For once in his life, Felix was early. He actually was the first one to arrive at the venue of the baking course he was taking today. Not even the teacher was there yet, judging from the door that was still locked. It was a strange experience for Felix who was usually running late no matter where he was going. His time management skills were horrible and he sucked at estimating how long it would take him to get somewhere.
He was quite proud of himself for being on time for once. The only reason for that was the bad bus connection from his apartment to this part of the city so he didn’t have much of a choice but be early. Still, not missing the bus was already a great achievement for him.
He sat down on the ground, his back against the wall and taking his phone out of his pocket. There were only ten minutes left till the course was supposed to start, which was kind of weird considering no one else was there yet. Shouldn’t at least the teacher be there by now? Didn’t they have to prepare something inside?
Felix opened up Instagram, trying to pass the time by scrolling through his timeline. He was just watching the cutest dog video when a loud voice disturbed the quiet.
“AM I LATE?” A young guy yelled from his bike. He stopped right in front of Felix, panting heavily. “AM I AT THE RIGHT PLACE FOR THE BAKING COURSE?”
Felix nodded. “Yeah. And don’t worry, you’re early. No one else is here yet.”
The other guy let out a sigh of relief. “Thank god.” He got off his bike and took off his helmet. Felix could only stare at his face for a moment. This was possibly the cutest guy he had ever seen. “I’ve been driving around for like fifteen minutes trying to find it.” He laughed a bit and hell, if that wasn’t the most beautiful sound in the world.
“Really? I thought it was easy to find. The big sign on the top is hard to miss.” Felix watched as he put his bike on the rack, securing it with a lock. When he was done, he looked up the roof of the building, seemingly just now noticing the giant red letters.
“That’s an ugly sign.” He commented, sitting down next to Felix. “I’m Jisung, by the way.”
“Felix, “ he introduced himself. “And yeah, you’re right.”
There was a moment of awkward silence between them. Felix was debating if it would be rude to pick up this phone again, but Jisung saved him from having to make a decision. “So, Felix. Baking, huh?”
He just had to laugh at that poor attempt at making conversation and breaking the awkwardness. Luckily, Jisung joined his laughter soon after. “Sorry, that was lame.”
“True. But yeah, baking. I enjoy doing it, but for some reason, I seriously suck at it. Which is why I am here, “ he explained. He always tried to follow the recipes as closely as possible but something was always off. His friend Seungmin had bluntly told him before that his cakes were pure shit. The only decent thing he had ever baked were brownies.
“I seriously don’t like baking because it takes so much time and it’s so boring. Like cool, you mix some ingredients together and then put them in the oven. How is that fun?”
“It’s just chill and really calming. And it can be fun under the right circumstances.” Felix thought about the time he tried to bake cookies with his best friend Jeongin but they failed horribly. Afterwards, his stomach hadn’t only hurt from eating too much dough but also from laughing so hard.
“That’s what my friend Minho said too. He gave me this course as a birthday present. I have to give it a proper chance or whatever.” Jisung shook his head a bit. “But well, baking can be a useful skill, I guess."
“Your friend knows what’s right, “ Felix said. “So, if you don’t think baking is fun, what is fun for you then?”
“Music. Listening to music, making music, anything related to music. And lately I’ve gotten really into working out and physical activities. Like bouldering, for example.” Talking about the things he loved brought a smile to Jisung’s lips. “But I also enjoy watching dramas and movies.”
“Bouldering seems fun. I’ve never done it before though. I’m kind of scared, “ Felix admitted.
“You should try it some day! There’s really no reason to be scared, the walls aren’t that high and the halls have thick mats on the ground, so even if you fall, nothing is going to happen to you. You can even jump off the walls even though they tell you not to.” Jisung got out his phone, opening the gallery to show Felix a video. “Here, see? The mats are really soft, nothing can happen to you.”
On the screen, Jisung was climbing up a tilted wall, only using five blue holds in the process. Felix couldn’t deny that it was kind of attractive seeing his muscles work like that. He was sure it took a lot of strength in the arms and upper body. When he reached the top, he quickly touched the last hold with two hands before turning around and jumping down. He winked at the camera before the video ended.
“It looks cool,” Felix said. “Maybe I will go one day.”
“You should. I swear, I fell in love with it after going there one time.” Jisung laughed, putting his phone away again. “What do you do for fun besides baking?”
“I love music too. And I’m a dancer.”
“That’s so cool! Dancing is incredible, I’m sure you’re really talented.”
Felix didn’t know what to say to that. He knew he was a good dancer, but that was because he had practiced for years, not because of some natural talent.
Jisung looked at his phone to check the time. “Isn’t the course supposed to start now? Why is there no one here besides us?”
Felix took out his phone as well. Jisung was right, it was 3 pm, exactly the beginning of the course according to the confirmation email Felix had gotten when he had booked it. “That’s weird. Maybe we are at the wrong entrance?” Just that the door they were sitting in front clearly seemed like the main entrance, judging from the signs.
“Maybe this is the wrong building.” Jisung said. “Are we sure this is the right address?”
“Wait, let me check the mail.” Felix looked for it on his phone, showing it to Jisung. “It’s the right address.”
“And the right time, “ Jisung said, looking at the time again. “3 pm.”
“Maybe they cancelled it and we didn’t get the notification for some reason.”
That’s when Jisung noticed something. “Wait.” He took the phone out of Felix’s hand. “Today is the 21st, right?”
“Yeah, “ Felix said. “Tuesday, the 21st of May.”
Jisung gave Felix the phone back, burying his face in his hands. “We are so stupid.”
“What?” Felix looked at his phone, only to notice it now too. The date in the email clearly read 22nd. “This can’t be for real. I was so sure it was today.”
“Same.” Jisung sighed and looked up again. “How did we both mess up the date?”
The situation was so absurd that Felix had to start laughing. It really was a coincidence that both of them were stupid enough to come on the wrong day. “We are two idiots, I guess.”
Jisung was laughing too. “No, this is fate.”
Felix couldn’t help but blush a bit. A cute guy had just called meeting him fate. Maybe being an idiot was a good thing sometimes. A sudden wave of confidence washed over him. Now that they had no reason to wait anymore, Jisung would probably go home. Just that Felix had enjoyed talking to him. So it was now or never. “So… now that we both don’t have plans for the afternoon, how about you take me bouldering?”
Felix had been ready to get rejected, but Jisung’s reaction was pure excitement. “Yes! I’m in! I’m gonna show you how much fun it is.”
“I don’t have training clothes with me, though.” Felix looked down on his jeans, something he clearly couldn’t go bouldering in.
“No problem!” Jisung smiled. “You can borrow my gym clothes. I wanted to go afterwards.”
“Are you sure? What are you gonna wear?” Felix asked.
“I’m fine like this.” He pointed at the shorts and shirt he was wearing. “The bouldering hall I go to is at the other end of the city though… maybe there’s one closer.” He took out his phone, looking it up. “This one looks good, right?”
Felix looked at the pictures over Jisung’s shoulder. Did it look good? It just looked like any other bouldering hall to Felix. “Yeah, sure.”
“Good. It’s only like a ten minute drive from here.” Jisung looked at Felix, then at his bike. “I have to take my bike, though. Do you mind taking the bus without me?”
For a moment, Felix thought that maybe Jisung just wanted to get out of it without rejecting him fully, but then he saw the insecure but glowing smile on his face and his doubts disappeared. “It’s fine. Let’s just meet at the hall.”
In the bus, the thought that maybe Jisung wouldn’t get to the hall came back to Felix’s mind. What if he didn’t enjoy talking to him as much as he did? What if he just faked his excitement over going bouldering with him? What if taking his bike was really just an excuse to get rid of him without rejecting him? But just ditching him like this was even worse than a rejection.
He arrived at the hall at about 3:30pm, no sign of Jisung yet. Of course he would be slower in his bike, so Felix decided to sit down on a bench in front of the entrance. He went on Instagram again, looking up some bouldering videos to pass the time.
Just that Jisung didn’t come. Not after 10 minutes, not after 20, not after half an hour. At 4 pm, Felix was slowly losing his faith that the other guy would come at all. It couldn’t have taken him that long to get to the hall, not even on his bike. Maybe it was time for him to go home. It was stupid to ask a stranger to go bouldering with him anyways.
“AM I AT THE RIGHT PLACE FOR BOULDERING?” A familiar loud voice suddenly yelled and Felix saw Jisung, hurriedly making his way towards to the building. “FELIX!” he said when he spotted the other guy, coming to a stop in front of him. “I’m sorry for making you wait. I kind of got lost on the way and I don’t have your phone number so I couldn’t call you so I’m so sorry I made you wait but I’m also really glad that you did wait because I’m seriously so excited to go bouldering with you…” he was rambling on and on, so Felix decided to interrupt him.
“Maybe that’s fate’s way of telling us to exchange phone numbers.” Felix was grinning from ear to ear. Seeing how worried Jisung was proved to him that he wanted to spend time with him just as much.
The widest smile spread on Jisung’s face, squishing up his cheeks which made him look even more adorable. “I like the way you think.”
After exchanging numbers and Jisung securing his bike, they went inside of the hall. They had to borrow shoes first, then they went to the locker room to change. Jisung’s clothes fit Felix pretty perfectly and it was really comfortable. The borrowed shoes were really tight, but according to Jisung, they were supposed to be like that. In the actual hall with the climbing walls, Jisung first explained the different difficulty levels that were shown by the colour of the holds and how to make a safe landing even from the higher points. Then they stretched and warmed up in a corner.
They started at the easiest level. Standing in front of it, the wall didn’t seem to be too tall. Felix was surprised by how little he was actually afraid of it. He quickly started climbing it, guided by Jisung who was telling him where to best put his hands and feet. For the last few meters, Felix really had to overcome his fears, but he made it to the top. Just as he had seen in Jisung’s video, he touched the last hold with both of his hands quickly.
“Good job!” Jisung yelled, clapping a bit. “That was really good.”
Felix slowly made his way downwards again, just like he had gotten up. On the ground again, Jisung gave him a high five. “You did really well.”
They went on like this for a few times, Felix climbing while Jisung was guiding him and giving him tips. He explained how he didn’t always have to pull himself up using his arms but rather should try putting more strength in his legs and push himself up with them to make it easier for his arms.
After that, Felix watched Jisung for a bit. He was doing much higher levels, with larger spaces between the individual holds and weirder forms of those holds. It was really impressive how fast he figured out even the most difficult parts. When he got stuck on a wall, he either tried to figure it out with Felix’s help or he asked one of the other people around them. Like that, he struck up several conversations about bouldering and the hall and whatever else.
Felix figured out that maybe watching Jisung was even more fun than climbing himself. Seeing his arm muscles move, his shoulder when he had to pull himself up somewhere, his proud smile when he succeeded. It was so fascinating to watch.
For a while, they took turns in climbing. Felix started trying some harder paths, not always successfully. Jisung was really sweet about it, trying to push him to try new things but also never pressuring him to do more than he wanted or could do.
After an hour, Felix felt ready to try one of the easier paths Jisung had done before. Just that after two steps, he fell down from the wall.
“Everything alright?” Jisung said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “Did you get hurt?”
“It’s fine, “ Felix said. “I just couldn’t hold myself up.”
“It is difficult, “ Jisung said. “It takes a lot of strength.”
“I wanna do it, though, “ Felix insisted. He went to the beginning and started again, just to fall down again.
“I could… I could support you from behind?” Jisung offered. “Put my hands on my back so that you don’t fall down.”
Felix nodded hesitantly before he started again. Jisung put his warm hands on his back, just like he said he would, helping him to hold up his body. That way, he made it over the difficult part of the path. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe climbing himself was more fun than watching Jisung.
After two hours, Felix was to tired to climb anymore. That’s when he found a little hole in the wall, leading right into a ball pit. “A BALL PIT!” he exclaimed, crawling right into it.
It was obviously not made for a 19-year-old guy. Felix immediately sank in, doubting he would ever get out of this pit ever again. For a moment, Jisung was just watching him from outside. “Come in!” he demanded, throwing a ball into his direction.
Jisung didn’t have to be told twice. He let himself into the pit too, slowly making his way over to Felix. “I can’t believe they have a ball pit here.”
“This is the best thing ever.” Felix threw another ball at Jisung. He was laughing loudly, probably having way too much fun in the ball pit.
“Hey!” Jisung just barely managed to escape the ball. “That’s not fair.” He tried to swim through the balls towards Felix, his hands grabbing for him.
Felix was faster though. He got out of his reach before Jisung could get a hold of him. “You’re too slow.”
They just chased each other in the ball pit for a while. Felix was sinking deeper and deeper into the pit, but he still couldn’t stop laughing.
When Jisung finally reached him, he grabbed him by the shoulders, pulling him close. “Got you.”
Their faces were suddenly dangerously closing, only a few inches apart. They both stopped laughing, to busy staring into each other’s eyes. Felix couldn’t stop thinking about closing the gap to kiss him. They had only met a few hours ago, but somehow, everything felt just right in that moment. Hell, Felix didn’t even know if Jisung was gay too. He forced himself to break their eye contact, moving away from Jisung.
“I think we should get out of here, “ he said, coughing a bit. His face was probably completely blushed.
“Yeah, “ Jisung agreed. “Maybe we should.”
It was a struggle. He barely managed to heave out his body from beneath the balls. He started laughing again, feeling kind of ridiculous making his way through a ball pit like this. “I don’t think we will ever get out of here.”
Jisung was laughing so hard he couldn’t talk. There were even tears in his eyes. “No… Doubt it…” he got out.
“We’re gonna die here. I’m gonna drown.” Felix let himself sink deeper into the balls to prove his point.
“I won’t let you drown, “ Jisung said, suddenly grabbing his hand. “I’ll save you.”
Felix heart started racing. “You can’t even save yourself.”
“Not true!” Jisung pushed himself up, still holding onto Felix’s hand. Then he made his way towards to exit. He reached it without many problems. Then he helped Felix get there by pulling him.
To get out, Jisung had to let go of Felix’s hand though because he needed it to push himself out of the pit. Felix’s hand felt cold and empty without, even though they had only held hands for a few moments. When they were finally out of the ball pit and finally calmed down from all the laughter, they decided to go change because they were both tired.
While he was changing back into his clothes, he couldn’t stop a bit of sadness rising inside of him. He had had so much fun today, he didn’t want the day to be over. He didn’t want to part ways with Jisung. Even though they had each other’s numbers now, they might not stay in contact. Maybe Jisung didn’t want to meet him again. Maybe he was the only one who wanted to get to know the other better, spend more time with them.
It was 7 pm when they were both standing outside again, ready to leave. It had been a bit more than 4 hours now since they had first met. “Thank you for taking me bouldering, “ Felix said even though he wanted to say Please don’t go, please stay with me. I don’t want this day to end.
“I had so much fun, “ Jisung replied. “I don’t want this day to end.”
Hearing Jisung say exactly what he had been thinking gave Felix the last push he needed. “Then let’s not end it here. Let’s grab dinner.”
Jisung’s eyes lit up. “YES!”
Dinner passed by way too quickly. They spent the whole time talking, about bouldering, about dancing, about music, about anything that came to mind. Felix found out that his birthday was just one day after Jisung’s. He found at that his favourite colour was red. He found out that he loved to rap. He found at that he used to live in Malaysia. He found out that he had the softest look on his face when he talked about what was important to him. He found out that he was a good listener. He found out that it was impossible not to laugh when he started laughing. He found out that he made the worst jokes but somehow they were still funny just because he was the one to tell them. But most importantly, he found out that talking to Jisung was the easiest thing ever.
They took their time walking back from the restaurant to the climbing hall. Jisung had left his bike there because they had chosen the closest place to eat. The dinner had only pushed back the inevitable moment of saying goodbye.
“We’ll see each other tomorrow, “ Jisung reminded him when they reached their destination. “Then you can show me the fun sides of baking.”
Felix had almost forgotten about the baking course. They would literally see each other again in less than 24 hours. Maybe saying goodbye wasn’t that bad. “I’m looking forward to it.”
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then, “ Jisung said.
“I guess so.” Felix watched as the other boy put on his helmet and unlocked his bike.
They stared at each other awkwardly for a bit before Jisung got on his bike. “Goodbye, Felix.”
When he got home, he had one unread text message by Jisung. “So Felix. Baking, huh?”
And he knew that even though the day was over now, things were just about to get started.