Chanyeol woke up feeling happier. It took a minute to render why that was, and when he realized that last night was definitely not a subconscious-mind induced dream, he cracked a smile even before he opened his eyes.
Wanting to feel Baekhyun—silently assuming that they had moved away from each other in their sleep—Chanyeol reached to the front of him without breaking his eyes open. He felt around for a second, expecting to find Baekhyun’s body, but when his fingers felt nothing, but cold sheets, Chanyeol’s eyes immediately snapped wide open.
Instantaneously, he scrambled to sit up on the bed. Whipping his head all around, Chanyeol looked at both sides of him, searching for Baekhyun, but like his hands, his eyes came up short of anything, because Baekhyun wasn’t there. He wasn’t on the bed where he was supposed to be.
Chanyeol quickly questioned why he was alone. Did he mistake last night for something real? Shaking his head, Chanyeol locked his jaw as he threw the covers away and stalked across the room to quickly dress himself. As he pulled drawers and doors open, he knew that last night happened. It wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t a trick of his imagination. Baekhyun was there and now, he wasn’t, again.
Harshly, Chanyeol pulled open his bedroom door, stomping out all irritated about having been left behind again. He brashly checked the extra guest bedroom, but like he expected, Baekhyun wasn’t in there. He checked the bathroom before quickly making his way to the main living area.
“Baek!?” Chanyeol looked around and he listened for a while, though the only feedback he got was silence.
Cursing—with ruffled hair and an unwashed face—Chanyeol passed by the open kitchen, walked through the living room, and headed for the door. He didn’t know where he was going. Chanyeol just had one function in mind at that moment and that was to find Baekhyun.
Chanyeol didn’t have to search for long. The moment he wretched the door open, he almost walked right into Baekhyun, who was standing right outside of it with his head down and his hands on his hips.
Looking up, Baekhyun gave him a confused look. “Going somewhere?” he asked, sounding a little tired.
“Where’d you go?” Chanyeol asked, deeming that it was more important than Baekhyun’s question.
Bending down, Baekhyun picked up multiple grocery bags that Chanyeol had failed to notice. “The store since you apparently don’t eat. There was nothing in your refrigerator, but frozen food and energy drinks.”
Chanyeol let out a sigh as he opened the door more and moved out of the way. “Couldn’t you have left me a note? At least?”
“Why?” Baekhyun asked as he shuffled his way past Chanyeol, carrying the goods.
Noticing that they were weighing Baekhyun down, Chanyeol groaned in irritation over the fact that Baekhyun was trying to carry all the bags at once. He leaned forward and snatched the bags from one of Baekhyun’s hands.
“Because,” Chanyeol started, “I woke up alone and you were gone—and you could’ve just asked me to carry these, you know.”
Baekhyun quirked his lips as he followed Chanyeol to the kitchen. “It’s not like I got on a plane and left the country again—”
Chanyeol stopped walking and turned around to face Baekhyun. “If you ever pull that fucking stunt again, Byun Baekhyun, I will force every damn plane to fly to right back around, and I will personally pull you out of whatever aircraft you decide to board.” Chanyeol paused. “Then I’m placing you under permanent house arrest, because, damn it, Baek, I won’t be able to handle another game of hide and seek with you.”
Baekhyun let out a small grin. “Too soon for jokes?”
“Yeah.” Chanyeol continued walking.
Once they reached the kitchen, Baekhyun set his bags on the counter. “Well, I’m sorry. Writing you a note didn’t come to mind. I figured you’d still be asleep by the time I got back,” he said as he unpacked.
Chanyeol frowned. “I’d still like to know where you are or where you went off to,” he mumbled. Rummaging through the bags, Chanyeol pulled items out one by one. “What’re these for…”
Baekhyun glanced his way. “Vegetables, eggs, and meat, Chanyeol. Essential things.”
“I know that, but I don’t cook.”
Baekhyun snorted. “Well, I’m cooking breakfast. You’re late for work, most likely, and so am I. Luhan has a spare key to the shop so I asked him to open up for me for the time being.”
It wasn’t until that moment that work seeped into Chanyeol’s mind. He forgot about his obligations, but he didn’t berate himself too much. Baekhyun was much more important. “It’s fine. Sehun’s probably got me covered,” Chanyeol responded even though he knew that Sehun was probably cursing at him for all the extra paper work given to him. Then a thought came up in his head. “Let’s not go to work.”
Baekhyun gave him a grin. “Why?”
“Because…” Chanyeol paused for a second, thinking. “Because we should do something else.”
“Like what?” Baekhyun asked as he moved around to look for pans.
“A date,” Chanyeol burst out, watching Baekhyun with his eyes.
Stopping down to the lower cabinets, Baekhyun hummed as if he was thinking about it. “A date—hey, where do you keep your pans?” Baekhyun asked, half distracted.
“To your left,” Chanyeol replied curtly. “But yeah—a date.”
“But why?” Baekhyun said as he found what he was looking for and pulled out a medium sized stainless pan.
“But why?” Chanyeol repeated a little taken aback. He moved over to the island and took a seat on one of the stools. “Because I think we should, that’s why. I never got the chance to actually date you, and take you out to places. I never had the chance to take you to a restaurant, or a park—that time we had car sex at a park doesn’t count.” Chanyeol leaned on a hand, watching as Baekhyun began to prep quickly. “I just feel like we missed a lot of things.”
“We missed more than I would like, Baek,” Chanyeol said. “I didn’t get to graduate with you like I wanted—well, I didn’t know I wanted us to graduate together until we didn’t. I realized a lot of things after you left.”
Baekhyun nodded, understanding where Chanyeol was coming from. As he turned on the stove, he turned his head back. “I know. We missed all the generic things that couples in high school do—”
“—Like movie dates.”
For a second, Baekhyun froze. “Right.”
Another second passed. “I’m sorry about that day…”
“Don’t say ‘It’s fine’, Baek,” Chanyeol cut in. “I was an asshole. I said things to you that day that’s been haunting me all this time. I called you sad because I thought that you didn’t even try to show up that day, when you did, in fact, you even made cupcakes, if I remember correctly. I said that you put no effort in us, but Baek, it wasn’t until you left that I realized that you did...You were just doing it when I wasn’t looking.”
“I did a lot of stuff when you weren't looking,” Baekhyun said, trying to lighten things up. “But listen, I can’t skip work just to go on a date with you.”
“But you’re your own boss,” Chanyeol pointed out.
“You’re your own boss, too.”
“Right,” Chanyeol smirked. “Which means it’s already okay for me to not go into the office just for a little date.”
Taking a few eggs from a carton, Baekhyun raised an amused brow at Chanyeol. “Well, I like my job and I’m going to go in today. I put in most of my savings into that shop so I’m going to make it worthwhile.”
Chanyeol watched as Baekhyun diligently cracked the eggs open. “Savings from your job as a flight attendant,” Chanyeol clarified.
Dipping his hands to try and get all the yolk out, Baekhyun nodded. “Yep.”
After a moment, Chanyeol asked, “Why’d you become an attendant, Baek…”
Moving over to the trash can, Baekhyun threw away the empty shells. “It’s a long story.”
“I have all the time in the world for you.”
“It’s really not an interesting story, Chany—”
“Well, what do you know? I like boring stories. So come on, tell me,” Chanyeol said. “I wanna know why you decided to become a steward.”
Standing over the stove, occasionally glancing at the Sunny Side up eggs, Baekhyun shrugged. “I went to college for accounting for a while, but I didn’t have the drive to do it after that night we had dinner with your parents. Your mom, I don’t know. She sounded really disappointed over the fact that I was planning on doing something so generic.”
The mere mentioning of his mother affecting Baekhyun’s decisions made Chanyeol want to throttle the woman. “Baek—”
Waving the gentle spatula in his hand, Baekhyun cut him off. “Hold on, let me finish. Anyways, then when Yoona came with all her stories and experiences, I felt a little gray compared to her colorful little world.”
Chanyeol listened quietly. He knew that Baekhyun didn’t necessarily have a nice relationship or history with either women, but he didn’t know the extent to which they affected him. It was inevitable that Chanyeol felt like a horrid boyfriend back then—and now—for not catching on.
“There I was, first semester of college, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like how I spent most of my days studying and just looking out the window where life was taking place. So one day, mid-semester, I did it. I just dropped out.” Baekhyun checked the state of the cooking eggs for a moment. “I wanted to see the world and just do things. I didn’t want to sit around in some cubical.”
“Reading online, I read that I didn’t need to graduate with a college degree to be an attendant,” Baekhyun reasoned. “It seemed like the answer to what I wanted at the time. I talked to my dad about it and he didn’t like it, but he let me do it anyways. After that, I went with the procedures. I got my hearing and vision checked. I completed the CPR course and got my certifications. Then, I took swimming classes—just in case of emergencies in the ocean—and I was in training for months before I got my first test run as an attendant. It kind of took off from there.”
Baekhyun quickly went and grabbed a plate as the eggs were becoming done. Chanyeol continued to silently follow him with his eyes; Baekhyun’s words were still playing in his head. “How was your work schedule?” he asked.
Turning the stove off and sliding the eggs off onto the plate, Baekhyun gave Chanyeol a small smile. “Busy. Just busy. Sometimes, I’d only get a day of rest before having to fly out on another flight. Other times, I’d get perhaps three days.”
“I thought so,” Chanyeol nodded. When Baekhyun gave him a questioning look, Chanyeol elaborated. “I couldn’t go after you because my parents basically cut me off. I booked the flight and everything, but they canceled that and all my cards saying that I needed to start earning my money. After I started working in the family business, I started saving, but by the time I had enough money to send a private investigator after you, you never stuck around a place long enough for me to get there.”
“One time you were in Italy, right?” Chanyeol asked.
Baekhyun looked up, trying to remember. “I…Yeah,” he said, nodding. “I was, but multiple times—”
“It was in the spring, if that narrows it down.”
Baekhyun thought again. “If it was in the spring, then I think I know which trip to Italy you’re talking about.”
“Well, on that trip? I got word that you were there,” Chanyeol informed him, looking down on the counter as his finger traced circles on it. “So I took a last minute leave from the company and I went.”
Baekhyun’s mouth was left open. “What?”
“I went. I thought I could catch you then, but I missed you just barely,” Chanyeol said with a sad half-assed smile on his face. “Then a few months later, I tried my luck again in London, but like last time, by the time I got there, you were already gone.” Chanyeol sighed as he got off the stool and walked over to where Baekhyun was. Taking the plate with the eggs, Chanyeol walked over to his dining table and took a seat. “I tried a few more times, but my parents had to intervene—said I was being stupid and that I had a company and a shitload of employees to look after. After that, I had to put you on hold. I didn’t want to, but life was just calling.”
“Apparently life decided you needed a break when you ended up on my final flight,” Baekhyun said, finally moving over to the bread, placing slices in a toaster in a corner.
“Yeah, but then a certain someone decided to run off again even after promising to stay and talk with me.”
Leaning against the counter and folding his arms while giving Chanyeol a defensive look, Baekhyun heaved his shoulders. “I thought you were married, therefore I had no business with you. I saw you and Yoona together and both of you rings. I hadn’t heard about you except for the occasional ‘Oh, he’s fine’ all these years. For all I knew, you could have really gone through what you said that night and got back together with her, eventually marrying her and everything...”
At the table, Chanyeol frowned. “Anything I said that night was stupid of me. I didn’t mean it. I fucking loved you, Baek, but I just saw things that weren’t even there and I blamed you for it.” A second went by. “And as for Yoona, she’s married, yeah, but to some other bastard. She was just with me because of the charity event I was in China for. She was a sponsor and we decided to travel together.”
“I didn’t know that then.”
“You would have if you didn’t leave—again.”
“But I did.”
“You didn’t have to—”
“But I did,” Baekhyun finalized. The toast came back up and Baekhyun grabbed a paper towel, transferring the toast on there quickly. Moving over to the table, Baekhyun dropped the toast on the plate in front of Chanyeol. “This was a nice talk, Chanyeol, now eat that.”
Chanyeol looked down. “What kind of breakfast is this, Baek…I thought that you were actually going to cook something elaborate for me. I’m still a virgin when it comes to your cooking.”
“I don’t have the time,” Baekhyun said, smiling apologetically. “I can’t leave Luhan alone to deal with the crowd.” Baekhyun paused for a second, looking like he was hesitating to do something, but then he leaned down and placed a quick, fleeting kiss near Chanyeol’s forehead. “I’m going.”
As Baekhyun turned around, Chanyeol stood up from his chair and followed him. “Baek, what about the date?” When Baekhyun didn’t answer him immediately, Chanyeol reached out, holding Baekhyun by the arm. “I’m not going to repeat my mistakes, Baek. Let me date you the way I should’ve dated you back then.”
Baekhyun grinned up at him before gently pulling away to open the door. “This Sunday. I don’t work on Sundays. We can go out then.” As Baekhyun fixed his shoes by the open doorway, Chanyeol stood there silently wishing he wouldn’t leave just yet. “I’m stopping by my place to change clothes. I think it’d be a little too obvious what happened last night if I didn’t.”
“Give me your number.”
Baekhyun looked up at him. “You don’t need it.”
“Yes, I do.”
Smirking, Baekhyun answered, “No, you already know where to find me. Plus I don’t have a cellphone yet—”
“Then I’ll get you one—”
“—I can get one myself,” Baekhyun retorted.
“You would have gotten one by now, then.”
“Haven’t had the time,” Baekhyun replied. Stepping out of the apartment, he stood in front of Chanyeol. “So eat the eggs and bread, put away the rest of the things I bought, and go to work. Clear your schedule for Sunday, too.” Glancing around a bit, Baekhyun patted Chanyeol’s messy-looking self on the chest. “Well, I’m g—”
“Aren’t you going to kiss me, Baek?”
Baekhyun paused. “I did already.”
“I meant with your lips on mine. Maybe even some tongue.”
“I don’t want to go to work with a boner.”
“Just get over here, Baek.”
Baekhyun quirked his lips before standing on his toes and meeting Chanyeol half way. Chanyeol reached around and cupped the back of Baekhyun’s neck while angling the kiss, running his tongue along Baekhyun’s lips and within the inner corners of his mouth. When their tongues briskly brushed against each other, Chanyeol was quick to entangle them, getting a quick taste of Baekhyun before letting him go.
“See? Now did that give you a boner?” Chanyeol joked as Baekhyun pulled away, licking his lips.
Baekhyun shook his head. “No, but I don’t know about you,” he said, glancing at Chanyeol's little morning-and-kiss induced problem.