Too close.

The Selfishness of Our Hearts.

Days and days had gone by since he had finished Jinki’s book. And even though the reading was over, the mark it left on him lingered. He was troubled yet fascinated by it. He couldn’t get through his head that someone like him could’ve written a book like that. His warmth and easy-going personality gave no hint of such darkness. But like the adage said, one should never judge a book by its cover.

And so he kept pacing and asking himself if he should call him or not. He had the number now. Kibum had gladly given it to him, even though a warning had ensued. ‘Maybe you shouldn’t tell him you’ve read it just yet,’ the brunette had said a few days ago. But he was tired of being afraid and was eager to see the blonde again. He just had to pick up his phone and...

A sudden ringing sound made him jump. Heart racing, he looked at the number and sighed.

‘Hello?’ he answered, a little disappointed.

‘Okay... What’s with that tone?’ Minho asked.

Jonghyun bit down on his lip. ‘Nothing, I just... I’m tired,’ he lied.

‘I see... Well are you too tired to go see a movie with me?’

‘Um... Yeah. I was going to take a nap so... Maybe another time?’ he put off as a pang of guilt ran through him.

He could feel Minho’s anger. It pained him to wriggle his way out of nice time with his best friend, but he couldn’t put off what he had wanted to do for days now any longer.

‘Look, we can see each other tomorrow, okay?’ the older one offered.

‘Who says I’m free tomorrow?’ Minho retorted.

A sigh escaped from Jonghyun’s lips. ‘Are you?’

‘Yes,’ the younger one muttered.

‘Fine then,’ he replied before hanging up.

Now that this was dealt with, his mind could fully concentrate on the main issue. It shouldn’t have been so complicated, but for some weird reason it was. In some way, he felt like he had gotten too close; like he had violated his intimacy. And at the same time, he felt totally ridiculous for feeling so guilty. It was just a damn book.

‘But he needs to know that it’s good,’ he thought as he finally brought himself to dial the number.

It rang and rang and rang again, until the voicemail was heard. He hung up feeling more bothered than he should. Putting his phone on his nightstand, he let himself drop on his bed considering making his lie a truth. And then, his phone started ringing and this time no sigh escaped his lips as he looked at the caller ID.

‘Hello?’ he answered quickly.

‘Hi?’ Jinki replied, puzzled.

‘It’s me Jonghyun,’ he replied.

‘Oh, hi,’ the blonde repeated a little surprise.

‘I’m sorry... Maybe it’s a little creepy, but I asked for your number...’ he explained while his eyes shut. He felt stupid.

‘No, that’s fine. I’m glad,’ Jinki said with a smile.

‘Okay well... I was wondering what you were doing tonight. I was thinking we could hang out...’ he exposed as he felt his stomach knot.

‘Well I was going to the opera... unless you want to join?’ he suggested.

‘Opera.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘Yeah, sure. But... I would need a ticket,’ Jonghyun pointed out.

‘I have one actually. I was supposed to go with my father, but he isn’t feeling so well,’ the blonde explained.

‘Okay, I’ll go then.’

‘Good. I’ll pick you up in an hour,’ Jinki indicated before they both hung up.

Jonghyun cocked an eyebrow. This was definitely not how he had envisioned spending his night.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Key walked into their room. His mouth dropped instantly at the sight of his boyfriend.

‘Where are you going dressed up like that?’ he asked, surprise written all over his face.

‘Um, I’m going to the opera,’ Jonghyun muttered.

‘I think I must be hearing things, because I swear you just said the word ‘opera’,’ the brunette scoffed.

‘I did,’ he replied as he turned to look at the other one.

Key snorted. ‘Seriously?’ he intoned with frustration. ‘I’ve tried to drag your there so many times, but you’ve always been categorical about not wanting to go. You said it sounded boring,’ he added, voice straining with anger.

If there was one thing Key really didn’t like was when someone turned him down. And that’s why Jonghyun understood the little fit. ‘I know and I’m sorry,’ he said as he walked closer to him. A quick peck on the lips seemed to settle him a little. ‘I just called your brother and he proposed, so to not sound like a jerk, I said yes,’ he explained, as his hand caressed the taller one’s cheek. He watched as his boyfriend’s face relaxed, relieved that he had won this round.

‘Okay,’ Key breathed. He inched closer for a kiss which the other gave into immediately. And then he was back to his usual self again. ‘You look amazing,’ he said as he looked at the black suit and the navy blue tie his boyfriend was wearing.

‘Thank you,’ Jonghyun replied with relief. He had been worried about his outfit for the last fifteen minutes, unaware of what people wore at that kind of event. To be sure, he had gone for a classic look and was pleased to see that the expert agreed with it. He looked at himself for a last time in the mirror, fixing his hair and straightening out his outfit.

Finally, the doorbell was heard and Jonghyun watched as Key skipped out of their room. The knot in his stomach was back again. He suddenly wished he had taken a few drinks before leaving. But it was too late now. The familiar voice of his boyfriend’s brother could be heard in the distance and he didn’t have much choice but to show his face.

He walked towards them, trying his best not to look awkward.

‘Hi, Jonghyun,’ Jinki greeted joyfully.

‘Hi,’ he replied with a little less enthusiasm. He was starting to feel like this was not such a good idea.

‘Okay, well I’ll let you two go,’ Key said, before turning to Jonghyun. ‘Please behave,’ he whispered.

Jinki laughed. ‘I’m sure he will.’

‘Let’s go,’ Jonghyun pressed. ‘Before I change my mind.’

They both walked out and headed to the car. It was a simple black car at first look, but then the details gave out how expensive it might really be. He tried not to let his awe show too much as he got in and waved a last time at his boyfriend. He didn’t know if he would ever get used to those kinds of things. It had been almost two years now since he was with Key, but they never failed to amaze him.

‘So how are you doing?’ Jinki asked cordially.

Jonghyun looked at him. With his nerves taking over him, he hadn’t noticed how good the other one looked. It was his first time seeing him with his hair pulled back and frankly it was a very pleasant sight. His suit was in a midnight blue tone, just like he had heard Key say once or twice. And his face... he was just radiating. It was hard to believe this person could’ve been pained.

‘Jjong?’ Jinki uttered, bringing him back to reality.

‘I’m fine,’ he answered a little embarrassed.

The blonde just smiled.

‘So how long until we get there?’ Jonghyun inquired.

’45-50 minutes maybe,’ Jinki said, sounding almost apologetic.

‘Oh.’ This certainly wasn’t going to be the most awkward car ride ever.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

They were 35 minutes into the presentation and Jonghyun already had enough. He had tried to let himself be taken away by the theatrics and the singing, but the charm just didn’t seem to rub off on him. It just wasn’t his thing. But every time he took a quick glance Jinki’s way, he could see that for him it was a whole other story. He was completely absorbed by it and Jonghyun once again wished he could get into his head.

When the intermission was finally announced, Jonghyun felt relief wash over him. He did feel blessed to be in a place like that, but he couldn’t wait to get out of it either. As they stepped out into the lobby, Jonghyun felt a hand on his shoulder.

‘We can leave,’ Jinki said knowingly.

Jonghyun’s eyes widened despite him. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I know you’re not enjoying yourself,’ he said with a laugh.

The younger one was truly baffled. Either his poker face wasn’t on point or this man had some kind of superpower.

‘No, I love it... It’s, it’s really... nice, he stuttered.

That just made the blonde laugh even harder. ‘Okay, well I want to leave,’ he admitted.

‘Really?’ Jonghyun exclaimed.

‘Yes,’ the other one replied simply as he grabbed his arm.

They walked out of the theatre and stopped on the sidewalk.

‘Is there some place you’d like to go?’ Jinki asked.

‘Not really...’ Jonghyun looked down. ‘You didn’t really want to leave, did you?’

Hands in his pockets, the blonde said, ‘Not really.’

‘Well, let’s...’

‘No, we don’t have to go back,’ he cut in.

‘What about your tickets?’ Jonghyun pointed out.

‘I’ll find others easily,’ Jinki reassured. ‘Come on,’ he continued, ‘Let’s go to...oh, to that restaurant we went the other day,’ he proposed.

‘Okay,’ the younger one agreed, guilt eating at him.

‘Stop worrying about the opera,’ Jinki insisted.

Jonghyun didn’t know how he could read him so well. It was troubling.

They soon found themselves right back into the car.

‘So what have you been up to lately?’ the blonde asked as he started driving.

‘Um... not much. I’ve just been...’ Jonghyun paused. This was his chance. ‘I’ve been reading a lot,’ he finished.

‘Oh, reading what?’

Jonghyun suppressed a smile. Exactly the question he was waiting for. ‘Your book,’ he voiced.

And then, as he looked at him, he knew he had screwed up. Jinki’s expression had become serious and no word came out from his mouth during the minutes that followed.

Biting the inside of his cheek, Jonghyun tried to think of something to say.

The older one saved him the effort. ‘I think I should bring you back home.’

Jonghyun flinched. He didn’t like that tone. Unable to find his words, he just nodded.

He had ruined everything.

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