The Buffer Intermission
The next day at school, Baekhyun was expecting Chanyeol to be his usual self. He expected the giant to find him, run up, and smother him against the lockers like he would do every once in a while since Chanyeol was prone to getting himself carried away. But when that morning actually played out, Chanyeol didn’t do any of the things Baekhyun had expected him to do.
At his locker, Chanyeol approached him. Baekhyun turned, and before he could even greet him, Chanyeol thrusted a stuffed bear, a card, and a bag of candy into his arms. Baekhyun looked down at the items before looking back up to his boyfriend, who wasn’t featuring his signature morning smile.
“Happy late birthday,” Chanyeol said, emphasizing the word.
Baekhyun raised a brow. “Um, thanks—” He stopped. “How did you know that—”
“Kai. When he and Kris stopped by at Yoona’s party,” Chanyeol said in a tough tone. “Since it was your birthday yesterday, can I assume that the party that you invited me to was your birthday party?”
Baekhyun slowly nodded. “Yeah.”
Chanyeol continued to look down at him in silence for a moment. “Well, I got you those.”
Baekhyun glanced down again. “Right. Thanks.”
There was another silent moment between them. “If I had known that it was your birthday, I would’ve gone.”
Baekhyun only shrugged. “It’s fine.”
Chanyeol pursed his lips at the words. “Fine? You keep saying everything fine, Baek!” he growled. “You tell me everything’s fine when it’s not! It’s not fine that you didn’t tell me that it was your birthday. It’s not fine the way you kept the fact that the party you were inviting me to was a birthday party. It’s not fine. It’s really not, Baekhyun!”
Baekhyun frowned. “You make it sound like I purposely kept everything from you, Chanyeol, when really, you just never gave me the chance to tell you—”
“—But that’s the thing!” Chanyeol scowled. “You had the entire week to tell me. The entire fucking week.”
Baekhyun’s jaw locked. “What? Was I supposed to have you come to my lame ass event when I knew that you had to be somewhere else more important?”
“Chanyeol, if Kris and Kai had to attend Yoona’s party before mine—if Sehun was fucking obligated to go in the first place—then by comparison, my party was not as important, and you, for one, had to be where you had to be,” Baekhyun snapped. “I can’t stand in your fucking way. I don’t want to. You had to be there and I couldn’t just selfishly tell you to not go.”
He was about to retort, but Chanyeol knew that Baekhyun was right. He did have to be there. His entire family had to be there because they were the hosts. He even got an earful when he went back home for leaving the party—and Yoona—without permission.
Before Chanyeol could respond, Baekhyun just shook his head and pushed everything that Chanyeol gave him back in the giant’s arms. Chanyeol frowned. “What the hell are you doing?”
Baekhyun glanced at him before closing his locker. “I don’t want them.”
Chanyeol’s grip on the items tightened. “Why not?”
Baekhyun sighed before giving Chanyeol a softer look. “Because you’re angry at me right now and I feel like you’re giving them to me to spite me…” Baekhyun turned his head from Chanyeol slightly before turning around to go to class. “Later…” he mumbled before he left, leaving Chanyeol with the items.
Chanyeol cursed out vulgar words and let out an aggravated growl when Baekhyun left. He hated himself. He lost it. Chanyeol thought that he could carry on with Baekhyun as if nothing happened; as if the missed date and the missed birthday party never happened; as if the lingering thought of Baekhyun letting Lay kiss him never burst in his head the night before. Chanyeol tried, but not even twenty seconds into the morning with his vixen, he let his agitated and irked side butt its ugly head out.
He had snapped and, after thinking about it, he had made it sound like he was accusing Baekhyun of keeping things from him, when really, Baekhyun was right. Chanyeol never gave him the opportunity to tell him what that party was about, and—in terms of his own priorities at the time—Chanyeol knew that he did have to put Yoona and his parents above his own boyfriend.
The final thing that Chanyeol was thinking about was Baekhyun and Lay on Baekhyun’s porch. That lean…That fucking lean! Chanyeol couldn’t get the stupid assumption that the two did something they weren’t supposed to since they were in a position of close intimacy for the longest time! Chanyeol was uncertain and everything was vague to him; so much so that it bothered him to a point of annoyance.
Inside, Chanyeol knew that the only thing that would ease his mind was if he asked Baekhyun what really happened, but even that thought made Chanyeol feel like he was just burying himself deeper and deeper. Baekhyun could lie and say that they didn’t do anything. Even if he didn’t, Chanyeol wasn’t even sure if he could trust his words.
He tried to tell himself that he was just being fucking stupid, which worked around the fifth time he told himself. Chanyeol decided not to even bother bringing up the incident with Lay.
Looking at the items in his hands, Chanyeol felt horrid. The last thing he wanted was for Baekhyun to think that he had bought them just to throw them in his face in an angry fit—which was what he ended up doing.
Groaning, Chanyeol went back to his locker and put the gifts inside. He’d get to them later because at the moment, he had to get to class himself.
When the lunch bell rang, Baekhyun decided to walk with Sehun down to the cafeteria only to be approached by Chanyeol, who was waiting at the end of the stairs that Sehun and he were descending on. Baekhyun gave him a look and tried to keep his eyes away, but the moment that he tried to walk past Chanyeol, Chanyeol took a hold of his wrist. Baekhyun’s eyes darted up to Sehun, who only looked back, twitched his lips, and continued to move on.
Baekhyun really had no other choice than to turn around and face Chanyeol, which he did. Though Baekhyun had turned his body to face the giant, his face was blank and he didn’t utter a single word. No “what?” or “let me go”. Just silence.
Chanyeol went along with the silence for a while, locking Baekhyun in eye contact. Then, Chanyeol took a breath in and let go of Baekhyun’s wrist. Taking his arm out from behind him, he held up the bear he that had bought in front of Baekhyun’s face.
“Pabo wants to say that he’s sorry,” Chanyeol started out, sounding nervous. “Pabo didn’t mean to, um, snap—or sound angry. Pabo was just upset that he missed your birthday and that he didn’t even know when your birthday was.”
“Pabo still loves Byun Baekhyun,” Chanyeol continued, tilting the bear. “Pabo still wants Baek to love him, too.” Bending down, Chanyeol picked up the bag of candy that was resting beside his feet. “Pabo says that if you take his candy, then he’ll take that as a good sign.”
Baekhyun’s eyes went to the small bag and then to the bear. “Pabo’s a fucking idiot.”
Chanyeol blinked, but then grinned lightly. “Pabo knows. That’s his name.”
Baekhyun stood there, not moving for a few agonizing seconds. Then, when he finally moved, his hand slowly rose and took the bag from Chanyeol. Soon after, his other hand went back and curled around the bear, taking it from Chanyeol.
“I’ll take these…”
“So you forgive me?” Chanyeol asked.
“Last time I checked,” Baekhyun replied, unable to hold the corners of his mouth from moving, “I was talking to Pabo.”
“Teasing vixen. I am Pabo,” Chanyeol responded with a small chuckle. He then opened his arms.
Baekhyun scoffed. Instead of walking into Chanyeol’s arms, he just jabbed him on the torso with his elbow. “Let’s go,” he said before turning to start walking towards the cafeteria again.
Chanyeol wouldn’t have it, though. He walked behind Baekhyun and threw his arms around him, hugging him from the back. Baekhyun was slowed down by the giant and his hug. They were moving at a slow-as-fuck speed because no matter how much Baekhyun tried to speed things up, Chanyeol would keep the same pace. Nonetheless, Baekhyun didn’t nudge Chanyeol away.
Over the next few days, everything seemed to have splayed out. Chanyeol had recessed his thoughts of insecurity and focused on Baekhyun and their relationship over again. Baekhyun had placed Pabo the Bear on a stand in his room and gradually ate the candy that Chanyeol had given him.
There were upcoming tests that following week and it was just Chanyeol’s luck that his boyfriend was a genius—a sexy, wanton genius. Baekhyun tried to help Chanyeol by scheduling times for them to meet at the library after school, but the environment was often too crowded with other students that Chanyeol was just tempted to talk to someone.
Exasperated one day after school, Baekhyun finally said, “We need to find somewhere else to study. You’re too distracted by a lot of things.”
Chanyeol slanted his lips for a second, trying to think. “Then let’s go to my house.” When Chanyeol saw Baekhyun looking hesitantly at him, he tried to reassure him. “My parents won’t bother you. I’ll make sure of that—and I’ll restrain myself. Promise.”
Baekhyun eyed him, but eventually relented. “Alright.”
Chanyeol grinned. “Okay. Just follow my car.”
Rolling his eyes, Baekhyun said, “I know where you live and I know how to get there.”
“I know, but I’m just making sure,” Chanyeol said, laughing and putting an arm around Baekhyun’s shoulder. “Come on.” Then they headed off to the parking lot.
When Baekhyun put his car in parked gear and got out of it, he could feel himself being unreasonably nervous. He knew why, too. It was because unlike all the other times he stepped on the property, Chanyeol’s parents were there.
Chanyeol stuffed his hands in his pockets and motioned his head to indicate to Baekhyun to walk on over to him. “Come on, Baek. Nothing in there’s gonna bite you. Not even me—at least for now.”
Baekhyun sought no comfort in his words, but walked over to Chanyeol anyways, walking up the front of the property with him. He knew he was nervous, but he had to keep a pretense to make it seem like he wasn’t. Therefore, Baekhyun put Sehun’s poker face into play.
Opening the door, Chanyeol and Baekhyun were greeted by the usual maid cleaning near that area. Chanyeol took Baekhyun’s hand even as all they did was stand and take their shoes off. Then, Chanyeol led both of them up the stairs.
It was all so far so good until they got up to the second floor. When they got to the second story, they were both met by Yoona, who was arranging the flowers on a table near the hallway walls. Baekhyun only came to a stop when Chanyeol halted. After he stopped moving, Baekhyun froze. Chanyeol was the one, who hadn’t gone rigid.
“Welcome back, Chanyeol,” she said, rather sweetly. Then her eyes mechanically moved to Baekhyun. “Ah, Chanyeol’s friend. I’m sorry. I know we’ve met, but I never caught your name.”
“Ah.” Baekhyun tried not to get flustered when he was addressed. He tried to move over to her to extend his hand, but Chanyeol’s grip on his other hand locked. Baekhyun had to quickly force Chanyeol to let go. “I’m Baekhyun,” he said, holding out his hand for her.
Yoona smiled and took him. “I’m Yoona.” When she let go, she asked, “Are you going to help Chanyeol study, Baekhyun?”
Baekhyun nodded. “Yeah.”
“Well, that’s good,” Yoona answered. “It’s good that he has a friend like you to help him out.” With her perfect finger tips, she nudged a smaller flower towards the front of the featured view.
The word “friend” had a slight echo in Baekhyun’s mind, triggering the thought that Yoona didn’t know about his relationship with Chanyeol. Baekhyun didn’t know how he felt about that. Fine? Relieved? He didn’t know. He merely settled with the word “satisfied”.
Chanyeol stepped forward and put a hand on Baekhyun’s shoulder. “Go in my room first. I’ll be there in a second.”
“Okay.” Then, gripping onto his bag’s strap, Baekhyun went and turned the corner. Initially, he was going to do as Chanyeol had asked, but Yoona hadn’t even waited until she was sure that he was out of earshot before speaking. In the end, Baekhyun decided to stick his back against a corner.
“So you really are dating a guy,” Yoona muttered.
Chanyeol shrugged. “Yeah. His name’s Byun Baekhyun. He’s an honor roll student. He hates being touched from behind the neck. He likes to disagree with everything I say. A lot of times, he’ll argue with me and call me out on everything I do. Sometimes he won’t tell me things and keep things from me. It’s frustrating, but that doesn’t change the fact that everything about him interests me.”
Yoona silently arranged the flowers over again, frustrated with the previous arrangement. “You sound like you guys have a fun relationship, then.”
It was a second after the response that Yoona gave up trying to rearrange and turned around to give Chanyeol a concerned look. “Chanyeol, did I do this to you?”
Chanyeol creased his brows, confused. “Did what?”
“Curve your sexuality.”
Upon hearing the blunt response, Baekhyun felt something weird in his chest. Oddly, he sensed that Yoona was disgusted by their relationship. He knew that he shouldn’t have, but Baekhyun felt the sting of the comment.
Chanyeol’s face remained static. “No. You didn’t.”
Yoona moved from her station. “Then I don’t understand.”
Chanyeol sighed. “Look. I have to go—”
Waving a hand, Yoona shook her head. “No. Listen. When we were together, you’d talk about marrying me, and buying me a house with a large lawn and beautiful trees.”
Briskly nodding, but glancing off to the side, Chanyeol responded with a half-conscious: “Right, right.”
“And you know what else you talked about?” Yoona asked. “Kids. You’d talk about having kids, Chanyeol. Your own kids. Your own flesh and blood. I know that when you were going on about all of this, you were still pretty young, but wants like that don’t fade away with time.”
Chanyeol gave her a sharp look. “Why’re you bringing this up?”
“Because that was the future you wanted back then. A wife, a house, and kids,” Yoona said, emphasizing the word. “I know that right now, you probably still want the same thing. The question still remains though. Can you have that future—or a future—with him?”
The conversation—and the words—impacted him enough. In fact, it was too much of an impact for Baekhyun to handle. He shut his ears off and hurriedly walked to Chanyeol’s bedroom like he was told to do in the first place.