Genre: Romance, comedy, drama, lameness
Summary: According to Park Chanyeol, Baekhyun can’t be a female prostitute or Shrek’s wife.
“What the hell is this?”
Fingers crushing the yellow notice, Baekhyun glared at the words telling the entire theater crew about the new management. There had been rumors going around about the theater losing income, but the honey blonde, eyeliner-wearing, tight-jeans-or-nothing male wasn’t one to believe in gossip, even though he loved spreading the interesting ones. Having joined the theater when he was only nineteen, three years ago, Baekhyun already had a deep connection with the venue and its cast and crew. The rumors were only rumors to him, so he had initially ignored it, but with the paper in his hands, it seemed like his world was beginning to crumble.
I regret to inform you that I have sold the theater for the time being. I have tried to find ways to keep this theater as it is my baby, but for now, I do not have the finances to do it. All shows will proceed as planned as well as other business. Your contracts and salaries will be kept the same until the new owner and management decide what to do. Again, I regret having to inform you this way, but this is something that I could not have said in person.
All the best of luck and break a leg, kids.
Sincerely, a friend and a boss,
Baekhyun’s glare poked holes through the piece of paper. He was absolutely livid. If the company was slowly sinking, then why the hell didn’t the old man say something about the matter? Did he want to keep the crew calm and collected because now they weren’t. For a second, Baekhyun wanted to cry and tear up in frustration, but then decided it wasn’t the time. His eyeliner wasn’t waterproof.
He fixed his scarf and barged through the front of the theater with a few other theater members following behind him, silently hoping Baekhyun would voice out all of their opinions. But when they reached the large auditorium, all of them witnessed the people, strangers, wearing construction belts and hats, tearing down the set the crew took months to make for the current play they were performing.
It was a horror more terrifying than the one time Baekhyun decided to shop at Versace before looking at the heinous price tag of the shoes he found appealing. He waited for a second, looking back around almost trying to coax one of the others to say something, but when no one spoke, he stepped up to the plate.
Running down the aisle, Baekhyun began screaming bloody murder, because that’s what it was--a murder. Of his home. His stage. The set that he received ten blisters from. If anybody was going to tear anything down, they needed to get the right and permit, and as far as Baekhyun knew, everyone there was a hoodlum with fat hands trying to ruin his stage.
“Hey! Hey, all of you!” he shouted, nearing the front row as fast as his tiny legs could take him. God, sometimes he wished he had longer legs just for the sake of running a distance. “What the hell are you doing!?”
The men who were tearing down the plywood trees stopped only for a second to look at him before going back to their orders. Another man on a latter didn’t even pause for anything. He only continued on, destroying one of the fake bushes that Baekhyun helped paint.
They were all large men. If it was a fight, Baekhyun would stand no chance, but that didn’t stop him from taking off his shoes and violently throwing it at the closest person he could hit. For someone who wasn’t very muscular in build, the blonde did have a bitchin’ aim, and that’s probably why the man he hit square on the side of the face turned to face him, face red from the impact.
“Was that you?”
It was a really stupid question in Baekhyun’s opinion since he was the only one near enough to throw at that distance and his right foot’s sock was missing a shoe. Tightly, he smiled, crossing his arms dramatically. “Hi.” Naturally, he didn’t receive a response. “Are these your men?”
“Is this your shoe?” the man retorted, glancing at the footwear.
“Answer my question, sir.”
“I don’t have to answer your question, kid.” Bending down, the man took up the shoe by its laces before tossing it back to Baekhyun who dodged it by stepping to his left. “Give me your name.”
“Give me yours,” Baekhyun automatically said without thinking. It was a defense mechanism--talking back rhetorically.
There was a pause. A worker from the back interrupted them by asking the man what he should do with the broken pieces of the tree. Baekhyun wanted to scream at him to put it back, but the man waved him off, saying to dump it in the back.
When he turned back to looking down at the blonde, the man cocked his head. “Do you work here?”
“Do you?” Talking back was a bad habit, but Baekhyun never bothered to fix it.
“No,” the man replied, shrugging. “I don’t.”
Huffingly, Baekhyun raised his chin. “So, what? Shouldn’t you get out of here then? Don’t you know what time it is? Staff and performers are the only ones allowed in here.”
“You’re trespassing!” Baekhyun was beginning to lose his patience. “And so are those men who are also destroying private property!”
A second went by. “What’re you doing to do about it?”
Baekhyun growled. “Call the cops,” he threatened.
Then, the man laughed, shaking his head before giving Baekhyun a look that made him feel even smaller than he already did. “Listen, princess. Call the cops, the national guard, I don’t care. No law enforcement’s going to take me away from my own property. At least, not while I own this place.”
So the theater really was under new management. That didn’t sit too well with Baekhyun. In fact, it didn’t sit at all.
He was in the back dressing room, staring at himself in his station’s mirror, glaring. As far as he knew, all of the shows were canceled since the renovations were being done to things that didn’t need renovating at all (in his opinion). Baekhyun growled, grabbing his eyeliner and putting it along his waterline angrily.
The theater, as he knew it, was a classic. They had a following and he had fans. Any role that he played was revered in the local newspaper, and sure, the Magna Theater across town was much more modern and up-to-date about the major population’s theatrical desires, but Baekhyun was adamant that classics would always outlive the non-classics, which was why he had locked himself in the dressing room.
Park Chanyeol, major ass and brand-new owner of the theater company, announced that they would no longer be performing William Shakespeare’s plays.
“It’s boring, and quite frankly, no one understands it,” he had said, which infuriated Baekhyun as much as the swine’s uncultured taste in entertainment reviled him. There was no love in silly frilly plays and musicals that had uneducated fools of the theatrical arts laughing their asses off.
What wasn’t there to love about romance, blood, and tragedy? Hamlet’s soliloquies were speeches that had transcended through time and it was still very much alive. The inner conflicts, the themes! The same could be said about Sophocles’ plays such as Oedipus and Antigone, but no, Mr. Park also said he didn’t like the Greek play writer. By the time they arrived on the subject of Greek plays, Baekhyun already had the idea that Chanyeol was bent on turning his theater into a sexual strip club.
“This place needs something more controversial. Something that’ll make people gasp. Maybe a modern classic like Phantom of the Opera. Or maybe Chicago.”
Those were awful suggestions. Not that Baekhyun was not in love with those work, but what about the timeless pieces? Modern tales were basically ripped from a Shakespearean play. Take West Side Story. The twentieth century rendition of the Capulet and Montague families. There was also the 10 Things I Hate About You based on the play The Taming of the Shrew.
“What about Les Miserable?” Baekhyun had suggested when he was following the new owner around trying to argue the new direction of the company. “It’s about redemption, love, and--”
“Prostitution, destitution, and long songs about tables and chairs. No.”
How the hell could he even hate Les Mis? Baekhyun wanted to scream. He wished he could throw his other shoe at the back of Mr. Park’s head, but then he’d be completely bare foot since the man had the cruelty of keeping the first shoe that he threw. Apparently, it was “confiscated until the Christmas season” which was months away, so Baekhyun needed to buy a new pair of shoes if he didn’t want to strut around looking like a character from Les Mis.
No matter how he said it or what he said, Baekhyun couldn’t convince the stubborn man otherwise. All he did was shove the cold numbers in Baekhyun’s face, showing him that the theater was (and had been) going on a steady slope downward month after month. They needed more of an audience and William Shakespeare wasn’t going to cut it.
The following Monday, Baekhyun received a call at five o’clock in the morning. It was an automated voice message that was mass-sent to everyone in the company, and he groaned in annoyance at the sound of his new boss’ voice.
“Rise and shine. We’re going to have a meeting at exactly six about new productions, so please be here by that time or be marked absent. Any employee tardy will receive a warning. This is both business for the company and an employee evaluation. Be on time.”
Of all the people to find out that the company was slowly going under, why couldn’t it be some other man? Preferably somebody who didn’t sound like the Terminator on the phone.
Rolling over, Baekhyun shoved his phone aside and decided to shut his eyes for a minute...maybe two...or forty-five.
“It’s six. Close the doors.”
Nodding, the front man moved with the keys to lock the back door of the theater, but just as he was doing so, an individual stumbled in, head first.
Tripping just outside, Baekhyun hit his head against the door, forcing the man on the other side to pull rather than push. The theater floors were cold and dusty (from the renovation) and Baekhyun felt like crying. Luckily, he remembered where he was and who he was sprawled out on the floor in front of.
The first thing he saw when he was able to refocus were the stupidly overpriced shoes that belonged to his boss. Grumbling under his breath, Baekhyun pushed himself up, wiping his face.
“Good morning, Baekhyun. Good to see that you’ve made it.”
His head was throbbing, but Baekhyun still managed to give a (slightly sarcastic) smile. “Thank you, Mr. Park--”
“However, it’s six o’one. You’re late and that’s going to be on your employee sheet.”
It was six in the goddamn morning, his hair was like a rat’s nest, he barely had time to brush his teeth, the white shirt that he was wearing was crinkled and his skinny jeans weren’t even properly zipped. Grouchy, Baekhyun took hold of his zipper and closed the view to his crotch.
“Fine. Fine.” Baekhyun said, backing off. It was too early to argue, but he still needed to have an attitude. Even if his boss looked fine as hell with his hair pushed back and black shirt leaned loosely against his body, Baekhyun had to give him problems if he wanted the man gone. “Where’re the rest of actors?”
“On stage,” Chanyeol answered, arms crossed, which Baekhyun thought he should stop doing because it was extenuating his biceps. “Did you oversleep?”
“No, I did not.” He woke up at exactly five, but decided to take a little nap. That did not constitute as oversleeping. “Traffic was just uncooperative this morning.”
“Traffic? There’s traffic at six in the morning? Five?”
“Listen,” Baekhyun said, very annoyed to be under scrutiny even though he deserved it, “there are a lot of people up and about at this time, and Seoul is home to over ten million people, so traffic at this time is very possible!”
Snorting, Chanyeol rolled his head. After signalling for the man near the door to lock the theater down again, he followed after Baekhyun. His eyes dragged down, following as Baekhyun tried to fix his jeans by pulling from the back.
“What’s wrong? Is something stuck down there?” he asked, though it sounded rather rude and intrusive.
Baekhyun glared back at him. “Thanks for the concern, sir, but don’t mind me. It’s just my thong wedged between my ass cheeks.”
With thinning lips, Chanyeol drew his brows together. He might’ve deserved that inappropriate retort, so he let it go, but not before he asked, “Are you always this so awfully tasteful in the morning?”
“Only when I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn,” Baekhyun replied as they reached the stage.
“Alright. As part of this new management, you all have a voice in what we do. Now, what are some suggestions as to what kind of production you would like to put up--besides Shakespeare,” Chanyeol said, adamantly adding the last part while eyeing Baekhyun’s eager mouth.
“What about the Black Swan?” Jongin, Baekhyun’s junior, suggested.
A groan came from the other side of the stage. Kyungsoo, a singer and actor, shook his head. “No, we are not doing the Black Swan. It’s not fair. Jongin’s the only one here who knows ballet.”
“That’s not true. Baekhyun’s pretty light on his feet,” Jongin argued. “He’s also flexible. Show him, Baek.”
Though it was way too early in the morning, Baekhyun nodded as he was yawning. He warmed his legs up by squatting two times before taking in a deep breath and spreading. Slowly, he let himself down, thighs burning. After a few seconds, he had completed a full split. Some of his friends clapped, Jongin arched his brows as if to say “I told you so” and Chanyeol’s eyes were burning holes through his, lips twitching.
“Are you trying to show off?” Chanyeol curtly asked.
“I’m demonstrating, Mr. Park.”
“Get off the floor. This is a meeting, not a circus--”
Baekhyun lowered his voice and sang, “Now, come on ladies, settle down. I run a business of repute--”
“We’re not doing Black Swan--or Les Mis,” Chanyeol decided, glancing at Baekhyun for a second before turning his attention back to Jongin. “Not if you’re the only one capable of doing the choreography--and Mr. Byun’s acrobatic talents aren’t going to make me change my mind. Any other suggestions?”
“Brigadoon?” Jongdae suggested.
Chanyeol shook his head. “Not enough sex.”
Baekhyun’s jaw dropped as he scrambled to his knees. “Not enough sex?” he said incredulously. “Are you forgetting the damn musical number where Jeff is practically being crawled on by a Brigadoon citizen? Or all the subtle implications that he couldn’t keep it in his pants?”
Sparing him a look, Chanyeol cocked his head. “It’s going to take more than just subtle sexual details to pull this place out of the can. This company needs…” His voice trailed off as an idea emerged. “This place...needs Moulin Rouge.”
“I like Moulin Rouge.”
Baekhyun was flaring. His co-workers were weak. He rose to his feet, huffing. “What does Moulin Rouge have over Brigadoon?” he demanded to know. “They’re the same thing, practically.”
“Here’s what Moulin Rouge has that Brigadoon does not,” Chanyeol started. “The ability to make money.”
Glancing around the room, Chanyeol ignored the small male. “Now… No matter how hard I look, I don’t seem to see any female actresses.”
“We were a Shakespeare-oriented group,” Kyungsoo pointed out.
“Yes, I know,” Chanyeol said, reminded of all the times Baekhyun tried to shove the man’s work down his throat. “But Shakespeare had female characters in his plays.”
“If you knew your history,” Baekhyun said even though he knew his input was beginning to be less and less desired, “you’d know that he often used men to play the part of females. And this theater company has been following that tradition since it began.”
Frowning, Chanyeol watched as the others nodded. “Then who the hell played the females before?”
Without a word, Chanyeol turned his head towards the ever-so-popular Baekhyun. “You?”
“That’s hard to believe.” Before Baekhyun could argue in contempt, Chanyeol waved his hand, dismissing him. “Alright, then I guess we’ll have to call in for an open audition for the female lead. I’ll start working on the rights. In the meantime, watch the movie, watch online videos of other people’s productions, and study the story. You’ll be trying out for parts in two weeks of your gender.”
Baekhyun wanted to protest. “But--”
“Meaning you won’t be able to try out for Satine. We’ll be reserving that for a female actress.”
That was possibly the greatest insult Baekhyun had ever had the unfortunate luck of ever hearing. If that’s how the producer wanted to play, then fine. He’d play along.
Baekhyun watched the movie countless times, and in his small apartment, he practiced his dancing, high kicks and singing (much to the annoyance of his neighbors). If he had one thing going for him, it was his flexibility, which he made sure to practice on the daily so it would be easy to do tricks on demand without having to feel sore or weak.
If he wanted to be Satine, he needed to be sensual, so he practiced day in and day out with make up and leggings. He was just as good as any girl, hence why the previous owner, Mr. Kim, never bothered looking for a female to join the company. Besides the fact that they followed Shakespeare’s ways, Baekhyun was also a damn good (and hot) woman and Park Chanyeol was going to regret ever trying to bar him from trying out for the main lead.
The finances were shit. They weren’t bad, but they were shit for Chanyeol’s standards and what his goals were. Baekhyun was right in that some people did love the classical plays of William Shakespeare, but not enough people were so in love that they’d actually fill up the large theater.
It was a grand theater, a little old, but still had tiers that suggested the place was once a large attraction to many entertainment seekers. Now, as he heard, the previous owner was lucky to even have the cheapest seats sold out.
Sighing, Chanyeol put the papers down. Number crunching was a headache to do, especially when he knew that what he bought was essentially a large project.
The actors were above the average entertainer and that was a major plus. The only thing wrong with them was the fact that they had never really experimented with things outside the medieval times (granted that Shakespeare wasn’t medieval). Out of all of them, Baekhyun was the one who was giving him the most trouble (and amusement).
There was no doubt in his mind that maybe--just maybe-- the man could pull off Satine’s part, but Chanyeol thought that he had to keep his stance on the issue. There was no way in Hell he’d allow for Byun Baekhyun to change that fact.
Skin-tight tights, heels, makeup, and padded boobs. Chanyeol tried to keep his eyes off the way Baekhyun’s costume sharped the curve of his hips and the slenderness of his thighs. Compared to the girls who showed up, Baekhyun, the only one who wasn’t a female was far out-doing the rest of them.
He gripped the pen in his hand, wanting to speak into the microphone and tell the idiot to get off the stage, but he stopped just before he leaned over to do so. If Baekhyun wanted to make a fool out of himself, then fine. That was his decision. Chanyeol decided he’d sit and watch the other try to fly only to crash and burn. Down on his notepad, he made sure to write a comment about Baekhyun’s assigned role in the musical, which he already predestined to be some kind of back-up dancer in the very least--
What in god’s name was he doing?
The girls were split in smaller groups, but given the same task to do which was to do the opening dance number of Moulin Rouge. The first group went and gone before Chanyeol could even take notice to any of the girls. When Baekhyun’s group shuffled on stage, the producer tried not to fixate his attention too much on cross-dressing idiot in the (incredibly) well-fitting dress. However, that was a daunting task.
As the girls (and Baekhyun) took their places, Chanyeol attempted to remain neutral, lowering his eyes on his paper when motioning his hand to signal their go. As the music started, the group began to sing and dance, legs out, showcasing their slender legs. To avoid being overly biased by treating Baekhyun like he was some kind of eye candy, Chanyeol spent the majority of the number with his head down, jotting down useless notes. Even with his eyes drawn away from the auditionees, he could still hear the brat try to outsing the ladies, which he was doing fairly well, much to Chanyeol’s annoyance.
By the end of the song, Chanyeol clapped three times before dismissing the lineup. Baekhyun made eye contact with him, but Chanyeol only looked away.
The wig was god-awful and itchy. It was practically a blessing for Baekhyun to take the stupid thing off. The makeup was also much heavier than his usual preference. It was like having two apples taped to his face. His cheeks were very blushy-blushy, and that was something he wasn’t entirely down for.
As he was wiping off the lipstick in front of his dresser, he saw a tall figure pass in the hallway from the corner of his eye and paused. Rising from his seat, he walked out, wobbling momentarily on his high heels.
“Mr. Park!” he called, waving his lipstick-stained cloth. “Excuse me!”
Stopping as though he was sighing at the realization that Baekhyun would not leave him be until he interacted with him, Chanyeol turned his body around halfway. “Yes, Baekhyun?”
“I want to know how I did,” Baekhyun said very upfront.
Watching him, Chanyeol made a face. The way the latter was wiping did nothing more than spread the red stain around the area of his lips making Baekhyun look like he had a rash. “You did fine,” he briefly replied.
As the giant turned around to continue on walking, Baekhyun realized those were the only words the man was willing to give up. Dissatisfied, he pursued, picking up his fat dress. “Did I get the part?”
Chanyeol felt like Prince Charming when Baekhyun tried to run after him in a disheveled dress, only it was more like being chased by the Wicked Witch of the West instead of Cinderella. Stopping again to shake his clipboard in Baekhyun’s face, Chanyeol gave him a stern look. “I haven’t processed over my notes, Baekhyun. How do you expect me to know--”
Snatching the stupid thing from his hand, Baekhyun scanned the so-called “notes” with criticizing eyes. When Chanyeol tried to take it back, the short male turned his body away. After finishing with his business, Baekhyun shoved the clipboard back into the producer’s possession. “Not sexy enough!? Can’t sing well!? Can’t sing loud enough!? Maybe you’re just blind and deaf!”
Crossing his arms, Chanyeol made himself appear as intimidating as he could. It wasn’t that Baekhyun wasn’t sexy enough or that he couldn’t sing loudly or well. It was more on the matter that the producer needed reasons (regardless of whether or not they were true) to cross Baekhyun off during the process of elimination. However, his big bad wolf tactics, which usually worked, failed in comparison to Baekhyun’s bitch fit.
“Do you always take rejection this badly, Baekhyun, because it reflects poor mannerism as an actor,” Chanyeol said with a warning in his voice. “I won’t have problematic people in this company.”
“And I’m problematic for trying?”
“You’re problematic because you think you’re entitled to the main role because you’ve been here longer than any of those girls you auditioned with.” Chanyeol didn’t mean to sound so despicable, but he couldn’t stop the words before they slipped out of his mouth. He could see the way Baekhyun recoiled, a bit burned by the comment before bouncing back.
“Yeah? Well, you know what you are? Unfair. I know I did better than what you have written on your stupid notes,” Baekhyun said, defending himself as he took a step back. “How can you even make a fair judgement when your face was buried ass-deep in your ‘notes’ during the entire performance. You didn’t even watch us!”
Chanyeol stumbled. “I did--”
“No, you didn’t,” Baekhyun groaned, shaking his stained makeup wipe in the air. “I know because I was watching you the entire time, Mr. Producer.”
“Don’t question me, Baekhyun.”
“I’ll question you day in and day out!” Baekhyun swore. “Because the one thing I hate in theater is this, Chanyeol. I hate people who let their shitty personality and personal opinions get in the way of art.”
Licking his lips, Chanyeol realized how chapped his mouth was. Baekhyun was doing a (fine ass) job grilling him. If the man wasn’t an actor, he would’ve made a good prosecutor.
“And you’re saying that you’re art? I’m getting in the way of you?”
With his chin raised, Baekhyun stomped a heel. “Damn right, I am! So, read your notes and scribble your thoughts down--I don’t care. But don’t be an asshole just because you don’t like me.”
Taking up the skirt of his heavy and torturous dress, Baekhyun swiveled on his heel and walked back down the hall, saying no more as he entered the dressing room once again. Chanyeol was left speechless, lingering on the thought that the honey blonde might’ve had a point somewhere along the line. The best way to pull the theater company out of its debt and ultimate fate of destitution was to make decisions with an unbiased point of view. From the pool of actors and actresses, Chanyeol already had an idea as to who was who, but the hardest part to give away was Satine’s.
Chanyeol received a call from his father around ten on the same evening the open auditions took place. It was nothing more than the usual greeting before business discussions.
“Your brother, Kris, informed me that you decided to invest in a failing theater?”
“It’s not failing,” Chanyeol argued in defense of the theater company. “A few changes should turn the place and its profits around.”
“Chanyeol, we don’t want you to dwindle your money away on this stupid decision.” His old man sounded angry despite the underlying concern. “If you wanted a theater of your own, Kris could have helped you--”
“I didn’t want his help, and I still don’t.”
“Then let me bail you out of this mess. How much did you pay for it? We’ll buy you out.”
Growling, Chanyeol ran a hand through his hair, making it into a nest of a mess. “No one’s going to buy me out of anything. I paid for this damn thing with my inheritance, and I’ll build it up on my own.”
“It takes time and money to train and ready a crew for a performance, Chanyeol. That means months without income.”
“I’ll survive. I’ve already figured out a budget and how to balance my finances.”
“This was a stupid decision, Chanyeol.”
Scoffing, Chanyeol glanced at the documents on his desk, many of which were bills all under the theater company’s name. “Yes, well…It’s my stupid decision.”
To cheer Baekhyun up, Kyungsoo, one of his closer co-workers, took him to the Magna Theater on a Thursday night hoping a night full of symphonies would ease the blonde’s anger over their new boss. As they stood in line, waiting to get in, Kyungsoo grinned at his friend, gentling nudging him with his elbow.
“Yeah…” Baekhyun muttered, jittering from the chilly night. “Do you have the tickets?”
Nodding, Kyungsoo held up his hand. “Yep.”
They moved two steps up as the line progressed. Many of those around them were middle-aged couples, some with kids, and the elderly. Despite the older age-group, the turn out still resulted in the line going around the block. It was a good thing Kyungsoo urged them both to leave early.
Putting a hand on Baekhyun’s shoulder, Kyungsoo shook him gently. “Stop thinking about that audition so much. I think you did great--as always.”
“Thanks, Soo, but your opinion doesn’t really matter. His does.”
Frowning, Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. “He’s only one man.”
“One man who has the role that I want in the palm of his hands!” Baekhyun whined, throwing his head back, eyes towards the sky. “He’s so annoying. When is Mr. Kim going to come back…”
“I don’t think he’s coming back at all, Baek…” Kyungsoo looked at his watch. “This line should move on faster. It’s cold out here.”
“You wanna know what else is cold? Mr. Park’s dead-beat heart.”
After they finally got through security and handed their tickets inside, the two of them decided to split up. Baekhyun would handle the drinks (and maybe some snacks) while Kyungsoo had the job of standing in another line for merchandise since both liked having memorabilias. With his arms folded and foot tapping to the sound of the light, classical music playing from the speakers of the area, Baekhyun bobbed his head from side to side, wondering what kind of drink Kyungsoo would prefer.
The people in front of him were stalling their damn asses the entire time. Baekhyun thought he had shit luck for picking the slowest moving line of the century. As he was rolling his eyes, his attention fell on a familiar (and kind of hated) individual past the crowds of people. Actually, he spotted two familiar people. One of them being his boss, the other being the owner of the Magna Theater. It wasn’t totally uncommon for people within the same business (especially in the same city) to be acquainted with one another, but the way the Magna Theater’s owner pulled Chanyeol into a hug was a bit more intimate than the usual business etiquette.
After ordering and standing off to the side to let the people behind him do their business transaction, Baekhyun looked to the spot where the two men once were with a contemplating look on his face. What the hell was Chanyeol doing with him? It was obvious that they knew each other, but could it possibly be something more serious than just acquaintances or friends?
Baekhyun drew his brows in. What if Chanyeol was working for (or maybe even with) the Magna Theater to slowly turn his home theater into another chain under the Merveilleux Entertainment chain? That’d be god-awful to be in a sell-out type of market. Everything was so mainstream, and though Baekhyun didn’t call himself a hipster, it seemed a little too heartless and aimed far more into the pockets of the general public rather than the art of entertainment itself.
And what the hell was his boss doing being so cozy with that man? It smelled too much like rainbows and unicorn for Baekhyun to dismiss it as nothing more than just friendly. Mr. Wu, the man who owned the very venue Baekhyun was standing in at that moment, was giving the blonde feelings. It almost looked like they were (did Baekhyun even dare say?) lovers.
The person behind the counter called his name, pulling Baekhyun from his thoughts. Smiling, he stuck a straw in each drink before grabbing both into his hands. He didn’t wait long for Kyungsoo. In fact, the latter made it near the door they were supposed to enter from a bit earlier than the blonde.
“What did you get me?” Kyungsoo asked, crewnecks pressed against his folded arms.
“Sprite. Just the way you like it--carbonated. Like everything.”
After they went inside and settled into their seats, Baekhyun looked around, slightly hoping he’d see his boss (out of curiosity). Noticing the way his friend was distracted as hell, Kyungsoo stopped fiddling with the crewneck he bought and nudged Baekhyun.
“Are you looking for anyone specific?” he asked, snorting.
“I…” Baekhyun’s voice trailed off before he stopped and sat still. “Okay, so, there I was. In line. Do you follow me?”
“You haven’t really gone anywhere, but yeah.”
“There, in a corner, I see Chanyeol.”
Arching his brows, Kyungsoo laughed. “Mr. Park? Here? I didn’t know he liked classical music. You’d think he’d be--”
“At a concert for mainstream crap? Yes. Hell yes. But that isn’t the point, though it is really surprising for him to be here, to be perfectly honest.”
“Okay, but your point is?”
“He was…” Baekhyun paused. “He was friendly with someone.”
Kyungsoo looked as though he had lost interest. “Baekhyun, if you’re going to tell me that you’re jealous--”
“No!” Baekhyun vehemently denied. “I’m trying to say that he was being friendly with Kris Wu. You know, the owner of this theater.”
“Oh…” Turning forward, Kyungsoo looked at the stage. They weren’t too far from the stage, only a tier up from the bottom level audience. “Like boyfriends?”
“I don’t know, but that pat on the back was all too…friendly,” Baekhyun said, huffing as he settled into his seat. God, the chairs were more comfortable than the ones at their venue. It was a fact too bitter to admit. “Do you know what I’m trying to say?”
“You’re saying our boss is having a relationship with another man, and this is something that’s supposed to…?”
“Nothing. It’s just suspicious. Do they want to convert our theater into another one of these?”
Snorting, Kyungsoo took a sip of his drink. “You mean a theater with comfy seating and a stage that looks like heaven? I’d love to perform down there.”
“Kyungsoo! Loyalty!” Baekhyun said before slumping in his seat. “I don’t want anything to happen to our home. That’s all.”
Sighing, Kyungsoo reached over and put a hand behind Baekhyun’s neck. Immediately, the latter flinched and coiled. “Stop thinking about that stuff. Nothing’s going to happen, and I don’t think Chanyeol is the type of man to trick us like that.”
“How would you know?” Baekhyun asked as soon as he was able to slap Kyungsoo’s hand away. “We’ve only known him for three weeks, and he’s still new. I haven’t figured him out all the way just yet, but that doesn’t mean he’s trustworthy--for now.”
“Baekhyun, just because the man isn’t your type--”
“He’s very hard to manipulate, Soo.”
“It doesn’t mean that he’s a crook,” Kyungsoo finished, ignoring Baekhyun’s interruptive insert. “If he thinks you deserve the part of Satine, then congratulations. If not, then we’ll all just move on and accept that, maybe, one of those girls was better than you.”
“That’s impossible,” Baekhyun muttered underneath his breath, quieting his voice as a loud announcement was made through the speakers reminding the admitted that filming was prohibited all cellphones had to be turned off. “I have a better body than any of the girls who auditioned that day…”
“Maybe Chanyeol wasn’t focusing on body physique.”
Baekhyun couldn’t help but snort.
What was it about mainstream entertainment that Baekhyun had a dislike for? It wasn’t like he was totally against it. Sandra Bullock was a good actress (The Proposal was one of Baekhyun’s few favorites) and the 2012 rendition of Les Mis wasn’t terrible. In fact, it was amazing.
Maybe he was just being too overly...snobby about tradition. That or he felt people were beginning to forget about the important classics of theater art. If he had to explain it to someone, it was like childhood. He grew up playing outside with trees and dirt then, but nowadays, the kids he often met were glued to their devices. To him, people needed to appreciate the past as much as the present...
The crew pitched other production thoughts and ideas over the course of the week, but all fell flat with Chanyeol’s focused judgement as to what was good and which ideas were terrible. Baekhyun stopped participating after a while, knowing Chanyeol too well by that point to even utter a word.
Chanyeol took notice of the blonde’s silence during group activities and exercises. At times, he wanted to question him about his slow interest, but often decided against it. In no way did he want to give the male the attention he was probably craving.
In his office, Chanyeol contemplated the list of girls who auditioned. Reluctantly, he added Baekhyun to the list of call backs. He thought about telling him, but felt like all he’d get was a snobbish, “Oh, did you put me there because you pity me or something? Screw you!”
The producer wasn’t about to take the chance of ruining the silence with that bit of information. One way or another, Baekhyun was going to twist the words into something insulting, and Chanyeol knew he’d regret ever saying anything a second later.
As for the male roles, Do Kyungsoo seemed like a good person to put into the role of Christian, though he was shorter than Baekhyun. That’d be a problem, but there wasn’t a thing high shoes couldn’t fix. Chanyeol would have to test the chemistry between the two leads later.
As adamant as he was about Baekhyun’s participation as the part of Satine, Chanyeol couldn’t help but admit that the chemistry between Baekhyun and Kyungsoo was (dare he say it?) on fire. Perhaps it was due to the fact that they were already co-workers, but it was too good for Chanyeol to ignore. In fact, it was better than the rest of the callback girls.
He wrote negative and criticising comments near Baekhyun’s name for the sake of being fair (since the other girls received very critical mark-downs), but in the last minute before he cut the duo off with the wave of a hand, Chanyeol wrote a small sub-note saying, “Maybe”.
After the callback auditions and most of the girls had gone home, he knocked on the doorway of the green room where Baekhyun was wiping the eyeliner and lipstick off his face. It wasn’t a necessary move to talk to the young male about his performance, but sooner or later, he’d be hunted down for the results anyways. To confront the beast head on was the wisest and easiest choice to make.
Turning his head from the view of the mirror, Baekhyun stopped dabbing his eyes with the wipe and fixed his posture from the hunch he had from leaning in forward. “What?”
Ignoring the curt (and kind of rude) greeting, which really wasn’t a greeting at all, Chanyeol entered the room, aware that his presence was making the other male tense. “Let’s talk about your audition.”
“Now you want to talk,” Baekhyun said, unimpressed. Turning his back, he focused on his reflection again, but couldn’t help but keep an eye on the producer using the mirror in front of him. “What do you have to say to me? That I was even less sexier than I was in the first audition? Was my chemistry with Kyungsoo off, because it shouldn’t have been.”
“No,” Chanyeol said, arms crossed. “Nothing immature of that sort. To your credit, your chemistry with him on stage was great.”
“Good. The fact that we dated probably deserves some credit for that--besides the fact that we’re both great actors in general.” Baekhyun squinted his eyes. Using the pad of his thumb, he swiped his bottom lip to rid of a rebel stain. “It doesn’t take much to pretend like I’m in love with him since I used to be... Park?”
“Baekhyun, I don’t think you’re the one best fit for the role,” Chanyeol said, ignoring the notes he had written down before that stated otherwise. “I’m not entirely convinced. You’re fairly close to ideal--”
“The top three candidates are the girls named Seulgi, Krystal, and J--”
“Sorry, but I’m not hearing my name on this top three, and I’m very sure I’m not deaf at all.” If Baekhyun sounded slightly annoyed, Chanyeol wasn’t mistaken. From the mirror, he could see the blonde glaring at him.
Chanyeol shrugged. “I did say fairly close.”
Spinning his chair around, Baekhyun folded his arms. “Maybe you should get a second opinion.”
“My judgement is fair,” Chanyeol insisted. “If I think you’re good enough, I’ll sleep on it.”
“How am I not good enough? You just said that my chemistry with Kyungsoo was great.” Baekhyun stood up, forgetting that he was still in heels. Muttering to himself, he took off the shoes first before marching to where Chanyeol stood, leaning against a table. “Here. I’ll sing the song again.”
“No, I really don’t need to hear you--”
“My gift is my song and this one’s for you…” Putting on his stage face, Baekhyun got rid of the sour look on his face just a few seconds ago and smiled. “And you can tell everybody that this is your song.”
“Um…” Chanyeol tried to maintain his look of displeasure. “Baekhyun--”
Pushing a finger against the producer’s chest, Baekhyun cocked his head. Unlike his cocky and upfront approach, his voice was soft and charming. “It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done. Hope you don’t mind…”
Chanyeol tried to swat the finger away. “I do mind--”
“I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world…” Pulling his hand back, Baekhyun continued to grin. He took a step back, seeing how flustered the man in front of him had become. “Now, should we reenact the choreography or do you want to skip the part of having to dance with me? The perk of dancing is that you’ll be able to see that I’m actually a very good dancer.”
“I’m fine,” Chanyeol quickly said, moving to the side to end the fact that he was practically cornered in that position with Baekhyun standing so close to him and the table preventing him from backing up. “I don’t need another demonstration.”
“Then should I sing more?” Baekhyun asked, following him. “I can sing a different song, Chanyeol.”
The way his name rang so sweetly in his ears felt good. In fact, it felt too good. Chanyeol pointed the clipboard in Baekhyun’s direction, giving them some distance. “There’s no need--”
“I dreamed a dream of time gone by...When hope was high and life worth--”
“Baekhyun, stop singing Les Mis--” The blonde looked too much like a tease for Chanyeol’s taste (kind of).
“I dreamed that love would never die… I prayed that god would be forgiving.”
“If you don’t stop, I’ll--”
“You’ll…?” Baekhyun leaned in. “What will you do?”
Chanyeol had no other option but to bluff. “I’ll release you from your contract and you won’t be part of this company anymore.”
Amused, Baekhyun arched his brows. He stared at the producer who was standing near the doorway again, and after a few seconds, he shrugged. “Okay. I’ll try out for the Magna Theater, then.”
That obviously struck a nerve with Chanyeol, hearing the name of his brother’s domain from the blonde’s lips. Despite how he tried to seem unfazed by the remark, Chanyeol couldn’t help but feel and look irritated as hell. “The Magna Theater? Aren’t you the one who hates new and modern storylines?”
“You know? If they give me the roles that they think I deserve based on talent, then whatever. I’ll even do a musical about Shrek if they give me the part of the green ogre.”
“You mean Shrek? Like the title?”
Baekhyun raised his chin. “I meant his ogre wife, you ape,” he hissed before spinning around and walking back to his makeup station.
“If I don’t think you’re good enough to play a prostitute, good luck trying to get the role of an ogre’s wife, Baekhyun…” When he received no immediate response, Chanyeol took it as his chance to leave.
Once the producer was gone, Baekhyun pursed his lips. “I don’t need luck,” he muttered under his breath. “I’m good enough.”