Kyungsoo only invested a minimal amount of time in carefully putting his share of the posters up around the large gymnasium before another student came inside and took the student body president out, taking the male away and leaving Baekhyun to do the entire task by himself. When Kyungsoo left, the brunet plugged his headphones in, opting to distract himself from the practice going on behind him.
There were shouts of distraction involving basketball terms that Baekhyun was somewhat familiar with, but didn’t necessarily care for. Hiking up the volume, he worked slowly and efficiently with his music tearing his mental and spiritual body out from the boring scenery of his environment. Lost in his own world, he went about Kyungsoo’s supposed business while silently mouthing the lyrics to his songs.
He was up on the highest bleachers trying to decorate the north wall with the posters that were meant to encourage the home team and intimidate their enemy when a shadow loomed over him. Baekhyun felt the presence of another near him but tried to ignore it. It was inevitable, however, when the person behind him held him by the waist in order to help the brunet keep stable as he tried to tip-toe his poster as high up as he could. Baekhyun found that he couldn’t simply turn the other way or pretend like his music was disabling him from noticing.
Slapping the tape between the poster and the wall, Baekhyun quickly finished the task and wriggled his way from the hands without saying a word of thanks before picking up the poster pile and moving on. He heard something muffled as he walked away and decided he was curious enough to minimize the volume of his audio for a minute to listen.
The voice belonged to Park Chanyeol, but it didn’t necessarily surprise him. He knew none of the other basketball players in the gym and, from the look of everything, the team had taken a break from their sweaty practice session. Turning around must have cued the giant to repeat what he said.
With his hair sticking to his forehead and body glistening with sweat, Chanyeol gripped his white towel in his hands as he coolly tried to wipe himself dry to a point where he was at least presentable to the male staring blankly in front of him. After a while of nervously doing so, he stopped and smirked as the brunet looked him over.
“I’m a little…sweaty,” were the first words that slipped past his lips.
Baekhyun didn’t know if the guy was trying to be funny or if he was trying to be purposely stupid in words. It didn’t bother him, but if it did, the brunet would have felt bad at hating the jock’s genuine attempt to be nice—for whatever reason that was.
“Do you need help with that?” Chanyeol asked, nodding his head at the posters that Baekhyun carried in his arms. “You’ve been here for thirty minutes and you only got about a fourth of them up.”
Shrugging, Baekhyun turned his back to the athlete again and continued on, carefully walking as to not stumble down a flight of bleachers. He didn’t understand Chanyeol’s need intrude on him or continue to pursue him for that matter. It was an oddity with a source that the introvert couldn’t put his finger on.
With his music completely mute, Baekhyun listened as he was being trailed by the athlete. He would have described the male as a slimy dog, but the brunet hated to admit that the action seemed more of that of a puppy.
“I’m pretty tall. I could help you.” When all that could be heard between them was the clinking of the shorter male’s hanging suspenders and the thuds of his light weight boots, Chanyeol quirked his lips as he tilted his head. “You look like you’re struggling, you know.”
“You have no business with me,” Baekhyun finally said, turning around to give the tall male a blank, tired expression. “I don’t know you.”
Jumping on top of the bleacher row, opting to pretend as though he was balancing on them like a beam, the jock was living up to Baekhyun’s stereotypical belief that all athletes were dumb in the head and lacking some sort of essential sense that was needed to be a decent, functioning human being. If Chanyeol made one false move, he would have found himself tumbling. Baekhyun, however, would have turned the other way, completely uninterested in the mistakes and accidents of a fool.
The way Chanyeol grinned at him was simply off-doing as Baekhyun knew he wasn’t necessarily accustomed to being smiled at. Even Kyungsoo would never give him such a face. Perhaps a small smile, but never something as radiant as the one he was receiving from the well-built male.
“You don’t know me?” Chanyeol said incredulously, feigning as if he was shocked to hear the words. “I’m Park Chanyeol. We met weeks ago. I play basketball as well as the drums and guitar.”
Drawing his lips together, Baekhyun cocked his head. “What’re you doing?” he asked, noticing that they were being watched by the other players. Not liking the attention, Baekhyun wanted to cut their interaction and draw back into isolation.
Holding his hand up into view, Chanyeol waved it around. “You helped me with this,” he said, drawing Baekhyun’s eyes to where a small wound was positively healing. “I should return the favor by helping you out this time.”
“I don’t need it.”
“Well, I think that it’s only right—”
“I don’t need it,” Baekhyun said, emphasizing his point. “I think that if you’re thankful for my help that time, alright. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, please don’t misunderstand. We’re not friends and as much as I appreciate your genuine offer, I would rather that you turn around and leave me alone.”
The grin on Chanyeol’s face softened. Its radiance didn’t die, but rather calmed, settling for a warmer glow. “I know you don’t want to be here. If I help you out, don’t you think that you can get home faster?” he inquired, catching a fleeting look on Baekhyun’s face that told a thought. “I guess I’ll take half of those, then.”
Watching silently as the giant took into arms more than half of the share that he claimed, Baekhyun swallowed, finding himself frozen for a while until the giant nudged him with his shoulder and proceeded to walk around the perimeter of the gym. As opposed to the thirty minutes that it took for Baekhyun to put up a forth of his entire load, it only took the two of them ten minutes to put up the rest. After they had bickered and proceeded to finally cooperate, an audience watched as they finished the task with Chanyeol doing ninety-nine percent of the work featuring Baekhyun and his ability to cut tape and hand it over to the giant.
School was a lousy establishment that was funded by idiots, run by morons, and occupied by nitwits. Baekhyun found himself thinking about how much he’d rather be at home doing something else, anything at all, instead of sitting in a classroom full of people who were as blank as a new book and dumber than one could ever imagine.
If there was one thing in the world that Baekhyun liked about school, it was the fact that it raised his self-esteem for the long run.
“Let’s talk gossip.”
Stretching his arms and then combing his hair against the evening breeze, Baekhyun yawned, leaning against the metal fence that overlooked the entire school lot. From where he stood, he could smell the wind blowing the stench of cigarettes his way. Coughing from the intrusion to his nose, Baekhyun looked back and saw the Kyungsoo had gone to puffing out smoke carelessly into the air.
“You’re going to make me smell like I’ve been smoking,” the burnet said as he moved to a place where he wasn’t in the wind’s way.
“Would people really be surprised, though?” Kyungsoo said, raising his brows as he lowered the cigarette from his lips. “People think you do drugs.”
“Every single fucking one of them,” Kyungsoo agreed. The two of them stayed silent for a while until one of them found something to say. “My vice president is pregnant.”
“Is it yours?”
Snorting, Kyungsoo rolled his eyes before looking up at the sky. “I wouldn’t want to be in between her legs even if we had a duty to repopulate the planet.”
“Some senior’s,” Kyungsoo shrugged. “Not that I give a damn. She can fuck herself over with a kid at this age for all I care. I’m hoping she resigns soon so I can fill the position with someone who won’t be busy with the things that come with pregnancy like doctor appointments and shame.”
Moving away from the fenced edge, Baekhyun walked to where Kyungsoo was standing against a wall in the shade. Sliding down, he sat with his legs spread apart on the ground. “Who do you have in mind?”
“I don’t know yet,” Kyungsoo said, taking in a drag and blowing it out a few seconds later. “What about you? Have you maintained your grades enough to graduate?”
“I don’t want to graduate alone with a bunch of idiots. I need you in that crowd with me.” Kyungsoo paused for a while, flicking his cig as to rid of the crusty, gray edges. “What ever happened to the basketball player?”
With the sudden reminder of the tall giant, Baekhyun groaned, rubbing his hands on his face, although making sure not to smudge the eyeliner on his bottom waterline. “He’s very…persistent.”
“He’s still bothering you?”
“Here and there,” Baekhyun said, heaving his shoulders. “He seems nice, but I just find it weird. Like, where the hell did this guy come from?”
“I’m telling you,” Kyungsoo said in a warning voice, “he has a motive.”
“I don’t think so,” Baekhyun said, slightly defending the jock. “Maybe he has an infatuation for people who have my style.”
“Dark and lonely is your style,” Kyungsoo scoffed. “He sounds like his type should be more social. I don’t know why he had his eyes on you when there are plenty of smart girls at this school that know how to divide more than just numbers.”
“He’s weird,” Baekhyun said briskly. “He doesn’t seem bad. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to get the feeling that I don’t like it when he bothers me at unnecessary times of the day.”
“Has he even told you why he likes you yet?” Kyungsoo questioned, glancing down at the brunet who was playing with his own hands. “I like you, Baek, but what I like about you isn’t admirable to other people.”
“Other than the fact that he thinks I’m funny and fun to watch? No. He hasn’t said very much.”
“Then just keep on ignoring him and maybe he’ll go away.”
Just about done with the burning drug, Kyungsoo crouched down and tried to shove the mouth piece into Baekhyun’s mouth, teasing him about his resilience against the addictive stick. “I have to go in a moment, so why don’t you do your president a favor and finish this off?” he laughed heartedly as Baekhyun struggled.
Shaking his head, Baekhyun fell on his back, giving Kyungsoo the dominant hand of the situation as he sat on top of him. Pinching the brunet’s nose, the president essentially suffocated Baekhyun into submission, forcing the boy to open his mouth wide enough to stick the half-finished cigarette right in the corner of his lips.
At that moment, Baekhyun didn’t know what else could have made the situation worse. The fact that his lungs were burning or that someone with a very familiar voice was calling out for Kyungsoo, only to come to a slow halt when they turned a corner and saw the sight of two boys, one on top of the other.
The cigarette fell from the corner of Baekhyun’s mouth in utter shock. Kyungsoo, however, composed himself quickly as he rose off Baekhyun’s still body, fixing the collars of his shirt and the mess that had become of his hair.
“Yes?” the president said, switching his voice and attitude to the professional alternate that Baekhyun was so used to seeing.
“Um,” the giant said, lips tight together as his eyes went from Baekhyun, who was slowly getting up and smashing the cigarette dead on the ground, to Kyungsoo, who was looking at him with threatening eyes beneath the feigned innocence. “Your vice president asked me to look for you. She needs you to drop by and…and, um, what was it…” Chanyeol said, losing his train of thought watching Baekhyun kick the cigarette stick away. “Oh, she said you needed to look over some late applications for the school festival events and approve them.”
Kyungsoo smiled, but although Baekhyun couldn’t see, he knew that it was one of those tight smiles the president faked whenever he wasn’t pleased with the incompetence of those around him. “I see,” the male replied slowly in a voice that made the brunet want to snicker. “I’ll see to it then. Thank you, Chanyeol.”
“It’s no problem,” the giant replied as he smiled and nodded, stepping aside to let Kyungsoo past.
Just before the delicate faced male turned and went down the staircase, he took off his jacket and tossed it over in Baekhyun’s position. “I’ll stop by your house and get that back.”
Knowing that the entire purpose of doing that was to void the male of the stench of smoke, Baekhyun nodded and watched as Kyungsoo disappeared back down, leaving him with the very man they were just discussing together. With the jacket gripped in his hand, Baekhyun moved his eyes from the door and up towards the giant beside him, finding that he was being amusingly watched.
Deciding to avoid the impending conversation, Baekhyun tried to make for the exit back down and follow Kyungsoo, but a hand took hold of his arm and pulled him back. When he opened his mouth to tell the basketball player to release him, he stilled when he saw the look in the giant’s eyes.
“Um, so, like…” Chanyeol looked down. “The president…”
As he trailed off, Baekhyun released the tension in his body and closed his eyes for a moment. “What about him?”
It took a while, but eventually Chanyeol let go of Baekhyun’s hand. “Are you two, um, in some sort of secret relationship?”
Of all the things that Baekhyun thought that the tall male was going to ask, the assumption spoken was not one of them. Almost choking on his own spit, Baekhyun coughed awkwardly, hitting his chest repeatedly before he laughed profusely at the thought.
Quirking his brows, Chanyeol’s awkwardly raised his hands in front of him as if unsure on what to do about the brunet that was about to fall to his knees from all the laughter. Then, laughing a bit on his own, Chanyeol’s lips curved upwards in an unsure smile. “I’m guessing that it’s a no?”
“God, no,” Baekhyun chuckled, straightening up and looking upwards at the sky to effectively wipe his tears without smudging the eyeliner. “We’re just friends.”
“Oh, okay,” Chanyeol grinned with the usual happiness to it attached. “I’m glad.”
Raising his brows, Baekhyun blinked a few times to make sure he had wiped every potential drop away from his eyes before meeting the basketball player’s gaze. “And why’s that?”
“I would’ve been upset,” Chanyeol shrugged.
Chuckling, Baekhyun shook his head. “That’s funny.”
“No, really!” the tall male piped, giving Baekhyun a lecturing finger. “I would’ve been a little sad if I found out I was pursuing a taken guy. If I had known you were already off the market, I think I would’ve had to fight the president.”
“You would have lost. Kyungsoo’s stronger than he lets on.”
“Good thing you’re single.”
Baekhyun let out a breath as he reached up and patted the jock on his cheek. “How long are you going to keep doing this?”
Blinking, Chanyeol tilted his head. “I’m not following.”
“Why do you like me, Chanyeol?” Baekhyun asked, point blank. “I’ve never seen you in my life. I see you in the halls sometimes. You’re really not that hard to miss. Other than that, I don’t know you.”
Shrugging with a smile that went from ear to ear, Chanyeol shrugged nonchalantly as he gazed down at the brunet. “I don’t know why I’m attracted to you like a magnet all of sudden. I just noticed you in the library one day. I mean, I kind of stumbled on you that day, I think. Well, I don’t know if you saw me. You seemed like you were pretty into reading your book…all the way…in the very back of the library.”
“That doesn’t really tell me much.”
“I thought you were good looking at first. I won’t lie!” the giant proudly said. “But then I saw you tutoring some girl one day, and I can’t tell you how much intelligence is a really big turn on—”
“Okay, Chanyeol, I—”
“Then I happened to look at the class ranking sheet and I was confused for a bit,” Chanyeol went on, completely lost in his own memory. “You’re ranked with an average number, which I don’t understand. I asked around and I found that you’re more than you lead on to be, so I wondered, why you make people think that you’re dumb, you know?”
Slanting his lips, Baekhyun said nothing for a few seconds. “This school’s not worth trying in. I have no one to impress.”
“Well, you sure as hell impress me.”
“That’s great,” Baekhyun passively replied. “Listen, you seem nice and all, but—”
“I’m not done yet,” Chanyeol gently interrupted. “Although your music taste is quite different from mine, it’s not as bad as everyone says it is. And despite the fact that people think you’re scary, I think that you’re really adorable with your eyeliner and black boots and all. You look nice.”
“Thanks…I guess,” Baekhyun muttered, wanting to leave again, not liking how embarrassed he felt for no legitimate reason at all. “But I’m not interested in being in a relationship at all.”
Clicking his tongue, Chanyeol bobbled his head. “How long do you think I have to wait? Can I call dibs on you until then?”
“Like I said, you’re my type.”
“No, I’m not,” Baekhyun said, giving the male a soft punch on the chest.
“Yes, you are!” Chanyeol argued. “I like you. You’re funny, you’re smart, and you can sing—yes, I’ve heard you sing. Don’t look at me like that.”
“Chanyeol, I’m not interested.”
“I’m not going to push you into saying yes,” Chanyeol said, making it clear. “Maybe…Maybe we should start out as friends.”
Rubbing his forehead, Baekhyun found himself desiring to be at home. Wanting it so badly, he conceded to the male’s wishes, thinking only of progressing himself out the door. “We’re not…We won’t be friend friends, but we can be ‘friends’, if you understand what I’m saying.”
“And you can’t talk to me during school hours,” Baekhyun said, laying out some ground rules that needed to be put, despite the fact that he didn’t have friendship ground rules for anyone else. “You can’t talk to me afterschool either.”
“Then when can I talk to you?” Chanyeol asked.
“Before school, but only if it’s nothing weird or stupid,” Baekhyun replied. “Just stay out of my way and we’ll be fine.”
Chanyeol frowned at him. “This doesn’t sound like a friendship to me.”
“This is how my friendships are,” Baekhyun lied. “If you don’t feel like it, then we don’t have to—”
“I’ll take it. I’ll take what I can get,” the giant said quickly, seizing the opportunity.
The eagerness in the player’s entire being was something to be admired. That, Baekhyun admitted. Patting him on the arm, Baekhyun nodded at Chanyeol as he turned on his heel and started making his way to the door to get back to ground level.
As he was walking away, he looked back one last time and called out at the male. “Chanyeol.”
With his ears perked, Chanyeol’s eyes were immediately on him. “Yeah?”
“Don’t say ‘I’ll take what I can get’ in life,” Baekhyun told him in a lecturing manner. “Don’t settle for anything less than what you want. You shouldn’t negotiate. It’s going to end up giving you a crap load of things that you don’t want in the end.”
Chanyeol smirked. “It’s alright. I’ll take what I can now. I’m going to upgrade pretty soon, anyways. Thanks for the concern,” he said, laughing and leaving Baekhyun to roll his eyes at the stupidity of the jock.