Issues, by definition in Baekhyun’s self-conceited world, were personal and relevant to one person’s situation, not the world, hence why he labeled many of the things he overheard or complained about to as “personal problems” to which he would add, “It’s not my problem”.
Ever since becoming aware of Baekhyun’s past relationship with Kyungsoo, Chanyeol became slightly different and Baekhyun noticed the change. It never happened when they were in private, discussing weightless topics, but instead, when Kyungsoo would drop by or pass in the hallway to quickly discuss a project or Baekhyun’s falling attempts to pass his classes. In one instance, he was sure the giant was silently comparing himself to Kyungsoo’s physical appearance when the president had stopped both of them after lunch to quickly remind Chanyeol about the basketball team’s banquet that night.
When Kyungsoo had left them, Baekhyun sighed and nudged Chanyeol from his trance with an elbow. “Stop that,” he muttered.
“I wasn’t doing anything,” Chanyeol hummed, shrugging as he looked down and gave the scoffing brunet a lopsided grin. “I was just wondering…”
“About what?” Baekhyun asked, moving his attention from Kyungsoo’s disappearing figure and to Chanyeol’s gaze. “There’s nothing to wonder about.”
“Well, I mean—”
“I can’t! I’ve been wondering about this for days,” Chanyeol groaned.
Clicking his tongue, Baekhyun shook his head as he walked ahead, putting distance between them. “It’s not worth thinking about, Chanyeol. You and he have nothing in common.”
Taking a few large strides, Chanyeol caught up. “I know, but it’s just that, like, are you attracted to that type of guy?”
“I don’t have a type.”
“Well, I know that,” the giant said, trying to cover up his mistake in words. “Actually, I didn’t know that until now, but I guess that’s good.”
Baekhyun sighed. “Why are we ‘semi-friends’?”
“Easy,” Chanyeol laughed. With a big grin on his face, he gave the brunet a mild shoulder bump before they parted ways at the end of the hallway. “You won’t give me the chance to be your boyfriend. That’s all.”
Luhan had a love for science, but his brain couldn’t wrap itself around many of the concepts unless there were visuals to help aid the lesson. Titration was one of the things that Baekhyun found easy teach, but ended up putting in more effort into their tutoring sessions just by drawing out the process, adding color and all.
There was a certain type of people Baekhyun was more lenient and comfortable with, and Luhan was one of them.
Unknown to his knowledge, Baekhyun was beginning to become more and more involved with school activities through Kyungsoo more than he would have liked to be in the first place. Posters were constantly needed to be put up or taken down. When announcements needed to be done and the announcer was absent, it had become Baekhyun’s job to read the events and notifications of upcoming activities through the intercom with his monotone voice. In exchange for this duty, Kyungsoo allowed him a free period, making a deal to change his attendance record in the computer system if Baekhyun did him a favor or two.
Scurrying about to do errands for the administration was a hypocrisy to everything Baekhyun believed in when it came to helping school dictate everyone and everything, but it had its benefits. Afterschool afternoons were still spent up on the rooftop whenever the nerve hit him to enjoy the weather. It wasn’t long after that Chanyeol began to follow him up to his second haven, bringing homework with him, and quietly struggling with his work while Baekhyun sat at a fair distance trying to figure the giant out.
Kyungsoo would visit often. The surprise of Chanyeol’s presence wore off after the first few visits and so did the giant’s astonishment of the president’s smoking habit and bitter mouth. After a few spews of rude gossip sessions, Chanyeol was well-educated in Kyungsoo’s opinion of everyone, including himself.
“You know,” Kyungsoo said, gesturing his cigarette in the jock’s direction one day, “I didn’t know Baekhyun was into making friends with people like you, Chanyeol.”
Looking up from the textbook in his lap, Chanyeol smiled. “Well, he’s full of surprises, don’t you think? Quirky. Out of the ordinary. Interesting.”
All the while the giant listed words of what he deemed Baekhyun to be, his eyes were locked onto the brunet’s hooded ones, making it seem as though he was no longer addressing the president. Kyungsoo noticed and made a point to turn to his left and inspect how Baekhyun was responding. It was then that he clicked two and two together.
Although the lit drug in his hand was only halfway done burning through, Kyungsoo made a slow effort in crushing the stick on the cement ground. After it was clear that it was out, the stone-faced male stood up unannounced.
“I forgot that I needed to check with the teachers about the retreat arrangements. I have papers to download and distribute for everyone. Normally, it would be the vice president’s job to do petty things like this, but my vp’s gone today—probably went off to chase after her baby daddy at the high school all the way across town. I don’t know, but whatever her business is, she’s not here and, again, I’m left with her shit.” After taking a deep breath in, Kyungsoo nodded at Baekhyun. “I’ll see you later.”
Without saying a word, Baekhyun nodded dismissively as he back to scrolling through his music library and plugging his headphones into his ears.
After making a quick glance in Baekhyun’s way, Kyungsoo stopped walking right in front of the giant until his shadow engulfed the player’s entire figure. Assuming Baekhyun was too deafened by the sound of his own music to hear, the president lightly kicked Chanyeol’s knee with the tip of his shoe and grazed the jock’s forehead with an index finger.
“You’re the one that confessed to him.”
There was no questioning tone hinged with the sentence because both were aware that it wasn’t a question that needed an answer. It was a statement—a fact—that Chanyeol could do nothing, but acknowledge.
For a brief moment, Kyungsoo’s eyes wandered as though he had never seen Chanyeol before. Then, before he continued on his way, he said, “You’d make an odd pair.”
A few minutes passed and Chanyeol still hadn’t moved from his position even after Kyungsoo was long gone. Whether he wanted to feel fazed or not, he felt swayed by the president’s words, unable to determine whether they were meant to undermine his feelings and attempts to become closer to the brunet, or to jokingly comment on what the two of them looked like through the pessimistic president’s eyes.
When he felt a pencil hit the side of his head, Chanyeol jolted, quickly swinging his head back to look at the only culprit left on the roof. “What was that for?”
“Stop thinking about Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun said, frowning. “If anyone’s going to put you down, it’ll be me. What you do with me is our business and what you want from me is our business. It’s not Kyungsoo’s, therefore, by reason, his opinion is irrelevant.”
Softly laughing, Chanyeol grinned, leaning against the concrete wall and letting his textbook slide off his lap. “So, what does that mean?”
“It means…” There was a slight pause as Baekhyun pursed his lips and drew his eyes down for a split second as he said, “sometimes—not always—odd things are nice. However, I’ll make it a point to tell you that I prefer even things.”
When he lifted his eyes up, he found that Chanyeol hadn’t moved his attention away from him. “You know,” the giant said with a grin that was slightly larger than before, “two odd numbers will always make an even.”
Baekhyun tried to retaliate with a response that outwitted Chanyeol’s remark, but when he was unable to emerge with one, he turned the volume up on his muted phone and muttered, “Stop it.”
It was a crisp Saturday morning that Baekhyun realized the complete conundrum that he had unknowingly pushed himself in.
When he arrived at the cinema roughly ten minutes later than what he had set up, he wasn’t expecting to see Chanyeol to appear so overly dressed. It wasn’t as though the giant had dressed in a formal suit for the simple occasion of watching a movie together with a few friends. It was more as though he put in a little bit more effort in dressing nicer than usual, and Baekhyun couldn’t shake the feeling that he knew the underlying reason for it all.
As he walked towards Chanyeol, who was smiling brightly as him and waving, Baekhyun made the comparison of their outfits. He was dressed in a black leather jacket with a knight-black top underneath, black jeans that nearly stuck to the skin of his legs, and converse. The moment he stood in front of the giant, he knew they contrasted by appearance. Chanyeol was brightly outfitted, resembling the sunlight and joy that came with the day, and Baekhyun seemed as though he needed to recede back into the shadows of the night.
He was about to make a comment on the way they were, but Chanyeol cut his train of thought before it could all be processed into words. “You’re here early!” he said excitedly.
Raising his brows up at the giant, Baekhyun quirked his lips. “What do you mean? I’m late.”
“I was expecting you to come a lot later,” Chanyeol admitted with a sheepish grin. “I thought you’d wait somewhere for me to give up waiting for you and just go home.”
“Would you have?” the brunet asked, scoffing.
“No,” Chanyeol shrugged. “I would’ve broken the rules and called you.”
“What a bold move.”
“I have to get out of this friendzone, you know.”
Rolling his eyes, Baekhyun shook his head, trying to ignore the constant realization that the guy in front of him was interested in more than just friendship. Knowing this fact, however, made it harder for him announce, “Luhan’s not coming.”
Chanyeol blinked. “He’s not?”
Shaking his head, Baekhyun confirmed. “His mom needed a helping hand since his dad had to go out of town.”
“So…It’s just the two of us?”
“Don’t think too much of it,” the small male mumbled.
Grinning, Chanyeol looked off. “I wasn’t,” he hummed.
Just as Baekhyun was about to retort and attempt to put down the happy look on the giant’s face, Chanyeol took the brunet by the shoulders with both hands and started pushing him towards the ticket booth.
If there was anything in the world that Baekhyun hated to be put through, it was guilt, and that was exactly what Chanyeol was trying to inflict on him—or so Baekhyun suspected. Of all the movies that the giant chose to watch, he chose a fairly popular one. With no interest in many of the mainstream things in modern day living, Baekhyun agreed to watch, unaware of the movie’s content. Although it involved a lot of war and political drama, which Baekhyun was interested in and was surprised that Chanyeol actually picked something to his liking without being told about his preferences, the movie also contained a one-sided love story between the main character, a soldier deployed off into battle, and a girl from his home town.
The love story wasn’t a main highlight. It only took up a small part of the actual story plot, but Baekhyun couldn’t rip his mind off its presence in his head. Then, for a moment, he almost forgot about it when he had to fight the urge to tear up because of the young soldier’s death in the end. Crying was pain, which is weakness leaving the body, the army general in the movie feature had said, but Baekhyun didn’t feel like letting weakness seep from his exterior walls.
Just before the movie closed its story line, Baekhyun stood up and quietly excused himself, surprising Chanyeol. When the giant tried to get up as well, the brunet shook his head and told him to stick around for the rest of the final scene and that he just needed to go to the restroom before the crowd.
Without waiting or watching to see if Chanyeol actually listened to him, Baekhyun quickly walked down the steps of the theater and exited down a hall until he was hit by the bright lights outside the room.
There wasn’t much to do in the restroom, but check his make-up, which, luckily, hadn’t even run. All the brunet really needed to do was to clear his throat of that dry feeling he always got from holding back from that single movie scene and he was fine.
Perhaps he took too long of a time to hurry back out, but Baekhyun nearly jumped out of his skin when a sudden intrusion happened as he was no longer alone in the restroom, but rather, joined by the giant he had left behind.
Chanyeol didn’t move from the door for a second until Baekhyun started stepping away from the sinks. “You were taking a while. I thought something might’ve happened.”
“Um, no,” Baekhyun said, shaking his head. “I’m fine. Thanks.”
Chanyeol didn’t say a word. Then, he nodded and opened the door again. “The movie’s done. We can get out of here if you want.”
Without waiting for another second to pass, Baekhyun walked in front of the giant and stepped out of the restroom, stuffing his hands in his pocket as he stood outside and waited for him to follow. No words were exchanged as they walked back to the front together. It wasn’t awkward, Baekhyun thought, but rather, a mutual silence between them that seemed fine.
Outside the cinema, Chanyeol decided to risk being physically injured by the short male and gently reached for Baekhyun’s hand, pulling both of them to a slow stop. There were people around, walking about their business, and it wasn’t surprising since it was the weekend and that there was a moderate number of spectators all around. However, those individuals were far from Chanyeol’s narrow vision as Baekhyun had his entire attention.
“Did you like the movie?” he asked.
It took a few fleeting seconds but Baekhyun nodded. “It was an interesting choice, Chanyeol,” he said with a small smile.
Chanyeol didn’t accept the gesture, well aware that the particular smile was the type Baekhyun gave to put someone down, and in that moment, the giant wasn’t up for that. “I wasn’t sure if you’d like it.”
“No, I liked it,” Baekhyun replied briefly. “It was nice. Thanks for inviting me.” He balanced on his heels for a short time before his eyes began to wander. “Well, this was fun,” he started, “I’ll see you at school?”
If Chanyeol had been Kyungsoo, it wouldn’t have felt so weird to leave so casually detached, but Chanyeol wasn't his pessimistic ex-boyfriend and Baekhyun felt slightly terrible about being so cold in leaving. In his mind, he really didn’t know how else to leave.
The giant, however, had different ideas. Just as Baekhyun was pulling his hand out of grasp, Chanyeol tightened his grip just enough to stop him. Then, with everything that he had left in him, he pulled Baekhyun closer and said, “I want to know what it’s like to kiss you.”
He knew Baekhyun was going to go into shock and try to move off, therefore, Chanyeol held on slightly tighter. “What?”
“I like you,” Chanyeol said adamantly, stating the fact that both of them knew very well. “If I had to tell you how, all I have to say is that I really found you interesting, and I don’t even know how since we’re not even in the same class, but every time I saw you, you were doing something that amazed me.”
“No, listen,” the giant interjected. “I admit, I believed every single one of those things I heard about you. I heard you did drugs. I heard you were into prostituting yourself for money—you know, for the drugs, which, now that I think about it, it’s stupid. That rumor’s stupid. Everybody thought you were just a waste of space, too!”
Glancing to the side for a moment, Baekhyun made a face. “Okay?”
Slanting his shoulders, Chanyeol gave him a sincere expression, pursing his lips together. “I was wrong. They were wrong. You don’t do drugs. You don’t even smoke. And hell, if you don’t do drugs, then you’re obviously not prostituting around for the money for it. You’re also not a waste of space, because I have recently found out that I don’t care how crowded a room is, there will always be a space for you beside me.”
Just when Baekhyun thought the giant was done, he continued on. “I found out that you’re actually really smart, and I’ve already told you that this made you ten times hotter, alright? You can’t say anything against that. I also know that you shop with your grandma at the local market because she can’t carry everything by herself. There are days when I find someone talking about how you’ve actually helped them improve their grade and all. Finally, I heard that beyond your make-up was a monster. Well, I beg to differ. I saw you at the library one weekend, and if I’m allowed to say, you looked absolutely fine with nothing on your face but your reading glasses on.”
Frowning out of embarrassment, Baekhyun looked around. “Chanyeol, cut your confession short before people start eavesdropping.”
“No,” Chanyeol defied. “I’m going to go on and you’re going to listen to me as dedicatedly as you listen to Papa Roach. Anyways, point of the matter is, you’re one way with other people, but you’re completely another way when you’re with someone you like, and I just so happen to like you for you.”
“Are you done?” Baekhyun said in a quiet voice.
“Almost,” the player promised. “In case you didn’t know, I was jealous of Kris. I know you bid on him for your own reasons, but I honestly went home wanting to kill that guy even though he’s captain of the team. Second, I’m jealous of Luhan. He seems closer to you and you’ve only known him for a few weeks. Finally, I’m jealous of Kyungsoo because I keep wondering what is it that he had that I don’t. What made you give him a chance, but not me? I swear, I’m going crazy over it, Baek. It’s just one of those things I wish I had an answer for.”
“And is that why you want to kiss me?” Baekhyun connected.
“I already know I feel a lot of things for you,” Chanyeol said. “I know that you know, too. What I want to know is if I really have a chance or if I’m just chasing my own shadow.”
“Chanyeol, I keep telling you,” Baekhyun said with his jaws weakly locked. “I’m not your type—”
“You don’t know my type!” Chanyeol said quickly, cutting him off. “Baekhyun, if you think my type of person is some brainless girl or guy with no heart, but cheers on the side as a cheerleader, then you’re wrong. That’s not my type. In fact, I don’t have a type, but if I did? It wouldn’t matter because you’re the one that I want—”
Getting emotionally frustrated, Baekhyun pulled back. “Stop it!” he cried. “I keep telling you that we’re not—”
“Give me a—”
“People like you don’t date people like me!” Baekhyun snapped, emphasizing the words. “I will never fit into your crowd of friends. Don’t you see that?”
“I don’t care!”
Baekhyun paused. “Well, I do. I don’t want people constantly asking you why you’re with me. I don’t people making you feel bad and I don’t want you judged just because so and so saw us together. I don’t want that. That’s troublesome on your part.”
Clenching his hands tightly, Chanyeol glared. “Do you really think I’d be the kind of person to be bothered by people like that?”
Shrugging, Baekhyun scoffed softly. “No offense, Chanyeol, but you have more of an image to keep that I do.”
“I can handle those people, Baek!”
“Maybe for a few months,” Baekhyun responded. “Then, what? You’ll realize that they’re right and then we break up. It’s too much of a trouble just to break up in the end, Chanyeol…”
In disbelief, Chanyeol shook his head as he ran a hand throw his hair, flipping it to the side. “All this talk about breaking up in the end and you haven’t even given me the chance to prove anything to you, yet.”
“I’m saving us from a world full of hurt and—”
Unwilling to hear any more of Baekhyun’s objections and pessimistic reasons, Chanyeol took a chance and reached forward, cupping the brunet’s face and leaning down to slant his lips over for a kiss. Before Baekhyun fight back and struggle, Chanyeol pulled away.
They held eyes for a few seconds before Chanyeol gently pressed his two fingers against Baekhyun’s neck and kept it there for a minute until he nodded with a serious look on his face. “Your heart’s responding. That means I have a chance and all you have to do is give it to me.”
Baekhyun looked up at him with an incredulous expression. “It’s not from you or your stupid kiss,” he said with a wavering voice. “It’s from the food I ate during the movie. News flash, Park Chanyeol, the salt from popcorn makes the heart rate rise.”
“Then news flash for you, Byun Baekhyun, but you never ate popcorn during the movie.”