His neck hurt. His back hurt. His everything hurt.
The warm sunlight of early morning hit his face through the slits of the window blinds. Junmyeon slowly straightened from his office chair and stretched his arms wide. He carefully rolled his shoulders to get the kinks out. The EVP let out a big yawn before giving his cheeks a light slap to wake himself up.
They all had a very long night. The two artists came home to rest just before dawn and the remaining staff left even later only to make sure that the showcase tonight would proceed without a hitch. Junmyeon was pretty sure that everything was now in order but he still hadn't stopped with checking and re-checking their program list after everyone had left, ending up falling asleep hunched over his office desk which wasn't the least bit comfortable at all. He should have crashed on Chanyeol's leather couch instead, he absently thought.
His sleepy eyes alight on the only other person who got left behind with him. Manager Zhang Yixing was sitting on Junmyeon's own leather couch, breathing steadily in slumber. Junmyeon wondered how he was able to sleep while holding that stiff position--both legs crossed, an arm draped over his stomach, and his face resting atop a palm propped against his chest. The EVP smiled. Even in his sleep, Zhang Yixing was still uptight and in control of himself.
Junmyeon somehow liked that about the man. The manager had been a very steady presence beside him for the past week of hectic preparations, supporting him with the force of his sharp brains and an even sharper tongue. With one word, the EM could get something done exactly when and how he wanted it to be. Junmyeon preferred to ask people to do things for him kindly, but although they do get accomplished in time, Yixing's method was certainly more efficient.
Junmyeon moved quietly to the other side of his desk. He leaned a slim hip against it and took this rare chance to watch the manager sleep. He broke out into another smile when he realized that the only moments the Zhang Yixing would lose control was when they were kissing. He felt his face heat at the recollections the same time he felt satisfaction bloom inside his chest.
They weren't able to go to the movies or in any date at all after Yixing asked him to go steady last week. There was simply no time. Good thing that they were required to work close together for the showcase so it wasn't so bad. There were the usual arguments over whose orders the staff should follow--times when Junmyeon got sorely tempted to wring Yixing's neck for his arrogance and patronizing tone. But the fights never lasted for more than a few hours. They last much shorter if they happened just before they were to take their scheduled breaks, when Yixing would discreetly pull Junmyeon inside his office and spend the next fifteen minutes of coffee break wheedling the anger out of him with heated touches and insistent kisses.
He supposed he shouldn't give in so easily to the manager's unethical methods of persuasion but Junmyeon couldn't find it in himself to resist and stay mad at him, especially since Yixing turning on his charm was a sign that he wanted their precarious relationship to last. He wanted to laugh at himself because he did the same things to the EM anyway--dragging the other man towards his office and locking them up inside just for the heck of it.
"You're staring," Yixing said unexpectedly, making Junmyeon jump in surprise. The manager hadn't moved an inch nor opened his eyes.
"I am not," Junmyeon denied quite vehemently, more than a little embarrased at possibly having been caught staring at Yixing like an infatuated teenager. He saw the other guy's lips twitch into a smile, his dimple appearing as if to mock Junmyeon's reddening cheeks.
Yixing slowly opened his eyes and watched him fidget with his skewed bowtie. The guy just stared at him with a raised brow. The silence stretched until Junmyeon couldn't take it any longer. "What?" he asked, getting annoyed when he saw Yixing's smile widen.
The manager just shrugged and Junmyeon felt kind of envious when the other man seemed unaffected by the uncomfortable position he was in earlier.
"I didn't notice I fell asleep. It's a miracle I even managed to considering how loud you snore," the taller guy said.
Junmyeon scoffed. "Then why didn't you leave?"
"I like looking at you." Yixing stood up. "By the way, what time would the others come back? We still have a lot to do before the event tonight."
The EVP had yet to recover from Yixing's answer that it took him a few moments to understand the guy's question. He shook his head and sighed. He knew he should always be on his toes when it came to Zhang Yixing. But the man somehow always caught him unaware. "They'd be back in an hour or two. Lu Han and Kyungsoo would be in before noon for a last rehearsal."
Yixing nodded and walked closer. The taller man reached out to cover his hands which he didn't notice were fidgeting nervously with the buttons of his shirt. "Don't worry. Everything will be perfect."
"Well, I certainly hope so."
Yixing leaned in to give him a light kiss on the cheek. "I should go home for a bit and freshen up. You should, too."
"Yes, okay," he answered with a nod. He wasn't used to this caring side of the Evil Manager so not knowing what else to do, he impulsively gave him quick peck on the lips.
Yixing's face was blank before he burst into a short laugh. He unexpectedly gathered Junmyeon into a hug and rested his chin against the EVP's shoulder. "We weren't able to go to that movie date last week. But tomorrow, when the showcase is over, we'll go. Just the two of us. This Sunday, I'll be all yours."
The shorter male grinned into Yixing's neck. He knew that it was near impossible for Yixing to keep his word. After the showcase there would be promotions and a whole lot of other things to take care of. They'd both be too busy. Despite that, the thought behind the promise made Junmyeon's heart jump crazily in his chest.
There would still be a lot of Sundays for them anyway. They'd find time soon.
"Just this Sunday, Manager Zhang?" he asked teasingly.
He could practically hear Yixing roll his eyes. Junmyeon was about to step back when the manager held onto him tighter. It was actually good because his knees rapidly turned to jelly when Yixing whispered, "Everyday. I'll be all yours everyday."
Lu Han grudgingly woke up to the sound of a camera shutter. He sat up in bed and rubbed his left eye while his right one opened to search for the source of the sound. His gaze landed on a silver haired guy sitting on the foot of the bed. There was a huge camera blocking the upper part of his face but Lu Han would know that half smile anywhere, most specially because those same lips were the ones that kissed him goodnight just hours before.
Another click shook the last remnants of sleep from his mind. He felt a split second of panic as he realized he must look a fright. His hands automatically came up to touch his disheveled blonde hair but stopped when he saw Sehun put down the camera. Right. This was his Oh Sehun and Lu Han could be himself.
Instead of fixing his appearance, Lu Han scratched his tummy and gave the photographer a questioning glance. Sehun chuckled and stood to get a food-laden tray from the bedside table. He moved closer to where Lu Han was sitting and placed it on his lap.
"Eat," he said before he sat down, his knees bumping into Lu Han's leg. "You have to have energy for the day ahead."
Lu Han nodded and started to eat quietly. He wasn't really a morning person. Besides his manager, he also wasn't used to another man giving him breakfast. He eyed the younger guy as he bit into a toast. Sehun was still in the blue shirt and acid-washed jeans he was wearing last night when he dropped by at KSE and insisted on taking Lu Han home. Yixing was still stuck in a meeting and Lu Han was already dead on his feet so he accepted. They had to be careful about being tailed by the fans but thankfully they were able to get to his house without trouble.
They have not seen each other that much after the last day of the album photoshoot so he was happy with the short time they could squeeze in to be together. Lu Han thought it a bit frustrating since their relationship was fairly new and he wanted to spend time with Sehun but he knew they couldn't have that right now. They made do with frequent phone calls and messages. They weren't nearly enough but Lu Han would take what he could. Because any connection with the photographer made him feel free. When Sehun said his name, he could breathe.
Lu Han had tried to make the most out of the few hours they have before he would have to go back to being the Angel of the East. He didn't care if he appeared too needy when he asked Sehun to stay the night with open-mouthed kisses, distracting the photographer until they were in his bedroom and couldn't possibly refuse. The singer wanted to forget everything for a while and just lose himself in their embrace. He was so tired yet he couldn't waste this chance to get closer with Sehun.
He sometimes felt scared of how he quite easily gave himself to the other man and let him know all there was to know about the real Lu Han. They've met just a little over two months ago yet here he was baring everything (not to mention his y body) to the younger male. It was just that it felt so natural to hand over himself and let Sehun look into his soul.
And maybe that was why Oh Sehun could read him so effortlessly because after letting Lu Han take the lead when they got into his bed, the taller guy had pushed him on his back and slowly disentangled their limbs from each other.
"You need to sleep," Sehun had said with a gentle pat on his cheek.
Lu Han had frowned in annoyance because the look in Sehun's eyes meant he would brook no argument. "You'd rather sleep than have this?" he asked, gesturing to himself.
Sehun laughed, a rare sight that considerably cooled down Lu Han's ire. "I'd rather you have enough rest for your performance tomorrow."
"Of course you'd think about that at a time like this," Lu Han muttered. He to his side, pushing Sehun's hand away. "We barely see each other as it is."
Sehun leaned down until he could kiss the singer's ear. "You don't have to be like this." Then he turned Lu Han's head so he could look straight at him. "I'm not going anywhere."
Lu Han didn't know that he needed to hear those words until Sehun uttered them. He still hadn't said it out loud but at that moment he fell for Oh Sehun once again. "I really hate you, you know that?"
With another laugh, Sehun had pulled him up and led him to the bathroom so he could scrub himself clean. Afterwards, they fell exhausted on the bed. They lay next to each other, Lu Han spooning Sehun, his arm wound tightly around the taller man's waist, holding him close to his body. He believed Sehun when he said he wasn't going anywhere. Lu Han was just making sure he didn't.
"I make a great cook," Sehun said over a mouthful of bacon and toast, pulling Lu Han's mind back to the present.
Lu Han gave a non-commital grunt in reply. He received an indignant pinch to his arm. He retaliated with a chuck to Sehun's chin. The younger guy laughed and Lu Han thought it was nice that he could make him laugh. It felt nice to do something for Sehun, too.
"Hurry up now. You still have rehearsals." The photographer picked up his camera and browsed through the pictures.
"I'm nervous," Lu Han blurted out. Well, he just had to say that didn't he? He lifted the tray and put it back on top of the bedside table, head bowed down to hide his embarrassment.
"I appreciate you confiding in me but I need to tell you this." Sehun scooted nearer. He then nudged the singer's cheek with his nose until Lu Han was forced to look at his face. "You don't have any reason to be. You're Lu Han."
The Angel of the East never cried but the sincerity in Sehun's eyes was making Lu Han want to. So before he made a fool of himself and go all teary and sappy, the singer crossed his arms over his chest and smirked, "You're just saying that because you obviously want the goods."
Sehun gave a sharp bark of laughter. The older guy tried to act affronted but the other guy looked dumb with his eyes disappearing into crescents and his mouth stretched wide into a silly grin that Lu Han couldn't hold his frown.
"Fishing for compliments are we?" the younger man asked with a teasing smile.
Lu Han just shrugged. It was true. He was.
"Here," Sehun said as he showed him the screen of his camera. The singer gasped with what he saw. Lu Han knew he looked bad in the mornings but he never thought he looked this terrible. On the screen was a picture of him sleeping, mouth hanging open, nostrils dilated, blonde hair sticking out in all directions--and was that drool?
"You're so beautiful," Sehun said solemnly with his deep voice.
He was ready to hit the guy on the head for lying to him--how could he even call that beautiful? However, when he glanced up, he saw that Sehun was absolutely serious. There definitely was no other way to respond to that except--
"You get lifetime supply of the goods."
Then Lu Han was on top of Sehun, kissing him for all he was worth. He rejoiced with every gasp and moan he was able to wrench out of the other guy with his hands and his mouth. Inside him was a crazy mixture of happiness, hope, and to hell with it, love. And he wanted Sehun to feel every one of those emotions.
"You know," Sehun said breathlessly in between kisses. "I just realized I could actually blackmail you for real now."
Lu Han stopped nipping on Sehun's ears and straightened. "What?" he asked in disbelief.
Sehun sat up as well until the singer ended up straddling his lap. Lu Han was a bit distracted by the warm hand drawing circles on his bare thigh exposed by the gray boxers he was wearing so he wasn't sure if he heard it right.
"Blackmail. I can release these photos to the press."
He did hear it correctly.
Strangely, even if Sehun was obviously just fooling around, the thought of having people see the Lu Han in those photographs didn't bother him as much as it did before. He pursed his lips, deciding to let Sehun have fun with his silly threat. "You already have the goods for life. What more do you want?"
Oh Sehun leaned in and dropped small kisses against his neck while his hands started to Lu Han's loose white shirt. He paused when he reached the fourth button then let his right hand slide right inside, palm warm againt the skin below Lu Han's left collarbone, over his thundering heart. "This."
Lu Han's throat felt clogged and tight and , why did this stupid guy have to say that now? He already loved him so much as it was.
"Fine," Lu Han answered grudgingly. He tried to hide how much he was touched with a shove to Sehun's shoulder. "It's yours."
"Lu Han, I love--"
Lu Han didn't give Sehun an opportunity to say more as he claimed his lips. They only had half an hour left before he had to leave for the final rehearsal. Who had time for words when they could say the same things with long and endless kisses instead?
I love you, too.
Kris warily looked down at the thing Tao just handed him. It was yellow, pink, bright and disgustingly sparkly. He wanted to throw it as far away from him as possible, but he didn't think Tao would like that so he controlled the urge. "Uh, what is this?"
He was standing by the doorway of Tao's house. The bodyguard asked Kris to come pick him up from there but to leave his own car behind. That didn't make sense but he went anyway. It wasn't as if Kris would pass up a chance to be with him.
The younger boy took his time checking the schedule on his tablet before he answered. "It's a lightstick."
A lightstick. Great. But-- "What do I need it for?"
"You're going to come with me to the concert and I'm going to introduce you to my boss," the bodyguard replied, attention once again on what he was doing.
That still didn't answer his question about the lightstick. The blonde guy's brows knotted, though, as his thoughts caught on what Tao just said. "Well, wouldn't that be--awkward?" He absently twirled the lightstick in his hand. "I mean, wouldn't Park Chanyeol want to punch me?"
"Do you think I'd invite you to come if I knew he would do that?"
"I don't know. Maybe?" Kris jokingly replied which earned him a withering look from the raven-haired guy.
"I told you the other night. It's okay. I already explained to them what you did to help Baekhyun out," Tao answered, exasperation clear in his tone.
Kris shook his head at himself as he watched Tao ignore him once more. He should wonder why this was okay with him but he didn't. He had to admit he was whipped. A few months ago, if people were to tell him that he'd end up like this--holding onto a ridiculously girly lightstick and waiting obediently for a guy whom he had to beg small crumbs of affection from--he would have just laughed at them and tell them they were crazy. Yet look where he was right now. When did Kris Wu become this soft, gooey, lovesick idiot? Hell, he only needed frosting on top and he'd be a goddamn cupcake.
Although he couldn't say that he wanted out. He was determined to see this relationship through. God knew how happy he was when he had opened the door ten nights ago and found Tao on his doorstep. Sure, the younger boy had said that he would come to him but Kris wasn't able to take an easy breath until Tao was actually inside his house. He wasn't expecting the guy to look troubled, though.
Tao had told him that Byun Baekhyun already knew about the agreement between Kris and Park Chanyeol. The president's assistant was worried that Baekhyun would take it badly and would get upset at both him and Park. Kris didn't have a lot of friends and couldn't quite get why Tao was getting worked up about Baekhyun getting mad. What he did understand was the idea of not wanting to lose something. That thought had been on his mind almost from the first moment he met Huang Zitao, when he realized he wanted to the guy for himself.
Contrary to how he was acting lately, Kris was not stupid. He wasn't as unscrupulous as the shrewd senior Wu but he was still his father's son. So while attempting to comfort Tao, he also tried to downplay his role in all of this lest the other guy remember and promptly decide to dump him. Or worse end his life.
Still no amount of reassurance could calm Tao mostly because he couldn't contact his boss. Kris knew it was awful of him but--through the other's agitated pacing across his living room floor--the blonde guy had remained seated on the couch, forcing himself to conceal the satisfied grin that had threatened to split his face in half. He did feel sorry. However, he was still insanely caught up with the fact that Tao came to him.
It was already past midnight when Tao had finally received a call from Park Chanyeol. The younger guy's expression had turned grave as the phone call progressed. When it ended, Tao sat down beside Kris and leaned his head tiredly against the back of the couch.
"What happened?" Kris asked.
"I was right. Baekhyun heard us and he got angry at Chanyeol. He left," Tao explained with a deep sigh.
"That's, uh, bad," he replied haltingly. Kris saw a faint glimmer of amusement in the quirk of Tao's sensual mouth when the guy turned his head to look at him.
"Yes, Kris Wu, it's bad." Tao rolled his eyes and hit Kris lightly on the shoulder. "You have got to be the most emotionally handicapped person I have ever met."
"What does that even mean?" Kris asked, puzzled--more than a little distracted by the proximity of Tao's perfect bow-shaped upper lip.
"It means you're so unfeeling. Insensitive." Tao closed his eyes so he didn't see the frown that creased Kris' brows. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, though. Of course Kris Wu's too busy thinking about himself to care about what others are feeling."
Insensitive? Unfeeling? Kris felt offended. He admitted he was cold and detached most of the time yet he was anything but that to Huang Zitao. He was trying here, the younger boy ought to see that by now. It had been hours since the guy came into his house and Kris still hadn't jumped him because he saw Tao was clearly overwrought.
However if restraint caused Tao to think he was unfeeling he had to do something about that. Kris reached out for the guy’s hand and placed it against his neck, over the heavily throbbing pulse there. Tao's eyelids opened and Kris peered intently at the dark orbs trained on him. "It has been like this since this afternoon. Actually, it has been like this since you body slammed me into my car. I have been feeling... A lot of things. With anything that has to do with you." Kris came closer. "You can't tell me I'm insensitive because I assure you, I'm--it is very sensitive right now."
Tao just stared up at him. Kris hoped the guy wasn't thinking of cutting off any part of his body. He was surprised when a hand curled around his nape and pulled him down. Kris braced his arms on either side of Tao's hips, effectively trapping the younger man beneath him.
"This is only happening because I'm letting it happen. Not because you wanted it to."
Kris was already familiar with those words. He didn't have any qualms at all. For even if it was in a roundabout way, it meant that Tao wanted him, too.
He remembered the frantic shedding of clothes, the roving kisses, the provocative caresses--Okay. Okay. Stop. Kris was getting dizzy as his blood ruthlessly rushed downward. He had to will away those tempting images because the doorway wasn't the place and now wasn't the time, especially when the object of his fantasies was currently giving his dazed expression a judging look.
"You done?" Kris asked, clearing his throat because it suddenly felt dry.
Tao didn't answer. He just motioned for Kris to get into the car. It wasn't until they have pulled out into the street that the taller man was able to take control of his wayward thoughts. Aiming to further distract himself, Kris got back to the subject of his impending meeting with Park Chanyeol and, possibly, Byun Baekhyun.
"It's not that I'm afraid of him--I'm not--but I still think your boss will want to punch me."
"I told you, he won't. Besides, even if he wanted to, Chanyeol wouldn't do it if you're with me."
"Perks of having a wushu god for a boyfriend," Kris said unthinkingly. Then something abruptly got stuck in his chest. Damn, did he--did he just used the b-word? He slid a glance towards Tao. The guy's face was blank. Did he even hear?
He's never used that word before--on any one of his hook ups or on any one, period. For Kris, boyfriend represented commitment and being tied down to one person. , call someone that and you're in deep . He should be out of here by now. But his well-honed anti-commitment reflex might have gotten damaged or something because instead of running away, he stayed still in the passenger seat. There was a certain contentment that settled in his gut at calling Tao that and now he was stumped by the desire to know what the younger man thought about the slip. So--
"My boyfriend, defending me from the evil President."
"Didn't really realize that my boyfriend has that much concern about me."
This time a light blush spread across Tao's cheeks.
"Do they all know I'm your boyfriend?"
He most probably sounded like a clingy sixteen year-old girl. Goddamnit, he might as well wear a skirt but he found he couldn't stop until he got a reaction. He had definitely lost his mind.
"Kris Wu. Park Chanyeol wouldn't punch you but I certainly would if you don't stop," Tao said threateningly.
"Am I not your boyfriend then?"
"Did I say that?" the bodyguard replied through gritted teeth.
"So I am."
"That lightstick you're holding? I can easily shove that up--"
"Okay, okay." Kris answered with a smirk. Everything was okay because Huang Zitao didn't say no. Although, he didn't quite like always being the submissive one in this relationship. Well, maybe except in bed, when--but he digressed. "Aren't you even a tiny bit daunted of who I am, though?" he grumbled.
There were a few moments of complete silence. Tao gave him a serious look before he returned his attention on the road. "I am, sometimes."
Kris understood that look. Tao was not referring to his position as the heir to Wu Enterprise. "I won't cheat on you," he said quietly.
For the first time, Kris saw Tao's lips curve into a real smile that was directed straight at him. "You better. Or else."
The bodyguard got distracted as he rummaged for something inside the glove compartment. Kris took the chance to again.
Kris suddenly got a face full of white paper. He barely caught them before they landed on his lap. Curious, he picked one up. Fanchant: Lucky.
"Be sure to join in--"
"Or else," Kris finished, resigned.
"Yes. Or else."
Forty-minutes left before the showcase would start.
Kim Jongin had no business lurking backstage, walking around the artists' dressing rooms, but he wanted to see Kyungsoo. He called him this morning to wish him good luck but it wasn't the same as actually seeing the singer in person. For one, he didn't think kissing his phone screen was as fun as kissing Do Kyungsoo and he so wanted to do that. He missed him.
A lot of times, Jongin had tried to free up his schedule just to be able to have time to see Kyungsoo but it was difficult. Everybody was doing their best to make this the most successful debut of the company and it seemed unfair that he would slack off when even KSE's star was working his damnedest to produce a great show, too. So Jongin consoled himself with the thought that this time at least he wasn’t thousands of miles away. Besides, he knew from the beginning that his boyfriend was a popular celebrity and that dating with him would be an exercise in patience and restraint. It would be difficult but Kyungsoo was worth it.
He believed it was worth it every time he heard the older guy’s voice on the phone, singing him a line or two before he went to sleep. It was worth it when he saw Kyungsoo’s posters all over the city. There was profound pride when he saw that heart-shaped smile charming everyone, making people stop and take a few seconds off their busy lives to stare. There was an infinite joy in knowing that no matter how many of them wanted him for themselves, Kyungsoo was his.
He would be happier, though, if he found him right now.
He saw his cousin Junmyeon give a pep talk to the back-up dancers once he got backstage. He also caught sight of Manager Zhang talking with Lu Han. But there was still no sign of Kyungsoo.
Thirty minutes! someone shouted.
Jongin unconsciously turned to the source of the sound. He saw a flash of red hair before he got the full impact of Do Kyungsoo in his sparkly black jacket and sinfully skinny jeans and just—Wow.
“Jongin? What are you doing here?” Kyungsoo asked, walking towards him.
He wished he had been coherent enough to say, “You look perfect!” but at that instant, Jongin’s brain seemed to have abandoned him and all that came out was a very intense, “Woah.”
The shorter boy grinned in amusement, reaching for his hand after hitting him playfully in the stomach. “Are you supposed to be here?”
“No,” Jongin answered. He supposed since his brain already went MIA, he wouldn’t be held responsible for his next actions. Right? He could blame it on Kyungsoo and his perfection. The singer was about to reply when Jongin dragged him behind numerous racks of clothing—way behind until the racket at the backstage was but a faint hum in their ears. Then there was just the two of them. Finally. Finally.
“I know now is not the time but—“ Jongin was cut off by a soft mouth closing over his. Two small hands were drawing him closer and closer until there was only space for short breaths and fervent interlocking of lips.
No time, no time, no time but the kiss went on.
Reality intruded in the form of a pained gasp when Jongin inadvertently backed Kyungsoo hard against a rack and the shorter boy accidentally bit Jongin’s lower lip. The taller boy stepped back, his expression contrite. “Sorry?”
"It’s okay.” Kyungsoo smiled and let himself be pulled into the Jongin’s arms. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too.” Jongin gave him a peck on the top of his head.
He was most probably messing up Kyungsoo’s clothes, as well as his make-up, but it really felt good to hug him. Two minutes, he told himself. I’ll let go in two minutes.
“I came here to wish you good luck.”
Kyungsoo looked up at him. “Just that?”
“That and—I love you.”
“Better.” Kyungsoo sighed happily. “I’m really glad you’re here this time.”
“I promised you, didn’t I? I’d be there in all of your performances—”
“In every backstage, too?”
“Well, yeah. And I’ll always be in the front row seats cheering for you. I want to be there every time you sneeze and every time you laugh and every time you—“ Jongin knew he was rambling but he needed for the other to know how much he meant to keep his promise and how much Kyungsoo meant to him. “And if you’ll let me, I want to be there beside you when you fall asleep and be the first person you’ll see when you wake up.”
They both froze. That last part. He had not thought about that part yet. Yet once the idea took root, he could no longer shake it off. What if? What if?
Jongin’s brain came marching back with a vengeance.
The images hit him a mile a minute. Waking up to Kyungsoo in his embrace, his ring on his childhood friend’s finger, his name permanently entwined with his—the sudden awareness of his desire for those things was startling in its clarity.
The possibilities, they kept on running around and around inside his head. While he was still reeling from the realization, Kyungsoo had already recovered from the unexpected proposal and was now looking at him with adoring eyes.
And was asking Jongin if he wanted to get into his pants.
“I’m not sure if I understand what you’re trying to tell me but... Are you saying you want to get into my pants?”
What? Jongin sputtered a quick denial. “No!” He meant something else!
"So you’re saying you don’t want to?”
"I do!" He scrambled for the right words to explain yet he couldn't find them. He had to make him understand, he thought in a panic. This was important. He had to. He should—
Then he saw that Kyungsoo had that glint in his eyes. How could he tease Jongin at a time like this? "Kyungsoo."
"Jongin," Kyungsoo replied, imitating his exasperated tone. "Let's discuss this when I have looser pants."
"Do Kyungsoo," he whined.
Kyungsoo chuckled. The singer tiptoed and wrapped his arms around Jongin's neck. "Anything you ask, the answer is—"
Fifteen minutes! someone yelled.
"Oops, got to go." A quick kiss and the guy was out of his arms, walking away.
Yes. He was about to say yes, right?
Jongin wanted to run after him and maybe run away with him. How could Kyungsoo leave him hanging like that? Then he remembered he wasn't even supposed to be backstage, let alone proposing out of the blue. At that, Jongin laughed at himself. What did you do to me? he asked Kyungsoo's retreating back.
He shook his head. It didn't matter though. He'd gladly accept whatever Kyungsoo planned to do with him.
Jongin went back inside the concert hall to join the group of people occupying the front seats. He smiled as he saw Kyungsoo's parents sitting beside Grandma Park. There was also his friend Tao and a blonde man (who looked as if he wanted to be anywhere else but here). A few chairs down and there was Chanyeol who was holding the hand of an excited looking Byun Baekhyun. Sehun was sitting a seat away from Baekhyun, saving the empty spot for Jongin. He made his way towards them and sat on the vacant seat. Baekhyun instantly beamed at him and handed him a lightstick.
Jongin leaned in and whispered a heartfelt thank you into Baekhyun's ear. He was grateful for his friend. He helped Jongin confront his feelings and admit that he was a Starling. He was about to say more when Baekhyun was abruptly yanked away by a disgruntled-looking Chanyeol.
"Hey, Kkamjong, get your own," the taller man said and it was all Jongin could do not to put his arms around Baekhyun's shoulders just to rile him further.
I have my own, Jongin mused contentedly.
Not long after, the lights dimmed, and the stage came alive. Out came Lu Han and Do Kyungsoo and the crowd went wild. Jongin waved his lightstick and cheered unashamedly, beating even Baekhyun’s high-pitched yells of Do Kyungsoo.
He might have imagined it but he thought he saw his Star throw a smile in his direction. In that second, Jongin was totally sure Kyungsoo would've said yes earlier.
They would have a lifetime together to look forward to and he couldn't wait for the showcase to end so they could get started.
Adrenaline was still pumping strongly through his veins and Kim Minseok didn’t anticipate the moment it would stop. He was feeling hyper and he never wanted the night to end. To say the showcase was a success was a veritable understatement.
Their name fit the two singers perfectly: The Heavens. The Angel and the Star illuminated the four corners of the auditorium with their brilliant moves and stunning voices. It was spectacular and loud and incredible. It was magic. The bright lights, the resonant thumping of the drums, the fanchants—everything would be ingrained deeply into his memory. He was proud to be a part of it all.
He had wanted to cry in his seat when Lu Han and even Do Kyungsoo thanked the Sweetest during the encore. His idol also mentioned his name. All the effort it took to get there—the long, long hours they kept to prepare for this event—paid off.
Minseok knew that he couldn’t have done it without the equally-hyper boy sitting beside him outside the concert hall stairs. They must be a sight—two boys in bright yellow and sparkling pink shirts, laughing and flailing about. Everyone already went home but they remained. Both loathed to leave the madness behind. They knew it was far from the last performance (they already have the duo’s full list of schedules) but this night was different. The Sweetest president could feel it.That charged atmosphere was still in the air. He was uncertain where it was coming from this time. He’d like to figure it out but he was getting distracted by Kim Jongdae who kept hitting his arm with every sentence or so.
“The song nearly gave me a heart attack!”Twack! “It was awesome recorded but the live… The live…Oh, god!”Twack! “Did you hear Kyungsoo’s falsetto?”Twack! “And the encore!”Twack!
He caught Jongdae’s hand so he would stop but the guy just ended up holding on to Minseok’s wrist and waggling his whole arm.
“This has got to be the best concert ever!”Jongdae exclaimed with a particularly violent swish of his limb, almost hitting Minseok in the face with it.
The Sweetest president couldn’t find it in himself to pull away, though. Prez’ enthusiasm was contagious and well, the hand holding his was warm.“Yes. And every one of the next concerts would be, too!” he replied.
“Everything was really cool! And awesome and great and ugh, how to get over, man?”Jongdae paused to breathe deeply before he returned to his burbling. “Then next week, the music show performances starts and there’ll be a lot to do—oh, before I forget, please tell your secretary to see my auditor—and then the fansigns! We have to have several officers on every schedule at least. Then the—”
On and on he went. He lost Minseok somewhere between his discussion of faulty lighstick batteries and the new The Heavens calendar coming out on November. It wasn’t because he didn’t think what Prez was saying was insignificant. It was because… because… He was so cute. I’ve always thought he was cute, he told himself, puzzled. He studied Jongdae’s face. What was different?
The night sky was riddled with stars but in some way they didn’t offer enough light for him to clearly see Jongdae’s face because his mind kept telling him to Come closer. Closer.
So closer he went and he saw a lot more than he did for the past three months that he had been with the Head Starling. Yes, Jongdae always had expressive eyes but a closer inspection showed him the tiny wrinkles at the corners, a sign of constant cheerfulness and laughter. His nose wasn’t out of the ordinary. They scrunched just fine. His lips? They were really, um, really—what would they feel like?
He didn’t know what happened. Minseok just felt an invisible force pulling him in—actually, more like shoving him towards Kim Jongdae, because one second he was vaguely contemplating kissing him and the next their lips were already touching. He knew it, he was too close.
It wasn’t a kiss from the movies. No, nothing like that. For one, their eyes were both very much open and wide with horror and surprise (and okay, maybe a little bit of thrill). Second, there was no music, just silence (Minseok actually managed to shut Jongdae up). And to top it all,there were no sparks.
Because a spark was just a small, short pulse that would be gone just as fast it came and what Minseok felt as he kissed Jongdae was anything but. He pulled away and he completely understood that Jongdae—it was from him the magic was coming from.
Kim Jongdae gaped at Minseok as if he was demented. “You kissed me.”
That was when the hard and fast hammering started in his chest. “Yeah, it was just a thank you… for the… everything and. Thanks. I mean.”
“You kissed me.”
“You want to do it again?” he blurted out. Was this actually happening? he asked himself but he was by this time leaning in again and tilting his head.
He saw Jongdae nod but his progress was halted when the other guy said, “Starling is still the best fan club.”
That wasn’t right. Minseok shook his head. “No, the Sweetest is.”
They glowered at each other and it was silly. A hush. More glowering. And just like that moment when President Park stuck the sticker in the middle of the board, both of them burst out laughing.
Although they stopped when Minseok dove in to claim that interrupted kiss. He might not be able to again, he figured, so he might as well. However, he felt Jongdae kiss him back. It was a fluke. A miracle. Magic.
They broke the kiss and after staring woozily at Jongdae, Minseok stood up. If they went through with this, he realized theirs would not be an easy relationship. But what the heck, he loved challenges. “I’ll walk you home,” he said as he held out his hand.
Jongdae hesitated a bit but he took it. “I have a car.”
Joey let out a gentle purr as Chanyeol drove them home. He gave Baekhyun a sideway glance. His pup was playing with his lighstick, a tender smile painted on his lips. He wasn’t used to the guy being this quiet. They’ve been on the road for some time and Baekhyun had yet to speak. “What are you thinking? You’re so quiet.”
“I was just thinking that a tragedy can strike and ruin everything in one day but a lot of wonderful things can occur in 24 hours, too.” Baekhyun looked contemplative. “Just like today. So many great things happened and I want to replay them over and over again so I won’t forget a single detail.”
“Are you going to go all dramatic on me?” Chanyeol asked. He quickly got a poke on his side in reply. Baekhyun was right, though. A lot of great things did happen today.
First, he woke up to an armful of Byun Baekhyun, snuggling against him in bed. But that was a given. Splendid things always happened when they were in bed. Chanyeol snickered. But yes, on to other great things.
He received a message from his father that they would be home two days from now. They would have attended the showcase but their flight back from New York was delayed due to the bad weather over there. He couldn’t wait for them to meet Baekhyun. They were in for the shock of their lives. Chanyeol was confident though that they’d love him just as much as he did.
Then there was the actual showcase. He was nervous. If you were the interim President and a lot of people were counting on you—who wouldn’t be? He had confidence in both Lu Han and Kyungsoo and everyone that worked on the collaboration. Still he couldn’t completely stop the jitters. Good thing he was surrounded by the people he loved the most, each one in turn giving him encouraging words.
Chanyeol didn’t expect to meet Kris Wu, and from Baekhyun’s small gasp beside him earlier, he didn’t either. Zitao had told him all about the man the day after Baekhyun returned home. He went to the house and apologized to Baekhyun for “conspiring with this incompetent person and hiding things from you.” His exact words and yes, the incompetent person was Park Chanyeol.
The tall blonde guy beside his assistant appeared intimidating but then Chanyeol saw the pink and yellow lightstick in his hand. It looked ridiculous in his grasp that it successfully drove away the awkwardness of meeting Wu. His pup was a lot more welcoming, grinning widely as he shook the guy’s hand. Chanyeol thought the blonde man fit Zitao perfectly. He appeared arrogant at first but he could see the way Kris looked at his bodyguard and all he could think of was, Damn, this guy’s totally whipped. Tao having someone else to bully could absolutely make Chanyeol’s life easier and for that he was grateful.
They didn’t discuss anything about the debt and it was alright with him. He and Baekhyun already had a very long conversation about it the other day that made Chanyeol never want to hear the word installment ever again. The pup let him continue paying for the meantime but he reiterated that it didn’t mean Baekhyun wouldn’t pay him back. The older guy would continue to work and would also go back to school to finish his degree. Then when he was done rebuilding their family business, Baekhyun would start paying Chanyeol back. It really wasn’t necessary for Baekhyun to pay him but Chanyeol understood the need to let him do it so he agreed.
They didn’t give all of that any heed during the performance, though. They let themselves get immersed with the excitement of the evening. Chanyeol had felt proud watching his artists own the stage. He also had fun watching Baekhyun own his heart as the pup screamed and cheered at the top of his lungs. Despite the fact that they were exhausted, they all survived the showcase with broad smiles and in the end everyone congratulated the young president for its success.
One of the greatest things that did happen today was when Chanyeol and Baekhyun finally arrived home and he received a surprise kiss from his stray pup just as they entered the apartment. He had to brace himself against the door as Baekhyun launched himself on Chanyeol without warning. He got deep and lingering kisses on the mouth and short and quick ones all over his face.
“I’m so proud of you,” Baekhyun murmured against his ear and Chanyeol’s heart ached. It was so stupid of him to ever deny that he loved Byun Baekhyun. How could he even think of running away from this?
Baekhyun then pulled him by the tie towards the living room and pushed him on the white couch. Expecting a lapful of his boyfriend, Chanyeol opened his arms invitingly. The shorter boy chuckled and promptly strode away, leaving him baffled.
Baekhyun came back carrying a clear medium-sized jar and was that a potato inside? He then handed it to Chanyeol. It was indeed a potato. A white paper was taped on one side where a handwritten label could be read.
The Worst Potato in the World.
Do Not Eat.
“Ya, Byuntae. What’s this?”
“A gift of course. Congratulations for today!” Baekhyun said impishly. For Chanyeol, his smile will forever be brighter than any lightstick.
Chanyeol sighed, pretending annoyance. “I don’t know whether I should be angry or happy.”
Baekhyun took the jar and put it atop the coffee table before he dumped himself on the taller guy’s arms. “Of course you should be happy!” He leaned his forehead against Chanyeol’s. “Because I come with the jar. It’s a package deal.”
“You for me?” At the pup’s nod, Chanyeol held him tighter. “Yeah. Best deal ever.”