A/N: There are some parts in this chapter that will be easier to understand if you read Lu Han's side story first. Just click here for the story! :)
A BITTERSWEET GOODBYE
Four months had passed by and it was time for Lu Han and Minseok’s graduation ceremony to start. You received the invitation to come and see your two most favorite oppas standing in their academic dresses, ready to receive their degrees with proud, blinding smiles on their faces. But for some reasons, things got slightly out of hands so you—and also your boyfriend, Mr. Byun Baekhyun—had missed the ceremony and barely made it in time to congratulate the two of them in person.
The ceremony just officially ended the moment you stepped your foot inside the spacious hall which was decorated with college banners and pretty flowers on each corner of the room. Most of the graduates had walked their way out through the exit door, smiling and cherishing the moment with their close friends and families. You took a quick scan through the entire room and didn’t stop until you spotted a pink-haired guy wearing a square academic cap on top of his head.
You didn’t provide Lu Han the time to take a proper look of your face before you jumped into his arms, attacking him with a big, almost bone-crushing teddy bear hug. You did it with so much force; you nearly toppled him to the ground.
“Whoa!” Lu Han shrieked in surprise. “You scared me—”
“CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GRADUATION!” you screamed in his ear, laughing merrily as you circled your arms around his neck and pecked him lightly on the cheek. “I’m so proud of you, Lu Hannie-oppa!”
“I’m sorry, what did you say? I think I’ve gone deaf from you screaming in my ears. Are they bleeding?” Lu Han muttered, but on the next second, he grinned until he had wrinkles on each corner of his eyes. “Thanks, I’m proud of myself too.”
“Finally, Hyung,” Baekhyun chimed in, looking cool and casual with his hands in his pocket. “After four and a half years of partying slash having with random girls, and only half a year of studying, you finally graduated from this hellhole.”
“Do you really need to state it out like that, Baekhyun-ah?” Lu Han scowled, wrinkling his nose. “Hey, Sweetheart, control your man!”
You rolled your eyes but leaned up to embrace him again. “I’m sorry we were late to see your graduation ceremony, Oppa,” you apologized, “we were, uhh, busy.”
“If the words ‘uhh busy’ refer to the two of you having a quickie in one of the boys’ bathroom’s stalls, I’m going to throw up on you, I swear to God, I will,” Lu Han said, and you flicked his nose until he got his face all scrunched up. “But I’m glad you’re here. Chanyeol and Minseok had already left with their girlfriends to have an early dinner, saying that they wanted to celebrate or something.” Lu Han playfully puckered his lips at you. “I’m lonely, kiss me~”
“Ugh, gross.” You shoved his face away with your palm. “But why are you still here, then?” you asked, tilting your head to the side, looking curious.
“Oh, well, I...” Lu Han sneaked a quick glance to somewhere on his right side before he landed his gaze back on you. You frowned and tried to look at what he was trying to check on. You blinked a couple of times when you noticed a small crowd gathering on the front seat. Algebra Girl was there, standing in the middle of that group with a frail smile placed tightly on her face. Even though she looked happy, you thought that something didn’t feel quiet right with her. Funny thing about her, really; whenever she smiles, she always makes you somehow want to hug her and tell her everything’s okay even when you don’t know what’s wrong with her.
“Are you waiting for her to congratulate you or something, Hyung?” Baekhyun asked. “Because if that’s what you’re waiting for, and you’re too much of a woman to make the first move, I can just drag her here and do you a favor.”
“No, it’s not—” Lu Han sighed, looking restless and tired. “It’s fine. You know what? Let’s just go. Baozi and the gang are waiting for us.”
You took a hold of his hand before the pink-haired boy could move and leave you with no explanation. “Is it true? Are you waiting for her?”
“No, I—” Lu Han hesitated, blushing a bit. “I just want to make sure she’s okay.”
You frowned. “Why wouldn’t she be okay?”
“You wouldn’t understand,” Lu Han replied, looking away sheepishly.
You exhaled impatiently. “Oppa, if you’re waiting for her, I think you should approach her first. This might be your last chance to talk to her, you know—”
Lu Han’s sudden laugh cut off your words. He wasn’t laughing because something amusing just happened to him. His laughter sounded too forced, too fake, and too sad for that; it made you cringe.
“This won’t be my last chance to talk to her, all right,” Lu Han said, voice tinted with pain, sadness, but mostly anger. “And you know why?”
You and Baekhyun kept your mouth shut in silence because the tone Lu Han was using didn’t seem to need a reply. It was clearly a rhetorical question.
“Because Minseok is going to have a ing wedding and he just asked her to be there,” Lu Han said and his voice shook with rage. “And oh, even better! His girlfriend just asked her to be one of her bridesmaids. Think about that!”
Baekhyun looked confused but you knew exactly what Lu Han was talking about. The Algebra Girl rejected Lu Han because she was in love with Minseok, but he was already in love—and engaged, apparently—with her own best friend. And as if that wasn’t already torturing enough, her best friend a.k.a Minseok’s future wife just asked her to do the honor of becoming one of her bridesmaids.
“Did she say yes?” you questioned carefully.
“Of course, she said yes,” Lu Han answered, glaring to no one in particular. “She was too nice to reject it. And Minseok was there, so how could she say no?”
“I’m actually still a bit lost here,” Baekhyun mumbled and you grabbed his hand and gave him a light squeeze, indicating that he should just stop talking at the moment.
“Are you okay?” you asked Lu Han, rubbing his right arm up and down to comfort him.
Lu Han looked at you and smiled after he breathed out softly. His eyes were pained and filled with sorrow that made you take a step forward and embrace him with your arms lingering around his waist.
“I just feel so ing sorry for her, you know?” he whispered against your ear.
You weakly nodded your head and patted his back. “I know, Oppa. I know.”
Lu Han didn’t talk much for the rest of the night. When the three of you joined Chanyeol, Minseok, and their girlfriends later that evening, Minseok finally told you about his engagement. Turned out he had already proposed to her about a year ago and had also decided their official wedding date.
“It’s just going to be a small party, okay?” Minseok said, facing his friends with his girlfriend sitting right beside him and a faint blush on his cheeks. “We’re just going to invite our families and our closest friends. So all of you better be there at my wedding or else I’m breaking off our friendships.”
“Hyung, hyung!” Chanyeol raised one of his hands excitedly.
“Will there be candies and chocolate fondues?” Chanyeol asked, eyes gleaming in joy.
Minseok chuckled and gave a single nod in return. “Yes, Chanyeol-ah, you can eat fondues as much as you want.”
And almost everybody laughed when Chanyeol clapped his hands together in glee. You and Lu Han were not one of them. The Chinese boy was busy staring at his phone with a similar worried look you had on your face as you watched him standing edgily on his seat.
“Lu Han,” Minseok called and the said boy went frigid in his seat.
Lu Han swallowed his breath. “Y-yeah?”
“You haven’t said anything in a while,” Minseok commented, “which is weird because it’s my job to shut you up whenever you start running your mouth, and I’ve never seen you like this before. I’m getting married here, Lu Han, don’t leave me unemployed.”
This was the first time you ever heard Minseok joked about something, let alone making fun of his own friend. So for him acting like this now must be important to ease the awkwardness between them.
“Oh, umm...” Lu Han turned his phone off and placed it back inside his pocket before he threw a timid smile at his best friend. “It’s nothing, really.”
Minseok gave him a knowing look. “Lu Han, we’ve been friends for five years. I know something is wrong with you tonight.”
You just stared at Lu Han who looked like he was a deer caught in the headlights. But on the next second, the color of his face changed drastically. He clenched his jaws, even almost gritting his teeth, and his eyebrows knitted in annoyance. You wanted to jump into the conversation and change the topic before he could lash out his real feelings, but Lu Han beat you to it.
“If you have to know,” Lu Han said, “I’m feeling upset right now because of your whole marriage thing.”
“Oh?” Minseok asked. “Why?”
You suddenly laughed awkwardly, trying to bring all the attention back to you. “Hey everyone, why don’t we—”
“You’re nothing but an ignorant , you know that?” he said, voice vicious, and the whole table turned silent and cold. “You call yourself a physiologist, but you don’t ing know anything about people’s feelings—”
“Oppa!” You shouted, raising yourself from your seat to reach a hand to touch Lu Han’s shoulders, wanting to shake him awake. Lu Han swatted your hand away easily.
“What are you trying to say, Lu Han?” Minseok was starting to look stern and upset as well.
Lu Han unconsciously slammed a hand on the table until the glasses started to shake, his teeth bared in fury. “I’m trying to say that it’s ing dumb that you—”
Don’t say it, Lu Han, don’t say a word about her. You’ll hurt his feelings.
“—haven’t asked me to be your best man yet,” Lu Han finished with a sudden smug smile on his lips, and you didn’t know whether you should exhale in relief or feel sorry for him at the moment. You were surely surprised as hell though. But for now, you were grateful.
Thank you, Oppa.
Minseok bought it and you realized that maybe, this was the first time Lu Han ever lied straight to his face—or lied to anyone, really. When you looked at the Chinese boy, he seemed like he was disappointed with himself as well. But it was a necessary kind of lie; it couldn’t be helped.
“Seriously, Hyung?” Baekhyun scoffed. “That’s all what you wanted to say? God, you’re such a drama queen!”
“I was just getting to that topic, Lu Han, be patient,” Minseok said, chuckling. “Let me ask you properly. Lu Han, would you do the honor of becoming my best man?”
“Only if you promise me that you will still love me even when I grow ugly and fat, and still continuously have with me until the last second of our lives,” Lu Han answered, face dead serious. When people stared at him, he giggled and waved his hands in the air. “Oh i’m sorry, I thought you were asking me to be your wife. Kidding~”
The only person who was really laughing at his horrible joke was Chanyeol.
“God, Hyung, that was awful,” Baekhyun mumbled out loud, rubbing his forehead.
Minseok shook his head but sent him a simple smile before he said, “That’s the Lu Han I remember.”
Lu Han smiled back and raised a glass of wine for a toast. “May you live a happy life, Kim Minseok.”
You didn’t fail to notice how quick Lu Han’s smile had faltered and be replaced with poison the moment Minseok looked away.
On the next few days, you were forced to open your eyes and woke up from your deep slumber when the sunlight burst through the ventilations of your room. You squinted your eyes at the morning light and shifted weakly in your bed, trying to get another minute of sleep. But as you turned to sleep on your side, avoiding the light, you were faced with the sight of Byun Baekhyun, sleeping soundly beside you.
His skin was soft and milky white, a stark contrast to the rosy pink color of his thin lips that were now slightly parted in his sleep. His bare chest was moving up and down in a calming motion and you listened intently to the sound of his soft breath as he kept drowning in his dream world.
Absentmindedly, you trailed your fingers on the side of his face, tracing lightly from his cheek to his jaw line, before finally landing your touch to the softness of his lips. You recalled the things that happened last night; how many times those pretty lips had formed sweet, loving words and let them flow down to your ears as he made love to you.
Slowly, Baekhyun opened his eyes, still looking hazy and drowsy. And you just immediately smiled to the sight because there was nothing better than seeing Baekhyun, all cute and puppy-like, so early in the morning like this.
“Hi,” you said, still tracing the outline of his lips with your forefinger.
He only hummed in response and closed his drowsy eyes back, but when you were about to move your hand away, he kept it still on the same spot and moved his lips to press gentle kisses on each of your fingertips.
“What did you dream about?” you asked, making a small, casual conversation as always. Baekhyun lifted your fingers away from his lips and laced them with his own.
“You, screaming my name in ecstasy,” Baekhyun answered, his voice sounded hoarse and low. “Oh my bad, that wasn’t a dream. That actually happened last night.”
“Ugh, shut up,” you said, slapping his chest and covered yourself up with the bed cover, suddenly feeling insecure to the fact that you were also still only dressed in your underwear.
Baekhyun chuckled and after you shifted your weight to the opposite side—so you wouldn’t have to face his greasy smile—Baekhyun pulled you back into his arms, whispering, “Come here.”
You let him press his chest against your back and be thankful of his warmth. You giggled when he breathed in the scent of your hair. “You wanna know what I’ve been doing yesterday?” Baekhyun asked, voice relaxed and gentle before it turned playful. “During the day, I mean, because obviously you know what I was doing last night and it involved you on your knees with my—”
“Skip the details, please!”
Baekhyun gave out a small laugh, puffs of warm breaths touching the soft skin of your nape. “Well, I was busy trying to ignore Mrs. Kim.”
“She’s still not letting you off the hook easily, huh?” you asked, grinning. “After that huge confession you did.”
“Nope.” Baekhyun huffed. “Remind me not to pull any kind of crazy stunt like that in the future.”
“But why? I liked—no, I loved your confession.” You smiled teasingly before rolled your body over so now you got to face him directly in his arms, sending him a teasing wink. “What was it that you said? If I don’t think of you in my day, I’ll see you in my sleep—”
Baekhyun’s cheeks burned in embarrassment. “No, stop—”
“That there’s no single word in this whole universe that can describe how much I love you—”
“I’m going to stuff a pillow in your mouth if you don’t shut up, I swear to God—”
“Or did you go all Celine Dion on me? I couldn’t remember.” You wriggled yourself out of his arms and sat up before you began to sing loudly—with a lot of exaggeration too, even though it was like seven in the morning—with your hands on your chest. “YOUUUUU’REEEEE HEREEE, THERE’S NOTHING I FEAAAAAR~”
Baekhyun immediately shot up from the bed and clasped a hand around your mouth. “Jesus! Are you crazy?!” He pulled you back to his chest—almost in a headlock—and pinned you to the bed while you cackled like a stoned person. “You’re gonna wake the whole dorm!”
You laughed, shaking your head and shook away from his hand. “I’m dating a cheeseball~” you sang song and kissed his palm lightly.
Baekhyun’s gaze softened the moment your lips touched his skin. “You’re unbelievable.”
“But you love me,” you cooed, feeling a bit playful today. “Just like what you said in front of those three hundreds people in the room.”
“Oh God,” Baekhyun groaned, covering his red face with his palms. “I think I was possessed.”
You chuckled again at his cute expression. Usually, Baekhyun was the one who teased you about the whole three-words-eight-letters thing but today he seemed to be in a better mood and let you make fun of him for a change.
“Do you have to go somewhere today?” he asked, recede to back-hugging you again; his mouth a breath away from the back of your neck. “Or can we just stay here and order some takeaway? Because I’m hungry.”
“I got a dance practice to do in an hour,” you answered, sighing in content when his arms sneaked around your waist, covering you fully with his warmth once again.
“Again? But your Spring Show is done, right?”
“Yeah. And I don’t have any stage performance to do either, but—”
“Then just skip it and stay here with me,” Baekhyun offered, propping an elbow on the bed so he could place his chin on your shoulder. “If you stay, I’ll even take you to brunch.”
“Tempting, but no,” you said, smiling when you saw him pouting. “I can’t, Baek, Jongin will come looking for me.”
“Jongin?” The cheery color on his face suddenly got replaced with a darker one.
“Yeah, he’s my dance partner now.” You lay properly on the bed as Baekhyun hovered on top of you.
“Why is he your dance partner?” Baekhyun questioned, his tone sounded stiff.
“Because he’s the dance teacher’s assistant and it’s his job to do as she says,” you answered straightforwardly, “and Mrs. Jung wants him to be my dance partner. I was the best dancer in my modern contemporary dance class I took last year, so she asked me a favor to attend her class when I’m not busy and help her demonstrate how to do a contemporary dance with a partner to match your moves.”
“And she assigned Jongin as your partner?” Baekhyun asked, almost scowling.
“Yes, and stop looking at me like that,” you giggled, pinching one of his cheeks. “You look like a pissed-off poodle, do you know that? It’s not pretty, Baekkie~”
“Well, the more reason I’m not letting you go today then,” Baekhyun said—at one point, he was almost growling—before he attacked the skin on your neck with his lips, tongue, and teeth. It felt rush, dangerous, and immensely good, and you were just about to give in and let him take you in the way he wanted like what you did last night.
But somebody got to be the responsible one at a moment like this. So you grabbed his hair and yanked his head back until he grunted and unattached his lips from creating another mark on your skin.
“Aaaaaw,” he whined childishly as he rubbed the hair on his head. “That huuuuurts.”
“Stop whining, you’re not seven anymore.” You rolled your eyes impatiently. “And relax, will you? Jongin is a nice guy.”
“Oh sure, I can see him chasing butterflies outside with a happy grin on his face.” Baekhyun retorted sarcastically. “He’s not nice, believe me.”
“Well, believe it or not, he’s actually my friend.” You crossed your arms on your chest. “And I don’t like hearing my friend being insulted like that.”
“Hey, hey, Sweetheart,” Baekhyun said, smiling without a shame as he pulled you back into his arms, “Calm down. Let’s just go back to bed, okay?” he kissed your bare shoulders before he trailed his mouth and grazed his teeth around your earlobe.
“No, Baek,” you pushed him away, none too gently. “Jongin and I are just dance partners, you have to understand that and let me do my work. Can you do that for me?”
Baekhyun huffed loudly as you climbed your way down the bed. You quickly wore his shirt because it was lying the closest to where you were standing at that time. You could tell how his eyes roamed your body as you stood up straight, and you sensed the way his breathing got a little bit heavier over the sight of his fantasy came to life once again.
“Be nice,” you told him, pointing him to sit down obediently on the edge of your bed. You could honestly imagine Baekhyun staring at you with a pair of puppy ears on his head. “No dirty tricks, Byun Baekhyun, or I will ban you from for a week.”
His imaginary puppy ears went down in dejection. “But... I don’t like Jongin when he’s with you. I don’t like him, period,” he mumbled, pouting.
“Baekhyun,” you sighed, “this is not about Jongin, okay? This is about you not putting your faith in me. I could be friends with any guy other than him and you’d still wouldn’t be pleased with it if you don’t trust me.” You idly moved to stand in front of him before you leaned in to kiss his forehead. Patting him softly on the head, you assured him, “Look, I’m not going to cheat on you, Baekhyun. Ever. Do you trust me?”
Baekhyun looked up to meet your eyes, leaning into your touch. “Of course, I trust you. I just don’t trust him.”
You deliberately smiled and tapped your fingers to his cheeks as you cupped his face with your hands. “Not everyone is as bad as you think, Baek. Even if he’s interested in me, Jongin knows I already have a boyfriend. I think he’s enough of a gentleman not to make a move at someone who’s taken.”
Baekhyun grinned greasily when he heard you said the term ‘boyfriend’. The boy circled his arms around your waist and pulled you closer so he could lay his head on your chest. “If you tell me you love me, maybe I’ll let you go.”
You shook your head in disbelief even though you find yourself giggling at how cute and tender he was being. “Why do I have to say it first?” you asked, placing both of your hands on his hair and proceed to shaping his fluffy hair into a mohawk. You always did that whenever you two showered together, and you wished you could get a bottle of gel or soap so the hairstyle would stay up like that for the rest of the day.
Baekhyun lifted the hem of your shirt up a little so he could graze his lips on your navel. “Because you’re about to go dancing with a guy I don’t like. I think I deserve to hear it first,” he answered, and your hold on his hair tightened a bit when he gave a gentle just right beside your belly button.
“Fine,” you exhaled heavily as the warmth pooled on the pit of your stomach. “I love you.”
“Louder,” Baekhyun demanded, and there was something so y in the way he said it and you sort of liked when he was being a bit possessive like this.
“I love you,” you repeated more firmly this time and gasped when Baekhyun bit you across the hipbone, marking his territory.
When the boy looked up, there was a glint of jealousy and slight fury hidden in his eyes, but he smiled at you and brought your right hand up just so he could kiss your knuckles. “Remember that you’re mine, Sweetheart.”
“You did great today,” Kim Jongin said as he walked to the place you were standing and offered you a fresh bottle of mineral water. The dance class just ended and you were sweaty and tired but you couldn’t feel the fatigue creeping into your bones yet, because that day’s class was so enjoyable—partly because you got an amazing and nice dance partner like Kim Jongin.
“Right back at you,” you said, grinning and took the drink from his hand. “I think we nailed those dance moves. Totally showed them how it’s done!”
Jongin nodded in agreement and gave this shy, endearing smile. “You know, I always think that when you dance,” he said, “it’s not like you’re... well, dancing, but it’s more like you’re telling a story with the movements of your body.”
“Oh, shut up,” you responded, throwing him a clean towel so he could wipe the sweats off his face. “You’re just saying it so I’d compliment you back and worship you as the mighty God of contemporary dance.”
He chuckled, voice light and friendly. “Thank you for agreeing to this. I mean, Mrs. Jung could’ve just asked someone else to be my partner if I didn’t specifically offer her your name.”
“Wait, I thought I got signed up to this because I was the top student last year?” you responded, frowning. “Damn it, I got tricked!”
“Well, maybe because of that too, of course,” Jongin immediately corrected his words and suddenly looking guilty. “But perhaps the other reason why she picked you in the end was because I told her that I wanted you to be my partner.”
“Oh?” you raised an eyebrow. “And why is that?”
“Oh, uh...” Jongin smiled sheepishly, looking a little awkward. “Because other than the fact that you’re an amazing dancer, I also feel a lot more comfortable dancing with you than anyone else.”
You gave a small laugh. “Yeah, everyone else looks like they want to eat you instead. Thanks for recommending my name, Jongin-ah.”
The boy just smiled back. “I want to ask you a favor, if you let me.”
“Sure. What’s up?”
“It’s, umm...” Jongin held up a hand, telling you to give him a minute as he went to search for something in his bag. When he stood up again, he handed you a thin bundle of white papers.
“What’s this?” you asked, checking the papers and realized what the answer was before he gave one.
“It’s a script,” he said, “I got a role in a drama musical this year.”
“Oh wow, that’s awesome,” you said in awe, and read the title of the script. “Red Riding Hood?”
Jongin let out an awkward chuckle. “Yeah, it’s basically retelling the story of Red Riding Hood. I’m playing The Wolf.”
“Oh my, what a big red eyes you have,” you leered, teasing him and he gave you a tiny laugh in respond. “You’re not gonna be all hairy and wearing huge fake canines in your mouth, right?”
“No, of course not. The Wolf is a normal man in this musical. He just acts like a beast and his presence is dangerous to everyone beside him, but in the end he falls in love with the girl in the red dress even though he wanted to hurt her at first.”
“Hmm...” you tapped your chin as you read through the lines. They were actually quite good and interesting. “So, what do you want me to do with this?”
“I was wondering maybe you could help me practice with the lines?” Jongin asked, looking uncertain, perhaps thinking that you wouldn’t agree to his offer. “I can practice my singing by myself, but I need a partner to help me act. Plus, I have to dance too and it’d be great if you could help me with that. I mean, if that’s not too much to—”
“I’d love to,” you hurriedly said before he rambled off again.
Jongin breathed out in relief. “Really?”
“Really, Mr. Wolf,” you repeated firmly, smiling at him. “This sounds exciting. Also, I’ve never had a friend who’s a dancer before, so it feels kind of great to be able to dance with someone you’re comfortable with, isn’t that right?”
Jongin’s eyes light up in agreement, looking utterly grateful. “Yes.”
“Great,” you said, hanging a used towel around your shoulders. “Just text me whenever you have time to practice. I’ll come over. You have my numbers, right?”
“Yes, thank you so much!” Jongin’s eyes shone in anticipation and you thought he looked adorable. “You’d be more than a help!”
“Glad to hear that,” you said, picking up your bag and your belongings from the floor and ready to walk your way out of the studio. “I’ll see you later, Jongin-ah.”
Kim Minseok’s wedding was held that Sunday morning and the groom himself personally invited you and the rest of your gang to be there right on time for his wedding. Unfortunately, you showed up about an hour late because Baekhyun was being his usual self and he much preferred sleep than attending one of his best friends’ wedding. That .
You wore a pretty white-peach strapless high-low dress, combined with white ankle-strap high heels and a beautiful necklace hanging around your neck. Baekhyun was simply dressed in dark grey khakis with a white plain shirt and a matching grey blazer on top. Although he left his hair messy and unmaintained, he at least had the decency to wear his black pantofel instead of his dirty flip-flops so you should already be grateful for that.
The wedding wasn’t held in a very big church with too extravagant decoration whatsoever, but it didn’t make you feel less awed by it because the whole thing was beautiful. The place didn’t matter; the food or the decorations didn’t mean anything when being compared with how moving the moment was when the groom and the bride exchanged their wedding vows and said ‘I do’.
Minseok’s wedding vow was exceptionally beautiful. You could feel how sincere his love was for her and when he spoke his entire feelings, you could tell everybody in the room was either smiling or crying happy tears—except maybe Baekhyun, because he was sleeping almost through the entire ceremony. That .
You remember the look you saw on Lu Han’s face when he stood there beside Minseok on the altar. He was dressed formally and you’d never seen him being this good looking in your entire life, even when his hair was still undeniably pink colored. Even though he was physically stunning, it was obvious that he was hurting mentally. His eyes showed most of his feelings he had at the moment when he planted his eyes on The Algebra Girl who was crying softly beside Minseok’s bride. You were amazed—and also deeply sorry—at the sight because of the stark contrast between the two pairs: Minseok and his bride were having the happiest moment of their lives, while Lu Han was trying to fight the urge to not run to her side and envelop her with a comforting hug.
“Lu Han-hyung looks awful,” Baekhyun suddenly said with a voice heavy with sleep as he sat up properly beside you on the front seat. “I mean, he always looks awful in my opinion, but today he looks tired and just… pitiful.”
So even Baekhyun, who was probably still half-asleep, noticed it.
“You may kiss the bride,” the pastor said, and you focused back to the happy couple.
Minseok looked nervous as the whole room went quite and the only thing people could hear was a delicate melody coming from a grand piano, playing this beautiful song you’d never heard before but you fell in love instantly with it the moment it reached your ears. Although his hands looked shaky, Minseok’s eyes were gleaming bright with joy and you had never seen him this happy before. When he took a couple small steps closer to his bride, his smile grew even wider and wider until he sighed softly but still audible for the entire room to hear, “I love you.”
From where you were sitting, you could tell how Minseok’s bride was sniffling a little as a tear slipped from her eyes. Her smile was just as wide and beautiful. “I love you too, Kim Minseok.”
And when he kissed her, you couldn’t help but to cry at the sight because everything was so beautiful and you were overwhelmed with the feelings of wanting to experience the same thing. Not the wedding, but the true love they had for each other.
You quickly buried your face in your hands as the tears came down even faster, and you felt your shoulders shook quite violently to the point Baekhyun started panicking on his seat.
“H-hey,” he said, voice surprised. “What happened? Are you okay?”
“I’m…” You sniveled, forcing a weak laugh that sounded more like a sob, really. “I’m fine. It’s just so beautiful, I... I’m just moved, that’s all.”
Baekhyun didn’t look reassured with that kind of answer and you tried to keep yourself composed after you told him that excuse. You weren’t lying when you said that, but the very reason you couldn’t stop your tears from falling was because there was one question that kept popping inside your mind:
Is this the kind of happy ending I will get in the future, or will my relationship with Baekhyun end up in vain?
Because face it, the moment you told him you loved him, he took off. Baekhyun ran away for days, without leaving any kind of notice beforehand. And although he had said those words back, you couldn’t erase this eerie feeling in your chest that told you maybe Baekhyun would run away again in the future over similar situation. You had already been dating him for three years straight, and next year would be your last year in college, so it was normal for you to start thinking about your future after this.
Your curiosity took control of your mouth before your mind could.
“I wonder whether we would end up like them someday?” you asked Baekhyun and the moment he heard the question, his eyes slightly grew wide and he parted his lips in surprise before he quickly regained his composure and glanced away.
You waited but no one came to answer you.
When you brought your gaze back to your lap, you felt like slapping yourself because ing hell, you just ruined everything. Why couldn’t you wait? Why couldn’t you just shut up and pretend like you weren’t thinking about any of this?
“I…” You felt like there was something scratching inside your throat, making it hard to even try to form a syllable. “I was just kidding, you know.” You let out a laugh, and calling it awkward didn’t even cut it. “I—I mean, I’m not asking you to marry me or anything—”
Baekhyun’s posture went rigid and his face grew pale as if he was about to faint, but he kept his lips pressed tightly, sealing any kind of words that could flood out from his mouth.
“Baekhyun, I was just joking, okay?” You grew desperate to make it right. “I-I was just speaking randomly, don’t take it seriously, please.”
Baekhyun still didn’t say anything. He was just busy trying to glue his gaze to the sight of Minseok and his newly wedded wife receiving the official title as husband and wife. He seemed uptight and awfully uncomfortable.
“Baekhyun,” you softly called, feeling your own hand grew cold and sweaty as you tried to reach for his.
Baekhyun didn’t move his face but his eyes glanced to the side, looking at your hand that was now touching his. “Hmm?”
You swallowed hard at his stoic expression. “You haven’t said anything back. Are you okay?”
Baekhyun finally looked at you and he smiled, obviously trying to mask his real feelings with it, and said, “Sorry, I was too absorbed with the ceremony. Of course, I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?”
Baekhyun could’ve picked a better lie but the one he chose grew a lot more obvious when he shifted his hand away from your grasp. “I’m just, umm—” He cleared his throat, not looking into your eyes as he spoke, “I’m gonna take some fresh air.”
“Do—” Your throat suddenly felt sore. “Do you want me to come along or—”
“No, just…” Baekhyun was already out of his seat without really finishing his answer, leaving you hanging just like that.
And there it was. That wrenching, unnerving feeling you felt before was back as you stayed still on your seat. And it was bigger than ever.
Baekhyun didn’t actually run away or anything. He came back about fifteen minutes later, but he didn’t really acknowledge your presence anymore. You didn’t get to talk to Baekhyun until the sun was down because he was trying to busy himself with congratulating Minseok on his wedding or kidding around with Chanyeol. It wasn’t as if he was avoiding you—he was actually sitting there beside you for the entire time, all joking and laughing, but his conversation never seemed to involve you in it.
At first, you felt guilty for suddenly throwing that kind of question but now you realized that he was just being childish and ridiculous. So when Chanyeol and his girlfriend were distracted in trying to get the bride’s wedding flower bouquet, and most of the wedding guests had taken their time to leave, you confronted Baekhyun face-to-face.
“Okay, Baek,” you said, voice stern and face straight. “I’m sorry if I freaked you out with that kind of question before, okay? I’m sorry. So can we drop it now?”
Baekhyun looked genuinely startled. “I wasn’t freaking out—”
“Yes, you were! You haven’t really looked me in the eyes, and you kept talking to Chanyeol and ignoring me—”
“Whoa, whoa!” he held up a hand, looking annoyed. “I’m sorry, am I not allowed to talk to my own friend?”
“It’s not that, it’s—” You sighed loudly in exasperation. “Look, I’m not asking you to marry me, okay? I’m not even imagining you marrying me—”
He flinched at the word ‘marry’ but he covered it up quickly by sending you an oh-really? kind of look, raising one of his eyebrows and squinting his eyes at you. You fought the urge to roll your eyes at him.
“Okay, fine, maybe I did,” you admitted harshly, a bit flustered, “But I was just being ridiculous, so could you please pretend like I didn’t say anything?”
Baekhyun’s eyes looked unfazed but you got the feeling that he was still slightly freaking out with this whole marriage thing. “Fine,” he finally said, almost sounded mocking when he said the next words, “Whatever you want, Sweetheart.”
You weren’t satisfied—and even got irritated—with that kind of answer and so you resorted to your last plan to make him understand that you just didn’t give a single about this whole thing—even though you actually did—and you tried to make him forget about it. “Let’s make out.”
“What?” Baekhyun’s jaw dropped in surprise. “We’re in a Church!”
“Well then,” you stood up and held him down to his seat by pressing your hands on his shoulders. It was after you straddled his lap successfully that you whispered naughtily with a smirk on your lips, “Let’s make out in a Church.”
And you claimed his next protest with your mouth pressed hotly against his.
When Lu Han told you and the rest of his best friends that he was leaving to Beijing on the next day for his post-graduate scholarship, to say that you were shocked would be the understatement of the century. You got all of these mixed feelings inside your chest—from being left out or abandoned, to sad and furious, or even left clueless, not knowing what to react because you honestly didn’t see it coming. You knew Lu Han had a problem with his family—that was why he decided to study here in Seoul—so for him to suddenly have a change of heart and go back to his homeland like this was quite surprising.
You cried for the second time that day, burying your face in the crook of Lu Han’s neck while your hands gripped on his white buttoned shirt so hard, it became wrinkled under your fingers.
“I hate you,” you muttered between your sobs, and it was starting to get harder to breathe when Lu Han chuckled lightly and kissed your temple.
“Well, too bad, because I love you. So, so much,” he said, letting you rest your head back on his shoulder. “Always have, and always will.”
“W-when will you be back?”
“I don’t know.” Lu Han closed his eyes and deeply sighed. “I don’t know, but I’ll think of you everyday, you remember that.”
“I’ll miss you, Oppa.”
“I’ll miss you too.”
And you couldn’t remember much happening after that because the only thing you could focus on was how Lu Han wasn’t going to be there for you again and you loved him so much that it hurt you so damn bad to know that tonight would be the last time you could ever hug and talk to him face-to-face like this again.
“Baekhyun,” you called right after you bowed politely to Minseok and his wife, telling them that you were about to take your leave. Chanyeol and his girlfriend had left twenty minutes earlier to grab a late dinner, while Lu Han just took off by himself not too long ago with his blazer hang lazily around his shoulder.
Your boyfriend hummed questioningly. “Hmm?”
“Do you mind if I spend some time alone with Lu Han tonight? I mean, he’s leaving tomorrow.”
Baekhyun, who was standing silently by your side while holding your hand, angled his head to the side to take a proper look of your face. His gaze softened when he saw your eyes that were rimmed with red and looked a bit puffy from all the crying you did in one day.
“I hate seeing you cry,” Baekhyun whispered, raising his fingers to gently caress your cheek. “You look awful when you do.”
You softly chuckled, leaning into his touch. “Blame that for making me cry like this.”
“I’ll be sure to whack his before he gets on the plane tomorrow,” Baekhyun said, smiling before he kissed your forehead. “Don’t go back too late. Make sure he takes you back to the dorm safely, okay?”
“Okay,” you whispered and closed your eyes as he pressed a small, lingering goodbye kiss on your lips. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Baekhyun.”
“Wait.” He took off his blazer and gently wrapped it around your bare shoulders. “Warm enough?”
“Yes.” The sides of your mouth curved up at his affection. “Thanks.”
Baekhyun patted your head and carefully shoved the bangs out of your eyes. “Text me when you get back. I’ll be worried if you don’t.”
“I will.” You sheepishly smiled and let go of his hand before you your heels and hurriedly followed Lu Han’s trail. He was walking about a few meters away in front of you, busying himself with his phone. “Oppa!”
The Chinese boy swung his body around to take a look at the caller, and he weakly smiled when he saw you taking fast little steps, approaching him with a cheery smile and puffs of breaths coming from your mouth that were quite obvious in the cold air of Seoul. You managed to steal a glimpse of his phone screen before he shut it off and brought it back to his pocket. You thought he was texting someone, but that wasn’t it. He was looking at a picture but you weren’t fast enough to know who was in it.
“What are you doing?” Lu Han asked, tucking a wild strand of your hair behind your ear as you slipped your arms properly in Baekhyun’s blazer’s sleeves. “Aren’t you going back with Baek?”
“Nope, I want to spend some quality time alone with my favorite bro,” you answered merrily.
Lu Han snorted, holding back a laugh, “Promise me that you’ll never call me bro again.” He smoothly wrapped an arm around your shoulder as he took a step forward, taking you along with him. “I’m gonna miss you so much, kiddo,” he said, messing with your hair before he planted one small peck on the top of your head.
You giggled and wrapped an arm around his waist as you two walked beside each other. “I’m gonna miss you too, Oppa. But let’s just put aside the fact that you’re leaving tomorrow and just, I don’t know, have fun like we used to do back when we were kids.”
You promised yourself that tonight, you would make him forget about everything that had been bugging him since the beginning of the day, even though you didn’t really know what or who caused it—you had a guess that maybe the Algebra Girl was the main reason, but that still couldn’t explain why Lu Han would suddenly take off and go back to Beijing without telling anyone before.
Lu Han’s eyes still looked weary and filled with sorrow but when he heard your voice, they were quite gleaming with excitement and perhaps even teasing. “What do you have in mind?”
“Hmm…” You tapped your chin, humming. “Ah! Remember Bei jing Su Tang?”
“Oh holy ~” Lu Han laughed as the nostalgic feeling came swarming into his mind. “That crispy candy! We used to eat that a lot when we were kids. God, I miss it. Never seen people selling those little s around here.”
“Exactly,” you said, bumping his shoulder playfully. “Wanna run along the town looking for it? Come on, for old time’s sake, Oppa~”
“That doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all,” Lu Han replied, nodding in agreement. “Although, I don’t feel like running. You said we’re doing this for old time’s sake, right?”
Lu Han winked. “I have a better idea.”
That better idea turned out to be knocking on Oh’s Bubble Tea shop’s back door at around ten p.m. in the middle of a freezing night. The shop was almost closing and you felt kind of awkward and uneasy to be standing here knocking at somebody’s house (because the teashop was connected directly to Oh’s family house).
A familiar boy with sleepy eyes and bright blonde hair opened the door with a pink apron hanging around his waist. He looked tired and emotionless after a long day of work and his nose easily got red from the cold. You took a quick glance of his nametag and it said Oh Sehun.
“What are you doing here, Hyung?” the boy—Oh Sehun—asked, rubbing his eyes like a five years-old not getting enough sleep. “And you can use the front door, you know. I wouldn’t have heard you knocking if I wasn’t just about to pick up the trash.”
“Sehunnie~” Lu Han sang song as he leaned up to catch the younger one in a headlock before he messed with his blonde locks. “Sorry I can’t see you at the shop today. Did you miss me?”
“Hyung~” he whined, shoving the elder away and rubbed his hair back into place. “Stop it, Hyung, I’m not a kid anymore.”
Lu Han pouted adorably and folded his arms neatly on his chest. “Huh! You’re just acting like this because she’s—” he jabbed a thumb at your direction, “—watching us. If not, you’d be all lovey-dovey with me!”
“Hyung!” Sehun actually blushed a little—but you weren’t sure. Maybe it was because of the cold and the paleness of his skin.
“I’m just joking, you brat~” Lu Han jested, playfully punching one of his shoulders. “Meet my lovely dongsaeng, Sehunnie.” The Chinese boy pushed your body forward until you were close enough to shake hands with the boy. He was a bit taller than Lu Han, and from this close, you could see how perfect his facial bone structure was and his pretty long eyelashes made you feel envious for a second there. Sehun was cute and handsome at the same time.
“Hi,” you greeted, smiling before you introduced your name.
Sehun took your hand and shook it lightly after he bowed his head politely. “Annyeonghaseyo, Noona.”
You wanted to giggle when he called you noona because he looked so young and spoiled, but also being emotionless the whole time.
“Why so stiff, Sehuna?” Lu han teased, poking his elbow at Sehun’s stomach. “Don’t tell me you like her already?”
“Hyuuuung~” Sehun pouted and you wanted to just forget the fact that you two just barely passed the first step of knowing each other’s names and just squish his cheeks with your fingers. “Just what are you doing here, Hyung? I have to go back. The shop’s closing.”
“Ah yes,” Lu han responded. “I want to borrow your bike, Sehunnie, if that’s okay with you.”
“My bike?” Sehun asked, blinking his droopy eyes. “Why?”
“Because I need it.” Lu Han pulled you to his side by laying his right arm around your shoulder. “We want to go around the town and since we used to ride bikes when we were kids, we kind of need one now.”
“What?” You protested, even though the thought seemed endearing. You didn’t know he was going to propose this kind of plan for the two of you. “Oppa, I’m wearing a dress and—”
“Sssshhh,” Lu Han pressed a finger to your lips before he brought his attention back to the younger boy. “So, Sehuna, can I? Can I can I can I~?”
“Can’t you just take a bus or something, Hyung?” the blonde haired boy asked instead.
“Nope.” Lu Han shook his head. “I don’t wanna. I mean, where’s the fun in that?”
“Oppa!” you shoved Lu Han’s fingers away and continued protesting. “I’m wearing a dress!”
“You can just sit on the passenger seat. I’ll be the gentleman here and do all the pedaling,” Lu Han retorted, pinching the bridge of your nose to keep your mouth shut before he focused back to Sehun. “So, Sehunnie, can I?”
Even though Sehun looked stoic and cold, you could tell he was really softhearted on the inside because when Lu Han blinked his sparkly eyes at him, the younger boy sighed and easily granted his wish. “Fine, Hyung.”
“I think we look absolutely ridiculous,” you commented, wincing when Lu Han drove into a small bump on the ground and it made you jump on your seat. You struggled to keep your arms around his waist to prevent you from falling. Lu Han drove like a mad man, and you could see beads of sweat starting to form on his temple as he pedaled through the night. Even though the air was freezing, Lu Han felt pleasantly warm and so you snuggled even closer to his body.
“No, I think we look dashing,” he said, breathing hard as he tried to maintain the balance of the bicycle. His voice sounded clear—and breathless—even though the sounds of cars moving and people chattering on the sideways were still kind of loud. It was almost midnight but the city of Seoul seemed to be one of those cities that never sleep. “I mean, I don’t know about you, but I always look dashing.”
“You okay, Oppa?” you asked when he wheezed for more air. Trying to move the bicycle pedals by himself with another human weight behind him was starting to take its toll on him. “You look like you’re about to faint.”
“You’re heavy as !” Lu Han abruptly complained, and you rolled your eyes because just around ten minutes before, he’d claimed himself to be a gentleman and willing to do all the work but now he said things like this.
“You seriously have no stamina,” you replied, “You never work-out, huh?”
“Hey, I work-out, all right!”
“ doesn’t count.”
“I know that! I was going to say soccer.“
“Then this should be a piece of cake for you.”
“I’m playing soccer, not carrying baby elephant on my back!” Lu Han shouted in the middle of for more air. “I swear, you look tiny but you weigh a ton!”
“Yah!” you jutted your lower lip out and poked him on the ribs. “That’s really rude!”
Lu Han struggled even more after you jab a finger to his abs and the bicycle wiggled from side-to-side as the two of you yelled helplessly to the night.
“LU HAN, BE CAREFUL!”
“YOU BROKE MY CONCENTRATION—”
“HIT THE BRAKES! THE BRAKEEEES!”
“IT’S NOT WORKING!”
“LU HAN, A TRUCK!”
You tightly closed your eyes as Lu Han slammed his steer to the side and you just prayed to God and any other thing holy so you wouldn’t lose your life right then, right then. Because otherwise, Baekhyun was going to revive you back just so he could kill you again. You were screaming like crazy as you tightened your hold at the front of Lu Han’s shirt and kept doing it until Lu Han finally got to handle the situation—still poorly, but at least not life-threatening. The bicycle was still moving unstably until some point, Lu Han bumped the front wheel against the bottom of an electricity pole.
“Holy —” Lu Han gasped when the bike had finally stopped moving. “Holy ing , we’re still alive.”
“Holy ing indeed,” you quietly muttered, staring blankly at Lu Han’s back and thanking God so loudly in your life for letting you live after all of this. “Goodness, Baekhyun’s gonna kill me if he knows what we’re doing.”
“Then he’s a heartless because I literally just put my life on the line to keep you safe and sound.”
“You put both of our lives on the line, you idiot!” You smacked the back of Lu Han’s head until he grunted loudly. That was when you noticed people were watching you but when you stared back at them, they looked away with awkward and judging looks on their faces before they went back minding their own business.
“It wasn’t my fault the bike has no brakes!” Lu Han complained, slamming his fist to the handlebars and he regretted it soon after when the cold, hard steel met his knuckles. “Aww, , my hand!”
“You are unbelievable.” You shook your head and tried to calm your heartbeat and ignore the rush of adrenaline that was still partly running through your ears. “I’m not going to ride anything with you again, I swear to God. I think I just lost ten years of my life.”
You heard Lu Han’s laugh filling the air—although it sounded more like a sob because he was also still whining from the injury he received for his own stupidity. “You know what? Maybe we should just walk.”
“Yeah, and maybe we should shave your eyebrows for not checking whether the bike has brakes or not at first,” you cruelly said, flicking his nape until he yelped. “I’m going down.”
The moment you hopped down from the bike though, you noticed something was tugging on your skirt as you tried to move away. When you looked down, you noticed that the end line of your high-low dress was tangled in the back wheel of the bicycle. The knot seemed impossible to untangle.
“Oh, honey,” Lu Han said, clicking his tongue and chuckling as he stepped down from the bike and noticed your problem. “That’s not pretty. You’re gonna have to walk home .”
“I’m gonna punch you,” you threatened, glaring at him. “Oh God, what am I going to do? This one is my favorite dress.”
“Well, there’s no other way than to do this,” Lu Han said, squatting on the ground near the back wheel as he grabbed the bottom line of your dress and effortlessly ripped it from the wheel.
You gasped and stared in horror as your skirt got unbeautifully torn away. “Lu Han!”
“That’s Lu Han-oppa to you,” he said, standing up while cleaning his palm. “And you’re welcome.”
You were whining and complaining and throwing none-too-delicate punches at his stomach but Lu Han just laughed and laughed and laughed until you started cackling yourself. This wasn’t the kind of night you were expecting, but this night would surely engraved to your memory forever.
“Come on, let’s go find that goddamn candy,” Lu Han said, grinning as he swung an arm to cover your shoulder.
You don’t remember how long you spent the time looking for those Beijing sweets because Lu Han kept on saying idiotic things (“You know what? If you spell ‘Jesus’ backwards, it sounds like ‘sausage’ and now I’m craving for sausages.”) and throwing grandpa jokes that made you cringe but still laughing at the end (“What do waves do when they meet another waves?” – “What?” – “Nothing, they just wave. Get it?”).
It was until you felt your feet starting to hurt from all the walking you’d done in your high heels that you finally stopped laughing. Lu Han noticed it when you started limping as you walked.
“Why are you walking like you just ted your pants?” Lu Han asked and you scowled in return.
“I got blisters at the back of my heels,” you admitted, flinching when you took another step. “These pumps are killing me.”
Luhan sighed loudly. “This is why I don’t understand why women would wear these kinds of thing.”
“Well, they make my legs look longer.” You shrugged casually. “And you know what they say, beauty is pain.”
“And you know what they say, you’re an idiot.” Luhan flicked your forehead. “These bastards don’t make you look pretty; they make you look like you’re trying to walk with beads stuck in your .”
You blushed furiously when you noticed people whispering at the background from Luhan’s loud words. “Do you have to say things like that?” you hissed, stomping his feet with the end of your right high heel and the pressure from that movement made both of you groaned in pain.
“God, you’re so hopeless.” Lu Han said as he took off his shoes, leaving him standing on the sideway wearing nothing but his pink—yes, shocking pink—socks to cover his feet. “Here, wear these.”
“I’m not going to wear your stinky shoes! Eew!” You made a face and he pinched both of your cheeks.
“They’re not stinky and you should start being grateful to me, you brat!” He squished the soft skin until it grew red and you slapped his hands away.
“Can’t you just give me a piggyback ride?” you asked, batting your eyelashes at him. “Like the old times, right?”
“No, if I do that, you’re gonna crush me to death with your weight.”
“You’re so mean~” you faked a sob, looking at him with puppy eyes that you’d learned from Baekhyun.
“Girl, you’re wearing a dress,” Lu Han muttered, rolling his eyes. “Unless you want to flash your white-bunny print to the entire universe then—”
“White—” You blushed violently. “You saw my underwear!”
“It was an honest mistake,” Lu Han waved you casually. “And relax, you’re too childish for my liking. Who the still wears print at their thirties?”
“I’m twenty years-old!”
“Well, you look thirty,” Lu Han bantered, sticking out his tongue teasingly and you assaulted him with another tiny punches when he laughed.
You eventually slipped your feet inside his black pantofel and you were surprised to know that the shoes weren’t that much bigger from your usual size. “You have small feet!” you exclaimed, loud enough for everyone to hear. Lu Han’s face was flustered when some girls—around his age, maybe—giggled at your statement.
“Be quiet, will you?” Lu Han spat back, face flushed. “And I don’t have small feet; yours just happened to be huge. You’re a freaking yeti!”
“What?!” You furrowed your eyebrows in annoyance. “Well, you know what they say about guys with small feet? They have small too.”
“Hey, excuse you!” His face grew redder as you started cackling.
The rest of the night consisted of you playing around like a child with your favorite oppa in the world and for a moment there, you thought that Lu Han actually threw a genuine smile at you. Surely he had been smiling and laughing the whole time, but for most part of it, you could tell something was wrong with his smiles and laughter. It wasn’t like they were forced or anything, but something just didn’t feel quite right.
“Here,” Lu Han offered after he walked out from the nearest convenience store. You looked up to him from the side bench you were sitting on and smiled in glee when he brought you a pair of flip-flops. You expressed your gratitude and immediately wore them on your feet.
“And I bought you this too,” Lu Han added, handing you a bag of Korean Crunch Ball Crispy Candy Snack and you frowned at the bag of food, completely unsatisfied.
“But Oppa~” You whined, pouting. “I want Bei Jing Su Tang~”
The older boy only poked you on your right cheek and huffed loudly, making small puffs of air visible in the cold night. “Just be thankful, you brat. We’ve spent like three hours searching for that candy, and I’ve had enough. I think I’m catching a cold because of this.” He sniffed and wiped his nose with his rolled-up sleeve.
“Eew, you’re gross!” you shouted at his action and Lu Han only rolled his eyes and shoved his tainted sleeve at your direction.
“AH!” Lu Han suddenly shouted to the cold air after a moment; his voice breaking the silence. “We forgot to bring back Sehunnie’s bike!”
When Lu Han walked you back to your dorm, it was already one in the morning. He was being a gentleman enough to actually you back to your door and when you said goodbye to him, his gaze softened and that similar sad, melancholic looked he wore earlier at the wedding ceremony was back on his eyes.
“Are you okay?” you asked, wanting to reach up and trail your fingers on the side of his cheek just like what you always did to Baekhyun whenever your boyfriend was upset over something.
Lu Han just sighed and weakly smiled. “There are so many things I want to say to you, but I feel like I shouldn’t. Do you know that kind of feeling?”
“I know,” you said, agreeing wholeheartedly while parts of your mind went back to Baekhyun and the whole marriage-love-commitment thing that you always tried to keep the topic to yourself so he wouldn’t freak-out. “But I’m all ears, if you want to talk. You always know that, right? Even if you’re in China and I’m over here, we can always talk.”
“Of course,” Lu Han chuckled and ran a hand through your brown locks. “Do you remember that when we were young, you always said you wanted to marry me?”
You held a palm over your mouth to contain your laugh. “I do,” you said, half-chuckling. “That was when I still thought of you as the pure, innocent Romeo.”
“And who am I now?” Lu Han asked, his tone teasing. “Casanova?”
“I’m thinking along the line of a ed , but sure,” you shrugged, throwing a joking smile, “if you want to be Casanova, then Casanova you are.”
Lu Han shook his head as he lifted the corners of his lips to form a grin. But when the laughter seeped away, his eyes grew guarded but also earnestly caring at the same time. “You’re happy with Baekhyun, right?”
“I’m…” I’m happy, but at the same time I’m scared and I’m not sure with our future, and I don’t know how to deal with it. “Yes,” you said because sometimes things were better to be left unspoken. “I’m happy.”
Lu Han didn’t buy it, not even for a second. “I can tell you’re struggling with something here and if you don’t want to tell me now, that’s fine. But promise me one thing: you tell me if he hurts you in any way, okay?”
Even though his eyes were full with sincerity and promises, you couldn’t help but to make fun of his seriousness for a little bit. “And what are you going to do, then? Ask him to ride a bike with you and drive yourselves together into a speeding truck?”
The Chinese boy wrinkled his nose cutely at your banter. “Well, I’m thinking more like punching him on the face, but hey, I’m always open to your suggestions.”
You faintly laughed before you leaned in to hug him around the waist. “I’m seriously gonna miss you.”
“Same here.” He welcomed you into his embrace and rubbed his hands along your back in a soothing, friendly manner. “Now go on inside. It’s late and it’s cold, and I really have to get back. Haven’t really finished packing my things.”
Your body went still as the realization hit you. He’s really going to leave tomorrow. “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?” You questioned him as you lay your head against his chest. “About you leaving, why didn’t you tell me anything about it before?”
“Well, like I said—”
“Don’t give me crappy answers like ‘I don’t want to make you worry about me’, Oppa. Please,” you begged, voice grew quiet as if you were just a tad away from crying. It sure did feel like that, though. “I want the truth.”
“The truth?” Lu Han asked; his right hand slipped between the strands of your hair. “The truth is, I wasn’t sure that I’d be going back either. I mean, I’d prepared for this—packed most of my belongings, booked my flight, told Sehunnie about this so he wouldn’t get shocked and crying about it—but I wasn’t really intending to actually go. At least not until like, seven hours ago.”
You pulled away from his hug but still kept your arms circled around his waist. “What do you mean?”
“I…” Lu Han took a sharp intake of breath. “Look, I don’t feel like talking about it. Can we just, umm, talk about something else?”
You spent the next five seconds looking straight into his dark brown eyes. His doe eyes still looked as beautiful as always but they didn’t sparkle anymore. They were unwavering but staring at them like this already made you want to bawl your eyes out.
“Well… okay,” you finally said, giving up even though your heart told you to keep on trying. But it was his privacy and you didn’t want to invade it just like that. “I guess I can’t force you into telling me about it.”
“Thank you,” he whispered softly and you only offered him a sigh that was combined with a smile in return. “And do me a favor, will you? Don’t see me at the airport. You’re going to make it harder for me to leave.”
You didn’t promise him; you were too busy trying to prevent your hot tears from falling, so you just nodded. To mask your sadness, you playfully squeezed his forearms and said, “I guess, it’s really goodbye, then?”
“Yeah, I guess it is,” Lu Han said, brushing a tear away from under your right eye and you didn’t know you were crying until then. You weren’t sobbing or crying so loudly in the way that could make your throat feel sore, but your body were shivering and you couldn’t hold back small whimpers from coming out of your lips. Lu Han hugged you again and pressed a lingering kiss on your temple to calm you down. He only let go of you when he was sure you were all right.
You stood on your toes and gave a farewell kiss on his cheek. “Goodbye.”
You just stood there, gazing into his eyes for a couple of seconds too long until your brain started working again and told you to open your door and bring yourself in. So after sending one last smile, you turned your body around and started unlocking your door.
You didn’t get to go into your room, though, because Lu Han suddenly hugged you from behind. “O-oppa?” He didn’t answer with words, but there were quiet voices of something similar to small sobs or whimpers and you could feel his arms trembling as he circled them around your stomach.
“I told her I loved her,” Lu Han suddenly burst out, speaking fast and breathless. “I told her I loved her and I promised myself I would stay here for her, for you, for everyone I love here if she told me she loved me back—or at least gave me a chance to be with her. That was my final bar. But she didn’t. She was angry with me for confessing to her like this when I knew I had to leave her on the next day. She was angry, but she didn’t ask me to stay.”
“Then stay,” you said, disengaging his arms from your body just so you could turn around and embrace him properly. “Stay. I’m asking you to stay.”
“I can’t—” Lu Han’s voice was so soft and discreet, and at the same time, agonizing. “I can’t just stay, it’s not—”
“Lulu,” you surprised yourself when you suddenly called him with his old nickname but it didn’t matter right then because Lu Han sounded like he was about to cry. “If you’re leaving just because she doesn’t reciprocate your feelings then—”
“My father is dying,” Lu Han said, voice shaky and filled with pressure. “I… I know my relationship with my father has never been good—I mean, we fight each other a lot and that was the reason why I decided to go study abroad. You know that, right? I was trying to avoid future conflicts with him, and my mother actually looked quite relieved when I went here. But then, about two years ago, she called me, telling me that my father was sick and she told me she missed me but I kept on avoiding her.”
Lu Han stopped to take a breath and you cupped his cheeks, creating comforting circles on the soft skin with your thumbs. “Hey, it’s okay,” you whispered, gazing into his eyes.
“A week ago,” he continued, voice got even quieter, “I got another phone call from home and I thought it was my mother who called me, but then I heard my father’s voice on the other line. He said he was getting better—he sounded pretty healthy, really, but he also sounded weary and I felt sorry because I was their only son and I never really cared much about their feelings. I hate myself for that.”
You moved your hands to his shoulders and soothed him down with a hug.
“My father asked me to come home because he missed me—he even told me he was sorry for making me uncomfortable in my own house and he promised me that he’d change for the better. He said—” Lu Han stopped to let out small sobs that he was trying to hide by gritting his teeth, and you felt like you couldn’t breathe from how tightly he was hugging you at the moment. “He said he didn’t have much time left, and he wanted to make it up by doing things right with me. That made me rethink my decision all over again, and even though I don’t want to, I feel like I have to go home. I have a life here—no, my life is here, but I can’t just run away from my family either. So I was unsure about everything and I told myself to hurriedly make a decision before it was all too late, and I promised myself that if she wanted me to stay, then I’d stay. Here.”
“Who cares about what she says?” You took a step back to have a decent look of his face. He wasn’t crying, but his eyes were already red, brimming with tears. “I want you to stay. We all do.”
“That’s great.” He tried to blink away his tears, never letting them fall. “But really, if I can’t even hold the promise I made with myself, how can I live up other people’s promises?”
“No, it’s final,” he decided, shaking his head and tried to block away your protest. “I can’t always be like this. Besides, I got a scholarship there, remember? My future is settled there.”
“Maybe my mother already arranged me to marry some nice girl there too and—”
“STOP!” Lu Han suddenly shouted as he balled his fist, and right at that moment you didn’t know whether he was mad at you or with himself. “This is my decision and I want you to respect it, all right? Don’t make this harder for me than it already is.”
You were shocked at the sudden raise of his voice, so you just dropped your gaze down to your feet and bit your lower lip. “I’m… I’m sorry.”
“Oh, ,” Lu Han said under his breath and quickly wrapped his arms around your body. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell, I—” he exhaled heavily, looking foremost guilty and regretful. “I love you. I love you a lot, okay? If I could take you in my pocket, I would. But I can’t stay. It’s not right.”
You only nodded as you fumbled with your shaky hands under his embrace. As you encircled your limbs around his waist, you found your hands gripping the back of his shirt so hard; you felt your fingernails starting to bite into the skin of your palm, even through the fabric.
“There’s a big chance they won’t let me back here again, but you can just visit my hometown whenever you want, you know?” Lu Han continued, making soft chuckle to ease the tension. “Maybe then, we’ll get to have those crispy candy bastards.”
You kept nodding your head again and again because you couldn’t really say anything at the moment. Not with all of these feelings swirling in your chest. Not when you felt choked with the tears that you had been trying to hold back, because even though Lu Han wasn’t crying at the moment, you felt like he would the moment you let yourself weep like an abandoned child. So you tried to be strong, not for yourself, but for him.
You promised yourself not to cry again over this. Over him. Lu Han wouldn’t want that. He wanted you to be happy, remember?
Lu Han had been through a lot, and you—even though you claimed to be his best friend—didn’t really know much about it, not until now. You should have known that Lu Han liked to keep things to himself. He never lied. Yes, that was true. He only chose not to tell everything he was feeling.
“I love you, Lulu,” you whispered, feeling very regretful because you hadn’t said that a lot in the past couple of years.
But Lu Han just took a deep breath, as if he could swallow your words and keep them bottled inside his chest forever. “I love you too, little dongsaeng.”
You just barely closed your door shut and pressed your back to it with heavy breaths falling down through your parted, chapped lips, when your phone rang; the ringtone cutting sharply through the night. You didn’t notice your hands were trembling until you got your phone on your right palm to check the caller ID.
Byun Baekhyun was on the other line of the phone.
You pressed the answer button and the word ‘hello’ was already on the tip of your tongue, but you were struggling hard just to pronounce it out loud. “H-hello?”
You didn’t know what Baekhyun heard in your voice, but the moment you let the greeting word flew out from your lips, he suddenly took a sharp breath and his voice was low and dead serious when he said, “Wait for me. I’m going to be there right away.”
And it probably didn’t take more than five minutes of your life before Baekhyun was there, knocking rapidly on your door. Baekhyun was breathless, a bit sweaty from running all the way down to your room and his messy bangs were starting to stick to his temple. He was still dressed in his wedding’s guest outfit—minus the blazer, because you were still wearing it—and that only made you realize that Baekhyun had been waiting for you for hours instead of climbing back to his bed to get a good night sleep.
After you let him in and pressed your door shut, he looked at you with searching eyes before he immediately pulled you into hug, cradling the back of your skull with a hand and trailing his fingers along the strands of your hair.
And when he said, “It’s okay, I’m here,” in a soft whisper, you just gave up on your promise, and let yourself cry loudly on his chest. The fabric of his shirt muffled the sounds you were producing from your mouth, but you were screaming so hard inside your head. Too many things happened in one day. Too many feelings you had to sort out in one night. This wasn’t fair at all.
Baekhyun never said anything at that moment. He just let you wet his plain white shirt with your hot stinging tears and just carefully wrapped his arms around your body. You didn’t say anything either, because words weren’t perfect enough to describe your feeling and for the time being, you were just grateful for his presence.
Because just like how Lu Han silently held your hand at your mother’s funeral, Baekhyun was just offering what he could give: a shoulder to cry on.
And that was enough.
HELLOOOOOO MY PRETTY READEEEERSSSS~
I'm sorry for the long wait! I got so many things to do. I had to work, I had to study, I had to write my final thesis and wow, I just really couldn't find enough time to write properly, and I'm sorry if there are so many typos or grammatical errors in this chapter. I didn't have time to re-read it! aaaaaah forgive me! >_<
anyway, since some of you seemed a bit dissappointed that there wasn't enough Lu Han in my previous chapter, I decided to dedicate this chapter for him hehe I hope you're all satisfied now! :)
And hello, Kim Jongin is in the house yo~ hahaha
please leave some comments as always and don't forget to subscribe to my other side stories because I'll be focusing more on their stories after i'm done with two more chapters for baek's story (don't worry, it doesn't mean baek's story is ending. I'm just gonna put it on hiatus for a moment while I focus more on Lu han and chanyeol's side stories). It's okay if you don't hahaha I'm not forcing you to read them or anything but it'd be great if you do :D
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