An: sorry for typos ^^;
It was never in his life plan to attend the date that he won for Kris’ time, because, frankly, Baekhyun had no interest with eating lunch with the basketball captain. He already ate lunch every day with one basketball player and he didn’t need another one. Not only was it a waste of time for him, but Chanyeol had grown enough of a backbone to openly express his opposition of how Baekhyun shouldn’t bother with “a guy like Kris”.
With no implications attached, Baekhyun loosely asked, “Why does it matter so much to you?”
“Because I’ll get jealous and may have to force myself to become an awkward third wheel.”
Despite the fact that it was never in his plans, Baekhyun found himself in the courtyard along with the others who had won a bid during the festival. It took a few minutes for everyone’s “date” to make an appearance, but within minutes, Baekhyun felt someone tap him by the shoulder. With no questions or words exchanged, he let himself be escorted to a nearby sitting area by the tall, looming basketball captain.
Taking a literal interpretation of the promise to “eat lunch” with the bids, Baekhyun kept his voice to himself and never spoke to Kris other than to answer some questions to general topics. He merely ate his food in silence and kept his gaze as far from the man’s eyes as he could. Nothing interesting spewed from Kris’ mouth, which made it easier for Baekhyun to avoid a budding conversation. However, fifteen minutes into their tense and quiet afternoon together, the basketball captain looked off at the other couples around them before putting his attention back on the brunet.
“Baekhyun, I think you have an admirer over there,” he said, pointing in a direction.
With his curiosity jerked, Baekhyun lifted his head only to see the face of a boy meters away with underlying jealousy in his eyes.
“You don’t seem to like me very much if you’re this quiet and unwilling to talk to me,” Kris said as he grinned and put a hand on Baekhyun’s shoulder. Unknown to the looming captain, Baekhyun hated to be touched in such a way, and it took everything in him not to pull back for the sake of sparing the male the awkwardness. “Everyone on the team knows he has a thing for you. No offence, but to be honest, no one understands why. You two are just…well, you know.”
The statement came to no surprise for the brunet, but Baekhyun didn’t like the implication that Chanyeol’s own team questioned his interests. It bothered him to such an extent that he finally looked up to meet Kris’ eyes rather than drawing them back. “I’m also confused about his interest and reasons,” he lied despite Chanyeol’s heartfelt confession during their accidental date at the cinema. When he saw that Kris had assumed his own statement hadn’t offended, Baekhyun casually asked, “Do you know if he’s doing this because he lost a challenge or some sort?”
Kris shook his head. “Chanyeol’s not that kind of person.”
Judging from the blatant fact that Chanyeol’s own captain confirmed Baekhyun’s gut feeling that the giant had no underlying motive because it wouldn’t have paralleled with his sincere personality, Baekhyun had no choice but to step towards the reality of Chanyeol’s interest in him being completely pure and done on his own accord. It threw him off his axis wondering why Chanyeol had chosen him out of every other person more qualified for someone of his stature.
Thinking about it was bothersome. It always had been. Baekhyun couldn’t understand why the thought of dating someone like Chanyeol stressed him to a point where he couldn’t handle it anymore. With no warning, he set his half-eaten bento box down on the table and stood up, startling Kris.
“Sorry, I realized that I, um, I have to go finish something for a class,” he muttered lamely knowing full well that it was an unbelievable excuse.
Kris was never given a chance to respond or ask why the brunet was really suddenly leaving. Baekhyun had already walked off the courtyard before he could even open his mouth.
Far greater issues in the world existed, but Baekhyun’s eyes only saw Chanyeol following after him minutes after he had left the event as the only issue relevant in his world. Pity rose within him for the girl who had won the date with the giant, and Baekhyun knew Chanyeol had forsaken everything that afternoon just to chase him down the halls. It seemed futile trying to keep their worlds from colliding. No matter what he did to sway the jock to stay in his own social bubble, Chanyeol never stayed put and kept continuing to pop into his.
Without turning back and responding to the basketball player’s pleads for him to stop, Baekhyun skidded to a halt in front of the infirmary door, punched in the access code, and quickly entered. He shut himself inside before Chanyeol could follow in. Then, deeming that he was safe enough to finally breathe, Baekhyun let out a sigh of relief as he walked over to the bed and crawled in it.
Mr. Kim Jongdae wasn’t in, and although Baekhyun wondered why such a crucial man, hired to take care of any medical emergencies, was gone every so often, he was glad to have the space to himself. He closed his eyes and tried to detach himself from the thoughts of Park Chanyeol, but it was difficult. The stress and emotional attachment caused him to feel troubled. The attention he received from the very people he had spent the majority of his school career trying to push away was causing him to feel burdened by their expectations of who he should be in order to associate with Park Chanyeol.
Baekhyun knew that he couldn’t be a burden to others and dating Chanyeol was just that. He didn’t believe in investing time into a relationship that would fall apart in the end, because it held absolutely no virtue. Perhaps he felt pity for the fact that Chanyeol made it abundantly clear that he was head over heels, because Baekhyun knew that if they dated, once all the glamorized fantasies that Chanyeol held of him died, he would no longer have value. Chanyeol needed to realize that winning the lottery was far more likely to happen than the chance of them ever being compatible.
Sleeping his worries away was Baekhyun’s way of coping with many things. To slip off consciousness was a way to escape reality, but through reading, Baekhyun discovered that solutions were more likely to come to an individual if that individual decided to put things off for sleep and rest.
When he awoke in the infirmary, Mr. Kim Jongdae was sitting at his desk and filing all the student medical records. Yet, even since the moment the brunet stirred awake, he never said one word about Baekhyun’s unnecessary presence in the room. Instead, he merely said to him, “Your phone’s been ringing for a while.”
Still in a daze from sleep and drowsiness, Baekhyun reached for his cellphone in his back pocket and slid it over on the screen to unlock the device. Then, after checking the call log, he frowned upon the sight of Chanyeol’s name listed seven consecutive times. With his eyes moving to check the time, he saw that the hours had scurried away from him. School was to end in forty minutes, but Baekhyun saw no point in assimilating himself back in his last class, so he decided that his day was officially done.
“I’m going to go home…” he muttered as he took his hands and rubbed his tired eyes. “Thanks…”
Nonchalantly, the nurse nodded his head without sparing Baekhyun much of a glance. “Make sure you graduate, Baekhyun.”
“Don’t come back here for a while. You need to go to your classes.”
“Oh, and Park Chanyeol was sitting outside the door when I came back from my break. He told me to tell you to stop running.”
To that, Baekhyun said nothing.
Grandmother Byun was a small lady to be admired by all and even though Baekhyun favored a life of isolationism, he adored the fact that his grandmother had a life full of friends. There was neither crook nor corner in town where she didn’t know anyone. Her friendly aura was contagious, as well. Smiling was a form of gesture that Baekhyun had mastered how to do robotically, but whenever he was with the small woman, things came about more naturally.
Accepting of the fact that her grandson was a willing outcast of society, Grandma Byun always made sure to slip Baekhyun money here and there for CDs and tickets so that he wouldn’t have to work so hard trying to find a job or two here and there just to earn some money to store. At one point, she even asked to accompany him to a Three Days Grace concert in the heart of Seoul when the band made a stop, but the concern over her health caused Baekhyun to turn her down and opt to go alone. Unlike the individuals around his age, Grandma Byun served more to keep Baekhyun company than they ever did, so, in turn, he followed her along on her weekly grocery trips.
It was a rather hot and humid afternoon when he walked with her from her little home to a grocery store five blocks from her house. Like the woman that she was, she carried her own reusable bags with her and a tiny umbrella for protection against the sun. Back at the house, she persistently insisted that Baekhyun take one of her caps and wear it for the outside weather, but after much gentle arguing, Baekhyun won and he walked with nothing to shield himself.
He regretted his decision two blocks in, but was grateful to have been smart enough to wear a white shirt and blue jeans, opting to omit wearing black that day. His decision to dress well and his decision to refuse his grandmother’s advice balanced out the value of all his decisions that day, but neither could save him from perspiration. Tiny beads of sweat began to form on his forehead after a while and Baekhyun became glad he wore no make up for the outing.
By the time that they reached the store, pieces of his messy hair had stuck onto his forehead and Baekhyun hated the feeling of sweat all over his body even though the store’s air conditioning system made him feel sensationally cold. Noticing that her grandson was ready to make puddles everywhere, Grandma Byun reached into her tiny purse and held out a handkerchief to him.
It took a while, but with the help of the cool store environment and his grandmother’s tiny blue handkerchief, Baekhyun was able to rid himself of the gross feeling of being drenched. He stuck with her for a while until he decided that he could do all the heavy duty shopping. Telling the little woman to go shop for the smaller things, Baekhyun headed to the fruits and vegetables area.
He walked over to the watermelons and started inspecting which one looked ripe enough to take. After moving a few around, he found one that was perfectly round and green and was about to take it if not for the hands than came from around him and pried it from his hands, setting his melon back in the pile.
“You’re not doing it right.”
Recognizing the voice, Baekhyun flipped his head back and saw that it was the giant whose body was pressed too close against him. Too engrossed in the task of helping the brunet pick out a good watermelon, Chanyeol wasn’t aware of their bodies’ proximity to each other.
Stuck between Chanyeol’s arms, Baekhyun tensed as Chanyeol leaned closer to reach out to melons that were farther off. Then he began knocking on each individual fruit until he heard one that sounded perfect. “Pick that one,” Chanyeol said, pointing at one near Baekhyun.
Baekhyun didn’t move immediately, but soon after, he reached for the one Chanyeol told him to and held it in his arms. When he felt the giant move away from him, he finally turned his body around, getting a full look of the jock himself. “Thanks.”
“It’s not a problem!” Chanyeol grinned, too happy to be helping anyone with anything. “You just have to listen if it sounds right. If it does, you pick that one.”
“That’s an odd method.”
“It’s really not,” Chanyeol replied, shrugging and unfazed by Baekhyun’s comment.
Baekhyun glanced away for a second, wondering if there was anything else he could pull out of his ass to keep the conversation from turning sour and awkward. After a few seconds, he raised his head up once again and said, “So, I didn’t know you worked here.”
“Only part-time,” Chanyeol said before pointing to his name tag. “Doesn’t this look cool? I have my own name tag.”
“I can see that,” Baekhyun said with a small smile as he nodded.
Lamely nodding along, Chanyeol let his gaze drop for a moment. “I haven’t seen you around school for a while. I’m surprised you’re still alive.”
The attempt to joke fell short because of the fact that Baekhyun caught the hint of disappointment in Chanyeol’s voice. “I’ve been busy,” he said. “I received a lot of work to make up a few days back.”
“So, you decide not to come to school?”
Baekhyun shrugged it off. “Kyungsoo brings me work that I need to do to pass. The other things don’t matter as much to me.”
Looking to up meet Baekhyun’s eyes, Chanyeol gave him a lopsided smile. “I feel like I haven’t seen you since the lunch event with the bids three days ago.”
With his lips tightly pressed together, Baekhyun nonchalantly sighed. “I guess.”
A moment of silence passed between them until it was all broken by Grandma Byun coming from around a corner and calling out to her grandson. As if suddenly remembering that he was on the job, Chanyeol’s bright smile came back up and then he nervously laughed as he backed away.
“I guess that’s a sign that I need to go back to work,” Chanyeol said as he slowly stepped backwards. “I’ll talk to you later, alright? Be sure to come back to school on Monday. I’m beginning to miss you ignoring me in the hallway, Byun Baekhyun.”
When the giant had left, his presence was replaced by Grandma Byun and her basket full of vitamins and small fruits. “Did you know that boy?”
Baekhyun looked down and smiled. “Yeah.”
“Is he your boyfriend?” she asked jokingly.
Baekhyun gave an uncommitted nod of the head. “Maybe in another life.”
“Well, make it this life because he’s handsome—at least from over there where I was standing.”
As the giant requested, Baekhyun made an appearance back on school grounds on Monday. He turned in the packets and missed assignments that he had done during his leave and receded back to how he used to be. Apologizing to Luhan was a bit hard, but the male’s nice demeanor made it easier and, soon, they were back on tutoring schedule.
Lunch in the library resumed back to how it was, but upon noticing Chanyeol’s issue with finding a comfortable way to set his long legs in the small space that they huddled in, Baekhyun decided that they needed to move. After picking everything up off the floor, Luhan and the giant followed the brunet to the library’s round tables and pulled out a seat.
“We’ll sit here from now on. Chanyeol’s legs are too long for the space.”
Just as Chanyeol was about to feel any sort of kind sensation in the gut of his stomach from Baekhyun’s consideration, the doors slammed open and the class president made a rather dramatic entrance that even made the brunet close his eyes and wish that Kyungsoo wasn’t as hiked up about anything as he seemed to be.
Surprised to see the trio sitting at a table, Kyungsoo raised his brows, but quickly walked over, putting no time to waste as he closed the distance. With papers being crushed in his right hand, he made it a point to stand in between where Baekhyun and Chanyeol were sitting side by side.
Slamming the paper down, Kyungsoo quickly pointed at the list. “I requested using every authority I could get a hold off for the trip this coming week to get the same rooming arrangement as you.”
Sipping from his bottled water, Baekhyun nodded even though he sensed that something had gone against the male’s expectations based on how he was acting. “Alright.”
“The first thing was getting put in the same god damn ‘village’,” Kyungsoo started. “This went well. We’re in Forest Village. Keep note that these cabins were meant for boys, but due to the shortage in room for the girls, there will be girls in separate cabins in the same pod village. Anyways, we’re in Forest Village.”
“So then, what’s the problem?”
“The problem is you’re in cabin thirty. I’m in cabin thirty two,” Kyungsoo growled angrily as he pointed to his name on the list. “I don’t know who fucked that up, but it’s not to my liking at all. It wouldn’t be entirely bad if I wasn’t in the same cabin as Jongin, Sehun, and Kris, which we all know is a trio full of raging hormones and shitty jokes that make me want to shove a cactus up my unlubricated asshole. Luhan is in my cabin, too, and that, I’m fine with.” Glancing towards the blond, Kyungsoo nodded. “You’re okay. I’m not pissed at you.”
“Okay,” Luhan replied rather relieved.
“You,” Kyungsoo said, returning his attention to Baekhyun, “are right where I wanted us to be. They put everyone that I wanted to be in a room with in cabin thirty except me because they seemed to have replaced me with him.”
With his finger pointed in a certain direction, all eyes followed as all of their attention fell on the giant that sat at the end of Kyungsoo’s anger.