The two-homed cat

25 autumns

Notes: this is one of my favorites


5. Angry kiss


The two-homed cat


From the day he started working at the same company, Sunggyu completely hated Nam Woohyun.


At first he seemed like a friendly man, greeting him with a wide smile on his face. His first impression would have remained positive if his boss hadn't tapped Sunggyu's on the shoulder and commented indiscreetly.


“I hear he graduated from Seoul University and is doing his master's in business,” the old man commented, chuckling at Sunggyu's surprised expression. “He's only two years younger and he's already leaving you behind.”


Raising an eyebrow, Sunggyu smiled as falsely as he could. Even though he hated the comparison, nothing was worse than the nervous laugh that Woohyun let out.


“I'll try my best, sunbaenim!” He said excitedly. Sunggyu fought the urge to throw him out of one of the windows.


“It won't be easy,” Sunggyu commented, taking a long, angry gulp of his coffee, shushing the 300 insults that ran through his head.


After that disastrous conversation, their competition only got worse. Woohyun didn't seem to mind his boss's teasing, but Sunggyu knew he was used to forcing rivalry between his employees.


Sunggyu used to ignore it, but for some reason Woohyun was annoying enough to want to be better than him.


They silently vied to see who arrived early, left late, bought the best coffee, or up to their boss the most. At first, Woohyun acted as if his attitudes were just for being dedicated at work, but over time he started to enjoy teasing Sunggyu.


Whenever they left work early, because Sunggyu was unlucky enough to live in the same building, Woohyun said that waking up early was good for someone his age. He also looked frustrated every time someone paid Sunggyu too much attention.


It was no longer enough to put up with him in the company, Sunggyu still dealt with Woohyun's presence whenever they took the same elevator, or went back and forth together by bus. Even the free time they had to do laundry was the same, forcing Sunggyu to spend long minutes with Woohyun tossing his socks in the washing machine and trying to force a random conversation about work.


That feeling of rivalry blinded them over time, making them give up pretending to smile at each other and start sabotaging each other like two grumpy children. Woohyun would eat Sunggyu's lunch on purpose, Sunggyu would hide his pens or stapler. It got to the point where Sunggyu became obsessed with finding any flaw in Woohyun to use against him.


“For God's sake, I can't stand to hear you talking about this Woohyun guy anymore,” his friend Sungyeol had said one night while they were drinking. He paid the bar bill and added it before walking away. “You need to date urgently, you know?”


That's it! He must be more clumsy dating, thought Sunggyu, heading to his own apartment, a little slower because of the drink. He found a striped cat in front of the door, frowning as he approached.


“What do you want?” Asked Sunggyu, as if the cat was going to answer. He knelt down to caress him, listening to his purr.


Sunggyu noticed the collar written “saessaki” and recognized him. He had already seen Woohyun putting this same cat inside his apartment. It's amazing how I know everything about that idiot.


“As much as I hate your owner, I'm not one to mistreat animals,” he muttered, standing up and opening the door. At the same moment, however, the cat entered his apartment, leaving him stunned. “Hey! I didn't invite you.”


The cat paid no attention, climbing into an armchair and settling down. Sighing, Sunggyu gave away his dinner leftovers, got a box and decided to return him to the owner the next day.


When dawn came, he got up very early to take the cat to Woohyun's door, knocking discreetly and then hiding behind a wall. His arch enemy opened the door, surprised to find the cat there. He carried him in his arms with a beautiful smile that left Sunggyu breathless. If you're that relieved, you should take better care of that cat.


It also became a routine in their lives. The cat always disappeared at night, entering Sunggyu's apartment through the open window or simply scratching at the door until he opened it.


Sunggyu never spoke to Woohyun about it, blaming him for being so careless and also enjoying having a fight with him, even though this time Woohyun didn't know. After two weeks of that ritual, the cat's owner finally figured it all out.


He knocked on Sunggyu's door at 11:30 pm, leaving Sunggyu completely offended to see him at that time. He knew why Woohyun was there and Sunggyu thought he was too slow to realize it only at that moment.


“Where is he?” Woohyun asked anxiously, entering Sunggyu's house as if it were his. The owner of that home watched him in disbelief.


“Have you no respect for others?” exclaimed Sunggyu, closing the door. “Do you think you can get in here like this?”


“If you weren't stealing my cat, I would be more polite,” replied Woohyun, still watching the surroundings. When Saessaki appeared behind a potted plant, Woohyun breathed a sigh of relief. “Come on baby. Let's go home.”


“And if he wants to stay?” asked Sunggyu defiantly. His entire body was hot with hate, seeing Woohyun stare at him in disbelief.


“Look, Sunggyu-ssi, I understand the work… but my cat?” Woohyun said, showing signs that he was losing his temper. “Don't you think you were childish enough?”


“Me? Childish?” shouted Sunggyu, taking a step forward. “You say that after eating my lunch almost every day!”


“The pot didn't have your name!”


They started accusing themselves of the most ridiculous things they've done in the last few months. The cat walked around the room, not paying any attention to the two.


“Saessaki, come here,” Woohyun said, turning around to try to go to the cat.


“He wants to stay, haven't you noticed that?”


When Sunggyu took a step forward to stop him from approaching the cat, he ended up tripping over his own feet. As strange as it sounded, Woohyun himself tried to grab him by the arms, resulting in both of them falling to the ground.


Even though he had lightly tapped his back, Sunggyu was not breathing properly for that reason. Woohyun was on top of him, his face close to his like in a romantic movie scene. It'd be funny if it weren't for the person he hated the most there, and it still made Sunggyu's heart beat faster by the way Woohyun stared at his lips.


“Was that… on purpose, you…?”


Before Sunggyu finished speaking, Woohyun pressed his lips to Sunggyu's, leaving him even more shocked. He tried to push him away by hitting his chest, but Woohyun grabbed his hands and deepened the kiss even more.


Gradually, Sunggyu began to respond with the same intensity, pulling Woohyun closer to him. The need they had to kiss each other's lips justified everything, all the pointless teasing and the looks they couldn't explain to themselves.


As they scrambled to see who took off their clothes the fastest, they didn't notice when the cat slunk out the window, heading next door in search of more food.




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