“So, are we dating?”
“Are you mine and am I yours?”
“May us have the pleasure to be each other’s protection?”
Jaehyun pulled a face at the last one. This was all Changmin’s fault. Or Chanhee. Or both.
He looked at his reflection in the mirror and groaned -definitely embarrassed at himself for practicing so late at night, just so he wouldn't stammer when he finally had the guts to ask Juyeon whether they were dating or not.
Chanhee was covering an article about acquaintance card that were vastly used back in America during Victorian era. Haut Monde had such a festival reading the cheesy pick-up lines that seemed insincere somehow. Nevertheless, Jaehyun had to admit it had its own charm because they were light-hearted and humorous. Not at all like how Jaehyun felt right now.
Jaehyun got out of his bathroom and turned off his bedroom’s light. The standing lamp near his bed automatically turned on in a dim warm lighting.
Changmin on the other hand, had been spending a lot of times with Haknyeon, that one day, a simple and small conversation between them made Jaehyun think twice about the relationship status of Juyeon and him that was safe to say, vague.
Changmin gave Haknyeon the biggest orange chocolate cake someone could ever find for his birthday (even Jacob and Kevin looked jealous at the size of Haknyeon’s cake). And Haknyeon’s eyes were gleaming, face glowing as he said,
“Changmin I love you-“
Before stopping himself in doubt and continued,
“No homo though.”
Jaehyun remembered snorting so hard and was left shocked later on, when Changmin rolled his eyes in such adore and replied,
“Hak, we’re literally dating. You’re so stupid.”
Haknyeon choked on his cake, while he and Youngjae who was present at that time almost fell on the floor at the revelation.
“We- we are?”
Youngjae was screaming his head off when Changmin just smiled coyly at Haknyeon’s question before leaning in to kiss him.
Jaehyun was disgusted.
It happened last week, and it made him think about his relationship with Juyeon.
Two months passed since Jaehyun’s delicate confession -what he liked to thought of it anyway rather than demanding, and everything was…okay?
Juyeon held his hand sometimes, when they walked side by side to have dinner after office in a nearby restaurant. Juyeon said Jaehyun was really cute sometimes, as he then proceeded to poke Jaehyun’s flushing cheek with his long finger. Juyeon-
Jaehyun felt his stomach swirled hard as he curled up on his bed. He screwed his eyes shut, clenching his pillows between his shaking fingers remembering how one time they were so into their conversation in Juyeon’s place, and the clock struck three in the morning. Juyeon told him to stay and Jaehyun had agreed and they laid down side by side on Juyeon’s bed and Jaehyun didn't think he could ever sleep before passing out two seconds later from how exhausted he was. That morning, they drove with Juyeon’s car to work and Juyeon too, drove him back as they got off work together. Juyeon kissed his cheek softly and wished him a good night before leaving.
“This isn’t happening,” Jaehyun spelled it again and again like a mantra, “This isn’t happening,” to make himself believe that his emotions hadn’t aged backwards because he felt like a simpering child so bewitched by a silly crush a lot.
And Jaehyun let himself stared longer when he was alone with Juyeon -hiding his face behind the menu book when Juyeon grinned having caught him in the process of ogling. Jaehyun let his fingers reached out to Juyeon’s sleeves sometimes when he felt particularly clingy -ignoring Juyeon’s eyes as the later let out such a small, and sweet, and affectionate chuckle under his breath before walking slower to match Jaehyun’s steps.
Goodness Jaehyun was a fool and didn't he know it. The thoughts of Juyeon kept coming and telling him that he shouldn't sleep. And he had lost so many of them!!
His phone on the nightstand vibrated and Jaehyun was panicking all by himself almost tripping from the way his white sheet tangled between his legs.
Hi Jaehyun! I’m sorry for texting you so late. Sunwoo has an amazing idea for one of his shoot props that will cost Gentlefolk’s staffs their precious times. If you’re free tomorrow after work, would you like to help me with the DIY project?
Oh! DIY! Jaehyun’s heart beat faster. It only meant long night being spent together with Juyeon.
Do it yourself
He quickly typed his reply. His foolishly bewildered heart was trying its best to appear smart in front of Juyeon, and Jaehyun was busy typing long about what kind of food should they buy to accompany them tomorrow while doing the DIY, when Juyeon’s next text came.
Oh. Oh, okay.
Okay. I’m sorry. I should have asked if you’re not busy. My bad.
I guess I’ll see you tomorrow Jaehyun.
What? What? Jaehyun blinked twice and realized his earlier message had sounded so fucking rude-
“No, no, no-“ so he pressed call.
“I was just- fuck- it sounds so stupid now, I was just- you know- I mean, DIY, do it yourself. I was just trying to sound fucking smart and ended up being rude and misunderstood and now that I think about it, even my sister’s kids know what a DIY is. I’m sorry Juyeon, I didn't mean to-“
“Hey, Jaehyun. It’s alright.”
An amused stifled laugh was clear in Juyeon’s cheerful tone. Jaehyun heaved out a relieved sigh before clearing his throat, “What I’m trying to say is…well…First of all, I know what a DIY is.”
“It stands for do it yourself.”
Juyeon had said in an amused tone. Jaehyun cleared his throat, “And, well…well-“
“I’d love you- to!! To!! I’d love to!! I’d love to help you!!” he screeched nearing Changmin’s level of screams, “I said to,” before whispering in a weak humiliation.
The line went terrifyingly quiet after his graceless yell and Jaehyun held his breath, wanting to cry-
But Juyeon had said with a smile. Jaehyun knew because he could trace it, was already familiar with the way Juyeon talked, “Okay.”
“Shall we have dinner before staying late at the office tomorrow then?”
Juyeon asked benevolently, taking Jaehyun’s breath away as if he hadn’t tortured Jaehyun enough just by existing, “I’ll go- I’ll- go wherever you go.”
The quietude fell upon them again, wrapping in a defeaning heartbeat kind of nerve it made Jaehyun’s toes curled in bashfulness.
“That’s very sweet of you.”
Jaehyun bend forward -pressing his forehead on top of his bed in a soft thump, slamming his eyes shut because he was such a disgrace.
“I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Okay. I’ll see you- I’ll- okay, tomorrow.”
“Have a good rest Jaehyun.”
“Yeah,” Jaehyun whispered -left hand clenching his chest in a good kind of angst, “You too.”
‘I’d love you- to!! To!! I’d love to!! I’d love to help you!!’
‘I’ll go- I’ll- go wherever you go.’
Juyeon calmly ended the call and put his phone down on his kitchen island. He also calmly walked toward his French Door Refrigerator -holding both handles tight within his palms, before leaning forward to put his burning face inside it, hoping the cool interior of the refrigerator across his skin could also cool down his recklessly beating heart.
“Fucking hell,” he whispered to himself, eyes wide shut as Jaehyun’s words repeated inside his head like a broken record.
It didn't really come as a surprise.
Juyeon always knew Jaehyun would be the death of him anyway, when the later practically fell asleep two seconds after they both laid down on Juyeon’s bed, while Juyeon was busy nursing his hammering heart for having Jaehyun in his bedroom, on his bed.
Juyeon put his hands up, “I’ll do it.”
Jacob threw a winning look at Kevin, “Look, my kid. Very admirable, very-“
“I’ll accompany Juyeon,” Jaehyun shrugged as he turned toward him letting out a smile.
Juyeon had to really bite down his smile before the whole members of the meeting could see how bad he got it for Jaehyun.
Kevin threw a winning look at Jacob, “Look, my kid. Very responsible, very-“
“Can I just-“ Sunwoo put his hand up cutting Kevin off, “Please say something?” wiping his sweaty forehead with his handkerchief.
Glitterati building -for the second time in seven years, managed to break their central conditioning and left everyone sweating like they were inside a sauna.
Juyeon realized how bad it was, when he saw all of Haut Monde’s staffs hung their suit jacket at the back of their chairs, loosen their tie completely, and opened two to three buttons of their crisp dress shirt.
“Yes, Sunwoo?” Sangyeon puffed his cheeks giving Sunwoo his chance to speak.
“When you two,” Sunwoo pointedly stared at him and Jaehyun back and forth, “Volunteer to stay and waited until the building electrical engineers come to our floor’s turn tonight, can I just please- like begging you, not to fuck on my desk-“
“What the fuck Sunwoo!!” Jaehyun reached pretty far from where he was seated to pull Sunwoo’s fringe and Juyeon groaned -running his palm through his face.
“Damn it!! Jaehyun let him go-“ Chanhee pulled Jaehyun away from Sunwoo who turned redder than he was before, “It’s not like he asked you two not to fuck-“
“Yeah, just not on his desk,” Youngjae quipped with furrowed brows, “It’s hardly a difficult request-“
“Enough,” Younghoon inhaled deeply -closing his eyes as he tipped his head back, looking for any kind of fresh air which was nowhere to be found.
Poor lad. Juyeon reminded himself to give Younghoon a can of his oxygen spray after the meeting.
“No fucking in this office,” Kevin frowned.
“But you somehow decided to supply condoms years ago in our company’s bathroom?” Sangyeon frowned back and Kevin grumbled under his breath while Jacob purposefully not looking at Sangyeon in the eyes.
“Anyway,” Juyeon sighed, “I’m terribly sorry to break it to you, but we’re not really living in some porn videos that you and Chanhee subscribed together to. This is real world. We have CCTV in this office, and-“
“Sunwoo and I are not subscribing to a porn channel together,” Chanhee hissed.
Juyeon didn't know if he should laugh or felt bad when Sunwoo’s face fell like he had been betrayed, wait probably heartbroken. Juyeon definitely didn't want to go near whatever beef Chanhee had with Sunwoo.
“Wait,” Changmin tilted his head -the smile he had was shaky, “CCTV you said…huh.”
Juyeon once again, didn't know if he should laugh or felt disgusted when Haknyeon and Changmin sprinted to the wide open meeting room door toward the IT team part of the office. Juyeon definitely did not want to go near whatever mess Changmin had created together with Haknyeon.
“Do I even-“ Sangyeon blinked hard, “Do I even want to know? What they’ve been- I’m-” he turned toward Juyeon, “Should I ask?”
“No,” Juyeon shook his head, “For your own sake.”
“Right,” Sangyeon looked shaken, “Right okay. As we agreed on, Juyeon and Jaehyun would stay and wait for the building electrical engineers tonight. Thank you so much you two. If anything happens, you need help somehow, don’t hesitate to call me okay. I think we’re all good to go home now.”
Murmured of agreements filled the humid meeting room as everyone got up on their feet and left.
Juyeon stayed on his seat and broke into small fits of laughter when Jaehyun got up and half hopping on his steps toward him. Jaehyun pulled the meeting chair beside Juyeon and put his hands on both sides of Juyeon’s chair as they sat facing each other.
“Hello~” Jaehyun grinned.
Before answering the lovely greetings, Juyeon noticed how the staffs were clearing out the area with relief all over their faces -seemingly couldn't wait to go home, through Jaehyun’s shoulder. Jaehyun followed his sight and twisted his neck a little to do so.
Juyeon watched Jaehyun for a while before getting the latter’s attention again, “Hi Jaehyun.”
Jaehyun was pressing shyness as his shoulder went up when he smiled, “Eunwoo said the team would probably visit our floor in another two or three hour. Should we order something for dinner? Did you have dinner already? I mean, it is half past nine. I actually already had my dinner with Changmin. But I can eat again with you if you want. And-“
And Juyeon let Jaehyun rambled, feeling so overwhelmingly attached to Jaehyun’s perky mood. There were nights where Juyeon hoped Jaehyun was sleeping beside him again like that one time. Jaehyun could pick his favourite side of Juyeon’s bed, whichever he liked best. Jaehyun was more than welcomed to stay whenever.
Sometimes Juyeon wanted to pretend he forgot the road to Jaehyun’s apartment just so he could take Jaehyun to his place, even though Jaehyun already spent an incredible amount of time in his flat already. But it wasn’t enough, and Juyeon knew the exact reason why he himself couldn't bring the topic up for Jaehyun to consider.
They weren’t exclusive. Yet.
It must have slipped his mind the first time because he was too dazed for having Jaehyun telling him that he was pulling his heart together just for Juyeon. And Juyeon remembered losing so much sleep for almost five days in a row because it still felt unreal that Jaehyun kept his promises on trying his best to let Juyeon in. His heart was aching in such ardour because Jaehyun made it seemed so easy, like he was already maybe a little bit in love with Juyeon too, and it drove Juyeon completely crazy.
“Can I-“ Juyeon licked his lips nervously, “Ask you something?”
Jaehyun -lovely Jaehyun, glanced up through his pretty lashes in silent concern, “Yes.”
“What made you,” Juyeon looked up at the ceiling for a second, “Want-“ no, not want me. That was too narcistic of him to ask, “I mean-“
“What made me realized I want you?”
“It’s-“ Juyeon’s heart was screaming in its glorious meekness -heavily embarrassed by Jaehyun’s straightforward question, “Yeah.”
Jaehyun didn't immediately answer. His chest moved lightly as he take a breath, “When it was clear to me that I hate the thought of you being alone with Younghoon a whole lot more, than the thought of Sangyeon being together with Younghoon.”
It might sound so simple in other people’s ears. But for Juyeon it meant everything. Juyeon knew how much love Jaehyun had and saved for Sangyeon. Juyeon saw the way Jaehyun kept getting up on his bruised feet even after getting his heart beaten, to still run to Sangyeon. And as the thought occurred to him, the insecurities he had been trying so hard to hide stealthily came to the surface.
Would Jaehyun one day do the same to him too? Would Jaehyun fight for Juyeon with everything he has someday too?
“And when I find myself being stupid and sounding stupid when it comes to you,” Jaehyun used his feet to slide his chair closer to Juyeon’s, “Like how I miss you now,” he shrugged looking nonchalant but the red flush on his cheeks stated otherwise, “It doesn't make sense because you’re here with me, and that sounds so stupid. But I’ve been feeling a lot of stupid things about you anyway, so it doesn't matter.”
And it almost like Jaehyun could read his mind as he gingerly grasped the front of Juyeon’s loose white dress shirt, “I just think-“ Jaehyun trailed in his words quietly, “I’ve been catching feelings for you longer than I myself realized. When I called you, that night. When you were out of town-”
Juyeon held his breath.
“I ended things as clean as I could with Sangyeon that night. You asked me where was I, and I had been running trying to stop thinking about you and Younghoon being together for a whole day. And I just, I did what I could Juyeon,” Jaehyun gave him a smile that looked more like a painful wince, “So after talking things through with him -with Sangyeon, I just couldn't wait. I just want you right there and then. Just- now. And I called you and- and I realized I can’t just have you just because I want to. I can’t stop you from changing your mind about me, or changing your mind about Younghoon so I was- I was pretty agitated.”
“And then you came to work, all nice, all- all great and friendly with Younghoon and I just think- I was so absolutely jealous,” Jaehyun put his head down and squeezed Juyeon’s shirt tighter, “And rather than regretting making a decision to move on from Sangyeon, I regretted not noticing my feelings for you sooner. Because Juyeon trust me,” Jaehyun’s eyes went up to him -devastatingly hopeful, “There isn’t even an ounce of regret in my heart about moving on from Sangyeon. None.”
The verbal confirmations made Juyeon’s heart lurched, then he took Jaehyun’s hand that had been holding on to him within his palm. Juyeon tangled their fingers together and kissed the back of Jaehyun’s hand lovingly. Wanting to kiss him, embraced him, telling Jaehyun that yes, Jaehyun could have Juyeon just because he wanted to.
Because Juyeon was easy for Jaehyun.
Always too easy.
“Chanhee- wait- hey-“
“Yes?” Chanhee had his eyes pointedly wide, brows rising, lips pulled in a tight smile, “Yes Sunwoo?”
“Does our shared subscription for that particular porn channel means nothing to you?” Sunwoo whispered because he felt really hurt.
“That’s it,” Youngjae stomped his feet -groaning loud, “I’m taking another elevator.”
“It’s going to end next month anyway, and we don’t have to renew it-“
“Why not?!!” Sunwoo demanded shakily, “You can’t deny how hard I’ve tried,” he breathed painfully, “To change my porn preferences. To put you first.”
Younghoon who had been standing behind the two -waiting for an elevator too, held Sangyeon’s hand who was standing beside him, whispering quietly to Sangyeon’s ears, “We should have gone with Youngjae-“
“There ain’t no gold in this river Sunwoo,” Chanhee said -laced with desperation, “That I’ve been washing my hands in forever. I know there is hope in this waters-“
As Chanhee continued, “But you never move forward. Towards me. So now I gave up.”
Sangyeon’s frowns deepened.
“Chanhee,” Sunwoo pleaded in his whimpers, “Go easy on me.”
“Are you two fighting while using Adele’s new song as preferences?” Sangyeon couldn't hold it in anymore.
“Sangyeon!!” Younghoon hissed, couldn't believe how rude his boyfriends was for interrupting a lovers quarrel.
“Yes,” Chanhee answered in a sniffle -turning to Sangyeon, “It’s fun.”
“It is,” Sunwoo smiled weakly, “Great song too. Chanhee and I have been listening to it together on our shared Spotify subscription.”
“You lads are subscribing to a lot of things together,” Sangyeon snorted, “I mean, Chanhee clearly is waiting for you to make a move.”
“Damn it Sangyeon!!” Younghoon hissed through gritted teeth, “Let the kids handle this.”
There was obvious heartbreak swimming across Sunwoo’s eyes, “How dare I make a move when Chanhee has so many options to choose from?”
“Oh my god,” Younghoon put his palm across his lips, “I feel you.”
Sangyeon frowned at Younghoon.
“I’m insecure enough about whether my feelings are returned-“
“Oh my God,” Younghoon breathed -brows crunching sympathetically.
Sangyeon’s frows deepened.
“And I also have to live every day, knowing that I have so many foes to fight for your affection.”
“If you say oh my God once again,” Sangyeon yanked Younghoon’s arm slightly to get his attention, “I’m going to start thinking that you feel the same way about me, like how Sunwoo feels toward Chanhee.”
Chanhee and Sunwoo frowned, turning to look at Younghoon and Sangyeon.
“Well can you blame me?” Younghoon asked exasperatedly, “I didn't even know if you were gay at that time-“
“Younghoon no,” Sangyeon whispered in anguish, “How many times do I have to tell you, that I’m only gay for you-“
“Can you both leave?” Chanhee snarked, “This is Sunwoo and I’s moment. Respect please.”
“Teenagers these days,” Sangyeon grumbled but pulled Younghoon toward an elevator that was opened anyway as they both held each other’s hands with assuring words of how much they loved each other.
“I don’t care about the others,” Chanhee crossed his arms, “It’s not my fault that they’re enamoured.”
“Well,” Sunwoo’s heart started crawling at the back of his throat, “Are you- are you somehow taken?”
Chanhee really thought Sunwoo was stupid. But he really, really wanted Sunwoo to be his stupid, “Only for granted.”
“I-“ Sunwoo choked.
“I’m sorry?” Sunwoo gasped for air.
“Are you going to make up for it?”
“I- will,” Sunwoo looked up with pure determination, “I will make it up to you. Let me Chanhee. Let me make it up to you.”
“By being on your side forever-”
Chanhee bit his bottom lip hard. Stupid Sunwoo.
“To make sure you get nothing but the best kind of love.”
“The best kind of love huh,” Chanhee sighed, “From you?”
“Only I can do.”
Stupid, stupid Sunwoo. Chanhee turned on his heels biting a smile, “Fine.”
“Are we boyfies now?”
“Only if you stop calling us boyfies.”
“Anything for you Chanhee,” Sunwoo sighed along with an exasperatedly fond smile, “Anything.”
Jaehyun knew it must have been hard to trust him. If Jaehyun was in Juyeon’s shoes, he too, would doubt himself about the whole moving on from Sangyeon. For how hard he had fought for Sangyeon back then, Jaehyun understood if Juyeon somehow felt some hesitation about the idea of them being officially together.
Yet it was his truth. It was how he felt, his own, but Jaehyun could understand where Juyeon came from. Jaehyun had put Sangyeon first for so many years, for so long. So he decided to be patient, waiting, hoping and praying that one day Juyeon could see that Jaehyun wanted no one but Juyeon now. No one but him. Only him.
So he waited, patiently. He tried to make Juyeon see, hear and feel, about his growing feelings for Juyeon. Jaehyun albeit embarrassed, would stop turning away when his eyes met Juyeon’s -opting to give a smile instead before hiding his face between his palms to hide his warm cheeks, only after Juyeon returned the smile back. Jaehyun although afraid, started to say how much he enjoyed Juyeon’s company -spelling out his truth loudly for Juyeon to hear about the loneliness he felt when they were somehow apart. And Jaehyun despite timid, let himself clinging to Juyeon when he felt like it, and it was more than just sometimes.
Some nights Jaehyun would have to swallow the big lumps that refused to go away as Jaehyun felt down casted laying on his bed because another day had passed where Juyeon was still not his officially. There were many nights where Jaehyun slept while feeling so crestfallen for how much his heart asking him why it hadn’t held the hand of Juyeon’s heart yet.
But he didn't complain. Didn't dare to complain because Jaehyun would wait until Juyeon believed him, believed that Jaehyun spared zero thoughts on any kind of romantic feelings he used to have for Sangyeon.
The door in front of him clicked open and Jaehyun glanced up.
“Come in,” Juyeon greeted with a smile as soon as he opened his apartment door.
Jaehyun put his thoughts away and offered a smile too before letting himself in. Juyeon called him last night asking if he wanted to spend a whole Saturday with him in his place and Jaehyun agreed immediately.
The door was being closed behind him, and Jaehyun although had been in Juyeon’s flat for so many times, was still standing awkwardly waiting to be told to take a seat.
And suddenly Juyeon stood so close in front of him, that Jaehyun’s upper body instinctively pulled backwards a little, “Hi,” he tried in a whisper, feeling flushed at their proximity, at the way Juyeon circled both his arms around his waist.
“Hi there,” Juyeon grinned as he leaned forward, but stopping like he remembered something, “I was thinking.”
“I want to take a step forward in our relationship.”
What? Jaehyun blinked fast and hard just like how his heart pounded. He gaped so loss for words and more when Juyeon let him go and got down on one knee and-
Juyeon glanced up at him in moon crescent eyes, smiling so wide as he offered Jaehyun a folded yellow note.
What? Jaehyun said it out loud this time around, “What?”
Jaehyun took the note and Juyeon got up as Jaehyun opened it.
“What is this-“
“My Wi-Fi’s password.”
Jaehyun had to stop himself from punching Juyeon in the face. Because he really would. Back then, he really would.
Juyeon meanwhile, looked so proud at this ‘development’ in their ‘relationship.’
“Wonderful,” Jaehyun sighed -he got nervous for nothing then.
“You can use my Wi-Fi now!!” Juyeon said excitedly.
“Very generous of you.”
“Well?” Juyeon looked at him expectantly, “You don’t have to use your internet data when you’re here.”
“Right, okay, thank you,” Jaehyun inhaled in a shaky breath.
But Juyeon kept looking at him like he was really waiting for Jaehyun to use his Wi-Fi. Jaehyun groaned as he took his phone out from his pants and went to his phone’s data settings -finally relenting.
“Alright, what’s your Wi-Fi’s name then?”
It took Juyeon a second too long before spelling out his answer gently, “Will you be mine Jaehyun?”
Jaehyun’s head snapped up so fast at this, “What?”
“Will you be mine Jaehyun?” Juyeon repeated.
And indeed, indeed when Jaehyun look at his screen, ‘Will you be mine Jaehyun?’ was there -registered as one of many Wi-Fi’s connections available.
And Juyeon, Juyeon was looking at him in such a delicate smile, “I forgot,” he said quietly, “You can only use my Wi-Fi, if your answer to my question is the exact same one with my Wi-Fi’s password I just gave you.”
Jaehyun’s stomach was churning wildly, heart trashing making his chest rumbled in abandon because he read what the password was in Juyeon’s yellow note. But this felt too good to be true, Jaehyun afraid he read them wrong the first time, so he opened Juyeon’s yellow note again.
The password to Juyeon’s Wi-Fi was ‘I will.’
Then Jaehyun felt the back of his eyes burning, the bridge of his nose warming and he didn't dare to look at Juyeon because he was too washed in relief, too confused as to why he felt like crying when he felt so fortunate and in love.
So Jaehyun wiped his brimming eyes with the sleeves of his sweater and punched the words in, whimpered out a thin sob disguised as a weak laugh, when his phone stated that he was connected to Juyeon’s internet connection.
“There,” he breathed out in a sharp exhale -showing Juyeon’s his phone screen, “Your Wi-Fi’s mine.”
“As you are,” Juyeon spoke so gently, “Mine,” staying rooted to where he was standing, “Don’t cry.”
“I came here-“ Jaehyun felt stupid, silly, everything that got him all embarrassed and in full chagrin, “But then-“ he didn't think he even made sense now, “Because Juyeon, I would understand.”
“What would you understand?”
And Jaehyun was somehow thankful, that Juyeon stayed in his place, didn't come forward and near because Jaehyun didn't think he could handle it. Not right now.
So he basked in Juyeon’s warm consideration, “If you change your mind,” he whispered out his fears for Juyeon to hear, “If you find it hard to believe me. If you find yourself doubting me, about how I feel about you, about-“
“Why would I do that?”
“Because!!” Jaehyun sobbed exasperatedly, “Because-“
Juyeon’s frame tensed ever so slightly and it made Jaehyun glanced up, “Because you’re still in love with Sangyeon-“
“No!!” Jaehyun crumpled the yellow note beneath his palm, “No it’s not that- see? You see what I mean-“
“I don't know why should I doubt you, unless you give me a really good reason to,” Juyeon’s face hardened, “So tell me Jaehyun, is there a reason for me to do that?” despite the obvious waver in his voice painted in sheer agitation.
“No- I don't know-“
“You told me you’re giving your best to move on from Sangyeon and I believe you. I made my own decision Jaehyun. You don't make them for me-“
“Why would you do that?”
“Giving me a chance.”
Jaehyun saw hurt flashing fast across Juyeon’s face and he hated the fact that it was him that brought it, but Jaehyun must know.
“Are you telling me I shouldn’t?” Juyeon’s palms turned to fists now and Jaehyun, Jaehyun just wanted to hold it and kissed it.
“That’s not what I mean.”
Juyeon’s voice had turned low and Jaehyun tasted trepidation at the tip of his tongue -heart wincing in anguish because Juyeon was too lovely to be putting himself in Jaehyun’s puddles of mess.
“I’m saying that I will understand if you want to wait. If you want to see how things will go before asking- before asking me-“
“Let me ask you again, is it still him for you then?”
“That’s not my point-“
“Just answer the question,” Juyeon didn't raise his voice at him. Jaehyun would. Jaehyun would love to scream at Juyeon asking if he still thought about Younghoon sometimes when Jaehyun let his insecurities gnawed at his poor heart. Even though Juyeon’s eyes had turned cold, his tone was all bitter, but Juyeon never raised his voice at Jaehyun as he asked, “Answer the question Jaehyun-“
“It’s not!! He’s not!! And that’s the thing no Juyeon?” he wilted, “For how hard I tried to make it work with him back then, I will understand if you need time to trust me. I’m saying that it’s okay for you to take this slow. I won’t push you to do things you don’t want to like- like-“
Jaehyun gazed at Juyeon in a dejected smile, “Like wanting me.”
And Jaehyun would understand if this conversation somehow brought Juyeon back to his senses. Seeing that he had so much opportunity rather than being stuck with Jaehyun.
“I can’t be happier than this Juyeon,” Jaehyun raised Juyeon’s yellow note that he held on his right hand, “But I just want to tell you that it’s okay too, if you still want to think things through. I understand if you think than I’m still under the shadow of love I had for Sangyeon-“
“Am I what?”
“Still under the shadow of love you had for Sangyeon?”
“No!!” Jaehyun shook his head fast, “I told you that I’m not there anymore-“
“So why are you saying that I have that thought?”
“You don't want to push me,” Juyeon breathed an incredulous laugh, “To do things I don't want to, like wanting you,” ridiculing in each of his words, “What kind of bollocks-“
“Because no one really wants me no?” his truth knocked air out of his own lungs, “That I’m-“
And Jaehyun watched how Juyeon’s eyes turned in alarm, “Jaehyun-“
“Because- years-“ he stammered under a stifling breath because for the first time, Jaehyun finally admitted the little demons that had been pounding at him in such a woeful sound, “Because I spent years believing-“ his legs felt like giving out, “I’m not saying this because I was still in love with him because I’m not. But Juyeon you can’t deny that Sangyeon is nice. He is kind and warm-hearted and selfless and still, he doesn't want me. Someone as generous as him, can’t find it within him to want me, so there must be something wrong with me.”
“That’s not how it works Jaehyun.”
“Then don’t think like that-“
“I can’t help it,” Jaehyun tried a weak smile, “But I know it’s not right. That’s a start Juyeon. No?”
Juyeon only able to take a step forward when Jaehyun stopped him.
“Stop!! Give me-” he didn't mean to scream and Juyeon did stop in his tracks, and Jaehyun was sorry, “So it doesn't- when you said you’re a little bit in love with me, I got so confused but not in a bad way Juyeon I promise. Because I liked it back then hearing it. I was startled, frightened, baffled yes. But you wouldn't know how much you had felt like a solace to me. I didn't know where to go but you-“ Jaehyun hid his face with his palms wanting to hide his anxieties that had turned into a sharp and shaky intake of breath. Just a second. He just needed a second to breathe.
“I had nowhere to go but then you’re there,” Jaehyun puffed out -smiling, grimacing as he glanced back at Juyeon who looked worried out of his head. The sight brough a warm chuckle to his chest. So Jaehyun straightened himself up, “You’re there,” he repeated, “All glorious in your endless considerations, and gentleness and oh Juyeon,” Jaehyun was so in love, “Did I ever tell you how sweet you are? How precious your affections are to me? How beloved you are to me?”
And Jaehyun stopped himself, feeling too stunned because the fears he had from expressing his insecurities out loud, was nowhere to be found. Jaehyun thought he would become weaker, smaller, and be inadequate more than he already was when he admitted his shortcomings out loud for Juyeon to hear. But he didn’t. Liberation was washing him in its silence and Jaehyun had adrenaline rushing through his veins -making him feel like he could face anything.
“So,” Jaehyun was a bit braver now, “Here I am, telling you that I want to be with you, but only if you really want to. And when you really do, I’ll come to you, I’ll keep running to you-“
“Pardon?” Jaehyun’s heart seized when Juyeon let out a small smile.
“For sharing it with me,” Juyeon was gallant in his soft spoken words, “For trusting me with everything you just tell me. Thank you.”
“I’m- you…you’re welcome.”
“And you’re right. It’s a start,” there was understanding in Juyeon’s benign gaze, “I hate that you have to feel and think that no one would ever want you. But you felt it and I can’t control it. But you can. You know it isn’t right, and you want to win over it.”
“You’re doing so great Jaehyun,” Juyeon smiled -so gracious, “I’m very honoured to call someone as wonderful as you as mine.”
Jaehyun’s heart felt so full, relishing under Juyeon’s infatuations. Jaehyun was afraid that his heart would break, that it would burst forth from how much love it kept for Juyeon.
“Don’t run Jaehyun,” Juyeon walked up to him before engulfing him in an embrace so benevolent it got Jaehyun’s chest in shambles, “You don’t have to run to me because I’m here.”
Juyeon was romance.
“Don’t run to me Jaehyun because I’m here, loving you more than you could imagine.”
Maybe Juyeon was the one, was everything Jaehyun had ever wanted.
“Stop running Jaehyun. I’m already here, ready to love you with my everything.”
“I need you to trust me.”
“I love you.”
“Thank you?!!” Jaehyun shrilled -getting up from where he was seated on Juyeon’s bed, “I said I love you and you said thank you?!!”
Juyeon was laughing and it was not funny. Jaehyun kicked him and Juyeon comedically rolled down -thumping on the floor, still laughing.
“Say it back!!” Jaehyun hissed through gritted teeth, “Say it back!!” he demanded petulantly.
And Juyeon, his sweetheart Juyeon, sat on the floor -folding his arms on top of each other on the edge of the bed, resting his right cheek on them as he glanced up at Jaehyun fondly, “I love you too.”
“Okay~” Jaehyun jumped cheerily on his feet toward Juyeon’s lap.
And Juyeon, his dearest Juyeon, let out a yelp as they tumbled on their backs from Jaehyun’s attack.
And Jaehyun, Jaehyun kissed his beloved before resting himself on top of Juyeon’s chest. Resting his heart completely on Juyeon.
Juyeon should run.
But he held himself nicely -wanting to see until the end of it because indeed, it was him who had hired an epic performance of an acapella group of five people, in the exact same yellow duck costume Jaehyun bought last time, to serenade Jaehyun who was now looking petrified, sitting with horror in one of the communal area’s meeting table.
Juyeon wrote the lyrics himself, and left the music arrangement to the group -saying they could sing it however they wanted.
They sang it in ballad.
Jaehyun glared at him like he was ready to pounce on Juyeon and killed him.
“So quack, quack, Jaehyun quack~ Stop barking cause you ain’t a dog~”
“Fuck,” Youngjae whispered from beside him and Juyeon grinned. Because fuck indeed.
“Have I told you I like the way you walk~ Cause your butt moves in such a lark~”
Jaehyun’s face was burning so bright it got Juyeon cramps in his stomach.
“This song’s for you I made them past the dusk~ hoping you’ll kiss me when you are not drunk~”
“What the fuck,” Changmin whispered from behind Youngjae and Juyeon bit his knuckles hard.
“Let’s buy Chanhee’s stacks of condoms in a bulk~”
“Hey!!” Chanhee protested.
“Then we can go down on each other’s junk~”
“What the FUCK Juyeon??!!!”
“When I said-“
“I hate the thought of you being jealous,” Juyeon threw his hands up, pretending to be upset.
“Shut up,” Jaehyun hissed as he stopped pacing around and leaned his face dangerously close toward Juyeon’s grinning one, “You’re enjoying this!!”
“You said you’re still salty that I once made a Spotify playlist for Younghoon!!”
“That doesn't mean I want a whole acapella group, dressing in a duck costume, serenading me about how you like the way my butt moves in such a lark!!” Jaehyun shrilled loudly, gritting his teeth afterwards in a threatening manner, “You’re lucky that Jacob and Kevin apparently loves duck so much that now they’re fighting to take pictures with the ducks- with the acapella ducks- oh, whatever they are!!”
“I wrote the lyrics,” Juyeon tried his luck.
“Yeah I can only imagine.”
“Why would I make a Spotify playlist when I can make you a whole song about wanting to go down on your junks-“
“Shut up Juyeon!!”
When The Duck Quacks, Jaehyun Barks
That was apparently the title of the song Juyeon wrote him. Jaehyun peered at the scribbled notes he got from one of the acapella lads. He had asked Jaehyun to give the handwritten lyrics sheet back to Juyeon because at the moment, Juyeon was in the middle of a meeting. Juyeon’s handwriting was neat, a little all over the place and Jaehyun could only imagine it was because he was excited while creating the lyrics.
He read over them for a couple of times and bit his bottom lips hard.
Before smiling and folded the sheet carefully -slipping them inside one of the pocket in his wallet, intending to save it for the longest time.
“I’m not going to sugar coat my words just so I wouldn't hurt your feelings.”
Jaehyun’s clenched his fists tight, eavesdropping from behind a wall near the elevator.
“But Younghoon come on,” Orlando said -one of the board of directors in an upscale fashion brand that was on the rise, who came to talk about their collaboration with Haut Monde, “We all know you’re not capable enough to manage such a big collaboration like this,” he clicked his tongue, putting his hands on his pockets.
Jaehyun about to go to Kevin to discuss about the layout of their new corner. As soon as he heard from Chanhee that Kevin and Younghoon’s meeting with Orlando was over, he walked toward the meeting room only to be stopped when he saw Younghoon standing with Orlando near the elevator -Younghoon seemingly walking Haut Monde’s guests out like he always did, like how he always taught Jaehyun to do.
The atmosphere was quiet tense, and Jaehyun’s feet walked itself behind one of the nearest wall.
“I’ll do my best. Don’t worry,” but even after Orlando’s sharp remarks, Younghoon still had a smile on his face. A genuine one, the one that reached his eyes as his frame was also still kind and welcoming.
Jaehyun gritted his teeth.
“Oh I do have to worry,” Orlando scoffed, “I don’t think you can handle it, so tell Kevin this collaboration is over if he doesn't handle this himself.”
Jaehyun about to break his own knuckles hearing the audacity of the man.
“I believe we have come to an agreement where I’ll be taking care of the collaboration, and Kevin will supervise from time to time,” Younghoon offered in a smile, gaze and words were soft.
“I don't think you understand what I’m saying,” Orlando laughed obnoxiously, “The collaboration is out the window, if I have an inadequate person like you handling it-“
“How about you take a look in the mirror and see yourself, you dumb fuck,” Jaehyun couldn't handle it anymore and snarked loudly before placing himself beside Younghoon. Ready to defend his Editor in Chief.
“I beg your pardon-“
“Yeah,” Jaehyun jeered, “We all know,” he mimicked Orlando’s earlier sentence, “That you’re pissed because Younghoon keeps rejecting your ‘dinner’ invitations-“
“Jaehyun!!” Younghoon hissed as he turned his head to stop Jaehyun from talking.
Jaehyun was having none of it, “InAdeQuAtE,” Jaehyun had his hand on his hips, bending forward a little as he mocked out the words -a perfect clone of Mocking SpongeBob memes.
Younghoon gasped along with Orlando in dismay -the former started tugging at his elbow.
But nothing could stop Jaehyun now, “Tell that to your inadequate dick that doesn't know what’s appropriate or not in a business,” he rolled his eyes with a scoff.
“I can’t believe-“
“You should believe that Younghoon rejects you because you just ain’t it!! And not only because he already has a boyfriend that is bigger than you, taller than you, older than you, stronger than you, and his arms a little bit longer than you!!” nothing could stop Jaehyun now. He was on fire-
“Did you just quote ‘Never Say Never’ by Justin Bieber and Jaden smith?” Younghoon whispered quietly to Jaehyun’s ears in a frown.
“Shut up Younghoon!!” Jaehyun hissed back, “Fucking Orlando doesn't know his fucking pop culture!!”
“Well you better stop now because the next part of the lyrics is ‘But he ain’t on a JB song with me’!!” Younghoon reminded in a glower.
Jaehyun blinked and stopped himself on time, “Right. Right.”
“I’m not going to stand here and accept all of this disrespect-“
“Well you better leave now because we’re not collaborating with middle low brands,” Jaehyun crossed his arms with a raised brow.
Orlando looked like he was about to pass out, “How dare you-“
“Leave!!” Jaehyun snarled when thankfully one of the elevator door opened up.
Orlando left with profanities and Jaehyun glared at Younghoon, “What?”
“That is not how I taught you to deal with arseholes.”
“I can’t believe you let yourself getting trampled-“
“I was not!!”
“You let him say whatever he wanted!!”
“Well not all of us is capable of saying whatever we want!!”
“Why are we shouting?” Juyeon stammered, stumbling on his feet when he walked passed by.
“Back off Juyeon!!” Jaehyun yelled at the intrusion.
Juyeon put his hands up, swallowing hard as he stepped back from the scene, “Okay,” before leaving.
“What is that supposed to mean?!!” Jaehyun turned his attention back to Younghoon.
“All I’m saying is, good for you because you can just run your gob without thinking-“
“You gave my boyfriend a love letter!!”
“I didn't know he was taken!!”
“Why are we shouting?” Sangyeon stammered, stumbling on his feet when he walked passed by.
“Not now Sangyeon!!” Younghoon yelled at the intrusion.
Sangyeon put his hands up, swallowing hard as he stepped back from the scene, “Okay,” before leaving.
“What do you mean you didn't know?” Younghoon asked under a whisper.
“I meant what I said,” Jaehyun groaned, “It’s so simple Younghoon. I did not, know!!”
Younghoon’s chest was still heaving from the shouting, but Jaehyun could see anger slowly dissipating from his eyes and was replaced with confusion instead, “You didn’t-“
“I didn't okay!!” Jaehyun ran his fingers through his hair in frustration, “I only found out after I put the letter in Sangyeon’s office and- just- does he still not tell you anything??”
“He- he did but- how come you didn't know?”
“What do you mean how come I didn't know?!! How would I know?!!”
“I thought- I thought you knew,” Younghoon breathed softly. His eyes fell on the floor and Jaehyun felt really, really bad about everything.
“I can’t believe this-“ Jaehyun cried out in frustration, “Come here,” before tugging Younghoon’s arms towards Sangyeon’s office.
Jaehyun stormed inside and had to hold himself from smacking the back of Sangyeon’s head when he bolted up from his chair at Jaehyun and Younghoon’s loud arrival.
“Is- is everything okay?” Sangyeon looked terrified.
Good. He should be.
“How come Younghoon thought I always knew about you two being in a relationship?!!”
Sangyeon blinked dumbly, “You- you don’t?”
“Of course not if you never tell me anything!! What the fuck Sangyeon?!!”
“Are we in a screaming match?” Haknyeon’s head popped from Sangyeon’s door.
Jaehyun about to scream at him when Sangyeon gave him a warning look.
“Is there anything I can help with Hak?” Sangyeon asked in a smile.
“Nah, I was just about to go home. I’ve sent you the new proposal Boss.”
“Thank you,” Sangyeon grinned, “I’ll check them out. Good work today.”
“You too,” Haknyeon left after making a crude comment about a possible threesome.
Jaehyun was so close on lunging at him when Sangyeon suddenly clapped his hands together, “So, everyone. Dinner? On me?”
Somehow, Jaehyun thought to himself, this didn't feel awkward.
He was seated right in front of Sangyeon in a four seat table, while Younghoon was sitting right beside Sangyeon with his head down.
Sangyeon gave his gratitude to the waiter who just jotted down their order, before turning toward Jaehyun with a smile, “Jaehyun-“
“What?” he grumbled crankily.
“One day,” but Sangyeon didn't even flinch at his tone. And Jaehyun knew it was only because he was so used to Jaehyun’s spoilt behaviour, “You called me and whined, telling me that your thesis was stressing you out, and that I hadn’t been paying you enough attention.”
“I don’t remember,” he replied moodily.
“It’s okay. You don't have to,” Sangyeon turned toward Younghoon for a second, rubbing his back in a soothing manner, “That day, we went and have our dinner in this very restaurant.”
And as Sangyeon elaborated, Jaehyun began to recall the moment, “Your salmon spinach,” he mumbled to himself but Sangyeon apparently caught it.
“Indeed,” he chuckled fondly, “That day, Younghoon was supposed to come with me, because I wanted to introduce you to him.”
“But Younghoon couldn't make it because Kevin set Jacob’s hair on fire.”
“Let me make a guess that it was quite literally,” Jaehyun palmed his face.
“Sadly yes,” Sangyeon laughed good naturedly, “And then I guess I forgot about at least telling you altogether about the initial plan, and it slipped my mind.”
Jaehyun squirmed in his seat. He couldn't really deny that he still cared a lot about Sangyeon. He grew up looking up at Sangyeon, wanting to be like Sangyeon.
“So this is where I should apologize,” Sangyeon continued gently, “I guess, back then-“
There were regrets swimming delicately in Sangyeon’s eyes and Jaehyun felt his chest hurting at the sight.
“Did you know Jaehyun,” he said winsomely, “It wasn't that you don't fit in Gentlefolk. You were supposed to be working at Gentlefolk along with Juyeon.”
He didn't know that. Jaehyun’s heart beat so fast at the new information.
“But you see, Younghoon here,” Sangyeon gave Younghoon’s slumped shoulder a soft squeeze, “Younghoon was so adamant on having you on his team. It was quite a sight, seeing him tenaciously pestering Jacob about bringing you to Haut Monde, for how much he liked what you have. I was very proud of you Jaehyun,” Sangyeon smiled at him warmly, “You swept everyone off of their feet, and what made me happier back then, was how much Younghoon just fell for your charm, that he decided to pull out his ‘I’m pretty, so I get to have what I want to have’, card to Jacob.”
Younghoon for the first time, looked up -biting the corner of his bottom lip, eyes narrowing in silent protest.
Jaehyun snorted, “Yeah he does that most of the times.”
“He does,” Sangyeon nodded his agreement.
“I do not!!”
“Younghoon you literally said to me back then, ‘Jaehyun, I’m pretty right? So why are you not helping me in coaxing Chanhee to stop printing sex toys articles?’” Jaehyun hid his face with his hands trying to contain a smile that was about to erupt from the memory.
“I-“ Younghoon’s lips turned downward.
“Wow,” Sangyeon whistled, “That bad huh?”
“Yeah. He kind of stopped now after dating Sunwoo,” Jaehyun shrugged.
“Good for them,” Sangyeon chortling at the back of his throat, “So, Jaehyun-”
Jaehyun glanced up at Sangyeon. Still feeling the warmth that used to flock across his chest every time Sangyeon spelled his name affectionately. It was different. Jaehyun knew it was different, but it didn't make it less painful because Jaehyun had spent his youth loving Sangyeon.
“I’m sorry that I haven’t had the chance to introduce you to my boyfriend,” Sangyeon smiled, “I apologize that I forgot and my brain somehow assumed that I already told you about Younghoon, for how close you two are with each other. For how great you two are together. I assumed wrong Jaehyun. I’m sorry.”
“And thank you for agreeing to this dinner, because I know you want nothing to do with me anymore,” Sangyeon’s gaze wavered -breaking their eye contact for a split second when he glanced at the view outside from the glass walls beside their table.
“So let’s play pretend,” this time, this time Sangyeon’s smile was shaky, very nearing a wince and Jaehyun’s chest tightened at it -heart tugging painfully because Jaehyun knew he caused it. That he was the one pushing Sangyeon away and telling Sangyeon that the bond they created for such a long time would end because Jaehyun wanted it. And Sangyeon agreed to it. Sangyeon always let Jaehyun won.
“Let’s play pretend, and make believe a time where you still think kindly of me,” Sangyeon pulled another trembling smile, “Where you still want to talk to me and not hate me.”
Jaehyun saw Younghoon’s swift whipped of head, throwing a forlorn gaze aimed at Sangyeon from the corner of his eyes.
“Younghoon,” Sangyeon’s inhaled shakily, “This is Jaehyun, my little brother I keep telling you about,” smiling at Younghoon before turning at Jaehyun. So warm, so benign. “Jaehyun,” Sangyeon smiled until his eyes turned into moon crescent.
Jaehyun’s heart was breaking.
“This is Younghoon. My boyfriend.”
Jaehyun’s heart was aching.
Because Sangyeon despite his stretched of lips, couldn't stop the transparent sheen that began to form in his eyes, “I really hope you two can get along with each other,” Sangyeon was a perfect picture of rue, “It would mean a lot to me.”
Juyeon tapped his fingers on his steering wheels. He looked back at the time with a puffed cheeks. Waiting. Waiting. Still waiting.
When Jaehyun told him to come to a sudden dinner invitation from Sangyeon and Younghoon, Juyeon had refused. Juyeon understood. Juyeon knew there were things still unsaid, things that needed to be straightened out between Sangyeon and Jaehyun, and he didn't want to intrude.
He drove Jaehyun to the restaurant, and told him that he would be waiting. Hoping Jaehyun wouldn't think that Juyeon was trying to subtly say things like ‘don’t take too long’, or somewhere along the line. No matter how scared he was feeling right now.
There was a knock on the window of his passenger seat window. Juyeon’s heart got easily startled from his growing anxiousness, and he was about to curse when he saw Jaehyun’s face standing right outside. Juyeon quickly unlocked his car door and Jaehyun let himself in quietly.
Juyeon wanted to know, wanted to ask, wanted to-
“Juyeon,” Jaehyun broke the defeaning silence between them. Calling out his name softly.
And Jaehyun told him everything. Jaehyun was crying to his blazer’s sleeves and Juyeon listened with every strength he had left.
And Jaehyun reached to twine their fingers together after everything. Jaehyun gazed at him wordlessly and Juyeon let Jaehyun rested his right cheek on Juyeon’s palm -eyes went shut, inhaling contently like Juyeon’s touch could give Jaehyun the serenity he chased after.
“Why didn't you want to come with me?” Jaehyun asked.
“Because I understand.”
“Why did you wait for me?”
“Because my heart isn’t strong enough to not be afraid.”
“Did you trust me?”
“Do you trust me?”
Juyeon didn't prod further, but then Jaehyun turned on his seat and circled his arms along Juyeon’s neck, clinging to him -letting himself melt under Juyeon’s welcoming embrace before saying, “You’re horrible.”
“Am I?” Juyeon rested his chin on Jaehyun’s shoulder after kissing the side of Jaehyun’s head -letting himself being drowned under Jaehyun’s comforting smell of shampoo.
“Just what did you do to me?” Jaehyun sniffled -hiding his face on the crook of Juyeon’s neck in the process.
Juyeon knew what Jaehyun meant. Yet, at the same time, Juyeon found himself squeezing Jaehyun’s waist tight in need of assurance. His heart was timid, anxious and petrified, “Why?”
Jaehyun’s frame shuddered as he inhaled -voice muffled between the column of Juyeon’s neck, “I can't stop thinking about you, wishing to run to you, and I just really, really want you.”
His car was too quiet and Juyeon was a hundred percent sure Jaehyun could hear the erratic beating of his heart. The way it clamoured as it crawled only for Jaehyun, loving Jaehyun. Rattling his chest and Jaehyun grazed it along his fingertips.
“I love you too,” Jaehyun whispered faintly, replying to the sound of Juyeon’s blaring heartbeat.
So Juyeon secured Jaehyun closer to him, running his hands on Jaehyun’s back wanting to comfort him, “I love you Jaehyun. I really do.”
“I don't hate him,” Jaehyun choked his sob in a frail whimper.
“What should I do?”
Jaehyun went silent at his suggestion but Juyeon learnt to give Jaehyun his own time -already recognizing Jaehyun’s pattern of thinking.
“Will you trust me?”
And Juyeon couldn't miss the vulnerability underneath Jaehyun’s question, “Jaehyun-“
“I’m not doing it if you don’t trust me. I’m not risking our relationship- because- I can’t afford losing you just because-“
“Jaehyun,” Juyeon stopped Jaehyun as he hugged him tighter, “Tell him,” knowing Jaehyun’s closure could only be fulfilled if Jaehyun decided to stop lying to himself and admitted how much he still cared for Sangyeon.
Juyeon’s heart battered still in fears.
But this time, this time he knew he wouldn't lose Jaehyun to Sangyeon.
Not when Jaehyun was here in his arms, murmuring things like how lucky he was to have Juyeon by his side, how much safety Juyeon brought to Jaehyun’s heart that was mourning.
Not when Jaehyun was here in Juyeon’s arms, murmuring things like how much he loved Juyeon with everything he got.
Jaehyun started with a small smile, barely there he was afraid Younghoon didn't see it.
But Younghoon did and he blinked once before returning the smile carefully.
“Hi,” Jaehyun greeted -walking beside Younghoon, maintaining the distance but wanting to make it clear that he was making an effort to make things right.
“Good morning Jaehyun,” Younghoon’s reply was as delicate as the smile on his face. For Jaehyun.
“I’m coming in.”
“To the meeting?”
Younghoon stopped dead in his tracks, horror filled his eyes, “Don’t-“
“And I’m going to bite Orlando’s fucking ass if he ever say shit about you not being competent.”
“I don’t think-“ Younghoon tugged his elbow and Jaehyun stopped walking -watching Younghoon impatiently.
“You don't think what?”
“I don't think Juyeon would appreciate you biting other man’s ass-“
“Shut up Younghoon!!”
“What do you think about me biting other man’s ass?”
“What the fuck Jaehyun?!!”
“But Juyeon, what if it’s justified?!!”
“You- Jaehyun I would not appreciate those kind of behaviour-“
“Why are you talking exactly like Younghoon?”
“What? Why am I- What-“
“Stop hanging out with him so much!!”
“Are you trying to make me jealous?!!”
“Where the fuck does this even come from?!!”
“This is the honesty of my heart,” Jaehyun put his phone down as he waited for the song to play on his YouTube application.
He found a song from the 80’s about a love so warm and sweet and filled with nothing but blissful rapture, and he wanted Juyeon to hear it.
“My meat belongs in your mouth~”
“What I mean,” Jaehyun cleared his throat in full throttle embarrassment, “The honesty of my heart is after this um- this fifteen second ads, we um- we have to watch it for at least five seconds before we can skip them.”
This time, Jaehyun made sure he bought a flower bouquets bigger than the one before.
He waited outside the building. The premises was quiet, not many people around and Jaehyun tilted his head a little at his own thought about how it would be weird if a PhD graduation would be as hectic as an undergraduate programme.
Some people started exiting the building main entrance and Jaehyun puffed his cheeks, taking a deep breath before walking near the stairs and caught Sangyeon’s surprised eyes.
Sangyeon’s graduation for his PhD was today, and Jaehyun wanted to come, and so he did. Just like he always did for Sangyeon’s last two programme graduations.
Jaehyun straightened his posture and waited until Sangyeon went down the stairs to stand in front of him in a questioning yet pleased eyes.
“I don't want to pretend,” Jaehyun couldn't remember a single word from the speech he crafted last night with Juyeon’s help. How could he when Sangyeon was looking at him still so proudly -so ready to look out after Jaehyun’s sake, even after everything Jaehyun said and did to him.
So he said whatever came to mind, “I don't hate you,” his fingers clenched around the base of the bouquet, “I can’t hate you,” chest stiffening, “So I don't want to pretend. The me that want nothing else to do with you, not wanting to talk to you anymore, would be the one that’s pretending.”
Jaehyun recalled Juyeon’s gentle advice to take a deep breath when it felt a little tough before doing so, “I’m sorry,” then Jaehyun handed Sangyeon the pretty flowers, “Forgive me.”
And Sangyeon’s warm laughter washed over Jaehyun completely, drowning him in such familiar relief, “That’s a command if I hear them right.”
And it felt too easy, too effortless for Jaehyun to act spoiled and indulging himself in Sangyeon’s fondness for him, “Forgive me,” he demanded outwardly this time.
“Anything for you Jaehyun,” Sangyeon reached forward and ruffled his hair, and Jaehyun felt contentment resting snugly on his tired heart, “Anything.”
“The family’s waiting along with Younghoon in the nearby restaurant. Do you want to come? We can go with my car.”
“That would be lovely,” Jaehyun smiled -knowing it was a start, it was his start, “Where do you park?”
“Right in the south parking lot.”
“I’ll see you there?” Jaehyun scratched his head, “Let me make a call.”
“Take your time Jaehyun,” Sangyeon grinned before turning -walking while holding Jaehyun’s bouquet close to his chest.
So Jaehyun pulled out his phone from his blazer pocket, tapping the screen to light it up.
Jaehyun used the tip of his fingers to open his phone’s keypad number.
And then call.
Jaehyun’s voice was stuck at the back of his throat -chest expanding about to explode from the intoxicating infatuation and devotion crowding inside it, just from hearing the voice at the other side of the line, “Hi Juyeon,” as he uttered a name of his beloved.
“I got you okay,” Jaehyun chuckled, “Calm down.”
Juyeon groaned, slumping on his bed, looking around at the mess he had created in the past hour inside his bedroom. His clothing were scattered all over the floor because Juyeon just couldn't find the perfect suit to wear to attend Gentlefolk’s annual shareholders meeting.
“You’re going to wear Kiton’s,” Jaehyun decided easily, pulling the said suit out from Juyeon’s wardrobe that was now almost empty because Juyeon had successfully removed almost everything in it.
“Juyeon,” Jaehyun sighed in a smile, “I spend 24/7 wearing suits-“
“That’s not right-“
“You’re wearing my shirt right now-“
“That’s not the point,” Jaehyun glared at Juyeon whose eyes was narrowed, “Kiton speaks of humble laps of luxury. It’s perfect.”
“Okay,” Juyeon puffed his cheeks and got up to take the suit from Jaehyun’s grasp gently, “I trust you.”
“A very smart move,” grinning as he kissed Juyeon’s lips, Jaehyun crouched down -starting to collect Juyeon’s blazers from all over the floor.
He picked up a sleek navy blazer adorned in gold and intricate looking buttons, that seemed to small to be Juyeon’s.
“Is this yours?”
Juyeon who was also busy cleaning up, looked at Jaehyun over his shoulder before nodding in a smile, “Yeah. I used them a lot back in university.”
Jaehyun nodded, eyes wandering around trying to find a hanger, when something fell out from Juyeon’s blazer’s pocket that he was holding -clinking against the bedroom floor.
Jaehyun’s brows furrowed as he bent, about to pick up the falling small ornaments, before the sound of Juyeon’s bell buzzing filled the apartment. Their dinner was here.
“Thank God,” Jaehyun put down Juyeon’s blazer on the bed -everything forgotten, “I’m famished!!” and practically ran out to retrieve their pizza.
Juyeon chuckled and took his wallet from his working desk -ready to follow Jaehyun, when his eyes noticed a shiny small ornament on the floor near where Jaehyun had been standing before.
He took it and realized it was a gold badge. Juyeon peered at the logo in front only to find that it was Jaehyun’s university logo. He turned it around and found Jaehyun’s name engraved on it.
It had said.
Juyeon smiled and shook his head affectionately. Clumsy. Trust Jaehyun to easily lost his belongings, letting them fell off of his shirt without realizing-
And a thought came that got Juyeon tilting his head in confusion. But Jaehyun had been wearing Juyeon’s shirt since morning. Did Jaehyun pin the badge on Juyeon’s shirt? Now that he thought about it, Juyeon didn't think he saw the gold badge on Jaehyun’s own clothes yesterday when he arrived-
Juyeon put Jaehyun’s university gold badge inside his working desk drawer -afraid to lost it between the mess inside his bedroom before getting out. He would just give it to Jaehyun later, after their dinner.
Many years ago…
Juyeon knew it was a bad idea when he decided to finish an entire new season of Downtown Abbey last night.
Now he was late. Like really, really late.
Running because his life depended on it -literally (Professor Frederick was nasty when dealing with tardiness), before slamming hard into another body when he made a quick turn in hopeful to catch the waiting tube with its door still opened.
“Goodness,” Juyeon breathed loud, “I’m sorry- I’m terribly sorry-“
“Yeah, yeah,” although hissing in pain, the bloke he just slammed into -pretty, warm eyes, cute lips with sharp and tall nose, still winced out a smile, “It’s alright,” before waving small and ran like he was possessed.
Juyeon guessed he wasn't the only one being dangerously late today.
Juyeon thanked the Lord for giving him such long legs that he was able to enter the tube with only two big jumps.
He took a seat with a sigh, when his eyes caught something shiny stuck at the front of his cream sweater vest. Juyeon blinked and took the tiny gold trinkets -examining it with narrowed eyes.
A gold badge.
His eyes widened in realization. This must belong to the lad he just collided into.
He dumbly about to get up from his seat -wanting to catch the man from before, when the tube shook a little -reminding him that he was already on his way to his university’s nearest station.
Juyeon read the name engraved behind on what must have been an important identity pin.
Well -Juyeon sat back down and put the gold badge inside his blazer’s pocket, Juyeon would just deal with this later because now, he couldn't afford to be late.