Their lips brushed and he could almost taste the sweetness of his mouth as his warmth overwhelmed him. His eyes were half-shut and his mind fuzzy as if he had drunken a whole bottle of wine. But he hadn't, he was only being unsettled by the effect the other had on him. An effect he had long been fighting, but that he couldn't anymore. He inched even closer, finally removing the distance between their skin. He relished in the feeling of his mouth capturing his, a need he had forever wanted to fulfill. A moan escaped him, breathy and shallow, but resonant in their closeness.
'I just need to hear you say it,' the other repeated after letting go of him.
Jonghyun looked into his eyes, buried in the intensity piercing through them. He didn't want to fight anymore.
'I...' He inhaled. 'I lov-'
His body abruptly bent upwards as it suddenly regained its vitality. He unwillingly took in a deep breath as his lungs opened wide from the turmoil he was experiencing. It took him a while of just chest heaving and mind blanking to get back to this surroundings. His eyes registered the room he was in and his mind was instantly reminded of where he was. He sighed as he slowly made his way back to calmness and took off of himself the sheets he had been loosely wrapped in. He moved his legs to the edge of the bed and clumsily got up, weariness still latched onto him.
He took a few steps until he reached the door and walked out into the hallway, already settled on where he was heading. The kitchen was plunged in darkness and he made no effort to lighten it as he had no trouble anymore deciphering what was around him. He knew exactly where to go take what he was looking for. He had been there too many times already. Opening a particular cupboard, he reached in to take out a small glass and closed it slowly to minimize the noise as much as he could. He then reached downwards to another, place where the remedy to his woes was kept. This time what he took out was a bottle of wine, a random one, because any would do the trick. This was a secret he had been forced to carry for the last few days, but he wasn't ashamed of it anymore. He just needed it to get through his nights. He filled his glass completely and downed it in seconds, only to repeat the process a few times. He allowed himself to pause just to take in the sensation that was spreading through his body. He could feel his muscles relax, but his mind wasn't at ease just yet. It usually took him three quarters of a bottle to reach some numbness.
His arm brought the wine to his lips, but he was suddenly halted by the light abruptly uncovering him. He shut his eyes immediately, aggressed by its brightness, but rapidly blinked as to see what had caused it. When he could see again, his lips parted in surprise as he saw Minho glaring at him. The latter walked intently to him only to snatch the glass out of his hand. He then grabbed the bottle and settled them at the other end of the counter before resting his back against it. Crossing his arms, he frowned purposely as to show his blatant discontentment.
'Seriously?' he exclaimed with anger.
Jonghyun wasn't looking his way anymore, instead he directed his gaze outside, peering through the window and into the still night. He was already out of his home, he couldn't just up and leave here.
'What do you want me to say?' His voice was filled with defeat. He didn't care what his best friend could think of him anymore. He just wanted to be left alone.
'I don't want you to say anything, but I sure don't want you to be drinking!' the younger one expressed vehemently.
Jonghyun sighed. 'I couldn't sleep...'
'Drinking is not the answer. You know that, Jjong. Dammit.' He didn't sound angry anymore, just sheerly disappointed.
'So what is, Minho?' Jonghyun retorted derisively. 'What are my other options, huh?'
'Anything! Go out, run... I don't know, wake me up and talk to me or just...' He stopped himself as his expression betrayed a silenced thought.
'What?' Jonghyun inquired with dread. He had a feeling he knew what the other was going to say.
'Or just...' Minho resumed. 'Just face what it is that's going on in your mind and just deal with it,' he finally let out earnestly.
The blonde snorted. 'Yeah, sure. Thanks Minho, I'll be sure to follow your advice.'
He saw his friend's jaw clench with unmistakable irritation, but didn't let it get to him. He had enough to deal with as it was and he didn't need to be taking another person's feelings into account. May it be that it made him a bad friend at the moment, but part of him knew the other wouldn't abandon him. He at least had that confidence.
'We've been friends for a really long time, so you acting up doesn't hurt me at all and you know it. You can't expect me to not address the issue when it's tearing you apart. How long are you going to hide from this?' the brunette laid out to hopefully get his point across.
'Minho... not now,' the older one implored as he felt his head get heavy. He couldn't answer him; he just couldn't deal with things right now.
'Are you at least going to call Kibum?' Minho then questioned, resolved to get through to him.
That he had no trouble answering. 'He kicked me out, soooo... I don't think so.' This was another thing he didn't need to have brought back. Whenever his mind would descend that road, he would always see his boyfriend's cold eyes dig into his as he asked him to leave. That had only been a few days ago, but it did feel like it had happened in another life. In fact, everything was starting to feel like a distant memory, like a life he should forget.
'I would've probably done the same thing if I were him,' Minho pointed out.
Jonghyun couldn't hide his shock, but that only lasted an instant as it soon turned into a snicker.
'Wow, you finally agree with him on something.'
'Yeah, because I know how you can get it. You just shut people out and don't even consider their feelings,' Minho reprimanded as he retrieved his previous anger.
Jonghyun's face hardened. 'How dare you say that to me?' he rasped unknowingly.
Minho's gaze just shifted as he realized the weight of his words. 'Look Jjong, I'm sorry...'
'I know you care,' he continued. 'But it's just hard to deal with when you're just trying to help someone and they block you out completely. I know it must be hard for him, because it's really hard for me. And I've known you for a long time...'
Jonghyun couldn't deny the guilt that was always menacing to seize his gut any longer. He had tried to be blind to everything and everyone, but he had to face it. That wouldn't solve anything. It never did.
'I am sorry,' he finally uttered. Then, he wrapped his arms around his weakened frame, seeking some warmth.
All the thoughts he had barely managed to push away were all coming back full force. He was overwhelmed again by the rollercoaster of his emotions unravelling, but it somewhat felt relieving.
'Thanks for always being there for me,' he then added as his mind cleared with realization.
'I'll always be,' Minho reassured. He took a few steps closer, until he was right in front of him.
'I do have something to confess though, and I hope you won't be mad at me,' he revealed.
Jonghyun frowned in confusion. 'Tell me,' he immediately pressed.
'He called me,' Minho replied directly.
'Whaa...' Jonghyun uttered meekly. He didn't have to be told who to know who he was talking about. But he had to be sure. 'Who?' he voiced, eagerness blatant in his tone.
'You know who... I didn't want to let you know, because I didn't want to be involved in your affair but-'
'There is no affair,' Jonghyun interjected sharply.
Minho pursed his lips. 'If you say so,' he conceded a few seconds later. 'But, he started again. 'I can't keep it in anymore.'
'When?' Jonghyun inquired.
'When did he call?'
Jonghyun only nodded.
'Two days ago. He told me he couldn't reach you on your phone and so that's why he called me, asking if you were okay and all,' Minho explained reluctantly.
'And... that's all?' Jonghyun pursued as a sting of hope sparked his heart rate.
The younger one sighed. 'No... he... he asked me to tell you that he wanted to see you, but I said no. And then I hung up.'
'Oh...' Jonghyun let out. His nerves were pulsing with excitement; that information only had awaken him.
'He wants to see you, Jjong... And I... I think you should go see him,' Minho said to the other's outmost surprise.
'Really?' Jonghyun exclaimed. 'Why?'
'Just seeing your face lighten up just now confirms what I thought. There's just no use running away from him,' Minho exposed.
Jonghyun felt relief wash over him. In that moment, he finally allowed himself a thought towards a different outcome. Maybe things could work out.
'But, please talk to Kibum,' Minho insisted. 'I don't like the guy, but it's still unfair to treat him like this.'
With that said, guilt joined in with the relief, creating a bittersweet mixture inside him.
'I know,' he simply said before looking down to the floor.
As much as he despised himself for what he had put his boyfriend through, he couldn't ignore what he wanted. He couldn't fight it anymore.
Jinki groaned as he looked to his side, eyes stopping on the alarm clock on his nightstand. He had overslept again. It was already past noon, but he still felt tired. He rubbed his eyes weakly before straightening up, his arm hitting soft flesh in the process. He looked beside him and sighed as he saw the uncovered figure of Taemin sprawled on his bed. Fragments of the past night suddenly came back to him, making him wince from disgust. He should've never had drunk so much, but god knows he had needed it in that moment. He had been desperate for a break from his relentless mind. Taemin had provided some distraction, but it was one that only added to his guilt and unease. He knew he should've put an end to it, but he had been weakened by his feelings and had craved any warmth and form of affection he could get. Even so, the void that had built inside him wouldn't leave. Nothing could replace what he was in real need of.
He forced himself to move, despite feeling stiffness in every limb. Once he was standing, he instinctively made his way to the bathroom. What usually took him five minutes, took him almost fifteen as every one of his movements was slowed by the remaining effects of the alcohol in his system. He walked out of there feeling slightly better now that his mouth didn't feel so pasty, but he knew he'd only get better with some coffee so the kitchen was where he went next. Setting everything up for the machine, he then pressed the red button. It wasn't long that the comforting smell invaded the space and he closed his eyes just to bask in its warmth. He then poured it into one of his large cups and made his way to the living room.
As he sat in front of his wooden table, he knew what he had to do. He took out the papers he had left beside his laptop. His eyes scurried down them as he immersed himself again in his own writing. He had had a lot of time lately to work on that particular piece, which felt good to some extent but incredibly bad at the same time since it had always been a way to cope. He had felt the compulsion to write his heart out as he had waited and waited to get a call from the one he so miserably failed to forget. Whenever his fingers would put down the pencil he could feel the weight on his mind get lighter, but the feeling was always ephemeral, which forced him to keep going and going not knowing if he'd ever really feel better.
When he finished reading what he had last wrote, a sharp bitterness filled his mouth, one which he wasn't accustomed to as he was from the taste of his coffee. It only took a second for him to realize that he needed to get to the bathroom and fast. He ran towards it, barely making it before everything that had been confined inside his stomach came out in throws in the toilet bowl. When he finally caught his breath, he let his back fall against the ceramic wall, trying to regain his composure. But he only felt worn down, his body emptied of every ounce of energy. So he closed his eyes in hopes that it would help, but it only caused his mind to drift. It went to every place he could never forbid it to go. And with his sudden weariness, everything turned hazy making the memories playing in his head trail in an unorganized manner as if someone had messed with the film strip. But it didn't matter because every image was of the blonde which made every thought hurt more and more.
'I just need to hear you say it,' he heard again in his head. He felt a sharp pang in his stomach as the whole encounter replayed in his mind. So much had been said, yet nothing had been resolved. He had just made a bigger mess saying everything that he had said, but not once had he regretted it. He couldn't understand it, but he couldn't help wanting to push the other to his limit. He wanted to know that he wasn't alone in what he was feeling.
He finally opened his eyes, grasping his surroundings again before slowly getting up. He flushed the toilet and washed his hands. As he stepped out, he felt like he was stepping out of a dream and going back into the real word. He didn't know how much time he had spent in there on the floor, but it almost felt like he was starting a new day again. Of course, the illusion was broken as he stepped into the living room and saw Taemin with papers in his hands.
His eyes widened as he realized just what papers they were. He lost no time reacting, pulling them out of his hold and bringing them back in his own. Taken aback, the other just blinked at him.
'What's the matter?' Taemin asked nonchalantly.
Jinki felt a mixture of things boiling up inside him. Anger and embarrassment were the most glaring, but he self-talked himself into keeping it together. He couldn't show he cared that much for a measly story.
'Nothing, it's just that...' He paused. He felt so exposed and angry that his first impulse told him to kick him out, but he knew better than to listen to that. 'You know I don't like it when people read my stuff,' he finally uttered as gently as he could.
Taemin's lips curled into a feigned pitying pout. 'Aaaw, I know and I'm sorry, but it was just laying out there and I thought I'd just get a glimpse of it,' he explained matter-of-factly, which just exacerbated the other's irritated state.
Jinki was now holding the papers tight against his chest. 'How much of it did you read?' he inquired with feelings of angst tugging at his core.
'Oh just a little,' he attempted to reassure. 'I'm not sure I grasped everything that was going on, but it did feel to me like your character was about to cheat,' he completed with what had turned into a sly smile.
The older one felt his face heat up with unease.
'I'm surprised you'd write something like that,' Taemin continued as he walked closer to him.
'Why wouldn't I? It's a subject like any other,' he replied with as much conviction as he could muster.
'True, but writers or any artist for that matter draw most of their inspiration from personal experience,' the younger one pointed out intently. He was now facing the taller one closely, leaving only a few inches between them.
'It's not always the case,' Jinki persisted. There was no way he was giving him access to what was going on.
'Well then if this is all fiction, you have all the power to decide how this ends. Will he cheat?' Taemin inquired purposely.
Jinki frowned. 'I don't know yet,' he simply answered.
The brunette pouted again. 'I hope you decide soon, this could be interesting.' His lips then widened into a grin.
'It's not like you're going to read the rest,' Jinki reminded sharply.
'It's okay, I have a feeling I know how what's coming next. But the way you're writing it, it doesn't sound like this will have a happy ending.'
'I don't believe in happy endings.'
They both jumped as the phone suddenly rang. Jinki immediately ran towards it, picking it up without hesitating.
'Hello?' he uttered hurriedly.
'It's me,' Kibum said.
'Oh,' he let out of sheer disappointment.
'Oh?' the younger one echoed, clearly displeased.
'No no, I'm sorry. I just... I was distracted and... What's going on?' he miserably rectified.
'I just need to talk. Can we meet up?' the other asked.
'Yeah sure, where?'
'I don't feel like going out, so you can just come over,' Kibum indicated.
'Okay, I'll be there soon,' he settled before hanging up.
'Where are you going?' Taemin immediately asked.
'To Kibum's,' he answered as he started to move around.
'Aaah, you won't get to finish this now then,' he inferred as he pointed to the papers the other had finally set down on his table.
Jinki just stared at him, annoyed.
'You know what I like most about stories,' Taemin started. 'It's the part where everything falls apart.' He smiled again. 'Exactly the point you're at right now.'
Jinki took a deep breath before knocking on the door. He had rushed out of his apartment to escape Taemin, but now he wanted to run the other way to escape having to face his brother. He had no more time to think about it as the door opened, revealing a worn out looking Kibum. He couldn't help his shocked expression which the other caught instantly.
'I know, I look terrible,' Kibum forwardly established. 'Come in,' he then gestured before closing the door behind him.
After Jinki had released himself from his coat and boots, he settled himself on a sofa, putting himself right in front of Kibum's already sitting figure.
'Things are that bad, huh?,' he observed with much discomfort.
The younger didn't shy from letting out his defeat into a loud sigh. 'I'm just so exhausted, you know?'
Jinki felt pained as he looked at his brother's withdrawn posture. His eyes were fixed downwards and his arms were curled around him, making look so fragile and helpless, something that so rarely happened.
'Have you... talked to him recently?' he asked carefully. That just made him realize how uninvolved he had been in his brother's life. Keeping himself away from him had made him forget how bad this situation was. He was hurting the other without him knowing. And there was nothing worse than that.
'No, what use is there?' Kibum snorted. 'I don't think he cares...' he added with a heaviness that betrayed his despair.
Jinki shifted on the cushion, but his slight movements weren't enough distraction from the distraught he felt. He had no right being there to comfort his brother.
'I...' He paused and took a deep breath. 'I'm sure he does, Bummie,' he tried to reassure.
'If he does, he has a weird way of showing it,' the younger one pointed out irritably.
Jinki didn't know what to say; there was nothing he could say.
'I've given him plenty of chances,' Kibum continued. 'I mean I've tried to talk to him over and over again, trying to get him to open up, but he didn't want to let me in...' His voice cracked. 'I just... why can't he trust me?' And just like that, the tears fell, tracing their way down his chiseled cheeks, which brought him to cover his face immediately.
'Oh my god, I'm so pathetic,' he uttered between muffled sobs.
Jinki got up to drop himself gently right beside him. He wrapped his arms around him, putting a hand through his hair to caress it in a soothing manner. This wasn't the time for him to get trapped by his guilt. His brother needed him right now.
'Don't ever say that, you're the strongest person I know,' Jinki reminded sincerely. 'It's okay to be sad.'
The younger one uncovered his face, revealing the core of his vulnerable state. 'I just...' He sniffed and wiped some tears out of his face. 'I just want him back...' He finally looked into his brother's eyes, getting past his shame. 'I need him...' he uttered before his shoulder shook from the weight of his burden.
The other felt heartbroken in front of such a sight. He couldn't leave him like this.
'You need to tell him all this,' Jinki brought himself to say. 'He needs to hear that,' he continued, as much to convince his brother as to convince himself.
'I don't think that's enough. I thought he loved me but-'
'He does,' Jinki persisted, despite everything he knew. 'Don't give up on him, he just... I don't know him as much as you do, but I've seen how he can get. I think he needs to be reminded that you love him no matter what.'
Kibum scoffed as he once again cleared his face from tears. 'I kicked him out, Jinki.'
'I know...' Jinki searched through his mind for an answer. He had never been one to lie, but in this moment he wanted to believe that he could save things. He had found them to be happy together and it couldn't have been all lost. He couldn't have messed it all up. He had to believe that.
'But he'll get over it,' he pursued. 'He's probably feeling guilty for the way he acted and is just waiting to hear from you,' he finished with as much conviction as he could transmit while his whole being was being torn apart with anguish.
Kibum's eyes lightened. 'You really think so?'
Jinki could feel everything inside him fighting against what he was about to say, but he had to say it anyways.
'Yes, I do.'
Jonghyun looked at his watch for what felt like the millionth time. He didn't know how long he had been seated there, waiting and tapping his fingers on the table, but his patience was growing thin. It was his own fault though, he had come way too early, his eagerness making it impossible for him to stay put. He just wanted to see him, no, he needed to see him. He had been avoiding it way too long and now he was ready to face whatever the outcome of their encounter would be. Still fidgety from anticipation, he started clicking his heels too under the table, a habit that never did much to appease him. He looked into his now empty cup of coffee and sighed. He was suddenly scared that the other wouldn't show up. That all the hope built up inside him would crash and become utter despair. He tried to even his breath that had quickened at that thought, but lost all control on it as he finally saw a familiar figure come into the picture.
Jinki walked up right to him after their eyes had met, his steps slow but determined. When he finally sat in front of him, Jonghyun felt like his heart had stopped. Not seeing him for so long just made the moment that much more overwhelming. He still had that natural charm that instantly oozed out of him, but Jonghyun noticed that he seemed preoccupied. And suddenly his anxiousness kicked in again.
'Hi,' Jinki said with a smile that made the other warm all over.
'Hi,' he replied right back, knowing he probably sounded as awkward as ever.
'I'm sorry I was late. Did you wait long?' Jinki asked attentively.
'No, no, you're not late actually. I just arrived... too early,' the younger one finished slowly as he guessed what the other would think.
Jinki laughed. 'Well, I'm glad you're here.'
Jonghyun couldn't help but smile. 'I should be saying that,' he observed.
'What? You thought I wouldn't come?' Jinki inquired, surprised.
'You never know... Things change...,' the blonde mused pensively.
Jinki nodded. 'I wish they didn't have to.'
Jonghyun frowned. Something about his tone didn't sit right with him.
'You should order something,' he advised as he tried to shrug it off.
Jinki's eyes peered at him, intent and serious. 'Jjong...'
Jonghyun felt his muscles tighten. His heart pulsed through every nerve, his mind and body falling into chaos as they registered that something bad was coming.
'What?' he uttered feebly.
Jinki reached over to take his hands in his, to which he showed no reaction, his whole focus being on what he was about to say.
'You need to go see Kibum,' he finally said, his eyes dropping as he did.
Jonghyun lips parted slightly, the words ringing inside his mind. He couldn't believe this. This wasn't what he had been waiting for.
'What...' he let out, feeling completely disoriented.
Jinki didn't say a word, instead squeezing his hands even more.
Jonghyun eyes shifted quickly, the surroundings becoming more and more of a blur as he tried to understand what was happening.
'That's why you wanted to see me?' he expressed indignantly as he retrieved himself.
Jinki let go of his hands as he fell back on his chair. 'I... I just realized that this... this is not right.' He finally allowed himself to look at him again, tensing up as he was hit by the other's angered expression.
'Seriously?' Jonghyun exclaimed his tone elevating from disbelief. 'You can't be ing serious right now.' He was trying to keep it together, but this was just too much. He wasn't going to comply to such bull.
'Jjong, please try to understand. Kibum's my brother and he's your boyfriend. I mean before I came along you were so in love and... and...' He paused, searching for the right words. 'And it must still be there, that spark that got you two together,' he finished, unsure that it would do any good.
Jonghyun didn't know what to say. He just felt crushed.
'Jinki...' he pleaded, failing to complete his thought.
His anger had dropped, giving way to a helplessness he had no strength to hide.
'You can't do this to me,' he continued, lips quivering.
Jinki looked way, unable to face the pain he was causing. 'You can't do this to Kibum,' he replied dryly. He couldn't let himself be weakened.
'Are you telling me you didn't feel anything?' he threw in spite.
'Because even if you say you didn't, I won't believe you,' Jonghyun immediately filled in as to not deal with that possibility.
'I'm not going to deny that, but this is not about what we feel right now. Because it's probably just a temporary attraction that would fade really quickly if we gave in to it. It's not worth losing your relationship over something so fickle,' he laid out, all the while feeling his chest tighten.
Jonghyun bit down on his lip as he felt a sharp pang. 'So that's all it is to you...' he thought out loud, his whole body subsiding as pain spread through him.
Jinki mind raced with thoughts of taking it all back and doing the one thing he'd never thought he'd do, but he couldn't let that happen. He would never be able to forgive himself.
'Yes, I'm sorry,' he said as his body turned cold and his hands became covered in sweat.
Jonghyun could feel it coming. His vision was already getting blurry, but he wasn't going to let the other see him like this. He got up and ran out, keeping at it as he crossed the streets. Not thinking, not feeling, just moving.