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meant to be (stay with me)

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Park Jisung was 21 years old and well into the third year of his ever-growing success in the acting field, when his manager came up to him with a serious look on his face. “Jisung,” he had said, “you were chosen by the company for this, and if you play it well, this could be groundbreaking.”

 

Let’s not forget that the man never told Jisung what exactly he would be doing.

 

It wasn’t until three months later that he found out. Through his best friend, no less.

 

“Are the rumors true?” Jaemin asked excitedly, nearly bouncing on Jisung’s couch. The older was a famous speed skater, having won several medals at international competitions. They didn’t have many chances to hang out due to their busy schedules, but when they did, Jaemin always made sure to leave his boyfriend and Jisung’s other friend, Jeno, at home. ‘You can see him every day,’ was Jaemin’s standard excuse. Jisung couldn’t deny that. They lived in the same apartment building, shared their dancing hobby and worked under the same company. They really saw each other nearly every day.

 

Jisung made a confused sound at Jaemin’s question. “What rumor?”

 

Jaemin laughed. It was an ugly laugh, followed by a snort. It was endearing, anyway, because it was Jaemin. “Do you ever open your social media? It’s literally everywhere. I believe you were even in some article! Did no one tell you?”

 

Jisung shrugged. “If it were false or really bad, my manager would’ve told me about it, right? I have no idea what kind of rumor you’re talking about.”

 

Jaemin laughed and shook his head, reaching out to ruffle Jisung’s hair. “You clueless, sweet child,” he said, despite the fact that he was not even two years older than Jisung. “You know that show, We Got Married, right?”

 

Jisung nodded slowly, a bit wary of where this would go. Did people think he was in a relationship with someone? Jaemin seemed satisfied at Jisung’s answer, despite his hesitance, and continued explaining the situation.

 

“Well, to put it short,” he said matter-of-factly, “it’s rumored that in the next season the participants will be two men instead of the usual man and woman combination.” That got Jisung’s attention. Korea was slowly getting more open-minded and accepting, but homosexuality was still not at all something that was usually shown on television. If they cast actual homosexual celebrities instead of making it into a dumb skit, it could potentially change the opinions of thousands of people.

 

“Is it true?” Jisung asked, trying to hide his enthusiasm. He didn’t want to come out disappointed, he shouldn’t be getting too excited over this so quickly. “Would they really cast two men?”

 

Jaemin looked at Jisung with an incredulous stare, not speaking for a minute, before he scoffed and laughed. “Wow, it’s worse than I thought. It was confirmed that two men were cast, and one of them is already announced. The other...”

 

“Who’s the first?” Jisung interrupted Jaemin, unable to hide his curiosity. It had to be someone who was already out, but Jisung personally didn’t know any actors who were out to the public other than himself and Jeno. Maybe it wasn’t an actor.

 

“Zhong Chenle, the Chinese singer,” Jaemin said, “he’s a real cutie. As for the second… the company hasn’t confirmed anything yet, but the rumor goes that it’s you.”

 

Him. Oh. And Zhong Chenle. Suddenly his manager’s words came back to him. Groundbreaking. He realized he hadn’t heard anything else of it again after that first ‘announcement’.

 

Jisung didn’t personally know Zhong Chenle, but he had seen a picture of him some time ago, and something about the other had struck him as oddly familiar. Jaemin was right; Chenle was very cute. Good looking, as well. Jisung didn’t think he had ever heard him sing, but now he was curious.

 

“I think I might have some questions for my manager,” Jisung said, and with that, the conversation was over, and he and Jaemin further enjoyed their evening together.

 

***

A few days later, the ordeal came back to Jisung’s mind, and he opened his official Twitter. Just by quickly scrolling through his timeline for a few seconds, he had already seen two articles on the apparently big question; was the other ‘We Got Married’ participant also a man? Scrolling through the comments, Jisung was surprised to see most people indeed suspected it would be him. He sent a quick text to his manager to meet him at the company in half an hour, and he got ready to leave the house and… well, confront his manager.

 

It wasn’t that Moon Taeil was a scary manager. In fact, he wasn’t even really his manager. Not officially. He just knew a lot about the business, especially since he was still kind of in it beside his work on keeping track of Jisung.

 

Moon Taeil had been a singer for almost as long as Jisung had been alive, even though their age difference was only about 8 years (instead of the 21 years Jisung had lived and the 19 years Taeil had been in the business). Jisung and Taeil were, despite their age gap, quite close. They both appreciated quiet every now and then, and hung out together in between jobs. Somewhere halfway through Jisung’s first year in the company, Taeil had basically adopted him and decided he would be Jisung’s… guide? Counselor? Manager? Neither were very sure. Not that it really mattered.

 

Taeil seemed very calm as he was often with his head in the clouds, but he was very assertive when it came to Jisung. Jisung got most of the jobs he’d gotten until now thanks to Taeil.

 

It was also not uncommon for Taeil to forget to tell Jisung about a job he got at the last possible moment (as in right before he actually had to start with practicing the script and releasing teasers), and Jisung wouldn’t be surprised if that was also the case this time.

 

“Hyung,” Jisung said when Taeil was in hearing range, “did you forget to tell me something again?”

 

Taeil seemed confused for a second, but then it clicked, and he grinned sheepishly. “I was going to tell you, really. The company hasn’t confirmed anything yet because they thought it’d be best if you did it yourself, so. Now you know about it. Surprise?”

 

Jisung laughed. Unbelievable. He had no reason to be ungrateful, though. Taeil had been right, before. If this went well, and if Chenle managed to play it well, this could pack out great. It would be great for his resume and could possibly mean a breakthrough in his career. He wasn’t necessarily unknown, but it would be very fortunate if through this opportunity more people would find out about him. He could use some more exposure, if he had to be honest.

 

“Alright,” Jisung then said, and Taeil simply smiled. “I’ll do it soon. I assume the production crew will contact me soon?” Taeil nodded in confirmation, and they parted ways again. Jisung had some work to do.

***

The first thing he did when he got back home was open his Twitter again and write a polite, but clear message, stating he would indeed be the second participant of the new season. Instantly, notifications started to flood his phone. The reactions seemed to be mostly positive, and Jisung decided it wouldn’t hurt if he made use of his social media accounts a bit more often.

 

Only a few minutes later, texts started to flood his phone aside the other notifications. He snickered when he saw the contact names; Jeno and Jaemin. Suddenly exhausted, he threw his phone aside and decided now was a good moment to go to the dance studio. He had some emotions to dance off, and the last time he had went there was three days ago, which was way too long in Jisung’s opinion. He quickly changed into more comfortable clothes, and left the apartment for the second time that day.

 

The production crew reached out to him even sooner than he’d expected, sending him a very official-sounding email only days later. In the email were guidelines Jisung was supposed to follow in the duration of the program.

 

 A vague script was in an attached file, describing how he and Chenle should act when they first met and what kind of activities were required and which desired, but not mandatory. It all looked rather abstract, and Jisung assumed he’d have to rely on his improvisation talents during filming. He’d just have to hope Zhong Chenle also knew what he was doing.

 

The day filming started was also sooner than Jisung expected. He had received Chenle’s personal email address, but Jisung didn’t like sending emails. He opted to just wait until they’d have to meet, and hope they’d be either able to get along well or pretend they did.

 

The day before filming, Chenle reached out to Jisung, but it was nearly as abstract as the multiple earlier sent instruction e-mails from the production. The message just said “Hi, it’s Chenle, I’m 22 and from China. We’re getting married tomorrow, let’s have fun!

 

Jisung could only hope it would be fun. He was still wary, but he had to keep in mind how good this program could be for his career. And possibly how good-looking Chenle seemed to be in the pictures Jisung couldn’t stop himself from looking up.

 

Actually meeting Chenle was a whirlwind he could've never prepared himself for. First of all, Chenle was loud, and adorable despite being older than Jisung. He was also exactly as beautiful as in the pictures Jisung had seen. Maybe even more beautiful. Scratch that, he definitely was. Since their first meeting was also supposed to be in the show, there were cameras all around them.

 

Thanks to his wonderful, forgetful not-manager, Jisung had gotten barely any instructions. All he knew is that he’d be going on a ‘date’ with Chenle, and marrying him the next day. Fake, of course. All with dozens of staff members and cameras poking in their faces.

 

Not that the cameras weren’t something Jisung was unfamiliar with, of course. He wasn’t that big of an actor, definitely not as big as his older friend, Jung Jaehyun, but he knew he had quite some fans as well.

 

The producers quickly informed him that they'd be filming their first and second date would be filmed on the same day, and that he didn't need to worry. He was an actor, and he was confident he'd do fine pretending to date someone he'd never met before.

 

The thing he was more concerned about was living together, which would last for about two weeks and start in a few days. Everything was taken care of, and Jisung found it nice to not have to worry about expenses or anything for the next two weeks, but he had to remember he was constantly filming. And that for a show half of Korea (and possibly people from other countries) would be watching.

 

To add to that, it was a quite unconventional pairing, Jisung was aware of that. Controversial, even. South Korea had gotten better at accepting LGBTQ people, but they were nowhere near full acceleration. Jisung had been able to keep his popularity after coming out, but having people know he was gay and actually acting upon it on national television was a very big step he was terrified of taking.

 

Well. At least he'd get his payment for the show beforehand.

 

As the stylists struggled to get Chenle to sit still long enough to put on his make-up properly on the other side of the room, Jisung let himself get dragged around for an outfit. Chenle would be nice. Probably. He'd be fine.

 

And indeed, Chenle proved to be nice. Very, very nice. So nice it almost made Jisung feel shy, standing next to him with his bright smile and even more radiant personality.

 

The date went very well, and Jisung was able to tune out the cameras pretty easily. Chenle struggled a bit more, but after some quick tips from Jisung and the producer, he did a lot better. Chenle was funny, his laugh loud (and cute). Jisung wasn't even surprised to hear his fans were called sunshines, and his fans called him their baby, or, which Jisung preferred, lovely.

 

Their wedding went even better. They got along well, and Chenle looked extremely handsome in his suit. The producers had decided only to film small parts of the wedding, and Jisung could feel the heat radiating off Chenle's cheeks on his lips after they said their I do's.

 

The second Jisung got back home, he collapsed on his couch, ignoring Jaemin's legs splayed out over the back of it. Jaemin cried out in shock and pain and shoved Jisung off.

 

“You're back!” he then said cheerfully.

 

“I am,” Jisung replied with a frown. “Why are you still here?”

 

“Watch it, I'm here again,” Jaemin muttered and sat up. “Jeno is out and I was bored, but then I remembered you'd be gone all day as well. Empty apartment!”

 

“Isn't your own apartment empty as well?” Jisung sighed. “What do you want?”

 

“Now, now,” Jaemin said laughing, “I'm not harming anyone, am I? Now spill. How was he?” Then, he gasped. “Jisungie, you're a married man now! My baby's grown up!”

 

Jisung groaned and shuffled further away from Jaemin, who lunged in his direction, probably for a hug. Or maybe just to cling onto him, like Jaemin often did. Jisung didn’t have enough energy for any of that right now, and he stood up. “Do whatever you need to do,” he said, dusting off his pants, “but I’m going to bed. I’m exhausted, and I need to pack my stuff for the show tomorrow. Oh, and for your information, Chenle is very friendly.”

 

Jisung ignored Jaemin’s coos as he walked to his room. It was already dark out, had been for hours, and Jisung was truly exhausted from all impressions of the day. Jaemin could see himself out.

 

Two days later, it was moving day. Jisung had managed to get Jaehyun and Johnny hyung, Taeil’s secret boyfriend, to carry his bags up the stairs. When they got to the apartment Chenle and he would be staying in, he found that Chenle was already there, and he had taken two people to help with him as well. To Jisung’s satisfaction, they were much younger and smaller than his. He didn’t know why, but he felt like he just won at something, even though he doubted Chenle even cared.

 

After Chenle’s friends, who introduced themselves as ‘Mark, nice to meet you’ and ‘the name’s Donghyuck, Mark is my lapdog’ left, Jaehyun and Johnny left as well, and then they were alone. Alone, in the apartment they’d be living for two weeks together.

 

“They’re giving us two hours to settle in,” Chenle said, breaking the silence, “and then they’re going to install the cameras. Are you excited?”

 

Right. The cameras, that would be placed around the apartment to film them doing… certain, domestic things. Jisung had the feeling the only places that wouldn’t have cameras would probably be the toilet and the shower itself. Korean entertainment was like that. And Jisung would have to pretend the cameras aren’t there, and simultaneously pretend to be in an amazing, dream-like relationship. With Zhong Chenle.

 

They walked to the shared bedroom (one double bed, as expected) together, lugging their bags behind them with some difficulty. “I brought a lot of clothes,” Chenle said sheepishly, “so is it alright if I pack away my clothes first?”

 

Jisung shrugged, leaving for the bathroom. He didn’t bring that much, so Chenle could have as much closet space as he needed. The closet was big enough to store clothes of at least four people, anyway.

 

After putting his skin creams and lotions on the shelf in the bathroom, he went to the living room. He heard loud sighing from the bedroom every ten seconds, so he assumed Chenle was struggling. He was not going to interrupt that.

 

He walked around the apartment until the sighing finally stopped, and then went to unpack his own clothes. The apartment wasn’t very big, but it was light and the furniture pretty. The kitchen was also pretty big, but Jisung doubted he’d spend much time in there. He usually depended on Jaemin to cook his meals for him, or just ordered takeout.

 

Immediately after opening the closet, Jisung saw why Chenle had been sighing every few seconds. The clothes were everywhere, crumpled and barely folded.

 

Apparently it was possible to be messier than him.

 

An hour later, they had unpacked all belongings they had brought with them, and had sat down on the couch while the members of the production staff installed the cameras around them. Just before they came, Chenle had pulled him down and turned to face Jisung.

 

“So,” he started, and Jisung felt a bit nervous for what was about to come. “I know we’re probably supposed to set some boundaries, but I’m very bad with rules. Let’s agree to just keep it spontaneous and not worry too much!”

 

Jisung smiled despite his nerves. “I like spontaneity, let’s do it.”

 

The first day passed very quickly, and before they even noticed it, it was dinner time. Jisung hoped Chenle could cook, because he sure couldn’t. The downside of marrying a man, he supposed. Though he wouldn’t really want to marry a girl, either.

 

Sadly, his hopes were shattered instantly when Chenle came up to him that night. “Hey, Jisung, do you cook?”

 

“No, I suck at it,” he replied, and Chenle’s face fell before he grinned. “Well!” he said with a bright smile, “then we’re screwed. Let’s order something!”

 

They ended up ordering pizza and ate it in relative peace, the cameraman that would follow them not arriving until the next day. It wasn’t awkward, necessarily, but they didn’t speak much either. Chenle seemed a bit uncomfortable, and Jisung already had a feeling the MC’s would comment on his awkwardness later. Jisung really was a bit too shy for this, probably.

 

They settled into bed, both on opposite ends. Jisung didn’t particularly hate skinship, he was just… very uncomfortable with it. He hoped that he, for the sake of the show, his salary and Chenle’s feelings, would be able to put on a decent show.

 

The next day, Chenle was already gone when Jisung woke up, having left a note explaining that he had an early morning schedule and would be back around twelve. Jisung was relieved. Chenle was friendly, and the apartment very nice, but social interactions really weren’t his strongest suit. Now, he’d at least have some time to prepare himself for the date they’d be going on in the afternoon.

 

He went to the kitchen to prepare a quick breakfast, and got dressed. Checking his watch, he noticed it was already eleven, so he decided to busy himself for a bit with a drama he’d been watching.

 

When Chenle finally got back, the cameraman was with him. “Jisungie, you’re already dressed, great!” Chenle cheered. Cute. “Come on, let’s go right away.”

 

A bit bewildered, Jisung let Chenle pull him off the couch, his headphones falling out of his ears next to the laptop that was mercilessly slammed shut by Chenle. As Chenle excitedly blabbered on about the place he was taking Jisung to, Jisung slowly shook out of his stupor and pulled on his shoes.

 

He couldn’t drive yet, and apparently Chenle couldn’t either, so their cameraman, whose name Jisung learned was Ten, would drive for them. Spoiler alert: Ten was a terrible, dangerous driver, but Jisung figured it was better than risking Jisung or Chenle trying it without ever having taken lessons.

 

“So,” he said, when they were about thirty minutes away from the apartment, “when are you getting married? Any things I should watch out for? Good or bad sides I shouldn’t film?”

 

“Just film anything, as long as it isn’t unflattering,” Chenle chirped, and Jisung not for the first time wondered how Chenle was the older one. Then he realized Ten was still waiting on his answer, and he felt his ears grow red.

 

“Oh, um- I,” he stuttered out, “I don’t really know? I- anything is okay, I guess.” Mentally, he cursed himself for being so socially stunted, but Ten didn’t seem bothered.

 

“You’re cute, the both of you,” he said instead with a smile. “Don’t worry, unflattering shots are not something I’m familiar with. Trust me, I’ll film all the most perfect, heart-fluttering moments!”

 

Chenle laughed, and Jisung awkwardly smiled at him through the mirror, subconsciously scooting a bit further away from Chenle. The other noticed, and reached out with a sweet smile to grab Jisung’s hand. His face was absolutely burning, he was sure of it. He didn’t shake off Chenle’s hand.

 

When they got out of the car, they had to walk a bit for the place Chenle wanted to go, and Jisung noticed right away Chenle kept looking between them. He had a feeling he knew what the other wanted, but waited until Chenle made a first move. When he took Jisung’s hand in his again, Jisung knew his earlier suspicions were true; Chenle really loved holding hands.

 

Earlier, on the way to the car, and even the night before when they were alone in the apartment, he’d kept reaching for Jisung’s hand. Jisung was awkward and slightly uncomfortable with skinship, but he found he didn’t mind holding hands as much as he expected he would. Maybe because it was Chenle. Possibly.

 

It had only been a few days, but Jisung already knew he was screwed. Chenle was just so beautiful and bright, and easy-going and affectionate. Every time he so much as smiled at Jisung, Jisung could already feel his ears growing warmer. He hoped his hands weren’t sweaty.

 

Chenle made him terribly nervous, and on one hand he couldn’t wait for them to grow closer and more comfortable with each other. On the other, he was in no way ready for becoming more and more flustered by everything Chenle did.

 

After another ten minutes of walking and Chenle happily swinging their intertwined hands, they arrived at a beach. “Let’s race each other to the water,” Chenle whispered, moving closer to Jisung. “I bet I can outrun you!”

 

Another thing Chenle made Jisung was competitive, apparently. “Try to beat me,” he replied in a teasing voice, and took off.

 

Running through sand was still as terrible and hard as he remembered it to be, but he felt like he was flying. The shrieking of seagulls, the gentle rushing of the waves, the wind, the bright afternoon sun, Chenle’s loud laughter and complaints from behind him… Jisung felt free. Like he was in a dream, and for a minute he completely forgot about the camera, letting out a loud laugh himself.

 

He came to a stop, a few meters from the water. Seconds later, a scream sounded out behind him, and before he had the chance to steel himself, Chenle crashed into him from behind with staggering force, and Jisung stumbled forward, only barely managing to catch both his footing and a still hysterically laughing Chenle. Jisung couldn’t help but start laughing as well.

 

They played around on the beach like that for a while, until they were both getting hungry. “I wanted to go to a karaoke place,” Chenle said, suddenly shy as he played with Jisung’s fingers. “I know one with great food as well.”

 

Jisung nodded. “Let’s go, then!” He definitely was not an exceptionally good singer, but he was decent at rapping. Besides, it wasn’t like you were really supposed to do your best or work hard to sound your best at a karaoke place. It was just for having fun, and maybe for getting closer as well.

 

Jisung didn’t think Chenle got that memo. Because, after Jisung had just completely butchered a song he liked while Chenle laughed his ass off and stuffed his mouth, Chenle had taken the mic, and was singing his heart out with an emotional ballad.

 

Jisung knew Chenle was a singer. A professional one, who started at a very young age and had performed in multiple countries, also having won multiple awards for his songs, and even a ‘best solo artist’ award. Jisung knew exactly how good Chenle was. Or, that’s what he thought before.

 

He had listened to all Chenle’s songs, and had heard Chenle hum one of them after dinner the night before. However, he had never heard him sing live, let alone from up close.

 

It was beautiful. His voice was mesmerizing, the completely relaxed expression on his face as he hit higher notes breathtaking.

 

Damn it, really.

 

“You don’t have to take karaoke seriously, you know,” Jisung said after Chenle finished, too flustered to compliment him right away.

 

“How was I?” Chenle asked, ignoring Jisung’s words.

 

Jisung hesitated for a second, but Chenle had such a happy, expectant look on his face he couldn’t just ignore him back. He was pretty sure his eyes were sparkling, even. He coughed, his throat suddenly feeling very dry. “You- you’re great. Your voice… it’s really beautiful.”

 

Chenle brightened even more at that, and bounced over to sit down beside Jisung, hugging him from the side. They ate comfortably, sang a few more songs together, Jisung being floored by Chenle’s pure talent every time.

 

When they were back outside, it was already dark outside, and they hurried back to the car to avoid being spotted. In the car, Chenle cuddled up to him immediately, and Ten shot Jisung a knowing look and a wink through the mirror. Jisung blushed, and looked away.

 

“Hey, Jisung?” Chenle said later, when they were in the bathroom, brushing their teeth, already dressed for bed. “I know karaoke is just for fun, by the way. I just… I wanted to brag.”

 

Jisung was too stunned to reply, and Chenle’s following cackling laugh followed him even in his dreams.

 

***

The next day, they both had schedules, so they only saw each other in the evening. That evening, however, would be the airing day of their first episode, and to get some insights (as Chenle had put it) they had decided to watch it together.

 

At eight, it was time, and they’d settled on the couch with some snacks and a blanket. Then, it started, and Jisung immediately felt himself get tense as his face appeared on screen. (He never really liked watching dramas or movies he starred in either, no matter how small his role. Here, he was the main character.)

 

On tv, Jisung found he and Chenle looked a lot sweeter together than he’d imagined. Chenle wasn’t awkward at all. Exactly as Jisung had expected, the MC’s pointed out how flustered and shy Jisung was around Chenle. They said he was cute, but honestly, Jisung was just embarrassed. The MC’s called them the ‘possibly most anticipated couple on We Got Married, ever’ and then called Chenle cute. Then, the episode was over quickly.

 

Jisung was unable to forget those words until late in the night, and he was left unable to fall asleep until way past midnight. Most anticipated couple. What did that mean? Jisung felt like an extra layer of pressure to perform well had been added to the weight already on his shoulders, and he couldn’t help but feel nervous. The MC’s had been bright and positive about their ‘relationship’, but what would the general public say? He’d have to talk to Jaemin. Or Taeil.

 

***

On their third day of living together, Jisung woke up with Chenle’s arms wrapped around his torso, the camera placed in the corner of the room probably having taped all of it. Jisung found that he didn’t mind it as much as he usually would. They went on a quick date to a cafe, getting each other some breakfast. Jisung was glad he remembered Chenle’s coffee order of two days before. Then, they parted ways for their personal schedules.

 

Jisung had been preparing for a big drama, a key opportunity he’d received just a week after confirming he would be on We Got Married. Chenle… Usually, the filming for We Got Married went on way longer than two weeks, as it would for them, but they had to rush it. Much to Jisung’s disappointment, though he couldn’t deny becoming closer to Chenle was going smoothly already.

 

Chenle had a world tour of a full month coming up in just two weeks, and with having just released a new album, he was constantly rushing back and forth from music shows to Jisung, with concert preparations coming in in the last few days. (He wasn’t in the slightest bit ashamed for knowing Chenle’s entire schedule from the top of his head.) Jisung would have to come up with a proposal idea soon, probably. The producers wouldn’t air their wedding until after a proposal.

 

They didn’t have much time.

 

Besides, as long as he and Chenle made it look believable enough, Jisung was sure the editors would be able to stretch those two weeks more than enough for a sufficient amount of chemistry and episodes.

 

That evening, Jisung got back later than Chenle, having been occupied by a meeting about the drama that lasted way too long to his liking. When it was finally over, he rushed to get home, some of his future colleagues laughing at him. “Go home to your husband,” one of them joked. Jisung couldn’t exactly… lie, right? If he did, he’d have to say he didn’t like hearing that, but Jisung was no liar.

 

He liked hearing that a lot. It gave him a feeling of pride, almost. Like he could say ‘yes, my husband is Zhong Chenle. Isn’t he amazing?’

 

Technically, he could, but hearing those words had made him flustered, and he rushed home, Ten hot on his heels. Later, he shyly mumbled the confession into the camera. Chenle would have to see it later. There was no way he’d be able to say that to his face.

 

When he entered the room, he was instantly hit in the face with a pillow. Then, arms curled around his waist, a mop of brightly colored hair tickling his nose. “Welcome home!” Chenle chirped, and pulled him further inside.

 

Jisung kicked off his shoes and hung up his coat, gesturing for Ten to do the same, and then followed Chenle into the living room.

 

The entire living room had been… remodeled, to put it lightly. The couch was shoved aside, as well as the low table, and an enormous pile of pillows and blankets was artfully arranged in the middle of it, an opening facing where the television stood.

 

A pillow fort. Chenle had made him a pillow fort, and Jisung got the idea that opening close to the television wasn’t there for nothing either.

 

Chenle pulled him inside, leaving Ten with his equipment to settle on the shoved aside couch. “My mom heard about us,” Chenle said, excitement laced in his voice, “she was very happy, and she sent me some videos to show you.” Then, he leaned closer, and Jisung was torn between the urges to either press a kiss onto Chenle’s nose or inch away when Chenle got a bit too close. He decided to just sit still, and he was convinced it’d be edited like he was frozen. (He was right).

 

“My mom will beat my ass if we don’t watch these, without any proof, so I’m kind of forced to show you,” Chenle whispered with a giggle, and Jisung laughed. He definitely understood that. Mothers were terrifying.

 

Chenle pressed play on the remote, and a blurry video started playing. It was in Chinese, and Jisung had no idea what was going on, until he recognized something. “Wait,” he said incredulously, “is that you?

 

On the video, a small boy smiled, and started singing, moving along to the music awkwardly. His voice was high, a sign he was really just a child, but incredibly stable and clear. If the name and face (though Chenle had definitely matured extremely well) weren’t an indicator, the pure and distinct voice and singing had to be.

 

Chenle was showing Jisung videos of himself, when he was little. Jisung felt his heart swell with adoration. Because he was a cute child, of course. No other reason, really. After about a minute, the video passed, and another came up. It was a slightly older Chenle, in a suit, behind a piano. His voice had matured a bit, but it was still clearly the high, childish and clear voice Chenle apparently had as a child.

 

“That was my first solo concert,” Chenle mumbled behind him, a soft smile audible in his voice. Jisung dared a quick look to the side, only for his heart to skip a beat in his chest. The light of the television reflected beautifully on Chenle’s features, and the warm smile he wore while softly humming along to the song child-Chenle was singing was gorgeous.

 

Chenle must’ve noticed Jisung was looking at him, because he lifted his head off Jisung’s shoulder (when had he laid it there?) and smiled up at him, a questioning look in his eyes. He hummed a questioning sound, and Jisung looked away hurriedly.

 

“Nothing,” he blurted out, “you just look very pretty.”

 

He heard and felt Chenle’s chuckle before he saw it, but he was sure that was beautiful as well. There was just this… air around Chenle that made him absolutely captivating. Chenle shifted beside him, and before Jisung could properly realize what was happening, Chenle had pressed a kiss to his cheek, immediately settling back beside him.

 

Well.

 

Chenle was going to be the death of him, that was for sure.

 

The video was done, and Jisung felt only slightly guilty for having missed most of it, until he suddenly realized the location the third (fourth?) video was shot in was very familiar. Almost subconsciously, he sat up straighter, forcing Chenle to move his head off Jisung’s shoulder.

 

He couldn’t spot Chenle at first, but he saw there were three boys. First another boy sang a bit, and then it was Chenle’s turn. It was beautiful, sure, and Jisung guessed this had to be around the time Chenle’s career really started. “How old are you here?” he asked softly, relaxing and pulling Chenle’s head back on his shoulder. (He bet the MC’s would at least squeal at that.)

 

The boys had continued singing, now moving and standing next to each other. There was something about this- Jisung recognized this boy, and now that he saw what young Chenle looked like, he was sure he had met Chenle before.

 

“Oh, that? It was a children’s concert, I think. I was… eleven? Yeah, eleven, this was in 2013,” Chenle said, and a memory of a stage way too big for his eleven-year old self, cheerful MC’s who spoke in a language he didn’t understand a word of, a pretty boy in a white suit watching from backstage, waiting for his own performance.

 

“I think we met before,” Jisung said, an incredulous chuckle following. “I- I performed right before you.”

 

Chenle gasped and sat up straight, turning to face Jisung. “Oh my God, you’re serious? That was you?

 

Jisung nodded, and the way Chenle’s eyes crinkled into slits when he smiled this widely instantly reminded him of the pretty boy he’d seen. He wondered how he’d never realized before. Chenle had barely changed, only matured very well. In a grown up way, he still looked the same.

 

“That’s gold,” Chenle said, who was laughing out loud now. “Who- What were you even thinking while you were doing that choreography? Holy shit, you were adorable! Wait, since when do you dance?”

 

Jisung laughed at the flood of questions. “I know, I know, it’s so embarrassing. There was a time when I just started acting and that clip was spread everywhere. It was terrible!” (Jisung had a gut feeling the editors would be mean enough to edit a clip of that into this episode.) (He was right.) “And I’ve been dancing since I remember, really. I’ve always loved it, but I wasn’t sure if I could make a career out of it, and a friend offered me a job in acting, and I turned out to be good at it.”

 

“I need to see you dance soon,” Chenle decided, and he leaned back onto Jisung again, this time with his back to Jisung’s shoulder. Jisung casually (at least, he hoped it looked natural) slung an arm around Chenle, hugging him closer.

 

“Of course,” he said softly. “I’m sure we’ll have some time soon. I used to be in a crew, and all, I’m sure I have videos.”

 

“So cool,” Chenle sighed, snuggling even closer. “Hey, you know what? It’s amazing that we met before we even had established careers.”

 

“I always thought you were pretty,” Jisung admitted shyly. Then, he got an idea. He turned and pressed a kiss into Chenle’s hair, laying his cheek on his head after.

 

Chenle giggled softly, and Jisung bet he was becoming sleepy. He himself was, as well. His brain nearly turned into mush at the adorable sound. “Maybe we were just meant to be,” Chenle then whispered, and Jisung’s entire body was tingling.

 

“Maybe we were,” he responded, and smiled.

 

Maybe, possibly, Jisung hugged Chenle a little bit closer that night.

 

***

On day five, they had arranged a get-together with all their friends. Chenle and Jisung were taking them out for dinner, preferring to get both groups done at once. Jisung had invited five people, which was also kind of everyone he knew, but Chenle had a lot of friends. He decided to invite only three, in the end. Jisung didn’t know their names, and Chenle said it didn’t matter, so Jisung guessed he’d see when they met. In a petty retaliation, he didn’t tell Chenle his friends’ names either.

 

When they got to the restaurant they'd agreed to meet at, Jaemin and Jeno were already waiting outside, as well as Taeil and Johnny and someone Jisung didn't know. When they got closer, he recognized him to be Kim Doyoung, a famous singer. Jisung assumed he was one of the friends Chenle had invited.

 

Chenle gave Doyoung a quick hug, and then turned to Jisung's friends. "You said you invited five people, right?" Chenle asked Jisung before cheerfully introducing himself to the four.

 

"I did," Jisung replied, "Taeil hyung, have you heard of Jaehyun or is he just too late again?"

 

"When will you ever use honorifics with me?" Jaehyun said from behind Jisung, and he ruffled Jisung's hair goodnaturedly.

 

"Probably never," Johnny said, reaching out to high five Jaehyun.

 

"Hi, I'm Jaehyun," he said, smiling at Chenle and Doyoung. "I act under the same company as Jisungie, what do you do?"

 

"Let's go inside first, if you don't mind," Doyoung replied in Chenle's stead, taking the lead right after and entering the restaurant first. Chenle shrugged apologetically and went after him, everyone else following.

 

Inside, Jisung made sure to catch up with Chenle. The instant Chenle noticed Jisung was next to him again, he slipped his hand into Jisung's, and Jisung gave Chenle's hand a soft squeeze. He ignored the cooing noises Jaemin was making behind him, and resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

 

A few minutes after they got seated at the huge table, Ten being the only one still standing, two more people arrived. Jisung recognized them; it was Mark and Donghyuck, Chenle's friends who had helped him move. They smiled at Jisung and introduced themselves to the rest of the group and sat down. This time, Donghyuck didn't include the part about Mark being his lap dog, and Jisung struggled to not add it himself.

 

Dinner went almost scarily well. Everyone seemed to get along very well. Even Doyoung, who had been a bit more awkward in the beginning, warmed up to the others pretty quickly. Jisung really liked Chenle's friends.

 

Doyoung reminded him very much of Taeil, when he opened up a little bit. Doyoung seemed a lot less chaotic, though. Jisung was convinced Taeil would forget everything if it wasn't for Johnny keeping track of most of his things for him. Still, Doyoung gave Jisung the same feeling of a parental figure, someone who had a lot of experience in the entertainment business but hadn't let the fame get to their heads. A bit awkward, as well, but friendly.

 

Mark and Donghyuck were amazing, though Jisung discovered right away he probably would never tell either of them. Just like he would never tell Jaemin, or Jeno. They'd surely coo at him, or take advantage of it. He got enough of that with only Jaemin already.

 

Nobody seemed to be scared off by the weird bro-relationship and dynamic Johnny and Jaehyun had, which was also a relief.

 

During the dinner, Chenle remained as cuddly as he'd been the night before. Jisung usually wasn't a fan, but something about Chenle made everything amazing. So, when Chenle laid his head on Jisung's shoulder, instead of moving to the side or shoving him off as he would've done had it been Jaemin, he laid his arm over Chenle's shoulder and tugged him a bit closer.

 

Right away, Jaemin (which didn't surprise Jisung at all) was cooing from across the table, and he leaned into Jeno's side. "You're so cute," he said to Chenle, his hands slowly moving over the table to pinch Chenle's cheeks. Jisung was just glad he wasn't the victim of Jaemin's aggressive babying for once, and laughed at the way Chenle's face scrunched up.

 

He bet the MC's were going to love this.

 

After their meal, Chenle stayed back a bit to talk to his own friends, and so Jisung went outside with his. Jaehyun had a schedule early in the morning, so he had to leave right away, as did Johnny (the idiot worked morning shifts at a bakery, aside from his job as freelance photographer). Taeil, Jeno and Jaemin waited outside with Jisung, Jaemin immediately launching himself onto Jisung and latching on.

 

"Chenle is adorable," he said, "you two fit together perfectly!" Behind him, Jeno nodded a few times.

 

"He's right," Taeil added with a smile. "You look very cute together, and you weren't even that awkward."

 

Jisung rolled his eyes. "Gee, thanks hyung. You have so much faith in me. I'm an actor, remember? I know how to be in a relationship with someone."

 

"This didn't look at all like an act, though," Taeil said, his smile turning a bit too smug to Jisung's likes. He huffed and started to shove Jaemin off of him. Who had decided that athletes were so strong? It wasn't fair. Jisung couldn't even hold his height over Jaemin if he wasn't stronger.

 

"Since when are you so okay with skinship, though?" Jeno asked, lending Jisung a hand by grabbing Jaemin's arm and gently tugging on it. "You definitely didn't look awkward when he used you as pillow."

 

At that, Jaemin jumped back (coincidentally, into Jeno's arms, where Jeno kept him). His expression was scandalized, and Jisung mentally prepared himself for the scolding he was sure he was going to get. "Park Jisung," Jaemin started, "when I-"

 

Before Jaemin could continue, though, the doors of the restaurant slammed shut behind Jisung, and a hand made it's way into his. Automatically, Jisung intertwined their fingers. Jaemin narrowed his eyes at their hands, but didn't continue.

 

"You're off the hook for now," he hissed, "but don't think I'm done with you yet."

 

Jeno laughed, and pulled Jaemin's arm again. "Come on, we're going home. Let's give the newlyweds some alone time." He waved at Jisung and Chenle and pulled Jaemin along behind him, who was still grumbling some unintelligible things at Jeno when they were out of Jisung's hearing range. He held back a laugh, and turned to Chenle.

 

"Let's go home?" he asked. Chenle nodded, and hugged his friends in lieu of a goodbye. Jisung just waved at Taeil, and then they were off.

 

"What was Jaemin hyung about to say when I came outside?" Chenle asked curiously when they were seated in the car, Ten behind the wheel obviously pretending he wasn't eavesdropping.

 

Jisung laughed when he recalled the moment. "Jeno mentioned that I'm usually not as okay with skinship," he explained, "and Jaemin is terribly affectionate. I usually push him off, so he got offended at me for shoving him off but letting you be affectionate to me."

 

"Oh," Chenle said, smiling.  "It's alright if you're uncomfortable with it, though. I know I can be a bit too much sometimes. If you don't like it, I can stop, or... back off a little bit."

 

Jisung hurried to shake his head at Chenle's offer. "No, no. It's okay, really." Suddenly embarrassed by the conversation, he turned to look out of the window instead of at Chenle, and shrugged. "It's... I'm pretty comfortable with it, with you. The handholding is nice, and- yeah. I don't mind it."

 

He could feel Chenle's eyes roam over his face for a bit, and he willed himself to keep his eyes on the buildings and cars that whizzed past them. "Great!" Chenle then said in a cheerful tone, and before Jisung could properly register it, Chenle had kissed his cheek again.

 

Damn it. He really liked that.

 

Chenle was seriously a hazard for his heart.

 

***

 

On day eight, Chenle and Jisung were free, and they decided to go on a proper date, completely set up by Chenle. According to him, he was the older one and thus needed to take care of and spoil Jisung. It didn't make much sense to Jisung, since their age difference was no more than two to three months, but Chenle didn't care. So, Jisung just let him. If it made him happy, who was Jisung to deny him?

 

Chenle hadn't wanted to tell him where he was taking Jisung, and Jisung thought he knew why when they stopped at a crowded street. A street that was mainly famous for the big shopping malls. Jisung was... not a big fan of shopping. Still, he had never went shopping with Chenle. He shouldn't knock it just yet, maybe it'd be more fun with Chenle around?

 

It didn't take long for Jisung to realize that yes, it was definitely more fun with Chenle.

 

He acted like Ten and the huge camera he carried around everywhere didn't even exist, just like he had that morning when they were making breakfast together- Jisung loved it.

 

Even with the camera right there, only about two to four meters away from them at all times, Chenle was playful, and carefree, and just so fun. He pulled Jisung into multiple stores, shoved random clothes into his arms and nearly begged him to pull them on and make weird, mismatched outfits with him, and show it off.

 

Jisung was an awkward and reserved person, with most people he hadn't known for too long. With Chenle, it was different. Something about him just made Jisung so comfortable right away, like there was nothing he could do to make Chenle weirded out, or dislike him. Chenle was possibly the easiest person to get along with out of all people Jisung had ever met.

 

Ten was more fun than Jisung had expected him to be, as well. As Chenle cheered and laughed his infuriatingly bright laugh and pranced around the fitting room like there was no tomorrow in the ugliest outfit Jisung had ever seen, Ten was moving expertly around him, laughing as well and filming Chenle's strange dance moves from almost impossible.

 

Jisung's heart might've dropped a little bit more every time Chenle smiled, and motioned for Jisung to join him.

 

If Jisung were one of the MC's, he would've cried a little bit, probably. It was impossible to not feel anything at Chenle and his... well, his everything. Maybe Jisung had a tiny problem.

 

At the third store, Jisung let go of his embarrassment, and joined Chenle in his search for the ugliest outfits in the entire store. If his heart fluttered harder and harder every time Chenle let Jisung twirl him around with a bright smile, well. That was only for Jisung to know.

 

About an hour in, Jisung was starting to get hungry again, and they quickly ate some noodles at the first convenience store, also buying some for Ten. Jisung hadn't seem him eat anything yet all day, and while it was his job to keep filming Chenle and Jisung, he should eat properly as well.

 

Ten was very nice, and they got along well. He always kept an appropriate distance, and never filmed things that could possibly come across as compromising or confronting for anyone. He was a good guy, really. The constant camera on him wasn't all that unnerving to Jisung, either. As an actor he was used to seeing cameras everywhere.

 

Jisung was just getting kind of fed up with the camera being on both him and Chenle. At all times, they were being recorded in one way or another, and Jisung understood like no other that it was necessary for the editors to have enough material to make a nice episode out of. He just... wanted some alone time. With Chenle. One on one alone time.

 

Not too long after, Jisung was granted an amazing opportunity to fulfill that wish; it started to rain.

Jisung's brain was going a thousand miles a minute. Rain. That meant they'd be stuck inside the shop until it stopped raining, if they wanted to keep filming. They weren't prepared for a change of the weather, so Ten wouldn't be able to go outside with his camera without the protection they didn't bring. If he and Chenle ran, the camera wouldn't be able to follow them.

 

This was his only chance, possibly.

 

When Chenle started to get up to take back the clothes they'd tried on, save for a shirt he wanted to buy, Jisung followed him. He waited until they were out of Ten's earshot, and lowered his head to whisper into Chenle's ear.

 

"Let's run," he said, "we pay for the shirt and run outside. Ten can't follow us without rain resistant protection for the camera. We can go out for a bit without a camera. Are you down?"

 

Even before he'd finished talking, he could see from the mischievous glance that appeared in Chenle's eyes that yes, he was more than down.

 

"This is exciting," Chenle replied, "let's do it. Ten is nice, but the camera gets a bit much sometimes."

 

Right, Jisung hadn't even thought of that. Jisung's job was literally to do things in front of a camera, but Chenle just sang most of the time. He could handle things like music videos and concert fancams, but a non-stop rolling camera had to be exhausting for him. Jisung was now even more glad he'd thought of it.

 

"We'll go pay for the shirt real quick," Jisung called out to Ten when they got back, and quickly followed Chenle to the register. There, they ignored the lingering stares from the several cashiers, took the bag with the shirt, and ran. Jisung didn't doubt that Ten saw them go, but he didn't try to stop them, so he doubted Ten cared much. For now, he was running. With Chenle. Alone.

 

It was clear Ten wasn't following them, and wouldn't be either, but they didn't stop running until they were about a block away from the store they'd left Ten in. Jisung supposed he felt a little bit bad about leaving him alone. but Ten could always call someone to pick him and the camera up.

 

Jisung wouldn't be surprised if in a few weeks, he'd be on national television, running from a clothing store, hand tightly clasped in Chenle's. (They were.)

 

Maybe a street further, Chenle started running again, for minutes and minutes. Jisung was completely out of breath, but Chenle seemed to be good to go for a few more minutes. Curse those stupid singers with their extra good lungs. Jisung was probably the saddest homebody actor there was, and right now he was clearly suffering the consequences. Sure, he danced, and he was good at it, but that didn’t mean he could run…

 

When they finally stopped, Jisung immediately let go of Chenle’s hand and stumbled over to the nearest bench, to let his body collapse onto it. With a badly stifled chuckle, Chenle sat down beside him. It took Jisung a full minute to catch his breath, and the whole time, Chenle was blatantly laughing at him.

“Do you even know where we are?” Jisung asked when he could finally breathe without panting again. He hadn’t remembered (or even been able to see) any of the names of the streets they’d passed, and his phone battery was pretty much dead. Chenle, on top of that, wasn’t from this country, let alone the city, and they didn’t have Ten with them either. Jisung didn’t really feel much for getting lost alone with Chenle.

At least it had stopped raining, though they were still drenched. Jisung’s wet hoodie clung to his body, and his pant legs felt sticky on his legs. He hated it. He was sure there had to be water in his socks.

However… he was alone. With Chenle. No cameras.

“Of course I do, silly,” Chenle huffed out, “I promised to plan this date, after all. I even memorized the way here, we only got here… a little bit earlier than planned, and without Ten. That shouldn’t be an issue, though.”

Jisung tried to ignore the way his heart fluttered when Chenle called their outing a date, even though they weren’t being recorded or filmed. He quickly shook it off. The fact that he was alone with Chenle in the middle of a big city, on a supposed date, was enough for his poor, weak heart. He couldn’t let it go too wild. Stupid fantasies of other dates were a big no-no.

The fluttering thing had been happening a lot, over the past week. More and more every day. It scared Jisung a little bit. He might be innocent, but he was no idiot. If things kept going on and progressing like this, he’d for real develop feelings for Chenle. He couldn’t. This wasn’t real, and it wasn’t supposed to be. He’d heard enough stories of idols or actors falling for their colleagues, and it ending badly.

“So…” Jisung prodded, “where are you taking me?”

Chenle turned to Jisung, a bright grin on his face. “Close your eyes! I’m not sure if you’ll like it, but it’s my favorite place and I wanted to share it with you.”

That notion was so cute that Jisung didn’t even get annoyed by the dumb flip his heart made. Chenle sometimes really just was too cute. Not his fault.

When Jisung had closed his eyes, Chenle grabbed him by the hand and started leading him a bit further down the street, luckily at a much calmer pace this time. After a minute, Jisung heard the jingle of a bell, and a wave of warmth hit him.

Chenle pulled him further inside, their fingers having intertwined almost automatically halfway through. Then, the other thing hit Jisung.

Cats. A lot of cats.

“Open your eyes!” Chenle said excitedly, voice hushed to not scare the animals off. Jisung slowly opened his eyes, and instantly knew he was right.

A cat café. And apparently Chenle’s favorite place. A place he got excited about, a place he’d been eager to share with Jisung.

Just Jisung’s luck that he was extremely allergic to cats.

He had medicine for it, and it wasn’t deadly at all, but ten seconds after entering the store he could already feel his nose start to itch and his eyes burn.

Chenle was happy here. Just the excited glimmer in his eyes as he turned away from Jisung and crouched down to call one of the cats to him was enough to tell Jisung that. Jisung couldn’t ruin that.

So, he resisted the urge to sniff or rub his eyes and followed Chenle to a table. The other looked like he was very familiar there, and Jisung assumed he was a regular. He walked to a specific table in the corner, next to a tall cat tower, right away and waved at the girl behind the counter.

Throughout the whole date, Jisung tried and failed to keep the cats off of him. The animals, for some reason, seemed to love him, though. They kept going over to Jisung, even though he kept pushing them away. At one point, Chenle even looked sad. Like he was about to pull out a pout, and wreck Jisung even further. It didn’t come, luckily. Jisung just kept passing the cats over to Chenle, which Jisung assumed cheered him up a bit.

“Do you not like cats? You kept pushing them off,” Chenle asked when they were finally out of the café. Jisung’s nose felt like he hadn’t breathed properly in years, and he took a few big breaths of smoggy city air. Still better than cat hair.

“I don’t mind them, personally,” Jisung said, “I’m just… allergic to cats, kind of.”

Chenle stopped walking, and when Jisung turned around to him his eyes were wide open, his jaw dropped. “Oh my God,” he stammered out after a few seconds, “I didn’t even consider that. Oh god, how terrible of me. Oh no, Jisungie- I’m so sorry!”

Jisung moved to calm Chenle, tell him that it was fine, but Chenle had gone off on an apology rant. “I’m the worst boyfriend- the worst husband ever. I can’t believe I made you come in when you were allergic- I didn’t even ask! Fuck, Jisung… Why did you let them climb all over you? You’re allergic! You let yourself be smothered by cats, are you insane?”

Jisung chuckled, and shrugged. “You liked it there, so I thought I should just sit through it. I’ll live, I promise.”

Chenle was stunned again, but at least now he seemed less eager to drop to his knees to beg for forgiveness. “Woah,” he mumbled a bit dumbly after a while, “what a pity Ten isn’t here. The MC’s would’ve loved this.”

Jisung felt himself frown, and he quickly forced himself to neutralize his expression again. “I don’t think it’s a pity at all. That would’ve been embarrassing. Plus, I like being with just you way more than having Ten trail behind us all the time.”

Chenle pretended to swoon. Jisung laughed out loud and caught him. He moved to help Chenle stand upright again, but Chenle just kept clinging onto him. Jisung let him. (It felt way too nice.)

“I agree,” Chenle then said softly, still hanging off Jisung’s arms. Jisung struggled to swallow. He just hoped he wasn’t blushing too badly. “I like being alone with you.”

Jisung just smiled at Chenle and pulled him into a hug to hide his embarrassment (and the burning red he was sure his face had turned into).

Chenle laughed (which sounded more like a giggle and completely melted Jisung’s heart; he was getting really pathetic now), but he didn’t say anything and hugged Jisung back.

“Hey,” he then muttered in Jisung’s ear, “don’t you think we’re going to have to kiss at some point during the recording? We only have two weeks to film everything, after all, and we’re already more than a week in.”

Whatever little of the bright blush he’d been able to force down, came back full force. Sputtering and being awkward about the topic would most likely give Jisung and the stupid feelings he knew he was already starting to develop away. He had to play it cool.

“Isn’t that a bit scandalous to be doing on our, what… second date?”

Damn it.

Chenle laughed. “Jisung, we’re married.”

“Only for the show,” he protested, but he knew he’d already lost. He, Park Jisung, would be kissing the amazing Zhong Chenle soon. Probably sooner than expected. Sooner than he was ready for, if he ever would be.

“There’s no camera now,” Chenle stated, still not letting Jisung get out of the hug. Jisung already expected what was coming next, and he braced himself.

“Mind if we practice now? Just once. So it isn’t awkward later, when we’ll have to.”

Needless to say, it was awkward. Jisung didn’t dare move his lips when they touched Chenle’s, out of pure fear to do something weird and ruin everything. He was unexperienced. This wasn’t his first kiss, but he’d never actually made out with someone. Now, he did in no way expect the Korean public to want him to make out with Chenle on tv, but he was still pretty inexperienced.

Chenle moved back with a giggle. “Well,” he said, a pretty pink coloring his cheeks, “at least we got the awkward first kiss out of the way. Bet it’ll be better next time!”

“Yeah- yeah, alright. Sure,’ Jisung stuttered out, and followed Chenle.

“I remember the way back,” Chenle said cheerfully, “I think. Let’s go back to Ten!”

Chenle was going to be the death of him.

***

After Jisung had felt what Chenle’s lips felt like on his, he couldn’t stop thinking about. It was like someone had told him ‘don’t think about the pretty boy’s prettier lips, and definitely don’t think about the dumb and irresponsible crush you have on him’.

 Impossible.

At least it wasn’t that hard to keep himself under control when Chenle was laughing at Jisung’s younger self, in one of the embarrassing clips his own mother had sent him to show Chenle. Even Ten was struggling to hold in his laughter from the corner of the room, where he’d installed himself with his infamous camera.

Jisung had loved dancing his entire life, but that didn’t mean he’d always been good at it.

“I swear I’m a much better dancer now,” he grumbled at Chenle (who was nearly hiccupping from laughter at this point) when the screen faded to black.

“You were so cute though,” he struggled to say, and Jisung rolled his eyes.

“Sure, go ahead and laugh at me,” he muttered, turning his face away. He wasn’t really mad, he just… he didn’t know what he was. Or wanted. He just knew that he certainly didn’t mind the lingering kiss Chenle pressed onto his cheek as consolation, a bit closer to the corner of his mouth than a regular cheek kiss would’ve been.

“Let’s just start the movie,” Chenle said, still giggling a bit, and Jisung complied. The movie started, and Jisung was pretty sure he could recite the introduction to the plot by now, that’s how often he’d watched it. Also, it was a movie Jisung himself starred in. His role wasn’t big, but he had plenty of lines. It was his first big movie, of sorts, and the main project that had gained him a lot of popularity and attention.

The movie was a romcom, and he played the younger brother of the female love interest. It was a good role, his character had been a fun person to play and his lines weren’t difficult. The costars were friendly, and the plot funny. Still, it was embarrassing to watch a movie you’re in with the person you’re crushing on.

Halfway through the movie, Jisung finally gave in to Chenle’s nagging, and started to say his lines to Chenle. The older seemed to enjoy it greatly, and honestly, that was enough reason to embarrass himself further for Jisung.

The movie finished with a rather emotional scene of Jisung’s character finally accepting the love interest of his big sister. He’d had significant trouble with that before because of certain happenings in the past that still troubled the sister. Jisung’s character, as a pretty much helpless person considering his younger age, had still done everything he could to keep his sister safe. To him, that had meant no boyfriend who could potentially hurt her. In the end, however, he saw that the love interest sincerely loved his sister, and with great struggle, he accepted the other man into their little family.

Jisung had choked up a little when he first read that part of the script, but Chenle was outright sobbing next to him. Jisung was a bit clueless on what to do, and he laid an arm around Chenle’s shoulder. Immediately, Chenle curled into him, hiding his face in Jisung’s shoulder.

He didn’t move from Jisung’s arms until the ending credits rolled, and Jisung couldn’t say he really minded.

“You okay?” he asked, just to be sure. Chenle’s eyes were red from crying, and he sniffed every now and then. His lips still quivered a bit when the screen had turned black, and he looked so sad it broke Jisung’s heart a little bit, even though he knew Chenle was only this upset because of the movie.

“You’re too good,” he then muttered, and first Jisung wasn’t sure if he understood that correctly. “The emotion was…” Chenle continued, sniffing again, “ouch. That was really good, Jisungie. I could- every single person who has ever watched this, probably, could feel the struggle, and… Damn it. You’re really amazing.”

You’re really amazing.

Jisung couldn’t get those words out of his head for the next few days, and if he had to be honest, he didn’t really want to either.

***

The twelfth day, Jisung had the first script reading with the production crew for the new movie he had been casted for, and he was away all day. He really, really hadn’t wanted to leave the warm bed with Chenle clinging to him that morning, especially since they barely had any time left.

When they were finally done, Jisung hurried home right away. Chenle had been out for work that day as well, but he’d gotten back sooner than Jisung. Jisung didn’t like being in their shared apartment alone, and he didn’t want Chenle to be either.

He opened the door, and instantly delicious aromas hit his nose. He hurried to kick his shoes out and made his way to the kitchen. Chenle must’ve ordered food already, and it smelled way better than the food of two days ago. That had been… well, a mistake. Jisung had went to bed hungry, and that was never something he liked.

In the kitchen, he nearly toppled over from surprise. On the small dining table stood a pot with a seemingly still boiling broth, and it smelled absolutely delicious. What really completed the surprise, was that there were no take-out bags on the counter. Instead, Chenle leaned against it with a nervous and apprehensive expression on his face, apron tied around his middle.

“What-” Jisung choked out, “I- I thought you said you didn’t cook?”

Chenle smiled nervously, and wiped his hands on his apron. It was pink, and frilly, and it looked adorable on him. “I asked Doyoung to teach me. I wanted to cook for you, just once…” Jisung’s heart skipped a beat. Or rather, a few.

That had been happening a lot, the past few days. Even more often than the week before, and every day the feeling got stronger. Jisung could be very dumb if he wanted to, but there was really no more denying that he had a crush on Chenle. A very strong one, at that. Very big feelings.

He wasn’t all too happy with it. Their… arrangement, of sorts, would last only two more days, after this. Tomorrow, Jisung had a day full of work. On the last day, he would take Chenle dancing. He had to, before they parted ways again.

They’d shared a lot of intimate moments on the evenings off, which was probably the only reason the producers would have enough material to make an entire season out of their marriage. On the seventh day, Jisung had ‘proposed’ to Chenle in bed, the hidden camera in the corner of their room the only witness. Jisung liked it that way, as did Chenle. The editors would figure out for them how to incorporate it in the season.

Jisung didn’t want to worry about how the show would come out on tv anymore. In the beginning, he’d jokingly made a lot of guesses about what the production crew would or wouldn’t show, or what the MC’s would say. A week in, he’d stopped with that and chosen to just ignore all cameras and all protocols, and properly enjoy his time with Chenle. Or however little he had left of it.

Right now, Chenle had prepared a meal for him despite not knowing how to cook. He had asked for help, had gone that extra length to prepare a meal for Jisung just once. Right now, all Jisung really wanted to do was kiss Chenle.

Only barely aware of Ten’s presence in the corner of the kitchen, he stepped forward, pulled Chenle close and leaned down. Even before Jisung could ask if he could kiss Chenle, the other had closed his eyes, as well as the little distance between them.

It was just as Chenle had predicted. Their first kiss had to be awkward, so the second would be better.

It was amazing. Chenle’s lips still were as soft as before, but they had both closed their eyes, had both leaned into it, were both moving just enough to make it not at all awkward and amazing. Jisung didn’t even notice he’s rested his hands on Chenle’s hips until Chenle’s fingers wove through his hair, and pulled his head back a little bit, effectively breaking the contact between them.

Jisung was panting, but not tired. He could kiss Chenle for hours and hours and days, probably, if Chenle would let him. He looked like he would. The look in his eyes said he would. The smile on his face told Jisung he wanted the exact same.

Jisung let his forehead rest against Chenle’s, before pressing a short kiss to his lips. He hadn’t forgotten about Ten and his camera, however. Even though the editors would probably either edit the kiss out of the episode or heavily edit it, Ten was there.

Reluctantly, Jisung moved back. He gently pulled Chenle along behind him, and motioned for him to sit down opposite of him.

“Thank you,” he said, sending Chenle a smile. Chenle still looked a little bit dazed, and Jisung knew he was probably the same.

They only had two days left, though they’d only have one day together left.

He didn’t want this to end.

***

 

The previous day had been terrible. Jisung wanted nothing more than to leave the readings he was forced to attend, wanted nothing more than to just go back home. Go back to see Chenle, spend as much time as possible together. He couldn’t, though, and begrudgingly, he went through the grueling, long day.

The next day, however, would be free reign. Only Jisung, Chenle, and Ten. In the dance room Jisung rented out a few evenings every week. The music was loud, and adrenalin was coursing through his body.

Right now, he had no specific choreography he was practicing or working on, and had opted to just freestyle as Chenle watched. Chenle had already sat down, back against the mirror.

Jisung wasn’t nervous. He knew he was a good dancer, and Chenle didn’t seem like someone who would be judgmental or had high standards, not at all. So, when both Chenle and Ten were settled and the music was booming, he let himself go.

He let his bones pop, knowing that was one of his specialties. Minimal, fluid movements made his body move like it was a body of water instead of just one measly human. When dancing, Jisung felt as if there were no physical boundaries.

He used the whole room, twirling back and forth, switching between sharp, fast movements and more slow and flowing gestures, letting them all flow together in one big, beautiful, unchoreographed performance.

As what could be either the fourth or the seventh song faded out, Chenle jumped up. A jazzy song came on, one Jisung didn’t know the title of but had heard a million times. Suddenly, he got an idea, and he gestured for Chenle to come closer.

“Dance with me!” he exclaimed, and only then he noticed that he was panting. Chenle didn’t hesitate for a second and fell into Jisung’s embrace. He didn’t seem to mind that Jisung was sweaty, and happily moved along with Jisung, however a bit more stiffly.

It turned out Chenle wasn’t a dancer, but most definitely not bad at dancing at all. About a minute into the song, Chenle became a bit looser, and even twirled Jisung once. Jisung twirled him right back, until they were just spinning and laughing.

After one particularly strong spin, their chests bumped into each other, and Jisung held Chenle tightly to his body. They slowed down together with the song, and Jisung felt his heartbeat pick up in speed.

“Hey,” Chenle whispered, hands moving up to hold Jisung’s face. “You know I really, really like you, right? For real.”

Jisung believed him right away. He hadn’t noticed it before, but the look in Chenle’s eyes was so sweet and sincere that it left no room for doubt. His heart had become so featherlight Jisung felt like he could float away at any second.

He grinned widely, and pressed his forehead to Chenle’s. The song moved onto another, more preppy song, but they didn’t even notice. “Yeah,” Jisung whispered, “me too.”

Chenle smiled softly, and closed his eyes. “I’m going on tour tomorrow,” he mumbled back, “but let’s… let’s keep this going. Be my boyfriend, for real. We can keep dating, and- the tour is only for a month. We can wait. I mean- do you want to?”

“Yeah,” Jisung replied, his hands moving up to Chenle’s shoulders. “I do. I want to.”

They didn’t even notice Ten had turned off the camera when they moved closer to press their lips together once again. Their third kiss, with many, many more to come.