Baekhyun’s heart was pounding so loudly, he wondered how much time was left before it would pop out of his chest. He didn’t really mind that as it would certainly land in front of Chanyeol, making his intentions and feelings clear and save him the trouble from opening his mouth. Or maybe the madly jumping organ would slap his man’s head, and Baekhyun didn’t mind that either as it would probably gain a reaction from the boy sitting in front of him with an unblinking stare and an expression so blank, Baekhyun had to clench his fists under the table to somehow anchor himself in his seat.
The urge to get up and escape the awkward atmosphere was really huge, but doing this wouldn’t only bring disappointment to Baekhyun, but Kyungsoo also, and this oddly stronger thought managed to fight all the other unnerving ones by keeping Baekhyun in place.
Baekhyun cleared his throat. As expected, his voice sounded extremely low and little; a perfect reflection of how he was feeling right now. It was crazy inside; his mind was screaming to get his attention, submerging him with questions and statements contradicting his poor choices like getting out of his hiding spot or why the hell was he not moving for exemple. Baekhyun ignored them in order to keep his focus on Kyungsoo’s encouraging words that were only a soft whisper in the chaos, but still audible.
And though it was absolutely not what he wanted to do, Baekhyun laughed. To appease the tension unhurriedly smothering him maybe, he didn’t know. He just prayed it would work – albeit the grim sound probably triggered the opposite effect.
“You know,” he started, eyes skimming over the scattered papers on the table. They were full of notes and scribbles, with a few mistakes and some highlighted words. The sight was strangely familiar; it projected his mind in the past, three years ago exactly. It was a warm night, summer was coming soon and Baekhyun was on his bed, tidily writing down his admiration and feelings on a white sheet of paper. The remembrance awoke such an overwhelming amount of emotions that Baekhyun couldn’t do anything but let them gently consume him. Everything became quiet. Then Baekhyun’s mouth was moving on its own, as if his heart had taken the control.
“There was this period in high school, when I used to hide my face behind a mask and wear bigger clothes than I was supposed to. I thought it was a common phase in a teenager's life, I thought the strange glances that seemed to constantly follow me were ordinary, but in fact, I was just really self-consious. When I finally understood what was wrong with me, the mocheries and bullying experiences suddenly made sense.” Baekhyun smiled bitterly at the memory.
“The only thing that helped me go through the day was going to the cafe near the high school and enjoy the performances held there. My favorite artist performed covers and self-composed songs every friday. He was really nice and talented. I always left an encouraging note for him, and he would always answer them with a few words aimed at the crowd or a song with appropriated lyrics. It was a secret between us and it made me feel special. I confessed to him one day but he didn't reply.” Baekhyun shrugged nonchalantly, feigning indifference with a thin smile. “He suddenly stopped performing and didn’t come back until two weeks later. I was so happy to see him again. The song he performed was beautifully written. It seemed to answer my confession, but something was odd with the lyrics, as if… as if there was a hidden message behind them.”
Baekhyun lifted his head up, meeting Chanyeol’s eyes for the first time since he sat down. “This song, you wrote it for Luhan, right?”
A gleam of surprise flashed through Chanyeol’s wide eyes. Baekhyun noticed the slight shift of Chanyeol’s hand resting idly on the table and the way his lips parted slightly as though he wanted to say something but was unable to. Although his stare was focused, he looked lost as he blinked a few times. Baekhyun couldn’t help but smile as he expected this reaction. The answer to his question was clear but, somehow, even after years of deluding himself and beliving in something he knew wasn’t true, he felt eerily at ease.
He wordlessly stood up and bowed his head before walking away. Chanyeol didn’t move. He didn’t speak. He didn’t stop him. It wasn’t like Baekhyun was waiting for him to follow him, but as he made his way out of the silence of the library and heard nothing but the sound of his footsteps, disappointment settled on his shoulders, and it felt quite heavy. The chatter of students in the hallway couldn’t distract him from the realization that the illusion his heart had created to protect him brutally became an awful misunderstanding he was now forced to concede.
Lost in a million thoughts, Baekhyun wandered aimlessly in different hallways without paying much attention to his surroundings until he found himself walking in the direction of the dorm, and further toward a room in particular. For obvious reasons, he shouldn’t be here, standing in front of this door, but unknown motives pushed him forward and convinced him to knock twice.
Baekhyun smiled at Sehun.
“Hi. Can I come in?”
Sehun opened the door fully to let him in. “Are you okay?” he asked carefully. His question was certainly due to the slight shift in Baekhyun’s voice. It was barely perceptible, but from past experiences, Baekhyun knew that concealing his real mood behind layers of fake smiles and controlled expressions was futile as Sehun had always been able to read him like a book.
After removing his shoes, as Baekhyun straightened up and met Sehun’s furrowed eyebrows, he nodded and smiled reassuringly. Baekhyun was aware that Sehun could effortlessly see the real emotions he tries so hard to hide behind a