Heaven Help a Fool Who Falls in Love

~*~ August 2017 ~*~


Kyungsoo stretched his legs out, his black socked feet digging into Chanyeol’s thigh –– completely on purpose. He watched his roommate remain oblivious to the sudden pressure on his leg, his eyes glued to the television screen, controller in hand.

Kyungsoo smirked, applying a little more pressure, scooting down a few inches on the brown leather couch to dig his big toe in, hard. Still no reaction.

“, , . God damnit!” Chanyeol stood up, tossing his controller to the floor, the device bouncing on the plush tan carpeting. Chanyeol dragged his hand roughly through his hair, his free hand pointing at the screen. He turned to Kyungsoo, wide eyed and indignant. “Did you see that? I was so ing close, so fu-”

“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Kyungsoo interrupted, maneuvering himself to a seated position. He folded his arms against his chest and gave Chanyeol a reproving look.

Chanyeol’s arm went limp at his side but his expression remained as lively. “Really, you’re really going to lecture me about swearing when an hour ago you were Mr. -that-good-for-nothing-boss-of-mine blah blah. Soo, do you know where I have to start from? The save point was like a half an hour ago.” His ramble became a whine, his arm going back to motioning at the screen.

Kyungsoo smiled. It was something he appreciated about his roommate. About his best friend. That he always called Kyungsoo out in return when he gave him .

“Hey, let’s go get something to eat. Junmyeon said there’s a new sushi place down the road. Perfect food to get over thirty-minute-ago save points.” Kyungsoo stood, secretly more than a little happy his friend’s attention was no longer on the game. He had been bored all morning, itching to get out of the house but not wanting to hang out alone. Chanyeol would go anywhere he suggested, he knew that; assuming he wasn’t in the middle of a game, that is.

“You buy.” Chanyeol walked towards the front door. “I need to be consoled.”

“Fine. I’ll buy,” Kyungsoo readily agreed, trailing after his roommate.




The walk to the sushi place was easy going which is exactly how Kyungsoo liked it. When Kyungsoo was younger he was fastidious about time, always in a rush, never taking the time to savor the little things. He worked himself to the bone, lived and died by his routine, until one day everything collapsed, his world crashing around him in a multitude of ways. That was before he met Chanyeol, before they became friends, a year before they moved in together.

As he picked up the pieces of his life, he became less regimented, learned to breathe, learned to do crazy things like drink one-day-past-the-expiration-date milk and eat cereal out of the box. Kyungsoo knew this transformation was thanks in large part to Chanyeol, his best friend’s habits rubbing off on him. Chanyeol was someone that rubbed off on a lot of people, his lighthearted personality infectious at the best of times (and borderline annoying at the worst, but Kyungsoo could forgive him).

“Ran into the land lady yesterday, I guess they rented 105,” Chanyeol commented while they waited for the walk signal to change. “So you should probably tone down the late night yodeling sessions.”

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. “It’s singing, Chanyeol. It’s called singing.”

The light changed and the pair began to traverse the crosswalk. Kyungsoo didn't notice Chanyeol was no longer beside him until he reached the other side of the street. He turned around, sighing when he saw his friend petting a dog who had its head sticking out the window of a parked car. Chanyeol finished lavishing the dog with attention and jogged across the street seconds before the light changed.

“Sorry. Dog,” he said breathlessly. “Important.”

Kyungsoo shook his head at his friend, at his flushed cheeks and messy hair. At his bright eyes, his hoodie that was somehow two sizes too big despite how tall he was. At his big, goofy grin.

“Come on, I’m hungry.” Kyungsoo reached out and grabbed Chanyeol’s arm, tugging him forward. They had a sushi place to devour.



“There is no possible way Aqua man could win, no way.” Kyungsoo couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He stared across the table at his friend, trying to understand how he could even think that way.

“Are you just going to ignore that the Green Lantern has––” Chanyeol’s ringtone, a Beyoncé song he didn’t know the name of but liked, interrupted their intellectual argument. He pulled his phone from the pocket of his hoodie and sighed when he read the screen.

“Your mom,” Kyungsoo guessed.

“Yeah.” Chanyeol pursed his lips, then held the phone towards Kyungsoo. “You get it. Tell her I’m busy or something.”

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes but took the phone, sliding the lock screen. “Hello, mom?”

“Kyungsoo!” A woman’s high pitched voice crooned into the phone. “How are you? Have you been eating well? My son isn’t giving you too much trouble is he?”

For as much as Kyungsoo got along with Chanyeol he had to admit that deep down Chanyeol’s mother was a huge bonus to their friendship. She doted on Kyungsoo as much, maybe even more, than her own son. Kyungsoo had lost his own parents years back and in many ways Chanyeol’s family had become a surrogate, filling the void in his life.

“I’m good. Chanyeol’s busy waxing his legs right now so he can’t come to the phone,” Kyungsoo lied, delighting in the expression of horror that appeared on Chanyeol’s face. Two seconds later Chanyeol had grabbed the phone from Kyungsoo’s hand and was greeting his mother.

“Mom. Hey. How are you?”

Kyungsoo chuckled, returning to his sushi as Chanyeol handled his mother’s call.

“Tomorrow won’t work. Yeah, sorry.”

Chanyeol had been fielding calls about blind dates from his mother for weeks. She was itching to see her only son married and had decided that at twenty-seven he was at the prime age to marry. Her son did not agree.

“A dentist’s daughter? Well, yes that sounds nice but sorry, it just won’t work.”

Kyungsoo glanced at Chanyeol, noting how flustered he looked.

“Yeah, I’ll call you on Monday. Maybe next week sometime, I’ll let you know if I have a free night. Okay, I have to go. Love you.” Chanyeol ended the call, groaning and throwing his head back.

“A dentist’s daughter, huh?” Kyungsoo couldn't resist teasing him, at least a little. “What happened to the herbalist’s daughter?”

“I don't know. She might be married now or something.” Chanyeol sighed. “Can’t my mom just let me live in peace?”

“No,” Kyungsoo answered. “Not when her son has no love life and spends all his free time gaming.”

Chanyeol glared at his friend, narrowing his eyes. “If you weren’t so good at folding towels I would never speak to you again.”

“Then I better be glad I’m good at folding towels,” Kyungsoo remarked dryly. “Because I enjoy you paying half the rent.”

It was Chanyeol’s turn to roll his eyes.



“How many times have you watched Harry Potter?” Kyungsoo side-eyed his roommate.

“Not enough times,” Chanyeol protested, pushing the button for the apartment building elevator.

Kyungsoo had called a lazy afternoon of movie watching, which Chanyeol (of course) agreed to. The entire walk home from the sushi restaurant was a long argument about which movies they would watch.

“What about Star Wars, we haven’t watched that in a while,” Kyungsoo suggested. Anything was better than another Harry Potter marathon. It was starting to affect his love of the books.

“Hmmm, maybe.” Chanyeol looked thoughtful as they stepped onto the elevator. A few seconds later he shouted, “I know, what about Shrek!”

Kyungsoo bristled at the suggestion. “No Shrek.”

Chanyeol frowned. “You never let me have any fun.”

“I watched the cooking channel with you for seven hours last Saturday,” Kyungsoo reminded him. The elevator dinged at their floor, the doors sliding open. They stepped off.

“How is that a bad thing?!”

The roommates were so engrossed in their movie debate that they didn’t see the stack of boxes until it was almost too late. Chanyeol bumped into the stack first, Kyungsoo acting in a split second to right the tower of cardboard before it crashed to the floor.

Pulled back into reality, film arguments forgotten, the duo stared dumbly at the new obstruction sitting in front of their apartment.

“Why are these here?” Chanyeol wondered aloud.

A few seconds later voices drifted out of apartment 105. “Move in day,” Kyungsoo put two and two together.

“Ah, right.” Chanyeol walked around the stack of boxes, giving the inanimate objects the evil eye for daring to stand in his way.

Kyungsoo had his hand on the keypad, ready to type in the numbers, when his new neighbors wandered out of the adjoining unit.

“Do Kyungsoo?”

Kyungsoo froze, every muscle in his body seemed to stiffen. That voice. That voice….

He turned his head slowly, praying it was all some sort of mistake.

But it wasn’t.

Standing outside of unit 105 was a face he hadn’t wanted to see ever again. Byun Baekhyun, his ex-boyfriend. And to make matters worse he looked good, maybe even better than when they had been together. His eyes sparkled with mirth, his frown lines seemed to have eased. His hair was different, shaggier, and his clothes looked nicer than years before.

“You know them?” Standing behind Baekhyun was a tall blonde man, dressed far too fashionably for move in day. His hand rested on Baekhyun’s shoulder indicating a level of familiarity – a close relationship.

“Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo managed to get the name out.

“Do you live here?” Baekhyun smiled, apparently thrilled at the news. He turned to talk to the man behind him. “Kyungsoo and I go way back.” Turning back towards Kyungsoo, Baekhyun made quick introductions. “Kyungsoo, this is Oh Sehun, my fiancée.”

Kyungsoo hadn’t felt his blood boil, this rage consume him in years. A flood of emotions shot through him. Anger. Jealousy. And Baekhyun looked happy, at ease. It pissed him off more.

Of course Chanyeol sensed the dramatic mood shift. Kyungsoo knew his roommate was staring at him in concern. Chanyeol knew the name Baekhyun even if he had never personally met the man.

“Nice to meet you,” Kyungsoo said without emotion.

“And you too,” Sehun greeted him with a smile.

“Kyungsoo, do you work in finance?” Baekhyun inquired, recalling what Kyungsoo got his degree in. “Sehun works in the industry too.”

Kyungsoo plastered a fake smile on his face and nodded.

“Who is-” Baekhyun gestured towards Chanyeol.

A dangerous thought suddenly entered Kyungsoo’s head. A very dangerous thought.

“I’m Park Chanyeol-” But Chanyeol never got to finish his introduction. Kyungsoo beat him to it, words rushing out unplanned.

“He’s my fiancée. He’s a graphic designer, owns his own business.” Kyungsoo wrapped his hands around Chanyeol’s arm and pulled him to his side. This was nothing but lies though; Chanyeol wasn’t his fiancée and his graphic design business was actually freelance work he did through a discounted marketing graphics website.

Baekhyun's eyebrows raised. “Nice to meet you, Chanyeol. I’m also in the creative field. Freelance journalism. Yay being creative,” Baekhyun joked.

Kyungsoo didn’t dare look up at Chanyeol. He knew his friend was either giving him the evil eye or staring at him in confusion and he didn’t want to see either look at the moment.

“He’s very talented,” Kyungsoo blurted out, embellishing. Time to go for the kill. Their height difference made it awkward but Kyungsoo managed to yank Chanyeol down and stand on his tip toes at the same time, planting a quick kiss on Chanyeol’s lips. One more fake smile later and Kyungsoo was muttering “Now if you’ll excuse us, we have plans” while punching the code into the keypad.

The door clicked open and Kyungsoo dragged Chanyeol inside, escaping the awkward situation as quickly as possible. Barely escaping the first awkward situation, there was still another waiting for him as he kicked off his shoes and stormed into the living room.

“Of all the people to move in next door why him?!” Kyungsoo fumed, careful not to speak too loudly in case his words were carried into the hallway. He stomped over to the couch, taking a seat in a huff. It was a few seconds later when he realized Chanyeol wasn’t following him.

Kyungsoo stood and walked back towards the entry hall, finding his best friend standing by the front door, eyes wide, and a look of utter confusion painting his face. “D-did-” Chanyeol couldn’t get the words out.

Kyungsoo flinched. He had made a big mistake dragging Chanyeol into his petty jealousy and anger. Sighing he walked over to his friend and tugged him towards the living room. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that I was just so mad and surprised.”

“D-done w-what?” Chanyeol stuttered, belatedly realizing he was still wearing his shoes in direct violation of Kyungsoo’s no-shoes policy. He bent one leg upward and hopped on the other, almost falling over as he tugged off his sneakers.

Kyungsoo plopped onto the sofa. “All of it. I’m sorry.”

Chanyeol walked his shoes back to the great mountain of sneakers near the door. When he returned to the living room he appeared more composed.

“It’s alright. But are you okay?” Chanyeol sat down next to his roommate, looking at Kyungsoo with a concerned expression on his face.

“No, not really.” Kyungsoo had told Chanyeol all about Baekhyun years before. It had been a low point in his life and at the time Baekhyun was a part of that. His parents had died in a car accident and four months before that his relationship with Baekhyun had ended. Chanyeol had listened to it all – the bad parts, the good parts…the part where Baekhyun was one of many puzzle pieces that were shoved together to create the worst year of his life. Chanyeol knew and he was rightfully worried. “Of all the people to move in next door, why him…”

“Hey, we can totally ignore him. How often did we see the last people who lived in 105, barely ever, remember!” Chanyeol tried to be chipper, reassuring, comforting.

“That’s because they worked the night shift,” Kyungsoo reminded his roommate. “They slept all day.”

“Oh right.” Chanyeol sighed.

“You know what pisses me off the most?” Kyungsoo stared at the ceiling and narrowed his eyes, still fuming. “This is my fiancée,” he mocked Baekhyun’s tone. “There is no way he wasn’t trying to piss me off with that.”

No way because asking for an engagement had been the start of their breakup, the words spoken right before it had ended between them. Back then Baekhyun had a list of reasons why they shouldn’t stick together. They were too young, one of them was still in college, the other graduating early…things changed. Kyungsoo stiffened as he recalled Baekhyun’s words from years before.

“Hey, you got him back pretty good with the fiancée, graphic designer thing.”

“Yeah. I lied to him, I feel so much better about things,” Kyungsoo muttered sarcastically.

Chanyeol didn’t have a comeback for that. The pair fell into silence, Kyungsoo boring holes into the white ceiling panels. A few minutes later he had a thought...which he should rightfully have dismissed. Today was not a good day for him to think based on his earlier performance…but he had made his bed, it was time to lie in it.

“Chanyeol, we’re going to have to keep the act up.”

“What?” Chanyeol sounded tired. Kyungsoo didn’t doubt he had started to drift off sitting there.

“In front of Baekhyun we need to keep it up. He thinks we are engaged, we can’t do anything to make him think it is a lie or I will look even more pathetic than I already am.” Kyungsoo finally gave the ceiling a reprieve from his violent stare. He looked at his roommate, who was leaning against the couch, eyelids drooping.

“How would he know you lied?” Chanyeol questioned.

“He won’t if we’re careful. If he sees us we need to act like we’re engaged, never give him a reason to doubt it.” Kyungsoo reached forward and placed his hand on his best friend’s sleeve. “I’m sorry to do this to you, but please could you just keep up the act?”

Chanyeol yawned. “Sure. Yeah. Why not. But on one condition.”

“What?” At this point Kyungsoo would do almost anything. He couldn’t let Baekhyun win in the we-broke-up-but-my-life-is-so-much-better game.

“Harry Potter marathon.” Chanyeol grinned cheekily.

“Deal.” Kyungsoo sighed, settling in for a long day in front of the television.




Kyungsoo managed to avoid another encounter with Baekhyun and his fiancée the rest of the weekend. On Monday morning he got up extra early and all but ran down the hall and into the elevator. After a thirty minute journey on foot and subway he was inside his tiny office, fiddling with the sluggish coffee maker Chanyeol had bought him when he first got his own office.

Junmyeon popped in a couple minutes later, Kyungsoo watching the idle drips from the slowest coffee maker in history. “You’re here early.”

Kyungsoo answered without taking his eyes away from the painfully slow drip. “Got up early.”

“Did Chanyeol wake you up gaming again?” Junmyeon asked, taking a seat on the edge of Kyungsoo’s desk.

“Nope.” Kyungsoo stifled a yawn with the back of his hand. Coffee. Must have coffee.

“Hm. Well don’t make this a habit or you’ll ruin my reputation as the earliest employee in. I can’t afford that, it’s my only high point,” Junmyeon joked.

“Right. I won’t.”

“Anyway, I actually had a reason to stop by. The new Vice President is starting today and I’m going to be tied up in meetings when he gets here. Jongdae asked if you could fetch him from the lobby.”

Kyungsoo nodded. “Sure. What time?”


Kyungsoo nodded again, reaching for the coffee pot. Finally, victory was his.




At ten o’clock sharp Kyungsoo made his way to the lobby. He couldn’t for the life of him remember what the new Vice President’s name was but that didn’t matter. He highly doubted there were multiple new Vice Presidents starting that day. Sure the company was a large one, had over a thousand employees, but financial service was a rather miniscule business line compared to the others.

When Kyungsoo stepped off the elevator and glanced towards the reception area he tensed, not believing his eyes. Was that…

“Do Kyungsoo?”

No, not again. Standing by the desk was tall, blonde, and handsome – also known as Baekhyun’s fiancée. He smiled brightly and extended his hand. “I didn’t realize you worked here.”

Kyungsoo walked over in a daze, shaking the man’s hand firmly. “Yes, I do.” Please not him, please not him, and please not him, ple-

“It’s my first day,” Sehun answered cheerfully. “I’m the new Vice President of financial services.”

Kyungsoo wanted to cry. Instead he faked a smile. “Welcome. I’m here to bring you up to the office.”

He was convinced he had the worst luck ever.




Oh Sehun turned out to be a nice guy. Pleasant, nice manners, easy to talk to. Kyungsoo wanted to dislike him but found he couldn’t, at least through the first day. When six o’clock rolled around Kyungsoo had yet to find anything distasteful about Sehun which in and of itself was distasteful.

Kyungsoo fumed over his luck all the way home, his fury building. When he walked into his apartment he was past the boiling point.

“Soo?” Chanyeol yelled from the kitchen.

Kyungsoo could smell his favorite dish, a scent wafting into the living room. It should have put him in a good mood but that was impossible. He dragged his feet to the kitchen, ready to ramble.

“Guess who the new VP is?” Kyungsoo blurted out the moment he saw his roommate. “Baekhyun’s fiancée. Yeah, that’s right. Tall, blonde, better than me is my new co-worker.”

Chanyeol held a frying pan in one hand, a spatula in the other. A dish towel was slung over his shoulder. He gaped at Kyungsoo. “What?!”

“Yep. Today was his first day.” Kyungsoo padded to the fridge; pulling open the door he reached in for a beer.

“Wow. Now that is a coincidence,” Chanyeol remarked.

“A terrible one.” Kyungsoo cracked the beer tab and took a swig.

“Hey now, maybe it is a good thing.” Chanyeol flipped the vegetables in the pan. “You can show him up at work. I’m sure he isn’t as smart as you.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” Kyungsoo muttered.

“I am.” Chanyeol and his bright smiles, his kind words and never wavering confidence. “Who else could throw an entire case of pencils into the ceiling and get them to stick? I bet he couldn’t.”

Kyungsoo couldn’t hold back his laughter. “Okay, okay, you’re right. I’m a hundred times smarter than him.”

The roommates shared a smile, the gloomy atmosphere suddenly lightened.




~*~ August 2011 ~*~

Kyungsoo glared at Baekhyun. It was taking every ounce of self-control he had to not yell. “Baekhyun?”


“Stop clicking your pen.” Kyungsoo had heard it nonstop for the last thirty minutes, he couldn’t take it anymore. He wanted to rip the pen out of his boyfriend’s hands and snap it in two.

“Sorry.” Baekhyun flashed a sheepish smile, setting his pen down on the desk.

Kyungsoo sighed. He debated if it deciding to dorm with Baekhyun had been a mistake. Sure they had been dating for the last three years and they usually got along great ––but his living habits were hard to take. His constant chatter was hard to take. His messiness…his exuberance…his laziness….

He loved Baekhyun, really he did. But he was getting frustrated far too often of late.

“Soo, you want to go get something to eat? I’m bored.” Baekhyun set his book down and shoved it to the far reaches of the desk.

“We have to study,” Kyungsoo replied without looking up from his intermediate accounting textbook.

“It’s the beginning of the semester, we can study later,” Baekhyun protested. “Puh-lease. You know I can’t think when I’m hungry.”

Kyungsoo didn’t have to look at his boyfriend to know he was pouting, doing that thing with his bottom lip that made Kyungsoo give into whatever he was asking. “Fine.” Kyungsoo slammed his textbook closed. “But an hour max. Whether you want to study or not we need to.”

Kyungsoo let himself be dragged towards the dorm room door, Baekhyun’s endless enthusiasm taking over. He mustered a small smile at his boyfriend’s antics.



“You guys are so cute together,” the blonde sorority girl cooed, eyes darting between Baekhyun and Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo shifted in his seat, feeling intensely uncomfortable. “Thanks,” he muttered.

Baekhyun had his arm over Kyungsoo's shoulders, a leg thrown over Kyungsoo's thigh. They were sitting on a ratty couch that reeked of stale beer and perfume. It was the first frat party Kyungsoo had agreed to attend and so far it was reaffirming all the reasons he usually avoided them like the plague.

The blonde woman thankfully stood and wandered off a few seconds later, her attention captured by the crowd gathering around the keg in the kitchen.

“You okay?” Baekhyun whispered, pinching Kyungsoo’s thigh playfully.

Kyungsoo stared at the warm cup of beer in his hand. “I’ll live.”

“You know what I think?” Baekhyun wasn’t really asking. “You need to loosen up.”

“No, what I need is to not be here,” Kyungsoo shot back, annoyance building.

Baekhyun rolled his eyes. “Soo, you don’t even know how to have fun anymore.”

“I have plenty of fun.”

“Doing what? Studying. Come on, live a little. What happened to you? You used to know how to let loose. We had so much fun when we met.”

Kyungsoo’s watch beeped, it was the alarm he had set before they arrived to let him know the time they should leave. Baekhyun pouted at the noise and slapped his hand over the watch face.

“Let’s stay,” he suggested.

“We have class in the morning,” Kyungsoo reminded him, turning off the alarm.

“We can skip it.”

“No, we can’t.”

Baekhyun sighed. He untangled his leg from Kyungsoo's and stood. Kyungsoo knew he was pissed. “You can go. I’m staying.”

Kyungsoo stared at his boyfriend, quite frankly dumbfounded. Baekhyun complained about his fastidious routine but always went along with it. “By yourself?”

“Yeah, why not.” Baekhyun shrugged. “I think I can survive alone.”

Kyungsoo swallowed, an unsettling feeling springing forth in his gut. “Right. I’ll see you later,” he said quietly, turning to leaving the party alone.




~*~ September 2017 ~*~


“No one shops at Hot Topic anymore. At least not people our age.” Kyungsoo side eyed his best friend the moment he stopped in front of the store.

“Says who? I just want a band t-shirt, lighten up.” Chanyeol grabbed Kyungsoo’s arm and dragged him into the black, purple, and studded retail monstrosity.

Kyungsoo sighed but didn’t argue. He couldn’t when Chanyeol looked so animated perusing the wall of t-shirts. Dare he admit it brought a smile to his own face to see his roommate excitedly comment on the best ones.

“You should buy this one,” Chanyeol tapped the plastic casing of a particularly grim looking Slayer t-shirt. “It would be good office wear.”

“I think you’re right,” Kyungsoo played along.

A few minutes later they left the store with seven t-shirts (one for Kyungsoo and six for Chanyeol) and a questionable chain wallet (Chanyeol had a weak spot for Hello Kitty). They ambled towards the food court, both ready to dive into a plate of nachos.

They had just gotten in line at their favorite Mexican place, Nacho Bizness, when someone called Kyungsoo’s name.

“Wow, what a coincidence!”

And suddenly the light hearted, waste-time-with-your-best-friend-acting-like-an idiot-at-the-mall-even-though-you-are-probably-too-old-for-it-day came to a crashing halt.

Sehun and Baekhyun got in line right behind them, but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that Kyungsoo’s eyes immediately landed on where his ex-boyfriend was holding hands with the tall blonde new VP at his work. They radiated happiness and quite frankly it made Kyungsoo want to vomit in his mouth.

“Hi,” Kyungsoo faked being happy to see the couple.

“Sehun told me you guys work at the same office. I couldn’t believe it. What a small world,” Baekhyun gushed.

Kyungsoo nodded. “Yeah, definitely a small world.”

“I am against small worlds if that song starts playing,” Chanyeol joked, referring to the annoying tune that accompanied a journey in everyone’s favorite theme park boat ride. “Seriously I will tear the speakers off the wall.”

Baekhyun and Sehun chuckled. “I’d help,” Baekhyun promised.

Thankfully the line for the counter wasn’t terribly long, which meant their conversation didn’t have to last. Kyungsoo and Chanyeol were already at the front of the line, which gave them every excuse to ignore their neighbors. They ordered two of the largest plates of nachos and moved to the side to wait.

“Should we run for it?” Chanyeol whispered to Kyungsoo, half joking, half serious.

“I thought about it,” Kyungsoo answered.

Nacho Bizness was notoriously fast, which was another godsend. The roommates had their nachos while Baekhyun and Sehun were still glancing over the menu, trying to figure out what to order.

It was well honed teamwork that had Kyungsoo grabbing the straws and napkins while Chanyeol assumed responsibility for the nachos. They made a beeline for a table at the far end of the food court, an unspoken agreement to get as far away from their neighbors as possible.

Or so they thought.

Kyungsoo had his back turned to the nacho place but Chanyeol was facing that direction. Kyungsoo saw his best friend’s slight grimace and turned around to discover the cause –– Baekhyun and Sehun were walking straight for them.

“Hey, mind if we eat together?” Baekhyun asked. It wasn’t really a question, he was already pulling a chair up without hearing an answer.

“Sure.” Kyungsoo was perfecting the fake smile, he was getting so much practice of late.

“So what brings you guys to the mall this beautiful Saturday afternoon?” Sehun asked.

Kyungsoo didn’t have a chance to answer before Chanyeol blurted out, “Hot Topic and nachos. Only the most refined things in life.”

Baekhyun raised an eyebrow. “Wow, the Kyungsoo I remember wouldn’t set foot in Hot Topic.” Baekhyun nudged Kyungsoo with his elbow. “I’m impressed. Your fiancée must be quite convincing.”

“What was Kyungsoo like when he was younger?” Chanyeol blurted out. Kyungsoo wanted to punch him.

Kyungsoo gulped down his mountain dew, afraid to look at his ex-boyfriend.

“Wait, how do you guys know each other?” Sehun asked. So he had no idea…

“We used to date when we were younger. It was what...five years ago? No, six. Six years?” Baekhyun looked at Kyungsoo for confirmation. Kyungsoo nodded, feeling sick to his stomach.

Sehun didn’t seem bothered by the confession, diving back into his ultra-nacho combo without so much as a sideways glance to his co-worker or his fiancée.

So he never once mentioned me, Kyungsoo thought. Why did that hurt the most out of everything?

Kyungsoo tensed when he felt a hand grab his own under the table. It was Chanyeol’s large hand that grabbed onto Kyungsoo’s with a reassuring squeeze.

“Kyungsoo was serious, obsessed with grades. Punctual. Never smiled,” Baekhyun rattled off. “Hated messiness, yelled at me for being lazy.”

“You’re still lazy,” Sehun interjected.

“True,” Baekhyun acquiesced. “He watched a ton of depressing movies and liked to spend weekends at home. Smart as hell, graduated high school and college a year before me. But we had fun back in the day. I mean, better friends than boyfriends but hey, live and learn.”

Baekhyun made it sound so casual, like a weeklong fling. They had dated for three years, from Baekhyun’s senior year of high school until his sophomore year of college (Kyungsoo had skipped a grade ahead). They had muttered the magic three words, had made promises together.

Kyungsoo’s chest tightened at Baekhyun’s summary of his younger self. He sounded so boring. So depressing. So unlovable. And clearly he must have been since Baekhyun didn’t stick around.

But he was different now. He had changed. And damn if he was going to sit with Nacho Bizness in front of him and ruin his day being sad in front of his ex. Kyungsoo cleared his throat. “Yeah, I was a lot more serious back then.” He looked at Chanyeol. “I guess you’ve helped me let loose.”

What he said was true. Chanyeol had rubbed off a lot on him.

“Awww. Look at how cute they are.” Baekhyun leaned back in his chair and smiled at the pair. “How long have you guys been together?”

“Five years,” Kyungsoo blurted out. It was as long as he had known Chanyeol, the length of time since he had met him. Good enough for a fake-dating length. He looked across the table at his roommate, who offered a smile in return.

“We met while I was being chased by a special operations team. I inadvertently stole a spy’s briefcase. Very dramatic stuff,” Chanyeol said with a straight face. “Kyungsoo hid me for almost a year. I owe him my life.”

Baekhyun burst into laughter. “I like him,” he pointed at Chanyeol but looked at Kyungsoo while speaking.

“So do I,” Kyungsoo agreed, his tone dry.

“So what was Baekhyun like when he was younger?” Sehun finally spoke up, the nacho plate in front of him fully devoured.

Kyungsoo swallowed. “Loud. Lazy. Too much energy.”

“So he hasn’t changed a bit.” Sehun smirked. Baekhyun slapped him playfully on the arm.

“How are you parents doing?” Baekhyun suddenly asked.

Kyungsoo pursed his lips. He wasn’t sure what to say. Yeah, they died four months after we broke up. It destroyed me but whatever.

Chanyeol’s ringtone broke up the unwanted lunch, saving Kyungsoo from having to talk about the pain of losing his parents. He pulled out his cell; Kyungsoo could tell from his expression that it was his mother.

“Ah, I think we have to go,” Kyungsoo stood abruptly. “Is that your mom calling, dear?”

Chanyeol nodded.

“Sorry, in-laws.” Kyungsoo grabbed the half eaten nachos and mumbled a quick goodbye. Chanyeol stumbled after him, throwing goodbyes over his shoulder.

Once they were outside, walking towards the bus stop, Chanyeol stopped Kyungsoo by placing his hand on the shorter man’s shoulder. “Hey, you okay?”

“Yeah, never been better,” Kyungsoo lied. He knew Chanyeol didn’t buy it.

In many ways he was happy to have someone around who could see right through him.

“I better call my mom back and see what date she wants me to go on,” Chanyeol sighed.

Kyungsoo waited patiently for the bus while he listened to Chanyeol turn down another string of blind date suggestions, promising his mom that he would eventually get around to it. Eventually.



A few days later Kyungsoo once again ended up across a table from Sehun, but thankfully this time Baekhyun was nowhere to be found. It was a working lunch, half the finance team was there. While Junmyeon droned on about the project, the rest of the team shoveled their lunches in their mouths between furiously typing on their laptops.

There was a lull in the meeting when the clock struck one, everyone bloated and brain-dead. It was during this momentary halt that Kyungsoo noticed the ring on Sehun’s finger. A gold band. An engagement ring.

He glanced at his own bare finger, frowning.




~*~ September 2011 ~*~


Kyungsoo smoothed his thumb over the front of the glossy brochure. He read and reread the words, the name of the expensive liberal arts college, and the blurbs advertising the excellent education offered at the school. Just how long had Baekhyun been planning on transferring? When was he going to tell him?

He remained seated on the edge of his bed, gripping the brochure, until Baekhyun arrived home. It was one in the morning, they both had class in six hours. In the last four weeks it had happened frequently – Baekhyun being out, not coming home until late. They had grown further apart as of late, drifting away from each other with each passing day.

“You didn’t have to wait up for me,” were Baekhyun’s first words. He padded to his closet without glancing at his boyfriend.

“When are you transferring?” Kyungsoo asked, trying not to sound as bitter as he felt.

Baekhyun froze, hand on the closet door. “What do you mean?”

Kyungsoo tossed the brochure on the floor. “Don’t lie. I found this.” He had found paperwork too. An acceptance letter.

Baekhyun turned slowly from the closet. When their eyes met there wasn’t a look of guilt or distrust, only mutual anger. “January,” he answered flatly. “Why were you going through my things?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Oh sorry. Forgot you made all my life decisions for me.” Baekhyun snorted. “You aren’t even going to be here next semester, need I remind you that you graduate in December? What does it matter if I transfer?”

“I’m graduating, not moving five ing hours away!” Kyungsoo shouted.

Baekhyun bent down and retrieved the crumpled brochure. “And I’m not allowed to transfer schools because of that?”

Kyungsoo fumed. “Fine. Move schools but we should get engaged first.” It was silly, childish even – wanting a commitment before a separation. But Kyungsoo wasn’t thinking rationally at the time. It seemed logical then.

Baekhyun gripped the brochure. He looked Kyungsoo square in the eyes and said, “I want to break up.”

“What?” Kyungsoo couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“This isn’t working. An engagement isn’t going to help.” Baekhyun crumpled the glossy leaflet in his hand as he spoke. “We can’t live together, we drive each other nuts. We can’t hang out anymore because we drive each other nuts. You’re graduating in a few months, I’m not. It’s time.”

Kyungsoo couldn’t understand what was happening. “You think I’m annoying…”

“Both of us are annoying. I hate how you can’t go have fun, how you do everything based on some ed up schedule you decided. And I know you hate when I don’t stick to it, when I do whatever, when I skip classes. When I live a life that isn’t a mirror of your own. And honestly I ing hate that, Soo. We need to get away from each other before we both go crazy. This clinginess needs to stop.”

“So it’s my fault.” Kyungsoo took a seat on the bed. He felt numb.

“It’s both of our faults. Soo, look at me.” Baekhyun crouched down in front of him and placed his hand on Kyungsoo’s knees. “We used to have fun together. You’re a great friend. But this.. .this relationship isn’t going to work. We’re too different. We’re young, it was fun but we need to let it go. You need to let go.”

Kyungsoo willed away the tears that threatened to fall. “Friends,” he said quietly.

“I’ll always be your friend. Always,” Baekhyun promised. “But I can’t be your boyfriend.”

“I need to go to bed.” He moved his legs, casting Baekhyun’s hands aside. He crawled under the blankets as quickly as he could.

“Goodnight,” Baekhyun said softly before returning to his before bed routine.





~*~ October 2017 ~*~


Kyungsoo yawned. He slumped against his roommate, his eyes heavy with exhaustion. The new project at work was killing him. He was putting in majorly long hours–– so many he was now at least two if not three episodes behind on every show he watched with his roommate.

“I recorded Game of Thrones,” Chanyeol murmured, maneuvering his arm back so Kyungsoo’s head ed against his chest.

“I’m too tired, just watch it alone,” Kyungsoo mumbled.

“I’ll wait. It’s no fun watching it alone.” Chanyeol’s arm s around Kyungsoo’s shoulders. He playfully grabbed his roommate and fake wrestled with him, pinning the tired man into the couch.

“Knock it off,” Kyungsoo halfheartedly said.

“Make me,” Chanyeol challenged.

Five minutes later the tall man was lying in the middle of the living room floor, Kyungsoo’s energy reawakened as he rained soft punches down on his roommate's arm.




Kyungsoo was no longer uncomfortable or flustered when Sehun wandered into his office. Kyungsoo had somehow managed to separate his personal life and his past from his work life. He had learned to look at Sehun as just another co-worker while they were in the office (it helped that Sehun was unfailingly polite to him. Seriously the guy couldn’t give him a single reason to dislike him).

“You busy?” Sehun asked, hand on the door.

“Nah, just finished something. What’s up?” Kyungsoo was happy to have a moment to look away from his computer screen.

Sehun took a seat across from Kyungsoo, in one of the ugly sky blue chairs that Junmyeon had snagged from the corporate floor when it was redecorated.

“Are you and Chanyeol busy on Saturday? Baekhyun thought it would be great if we could have you over for dinner if you’re free.”

Kyungsoo regretted saying he wasn’t busy. “Ah, Saturday…” Think of an excuse, think of an excuse, think of an excu-

“I don’t know if this is awkward for you. I probably shouldn’t say it, Baekhyun will kill me.” Sehun sighed. “He’s been afraid ever since we moved in that you are avoiding him. He really seems to like you and misses your friendship.”

Kyungsoo swallowed. Baekhyun missed his friendship. Right.

“Just think it over. We would love to have you. I would love to have you guys over. You both seem really cool and it would be great to get to know you better.” Sehun stood up, offering a smile. “Just let me know.”

Once Sehun was gone Kyungsoo found he was unable to return to his work. He grabbed the stress ball he had on his desk and began to squeeze it without mercy.

Baekhyun missed his friendship. That was hilarious considering Baekhyun was the one who had cut off contact with him all those years ago. Funny how time made people forget.




“It sounds like fun.” Apparently Chanyeol was one of those people.

“It doesn’t sound like fun! He’s my ex.” Kyungsoo threw himself on the sofa in the most dramatic way possible. “Plus we would have to pretend to be together for the entire evening.”

Kyungsoo kicked his feet against the upholstery. “Why does his stupid fiancée have to work with me?!”

Chanyeol didn’t say anything, which in and of itself was unusual. Kyungsoo glanced at his roommate, who was sitting cross legged on the floor fiddling with his game console. “You really want to go?” Kyungsoo huffed.

“Do you still like him?” Chanyeol asked, not looking up from the console.

“No! Of course not!” Kyungsoo was affronted at the suggestion.

“Right.” Chanyeol didn’t sound convinced.

“Fine. Let’s go and I’ll prove that it doesn’t matter to me what Byun Baekhyun has or does or doesn’t have or doesn’t do.” Kyungsoo’s stood up and clenched his fists.

Chanyeol smirked at his tiny, angry roommate. “That’s the spirit!”

Kyungsoo had gained a dose of resolve.



Within the first twenty minutes of being at Baekhyun and Sehun’s apartment Kyungsoo realized some things. Firstly, Baekhyun really hadn’t changed. He was loud. He talked a lot. He was touchy, grabbing at his fiancée every chance he got. Secondly, Sehun was completely different at home than he was in the office. At work he was dedicated. Talked enough, but not too much. Was social but not to the point of being overt about it. At home he was….”whiny” (as Chanyeol mentioned later that night once they had left the dinner party).

It was uncomfortable to watch, but Kyungsoo couldn’t let that show. At least to the only person who would notice it – Chanyeol. He had vowed he would prove once and for all he could care less about his ex-boyfriend (which in retrospect was rather foolish of him since he cared very much).

Baekhyun had bought a few bottles of expensive wine and made a smorgasbord of appetizers. It felt every bit like a couples date as they chatted and snacked.

Baekhyun seemed genuinely happy watching Sehun bond with Kyungsoo and Chanyeol. The three found they had more in common than they could have imagined. All three had a penchant for movies (though Kyungsoo questioned Chanyeol and Sehun’s tastes). Sehun was a foodie, just like Kyungsoo. Sehun eagerly listened while Kyungsoo raved about Chanyeol’s cooking.

By the time dinner was served the three felt like fast friends and Kyungsoo declared a victory in his head. Clearly he was over Baekhyun. How else could he become so friendly with his fiancée?

“Soo, remember that graduation party at Jongin’s house?” Baekhyun asked.

Kyungsoo bristled at the pet name but didn’t show it. “Yeah, I remember.” Unfortunately, he wanted to add.

“I found that game we played back then. It would be fun to play it now.”

Game. Game...what game. For the life of him Kyungsoo couldn’t remember a game being played during the party. His memories mostly centered on watching over Baekhyun while he puked his guts out in the toilet after one too many shots of peppermint schnapps.

“What game is it?” Chanyeol inquired, immediately interested.

“Like apples to apples but the winner gets to dictate something for the losers to do.” Baekhyun’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “During the graduation party Kyungsoo ended up-”

The memory suddenly came back. “Don’t you dare say it!” Kyungsoo yelled.

Baekhyun laughed but ended up keeping his secret.



It turned out that playing the game as more mature adults resulted in even more immature punishments being handed out. Sehun chugged a glass of milk, Chanyeol ended up texting a couple random people to ask if their refrigerator was running. Kyungsoo laughed when he made Baekhyun open the window and shout “I’d Kenny G like a popsicle!”

The next round Baekhyun won and without a thought he pointed at Chanyeol and Kyungsoo. “Kiss.”

“What?” Kyungsoo blurted out without thinking.

“Kiss. Hey, I’m going easy on you. And you,” he turned to Sehun, “can chug another glass of milk.”

Sehun whined in protest while Chanyeol and Kyungsoo stared dumbly at each other. Right, they had kissed once before. They were supposed to be dating, no –engaged. A kiss wasn’t a punishment.

Kyungsoo cleared his throat and leaned forward, heart thumping erratically in his chest. Chanyeol looked at him, a mixture of panic and something else in his eyes, something Kyungsoo couldn’t quite make out. And then Chanyeol’s large hand was cupping Kyungsoo’s cheek, gently holding him still as he leaned in and pressed their lips together. His hand managed to block their lip lock from Baekhyun and Sehun’s view, having a less tender purpose than Kyungsoo had originally thought.

A few seconds later they parted, just in time to see Sehun start chugging his second glass of milk.

After that the atmosphere between the roommates became awkward. Kyungsoo was sure that Baekhyun and Sehun could sense it even if they didn’t say anything.

The game ended a few minutes later. Kyungsoo and Chanyeol said their goodbyes, promising to host their neighbors at a later date. Once they were back in their apartment Kyungsoo immediately launched into a string of apologies.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know he’d ask us to kiss. I shouldn’t have asked you to pretend. I could care less about Baek–” Kyungsoo’s words were cut short when Chanyeol put his hand over Kyungsoo’s mouth.

“It’s fine. Okay?” Chanyeol smiled reassuringly. “I’m just happy to see you’re over him.”

When Chanyeol removed his hand Kyungsoo nodded. “Yeah, over him. Completely over him.”

Later that night, as he was lying in bed, Kyungsoo dwelled on the fact that he had the ability to convince Chanyeol he was over Baekhyun; but despite this he felt empty. He should be happy...he had successfully pulled off the I-could-care-less act in front of the one person who knew him the best. And the truth was he did care, he cared a lot. Maybe he didn’t like Baekhyun-- he didn’t want to get back together with him. But he was jealous of how happy he was, how indifferent he seemed when it came to their past relationship. At one point in his life Baekhyun had meant the world to him and it was becoming more and more clear that the feeling was completely one-sided. And yet Chanyeol had bought his act.

Why did his victory seem so damn empty?





~*~ October 2011 ~*~


Baekhyun moved up his transfer date to the end of September, leaving Kyungsoo with a broken heart and a half empty dorm room.

Kyungsoo kept his routine despite his heartbreak, but he had lost any enthusiasm he once had. He was following the script, going through the motions, but the world had turned grey. He tried to convince himself everything Baekhyun had said during their break up was the truth. They weren’t compatible, better friends than lovers, they annoyed each other, they were young and it was time to move on. But the more he thought about it the more he poked holes in that reality.

He loved Baekhyun. They had dated for three years. They had tons of fun together during the summer. School was supposed to be regimented and stressful, it wasn’t like Baekhyun hadn’t experienced it before – he was in his third year. So not having fun made sense. Baekhyun was just being reckless, Kyungsoo theorized.

Baekhyun took to calling him now and then, but it was awkward and it hurt. It reopened the wound that had only the thinnest scab over it, Kyungsoo’s heart breaking each time he talked to the person he thought he would spend the rest of his life with.

“You aren’t partying too much, right?” Kyungsoo would ask. “Study. Don’t eat junk food all day. Don’t skip classes. Remember to be in bed by ten.”

He lectured as much as possible until finally, near the end of October, Baekhyun put an end to their friendship. “I think it’s better if I stop calling. For both of us.”

Kyungsoo cradled the phone and cried after he hung up, utterly broken. Again.





~*~ November 2017 ~*~


“Mom, we’re home!” Chanyeol shouted the moment he pushed open the front door of his parent’s house. Kyungsoo trailed into the spacious abode behind the family’s only son. It was Chanyeol’s birthday and just like the last five years the birthday boy had dragged Kyungsoo home with him to join in the celebration.

“In here!” Chanyeol’s mother called from the kitchen.

Kyungsoo wanted to drool at the story aroma wafting through the house. Cooking was truly in the Park family genes, a blessing for him since he had one of them as a roommate.

“Kyungsoo! How have you been?” Chanyeol’s mom cooed over him the moment he stepped into the kitchen, sidestepping her son in favor of his best friend. Chanyeol assumed a playful scowl at his mom, giving Kyungsoo more reason to smile.

“Good, mother. Very good. How have you been?”

“I’d be better if this oaf of a son of mine would get married,” Chanyeol’s mother joked, waving her cooking spoon at her much taller son.

Chanyeol gave his mom a big goofy grin. “Is that all that would make you happy? Well if I’d known I would have kidnapped someone and married them twenty years ago.”

“Youuuuu.” His mom waved the spoon in his face, drops of sauce landing on his beat up t-shirt. Chanyeol put a show of brushing them off.

“Yoora can get married, why do I need to?” He asked, referring to his older sister and only sibling. He reached forward and snagged a piece of candy from the dish sitting on the counter, plopping it into his mouth. Kyungsoo followed suit – there was no way he could resist the candy Chanyeol’s mother made.

“Both of you need to get married,” his mother replied.

“How come you don’t harass Kyungsoo to get married?” Chanyeol said through his chews.

“Kyungsoo doesn’t need to get married. He’s too busy making sure you don’t get into trouble.”

Kyungsoo laughed at her words. Of course he should stay single so he could ensure Chanyeol didn’t get into trouble.

They playfully bantered for a few minutes before Chanyeol snagged Kyungsoo by the arm and dragged him out of the kitchen, towards his old room. Kyungsoo let himself be led, his mood light. It was like this anytime he visited the Park family home –– Chanyeol’s mother and father all but adopting him years before. It was the only semblance of a family he had left and he loved every minute of it.

“My mom told me she found something when she was cleaning the other day,” Chanyeol rambled on, tugging Kyungsoo into his small room and shutting the door.

Kyungsoo took a seat on Chanyeol’s single bed. “Did she find your stash?”

Chanyeol gave him the evil eye. “For your information I never had a stash.”

“Well that’s just sad,” Kyungsoo shot back, grabbing one of the fluffy pillows from the bed and hugging it to his middle.

Chanyeol began rummaging through his beat up desk (the furniture showed the years of abuse it accumulated belonging to a frustrated middle and high school student). He pulled out a small white box and tossed it towards Kyungsoo, who failed to catch it.

“Open it,” Chanyeol plopped on the bed next to him.

Kyungsoo picked up the box and lifted the lid. What he saw left him extremely confused. “Rings?”

“Yeah. I had those made back in high school when I had this mad crush on a girl and was so certain we would go out.”

“That is kind of creepy.” Kyungsoo pulled out one of the rings and examined it. There was a part of the silver band that was missing, a strange pattern cut out.

“They’re sound wave rings,” Chanyeol explained.

“So what happened to the girl?” Kyungsoo asked, examining the ring more closely. “And what does the sound wave represent?”

“She went out with a friend of mine. It wasn’t meant to be. “Chanyeol sighed. “And I won’t tell you what it says.”

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. “So dramatic. Back then and now.”

“Anyway, I had an idea. I saw you ogling Baekhyun and Sehun’s rings during dinner and since we are supposed to be engaged I thought we’d just use these. Like a prop.”

Kyungsoo considered it. What would be the harm? Other than everyone else asking him about his new ring. It had been a small miracle Junmyeon hadn’t revealed his lie yet - if people started asking about his ring he ran a greater chance of exposing his farce. But then again, wasn’t a ring called for? They were engaged…fake engaged, at least.

“Okay,” Kyungsoo answered simply. He slipped the smaller ring on his finger, amazed it fit so perfectly. “How come a girl’s ring size fits me?” he wondered aloud.

“You’re tiny,” Chanyeol laughed, picking up the other ring and slipping it on his finger.

“I hate you,” Kyungsoo glared.

“No you don’t. You can’t hate me when my mom is the best cook ever.”

“True, very true,” Kyungsoo sighed.




Kyungsoo was right to be worried that Junmyeon would eventually expose his lie. It took Junmyeon almost a week before he blurted out during a late afternoon meeting. “Nice ring. You have something to tell us?”

Kyungsoo’s mouth instantly went dry. The room was filled with his colleagues, which included Sehun. Everyone had heard the question, plain as day.

He bit his tongue. If he said he was engaged, then of course he would be barraged with questions. He had worked at the company for years, his co-workers would pry without hesitation. If he brushed it off then he would raise Sehun’s suspicions. Either way, he realized, he would raise Sehun’s suspicions.

“I–” He swallowed, tongue feeling thick and heavy in his mouth.

He was saved by a knock on the conference room door. The administrative assistant for the financial services department peeked his head into the room. “Sehun, someone is here to see you.”

Kyungsoo breathed a sigh of relief as the tall blonde man stood and left the room. “It’s a friendship ring. Chanyeol thinks it’s funny,” he quickly explained, laughing it off.

“Your roommate is so weird,” Junmyeon remarked, apparently satisfied with the explanation.

“Yeah, he is.” Kyungsoo twisted the ring on his finger, his heart inexplicably heavy.




Kyungsoo was halfway back to his office when the administrative assistant stopped him. “You have a visitor as well. I let him in to your office, I hope that’s okay.”

Kyungsoo nodded and hurried his steps towards his office. No one ever visited him at work so he was intensely curious. When he pushed open the door he was greeted with Chanyeol sitting on the edge of his desk, a big idiotic smile on his face.

“Is something wrong?” Kyungsoo asked, shutting the door behind him. Chanyeol never came to visit him…

“I’m keeping up with the Jones’s,” Chanyeol smirked. “I ran into Baekhyun and he was on his way here to see Sehun so I thought it only made sense I came to see you.” He held up his hand to display his ring. “Fiancée stuff and all.”

“Right. Fiancée stuff.” Kyungsoo rounded his desk and took a seat, leaning back on the creaky leather office chair. A thought crossed his mind and he blurted it out– it was Chanyeol, he always said what was on his mind. He was still shaken from the almost-reveal back at the meeting and his mind went towards the only solution. “Should we tell them the truth?”

“That you can’t cook, are afraid of the dark, and that strange wailing they hear is you singing?” Chanyeol deadpanned.

Kyungsoo narrowed his eyes. Chanyeol chuckled before turning serious. “We can do whatever, but are you really over him? Are you okay admitting you lied?”

Apparently he hadn’t convinced Chanyeol he was over Baekhyun as much as he had thought he had. Kyungsoo pondered the potential outcome. He would seem so awfully pathetic if he admitted the ruse. There was no way Baekhyun would believe he was over him...why else would he lie? Petty jealousy? And Sehun, he had to see him every work day. How could he do that if the man thought he harbored some longstanding obsession with his fiancée? “Nah, forget I said anything.”

“You still like him, don’t you,” Chanyeol stated, not asking but telling.

Kyungsoo sighed. “I don’t like him but I won’t let him win. I can’t let him have the better life.”

“Is his life really better than yours though? I don’t think it is. ”

Kyungsoo frowned. “He’s in love, successful. I’m single, at the same middle management job for the last several years…”

“You shouldn’t compare yourself to him, Kyungsoo.” Chanyeol sighed, the rare moment he was being dead serious. “You’re doing great for yourself.”

“Maybe...” Kyungsoo wasn’t convinced.

Chanyeol didn’t press his roommate further. He changed the subject, bringing up his latest logo commission, creating the branding for a mom and pop gas station chain from located several hundred miles from them. Kyungsoo tried to listen, but his mind kept returning to Baekhyun, to how happy his ex-boyfriend seemed in comparison to himself.




~*~ November 2011 ~*~


The weather had turned cold. Kyungsoo went out for a cup of coffee, a rare indulgence given his grueling homework load. He bundled tightly in an oversized down jacket and braved the cold to trek to the café nearest the dorms. He was waiting in line when he heard the familiar laugh, he would recognize it anywhere.

Baekhyun was sitting in the corner of the coffee shop with a man Kyungsoo didn’t recognize. They were both laughing, apparently having the time of their lives.

Kyungsoo mumbled his order to the barista and waited, eyes glued to his ex-boyfriend and the man he was conversing with.

Should I approach him? Should I leave him be? He looks so happy.

Saying hello shouldn’t hurt.

But it would, he knew it would. Still, the moment his coffee was set in front of him he grabbed it and made his way to Baekhyun, ignoring his conflicting emotions.

“Hi.” Baekhyun hadn’t noticed him until he spoke. When he realized it was Kyungsoo standing by the table the smile faded from his face.

“Hi.” It sounded so insincere and forced it stung.

“What are you doing in town?” Kyungsoo asked. He regretted approaching him. Regretted it the moment Baekhyun’s companion looked at him, eyed him up, almost like he was looking down at him, judging his appearance.

“Ah. I had a few administrative things to finish up so my final grades would transfer. Couldn’t do it online,” Baekhyun explained.

Kyungsoo sipped his coffee, swallowing the scorching liquid without flinching. The pain felt good. “How have you been?”

“I’ve been good.” Baekhyun cleared his throat. “This is my old roommate,” he looked at his companion and gestured towards Kyungsoo. The man didn’t introduce himself, making it even more awkward.

Kyungsoo couldn’t control the swirl of pain and anguish, the feelings of hurt that coursed through him. He turned around and made his way to the door without another word. This is my old roommate. Not even my ex, or the guy I dated for three years. Roommate. That was all he was to Baekhyun.

Baekhyun caught up with him outside. He jogged after Kyungsoo, bragging his arm to stop him. “Soo, stop. We need to talk.”

“About what?” Kyungsoo turned around so quickly his coffee splashed, spilling onto his gloved hand. “I’m your old roommate. I get it. Nothing to talk about.”

“What do you want me to say?! He is my academic advisor! Should I tell him everything about my personal life for s sake?!” Baekhyun shouted, earning stares from people passing by. “He wanted to know how my transfer had worked out, didn’t realize I should tell him who I’ve dated.”

Tears welled up in Kyungsoo’s eyes. He felt like a moron. And yet he made it worse. “Go out with me again.” He put the nail in his own coffin. He asked for more pain.

Baekhyun removed his hand from where it was resting on Kyungsoo’s arm. He took a step back. “No. No, no,” he said quietly. “Soo, we can’t do this. We aren’t good together anymore. We need to learn to live apart, to move on.” Kyungsoo could see the plea in his eyes, in the sad way he was looking at him.

“I don’t want to move on.” Kyungsoo swallowed. “I don’t like being alone.”

“Hating being alone isn’t reason to get back together.” Baekhyun shook his head.

“Why are you so happy? Were we nothing?” Kyungsoo knew he was being irrational. He knew it but he couldn’t stop.

Baekhyun frowned. “ing Christ Kyungsoo, get a life.” He turned and stalked back towards the café.

Kyungsoo watched his ex-boyfriend walk into the cafe. He gripped the coffee tightly in his hand, steam rising from the drink. Finally he turned and walked back towards the dorm buildings, wiping away stray tears as he went.





~*~ December 2017 ~*~


“Work Christmas party.” Kyungsoo tossed the invitation on the kitchen counter.

Chanyeol was busy in front of the stove, finishing up dinner. “Are we going to take bets on who Junmyeon gets drunk and has it out with this year?”

“It’ll be Jongdae. He won’t break his three year streak,” Kyungsoo said confidently. Chanyeol had been Kyungsoo’s plus one every year since he had started working at the company. He was familiar with the yearly Christmas traditions, most of which involved his co-workers drinking too much and saying things they couldn’t say the other 364 days of the year.

“We’re going to have be careful though, Baekhyun will probably be there.” Kyungsoo had already spent the subway ride home running through the multitude of ways his cover could be blown.

“Careful. Got it,” Chanyeol responded.



The annual Christmas party was held at a traditional restaurant closer to Chanyeol and Kyungsoo’s apartment building than to the office. It started at eight in the evening but half of those who attended were there earlier, eager to take advantage of the company’s tab.

Baekhyun, Sehun, Chanyeol, and Kyungsoo arrived together –– an arrangement that Kyungsoo had suggested. It was best to set the tone with his ex early on instead of showing up to find him drunk and already full of suspicions because of something one of their coworkers had said.

When Chanyeol walked in the door he was surrounded by a few of the guys from the technology department, avid gamers that had always harbored a bit of a gaming crush on Kyungsoo’s tall roommate. Kyungsoo found himself trailing after Baekhyun and Sehun, sitting next to the former at one of the sumptuously decorated tables.

“I can’t wait to see Kyungsoo drunk,” Baekhyun mentioned a few minutes later, eyeing up the glass of eggnog Kyungsoo was nursing. “You were always so much fun once you had a few.”

“I don’t get drunk at work events,” Kyungsoo responded in a flat tone.

“He’s lying,” Junmyeon interjected. He was already tipsy, his cheeks flushed a rosy red. “Last year he dragged us to karaoke after the party. Wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Baekhyun looked greatly amused. “You still sing Resignation?”

“Wait, do you guys know each other?” Junmyeon asked, spilling a bit of his drink as he leaned in to hear the answer. The party was already loud, everyone chatting noisily.

“We used to date back in college,” Baekhyun admitted without hesitation.

Kyungsoo felt panic bubble up in him. It was a dangerous line of conversation. All Junmyeon had to do was open his mouth and say something about Kyungsoo being single and his cover was blown.

“You’re the guy that left him right before his parents died,” Junmyeon blurted out.

Kyungsoo colored. He hadn’t expected his co-worker to say that, of all things. Of course he had told Junmyeon as much a few years back while they were out getting a drink, but he had assumed his co-worker hadn’t remembered. Kyungsoo had never mentioned a name, or much detail – only a snippet of heartbreak.

“Your parents died?” Baekhyun turned to Kyungsoo. “I didn’t know.”

“Oh crap, I shouldn’t have said that.” Junmyeon clamped his hand over his mouth. “I’m sorry. Kyungsoo, sorry.”

Kyungsoo shrugged. “It’s fine.” He stood up, needing to get away from the conversation. “I’m going to go find Chanyeol.”

His mood was permanently soured. He found his roommate still surrounded by a few of the tech guys, animatedly talking about games. He slid up next to him, waiting for the discussion to end.

Chanyeol, like always, seemed to sense Kyungsoo’s mood. He expertly ended the conversation with, “Enough about the game. If I give you too many hints you won’t buy it. Support your local game industry!” He put his arm on his roommate’s shoulders and steered them both away from the groans of Chanyeol’s avid fans.

“What happened?” Chanyeol whispered.

“Nothing,” Kyungsoo lied.

They sat down at the end of one of the long tables, and within minutes were both conversing with Jongdae and a few of the other members of the financial services team. Kyungsoo’s anxiety decreased the longer he was way from Baekhyun, the more minutes that passed since Junmyeon had blurted out the one truth he didn’t know he was so afraid of Baekhyun knowing.

It was the nail in the coffin, something that made him seem even more pathetic. Yeah, you broke my heart and by the way everything crumbled afterwards. No hard feelings.

The after effects were still present, however. Kyungsoo finished his eggnog and then switched to something stronger, drinking more than he had planned. By nine he was buzzed up and by ten he was certifiably drunk.

“Karaoke!” Baekhyun shouted from across the room. Those who hadn’t left the party were all tipsy and the suggestion was met with enthusiastic shouts.

Chanyeol had been practically glued to Kyungsoo’s side all night, giving him worried looks. “We should go home,” he said softly.

“No, I want to go to karaoke,” Kyungsoo shot down the idea.

Chanyeol sighed but didn’t argue. His alcohol tolerance was better than Kyungsoo’s, he was barely tipsy.

An hour later twenty or so of the people from the Christmas party filtered into to the nearest karaoke place, all in differing states of drunkenness.

During the walk over Baekhyun had slung his arm over Kyungsoo’s shoulders and in his inebriated state he didn’t shrug him off.

“I want you to know I’m sorry we broke up,” Baekhyun slurred his speech. “It just wasn’t right, yuuno. Like we aren’t a good match but I still want to be friends.”

“Is that why you said we shouldn’t call each other anymore?” Kyungsoo responded.

“No…I.” Baekhyun hiccupped. He stopped in his tracks, holding his breath. By default Kyungsoo stopped as well, Baekhyun’s arm holding him back. Kyungsoo could make out the others walking ahead, including Sehun who didn’t seem to notice that his fiancée was no longer following.

“Your,” hiccup, “parents. What happened?”

Kyungsoo looked at the sidewalk, the blurry cracks in the concrete. “Car accident,” he explained with as little emotion as possible.

Baekhyun in a deep breath. “Soo, I’m so sorry. You should have told me.”

Kyungsoo shucked off Baekhyun’s arm. He tried to take a step forward but his footing was uneven and he staggered, barely righting himself. “Why would I tell you? You said you didn’t want to talk to me anymore. That I was too clingy.”

“I was upset.” Hiccup. “I was stupid. I didn’t want you to-“Hiccup. “Waste your time on me.”

Kyungsoo laughed. He knew it sounded bitter, that was the intent. “You’re a jerk.”

“Yeah but you’re happier now than if we would have stayed together,” Baekhyun slurred, slinging his arm back around Kyungsoo’s shoulder. This time Kyungsoo didn’t throw him off.

Yeah, so happy I am lying to you. Kyungsoo belatedly realized Chanyeol had stopped as well. He was staring at the pair, arms folded across his chest.

“Come on, let’s go,” Kyungsoo urged, not daring to look at his roommate, afraid of what he would find.




Kyungsoo sang two songs before he fell back into the sofa of the karaoke room. Chanyeol approached him. “We need to go home.”

“No,” Kyungsoo protested, his body going limp. Strobe lights flashed in the room, the jangle of tambourines mingled with off-key singing.

“Soo…” Chanyeol leaned in, caging the drunk man in with his arms. “Come on, you’re drunk, let’s go.”

Kyungsoo, in his drunken state, saw an opportunity before him. He wasn’t sure why but the moment Chanyeol’s face was inches from his own he leaned forward and smashed their lips together. In the back of the karaoke room. For anyone to see. His tongue darted out and he Chanyeol’s bottom lip, too drunk to realize his roommate was frozen on the spot, not kissing him back.

The others didn’t notice, they were too engrossed in Baekhyun and Sehun bungling a duet to care.

Kyungsoo whined when Chanyeol pulled away and stalked out of the room. Even if he was drunk he could tell Chanyeol was pissed. He hated when Chanyeol was mad at him.

Kyungsoo got to his feet and stumbled towards the door, slipping out of the room and running into Chanyeol, who was standing in the hall waiting for him.

“Why’d you leave?” Kyungsoo hiccupped, unable to figure it out.

“Why’d you kiss me?” Chanyeol retorted, his face flushed in anger.

“We’re engaged, right?” Kyungsoo smirked, pointing his index finger into his roommate’s chest.

In a second Chanyeol had bent down and thrown Kyungsoo over his shoulder. The drunk man whined but Chanyeol didn’t care. He carried him out of the karaoke joint.

“You’re drunk. You need to go home,” Chanyeol said through gritted teeth.

Kyungsoo continued to hiccup, his world spinning, the blood rushing into his head.

“Don’t you like kissing me?” Kyungsoo asked.

Chanyeol quickened his pace, still carrying Kyungsoo. He didn’t answer.

“Baekhyun was a good kisser.” Kyungsoo sighed.

“I thought you didn’t like him anymore,” Chanyeol hissed.

Kyungsoo wanted to answer, he really did, but he couldn’t. He banged on Chanyeol’s back. “I need to throw up.”

Chanyeol set him down just in time for Kyungsoo puke all over the sidewalk.




The next day Kyungsoo woke up with a pounding headache and little memory of anything that happened after eight o’clock the night before. He padded to the kitchen, holding his head. Each step was painful – it felt like he had been hit by a truck.

Chanyeol, true to form, was standing over the stove, the smell of hangover soup wafting from a pot.

“Morning sunshine,” Chanyeol drawled, carrying the pot from the stove to the table.

“I feel like death,” Kyungsoo moaned.

“Good. You deserve it.” Chanyeol set the pot down in front of Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo froze. “What did I do?”

“You almost threw up on my new shoes,” Chanyeol answered. “Very bad behavior.”

Kyungsoo breathed a sigh of relief, but even that hurt. At least he hadn’t done anything terribly embarrassing.




~*~ December 2011 ~*~


He received the call on a Wednesday afternoon, an hour before his only evening class started. Years later he couldn’t remember the exact words the police officer said, the exact manner in which they were delivered. His parents were dead. Killed in an automobile accident.

He took the next train to his hometown, his fragile emotional state obliterated into a million pieces, nothing left to reassemble.


By Christmas he was back in the city, not in the dorms but in a tiny apartment he found near campus. The rent was cheap and he needed cheap, his only income consisted of what was left of his parents’ life insurance after he buried them. He had managed to take his last finals in order to graduate, now he had to find a job. But finding a job was beyond his mental capabilities at that time. All he wanted to do was sleep, the depression all encompassing.

He was alone, completely alone for the first time in his life. He didn’t even have school to occupy his time. Nothing. There was nothing.

Going to the convenience store a block away was even painful. He didn’t want to see anyone, talk to them. Let me waste way, he thought. He obsessed about what could have been. What if his parents hadn’t gotten in the car, if he wasn’t away at school the day they died, if Baekhyun hadn’t left him? What if...what if….

It was two days before New Year’s Eve when someone knocked on Kyungsoo’s front door. He stared at the door for a good minute before he got up. It was probably a salesman, he thought, not worth my time.

It wasn’t someone pushing vacuum cleaners or dictionaries.

“Hey. I’m your new neighbor. Park Chanyeol’s the name. Thought I should introduce myself.” It was a tall guy with a wide smile. Big ears. Bright eyes. Happiness radiated from him. He was the antithesis of everything Kyungsoo was at that moment.

Kyungsoo stared at the outstretched hand. Finally he took it. “I’m Do Kyungsoo.”

“Nice to meet you, Do Kyungsoo.” His handshake was firm. Warm. “I work from home so I’m usually around. If you need to borrow a cup of sugar or anything like that.”

Kyungsoo stared dumbly at his oaf of a new neighbor. “Okay.”

“See you around.”

“Yeah, see you around.” Kyungsoo closed the door, not knowing that the best medicine he could have ever asked for had just knocked on his door.





~*~ January 2018 ~*~


New Year’s rolled around and Kyungsoo carefully turned down the few invitations he received to celebrate the holiday at a restaurant, bar, or anywhere else that had liquor and/or a lot of people. Christmas had taught him a lesson, he didn’t want to touch the stuff again for another year at least. The hangover had been that dreadful.

Instead he stayed home with Chanyeol, the latter making an array of snacks while Kyungsoo put up cheesy New Year’s decorations and picked out movies for them to watch.

They had bought a pack of fireworks and planned to light them off later at the park near their apartment building. It was to be a suitably Chanyeol and Kyungsoo New Year’s celebration.

In the evening their doorbell rang. It was Baekhyun and Sehun wishing them a happy new year, both dressed to the nines, on their way out to attend an upscale party. “Have fun making out at midnight,” Baekhyun shouted as they left.

Kyungsoo shook his head and smiled, missing the frown that formed on Chanyeol’s face.


Kyungsoo pointed at the ugly floral curtains, his finger tapping against the plastic packaging. “Curtains seven, better than windows. Seriously, someone was paid to name this.”

Chanyeol reached over and snagged the package from the rack. “I’m buying it just for the name alone.” He tossed it in the car.

Kyungsoo groaned. It was that time of the year, the once yearly what-do-we-toss-out-what-do-we-keep roommate ritual. They were at the home goods store, eying up and mocking everything and anything they found.

“Hey, I am letting you keep that dishwand disease magnet so the least you can do is let me have my pun-y curtains.” Chanyeol pushed the cart at a leisurely pace, Kyungsoo walking beside him.

“It isn’t a germ magnet. Studies have shown–“

“I can’t hear you over the sound of my amazing curtains.” Chanyeol shoved the package of curtains in Kyungsoo’s face.

Kyungsoo slapped them back into the cart, laughing quietly.

They were in the dishes section when Kyungsoo spotted an atrocious duck patterned set of dinnerware. “We should buy this for Baekhyun just because he’ll hate it.”

“Right.” Chanyeol picked up the package of plates and put them in the cart.

Kyungsoo stared at the dishes, remembering years ago when Baekhyun had thrown a fit over the rubber duck shower curtain his mother had bought for him. “I’m too old for this” he had whined.

Chanyeol noticed him spacing out, waving a hand in front of Kyungsoo’s face. “You okay there?”

“Just remembering something,” Kyungsoo admitted.

“Can I ask you something? Honestly?” Chanyeol was being serious, a huge event during their annual home shopping trips. Kyungsoo paused.

“Yeah. What is it?”

“Are you sure you’re over him?”

Kyungsoo nodded. “Yeah, it’s just…”

Chanyeol pushed the cart forward. They traversed the aisle slowly, one man waiting for an answer, the other trying to formulate what he was thinking.

“He was my first love. I don’t love him anymore, I know that. I think I get it now, really get it.” Kyungsoo could see it, see more of it now than ever before. “I was selfish. He was selfish. We weren’t right for each other. But yeah, I’m mad he is doing so well because he hurt me. But I wasn’t nice either.” He laughed sadly. “I hate that he is happy and I am living like this. It is pathetic, huh?”

“Why do you care so much about what he thinks?” Chanyeol asked, the cart wheels creaking softly as he moved at a snail’s pace.

“Because he was important to me,” Kyungsoo answered honestly. “But I wasn’t important to him. It hurt a lot to realize that.” He was being honest, finally being honest in the home goods store, in the middle of winter, his roommate beside him.

“That must be a terrible feeling,” Chanyeol said quietly.

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo agreed. “It is.”



Kyungsoo’s birthday arrived two weeks later. He hated birthdays, always had, and always would. The only real highlight of the dreadful day was when Chanyeol would make his favorite dinner and cake. When Kyungsoo arrived home the evening of his birthday he was expecting it and he wasn’t disappointed… at least not by the food.

Over dinner Chanyeol announced it casually. “I’ll be gone tomorrow night.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo took a bite of his favorite grilled pork.

“I gave in and agreed to a date. My mom’s happy.”

Kyungsoo felt his chest tighten and an unsettling feeling in his stomach. “Ah, yeah, I bet she’s thrilled.”

“Yep.” Chanyeol smiled.

Kyungsoo couldn’t figure out why he felt so...downright sad.




The next night Chanyeol didn’t get home until almost midnight. Kyungsoo found he couldn’t sleep; he was sitting in the living room watching a cooking show when Chanyeol got home.

Chanyeol was whistling as he walked into the room, grinning ear to ear.

“How was your date?” Kyungsoo asked.

“Great. We’re going on another one on Friday.” Chanyeol walked to his bedroom, not stopping to chat with Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo stared at the television for a half an hour, not really paying attention to what was on. “What’s wrong with me, am I getting sick?” he wondered before finally trudging to bed.





~*~ JANUARY 2012~*~


“I don’t know anything about art.” Kyungsoo stared at the stack of ...electronic writing pad thingies was the only thing he could think of calling them. They were stacked on Chanyeol’s messy desk.

“You’re good at math though. That is so cool.” Chanyeol grinned, looking suitably impressed with Kyungsoo’s own talents.

Kyungsoo shifted on his feet. He had done the unthinkable, allowed Chanyeol to drag him out of his apartment for a few hours. It took a lot of small talk by the mailbox, then a few run-ins in the apartment building hallways. Kyungsoo hadn’t realized he had let his guard down, seemed friendly enough to want to get to know, until Chanyeol insisted he stop by for dinner.

And somehow he had done it. He had traded his sweatpants and t-shirt for jeans and a t-shirt. He had combed his hair. He had left his apartment to walk the ten feet to Chanyeol’s door. He wasn’t sure if it was a good idea yet or not.

“I don’t have a job, I can’t be that good,” Kyungsoo mumbled.

“You’ll find one!” Chanyeol seemed to have a response for everything.

“Maybe.” Kyungsoo wandered towards Chanyeol’s fuchsia colored armchair. It looked like it came from a second hand store, much like the rest of his furniture. There was something quant about it. He took a seat, it was surprisingly comfortable. “I haven’t looked yet.”

“I know a really good site for job hunting.” Chanyeol took a seat across from Kyungsoo, flopping down in the turquoise bean bag chair. He looked funny sitting on the small thing, his long legs stretched out awkwardly. “If you’re interested. You don’t have to. Use it, I mean.”

“I don’t know if I have the energy to job hunt.” Kyungsoo wasn’t sure why he felt like being honest with this person he barely knew. Was it his ramshackle apartment, this explosion of strange colors and furniture that made him feel less uneasy? Or was it the loneliness, the fact he hadn’t talked to someone in over a month? He didn’t know but something made him want to open up. “I lost my parents last month.”

Of all the things Chanyeol could have done, Kyungsoo didn’t expect it. He expected Chanyeol to say he was sorry, maybe share a story or say some inspirational bull he heard secondhand. “If you want to tell me about it, I’ll listen.”

It was simple. Honest. And Kyungsoo took him up on the offer. He didn’t want to hold back even if he should have. He told Chanyeol everything. About Baekhyun, about losing his parents. About the pain, about not wanting to get up in the morning.

He told him everything, every last painful detail recounted, the dinner Chanyeol had on the stove low and long forgotten. And when Kyungsoo was done Chanyeol didn’t pass judgement. He didn’t give sage words of advice.

“Thank you for telling me,” was his response.

Kyungsoo felt a weight lift off of him, a small part of his emotional burden. “No, thank you for listening.” He meant it. It was the start of a long road to something, to finding out how to smile again, how to get up in the morning, how to live again. It was the first step.





~*~ February 2018 ~*~


As winter began to drift away Chanyeol was gone more than he was home. Kyungsoo tried to adjust to not having his roommate around, busying himself by taking work home, trying out a few new hobbies, or watching one of the shows he used to watch with Chanyeol. No matter how he attempted to occupy his time, it felt meaningless. A fog of depression set in.

He knew Chanyeol was out on dates but when he wasn’t dating to make his mother happy he was hanging out with friends. College friends, guys he met playing basketball, and every now and then Sehun (the two hit it off marvelously). Kyungsoo couldn’t figure out if he was jealous of these friends or just a boring person in general -- which meant left to his own devices he would never be satisfied.

He spent more days than not milling about the apartment, trying to keep busy. He cleaned, gathering old clothes, old books, anything he could make a case for tossing out. On one trip out to the building dumpster he ran into Baekhyun, his arms full of groceries. Since Kyungsoo had already dropped off his load of rubbish he felt like a fool not helping Baekhyun.

“Hey, thanks.” Baekhyun handed over a couple grocery bags the moment Kyungsoo offered to help.

“No problem,” Kyungsoo muttered, following after his ex-boyfriend.

“Are you flying solo tonight too?” Baekhyun asked as they neared the apartment he shared with Sehun. “Sehun’s out playing basketball, joined a team. He asked me if I wanted to and I politely declined,” Baekhyun snickered.

“Yeah. Chanyeol’s…” He had no idea where Chanyeol was so he lied. “At a work thing.”

“If you’re not busy you should stop in for a drink.” Baekhyun punched the code into the keypad, then angled his body to open the door. “I have that wine you used to like.”

Kyungsoo considered the alternative. Going back home, trying to stay busy and forget his best friend was ignoring him. “Okay.”

Ten minutes later they were sitting in front of the television, some ridiculously trashy reality show playing, and wine glasses in their hands.

“I can't believe you still watch crap like this,” Kyungsoo remarked, recalling when Baekhyun harbored a year long addiction to Next Top Model.

“Yep. Still have excellent taste in television, thank you very much.” Baekhyun took a sip of wine, smacking his lips together as he swallowed.

Kyungsoo sighed. He listened as Baekhyun rambled off who each of the contestants were, colorfully describing their personalities and why “they totally shouldn't hook up with” so-and-so. Against his better judgement he found himself into the show; it was a welcome diversion from his recently acquired depression.

Baekhyun received a few texts while he was sitting there. One look at his ex’s face and he knew it must be Sehun texting him. He looked at his own cell phone, silent, no new messages.

“When does Chanyeol’s work thing end?” Baekhyun suddenly asked.

Kyungsoo blurted out, “Ten, I think.”

“Sehun should be back around then. If Chanyeol wants to come over we could all hang out for a few hours.”

Kyungsoo had no idea when his roommate would be back. They weren’t talking anymore. “Tonight isn’t a good night for him, sorry,” he lied.

“Maybe another time.” Baekhyun didn’t seem bothered by the rejection. They managed to get four more episodes in before the hour hand neared ten.

Kyungsoo excused himself and thanked Baekhyun for the wine. He left a few minutes before ten, feeling a slight buzz, his stomach grumbling.

It turned out he had left at the worst time possible. He walked out of Baekhyun’s apartment just in time to come face to face with Sehun and Chanyeol. Kyungsoo panicked, not sure if they had been together all evening and his lie would be easily exposed.

“Were you leaving? Chanyeol said he’s up to come over for a bit,” Sehun inquired.

Kyungsoo looked at his best friend; when their eyes met he desperately wished he hadn’t. Chanyeol had lost the warmth in his eyes, replacing it with poorly hidden annoyance.

“Come on, dear,” Chanyeol stressed the last word, making Kyungsoo’s skin crawl. “Let’s spend a few hours with our friends. If you aren’t too tired, I mean.”

“I’m fine.” Kyungsoo turned around and marched back into Baekhyun’s apartment. Truthfully it annoyed him that his best friend had just shoved him back into a situation where he would be around his ex….even if he had just willingly spent several hours with him it was different. It was Chanyeol making him do it, Chanyeol who probably didn't even realize the only reason Kyungsoo had decided to hang out with Baekhyun in the first place was because he was lonely now that his roommate was MIA.

Baekhyun noticed his change in mood, Kyungsoo could tell, but he didn't comment on it. He was his usual bubbly and energetic self, playing the gracious host. Kyungsoo sat silently by Chanyeol while his roommate said more to Sehun and Baekhyun in an hour than he had said to Kyungsoo in the last month.

Kyungsoo finally had enough of the chatter. “We should go to bed,” he said softly.

Chanyeol didn't argue, he didn’t insist they stay. He said goodbye to their neighbors and followed Kyungsoo home, falling silent the moment that they were alone together.

Once the door to their apartment was shut Kyungsoo blurted out a question that had been annoying him for the last hour. “Why did you say we would go over there?”

Chanyeol walked passed him, into the living room. “Sehun said you were there all evening. Figured an extra hour basking in the paradise of Byun Baekhyun’s life wouldn't hurt you.”

Kyungsoo swallowed his anger. He wanted to yell but he also didn't want to fight with his best friend. Not now. Not when he hadn’t seen him for a while, when they hadn’t talked lately. He followed after him. “How have you been? We don’t see each other much anymore.”

“Fine.” It was curt, totally unlike his best friend to be so short with him. “I’m tired,” he threw over his shoulder while he walked to his bedroom.

Kyungsoo sat on the sofa for a few minutes, staring at the wall and wondering what was really going on. He had spent the evening hanging out with Baekhyun. Chanyeol hardly talked to him anymore. Nothing made sense.



One evening Chanyeol came home early, surprising Kyungsoo and giving him a sense of hope. He missed his best friend.

“We need to talk,” Chanyeol sounded gruff. He had been distant of late, but Kyungsoo figured that had to do with their recent physical separation. They were apart more than together- wasn’t it natural for their conversations to be less casual? He deluded himself like that, hoping that it was a case of time and place – that their relationship hadn’t really changed.

“About what?” Kyungsoo was sitting at the kitchen table, his laptop in front of him. He had brought work home again in an effort to keep busy and stave away another depressing night by himself.

Chanyeol took a seat. “Soo, I’m going to move out.”

Kyungsoo froze. “You what?” He couldn’t have heard that right…

“Look, I’m dating now and we barely even see each other. It’s better if I get my own place. I’ll probably be engaged soon so…”

Kyungsoo stared into Chanyeol’s eyes, but his roommate didn’t betray a hint of emotion. They had lived together for years. They had been happy living together....”If that’s what you want,” Kyungsoo said quietly.

Chanyeol moving out. No more roommate. No more dinners together...but hadn’t that ended a few months back? Another thought popped into Kyungsoo’s mind. “But what about Baekhyun and Sehun?! If you move out they’ll know!”

Chanyeol snorted. “You really don’t get it, do you?”

“Get what?” Kyungsoo was confused.

“Never mind.” Chanyeol stood. “I found a place, I’m going to move this weekend.” And with that he was gone, walking to the front door.

Kyungsoo sat, numb, depressed. He felt lost. Utterly lost.




Kyungsoo wanted to pretend he ended up at Baekhyun’s apartment, plopped in front of the television, watching that godawful reality show because he was bored. Not because he was upset and didn't want to be alone.

“What’s wrong?” Baekhyun had sensed it, but it didn't take a genius to figure out Kyungsoo was in a bad mood. He had sat down, frown on his face, and said very little there on out.

Kyungsoo knew it was a bad idea but he went for it. He was already depressed with Chanyeol's announcement. He was already upset and terrified that he would have to tell Baekhyun the truth. Asking questions that could further his depression seemed innocuous, he was already sad, why not pile it on. “Why did you break up with me? Am I that bad of a person to be around?”

Baekhyun didn't appear particularly shocked at the question. He pursed his lips, staring at his ex-boyfriend for a few seconds before he answered. “You aren’t a bad person to be around, Soo. You can be kind of overwhelming sometimes but not...in a bad way if that makes sense. Did you fight with Chanyeol?”

“Then why did you break up with me?” Kyungsoo ignored the question about Chanyeol. He didn't want to talk about Chanyeol yet. No, what he wanted was to know how Baekhyun explained his reasoning years later, when he was sober, when he was older.

“Because we didn't love each other,” Baekhyun answered simply.

“I loved you.” Loved as in past tense, and it was. Kyungsoo knew that.

“Nah.” Baekhyun shook his head. “We were too young, we thought we knew what love was but we were wrong. I’m sure you can agree that what you have with Chanyeol is a thousand times more real than what we had.”

Kyungsoo wanted to laugh. Of course, his fake relationship with his soon to be ex-roommate...now that was real love.

And he would have to tell the truth soon. He had to. But not tonight. No, he could keep the illusion for one more day. One more day to pretend...maybe if he tried hard enough he could convince himself that Chanyeol wasn't really leaving.

“Oh my god, she really slapped him!” Baekhyun’s attention was back on the television show. Kyungsoo followed his lead and went back to watching...well, staring at the television. He knew he wasn’t going to pay attention to anything that evening, his mind was too busy, too muddled.




Kyungsoo leaned against the doorframe, watching as Chanyeol stuffed his possessions in boxes and garbage bags. It was really happening, his best friend was moving.

“I bet your girlfriend is happy,” Kyungsoo said softly.

“Yeah, she’s thrilled,” Chanyeol confirmed. He shook the dust off a jacket he had hanging in his closet before tossing it into the nearest box. “I didn't want to bring her around here and make things awkward for you, she’s super excited we finally have a place besides her apartment to hang out in.”

Kyungsoo’s stomach flipped, he felt sick. Was it a case of nerves? “Why would it be awkward if your girlfriend came over?”

“You know, being the happy couple in front of your single friend is kind of a move. And the whole pretending to be engaged thing kind of puts a damper on bringing a girl around.”

“Right.” Kyungsoo dwelled on the words. Because he was single. He was alone. Again. Chanyeol was leaving and he would truly have no one for the second time in his life. But this time, this separation...it felt different.

Dare he admit it felt more painful to imagine. Was it because he hadn't thought he would go through it again? He had taken Chanyeol for granted, latched onto him the moment he had the opportunity to do so, never once considering what would happen the day they were no longer living together.

But of course they wouldn’t live together forever. They were friends, not a couple. Friends moved on, got married, and had their own lives. Yet Kyungsoo wished it wasn’t the case with Chanyeol, as selfish as that was. He wished Chanyeol would stay forever. But he wasn’t going to beg him to stay, make a scene like he did years ago with Baekhyun, asking him to come back. No, it was different now. With Chanyeol it was different. He didn't want to treat him like that, he had no right to. They were best friends, roommates. He couldn’t cling too hard.

“Before I forget.” Chanyeol held up his hand. He wiggled the sound wave ring off of his ring finger, handing it to Kyungsoo. “Won’t need this anymore.”

Kyungsoo held up his palm, the silver ring falling onto his hand. He stared at it, chest tightening. “It’s yours, remember. Take it, I’ll give you mine.”

Kyungsoo tried to hand the ring back but Chanyeol waved him away. “Keep it. Maybe you’ll find a guy to give it to someday.”

Kyungsoo frowned. Instinctively he thought it would be wrong on anyone’s finger but Chanyeol's. It was a scary thought, one that made little sense to him.




Kyungsoo waited until the last possible moment to admit his lie to Baekhyun. He waited until Friday night, the last night before Chanyeol moved. He rang his neighbor's doorbell with a heavy heart, palms sweaty, heartbeat erratic. When Baekhyun answered and mentioned Sehun was out Kyungsoo felt a measure of relief. He didn’t want his co-worker to hear his lie from him. He didn’t want both of them judging him together.

Baekhyun had assumed Kyungsoo was bored and came over to indulge in their favorite trashy show. Kyungsoo let him hang onto that false impression until they were seated in the living room, television blaring. Then he turned to his ex and with a firm voice announced his deceit.

While he was speaking everything was a blur, like he wasn't really in his body. Somehow he said it, somehow he knew he told the truth, but after it was done it seemed like it hadn’t been him speaking.

“Chanyeol and I aren’t engaged –– we aren’t even together. I lied to you because I’m a , I...I was jealous that you were so happy.” Kyungsoo in a deep breath. “I don’t like you or anything-- it isn’t like that. But I hate that I am like this so many years later and you ...you’re you. Happy and I’m all alone, not successful, depressed.”

Baekhyun didn't respond right away. He stared at Kyungsoo, blank faced. “You lied about being engaged?” he finally spoke, but he wasn’t really asking. He had heard Kyungsoo loud and clear.

“Yeah. I’m sorry and I know I must seem so pathetic to you.” Kyungsoo stood up, not wanting to stay any longer than he had to. “Chanyeol is moving tomorrow so I wanted to tell you.”

“Soo, that’s ed up,” Baekhyun blurted out, roughly summing up a lot of what Kyungsoo had done.

“Yeah it is. I’m sorry I lied but I doubt an apology matters at this point.” He walked to the door, not waiting for Baekhyun to say anything more.

When he got back to his apartment he immediately went to his bedroom and crawled into his bed, burying himself in blankets, hiding from the world. He eventually fell asleep, not bothering to get up at all the next day until it was already dark out. Just like that he missed saying goodbye to Chanyeol, his room empty by the time Kyungsoo wandered out of his own room.




~*~ February 2012 ~*~


“Hey, when is your lease up?” Chanyeol asked through chews, marshmallow chunks from his cereal falling out of his mouth.

“I’m month-to-month, why?” Kyungsoo shoveled his own spoonful of coral into his mouth, eyes glued to his laptop. He was perusing the career pages, looking for something that fit his degree and his lack of professional experience. He had taken to eating breakfast at Chanyeol’s, one of many adjustments in his daily life. It was nice having someone to eat with.

“We should get an apartment together when mine is up. It’ll be September but by then you should have a job and hopefully my online gig will take off. We can pool our money and get a nice place.”

Kyungsoo looked up from his laptop. Move in with Chanyeol…he had never considered it. They hadn’t known each other long. Sure they got along great and he was finding that he looked forward to seeing his neighbor more and more as each day passed... but living together was an entirely different matter.

“What if you hate my routine?” Kyungsoo asked, echoes from his short time rooming with Baekhyun coming back to him. “Or my habits?”

“We see each other every day and I haven’t spotted one annoying thing yet,” Chanyeol swiftly answered. “But...you might hate my habits so it is a risk we both have to take.”

Kyungsoo could say the same, he hadn’t noticed a single annoying habit the entire time he had spent with Chanyeol. He was a little messier than Kyungsoo, but not to the point it was annoying. He wasn’t bristling from Chanyeol being loud or talkative, like he had with Baekhyun. “Okay, we can give it a shot. A bigger place sounds nice.”

Chanyeol flashed a thumbs up. “It’s a deal.”

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo agreed, “It’s a deal.”





~*~ March 2018 ~*~


It was a week after Kyungsoo admitted the truth that Baekhyun came to visit him. Kyungsoo had spent the last seven days in a fog of depression. He was lonely, he was sad, and he missed Chanyeol terribly (and his best friend wasn't taking his phone calls, making everything worse). He regretted ever lying and he felt like a fool.

Baekhyun knocked, then marched into the apartment as soon as the door was opened. He took up position on the sofa and subsequently started an un-requested marathon of their unofficial favorite reality show. Kyungsoo stood in the living room and watched his ex in a daze, not sure he should say anything.

“I forgive you. Now sit down,” Baekhyun ordered.

Kyungsoo complied. He sat and began watching the show but was still nervous to talk. He just felt so...extremely petty, stupid, and pathetic.

The first commercial break rolled around, and Baekhyun launched into as thorough of an explanation as he was willing to give. “I forgive you but don't lie about like that again.”

“I won’t,” Kyungsoo promised.

“Soo, you need to realize your life isn’t some ing tragedy. Yeah, stuff but you look down on yourself too much. You judge yourself too harshly. It isn’t good for you.” Baekhyun looked sincere as he spoke. He sighed at his ex. “Give yourself a chance. Don’t compare your life to mine. Hell, I thought you had the happier life when I saw you and Chanyeol together.”

Kyungsoo frowned. Chanyeol and him...right, the illusion. They were so good at it. “Yeah, our lie was pretty solid.”

“You fooled me, making out in the back of the karaoke during the Christmas party,” Baekhyun responded. “Looked pretty real to me.”

Kyungsoo paled. “What are you talking about? We never made out in the back of the karaoke.”

Baekhyun’s eyebrows raised. “That isn’t what I remember.”

Panic set in. , he was so drunk that night he didn’t remember much. Had he really made out with Chanyeol and didn’t remember it?! If he had….

“Whatever. It was a lie, I was fooled. I forgive you. Bottom line is you need to stop with this inferiority complex and we both need to figure out if Brad and Samantha actually get in a fist fight in the pool or if the previews lied.” Baekhyun turned the volume up on the television.

Kyungsoo pretended to pay attention but yet again his mind was elsewhere. To a night he remembered little of.



He made out with Chanyeol. Yet his friend had never uttered a word of it. Kyungsoo was lying in bed, his fingers routinely straying to his lips, pressing against the flesh as he imagined what might have happened a few months back.

Chanyeol would probably have been angry at him, he had every right to be. “Why would I have…?” Kyungsoo tried to understand but he couldn’t. It was just the alcohol, he hadn’t been thinking clearly. Yes...that must have been it.

The alternative was that he actually liked Chanyeol, that he wanted to kiss him. That he harbored a base level of lust towards his ex-roommate, if not outright romantic feelings. When his mind wandered to that place, to how he felt towards Chanyeol, he felt physically ill.

Of course he liked him, but he had never considered he liked him like that. Chanyeol was as off limits as a person could be. He wasn’t gay, he wasn’t bi. He had a girlfriend now. He was his best friend...or at least used to be.

“I’m truly pathetic,” Kyungsoo whispered to the darkness.



Kyungsoo ran the feather duster over the top shelf of the closet. He had finally found the energy and motivation to clean up Chanyeol’s old room. He had been resisting it because cleaning out the empty space just finalized everything, made it more real.

Chanyeol still wasn't answering his calls, he didn’t read his texts. Kyungsoo had even resorted to emailing him to no avail. It was like his friend wanted to entirely forget him, but Kyungsoo couldn't blame him. No, he deserved it. He was a selfish jerk that had treated Chanyeol terribly, only realizing it once it was too late. He must have been mortified when I kissed him, Kyungsoo had decided, and I had no excuse to put him in that position.

He had realized a lot of things of late. Like how perhaps his feelings, as scary as they were, had been a lot deeper than he had ever thought. That while Kyungsoo was proposing a lie, somewhere in his heart he was more than a little in love with his friend. It was dangerous, guaranteed to end in heartbreak. And it had, so Kyungsoo didn't have the right to complain.

He dragged the feather duster towards the edge of the shelf, surprised when a piece of paper floated down, knocked off the shelf from the movement of the duster. Kyungsoo bent down and picked it up, curious what the light blue slip was.

It was a receipt from a jewelry store. Two soundwave rings. But this was wrong. It had to be. The date was wrong, it was dated last October. Kyungsoo blinked at the slip, further confusion setting in when he saw that both rings were male sizes.

Chanyeol had ordered the rings only last year. They weren’t for some long lost what-if from high school.

Kyungsoo ended up sitting on the floor of the empty room, staring at the receipt for almost an hour, trying to figure out what it all meant.




Kyungsoo stood in front of the jewelry store, debating his course of action. He had both rings in his pocket, the receipt in his wallet. He had called earlier in the day to make sure it was feasible -- that if he brought the jewelry and proof of purchase in he could find out what the rings said.

Do I really want to know, he asked himself for the umpteenth time. An elderly woman shuffled past him, he had to step aside so he wasn’t in her way. Taking one last deep breath he braced himself, marching into the store and to the front counter without looking back.

“I called earlier. I have a pair of soundwave rings and I’d like to hear the recording. I have the receipt.” Kyungsoo dug out his wallet while the sales clerk asked him a few basic questions. The name, the address, his phone number.

He set the rings on the counter and then waited. The sales clerk took the jewelry to a back room, returning a few minutes later. “Is there an email address you want the file sent to?”

Kyungsoo hadn’t thought they would give him the file, he had assumed he would listen to it in the store. He awkwardly communicated his email, slipping the rings and the receipt back in his pocket. It was probably for the best, he thought, that he listen to it at home.



He sat at his desk, headphones on. He wrapped the headphone cord around his fingers over and over, fidgeting because he was nervous. The first file was what was on Chanyeol’s ring. He pushed play and closed his eyes.

It was Chanyeol's deep voice: Harry Potter for Life!

Kyungsoo laughed, he couldn't help it. It was so Chanyeol. Exactly what he would do.

Did that mean the other ring held a joke? Kyungsoo was less anxious when he opened the second audio file, the one that belonged to the ring he had worn. He pushed play with a smile on his face, only to lose his smile as soon as the sounds came through his headphones.

Do Kyungsoo, I love you

It felt like his heart had been ripped from his chest, pulverized. It seemed like everything stopped at that moment. Questions were answered and a new set of them sprung up -- Chanyeol loved him, but did he still? Was it romantic love or was it all a joke that fed into Kyungsoo's dreams, his desires that he knew were wrong, for the feelings he didn't deserve to have.

“I have to ask him,” Kyungsoo whispered, setting his headphones down and standing. But no. What right did he have to bust into Chanyeol's new life with his girlfriend and ask about something that became more utterly ridiculous the more he thought about it?

He sat back down, resting his head on the desk, heart broken in two.




~*~ March 2012 ~*~


“You sure about this?” Kyungsoo felt like they didn’t know each other well enough yet. It was a big step.

“I’m sure,” Chanyeol said firmly.

Kyungsoo glanced at the piece of paper, scanning the page. “But what if…what if...”

“Dude, you aren’t going to steal all my loot, are you?” Chanyeol made a move to grab the paper back but Kyungsoo held it firm.

“Why me? Leave it with your mom or something.” Kyungsoo felt the weight of responsibility in his hands.

“My mom thinks WoW is a laundry detergent, she would probably throw this out and not respect it like I would want it to be.” Chanyeol tapped his finger on the paper. “My legacy, Soo. This will be my legacy.”

It was Chanyeol’s passwords to WoW. His most important possession, he said. And he was entrusting it to Kyungsoo for safe keeping in case anything happened to him. “I can’t believe you trust me with this.”

“Of course I trust you. Remember how you told me about that time you threw up in second grade and then blamed it on another kid? I have blackmail on you now, I know you won’t me over.”

Kyungsoo laughed. “I shouldn’t have told you.”

“Ah, you should have. Tell me everything, Soo. I want to hear it.”

“You’re too nice,” Kyungsoo sighed.

“What’s wrong with that?” Chanyeol asked, turning serious.

“People can take advantage of you too easily.” He playfully smacked Chanyeol’s head with the paper. “You’ll live to regret it.”






~*~ April 2018 ~*~


It was Chanyeol’s mom who eventually cleared up the confusion, at least what Kyungsoo needed cleared up before he would dare see Chanyeol again.

She called Kyungsoo while he was on his way home from work. Kyungsoo readily answered the call. No matter what friendship he had or didn't have with her son, Kyungsoo loved the woman who had been so kind to him, who had treated him like a son.

“Hello, mother?”

“Kyungsoo,” she cooed into the phone. “How are you? Have you been eating? Please let me apologize for my son. He’s a fool.”

Kyungsoo chuckled. “I’m okay.” Even if that wasn’t the truth. “And you don’t have to apologize for anything.”

“That fool moved out, good for nothing kid. He won’t accept a single date and he moves away from the best friend he has. I have to apologize!”

Won’t accept a date. “He isn’t going on any of the dates you set up for him?” Kyungsoo’s heart rate increased, mind flooded with possibilities.

“You know how stubborn he is. Says he is busy and a lot of other nonsense.”

“Ah, yeah. I know how he is.” Kyungsoo felt a sense of hope he had thought was long gone. “And where he moved too…”

“I don’t understand why he insists on moving back to that tiny little place he lived in before,” Chanyeol’s mother rambled on.

He had moved back to the apartment building where they had met.

He was single.

Kyungsoo knew exactly what he needed to do.




He knocked on the cheap wooden door, a few loose flakes of paint falling to the hallway at the vibration.

It was still the same. Same carpeting, same ugly wallpaper that lined the hallways. A bit more rundown than it had been five years ago, but otherwise unchanged.

Kyungsoo fidgeted while he waited, running through possible scenarios. Chanyeol actually had a girlfriend that his mother didn't know about. Chanyeol hated him, would tell him so. He wouldn’t even answer the door because he hated him so much.

But he did. The door opened, giving Kyungsoo a shock. He took a step back, coming face to face with Chanyeol. He leaned against the doorframe, dressed in grey sweat pants and a band t-shirt, one of the shirts he had bought with Kyungsoo at Hot Topic months back.

“C-can I come in?” Kyungsoo stuttered.

Chanyeol wordlessly stepped aside, giving Kyungsoo entry.

He walked into the apartment with his hands clasped awkwardly in front of him. He glanced around the small space, taking note that it was a lot different than when Chanyeol had first lived there. Drab, the color gone. The furniture boring.

“What do you want?” Chanyeol asked, his tone somewhere between bitter and angry.

Kyungsoo stood in the middle of the room, not knowing if he should sit, if he should stand, what he should do. “I-I found out what the rings said.” It was all he managed to get out at first.

Chanyeol stood with his arms folded against his chest. He didn't betray any emotion. “Okay.”

That was it? Okay. Not, I can’t believe you found out or you misunderstood or...anything. Just okay.

Kyungsoo looked at the floor. He couldn’t stand looking at his once-upon-a-time best friend. Not when all signs pointed to what he was about to say ending up in emotional pain on his side. “I don't know if you have a girlfriend. I don't know if you completely hate me. You probably should. But I like you. I’ve been stupid, I didn't realize until….I like you. A lot. Not as a friend either.”

Silence. Deafening silence. Kyungsoo looked up and met Chanyeol’s eyes. The two men stared at each other, neither speaking. It drove Kyungsoo nuts that he couldn’t tell what Chanyeol was thinking. That while Chanyeol could always see right through him, the same wasn’t true.

“I like you and I’ve been stupid. I’m sorry and I understand if you never want to see me again. I don’t like Baekhyun, I haven’t in years. I told him the truth...I. Chanyeol, I’m a moron. I’ve always thought my life was unfortunate, not great, but it has been because you’ve been in it. And I know you might not like guys and even if you do you might not like me. But I like you.”

Finally Chanyeol showed something other than indifference. He got angry, raising his voice. “ you. Seriously  you, Kyungsoo. You think you can come here and say that?”

Kyungsoo’s bottom lip quivered. He braced himself.

Chanyeol shook his head. “I liked you for years. ing years and you wouldn't give me the time of day. It was always Baekhyun this, Baekhyun that and then what - you use me. You ing use me just to get back at him. You don’t have the ing right to come tell me you like me. Go back to Baekhyun and be happy, hope he forgives you for lying to him. Pray Sehun and him break up or spend the rest of your life obsessing over him and convincing yourself you don’t like him but leave me out of it. I’m done, Kyungsoo, I’m ing done.”

The tears welled up in Kyungsoo's eyes. But Chanyeol hadn’t finished speaking.

“Do you know how many times I hoped, no dreamed, that one day you would figure out? Do you know how long I stayed by your side, hoping that just once you would like me in return?! It hurt, Soo, it hurt so badly that I had to leave.”

“I’m a bad person.” The tears began to fall, streaming down his cheeks. “Oh god, Chanyeol, I’m sorry. I..., I am a bad person.“ He sobbed, unable to stop himself. “I’m selfish. I’m a up. I’m obsessive. And . I’m sorry.”

“So you told him the truth, finally?!” Chanyeol snorted. “What did he say? Does he hate you?”

Kyungsoo looked away. “He forgave me, but I don’t know why.”

“Amazing, ing amazing,” Chanyeol yelled.

Kyungsoo walked towards the door, brushing past his former friend. He couldn’t blame him. He was a piece of , a bad friend. A bad person. Selfish. Inconsiderate. He wasn’t good with people. He wasn’t good with Baekhyun then, he wasn’t good to Chanyeol now.

Chanyeol caught him just as he walked passed, pulling him into a hug, his long arms enveloping the smaller man. “Wait. Soo,” he said softly, any hint of anger gone.

Kyungsoo buried his face in Chanyeol's t-shirt, sobs wracking his body.

“Soo, don’t cry. You aren’t a bad person,” Chanyeol said quietly. “Soo, please don’t cry.”

Kyungsoo couldn’t help it. He couldn’t stop, not when he knew how much he had hurt the person he cared about the most. “I don’t like Baekhyun, I don’t love him. I love you,” he sobbed.

Chanyeol held him tightly, rubbing soothing circles on the small of his back. “I love you too. God, I love you so much. I was mad, Soo. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Kyungsoo lifted his head, tears running down his cheeks, a wet spot left on Chanyeol’s black t-shirt. “You’re right though,” he hiccupped. “You’re right.”

Chanyeol moved his hands, cupping Kyungsoo’s face he wiped the tears away with the pads of his thumbs. “Don’t say that. Please stop crying, I hate to see you cry.”

Kyungsoo couldn’t formulate what he wanted to say. That he really didn’t deserve someone like Chanyeol, that if he could spend the rest of his life making up for using him, for taking advantage of him he would. He couldn’t find the words, only the never-ending tears.

“Hey, I was being a jerk too. I didn’t answer your calls. I was ignoring you. , Soo, if you’re bad then so am I. But how can we be bad people? We watch the cooking channel and still laugh at reader’s digest jokes?”

It worked. Kyungsoo smiled, the briefest hint of amusement shown through the tears. Chanyeol’s lips spread into a wide grin.

“Can I have a tissue?” Kyungsoo asked, belatedly realizing his nose was running. Chanyeol jogged to the kitchen, returning with a napkin.

Kyungsoo blew his nose and walked the tissue over to the trashcan, his tears less frequent, the immense dose of anguish lessening with each passing second. When he walked towards Chanyeol, the man held his arms out wide, silently offering another hug.

Kyungsoo couldn’t turn him down even if he wanted to. He wrapped his arms around the taller man’s middle, feeling a sense of security, of safety and delayed happiness he hadn’t thought he deserved.

“So does this mean I get to see you now?” Chanyeol joked.

Kyungsoo pinched his back, Chanyeol squirming to get away. “Ow!”

“I didn’t even know you liked guys,” Kyungsoo sniffled, pointing out the biggest reason Kyungsoo had never thought of Chanyeol in a romantic sense.

Chanyeol shrugged. “You never asked.”

Kyungsoo sighed.

“But since you brought it up. Yeah, I like you. Will you go out with me?” Chanyeol was operating with his maximum charm.

Kyungsoo nodded, unable to hide his smile. “Yes, Chanyeol, I’ll go out with you. But only if you move back home.”

“Deal.” Chanyeol flashed a toothy grin.

Kyungsoo returned the smile, his tears beginning to dry. They weren’t perfect, he wasn’t perfect. He had his flaws so did Chanyeol. But they got along, they loved each other. And that was what, in the end, convinced Kyungsoo for the first time in forever that things really would be okay. He would be okay. They would be okay

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whattalife #1
Chapter 2: The story is great and ohh so hot. But I was stunned on the date August 2021 and here I was reading this story for the first time today August 10, 2021 :)) I thought the author just updated this story but no this was written in 2017 so wow I was just amazed hehe I'm a hardcore ChanSoo shipper so I always imagine some of the fanfics I read becomes a reality just like this one
Rb2012 #2
Chapter 2: So so so beautiful really enjoyed reading the story.
foyezza91 #3
Chapter 2: The first chapter was sad TT why chanyeol did that TT poor soo TT but I love the happy ending and of course the marriage and first night ><
melly-pop #4
Chapter 2: Now THIS is what I’m used to. Back in the comfort zone of and oral kinks. My heart is safe here. Great scene, of course. Thank you for sharing.
melly-pop #5
Chapter 1: FIRST OFF, I don’t know what possessed me to read a fic that’s over 5k words and doesn’t contain any amount of penetration. That’s just unheard of for me. SECOND OFF, I’m suing you for emotional trauma. When Chan said he was moving out, I felt like I was getting broken up with. Tears in my eyes, heart falling to my stomach, and everything. If I stopped reading any where before the end, it would’ve ruined my day. The happy ending wasn’t only satisfying, it was necessary for me to continue my day. Thank you for sharing.
Chapter 2: This is perfect..OMG they are perfect..so happy for them
Chapter 2: OMG I'm smiling crazy right now! That was sooo good!!! You deserve an award! I cried, I laughed, I loved every bit of it!!!! Lol the innocent left and now they gods lol very well written and thank you for writing this masterpiece XD