A/N: thank you @armani_anagram for beta-ing!
Baekhyun’s room was off limits. Chanyeol made sure of that. Even though Kyungsoo offered to move out his belongings, Chanyeol adamantly turned him away and took it upon himself to clean the room alone. Unlike what Kyungsoo had in mind, Chanyeol never bothered to throw anything out of the room except for the pieces of paper that Baekhyun had scribbled on, yet never bothered to properly throw away in the trash bin as Chanyeol always told him to do.
The bed was cleaned and Chanyeol even took the time to reorganize Baekhyun’s abandoned collection of stories that had toppled over each other. After the floor was cleaned and the room appeared as though the owner of it all had only gone away for a short while, Chanyeol closed the door behind him.
A week had gone by since Baekhyun decided to abruptly leave and Chanyeol had finally grown of sitting around giving the small brunet “space” when Chanyeol knew that what the idiot really needed was to be hugged into submission and dated the fuck out of.
Kris had already left back for the city and there wasn’t much around the house anymore to keep him occupied. Before, Chanyeol looked forward to the day when Kris would finally leave because it would have given him and Baekhyun more opportunities to have some time alone. However, with Baekhyun gone, Chanyeol found his schedule completely free.
The silence in the house was unbearable some days. There were instances where Chanyeol expected to hear Nugget’s squeaky bark and Baekhyun’s cackling laugh following soon after, but as the silence dragged on with the faint sound of the ocean in the background, Chanyeol would yet again be reminded that Baekhyun’s presence was no longer in vicinity.
Sometimes during his lazy mornings that seemed to go on forever, Chanyeol would turn on his cellular device and slowly eat his breakfast while gazing and sliding through the only photos of Baekhyun that he had. There were photos dating back to their time at the zoo and even photos that Baekhyun never knew Chanyeol even took of him in bed.
Inside Chanyeol’s being is a feeling that was churning about, yelling at him to get up and brashly rush to the city and take Baekhyun back again, but in his head was Kyungsoo’s stern and logical argument of giving the other much needed space. Not a day passed when Chanyeol wasn’t thinking about the brunet that literally slipped passed his arms. Questions about what the male was doing never failed to surface, but there wasn’t much Chanyeol could do but wonder.
One day after he finished eating and was once again doing nothing but going over old photos, it finally hit him on the head that he was done waiting around for Baekhyun to sort things out. The more he thought about it, the more Chanyeol became convinced that the amount of time he was wasting was actually further distancing them apart.
Getting up off the couch where he was lazily sitting, he quickly marched his way to his office to make a phone call to his future in-laws.
Two weeks into the job and the demand for Baekhyun was already high. Suho only allowed for him to take on the more important clients, but once in a while, Baekhyun would take out someone for the extra pay on his own time in broad daylight.
Mr. Kim called on him three times within that time period and Baekhyun found the older man’s presence to be comforting. To Baekhyun, he gave the feeling of an older brother. The only time they met after the first night was for a few drinks at high end bars.
During his time as an escort, Baekhyun only extended the sexual favors concerning the action of dirty talking to his clients if they wanted. Luhan had told him to do whatever made him comfortable, but Baekhyun thought that their quick fuck together in the shower was enough to keep him celibate.
It wasn’t as though Luhan was such a bad lover as to damage Baekhyun’s lust for intimacy. It was more on the end of Baekhyun never wanting to have Chanyeol on his mind again, making him feel guilty for trying to train his body to move on when his heart and mind wouldn’t.
After Luhan had left the apartment in Baekhyun’s care as he went off to his new place of employment, Baekhyun began to adjust to life alone, which he had never experienced before. Prior to living with Chanyeol, he had lived in the same house as his parents. Then he lived as Chanyeol’s maid, he lived with the giant and the others.
Complete solitude was something that Baekhyun only lived through in his mind.
Even though Kyungsoo wasn’t supportive of the fact that Chanyeol had broken so easily, he couldn’t blame the man for being so in love as to not even think about what he could be insinuating with his significant other if he were to corner him.
Chanyeol had tried to phone Baekhyun’s parents for different reasons. When he called the first time, he tried to play it of as a business call, but the phone was suddenly taken by Baekhyun’s mother who sternly told him to stop being an idiot and promptly hung up. The second try was much more personal, which is probably why Baekhyun’s mother decided to give the giant a chance.
When he asked to speak with his runaway fiancé, Baekhyun’s mother, however, refused to pass the phone, telling him that he needed to speak to her son in person. Although Chanyeol was persistent in his request, he was shot down again and again until he had no choice but to say good-bye after making the decision to physically go after the vixen himself.
“So what am I supposed to do while you’re gone?” Kyungsoo plainly asked as he dragged Chanyeol’s suitcase behind him, following the giant who was quickly putting on his coat and glasses as he headed towards the door.
“I don’t know. Take a break,” Chanyeol answered brashly without much thought. “You have the house to yourself. I don’t care what you do as long as Baekhyun and I come back to something.”
Raising his brows, Kyungsoo was slightly amused. “Do you really think he’ll come back with you?”
Chanyeol stopped in his tracks, letting the words and his worst fears sink in before mentally shaking it all off. “He has to,” he said, letting the words slip in a tone that was both afraid and determined.
As Chanyeol moved to put on his shoes, Kai joined the two of them, followed by Sehun who had just entered the house from the back door. After Chanyeol finished, he took his suitcase from Kyungsoo’s hands and tossed the cook the car keys. Leaving the house first, Chanyeol left Kyungsoo to fill the other two in on what their boss was doing.
“While I drive our weak employer to the bus station, don’t let the house burn to the ground,” he said almost pleadingly at the two men. Shifting his eyes to Kai, Kyungsoo added, “And cook. I want something to eat when I come back.”
Biting his tongue, Kai looked down as he fought against himself about whether or not he should make a smart comment. Deciding against the idea, Kai kept his mouth shut. “I guess I’ll go start cooking,” he said, pursing his lips as he gave Kyungsoo a small wave before walking into the kitchen.
“Sehun, watch him,” Kyungsoo sighed before he gave him a small smile. “I’ll be back.”
Following Kyungsoo up until the door, Sehun watched as the cook walked coolly to the car’s driver side and entered. The gardener could see the two people in the vehicle bicker for a moment before his giant employer decided to take out his phone and ignore the cook.
Even as the car backed away from the driveway, Sehun was still a witness to Kyungsoo trying to convince the giant to give his little brunet some more time.
After the car had gone, Sehun closed the door and went down to the basement as Kai tried to figure out what to make that night. He was able to put in at least twenty-five minutes of mindless tinkering to an old bike before he heard Kai calling from him from the main level. Despite not wanting to leave his work, Sehun wordlessly went up the stairs where he saw Kai pointing at the door.
“The doorbell rang,” the male simple said as he continued to stir the boiling water in the pot that Sehun saw was in front of him. “Could you get it?”
“Yeah,” Sehun replied, wiping his dirty hands on his jeans as he moved to the door.
Not that the household never got visitors, it was just a rare thing for anyone to knock on their door unannounced. There weren’t any children who sold their cookies door to door considering the location of the house was more for an isolated household that wanted to be away from people in general. The only people that Sehun ever remembered visiting the house were Chanyeol’s business partners or potential investors who he wanted to impress more or less about his down to earth lifestyle.
However, Sehun didn’t bother to question who was on the other side much since it was always common courtesy to open anyways. When he opened the door, he had to blink a few times to make sure he was seeing things correctly.
In front of him stood a male with chestnut brown hair, a smile on his soft face, a suitcase, and a duffel bag that threw Sehun off his axis. For a second, he stuttered in saying a coherent sentence before he cleared his throat once the male in front of him began to look concerned of his slow condition.
“Um, hi,” Sehun was able to say. Not knowing how to appear, he pursed his lips and waited for the guy outside the door to do all the talking.
“Hi, I’m Luhan,” the man introduced, sticking his hand out.
Sehun’s reaction was slow but he eventually got his body moving well enough to take the hand and shake it. “Sehun,” he said curtly.
After dropping hands, Luhan tried to look behind Sehun as if he was looking for someone. Confused, the gardener found himself asking, “Is there something I can help you with?”
Luhan paused for a moment before giving Sehun his attention again. “Ah, sorry. I’m looking for Chanyeol?”
It was at that point that Sehun wasn’t even sure he was following anymore. Why was a handsome male standing outside the house with a luggage and the intention of speaking to his grumpy, love-sick boss?
“He’s not here.” When Sehun realized he said it too coldly and nonchalantly, he cleared his throat again. “He’ll be gone for a while. Maybe I can help you?”
Letting out a low whistle, Luhan looked about him before giving the ground his attention for a few noticeable seconds as he stalled. “This is awkward…”
Sehun decided not to comment.
“May I come in?” Luhan asked, tilting his head off to the side. “Or will I have to wait out here until he comes back?”
Knowing that Chanyeol wasn’t going to return for some time, Sehun shook his head and moved aside. “No, you can come in,” he said in an even voice.
Grinning, Luhan picked up his bags and dragged them inside. After Sehun closed the door behind him, he saw the male looking around and wondered if the brunet was stalking their house for perhaps a future robbery.
“This is a nice house.”
A minor red flag drew up in Sehun’s mind as he thought that maybe his gut was right and Luhan was a thief. Not wanting any misunderstanding, he asked, “So what business do you have with Chanyeol?”
Luhan paused for moment before he shrugged, facing Sehun and giving him a casual look, which reminded him of how Baekhyun usually was.
“He hired me to be the maid.”
Their grand reunion together was something that Chanyeol envisioned would happen at Baekhyun’s house. When Chanyeol saw the large estate, he almost snorted at all the times Baekhyun insisted he was living the homeless life for months.
After being greeted by the staff, he was able to meet with Baekhyun’s parents again. The topic of the meeting was the same as their last: Byun Baekhyun. However, far less from Chanyeol’s expectations, Baekhyun was nowhere to be found.
Chanyeol wondered why he never heard the male possibly screaming at the staff to keep him away. Or even more, he wondered why Baekhyun wasn’t standing on the grand staircases’ balcony to perhaps shout at him to get out and declare that he never loved him in the first place.
Fifteen minutes into his visit and two cups of bitter tea served by his future mother-in-law, Chanyeol just had to ask. “Where’s Baekhyun?”
Where they sat, Baekhyun’s mother glanced at her husband before the two of them simultaneously looked at him. “He’s not here,” she simply said. “He never came back.”
Jaw slacked, Chanyeol couldn’t understand. “What?”
“He’s not here,” Mr. Byun repeated in a stone-hard voice. “We’re his parents and even we don’t know where he is. We have an idea, but my wife thinks it’s too personal to share.”
“He can do what he wants,” Mrs. Byun muttered, rolling her eyes.
“If that boy catches anything--”
“He’s not offering intercourse or oral!” she argued back. Sighing, she gave her attention back to Chanyeol, who was at a complete loss. “Anyways, Baekhyun is sensitive--”
“Careless,” Mr, Byun inputed.
“No, he’s a free spirit,” Mrs. Byun retorted. “Therefore, he didn’t want to come back here. He never did like how this house functioned.”
Shaking his head, Chanyeol was exasperated. The entire reason why he decided to go to the house wasn’t even in the vicinity. Frustrated, he ran a hand through his hair and groaned. “Then where is he?”
Shrugging, Mrs. Byun gave him an apologetic look. “We don’t know.”
“Have you talked to him?”
“Once,” Mr. Byun said, holding up a finger. “The boy decided to call us once through a payphone.”
“He told us not to worry,” Mrs. Byun added. “Then he hung up. He sounded fine so we’re not too worried.”
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Chanyeol closed his eyes as he realized how complicated his chase for Baekhyun was going to be. “So you don’t have a location,” he said point blank.
“No,” Baekhyun’s mother nonchalantly answered as she picked up her cup and took a sip.
“Do you have any idea where he could be then?” Chanyeol asked, trying to milk as much information as he could.
“Red light district,” Mr. Byun snorted. Before his wife would jab at him with her elbow, he stood up from the sitting area and fixed his suit. “I’ll be leaving. There’s no point in talking about my son. He’ll come out when he wants to.”
After that statement, he left the room, leaving Chanyeol alone with Mrs. Byun. A string of awkward seconds of silence passed, leaving Chanyeol some time to think about his situation. Watching the way Chanyeol’s face changed with every thought gained him pity from his future mother-in-law as she set down her drink and moved over to where Chanyeol sat, putting her arm around him.
“Baekhyun tends to misunderstand things,” she said softly, patting Chanyeol’s arm. “He’s a bit impulsive by nature and it’s by nature that he doesn’t like to follow a laid out plan. I’m sure you know by now that Baekhyun’s quite the fan of romance novels?”
Without hesitation, Chanyeol nodded.
“He ran away from here because of the arranged marriage,” Mrs. Byun said in a comforting manner as she tried to further explain. “By marrying someone we picked, he knew that he was signing away his chance of ever finding his ‘Devlin’ or his ‘Sebastian,’ I guess you could say.”
“Why’re you telling me this?”
“I’m telling you this because I want you to know why Baekhyun ran away in the first place,” she answered. “He ran away because he was scared of never having the freedom to choose who he wanted to be with and to find his own ending. This time, he ran away because he thought you were it , but now he’s scared that because of this entire fiancé fiasco, you were never the very thing that he always longed for. That’s why.”
Some time passed before Mrs. Byun dropped her arms and Chanyeol cursed, falling back against the seating, slumping his shoulders in utter defeat. “How the hell am I going to fix this if I don’t know where that bastard is?”
Smiling, Mrs. Byun patted his cheek before standing up off the sofa. “Baekhyun can try to be as down low as he wants. He’ll eventually show himself by accident. When that happens, make sure he doesn’t forget who loves him most.”