For all his less-than-professional—in Himchan's humble and highly fashion-conscious opinion—appearances, Bang Yongguk knew his stuff. He remained calm and collected and never seemed to yell. At anyone. For anything. He was the exact opposite of Himchan, who squawked and raged over everything from the time it took to get from point A to B—We can't control traffic, Himchan, and we can't start without you. Relax.—to the temperature of the location—Of course it's hot, Himchan. It's May in the Philippines.
Even getting an earful of the model's ing and , Yongguk never lost his cool. Himchan suspected this was because he ignored him, which was leaps and bounds beyond Unacceptable.
No one else saw the problem. They welcomed Yongguk's level-headedness, and Himchan often heard other models and staff gossiping about how smoothly the shoot went when Yongguk was the photographer or how long until they would work with him again.
No one ever gossiped about Himchan like that. He knew many had some choice words about him, but no one could say he wasn't a phenomenal model.
"Yongguk hyung's really great, isn't he?" Junhong, a relatively new, very young model gushes excitedly as a stylist worked his dyed hair to soft curls. He practically vibrates in his seat, the stylist's progressively frustrated sighs meeting no acknowledgement. "When's he gonna get here? Do you think that really annoyed-looking guy'll be with him?"
Himchan leans over when his makeup artist finishes lining his eyes and grabbed the boy's knee, forcing it to stop bouncing. "He's here when he gets here, and if you keep squirming, you won't be ready and will make him wait." Pink rises in the boy's cheeks, but he stops moving so much. His fingers tap a fast rhythm on the arms of his chair, instead.
The photography troop's arrival is announced with relieved whispers and shouted instructions for the technical hands and harried interns. A sweet-looking wardrobe assistant ushers Himchan and Junhong to a partly sectioned room with racks of clothing, shoes, and accessories. He and another assistant hand outfits to either model, and Himchan tunes out the mindless chatter until something sharp jabs his side.
"Watch it!" he hisses. The assistant recoils, stammering apologies and holding the offending pin in shaky fingers.
He's not bleeding, but he doesn't relax even after he finishes changing and waits for direction in front of cameras and board reflectors.
Yongguk is checking his cameras, adjusting the settings as Junhong's "annoyed-looking guy" attaches flashes and hands them to or takes cameras from his boss.
Unexpectedly, their shoot is using live animals. A young man with large eyes and an attractive mole just beneath his eye—a natural accent that some models would kill for—pushes a cart piled with pet carriers. Junhong bounds excitedly to investigate and is rewarded with armfuls of mewing kittens. "Hyung!" He turns and brandishes the furry cats at Himchan, who sits and allows the animal handler to speak with Yongguk, waiting to be approached.
"Here you go." The handler's almost pretty up close; smile lines over his cheeks almost look like whiskers. "Handle her carefully. Cradle her." He looks over his shoulder to see the photographer nod. "Okay, just like that." The cat's fully grown, sleek, and golden with darker points on her feet, tail, ears, and face. She sniffs Himchan's chin but is otherwise content being held, meowing a few times at the kittens on Junhong's shoulders.
A woman appears seemingly out of nowhere, brandishing a lint roller and quickly removing any loose cat hairs from Himchan's shoulders and then Junhong's, after he reluctantly removed the kittens.
He joins Himchan while they wait, wiggling his fingers and trying to engage the cat in Himchan's arms. Even the kittens meow and reach for her, but she resolutely remains still and perfectly poised, barely flicking an ear in their direction.
Himchan catches Yongguk's eye and lifts the cat closer to his face, waving her gold nail-capped paw at him.
There's a bit of a smile, and Yongguk lifts the camera to his eye, calling for everyone's attention.
Himchan hopes he can't see anything on his face that would betray the swoop and coil of something in his gut.
Completely without meaning to, Himchan joins the legions of fans of Bang Yongguk's photography. Just his photography; Himchan likes anyone who manages to make him look even better than he usually does. The great personality-incredibly cute gummy smile—and saintly patience are mere bonuses.
It's just a crush, so he tells himself. When anyone else makes a passing comment about the changes in his photos—They're livelier, somehow. You're really capturing the viewer with your eyes, like you're trying to share a secret.—he denies it with a loaded self-compliment.
When even Junhong catches on, in the few shoots they do together, Himchan knows it's time to throw in the towel. As fun as it is, making eyes at Yongguk through his cameras, an almost physical longing grows in his chest after each successful shoot, and Kim Himchan doesn't pine.
He plans to make his move at one of the label parties he knows Yongguk is attending. Just in case—unlikely as it may be—he's rejected and shot down, Himchan wants to be near the vicinity of alcohol.
Yongguk is social but kind of shy without a camera in his hands. The annoyed-looking assistant was apparently invited as well, abandoning his boss for the chance to chat up and charm some models. He looks quite handsome when he's not scowling, Himchan thinks. He's almost tempted to direct Junhong in his direction but snatches the drink from the young model's hand instead.
"I need this more than you do," he says and gulps a mouthful of the frozen blue drink. It burns a little, and his palette protests the freezing abuse. Junhong's pout transforms into a laugh; Himchan sees the not-so-annoyed-looking assistant looking their way and nudges Junhong. "Go make friends."
The boy meanders away obediently. Himchan finishes his drink and debates ordering another for himself to build up some nerve, but Yongguk's looking kind of like a wallflower, which boosts his confidence a little. It's nice to know he's not the only one feeling anxious, even if it is for a completely different reason.
He flicks his bangs back, straightens his shirt, and brushes away imaginary lint from his slacks.
Dredging up a relaxed smile, he spins from the bar and strides to where Yongguk's almost hiding among some tastefully placed potted plants. Himchan almost loses focus, because the photographer wears formal wear really well. His shoulders were practically made for sweaters, and his shiny pants—possibly leather; Himchan can't know for certain without touching them—cling to his thighs.
"Mr. Bang!" Himchan's infinitely thankful no drool falls out of his mouth when he speaks. "Just the man I was looking for. Would you mind...?" He gestures towards an open balcony, where it's less noisy and cooler.
Yongguk looks thankful for the opportunity to leave the undercurrent of bass and chattering throng of his livelihood. As he brushes his bangs from his eyes, Himchan notices that he has really attractive hands but stops that train of thought before it derails into embarrassing territory.
They chat a little about work, favourite shoots they've done, the best people to work with, and it manages to shift to topics like music and school and some current events—Yongguk turns out to be quite the humanitarian.
Conversation inevitably dwindles in the cool evening, leaving them in silence that isn't that awkward at all. It's nice, but it won't last. Once someone calls one or the other of them, they'll part amiably, and that'll be it. Himchan doesn't want that. That's not why he pep-talked himself those three hours while getting ready.
The trick is expressing himself without scaring Yongguk off. Subtlety is not his strong point.
He figures the worst that can happen—other than being thrown off the balcony—is Yongguk throws a drink in his face and adds him to his personal blacklist of models to never work with. Neither of them carried drinks, and the photographer is very much a businessman, so Himchan thinks he should be able to walk away unscathed and without ruining his outfit..
"You know the saying smile for the camera?" he speaks lowly, taking imperceptible steps forward. "I never did. I always smiled for you. Your camera was just in the way."
Yongguk turns and is met with Himchan nearly flush against his chest. He could count Himchan's eyelashes, if he had the inclination, and he notices a smudged spot of concealer high on Himchan's cheek. There's even a bit of glitter across the model's eyelids, he thinks.
Words fly out of their minds. Himchan leans forward, Yongguk leans in, and they meet at just the right angle where their lips fit together perfectly. It's chaste but carries an undercurrent of hope and promises.
They break apart, breathless from the thrill of their first kiss more than the kiss itself, and Himchan touches Yongguk's face hesitantly, pressing their lips together again briefly. He's selfish. "Please don't leave." He grins. "You always capture my best side."
"Because you make it easy." Yongguk brushes his lips against Himchan's cheek, making the model's grin grow into an easy smile. "You're already perfect."