The plastic love gloves were amusing, but Baekhyun did nothing more than blow it up and occasionally lick it with his tongue out of his curiosity for the flavor. As Chanyeol unpacked, Baekhyun wondered what they could do with the pile of protection in the drawer of their bedside table. It wasn’t as if they had ever used condoms before. Even if the brunet had the design to use the plastic slip, he knew Chanyeol would never agree to it. He remembered asking the giant once if he even liked wearing the tight love glove, and the only answer that Baekhyun received was, “Not with you.”
Humming, Baekhyun kicked his legs around as he let go of the inflated condom, letting it fly wherever its little life would let it be. Sitting up, he watched as Chanyeol unpacked suit after suit, meticulously putting each one in their closet. He turned his head and stared at several walls, reminding himself of the fact that the giant did more than just eat, sleep, work, and, occasionally, have sex.
It wasn’t as though he thought that the giant lacked talent. Baekhyun could bend backwards with ease, work a pole like a pro, sing like snow white, and charm the pants off any stranger. Those were his talents despite the fact that Chanyeol often argued that charming the forbidden snake out from the drawers of another man’s underwear was not talent. The giant, on the other hand, had no talent that Baekhyun was aware of until that day.
The room was sleek and clean, but had a feeling that was a constant reminder to the brunet that the male that lived there was a successful teen in his earlier youths. Surely, a guy who played baseball as an after school sport and instruments as a hobby had a cult following. Sometimes, there were moments when Baekhyun wondered who was Chanyeol’s beloved vegetable before he, a beautiful flower, came budding in the giant’s “boring, boring life”.
Before, Baekhyun hadn’t been able to ask because of the fact that he didn’t want to poke around. Unlike him, Chanyeol was a private kind of person. He didn’t like the brunet bursting out open information about their sex life to strangers; he wasn’t fond about the idea of going to a strip club to watch the brunet “volunteer”; and he wasn’t exactly in love with the way Baekhyun would sometimes unconsciously flirt with others by sharing things about himself. He shared in Baekhyun’s exhibitionist fun from time to time, but at the end of the day, he was more introverted when it came to private things between them.
Knowing that, when Baekhyun open his mouth, he second guessed himself about the matter of asking, but the words came out before his mind could filter him. “Chanyeol, did you have a girlfriend in high school?”
He received a glance from the giant who finished putting their things away in the closet, closing the door shut. “Why’re you asking?”
“I’m curious,” Baekhyun said, grinning as he watched the man approach him.
“What if I don’t want you to know?” Chanyeol replied, cocking his head, mimicking the grin on the smaller one’s face.
“That’s not fair. I tell you about everyone that’s been in my life.”
“Ah, yes,” the giant said rather sarcastically as he chuckled. “You’ve told me about every single one of them. I can’t say I remember them all, though.”
Bobbing his head, Baekhyun sighed. “You don’t need to remember every single one of them. I already have that down for the both of us,” he said, waving a hand as if to dissipate the ideas. Chanyeol’s facial expression changed, but rather than worry the brunet, it only made Baekhyun grin even wider. “So, tell me. Was she pretty? Or he? Did you like tall guys before? Chunky ones? I’m chunky, but in the butt—That’s not the case at all, but I’m just giving you a reference point.”
Stopping in front of where Baekhyun was sitting on the bed, Chanyeol leaned over and batted his eyes. “You really want to know?”
“Yes,” Baekhyun said, sure with certainty. “Don’t lie to me, either. I don’t like it when you do that.”
“Oh, you don’t like it when I lie?”
“That’s funny,” Chanyeol said, flicking the brunet’s soft cheek, “because you lie to me all the time.”
“Just answer my question, idiot,” Baekhyun grumbled as he moved his cheek away.
Laughing, Chanyeol sat down, causing the latter to bounce a bit. Then he took Baekhyun’s hand in his, forcing open the petite male’s fingers to lace together theirs. “Well, let’s see,” he said, glancing upwards at the ceiling for a bit to avoid the latter’s focused and curious gaze, “I had a girlfriend in high school. She was cute, but smart, I guess. She was part of student council so I guess we were kind of the power couple back then.”
“Like Cheon Song Yi and Do Min Joon?”
“Okay, go on,” Baekhyun said, unaware of how intrigued he was with the giant’s history. The way he was holding the Chanyeol’s hand got tighter, and the only one who noticed was his fiancé.
“Go on?” Chanyeol frowned at him. “You only asked me about high school.”
“I’m sure you had more than one.”
“No.” Pursing his lips, Chanyeol thought about it for a second. “She was my only girlfriend. We broke up at graduation, but that was fine.”
“But what happened after that?” Baekhyun asked, pressing his face closer to the giant. “You went your own separate ways, yeah, but did you two find each other years later and make up? Like in those timeless romance movies? Were you in such turmoil when you broke up that you couldn’t forget about her, so you’d go on fitful rages and drink alcohol to try and erase her from your mind? Then years later, at a party or something, after a tearful reconciliation, you took her home and made sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet lo—”
“What the hell are you doing?” Chanyeol asked, incredulous. “You’re making it sound like I’m not sitting here, four months away from marrying you.”
“I was just wondering,” Baekhyun responded, sticking out his tongue and lifting his chin upwards in a sassy manner. “I would’ve rooted for you.”
“You would’ve rooted for me,” the giant repeated platonically.
“Yes.” The brunet nodded and inhaled before asking for another back story. “Who else? After your high school sweet heart, who else did you date?”
“You must’ve dated others,” Baekhyun emphasized. “Your parents bought love gloves for us to use, so they must’ve known how much of a Casanova you were.”
Rubbing his eyes with his free hand, Chanyeol groaned, making a mental note to throw away the packs if they were going to constantly make the latter curious about his previous relations with other people. “I’ve had my fair share of people.”
“Really? Like who? Tell me stories.”
“How’d you lose your virginity? Who? Where?”
Chanyeol opened his mouth to respond by asking why the brunet was so damn interested; but when he looked at Baekhyun’s genuinely curious face, he found that lecturing about privacy and disclosure would be pointless considering all the details Baekhyun managed to share in just a year together.
Looking down at Baekhyun’s intertwined fingers, Chanyeol gave in. “High school with the girl I just told you about.” He paused. “Then after we broke up, I had a boyfriend in college and then another one. After that, it was just whenever I felt like it, I suppose.”
“And then me,” Baekhyun sang.
Sensing the hesitation in Chanyeol’s voice and inferring from the way the giant’s eyes looked away for a split second, the smile on Baekhyun’s face fell as he tilted his head. “Not me?” When Chanyeol didn’t answer, prolonging his response, Baekhyun puffed his lips outwards. “It’s okay if you have a long list, you know. I’m not going to judge you. Cross my heart and hope for apple pie, Yeol.”
“Apple pie…” Glancing at Baekhyun for a moment, Chanyeol nodded as he pushed on. “After I started working for my parents, I started dating my, uh, high school girlfriend—”
With his eyes wide and mouth gaped open, Baekhyun moved his head back in awe. “You did get back together with her! I knew it! I had a feeling, Yeol. You want to know why? It always does, I swear to you. The same thing happened to me, except under different circumstances—oh, crap. Never mind, keep going. How long did that go?”
Leaning over and giving the latter a kiss just on the corner of his lips, Chanyeol smiled. “We’ve been sitting here for too long. My parents are probably going to get the wrong idea, don’t you think?”
Baekhyun gave him a serious look. “Stop it,” he huffed, untangling his fingers from the giant’s and getting off the bed. “You’ll have to finish the story later. I want to know.”
“It’s really not that important,” Chanyeol said.
“Don’t be shy.”
As Chanyeol watched Baekhyun spin in random circles, his shoulders slanted. The remark was meant to ease him, but the giant knew that being private had nothing to do with being shy. At times, being private and keeping certain things to oneself was the easiest way to avoid obstacles. In Baekhyun’s mind, putting everything out in the open was the best way to deal with things, but Chanyeol disagreed.
“Maybe some other time,” he replied. He rose from the bed and followed after Baekhyun, minus the random spins. As he put a hand on the door handle, he looked down at the brunet who was looking up at him with a grin on his face. “Just to be clear, I’m not emotionally attached to any one from my past.”
“I’m being serious.”
“Of course,” Baekhyun said lightly said, puckering his lips in a teasing manner. “You only love this.”
Reaching down, Chanyeol grabbed the brunet’s lips with his fingers and held them shut while the latter squirmed. “I wouldn’t push it.”
When he finally managed to pull his lips away, Baekhyun scrunched his face. “What an abusive monster, you are. I’m telling on you.”
Rolling his eyes at Baekhyun’s teasing nature, Chanyeol continued to open the door. “Right.”
“I’m being serious, Park Chanyeol!” the smaller male sang as he slipped through and stepped out into the hall way. “Mr. Park, help me. Your son says he doesn’t love me.” Baekhyun snickered, glancing over his shoulder to see the way Chanyeol exaggeratedly gagged at his jeers.
He quickened his pace, walking with a confident swagger until his reached the stairs. Then he turned back to Chanyeol with his hands behind his back, balancing on his back heels. The pose looked awfully suspicious so Chanyeol came to a slow, cautious stop. “What do you want?” he asked knowing that Baekhyun’s smiles were something to be well aware of.
Raising his eyebrows, Baekhyun’s smirk became even larger. “Well, since you’re asking,” he started slowly, “I was wondering if you could, oh, you know…lay off my balls about things.”
“What do you mean ‘lay off your balls’?” Chanyeol crossed his arms and cocked his head, interested in what Baekhyun really meant.
Pursing his lips, Baekhyun batted his eyes. “Let me do things. If I want to carry heavy things up the stairs, let me do it. Don’t embarrass me in front of your parents. I think you should have a little faith in me, don’t you think?”
“Uh, I let you eat on the train and you ended up getting sick. I’m going to learn from that mistake.”
“That was an isolated case,” Baekhyun argued. “I swear to you, their milk was expired and the infrastructure of the railings was so awful, it caused a lot of unnecessary bumps. It wasn’t my fault.”
“Chanyeol,” the latter countered. “Listen. This is what’s going to happen. One, I’m going to impress your parents so hard, they’re going to forget the fact that they hate my family, which, if you think about it, this entire feud started really stupidly, right? I looked into it a while back, and it turns out that your great, great grandfather and my great, great grandfather fought over my great, great grandmother. Obviously, she chose my granddad, because, hello, better genes, cuter face, right?”
The point was stupid and ridiculous. Baekhyun was cupping his own face as if to prove a point that generations ago, his great, great grandfather was far more handsome than Chanyeol’s own. Nodding his head for the hell of it, Chanyeol put a hand on Baekhyun’s back and started to lead him down the stairs. “Sure.”
“I’m going to ignore the sarcasm, and move on to number two,” Baekhyun said, taking hold of the railing. “Second, I’m going to show them that I’m not useless. So, that means, the moment we step on the first floor, you’re going to let me go and let me go into the kitchen to help your mother with cooking.”
“You can’t cook.”
“Oh, yes, I can.” Baekhyun elbowed the giant’s side. “You just don’t know that I can. You never let me cook anything at home.”
“We have Kyungsoo for that,” Chanyeol pointed out.
“Well, then, today’s the day I show you that I’m capable of feeding you myself,” the brunet declared, shoving a finger into the air. “Not that I’m trying to outdo Kyungsoo at his job or make him lose it, but I mean, hello. Master genius at all arts and craft here, you know.”
“Of course, you are.”
“Your lack of confidence in me is a bit overwhelming.”
“Isn’t it always?”
The grin on Baekhyun’s face faltered for a short while until the brunet pulled away when they reached the bottom of the stairs. “Sometimes, not always, but it does make me a little down.” Just as Chanyeol opened his mouth to respond, Baekhyun put a finger to his lips and shook his head. “I’ll see you in a few minutes. I better not see you in the kitchen or else I just might burst into tears and die.”
Scurrying off, Baekhyun left him to join his mother-in-law and Chanyeol stood by with a blank look on his face as he watched the latter disappear. He took a step to follow, but decided that if Baekhyun wanted to do something on his own, then who was he to stand in the way? Moving the opposite direction, he went to occupy himself with talking to his father.
Chanyeol wasn’t expecting visitors. In fact, a homely meal with Baekhyun and his parents was the most that he expected for a first time meeting, but apparently, by the knock on the door, the older two adults had others things planned up their sleeve. At the first sound of a knock, Chanyeol rose from where he sat and went to open the door, only to be tackled by rough hugs and a loud chorus of loud greetings.
“Why didn’t you tell us you were back!?”
“How sad. We were invited through your parents.”
“I see you every month, so I was forced to come along.”
After being bombarded with multiple touches to his face, Chanyeol was finally able to open his eyes see who the visitors were despite the fact that he could recognize their voices. All dressed in semi-formal attire, all three men seemed as though their visit would not last for only a few minutes. “Seung Woo,” he muttered when his eyes set on the first person closest to him. “Jae Wan…and Kris. I can’t say that I’m happy to be seeing the three of you.”
“Don’t be like that,” Seung Woo replied, patting Chanyeol on the cheek before bypassing him and greeting Mr. Park.
Rolling his eyes, Chanyeol mustered up a smile for Jae Wan. “How’re things going with your new family? I heard you had a baby recently.”
Yawning, Jae Wan nodded. “My wife’s with the baby right now. He should be sleeping so she shouldn’t have much of a problem.”
Chanyeol smiled and stepped aside the let the man in, greeting his tall employee next. “New hair style?”
“They say that the color black makes people look more attractive,” Kris replied, grinning as he shrugged. “So far, the hair’s been getting me more than I can handle.”
The giant shook his head as Kris passed him by. He closed the door and joined the gathering, waiting for his friends to finish greeting and making small talk with his father. In the back, he could hear Baekhyun’s laughter, which indicated that all things in the kitchen were going well. He couldn’t smell anything burning, and for a moment, he felt slightly proud that Baekhyun hadn’t set fire to anything at all just yet.
The thought of Baekhyun cooking efficiently in the kitchen was a pleasant thought, and Chanyeol drifted away from the conversation the rest of the men were having by the fantasy of the little brunet holding a big ladle spoon, stirring a large pot of soup with—
Snapping his attention back to where he was, Chanyeol blinked a few times as he tried to focus in. “Hm?”
“We want to see your bride!”
Chanyeol moved his eyes towards Seung Woo and laughed as he shook his head. “Maybe in a little bit. That little idiot’s kind of—”
The sound of pans clattering to the floor jolted everyone in the main room. Curiosity spiked Seung Woo’s attention as he craned his head to look in the direction of the sound, and the first thing that Kris did was let out a sigh, guessing that whoever made that noise was not Mrs. Park.
Drawing his eyebrows together, Chanyeol frowned as he waited for a few seconds before taking a step to the direction of the clatter. He only stopped when a minute later, loud pattering grew closer and closer to the gathered men and all of a sudden, Nugget, darted from the kitchen with white powder streaked on his little back.
The dog barked several times, running in circles around the men’s feet before growling at Chanyeol’s. When the giant tried to pick the dog up, Nugget hopped out of reach and ran back to where he came from. Much to Chanyeol’s relief, someone picked the dog on his run, but when the giant’s eyes drew upwards, he saw that the dog’s owner was in no more better shape than the dog itself.
Jae Wan put a hand to his mouth, unable to make sense of the male with his face and kitchen apron covered in flour and his flour-covered dog. Kris tried to stifle a smile, Mr. Park looked away in amusement, and Seung Woo turned red. Chanyeol stood silently with his jaw unhinged at the white mess, and the entire house endured a silence until Seung Woo burst out in a howl of laughter.
“What is this?” he cried, holding out a hand and motion to Baekhyun. “Who is that guy? Is he the new cook for you, Mr. Park? And that dog. Did you get a dog, Chanyeol? I thought you didn’t like animals, and now you have that furry thing in here. But really though, who are those two? New help?” Walking past everyone else, Seung Woo approached Baekhyun, looking down on him with a grin. “Are you here to take jackets? I suppose you’d have to wash up first. You have a little something here,” he said as he swiped a hand on Baekhyun’s cheek and picking up a small print of dusty flour on his finger.
Baekhyun pursed his lips and held Nugget a little bit tighter. He looked a little intimidated, unknowing of how he should act on the stranger in front of him with an audience in the room. He looked to Chanyeol and felt let down to see that it didn’t seem as though he was focused enough to go to his rescue, but despite it all, he stood firm.
“Actually, no, I’m not here to—”
“You seem a little too clumsy for house work, don’t you think? You came from the kitchen so I’m guessing you—”
“Seung Woo,” Chanyeol said, finally speaking.
“I just want to know.” Turning his attention back to Baekhyun, Seung woo cocked his head. “I’m curious why this little thing here was hired when he’s such a mess in front of guests.”
The brunet held his dog tighter using his left arm, loosening his right. “I—”
“You’re not what?”
Growling, Chanyeol started to stride over. “Seung Woo, he’s not—”
“I’m not the help!” Baekhyun finally finished. Knowing that the latter would’ve had more to say and questions to ask, he balled his right hand into a fist and punched the man on his right shoulder. Nugget barked in his dad’s victory and Chanyeol stopped a few steps short of the two. “Put your own coat away,” he muttered under his breath before turning around and returning to the kitchen.
Seung Woo was still hissing and rubbing his pained right shoulder by the time Baekhyun disappeared. He looked back and saw that all four men were looking at him with unsympathetic faces. “What?”
Jae Won turned to Kris and simply asked, “Chanyeol’s fiancé?”
Rather than letting Kris answer, Chanyeol did it for him. “Yes.”
However, the subordinate added another piece of unasked information. “And that’s his dog.”