Chapter 8: What Even Is This?
Sitting at a table in a quaint ice cream shop, Hakyeon and Jaehwan ate their high quality ice creams side by side, sharing bites with each other in typical best friend fashion. The chatter from the few other patrons was comforting compared to the lively fighting he had escaped and Hakyeon wasn’t looking forward to going back there. Poking at a chewy< heart shaped bit of Mochi in his ice cream, he wondered if he could somehow manage to sleep back in his own room… How long was their apartment going to be a mess anyway?
“Sooooo… Did you learn your lesson about eating old sandwiches?” Finally, Hakyeon broke the silence, not really enjoying the way Jaehwan was staring at him, probably trying to find a way to prod him for details about his night with Hyuk. Not that there were any details to give besides what Hyuk had already blabbed about.
“I mean.” Jaehwan shrugged and took a large bite of ice cream. “How sure are we that the sandwich is to blame?”
“Jaehwan…” Leveling a look full of judgement at his best friend, Hakyeon shook his head. “You ate that sandwich and nearly died less than an hour later.”
“Okay, that’s pretty fair.” Laughing, Jaehwan beamed at him, still stuffing his face with their cold treats. “But science says that isn’t enough evidence. Maybe I should do some more experiments.”
“Do you really want to relive what you just went through?” Raising his eyebrows, he watched Jaehwan in disbelief. If he had been the one half dead on the bathroom floor there was no doubt he’d never come near another sandwich for the rest of his life, no matter how fresh it was.
“.…. Okay no…” Defeated, Jaehwan pouted, the tip of his spoon against his lips. “That was actual hell and I don’t ever want to feel that way again. I lost track of reality. It was scary.”
“That’s what I thought.” Reaching out, Hakyeon rubbed Jaehwan’s back gently, shaking his head again. “How you feeling? Still a messed up chicken nugget?”
“I’m feeling a lot better.” Smile returning, Jaehwan gave him a thumbs up and put an arm around Hakyeon’s shoulder’s “More of a limp, dirty noodle now.”
“I guess that’s an improvement?” Leaning against his friend, Hakyeon chuckled. Jaehwan’s strange food analogies never got old.
“Hell yeah it is.” Holding his hand out for a high five, Jaehwan wiggled his eyebrows until Hakyeon gave in with a sigh and high fived the dork back.
“Good. Also…” A question occurred to Hakyeon, concerning the rancid sandwich from the night before. “How long do you wear a pair of pants?!”
“I dunno. Until they smell weird.” The answer was said so casually and yet the words themselves were absolutely disgusting. Those pants had a rotting sandwich in them before he changed them. Who did that?!
“That’s gross, Jaehwan.” Rolling his eyes, Hakyeon shoved at his shoulder gently. “Don’t wear them that long, you sicko.”
“Enough about my smelly pants and potentially bad sandwiches.” Jaehwan gave his shoulders a tight squeeze and Hakyeon braced himself, knowing what was coming. “I guess you figured out that Hyuk has a massive raging happy stick for you.”
“I-What? Noooo.” He had expected to be questioned about the previous night but he hadn’t expected this. “I don’t know what came over him earlier. But Hyuk doesn’t have feelings for me.”
“You’re dumb, Cha Hakyeon.” Seeming amused by Hakyeon’s protest, Jaehwan poked at his ribs gently. “You’re my best friend but I’m clearly the smart one here.”
“.… I… Well I’m offended, for one.” Batting at Jaehwan’s shoulder, Hakyeon scrunched his nose up at him in displeasure.”
“For two, you’re too dumb to realize how Hyuk is always watching you.” Jaehwan poked his side again, playfully, not realizing that the topic was more serious then childhood crushes. “The only reason he’s even dating Hongbin is because Hongbin likes him and he doesn’t think he can compete with Taekwoon and Wonshik.”
“Why the is everyone even competing?!” Exasperated, Hakyeon covered his face with his hands and leaned forward against the table.
“You’re pretty worth it.” This time it was Jaehwan who rubbed his back, doing his best to comfort him. “But who do you even want?” What a damn question. Who did he want? Why couldn’t it all just be more simple?
“Who do I want?” Thinking a moment, he turned to Jaehwan, desperate for an out. “Lets just get a dog and run away together, Jaehwan.”
“Yeah that’ll go well.” Laughing so hard he had to gasp for air a few time, Jaehwan grabbed Hakyeon’s shoulders and shook him gently. “You can’t keep track of me and a dog at the same time, Hakyeon.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Groaning, Hakyeon lightly punched Jaehwan in the side to make his stop shaking him. “It’s too much trouble to make sure you both don’t choke on hotdogs or run into traffic.”
“I’m a real handful.” Grin widening, Jaehwan winked at him, succeeding, if only a little bit, in cheering him up. It was hard to feel unhappy when you had Jaehwan’s antics always going on. He was like a flailing ray of sunshine.
“That you are.” Agreeing, Hakyeon leaned against his friend, resting his head on Jaehwan’s shoulder. “I should just rename you Rex or something.”
“What a weird kink, Hakyeon.” He could feel Jaehwan’s laughter shake his shoulders and he shot him am irritated glare.
“Jaehwan!” Growling at him, he punched him softly in the side again. “You head.” He loved Jaehwan but he always seemed to take his cheering up one step too far.
“Really though, what are you going to do?” Suddenly concerned, Jaehwan began rubbing Hakyeon’s arm to sooth his stress. Knowing his friend just wanted to help him, Hakyeon still couldn’t help but feel annoyed with his questioning.
“Why do I have to do anything?” Half shouting, Hakyeon crossed his arms across his chest, clearly pouting and unhappy. “This isn’t my mess and I didn’t ask to be dragged into the middle of it.”
“Yeah but your decision is what’s going to end it.” The reply was simple but it absolutely infuriated him. Well, maybe infuriate was a strong word for it, but he was displeased none the less.
“Ew. I hate when you say smart things.” Glowering at Jaehwan, Hakyeon stuck his tongue out at him. “It makes me feel gross.”
“I get that a lot.” Shrugging, Jaehwan kissed his cheek and smiled at him. “But I’m doing it for your own good so whatever.”
“I guess… I like Hyuk, you know. He’s hot and exciting and new. And Taekwoon is so protective of me and I know he’d do anything to keep me safe.” Thinking about each of his potential love interests made Hakyeon feel dizzy, unsure of how to handle all of it. “But… But I think I love Wonshik. He’s kind and he cares about if I’m happy or not and I know that sounds selfish and I don’t mean it to. I just think… I think he’s honestly perfect but I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“Once the apartment is ready, just admit your feelings for Wonshik.” Jaehwan patted Hakyeon’s cheek, his advice bothering Hakyeon with how decent it was. “Taekwoon will be pissed, but at least you wont have to live with him.”
“And Hyuk?” Leaning his head back against the headrest of the bench they were sitting on, Hakyeon closed his eyes. His head was starting to hurt from all this bull. He just wanted to go back to the apartment and punch every single one of them. Maybe not Wonshik, but the other three…
“If it were me, I’d get down and dirty and just bang the ever loving frackity frick out of Hyuk” Jaehwan stretched and finished his ice cream, sneakily beginning to eat Hakyeon’s melting snack. “Because Hongbin is a hole and I have no respect for him but you’re a better person then I am.”
“Damn, Jae. I didn’t know you had such a dark side.” Hakyeon looked his friend over, honestly a little shocked that his peppy, hyper friend would even suggest something like that. “Or such a for Hyuk. Isn’t he your other best friend.”
“Friends can easily become lovers with just a little change in the heart.” Shrugging, Jaehwan finished Hakyeon’s ice cream as well and stood up, holding his hand out to Hakyeon. “Besides. Like you said, the dude is super hot. I guess I have a thing for him.”
“Well damn. Maybe you two can get together.” Allowing Jaehwan to help him up, Hakyeon stood as his phone chimed. Glancing down, he saw Wonshik’s name on the screen and slipped the device into his pocket.
“Like Hongbin will allow that.” Jaehwan groaned and scuffed the tip of his shoe against the floor. “That jerk doesn’t even like when I hang out with Hyuk in general. Plus I don’t think Hyuk likes me in that way.”
“You never know unless you try.” Reaching out, Hakyeon held Jaehwan’s and as they left the ice cream shop. “I might have accidentally broken them up anyway soooo…”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Swinging their arms between them as they began to walk down the street, Jaehwan glanced over at Hakyeon “Should we head back?”
“I guess. Wonshik did text me so I assume its safe.” Nodding, Hakyeon got his phone out of his pocket and read the text. “Hongbin left for a while and Taekwoon had work. Think you can run interference with Hyuk for the night?”
“Yeah, of course.” Smiling, Jaehwan squeezed his hand gently and Hakyeon sighed, grateful for his best friend. “You going to be cool going back.”
“I’ll just cling to Wonshik and hope for the best.” Watching his feet as he walked, Hakyeon’s mind was still racing. In the end, no matter who he picked, somebody was going to get hurt, maybe multiple somebodies. Was it fair to make the most selfish choice? Maybe he should start trying to pawn Hyuk off on Jaehwan. Maybe with enough pushing they’d get together and he’d just have to worry about Taekwoon and Wonshik… That’d work, right? Eh. It was worth a shot at least.