One of the things that bothered Baekhyun was the fact that he couldn’t find where Chanyeol had hidden the car keys no matter how hard he tried. He knew he could hot wire the car if he really had to, but that involved too much effort, which was something Baekhyun wasn’t willing to do. It was easier to use legitimate keys instead of cutting and connecting wires.
In his mind, all forms of life were intelligent. As a last resort, Baekhyun called over Nugget and asked his stubby pup to go find them. Nugget trotted away and Baekhyun couldn’t help, but feel little hope as he watched the tiny dog’s stubby body waddle away off to somewhere unknown. But against all odds, Nugget came back with the dangling keys in his mouth within five minutes, surprising Baekhyun and earning Nugget a biscuit.
As Baekhyun looked in the mirror, he tilted his head at his own reflection. He tried to make out what was wrong and when he saw the mistakes in his hair, he quickly fixed it. Putting his fingers at the top of his fitting jeans, he pulled them up a little higher, making sure they fit perfectly and made his thighs look nice. Then he fixed the collar of his shirt before fixing his dark jacket.
When he left his room, he had to do so quietly. With the black SUV’s keys held tightly in his hand, he walked out of the hallway and stuck his head into the main living area. He looked around and saw that no one was there despite the fact that a pressure cooker was on. Glancing over to the back door, Baekhyun saw Kyungsoo with Kai, whereas Sehun was off dangling his feet off the edge of the hammock.
Just as he was about to turn and leave, the house phone rang, destroying the silence in the house. Baekhyun sighed and grimaced as he turned back to pick up the phone. He hesitated for a moment, thinking about how it could be Chanyeol, but then he realized that it didn’t matter. He could always hang up.
Before he could even greet the person on the other line, he was already bombarded with “hellos” and “Chanyeol?”. Recognizing the voice, Baekhyun tapped his fingers on the edge of the counter as he leaned against it.
“Hi, Kris,” he piped after he stopped hearing noises on the other side. “Chanyeol’s not here.”
There was a pause for a moment, which Baekhyun guessed was because Kris was looking at his phone to see if he had dialed in the right number. “Oh, I see. Hey,” Kris said, changing the tone of his voice.
If Kris was Chanyeol and if he was the one Baekhyun had an interest in, he would’ve smirked at the attempt to be sexy over the phone, but Baekhyun didn’t. He needed to get out of the house and Kris was hindering him from doing that.
“Do you need something?” Baekhyun asked, trying to be nice to Chanyeol’s friend and business associate.
“I was actually calling Chanyeol about some papers, but since you’re the one who picked up—”
“—Actually, I was about to leave,” Baekhyun quickly interrupted, trying to avoid a lengthy conversation.
“Oh. That’s too bad. Maybe I’ll try and win your service later,” Kris mumbled. “Anyways, where’s Chanyeol right now?”
“He said he was going to visit his parents.”
“Parents?” Kris repeated. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” Baekhyun mumbled. “Try calling his cellphone because I have to go.”
Without much regret, Baekhyun ended the call and promptly put the phone back in its place. Then he walked towards the front door, whirling the car keys around as he hummed a song from the movie Burlesque.
Meeting with his parents only took a day. Explaining to them the situation had taken no less than three hours. His parents were obviously content and happy that their son hadn’t visited them to throw another fit about the marriage contract, but had, instead, visited to express how he had come to terms with everything and actually wanted to go into the process willingly.
There were too many things to talk about for one stay. Chanyeol had to go over how Baekhyun winded up in his household and how he was the most annoying, sarcastic human to ever walk on the face of the earth. Despite his negative comments on Baekhyun’s personality and behavior, Chanyeol couldn’t keep his voice from sounding too overexcited.
The fact that Baekhyun’s parents hadn’t contacted them since Baekhyun’s disappearance was—as they all agreed—a little odd, but Chanyeol had already planned on visiting them the next day to discuss everything else with them.
When Chanyeol met up with Baekhyun’s parents, he could see that he had gotten most of his traits from his mother. As the discussion moved farther and farther down into detail, Chanyeol found out the reason why Baekhyun’s parents hadn’t made much of an effort into finding their son.
“You knew?” Chanyeol repeated incredulously. His mouth hung open for a moment before he came out with more words. “How?”
“We looked into our son’s network of friends and saw that a young man named Kai stood out,” Baekhyun’s father explained. “He wasn’t really the type of person Baekhyun would choose to socialize with.”
Chanyeol frowned. “And why’s that?”
“Social class,” Mr. Byun simply said. “The rest of Baekhyun’s friends don’t work in the line of business that Kai did.”
Chanyeol knew that he had to be on topic, but he couldn’t help, but ask. “What kind of friends does Baekhyun have?”
“The productive kind.” Mr. Byun leaned back in his chair as his wife sat quietly beside him. “The kind that went to the same school as him and has the same interest in making robotics. They’re all bright and promising. That’s why when Kai’s background was run through, he stood out. He only finished a year of formal college in business before switching out and working for a catering company.”
“So you followed him,” Chanyeol said as a statement. “You followed him when he ‘stood out’.”
Nodding, Mr. Byun confessed. “Yes. We had him followed all the way to the station where you picked him up. From there, I let a car follow you loosely behind. With only one road circulating, it wasn’t hard to follow you despite the distance between the cars. Plus your house wasn’t hard to miss. When the spectator that I sent saw Baekhyun come out of your house, he came back. Then, we just stopped searching.”
“You weren’t curious?” Chanyeol asked. “You weren’t curious about what Baekhyun was doing there?”
“We were,” Mr. Byun replied. “But since you’re both engaged to each other, we didn’t bother to intervene.”
Chanyeol was silent for a while as he studied the face of his soon-to-be father-in-law. “He doesn’t know about us,” he flatly said. “He doesn’t know about me. Why is that? Your son’s a genius. If he saw my face once in a file, he would’ve remembered me, but he doesn’t.”
For once, Baekhyun’s mother cracked a small smile, but looked away. It was only Chanyeol who caught it. Her husband was too intent on Chanyeol to even notice. “That’s because that kid threw the file I gave him about you in the fire,” Mr. Byun scoffed. “Told me it was because his room was cold and that there was nothing else left to burn.”
Chanyeol rolled his eyes after hearing that. It was typical Baekhyun behavior to him. “Baekhyun knows my last name. He knows what I do. Yet, he still hasn’t pieced two and two together.”
“Your name’s common and anybody can make a simple-minded, second-class robot.”
Biting his lips, Chanyeol fought the urge to insult the man in front of him. To him, it was no mystery why his family hated the Byuns for the last few generations—the Byuns were obviously cocky and arrogant about what they did.
“I see,” Chanyeol gritted out, giving out his generic smile. “Well, like I said, I came here to talk about the contract.”
“Do you want to dissolve it?”
“No,” Chanyeol replied quickly. “I’m here to tell you that I’m willing to take Baekhyun in.”
“Glad to know that you decided to actually marry your fiancé,” Mr. Byun mumbled.
Chanyeol’s eyes darted from Baekhyun’s mother to his father. Baekhyun might’ve gotten his mother’s looks, but it was obvious that Baekhyun picked up a side of his father along the way. It was no longer a mystery where Baekhyun got his sharp tongue from.
“If we’re done here,” Mr. Byun said as he stood up. “I should get back to work. The contract remains, but you need to be the one to break the news to him. When he finds out that you’ve been lying, then good luck to you. Baekhyun’s a smart, obedient child, but in the rare times that he’s been angry, even the house workers were terrified of him.”
Reaching forward, Baekhyun’s father offered Chanyeol his hand, which Chanyeol took. Chanyeol bowed to his soon-to-be mother-in-law and walked with them outside of the office. As Baekhyun’s father left them momentarily to use the bathroom, Chanyeol was surprised to have Baekhyun’s mother approach him and talk for the first time since their initial greetings.
“Listen, Park Chanyeol, don’t you dare hurt my child, do you understand?” she said, jabbing his chest with her delicate finger. “Don’t you dare lead him on, because all that kid’s been looking for is something that cares about him and what he wants.”
“You mean he wants love?” Chanyeol scoffed with a nonchalant attitude.
Frowning, Baekhyun’s mother lightly slapped him on the arm. She didn’t appreciate his cool approach. “Love, hugs, attention, I don’t care. He deserves that much.” Folding her arms, she huffed. “You know, all he’s ever wanted as a kid was a dog. His father was an idiot and gave away the one I got him for his birthday.”
After a few seconds, Chanyeol stuffed his hands in his pockets. “We have a dog.”
“Really?” Baekhyun’s mother said, raising her brows. “I’m sure Baekhyun walked in and immediately fell in love.”
Chanyeol rolled his eyes since Baekhyun didn't walk in and fall in love, but rather Baekhyun walking in—with the dog—and making Chanyeol want to cut his throat.
“We actually got it after Baekhyun came to the house,” Chanyeol muttered.
Mrs. Byun stopped and paused. “Did he tell you he wanted a dog?”
Chanyeol only shrugged. “I don’t remember,” he said, pretending like he couldn’t vividly remember the days of Baekhyun’s slow depression over the loss of Nugget.
But, Baekhyun’s mother didn’t buy it. Nudging him with her elbow, she laughed. “If you got him a dog, then I suppose you’re not as bad as this stupid family’s made you out to be.” After a while, she tilted her head up at Chanyeol. “Can I ask you a question? Since it’s about my son, I have the right to know.”
Chanyeol glanced around. “Sure.”
“Have you touched him,” she asked bluntly.
Chanyeol almost choked on his own spit. Giving her a surprised and confused look, he took a step back. “I—”
“—It’s okay if you have,” she quickly said. “My son was always a bit promiscuous.” Then she leaned in and whispered, “I think he got that from me.”
Chanyeol really didn’t know what to make of his future mother-in-law. In the business room, she seemed calm and mature, but now, small traits were coming out that reminded him of Baekhyun such as her brazenness.
“But I always did say,” she continued, “that if you don’t want to give it, don’t. Be a lover of choice, not a whore.”
Looking down at the proud mother beside him, Chanyeol thinned his lips. Baekhyun’s parents were obviously strong influences in the life of their son. “Alright,” Chanyeol said, not knowing what else to say. A few seconds went by before he confessed, “He did say he didn’t want to sleep with me for a while, but that was only because he said were only maid and boss.”
“Well, the joke’s on him because you’re more than that.”
When Baekhyun entered the club, there was only one patron at the bar. There weren’t any dancers and though the lights were turned low and dim colors of pink and red were splayed on the ceiling and walls, there wasn’t much else to look at. Trudging over to the bar, Baekhyun carefully took a seat and sat with his legs together, placing his hands on his lap.
The bartender gave him a look—a glance, even—before finishing up what he was doing and making his way over.
“What can I get you?”
Baekhyun blinked. He quirked his lips and thought about it. As he was just about to order something alcoholic, he remembered that he was driving himself home. Chanyeol might be able to overlook the scratch he had made on the car weeks and weeks ago, but he was pretty sure Chanyeol would kill him if he crashed the car while drunk driving.
“Can I have soda?”
For a moment the bartender just stared at him. Then he nodded and proceeded with getting Baekhyun his drink. “What kind?”
After a minute, Baekhyun had his drink set out for him. He took a sip and couldn’t help, but fidget in his seat, garnering the attention of the other fellow at the bar. Without hesitation, Baekhyun stared at him. “I’m over twenty-one.”
“You don’t look like it.”
Baekhyun frowned. “Yeah, well you look like a pedophile.”
The guy rolled his eyes and continued to drink about his business. Baekhyun’s eyes wandered again and he couldn’t help but be continuously curious as to where the girls were. Tapping on the table and getting the bartender’s attention, he asked, “Where are the girls?”
“You’re a bit early. We usually don’t have people coming in until seven,” the bartender replied. “That’s about the time they start coming out.”
Baekhyun looked at the illuminated blue clock on the wall. It was only five. He slumped his shoulders and grabbed his coke. “I guess I’ll come back later, then.”
Getting up from his seat, Baekhyun took his can and started to make his sad way back to the door. When he heard a door slam, he stopped and turned his head, seeing a hallway with a few doors on the side, but it was the one at the very end that caught his attention.
Taking a sip from his can again, Baekhyun slyly glanced around a bit before walking toward the door like he had business on what was on the other side—which he didn’t. When he took the handle, he looked behind him again to check if anybody was watching him. As the coast was cleared, he pulled on the door and was surprised to see how easy it was to open despite being an “employees only” door.
Snorting at the club’s incompetence, Baekhyun stepped into the back room with can of cold soda.
Normally, if someone had walked nonchalantly into the backroom, the girls working would have immediately called security. If anything, they would have reported Baekhyun’s trespassing, but when he walked in with his can and innocent-faced expression, he was more than welcome to stay.
They had him sit on a rotating pedestal and got him started on talking topic after topic. It ranged from his love of cheesecake to his high school and college experiences. They had him talking for minutes and minutes on end, but as customers started coming in, the girls had to start doing their make-up.
As Baekhyun watched, his eyes followed the girls’ hands as they held their brushes and lipsticks up to their faces. Out of curiosity, Baekhyun piped. “You know, I haven’t worn make-up since that one time in high school.”
One of the girls giggled. “When you cross dressed?”
Baekhyun nodded. “Yeah.”
“So you don’t even wear eyeliner? You’d look good with it.”
“I used to wear it,” Baekhyun confessed.
A second passed by before someone asked, “You want some?”
With no hesitation, Baekhyun said yes. One thing led to another and by the time everyone was done adding onto him, they had sprayed perfume on his body, added eyeliner to his eyes, and dabbed red lip stick on his lips.
When Baekhyun took a look at himself in the mirror, he smiled and laughed. “Am I pretty?” he said in a nasally voice. And to answer the question, the girls all nodded their heads.
Chanyeol expected to come home to Baekhyun greeting him with open arms—or open legs. Chanyeol didn’t care either way. Instead, he came home without even a warm greeting. As he entered the house, he set his bags on the entrance floor and entered the main living area. He saw Kyungsoo and Sehun watching television and Kai sitting at the dinner table reading an article on Kyungsoo’s laptop.
Kyungsoo heard the door close and turned his head back. “Oh, hey. You’re back.”
“I’m back,” Chanyeol mumbled as he loosened his tie. Looking around again, he asked, “Baekhyun?”
To this, no one answered immediately. Kai didn’t seem interested, Sehun didn’t seem to care, and Kyungsoo was the only one who seemed to give Chanyeol some attention. “He’s not here.”
“He went out.”
Chanyeol’s eyes darted to the clock on the wall. “When?”’
“I don’t know exactly. Maybe five,” Kyungsoo replied as he changed the volume on the television.
If Baekhyun left at around five, then that would’ve meant that he had been gone for two hours then. Chanyeol locked his jaw and ran a hand through his hair. Without saying anything, he marched his way to his work room. Immediately, he saw the box that he kept the keys in and noticed the bite marks on the edges. Despite how crazy Baekhyun was, Chanyeol was sure that he wouldn’t physically use his teeth to pry open a box, so the only logical answer was Nugget.
“Where’s the dog?”
Nugget heard Chanyeol’s booming voice and was about to trot over to him, but then sensed a dark aura around the tall man. Instead, Nugget ran away from Chanyeol and headed towards Sehun until he stopped, changed directions, and moved over to Kyungsoo instead.
Picking the dog up, Kyungsoo gave Chanyeol a look. “What do you need him for?” Looking at the chewed box in Chanyeol’s hands, Kyungsoo laughed. “Did you do that, Nugget?”
Nugget buried his head in Kyungsoo arms and curled his tail, refusing to answer verbally or physically. Chanyeol wasn’t thrown off by the act. Setting the box down, Chanyeol walked over and took the dog from Kyungsoo.
“Where the hell did your dad go, you stubby animal?” he demanded, shaking Nugget.
Kyungsoo frowned at Chanyeol’s actions and stole Nugget back. “Quit being an idiot. Baekhyun will come back, lover boy.” After Chanyeol gave him a scowl, Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. “Or maybe he got tired of your sex drive and won’t ever come back.”
By the time Baekhyun pulled up to the drive way, it was already ten twenty-five at night according to the digital clock in the car. Humming, he reached over and grabbed the gallon of milk he bought in town as an excuse as to why he left for so long. He knew that it was the most illegitimate reason to be out for five or six hours, but it didn’t really matter to him.
Locking the car, Baekhyun decided he would drive it back into the garage the next day. As he walked up to the front, he peered through the window and saw movement inside. Going through the keys on the chain, he found the one that fit in the door and stepped into the house, ready to be bombarded with questions by his three co-workers.
Instead, when he entered, all was calm. Kyungsoo greeted him from the living room and Sehun waved at him before going back to another tinkering project that he was working on. Everything seemed okay to him until he turned the corner and saw Chanyeol sitting at the kitchen island.
Setting the papers and applications that he was reviewing away, Chanyeol looked up at Baekhyun with an unamused face. When Baekhyun broke out a sheepish smile, Chanyeol remained static.
“When did you get back?” Baekhyun asked cheerfully as he put the gallon of milk on the kitchen table.
With a hard tone, Chanyeol replied. “A few hours ago.”
Baekhyun nodded. As he started to crush the brown bag that held the gallon, he asked, “What’s with the long face?”
Chanyeol sighed, giving Baekhyun a sharp look. “Do you really need to ask?”
Walking to the trash can, Baekhyun threw the paper away. “I don’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell me, you know.”
With his eyes, Chanyeol took in Baekhyun’s appearance. For as long as Chanyeol had known the idiot in front of him, not once had he seen him be that dressed up—or dressed accordingly to style. He narrowed his eyes. “You’re dressed up.”
“I know,” Baekhyun said, smirking.
“Your jeans are too tight.”
Looking down, Baekhyun tilted his head. “I don’t think so. They make my legs look nice. I don’t see the problem.”
Sighing, Chanyeol put the papers in front of him in a folder and closed it. “I’m too tired to question you the way I want right now, Baek,” he said, sounding a little frustrated. “You look good—sexy, even. That’s my problem with you right now. You also took the car and drove. That’s another problem. But it’s past ten and I’m tired after dealing with my parents amongst other things so I’ll think about what I’ll do to you tomorrow.”
Standing up, Chanyeol motioned for Baekhyun to approach him. “For now, at least give me a kiss. Maybe I’ll lighten up on you tomorrow when I’m not so tired.”
“Whatever,” Baekhyun said, grinning as he moved towards Chanyeol. Pulling the giant down, he slanted his lips, fitting their together perfectly. He lightly brushed his tongue against Chanyeol’s, but ended the kiss before anything else were to happen in the presence of everyone else. “Happy now?”
“Yea—” Chanyeol stopped short as his eyes focused in on something. Holding Baekhyun’s face with his hands, he narrowed his eyes at the sight. “Baek, your lips…”
“Hmm?” Baekhyun gave him a confused look before grinning. “Yeah, my lips are amazing.”
“No,” Chanyeol curtly said. “It’s…” He stopped again. Then he gave Baekhyun a look before leaning in and taking a sniff. What he caught made him freeze.
Confused, Baekhyun tried to move away. “What’re you doing, Chanyeol?” he asked with a nervous laugh.
Wordlessly, Chanyeol took Baekhyun by the wrist and began to lead them straight to his bedroom. Once inside, he closed the door and cornered Baekhyun, forcing his back against the wall. Forcibly, Chanyeol made the smaller male look up at him, giving him a scowl.
“Your lips are red and you smell like women’s perfume. Where the hell did you go?”
Baekhyun bit his lips for a moment and tried to glance away, but every time that he tried, Chanyeol would garner his attention back up. Sensing no way out of it, Baekhyun sighed and crossed his arms.
“Do you think I went out to screw a prostitute?”
Chanyeol growled. “Did you?”
“No. I didn’t.”
“Then where the hell were you all this time?” Chanyeol demanded.
Baekhyun kept quiet for a minute and squirmed under Chanyeol’s intent watch. Then he slumped his shoulders and looked up at Chanyeol with eyes feigning innocence. “I was cross dressing…”