"Suhoon," Hyunchul called, slightly shaking the sleeping Suhoon. "Suhoon, wake up."
Stirring from his sleep, Suhoon opened his eyes slightly and saw Hyunchul gazing down on him. "What's the matter? Is it time for breakfast?"
Hyunchul smiled and said, "You're right there. Let's go."
Suhoon sat up from the bed while Hyunchul walked out of the room to finish preparing breakfast. Rubbing his eyes to get a proper look at his surroundings, Suhoon stood up and went to the bathroom to wash up.
Hyunchul called him once again from the dining room, telling him to hurry up. Wiping his face with a towel, Suhoon shook his head with a smile as he remembered what he set himself to do today. Going out of the bathroom and to the dining room, he saw Hyunchul placing utensils on the table with a light pink apron.
Grinning, Suhoon asked, "You really love that apron, huh?"
Hyunchul glared at the older man, and said, "It's not because you gave them. I just washed my favorite blue one yesterday, so I have no choice but to use this stupid pink one you gave me last Christmas."
Suhoon laughed and walked over to Hyunchul, wrapping his arms to the other's waist. "Don't be mad," he said as he kissed the younger on the cheek, "I can't help it, especially since you look good in it."
"Shut up," Hyunchul snapped at Suhoon, playfully, "just sit down and eat."
Following instructions, Suhoon sat down and watched Hyunchul walk towards the kitchen to get two glasses and a pitcher of water from the refrigerator. He smiled and remembered the first time he met Hyunchul back when he was six years old.
"Umma, who's she?" Suhoon asked his mother, who just walked inside their house together with a kid with puffy cheeks and big, round eyes.
Suhoon's mother laughed, and said, "Suhoon, he's a boy, and his name is Hyunchul."
Blinking and looking at Hyunchul more intently to see if he was indeed a boy, Suhoon bowed and said, "I'm sorry, nice to meet you, my name's Suhoon."
Hyunchul looked up at Suhoon's mother, who's looking down at him with a smile. "Suhoon's my son," she told him, kneeling to Hyunchul's height, "and he'll take care of you too."
"What do you mean, umma?" Suhoon asked, confused.
Turning to his son, Mrs. Lee said, "Hyunchul's going to stay with us from now on...he has no family left, you see, because they all died when their house accidentally burned a week ago."
"I see..." Suhoon muttered and looked back to Hyunchul, who's staring at him with his huge, beautiful eyes, "how old are you?"
Hyunchul turned to Suhoon's mother again. Smiling at the shy boy, she said, "Tell him how old are you."
"I'm five, but I'm turning six this 28th," Hyunchul answered, almost whispering.
"Really? My birthday's on the 28th too!" Suhoon exclaimed, excitedly with a bright smile, "But I'm turning seven, that means I'm older than you, so you have to call me 'hyung.'"
Hyunchul gave a small smile and said, "Alright, Suhoon-hyung."
Noticing that Suhoon has been spacing out, Hyunchul slammed his hand on the table as hard as he could.
Startled, Suhoon gasped and looked at Hyunchul with wide eyes.
"Are you alright?" Hyunchul asked, slightly worried.
"Yeah, I'm good," Suhoon answered, giving Hyunchul an assuring smile.
Hyunchul narrowed his eyes at Suhoon and said, "You're not touching your food."
Suhoon looked down on his plate and saw that he hadn't eaten much yet. He bit his lower lip and nervously glanced at Hyunchul, knowing that the other is already thinking that he did not like the food he prepared. "Before you jump to conclusions, I'm just thinking about something that's why I spaced out," Suhoon quickly explained, smiling sheepishly at Hyunchul.
"Which is?" Hyunchul asked, not buying the explanation.
"The day when I met you," Suhoon answered with his sweetest smile.
Hyunchul stared at Suhoon. "Stop smiling like that, it's creepy," he said, going back to his food.
Laughing, Suhoon resumed eating his breakfast. "By the way, can you leave the apartment for a while?" he asked as he sliced one of the sausages on his plate with his spoon.
Confused, Hyunchul asked, "Why?"
"Nothing special," Suhoon answered, putting the spoon on his mouth.
"You're asking me to leave on my own," Hyunchul told him, forgetting his breakfast.
Swallowing his food, Suhoon shook his head and said, "No, I asked Hyunmin to accompany you."
"To anywhere you want to go today."
"Why can't you do that?"
"Because I'm staying here."
Sighing in defeat, Suhoon said, "I won't be able to make you go out of here without a convincing reason, huh?"
Suhoon shook his head and said, "I'm planning a surprise for you."
"Because?" Hyunchul asked, leaning forward to Suhoon.
Laughing, Suhoon leaned forward as well, and said, "I'm only going to tell you that much."
Hyunchul raised an eyebrow, saying, "Then I'm not going anywhere."
Feeling helpless, Suhoon gave Hyunchul a pout.
Hyunchul laughed. "You're not going to convince me with that one."
Whining, Suhoon stood up from his seat and kneeled in front of Hyunchul. "Please?" he begged, holding both of Hyunchul's hands, "I need to do this for you, don't worry, I won't do anything stupid."
"You're not going to cook?" Hyunchul asked, raising an eyebrow at Suhoon once again.
Suhoon looked away, sighing in defeat.
"The more reason I have to stay here," Hyunchul told him, going back to eating his breakfast.
"But Hyunchul," Suhoon said, almost whining.
"The last time you did, we almost lose our kitchen," Hyunchul reminded him, sipping his coffee.
"But that was still back in college," Suhoon told him, still kneeling on the floor, "I've learned how to cook somehow, Injoon taught me a bit."
Hyunchul scratched his head in frustration, and exclaimed, "Fine!"
"Really?" Suhoon asked, happy.
"Just so you can stop whining, it's annoying," Hyunchul told him, sighing in exasperation.
Suhoon smiled and hugged Hyunchul. "Don't be mad, I swear you're going to love whatever it is that I have in mind," he assured, kissing Hyunchul's head.
"Just make sure that the apartment's still when I come back," Hyunchul warned Suhoon.
"Of course," Suhoon promised, smiling at Hyunchul, "I won't let anything ruin my surprise for you."
"So what is exactly Suhoon is up to?" Hyunchul asked Hyunmin for the nth time since they left the apartment together.
Hyunmin sighed, laughed and shook his head. "Seriously, Hyunchul, are you going to keep asking me that all day?" he asked, taking a bite from his sandwich.
"Yes, until you answer me," Hyunchul told him, taking a sip from his iced tea.
"Look, as much as I want to tell you what Suhoon's planning, I can't and I won't," Hyunmin said, grinning.
Hyunchul sighed and said, "Of course, Suhoon's your best friend, you won't betray him. I guess I was expecting so much."
Laughing, Hyunmin replied, "Maybe my loyalty's with Suhoon, alright, but I promise that the moment that idiot hurts you, I'm going to kill him."
Hyunchul grinned and went back to eating his sandwich. The two of them were waiting for Injoon and Jihwan at one of the best sandwich places in the city. Hyunmin and Hyunchul have no idea where they should go since Hyunchul was just forced to go out of the apartment, and Hyunmin was just asked to accompany
him. They expect their two younger friends would have better ideas on how they could spend the rest of the day.
"They're here!" Hyunchul exclaimed, raising his hand so Injoon and Jihwan would see them.
"Finally," Hyunmin muttered, taking another bite of his sandwich.
Jihwan sat beside Hyunchul while Injoon took the chair beside Hyunmin. "Sorry, we're late," Jihwan said, looking at Hyunchul and Hyunmin, "Injoon- hyung was so busy talking to his phone."
"Yah! We could've left earlier if Suhoon-hyung wasn't being an idiot," Injoon explained, shaking his head.
"Suhoon?" Hyunchul asked, looking intently at Injoon.
"Yeah," Injoon answered, "you see –"
Suddenly, Hyunmin stomped on Injoon's feet, making him yelp in pain.
Hyunchul rolled his eyes and glared at Hyunmin, who's smirking at him.
"I forgot, we can't discuss it with you," Injoon said, sticking his tongue out.
Pouting, Hyunchul just concentrated on finishing his sandwich and thinking of ordering another one. Hyunmin, Injoon and Jihwan shared a knowing look and couldn't help but
feel amused at a pissed off Hyunchul.
"Yah, hyung, don't think about it too much, you'll find out soon anyway," Jihwan told Hyunchul, smiling cutely.
"I agree, let's just think of what we can do today," Injoon suggested, excitedly.
"Whatever..." Hyunchul muttered, stuffing his mouth with more of his sandwich.
Suhoon quickly ran to the door the moment he heard the sound of knocking coming outside. He opened the door and saw Hyunchul, who's looking intently at him. Smiling, Suhoon hugged Hyunchul to welcome him home and led him inside. Noticing how Hyunchul looked around the apartment, Suhoon said, "Everything's fine, right?"
"Yeah, it is," Hyunchul answered, still looking around, "but what's with the candles and rose petals at the table? And did you change the pillowcases and the carpet?"
"You're asking too many questions," Suhoon told Hyunchul as he placed his hands on Hyunchul's shoulders, "what's wrong if I decided to decorate the apartment for once?"
"What's wrong? You hate doing those things, and you don't care about them," Hyunchul said, still confused.
"Am I really that terrible?" Suhoon asked, grinning, "What did you do today?"
Hyunchul lifted the plastic bags in his hands and said, "I bought some kitchen stuff in case you break the ones I'm using because of this surprise of yours."
Suhoon burst out laughing and kissed Hyunchul's forehead. "You're really the most precious thing ever to walk this planet," he said, looking deeply on Hyunchul's eyes.
Hyunchul pouted and said, "You're saying that because you find my actions silly."
"Of course not!" Suhoon quickly replied and hugged Hyunchul, "I find them cute...cute and silly."
Scowling, Hyunchul pushed Suhoon away and said, "I hate you."
"I'm just kidding, okay?" Suhoon told him, stroking Hyunchul's cheeks, "It's past seven already, would like to eat dinner now?"
Hyunchul nodded, and Suhoon took the plastic bags from him. As Suhoon placed the things he bought on his workroom, Hyunchul walked straight to the dining room to find a
few of his favorite Japanese food.
"You like it?" Suhoon asked, hugging Hyunchul from the back.
Smiling, Hyunchul answered, "Wow, how did you learn to make all these?"
"Cooking shows? Then there's also Injoon, who taught me up to the very last minute, and you," Suhoon answered, leaning his chin on Hyunchul's shoulder.
"Me?" Hyunchul asked, dumbfounded.
"I watch you cook when I have a chance," Suhoon told him, "but I have to warn you that they're not as good as the food you make, so have mercy on me."
Hyunchul chuckled, and said, "We can always eat outside if they turn out to be awful, but I don't think they are. They smell good, and they look good to me. Can we start? I'm starving."
Suhoon agreed, and the two of them took their seats.
Hyunchul tasted each dish Suhoon made and gave them all thumbs up, saying, "Not bad, but don't expect that you can pull the stint you did today again."
"Don't worry, I won't," Suhoon said, watching Hyunchul eat the food he prepared enthusiastically. He remembered the time when he was 17 when he promised to make sure that Hyunchul will be happy forever.
Suhoon knocked at Hyunchul's bedroom for the fifth time.
"Hyunchul, please, open the door," he said, holding tightly on the doorknob. Finally, Suhoon heard the click of the lock. He straightened himself up as Hyunchul opened the door and let him in. As he closed the door behind him, Suhoon noticed that Hyunchul's eyes were red from too much crying. The sight broke Suhoon's heart that he quickly pulled the younger boy into his embrace. "What happened, Hyunchul? Tell Suhoon-hyung what happened," he said as he caressed Hyunchul's hair.
"They said I don't belong here...that I should just go back to the dirty place I came from..." Hyunchul began, burying his eyes on Suhoon's shoulders.
"Who told you that?" Suhoon asked, feeling angry.
"The students from school...they know I'm just an orphan, and the reason why I can study in our school is that your parents took me in..." he explained, tears starting to fall from his eyes again, "they hate me, hyung...I hate them too...they kept on
pushing me around, they kept on making fun of me... they're always looking down on me as if I'm trash...I don't know what to do anymore..."
Suhoon gently pulled Hyunchul away from him to wipe his cheeks with his hands. Leading the younger boy to the bed, Suhoon made Hyunchul sit down, and said, "Don't
listen to them. They're just jealous because they can never be like you..."
"There's nothing to be jealous about me," Hyunchul told the older boy, looking down at his hands.
Tilting Hyunchul's face up to look directly at him, Suhoon said, "You're one of the most beautiful people here on Earth, and no one can hold a candle to you, believe me."
"You're just saying that because you want to make me feel good," Hyunchul said, smiling sadly.
Suhoon shook his head and replied, "I'm telling you this because I love you."
Hyunchul stared at Suhoon for a moment and smiled, saying, "I love you too, hyung, thank you."
"You didn't seem to understand what I meant," Suhoon commented, taking one of Hyunchul's hands to his.
"I didn't?" Hyunchul asked, confused.
Suhoon shook his head, smiling.
"What do you mean, then?" Hyunchul asked, curious.
"I mean I love you like this," Suhoon answered, leaning towards Hyunchul and kissing him on the lips. Hyunchul's eyes widened at the unexpected action, but he relaxed soon enough and returned the kiss.
Surprised, Suhoon broke the kiss to look at Hyunchul directly.
"It seems that you're the one who didn't understand what I meant," Hyunchul told him, smiling.
Knowing Hyunchul was sort of a prankster, Suhoon stared at the younger's eyes for signs that Hyunchul's making fun of him but found none.
"You don't believe me, do you?" Hyunchul asked, pouting.
Suhoon suddenly began to laugh and captured Hyunchul's lips in another kiss. Pulling away once again, Suhoon hugged Hyunchul as tight as he could, and said, "Thank you. I promise I'll take care of you. I won't let anyone hurt you, and I'll make you happy as
much as I can. I'll never make you cry."
Hyunchul returned the embrace, and said, "Thank you, hyung, I promise to always be with you..."
Sitting down on the carpeted floor, Hyunchul began to laugh the moment Suhoon walked in the living room with a blueberry cheesecake that obviously came from a box. Suhoon
looked at him weirdly as he carefully placed the cake on top of the table. "Why are you laughing?" he asked, sitting down beside Hyunchul.
"I have to say I'm disappointed," Hyunchul said, grinning at Suhoon, "I was expecting that you went all out this 'special' dinner."
Suhoon chuckled, and said, "Cooking is different from making a cake, alright?"
"Whatever you say," Hyunchul replied, hugging Suhoon's waist, "so, are you going to tell me why you suddenly made all these?"
Suhoon, who's slicing the cake, turned to Hyunchul, and said, "Do I need a specific reason why? What if I just want to prepare you something special?"
"I would take that if I'm talking with someone else, but I know you, you always have a reason behind the things that you do," Hyunchul told him, leaning his chin on Suhoon's shoulder.
"Can't you wait after we finish dessert?" Suhoon asked, smiling.
Hyunchul shook his head as adorable as he could so that Suhoon would not have any reason to avoid what he wants.
Setting the knife down, Suhoon turned to Hyunchul and told him to close his eyes. Hyunchul was about to object when Suhoon said, "You follow my instructions, or you're going to wait until tomorrow morning to find out why."
Pouting, Hyunchul closed his eyes, saying, "You're really mean. You already shooed me out of the apartment the whole day, and you have a plan to make me wait until tomorrow morning? I can't believe you."
Laughing, Suhoon said, "Are you seriously 25? You're seriously acting like you're 10."
"You're wrong," Hyunchul corrected him, eyes still closed, "I didn't talk this much when I was 10, remember?"
"Whatever," Suhoon replied, taking out a necklace from a box he hid on the couch with he buried on the sofa with the pillows, "no peeking, alright?"
"Yes, yes, I know, hurry up," Hyunchul told Suhoon, impatiently.
Shaking his head, Suhoon walked behind Hyunchul and gently put on the necklace around him.
"You're giving me a necklace?" Hyunchul asked, guessing, "This is not the first time you gave me something like this. What's with this necklace that you need to put on this kind of a show?"
Sitting in front of Hyunchul once again, Suhoon answered, "Open your eyes so that you'll know."
Hyunchul opened his eyes and lifted the necklace for a better look, making him widened his eyes in shock. The necklace's chain was simple. If he remembered correctly, he had a lot of them. What made Hyunchul speechless was the necklace's
pendant, which happened to be a simple silver ring. Hyunchul looked up at Suhoon, who's smiling at him with those gentle eyes, and said, "This is a ring."
"Yes, it is," Suhoon confirmed, still smiling.
"Why are you giving me a ring?" Hyunchul asked as he felt his heartbeat go faster.
"Because I want to spend the rest of my life with you," Suhoon answered, taking both of Hyunchul's hands to his, "will you marry me, Hyunchul?"
Confused, Hyunchul said, "I don't understand...I thought we agreed to not think about marriage, why are you doing this?"
Sighing, Suhoon pulled Hyunchul towards him in an embrace, and said, "Calm down, I know we did, but I realized there's nothing wrong if we get married. Besides, I know that we both want to get married, so I don't see why we need to stay this way forever."
"You're wrong," Hyunchul said, pulling himself away from Suhoon's embrace, "I don't want to, there's no need for this! We've been together for almost ten years now, Suhoon. Most married couples can't even stay together for a year. Besides we can't get married here, stop being delusional."
Suhoon took a deep breath to calm himself down. He knew Hyunchul wouldn't take his proposal easily. He could still remember how Hyunchul made it clear that he's against
"Hyunchul, can I ask you something?" Suhoon said as he lied on the couch and read a thick novel for his English literature class.
"What is it?" Hyunchul replied as he made sure that he answered all of the items in his Physics homework.
"What do you think about marriage?" Suhoon asked, eyes still on the novel.
"It's unnecessary," Hyunchul answered, not even looking up his from his homework.
Closing the novel, Suhoon got off the couch and sat beside Hyunchul, who is sitting on the floor. "Why?" he asked, curious and slightly hurt.
"I believe that two people can still stay together without it," Hyunchul explained, eyebrows furrowing because of one physics problem. "Appa and umma got married five months before I was born, but when I turned three, appa left us."
"So if I ask you to marry me you'll say 'no'?" Suhoon asked, looking intently at Hyunchul.
Hyunchul stopped writing on his notebook and turned to Suhoon. "Why? Are you planning to ask me?" he said, nervously.
Suhoon stared at Hyunchul's eyes and saw fear in them. Understanding how Hyunchul felt about the matter, Suhoon gave a comforting smile, and said, "It's not like we can get married here, right? What's the use?"
Feeling uneasy, Hyunchul gave a small smile and nodded his head.
"I'll explain, please, listen..." Suhoon said, taking hold of Hyunchul's hands once again, "Appa told me to manage our company in LA, I told him I couldn't because I don't want to leave you here..." he began, thankful that Hyunchul's intently listening to him, "but he said I could take you with me and we can get married there..."
"So just because you found a way, you're now asking me?" Hyunchul snapped, infuriated.
Suhoon cupped Hyunchul's face with his hands and made him look directly at him. "Tell me, Hyunchul," he began, letting himself drown on Hyunchul's eyes like always, "what is it about marriage that scares you? I don't believe that me eventually leaving you is enough of a reason for you to be so scared like this because in the 20 years we've known each other, I can say that never once did I leave your side."
Biting his lower lip, Hyunchul couldn't help but let the tears he'd been holding back to fall from his eyes. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry..." Hyunchul said, looking down, "I'm sorry... I'm sorry, Suhoon-hyung..."
Suhoon quickly pulled Hyunchul in his embrace once again. Hyunchul had stopped calling him 'hyung' years ago, but Suhoon knew that Hyunchul still does when he's feeling helpless like right now.
Hyunchul buried his face on Suhoon's chest, and explained, "Marriage is such a huge thing, hyung...I feel like it's going to ask a lot of things from me...things I know I can't give like kids and I'm scared you're going to leave me because of that..."
"You're the silliest person ever to walk this Earth," Suhoon said, chuckling, "I can't believe you. Stop crying now. You're making me feel bad since I promised that I'll never make you cry."
Hyunchul wiped his tears away.
"Don't think about those things," Suhoon began, caressing Hyunchul's cheeks, "I'm not going to ask anything else from you. You've given me a lot already. All I'm asking is for us to give this relationship more security so that other people would never think that they can break the two of us apart."
"And how about kids?" Hyunchul asked, still doubtful.
"I don't think there's something wrong if we'll just adopt," Suhoon answered, feeling confident that Hyunchul's slowly giving in.
"What if I still say 'no'? You're going to leave me?" Hyunchul asked, looking intently at Suhoon.
Knowing that Hyunchul is challenging him, Suhoon honestly said, "I wish I could, but I know I'd die the moment you walk out of my life."
Hyunchul then took off the necklace, confusing Suhoon. "Put it on my finger then," he said after taking out the ring from the chain and held it out to Suhoon.
Suhoon took the ring and did what he was told.
"Hyunmin said he'll kill you the moment you hurt me," Hyunchul said, serious.
Laughing at what Hyunchul said, Suhoon kissed Hyunchul's hand and said, "The exact reason why I'm going to die if I leave you."
Hyunchul giggled and embraced Suhoon, saying, "I love you, hyung."
"I love you too," Suhoon replied, leaning down to kiss Hyunchul's lips.