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Of Little Surprises and Brand New Chances

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Park Jinyoung was a lot of things in Mark Tuan’s life. There was even a period in his life when his whole world revolved around the guy. Park Jinyoung was his first love, his first kiss, his first real relationship, his first first, his first a lot of things that when you ask Mark to recount them all, oh he could definitely recount the things to the tiniest detail.

Park Jinyoung was also his first heartbreak.

That’s the thing. Everything about Park Jinyoung can always be told as “was”. Always in the past tense, reminding him that everything, whatever they had before was already done.

Mark had always thought that Jinyoung was the one. They met during the first day of college when Mark was taking up pre-law while Jinyoung was majoring in Literature and both of them ended up taking some basic Philosophy class. For Mark it was absolutely not love at first sight, especially when Jinyoung stepped on his brand new white chucks while taking up the seat beside him. Nope, definitely not. Park Jinyoung did not even apologize.

Mark was busy spending at least half hour of class shooting daggers at the boy beside him, when the latter suddenly wrote something on his notebook and showed it to Mark. “It’s really boring, huh? Wanna play hangman?” Mark was supposed to send this stranger a huge huff, but the breathtaking smile the other was giving him was too much for him to refuse.

So yeah, maybe it wasn’t love at first sight for Mark Tuan. It was love at first smile.

(He would find out months later that the reason why Jinyoung did not apologize for stepping on his shoe was because he was too busy ogling at Mark’s (his words not Mark’s) handsome face to notice. But Mark was beyond over this, especially when Jinyoung made up for it the entire night.)

 

But as mentioned, everything was all in the past now. As cliché as it sounds, he did not know where everything went south. One day, they were happy, planning their future together, maybe a house and a dozen children, and the next day they were finding themselves arguing about how they have been dating for six years already, but Mark had not introduced Jinyoung to his family.

It happened one fateful night in their shared apartment. Mark at that time was already a second year law student, while Jinyoung was in a steady job working as a writer for a magazine company. Most nights they would arrive home, tired and overworked, but usually finding sanctuary on each other’s arms and everything will all be alright once more. But not that day especially when Mark arrived home to find Jinyoung crying on the couch.

It had been a complete blur and to this day, Mark was still confused about what happened. Mostly it was Jinyoung who talked crying if Mark will ever be ready to introduce him to his family or asking Mark why he was so ashamed of him. As usual, Mark did the most idiotic thing to do and he just stayed silent while holding Jinyoung in his arms. It’s not that he’s ashamed of Jinyoung. Never. He was over the moon proud of him. The thing is, Mark’s family is very traditional and he would do everything to keep them from hurting Jinyoung.

Jinyoung did not spend the night at their place and Mark’s biggest mistake was that he let him. Because that was the night the very last time he saw Park Jinyoung. The next few days was spent with Mark trying to tear up the whole city of Seoul trying to find the love of his life.

It was a week later when the doorbell rang once more and Mark was more than eager to open it. Unfortunately, it was Jinyoung’s cousin, Yugyeom, who’s there to collect his things.

Yugyeom was a good kid. He had always been close with Mark and he was definitely a shoulder to cry on in this desperate moment. However, Yugyeom, under Jinyoung’s strict instruction, never disclosed what happened. He was genuinely sympathetic though and was a very good drinking buddy. But that didn’t bring Park Jinyoung back to his life.

 

Fast forward to five years later and Mark Tuan was already heading his family’s law firm. With his building up reputation, he was definitely establishing his name as one of the best lawyers in Seoul.

Although, that does not mean he forgot about Park Jinyoung.

(And maybe most nights instead of thinking about his cases, his thoughts mostly consisted of Jinyoung, Jinyoung, Jinyoung…)

 

So it really came as a huge surprise for Mark when he suddenly received a call from Park Jinyoung that morning. He thought that all these years of just thinking about that one person plus sleep deprivation have finally caught up to him as Mark stared incredulously at the caller ID.

“H-hello?” Mark’s voice cracked a little as he answered the phone. His mind was running in circles as he tried to figure out what to say. After all, what do you say to that one person who invaded all your thoughts for the past years? “Jinyoung?”

“Mark, we need to talk.”

 

 

 

“I still can’t believe it.” Mark says frantically over the phone was pacing back and forth in his office. “I mean are you really sure?” It was the next day and the information still has not sunk in him or maybe he just refused to believe it.

“I’m pretty sure I did not imagine giving birth, Mark.” Jinyoung deadpanned.

“I just can’t believe…” Mark said breathlessly. “You can’t just spring this up on me, Park Jinyoung. I can’t believe I have a child—“

“Children.” Jinyoung corrected exasperatedly which was unfair for Mark. He’s not the one having a breakdown right now. “I told you they’re twins. And besides, I’ve been apologizing to you since yesterday.”

“I know. It’s just…” Mark sighed, still trying to process what the hell was happening here. There he was being miserable for years because of a guy who suddenly vanished from his life then suddenly receiving a phone call from that same person telling him he has a kid… kids. Not only that, but he was also given a one day notice that his children will be visiting Seoul to spend time with him over the weekend. So yeah, maybe Mark Tuan is still in a major denial period right now. “It’s just… Are you sure they’re mine?”

Mark knew he made a mistake once the words left his mouth. He did not mean to be a jerk about this, but the silence from the other line indicated that, yes, Mark Tuan, you are officially an asshole.

“…How can you say that?” Jinyoung said quietly. “You’re the only one I’ve been with, Mark.”

Mark was caught off guard by this remark and as much as it betrays himself, he could not help the blush that tinted his cheeks. “I’m sorry, Jinyoung. I—“

“Look,” Jinyoung interrupted. “I’m sorry, alright? I know it’s a lot to take in right and I will understand if you’re not ready.to meet them right now. I get it. It’s just that I rarely have the chance to go to Seoul and if I didn’t tell you about them right now, I don’t think I’ll ever get the courage to. So yeah, I know it’s a mistake from the moment I called you and again, I’m sorry.”

“Do they know me?” Mark says quietly as he sat down on his chair. For some reason, as much surprise he had since yesterday, he knew it wasn’t easy for Jinyoung as well. “I mean, the kids. Do they know I’m their dad?”

“Yeah,” Jinyoung replied. “Especially now that they started school, they’ve been asking a lot about you. It’s not like I’m gonna hide them for you forever. They’ve seen your pictures and all that.”

There was a lump on Mark’s throat as he listened in. He’s a dad. He has twins. Oh my God. Mark Tuan is a father. “I want to meet them.”

“Are you sure?” Jinyoung asked with a hint of uncertainty. “You really don’t have to if you’re not—“

“I want to.” Mark answered. “Besides, I think it’ll be easier for me to deal if I spend time with them.”

“Thank you, Mark.”

 

 

“Mark-hyung,” Mark looked up from his desk as his assistant, Youngjae came in his office. “Your 2 o’clock appointment is here.”

“Alright, send them in.” Mark took a deep breath as he stood up from his seat. All right this is it. Moment of truth. He keeps telling himself as he quickly sent a “SOS. Come to my office this instant!!!” text to his best friend, Im Jaebum. He began fixing his tie which for some reason seemed to be tighter than usual.

Mark Tuan might have said he wanted to meet his kids, but that doesn’t mean he’s not nervous as heck.

Especially if this means meeting Park Jinyoung after five years.

 

Only, it wasn’t Jinyoung.

 

“Mark-hyung! It’s been a long time!” Yugyeom’s greeting filled up his office as he came in, but Mark wasn’t paying attention. He would deal about the tinge of disappointment of not seeing Jinyoung later, but right now his eyes are glued to the two little children hiding behind Yugyeom’s leg.

“Hyung?” Yugyeom called once more which finally got Mark’s attention.

“Ah yes, I’m sorry.” Mark replied as he watches the little boy, (his son, Mark reminded himself) stares back at him as he pulled his little luggage on one hand and his little sister’s (his daughter, Mark noted once more) hand to sit on the leather couch. Both children’s eyes are staring quietly at him.

“You must be expecting Jinyoung-hyung to come in.” Yugyeom scratched his head absentmindedly. “He’s actually at a client meeting right now. Kind of last minute that’s why he asked me to come.”

“No, it’s fine.” Mark says as he finally shook Yugyeom’s hand. “And you’re right. It has been a long time. It’s good to see you again.”

“Likewise, I can’t believe you, wow.” Yugyeom said in awe as looked around the office. “Look at this place!” He then cleared his throat as he took a seat beside the twins. “Anyway, that’s not what I came here for. Come on, kids.”

Mark watches as the twins stood up from the couch.

“This is your eldest, Jinsoo,” Yugyeom explained as he held the little boy with bowl cut hair almost reaching his eyebrows. “He really looks like you, isn’t he?” There was a small noise coming from the little boy which Mark took as a sign of protest. “And this is Yieun, your little girl.” His daughter wearing braided pigtails looked up to him smiling shyly. Mark couldn’t help but be reminded of Jinyoung when little crinkles appeared on her eyes.

“Hello, Mr. Tuan.” The twins bowed to him in sync and there was a small ache in his heart when his children called him “Mr. Tuan.” Well, it’s not as if he expected his kids to run into his arms. Well, he wished they did to be honest.

Mark felt his throat dry up. “Hi, kids.” He only hesitated a half a moment as he took a step towards the twins. “Ready to spend time with me?” He says bending down as he held one small hand each. He tried to catch his breath as finally, finally reality sinks into him. They’re real.

Yieun nodded shyly at him as Jinsoo looks up Yugyeom. “You can go now, Uncle Yugyeom.”

“Aish, I know.” Yugyeom ruffled the little boy’s head. “Hyung, Jinsoo can be a stubborn baby sometimes so watch out for him.” That earned a loud “Uncle Yugyeom!” whine from Jinsoo. “Anyway, yeah. I do have to leave right now. I have a class in a bit. So be good kids, okay? And listen to your dad.” Yugyeom then turns to Mark. “Hyung, it’s really great to see you. Let’s catch up soon, alright?”

“Anytime,” Mark smiled. “You know where to find me.”

 

 

“Oh my God, Mark Tuan they’re real.” Jaebum gasped as he entered Mark’s office while Jinsoo and Yieun sat on the carpet while drawing doodled on some of Mark’s paperwork from old cases.

“Shut up, Jaebum.” Mark says as he tried to finish signing some of the documents from earlier. Im Jaebum is Mark’s best friend; has been since elementary school. They’ve been classmates up until law school so it only made sense that Jaebum works as a partner in their law firm. Still, sometimes Mark wants to stuff shredded papers down Jaebum’s throat especially when he says a lot of stupid things.

“Still,” Jaebum says as he joined the children on the floor and started drooling himself. “Hi kids! My name is Im Jaebum. You could call me Jaebum-hyung, Jaebum-oppa. Just not Uncle Jaebum, okay?”

“You’re an ahjussi.” Jinsoo deadpanned as Yieun giggled beside him. “Jaebum-ahjussi.”

“Mean!” Jaebum whined as Mark rolled his eyes. Which again is the preschooler here? “Just like Mark! I thought you only look like your dad, but you’re exactly like him!”

There was again that little whine from Jinsoo, which Mark didn’t fail to notice. He really must’ve hate being told that he look like me.

“How about you little girl?” Jaebum bats his eyes at Yieun who immediately looked scared. “Do you think I look like an ahjussi?” Yieun gasped and ran into her father’s lap, while Jinsoo tried to tackle Jaebum.

“Ahjussi is scary.” Yieun whispered to Mark as he carried her on his lap.

“For God sake’s, Im Jaebum.” Mark glared at his best friend. “I forbid you to be creepy to my daughter.”

Jaebum raised both of his hands in defeat. “Protective as always. I remember how you were when you were still with Jinyoung. You look like ready to kill whenever somebody comes five feet from him.”

“Shut up.” Well, it’s kind of true, but his kids didn’t have to know that.

“You still made Appa cry.” Jinsoo said quietly as he resumed drawing from his seat and both Mark and Jaebum stared at him. “Appa always tells us that you’re his Prince Charming and you always saved him whenever he’s in trouble or sad, but sometimes when he thinks we’re asleep he still cries because he loves you. If you’re really his Prince Charming, why aren’t you there when Appa’s sad anymore?”

The guilt feeling in Mark’s gut returns once more.

“Hey, that’s not fair.” Jaebum protested. “Your dad doesn’t know, okay? Jinyoung was the one who…”

“Jaebum,” Mark shook his head and this time Jaebum did shut up.

“That’s why I won’t let you make Appa cry anymore.” Jinsoo said.

Jaebum chuckled quietly. “He’s definitely a little Mark Tuan,” Which earned him a glare from Jinsoo.

“Is it true, Yieunnie? Does Appa cry?” Mark asked Yieun who started her own doodles on the documents on the table. Normally Mark would’ve thrown a fit by now since those were legal documents and he should be having a hard attack, but what the hell his daughter has some legit chubby, fluffy cheeks. He can ask Youngjae to print another set later.

Yieun looked up at him with eyes wide. “Yeah, he misses you a lot.” There was a moment of hesitation from Yieun. “Do you miss Appa too?”

Mark nodded with a smile. “Yeah, so much.”

“Appa will be happy.” Yieun squealed silently.

“Really?” Mark asked.

“Really.” Yieun nodded enthusiastically as she looked up to Mark with the same crinkly eyed smiled. “Can I call you Papa?”

“Of course.”

“You know, Papa,” Yieun said. “Jinsoo-oppa is right. Appa would always tell us that you’re his Prince Charming, but I don’t really blame you for not being there with us. Appa said that Papa was not ready yet, but that doesn’t mean that Papa isn’t brave.”

“Why do you say that?”

Yieun smiled brightly at him. “Because Papa is a Prince Charming and Prince Charming will always come save the Princess in the end, right?”

 

 

And so Mark Tuan’s weekend with his children begins.

 

 

“Papa, I want strawberry ice cream!” Yieun squeaks as her little hands pull her father to an ice cream shop with Jinsoo rolling his eyes as he followed them. They had just finished eating dinner (in a fried chicken restaurant because that’s what Jinsoo requested.)

“What do you want Jinsoo?” Mark asked his son as they finished ordering Yieun's.

“I don’t want one.” Jinsoo said with his nose in the air. He might be feeling a little betrayed that Yieun is already calling their dad ‘Papa’. “Appa said that ice cream’s bad for your teeth.”

Mark smiled kindly at his son. “Come on, you know Appa’s not here. As long as you brush your teeth before you go to sleep everything’s gonna be fine. It’ll be our secret.”

“Really?” Jinsoo looked up at him hesitantly. “Appa wouldn’t know?”

Mark nodded with a smile.

“I want chocolate ice cream.”

 

 

By the time they arrived home, both Jinsoo and Yieun have fallen asleep. Mark looked fondly through his rear view mirror at his twins leaning toward one another and both sitting on the car seats he may have ordered in panic earlier.

How can they be so cute?

Mark was still trying to figure out how to carry two little four year olds to his apartment when Jinsoo who has finally woken up pulled on his sleeve.

“I had fun today when we ate ice cream. Thanks, Papa.” Jinsoo said sleepily.

“No problem, little buddy.”

 

 

“Papa, papa. Look here!” Yieun pulled his hand as she tried to show her father a photo from the phone she was holding (Apparently Jinyoung was too worried that there might be an emergency anytime, so he left the twins a phone to contact him anytime). The three of them were already in bed as Jinsoo tried to cover his ears due to his sister’s excited squeals. “This is our house in Jeju. Isn’t it nice? It’s near the beach too! And here was our picture last year! Look! Jinsoo-oppa was covered in icing…”

Mark laughed with his daughter, but all the while, his heart clenched whenever he sees Jinyoung in the photos. Jinyoung has always been the most breathtakingly beautiful person that he met in his entire life. How is possible that he’s even becoming more beautiful the past few years?

“I really wish Papa will be there on our next birthday.” Yieun looked at him with hopeful eyes.

“Yieun!” Jinsoo reprimanded. “You know Papa’s really busy.”

“I know…” Yieun looked at Jinsoo sadly. “Sorry, Papa.”

“Who says I won’t be there?” Mark says as the twins looked up at him. “I’ll see you on your birthday.”

“Really?” Yieun clenched his sleeves. “You promise?” as she offered her pinky finger.

“Promise.” Mark replied as he curled his pinky with his daughter’s.

It was then that he only realized that holy shit he still doesn’t know when their birthday is. Better ask Jinyoung about that too.

 

 

“Holy fuck, what the shit happened here?” Jaebum gasped from the doorway as he watched gray smoke coming from Mark’s kitchen.

“Language!” Mark’s head appeared from the kitchen as he watches Jaebum come in. It was a little over seven in the morning and Mark was supposed to surprise his twins with breakfast. Well, supposed to. There was a reason Mark Tuan doesn’t cook ever. He watches sadly at the cloud of smoke.

“What?” Jaebum shrugged. “The kids are asleep aren’t they?”

“Yeah,” Mark pointed the spatula at his best friend. “But watch your tongue or I’m gonna smack you with this.”

Jaebum shook his head. “You know you could be a lot kinder to the person who’s saving your ass.”  Mark shoot him a glare as Jaebum placed a paper bag full on the table. “Here. Youngjae made that. He would’ve loved to come here and played with the kids, but he’s so sleep deprived. Would you mind not overworking your assistant?”

“Give me a break,” Mark sighed. “I’m still dealing over the fact that my best friend and my assistant are dating.”

“Sucks to be you then,” Jaebum winked with a triumphant smile. “Seriously, Mark you’ve been in love with the same guy for more than a decade.”

“So?” Mark asked. “It’s not a crime.”

“It’s not.” Jaebum sighed exasperatedly. “But if you really felt that way, why aren’t you with Jinyoung right now?”

Mark looked quietly at Jaebum. Of course he knew Jaebum has a point, but he would never ever give the other the satisfaction so he did the next best thing in his mind as he threw a charred, burnt toast he was making earlier at Jaebum.

“Hey!”

“Asshole.”

“Papa, language!” Both Mark and Jaebum gasped as Jinsoo and Yieun stood on the kitchen’s doorway, both hands on their ears.

“I’m out.” Mark resisted the urge to throw another toast at Jaebum as the latter cackled evilly before leaving the house.

 

 

“So guys what do you want to do today?” Mark says as he watched his kids eat their cereals. It was already Sunday morning and he can’t believe how much time passed. He just wished his legs weren’t aching from all the walking they did yesterday (He thought it was a brilliant idea to bring the kids to Lotte World, but he should’ve known that running around with two energetic kids will come bite him in the ass. God, he really needs to start working out again.)

Both Jinsoo and Yieun shrugged probably since they don’t know which places to go to in Seoul.

“Do you want to watch some movies?” Mark suggested as he remembered the collection of Disney Princesses DVD collection Jinyoung might’ve left in his possession years ago.

“Yay!” The light on the twins’ eyes when they both smiled to him was enough to make Mark’s heart clench. He tried to describe himself by wiping the milk on Yieun’s lips.

I can’t believe you guys are leaving tomorrow.

 

 

Mark cannot feel both of his legs as he was jolted awake by the sound of the TV. It was already past six in the evening and both Jinsoo and Yieun are sleeping on his lap. He sighed briefly as he reached for the remote to mute the movie, not wanting to wake his kids. He better prepare dinner soon.

By dinner he meant the spaghetti Youngjae sent him earlier, because Mark Tuan will never learn to cook overnight.

Making sure that both his kids are sleeping comfortably on the sofa, Mark was about to proceed to the kitchen. That is, until he heard the sound of a ringing phone from his bedroom. It wasn’t his, so he assumed it was the kids’ phone. Probably Jinyoung wanted to check up on them.

Mark gulped.

Still, he fetched the phone from the bedroom and there it is, Jinyoung’s face flashing before the screen.

He gulped again.

 “Jinyoung?” Mark answered.

Jinyoung was frantic. “Hello? Mark? Is that you?” Mark can hear Jinyoung was out of breath probably getting ready to run in case something happened. “Where are the kids?”

“Asleep.” Mark answered feeling the need to assure Jinyoung that everything’s fine. “Calm down. What’s wrong?”

“I… They’re okay?” Jinyoung sounded like he was trying really hard not to freak out on Mark at the moment. “They’re okay. I thought something happened. They have not called me since last night. I thought… But you’re not calling me either so I’m thinking that I might just be overreacting. But I can’t just sit around and try to convince myself…”

“They’re fine.” Mark assured once again. If he really knew Jinyoung, Mark knows that he needed to hear it. “I promise. Do you really think I’ll let anyone harm them? They’re my kids too, you know.”

“I know that.” Jinyoung said in frustration. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by acting like this. Of course I trust you’ll protect them, but this is the first time I’ve been away from them for so long… I— I’m just… I’m sorry, Mark.”

“No worries,” Mark answered. “Besides, you’ll be seeing them tomorrow morning, right?”

“Right,” Jinyoung exhaled in relief. “You’re right.

There was a brief moment of silence on both ends of lines, but that sliver of a second was enough for Mark to crumble his resolve. Those three words weighs heavy on his tongue as the desire to tell them to Jinyoung right now consumed him bit by bit, so instead he says. “They’re amazing kids. You’ve raised them well.”

“Thanks.” Jinyoung answered quietly. “Coming from you, it meant a lot to me.”

“Right.”

“Thank you. For everything, Mark.”

“Anytime.”

Somehow, hearing those words seem so final.

But Mark doesn’t want it to end.

 

 

Yugyeom was the one who picked the twins up from his office the next day. Yieun was crying and clinging onto Mark so much that it took both Yugyeom and Youngjae to pry her away (and Mark wasn’t too enthusiastic to let go either.) Jinsoo, on the other hand, stayed quiet through the whole ordeal and just held Mark’s hand until it was really, really time to go.

Mark watched from the building’s entrance as Yugyeom and the kids got onto the taxi. To his surprise, however, Jinsoo wiggled out of Yugyeom’s hold and went running back to his father.

“Papa,” Jinsoo signaled that he wanted to whisper something to him and Mark obliged. “Check your phone later, alright? Yieun and I left some of our photos with you so you won’t forget us, okay?”

“Will do, buddy.” Mark replied as he tried to fight the tears glistening in his eyes. How can I even forget you two?

“And don’t forget about your promise.” Jinsoo took out his pinky finger. “You’re gonna be there on our birthday, right? You promised Yieun.”

“Definitely.” He said as he sealed the promise with his son.

 

 

To say that Mark was in a terrible mood that morning was an understatement. That’s why when Jaebum came bursting in his office, Mark was 100% done.

“What the fuck are you still doing here?!” Jaebum was fuming as he pulled on Mark out of his chair. “Are you really this dumb, Mark Tuan?”

“What the hell, Jaebum?” Mark threw the paperwork he’s been trying to read the past ten minutes. “I can’t deal with your shit right now.”

“MY shit?” Jaebum laughed sarcastically. “It’s not MY shit, Mark. It’s yours. What are you doing, letting them go?”

Mark raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“It’s the same thing that happened with Jinyoung before!” Jaebum waved his arms in frustration. “You did not chase after him! And now you’re doing it again! Only this time, it’s not only Jinyoung you’re letting go of, it’s your children for fuck’s sake! You love him and you love them and God only knows why, but they seem to love you too! So why the hell are you sitting on your chair and not frantically driving your way to the airport right now! What exactly are you afraid of, Mark?! Are you seriously gonna spend the next years… decades just sulking around and never taking action? Not everyone’s given the chance that you have now and if you don’t take it and keep it as your own, you might lose them forever!”

Jaebum was out of breath as he let go of Mark’s collar.

“Fuck. What time is their flight?”

Jaebum snorted. “Dumbass, the plane is leaving at this very moment. But don’t you worry, Youngjae has called in your dad’s private jet already and you’ll be leaving in fifteen minutes.” Jaebum then checked his watch for dramatic effect.

“My dad’s…” Mark frowned in confusion. “How the hell were you able to do that?”

“I might’ve told your parents about Jinyoung and the twins.” Jaebum shrugged.

“YOU WHAT?!” Mark gasped.

“Seriously, that’s what you’re worried about?” Jaebum shook his head. “Please. Your parents love me and couldn’t be any more delighted about hearing your kids. Besides, I think they’ve known about Jinyoung all along and I think Auntie’s actually shopping for children’s clothes as we speak so…”

“What the heck…” Mark has to take a minute to digest all this information right now. It’s making him dizzy.

“Like I said, what exactly are you afraid of? Now come on,” Jaebum pushed Mark to the door. “I’ll cover your clients today. It’s your time to finally take action, Mark. Make it count.”

 

 

For some divine intervention Mark’s plane arrived in Jeju shy of five minutes before Jinyoung’s does, but that’s beside the point. These five minutes of waiting as he stood nervously at the arrivals area was the longest in his life. And as Mark watches the newly arrived passengers get out one by one, he felt the mixture of anxiety, fear and excitement bubble up in his guts.

It was Yieun who first spotted him waiting shyly among the crowd of people. “Papa!” Mark laughed in surprise as his daughter ran to his arms. Mark watches as finally, finally he meets Park Jinyoung again and he still feels the same breathtaking sensation in his heart once again if not stronger than before.

“M-mark?” Jinyoung’s eyes widened at him. The hand holding his son, Jinsoo tightened. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve been stupid.” That’s the first thing that came out of Mark’s mouth. Well, that’s the truth anyway, so what the hell. “But I’m not anymore. I’m not letting you go anymore. All of you. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there before. I’m sorry that I’ve been afraid, because I want to be with you, Park Jinyoung. Always had and it never changed. I’m here to stay and if you let me, I want us to be a family with Jinsoo and Yieun and if you still want a dozen kids, that’s no problem. I’ll work hard. I mean,” He cleared his throat nervously, because Jinyoung was just staring at him. “I mean, if you’ll let me, but you know I’m not gonna let go easily this time.”

“Appa,” Jinsoo tugged at Jinyoung’s hand, which seemed to snap him out of his thoughts. “Say something.”

“You still look the same,” Jinyoung blurted out. So maybe Park Jinyoung wasn’t good at these kinds of situation as well. “You didn’t age at all. How?”

“Back at you.” Mark said in confusion. Apparently, Jinyoung has decided to disregard Mark’s speech entirely.

“I told you, Appa.” Yieun giggled as she was carried in her father’s arms. “Papa still look like your Prince Charming.”

Jinyoung blushed at that and Mark fought the urge to touch the other’s cheeks.

“Well then,” Jinyoung said when he seemed to finally collect himself. (Although his pink ears are still dead giveaways) “If Prince Charming wants to have a dozen children then he may have to treat us to dinner first, because Appa needs energy, right?” Jinyoung then started walking to the airport exit, still holding Jinsoo’s hand while Mark and Yieun followed.

Jinsoo breathed a sigh of relief as he looked back sending Mark thumbs up. It did not take long for the father and daughter catch up. Mark took a chance to glance at Jinyoung, but the other was still looking ahead. The obvious pink was still on his cheeks and Mark couldn’t help but smile. Sometimes Mark’s free hand would brush up with Jinyoung’s and Mark found himself blushing too. The next time their pinkies accidentally entwined, Mark did not let go and Jinyoung didn’t as well. Not that they want to.

Yes, everything will be alright.

 

 

 

(A few months down the road…)

 

“Papa, look I can do it by myself now!” Jinsoo waved at them proudly as he cycled away. Yieun meanwhile whined in frustration as she did not want to lose to his big brother since her bike still has training wheels.

Jinyoung groaned in frustration as he bit angrily at his cone of vanilla ice cream.

“What?” Mark sighed contentedly as he wrapped his arms around his husband’s waist in a tight back hug. He was resting his chin on Jinyoung’s shoulders as the other started playing lazily at his fingers.

“They call you Papa, they call me Appa…” Jinyoung sighed. “Sometimes I get confused if they’re calling you or me.”

“Well, what do you want?” Mark chuckled. “Do you want them to change it? As if there’s a lot of choices. Aren’t you the one who told me last night that you’re the only one who could call me “Daddy”?”

Jinyoung gasped incredulously as he turn around while Mark snickered. “Mark Tuan, I swear!”

“What?” Mark asked as he sneaked a kiss on Jinyoung’s cheek. “You know you love me.” He then ran off to help Yieun with her bike

“Yah!” Jinyoung called after him. There was however a small smile on his face.

Because yeah, he absolutely loves Mark Tuan too.

Chapter Text

“Oh my God. This is hopeless. You’re hopeless, Mark Tuan.” Jaebum yelped as a flying metal bowl came from Mark’s direction. “What the hell? Why are you so mean to me?”

“You’re asking me why?” Mark looked at his best friend in disbelief. Both of their faces covered in mixture of flour, eggs, milk and all other stuff. “Why are you even here? Last time I checked, I only asked for Youngjae’s help.”

“Now, now.” Youngjae cut off the two with an arm on his waist. “We don’t need this right now. It’s just a couple of days before Jinyoung-hyung’s birthday and I’m sorry Mark-hyung, but you can’t possibly surprise your boyfriend with a burnt cake. You too, Jaebum-hyung, I love you, but if you’re only here to make fun of Mark-hyung, I’ll suggest you leave my kitchen this instant. So are we gonna have any more problems here?” Mark and Jaebum looked at Youngjae’s expression and both figured that it’s better for the sake of their lives to not anger Youngjae. Youngjae’s nice and he’s a very good assistant, excellent even, but based on his experience (Mark shivered as he remembered a certain rare event of seeing Jaebum crying), he was no one to be messed with.

Mark was grumbling to himself as he went back to focusing on the ingredients in front of him. It has been a week since he seek his assistant’s help in baking a cake for Jinyoung’s birthday. Telling Jinyoung he had to work overtime, he had been spending his time after work at Jaebum and Youngjae’s place, trying and learning how to bake a simple sponge cake. Unfortunately though, he thought a week was enough to do it, but apparently, looking at the sad, flat “cake” in front of him right now, he was terribly mistaken.

“Well, at least it’s not as bad as the black lump you made the other day. Seriously, you could use it as a Frisbee. Or a weapon!” Jaebum snickered, but was completely silenced with a look from Youngjae. Mark huffed as the memory of nearly burning down his friends’ house crossed his mind.

“Shut up. I have to do this, okay? I want to surprise Jinyoung and the kids.” Mark said in frustration. He started mixing the ingredients again as Youngjae assisted him. “It’s been so long since we celebrated his birthday together and I want it to be memorable. Especially since we have the twins. I just want to make good memories for my family.”

“That’s sweet, Mark-hyung.” Youngjae smiled (“Hey! I’m sweet too!” Jaebum says in the background.) “Are you gonna ask him to marry you again?”

“I want to and hopefully nothing will go wrong this time.” Mark frowned helplessly as memories of his first two attempts came back to him.

The first one, well, it was definitely a fluke. Mark might have brought the engagement ring a week after Jinyoung and their kids moved in with him and although he really could not wait to spend the rest of his life with Jinyoung, he was not able to find the right timing. So as if his stupidity had not been proven many times already, Mark may have asked Jinyoung to marry him after the first time they again slept together.

The minute the question went out of his lips, Mark knew he would pay for it.

And he did. Big time. Jaebum might have choked a bit on his coffee when Mark told him the story the next day. He doesn’t blame his best friend. What kind of person in the right mind asks the love of his life to marry him after having sex? It took a few days of flowers, balloons and cupcakes to make Jinyoung talk to him again, and Mark Tuan really did learn his lesson.

The second time was during their first date and Mark had made the night super special with him renting a hot air balloon for them to ride along and ending with a fireworks display as he will supposedly get down on his knees and ask Jinyoung to marry him. But to his luck, before the date even started, both he and Jinyoung had a case of stomach flu and had to spend the whole day on their bed. They even had to take the kids to Jaebum and Youngjae’s to babysit. A night filled of taking turns throwing up in the bathroom doesn’t really spell out a romantic proposal in Mark’s head.

After that, time seemed to get in the way. The kids started school and both he and Jinyoung became too busy with their jobs. Life was passing by so fast that the only time they are able to spend quality time was the few hours every night cuddled in the warmth of each other’s arms.

 That’s why Mark did take off work to prepare for Jinyoung’s birthday. His birthday this year falls in a Thursday, so they will have a dinner date with the kids of course. After that, Jaebum and Youngjae will come and babysit the twins, so that they’ll have their alone time. Mark also planned a trip on the weekend when they could visit Jinyoung’s family to have an extended celebration. Everything should go on perfectly.

If only he could bake this stupid sponge cake. Mark wants to have a breakdown.

 

 

Jinyoung might have woken up upon hearing some cluttering in the kitchen. He opened his eyes groggily as he tried reaching out to Mark, only finding his side of the bed empty. Shivering slightly at the absence of warmth beside him, Jinyoung stared at the clock in horror. It’s already half past six am and something is terribly wrong. He should’ve been awake an hour already. How on earth did he not hear the sound of his alarm clock?

Shooting up from his bed, Jinyoung was suddenly reminded of the reason why as he winced on the slight pain on his back. It was the a quarter midnight yesterday when Mark arrived home from work. A bit late, but still looking pretty damn good in his suit. So what else can Park Jinyoung do? The kids are already asleep. It’s his birthday the next day and there’s his boyfriend looking sexy as hell. Needless to say, Jinyoung might have pounced on Mark that night and they’ve been at it for hours; hence the forgotten alarm clock

And it’s not as if Mark would say no anyway.

 

After quickly putting on his pajamas, Jinyoung decided to go to the kitchen, 80% worried that Mark is there cooking and 20% giddy because whatever is waiting for him over there is definitely a surprise.

And Park Jinyoung likes surprises.

He’s not gonna lie though, he was very relieved when he didn’t see any signs of black smoke from the kitchen. Definitely a good sign.

Instead, he was welcomed by a view of Mark wearing an apron and actually preparing their breakfast. And Jinyoung could not even try to hide his smile as Mark finally noticed his presence while frying up scrambled eggs and bacon.

“Well, I could absolutely get used to this.” Jinyoung smiled as Mark beckoned him to come over. “Last time I checked, you couldn’t even crack open an egg, Mr. Tuan.” There was a huge silly grin on Mark’s face as he pulled Jinyoung closer. It made Jinyoung’s heart swell so much that he just opted to wrap his arms around his boyfriend tightly and bury his face on Mark’s neck to stop an embarrassing squeal from escaping his lips.

“You know I can do anything if I really set my mind on it.” Mark chuckled placing a soft peck on Jinyoung’s temple. “Hey, look at me.” To which the other one complied. Looking into each other’s eyes, Mark placed a hand on Jinyoung’s cheek. “Happy Birthday, Jinyoungie.”

This time, Jinyoung did not even try to hide the high pitched sound he made as Mark closed the distance and pressed a soft peck on his lips. “Thank you.” Jinyoung says after they parted, a bit breathless and quite honestly, wanting for more.

Mark might have noticed the slight frown on his face as a short laughter filled the entire kitchen. “Sorry we need to cut it short, Jinyoung-ah, but I’m still cooking breakfast and we couldn’t risk being carried away.”

“Aish…” Jinyoung felt the blush heating up his cheeks and it made him tighten his arms around Mark more. “You’re one to talk.” Jinyoung said as his fingers started playing on the straps of Mark’s apron. “You wearing this apron. It’s very sexy.”

Mark laughed at that. “Well, if you must know I also bought one for you. Couple aprons, can you believe they have that? Maybe we could try couple cooking, you know since I’m not burning the kitchen anymore?”

“I’d like that.” Jinyoung said with a smile.

“Or maybe you know…” Mark says as he whispered softly in Jinyoung’s ear. “Maybe we could ask Jaebum and Youngjae to babysit the twins one of these nights and maybe you could cook a special dinner for us wearing the apron and nothing else?”

Jinyoung looked up in disbelief as he saw the triumphant smile on Mark’s face. “Oh my God, Mark Tuan! That’s your plan all along, isn’t it?”

“Hey, come on. I’m serious.” Mark joked as he softly ran his hand on Jinyoung’s lower back. “Does your back hurt?” Jinyoung could hear the concern on his boyfriend’s voice.

“No, I’ll be fine.” Jinyoung assured. He honestly is. Well, as if he didn’t like what happened last night. He loved every minute of it.

“I’m sorry. I might have been a little…” However, Mark was cut off when it was Jinyoung this time that placed a kiss on his lips.

“Don’t apologize. Never say sorry about it.” Jinyoung shook his head. “I love you and I’ll always want it if it’s you, alright?”

“You know I love you too, Jinyoung-ah?” Mark asked and he was answered with a committed nod from Jinyoung. “So much.” He emphasized this with a kiss on Jinyoung’s cheek. “Now come on, wait for me at the table. The kids should be waking up soon and the bacon is getting burnt.”

“Nope.” Jinyoung stayed in his position with his arms still hugging his boyfriend’s torso close to him. “You’d have to figure out how to cook with me clinging on you.”

“Fine.”

 

“Appa!” Yieun came into the kitchen squealing with her stuffed penguin in her arms (a gift she received from Mark). She was then followed by her older twin, Jinsoo, who on the other hand was still very sleepy and came in sluggishly while rubbing his eyes.

“Yieun!” Jinyoung gasped as he detached himself from Mark and carried their daughter in his arms. “What did I say about running? You might fall down and hurt your knees. Do you want that?”

“I’m sorry, Appa.” Yieun says hugging her father and Jinyoung’s heart melted instantly. “I won’t do it again! I’m just excited because it’s your birthday! Happy birthday, Appa!”

“Thank you, my baby princess.” Jinyoung says as he placed Yieun on one of the kids’ seats.

“Yeah, Happy birthday too, Appa.” Jinsoo says sleepily after he climbed on his own chair. He has his face on his chin as he tried to keep himself awake. Jinyoung then ruffled his son’s hair.

“Thank you, little buddy.” Jinyoung laughs when Jinsoo protested that he’s already a big boy.

“Alright, who’s hungry?” Mark says as he placed the plates of eggs, bacons and pancakes on the table. Jinyoung watches as the twins looked up at their father with surprised faces.

“Papa… cooked?” Jinsoo says eyes widened and sleepiness all drained away.

“I did. Jinsoo-yah.” Mark says as he sat down on the seat beside Jinyoung.

“Is it safe?” Yieun asked Jinyoung worriedly as she tried to poke the pancake. “Appa, I’m scared.”

“Yah!” Mark protested as Jinyoung laughed heartily beside him. “Papa worked hard to cook you breakfast. You stubborn little cuties!”

 

Thankfully, all of them were fine and their whole family proceeded with their day. Both Mark and Jinyoung went home early to prepare for the birthday dinner. It was a small celebration as per Jinyoung’s request. Just a simple dinner that he cooked with only Jaebum, Youngjae and Yugyeom coming over to celebrate with them. Everything went well, and the twins’ birthday card for Jinyoung was so pretty and so precious he might have teared up a little when his babies handed it to him. It was a picture of them: him, Mark and the twins sitting on their couch.

Mark’s surprise came in a shape of a cake and Jinyoung swore he fell in love again. Youngjae might have filled him in with the news of how much Mark worked hard the past week just to surprise Jinyoung and he appreciates it so much. He knew Mark’s aversion with anything kitchen-related. It was a very cute and adorable gesture.

It warmed Jinyoung’s heart. He loves his family so much.

 

 

It was around eight when their party wrapped up. The twins will be staying the night at Jaebum and Youngjae’s, so Mark watched in amusement as Jinyoung fussed over the kids before they left. Mark wasn’t worried at all. The kids love playing with Youngjae and luckily (or unluckily), they seemed to be starting to warm up on Jaebum as well.

At that moment though, Mark was more worried about the diamond ring weighing in his left pocket.

“What’s wrong?” Jinyoung asked the moment he came back from the front door. Mark realized that he has been standing alone in the middle of the living room staring at absolutely nothing as he mull in his thoughts “Don’t tell me you think I’m babying our kids again. They’re four, Mark. And it doesn’t matter. I’ll baby them even when they’re sixty.”

Mark laughed. It was not even close on what was on his mind. “I wasn’t thinking about that. Come here.” Jinyoung looked uncertain, but he still went over to Mark. “You’re amazing.” He says as he wrapped his arms around Jinyoung. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Jinyoung sighed contentedly as he melted under Mark’s arms.

Mark pulled back after a few minutes. “Are you ready for your other surprise?”

“Another one?” Jinyoung raised his eyebrows as Mark nodded with a smile.

 

“Mark, what are we doing here?” Jinyoung looked around worriedly at the empty hallway and Mark could not blame him. “Are we even allowed back here?”

“Relax.” Mark reassured as he tightened the hand that’s interlaced with Jinyoung. “I’ve asked permission to the Dean. You don’t need to worry.”

“But still…” Jinyoung bit his lip and Mark nearly lost himself upon seeing it. “Why are we here? What’s the surprise?”

“You’ll see.” Mark said as they finally stopped walking in front of a certain classroom and Jinyoung gasped when he finally realized what was happening. “Remember when we first met?” Mark was smiling when he finally opened the door.

“How could I ever forget?” Jinyoung laughed nervously. “You’re so handsome back then I made up my mind to get your attention even if it’s the last thing that I would do.”

The classroom looked pretty much the same as back then except for the few posters pinned on the bulletin board. Mark grinned in satisfaction as the surprise was still etched on Jinyoung’s face. He slowly led Jinyoung to the same seats used before.

“I can’t believe so much time has passed since then.” Jinyoung said as he leaned his head on Mark’s shoulder. Their hands still intertwined on Mark’s armchair. “God we’re so young back then. I can’t believe my brilliant idea of flirting with you through a hangman game worked. So embarrassing.”

“Yeah, it was really lame if you think about it.” Mark joked which earn him a light slap on the arm. “But what can I say? I was whipped from day one.”

“Yes you are.” Jinyoung looked up as he used his free hand to reach out for Mark to face him so that they were only a breath away for each other. “And I just want you to know, I’m also whipped from the beginning too.” And Mark could not fight it anymore. Closing the gap between their lips, Mark felt everything. Park Jinyoung was his past, his present and his future. At some point he had always knew that Jinyoung was the one that completed him and he wanted this to last for the longest time possible.

That was why when he reached out for the black velvet box on his pocket, there was no hesitation in his heart anymore. He wants to live the rest of his life with Park Jinyoung with their twins and hopefully with many more kids to come.

 

That is, until the sound of Mark’s phone filled up the whole room.

 

“Answer it.” Jinyoung chuckled from his seat.

Mark groaned upon hearing the interruption, but he did start to worry when he saw that it was Jaebum from the caller ID. He knew that his best friend would never ever interrupt unless it was a real emergency.

“Jaebum, what’s up?” Mark asked as he saw Jinyoung stiffened beside him, concern evident on his face.

“Hey Mark,” Mark was starting to panic when he heard the worry on Jaebum’s voice. “Sorry. I know you don’t want me interrupting your night, but I know you’re gonna bury me alive if I don’t call you immediately. Jinsoo has a fever right now. If you want, we could bring him…”

“We’ll be there.” Mark said hurriedly.

 

 

“Papa, I’m sorry.” Jinsoo whispered as Mark carried him back from the car. They just came back from the hospital and Jinyoung was already inside the house with a sleeping Yieun in his arms. “Sorry for causing trouble to you and Appa.”

“Hey, come on, Jinsoo-yah.” Mark patted his son’s head. “It’s not your fault, okay? The only thing that you need to worry about is getting better and not be sick anymore. You’re a big boy now, right?”

“Okay.” Mark felt his son nodded on his shoulders.’

 

“Jinsoo’s fever has finally gone down. They’re sleeping.” Jinyoung said in relief as he sat beside Mark on the couch. Probably sensing the anxiety from his boyfriend, Jinyoung reached out for his hand. “Hey, are you alright?”

“What if it’s because of the food I cooked earlier, Jinyoung-ah?” Mark voiced his concern. His hand trembling slightly. “What if I’m the one who made my son sick?”

“Mark,” Jinyoung held Mark’s face in his hands.

“What if I’m not gonna be a good father?” Mark said with his voice shaking. “I keep saying that I want to have a big family with you, Jinyoung-ah, but what if I’m gonna be terrible at it?”

“Mark,” Jinyoung repeated looking directly into the other’s eyes. “I know you’re gonna interrupt me, so let me stop you right now. Okay? Listen to me. It’s not your fault. Even the doctor at the hospital says that it’s because of the weather. So please don’t blame yourself and do not ever, ever think that you’re gonna be a bad father. The kids love you so much and if that doesn’t spell out good father to you, I don’t know what else. You’re not gonna be perfect and there are times things will be very difficult, but it’s a learning process. Did you think that from the very start I knew what to do? I didn’t. I felt so alone and I was so scared of making any mistakes as well. But that doesn’t matter now, right? We have each other. You have me and I have you. We’ll make mistakes together and we’ll learn together, okay?”

“Okay.” And this time, it was Jinyoung who held Mark in his arms.

“Yah,” Jinyoung called. “You promised me one dozen kids. You’d have to hold your end of the bargain, okay?”

Mark finally chuckled. “Fine. Twelve kids it is.”

Jinyoung giggled as he buried his nose into Mark’s hair. “What do you say I make us some hot chocolate and let’s just watch one of your DVDs to wrap up my birthday, yeah?”

“Perfect.”

 

 

Jinyoung had just finished up making the hot chocolate using their favorite mugs when he heard Mark’s footsteps entering the kitchen. He looked up in surprise as he tried to hold both hot mugs in his hands.

“Hey, don’t worry I didn’t forget to put the tiny marshmallows on top.” Jinyoung chuckled, but soon enough his expression turned into confusion when Mark took both of the mugs and put them carefully on the kitchen table. “Mark, what are you— oh my God.” Jinyoung gasped in surprise as he watched Mark held both of his hands and kneeled on one knee in front of him. “Oh my God, Mark Tuan. Oh my God!”

“Shh, don’t interrupt, okay?” Mark kissed the back of Jinyoung’s hand as he took out the velvet box from his pocket. Jinyoung was in too much shock to even move or breathe upon seeing the silver band inside. His mind was too busy chanting, “He’s gonna propose! He’s gonna propose!” to fully comprehend how to react correctly as tears started to prickle his eye. “Jinyoung-ah. Jinyoungie. Park Jinyoung. From the very start, you’ve always been the one I wanted to spend my entire life with. You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re kindhearted and you’re perfect. You’re the only person I want to wake up to for the next thousands of days of my life. I want to be with you and see the many things that makes you, you. And I hope you want it too. I want us to see the weakest side of each other and learn to be stronger every step of the way. Thank you for coming to my life and thank you for blessing me with our two little babies. You’re a great father, so amazing and I want to be like you too. All those years that we’ve been together and the times when we weren’t, my heart didn’t waver, Jinyoung-ah. What am I saying? I’m so nervous. Fuck.” Mark looked up to him with an apologetic smile. “Look, I tried and failed so many times to propose to you, planned so many things, when all I want to say is, I love you. I want you to be my forever, Park Jinyoung. And I hope you feel the same way to me too. So here I am, Jinyoung-ah. Will you marry me?”

“Oh my God, Mark.” Jinyoung’s lips were trembling and his tears were starting to fall. Mark stood up worriedly as he held Jinyoung’s cheeks, wiping the trails of tears. “Mark we’re wearing sweatpants and we’re in our kitchen.”

“Uhh… Is that a no?” Mark panicked as Jinyoung shook his head furiously. “Wait, sorry. I’m confused. Are you shaking your head because you’re answer is yes or is that an ‘I hate your proposal, I’m not gonna marry you, you idiot’ kind of answer?”

Jinyoung snorted as tears continued to flow down his cheeks. “No.” Jinyoung replied. “It’s my ‘How dare you surprise me with this very stupid romantic proposal, you should have told me to change first in a more decent attire, and now I’m crying because you still haven’t put that beautiful ring on my finger, you’re such a hopeless idiot, Mark Tuan, but you’re my idiot Prince Charming and I love you and I want to marry you’ kind of answer.”

“That’s a yes, right?!” Mark asked excitedly, his smile getting wider and wider by the second.

“Oh my gosh, yes! YES! I’ll marry you!” Jinyoung cried as he jumped on his boyfriend… no, fiancé’s arms kissing him for all his worth. Mark almost lost his balance, but thankfully was able to carry Jinyoung’s weight as he clung onto him like a helpless, sobbing koala.

Jinyoung quickly wiped his tears as he willed himself to stop crying. He wanted to see Mark’s smile without having any restrictions and it was the same smile that made him fall many years ago. He cannot believe that they’ll spend the rest of their lives together.

But then again, he actually can. It has always been Mark Tuan for Park Jinyoung.

 

 

“Happy birthday, Jinyoung-ah.” Mark said as he carefully put on the ring on Jinyoung’s finger.

Jinyoung smiled contentedly as he admired the silver ring against the light. “Thank you, Mark.” He said as he placed another quick peck on Mark’s lips.

“So what do you wanna do now?” Mark asked as he carried Jinyoung in his arms heading for the couch. “You still want to watch a movie?”

“Hmm,” Jinyoung pretended to contemplate for a second. “My birthday isn’t over yet, maybe I still want to unwrap my other present?” He looked suggestively at Mark, who already had his eyebrows raised.

“You’re unbelievable.” Mark chuckled as he changed their direction towards their bedroom instead all the while capturing Jinyoung’s lips with his own, one hand already making its way inside the latter’s shirt.

“I know.” Jinyoung said as he pulled away and getting down from Mark’s arms. “Wait.”

“What?” Mark groaned impatiently which earned a laugh from Jinyoung.

“Let me check on the kids first. I’ll follow you to the bedroom.” Jinyoung said quickly.

“Fine. Go ahead.” Mark smiled as he patted Jinyoung’s butt. “Don’t make me wait too long, okay?”

Jinyoung laughed as he hesitantly let go off Mark’s hand. “Love you.”

“Love you too.” Mark answered. It did surprise Jinyoung though when Mark pulled back his hand to intertwine with his. “You know what, let’s check on them together.”

Chapter Text

First day of classes was always somewhat difficult.

They say that it’s like taking a giant step. Once you’re in, the next ones will be a lot easier.

But not for Mark Tuan.

 

Call him a nerd or whatever, but he has always looked forward to his classes. From kindergarten up till high school he has always liked the smell of newly purchased school supplies and the fresh set of uniforms accessorized by shiny black shoes. That’s why today, on his first day of college, he may have been overly prepared with his brand new set of outfits, ready for anything that may come along way.

He particularly loves his new (limited edition!) white chucks, which he bought using his savings working at a part-time job. Not bragging, but he is the son of one of the most prominent lawyers in the country after all, and Mark Tuan buying things using his own money is kind of a big deal.

 

So, it was no question that morning when he was really excited when he left his apartment (which was bought by his parents by the way; blame his overbearing mother when he suggested that he wanted to stay at the student dorms.)

 

The walk to school was just five minutes away, but Mark was already able to soak up the feeling of finally being a university student. As much as possible, he did not want to give an impression that he was a freshman student and he thinks he was doing a pretty good job. That is until his best friend, Im Jaebum came running into him excitedly.

“Dude, really?” Mark watches in distaste when he saw his best friend’s outfit: their school logo plastered in his hoodie, cap, back pack… Not exactly a subtle way to declare that you are a first year in front of the whole school.

“What?” Jaebum widened his eyes innocently. “Is this another way of you telling me that you’re way cooler than me, Mark Tuan?”

“I… Yes.” Mark nodded as he started walking again. He had long resigned to the fact that being with Im Jaebum is always gonna be embarrassing.

“Let me remind you again that you only received two more letters than mine last Valentine’s Day,” Jaebum narrowed his eyes at him. “So you’re only a tad bit cooler than me.”

“Whatever,” Mark shrugged, practically ignoring everyone who’s either ogling or staring judgmentally at them. “What’s your first class anyway?”

“English.” Jaebum replied. “I told you we should’ve taken the class together.”

“You’re just saying that because you wanted to copy my homework.” Mark replied bluntly to which Jaebum only answered with a smirk.

“Well, what’s your first class then?” Jaebum demanded. “The one you betrayed me for?”

“Philosophy.”

“Lame,” Jaebum snickered. “I also have that, but seriously man, who takes a philosophy class at eight am?”

“Geniuses like me.” Mark rolled his eyes. He then checked his watch to make sure he wasn’t running late. “Anyway, I don’t wanna be late, so I’ll best get going. Good luck on your English class. Please don’t start your introduction with a rap song. Please.

“Not gonna promise anything, dude.” Jaebum says as he went on his own way.

 

There’s still a few people when Mark arrived at the class hall, which was great for him since he prefers sitting at the end of the aisle providing him the freedom to get out of the room as soon as the class ends.

He was feeling a little bit giddy as he took out his notebook and pen from his bag. He was observing his classmates quietly and everyone seemed to be minding their own businesses. Ah, this must be what it’s like to be a college student.

It was a few minutes before eight and the classroom was almost filled up and Mark can feel the anticipation building up when he suddenly felt a sudden sting on his right foot. He looked down in horror as his pristine white shoe suddenly has a distinctive shoe mark on it which he was pretty sure wasn’t on it this morning.

His head turned around sharply at the culprit, the person sitting on the chair beside him and Mark automatically scowled. The “shoe wrecker” was out of breath, most likely due to the fact that he was almost late for class. Mark would not be surprised at all, since this person gave off a pretty irresponsible and careless impression (He still hasn’t apologized for stepping on Mark’s foot by the way!!)

Mark was still too busy glaring at the person beside him that he did not notice that the bell has finally rung and their professor has finally arrived at the classroom. He could hear the professor droning on their lesson, but for some reason could hardly care. He watched shamelessly as this guy beside him innocently listened from his seat, writing in his notebook from time to time.

…And he still has not apologized to Mark and his shoes.

It might have been ten minutes later or perhaps half an hour already, when Mark sees his seatmate scribble something on his paper and eventually showing it to a very curious Mark.

It says: “It’s really boring, huh? Wanna play hangman?

Mark looked dumbly at the paper in front of him and that was when he realized that his seatmate was not taking notes at all. There were some assortments of doodles drawn on it and there might be a comical drawing of their professor that Mark could not help but look in disbelief at his grinning seatmate.

 

And man, it was unbelievable.

 

He wouldn’t deny it, but Mark was pretty sure his mouth was hanging open for a few seconds before he realized that a normal person should not be this obvious especially when he should be hiding the sudden feeling of butterflies fluttering in his stomach or his suddenly irregular heartbeat. All of a sudden he started to worry that his eyes might be twinkling because this smiling guy in front of him looked too beautiful especially with those adorable wrinkles forming on the side of his eyes.

Mark felt a sudden tapping on the back of his hand and saw a pout forming at the other’s face. Oh right, he’s taking too long to answer, but how is his pout as cute as his smile? How? He then hurriedly picked up his pen and was about to write something on his own notebook when his seatmate starts to pen something on his own too.

No, let’s write on my notebook. Yours seems very new. Mine’s already messy anyway. ;)” His seatmate then turned sideways to Mark’s direction and scooted his chair closer to his and no, Mark did not have any goosebumps. Nope! His seatmate put his notebook on Mark’s armrest and flipped it on an empty page, smiling carelessly at Mark and definitely unaware of the inner turmoil he was causing.

Mark, with shaking hands, started to write on the blank page. “I’m not exactly excellent in Korean. Sorry. T_T

He watches in fascination as his seatmate’s lips (Mark has no idea why he was staring at it anyway.) turned into a perfect “o” shape. “Oh? Why? Korean isn’t your first language?”

“Yeah, kind of. I was born in US and moved here when I was ten. I can speak Korean just fine, but they say I suck at spelling. I’m still working on it eight years later.”

“Wah~ that’s alright! :) If you want, we can just talk? I’m almost falling asleep and that says something because I woke up late earlier! ^^”

 

That was how he met Park Jinyoung. For the next hour, Mark has no idea what the professor talked about, but that was at the very least of his worries since he was pretty into deep with the person beside him at that moment. The exchange of notes continued until the bell signaling the end of first period rang.

 

“Hey, you wanna have lunch together?” Jinyoung asked and that was only then that Mark heard his voice for the first time. And if he wasn’t in trouble earlier, he was definitely dead meat now.

“Sure,” Mark replied trying to hide the excitement in his voice. Damn it, he doesn’t wanna go to the next class anymore. He was pretty sure he looked like an idiot already with the smile on his face.

“Here,” Jinyoung offered him a piece of paper. “My number’s in there. So you definitely have to text me or else I’ll haunt you, okay?”

Mark chuckled as he pulled his phone from his pocket and showed Jinyoung that he was saving his number. “Alright, there. Saved under the name of Park Jinyoung – Philosophy classmate.”

“Aish,” Jinyoung sent him a glare as he snatched the phone from Mark’s hands. And yes, it wasn’t his imagination anymore. He definitely felt the electricity when he their hands touched. “I’m offended. Do you really have to sound so business-like?” Jinyoung mumbled as he edited his name on Mark’s phone. “Here’s your phone back, Mr. Tuan.”

Mark had to catch himself from laughing out loud in the middle of the hallway when he saw the name Jinyoungie with a peach emoji after. “Real mature, Mr. Park.”

“Hey, at least I’m fun.” Jinyoung said. “Don’t forget lunch okay? I’m going to my next class now.”

“See you later.”

“Nice to meet you by the way, Mark Tuan.”

“You too, Park Jinyoung.”

 

Mark could still make out the shoe print left on his chucks, but he could hardly care anymore. Something tells him that someone is already making a permanent imprint in his heart.

 

 

“Hey dude, you want to have lunch together? Where’s your class?”

“Mark Tuan, do you have your phone in silent mode again?”

“I’m not gonna hang up till you answer your phone. Not gonna hang up. Not gonna hang up. Not gonna hang up. Not gonna hang up. Not gonna hang up. Not gonna hang up. Not gon—…”

“You’re deliberately not answering my call, aren’t you? You’re dead.”

 

Mark rolled his eyes while listening to all of Jaebum’s voice messages. It was true though. He did have his phone in silent and was not able to check it until lunch time, He felt a bit bad about not inviting his best friend on his lunch “date” with Jinyoung, but after hearing his annoying voice over and over, it might be a good idea after all. They say first impressions last and Mark did not want an embarrassing Jaebum ruining his first impressions to Park Jinyoung.

Yeah, well. It was a bit selfish. Hopefully Jaebum will understand later if he was not busy burying Mark alive in their backyard.

“Hey,” An out of breath Jinyoung slumped beside him at the cafeteria. Mark made sure that he was able to reserve a table just for the two of them (and the fact that it was at the corner of the cafeteria is not related at all).

“You alright?” Mark asked in concern as Jinyoung smacked his face on the table.

“Yep, just had to run from my class.” Jinyoung looked up at him from the table with a sheepish smile. “Didn’t want to be late for this.”

Mark snorted, but he cannot help feeling warm in his stomach again. “You’re crazy.” He tried to say without giving away the fact that he felt so happy hearing Jinyoung say those words.

“I know.” Jinyoung shrugged as he sat up immediately and looking around the almost crowded cafeteria. “You wanna get your food first?”

“Uh,” Mark hesitated. “No it’s okay, you go first.”

“I’ll feel bad.” Jinyoung frowned and Mark fought the urge to touch the other’s face and erase the creases formed on it. “Hey, why don’t we just get our food together?”

“Somebody might take our table.” Mark replied.

“That’s fine,” Jinyoung said already picking up his and Mark’s bag from their seat. “Then we’ll take our food to-go. It’s a bright, sunny day. We can eat outside. Yeah?”

 

They had barely left their table when someone already went and sat on it. Mark could not help but snicker when he saw it happened and a short second later Jinyoung joined him too. It felt so silly for him spending so much time with someone who he did not even know yesterday, but this ridiculous happiness that Mark was feeling in his heart was getting too huge to ignore.

In the end, they did end up eating at the huge grass field near the school cafeteria. They didn’t mind though since other students loitered the area and the football team were having their practice as well. Besides, Jinyoung was right, the sun was shining brightly, so why not enjoy it?

“So,” Jinyoung says as he munched on the burrito he bought. “You’ve mentioned earlier that your dad’s a lawyer? Is that why you’re taking up pre-law?”

“Yeah, kinda.” Mark thought about it for a little bit as he opened his rice box. “It’s not you know, a family tradition or whatever if that’s what you’re thinking. I just spent most of my childhood running around his office and found myself getting interested, you know? But I guess the turning point was last summer when I worked part-time assisting with cases and all. That’s when I became sure that I wanna pursue a law degree.”

“That’s amazing!” Jinyoung exclaimed and it did make Mark reddened a bit. “Your dad must’ve loved working with you.”

“Uhm well, he didn’t actually.” Mark smiled embarrassedly. “I worked part time for his rival.” He heard Jinyoung gasp in surprise and Mark felt the need to explain further. “I did think about working for my dad, but he won’t allow me to. Then an offer arrived from the rival law firm and I accepted. I think they’re thinking I’m gonna sell out my dad and all, but I never really cared about that. I just did my job as needed and I loved every minute of it. It kinda drove my dad crazy at first, but we’re good now. He says it felt like I went to a training camp and came home a winner. He’s like that.”

“You’re not a lawyer yet and you’re this sly.” Jinyoung grinned at him. Mark liked it, especially the way Jinyoung said the word “sly”. It’s very hot and definitely not caused by the sunny weather.

“How about you?” Mark asked, sincerely curious since Jinyoung has mentioned earlier that he’s a Literature major.

Jinyoung put down his burrito looking a bit shy. It left Mark so fascinated that Jinyoung could look cute in everything he does. “Okay. I’ll tell you, but promise not to laugh, alright?”

“Why would I even laugh?” Mark asked innocently.

“Because the thing is I really do love reading, but…” Jinyoung squeezed his eyes shut as he took a deep breath. “…But the reason why I took Literature is because I love fairy tales!” He said it so fast that Mark took a few moments to figure out what Jinyoung had said. “Okay, you can laugh now. I won’t be mad.”

“I’m not laughing though.” Mark offered Jinyoung an encouraging smile, which he was happy to do since it did remove the worry on the other’s face. “Besides, if it’s something you’re passionate about, I don’t think anyone should laugh about it.”

“They say it’s a childish reason, silly even.” Jinyoung sighed. “But you’re right. It’s something that I really love and I want to pursue. It’s not really profitable and there are just three Literature majors in our year right now. My parents are really worried if I’ll have a job once I graduate, but I dream of publishing something one day and I don’t care how long it will take, as long as I take every step that I can. Plus, I love princesses and prince charming and who doesn’t want to have a fairy godmother in their life?” Jinyoung paused as he looked at Mark worriedly. “Sorry, I’m droning on.”

“It’s no problem” Mark said as he stared at Jinyoung with so much wonder and he could not help but think how much he wanted to spend the rest of his life learning about this person in front of him right now.

It was so ridiculous, it’s just the first day of classes and he’s finding himself in this situation. Mark tried to push these thoughts in his mind, but they always end up in the same destination; towards a certain Literature major with a cute smile and fun personality.

Park freaking Jinyoung.

Uh-oh.

 

 

His classes ended up at three in the afternoon and by the time that Mark arrived home his heart was still fluttering. He was so ready to just slump down on his bed and hopefully dream about Park Jinyoung, but that doesn’t seem the case when he saw an additional shoe on his doorway.

“Oh, you’re home.” Mark instantly glared at Jaebum who’s carrying at least three different kinds of chips (Mark’s chips of course!) from the kitchen. He also realized that his television is already playing in the background.

“I’m starting to regret giving you a spare key.” Mark said sitting down lazily on the couch and snatching a snack form Jaebum’s hands. “Don’t you have your own place?” Yes, indeed, Jaebum has his own apartment. When his best friend’s parents learned about Mark’s new apartment, they bought their son his own too: right beside Mark’s. Apparently their parent’s took to heart the BFF forever slogan more than he and Jaebum himself.

“You have a bigger TV.” Jaebum says as he lied down on the opposite end and Mark grunted when his best friend tried to kick him lightly on his cheek.

“Dude, please. Your foot.” Mark scrunched his nose as he tried to dodge Jaebum’s attacks. “I’m starting to lose my appetite. Eww.”

“Please, you’re already immune from it since we were eleven.” Jaebum said annoyingly. “Besides, that’s your punishment for ditching me during lunch break.”

“Oh, that. Sorry.” Mark smiled smugly at his best friend. He can’t help it and he knew Jaebum is bound to figure it out sooner or later.

“What does that smile mean?” Jaebum jumped on Mark and hovered on his face. His hands automatically going to Mark’s side to tickle aka torture him. “Something happened, didn’t it? I know you wouldn’t ditch me if something important happened! Answer me, Mark Tuan!!!”

“How can I… Can’t— breathe!!” Mark tried to wiggle from his best friends hold feeling his stomach already hurting from all the laughing. Jaebum’s hands stopped eventually but Mark still pushed him aside for precaution.

“So?” Jaebum eyed him excitedly and a few chip crumbs may have landed on Mark’s face. “Did anything interesting happen?”

“I met someone in Philosophy class.” Mark said quietly as he munched on the cheese-flavored chips.

“…Someone?” Jaebum blinked at him dazedly before jumping on Mark again. “You, Mark aka Ice Prince Mark Tuan met someone?! You’re sure you weren’t flirting with your phone or your iPod?”

“Get off me!” Mark said as he again pushed Jaebum away. “Of course I wasn’t!” He patted down annoyingly at the little chips clinging on his hoodie courtesy of Im Jaebum. “His name is Park Jinyoung, also a freshman and a Literature major.”

“Oh?” Jaebum was smiling widely at him, knowing Mark hated to be teased. “So tell me about this “Park Jinyoung, also a freshman and a Literature major”, who was also amazing, he melted Ice Prince Mark’s heart. Is he hot?”

“Is that really your first question?” Mark asked his best friend in judgement. “Do you really think I’m so shallow that…?” And then he saw Jaebum’s wiggling eyebrows and his mind suddenly went to Jinyoung immediately. “…Fine. He’s hot. Very hot. But that’s not all!” Mark grabbed the couch pillow next to him and buried his face in it while he squealed (yes, totally manly).

“Holy shit! This is rich!” Jaebum cackled from his seat, trying to pull Mark away from suffocating himself with the pillow. “You’re serious, aren’t you?” Jaebum said when a very red Mark finally faced him. “Alright, fine. You’re forgiven from missing lunch with me.”

“Too late now. I can’t forget the smell of your feet.” Mark grumbled.

Jaebum shrugged. “So anyway, forget about that. Just think about Jinyoung.” There was an unconscious smile that made its way on Mark’s face, which Jaebum did not miss. “Wow, who the hell are you? What have you done to my best friend? What did this guy do to make you look like a lovesick puppy?”

“Shut up,” Mark sighed while his brain is currently having a Park Jinyoung smiles slideshow. “He’s perfect. He’s handsome, smart, cute, funny… He makes me talk a lot too. I don’t know. He’s everything, Jaebum. He’s the one.”

“Whoa,” Jaebum held up both his hands. “Kind of early to say that about someone you’ve met for the first time, on your first day in college.” Mark rolled his eyes at the way his best friend emphasized on the words.

“What are you saying?” Mark said with a raised brow.

“I’m just…” Jaebum paused for a bit, deep in his thoughts. “College is really about exploring and learning stuff. You don’t want to be tied down with the first guy that you see. Don’t you want to, you know… enjoy your options for a bit? Besides, are you even sure that Jinyoung’s even single? If he’s really as amazing as how you’re describing him to me, don’t you think other people wouldn’t notice?”

Mark shrugged. In his mind, he knew Jaebum has a point, a very legitimate point to be honest, but problem is his heart was telling him the opposite.

“Hey, come on.” Jaebum poked his arm with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ruin the atmosphere. Stop looking so depressed all of a sudden. You’re scaring me.” Mark only gave him an “It’s your entire fault!” glare. “That’s why you have me, isn’t it? We can definitely find out everything we need to know about Park Jinyoung. And if we need to break up a relationship, you can certainly count me in.”

“Evil and definitely not my cup of tea.” Mark narrowed his eyes. “But go on, what’s your idea?”

“All we need is a careful and elaborate plan…”

 

As it turns out, careful and elaborate in Im Jaebum’s definition consists of a lot of stalking and probably doing something illegal. (Jaebum might have mentioned about hacking Jinyoung’s phone with a guy that ‘he knows’, but he did not elaborate and Mark was not exactly enthusiastic to know the details.) Mark had ended up kicking Jaebum out from his apartment and he just spent the whole night thinking about Park Jinyoung.

 

 

Philosophy class is only scheduled every Mondays and Thursdays, so Mark had spent his whole Tuesday hoping that Park Jinyoung would turn up for his non-major classes. Unfortunately, fate has not been kinder to him this time and Mark resigned himself taking notes while sulking quietly.

The good thing though was that classes today end at one in the afternoon. That only meant one thing: He will be able to roam around the Liberal Arts building with ample time in his hands and hopefully running into a certain Lit major. Oh, he could already imagine Jaebum giving him hell for even doing this.

The Liberal Arts building was a little bit smaller than theirs, so Mark had no problem walking around the classrooms, checking for any familiar faces (Jinyoung). He knew whatever he was doing was so absurd, yet he could not stop because he knew that just a small glimpse of his crush would be more than enough to get him through Thursday.

When the clock struck four pm however, Mark finally chose to give up. Maybe it wasn’t really in his lucky stars. He tried to convince himself that he just had to through one more day before he sees Jinyoung again. Besides, Wednesday is an off day for the university students; perhaps he could occupy himself with some advanced reading for his classes. God knows he really need to do it for his Philosophy class since he did not listen at all on their first day.

 

“Mark? Is that you?” The sudden voice was all too familiar, that Mark had to look up immediately to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating at all. And there he was, Park Jinyoung in all his glory standing in front of him.

“O-oh, Jinyoung!” Mark had to calm his heartbeat for a short moment, because as much as he’s having a dance party in his mind right now, Park Jinyoung is still doing things to his heart that needed to be controlled immediately. “Fancy seeing you here!” Fancy seeing you here? Mark is starting to imagine kicking himself in the guts.

“Yeah, you too!” Jinyoung exclaimed and he might have realized that his voice was really loud when a few students stopped and stared at him. “Sorry, it surprised me a bit to see you here.”

“Right…” Mark’s mind whirled as he thinks of a credible excuse. “I was just… getting my assigned readings for English class. Yeah!” He let out a small sigh when Jinyoung did not look a tad bit suspicious.

“I see, so you’re also taking English?” Jinyoung asked. “Me too! It’s too bad we weren’t classmates though. I could really use your help. I’m sure it’s a piece of cake for you.”

“I can teach you!” Mark said it so quickly that Jinyoung looked a bit startled at his enthusiasm. “That is… If you need help, I mean. You could just text me or call me or whatever…” He trailed of while Jinyoung giggled.

“Thanks, I really appreciate it as early as now.” Jinyoung said. “So, are you going home now?”

“Yes, you?”

“Yup!” Jinyoung replied and for some odd reason Mark found himself walking side by side with the other having no idea where they’re going. “Are you staying at the student dorms too?” Oh, so that’s where their destination is.

Mark shook his head. “No, off-campus but just a short walk from here.”

“I see.” Jinyoung nodded eagerly as if he’s storing that information in his head. “So I guess see you on Thursday then?” Mark watches as he scratched the back of his neck.

“You know I could walk you to the dorms?” Mark blinked at him, wishing to the heavens to extend his luck today.

“Sure,” Jinyoung looked shocked at first, but it was soon replaced by a warm smile. “If you don’t mind. I’m sorry for taking too much of your time.”

Take my time. Take all of my time. Take it all. “It’s no problem,” Mark assured him and berating himself in his mind for having no control on his hormones. “Besides, I haven’t been to the dorms yet, I’m a little bit curious.”

 

In the end, Mark arrived home at six in the evening, having spent most of his afternoon chatting with Jinyoung at the dorm’s common area. He did not mind though since the next day was a free day, and he did not have anything to worry about… yet.

He ended up going to Jaebum’s apartment instead, because hey, apartment trespassing is a two way street and maybe he wants to get back at his best friend for eating half of his food supply for the week.

“You’re home late.” Jaebum was casually lounging on his massage chair with an eye mask on that Mark thought he was sleeping. “Let me guess, Park Jinyoung.” Mark made himself at home on Jaebum’s couch and did not even bother to answer his friend’s question. “I thought you were whining earlier on your text that you didn’t have a class with him. You stalked him, didn’t you?” Jaebum finally removed his eye mask peeking at his friend.

“Stalk might be a strong word.” Mark said defensively although in his mind, he knew Jaebum was right. “I just tried searching for him in the Liberal Arts building and I just got lucky.”

“Lucky, my ass.” Jaebum snorted. “You’ve got it bad, man. B A D.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.” Mark sighed helplessly.

“So why don’t you ask him out?” Jaebum said sitting carelessly on Mark’s legs and turning on the TV. “Stop being an awkward penguin and ask him out on a date like a normal human being.”

“I will.” Mark says making up his mind. “On Thursday. After Philosophy class. I’ll ask him.”

 

 

“Mark, over here!” It came as a surprise to him when he saw Jinyoung already seated on their same area that Thursday morning, even more so, Mark could not believe that he arrived after Jinyoung.

“You’re early.” Mark commented sitting down on the usual chair reserved for him.

“Right, uh, don’t want to be late, do I?” Jinyoung chuckled. “Look what I got.” Mark watches as Jinyoung pulled up the notebook they were using the previous day. “I was browsing our conversation last time and I’m just laughing. We’re hilarious.”

“So does this mean no listening to the professor again?” Mark suggested half-jokingly. To be frank, he was still working up the courage to ask Jinyoung out since last night and he thought he had prepared thoroughly, but once he saw Jinyoung personally, all of it went down the drain. “Hey, I’m kidding!” Mark immediately says when he saw the guilty expression on Jinyoung’s face.

“No, you’re right. God, what am I doing?” Jinyoung chewed his bottom lip, putting his notebook back into his bag. However, Mark was too fast for him and snatch the notebook back to his desk. “Hey, give it back!”

“I don’t wanna.” Mark said playfully while he enjoyed the expression on Jinyoung’s face.

“Come on, don’t be mean.” Jinyoung protested as he tried to reach across Mark’s armchair unsuccessfully.

“I’ll give it back to you in one condition.” Mark said and he can’t help but swallow back the lump on his throat when he saw Jinyoung retreating back on his chair with a curious look on his face. Okay, this is it. Moment of truth.

“Alright, what is it?” Jinyoung asked.

 “Come hang out on me this Saturday.” Mark said quickly, but not that fast that Jinyoung would not catch what he was saying.

Jinyoung looked at him with an unreadable expression and suddenly all of Mark’s confidence disintegrated. Oh God. What if Jaebum’s right? What if Jinyoung really is in a relationship? Should he start distancing himself now? But he can’t! Not when he’s gonna see Jinyoung for the rest of the semester! Is this gonna be his first heartbreak? Ice Prince Mark Tuan’s heartbreak? And why is he calling himself Ice Prince anyway? He’s gonna kill Jaebum.

“Sure.” Jinyoung says simply as he grabbed his notebook from Mark’s hands.

“I’m sorry?” Mark blinked repeatedly not believing his ears. Yes, he really is an awkward penguin.

“I said sure.” Jinyoung said with a shy smile and Mark could feel his heart melting. Suddenly in his mind, he’s doing backflips.

“Oh,” Mark said awkwardly. “Okay, cool.”

“Great! I’ll tell my friends to join us too!” Jinyoung said happily as Mark gaped at him, totally and utterly speechless.

 

“You’re pathetic, Mark Tuan. Simply pathetic.” Jaebum shook his head, watching his best friend pitifully trying to suffocate himself with his pillows. “P A T H E T I C.”

Mark glared at him from his bed. “Stop spelling out stuff and help me!”

Jaebum, who was standing on the bedroom doorway, as he slowly approached him and sat on the bed. “So Park Jinyoung thought that you invited him to a friend’s only gathering, why didn’t you correct him?” Mark only answered him with a soft whimper. “Okay, I’ll just credit that for your stupidity.” That earned him a kick from Mark, but as usual, Jaebum was right.

“You have to come with me.” Mark sat up on his bed, pleading for his life. “On Saturday. You have to.”

“Alright, alright!” Jaebum laughed. “I knew you’d ask me so yeah, I’ll go. Besides, I’d really need to meet this Park Jinyoung soon. You know, to congratulate him for messing you up so much.”

“Thanks.” Mark slumped back on his comforter.

“Now, come on. Stop whining.” Jaebum said pulling Mark from his bed. “Treat me for some pizza. God knows you owe me big time.”

 

 

Saturday came as fast as a breeze and without even realizing it, Mark found himself sitting in one of the off-campus coffee shop with Jaebum (who by the way keeps on ordering the most expensive things on the menu.) Jinyoung agreed to meet to meet them at two in the afternoon, and even though he confirmed that morning that he will come, Mark cannot help but to keep on checking his watch.

“Relax, will you?” Jaebum turned to him with an amused look. “It’s not even two yet. God.”

“Shut up.” Mark commented, not really know what to retaliate because his mind is a total messy of nothingness at the moment.

Jaebum snorted. “You really need to calm down. Besides, do you really want Jinyoung to see you being snarky to your best friend?”

“I shouldn’t have brought you here.” Mark said in panic. “You bring out the violent side of me.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Jaebum says as he sipped on his third cup of tea. Mark scowled at his best friend, who before today has never drunk hot tea in his entire life.

Mark was about to tell Jaebum to shut up once more, when the coffee shop door opened revealing Park Jinyoung. Coming along with him are two girls about the same age as theirs. Mark was so surprised; he stood up abruptly earning the attention of a few customers.

“Oh, this is gonna be hilarious.” Mark heard Jaebum commented from his side. “Is that him? Who’re those girls with him? Holy shit— Mark! Is Jinyoung…?”

Jaebum did not need to finish the thought, because Mark was already freaking out in his head already. Could it be that Jinyoung is straight? Does he really need to give up on wooing Park Jinyoung now?

“Hi,” Jinyoung greeted as he and the girls came to their table. “Are we late?”

“No, no. You’re just in time.” Mark replied offering them a seat. Upon hearing Jinyoung’s voice, all of his resolve on giving up crumbled. Goddamnit, why does Jinyoung have to be straight?

“Great, so uh, introductions first?” Jinyoung asked as he and his friends (hopefully friends only, Mark thought) sat on their respective chairs. “These are Soomin and Joohee. I believe I mentioned them to you before?” Jinyoung looked at Mark. “They’re the other literature majors aside from me in our year. Since you’ve offered to hangout, I thought it would be great if the three of us have more university friends, right?” Jinyoung elaborated and Mark’s heart soared. So none of the girls are Jinyoung’s girlfriend. Wonderful. Freaking wonderful. “Anyway, guys, this is Mark.”

Mark was still shaking the hands of the girls when Jaebum took it upon himself to introduce himself. “Hi, I’m Jaebum. I hope we’ll be wonderful friends!” Jaebum slung his arms around Mark’s shoulders as he offered the girls a wink before turning onto Jinyoung. “And you must be Jinyoung! Mark told me a lot about you.” Jaebum was still clinging onto Mark when he shook Jinyoung’s hands and it took almost all of his willpower to avoid shoving Jaebum down back on his chair.

 

Despite Jaebum’s presence, the afternoon turned out quite well. After couple of hours of chatting over coffee, their group decided to watch a movie at the local theater and even though he won’t admit it out loud, Mark was a bit happy that Jaebum chose a horror movie. It was totally an obvious move, but the way Jinyoung clutched the sleeve of his sweater for almost the entire movie made it all worth it.

(Jaebum might have spilled a lot of his popcorn on him, but Mark didn’t care anymore. He’s a happy little bean.)

 

 

The following Monday, Mark could not keep still on his seat as he waited for Jinyoung to arrive in their classroom. Unfortunately, when the school bell rang signaling the start of first period, there was still no Park Jinyoung in sight.

Jinyoung arrived ten minutes later to Mark’s relief. He was a bit worried that their Professor would scold him in front of the whole class, but thankfully he didn’t even spare the latecomer with a simple glance as he proceeded with his lecture.

To Mark’s demise, Jinyoung chose a different seat this time, opting the one in front. He had to admit, it made his heart sank for a little bit until he realized that it might be more convenient for Jinyoung anyway. This was not the time to be selfish and for the first time, Mark sat down in his class and actually listened to the lecture.

The class went longer than expected, and even though the bell for the next period already rang, their professor still kept droning on for another five minutes. That’s why when they were finally let go, Mark was beyond excited to approach Jinyoung and maybe have at least a short conversation to get him through the day.

Only, Park Jinyoung was already heading out of the classroom before Mark could even put his things in his bag. Sighing heavily to himself, Mark made his way to his next class.

Two more days till Thursday…

 

 

Mark doesn’t use his cellphone a lot. Most of the time, its only purpose was when his parents needed to call him to check up. He doesn’t even use it for texting and the only numbers saved in it would be his parents, Jaebum’s, Jaebum’s parents’ and Jinyoung’s.

Jinyoungie

He has been staring at that same name for the past hour trying to figure out if he should call or not. He lies pathetically on his couch as today’s soccer game played on the television, allowing some sense of living in his albeit boring life.

God, he really is pathetic.

It’s only been a few days and he misses Jinyoung already.

Mark finally decided to just throw his whole dignity out of the window and hurriedly pressed the call button with his eyes squeezed shut. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears as he listens to the first ring, hoping patiently that the other would pick up the line.

“Hello? Mark?” Jinyoung finally picked up after four nerve wracking rings.

“H-hey Jinyoung,” Mark sat up on the couch nervously. Now that he has Jinyoung on the other line, he has no idea what to say anymore.

“What’s up?” Jinyoung asked and Mark realized that maybe the other was doing something important right now. Maybe he’s doing his homework or something school related. Things Mark should be doing as well, but instead spending it towards his love life.

“I…” Mark took a deep breath. “Hey, do you wanna hangout on Wednesday? Not off-campus! Just the library. You know. Just to study and stuff.”

The line was silent for a few seconds and Mark was very close to sure that Jinyoung would refuse this time. “Alright, I’m in. I’m planning to go to the library myself. Thanks for inviting me.”

“No problem. So I’ll see you then?”

“Yeah, see you.”

 

 

“This is boring!” Jinyoung whined as he slammed his book shut. Mark eyed him funnily as he looked at his study buddy across the table. It has only been an hour since they’ve arrived in the library and Mark might’ve spent a lot of his time trying to sneak a glance every now and then.

“Didn’t you plan to go to the library anyway before I even asked?” Mark stared as Jinyoung looked at him in reproach.

“Yeah, well.” Jinyoung grumbled. “I keep telling myself that, but I’m very lazy when it comes to studying.”

“All the more reason for us to stay at the library.” Mark concluded. “The two of us need a motivator and obviously that’s not you, so…”

“Hey!” Jinyoung protested, trying as much as possible to lower his voice down to not disturb the other students. “I’ll have you know that I’m always at the top of my class consistently and that’s done without me studying much. Do you want me to show you my medals?”

“I believe you.” Mark assured the other. “But do we have any other choice? I don’t know what else we can do today aside from studying.” He really has no idea what to do, but the twinkle in Jinyoung’s eyes suggested otherwise.

And Mark knows he can never say no to Jinyoung.

 

 

“Oh my God, you’re rich!” Jinyoung gasped when he entered Mark’s apartment. “Now I totally understand why you’re not staying at the student’s dorm. Your living room is larger than my bedroom plus the bathroom!”

“Ah, please don’t mind that.” Mark said with an embarrassed tinge on his cheeks. “My parents are rich. Not me.”

Jinyoung nodded. Despite Mark telling him to make himself at home, he still stood awkwardly in the living room, not knowing which chair he should sit onto. “I’m sorry. We should’ve stayed at the library. Now I don’t know how to act around you anymore.”

“Hey, don’t say that. I’m still me.” Mark tried to lead Jinyoung to the DVD rack. “Besides, you’re the one who suggested that we watch a movie. So come on, we’ll watch whatever you choose.”

Jinyoung nodded once again and finally made a move to pick his choice of film. Mark meanwhile dashed towards the kitchen with the sole purpose of preparing snacks for the two of them. That was the only time that he realized that he and Jinyoung are the only ones in his apartment.

Him and Jinyoung.

Alone.

In his apartment.

Holy crap.

Bless him.

“I’ve got popcorn.” Mark announced when he entered the living room once again. Jinyoung was already sitting on the couch waiting for him with a smile and Mark shivered a little because his brain is thinking a lot of very wrong things right now that he keeps censoring himself.

“Nice!” Jinyoung then showed Mark the DVD in his hands. “Look at what I picked!” Mark almost groaned as he looked at it. It was a romantic comedy which Jaebum has given him on his last birthday as a prank. He had never watched it and he never planned to, but since Jinyoung picked it, well let’s just say it’s now at the top of Mark Tuan’s favorite movies of all time.

 

“I know it’s lame.” Jinyoung mentioned as the movie approached its ending. Mark tried to ignore the fact that the male protagonist was chasing the female lead to the airport. “Usually it’s these kinds of things that us, Lit majors, frown about. But I can’t help it. Romantic clichés are clichés for a reason and these are the moments that make your heartbeat fast and makes you believe that although we believe in a mostly cruel world, love can still win in the end. It makes you feel invincible even for just a split second.”

Jinyoung turns to him and Mark finds something unreadable between the twinkles in his eyes. “Sometimes, I wish I could have a one great love story too.” Jinyoung continued with a chuckle. “You know, to have someone chase me through the airport or someone who can declare their love for me in front of everyone or a kiss under the rain. Just someone who can do a grand gesture for me.” They stared at each other for a few seconds. “I’m sorry. I’m starting to show my hopeless romantic side, aren’t I?” Jinyoung turns away and looked back at the television.

From his peripheral, Mark knew that the movie was coming to its finale as the main protagonist finally met up and was already kissing as the camera pans out. However, he hardly cares about it anymore as he continued to watch Jinyoung and the way small teardrops started to trail down his cheeks. It warmed up Mark’s heart as he realized how much he wanted to do anything for this guy in front of him. He wants to be that someone that Jinyoung has mentioned earlier; to do all the grand gestures in the world for him.

He wants to be Park Jinyoung’s one great love.

Swallowing all the nerves down his throat, Mark starts to reach out for Jinyoung’s hand. “Jinyoung, I…”

“Bow down before me as the greatest person in the world enters!” Jaebum’s voice resonated around the apartment causing him and Jinyoung to jump away from each other.

“What the hell, Im Jaebum!” Mark clutched his chest as the initial surprise still hasn’t left him. “You scared the crap out of me!”

“Oops,” Jaebum snickered. “Oh, Jinyoung. You’re here?” His best friend unceremoniously joined them in the living room and started eating the rest of the popcorn. “I was bored. I’m gonna hang out here.”

“I should leave.” Jinyoung says picking up his bag. “It was great seeing you, Jaebum. Thanks for the movie, Mark.”

Jinyoung was almost at the door, when a couch pillow was thrown at Mark, courtesy of Jaebum. Mark watches his best friend as he was hurriedly gesturing him to follow Jinyoung.

“Wait, Jinyoung!” Mark called out, wearing his shoes as quickly as possible. “Let me walk you back to the dorms.”

 

 


“Isn’t Jaebum gonna be mad?” Jinyoung says after a few moments of silence. “I mean, he came to hang out with you and here I am, taking again your time.”

Mark shrugged. “Jaebum? Nah, he’ll be fine.”

“So he’s not the jealous type then.” Jinyoung concluded quietly.

Mark thought about it. In his almost ten years of friendship with Jaebum, his best friend hasn’t really been a possessive one. “I guess so. I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m pretty sure he’s happy as long as you leave him somewhere with lots of food.

“I see.” Jinyoung replied and the both of them stayed silent once again.

This gave time for Mark to think about what happened back in the apartment. He was pretty sure that something would have happened if Jaebum had not interrupted. He wondered if he tries to reach out for Jinyoung’s hand once again, would it still work or has the atmosphere already been ruined?

“We’re here.” Jinyoung announced as they reached the dorm entrance. There were just one or two students hanging out at the common area, perhaps most are outside enjoying their own rest days.

“Okay,” Mark said as they looked at each other. He really doesn’t want to go home yet, and he’s about 75% sure Jinyoung is thinking the same thing. Well, at least he hoped, especially seeing the way Jinyoung’s eyes twinkle once again. “Jinyoung about what you’re saying earlier…”

But whatever he was about to say was cut off when Jinyoung softly presses his lips against his and suddenly everything in Mark Tuan’s life fit into its right places. It was definitely more than what he was expecting his first kiss to be. Yes. There wasn’t any fireworks in his heart. Instead it felt like an atomic bomb, smashing and disintegrating all the feelings that he had into a million pieces, which with every gentle press of Jinyoung’s lips build them up once more.

“Jinyoung.” Mark breathes when they pulled away briefly for air. Their lips are just a sliver away from one another, and Mark reached out a hand on Jinyoung’s cheek to pull him back for a more deeper kiss, but Jinyoung’s hand on his chest lightly pushed him back.

Mark looked at him expectantly as the undeniable red tint painted on Jinyoung’s cheeks and he knew how nervous the other one was with the way he was chewing his bottom lip. Apparently Park Jinyoung still has no idea how that look was driving Mark crazy at the moment. Or maybe he did.

“I… I have to go.” Jinyoung stuttered out of breath as he ran back inside the dorms, leaving a still dazed Mark outside.

Jinyoung might have left him earlier than what he expected, but the silly wide smile on Mark’s face was plastered all through the day.

Jaebum might have puked a little when he saw.

 

 

Mark already has Jinyoung’s seat reserved when he arrived to class the following morning. He had to admit, he’s been feeling a mixture of insanity, excitement, happiness and nervousness as he waited for the other. Not to mention he hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before.

But he knew they have to talk it over. At least if they want to take it to the next level.

To his luck however, Jinyoung did not arrive on time once again and was again forced to sit in the front area of the class. Despite being distracted the whole period, Mark tried to calm his nerves as he desperately counted the seconds before the bell rang and when it did, he nearly tripped over himself as he attempted to approach Jinyoung.

Only, Park Jinyoung was way faster than him.

Mark watches in disbelief as flocks of students crowded the hallway with Jinyoung getting lost in it. He tried to follow Jinyoung’s usual direction for his next class to no avail. He felt a little bit confused as he attempted to convince himself that nothing is wrong.

 

Something is wrong.

Mark yet again attempted to contact Jinyoung during lunch break, but all he got was his voicemail. If this is any other day, Mark would have taken his time squealing upon hearing Jinyoung’s cute voice message, but not this time. He has a feeling Jinyoung was avoiding him.

But he doesn’t know why.

And he definitely cannot wait until Monday to try and talk to him again.

 

 

Friday afternoon and Mark found himself sitting just outside the Liberal Arts building. This is the only place that Mark is sure Jinyoung would be in since his calls had been ignored for the past 24 hours. There’s only one exit in this building and Jinyoung would have to come out eventually right?

Oh damn, he’s starting to be a real stalker.

Thankfully, like clockwork, Jinyoung came out of the building at around four in the afternoon. Mark’s suspicions was finally confirmed when Jinyoung attempted to back away the moment he saw Mark.

“Hey, Jinyoung!” Mark greeted, trying to ignore the clench in his heart when he saw Jinyoung’s expression. “Are you alright?”

 “Yeah,” Jinyoung answered eventually, forcing a smile on his face. “Listen, Mark. I… I have to go to a group meeting right now. See you on Monday?”

Mark could only watch helplessly as Jinyoung ran away from him.

 

 

“Oh God. Get out of my house.” Jaebum was just getting out of his bedroom as he threw his slippers at Mark, who was lying face down at the couch. Mark didn’t care. He’s decided. He’ll just stay here on Jaebum’s couch until he dies. “It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. Stop infecting me with your loser.”

“No it’s not.” Mark mumbled from his position. “It’s raining pretty hard outside. The universe is weeping with me right now.”

“Since when did you become a drama queen, Mark Tuan?” Jaebum said, sitting on the floor beside Mark’s head. “Oh look at the poor baby, getting heartbroken from his first love.”

“I thought we’re okay. Why is he avoiding me?” Mark cried, ignoring Jaebum’s teases.

“Maybe you really sucked at kissing? S U C K?” Jaebum suggested sniggering to himself. “I mean, it’s your first time after all. I wouldn’t blame you to be honest.”

“I don’t suck. At least I think I don’t.” Mark scowled at Jaebum, before heaving a sad sigh. “I just… I miss him so much.”

“So then what are you doing here whining to me?” Jaebum asked. “I get it, you kissed. You may have sucked on it, but so what? Big deal. Everyone does it on college. Just don’t give up trying to talk to him. He might give you a chance if he really know how screwed up you are for him. God knows I saw the way you two look at each other and I may have fought the urge to throw up a few times. So why are you whining right now, Tuan? This is not the guy who worked for his father’s rival law firm nor the guy I was best friends with since we were ten and absolutely NOT that “someone” who’s about to become Park Jinyoung’s one great love.”

“How did you know…?” Mark sat up and stared at his best friend upon hearing his last words. “Were you eavesdropping that time?”

“Of course I am.” Jaebum smiled a little too proudly of himself. “And my God, Tuan. How did you even graduate valedictorian of our class and not even realizing that that ‘someone’ Jinyoung was talking about was you? Y O U.”

“Shit. Shit, shit, shit.” Mark got up. “You’re right. I need to find him.”

“I’ll text you where he is.” Jaebum said and Mark raised an eyebrow. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m just gonna text some people that might have an idea where he is. Jesus. It’s all about networking. If I’m gonna work in your dad’s law firm, I needed to know the right people, don’t I?” Jaebum elaborated, because to be frank Mark was starting to think that his best friend is really doing something illegal.

“Fuck,” Mark says as he laughed out nervously. “Thanks. I owe you, man.” He called out as he was already out of Jaebum’s apartment in a blink of an eye.

 

“Don’t forget your umbrella!” Jaebum shouted out after him, knowing it was useless. “Well look at him running under the rain. I’m not gonna take care of him if he gets sick.” He whispered to himself as he texted people in his phone.

 

 

Mark was soaked to the bones as he was running to the student dorms. Jaebum has texted him that Jinyoung was already on his way home from the bookstore. His best friend was right as the familiar figure of Jinyoung arrived just before him in the entrance. Mark hurriedly ran as Jinyoung was still busy closing off his umbrella and putting it on the rack by the entrance.

“Jinyoung!” Mark called out, but his voice was entirely drowned out by the sound of the rain. “Park Jinyoung!” He shouted out, but Jinyoung nonchalantly made his way inside the dorms unaware of the presence behind him.

Using what was left of his energy, Mark dashed inside the building, not caring anymore that his dripping wet on the tiles nor caring about the crowd of students gathered outside trying to avoid the heavy rain.

He sees Jinyoung almost approaching the stairs leading to the rooms and Mark knew it was now or never.

“PARK JINYOUNG!”

His voice echoed all over the lobby and everyone’s eyes were now on him, including Jinyoung’s. Mark could feel himself shivering because of the cold, but he knew to himself that he could never miss this chance anymore. Jinyoung looked surprised and Mark has no idea if it’s because he was shouting his name in the middle of the crowd or because of Mark’s drenched appearance or maybe both. But Mark was looking into Jinyoung’s eyes and he knew that he has his undivided attention.

“PARK JINYOUNG. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU!”

A chorus of gasp was heard from the crowd and maybe some wolf whistling here and there, but the silence that followed was the most nerve wracking. However, it was not enough to crumble Mark’s resolve, because Jinyoung was not running away. He was there watching Mark as he declared his love for him.

“I don’t know what happened!” Mark continues. His voice getting a bit hoarse. “And I don’t know if you want to be with me! But just hear me out, okay?! I’m in love with you, Park Jinyoung! I think I’ve always been from the first time that we met! And I miss you so much! I didn’t know what happened and I didn’t know what I did wrong, but please give me a chance to explain myself! Because you’re the first person I’ve wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I’m not gonna let my stupidity keep me from being with you! Because I want to be your one great love, Park Jinyoung! I want to be your Prince! Because everything starts with you!”

Jinyoung was red all over his face when he ran to Mark and pulled him from the swooning crowd. The cheering of the other students followed them the rest of the way and Mark’s pretty sure he saw a couple of people filming his confession in their phones.

Something tells him that Jaebum will definitely inform him if that thing goes viral.

 

Jinyoung was still quiet when they entered his room and Mark wasn’t sure if the other was aware that they’ve been holding hands since coming from the lobby. Oh well, as if he has any problem with it. As long as he gets to hold Jinyoung’s hand.

“I wasn’t kidding about what I said earlier, Jinyoung-ah.” Mark said quietly, watching Jinyoung still looking down on the floor. “I really am in love—…”

“What about Jaebum?” Jinyoung whispered that Mark almost missed it.

Mark furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “What about Jaebum?” With his free hand, he reaches out for Jinyoung’s warm cheek to make sure he could see his eyes. There was a look of hope in them, and at the same time, hurt. Pain that Mark wants to get rid of, because Jinyoung deserves all the happiness in the world.

“Aren’t you guys dating?” Jinyoung’s voice cracked as a tear falls down his cheek. “Mark, I’m pretty sure you already know I feel the same way for you too, but I’m not gonna try and ruin a relationship because of it. I tried. I tried so hard so much to fight what I was feeling, but every time I see you, I lose all my sense of judgement. I can’t keep myself away from you and then the kiss happened. I’m just sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m in love with you too, but not like this. We can’t do it like this. I don’t want to hurt someone else.”

“You think Jaebum and I...?” And then Mark started to laugh heartily, because of the mixture of the absurdity of this misunderstanding, of the rush of relief in his chest and of the feeling of falling more in love with this person with him right now. “Park Jinyoung, did you think that Jaebum and I are dating?!”

“Why, yes of course!” Jinyoung said defiantly, maybe a little offended that Mark was laughing at his face right now. “You guys were so close when we went out last time and he has the key to your apartment! If that doesn’t spell out dating…” He was cut off when Mark was already pulling him for a tight hug.

“Oh my God. You’re so adorable.” Mark said burying his nose into Jinyoung’s neck. “Jaebum and I are just best friends. And the closeness that you saw was the friendship that was built by crap loads of curses and feet smelling from time to time. Definitely miles away from what I’m feeling for you, Jinyoung-ah.”

“Shit,” Jinyoung mumbled as he clutched Mark’s wet shirt tightly. “I’m so embarrassed. I wanna die.”

“Nope. You can’t” Mark says as he pulled away. “You have to make up for those times that you avoided me. How could you do that when I was obviously pining over you? You had me thinking my kissing sucked or something.”

“I didn’t know, alright? And I love your kiss, by the way.” A shy smile was already making its way on his face. “I was hoping you’d like me, but I was feeling guilty at the same time because of Jaebum. Seems like there really wasn’t anything to worry about.”

“That’s right.” Mark says as he held Jinyoung’s face with both of his hands. “Now how about showing me that smile that I fell for.” His heart skipped a bit when he felt Jinyoung’s cheeks become warmer. And there it was the smile which now contained a lot of happiness and love. Mark couldn’t help but closing in their distance breathing in the feeling of kissing Jinyoung once again.

Mark was about to push Jinyoung into the wall when the latter pulled away, breathless. “Mark,” Jinyoung whimpered as Mark’s hand already made its way into his shirt, drawing small circles on the small of his back. “God, you make it so hard to stop.” He groans as Mark was leaving small bites on his neck.

“Then don’t.”

“No, take a shower first. You’ll get sick.” Jinyoung pulled away reluctantly heading to his dresser and pulling out a spare towel and extra clothes. “Come on, we’ll continue once you’re done. I promise. I just don’t want spending our first few days as a couple feeding you chicken soup while you cough and sneeze all over.”

“Fine,” Mark felt a bit dejected while Jinyoung pushed him a bit forcefully into the bathroom. So as revenge, he began taking off his clothes with his back on Jinyoung before entering.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Jinyoung screamed throwing a pillow on a now boxer-clad Mark. “Don’t think you could seduce me with your body, Mr. Tuan!”

Mark sniggered with his head poking out of the bathroom door. “I like it when you call me, Mr. Tuan. Kind of turning me on right now. Do you want to join me?” His face was met with another pillow throw from Jinyoung.

 

 

“Hey, thanks for what you did earlier,” Jinyoung says much later as he cuddled closer to Mark. Their legs both on a tangled mess. “It must’ve been embarrassing for you to do that.”

“I actually didn’t feel nervous at all despite the crowd.” Mark laughed to himself a bit. “I’m just looking at you and thinking, shit, I really love this guy.”

“Very cheesy,” But Jinyoung still pressed a peck on Mark’s cheek. “But I love it. Saying you love me in front of everyone. You even ran under the rain.”

“Yeah, that totally ticks the check box on the grand gesture bucket list, huh?” Mark turned to him and ran his hand through Jinyoung’s hair, looking into each other’s eyes. “I love you so much.”

“Me too.” Jinyoung whispered back leaning in for a kiss. “I love you too, my Prince.”

 

 

 

 

A few months down the road…

 

“Hey, remember first day of Philosophy class?” Mid-term exams are finally over and while everyone was out and about celebrating it on this beautiful Friday night (Jaebum might have invited them for at least three parties and it’s only ten pm.), they just decided to stay in and probably enjoy each other’s company without any college induced stress.

“How can I forget?” Jinyoung says putting down the book (webtoon) he was reading. They were in Mark’s bedroom and they agreed to get some much needed sleep after maybe heavy cuddling. However, with the way Jinyoung was looking at him right now, that maybe out of the window.

“You stepped on my shoe.” Mark says casually, already adjusting his position beside Jinyoung.

“I what? Which shoe?” Jinyoung sat up looking down at him and Mark finally realized that his boyfriend did not even know what happened.

“The white chucks.” Mark replied. “It’s on the shoe rack. I don’t wear it much, but you can still see your shoe print on it.”

“I didn’t know.” Jinyoung said with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry. I was so busy staring at you that time I wasn’t even aware what I was doing. You’re so handsome.”

“Oh?” Mark’s smirk widened especially now that Jinyoung was slowly climbing onto him, straddling his hips. “So I distracted you?”

“Yeah, very much.” Jinyoung was already loosening the drawstrings of Mark’s sweatpants. “I’m really sorry though. I really didn’t know about that.” Jinyoung leaned down to place a soft kiss on Mark’s inviting lips before pulling back. “How about I make it up to you? All night?” His hand makes his way into Mark’s boxers gently stroking him.

Mark groaned enjoying the feeling of Jinyoung’s touch. “Please do.”