11. Pie EmergencyBoy Next Door [ Hiatus ]
Triple update. make sure to read Ch. 9. & 10.
The more I think about our conversation, the more frustrated I get. Chanyeol says he’s changed, but changed what?
A willingness to speak his mind?
To finally say he likes me?
Or is there something else?
Toward the end of our friendship, he grew so strange and distant until he cut me off completely by not inviting me to that stupid party. Which he still doesn’t want to talk about. And now he wants to be friends again, but then he leaves early the next morning and doesn’t come home for TWO WEEKS? Whatever.
“Miso can’t play today.” Suho is banging around among his pots and pans, which is why we hadn’t heard Chanyeol knock on our front door. We left it open to let the heat escape, because our kitchen gets hot when all of the ovens are running.
“She’s on pie duty. There was a huge, emergency, last-minute change to an order this morning.”
“Dad. He didn’t come over to play.” Chanyeol holds up a box.
“This was delivered to our house. It’s yours.” Suho looks up. “Miso’s,” Chanyeol clarifies.
He places it on the floor outside the kitchen while Betsy runs in circles around him. She’s always loved Chanyeol.
“Thanks.” I say the word cautiously, a warning if he’s listening for it. I set down a bag of flour and move to examine the package.
“Cool! It’s the boning for my stays.”
“Miso, get your back in here.” Suho says distractedly.
“Oh.”Chanyeol reddens. Point number two for Suho in today’s embarrassment department.
Chanyeol leans over to pet Betsy, who collapses Parky-up, and I pretend not to notice his blush. Though I’m not sure he’s earned that particular favor. Or my dog’s Parky.
“It’s for a dress,” I explain. Chanyeol nods without looking at me.
“Pie emergency?” A final rub, and then he enters the kitchen, rolling up his sleeves and removing his bracelets. “Need a hand?”
“Oh, no.” I’m alarmed. “Thanks, but we’ve got it.”
“Grab an apron, they’re in the top drawer there.” Suho points across the room.
“You can’t ask him to help,” I say. “It’s not his job.”
“He didn’t ask.” Chanyeol ties a long, white apron around his waist. “I volunteered.”
“See?” Suho says. “The boy makes sense. Unlike some teenagers I could mention.”
I narrow my eyes at him. It’s not my fault I’d rather spend my only weekend day off with Mirae. I had to cancel our plans for sushi and shopping. When I asked if she wanted to come over and help, she said, “No thanks. I’ll make new plans .” And I get that. But if she doesn’t hang out with me, she’ll just stay in and watch a marathon of Dramas Which makes her happy. But still.
“Those pumpkins need to be seeded before I can toss them into the oven. Put the seeds and strings on that pile for compost,” Suho says
. “Pumpkins. Got it.” Chanyeol washes his hands and grabs the biggest pumpkin. I resume weighing flour for two dozen crusts. When you bake in large quantities, scales are required, not measuring cups.
“Really, we’re okay. I’m sure you have homework.”
“It’s no problem.” Chanyeol shrugs. “Where’s the other Mr. Wu?” Suho closes his eyes. Chanyeol tenses, realizing he’s said something wrong.
“Kris is with Yoona today,” I explain.
“Is . . . everything all right?” he asks.
“Peachy,” Suho says. “It’s just some financial stuff.” I hand Chanyeol our largest knife for slicing open the pumpkins, along with an apologetic look for Suho’s snippiness. Chanyeol gives me a discreet smile back. He knows my dad isn’t normally like this. Suho’s voice is the only one we hear for the next hour as he guides us through production.
The original order was for six pies total, but now we’re making six of each. I’ve been helping him bake for years, so I’m pretty good in the kitchen. But I’m surprised by how quickly Chanyeol adapts. Suho explains that baking is actually a science—leavening and acids, proteins and starches—and Chanyeol gets it. Of course he’s a natural. Good chemists are good bakers.
But why is he spending his Saturday making pies when he doesn’t have to? Is it that nice-guy thing? Or does he think by spending time with me, I might fall for him? But he doesn’t even try to flirt. He stays away from me, focused on his work. It’s maddening how someone so easy to read can be so impossible to understand. When the timer rings at noon, Suho lets out a funny noise of surprise.
“We’re making good time. We can do this.” And he smiles for the first time all day. Chanyeol and I exchange relieved grins across the counter. Suho flips on the radio and the kitchen relaxes. Chanyeol slices apples while Suho and I roll out dough in perfect synchronization.
“We could put this routine on ice and take it to Nationals,” Chanyeol says.
At the mention of ice, Suho pauses. My dad loves figure skating. It is—and I don’t use this expression lightly—the gayest thing about him. When I was little, he took me to see Stars on Ice. We cheered for the skaters with the prettiest spins and we blue cotton from our fingers and he bought me a program filled with photographs of beautiful people in beautiful costumes. It’s one of my happiest memories. When Shin Hye started figure skating, I wanted to do it, too. We weren’t friends, but I still thought of her as someone worthy of admiration. Which meant copying.
“This is okay,” I said after my first lesson. “But when do I get a costume?” Suho pointed at my plain pink leotard.
“That IS your costume, until you’re more experienced.” I lost interest. My parents were peeved. The lessons were expensive, so they made me finish out the season. Thus, I can state that figure skating is hard. Suho talked me into another Stars on Ice when I was thirteen, but my daydreams of doing triple axels in sequined skirts were long gone. I still feel bad that I didn’t even try to enjoy it. He’s never asked again. Suho must have inquired about Shin Hye, because Chanyeol is talking about her schedule.
“It’s a busy year, because of the Olympics. It just means more: more practices, more promotion, more stress.”
“When will she know if she’s made the Olympic team?” Suho asks.