream, I was talking about those you just choose from a convenience store bar!" He pushed me at the corridor where all of us were talking.

"Yah, Jackson-ssi!" I heard someone calling from behind me. It was Jooheon when I turned around.

"Jooheon-ah!" I smiled back at his moles. "I need to talk to you! Mark, can we add Jooheon to our ice cream thing? I can pay for his..." I asked.

"Sure." Mark smiled, feeling comfortable enough with him.

"Can we go?" I returned to him.

"Uh... It wasn't in my plans, but yeah..." He smiled too. "Minhyuk won't go because he needs to study, so you don't have to pay his too..." He dramatically joked.

"You are so good to your hyung, aren't you?" We side hugged, the three of us laughing. I joked about the way he was supposed to speak to me, but he knew I was Chinese and couldn't care less for formalities.

"Jackson-oppa!" He made a weird baby voice, scaring the shit out of me and Mark.

"Jeez! He's better than you, Jackson!" Mark pointed out. 

I twisted my left arm around Jooheon's torso.

"Yah, Mark... Be loyal..." I complained.

We all laughed again.

Jinyoung turned around from the talk he was having with the others.

"Where are you guys going? Can I go too?" He smiled shyly at the three of us.

"Uh..." Mark knew he couldn't, since he was going to be one of the subjects.

"No. It's only for the members of our club. You can't go because you're not a member. Not you, Youngjae or Bambam. Or Minhyuk." I squeezed my hand at Jooheon's shoulder, hoping he would understand the sign.

"Yeah! Ice cream for the members only!" He got in.

"It's okay, we can have a group of our own too." Youngjae protested, being strongly supported by Bambam. "And anyone can participate. Except the three of you." He laughed, everyone imitating him, except for Jinyoung, who would still look at us in a serious way, but hiding behind a sly smile.

"Baby, we don't have to be so dramatic, okay?" Mark back-hugged his boyfriend, turning back on his decision faster than I could make fun of him.

Should I assure Jinyoung too? Tell him it was just a silly conversation between us three? Should I let go of Jooheon just to make sure he was okay with that?

It wasn't necessary, right? 

Before I could decide, he turned around to keep walking.

"Thanks, man." I whispered in Jooheon's ear.

"You got me." He whispered back and it was true. I saw it when he defended all of us at the club and I had to thank him somehow.

After that, we separated, walking the rest of the boys to the bus stop. I walked to Jinyoung, now twisting my arm around him. "You okay?" I asked, knowing he was a little bit down. "You're not mad at me because of that, are you? It was a silly joke..."

He stared at me from the side, having a pouting smile on his pink lips. "Yeah, I was just hoping you would go to my house for a movie or something. To celebrate and all that, but we can do it tomorrow." His eyes went to the horizon, waiting for my answer.

"I'm sorry, baby. There's this really important thing Mark wants to talk to me about and I had already made a deal with him about it, so... I can't walk away right now." I explained.

"It's okay, I know." He turned to me, caressing my chest in a delicate way, so no one would point it out. "Just call me when you get home." He gave me a side smile, looking in my eyes. I could feel the pressure through them. It made me euphoric.

"Yeah. I still need to speak to you, so let's do something tomorrow after your acting class." I intertwined our fingers in a way our bodies were hiding it from everyone. My right arm still around his shoulders, holding him close.

"Perfect."

And okay, everything seemed fine. Just seemed.

My head was still confused and now it would still be until the next day's afternoon.

"It's your bus." I said, watching the vehicle turning around the corner. Plenty of students waiting for it with us. "Get home safely and eat something." I ordered him, who smiled to the ground, squishy face showing. It was cute how my words would affect him. How come I never noticed this? The way he would become more soft whenever we were interacting? It was so obvious... His attempt to hide his face and the way he looked at me intensely, like he cared and also like he would eat me alive... 

Mark was right, I was trash. I would never associate Jinyoung's happiness with my presence. To me he was always like this, but he wasn't. It was more than clear now.

"I will. Take care." He whispered, once he hugged me goodbye. The warmth of his body was addicting. I wanted him to stay.

"Always." I pressured him against my body, knowing the way it was cozy and just the right size. Romantically taller than me, so I'd have him all to myself. It was perfect, wasn't it? 

It should be.

I turned around after Youngjae and Bambam also left, bumping into someone, but at the way things were going, I knew who that was without having to think too much. 

"Jaebeom-hyung." I called, recognizing his legs and the way his feet would stand out, like he was a penguin.

Details. I loved details.

"Yah..." I heard his voice, the same sweet and sour tone, like a lemon pie. I smiled because I was right, I could recognize his energy even without having to look at him. "You should pay attention to where you're going..." He continued, but it didn't sound rude, just hurried and somehow funny.

I raised my head, finding him looking at me with curiosity, but seeing my smile, he returned to his natural arrogant-and-untouchable-and-intimidating figure. I almost laughed, because at this point I could imagine myself, three days earlier, feeling intimidated by that face, but it was so clear now. It was like a shield, something he liked to keep when everyone's eyes were on him. 

I wondered how long it would take for him to be himself completely when we were together, not forcing a face.

"I do pay attention, but it looks like you're always following me!" I teased.

That was true.

Since I met him, I never stopped seeing him around, it was funny some times.

And weird.

"Yah!-" He made a face.

"Jackson, let's go! I still need to study when I get home!" Mark called from a four meters distance. Jooheon was also waiting for me.

I turned back to Jaebeom, but he has five feet apart from me now. Waiting for the bus.

"We're going for ice cream, Mark's treating us. Wanna come?" I called for his profile side of the face, hoping he would say no and yes at the same time - of course, since the conversation was also about him.

"Uh, I have some homework projects to conclude. Next time, maybe." He didn't even looked in my face to say no.

Chic and cold.

It made me want to insist, but I couldn't.

"Okay. Next time will be at your house with birthday cake ice cream." I laughed, going away.

"Aish... Get out of here..." He made another type of face, like the situation made him cringe. I laughed even harder, loving his reaction to the memory that I knew that he kept.

"See you..." I slightly bowed, walking away from him.

Did I really bowed to him? What was that?!

 


 

 

We walked for good fifteen minutes having the loudest, coolest conversation ever, like we were just kids, running away from school.

"But Jackson now has been busy taking care of his life." Mark said, as the subject was us, drifting apart since our social compromises. Not Jooheon, because we just recently met him - and he was just my type of person.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean... You have your projects and ideas... And now you have a boyfriend and a lover, so is a lot to manage..."

"What the fuck-"

"A boyfriend AND a lover?!" Jooheon shouted, but no one around us really cared. 

"Don't you know? Jackson barely can contain himself..." Mark forced the situation.

"HOLD UP!" Now I shouted, making them laugh really loud. 

"Was Jinyoung your boyfriend since before Friday?" Jooheon asked me, curling his arm around mine as we walked in a strange rhythm.

"So now we're properly talking about our problems, right? Okay. No, Jinyoung just asked me to be his boyfriend today. Why?" A car was coming, so I pushed Jooheon to the corner by his waist.

"Because Saturday at the club I tried to hit on you, so if he was your boyfriend, that would be cheating." He laughed and Mark looked at me with this absurd face.

"Maj-a." I agreed, making him laugh even more.

"Now you guys are serving the tea, right?" He said, making us laugh too.

"It was nothing, Jooheon and I just danced together when I first arrived... He was already drunk." I teased, even though it was the truth.

"What makes you think I was drunk?" He came to me again, smiling in a flirtatious way that looked really funny.

"Hajima..."

"Oh my God, Jackson, you're fucked. You just can't stay in your lane, huh? That's why Jinyoung was so weird when Bambam brought you to us, he saw everything and he was already planning to confess to you right there, but he knew it was risky and controversial..." He jumped from one sidewalk to another.

"Shit... Did he?" I blinked.

"Oh no, he probably hates me... It's my fault..." Jooheon whined.

"No, it's not your fault. It's no one's fault, really... I thought we were in a polyamorous relationship till today and he was never the type to get explosive with someone being flirtatious with me. At least, not out of the bed, but again. I only realized this today."

"Yes, he probably hates you, Jooheon, but Jackson will be rewarded as soon as possible in the best way." Mark had to comment that and make me embarrassed, but I was the one to confess the type of punishment I would get, so it was a fair game.

"Okay, enough of this, it's giving me a headache." I pressed my temples with my fingers.

"Do you remember when Jinyoung found out you and me used to be together before? He was really trying to bottle up his emotions, but it turned out on him being explosive and moody with us all the time..." Mark also commented, making me remember of the old days when we first met. Before our trio, it was only Mark and I and we never got too far.

"WHAT?! You two were together?!" Jooheon really couldn't contain his excitement, making me and my best friend laugh.

"Well, if you wanna be part of our group, you must know our story..." Mark continued.

"Markson forever, Markson or nothing..." I said an old phrase of our also old relationship. "It wasn't that serious."

"What do you mean? It was intense..." Tuan protested. "We were young and we knew nothing about relationships back then, but were full of homo energy..." He laughed, pushing me. We were now passing in front of one of our favorite places to eat in the neighborhood. The old lady who attended there made amazing ramyeun with extra cheese and Mark and I used to go there all the time counting our pennies.

"Neng, it was intense because no one could catch us and we were terrified of being seen by one of our family members or friends. We were really clueless about our feelings and how we could possibly be into each other..." I explained.

"Maj-a. It wasn't nothing seriously profound, but I was crazy about Jackson's charisma and the way he always wanted to improve his physical appearance. I also loved that he was really sweet, caring and innocent, plus he knew how to speak English, which I confess, I took advantage off." Now we were getting there. Our favorite place for ice cream since we were 19 and 18 years old. 

"And how long do you guys know each other? How long this lasted and why you didn't stick together?" Jooheon was the first to get in the place, like a puppy waiting for his toy.

"Let's ask for something first and sit. What do you want?" Mark looked at me, since he was paying.

"A large tropical strawberry milkshake with at lot of colorful things and cream on it." I smiled, knowing I was being extra, but he didn't cared. In fact, he sighed, but went to pay right after.

"What do you want, Jooheon?" Was our new friend's turn to leave a hole on my wallet.

"Can I have the same as you?" He smiled too, in a teasing way.

"I expected this, so yeah... Whatever the baby wants..." I squeezed his cheeks tightly, following Mark, who laughed, to the line.

"Pick a table for us." I said, completely turning around now.

"Why didn't you share your milkshake with him instead of spending money in another one? It would be more romantic." He crossed his arms.

"Shit, you're right... I'm so stupid..."

"No, Jackson!" Mark slapped my left arm, looking at me in disapproval. 

"What?" 

"You want Jinyoung to fucking break up with you? What are you thinking?!" He was looking mad, but I knew he wasn't.

"Ugh... You're right."

I was hopeless.

"But I wasn't going to take it serious, though. It was just a good idea. I could be closer to Jooheon... Gain confidence..."

"Jackson, you are hopeless." He turned around on me.

"That's exactly what I thought right now..." I confessed.

"Just listen to me..." The line walked and then he was the next. "Anneyong-haseyo, one tropical strawberry milkshake with cream and something colorful, please, and a special mocha in a glass. I'm paying with debit card."

"Next! Anneyong-haseyo, what would you like, sir?" The girl looking like my age with a beautiful smile in her face greeted me. They were wearing new uniforms since the last time we came here.

"The same strawberry milkshake as him, please. And a bottle of water. Can you bring everything together when it gets done?" In my right, Mark was already leaving.

"Neng, how would you like to pay?"

"Credit card."

"You can tap your card, sir."

"Just listen to me, Jackson..." He waited for me to finish before going to the table, were Jooheon waited for us. "If you want to have a good relationship with Jinyoung, you'll have to compromise. You know he's jealous, possessive and controlling. Don't think for a moment he won't be like that to you, a serious relationship is the white flag he received from you and now is just a matter of time until he gets to act all animalistic towards you,"

"Mark, you need to relax, okay? We can't predict the future! Maybe he will be a little possessive and all that, but in the other side, he can be loving and caring too! In the end, feelings might just intensify, but they are the same!" I protested. We walked back to the table.

"Sure, if you behave!" He said before we got there. "It's just really frustrating when you come to me talking about your problems, I suggest solutions for them, but you never listen to me."

"It's not a problem and I'm not asking for any solutions coming from you!" I got annoyed, but it easily faded to something funny. "It'll be ready in a minute." I smiled at Jooheon, sitting by his side. Mark sat in front of us, still bragging like an old man.

Our table was sided with a huge window and from where we were, we could see a good amount of the street.

"So please, answer my questions, I've been crazy about the scenes..." Jooheon restarted the subject, more curious than we've ever seen him, but again, we haven't quite seen him the enough.

"Yeah, sorry. You asked how long have we know each other, huh?" I made some effort to be sure of my memories. "If I can remember, Mark was sixteen and I was fifteen. I was in my first year of high school and he was on his second. We were from different classes, but it was the same school. Mark and I used to call all the attention back there, because we were foreigners. We were cute, talented and charming." I had a sweet memory, even if we drifted away a little bit when school was almost over.

"It lasted for a year and a couple of months. Jackson was into me before that and he kept giving me crazy signs, but I never noticed."

"Uh, you gave me serious anxiety problems, you know?" I made a face, having the memories of my sleepless nights, thinking if he really meant what he said and if his touches were too friendly or just pure romantic.

"Sorry, Jacks." He joked, but deep down I knew it was real.

"It's okay." I dramatized. "I've learnt my lesson."

"We broke up because I was too cold and contained and Jackson had his expectations really high on me, like I was the love of his life and these things. He was looking for a fairy tale, but I was just a regular dude with a lot of problems back home. I really cared about him and my heart would go crazy whenever he was around, but I knew it would be better for us to just grow up a little bit and try to really understand each other, without expecting impossible things." He smiled at me, probably remembering of our tough break-up and the drama we lived apart from each other.

"And how come you are best friends today?" The dude kept his attention on us.

"After some months being away from each other, I realized that what we had wasn't natural or truly good and so I stopped blaming Mark for my heartbreak and started to really understand what we had. I regretted not being able to show him who I truly was, since I had such low self-esteem, but when we met again, Mark could truly know me." The smile in my face was unstoppable.

"And what can I say? Confident Jackson will always be better than an annoying person asking you if they are good enough at every five seconds. He wouldn't believe how amazing and capable of anything he was. As much as we tried to assure him." He crossed his arms, also smiling. "He still is reluctant to the idea nowadays, but is much more bearable, believe me."

"You also got a lot better... You used to be like a wall. Now you are not afraid of being yourself at all. Mark was so quiet that whenever he got in a group of people chatting, he would change the mood completely, everyone would get more serious and introverted or even shut up completely."

Those five seconds of silence brought us together somehow.

"Excuse me..." Another girl came with our food, making everyone wake up from different dreams.

It was going to be an ice cream afternoon, but things turned to be much more prolonged.

"I loved hearing your history. I wish I known you both from the beginning. And thank you, hyung, for the milkshake." Jooheon was adorable, having the cutest smile on his face, but forcing it to look cuter and make the mood even lighter.

"Ah, yeah, thank you for the food, Markie-pooh!" I forced, making him roll his eyes, but enjoying the moment just like us.

 

 


 

 

It was almost the end of our time together. We talked about a lot of things, but all of them intertwined in the relationship subject. Or sex.

Jooheon and Minhyuk were in a polyamorous relationship, Mark and Youngjae were in a serious one and they were doing great. They were even thinking about buying a dog and raising it together, but Mark still thought it was too soon.

"If Youngjae's mother kick him out of his house because of us, then yes, I can consider living together and having a dog." Yes, because Mark was always someone with a great wealth condition and he already lived by himself - lucky them.

"That's so cute... I think your future is really bright with him, Mark-si." Jooheon now was feeling more at ease with us. He also wasn't a fan of treating people around your age like they were sunbaenim's.

None of his or Minhyuk's parents knew they were together, except for Jooheon's younger brother, but he didn't bothered at all.

"Me too. In fact I wonder why Youngjae haven't moved to your house yet." I said.

"We are trying to prove his mother that is completely okay for us to be together. Things always work at the end. She doesn't hate me or us together, just hates the fact that she can't change people's minds in order for them to accept us and Saturday was one of the worst things that could happen to us." We all sighed. "It just proved her that being homossexual here in Busan is mortally dangerous."

"But let's not focus our energies on the bad things. Let me tell you this: after yesterday, Jaebeom-hyung don't hate me anymore. In fact, I'm starting to consider it was never truly about me." 

"Uuuh! Now that he and his lover-hyung are finally getting together really well, he's obsessed! Jooheon, you have to see his face whenever his hyung is around!" Mark made my entire face blush.

"Yah! You're making it sound like were dating!" I strongly contested.

"I don't need to have his hyung here to know it's true, look at his face, Mark-hyung... His truly a man in love... What a loyal dongsaeng..."

"Guys, stop..." I really asked, even with a smile in my face. 

"Please, tell us the details..." Mark crossed his fingers on the table. Jooheon supported his head on his left hand, his body facing me completely.

"You both saw him finishing the fight at the club, right?"

"Oh, he was furious..." Jooheon remembered.

"He wouldn't let anyone touch you... He was like a beast... How did you got him so defensive towards you?" Mark made one of the most important questions that had no answer.

"I didn't do anything... He just appeared there and got himself in the middle of the confusion. He said he heard people shouting about a fight and that's why he got outside. I think he recognized all of us instantly, and so he came straight to me because I was the one still being beaten up to death."

"I have a different suggestion." Jooheon interrupted, making us two look at him. "I think he was concerned specifically about you, not the rest of us." He shrugged like it was the truth.

"What? Why?" Why every conversation about Jaebeom had to end up involving him and me in a special way?

"Isn't it obvious? He called your name and your name ONLY." Mark continued, which proved me they shared the same feeling. "He didn't say 'Mark, are you okay?!' or 'Someone please, grab some ice for Youngjae!'. It was you." He also shrugged, making me roll my eyes in a way that I almost was not able to roll them back.

"You guys are fantasizing us. Which is really annoying. It makes zero sense." I closed my eyes, feeling tired.

That meant nothing. Jaebeom just looked after me this hole time and he was being watched all along.

"It's important to say that he ordered for you not to be touched, otherwise he would 'fucking kill' them." Jooheon paused. Mark stared at me, probably trying to invade my mind. "Minhyuk was so impressed that he actually wondered if you were going to be taken care on his hands or if you was going to suffer even more on his rude manners, AKA, masculine. He also complained about me being a teddy bear after his shouts, kicks and punches." Then we laughed truly.

"One thing you must admit, Jackson... He was for real and he wasn't drunk. I wasn't drunk, so I can state it." Mark concluded.

"Okay, fine, he shouted for me, kept me safe. What's the big deal?" I looked at each one. "It means nothing, guys. He's my hyung, maybe he's so conservative about this thing that all he did was a Korean obligation... You know, the older ones take care of the younger and younger should strictly respect their hyungs."

"Whatever. How was it when you woke up in the morning?" Mark gave up.

"In the morning? I woke up at two pm... The first thing I remember to feel was confusion and some embarrassment. I saw the window of my room from outside and so I understood that I was at his house. I ran to his bathroom and vomited, a mix of alcohol and blood. He then came right away and hold me, telling me it was going to be okay." I remembered his face perfectly, his hands first holding my body in a tight, firm grip, making me feel secure.

It was the first time he touched me like that.

"Shouldn't he be at least angry at you for being beaten up because you're gay? Like, not in that way, but like..." Jooheon made a face. "Mad because of the actual circumstances and frustrated at the fact that he had to defend you?"

"Got it... Like, have you seen him being reluctant when trying to help you? Was he frustrated about having to support a gay even being homophobic? Because he should be, right?" Mark and Jooheon shared a look, a look that showed me they both didn't buy the 'homophobic' story and they would forever tease me about it.

"Just because he's homophobic, it doesn't mean he would hesitate to protect his dongsaeng-" I saw no sense.

"Oh, but it means. I means when you saw him punching and kicking those dudes like they were rats. Poor rats, actually. They didn't deserve Jaebeom's anger." He was being ironic and I saw what they were trying to do.

"Yah, stop." I ordered, not wanting to go deep in it, knowing once I started, my mind would never let me rest. "As I was saying..." They came to me again.

Chapter Text

"I'm not blind... I guess this feeling kind of changed...?" She looked at me suggestively.

 

She was unbelievable... 

 

I stopped to analyze my answer and make it as accurate as I could. "Jaebeom can seem tough and hard from outside... Intimidating, at least. And don't get me wrong, he can be really aggressive... Really..." I paused to think of how to explain his truly side without making him look like a complete pudding, like his mother had no hesitation to tell me.

She must've really trusted me.

 

"But?" She continued.

 

The witch was more anxious than ever, oh my god...

 

"But... He's good. Golden heart, you know?" I blinked at her, trying to make him cool in her eyes. 

 

"Yes, I do." She smiled a hundred percent confident, as if she knew Jaebeom better than I did, which was really annoying.

 

"He's what we call cold hands, warm heart, right?" I blinked again, because I loved to make this reference. It reminded me of myself years ago, getting in a relationship where I had the warm hands, but my heart was never truly owned by the one I loved.

For all the effects, I'm still like this, until I find someone who can make my hands cold and heart warm.

 

"That's good... It means he just needs some time to learn how to deal with you... I genuinely thought he didn't liked you..." She shrugged.

 

"Mom!" Now I was starting to feel like I was the problem.

 

"Sorry!" She started to laugh. "It's just that you are too much, you know?" I was intrigued, but I didn't had the intentions to deny. "You're too loud, too funny, too sympathetic, you show yourself too much and you're just... Extra... Jaebeom is the type who likes things more directly..." I looked at her like I was offended - and she believed it. "It's not that you don't, is just that you tend to hide what you truly mean, instead, saying what the other person would like to hear..."

 

"When did this became a therapy section?" I looked at Dad, who just laughed, showing that he wasn't talking, but he was listening very well.

 

I was even more shocked.

 

Was she calling me a superficial?!

 

"I'm not superficial, okay?" I stood up, finishing my toast.

 

She did the same, putting her plate in the sink.

 

"If you say so..." And I hated when she did this. This ironic I-know-better-than-you-do mood. "I like him." She confessed, grabbing her purse.

 

"Of couse you do! He gave you a basket full of fruits! Who does that?" I opened my arms widely, the same amount I felt like she liked him.

Or the same size of the basket, honestly, I wasn't carrying too much.

 

"Shush! Let's go, I'll be late. Bye honey!" She shouted from the door, all the keys in her hands, reminding me of Jaebeom's one-key-only to his front door.

 

My mom opened the wooden object the same way she does everyday, probably expecting the same scene as always, but today was different.

Because Jaebeom was sitting at the steps of the house, waiting for us.

Not that he usually doesn't wait, it's just that he would wait around the car - and not looking at my face for as long as he could, but never being rude to my mom.

 

"Jaebeom-ssi!" My mom so excitedly greeted him. He, somehow, looked better than ever for unknown reasons. Like he woke up at the right side of the bed.

 

"Good morning Misses Wang. How are you today?" Was this smiling figure asking how my mom was today for real? 

 

What happened?!

 

"I'm radiant! It looks like you are too!" I imagined my mom flying towards the car, speaking like she was someone's godmother fairy.

 

"Of course..." He was smiling and not hiding his face, all charms. He was prince charming itself. How cute.

 

I was deadly curious. Should I speak to him? Was the day at his house all made in my imagination? Did we actually broke the ice yesterday?

Was this good humor of his somehow connected with the day we spent together?

Having so many questions, I decided that remain silent was the best option, waiting for his approach, not wanting to look too desperate or scare him away. I was not controlling myself that much, though, because Jaebeom never made me feel like an alien or like us together wasn't right, as surprising as it sounds. I was just carefully learning how to deal with him. Carefully invading his space.

 

We followed my mom still in silence. He didn't said a word to me, nor looked in my direction. Now I was starting to worry.

Did I had to break his walls every time we met or was he only being honorably educated yesterday, not really letting me in?

Funny, because he didn't looked like someone who would do things to please someone else.

 

When we sat side by side inside the car, I felt some tension: we had to put our sit belts without looking or accidentally touching each other. 

 

I just began doing it, thinking about finishing first, so he would had the space all to himself, but I failed.

Because he had the same idea as me.

 

So of course our hands were this close to touch and our heads too, since we both inclined at the same time. When my hair brushed on his, it was too much to pretend that nothing happened.

 

"Sorry." I murmured. Was I shy? I have never been shy in my entire life! I didn't even known the meaning of 'insecure'!

 

He looked up and our eyes met like a lightening. He was looking really fine, skin perfectly toned, but a little bit yellowish around his eyes and nose, perfect brushed eyebrows and his jet black hair aligned, recently brushed. His eyes were still not that awake, but they were focusing on me in a tender way, that made my heart beat weakly warm. He didn't cared. I could read it on his face.

 

"It's okay." He said, lips pushing a soft smile, which I almost failed to see.

 

There was something really weird changing Jaebeom's natural killer mood...

He was... cute.

Cuter than ever.

 

Controversially, I proudly smiled, not being able to contain how happy I was that he didn't cared. Like those simple words were capable of changing my expectations for a day in the simplest first hours. He had no idea how powerful he was, not only to me. It was like I was deciphering the secret code to his heart, number by number.

 

"Okay..." My mouth was dry. I didn't want to start a conversation and make things weird. No. I could bare this comfortable silence.

 

Five or six minutes later, my mom was already talking non-stop with her friend and as they were distracted, the talking noise made me even more relaxed, like a seven out of ten.

I watched the view from the window. The everyday view. The same streets, same people doing the same things. Same traffic at specific avenues and same relief when we got out of them. 

 

I was used to sit behind my mom's friend and Jaebeom was everyday sat behind my mom, still smelling kind of sweet and slightly strong, as ironical as it sounds. There was just something about his smell. About how it was proudly always there, marking presence. Strawberry and coconut, but a little bit more sophisticated as he added a imported perfume. It smelled like Montblanc, Legend. 

I knew it because I had a particularly good taste in perfumes and I liked everything that could add a little something to someone's aesthetic. 

 

I liked his.

I liked the relaxed way he let his naturally dried hair swing freely at top of his head, even though I knew at the party he used the blow drier to style it. I preferred the natural him, natural skin glowing, all his moles and the pout on his pinky lips. It felt like he extended his morning routine and had no reasons to leave his bed at all.

What a cat creature. 

Vain, naturally beautiful, clean and with a slight touch of laziness, only to fed up his charm.

His voice was low and melodic, relaxed and peaceful. Harmony and balance seemed to walk along with him. It made me comfortable.

 

I hated routines, but I was learning to get used to ours, even though I had to be careful with having Jaebeom like this, knowing he wasn't this prince charming all the time.

 

So I felt it, coming from my left hand, to my arm, my spine and warming my heart even more.

He touched my hand. I looked at his direction like I was going crazy.

 

"So... Let me tell you..." He had a funny face staring at me, as if he was as unused to do this as much as it was unusual for me to feel the way he was making me feel. Something wrong went with my breathing process, shit was just confuse.

Four following seconds and he let go of my hand. Eyes still focused. I could see some of his white teeth showing, perfectly aligned and formed, framing a new type of smile.

 

"What?" I managed to say, still whispering for no apparently reason. It seemed like I was malfunctioning and I had no idea how to make it stop.

 

What the hell was happening to me?

 

"We have a door that leads to the backside of my house that is constantly unlocked in case something happens..." And I swear to God, Jesus and all of the saints above, that was the longest sentence he had ever said to me in the morning.

And also, I didn't understood why was that important. 

 

My face was clearly clueless, because then he smiled even more widely at me as he returned to explain. "You could've get out of my house through that door, but I didn't know..." He bent his head, looking even more good than the normal.

 

Aish... So that was the reason why he was so happy, right? The fact that he figured a way to put me out of his house.

 

"Oh!" Now my voice was unnatural again. Disappointed. Louder.

 

He laughed silently, but his mouth opened at a full power and his eyes almost disappeared.

 

I laughed too, just looking at him. It wasn't funny at all, since I didn't truly wanted to get out of his house, but he would never know. Neither I knew, before I had a great time with him. "I don't mind it, though... We had a great time..." I had my hopes too high... I just wanted for him to share the same feeling as me, but I knew it was too much. 

Right?

 

"Maj-a..." He confirmed, looking back through the window - and I'm glad he did it, since my chin dropped from disbelief.

 

Hold up... Was I putting my expectations too high or was I just being ridiculous? Or both?!

 

Did Jaebeom just confirmed that we had a great time together?!

 

I went full silent after that and my heart was fluttering. I desperately wanted to understand why his behave would make me so nervous... There was nothing in there, he was just too quiet before and now he would touch my hand just to call my attention... That was nothing... I had tons of friends who were really shy with me at first, just to hide their crazy asses... I was used to all kinds of people, so why was he making me so uncomfortably nervous?

 

What was this about him? Since when he has this kind of power?

 

As I struggled in a inner battle with myself, we arrived at the UNI. Mom gave me money and he got out of the car as I was having one of my episodes of depersonalization, seeing my body moving like I was watching from a big screen from inside, trying to understand how I was able to put myself out and give me the illusion of incapacity at the same time.

 

This would happen whenever I felt confused and excited at the same time, like it was a defensive mechanism to lower my energy.

 

"You okay?" I heard him speaking two feet in front of me, noticing my silence and paralyzed face.

 

"Yeah, why?" I got back into myself.

 

No one had ever noticed this thing about me. How I'd have these episodes from time to time, being really quiet and feeling out of place.

 

Jinyoung was the closest I had from someone being aware of this, but even him would ask me to come back to earth.

 

But it wasn't like this.

 

"You seemed pretty lost. Are you there?" He didn't looked at me again to say this, but I knew he thought the same as my best friend.

 

But I wasn't a lunatic, I just felt like a player, using its only available shape for the game, stuck in a level that it seemed to last forever and ever.

I was tired of repeating.

Of going back and forward, coming and going.

This wave used to hit me more when I was in high school, but it would make its visits once in a while.

 

"Yeah..." Prolonging the subject was not really on my plans, so I just changed it. "But hey... I just wanted to say thank you again for taking care of me... Let's have lunch together today. I'll treat you with whatever you want." He turned to look at me, probably not expecting it, but he also had a displeased surprised face, turning into a disappointed one right after.

 

"Uh... I'll pass. By the way, I dreamed of you, but I'll tell you some other time." He saw something behind me and he made no effort to hide that he was leaving. "See you around." Then he walked away, as if he'd seen a ghost.

 

Okay, I admit. 

I worked hard trying to be weird, but Jaebeom worked harder...

He just refused a free lunch and I was the lunatic...

We must be perfect for each other's minds.

 

"Yah..." A voice that I knew too well in a lot of aspects spoke to me, someone bumping on my left shoulder, messing with my balance.

 

When I turned around, Jinyoung had this mix of expressionless face with anger, eyes fixed on me, kind of red, so of course he's been crying.

 

"Hey." He crossed his arms as I spoke, like he was already defending his point of view without even listening to mine, which was stupid and unfair.

 

Shit, this was going to be hard...

 

"So, I can see that you both are doing great. Of couse, your performance is perfect in a bed, after all. Unfortunately, Jaebeom-hyung has good taste." He was really mean in his way of saying those words to me, never hesitating or even blinking, as if he was truly convinced of that.

 

"We're gonna have this conversation. Not here, not now." Right, that was the thing in the back of my head making me frustrated and anxious. The main reason why I had depersonalization - more like a escape land, a safe room, even though I felt not safe at all.

Not that deep inside I knew it was the reason why Jaebeom refused my company, here and at lunch time. I would probably not have time to lunch at all... Mouth busy trying to convince and understand Jinyoung through a long and complicated talk.

 

"I hope you have your fucking arguments ready. I'm not letting this go." He proudly walked away from me too, tongue twisting with curses, something he rarely did, mostly in mornings.

 

"Neither am I." I said to myself, watching as he walked away and even mad at me he looked just delicious. I wanted to end him right then and now.

 

He was making me confused in a way I couldn't explain. Our relationship was making me frustrated and his confidence in my supposed betrayal was making me angry. I had a lot of questions to make and I knew I wasn't talking as much as he should talk to make himself clear to me.

 

 


 

 

So that was it.

 

After a lot of intermissions between classes, only seeing Jinyoung, but not talking to him, the lunch time arrived.

 

I haven't met any of our friends in my way to the refectory, so they were probably altogether. "Jackson." Mark touched my shoulder as we got down the stairs.

 

"Hey, Mark... How are you feeling?" Mark never asked me to call him Hyung and honestly, the fact that he was american made us ever more closer. Like we shared the same culture.

 

"Better than yesterday, for sure. How are you feeling?" He slipped his hand through to my right arm, holding there.

 

"Well..." I showed him the bruises my formal shirt was hiding in my neck and stomach. "I'll survive." I laughed.

 

"Woah..." He moved my shirt again, to check my neck. "I'm gonna treat you with whatever you want, bro... I don't know how to apologize..." His face was scrunched.

 

"It's okay... Let's go for some ice cream after the dance practice today. I still need to have a conversation with Jinyoung and I know I'll need something to refresh myself." The stairs were over, so now we needed to walk three blocks till we find everyone.

 

"Fine, but it'll be a big ass ice cream just 'cause you deserve it." We laughed. "And what happened between you and Jinyoung?" He still held my arm firmly through everyone in the corridors.

 

"Ah, man..." I released the air from my lungs. "After the fight I went to Jaebeom's house. Actually, still in the fight, Jaebeom-hyung saved me and finished the guys who were still trying to get to you and Youngjae. I'm pretty sure the way things happened made Jinyoung, who was really drunk, imagine and see things."

 

"Imagine?" He was following my thoughts.

 

"Yes, you were there, maybe you remember him screaming my name and Jaebeom also out of himself, telling everyone not to touch me - including Jinyoung..."

 

"Woah... I can remember everything, but I was focusing on keeping Youngjae alive, after the punches he received. And I think... Jaebeom was probably really wasted or... He really cares about you... Getting into a fight without actually having something to fight for it's ridiculous, don't you think?" He stared at me and I stared back, because this was a new fact for my brain and Mark was strangely, but not rarely right.

 

"I don't think it was me, I think he understood the situation and thought of it as as absurd as everyone who tried to help." Yes, Jackson... This was one of the possibilities... Maybe he cared about the situation, maybe he just saw us earlier and tried to help after seeing us, maybe he identified himself with the act between Mark and Youngjae and moved by the injustice, he did amazing things. Maybe it was just me and my face that he saw. Just maybe. "There are a lot of possibilities, Mark, but the most accurate of them is: He knew us and saw us. He came to help." I wandered back to the front, not really focusing on anything as I we walked at the same pace towards where the smell of food was coming.

 

"No moral beliefs attached?" He knew what I was talking about and there was no fucking way...

 

"Nah." I made a face, one that Mark and I shared too often whenever we had different opinions. "I think he's a homophobic..." I lowered my voice to say that and we were almost at the cafeteria.

 

"How the fuck do you know this?" He came closer to me and whispered, knowing this was a secret.

 

"Every time I talk about Jinyoung, or even when we are together, he becomes somebody else, much rudder and non-receptive. He can't even hide it." I looked at my friend's face one more time, to express how serious I was taking that argument forward.

 

He understood one more time, nodding, staring deep into my eyes just to return to the flux of people getting in and out of the common area we were about to reach.

 

"So you know there are way more combinations of probable situations as to why he saved you and all of us, right?" He raised his eyebrows, making me take a deep breath. 

 

"Hm..."

 

"Maybe he's not homophobic, maybe he's just jealous of you two and he might emphasize with the rest of us..."

 

"But what if he's a homophobic, but has us like exceptions to his phobia because he somehow knows us? Maybe he felt directly attacked...?" I rented my head.

 

"Maybe, but I think is hard for a homophobic to have exceptions to something he truly believes, it's not like he can control it... Like, 'I'll be accepting on LGBT's now because I need to defend these people, but it's just for a minute and then I'll return to my boring life'," Mark failed to mimic Jaebeom's voice because it was higher than his, but I could totally get what he was saying. We stopped at the center of the refectory, having people moving around us and speaking at the same time. "He'd had to love us too much to defend us, passing through what he believes like that, which I think it's hard." I sighed, hearing his point of view.

 

"So you have the same arguments as Jinyoung." I raised my eyebrows again, gesticulating with my hands. I'd had to find my arguments to defend that there was nothing going on behind Jinyoung's back. Mark frowned. "He thinks Jaebeom is secretly having a crush on me and for that he saved me from having a internal bleeding on that nasty ground. He thinks me and Jaebeom had something yesterday at his house and I cheated on him, as if this is even possible, since we have a polyamorous relationship."

 

"And what's the truth?" He supported his hands on his waist, making me offended for thinking that there was a possibility that we could have something, exceeding all the invisible rules between Jinyoung and I's relationship - which seemed to consist in 'you can hook up with anyone, EXCEPT for Im Jaebeom'. 

I was honestly growing tired of denying that me and the boy who I just had the chance to meet yesterday had something - just because the idea was too impossible in my head. 

 

"The truth is that Jaebeom did took care of me, from the club to the last minutes I had in his house and yes, we are kind of friends now, but that's all." That was great. Was exactly what I had to say to Jinyoung when he stated his accusations, but it proved nothing.

 

"So are you sure that there is no possibility that you both are together in a romantic way...?" He insisted, making me roll my eyes back.

 

"Yes, I'm more than sure. It would be impossible. Guy's as straight as palm tree and has a lot of trouble open up to me and that's why I believe there's no danger on him getting attracted to me. I can't prove that he's a homophobic, but it's pretty evident the way he shows his despise for homoaffectivity. Not because he secretly wants me or something, but because after all the great times we spent together, he still runs away or avoids the 'Jinyoung' thing and he's just antisocial. But he also has a normal relationship with Jinyoung. They are acting partners. If the problem was him, they would not necessarily get along well, he's too aggressive for that." I was hopeless. The situation seemed like an endless hole. That's what you get for trying to guess other people's feelings. "The problem is when Jinyoung and I are together. He stares at us like he's going to commit a crime."

 

"I get it now..." Again, I released a deep breath. "I hope Jinyoung understands too. I know how emotional and impulsive he can be. It might be in his way to fully comprehend you. Just keep trying. Everything about it makes sense." He assured me, wrapping his arm around my waist.

 

"Thank you, Mark. This helped me a lot." It did. As much as it made me impatient and sick, it also kept my arguments in place and I had my mind less blurred.

 

"I'm always here, bro. Now let me take care of baby Youngjae." We were almost at our table. Bambam, Youngjae and Jinyoung were there.

 

"Yah, I can't believe he came today! Mark, he needs to rest!" I shout-whispered, referring to Youngjae's face, as if he had visited hell for a night just to say hello and returned with more than simple assurance that he didn't belonged there.

 

"I know, but his mother made this like a punishment for his sneak-out. I'm taking care of him, don't worry." He smiled tenderly at the terrible vision of a Youngjae with a purple eye and bruises in his mouth and cheeks. 

 

Poor boy.

I could respond in the same intensity to the boys who did this to him if I met them again.

 

"Jackson, you look great!" Bambam pointed out once we got to the table, trying to get to Youngjae indirectly.

 

"Yah, Bambam! I see you!" Youngjae protested.

 

"Thank God!" He answered and all of us laughed at the tricky commentary, except for the poor Choi and Jinyoung - who looked like a kid without friends.

 

"Let's go." I lowered my torso, trying to not attract attention at all, so he could listen and follow me.

 

And he did. Never looking in my face.

 

I guided us through the way to the campus, where we had plenty of space for him to shout at me and make a scene without everyone noticing. I already knew a quiet Jinyoung. It meant fire in his eyes, since he was boiling his emotions from inside out. One touch and he would throw it all in someone's face without hesitating.

 

Once we got to a big empty field, I turned around to him with my arms crossed.

 

I feel tired. I have no energy to fight him.

 

"Okay, now say it." I asked, looking at his stressed face, like he was warming up in our way till here.

 

Completely different from me.

I was irritated back at the table, but just making my way through here, I felt tired.

 

"So, tell me exactly what is going on between you two." He crossed his arms again - bad sign. It was funny though, the way he strongly believed Jaebeom and I had something, making it more than clear how insecure he was when it came to Jaebeom, for reasons I still had to know.

Jinyoung knew me. He knew I wasn't capable of keeping a secret of mine, much less from him. I was an open book.

 

"We are friends." Was all I said.

 

"Just friends?" It was irony hidden behind the question, which meant it was going to take me much more than three words to make him believe in me.

 

"Jinyoung, why don't you believe in me? Why is it so hard to see that you're being completely extra about this? Is a fight really necessary? We need to begin the real conversation." I pressed my hands against each other, looking around dismissively.

 

"Okay, your turn, then." He hid his small but strong hands in his pockets, eyebrows raising in debauch. He was so fucking stubborn, it was making me stressed.

I came two steps closer, since this was going to be real.

Proximity always made him more receptive. Blame it on his necessity of physical contact. 

He never had enough touches, always wanted more.

 

"I know you're truly thinking a lot of shit about me staying at Jaebeom's house, thanks to this unknown person that said we were going to have a "great time" or what ever - which I'm going to murder sooner or later, but..." He looked somewhere else and I knew he was hiding something. Something about this third person. It made me thirsty for answers. "Since I can remember... Our relationship is polyamorous..." He looked in my eyes again and now I could see hurt mixed with a lot other things as he slowly lose his composure. "So why couldn't I hookup with anyone else in that party if I wanted? Would you behave like this if it was anybody else but him or are you specifically jealous of him?" 

 

Those were the real questions. It was so important that he dropped a tear from each eye without blinking. His gaze was intense on me and his nose was starting to get red.

 

Shit... I knew this talk would have no space for rationality, what ever it was that he was about to say.

 

"That's what I tried to tell you that night, before I went to the washroom and then all that shit happened." He dried his tears, using the sleeves of his grey sweater - which made him even more cute. I had a weak point when it was about Jinyoung.

More like all of me became weak, actually.

 

"Tell me now." I got one step closer and only two more steps would be enough for us to touch and I wanted it. But I couldn't be so weak. He took a deep breath, staring at the ground, blinked twice and returned his intense gaze at me, as if gaining courage. As if deciding if it was now or never.

 

"Jacksseun-ah." My name was beautiful coming out of his mouth, pouty pink lips expressing every syllable, I had to admit it. The way he would make it sound Korean, the sweetest thing ever. I really loved his voice and I missed it since the night of the party. I missed it speaking sweetly to me, melting me like caramel. I felt an arousal around us, like this attraction. I just wanted to touch him. "What I have to say is..." One more tear escaped from his left eye. I fell for it the same way the drop feel on his grey sweater, being absorbed and disappearing by the fabric that suited him so well, as if he was strong, well build up and cuddlable. "I don't want you to like and be with anyone else but me." He then tensed his jawline. He had a strong moon-shaped face and intense brown eyes, sinking inside his orbs. "Because I like you. I truly like you. Only you." He confessed through tears, but never failing to look me in the eyes. "And I want us to be together, as a couple." 

 

Deep shit.

I wasn't supposed to have this though as the first one related to a serious relationship, but I couldn't control my nature.

That was deep shit.

It means if he falls for someone else, is cheating. If I fall for someone else, is also cheating, but worse. Because it's me.

It means having excessive responsibilities, like taking care of a baby. I don't know if I'm mature enough for that.

I'm not mature enough to answer every single good morning and goodnight text. I would forget it. He would get hurt. He would learn to hate me.

I don't want him to hate me.

Well, he will hate me now if I say no.

I really don't want him to hate me.

I know how possessive and jealous Jinyoung can be with these things. I have a lot of friends. Friends who flirt with me openly and I like it.

Yes, I like it. It's like a game.

But this right here is real and he's waiting for me to say something.

It's not that I don't like him, no... I love him, but it's different.

Just give it a try, Jackson. Maybe it'll be the same thing as always. Except that I'll have no right to be who I truly am - a slut.

But that's okay, everyone has to grow up someday...

Right?

What if I break his heart? What if he needs more emotional support? I'm not emotive at all!

 

But what if the sex gets better? More intense?

What if is not sex anymore, what if is making love?

 

"So..." He interrupted my wave of thoughts and I almost forgot I had to answer.

 

Almost.

 

His eyes were still red and sensible and it made my heart melt.

I had to do it.

I had to try.

I wasn't going to allow myself to regret on something I never did.

 

"Okay." I said, watching him closely, as his expression minimally changed. From a pout, his lips looked sexy in a real soft smile. His fortress breaking down right in front of me. His brows rose up slightly, the surprise being expressed. His eyes opened in a magic way. He was containing. Containing his happiness, but I could feel it, densely running through my veins as it reached for me like a wave. A strong one.

 

He came to me then, touching my chest with his trembling, insecure hands. They were pale and his fingertips were pink. I felt all the delicacy he tried to maintain when the warmth surpassed my clothes, resting on my skin.

 

"Yeah?" He wanted to be sure. I also wanted to be sure and to record my words, so I prepared them in my head.

 

"Okay, Jinyoung. Let's do this. Let's try, huh?" He was so close now, that I looked at one of his eyes at a time. He nodded, opening a true toothy-smile, and then he had his squishy face back. "It won't change anything, right? We get along really well. Let's not lose this." It was my only wish. It was the main purpose why I accepted it. I was not ready to let go of him yet.

 

"Yeah." He came to me, body asking for a seal to our words, so I kissed him, feeling that shared joy. It was vivid and vibrant, I could see the colors of our kiss. The way his hands held my chin and my neck, my hands eager to touch his hair. We knew these moves. We made them a lot of times, but now everything came from him with a heavy meaning. Now I had to keep his heart safe in my hands, just like I kept his body and mind.

 

 


 

 

"So, how did it go?" Mark came to me like we were talking about drugs in our changing lockers - before the dance class.

 

I seriously looked at him.

 

"We now successfully have a monogamous relationship." Was all I said, watching as Mark's face lighted up like fireworks.

 

Only now I realized Jinyoung kind of gave me reasons for his behavior, but he didn't answer any of my questions.

 

"Ooooh!" It was a 'I get it now!' sound. "So that was the problem! That's why he was putting so much pressure on Jaebeom-ssi... But it could be anyone else, right? You're such a trash, how did you not noticed the change on him before? You know these things are easily noticed when we feel connected to someone, right? When the one you love is smiling too much or needs you too much..." Then he squeezed his eyes, like a detective. "And Jackson...?"

 

"What." I knew what was coming. His previous words gave me information just the enough.

 

"Are you sure you want to be in a commitment position with Jinyoung?" He crossed his arms at me and I wanted to laugh because I had no idea Mark knew me this much.

 

"Why do you say that?" I asked, holding a laugh, pretending I didn't understand the situation, but he knew me better than anybody else.

 

"Because... You ain't serious about a thing... You know it actually takes effort to date someone, right?" He pulled me by my neck like we were going to get inside my locker. "In other words, I don't know if you know it, but... When you have a monogamous relationship, you can only stay with one person..." We looked inside my locker like it had something really precious on it. Irony long present in his voice, followed by an annoying smile.

 

"Mark, do you honestly think I'm that of an asshole? I'm not a cheater..." I murmured, slightly intrigued, trying to remove his filthy paws away from me, but he got me.

 

"Ha, you were not a cheater because you didn't had a name before, but now you do and it's boyfriend." He slapped my shoulder three times. "So hold your horses, social butterfly. Your field is limited now. There's nothing to conquer, but there's a lot to maintain. I'm sure you know how it feels." Then he pulled me back, making a face that perfectly represented his sarcasm.

 

"What are you guys looking at inside this thing?" Jinyoung appeared out of nowhere right behind of me, then once I turned to face him, he came to hug me. The sweetest smile on his entire face, trying not to look into my eyes as the shy Korean he was raised to be.

 

"Baby, what's up?" It was the most natural I could sound, hugging him back. Mark released one of his iconic laughs before leaving us.

 

He was now wearing black sweat pants like everyone else and a same color cotton blouse with long sleeves. 

 

"Why is Mark behaving like he's mean? It's time. Are you paired up with someone already?" He frowned and quickly changed the subject, looking out for all I kept inside my boring, grey locker full of sweaty clothes.

 

"Not really, but you know how it is... Something always comes up for me." I was tense just because I felt like it was a lot of pressure in the things I said and done now. Every move had to be calculated, so I wouldn't hurt him.

 

He wanted to pair up with me now, but a week before he wouldn't mind at all if someone else danced with me.

 

In fact, there was still something I had to ask him to make our situation 100% clear.

 

"I know..." He kissed my cheek, seeing almost no one in the lockers anymore. "Let's pair up, then. Let's go. We need to warm up." He pushed my locker, taking me by my wrist.

 

I just followed, watching as the rest of the students watched us. It was like the walk to the main room meant something else. As if it had another meaning. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, at least not yet.

 

Once we arrived at the salon, almost everyone was there.

 

Mark and Youngjae, Bambam and someone he was friends with, Jinyoung and I, Jooheon and Minhyuk.

 

Jaebeom and someone who's face was familiar, but I had no idea how.

He was really tall, with big, perfectly sculpted legs, had a perfect posture and his hair was longer than the normal, colored midnight-blue. He was also really pale and his face had really strong cheekbones, round and harmonious.

He was handsome.

 

"Who's that?" I asked Jinyoung, who was looking at his own stretching figure on the mirror, not really paying attention.

 

"He's new here. He's not a student at the UNI, but because he's a great dancer, he won a scholarship only for this class, so he'll drop by from now and then." 

 

"Uh. I think he's familiar, but I just can't remember where I've seen him." I frowned.

 

"His name is Kim Yugyeom." Then he stood up again, twisting his body, not paying me any attention.

 

Maybe he was at the party, but we didn't had the chance to talk.

 


 

We were covered in sweat by the end, resting our bodies on the dirty floor. Jinyoung had this mysterious gaze towards the new boy. I couldn't decipher if it was jealousy of the body control he had when dancing or if he was just admiring him in the most ironic way.

 

"Don't worry. You will improve." I threw the bait, hoping he would reveal more than he was showing.

 

"Yeah, I know. We will." He blinked a couple of times, but his eyes kept returning to him, hypnotized.

 

Also, the boy wasn't tired. He just kept moving with no sound as everyone was staring, loving the attention he was receiving. He was a free style dancer and his moves were too sensual for someone his age. Not that I would ever be against it, but maybe that was the hole thing calling Jinyoung's attention, since his dancing was mostly technical, moves clean and sharp, cute as he constantly was. 

I have always wondered how a beast like him could hide his true nature so well, but I guess that was the magic with the actors.

I gave Jinyoung the peace white flag, even though it was wrong, just because sometimes it takes bending to avoid breaking. As his boyfriend, I should be more concerned and even jealous, but it wasn't like me at all.

 

I just let him.

 


 

So now we were all clean again after a shower and Mark and I were negotiating how many balls my ice cream would have.

 

"Yah, I didn't even thought about real ice cream, I was talking about those you just choose from a convenience store bar!" He pushed me at the corridor where all of us were talking.

 

"Yah, Jackson-ssi!" I heard someone calling from behind me. It was Jooheon when I turned around.

 

"Jooheon-ah!" I smiled back at his moles. "I need to talk to you! Mark, can we add Jooheon to our ice cream thing? I can pay for his..." I asked.

 

"Sure." Mark smiled, feeling comfortable enough with him.

 

"Can we go?" I returned to him.

 

"Uh... It wasn't in my plans, but yeah..." He smiled too. "Minhyuk won't go because he needs to study, so you don't have to pay his too..." He dramatically joked.

 

"You are so good to your hyung, aren't you?" We side hugged, the three of us laughing. I joked about the way he was supposed to speak to me, but he knew I was Chinese and couldn't care less for formalities.

 

"Jackson-oppa!" He made a weird baby voice, scaring the shit out of me and Mark.

 

"Jeez! He's better than you, Jackson!" Mark pointed out. 

 

I twisted my left arm around Jooheon's torso.

 

"Yah, Mark... Be loyal..." I complained.

 

We all laughed again.

 

Jinyoung turned around from the talk he was having with the others.

 

"Where are you guys going? Can I go too?" He smiled shyly at the three of us.

 

"Uh..." Mark knew he couldn't, since he was going to be one of the subjects.

 

"No. It's only for the members of our club. You can't go because you're not a member. Not you, Youngjae or Bambam. Or Minhyuk." I squeezed my hand at Jooheon's shoulder, hoping he would understand the sign.

 

"Yeah! Ice cream for the members only!" He got in.

 

"It's okay, we can have a group of our own too." Youngjae protested, being strongly supported by Bambam. "And anyone can participate. Except the three of you." He laughed, everyone imitating him, except for Jinyoung, who would still look at us in a serious way, but hiding behind a sly smile.

 

"Baby, we don't have to be so dramatic, okay?" Mark back-hugged his boyfriend, turning back on his decision faster than I could make fun of him.

 

Should I assure Jinyoung too? Tell him it was just a silly conversation between us three? Should I let go of Jooheon just to make sure he was okay with that?

 

It wasn't necessary, right? 

 

Before I could decide, he turned around to keep walking.

 

"Thanks, man." I whispered in Jooheon's ear.

 

"You got me." He whispered back and it was true. I saw it when he defended all of us at the club and I had to thank him somehow.

 

After that, we separated, walking the rest of the boys to the bus stop. I walked to Jinyoung, now twisting my arm around him. "You okay?" I asked, knowing he was a little bit down. "You're not mad at me because of that, are you? It was a silly joke..."

 

He stared at me from the side, having a pouting smile on his pink lips. "Yeah, I was just hoping you would go to my house for a movie or something. To celebrate and all that, but we can do it tomorrow." His eyes went to the horizon, waiting for my answer.

 

"I'm sorry, baby. There's this really important thing Mark wants to talk to me about and I had already made a deal with him about it, so... I can't walk away right now." I explained.

 

"It's okay, I know." He turned to me, caressing my chest in a delicate way, so no one would point it out. "Just call me when you get home." He gave me a side smile, looking in my eyes. I could feel the pressure through them. It made me euphoric.

 

"Yeah. I still need to speak to you, so let's do something tomorrow after your acting class." I intertwined our fingers in a way our bodies were hiding it from everyone. My right arm still around his shoulders, holding him close.

 

"Perfect."

 

And okay, everything seemed fine. Just seemed.

 

My head was still confused and now it would still be until the next day's afternoon.

 

"It's your bus." I said, watching the vehicle turning around the corner. Plenty of students waiting for it with us. "Get home safely and eat something." I ordered him, who smiled to the ground, squishy face showing. It was cute how my words would affect him. How come I never noticed this? The way he would become more soft whenever we were interacting? It was so obvious... His attempt to hide his face and the way he looked at me intensely, like he cared and also like he would eat me alive... 

Mark was right, I was trash. I would never associate Jinyoung's happiness with my presence. To me he was always like this, but he wasn't. It was more than clear now.

 

"I will. Take care." He whispered, once he hugged me goodbye. The warmth of his body was addicting. I wanted him to stay.

 

"Always." I pressured him against my body, knowing the way it was cozy and just the right size. Romantically taller than me, so I'd have him all to myself. It was perfect, wasn't it? 

 

It should be.

 

I turned around after Youngjae and Bambam also left, bumping into someone, but at the way things were going, I knew who that was without having to think too much.

 

"Jaebeom-hyung." I called, recognizing his legs and the way his feet would stand out, like he was a penguin.

Details. I loved details.

 

"Yah..." I heard his voice, the same sweet and sour tone, like a lemon pie. I smiled because I was right, I could recognize his energy even without having to look at him. "You should pay attention to where you're going..." He continued, but it didn't sound rude, just hurried and somehow funny.

 

I raised my head, finding him looking at me with curiosity, but seeing my smile, he returned to his natural arrogant-and-untouchable-and-intimidating figure. I almost laughed, because at this point I could imagine myself, three days earlier, feeling intimidated by that face, but it was so clear now. It was like a shield, something he liked to keep when everyone's eyes were on him. 

I wondered how long it would take for him to be himself completely when we were together, not forcing a face.

 

"I do pay attention, but it looks like you're always following me!" I teased.

 

That was true.

Since I met him, I never stopped seeing him around, it was funny some times.

 

And weird.

 

"Yah!-" He made a face.

 

"Jackson, let's go! I still need to study when I get home!" Mark called from a four meters distance. Jooheon was also waiting for me.

 

I turned back to Jaebeom, but he has five feet apart from me now. Waiting for the bus.

 

"We're going for ice cream, Mark's treating us. Wanna come?" I called for his profile side of the face, hoping he would say no and yes at the same time - of course, since the conversation was also about him.

 

"Uh, I have some homework projects to conclude. Next time, maybe." He didn't even looked in my face to say no.

 

Chic and cold.

 

It made me want to insist, but I couldn't.

 

"Okay. Next time will be at your house with birthday cake ice cream." I laughed, going away.

 

"Aish... Get out of here..." He made another type of face, like the situation made him cringe. I laughed even harder, loving his reaction to the memory that I knew that he kept.

 

"See you..." I slightly bowed, walking away from him.

 

Did I really bowed to him? What was that?!

 


 

We walked for good fifteen minutes having the loudest, coolest conversation ever, like we were just kids, running away from school.

 

"But Jackson now has been busy taking care of his life." Mark said, as the subject was us, drifting apart since our social compromises. Not Jooheon, because we just recently met him - and he was just my type of person.

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"I mean... You have your projects and ideas... And now you have a boyfriend and a lover, so is a lot to manage..."

 

"What the fuck-"

 

"A boyfriend AND a lover?!" Jooheon shouted, but no one around us really cared. 

 

"Don't you know? Jackson barely can contain himself..." Mark forced the situation.

 

"HOLD UP!" Now I shouted, making them laugh really loud. 

 

"Was Jinyoung your boyfriend since before Friday?" Jooheon asked me, curling his arm around mine as we walked in a strange rhythm.

 

"So now we're properly talking about our problems, right? Okay. No, Jinyoung just asked me to be his boyfriend today. Why?" A car was coming, so I pushed Jooheon to the corner by his waist.

 

"Because Saturday at the club I tried to hit on you, so if he was your boyfriend, that would be cheating." He laughed and Mark looked at me with this absurd face.

 

"Maj-a." I agreed, making him laugh even more.

 

"Now you guys are serving the tea, right?" He said, making us laugh too.

 

"It was nothing, Jooheon and I just danced together when I first arrived... He was already drunk." I teased, even though it was the truth.

 

"What makes you think I was drunk?" He came to me again, smiling in a flirtatious way that looked really funny.

 

"Hajima..."

 

"Oh my God, Jackson, you're fucked. You just can't stay in your lane, huh? That's why Jinyoung was so weird when Bambam brought you to us, he saw everything and he was already planning to confess to you right there, but he knew it was risky and controversial..." He jumped from one sidewalk to another.

 

"Shit... Did he?" I blinked.

 

"Oh no, he probably hates me... It's my fault..." Jooheon whined.

 

"No, it's not your fault. It's no one's fault, really... I thought we were in a polyamorous relationship till today and he was never the type to get explosive with someone being flirtatious with me. At least, not out of the bed, but again. I only realized this today."

 

"Yes, he probably hates you, Jooheon, but Jackson will be rewarded as soon as possible in the best way." Mark had to comment that and make me embarrassed, but I was the one to confess the type of punishment I would get, so it was a fair game.

 

"Okay, enough of this, it's giving me a headache." I pressed my temples with my fingers.

 

"Do you remember when Jinyoung found out you and me used to be together before? He was really trying to bottle up his emotions, but it turned out on him being explosive and moody with us all the time..." Mark also commented, making me remember of the old days when we first met. Before our trio, it was only Mark and I and we never got too far.

 

"WHAT?! You two were together?!" Jooheon really couldn't contain his excitement, making me and my best friend laugh.

 

"Well, if you wanna be part of our group, you must know our story..." Mark continued.

 

"Markson forever, Markson or nothing..." I said an old phrase of our also old relationship. "It wasn't that serious."

 

"What do you mean? It was intense..." Tuan protested. "We were young and we knew nothing about relationships back then, but were full of homo energy..." He laughed, pushing me. We were now passing in front of one of our favorite places to eat in the neighborhood. The old lady who attended there made amazing ramyeun with extra cheese and Mark and I used to go there all the time counting our pennies.

 

"Neng, it was intense because no one could catch us and we were terrified of being seen by one of our family members or friends. We were really clueless about our feelings and how we could possibly be into each other..." I explained.

 

"Maj-a. It wasn't nothing seriously profound, but I was crazy about Jackson's charisma and the way he always wanted to improve his physical appearance. I also loved that he was really sweet, caring and innocent, plus he knew how to speak English, which I confess, I took advantage off." Now we were getting there. Our favorite place for ice cream since we were 19 and 18 years old. 

 

"And how long do you guys know each other? How long this lasted and why you didn't stick together?" Jooheon was the first to get in the place, like a puppy waiting for his toy.

 

"Let's ask for something first and sit. What do you want?" Mark looked at me, since he was paying.

 

"A large tropical strawberry milkshake with at lot of colorful things and cream on it." I smiled, knowing I was being extra, but he didn't cared. In fact, he sighed, but went to pay right after.

 

"What do you want, Jooheon?" Was our new friend's turn to leave a hole on my wallet.

 

"Can I have the same as you?" He smiled too, in a teasing way.

 

"I expected this, so yeah... Whatever the baby wants..." I squeezed his cheeks tightly, following Mark, who laughed, to the line.

 

"Pick a table for us." I said, completely turning around now.

 

"Why didn't you share your milkshake with him instead of spending money in another one? It would be more romantic." He crossed his arms.

 

"Shit, you're right... I'm so stupid..."

 

"No, Jackson!" Mark slapped my left arm, looking at me in disapproval. 

 

"What?" 

 

"You want Jinyoung to fucking break up with you? What are you thinking?!" He was looking mad, but I knew he wasn't.

 

"Ugh... You're right."

 

I was hopeless.

 

"But I wasn't going to take it serious, though. It was just a good idea. I could be closer to Jooheon... Gain confidence..."

 

"Jackson, you are hopeless." He turned around on me.

 

"That's exactly what I thought right now..." I confessed.

 

"Just listen to me..." The line walked and then he was the next. "Anneyonghaseyo, one tropical strawberry milkshake with cream and something colorful, please, and a special mocha in a glass. I'm paying with debit card."

 

"Next! Anneyonghaseyo, what would you like, sir?" The girl looking like my age with a beautiful smile in her face greeted me. They were wearing new uniforms since the last time we came here.

 

"The same strawberry milkshake as him, please. And a bottle of water. Can you bring everything together when it gets done?" In my right, Mark was already leaving.

 

"Neng, how would you like to pay?"

 

"Credit card."

 

"You can tap your card, sir."

 

"Just listen to me, Jackson..." He waited for me to finish before going to the table, were Jooheon waited for us. "If you want to have a good relationship with Jinyoung, you'll have to compromise. You know he's jealous, possessive and controlling. Don't think for a moment he won't be like that to you, a serious relationship is the white flag he received from you and now is just a matter of time until he gets to act all animalistic towards you,"

 

"Mark, you need to relax, okay? We can't predict the future! Maybe he will be a little possessive and all that, but in the other side, he can be loving and caring too! In the end, feelings might just intensify, but they are the same!" I protested. We walked back to the table.

 

"Sure, if you behave!" He said before we got there. "It's just really frustrating when you come to me talking about your problems, I suggest solutions for them, but you never listen to me."

 

"It's not a problem and I'm not asking for any solutions coming from you!" I got annoyed, but it easily faded to something funny. "It'll be ready in a minute." I smiled at Jooheon, sitting by his side. Mark sat in front of us, still bragging like an old man.

Our table was sided with a huge window and from where we were, we could see a good amount of the street.

 

"So please, answer my questions, I've been crazy about the scenes..." Jooheon restarted the subject, more curious than we've ever seen him, but again, we haven't quite seen him the enough.

 

"Yeah, sorry. You asked how long have we know each other, huh?" I made some effort to be sure of my memories. "If I can remember, Mark was sixteen and I was fifteen. I was in my first year of high school and he was on his second. We were from different classes, but it was the same school. Mark and I used to call all the attention back there, because we were foreigners. We were cute, talented and charming." I had a sweet memory, even if we drifted away a little bit when school was almost over.

 

"It lasted for a year and a couple of months. Jackson was into me before that and he kept giving me crazy signs, but I never noticed."

 

"Uh, you gave me serious anxiety problems, you know?" I made a face, having the memories of my sleepless nights, thinking if he really meant what he said and if his touches were too friendly or just pure romantic.

 

"Sorry, Jacks." He joked, but deep down I knew it was real.

 

"It's okay." I dramatized. "I've learnt my lesson."

 

"We broke up because I was too cold and contained and Jackson had his expectations really high on me, like I was the love of his life and these things. He was looking for a fairy tale, but I was just a regular dude with a lot of problems back home. I really cared about him and my heart would go crazy whenever he was around, but I knew it would be better for us to just grow up a little bit and try to really understand each other, without expecting impossible things." He smiled at me, probably remembering of our tough break-up and the drama we lived apart from each other.

 

"And how come you are best friends today?" The dude kept his attention on us.

 

"After some months being away from each other, I realized that what we had wasn't natural or truly good and so I stopped blaming Mark for my heartbreak and started to really understand what we had. I regretted not being able to show him who I truly was, since I had such low self-esteem, but when we met again, Mark could truly know me." The smile in my face was unstoppable.

 

"And what can I say? Confident Jackson will always be better than an annoying person asking you if they are good enough at every five seconds. He wouldn't believe how amazing and capable of anything he was. As much as we tried to assure him." He crossed his arms, also smiling. "He still is reluctant to the idea nowadays, but is much more bearable, believe me."

 

"You also got a lot better... You used to be like a wall. Now you are not afraid of being yourself at all. Mark was so quiet that whenever he got in a group of people chatting, he would change the mood completely, everyone would get more serious and introverted or even shut up completely."

 

Those five seconds of silence brought us together somehow.

 

"Excuse me..." Another girl came with our food, making everyone wake up from different dreams.

It was going to be an ice cream afternoon, but things turned to be much more prolonged.

 

"I loved hearing your history. I wish I known you both from the beginning. And thank you, hyung, for the milkshake." Jooheon was adorable, having the cutest smile on his face, but forcing it to look cuter and make the mood even lighter.

 

"Ah, yeah, thank you for the food, Markie-pooh!" I forced, making him roll his eyes, but enjoying the moment just like us.

 


 

It was almost the end of our time together. We talked about a lot of things, but all of them intertwined in the relationship subject. Or sex.

 

Jooheon and Minhyuk were in a polyamorous relationship, Mark and Youngjae were in a serious one and they were doing great. They were even thinking about buying a dog and raising it together, but Mark still thought it was too soon.

 

"If Youngjae's mother kick him out of his house because of us, then yes, I can consider living together and having a dog." Yes, because Mark was always someone with a great wealth condition and he already lived by himself - lucky them.

 

"That's so cute... I think your future is really bright with him, Mark-si." Jooheon now was feeling more at ease with us. He also wasn't a fan of treating people around your age like they were sunbaenim's.

 

None of his or Minhyuk's parents knew they were together, except for Jooheon's younger brother, but he didn't bothered at all.

 

"Me too. In fact I wonder why Youngjae haven't moved to your house yet." I said.

 

"We are trying to prove his mother that is completely okay for us to be together. Things always work at the end. She doesn't hate me or us together, just hates the fact that she can't change people's minds in order for them to accept us and Saturday was one of the worst things that could happen to us." We all sighed. "It just proved her that being homossexual here in Busan is mortally dangerous."

 

"But let's not focus our energies on the bad things. Let me tell you this: after yesterday, Jaebeom-hyung don't hate me anymore. In fact, I'm starting to consider it was never truly about me." 

 

"Uuuh! Now that he and his lover-hyung are finally getting together really well, he's obsessed! Jooheon, you have to see his face whenever his hyung is around!" Mark made my entire face blush.

 

"Yah! You're making it sound like were dating!" I strongly contested.

 

"I don't need to have his hyung here to know it's true, look at his face, Mark-hyung... His truly a man in love... What a loyal dongsaeng..."

 

"Guys, stop..." I really asked, even with a smile in my face. 

 

"Please, tell us the details..." Mark crossed his fingers on the table. Jooheon supported his head on his left hand, his body facing me completely.

 

"You both saw him finishing the fight at the club, right?"

 

"Oh, he was furious..." Jooheon remembered.

 

"He wouldn't let anyone touch you... He was like a beast... How did you got him so defensive towards you?" Mark made one of the most important questions that had no answer.

 

"I didn't do anything... He just appeared there and got himself in the middle of the confusion. He said he heard people shouting about a fight and that's why he got outside. I think he recognized all of us instantly, and so he came straight to me because I was the one still being beaten up to death."

 

"I have a different suggestion." Jooheon interrupted, making us two look at him. "I think he was concerned specifically about you, not the rest of us." He shrugged like it was the truth.

 

"What? Why?" Why every conversation about Jaebeom had to end up involving him and me in a special way?

 

"Isn't it obvious? He called your name and your name ONLY." Mark continued, which proved me they shared the same feeling. "He didn't say 'Mark, are you okay?!' or 'Someone please, grab some ice for Youngjae!'. It was you." He also shrugged, making me roll my eyes in a way that I almost was not able to roll them back.

 

"You guys are fantasizing us. Which is really annoying. It makes zero sense." I closed my eyes, feeling tired.

That meant nothing. Jaebeom just looked after me this hole time and he was being watched all along.

 

"It's important to say that he ordered for you not to be touched, otherwise he would 'fucking kill' them." Jooheon paused. Mark stared at me, probably trying to invade my mind. "Minhyuk was so impressed that he actually wondered if you were going to be taken care on his hands or if you was going to suffer even more on his rude manners, AKA, masculine. He also complained about me being a teddy bear after his shouts, kicks and punches." Then we laughed truly.

 

"One thing you must admit, Jackson... He was for real and he wasn't drunk. I wasn't drunk, so I can state it." Mark concluded.

 

"Okay, fine, he shouted for me, kept me safe. What's the big deal?" I looked at each one. "It means nothing, guys. He's my hyung, maybe he's so conservative about this thing that all he did was a Korean obligation... You know, the older ones take care of the younger and younger should strictly respect their hyungs."

 

"Whatever. How was it when you woke up in the morning?" Mark gave up.

 

"In the morning? I woke up at two pm... The first thing I remember to feel was confusion and some embarrassment. I saw the window of my room from outside and so I understood that I was at his house. I ran to his bathroom and vomited, a mix of alcohol and blood. He then came right away and hold me, telling me it was going to be okay." I remembered his face perfectly, his hands first holding my body in a tight, firm grip, making me feel secure.

It was the first time he touched me like that.

 

"Shouldn't he be at least angry at you for being beaten up because you're gay? Like, not in that way, but like..." Jooheon made a face. "Mad because of the actual circumstances and frustrated at the fact that he had to defend you?"

 

"Got it... Like, have you seen him being reluctant when trying to help you? Was he frustrated about having to support a gay even being homophobic? Because he should be, right?" Mark and Jooheon shared a look, a look that showed me they both didn't buy the 'homophobic' story and they would forever tease me about it.

 

"Just because he's homophobic, it doesn't mean he would hesitate to protect his dongsaeng-" I saw no sense.

 

"Oh, but it means. I means when you saw him punching and kicking those dudes like they were rats. Poor rats, actually. They didn't deserve Jaebeom's anger." He was being ironic and I saw what they were trying to do.

 

"Yah, stop." I ordered, not wanting to go deep in it, knowing once I started, my mind would never let me rest. "As I was saying..." They came to me again.