LOVE’S NOT A COMPETITION BUT I’M WINNING
You bit your fingernails in frustration as you threw yourself on the edge of the bed. Baekhyun just took his leave and now you were sitting all alone in your room, deluding yourself with your wounded feelings.
“Why couldn’t you just say it back?” You started yelling to the innocent walls of your room. “Why do you have to be such a ing coward—DAMN IT, BAEKHYUN!” Without thinking, you grabbed one of your pillows and threw it across the room. “You stupid—” you grabbed another one, this time throwing it to the wall, “Insensitive—” you slammed your fist to the bed as you felt angry tears starting to form in your eyes. “JERK!”
You thought being rejected after saying the words ‘I love you’ was the worst kind of feeling in the world.
You were wrong. Being left hanging without a proper answer was worse.
You were going crazy, almost quite literally. You just couldn’t get his face out of your mind. That last conversation you had with Baekhyun bugged you so much; you couldn’t bring yourself to sleep that night.
This had been going on for days.
On some nights, you would just count the cracks on your ceiling and trying to interpret Baekhyun’s facial expression when you told him you loved him. He wasn’t disgusted by it—that was for sure. He looked shocked; a natural reaction, really. But more than that, he looked scared—of what, you didn’t know. You had your guesses, of course. It was either A. he was scared to say ‘I love you’ back or B. he was scared because he thought he was a lousy boyfriend for letting his girlfriend beat him to it (this one was very unlikely), or C. he had never thought your relationship was that deep so he was scared of being that committed to you.
Honestly? Option C seemed very possible to happen or to explain what happened at that moment. And it was the choice you least liked because if that option turned out to be true, maybe Baekhyun just didn’t love you as much as you loved him.
For the first couple of days after the incident, you threw tantrums like a kid to your surroundings. Your best friend and her boyfriend, Park Chanyeol, had to be the most tortured victims because they had to spend the lunch break with you—Lu Han and Minseok were busy preparing for their final thesis because their graduation date just a few months away. And Baekhyun was... well, gone.
Chanyeol and his girlfriend were seriously irritating considering how often they giggled and exchanged romantic words (“I miss you”, “You look gorgeous today”, and the most annoying one: “I love you”) around each other. And it just pissed you off to the point you felt sick about it. So one day, you slammed your hands on the table and stomped your feet on your way out of the cafeteria. Not too long after that, though, you realized how much of a drama queen you were being at the moment.
It wasn’t like you were officially rejected, right? Baekhyun just probably needed some time to figure things out.
You knew Baekhyun was the type of person who was always running away from his problem when it got too big for his hands. He would escape, choosing the shortest way out, until he could calm himself down and finally be able to think of the right solution to his problem. He would come back and try to fix things eventually, but no one could guarantee when he would come back.
You knew that. You understood that well.
That was why when Baekhyun took off just a minute away after your unplanned confession; you could endure the throbbing pain in your chest. It wasn’t easy. Nothing about this was easy. You were humiliated. You were upset. Dreadfully. But you didn’t lose your hopes. Baekhyun would come around sooner or later.
He would, right?
A familiar girl’s voice called your name from the other side of your door, followed soon by soft knocking sounds of her knuckle meeting the wooden door. You could recognize that person as your one and only close girl friend in this campus when she subtly asked, “Hey, are you there?”
You walked to the door and turned the doorknob, immediately being faced with a pair of worried eyes and a common smile. She was still carrying her bag and her violin case, looking like she just got back straight from her music class.
“Can I come in?” she said, still smiling. “You look like you need someone to talk.”
You sighed, somewhat realizing that yes, you did need someone to talk. All of these feelings were too overwhelming to be handled alone. Besides, maybe a friendly suggestion would do you some good.
“Yes,” you said and hugged her petite frame, “yes, that would be great.”
“Are you okay?” she asked, running her hands on your back in a soothing manner.
“No,” you mumbled weakly.
“What Baekhyun do to you this time?” she questioned as you ushered her to come inside. She followed your steps until both of you were sitting facing each other on the bed.
“Nothing. That’s the problem.” You felt the pain grew back in your chest.
She took a hold of your hand and rubbed comforting circles on your palm. “Will you tell me what happened?”
“Umm...” you cleared your throat awkwardly, a bit embarrassed to point out the truth, but really, at this point you didn’t have much of a pride left anyway. “I told him I love him and he... Well, he ran off.”
“He ran off?” your friend repeated, eyes squinting in disbelief and eyebrows creased into a frown.
You nodded meekly. “Yeah...”
“Wow, what a way to break a girl’s heart,” she commented, still looking quite surprised.
You forced out a laugh. “I know, right?”
She stayed quiet but her eyes didn’t stop analyzing you. She tightened her grip on your hand and you wondered why she did that. You realized that maybe it was because you looked like you were about to cry at the moment and she tried to stop that from happening.
“You really do love him, huh?” she asked, voice soft and consoling.
“I guess so...” you shrugged. “I mean, I’m not even mad at him right now. I mean, yes, of course I do, but it’s not like I hate him. I still want to see him, to hear his voice, to see his stupid eyeliner and his nagging smirk—”
“But most of all, you want him to say those words back,” she continued exactly what you wanted to say. She smiled and patted your hand. “I know how you feel.”
You pulled your fingers back from her, moving out of her reach. “How would you know? Chanyeol says those words to you all the time.” You didn’t realize how cold and spiteful your tone was until you actually heard yourself saying them.
She looked a bit hurt by your act and you almost apologized but she didn’t make a big problem out of it. “I’m sorry. I guess, you’re right,” she said, “I never got into a situation like what you’re in right now. Chanyeol has always been honest to me about his feelings.”
“I’m sorry,” you responded awkwardly, “I didn’t mean to say it like that.”
“It’s okay.” She waved her hand casually, smiling a little. “I mean, you’re just telling me the truth.”
You still felt bad to be honest, so you just stayed silent and entertained yourself by watching your hands, which were lying lazily on your lap.
“You know,” your friend started again, “It that he doesn’t answer right away. But give him some time, will you? You told me yourself that this was his first time being in an actual relationship.”
“I know, but...” You exhaled, feeling too tired to even think about him right now. “I’m just worried he doesn’t feel the same way as I do.”
“Nonsense!” She exclaimed and took both of your hands in hers, squeezing them. “He loves you. You hear me? Baekhyun loves you. That’s one thing I can assure. Maybe he doesn’t realize it yet, because face it, he’s kind of slow when it comes to things like this, but I can tell that he does. Believe me.”
You chuckled softly at her reaction. “Why are you getting so worked-up for? It’s my feeling that’s on the line right now, not yours.”
“Because you two are so frustrating to watch!” She confessed, throwing her hands on the air. “Chanyeol and I had been hoping for a long time for you two to get together, and now that you have, we want both of you to admit how much he’s in love with you—just like how much you’re in love with him. And it’s so frustrating to see you two sitting there without telling one another!”
You frowned but you remembered that actually yes, they were the one who tried so immensely to hook you up with Baekhyun—from the theme park adventure, to the (unexpectedly) first movie date, for example. Even Chanyeol went out of his way by telling you about that video—the one where Baekhyun confessed all his feelings about you to him. If none of those things had happened, you weren’t sure that you and Baekhyun could be in a relationship like this right now.
You smiled before ending it with a chuckle. “You two are like my personal matchmakers.”
She added a laugh. “Well, Chanyeol cares about him a lot, and I care about you too, so talking about your love life has been some sort of our entertainment, really.”
“What, you gossip about us before you carry on to your dirty ?” I joked, and she pouted.
“Hey, that’s not funny,” she said, looking a bit pained. “I was really scared back then.”
“There, there. It’s all over now.” You leaned in to throw an arm around her shoulders and patted her hair. “Come to think of it, you never told me about your love life with Mr. Park. What’s the juice?”
“There’s no juice whatsoever.” She shook her head disapprovingly at your choice of word, wrinkling her nose at you. “And it’s a secret.”
“Meanie~” You poked her left cheek. “But you’re happy with him, right?”
“Yes.” She smiled so earnestly and her eyes sparkled in joy. “Yes, I am.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” you said as you hugged her. And you really did, not even jealous for one bit, because she was practically a sister to you by now and you loved her so much; you just wanted her to be happy for the rest of her life. “Thanks for coming here and listening to me.”
“You’re welcome,” she replied, “I’m sorry for not coming here sooner. There was, umm... something happened with Chanyeol, so...”
You furrowed your eyebrows as you pulled away. You thought you heard sadness and pain in her voice but when you analyzed her expression, she was looking nothing but calm and content—even smiling to you, actually. It must have been your imagination.
But it wouldn’t hurt to ask. “What happened to Chanyeol?”
“What?” She blinked twice. “Oh! Nothing, it’s—” She rapidly waved her hand, almost looking too suspicious. “It’s nothing, really. Just, you know, life.”
You frowned even more as you scanned her face. You knew there was something she wasn’t telling you. But if she wasn’t ready to tell, then there was nothing you could do about it.
“I hope he’ll realize how much he loves you soon,” she said, aligning the direction of the conversation to something else less awkward. “I hope he’ll bring you flowers and make a giant cake with words ‘I LOVE YOU, MRS. BYUN’ written all over it, and scream how much he loves you to the entire universe.”
You snorted, holding back a laugh. “I’m sorry, but ‘Mrs.Byun’?”
“Oh!” She covered with her hands, eyes wide. “I wasn’t supposed to say that. It’s, uhh—See, Chanyeol and I like to call you Mr. and Mrs. Byun whenever we talk about you two.”
You raised an eyebrow, already couldn’t suppress your grin. “Why?”
“Because in our imagination,” she admitted, blushing violently, “you guys are married, and you two are our neighbors. We call ourselves Mr. and Mrs. Park.”
“Oh my God,” you giggled loudly, “I am so embarrassed of you right now, I think I’m going to burry myself in a hole for your sake.”
She blushed quite furiously and playfully threw a pillow to your face. “Hey, be quite, okay? That’s our fantasy! Don’t you think it would be great if we live next to each other after we both get married?”
You were tearing, honestly. “Stop, you’re killing me!”
“I’m serious!” She placed her hands on her hips and glared at you. “Just think about it. We can have dinner together every Friday’s night, and I’ll probably bring Hyerin along so she can play with—”
“My...” She blushed even harder. “Me and Chanyeol’s daughter.”
“OH MY GOD!” You were literally rolling yourself on the bed, laughing uncontrollably. “You imagined all of that with him? Don’t tell me you already have a name for my child too!”
“Yah! Of course not!” Her face was absolutely red but you couldn’t stop yourself from cackling like a mad woman. Especially when she brought her gaze away from yours and muttered quietly, “But Myungwoo sounds perfect to be Hyerin’s future husband...”
You fell to the bed, wrapping an arm around your stomach as your laughter grew even louder. “You guys are ridiculous—oh my God, my stomach hurts.”
It wasn’t that funny to you anymore after a couple of minutes had passed by. But you could hear yourself laughing, although it felt like it didn’t have any humor left in it. Before you knew it, you were crying and sobbing with your face buried in your hands. You could hear your friend panicking with your sudden mood change but you couldn’t stop the tears from falling.
Because it was sad. It was painful to imagine something like you being Baekhyun’s wife and having a child together with him, when in real life, he ran away the second you told him you loved him.
It just hurt.
It had been five days since that incident and Baekhyun was still nowhere to be found.
How much longer would he keep himself hidden like this?
How much longer could you bear with it?
It wasn’t that Baekhyun couldn’t be found; it was more like he didn’t want to be found. He never came to the lunch table at break time, but it wasn’t a surprise really. He also never stepped his foot in your room again; also not a surprise.
What did surprise you, though, was when you visited him on his usual music studio to check up on his condition, because even though you were just this much away from slamming his skull to the nearest wall, you couldn’t stop yourself from caring about his health.
Baekhyun was a hard worker. When he had committed to do something, he would put all of his effort in it. He usually worked like a mad scientist—didn’t know when to stop, or how important sleep was for human beings. It wasn’t a wonder whenever he got physically and mentally drained, because the guy didn’t seem to know his own limit. He had a concert to prepare for this weekend—which only gave him about two more days to rehearse his songs and considering how he could be a quite perfectionist, he wouldn’t stop himself from practicing until he could convince himself that he was ready. Feeling concerned about him, you decided to put your own ego aside and try to be the proper, supporting girlfriend. Honestly, dating Baekhyun made you a lot more mature than what you used to be.
You were also hoping that maybe, after realizing how caring you are, he would stop himself from acting like a cowardly son of a and just be a man and say what he wanted to say.
That kind of hope got smashed to the ground pretty quickly, though, considering how Baekhyun quickly ordered you to “Go away. You’re breaking my concentration. I don’t want to see you for now, so can you just leave?” right at the moment you just placed a foot in his piano studio.
You were about to burst in anger. This was absolutely beyond your control anymore. He didn’t even look at you in the eyes when he said those unpleasant words. He just gave you a quick glance, looking a bit startled at first but went immediately back to his stoic expression, before he started busying himself with his music sheets and his goddamn dusty grand piano. You were about to throw your special ordered Chinese food takeaway (Baekhyun’s favorite) right on his face, but then he turned around on his seat for the second time, facing you directly after noticing that you didn’t leave immediately like he asked you to do. That moment, you saw him—really seeing him this time.
Baekhyun’s shoulders were slumped forward, and he had bags under his eyes. He was pale and the usual healthy red color on his lips was gone. His hair looked like it had been yanked for more than a couple of times and his eyes were heavy with sleep. To be honest, he looked like he was about to faint on the next second.
“Are you okay?” you asked, frowning on how awful he looked. This version of him almost resembled how he looked the day they held Huang Zitao’s funeral. Only this time, there were neither sadness nor pain in his eyes. He was just restless and perhaps nervous for his performance, and he looked a bit frustrated. You didn’t know why, though.
You wanted to be angry with him. To bash him. To yell and scream at him. But you couldn’t, not right now, not with him being like this. Instead, you took another step forward until you were close enough to hand him the takeaway food personally.
“If you don’t want me to be here,” you said, feeling like you wanted to cry over your own stupidity because there was a part in you that thought maybe the reason Baekhyun looked like this was because you said those things. Maybe the confession or how he reacted afterwards, bugged him as much as it bugged you. “If you don’t want me to stay, Baekhyun, at least eat this. You look like you haven’t eaten anything for days.”
Baekhyun only glued his eyes to the small box of foods before he took them with hesitant hands. “Thanks,” he murmured.
“Are you okay?” you asked, unconsciously reaching out to give comforting touch on the side of his face, but Baekhyun leaned away before you could do that.
“I’m fine,” he said, standing up from his seat and moved away from you. “Don’t worry about me.”
You placed your reaching hand against your chest instead, feeling hurt and ignored. “O-okay, umm... Well, I—”
“Go,” he said coldly and you never thought it would pain you so much to hear him say that single word. “Just go, I don’t want you here.”
You tried to take a deep breath but it didn’t seem like a possible thing to do at the moment because you felt like your lungs were crushed.
“I’m...” You your lower lip while your hands gripped the hem of your shirt. "I'm just gonna go then. Good luck on...” Your surroundings seemed to crumble into dusts as the scar of his words seeped even further to your heart. “Good luck,” you finished lamely.
You were on the verge of tears when you turned around on your heels and reached for the door. The only thing that stopped you from doing it was Baekhyun’s sudden voice that filled the room, “Wait!”
And you did. You halted your movements and shifted your body around, staring at him. He looked just as shocked as you were at the moment from calling you so suddenly like that, as if he didn’t intend to stop you from moving on the first place.
“I...” He opened his lips but no more words came after that other than, “Nevermind.”
So you dropped your gaze down to your feet, fighting back the hot, stinging tears from falling from the corner of your eyes, and muttered, “Good night, Baekhyun.”
You woke up on a Friday morning with tired eyes. You only got like three hours of sleep last night because your mind couldn’t take a rest and stop thinking of how your boyfriend hadn’t really talked to you in almost a week. You checked your phone, hoping to get a text from him or something, but you sighed and leaned back to your pillow when there was no new message whatsoever.
Today was the day. Baekhyun’s piano concert. And yet, he still hadn’t said anything.
A flashback went through your eyes as you kept your eyelids closed.
“You’re heavy, do you know that?” you said just a second after Baekhyun had landed his head on your lap. Whenever he saw you sitting on the couch, he would just immediately plop his down to sit beside you and stretch his arms like a cat before he smoothly use your thighs as his own personal cushions. “I swear, your head probably weighs more than the rest of your body.”
“You wanna know why it’s heavy?” Baekhyun asked, smiling teasingly.
“No, don’t say it—”
“It’s because it’s too filled with the thoughts of me missing you,” Baekhyun said, adding a greasy wink at the end.
You groaned and rolled your eyes. “No, it’s probably because you’re a stubborn .”
“Hey~” Baekhyun sang song, pinching the bridge of your nose. “If you must know, I got a fulltime scholarship in this place. I’m surely not a .”
You absentmindedly started stroking his hair—it was beginning to be a new habit of yours. “Wow, am I dating the future Einstein?”
“Beethoven, maybe,” Baekhyun chuckled. “Yeah, well, since my family practically abandoned me along the way, I just had to fend for myself. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve managed it so far.”
You smiled fondly. “I’m proud of you, Baekhyun.”
One side of his mouth curved up to form a smug smile. “I’m good at what I’m doing, you know.”
It wasn’t really that difficult for you to admit that Baekhyun was good at what he did. His vocal and his piano skill weren’t meant to be ignored. Almost everybody in this university knew that Baekhyun was the music prodigy in your generation. He got full time scholarships, and even though he didn’t look like he was the best kind of student (he skipped classes sometimes, he did his homework on the last seconds and many other inappropriate things such as having in the library), Baekhyun was really brilliant in what he did.
The university even gave him a job where he, and other top musicians in this place, would hold a charity concert to gather more money to upgrade the facilities in this campus. They held it once every year, and this was Baekhyun’s second performance on the huge stage. You didn’t get to see his first performance because you had to attend a dance class that was held on the other side of the town, and you had regretted it so much since then.
“Come to see me play, all right?” Baekhyun asked, lacing your fingers together and smiling boyishly. “You’ve promised me that.”
You giggled a little. “Do you want me to be there that much?”
“Maybe,” Baekhyun smirked before bringing your head down for a kiss. “But in all honesty, I do want you to be there. So live to your promise, okay?”
You opened your eyes and thought, do you still want me to be there now?
Remembering what happened the other day at the music studio, maybe he really did not want you to come and see him.
You sighed and placed your right wrist on your forehead, suddenly feeling tired all over again. You wanted to see him, of course. You wanted to make sure that he was all right and ready to awe the audience with his fantastic performance. But if he didn’t give you permission for it, then...
You remembered the day he made you promised like that right on the same time your phone started to ring, alerting you that a new message just came in. You rolled on your bed and gathered your phone in your hands, checking your mailbox.
It was from Baekhyun.
You didn’t realize you were holding your breath as you read his text.
You promised me that you’d come. I expect you to be there. – Baekhyun
No ‘good morning’. No ‘hi, sorry I’ve been avoiding you for days’. No ‘I miss you, Sweetheart’. The text wasn’t even a start of conversation, or a nice question whether you would still come to his concert or not. No, it was an order.
You were about to be upset for the rest of the day, except maybe not, considering how your heart just got slightly happier from the fact that he still wanted you to come to his concert. But then, another text came through and you hurriedly clicked ‘open’.
I’m sorry. – Baekhyun
You didn’t know what he was apologizing for: the confession incident, or the one at the music studio? But you just lay back down on your bed and thought that this was enough.
This was enough for now.
“Hey, bestie!” Your friend chirped happily as soon as you opened your room’s door for her. She was beautifully dressed in a white pleated dress and her hair was braided stunningly, making her innocent aura stand up more vividly. She wore light make-up around her brown eyes, framing them with soft eyeliner and her lips were tainted with natural red. “Are you ready to go?”
“Oh, umm...” You felt slightly intimidated by how gorgeous she looked right now. You didn’t feel like putting up your best dress and make-up on considering how miserable you were at the moment. There were so many—too many—thoughts swirling in your mind from assessing how the night would go. What would you do when you see him in the eyes? What would you say when your friend drags you backstage to congratulate him for his performance? What kind of look should you put on your face when you talk to him?
You took a look at yourself and you grimaced. You were wearing a maroon-colored sequin bodice skater dress that hugged you right on every curve of your body. The dress was okay, at least, but your make-up was terrible. You didn’t put any eyeliner or mascara on—you didn’t even bother to color your lips and only wore lip-gloss instead.
“Oh, honey,” your friend heaved a sigh. “Are you okay?”
“I just...” you shrugged. “I just don’t feel like going. I don’t know how I’ll be able to look at him after everything that happened.”
“Come here,” she said and pulled you into a friendly hug. “He still wants you there, right? I mean, you told me he texted you.”
“Yeah, but...” You felt like you were on the edge of whining like a baby over this situation and you were angry with yourself when you realized how much you’d changed. You weren’t this soft and weak before you met him. “It doesn’t feel like he actually wants me there. He probably felt bad because he already made me promise to come to his play.”
“Look,” she said, puling away slightly to pat your cheek. “It doesn’t matter whether he wants you there or not. Do you want to be there?”
“Of course I do,” you sighed, “It’s just—it’s not that simple—”
She shushed you and pressed a hand to clamp your mouth. “Just do whatever you want. It’s your life—not his. If you want to come, than just come see him.”
You blinked, a bit stunned with the way she could say those words confidently like that. She’s matured so much, you thought, because you still remembered those high school days when she had always followed you behind your back, looking fragile and unprotected. The stern look on her eyes now was the complete opposite of how she appeared back then.
Before you knew it, she dragged you back into your room and pushed you down so you could sit comfortably on the couch. She grabbed her make-up kit from her purse, and smiled when you stared at her nervously.
“I’ll make him regret for not escorting you to that place himself.”
There were loud knocking sounds coming from the other side of your door and your friend furrowed her eyebrows in concentration as she carefully put on eyeliner under your eyes. “Just a second!” she said, not stopping her action. The knocking sound didn’t stop either—if anything, it went even louder. Irritated, she screamed, “I SAID, JUST A SECOND!” and you had to grab the edge of your seat, because damn, she was so damn scary when she got upset.
Whoever that was on the door seemed to notice that as well because the knocking abruptly stopped.
“Okay, done,” she said, moving herself away from you with a satisfied grin. “You’re all set and pretty now! Yaaay for us all!” She ended her line with the cutest kind of giggle and you couldn’t help but to smile at that.
“Thanks,” you said, feeling more than grateful when you looked yourself at the mirror. She had done an excellent job, really. She had successfully changed your previously pale and weary look on your face, to a more confident, fresh looking one. Not to mention, elegantly beautiful too.
Your friend grinned again and grabbed your hand. “Come on, I think Chanyeol’s already here,” she said, and hurriedly pulled you off your seat. “We should get going now. Come on, come on!”
“Okay, okay,” you chuckled, grabbing your purse and walked yourself to the front door.
When you unlocked the door, you saw Chanyeol standing in front of it, waiting patiently for you and his girlfriend. He dressed elegantly as well, with a pair of expensive looking pantofel shoes, and black khakis combined with a nice white button-up shirt. He wasn’t wearing his matching dark blazer yet, and instead just settled them on one of his arms. He had rolled his sleeves up to his elbows, showing his strong arms and he also wore a CK Men’s Bold Chronograph watch on his left wrist. You knew Chanyeol was rich as hell, but wow, you’d never really seen him all dressed up and looking so high class before—not until now.
“Whoa, you look—” Chanyeol blinked and his lips parted in awe. “You look amazing.”
You let out a shy laugh. “Thanks. You don’t look so shabby yourself.”
“And what about me?” His girlfriend pouted, wanting his attention. “Aren’t you going to tell me something too?”
Chanyeol looked like he had a hard time trying to shift his gaze away from you, but the moment he rest his eyes on his lover’s figure, he became the usual lovestruck Chanyeol once again.
“I love you,” he said, and she giggled because Chanyeol was supposed to be complimenting her about her appearance. She let her boyfriend peppered her face with soft kisses, before he finally pressed his mouth against hers, not even bothering about how her lipstick would be smeared afterwards.
You dramatically yawned.
“Oh, would you look at the time,” you said, voice flat. “It’s already passed I’m-making-out-with-my-boyfriend-like--rabbits PM, I think we should get going.”
“Sorry,” your friend said and she gently pushed Chanyeol away. She giggled when Chanyeol kissed the tip of her nose and stole another peck from her lips.
“Continue this later?” Chanyeol asked, smiling boyishly.
“Later,” she promised, nodding and reflecting his smile.
Chanyeol leaned in to give another kiss to her cheek before he said, “You look so pretty today.”
You tucked your arms in front of your chest, shaking your head helplessly at the dumb couple but smiling as well. It was kind of delighting to see how two people could be so sincerely in love like them. You felt a bit pang of jealousy in your chest, but you were also happy from the sight of them being all smile and laughter around each other.
If only Baekhyun could be like that with you as well...
“Hey, are you okay?” Chanyeol asked, snapping you out of your thoughts. “Still there?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah...” You tucked a strand of your hair behind your ear before you hummed, clearing your throat. “Sorry, are we ready to go now?”
“Hey,” Chanyeol softly said, bending down a bit so he could level his eyes with yours. “It’s going to be okay, all right? Baekhyun will realize how much he loves you soon enough. Don’t you worry.”
You wrinkled your nose playfully at him. “Just how much do you know about my love life with Baekhyun? You gossipy ahjumma!” You flicked his nose and he jumped slightly on his long legs. “Come on, you lovebirds, the show’s about to start.”
Your heart didn’t feel as heavy as before with these two idiots on your side.
S.M University’s Auditorium Hall was huge and dominated by the color of red. Almost everything in the room was covered in the similar color of your dress—from the audience seats that were lined-up neatly (the auditorium offered about, more or less, three hundreds seats over two levels), to the color of the wide curtains that were long enough to hide the whole stage behind them. The room was a bit chilly for you and you were thankful when Chanyeol put on his blazer around your shoulders.
“I see you shivering,” he said, his eyes caring.
“The room isn’t even that cold, are you okay?” your friend asked, looking worried as well.
“I’m fine, guys, you don’t have to look after me 24/7,” you said although you kept sending them a grateful smile.
She shrugged. “Well, okay. We were just worried.”
She scrunched up her nose at your comment and grabbed your hand. She dragged you to the seats, tapping her chin while she was thinking which spot would be the best to watch the entire show. There wasn’t much of a choice, really, considering the room was almost full with people.
Most of the guests had taken their seats and your friend grumbled because the front seats were already occupied. She clapped her hands once when she noticed that there were actually three empty seats left on the third row. Those seats were located at the very side of the room—not the best spot to watch the stage but at least they were close enough to it. Chanyeol soon followed her steps, flopping down beside her without needing to be told. You sat on her other side, just right at the end of the row.
“I’m so thrilled,” your friend squeaked out happily, “I’ve never been to a charity concert before.”
“It’s nothing too great, really. Don’t get yourself too excited.” Chanyeol chuckled in that deep voice of his. “This is just like a small gala where old women could dress up like high class es and watch free shows, hoping they can get laid afterwards with some cheap, good-looking college boys.”
His girlfriend gave him a look.
“What?” Chanyeol shrugged uneasily. “That’s what Lu Han-Hyung told me.”
You only placed a guarded smile on your lips while you played with the button of your phone. You kept on checking whether there were new messages from Baekhyun or not. It turned out that the latter was right.
You sighed and stared lazily as the presenter of the night came up to the stage. You didn’t bother to hear his introduction and the purpose of this show or even about the charity itself. You just hoped this concert would end soon, so you could bring yourself back to sleep. Because then, you wouldn’t have to deal with this huge ache you felt on your chest whenever your thoughts flew back to a person with a huge letter B as his initial.
You don’t remember much of what happened that night, but you do recall the exact moment when Byun Baekhyun finally arrived on the stage alongside a few other musicians.
Your breath hitched in your throat as your eyes traveled to his face and the rest of his figure. Baekhyun was looking exquisitely handsome that night. He was wearing formal clothes, dressed sharply in a suit combined with a matching black tie that only made his appearance looked even sharper and gorgeous—although the exhaustion and weariness in his eyes betrayed him. His hair was pushed back, creating this slightly arrogant look on his face, and made him look like an heir from a royal family.
As soon as he entered the stage and stood perfectly still beside the presenter, he fixed his eyes on the audience, noticeably scanning every face on the crowd and looking for something—or someone—you didn’t know about. You wanted to tell yourself that he was looking for you but you didn’t want to give too much hopes on yourself.
The MC asked him to introduce himself and he just smiled dazzlingly after he bowed down to the audience and told them his name. Although he was smiling, you could tell how he was nervous and uneasy from one look of his eyes. He looked like a person who just lost something so ultimately precious to his life. It took all of your self-control to stay calm in your seat and not just run up to the stage and hold his hands assuringly.
When the MC told the other musicians to introduce themselves as well, Baekhyun searched the crowd again and he grew more and more anxious when he still couldn’t find what he had been searching for.
Until he landed his eyes on yours.
It felt like time actually stopped for that couple of seconds, and you didn’t think it was necessary to breathe at that time. The moment he saw you, he looked like somebody just lifted tons of weight from his shoulders, although he didn’t smile; he didn’t even sigh in relief or did something similar to that. He just kept his face stoic and his hands still, making you want to re-think the situation all over again. Was he or was he not looking for you at that time?
“Let’s give a round of applause for the first performer!” The MC suddenly shouted to the microphone and you felt your stomach begin to flip as he announced the name, “Byun Baekhyun!”
The host and the rest of the musicians climbed down the stage, leaving him standing there on an empty stage with nothing but a grand piano and a standing mike on it. The piano was already equipped with a microphone that was placed neatly above it so the performer could play and sing at the same time. Baekhyun bowed once again to the audience before he took a seat behind the huge, elegant piano.
You gripped the hem of your dress as you waited for him to begin his performance. He looked so tense and nervous—he was never like this whenever he was performing for someone. Baekhyun was a true artist. He was charismatic and always full of confidence whenever he had a microphone on his hand or piano keys under his long talented fingers. So why was he being like this now?
Come on, Baekhyun, you can do it.
He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. He just barely hit the first chord when he halted his own action and stood up abruptly.
“Actually, guys—” Baekhyun sounded hurried as he took hasty steps to the standing microphone that was supposed to be used only by the MC. “There’s a change of plans. Umm...” He cleared his throat awkwardly and looking quite conflicted and suddenly nervous. “Can I get some of your time? Just ten minutes, maybe? I got something I want to say.” Baekhyun waited for a nod from the Timekeeper of the show, and he smiled, showcasing his teeth, when he got a yes.
You looked at him with concerned eyes, not knowing what was going on with him.
Baekhyun let out a nervous chuckle to the microphone. “See, I’m supposed to play Beethoven’s Pathetique Second Movement tonight, but I’m feeling a little rebellious today so I’m just gonna throw that out of window and change it to my own song, if that’s okay with you.” The whole room fell into silence, only some people starting to exchange soft murmurs that you couldn’t hear properly. But when Baekhyun winked to an audience who was sitting on the front seat and said, “Still looking lovely there, Mrs. Kim. Is that a new dress?”, people started to laugh a little because it was obvious that Baekhyun was trying to win his teacher’s heart again. “Oh come on, Mrs. Kim, it’s a charity concert. People don’t come here to hear sad, agonizing tunes; they want to feel the love! So love is what I’m serving them.” Then he chuckled and faced the whole audience. “She said yes, I’m going to get my kicked later by those stilettos, but she said yes for now.”
The audience laughed some more even though they didn’t know what the hell was going on. Baekhyun’s face was open and much more relaxed now, and he did this cute little actions that made most of the girls in the front seat practically throwing themselves around his feet—Mrs. Kim was most likely to be one of them.
“So,” Baekhyun started, gaining back everyone’s attention. “Before I start, I want to tell you a story. It’s about my friend and his girlfriend, happened not too long ago. Their story had become my inspiration to write a song—the one that I’m going to play for you later. So I hope that maybe you’ll be inspired as well.” Then Baekhyun placed a hand on his chest and took a deep breath before he released it. “Wow, I’m nervous. You are all so pretty, I think I’m gonna faint.” There was another layer of laughter creeping through the room and you couldn’t stop yourself from smiling because this was all so Baekhyun. The way he entertained people with his words, the way he put on his stage smile, the way his eyes shimmered with passion and confidence as he stood on the stage.
But seriously, what is he doing?
“This story, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Baekhyun said with a nice melodious voice, “starts with a happy couple, let’s call them The Boy and The Girl. They started off pretty roughly at first, always bantering with each other, throwing punches here and there. Honestly? They hated each other, like, so much, you don’t even know. Even I grew frustrated! But then, something happened!” Baekhyun added a dramatic gasp, even covering his mouth with one hand and opened his eyes widely. You felt a smile creeping up to your lips while the other people laughed at his lousy act. “They fell in love! Yaay~” Baekhyun actually shook his hands happily in the air. “Although they felt the same way for each other, none of them was brave enough to go first and tell the other. The Boy thought it didn’t need to be said. He thought The Girl could see his feelings already without him talking it out directly. There was another reason why he didn’t tell her he loved her right away, but before that, I’m gonna ask a question here.”
Baekhyun stopped to grab the microphone and went down the stage to ask a girl who was sitting on the nearest front seat. “What do you think about The Boy, Miss? Do you think he for not wanting to state out his love?” he asked, smiling politely.
There were chuckles and small giggles for Baekhyun’s low choice of words. He gave her the microphone and she answered, “I won’t say ‘he ’, but...”
Baekhyun rolled his eyes playfully at that and responded, “It’s okay, I won’t tell him. I think he so much , somebody should call a police already,” and the crowd laughed again.
The girl in the front seat let out this cutest little giggle that somehow annoyed the hell out of you. It was obvious that she was flirting with him. The girl continued her previous words, “But shouldn’t boys tell girls how they feel first?”
“Well, I consider myself as a supporter of gender equalities, so I think girls should take the act first, just for a change,” Baekhyun said good-naturedly. “Just like in this story: The Girl told The Boy first. She said she loved him and The Boy freaked-out and left.” Baekhyun gasped again. “Oh, the horror!”
You were absolutely entranced with the way Baekhyun was playing with his words and his body movement. He knew how to gain people’s attention and he knew how to kept them from looking away.
But the more you got absorbed to the story, the more you realized it was about you and him. And you clenched your fists on your lap because you did not prepare yourself for this.
“Want to take a guess why the jackass suddenly took off, Miss?” Baekhyun asked another girl among the audience.
She nervously replied, “Because he didn’t love her back?”
“Wrong!” Baekhyun responded quite loudly. “You just lost a chance to go to the Lotte World, please pack up your bags and leave. Any other volunteer?” Baekhyun just barely walked away when he turned around and said to the previous girl, “I’m kidding, you look pretty tonight.” And he threw a flirty wink at her. “Anyone else want to speak up their mind?”
You didn’t realize you had been raising your hand in the air until Baekhyun’s gaze fell upon you and he grew still for a moment.
“Yes, Miss?” Baekhyun’s gaze softened and he smiled truthfully this time, and you felt your heart jerked because you hadn’t seen that kind of smile on him for a while now. He gave you the microphone and when your fingers touched, he looked a bit pained but also yearned for more.
“Because,” you felt your throat burning as you spoke to the microphone. “Because he doesn’t want to be committed to that girl?”
Baekhyun looked hurt with your words. When he took back the microphone, he kept his eyes on you, and coldly said, “Forgive me, Miss, but that sentence couldn’t be anymore wrong.”
And you immediately felt sorry for running your mouth so carelessly like that.
“The thing is, people,” Baekhyun said, now facing the audience with his similar excited eyes only this time, you could see the pain hidden between them. “The Boy loved her so, so much, it felt like his heart wanted to burst everytime he laid his eyes on her.” Baekhyun stopped to once again looked at you straight in the eyes. “He cared about her a lot, to the point that he’d be willing to do everything for her.”
Your stomach did a somersault but not because of his lines, but the unspoken words that appeared in his eyes instead.
“But The Boy was a coward,” Baekhyun continued. “That was why he left. When he agreed to date The Girl, he didn’t think their relationship would progress so fast and smoothly like this. So when The Girl said the L word out loud, he got scared because he wasn’t prepared for this yet. He was making a big deal out of it, I know, but for him, saying those words was like making a promise. And he wasn’t scared because he was making a promise to be committed to one person. He was scared because if he did—if he told her he loved back—he would disappoint her in the future.”
You brought your eyes down to your lap and felt your friend’s hand started to give a reassuring squeeze on your right one. Everytime Baekhyun spoke, he looked like he was happy and excited to tell the story to the audience, but now that you had planted your eyes away from his, you could tell that there was only hurt and sadness in his voice.
“See, The Boy didn’t trust himself to be around her. That’s what he told me. The Girl was perfect—too perfect for The Boy to even describe how she was. And The Boy felt like he was nothing compared to her. The Boy felt insecure and worried that maybe she’d regretted her promise in the future. He was scared to lose her.” Baekhyun chuckled shyly when he continued, “One time, The Girl even slapped him right on the face for always thinking so low about himself. I was there to see it, and boy, I felt like I wanted to punch him to the ground as well. But then The Boy told me that it wasn’t that easy to just forgive himself because he had done the worst kind of thing to her. It’s a wonder, really, that she was kind enough to forgive him. But the thing is, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Boy just still couldn’t forgive himself for what he did to her. So it’s only natural for him to not trust himself enough that he wouldn’t hurt her in the future.”
When Baekhyun stopped speaking, the whole auditorium fell into one massive ball of silence. Baekhyun slowly brought his feet back to the stage and put the microphone back to the standing mike. “So,” Baekhyun said, clearing his throat. He didn’t smile as brightly as before. He looked a bit melancholic now, and you didn’t think it was an act. “I wrote this song to represent The Boy’s feeling for The Girl. His true feeling, I mean. The one that he hasn’t told The Girl yet—not even until now. If some of you here are experiencing the same thing, I hope this song could deliver the things you want to hear. Because it doesn’t matter who says it first, it’s always a good thing to hear that you’re loved.”
Baekhyun placed a soft smile on his lips and you stopped breathing when he fixed his gaze on you for a second or two as he said, “This song is called Angel. Please listen carefully.” He turned back and sat down behind his piano. He fixed his microphone and after stretching his fingers a little, Baekhyun pressed his fingers to the piano’s keys, creating these soft, familiar tunes that you’ve heard twice before in your life.
It was that song. Eternally Lost.
“As if I was reborn as a child who doesn’t know anything
I thought it was a dream so I closed my eyes and opened them again”
Baekhyun’s voice was as smooth as a silk—the kind of voice you would fall asleep to. And you felt yourself smiling but also wanting to cry at the same time. How was that even possible?
“Even if it’s a small thing,
I want to protect you for always
So you won’t ever have to suffer
I’m eternally loved”
He changed the lyrics for me, you thought as you listened and felt your heart wrenched in the most pleasant way possible. Somewhere in your mind, you believed that it wasn’t just Baekhyun who was singing these words for you. You were also singing this back to him—promising him these words.
“As your guardian angel, I will block out that strong wind
Even if everyone turns their back against you
On hard days, I will wipe away your tears
If only I can be that kind of person
Wherever we go, it’ll be heaven”
You hid your wet eyes under your hand and chuckled softly, “You greasy bacon...”
“I have come to love you now
There’s no place for me to go back
My wings have been taken away
Even if I lost eternal life, the reason why I’m happy
Is because my forever is now you
When the song ends, the room was filled with nothing but clapping sounds and people whistling and awing at him, but Baekhyun didn’t look too smug or impressed about it. The boy just swiftly went to the backstage, only to be back not more than a minute later with a bucket of flowers—white and red roses—in his arms.
You were petrified, sitting like a statue in your place as he climbed down the stage and walked to your seat.
“Oh my God—” Your friend squeaked in her seat. “Is he going to—oh my God!”
Baekhyun was now standing beside you with those red-white roses decorating his arms. He brought his eyes down as soon as you landed your eyes on him, looking a whole new level of nervous.
“Umm...” Baekhyun cleared his throat, eyes fixed on his feet. His quiet voice still could be heard through the entire room because his personal microphone was still latched on the collar of his shirt. His face was just as red as the roses when he shoved the flowers into your direction. “The Boy asked me to give these to you.”
“Oh my GOD!” Your friend almost stood up, clapping her hands excitedly until everybody in the room started shushing her.
“Sssh, you’re ruining the moment,” Chanyeol lowly said, pulling her down.
“Go on,” Baekhyun encouraged when you were still frozen in your seat. “Take them.”
“I’m—” You were obviously speechless. It hadn’t struck you yet that Baekhyun was actually doing this in front of almost three hundreds people in the room. You were seeing this with your own eyes, but still working on believing.
“I want you to give these flowers to The Girl,” Baekhyun said, voice a bit shaky as his face burned in a darker shade of red. He was still not quiet looking at you. “And tell her, he’s sorry.”
You could hear your friend whispering enthusiastically to her boyfriend, “Oh my goodness, Yeollie, this is so cute!” followed by another huge amount of shushing.
You felt your eyes starting to sting with happy tears. “What are you, their delivery boy?”
“Sort of,” he answered, finally looking in your eyes with a small, timid smile and red blush spreading on his cheeks. “You can say that.”
You let out a small laugh as you took the flowers from his hand. “And is there any other message I should deliver as well?”
“Yes, there’s one more.” Baekhyun said, and he took a couple of deep breaths before he let his eyes fell on yours and locked them there. You suddenly felt there was another pleasant feeling swirling in your chest as he gently smiled and open his mouth to speak.
“I love you,” Baekhyun stated firmly, making those words sounded heavier and much more meaningful than they should have. “I love you and it makes me feel ridiculous because I’ve never felt like this before. I love you so much that I can’t stop smiling at my own reflection because every time I see myself, I see you. I remember you.”
Indistinct chatter could be heard as you felt everybody’s stare fell upon you. Even when Baekhyun said the next words in a low tone, every single person in the room seemed to be able to hear him.
“Hell, Sweetheart, I love you so much to the point I’m writing a song about a man who falls hopelessly in love with a girl, even though I hate writing sappy things like that.”
You smiled, remembering how this song—Angel—was written in completely different lyrics than how it was before.
“He called her ‘Sweetheart’!” Your friend was giggling like a thirteen year-old girl who’s having her first crush. “He’s absolutely talking about her and not—”
“Honey, we got that already,” Chanyeol said, placing his palm over .
You did not hear any of that, though. You kept your gaze on his and listened only to his words. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that for the moment, the time seemed to stop and there were only the two of you standing in that room.
“All I’m saying is,” Baekhyun continued, taking a step closer to you. “I love you so much, that I want to be selfish and keep you to myself. And I love you so ing much that I actually feel tired from thinking about you and missing you all the time even when you’re there beside me. But I have to, because if I don’t think of you in my day, I’ll see you in my sleep and that will only make me yearn for more. For you. For your crooked smile, for your tiny laugh, for that teasing twinkle you hide in your eyes.”
Baekhyun was now standing no longer than a hand reach away from where you were. He reached up to touch your face but he hesitated, probably thinking that you might pull away, so he relented to play with a strand of your hair instead before tucking them neatly behind your ear.
“I love you and you don’t even know how much,” he sighed, saying his line in a whisper although his microphone—the one that was attached on his collar—didn’t actually make it a secret. “Because there’s no single word in this whole universe that can describe how much I love you.”
You closed your eyes and you don’t remember whether you were crying or not at that time, because all you could commit to your memory were Baekhyun and everything that he was and did.
You still remembered how you kept on smiling so, so widely that you could feel your cheekbones starting hurt. Even then, you still couldn’t stop smiling.
“Did The Boy tell you to say all of those things?” you asked, smiling sheepishly as he pressed his temple against yours.
“Y-yeah,” Baekhyun said, finally catching up with the fact that he just absolutely lost it and blurted out every single thing he should’ve kept hidden in his own head. “I mean, I maybe added some things a little bit—y-you know, improvising. He wrote a goddamn speech for her, I—”
“JUST KISS HER ALREADY, DUDE! GOD!” Chanyeol’s voice suddenly boomed through the entire room, making you jump inadvertently in Baekhyun’s arms. It was kind of ironic, really, because Chanyeol’s right hand was still wrapped around his girlfriend’s mouth to contain her from speaking, but he was doing much worse than she would have done.
The room cracked up into laughter, and Baekhyun rubbed his hand on the side of his face, sighing in exasperation. “I’m going to kill you later, Park Chanyeol.”
“No, kiss her,” a woman, perhaps already in her forties, said with an understanding smile. “This kind of audience needs a little bit of drama and romance in their lives.”
Baekhyun’s jaw dropped as his face flushed quite noticeably. “But—we—”
And he didn’t get the chance to say more because you rose up on your tiptoes, circled your arms around his neck and placed one quick peck on his lips.
Baekhyun looked stunned even though the kiss didn’t stay any longer than one second. He blinked way too much in every second passing by and he couldn’t form any coherent words at the moment.
You smiled and hugged him cutely around the waist. “The Girl says, I love you too.”
When Baekhyun smiled, so unbelievably wide and charming and just simply beautiful, you couldn’t pay any attention to your surrounding. When he let out this soft, adorable chuckle, you couldn’t hear anything else—even when people were cheering for the two of you; even when the clapping sounds of their hands were deafening.
Your world seemed to revolve around him only at the moment.
You swore that Baekhyun’s cheekbones would fly up surpassing his temple if he kept on smiling at you like this. Without saying another word, he took a hold of your hand, squeezing it with his long and thin fingers, and proceed to go out of the room. People were still whistling and clapping their hands as you hurriedly follow his steps, until his body slid through the exit door, and you swiftly chased after him.
As soon as you two got some privacy, standing on the side of the empty, bright hallway, Baekhyun pulled you into a hug and he sighed blissfully beside your ear. “I love you,” he said again, covering your shoulders with his arms. “I love you.”
A tear finally slipped from the corner of your right eyes and you felt yourself sobbing a little because you felt so relieved that he was still here. That he was embracing you like this. That he was in love with you and not scared to say it out loud.
Baekhyun broke away when he felt your body shudder in his arms, and he placed one assuring kiss on the side of your face, just below your wet eyelashes. “I love you,” he said, trailing his lips upwards until he landed another kiss on the centre of your temple. “I’m sorry it took me so long to say this, but I love you.”
“You left me hanging for so long,” you said, sniveling when Baekhyun pecked the tip of your nose. You leaned your head against his chest as he circled his arms around your waist. You could feel his body heat melted through the clothes.
Baekhyun gave a tiny laugh when he cupped your cheeks with his hands and pressed his forehead to yours. “Then I’ll say these words again and again until I can make up for the time I was gone.”
HELLOOOOOOOO, MY BEAUTIFUL READERS!
First of all, I wanna say sorry if this chapter feels like it's moving too slow or too boring if being compared to my other ones, but seriously guys, how do you expect me to write properly when EXO IS HAVING THEIR ING COMEBACK LIKE SERIOUSLY ALL I'VE BEEN DOING IS JUST STAYING IN FRONT OF MY COMPUTER WAITING FOR THEIR DRAMA MV FOR WOLF AND THIS IS SERIOUSLY UNHEALTHY AND DOES ONE NEED A SHOWER WHEN TWELVE WEREWOLVES ARE READY TO TAKE OVER YOUR SCREEN? APPARENTLY NOT
Second of all, I've told you before that I've posted two side stories: one for Chanyeol, and one for Lu Han. Have you read them yet? If you haven't, please do when you have the time and leave some comments there, and also don't forget to subscribe too hehehe. I'll post another chapter for Chanyeol later maybe. Lu Han's story will start after I'm done with half part of Baekhyun's storyline. Please keep reading my stories, okay? :D
I hope you enjoyed this chapter as well! Thank you for reading, and please leave some comments down there, okay? thank you and SARANGHAE YOOO AWOOOOOOOOOOO~~
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