04: ExpectationAmorous Designs
Warning(s): some cursing
Length: 16.2k words (yikes sorry)
[ 1 ]
The day after Baekhyun—it could no longer be “Mr. Byun”—kissed her, Miyoung felt like she was living in a dream. She wanted to tell someone, but she couldn’t tell anyone. However, she really didn’t need to; Doyoung was still intelligent--despite all of the stupid things he did in the past—to figure out things on his own.
“Something happened between you two,” Doyoung said to her as they drive back from a restaurant. As usual, their parents were absent, but instead of making dinner, they had decided to go out for a change. “You and your teacher. Did you guys make up or what?” He tapped the rings on his fingers against the steering wheel. It was almost like those taps were him thinking. Tap. One thought. Tap. Two thoughts. “You made up, didn’t you?”
Made up. Right. The English language and its informalities. It meant to fix or amend an issue.
“Yeah,” Miyoung confessed, still shy about what happened. She had never kissed anyone like she kissed Baekhyun. Sure, she kissed Heo Hyunjoon—future heir of Heo Group and her neighbor—on a dare, but nothing could ever compare to Byun Baekhyun and the sweetness he held on his lips. He even let her sit on his lap! His lap! And he held her so close that she could feel him breathe. The thought of it brought happy tears to her now. “Something like that.”
“Something like that? What happened?”
Miyoung took a sharp intake of breath.
Last week, when she told Doyoung of how she kissed Mr. Byun, he also confided in her sensitive information. Doyoung told her that he was dating Park Chaeyoung. Chaeyoung was the heiress of Parkland Enterprises which was Civikim’s number one rival when it came to the civil engineering industry. The news was so shocking that it actually made Miyoung feel better—which happened to be Doyoung’s intention. He made her promise that she wouldn’t tell anyone or judge him, and he would do the same with her situation.
“Doyoung, you promised not to judge me,” Miyoung started. “Will you keep that promise?” Although he was frowning, Doyoung nodded. “So, yes, we did make amendments. ‘Made up’ if you will… But we also—we might have, um,” she coughed to stall, “er, you know, kissed.”
Her words were already softly spoken, but they had passed through a commercial zone filled with bustling people that made it even harder to hear.
“What’d you say?” Doyoung asked.
this, Miyoung thought. She wouldn’t be able to get anywhere by whispering a statement that wasn’t meant to be whispered in the first place.
“We kissed, okay?” she said louder. Doyoung abruptly turned to meet her in the eye, but Miyoung kept staring forward at the road. “He returned it this time.”
“Hold up.” Doyoung was laughing, but Miyoung knew it to be one of his coping mechanisms. He laughed when he thought things were too good or too bad to be true. “What are you saying? Dude let you kiss him? He kissed you first? What the is going on?”
Miyoung took a deep breath, trying to get a control of how hot her chest was. She felt so embarrassed to be confessing something like this. Even if Doyoung was her brother and someone she wholeheartedly trusted, she didn’t feel as if she was ready to tell him about her new relationship with Baekhyun—her English tutor of all people!
“We kissed,” Miyoung said again. Her cheeks felt so hot that she might as well be on fire. “I told him I wanted to be with him, so he thought about what I had said, and then later he said he wanted to give a relationship with me a try.”
At that, Doyoung slammed the breaks and parked by the curb. “Miyoung, what the ?” he spat. “Look at me.” Miyoung was now on the verge of tears, but she managed to look at her frowning brother in the eyes. “You told him you wanted to be in a relationship with him?” Miyoung didn’t have to nod; Doyoung was smart enough to just know. “Why would you do that? Don’t you know how unprofessional this looks? How unethical this is? It’s illegal in some cases!”
“I know, but—”
“You know?” Doyoung screamed. “Are you sure?” he hissed. “Miyoung, what the hell? Why would you tell him that? Are you out of your goddamn mind?”
“You’ve got to be ing kidding me, Miyoung! What’s wrong with you?”
Miyoung couldn’t believe it. A painful throbbing made itself present in her chest. “ you,” she muttered through gritted teeth. She had heard nearly this exact same speech from Baekhyun, and it hurt then, and it hurt now, and she had enough of hurting. Never mind that Doyoung drew his head backward in surprise. him. She knew she didn’t deserve to feel this way about something she couldn’t control.
“Excuse me?” Doyoung had the audacity to be shocked. “Did you just tell me ‘ you’? Because if—”
“No, I meant what I said!” Miyoung pointed at her brother accusingly. “ you, Doyoung! You told me you wouldn’t judge me, yet here you are lying to me!” Tears had fallen from her eyes by now, and she fought back the urge to sob. “I really, really like him. I-I-I’ve never felt this way about a person before, and g-g-god! I just want to live!” She looked away from Doyoung and wept into the sleeve of her jacket. Despite the strongest of her wills, she was sobbing. “I just want to be happy,” she mumbled.
The car continued to stall, and white noise filled the cabin. For a long minute, it went on like that until Doyoung placed a hand on Miyoung’s shoulder.
“You’re right. I said I wouldn’t judge you, and I did. I’m sorry. Miyoung. Miyoung.” Doyoung shook her shoulder until she finally turned around. She was still crying, but she had gained control of her sobs. “I’m sorry, okay? It’s just instinct for me to look out after you.”
“I know,” she mumbled.
“I’m sorry,” he said once more. “I just wasn’t expecting this. I—I honestly don’t even know what to say.”
Miyoung sniffled. “Just don’t tell mom or dad.”
Doyoung scoffed as he started driving again. “Why would you even say that? You know I’m not going to tell mom or dad a single ing thing. Everything,” he stressed, “we say to each other stays in between us. You and Baekhyun. Me and Chaeyoung.”
“I know,” Miyoung mumbled. She never even thought of turning on her brother. It simply wasn’t an option. In fact, once she gave thought to it, her parents would surely be angrier that their son—their main heir—was consorting with the enemy’s daughter. But she didn’t know anything concretely; her parents were quite conservative, and they wouldn’t be happy either if they found out that she was in a relationship with her English teacher.
“Why did he agree to it?” Doyoung broke the silence. “He doesn’t seem like the type of guy to just budge.”
“He said he thought about it,” Miyoung explained, “and he wanted to give it a try.”
Doyoung was incredulous. “That’s it?”
“Well, he also said that with the proper precautions, something could work.” Miyoung shrugged, already having known this for a while. While Baekhyun was thinking about his decision, she was thinking about the ways it could work. “He said he was risking a lot, so we would need to take things really slowly. Step-by-step, in fact.”
“Ah, that seems more like him.” Doyoung tapped his rings against the steering wheels and sighed heavily. “It has to be like that for the both of us. Remember that.”
“I know. I’m not stupid.”
“I’m not saying you are. I’m saying it to remind you.”
It was Miyoung’s turn to sigh. “I don’t need any reminding. I know that, Doyoung, and I know what I’m doing.”
“Oh, do you?” Doyoung scoffed and laughed. “This is your first relationship, and it really isn’t the most orthodox one either. What makes you think you’re prepared for that?”
Now, this stumped Miyoung. In all honesty, she had no clue what she was in for; this was indeed her first relationship, so she was already in the dark about being in one. But moreover, her first relationship was one with her teacher. That further complicated things.
“I have Baekhyun,” Miyoung whispered. It still took some time to get used to how she could now say her teacher’s first name instead of his last. “He knows how these things work. He can help me.”
“Help is a two-way street.”
What did that even mean?
The rest of the car ride home was silent, but their promises hung in between them. Miyoung wondered if she made the right decision of telling her brother, but she didn’t have to wonder too long; the answer was yes. With Doyoung knowing, she had someone to go to if things happened to take a bitter turn—which they wouldn’t because… Because they just wouldn’t.
[ 2 ]
Miyoung arrived earlier than usual to see Baekhyun before anyone else could get the chance. When he came to his classroom and saw her, he smiled and waved, and she returned the same gesture. Shortly after, Miyoung’s classmates arrived too. Most of them were too invested in their own conversations and simply walked past Baekhyun and to their seats, but others greeted him with a “hello, Mr. Byun.” It made Miyoung strangely happy that the rest of her peers weren’t allowed to call him by his first name.
“Good afternoon.” Baekhyun was smiling as he took his classic position—leaning against the edge of his desk, arms crossed, white sleeves rolled up and revealing a shiny watch on his wrist—in front of the class. He always looked good, but he looked better today if that made any sense. “How was everyone’s weekend?” The class all muttered different things at once, and Baekhyun nodded as if he heard them all. “Sounds like everyone preferred the weekend more than do coming here.” A few people in the back muttered a disgruntled consensus that such was the case. “Don’t worry,” Baekhyun reassured them. “Today will not be difficult. Today, we’ll be talking about the anatomy of Shakespeare’s plays…”
Miyoung tried her best to focus on what Baekhyun was saying, but her eyes kept gravitating to his lips and then to his eyes. While she heard everything he said, she really didn’t. His movements were poetry in motion. Labelling his forward and backward pacing as merely pacing would be blasphemous. It was a limerick for the legs, and a playful villanelle on the feet. How on earth could she focus when he was the epitome of the perfect distraction?
“As you know, Shakespeare uses five acts in each of his plays.” Baekhyun moved his hands in front of his chest so that it looked like he was holding an invisible box.
Immediately, Miyoung’s eyes went over to how the buttons on his shirt seemed to struggle accommodating his chest. As he moved his hands and repositioned his footing, his shirt would shift to comfort the muscle and flesh moving beneath it. It was a rather innocent sight really, but Miyoung found herself her dry lips and crossing and uncrossing and re-crossing her legs. She simply could not listen to Baekhyun’s lecture any longer when there were other, prettier things about him.
(And it would bite her in the neck.)
[ 3 ]
“You weren’t focused again.”
Miyoung looked at her teacher with a sheepish grin. There was no point in lying. “Yes,” she confessed, her cheeks flushed with warmth and red. “I couldn’t.”
Baekhyun didn’t seem to know that he was the cause because he didn’t even bother looking up from his textbook. Why would he? He was practically doing nothing—at least, nothing that could be deemed as distracting to the normal eye. Yet somehow (and Miyoung didn’t know how the low chances for this were), Miyoung found something about him that was quite clearly distracting. At least to her.
“Why was that?” Baekhyun looked up from his textbook for a quick second. He was smiling. “I thought you’d like learning about plot structure.”
“Well, I do, but…” Miyoung trailed off. She didn’t want to sit here and talk to Baekhyun if the option of sitting in his lap and kissing him was viable. “I’d rather have done something else to be frank.”
“And what is that?”
“Oh, you know.”
Baekhyun stopped hunching over his textbook to sit up straight and look at her in the eye. His goddammed smile was still on his face, and Miyoung had to look away from his shining gaze for fear that she might spontaneously combust.
“We should talk about this,” Baekhyun said softly. He touched her by the arm, fireworks in his fingertips, nuclear fusion in between their touching skin. Goddamn poetry. “I’m distracting you, aren’t I?”
“I’m not clueless.” Baekhyun was smiling with his eyes too. “I can tell, Miyoung. As flattered as I am to be your afternoon distraction, I’m not worthy enough to be the crack you trip over.” She wasn’t listening anymore though. Well she was, but his words came to her like a fever dream. Was it even real? It didn’t feel real. “If we get through today’s material on time or earlier, then we can do what you want to do until I have to go. How does that sound? Miyoung? Miyoung.”
When Baekhyun shook her arm, it was then she realized that he was asking her something. “Huh?” Miyoung shook herself out of a shortly-lived reverie. “What?”
Baekhyun was still smiling when he sighed through his nose. “I need you to pay attention.” He snapped his finger to get her attention—her full attention. “Before I am anything else to you, I am your teacher, and I need you to focus.”
“No.” Baekhyun wasn’t talking softly or sweetly anymore. He was using the same voice he used when they first met a few months ago. It was that authoritative, teacher voice that he reserved for students that misbehaved. “There aren’t any exceptions here, Miyoung. I’m still your teacher. What happened doesn’t excuse you from slacking off. Understand?”
He sounded and looked so irresistible like that.
“Yes, sir.” Miyoung nodded and exaggerated her frown give the impression that she was unduly devoted to finally paying attention.
She only succeeded in making Baekhyun laugh.
“Sir?” he repeated, eyes smiling. “No, don’t call me that.”
“You don’t like it?”
He shook his head, scrunching his nose to further express distaste. “Call me by my first name. That’s enough for me. Now,” Baekhyun pushed a small stack of papers towards Miyoung, “we’ve wasted enough time talking.”
Miyoung smiled and nodded like the good student she knew she was. However, as much as she didn’t want to disappoint Baekhyun by daydreaming in class, he would have to be vexed yet again in the future.
Getting through that day’s tutoring session wasn’t grueling. Granted, it had never been grueling or even mildly boring. With Baekhyun, everything seemed so amplified. Like the air felt crisper, the sounds louder, the ambience of the room just ing better. Nothing could be boring in his presence. Even Miyoung felt like she had more meaning around him—like her actions and movements mattered because he would be there to notice.
“You did it,” Baekhyun said to her when they finished reviewing the last page of Shakespeare’s plot structure. “It wasn’t that bad, right?”
“It’s never that bad, Baekhyun.” Miyoung had a small smile playing on her lips as she sheepishly put her pencils back in their case. She still felt shy using his first name.
“You know, every time you say my name like that, I feel like I need to pay attention.”
“What do you mean?”
“Baekhyun,” he said with an exaggerated frown. “It sounds so serious that it’s like you’re going to scold me for doing something.”
“Oh.” Miyoung laughed under her breath. “No, it’s not that. I’m just…” She hesitated and let out a big sigh that had been building up in her chest. “I’m still getting used to saying it—amongst other things,” she coughed, “as you already know.”
“Ah.” Baekhyun leaned over to hold her hand in his. Miyoung froze at the suddenness of the contact, but his gentleness with the movement calmed her enough that she reciprocated the light squeeze he gave—though arguably, she returned it rather tentatively. “We’re taking things slow, so I get it.” He her knuckles with his thumb. “After today, what do you feel?”
“What do I feel? About what?”
Baekhyun shrugged. “About anything. About us, about me, about yourself. What do you feel?”
“Oh, well—I don’t know. I feel, I guess,” Miyoung was stammering now, “excited. Very, very excited.” She giggled nervously at this; it felt so foreign to confess her feelings to the person of affection. Better yet, him! Byun Baekhyun, kindest, sweetest, smartest teacher. Her confessions were safe with him. “To be honest, I couldn’t stop thinking about kissing you.” He raised his brows as if to ask really? “Yeah, I’m sorry,” Miyoung murmured, shaking her head. “It’s stupid.”
“Hey, no, it’s not stupid.” Baekhyun squeezed her hand again. “It’s fine. You don’t have to be shy. That’s the point of a relationship. You don’t have to hold reservations around me. If you want to say something, say it. I’ll listen.”
He would listen. Miyoung’s heart was no longer a heart; it was an ever-widening puddle.
“Why don’t we try something?” Baekhyun let go of her hand much to her dismay. She frowned, and he noticed. “Don’t worry,” he said with a light chuckle. “I’ll give it back. For now, I want to try something. Come over here.” He pushed his chair back like the first time they kissed, but he wasn’t telling her to sit on his lap this time. He then took off his glasses, folded them, and placed them on the table. “I want you stand—yes, here.” Miyoung was standing so close to him that they were touching. “Now just look at me.”
Miyoung couldn’t comprehend the point of the situation. She was merely looking at Baekhyun’s face from a very close distance.
“I don’t understand the point of this,” Miyoung confessed as her cheeks started to warm themselves. In her head, she was screaming and waving her arms about; her skin wasn’t perfect today, and the lighting in that room wasn’t exactly flattering. Surely, she looked horrendous.
“Shhhh,” Baekhyun hushed. “The point of this is so you could get comfortable with me right next to you.” He tilted his head so cutely, so puppy-like that Miyoung gasped softly in awe. “You were shaking when we kissed, and you were shaking when I held your hand.” As if he couldn’t get any sweeter, he did; he raised his brows and gave a small smile. “You’ve never been in a relationship, right?” His voice was soft. His arm, that he managed to snake around her waist, was soft. He was soft. She could only nod. “So, you’re unsure of what you’re doing, hm?”
“Honestly,” Miyoung mumbled, “yes. I’m terrified. I-I-I know y-you must have some sort, of uh, expectation or—”
“No, don’t talk about expectations.”
“But it’s true. You must have had—”
“I said don’t.” Once again, he was using that darker tone. Even the playful smile on his lips and in his eyes was replaced by a frown. “This is new for you and me. There’s no need to compare between expectations and realities. Understand?”
Miyoung nodded. “Yes. I just have a question. Why,” she coughed, noticing how his arm was still around her, “am I standing? And why are you sitting?”
“Well, if I stand, you might feel intimidated.”
There were only two words to describe Baekhyun’s grin: eating.
“That’s not true,” Miyoung insisted with hot cheeks. “I won’t be intimidated by you just because you’re taller…” She trailed off when Baekhyun stood. He wasn’t spectacularly tall, but he did have something about him—perhaps it was his frame—that was imposing. In addition to that, she wasn’t spectacularly tall either; if she stared straight ahead, her eyes would only meet his upper lip. “I stand corrected.”
“Yes, you do.” Baekhyun laughed before stepping away. He glanced at his wristwatch. “Anyways, I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Already?” Miyoung whined, already disappointed in the loss of contact. “No, stay a little longer.”
“Can’t, sorry.” He shook his head and grabbed her hand again. “But I didn’t forget.” For a moment, they stood there, her hand gently squeezed in between his. It made Miyoung so happy that she looked down to hide her beaming smile. “Look at me.” She did as she was told and glanced upward to meet him in the eye. His voice was a whisper when he said, “Slow, remember?”
“Slow,” she agreed.
Miyoung, being shorter, had to tilt her head upwards to receive his kiss. Unlike last time, this kiss is surer, more confident, better. She didn’t feel as if she was randomly fumbling around with her lips; she felt quite the opposite actually. And with Baekhyun’s hand in hers, it felt like this moment could and would last forever. But it was a mere moment, and Baekhyun was the one who pulled away.
“See you tomorrow,” he whispered, and in less than a minute later, he was gone.
[ 4 ]
Later that night, Miyoung tossed and turned, desperately trying to sleep but ultimately failing even to close her eyes for a minute. Her mind was fixated on the none other, Baekhyun.
His lips, his hands, his lips, his hands, her mind was positively weeping, ing begging for another chance to have him by her side.
She groaned out in frustration that he wasn’t in the vicinity. All the words in English she knew, all the hair on her head, all the power in her soft punches; she wanted him. After the second hour of sleeplessness, it had gotten so unbearable that she had to hug several pillows and pretend that it was him she was sleeping with and not herself. It was only then she found some solace. But solace was not satisfaction. When she woke up, a great deal of disappointment greeted her.
[ 5 ]
Miyoung was on her way to walking back to her unofficial official seat at the cafeteria when a crying girl—was she Kim Yerim? Miyoung couldn’t tell—rushed past her, an entourage of other girls following closely. Confused and amused all at once, Miyoung walked back to where Somi and Yuqi were sitting and whispering.
“What was that about?” Miyoung asked as she took out her chopsticks from her bag. “Was that Yerim?”
“Yeah. Lee Mark dumped her,” Somi said in a hushed tone, “over Snapchat.”
“People still use that?” Miyoung was picking off the vegetables at the top of her lunch. “You know, I knew he was immature, but I didn’t know to what extent.”
“She had it coming for her.” Yuqi, being the critical one, only shook her head in disappointment. “Everyone knows Lee Mark is good news to nobody. I mean look at him.” She pointed to a group of boys—Mark’s group—sitting at the opposite side of the cafeteria. They were raucous bunch, laughing and shoving each other. “You can’t possibly think a relationship with him and his friends would ever work out. I mean, it’s just not possible.”
“Okay, that’s too mean,” Somi interjected. “I’m sure he has redeemable qualities.”
Yuqi snorted. “No way. He consistently scores in the 76th percentile. The 76th percentile!” Yuqi tapped her temple as if to mock Mark’s intelligence (which frankly, after everything he had done in the past year, was questionable—at least to Miyoung). “What’s redeemable about that?”
Somi only shook her head in disagreement, and the three of them were silent for a few minutes.
In those few minutes, Miyoung’s mind drifted back to Baekhyun. She thought of what she initially thought about him: where could she find someone like him? In Lee Mark, the goddammed transfer student? In Song Mingi, the teacher’s pet? There were numerous more boys in Miyoung’s school, but she knew for a fact that none of them could come close to Baekhyun. He was simply more refined. Yes, it could be attributed to the fact he was older, but that only made him so much more attractive. Why would Miyoung ever go for an immature classmate when she had her teacher? The question itself was beyond ridiculous.
“What are you smiling about?” Yuqi snapped her fingers in front of Miyoung. “Something you want to share with us?”
“Oh.” Miyoung just realized that she was indeed smiling. “Nothing. No reason.”
Somi rolled her eyes and feigned a gag. “It’s probably that guy she won’t tell us about.”
“Yeah, what about that?” Yuqi leaned her chin against her fist as she frowned. “Why won’t you tell us about him? It’s been more than a few weeks since you talked about flirting with him. How did that go?”
Miyoung wanted to burst out laughing. Little did they know just how much she went through for Baekhyun. “It’s nothing you guys need to know,” she said. “But it’s safe to say that it went pretty well.” She couldn’t contain her grin when she said those words. Pretty well. It was hard to contain her laughter. “Yeah, we’ll just leave at that.”
Somi and Yuqi made eye-contact, and the two simultaneously rolled their eyes. Miyoung, of course, could only smile and smile and smile. They had no idea that she, yes, she, Kim Miyoung had kissed Byun Baekhyun—yes, him, Byun Baekhyun, the school’s Advanced English and English Literature teacher. Miyoung didn’t even have to say it aloud. Just thinking about it made her giddy.
Sometime later, Jeno came over to sit with the three of them. Somi and Yuqi allowed him to do as he pleased, and Miyoung faintly heard him saying something to her, but her focus was on Baekhyun. He had entered the cafeteria to head into the teacher’s lounge. The entire time, her heart was sighing.
[ 6 ]
Now that Doyoung knew about Miyoung and Baekhyun’s tentative relationship, he stopped picking her up from school. Miyoung didn’t mind since it allowed for her to spend more time with Baekhyun alone, but today was the day where she would regret some of it.
It was Friday again, but Miyoung decided that she wanted to study in the privacy of her home instead of the library. Baekhyun was more than happy to oblige, so that was what they did. Everything was going normally like any other day; they had just driven from the school to her home, had just walked through the front door and were talking about poetry, had just taken off their shoes, had just walked past the living room and saw Doyoung kissing a woman who was sitting beside him.
Baekhyun saw it first and had pulled Miyoung on the arm so they could walk away, but Miyoung, being the curious one, could not contain her shock.
“Doyoung?” she gasped, causing Doyoung to quickly pull away from the woman. The woman of course turned as well, just as shocked as the red-cheeked Doyoung. “What the hell are you doing?” Miyoung screamed in English.
“Oh my, god.” Doyoung slapped a hand over his chest—over his heart. “It’s just you. ! What the are you doing here so early?” He was gasping for air now, like he had a heart attack or a . “I thought you were mom or dad! Jesus Christ, I thought I was going to die.”
“Never mind that!” Miyoung avoided looking at the woman—who was actually the none other Park Chaeyoung, heir to Parkland Enterprises—because she was just as embarrassed as she was. “What the hell are you doing—doing stuff like this in the open! Are you out of your goddamn mind?” she seethed. “Do you want to get to caught?”
“Do you?” Doyoung retorted. He pointed at Baekhyun who was probably the only innocent one in this situation. “He drove you home!”
“So what? I didn’t kiss him while—”
“Miyoung, stop.” Baekhyun placed a hand on her shoulder and pulled her backward. He looked at Doyoung and Chaeyoung’s red faces and then at Miyoung’s. “What’s going on? She’s just your brother’s girlfriend. Do you not like her or something?”
“No, no, no it’s not that. I think she’s fine.” Miyoung was still riled up, but for the sake of remaining cool in front of Baekhyun, took a deep breath. “She’s Park Chaeyoung—the heir of Parkland Enterprises. It’s our dad’s company’s number one competitor.” Miyoung crossed her arms and eyed Chaeyoung who had stepped behind Doyoung. “We’re not supposed to even talk to anyone related to Parkland. Much less get into relationships with them.”
“Oh.” Baekhyun took his hand off Miyoung’s shoulder when he realized the complexity of the situation. “Wait,” he mumbled, “like Romeo and Juliet?”
Miyoung snickered when she realized Doyoung’s situation was comparable to the legendary play. Two feuding families, a secret relationship, star-crossed lovers (or something along those lines; Miyoung didn’t want to see her brother’s relationship fail, but it surely wasn’t going to last considering the circumstances)—it was similar to Romeo and Juliet.
“Sure,” Miyoung said, still lightly chuckling. “Something like that.” She turned back to her brother. “You better not let this happen again, Doyoung.” Miyoung was about to turn away and head into the study room when Chaeyoung stopped her.
“I’m sorry,” Chaeyoung said in English, surprising both Miyoung and Doyoung it seemed. Miyoung saw her brother frown as well. “Please forgive me, Miyoung. I know it must strange for you to, um, see your brother and I like this.” Chaeyoung’s accent was pretty and light. It wasn’t like Baekhyun’s clear and concise accent, or Doyoung’s fast and rambunctious one. It sounded almost British. “It won’t happen again.”
“Wait, what?” Doyoung was the first to speak up. He looked over at Chaeyoung, eyes wide open. “You speak English?”
“Yes,” Chaeyoung murmured. “I was born in New Zealand.”
“It’s fine,” Miyoung said, interrupting her brother’s shock and awe. Miyoung was shocked too; Chaeyoung just heard her scream and curse at her brother and understood it. God, she would surely lose sleep over this. “Don’t apologize to me. It’s not your fault.” She looked back over at her brother who still had his mouth open. “Doyoung, just be smarter, so you don’t ruin your life—and Chaeyoung’s.”
With that, Miyoung grabbed Baekhyun’s hand and strode off to their study room. She didn’t care if either Doyoung or Chaeyoung saw because she knew they wouldn’t dare tell anyone.
“Uh, that was interesting,” Baekhyun mumbled to himself once they were alone. “Did you tell Doyoung about us?”
“Yes, I did.” Miyoung bit her lip when she recalled how she screamed obscenities at her brother. “We can trust him, though. He won’t tell anyone as long as we don’t tell anyone about his relationship with Chaeyoung.”
“Heir of Parkland Enterprises,” Baekhyun murmured. Miyoung glanced at him and swore she could see the gears in his head turning. “You and your brother are playing dangerous games here. I’m guess you’re both really interested in taking risks, huh?”
“Hm, I suppose.” Miyoung could only think about how she cursed at her brother in front of Chaeyoung. She was embarrassed when she cursed in front of Baekhyun when he tried to meet her, and she thought it wouldn’t get any worse. Apparently, it could and it did. “I can’t believe it. Can you? She understands English. She heard me curse my brother out.” Miyoung shuddered as she replayed the memory in her head. “I’m going to sleep over this.”
“Oh, don’t do that.”
“No, Baekhyun, this is so embarrassing. You have absolutely no idea.” Miyoung ran a hand through her loose hair and shook her head, too disappointed in herself to look at him. “When I did the same thing with you, I had to sit in the corner and think about what I did for a good few hours. I swear. I am in fact going to lose sleep over this.”
“No,” Baekhyun said, shaking his head, “don’t do that. Lose sleep over me instead.”
Miyoung choked on her own breath. “Baekhyun…” she sputtered. “I never knew you could be cringy.”
Baekhyun burst out laughing at her quip. “Okay, okay. Fair point. Why don’t we get to work then? I don’t have a lot planned for today, so maybe we could just hang out after we’re done.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Miyoung muttered, still so embarrassed.
[ 7 ]
When they finished with Miyoung’s study and review, it was only 8:00.
“A whole hour?” Miyoung asked Baekhyun as he packed his things. “What are we going to do?” They had left the door open, and she peeked past it. “I don’t think my parents came home yet since I didn’t hear Chaeyoung leave, but if they do…” She shook her head and refused to think about it. “What are we going to do, Baekhyun? What if my parents come home?”
Baekhyun only shook his head. “That’s the one of the more important rules of a relationship—you need to know the proper time and place for everything as to not make your partner or the people around you uncomfortable.”
“I mean,” he said with a grin, “we don’t have to be touching or doing anything to enjoy each other’s presence.”
“Oh.” Miyoung now knew what he meant, but she was disappointed in that. Secretly, she longed to touch Baekhyun again—and yes, she undoubtedly wanted to kiss him again; was there a crime in that? “Hm. Okay, I guess we can do something normal.”
“You don’t seem pleased with that.”
Miyoung shrugged. “I’m not.”
“So what would you be rather doing?”
“Oh, you know.” Miyoung shrugged again and refused to look at Baekhyun. “Stuff.”
“Stuff,” Baekhyun repeated before chuckling to himself. He leaned over to touch her arm. “I appreciate the honesty, but we really need to set boundaries. We can’t be kissing each other too often otherwise someone might see.” He shifted his hand so that he held hers in his. “I know that this isn’t ideal, but this is just the sacrifice we have to make.”
He said more after that, but Miyoung was no longer paying attention. Her mind had drifted over to all the places in her house where no one ever bothered to visit frequently. One of them was this study room; Miyoung was its sole user because her father had his own office, and her mother was mostly in the living room or the parlor. It also came equipped with a lock. There was the laundry room; it didn’t have a lock, but it was only used once a week on Saturdays. Lastly, another room was, well, her bedroom. Her room was probably the most private; it had a lock, and it would always be customary to knock before entering.
“Why don’t we go to my room?” Miyoung proposed. “If my parents come home, they can just assume I went to bed early.”
She expected Baekhyun to applaud her for quick thinking, but he merely stared at her—like he couldn’t believe she would say that.
“Miyoung,” he said in a low-toned whisper, “did you have any idea what I just said?”
“Yes. You said we have to make boundaries and sacrifices.”
“Well, that’s the main point, isn’t it?” Miyoung leaned forward against the table and sighed to voice her frustration. “Baekhyun, I know we have to make sacrifices, but we’ve already made a lot. We don’t act like a couple in public, I only call you Baekhyun when we’re around each other, when—”
“Do you really think that’s a lot to sacrifice?”
Baekhyun continued to stare. “Miyoung, I don’t want to offend you, but that is far from a lot.” He didn’t shake his head or scowl, but he didn’t have to do any of that; Miyoung knew he was somewhat frustrated with her. “Look, we can act like normal people—like I’m only your teacher, and you’re only my student—or I can leave early, but,” he stressed, “I’m not going to your room under any circumstances. The choice is up to you.”
Miyoung frowned. She felt absolutely betrayed that Baekhyun wouldn’t even consider her smart proposal of going to her room. Still, he gave her a choice, and one of those choices was significantly better than the other.
“Stay,” Miyoung murmured.
That was exactly what Baekhyun did: stayed. They talked and laughed about poetry and literature, and Miyoung really wanted to like it, but she just wasn’t enjoying herself. She knew what she wanted and that was him, yet he seemingly refused to acknowledge it. Never mind that she was supposedly “hardly making a sacrifice.” Never mind any of that. All she wanted was to be held by him, touched by him, kissed by him. It felt so unfair that he would deny her of that.
[ 8 ]
Miyoung woke up in the middle of the night, her back hot and sticky with sweat. Her breaths were uneven like she just had a nightmare—only it wasn’t a nightmare but an awfully realistic dream. She knew why she woke up suddenly and it was all because of Baekhyun. Even when he wasn’t around, he managed to find his way to her. Whether it was through a dream, an intrusive thought, or a book that he recommended, he’d be on her mind like clockwork. This was one of those instances where he touched her without touching her.
Breathing heavily, Miyoung had to pinch herself to remind herself that this—this painful existence and realization that Baekhyun was not in fact sleeping in the same bed as her—was her reality: her, alone in her room, alone in her bed. What a painful reality this was, but the dream was quick to fade into black, into numbness, and Miyoung was quickly falling asleep again.
(Secretly, she wished that she’d continue the dream where it stopped.)
[ 9 ]
Baekhyun was writing a list of vocabulary on the board at the front of