014

Iris

Flickering fingers drumming and ricocheting hard against the glossy wooden table and on knees with impatient pupils and eyeballs flashing to clock faces and ticking wristwatches between bouncing legs and nervous paper shuffling. Exhale through the nose, adjust hair out of eyes, shoot a look back to the clock and over at the lawyer’s sagging mouth. Jongin’s father notices his son’s antsy demeanor through the lawyer’s dreary monotone as he reads the terms of the contract and a worried cloud puffs up within him as he wonders why.

12:52 PM.

Finally, he’s too wound up to pay attention or care anymore so Jongin’s stern voice cuts through the boring drab. “--I’m very sorry for interrupting and being rude but I have somewhere else to be. Can we resume this at another time?” he tries to request as politely as possible, getting up from his seat.

“Where do you have to be that’s more important than inheriting the hospital?” his father asks, curious and concerned about his son. Everyone knows that Jongin’s life has always revolved around his job at the hospital so it’s surprisingly to learn that there is indeed something more important.

“I promised that I’d go with Kyungsoo to his prenatal today,” he blurts in a rush as he’s buttoning his coat and exiting the room in crisp strides.

And the lawyer is sitting there with a confused expression peeking through his oversized glasses with its thick lens as Jongin’s father smiles proudly to himself (and the thought that his son must take after him and not that evil woman encapsulating his brain).

There’s his roaring car engine purring in his ears as he’s breaking speed limits and suddenly yellow street lights mean ‘go faster!’ as Jongin’s zooming through the city with an injection of adrenaline and anxiety coursing through his veins. He needs to make it to the appointment. He definitely needs to, not for himself but for Kyungsoo. It’s the thought that he’s going to disappoint Kyungsoo again that is really powering him through this as his eyes shoot over to the clock again.

1:04 PM.

. Jongin urgently pats his pockets with a hand while keeping the other fastened around the steering wheel, attempting to find his mobile phone. It’s then that he realizes that it’s missing from his possession as he curses under his breath because--

Kyungsoo’s sitting anxiously in their private hospital room with Jongin’s mobile phone in his clammy hands, having found it this morning on his bedside table when he was replacing his sheets. He gazes worriedly at it, knowing that he won’t be able to inquire about Jongin’s tardiness with his phone not on him. He thinks to scroll through his contacts though, finding his parents-in-laws’ home phone number in the address book.

“Hello?”

“Oh, father-in-law? Is Jongin there?” Kyungsoo asks nervously.

“He just left. He’s driving so he should be there in less than twenty minutes,” comes the response.

Kyungsoo hangs up with a sigh just as the doctor is coming in and he proceeds with an uneasy smile, somewhat cursing the fact that he always receives immediate attention when he’s at the hospital because he wants to wait for his spouse.

Jongin’s speeding down the streets and dodging cars like a bad video game when his body abruptly jolts in a painful shockwave. There’s an incessant flapping sound outside as his car slows down and he’s mentally begging it not to be what he thinks it is. He pulls over on the side of the road, fuming and spilling cuss words all the while getting out to check his tires.

It’s flat.

What a lovely day to have gone too fast over a pothole.

He takes a quick breath in, running his hands through his hair as his mind goes into overdrive, simulating different plans of action through his urgency. He calculates that it’ll take way too long to trek back to his parents’ house to borrow their car and he can’t make any calls without his phone. He has enough focus to lock his car before sprinting with all of his might down the sidewalk, wind racing through his hair as he zooms around corners and pushes passed surprised pedestrians.  

Five more miles until he reaches the hospital.

1:38 PM.

There’s a gloomy aura of rain surrounding Kyungsoo as he’s shuffling out of the hospital room with his prescription for prenatal vitamins and a heavy heart. His eyes are fixed on the clean floors though, a bout of depression hitting him hard. Jongin had said that he would try his best to come and if he’s not at his parents’ house then where is he? The possibility of a car accident sprays into his eyelids and there’s a painful stab in his gut as Kyungsoo becomes washed with concern about Jongin’s safety and whereabouts. What if he’s hurt? What if his car broke down and he’s not able to contact anyone?

It’s a pat on his shoulder from behind that has him jumping off of the ground in surprise before turning to see a creepily large grin on his shoulder and Baekhyun’s face to the side of that grin. Chanyeol continues to breathe into Kyungsoo’s face, fanning his eyebrows and eyelashes in a too-close-for-comfort way but he’s  unmoving as Kyungsoo stares up his nostrils with his enlarged eyes.

“What a coincidence! Are you here for prenatal too, Kyungsoo?” Baekhyun chirps cheerfully, tilting his head in joy and smiling brightly.

“Uh, yeah,” Kyungsoo mumbles quietly, taking a stiff step back from Chanyeol and glancing around.

Baekhyun’s happy expression smears a bit when he starts to notice his friend’s fidgeting and the face he knows all too well as the one that is overly devoted to a lost cause. His eyes and lips narrow into a hard line before he asks the question he already knows the answer to, “Is Jongin not here with you?”

Kyungsoo’s too quick to deny the situation, trying to cover up the tattered holes with shaking fingers and transparent lace. “He’s just late...”

There’s a flicker of something scary on Baekhyun’s face as starts to walk away, unwilling to listen to Kyungsoo’s pathetic excuses and attempts at trying to protect someone Baekhyun deems as unworthy. “Wait in front of the hospital while I pull the car around and we’ll give you a ride home, Kyungsoo.”

Chanyeol casts an apologetic glance at Kyungsoo before following his partner out the door and to the parking garage. It’s here, alone and in front of the hospital, where Kyungsoo is still trying to reel in that string of hope with Jongin attached at the end but the threads are ripping and pulling apart much faster than he imagined and there’s barely anything left.

Even though their relationship has been going well lately, Kyungsoo can’t stop the insecurities from climbing out of the menacing gorges and consuming him again. It seems like the physical attention he’s been getting is merely a temporary cure, something to sate the monster that continues to grow within him at a frightening and unprecedented rate, before it starts to gnaw at his bones.

And he’s scared.

Truly scared of what could possibly happen when it eats his organs, taking with it his heart and, most importantly,

his love for Jongin.

“Kyungsoo!” Suho greets from nearby, eyes shining and lovely. He’s not in his doctor’s coat and Kyungsoo assumes that he’s just about to start his work shift.

“Suho, nice to see you,” Kyungsoo replies half-heartedly, eyes scurrying around the surrounding area and trying not to appear shaken by his current situation but it’s really tearing him apart.

“What’s wrong?” Suho inquires, voice low and soothing after picking up on Kyungsoo’s nervousness.

The thing that Kyungsoo wants the most right now is attention-- love, care-- no, something-- anything so his voice starts to crack. “Er, just--” and tears spring to his eyes as he feels his body trembling from the emotional weight. He’s doing his best to urge them to stop because he shouldn’t be crying in public and especially not in front of Suho.

But Suho sees his distress and doesn’t ask any questions as he simply pulls him into an embrace, trying to squeeze reassurance and security into him because he knows that Kyungsoo isn’t getting enough.

“It’s going to be alright. I’m right here,” Suho whispers into his hair tenderly.

The tears start to spill from the comforting words and, as he’s crying, he keeps wishing that Jongin was the one who had said them instead. His breath is coming out hot and labored as the sobs choke his lungs and all he wants right now is for the pain to go away so he wraps his arms around Suho’s body hesitantly--

--just as Jongin arrives at the hospital, out of breath with sweat thoroughly saturating his clothes and continuing to gush like streams and rivers down from his pores. Hands on his burning and trembling knees, he continues to look on at the scene. There’s a wave of incompetence that almost forces him down onto the pavement. He’s always been able to obtain whatever he’s wanted if he put in enough effort but, this time effort wasn’t enough. It’s breaking his heart to see Suho and Kyungsoo together once again.

But this time is different.

Because for Suho and Kyungsoo, the first time was a mistake, the second time an accident, and the third time a of raw emotion.

And Jongin wants to cry in frustration because it obviously looks like he’s easily replaced by Suho in Kyungsoo’s heart.

 

-----


“Kyungsoo, are you magical?” Chanyeol sings merrily as he’s running his feet along the ultra-shiny hardwood floors in his socks as if he’s ice-skating. “Why isn’t our house like this?”

“Just hurry and go to the bathroom!” Baekhyun snaps angrily, his hormones making him a tad emotionally unstable. That, coupled with the fact that he strongly disapproves of Kyungsoo and Jongin’s relationship has him in an aggressive mood. What the hell could Kyungsoo possibly see in that bastard?

Shifting out of his fuming state momentarily, Baekhyun stares at the floorboards for a second before taking a couple of hesitant steps out onto the slipperiness and almost falls on his face. “This is dangerous, Kyungsoo!” he exclaims, arms out on both sides of his body for balance as he carefully treks into the foyer of the house.

“Jongin’s been home more lately so I’ve been trying to keep the house extra clean,” Kyungsoo explains quietly, removing his shoes and turning on the lights.

There’s an eerie kind of gurgling tension around them before Baekhyun hisses, “Jongin this, Jongin that. You’ve already forgiven him for ditching you today? This isn’t even the first time.”

The icy chill storming through the atmosphere has Kyungsoo frozen like an iceberg and he knows that he should be careful of where he places his words, sweat starting to pool on his brow from the confrontation he expects is coming. “H-he forgot his phone at home today. Maybe something happened to him while he was driving to the hospital...”

“You’re still defending him? Why are you so stupid, Kyungsoo? They say love is blind but you’re deaf and insane too!” Baekhyun asserts, his voice gradually growing louder and more irritated by the situation. “That no-good son of a doesn’t do anything but hurt you! He’s always taking advantage of you and you let him! You let him walk all over you!”

And it’s not as if he really wants to hurt Kyungsoo but after so many years of watching his best friend be filled with hope only to get mercilessly crushed again and again is killing him. He can’t stand by and watch quietly anymore and, as a good friend, it’s his responsibility to open Kyungsoo’s eyes and make him understand that love doesn’t work this way. He’s in an unhealthy relationship and everyone knows it.

“Baekhyun, please don’t insult Jongin. He’s a good person,” Kyungsoo murmurs, not wanting to escalate matters by shouting back at Baekhyun about how he’s wrong because--

maybe he’s right.

This unreasonable request sends Baekhyun’s flurry of rage rolling and spiraling into a deadly whirlwind, taking with it the souls in the room and all self-restraint. “You--! Do you really think he’s in love with you? You’ve got to be kidding, Kyungsoo! It’s only because you’re pregnant with his child now that he even spares you a second glance! That er only pities you!” Baekhyun screams and Kyungsoo feels a nerve within him splitting and splintering into a million pieces because--

Isn’t it all true?

There were rare and far-between occasions where Jongin was kind to him but isn’t it a fact that he wasn’t truly nice to him until he found out that he was pregnant? Because in Kyungsoo’s mind, he’s always known.

He’s always known that Jongin only pities him.

But, if you deny a thought long enough, does it disappear?

The tears are hiding in the pockets of his eyelids again, waiting to torture him, and Kyungsoo’s petrified. Despite knowing how Jongin feels about him deep inside, hearing someone else say it makes it so much more real, so much more painful. He doesn’t want to acknowledge it. He’s never wanted to acknowledge it; the unsettling insecurity that he’s been trying to slam into the gutter and wash away but it keeps coming back to skitter through his flesh and taint his heart.

Chanyeol returns from the bathroom in time to catch the end of the conversation and immediately tries to manhandle his husband away by the ribcage, dragging him towards the door. “Baekhyun, stop it! Don’t say those things to Kyungsoo!”

“Why not? It’s completely true and you know it! He knows it too! He’s just too ing stupid!” Baekhyun shrieks as he’s being hauled away from a paralyzed Kyungsoo.

Chanyeol clamps a large hand over his spouse’s lips and shoots an apprehensive look over at his friend. “Sorry, the little alien makes Baekhyun moody. He didn’t mean it, really. See you later,” Chanyeol laughs nervously as he grabs Baekhyun’s shoes and slams the door shut behind him.

Kyungsoo’s so struck by the venomous words that the tears won’t even fall at this point. He can only stand there in the middle of the foyer for what feels like a living hell sneaking in between the intervals between ticking seconds. Maybe it’s been hours since he’s moved before a trembling hand comes to nudge at his cheek, trying to force himself to smile but his muscles won’t obey. He lets out a hot puff of air through his shaking frame and somehow he finds himself in his bedroom staring at Jonginnie.

There’s an incredible heaviness weighing him down and it’s crushing his heart with its death grip, the vicious and unrelenting nails of depression that he’s been experiencing for the last few weeks raking him raw. There’s a smudge of hope still left though, having escaped from the apocalypse occurring in his mind by hiding behind the fact that he hasn’t heard it from Jongin’s mouth.

Yet.

The sound of the front door opening downstairs has him quickly intaking a much-needed gust of air, his head starting to spin from unintentionally holding his breath. It must be Jongin who is home now and Kyungsoo wonders where he’s been but he also wants everything to end. He wants the pain to end because he’s so sick and tired of having to deal with such an exhausting life filled with mysterious unknowns.

He shuffles over to the top of the stairs and Jongin turns his head towards him from the foyer, reluctant to make eye contact. “Welcome home,” Kyungsoo mutters, trying to summon a smile to his cheeks again but it crinkles and crackles, crumpling hopelessly like paper and static because his muscles won’t respond correctly.

Jongin doesn’t say anything. He just continues to stand in the entryway with his eyes cast downwards towards the floor. His jealousy of Suho and Kyungsoo’s relationship is ravishing his soul and it’s preventing him from thinking rationally because maybe Kyungsoo really is cheating on him. Maybe Kyungsoo lied when he said that he loved him. Maybe everything is just a facade; a game put on to trick him.

The tears feel like they’re finally coming in a blizzard of emotional torment when Kyungsoo realizes that he’s not able to smile at Jongin right now like he always does. And the only question that keeps replaying in his head and tormenting his existence is--

“Do you love me, Jongin?”

It comes out as a rasp that slices the thick atmosphere like a scythe in a miasma of inkiness and fog. Jongin’s mouth opens to truthfully voice his answer but he can’t bring himself to say it in the midst of this crooked and horrible situation so he asks the question that is clawing at his heart instead.

“Why do you need my love?” when he’s the one you want...

It catches Kyungsoo off-guard and his heart is sinking and shattering into pieces of dust that get blown away. The monster is almost done eating him now as his face finally summons that grotesque smile along with a satirical tone complete with a mocking laugh at himself. “--How stupid of me. Of course you don’t--”

And just as Kyungsoo’s taking a step down the polished stairs there’s a mixture of noise and thumps as his socks slip and he tumbles down the steps and Jongin whips his head over to witness the destruction and his world is colliding with a black hole at that moment where he can only think of Kyungsoo-- only Kyungsoo because--

there’s so much destruction everywhere that he can’t think of anything else.

 


A/N: Oh geez. It wasn't intentional and I really didn't want to put it in there but there's a line that resembles Arbitrage (did you notice?!). As much as I love Arbitrage, I wanted to stay away from that one famous line but there really wasn't any other way for me to rewrite it and have the same feeling. Go read Arbitrage by fumerie!

I'm also sorry for the short chapter...

Like this story? Give it an Upvote!
Thank you!
No comments yet