The Break Up Box
The awkwardness that filled the room was almost comical. Chanyeol glanced down and spotted the tiny pad prints of Nugget’s fat little paws on the wooden flooring and snorted. He had to wonder how the little creature managed to create such a mess and where in god’s name Sehun was when he was supposed to be tending to the dog’s needs. Leaving the others, he walked past Seung Woo whose face was almost priceless to begin with. Chanyeol made no comment about it.
When he entered the kitchen, he found his mother laughing as she was cleaning the powder mess on the floor. Baekhyun was near the kitchen sink wiping Nugget off with a wet towel. On one of the counters, he could see a large and lumpy dough creation, figuring out that Baekhyun had been attempting to make some sort of bread.
Turning his head, Baekhyun gave the giant a face before going back to cleaning off his dog. Chanyeol, in turn, made no remark as he grabbed a wet towel and took the liberty of wiping off the faint paw prints off the floor in the living and receiving area of the house. He could hear comments made by his friends, which were undoubtedly annoying, but there wasn’t much he could do other than to ignore it.
Once back in the kitchen, Chanyeol’s mother was gone, but he could see that she had made her way outside to entertain the newly washed pup in the evening sun while talking with Sehun. Baekhyun, however, stayed in the kitchen, washing the rags that he used to wipe the paw prints and flour spill off the kitchen floor.
“You okay?” Chanyeol asked cautiously as he approached the glum brunet harshly wringing out the clothes over the sink.
“I’m fine,” Baekhyun muttered back before setting the material on the side and washing his hands quickly. “I told your mom that I’d handle cleaning the rest of this mess, which, by the way, I’m sorry. Nugget came in a little too hyper and made me knock this entire bowl of white stuff—flour, I mean—and then ran off with it on him. I just—I just wanted to make some bread!”
Putting his wash cloth in the sink, Chanyeol moved next to him to wash his own hands before wiping them dry with a paper towel near him. “Don’t worry about it. It’s not the most chaotic thing that’s ever happened with that dog of yours.”
Making a face, Baekhyun spun around and started walking away with his hands on his hips. “Who was that guy out there anyways? Thinking I’m a maid and stuff—I mean, okay! I was your maid before, but that was practically a year ago. Do I look like a maid to you, Chanyeol? Do I?”
Looking over at the shorter male’s appearance in the dirtied apron and the splotches of flour powder left on his cheeks, Chanyeol smiled at the sight. “No, but you do look like—”
“Then excuse him!” Baekhyun interrupted, throwing his hands up in the air. “Whatever. I’m even more surprised he doesn’t recognize me—wait. First of all, he didn’t know who I was? And you didn’t step in when he—”
“Anyways, whatever,” the brunet waved dismissively despite the horrid feeling that was rising in Chanyeol’s stomach. “It’s fine. Anyways, help me find the plates and dishes. Your mom finished cooking. I’ll just trash my lump of bread over there and leave money later for the things I wasted.”
“Baekhyun, stop.” Chanyeol watched as Baekhyun moved around, opening multiple cabinets in his search. “You’re upset—”
“Actually,” Baekhyun said, correcting him as he stood on his toes, peering into each cabinet, “I’m embarrassed and a little—what’s it called? Oh, I think it’s humiliated. You could’ve stepped in a little sooner, to be honest, and—oh god. It’s easier to find things in my parents’ house, Chanyeol and our kitchen is larger than this.”
Inwardly groaning, Chanyeol turned his back to the brunet to reach for the cabinet behind him. “The dishes are in here,” he informed, taking stacks out one at a time. By the time he finished, Baekhyun stood beside him, taking multiple ones in his hold. “Don’t take too much. You’re going to drop them.”
“Yes, because god forbid they all break, I slip, slit myself, and die as if dying’s not what I want right now,” Baekhyun mumbled. However, he heeded the giant’s words, leaving behind those he wanted the latter to carry.
Taking the rest into his hands, Chanyeol promptly followed after his huffing fiancé. “You know, I’m never exactly the one to react quickly enough to a situation,” he said in a low voice meant for Baekhyun’s ears as they entered the formal dining area.
Baekhyun scrunched his face, giving Chanyeol an incredulous look. “Uh, excuse you, twat!” he hissed before lowering his voice and setting his plates down. “Don’t give me crap about you being slow. I know for a fact that you’re not, okay?” Irritably, he went around placing plates on the table. “First of all, you didn’t have any trouble reacting when you jumped on Mr. Kim and tackled him to the ground the minute you saw me with him at that event. Second, speed is not your flaw, dear sir, so I’m going to have to call you out on that lie fatter than your—”
“Honey, I suggest you lower your voice,” Chanyeol said off-handedly as he slowly spread his plates and dishes around. “This might be an enclosed dining area, but it’s still fairly open. I don’t want them to get the idea that we’re fighting in here.”
“But we are.”
“We shouldn’t be,” Chanyeol argued right back. “Look, I’m sorry. I blanked out, but maybe because I was amused.”
Raising his brows sarcastically, Baekhyun scrunched his nose. “Sure, watch your fiancé get ripped apart and be amused. Why don’t I go get mauled by dogs if you really find it fun to watch me getting—”
Frowning heavily, Chanyeol snapped him a look. “You know that’s not what I meant.”
“Of course,” Baekhyun dismissively replied after ridding off all his plates and moving to reenter the kitchen to retrieve the silverware. “I’m not a dim-witted maid, after all—I mean, sure, whoever that guy was insinuated that I was, but it’s not like you didn’t have the exact same thought when you first met me.”
Following the brunet back into the kitchen, Chanyeol double checked if they had other company in the room. When he was clear that there weren’t, he came up from behind the shorter male, trapping him between his body and the granite counters in the midst of Baekhyun’s search for his in-laws’ silverware.
“The eating utensils are on the other side of the kitchen,” he said, sliding his arms under Baekhyun’s and pulling him up against him.
Disgruntled, Baekhyun blew a raspberry and tried to move, but Chanyeol kept him still. “This isn’t our house. You can’t just do this, and more importantly, I have things I have to do!”
“Will you calm down?” Chanyeol said, rolling his eyes before dipping his head down and placing his lips softly against Baekhyun’s tense neck. “Why don’t you put this much effort in table setting at home? Can you even set the spoons and forks correctly?”
Easing into Chanyeol’s body despite his inner will, Baekhyun bit his lips. “I know, because I used to hang out with the butler’s son when I was in high school. He taught me how it was done.”
“Did he teach you anything else?”
“Maybe how to kiss or so, but—ow!” Baekhyun jumped when he felt a sharp nip at his neck. As he put a hand on his injured part, he whipped around and saw Chanyeol pull away, moving to the other side of the kitchen. “That hurt, you giant idiot!”
“What a shame. Maybe the butler’s son can come over and kiss it better for you,” Chanyeol snorted, pulling open a drawer and taking an assorted tray out. “Here. Everything you need is in the tray.”
Taking the tray from the giant, Baekhyun frowned. “You’re not going to help me?”
Shaking his head, Chanyeol turned his back and headed to the pots of food and sides. “No. You can do it by yourself and put those skills that you learned to the test.”
“Oh, you’re despicable!” Gripping the tray, Baekhyun raised his chin and walked in a strut back to the dining room, passing Chanyeol along the way. “You and your misleading questions!”
“There was nothing misleading about them, honey!”
Baekhyun made a face, one that Chanyeol had no opportunity ever seeing as he went back to join his father, solidifying his decision in leaving the brunette alone. Irrationally thinking, he set up the rest of the table but went back to a seat he intended to lead Chanyeol to sit in, took the utensils, and licked them completely before setting them back down.
Mrs. Park took care of the rest after a while, shooing Baekhyun to head on upstairs to change. Trudging his way to the top meant having to walk back the men laughing and discussing things he didn’t really have much care for—business, actually.
Baekhyun briefly greeted them before he excused himself to the second level. His eyes met Chanyeol’s for a moment and subtly stuck his tongue out. The giant had no idea what was in store for him and Baekhyun thought that was amusing. There was nothing more that annoyed Chanyeol than messy, dirty things outside of the bedroom. This was something Baekhyun learned from all the times the man yelled at him for delaying laundry day or dish washing.
The brunette hummed his way to their bedroom and closed the door behind him. He shrugged off his shirt, wondered whether he should change his jeans as well, and promptly took it all off. There was something satisfying in strutting around with nothing but breezy boxers, and Baekhyun liked it.
Despite the fact that his lovely husband-to-be ditched him in an effort to make a point that he wasn’t too fond of the info the latter had given him concerning the Byuns’ previous butler’s son, Baekhyun still loved him enough to forgive. Past the asshole was a guy worth loving, he figured.
He danced unconsciously, hopping around the room before he landed his way in front of the closet. To no surprise, Chanyeol had packed all his nicer looking cardigans, not the ones with character prints on them like the cardigan with cows all over the place. Since he didn’t have that or any of the other fun ones he bought on bargain, he took out a navy blue sweater that wasn’t too thin or too thick. Then he followed it by choosing white pants that fit perfectly around his thighs, though it was surprising Chanyeol even packed it. It had caused problems in the past in terms of butt show.
Wasting time wasn’t his purpose, but it just so happened that that’s what Baekhyun ended up doing. He looked through the photos on the walls again, taking the time to remember the different types of awards Chanyeol had gotten for his sports in high school.
He walked around the perimeter of the room, and in his excitement to make another round, he tripped on his own feet and landed heavily on the floor. His face hurt, but not so much that it made him cry. If he had cried, however, that would’ve been disturbing to his pride since the likeliness of Chanyeol yelling at him for being stupid and clumsy was wider than the Pacific. The last thing the brunet needed was to show incompetence towards his soon-to-be in-laws.
As he regained his bearing, he opened his eyes and caught a glimpse of a box underneath Chanyeol’s bed. It seemed dusty, forgotten like all the other items in the room. To inspect the box would’ve been a complete invasion of privacy. It would’ve meant overstepping a line of boundary.
Baekhyun’s curiosity killed his moral compass.
Reaching underneath the bed, he slowly slid the box out from under, ignoring the aching pain that stemmed from his face, hands, and knees from the fall. The box was faded in color, indicating how old the thing actually was, and when Baekhyun lifted his finger, he saw the dust sticking to his skin.
Opening the flaps carefully, he kept his eyes peeled as the contents became exposed. For a second, he glanced up as if expecting Chanyeol to burst through the door to snap at him to put the box away. When all was clear, he grinned, rummaging through the box.
What he found were letters, small trinkets, and photographs. It was as though he had stumbled on Chanyeol’s entire innocence.
It had taken a few moments for him to realize what the box was, but after examining the content, Baekhyun came to the realization that he had discovered a break up box. The entire purpose of a break up box was to put everything one ever got from a lover and to give it back to them. Baekhyun never had the experience of receiving one or packaging one, but he’d seen it countless times on television, but not so much in his historical romance novels. They didn’t have break up boxes during King George’s time.
Taking the box from its place already meant stepping over the line, but Baekhyun pushed the envelope further—literally.
He took a plump letter, crumpled from the many times they had been read before. Getting comfortable, Baekhyun sat with his legs crossed on and back against the bed. Time slipped past his mind, pulling him to forget that he had an entire family event downstairs to attend.
Baekhyun raised his brows at the name. Chanyeol had swerved his way around giving a name, and Baekhyun couldn’t understand why. It was a lovely name in his opinion.
Shall I compare thee to a midsummer’s day? I don’t need your permission, actually, but I would just because it’s true and you deserve to know. If I could, I would probably write you a thousand poems, but I can’t. I’m not one for poetry.
Snorting, Baekhyun nodded to himself. There was nothing literary about the giant.
I’ll stick to the generic roses are red and violets are blue poem. It’ll end with the words I Love You just because it rhymes and it’s true.
That was extremely cheesy. Baekhyun was frowning.
In fact, I’d end that poem with an endless number of I Love Yous until you understand I’m serious. If I had to compare you to a midsummer’s day, I wouldn’t compare you to the day at all. In fact, you’re the sun. You’re the very thing I want to wake up to, the one who lights up my world. You’re the warmth that I want to have during cold nights and cold winters, and you’re the only thing I need. Like, forever.
Baekhyun stared at the word for a while. He wasn’t grinning or anything. It was quite the opposite. He felt almost jealous.
You and I both agree that young love leaves not a lot to hope for, but even if we break up today or tomorrow, I hope that one day we’ll have a chance again. I know I’m not one for words of romance or whatever, but if we’re given the chance to be together again in the future and it’s still there, I can only wish we’ll take it.
Anyways, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day and you enjoy the chocolates I got you. They’re assorted so you can choose what you like.
There was a huge regret in reading the letter. In that moment, Baekhyun wanted to crawl on his house’s sofa, pull a blanket and his dog on him, and eat ice cream while crying over a petty soap opera scene. It irked him to a degree that he felt jealous when he had absolutely no right to. He couldn’t expect that he was Chanyeol’s one and only, but it still weighed on him.
Although he shouldn’t have, he read another letter.
Junghee, thanks for the…
Come over to my house tomorrow. We can…
Daily reminder that I’m completely in love with…
By the time he came across the photographs, Baekhyun was on the line between jealous and sad, and it was a terrible mixture. He wondered why Chanyeol never wrote him any letters or why the man never said anything cute and fluffy.
Putting the things away, he gently pushed the box underneath the bed and rose just in time to respond to a knocking on the door. He stumbled on his words for a second. “Yes?”
The door opened and the man who insulted him as the help stuck his head in the room with a grin on his face. “Hey.”
Tensely, Baekhyun moved from the bed, towards the door. “Hi.”
“I don’t think I introduced myself properly.” The man stepped from behind the door, leading the doorway open. “I’m Seung Woo. You’re Baekhyun. The Byun.”
Baekhyun’s eyes drew down to the man’s outreached hand. It would’ve been rude not to take it, but he was still burnt from the encounter. Then he reminded himself that people deserved a second chance. Perhaps he was an asshole on the outside, but a decent guy on the inside like Chanyeol, though it was too much to hope for anyhow.
Taking the hand, Baekhyun smiled. “Yes, I’m the Byun.” When appropriate, he retracted his hand. “It’s alright. I must’ve looked like a servant anyways.”
“No, it was my fault,” Seung Woo said imploringly, touching his chest for dramatic effect. “I should’ve known. The Parks don’t keep servants around, really. I’m sorry.”
“Oh.” For some reason, that impressed Baekhyun. Maybe the smiling devil in front of him wasn’t so bad. “It’s fine. No offense taken.”
Grinning, Seung Woo tilted his head. “Who would’ve known you looked this pretty underneath all that flour?” He laughed and Baekhyun chuckled along with him for comfort's sake.
“Did Chanyeol send you up here?”
Seung Woo shook his head. “No.”
“I came up here on my own. To apologize, I mean.”
“Well, that’s nice—”
“But I also came up here to get a closer look of you.”
A/n: I will update LNAD later^^ I've been busy working on the oneshot. It's 20k long now so I hope you understand ;^;