For a while, Baekhyun was in a shithole full of denial. In a way, perhaps he had always been in a shit hole for the last two months or maybe from the moment he left the house. When Baekhyun woke up one morning and routinely ate his bland cereal, he looked around him and realized once again how he felt utterly lonely and empty inside.
Nugget was Baekhyun’s company for the most part of his days, but even the clingy and chunky pup couldn’t mend the void that Baekhyun felt. Replacing Luhan’s place in the escort business had its perks. The hours depended on when Baekhyun wanted to work, and if he was good in service, Baekhyun would sometimes receive gifts from his patrons of the night.
However, spending a few hours of his night being a companion for someone else left Baekhyun without a companion of his own.
Bumping into Chanyeol was completely by chance. Running across a parking lot to avoid being touched was completely overdramatic, but the sense of fear that he had was unreasonably overwhelming. At the time, Baekhyun didn’t know why, but once a few days had passed since his run in with his “former boyfriend”, Baekhyun realized that he had been running in circles with his feelings.
Maybe he thought that all the feelings he had were gone after having isolated himself for a while, because it sure as hell felt like it. Chanyeol would pop up in mind sometimes, but the lack of those “sometimes” recently had led him to believe that he was moving on. However, the sudden run in at the opening party was like a cold bucket of water splashed onto his sweet dream, waking him up from his false sense of confirmation.
Running away and hiding hadn’t done much to his heart apparently. The mere sight of Chanyeol proved that point. After wallowing on the thought for days, replaying everything that the giant had told him, Baekhyun came to the conclusion that the reason why he couldn’t move on was because of the contract.
He could run away all he wanted, he figured, but he’d always have the papers acting as the one last string connecting him to Chanyeol and all they ever were. The question that Chanyeol asked him that night rang in Baekhyun’s head for days, until one day he had to face it.
Why hadn’t he annulled the contract before? Perhaps the reason was because it never crossed his mind, but that excuse was too farfetched. It wasn’t as though he never thought about the contract. The papers were all he could think about for what felt like an eternity after he found out the truth. But even then, he never actually touched the action of going through with an annulment.
By all logical means, perhaps that was the key to moving on. It was the only tie that Baekhyun hadn’t broken yet, but maybe it was the most important one to break out of them all.
Baekhyun usually didn't like to dress up. The escort job required it, but that occupation held profit. Going inside his family’s building to legally “break up” was another occasion, but Baekhyun didn’t feel as though it was appropriate to show up on his family’s doorsteps wearing a graphic tee and shorts.
Wearing the best cardigan that he owned, pairing it with a shirt of subtle color underneath, and jeans that fit like a glove, Baekhyun appeared on the front steps of the very building that he was destined to own one day—granted that he never gets disowned.
Walking with a strut that meant that he had business, Baekhyun strode into the large building, nodding to the doormen who greeted their boss’ son with both respect and surprise as they pulled the double glass doors open. The squeaky sounds that his converse shoes made on the floor was a complete contrast to the sound of heels and formal shoes clacking around him.
Making a straight beeline to the front desk, Baekhyun wasted no time in getting there. He made sure to smile to the older people around him who took the time to greet him first as he moved past them. It didn’t take long to get to the front desk, nor did it take long for him to find out where Kim Minseok was.
Pausing from his work, the lawyer looked up from his paper work files and immediately saw Baekhyun’s face pressed up against his office’s glass. For a moment, he was flustered at the sight and immediately stood up from his chair. Half a year had passed without much word about the kid outside the office, so seeing Baekhyun out of the blue was a surprising sight to see.
“Come in, Baek,” Minseok called, knowing full well that he didn’t even have to answer and give permission. The door was always open for anyone to walk in, but Baekhyun had the habit of asking for some unknown reason. He watched carefully as Baekhyun pouted his lips as he looked about the office in a suspicious manner even though he tried to make it seem otherwise by walking with a strong strut.
“I like what you’ve done to the office,” Baekhyun remarked as he finally stopped his wandering eyes and focused his attention on the lawyer before him. “Must be nice working exclusively for the family, right?”
“It has its benefits for me,” Minseok shrugged, as he sat down the moment Baekhyun stopped right in front of his desk.
“Ah,” Baekhyun drawled, smirking in a way that Minseok thought was a bit mischievous. “The paycheck’s nice, I suppose. The table’s mahogany, right? I thought so. It’s a nice choice, Minseok. It matches your newly painted walls, too.”
Rolling his eyes at Baekhyun’s mindless talk, Minseok leaned back against his chair and intertwined his fingers together. “Yeah, well, I changed my office since the last time you were in here.”
“Which was about a year ago,” Baekhyun smiled.
“When you signed those papers?” Minseok asked, tilting his head sarcastically. “Then yes. You were here a year ago.”
“Exactly,” Baekhyun said, slightly scrunching his nose. After pulling a seat closer to the desk, he sat down, crossed his legs and leaned back. “I think we had a misunderstanding a year ago.”
Raising a brow, Minseok hummed. “On what?”
Baekhyun stoically held his smile for a moment before taking in a deep breath and leaning forward, cocking his head to the right. “I might’ve accidentally signed my hand away in marriage?” he tried.
Unable to help himself, the lawyer behind the desk snorted as he rolled his eyes. “Of course, you did,” he said lightly.
“Or,” Baekhyun said, holding up a finger, “I might’ve been slightly manipulated by my parents and my emotions at the time to really be aware of what I was signing myself up for.”
Minseok gave Baekhyun a solemn look for a second before he sighed and straightened his posture. “What’s this about, Baekhyun? You’re taking up my lunch time.”
“I’ll be taking more away if you don’t shut up and help me,” Baekhyun laughed, strongly implying that he was indeed threatening the man in front of him. After Minseok lost his sarcastic flair, Baekhyun’s grin became wider as he gained control of the situation. “Now, I would like for you to retrieve the papers and, oh, maybe break it apart.”
“Baekhyun,” Minseok said sternly.
However, Baekhyun wouldn’t allow the male to interrupt his point. “I did some thinking and I figured that it’s not plausible for a contract like this to not have loopholes,” he started, keeping steady eye contact. “Because if at some point I wanted to not marry Mr. Park, then the contract would not stand unless both parties are willing to pay the consequences for violating my human rights.”
“Baekhyun, before you signed into the agreement, you knew what kind of arrangement you were going into,” Minseok argued, looking slightly frustrated as he tried to go up against Baekhyun’s churning attitude. “I explained everything to you outside of the office and when we sat in the conference room to discuss the details.”
Losing some parts to his smile, Baekhyun slowly leaned back against his chair. “Well, then, what can I say besides the fact that at the time, I was reserved to following through with what my parents wanted?”
“I know you were, but it’s not that easy,” Minseok said in a hard tone. “You might think it’s easy, but Baekhyun, you haven’t been here long enough to know what goes on when it comes to how the company is doing.”
“This has nothing to do with the company,” Baekhyun snapped, slowly starting to lose his reserve. “It has to do with me and the fact that I’m legally engaged to someone who I don't want to marry—”
“But you knew this!” Minseok repeated louder. “You knew you were going to marry someone you didn't pick, so I don’t understand why you’re bringing it up now.”
Locking his jaw, Baekhyun uncrossed his legs and stood up. “Back then, I had a stupid fantasy of what it would be like to marry someone I didn’t know. Fortunately, I now realize that it’s different. Marriage is supposed to be an intimate commitment between two people who know each other, not a business negotiation with flimsy hopes and dreams on the side.”
Slanting his shoulders, Minseok sighed. “Baekhyun, the contract’s more complicated than you think.”
“You’re the lawyer,” Baekhyun said, calming his voice. “Do something about it. I don’t care what you have to do, but just annul the engagement. That’s all I want...”
Thinning his lips, Minseok rose from his desk and leaned over to the phone. Baekhyun watched as he requested for his secretary to bring in a case file, which he inferred contained the very papers he had in mind. After the call was over, Minseok lifted his finger from telephone and set both of his hands on the desk, looking upwards at Baekhyun.
“The Park family made a safety net for their party when the contract was being written up,” Minseok informed, thinning his lips in a serious manner. “Essentially, if the contract is broken on our behalf under any circumstances, they still get partial share of the company. It’s not much of a hold, but it’s still significant.”
Baekhyun stood still for a moment, going over the new information in his head before letting the smile on his face fall. Frowning deeply, his eyes stared intensely at the lawyer before him. He averts them away at the sound of Minseok’s secretary quickly entering the room to deliver a folder and making her way out again.
As the man behind the desk pulled out the papers that were held together by paper clips and staples, Baekhyun let out a soft sound of agitation, running a hand through his hair and resorting to pacing back and forth as if to calm the new arising thoughts that were beginning to burn inside of him.
“So, really, whether I married him or not, the bastard would still profit from it…” Baekhyun mumbled.
“Yes, but it was supposed to benefit us all if you two had gotten—”
“Minseok,” Baekhyun suddenly cut in, “this annulment business is far too complicated.”
“Yes, it actually is,” Minseok agreed, hoping that this was a turning point in which Baekhyun would change his mind. “If we look at the all the cards on the table, I think that it would be in the company’s best interest if you didn’t—”
“There has to be some sort of loophole, right?” Baekhyun asked, hopeful and tilting his head. Before Minseok could answer, Baekhyun twirled on his heels and walked in circles around the office. “Everything has a loophole! Even the universe has loopholes, which I like to call black holes. No one knows what goes on in those, but it’s theorized to lead to another dimension.”
“Find the black hole to my contract,” Baekhyun said in an adamant tone. “Find my fourth parallel, the escape from this little deal. Preferably, I’d like you to find something that will keep the company intact without having to give control of it over to the Parks.”
Baekhyun frowned. “But you’re the lawyer!”
“I’m a lawyer, not a magician!” Minseok said, frustrated at Baekhyun’s incompetence in understanding the situation. “I’ve gone over the papers countless times and the part of the contract where they’ll receive something either way is dead locked. There’s no changing it. Annulling the marriage aspect is fine. We can do that. However, there’s nothing much I can do about the company. It was only set up as a safety net, like I said.”
With his laws locked and his options limited, Baekhyun bit his lips. “There’s really nothing I can do to break myself away without hurting my family’s business, is there?”
Just as he was about to shake his head, Minseok stopped himself as a thought came to him. It seemed like a possible answer to their problem, but it completely handed all power over to the other party—if it wasn’t entirely theirs already.
Quickly, he flipped through the papers, and going off memory, he skimmed to a section that described the safety net that was placed a year ago. “Hold on.”
Baekhyun paused, eyes lighting up. “I heard something,” he said quickly, “and it sounded like hope.”
Minseok slanted his lips for a moment, squinting his eyes before looking back and forth from the paper and to Baekhyun’s hopeful face. “I have an idea, but I don’t know if you’d like it. It depends on how personally you know Mr. Park and how willing you are to actually—”
“I’d get on my knees and lick someone’s ass—”
“I don’t want to hear that!” Minseok cut in, waving his hand in front of him. “I know you’re willing to do anything, but this involves you talking to some people.”
Baekhyun didn’t immediately respond. He thought it over, bobbing his head from side to side as he organized his thoughts. His eyes wandered the ceiling for a bit before he eventually gave the lawyer his attention back.
“I can talk to people,” he replied finally. “I’m good with that. Should I dress up? The traditional black and white tuxedo is sexually striking, right? Should I look like I’ll get what I want whether it’s on my feet or on my knees, or should I wear a white one, make myself look like a poor, helpless soul?”
“Baek,” Minseok said in a serious voice, “who do you think you’re going to have to talk to?”
Baekhyun shrugged carelessly. “The Park’s lawyer,” he answered simply. “Depending on how the man looks, I’ll decide then on how much charm I have to turn on to get some leeway with the contract—”
Shaking his head, Minseok signaled for Baekhyun to stop talking. “Baekhyun, you’re not talking with the lawyer from the Park family.”
Confused, Baekhyun moved closer to where Minseok stood, slowly crossing his arms. “Then who?”
Sighing, Minseok set the papers down and decided he was tired of standing. Pulling his seat close to him, he sat back down, not caring how Baekhyun practically towered him and his desk. “You have to talk with Park Chanyeol. If we were just talking about the marriage aspect, it didn’t necessarily have to be him, but since we’re now looking into separating the company away from this safety net lock, you’ll have to directly speak to him about it since he’s the CEO of the Park’s corporation.”
For a second, Baekhyun was frozen. Then he pouted and his entire face fell in expression. “Why can’t my parents handle this for me!?” he grumbled, shuffling back his seat and falling back on it. “I’m not even CEO or anything in this company. I’m just the kid that inherits it. I have no part of it. My parents should handle this for me…”
“I highly doubt that will strengthen our case,” Minseok said. “This is between him and you—”
“It’s between the companies—”
“It’s between him and you,” Minseok repeated. “Very few people know about where you’ve been all this time, but I’m one of them so whatever it is going on between the two of you, it’s between you guys. You’re twenty-two and so is he. If you want to break the engagement, now that it’s more personal, that should be discussed between the two of you on a personal level. However, when it comes to the company, you have to speak to him about that in a civil way.”
Baekhyun frowned deeply as he slouched. “I don’t want to see him…”
“If you want to annul—”
“I can annul without meeting him,” Baekhyun said.
“You can’t annul without hurting this company’s interest,” Minseok reasoned. “Set aside your childish side for one moment and just do this for the benefit of your family’s interest.”
“But he’s so frustrating!”
“That’s not a good enough reason—”
“He’s not going to change it,” Baekhyun groaned, throwing his head back. “He’ll keep what he can get from this…”
“You haven’t tried,” Minseok reasoned. “How do you know? Maybe he’ll be nice.”
“Park Chanyeol doesn’t know what it means to be nice…” the small male grumbled. “He’s an ass.”
“Well, if you lived with him for more than half a year, then I would assume that he’s not as bad as you’re trying to make him out to be.”
“It’s a miracle I can walk with the amount of sex that asshole made me do with him,” Baekhyun piped, posture springing upright, suddenly excited. “Oh, living in that prison was horrible, Minseok. You don’t understand. He wouldn’t even let me open my bedroom window. He threatened to put bars on them at one point. Sometimes he would tell me that he wants me to swim in the ocean in the dark so that if I drown, no one will be around to see it happen.”
Rolling his eyes, Minseok shook his head. “Stop with the ridiculous accusations, Baekhyun,” he scolded. Before Baekhyun could refute, Minseok cut him off with the wave of his hand. “If you want to be out of this contract, I’ll help you legally, but you need to do your part. Talk to him.”
Kicking his legs, Baekhyun retreated back to slouching. “I don’t want to talk to him.”
“Then I can’t do much for the company,” Minseok shrugged. “I hope you’re ready to take the blame for hurting your family’s control and ownership of this establishment because of the fact that you’re refusing to be civil with your prospective ex-fiancé and simply asking him to have the conditions altered—”
“Stop trying to guilt trip me!”
“Yes, you are, you twat!” Baekhyun said, suddenly jumping out of his seat. “You’re trying to make me feel bad even though I keep telling you that I don’t want to see him!”
“Is it really that hard to talk to him?”
Frantically moving his hands about before dropping them by his side, Baekhyun nodded. “Yes! You might as well keep a window open if I decide I can’t stand him anymore!”
Clicking his tongue, Minseok gave Baekhyun a bemused look. “You’re making this sound more like a bitter divorce than a simple annulment.”
“I’m divorcing myself from this man emotionally and legally,” Baekhyun said in a calmer voice.
Putting the papers back in the folder neatly, Xiumin said, “What if he’s your soul mate? You can’t spiritually divorce yourself from your soul mate.”
To that statement, Baekhyun said nothing in return. Taking his silence as a sign of cooperation and victory, Minseok smiled and held out the folder to Baekhyun, who took his time taking it in his care. “If you want to divorce him on all levels, then go talk to him. I’ll start the annulment paperwork and I’ll hand it over to you once I’m done. Your job is to meet with Mr. Park and getting him to sign the annulment papers and alter the original contract so that the company doesn’t have to suffer big or small from this decision of yours.”
Drawing the folder close to his chest, Baekhyun furrowed his brows and thinned his lips. “What if he doesn’t change it?” he asked in a quiet voice.
Minseok didn’t answer immediately. “Then we’ll just have to deal with the conditions.” Then he flashed a small smile. “It would be nice if he did change it, but our main priority here is your annulment, so just get him to sign the agreement once I finish with the proper paperwork, alright?”
Coming to terms with what he had to do, Baekhyun nodded. “Alright.” Turning his head to the door, he hummed. “Well, I should go home. I have an appointment with someone.”
“I have a job,” Baekhyun replied, mouth forming a grin.
Knowing better than to ask, Minseok just nodded slowly. “Well, don’t catch anything,” he lightly remarked.
Catching the lawyer’s drift, Baekhyun laughed, tilting his head. “It’s an interesting line of work, but I’m not a prostitute if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“I wasn’t thinking about anything.”
“And I wasn’t thinking about how much I don’t want to do this,” Baekhyun smiled. Tucking the file under his arm, he gave Minseok a look. “Chop chop, lawyer. I’ll be leaving now. I need to stop by at the store and buy some food on my way home.”
“Do you need me to call a company driver?”
Shaking his head, Baekhyun took his leave from the seat and started walking toward the door. “I’m taking the subway so don’t worry about it. I’ll just drop this folder off with your secretary outside,” he announced as he grabbed the door handle. “I expect a call from you in a few days!”
“I don’t have your number!”
In the midst of closing the door, Baekhyun stopped. He hadn’t thought about that aspect. Looking back, he contemplated for a few seconds before marching back to Minseok’s desk and holding out his right hand.
The lawyer didn’t know what was going on, especially when Baekhyun went around and began to stick his hands in places where they didn’t belong. Freaking out, Minseok tried to get away and asked what the hell the male was doing.
As it turned out, all Baekhyun wanted was the lawyer’s cellphone. When asked why he needed it, Baekhyun simply explained how he didn’t have one and he’d be needing it to make business calls.
Only Baekhyun knew that it was a lie, however. Suho had given him a phone when he said he needed one, but that one was reserved for business and Baekhyun didn’t feel like having his personal life flashing on the screen of a device that represented something completely detached from it.
But Minseok didn’t know that and he couldn’t find himself in any position to refuse his boss’ son. It wasn’t as though Baekhyun was abusing his power as the future CEO of the company to take the phone, because Minseok knew their relationship was more than just technical boss and lawyer.
Not bothering to argue much with the young man, Minseok surrendered over his device. Then after Baekhyun left his office satisfied, the lawyer had to tell his secretary to call every one of his clients and tell them to direct all future calls to his backup cell.
Tearing himself away from the thoughts in his head, Chanyeol glanced up, not bothering to fix his informal position in his chair. He saw Kris’ head sticking inside his office before the associate decided to fully enter the room and cut straight to him. “It’s a nice day and it’s been weeks,” Kris remarked lightly, waving around a small group of papers in his hand. “Drop the foreboding frown for a minute and smile, why don’t you? Here’s the meeting schedule for the next two weeks so brighten up because you have prospective clients and partners to meet.”
As Kris dropped the papers curtly on his desk, Chanyeol remained silent, watching as the papers fell and landed. He receded back into his head and Kris watched as Chanyeol lost himself in his thoughts again. Sticking his hands in his front pockets, Kris slanted his shoulders and lightly kicked his boss’ dark desk.
“You need to snap out of it—”
“What the hell could he have been doing there that night?” Chanyeol burst out, not caring at how unrelated the question was. “Why was he there, Kris?”
“I’m not Baekhyun so I wouldn’t know,” Kris answered nonchalantly. “He can do what he wants.”
Mindlessly taking the schedule in his hand, Chanyeol accidentally let his grip bend the paper. “I know he can do whatever he wants, but he just keeps avoiding me like I’m the damn plague!” he snapped. “I can’t stand it. He disappears before I can even fix or explain anything at all. I understand that I lied, but he lied about who he was as well and none of this would be happening if he didn’t lead me on to believe that he understood everything I said that night by letting me have him only to disappear the morning after!”
Kris glanced away, but nodded as he half-listened to Chanyeol’s ranting. “Give him time.”
“It’s been nearly three months,” Chanyeol said, annoyed. “How long do I have to wait for him to come out of hiding!? I don’t even go home anymore because being here gives me a better chance of bumping into him.”
“You bumped into him once, you’ll do it again.”
Suddenly, a dark look came upon Chanyeol’s face. “Right. Maybe next time, I’ll see him with the same fellow he was with at the opening—”
Sighing, Kris decided that it was going to be a while before Chanyeol actually gave him an opening to leave without finishing his rant. “If he wants to have a boyfriend, then he can—”
“No, he can’t,” Chanyeol rejected adamantly. “He can’t have a boyfriend because then what would that make us?”
Looking around, Kris shrugged. “Exes?”
“We didn’t break up,” the giant behind the desk groaned. “Running away and avoiding me is not the same as breaking things off formally. I swear, this guy’s never been in a proper relationship before, which probably explains why he thinks that eluding me equates to breaking up.”
Kris noticed how frustrated Chanyeol had become and decided that he had allowed enough talk for the day. The simple task of delivering a printed schedule had resulted into something that resembled more like a therapy session. Pushing himself up, Kris fixed his suit before he moved on to his hair.
“Love will find a way,” Kris said, not truly believing in the words, but didn’t have anything else to offer.
“And if it doesn’t?” Chanyeol muttered glumly. “What am I supposed to do then?”
Snorting, Chanyeol shook his head furiously, rejecting the idea as simply impossible. “I can’t do that,” he said, distorting his own words as he ran his hands on his face, dragging them down in vexation. “How the hell am I supposed to move on when I have stacks and stacks of stupid, stupid, stupid romance novels neatly organized in one of the bedrooms? Or how I can’t walk out on my own beach anymore without stumbling on a stupid fucking dog toy?”
Shutting his mouth for a second, Chanyeol grit his teeth as he looked away. “There’s a closet full of cardigans, Kris, and what am I supposed to do with those? I can’t fit in them because they’re too small for me. Then there’s a stupid piece of paper in my sock drawer with ten reasons as to why I should install a pole in the house. I can’t move on with all this stupid shit everywhere…”
“Then get rid of it.”
Throwing his hands up in the air, Kris gave up. “Then start over,” he huffed before immediately removing himself from the room, not wanting to be dragged into another conversational rollercoaster ride.
It was only after Kris had closed the door behind him that his last bit of advice sank into Chanyeol’s head and he mumbled how that was the only good piece of advice that the associate had ever given him regarding his situation with his fiancé.
Waiting for Minseok to notify him that the papers were ready was like waiting for a divorce finalization notice, except Baekhyun didn’t feel like an eager divorcé. It was somewhat of a mixed feeling. In fact, it was kind of stale. Perhaps beneath it all was a flicker of eagerness to free himself from an obligation, but at the same time, there was a feeling of mourning for a time that even Baekhyun had to admit was happy.
As he blankly watched a television program one afternoon with Nugget by his feet, gnawing on a treat that was both healthy and good for puppy breath, Baekhyun went over a mental checklist. In fact, he always did checklists when evaluating a relationship he was in. It often kept him disillusioned.
Was he still in love with Chanyeol? Baekhyun wanted to say no, but the answer was yes. Nugget’s existence was a daily reminder of that love considering Chanyeol practically gave him the dog as a gift. And although three months had passed, Baekhyun couldn’t remove himself emotionally, which frustrated him. In all the other relationships he had been in, it was easy to move on. Park Chanyeol was a different case, however, and Baekhyun was absolutely stuck.
The second question that came to mind questioned if he was doing the right thing. To this, Baekhyun hesitantly answered yes. There was a bit of doubt, but in the end, he figured that a relationship built on lies and obligation was not a relationship at all.
Third, he asked himself if Chanyeol was really at fault for everything and if he had judged him too harshly. Being stubborn was a horrible trait, but Baekhyun forced himself to subside that side of him so he could admit that maybe Chanyeol wasn’t the only one wrong.
In fact, he did lie to giant about who he was—technically. Never fully explaining his identity and his background was considered lying. And maybe he overreacted and accused Chanyeol of things that weren’t even true, but Baekhyun wasn’t so quick to admit that. There was a fear of being used that lived inside of him and he admitted that maybe the thought of Chanyeol using him scared him so much that all he wanted to do was runaway and prevent that.
The night that Chanyeol confessed everything, Baekhyun had been overly emotional, which was another thing that he was willing to admit. Anything genuine that Chanyeol might’ve said was completely painted over by the negative image that Baekhyun had automatically fooled himself with.
Baekhyun tried to get the thought of being the one in the wrong out of his mind and move on to the next question on his mental checklist, but he found that the further he went down the list, the more and more he became upset at the fact that Chanyeol and his mistakes kept coming up. Then, finally, by the time he got to asking himself whether or not he was happy, Baekhyun’s lips were shaking as he shook his head to himself.
The answer was a definite no. He wasn’t happy. Being alone, isolated from everyone he ever loved or cared about, wasn’t happiness to him. Baekhyun missed the smell of Kyungsoo’s cooking and the way Kai bickered with the cook whenever he had to defend himself from Kyungsoo’s nitpicky wrath. Sehun, who did nothing but trim the grass every so often and plant flowers in the front yard, was also missed. Nugget, who was incapable of speaking, may have missed being able to run around the large lot as opposed to the apartment where he was practically confined in for the most part.
Baekhyun missed lying in bed and being yelled at to close the window on a hot day when the air conditioner was running. He also missed his old job. Not that he disliked being an escort, but it required a lot of work just to please people. His job under Chanyeol’s house did require work, but it was different because he was surrounded by friends and a loose work schedule.
Lastly, of all the things that he missed, Baekhyun begrudgingly admitted that he missed the jerk, though he couldn’t really call Chanyeol a jerk because he knew that the giant was anything but. Whether or not Baekhyun still believed that Chanyeol’s feelings for him were entirely untrue, he felt nostalgic of the time everything seemed perfect.
The more Baekhyun lingered on all the things he missed and how unhappy he was, the more he wanted to go back. Then, there was a part of him that wished for a different parallel where everything was the same except for the fact that there was never a contract.
He wished he met Chanyeol, but without the contract ever existing. If anything, he wanted a world where they both fell in place like they did as if it was a natural process.
By the end of his checklist, Baekhyun came to the conclusion that he didn’t like where he was at. He wanted to go back home, back to Chanyeol, Kyungsoo, Kai, and Sehun.
Being straightforward and loud was something that was normal, but for the first time in Baekhyun’s adult life, he receded back to cowering in his shell, letting the stubborn side of him—the side that didn’t want to come out of hiding and apologize—win.
However, when he grabbed the cellphone from his pocket, Baekhyun couldn’t stop himself from doing what he was about to do. Even Nugget, who paused to watch him, wondered what his dad was doing so frantically and emotionally dire that he was slightly shaking.
Opening up his borrowed cellphone, Baekhyun quickly went to compose a new text message, typing in the numbers that he memorized by heart. He bit his lips to force himself from backing out, telling himself that if he was going to be a stubborn little bitch about being an isolated bastard, then he should at least get some courage to send the six worded text.
After he finished, Baekhyun’s eyes quickly ran over the words once and then looked away as he sent the message reading, “I miss you and I’m sorry”.
Right before he went into the board meeting, Chanyeol made sure to leave all personal issues at the door. He knew that Kris was right and that he needed to focus on work if he was going to be present. Baekhyun needed to be pushed out of his mind and he needed to focus on the less-than-appealing graphs and charts presented to him at the end of the very long meeting table.
Setting aside all thoughts on his fiancé went well for the first twenty minutes of the meeting until Chanyeol’s cellphone vibrated, causing the speaker to stop and all attention to be forwarded to the CEO, who was just as surprised at the sound as they were. Holding up a finger, Chanyeol paused the meeting as he pulled the phone out of his pocket. When he saw that it was a mere text message, he motioned for the meeting to resume.
As the meeting continued, Chanyeol drew his eyes to the text, intending to simply glance at the message. However, he didn’t expect his heart to stop and the entire world around him to suddenly become irrelevant.
“I miss you and I’m sorry…”
The message had come from the lawyer that worked for the Byuns, but Chanyeol didn’t see any reason as to why he would send him a text message of that content. Nothing made sense as Chanyeol’s mind raced until the one person that he couldn’t keep out of his mind came up, fitting Chanyeol’s suspicion.
Hurriedly, he replied, asking a simple question.
Chanyeol waited for an answer, constantly checking his phone afterwards, but he never received one.