It only took twenty minutes for everyone to settle down after they had set off from town. Kris, who sat in the very back with Sehun, slept the entire way. Chanyeol could only guess that he had traveled from the city all the way over in the early morning, putting sleep on the back burner. Sehun dozed off as well, planting his face against the window for other cars to see. Nugget had taken the opportunity presented before him and barked at Kyungsoo until the cook reached back and took the pup on his lap where Nugget fell asleep, too.
Kyungsoo was gone soon after Nugget and Kai was the last of the people in the back to fall under sleep’s spell. Baekhyun hadn’t shown any signs of being tired, which wasn’t surprising to Chanyeol at all. All the way to the zoo, Baekhyun sputtered fact after fact every time a silence so small as a fraction of a second butted it ugly head.
“Did you know that a man died in the States after having sex with a horse?”
“Are you aware that a better type of solar panel’s been created, but because it’s too expensive, it’s not used? It’s actually better than flat panels, but like I said, it’s too expensive.”
“I once dated a girl in high school. I heard she’s married now. Good for her.”
“Did you know that when cows fart, it’s actually bad for the environment? I think you should invent butt plugs, Yeol. Save the planet.”
“New word! If you’re a sapiosexual person then that means you’re sexually attracted to the intelligence of others. Sometimes I wonder if I’m one of those, but then I look at you and I know I’m not.”
“Wanna know a fun fact about tongues, Chanyeol? They’re different for every person—kind of like finger prints, but more for the purpose of licking people.”
For an hour Chanyeol listened, nodding at everything Baekhyun was going about. He only interrupted for commentary purposes, but for the most part, he just listened to Baekhyun’s endless blabbing. And even as things got intimately personal, Chanyeol only gripped the wheel harder and allowed Baekhyun to finish his stories.
“Let’s see, my first kiss happened during my first year in junior high. It was with someone older—oh, it happened in some corner.”
“I think my first girlfriend was in high school? We didn’t last long, really. It was literally a give and take relationship.”
“Holding hands was something I really wanted to do most of the time, but it didn’t feel right with anyone. They were just doing it to do it. I wanted my Nicholas Sparks moment.”
“Uh, I lost my virginity in college, though. I forgot—It was at some party. He brought me back to his place. I thought he’d wake me up with breakfast, but he just wanted me to get dressed and go back home. It hurt, but I eventually got over it. Things got casual after that.”
“You know when you wanna feel something, you do things that you think will initiate that feeling you’re looking for? My answer was always sex. It didn’t really work though, but I kept trying.”
“The only thing I regret doing is agreeing to group activities—bedroom activities, I mean.” It was this confession that almost made Chanyeol stop the car. “It was nice, yeah, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for.”
“Have I told you that romance novels have relationship that I want?”
“I didn’t date much because rarely anybody asked me.” Baekhyun let out a quiet laugh after saying that, making Chanyeol cringe. “I mean, I don’t blame them. With a reputation like mine, I was lucky to have one or two friends.”
“Once, I got invited to a date—a legit one, actually! But I got stood up at the last minute so I ended up just going to a gas station and sitting on one of those benches eating a cup of noodles.”
As Chanyeol listened, he could feel his blood boil all over. There were many things he disagreed with and would have done differently if he was any of the guys that Baekhyun had associated himself with in the past, but he knew that it wouldn’t have made a difference, because no matter how much he fantasized about being Baekhyun’s saving grace back in his university years, he knew that it really wasn’t possible to turn back time.
Slowly, Chanyeol got an idea as to what made Baekhyun the way he was. Thinking back, he remembered Baekhyun’s depressing days during Nugget’s temporary stay at the local pet shelter. Then he started to piece things together.
Baekhyun’s dislike for everything systematic was given because of the fact that his life had been so structured. His dislike for robots and machinery was due to the fact that they were programmed inventions with no human emotions. And as for human emotions, it was something Baekhyun obviously lacked growing up. The more Chanyeol analyzed it, the better he understood Baekhyun’s promiscuous ways. To him, it became evident that Baekhyun had been looking for something he had always been reading about, but never had the downright luck of ever finding.
When they had arrived at the zoo and parked in the parking lot, Chanyeol quickly took off his seat belt and reached over, taking Baekhyun’s restraint off before pulling him by the shirt towards him. With hurried, but careful intent, he slanted his lips over Baekhyun’s.
Caught off guard at first, it took Baekhyun a few seconds to relax and give up, opening his mouth to Chanyeol’s tongue. Unlike all the times that they had ever kissed in bed or during intercourse, Chanyeol kept things slow, tilting his head to deepen the kiss. And when Baekhyun returned the effort, gradually moving his position closer, Chanyeol smirked. He nipped Baekhyun bottom lip before planting one last quick peck.
“Do I make you feel something?” Chanyeol muttered, eyeing Baekhyun, who was still caught up in the moment. “Or do I feel like every one of those other people?”
It was out of the ordinary for Baekhyun to even be asked the question—partially because no one had bothered to ask in the past. Glancing down for a second before looking back up, Baekhyun gave a small shrug. “Different.”
Chanyeol wasn’t quite sure if he had heard right. “What?”
“I said different,” Baekhyun repeated. “You’re different. Did you want a definition? Weird, out of the ordinary, strange—well, not really strange—abnormal, not—”
“Different as in good,” Chanyeol said, trying to simplify the entire answer.
A second later, Baekhyun nodded. “Different as in good,” he confirmed.
Using his index finger to hold Baekhyun’s face, Chanyeol studied him. “Feelings wise…What would you say about that?”
Quirking his lips, Baekhyun quickly glanced at the back to see if the rest were all still sleeping. After he saw that they were, he looked back at Chanyeol, giving him his attention. “Feelings wise, you excite me. I’d say I love you, but I don’t know what that really means. Let’s just say I like you.”
Smirking, Chanyeol basked in his glory. “Really, now.”
“Yeah, you make my heart go fast like an old timer with bad cholesterol having a heart attack.”
Chanyeol frowned. “You’re not meant to be romantic,” he said flatly.
“I think I’m better with actions than I am with words,” Baekhyun said as he got back on his seat. “I was always good with charades…and Twister—naked Twister...”
Keeping his mouth shut, Chanyeol tried to ignore the image of Baekhyun playing Twister stark naked. Taking the keys from the engine, he heaved in a breath and turned around to the sleeping bodies behind them. Then, with his deep voice, he woke them up.
Slowly, Chanyeol’s passengers began to come back to life. Nugget yawned, showing all his teeth as he did so. This caused Baekhyun to get giddy over the cuteness of his son. Nudging Chanyeol on the side with his hand, Baekhyun repeatedly asked him if he saw Nugget’s sleepy action as well. And though Chanyeol hadn’t seen, to appease the relentless male next to him who seemed so proud over something so trivial, he said that he had and that Nugget was something else.
Rubbing his eyes, Kris looked around and quickly remembered where he was and what he was doing. Looking over to his left, he saw Sehun lazily wiping the drool off the corner of his lips. Scrunching his brows, Kris looked out the window. “Is this it?”
“We’re in the parking lot,” Chanyeol said. “We need to go. There’re already people here. We still need to get in line and buy the tickets.”
Kyungsoo rubbed the back of his neck furiously as he tried to loosen the knots. Unsatisfied, he turned his back towards Kai, who was still groggy. “Get my back,” he muttered.
Groaning, Kai complied. Balling his hand into a gentle fist, he hit points on Kyungsoo’s back with the heel of his palm. Nugget jumped off Kyungsoo’s lap and began pawing at the car door. Giving Chanyeol a look, Baekhyun smiled before opening his side and jumping out. Soon after, he slid open the back door and picked Nugget up in his arms.
One by one, everybody sluggishly came out of the van and made a line to the back to grab their backpacks. Once every person had some sort of strap on their shoulder, they started walking towards the entrance. Chanyeol led the way with Baekhyun by his side. Their arms swung right beside each other until Baekhyun decided to close the distance and gracefully laced his fingers with Chanyeol’s, locking their hands together.
Behind them, Kyungsoo stared at the two, wondering how deep things had gotten. Before, he thought that their relationship was frivolous and based on the general grounds of lust, but in that moment, Kyungsoo could see that it wasn’t anymore.
When Kai looked over at Kyungsoo, he nudged him with his elbow, causing the male to look up. “You had your serious face on,” Kai explained.
Rolling his eyes, Kyungsoo widened the space between them. “What’s wrong with my serious face?”
“It’s too serious,” Kai said, nonchalantly.
Kyungsoo ignored the rhetorical answer and continued walking on.
Kris was the only one in the group that had no backpack or any type of bag carrying things like water and a few snacks. He was also the only one who looked too formal for something like the zoo. His white dress shirt made him seem as if he belonged at a ball rather than a field trip. Looking beside him, he saw Sehun and wondered if Sehun was his designated human buddy on the trip.
At the gates, Baekhyun reluctantly let go of Chanyeol’s hand. Holding Nugget, he held him out to the giant. “Zoos don’t allow outside pets.”
Chanyeol gave Baekhyun a look. “Then what the hell are we doing with him?” he asked. “Why did you ask if we could bring him along if you knew that we wouldn’t be allowed to bring him in?”
Baekhyun bobbled his head as he shrugged off his backpack. “My backpack’s actually empty.” Opening the bag’s flap, Baekhyun stretched the opening before presenting the entrance to Chanyeol. “Put him in, Yeol—Come here, baby. Dad’s gonna smuggle you in like a pack of drugs.”
Looking at Baekhyun incredously, Chanyeol frowned. “Are you shitting me right now?”
“I shit you not, dear sir,” Baekhyun said, grinning. “We’ll put him in, get the tickets, and then we’ll take him back out on the other side.”
Chanyeol looked back at the others for any sort of advice on how to deal with the situation, but saw that nobody had anything to offer. Even Kyungsoo, his unofficial personal advisor over the years, had nothing to give him, but a small shrug. Heaving a sigh, Chanyeol gave in. After carefully placing Nugget inside the bag, Chanyeol stepped back and left the flap unlocked, keeping it loose.
Then Chanyeol made sure the backpack’s straps were on just right. As he tugged on them, he looked Baekhyun in the eyes. “You’re fucking nuts.”
“But you like nuts.”
Scoffing, Chanyeol rolled his eyes and let go. “Not as much as you.”