Chanyeol hated a lot of things. He hated the current situation and he hated the circumstances. In his work room, he tried to focus on the mathematical calculations in front of him, but he couldn’t because even with the door shut, Baekhyun’s obnoxious laugh was easily audible.
The guy—as Chanyeol had noticed—seemed a lot more happier than he used to be, which was something that Chanyeol didn’t like. Ever since Kai managed to black mail his way into staying at the house under the job description of “chef’s assistant”, Baekhyun became a little more hyper active now that one of his kind was in the house also.
Chanyeol didn’t miss a thing. In the two days that had passed, Baekhyun seemed a little less resistant to orders—something that Chanyeol liked—but in exchange for that, Baekhyun’s mouth was always open, talking about this, that, weather, climate, world issues, and other things that Chanyeol wasn’t necessarily interested in because it was Baekhyun initiating the topics.
The dynamics of the house were fairly the same, except now, Chanyeol felt like the abused dad and—to him— Kyungsoo was the calm mom, who everyone respected. Sehun, Kai, and Baekhyun had become their kids, but Baekhyun was the kid that no parent wanted to have.
Previously, before Baekhyun and his life-ruining ass stumbled into everyone’s perfectly fine life, he’d mentor Sehun. At that moment, Sehun was supposed to be in that work room with him, but instead, Baekhyun had whisked away his apprentice to play a board game, hence the laughing that Chanyeol could hear. He could tell when someone made a mistake in front of the genius Byun Baekhyun because the stupid Baekhyun would laugh like an idiot in his opponents’ faces.
Chanyeol gave Baekhyun a time tolerance of fifteen minutes to calm the hell down and shut the hell up, but luckily for the both of them, Baekhyun’s laughter died within about a minute of Chanyeol’s silent promise.
Thanking the gods, Chanyeol took delight in the silence that had finally overcome the entire house. By the sound of things—or lack of—Chanyeol figured that the game was finally over and that, hopefully, someone had knocked Baekhyun out cold.
As Sehun excused himself to the work room, Kai made himself useful by fixing the chairs at the dining table and putting the board game away. Baekhyun, on the other hand, went over to Kyungsoo, who was taking vegetables out from the fridge, and started to drape his arms over him.
“Kyungsoo…” Baekhyun mumbled, setting his chin on Kyungsoo’s shoulder even though Kyungsoo was moving around.
“Can you make dessert tonight?” Baekhyun asked. “Like cheesecake?”
Gently shaking Baekhyun off of him, Kyungsoo turned around and gave Baekhyun an apologetic look. “Sorry, Baek. I don’t know how to make that.”
Baekhyun’s eyes brightened and his head cocked to the right. “I know how.”
Kyungsoo gave him a doubtful look. “Oh?”
“I’ve watched enough videos on the internet to know how to make it,” Baekhyun said, stating his credentials. “I think I’m qualified.”
Kyungsoo smirked. “I don’t think we have any of the ingredients here, though.”
“How about going into town?”
“Can’t,” Kyungsoo replied. “I don’t have the time to go now. How about tomorrow? We can go to the store tomorrow and—”
Baekhyun grimaced. “How about you let me take the car and—”
“Chanyeol would never allow that, Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo said in an amused tone as he set the vegetables on the counter and went to grab a chopping board. “You know how he is with you and the car.”
“And the window, the work room, and my own groin,” Baekhyun added. “But he doesn’t have to know.”
“I’m sure he’ll figure something out when you’re not around and the car’s missing, Baek.”
Baekhyun grimaced, but then he noticed Kai in the corner of his eye. “Kai can drive.” Turning his head to Kai at the table, Baekhyun asked, “You have a license right?”
Kai blinked before reluctantly nodding. “Yeah...”
Facing Kyungsoo again, Baekhyun smirked. “See?”
Kyungsoo scrunched his brows. “Baek—”
“It’ll only take thirty minutes if we leave now. We’ll go really fast,” Baekhyun tried. When he saw the look on Kyungsoo’s face, he changed his words. “And by fast, I mean slow—we’ll drive slow.”
Kyungsoo studied Baekhyun's face for a moment, nibbling on his lips as he contemplated on what to do with the situation. Exasperated, he sighed and put a finger on Baekhyun’s chest. “Fine—but Kai drives. You have to sit in the passenger seat and you two better be back here in an hour—at most.” Kyungsoo pulled away. “Please…Or else I’m going to get yelled at, too.”
Baekhyun’s smile radiated and for a second, he nuzzled his face against Kyungsoo’s, knowing that he was making the guy uncomfortable. “I like you better than Chanyeol, Kyung,” he whispered into Kyungsoo’s ear.
Kyungsoo did a minor shudder, pushing Baekhyun off. “Don’t do that…”
Baekhyun clicked his tongue and pointed at Kyungsoo with his hands, which were curled to imitate guns. “Alright.” Walking over to where the keys hung—which Chanyeol had yet to relocate—Baekhyun’s fingers ran back and forth, trying to decide which keys to take. He figured the less elaborate keys were the ones for the black, four door SUV.
With Kai trailing him, the two made their way over to the door that led to the garage. Just before they disappeared through it, Baekhyun saw Kyungsoo stick his head into view. “Baekhyun, Kai gets the keys.”
Turning his head back, Baekhyun nodded. “Of course,” he replied, forcibly shoving the keys into Kai’s hands.
“Bye…” Kyungsoo bid.
Kai had stepped out into the garage and Baekhyun soon followed. Giving Kyungsoo a quick two-finger salute and smirk, Baekhyun said, “We’ll see you in an hour.”
Closing the final door behind him, Baekhyun followed Kai as he walked over to the driver’s side. Right after Kai unlocked the doors, Baekhyun graciously took the keys back into possession. Kai gave him a look. “I thought I was driving.”
“I lied. I’m driving,” Baekhyun curtly said as he pulled the door open.
“Just get in,” Baekhyun piped.
Kai creased his brows and frowned, but nonetheless, he moved around the front of the car and got in the seat next to Baekhyun. As Baekhyun pushed the remote control garage door opener, Kai looked over at him. “You look awfully excited to be driving—though you’re not even supposed to be.”
Baekhyun laughed, watching as the garage door fully opened. “Please. You sound like Chanyeol right now.”
Looking behind his seat, Kai said, “Whatever. Are you gonna back up now or what?”
“Safety first. Seatbelts on.”
Kai blinked before realizing he didn’t have his seatbelt on. Quickly, he fixed that. Once Baekhyun heard a click, he changed gears and stepped on the gas pedal slightly. When Kai saw that they weren’t even moving an inch per second, he looked from the window over to Baekhyun. “We’re barely moving.”
Baekhyun stopped pressing on the pedal and stepped on the brakes instead. “I’m used to my car. That thing was super sensitive.”
“This isn’t one of your sports cars. It’s an SUV for normal people,” Kai mumbled. “Step harder.”
Baekhyun shrugged. “Okay.” Not used to the functions of the vehicle just yet, Baekhyun stepped on the gas pedal full on and, immediately, Kai regretted not being more specific. Both of them screamed as they backed out of the garage at full speed, barely missing Chanyeol’s car, and it wasn’t until they were in the middle of the road in front of the house that Baekhyun came to his senses and stepped on the brakes like a freak.
Kai was still wheezing over the fact that he thought he would die. He looked down on his hands and immediately ungripped them from his side door. Whipping his head over to the Baekhyun, Kai glared. “Get out. You’re not driving anymore. It’s no mystery why you’re prohibited from driving anything at this house, Baek.”
After getting over the initial fear, Baekhyun felt a rush. He smirked back at Kai. “I’m prohibited because Chanyeol’s unreasonable, alright? Now, shut up. I think I get this now—this ‘SUV’ thing.” Leaning in on the wheels, Baekhyun whispered, “I will tame you,” before he ran a hand along the dashboard.
Kai watched, a little freaked out. “Uhhh…”
Baekhyun pulled back and got comfortable in his seat. Then, he pressed the remote again, closing the garage door. Afterwards, he changed the gears to drive, turned the car’s wheels and looked over at Kai. “Chugga chugga chugga cheesecake,” he sang before Kai closed his eyes, regretting a list-load of things as Baekhyun sped for town.
With his face leaning against his hand, Chanyeol watched Sehun insert and twist tiny bolts into a small, makeshift robot that they had created from scratch to test his skills. As Sehun’s fingers dwindled, Chanyeol quirked his lips, mind drifting on to what was going on in the living room in his absence.
As if reading Chanyeol’s mind, Sehun finally spoke for the first time since he had entered the room with a guilty, apologetic look on his face. “You know, Baekhyun’s pretty smart…”
“Is that so?” Chanyeol mumbled, pretending like he wasn’t even interested in the direction that the conversation was heading in.
Keeping his eyes on his project, Sehun nodded. “He’s pretty good at Monopoly.”
Chanyeol scoffed. “It’s just Monopoly.”
“Yeah, but he was playing it strategically and seriously, though,” Sehun replied. “I don’t think he was really aware of it, but, that’s just how we saw it.”
“Hm,” Chanyeol grunted, more or less intrigued by the observation. A moment later, he asked, “What’s he up to right now?”
Sehun shrugged. “I don’t know. Before I left, I heard him asking Kyungsoo for cheese cake—”
Chanyeol only moved his eyebrows, agreeing with Sehun. “Of course he would be—yah, what do you think about the new guy—Kai.”
Sehun smirked. “I like him.”
“Compare him to Baekhyun.”
“He’s not as touchy and he doesn’t push your buttons,” Sehun said. “He’s not hyperactive—he’s basically normal.”
Silently, Chanyeol agreed. Kai—in the short time that he had been there—seemed to fall in Chanyeol, Sehun, and Kyungsoo’s line of sanity as opposed to Baekhyun’s side of mental state. He did whatever he was told and kept himself in line naturally. Even though Kai had blackmailed him—though he did say he had no black motives other than to get away from life for a while, which Baekhyun and his friend had in common—Kai didn’t seem malicious. Like Sehun said, he was normal. If anything, Kai seemed like the type of guy who would know how to handle Baekhyun.
“—That was probably already there.”
Gripping his hair, Kai let out a frustrated and exasperated groan. “Baek! You backed the car up on a fucking cart just a minute ago and you didn’t even know it until a guy was flagging you down! Call me stupid, but that wasn’t there before!” Kai cursed. “That’s a noticeably long scratch, Baek. What the fuck are we going to do?”
Baekhyun put his hands on his hips for a second and shrugged, sighing. “Go in and buy what we need, then go home,” he replied before taking a step away from the scene. Ironically, Baekhyun bent down, picked up the very cart that damaged the car and started strolling towards the grocery store with it.
Stalking after him, Kai fell in step with Baekhyun as he continued to run his hand frantically through his hair. “We can’t just return that car like that! They’re going to notice—he’s going to notice. Shit, Baek, we’re gonna get sued—this is my fault, too. You weren’t even supposed to be driving! Fuck, I’m already broke, I can’t afford to get sued. Plus I—”
Baekhyun stopped just short of the automatic door to punch Kai on the arm. “Shut up. I’ll fix this.”
“How?” Kai asked, rubbing his arm. “I don’t think a small town like this has a fucking body shop, Baek.”
“Then maybe I should just crash the car some more so that Chanyeol will be too busy crying over all big damages that he won’t even see the scratch.”
Pushing the cart again and entering the store, Baekhyun gave Kai a dismissive hand. “Fine, just calm down. I know what I’m doing.”
“You said that when you were driving and parking,” Kai threw back. “And look what happened.”
Baekhyun leaned forward, moving to the aisles as he smiled and nodded at store workers greeting them. “It’s fine. Nothing a little cosmetic touches can’t fix.”
“This is your idea of fixing the fucking problem!?”
Baekhyun paid little mind to Kai’s outburst. He looked over the product, checked the price and the durability. When he was satisfied with his choice, he walked back to their cart full of ingredients. “This one should do.”
Kai smacked his forehead in frustration. “Eyeliner! You’re going to cover the scratch with black eyeliner! That’s your plan!”
“Do you have anything else in mind, Einstein?” Baekhyun retorted, shoving the eyeliner in with the rest of their things. “No? Well then don’t criticize my idea. It’ll work. I swear.”
“Baek, I don’t wanna get in trouble with that guy. Do you know who he even is—”
“Yeah. He’s Chanyeol. He signs my check every week—after giving me a lecture on how I should spend it, prohibits me from doing normal things, and tried to get some—if you know what I mean,” Baekhyun said, giving Kai a look that he didn’t fully grasp. “If he finds out, I’ll take the heat for it. I won’t let him yell at you. It’s just a middle-class SUV, Kai. It’s not a Lamborghini or anything.”
Kai threw his hands up in front of him. “Well I’m sorry that I don’t see it as just some ‘middle-class’ SUV, Baek.”
“Whatever. He’s not going to yell at you.” Taking the lead, Baekhyun pointed over to the check-out counters. “Let’s go.”
Finished with their usual session, Chanyeol and Sehun emerged from the room and went to the kitchen, expecting dinner to be ready. As they were walking, Chanyeol took note that it was quiet—too quiet. He turned his head everywhere, almost expecting to see Baekhyun, but the guy’s happy—and annoying—face was never seen.
Nothing in the kitchen seemed normal, either. The food was half-cooked as if Kyungsoo gave up halfway. Sehun raised a brow before touching his stomach, not daring to complain that he was hungry, sensing that something was wrong.
Walking to the island where Kyungsoo was sitting on a stool with his head down, Chanyeol touched his shoulder. “Kyungsoo.”
Alerted, Kyungsoo immediately raised his head. “Chanyeol, I…Ah, dinner—”
Chanyeol frowned. “What’s going on?”
Kyungsoo glanced around as he stumbled to get off the stool. “Nothing, I just…got tired.” He quickly went over to the stove and turned it on again. “I was just taking a break. I’m sorry.”
Sehun silently sighed before excusing himself to the bathroom to wash his hands. Chanyeol, on the other hand, kept a watchful eye on Kyungsoo, but nonetheless, he didn’t question him. Instead, he looked about. “Where’s Kai?” Kyungsoo didn’t answer quickly enough before Chanyeol asked in a hard tone: “Baekhyun. Where’s Baekhyun?”
Kyungsoo tapped his fingers on the counter before turning around to face Chanyeol. He didn’t like lying to Chanyeol, but the impulse to lie was sudden. “He’s in his room.”
An annoyed look crawled on Chanyeol’s face. “By now you’d think that the bastard would know when to come for dinner.” Clicking his tongue, Chanyeol moved. “I’ll get him—”
Chanyeol froze. When Kyungsoo fidgeted, Chanyeol caught on to the suspicious air and turned to him with his arms crossed. “Kyungsoo. I’ll ask again. Where’s Baekhyun and his little friend?”
Kyungsoo frowned and glanced down for a bit before he mumbled something. When Chanyeol couldn’t hear him, he asked Kyungsoo to speak up. “I said he’s in town.”
“Town?” What the hell was Baekhyun doing in town? More importantly, how did he find a way to get into town? A thought came bursting into Chanyeol mind and his eyes immediately darted over to where he kept the car keys. Like his gut told him, one of the keys was gone.
Kyungsoo saw the look in Chanyeol’s eyes as they made their dangerous way back to him. “They said they’d be back!”
“Kyungsoo, you know he’s not supposed to touch the damn thing! Or drive it!” Chanyeol snapped. “You know who he is. He could’ve just taken off!”
Kyungsoo started panicking—something that Chanyeol hadn’t intended. “I didn’t think about that! I’m sorry, Chanyeol, but he said that he just wanted to buy ingredients for cheesecake! Kai was driving—”
“Bullshit. Kai ended up being bitch slapped into sitting shotgun,” Chanyeol argued. He watched as Kyungsoo looked extremely upset, then shook his head. “Sorry for bursting on you like that.”
“No, I shouldn’t have given him permission in the first place…”
Chanyeol sighed as he walked over to the phone. “It’s fine. It’ll be fine.”
Kyungsoo watched Chanyeol. “What’re you doing?”
“Calling that bastard.”
“But…Baekhyun doesn’t have a cellphone…”
“Damn it!” Chanyeol cursed before slamming the phone back down.
“It’s been an hour and thirty minutes,” Kai said, sounding antsy and worried.
“Calm down,” Baekhyun said. During their entire trip, he had to keep repeating the two words to Kai. Placing the last bags inside the car, he gave Kai the task of putting the cart as far away from the car as possible. After the backdoor was shut and Kai was making his way back, Baekhyun’s ear caught the sound of whimpering from behind him.
Turning around, Baekhyun saw the source. As Kai got to him, he noticed the source, too, and immediately knew what kind of look Baekhyun had on his face at the moment despite having his back turned to him. When Baekhyun took the first step, Kai tried to grab him, but when Baekhyun escaped from his grasp and began jogging away, Kai wanted to scream.
“Baekhyun! No!” Baekhyun didn’t stop or listen. Kai went after him. “Damn it, Baekhyun! We can’t! Baekhyun!”
Chanyeol prepared himself for a lot of things. He mentally prepared a speech to give to Baekhyun the moment he got back. He prepared the punishment—pay cut and the total revoking of every privilege he had left. In his head, Chanyeol even prepared the scene that they would have. He’d verbally berate the two of them and send them off to their rooms with no dinner—though this scene seemed a little scripted.
What Chanyeol didn’t expect when the bastard walked through the front doors with Kai carrying all the bags behind him was Baekhyun carrying a small, black puppy in his arms. Then, with a big smile, Baekhyun proudly showed him off before the speechless Chanyeol could say anything. Holding the dog gently in his arms, Baekhyun introduced the newest misfit in the house.
“So, like, I’ve decided to name him Nugget.”