Being one of the first to finish through with the registration process and formally receive the name cards with the village arrangements on the back, Baekhyun found himself walking on an isolated path with the two people who represented two different forces. On his left, Kyungsoo walked along, carrying his black bag dutifully while walking at the same pace the brunet took on. Then, on his right, Baekhyun had the company of the giant who carried his things with ease and kept at a slower pace just to stay with the brunet. It was as though the devil and angel took their place on either side of him at their rightful place. Kyungsoo would’ve been the embodiment of the devil and Chanyeol was somehow the representation of an angel; but Baekhyun couldn’t say that he agreed with the implications.
The bag he carried was benevolent in weight, but Chanyeol kept insisting all the way to the village that he’d be able to help. Kyungsoo acknowledged the athlete’s presence, but didn’t give an ounce of attention to him. When they reached a separation in the road, Kyungsoo wasn’t pleased with the fact that he had to depart from the other two. The giant, on the other hand, smiled at the president’s departure from then as they went off their separate ways.
As the two of them continued in the direction of their sighted cabin, Baekhyun’s frown remained static on his face. They were the first to arrive at the designated cabin, and although Baekhyun led the way, Chanyeol stretched his legs to get ahead in order to be the one who reached the door first. His quick appearance to the front startled Baekhyun to a halt just before his hand touched the handle and he took a step back, taken off guard by Chanyeol’s smile.
“You first,” the player said with a toothy grin.
Baekhyun attempted to pay him no mind, scoffing softly to himself as he stepped inside the dark cabin. Looking to his left, he spotted the switch and immediately illuminated the room. Once his eyes focused, he saw four beds, one in each corner of the wooden establishment. Baekhyun decided to take the bed in the right corner of the cabin that was farthest form the door.
The loud thuds behind him kept Baekhyun updated on the giant’s movements. He placed his bags on the bed and stood staring at his belongings for a few seconds before his ears perked at Chanyeol’s sudden sneeze. He looked back, met eyes with the laughing tower, and cuts their eye contact short.
“Aren’t you going to tell me ‘bless you’?” Chanyeol teased.
“Bless you with what?” Baekhyun said, keeping his voice plain.
A moment of silence passed and for a small piece of time, Baekhyun believed that there was nothing else to say or do. Hopes rose, but quickly fell when he felt the giant wrap an arm around him, and suddenly, he was pulled into an embrace that left his cheek pressed against Chanyeol’s broad chest.
Putting his hands on the male’s body was a mistake. Beneath the shirt, Baekhyun could feel the athlete’s toned body, and he regretted it. Shoving his thoughts aside, the brunet attempted to push Chanyeol off, but just as he thought he would become triumphant, Chanyeol spun them around and landed the two of them on the bed.
As occurrence would happen, when the two of them regained their senses, Chanyeol realized the type of position he had put them in. Baekhyun, groggy from the quick movement, found himself lying on the giant’s chest.
“What the hell,” he muttered as he tried to push off the hard mattress. Chanyeol, however, had other things in mind as he reached up and pulled the brunet back down on him. Sky rocketing out into the atmosphere, the beating from Baekhyun’s chest became a freak of nature all on its own. “Chanyeol, stop—”
“You’re really difficult, you know.” Baekhyun shivered, feeling the giant’s soft breath against his neck as he spoke. “But I’m okay with that. I like it.”
There was a slight sense of panic that arose within him. Baekhyun became paranoid, thoughts revolving around the concern of whether or not the athlete could feel him shake like a trapped animal. “This is weird,” Baekhyun said, grasping at every straw-like statement that he could get a hold on. Other than ineffective, the words were just as weak as his voice.
Laughing, Chanyeol let his hold go. Taking the open opportunity to detach himself, Baekhyun sat up, unaware of how he was straddling the male. Smiling, the jock lifted an arm up and gently pinched the bottom of the brunet’s chin. “I like this position,” he declared.
There a split second where the brunet froze, then he began to scramble off, but not before their privacy was intruded upon by the opening of the door. Baekhyun turned his head back in frightened manner, and soon after, a shiver went down his spine at the sight of Kyungsoo accompanied by the two other students sharing the cabin.
Baekhyun attempted to sputter an excuse—a simple reason—as to what astrological phenomenon happened that ended him in his current place, but Kyungsoo’s dismissiveclear cut gaze shattered the air as he turned his face away from the couple to apologize to the others.
“That was completely inappropriate,” Kyungsoo said with a soft smile as if to kindly say his regrets on Baekhyun’s behalf, but through the curve of his lips, the brunet could see spite. “Settle in. I have to go check on the other students.” As he made his way back to the door, a thought arose and the president halted his progress. “Lunch will be served in thirty minutes. As we were told on the bus, we’re here to have fun, but I’d like to remind the two of you in the back, Park and Baekhyun, that that sort of fun is not the type of fun that had been approved. Decency on this trip is advised. Do you understand?”
The question, in general, was directed to both of them, but Baekhyun only gave a curt nod knowing that Kyungsoo’s gaze was marking Chanyeol’s face. Grinning, Chanyeol replied, “I understand.”
Baekhyun noticed the way Kyungsoo’s eyes darted downwards. He saw the way the latter’s eyebrows came together and the way he had lost all gentle pretenses despite being in the presence of two others that did not understand his true nature. Kyungsoo’s lips subtly tightened as if irritated. Then, without making one more excessive second of eye contact with anyone, the president turned to the door, walking out, but not before he harshly ordered, “Get your hands off his ass, Park.”
There was something drastically dangerous about Park Chanyeol. It was the way he no longer paused to reevaluate his options when Baekhyun would make an obvious statement that was meant to maim feelings. It was something that Baekhyun feared. The immunity that the giant had against him was infecting his insides like a virus. While Chanyeol was beginning to cure himself of any type of intimidation he felt with the way Baekhyun treated him, the brunet was slowly being consumed by the sickly mixed essence of fear and excitement.
And he detested it.
After the catastrophic event, Baekhyun rushed out the cabin and spotted his friend marching systematically down the dirty trail, heading back to the main camp buildings. He took a step with the purpose of grabbing onto the male and explaining himself, but he stopped, realizing that he was under no obligation to. The desire to cleanse himself of fault and misconceptions was deep, but it wasn’t enough to convince the brunet to say that his brooding friend needed to know every single detail of his life.
If he wanted to straddle the giant, that was his business. If they kissed, then that was their business. Kyungsoo was an important part of him, someone who had been a friend and a former love, but there was a line between them and Baekhyun knew that it wasn’t worth crossing. There was no reason to cross it, anyhow. What he did was private business despite having little to no say about what type of business that might be depending on the actions of the gigantic athlete.
Although the reasons to run after Kyungsoo began to fade just like his figure in the distance, Baekhyun had no interest of walking back into the cabin to face his other roommate and endure painful silence. He had his pride, and he would protect it at all cost for as long as humanly possible. With his mind decided, he started walking down the trail as well, opting to walk a different, longer route than Kyungsoo back to the main village.
The food wasn’t terrible, but finding a place to sit was. Having gotten there before all else, the entire cafeteria was practically open for the taking, but Baekhyun decided to sit in one of the outer booths, the ones that were farthest from the cafeteria line and right next to the window overseeing the entire forest. He ate quietly and watched as the heavy, soft gray clouds slowly covered the sky. Despite the forecast that Luhan had read, the weather was glum and it seemed to have taken a turn for colder, wetter weather.
As he picked at his salad and sipped on his juice, he witnessed as the sky began to trickle down small droplets that slid down the windows. There was a slight sway to the trees from beyond and Baekhyun wondered how lonely and bored he was to have noticed such detail. Just as he turned his head to focus on mindlessly moving his food around, a figure form his peripheral vision joined him across the booth meant for four people. First guess was that it was the giant who settled down in his company, but when Baekhyun raised his eyes, it was the platonically expressed president who filled the empty spaces around him.
An electric shock of tense, awkward feelings bombarded Baekhyun and he couldn’t remember the last time he felt that way around Kyungsoo. Even when they reached a mutual separation, there was never a moment when Baekhyun felt the need to escape and hide. He couldn’t decipher whether he felt unusual because of embarrassment or shame. There wasn’t a ledge Baekhyun could peer over and seek the answers for, and it made him wither in spirit and confidence.
After a moment of utter, painful silence, Kyungsoo spoke as if nothing had occurred. Stabbing the tender slab of meat that he was given with the steel chopsticks in his hand, he sighed. “One piece of meat, a scoop of heated corn, and a glass of water is what they expect us to live off of. Pathetic. I’d rather they expect us to go hunt our own food on this godforsaken establishment than to think I can survive for six hours until dinner.” He glanced at Baekhyun’s plate noticed the way pieces of the meat slice were scattered all around; the brunet’s lack of appetite apparent. “Are you going to eat or are you going to sit there, depressing me?”
“I have too many things on my mind,” Baekhyun replied after some time, setting his utensils down. He was tired.
“Sometimes, it’s not about the number of things occupying your head,” Kyungsoo replied, using a plastic knife to cut his meat into pieces. “Sometimes, it’s the mass of the things in your head that fill it with space. In other words, larger things tend to weigh more, so I suggest, from one friend to another, that you find it in you to let the larger burdens go.” He took a piece in between his metallic sticks and reached over to offer it to the brunet.
Baekhyun looked at the offering and mentally deflated himself. Aware of who Kyungsoo was referring to, he said nothing in the giant’s defense because it was partially true. Accepting the gesture, Baekhyun leaned forward and took the meat given to him before looking over and spotting the very man, who insisted on barging into his life, sitting a full table with others who fit his style far better than the introverted music lover did.