a flirt.

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“M-Mr. Byun!” 


If she could, Yumi desperately wanted to dig a hole and bury herself in it to reevaluate her life decisions. Not only was this their first meeting in years, but to be reunited under this circumstance was absolutely bizarre to her. She was at a loss for words, her jaw still hanging in still motion. 


“Mr. Byun, did I…did you…I mean did we…” she stammered, unable to formulate a complete sentence in her head without acting out random hand gestures to convey her thoughts. 


Baekhyun cocked his head to the side, somewhat perplexed by her strange behavior. He stepped forward, only to pause when his former student displayed much discomfort in her body language. He finally caught on to what she was probably assuming. 


He sighed, “A female staff helped you change out of your dress. You threw up all over…”


Ok reasonable, Yumi told herself. Plus, this foul smell coming from her hair supported his story perfectly. Should she be more relieved at the fact that they didn’t have a one night stand or pure guilt for having him clean up after her drunken mess.


“Thank you…” she mumbled, her head hanging low. “The hotel fee. Let me pay for the room!” Yumi added.


“No need.”


His voice felt oddly distant for some reason. Then again, what did she expect? They had no relationship to begin with. Yumi brought her head back up to look at him, although the teacher’s bold outfit choice caught her off guard momentarily. Her eyes slowly traveled its way down to his tie-dye shirt, completely identical to the one she had on. Yumi immediately pressed her lips together, suppressing the laughter that was dying to escape. The trouser shorts really pulled this ridiculous look together. 


“Your fashion sense sure changed a lot,” she added mockingly. At least the heavy atmosphere was starting to die out a bit. 


“These were the only clean shirts the hotel had on hand…” he explained, the edge of his mouth tugged down into a slight frown. She barely spared him a ‘thank you’ then went straight back to dissing him like the old days. This was very on brand for  the girl and he was relieved to know that her vibrant personality is still the same.


Yumi watched him circle his way around to her bedside, his hand reaching for something on the nightstand beside her. “You should probably return the missed calls. They’ve been calling for a while now,” he informed the girl after handing her phone over.


Upon checking her notifications, multiple text messages and missed calls popped up under the same contact name. Iseul. She immediately shot out of bed with panic written all over her face, remembering the pact she made with her housemate back when they first moved in together. If one of them were to stay overnight elsewhere, they must alert the other. 


“I need to head back,” Yumi hurriedly gathered her belongings, scrambling all over the place to find her dress and shoes. And to her rescue came the former teacher with a bag in his hand containing her dirty clothes. He walked off with the bag and car keys in his hand before signaling for her to come along. 


“It’s 5AM in the morning, I’m not letting you go alone. I’ll take you home.”


Being utterly speechless was rare for the girl, but she had no time to stand around. Yumi nodded gratefully, following behind her savior as he checked both of them out of the hotel. The pair waited outside for a valet to bring Baekhyun’s car over, which only took a few minutes since they were practically the only ones checking out at dawn. He tipped the valet generously before taking over the vehicle.


“Thank you again, Mr. Byun.” The younger one muttered softly as her teacher drove off. 


With his eyes still fixed on the road, there was a slight pause in his response. “Baekhyun,” he emphasized, “You can just call me Baekhyun.”


She returned a small nod, but it’ll take the girl a while to get used to this first name basis. Yumi used the opportunity to steal a quick glance at her former teacher in natural lighting, just because her fuzzy memory did him no justice. Does this man ever age, she wondered to herself. While she aged visibly in the last five years, this fine man here barely cracked a wrinkle in his thirties. How is this humanly possible. 


During her brief observation, Yumi noticed a silver band on his finger. Without thinking twice about the simple piece of jewelry, she shifted her attention back to Baekhyun. What she had been dying to ask since earlier, felt much more appropriate disclosing now than back at the hotel. 


“How have you been?” She mustered up her courage to ask after debating in her head. 


There was nothing wrong about the simple conversation starter, she was simply afraid that Baekhyun may find it intruding since they weren’t technically friends or anything. Still, her curiosity craved for a small insight on someone who she had once admired, and still respect very much. She studied his expression carefully, unable to read through his cold gaze.


“Everything’s fine,” he gave a vague answer but it was enough for Yumi to drop the exchange. A fool could tell that he did not want to elaborate any further, leading her to keep shut for the remainder of the ride. How embarrassing, she mentally cried.


“Are you sure this is the place?” Baekhyun scanned the area for a house of some sort. Instead, his GPS took his straight to a convenience store chain. 


“Ah yes, my housemate works here. I need to show her that I’m still alive first. I live nearby so I’ll be okay on my own now,” she gave him a reassurance smile before continuing, “…and I’m sorry for last night. I didn’t mean for us to meet again like this. Also—“


Yumi paused, hands rummaging through her clutch bag in a hurry. She pulled out all the cash she had in her wallet then proceeded to stuff it in his cupholder. 


“The hotel fee. I know it’s not enough but I’ll pay back the rest one day, I swear!”


Knowing the man, he’ll refuse to take any payment from her. After speeding through her explanation, Yumi bolted out of the car, leaving him no other choice but to take the cash. 


“This girl…” Baekhyun shook his head, a defeated smile formed on his lips nonetheless. Some things just never change. 


He watched the innocent reunion from his car, making sure Yumi was safe first before he left the scene. The cashier, who he assumed was her housemate, rushed out from behind the counter to check on her friend. Although he couldn’t make out what they were saying, it was clear that the two were ecstatic to see each other again. With that, Baekhyun took off to head home for the day. 


Pulling up to his driveway, he parked alongside a white vehicle of the same model as his own. Baekhyun snatched the bag of dirty clothes in his trunk before making his way in. He entered through the garage door to his mid-century modern home, characterized by its expansive walls of glass and asymmetrical designs— although most of the credit should go to the brilliant homeowner, who was certainly not Baekhyun. Since it was only half past six on a

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Clockwork is officially on hiatus, I'm sorry :(
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