Baekhyun was back to his inconsistent surprises, except now, he was either carrying Nugget or letting the dog follow him around the house as he did his duties. Ever since Nugget was taken back from the shelter, Chanyeol had been waking up to wet kisses from a dog, followed by a quick one by Baekhyun. Unlike the first time where Baekhyun had kissed Chanyeol’s lips, Baekhyun would place his fleeting kisses on his cheek whereas Nugget had become used to trotting on Chanyeol’s body and licking him by the chin.
After the morning kisses by the two misfits in his house, Chanyeol would watch Baekhyun laugh and pick Nugget off his body, setting him on the floor. Chanyeol would always be left in the same state every morning since those stupid thank you kisses started ensuing. He would always be left with his heart beating a little faster as he watched Baekhyun carefully handle the dog, cooing at it, and talking to it like it were a child.
Chanyeol wasn’t sure if Baekhyun was left with the same odd feeling, but by the looks of it, the guy didn’t seem like he was affected at all. It seemed as if kissing people was a casual thing. Frowning, Chanyeol figured that it must’ve been some stupid cultural habit Baekhyun picked up in a faraway land where it was perfectly acceptable to kiss people that one’s not committed to on the mouth. Whatever that feeling churning inside Chanyeol’s very being was, it was shoved away since they were feelings induced by Baekhyun, and Chanyeol had to keep reminding himself that Baekhyun was his maid, his fiancé, and secret pawn.
But it was hard.
After Baekhyun finished with his to-do list around the house, he took Nugget outside to play with him. When Chanyeol stepped out onto the deck to stretch his arms and get some fresh air, he spotted Baekhyun in the field of sparsely growing grass mixed with sand.
Having stretched out the knots in his body, Chanyeol leaned against the wooden railing of the high deck and watched Baekhyun from afar. From what he had gathered, Baekhyun was scolding the black mutt, but then he did something that was completely unexpected—though Chanyeol knew he shouldn’t have been so surprised at all.
Baekhyun dropped to the ground and started rolling around. Chanyeol frowned at the sight knowing that Baekhyun was an idiot who didn’t think ahead. He knew that the guy would end up with sand and grass all over him, which meant bad news for Chanyeol since Baekhyun would have to walk through the house in that condition.
Having done a few demonstrational rolls for Nugget, Baekhyun laid on his back, tired from his efforts. When Nugget barked at him, Baekhyun just laughed and rolled on his stomach to face the dog. “That’s how you do it. Once you learn that, then I can teach you how to play dead when I hit you with my finger gun,” Baekhyun explained, pointing a finger at Nugget and pretending to shoot him.
Then, as Baekhyun pretended to gun down a confused Nugget, a shadow casted over the both of them and it took a moment for Baekhyun to stop what he was doing and squint up, shading his eyes from the sun to see who it was.
“If you’re pretending to kill the dog, does that mean you don’t want him anymore?” Chanyeol said.
Baekhyun cracked laugh before laying on his back again. “I’m just playing with Nug, Chanyeol. Now,” Baekhyun started, pointing his gun hand at the giant, “if I were to make-believe shoot you, that’d be something, wouldn’t it?”
Chanyeol wasn’t amused as he leaned forward, took Baekhyun’s hand and forced his fingers to curl in. “Don’t do that.”
“Afraid I might shoot for your heart?” Baekhyun saw Chanyeol’s face and smirked before chuckling. “Fix your face, Mr. Wonderful.”
Chanyeol grunted and nudged Baekhyun hard on his side. “What the hell are you doing rolling around in sand?”
Baekhyun laughed at the touch of Chanyeol foot. “I was teaching Nugget how to roll over.” Then, when Chanyeol didn’t stop nudging him, Baekhyun grabbed him by his ankle long enough to take the slip on sandal off of Chanyeol’s foot.
“Baek!” Chanyeol pulled his foot away before leaning down to try and grab the sandal. “You’re fucking nuts—give that back to me—”
Baekhyun wiggled a finger. “No, no. Here. Watch.” Pushing himself off the ground, Baekhyun sat on his bottom and threw Chanyeol’s footwear three meters away. “Nugget, fetch.”
Nugget looked at where the sandal went then back at Baekhyun. Raising his brows, Baekhyun waved the dog off, but Nugget remained unsure on what to do. In the end, he trotted over to Chanyeol’s bare foot and pawed at it.
Chanyeol didn’t know what to do. There was a pup pawing at his naked foot and an idiot covered in sand. “Baekhyun…”
“In Nugget’s defense, he only knows how to stay,” Baekhyun piped.
“Go retrieve it.”
“Okay,” Baekhyun said trying to hide a smile as he got up to go retrieve Chanyeol’s footwear.
Chanyeol watched Baekhyun run over and watched as sand fell from his clothes. Then he looked down at Nugget who stopped pawing and looked up at him. They stared at each other for a second before Baekhyun rejoined them and handed Chanyeol’s sandal back.
As Baekhyun picked up the dog, Chanyeol’s eyes were still on Baekhyun’s appearance. After Baekhyun got done whispering things to Nugget, he looked back at Chanyeol. “What’re you looking at?”
“Sand…” Chanyeol mumbled before he started whacking Baekhyun’s clothes. When Baekhyun jumped and tried to moved away, Chanyeol held him by his arm and continued to hit the sand off—though at this point, it felt nice to have an excuse to hit the guy.
Baekhyun grimaced. “I could’ve done that by myself.”
“Hn. You’re like a child, though.”
“Whatever, you probably just wanted an excuse to touch me,” Baekhyun jokingly retorted. Chanyeol froze. “What’s wrong? Was I right?” Baekhyun asked, laughing.
Chanyeol dropped his hold and stepped back. “Take care of the rest yourself,” he ordered before slipping his footwear and walking back to the house, leaving Baekhyun looking just as puzzled as Nugget.
Later that day, Chanyeol regretted being in his room at the same time when Baekhyun was in there changing his sheets at his request. Nugget was present as well, but he was out of energy and was sitting at the doorway, lying with his head down. Chanyeol sat in his swivel chair, watching Baekhyun do his job.
In any other sense, it would’ve seemed like Chanyeol was a gross employer attempting to fantasize about his maid, but that wasn’t the case. Chanyeol had tried to finish writing a few things for work, but Baekhyun’s mindless talk was distracting him to a point where he just gave up and engaged himself in the conversation.
“Chanyeol, did you know that fleas can jump approximately thirteen inches?” Baekhyun asked as he fixed the sheet’s corners.
With his arm resting on the arm rest, Chanyeol shrugged. “No.”
“That’s their potential, at least,” Baekhyun informed. “But if you place them in a jar, they’ll only learn how to jump a certain height all their life. It’s kind of sad, but that’s what restrictions do to you. You’re put under all these restrictions and limits that you’ll never know your full potential—never knowing that you can actually jump thirteen inches and not just four or five.”
Chanyeol pondered at the thought for a moment, thinking about Baekhyun’s point. “What’s with the sudden analysis on life, Baek?”
Baekhyun shrugged, fixing wrinkles. “I’m just thinking about flower boy Sehun. He’s a flea—and a former flea in a jar.”
Chanyeol frowned. “I don’t see how he used to be in jar—”
“Sehun’s not from a very nice background, is he?” Baekhyun didn’t need an answer to that. “By restrictions, I meant financial and status restrictions. Even social restrictions. The fact that you’re allowing him to stay here and be your apprentice—letting him work on his interests and little gift—means that you’re the one who helped him out of his little flea jar.”
“I don’t understand why you’re telling me this…”
Baekhyun was in the middle of gently putting the new convers on when he sighed and paused as he gripped on the material hard. “I was trying to tell you that you’re not that bad of a guy, okay?” he said, exasperatedly. “But you’re just dumb—See. This is why I keep telling you facts. Maybe it’ll all sink in one day and make you smarter.” Grumbling, Baekhyun continued on with his job and then started on changing the pillow cases.
Chanyeol leaned against his hand and let a few seconds of silence pass by. “So?”
Fluffing the pillows a little roughly, Baekhyun responded. “‘So’ what?”
“So, then tell me another fact.”
The call had come suddenly, but at the same time, Chanyeol knew that it was going to happen soon anyways. After the call, Chanyeol decided to tell everyone of the news that he had gotten at the dinner table.
As everyone ate—except for Baekhyun, who was trying to sneak a few bites over to Nugget and pretending like he didn’t noticed the glare that he was getting from Chanyeol—the news broke.
“Kris is coming over.”
Kyungsoo nodded as he kept chewing. After he swallowed, he asked, “Should I keep some food for him or…?”
Chanyeol shook his head. “No. He said he’ll eat on the way.”
Kai and Baekhyun had the same thought in their head, but it was Baekhyun who was bold enough ask. “Yah, who’s Kris?”
Chanyeol looked at him. “He works in the company I work for…I’ll need you to get his room ready.”
A second later, Chanyeol added, “And when he gets here, don’t talk to him.”
Baekhyun blinked. “Is this rule only for m—”
“Yes. Only for you.”
Chanyeol retreated in his room after dinner to gather all the things—the papers, the deisgns, the math—that he had been working on all that time and got them ready to show and share with Kris. When he returned back to the main living area, the house was quiet. It took a second for him to realize that there wasn’t any cooing to be heard, nor were there any sounds of puppy paws trotting on the hard floor.
“Where’s the duo?”
Kyungsoo looked up at him. “He’s at the beach.”
“But it’s almost dark.”
Kyungsoo shrugged. “Don’t say that to me.”
Chanyeol wasn’t pleased at the fact that Baekhyun had gone out to the waters when it was nearing dark with a little bit of sun light left. Moving across the room, he headed out for the backdoor.
“Where’re you going?”
“To make sure that idiot didn’t drown,” Chanyeol muttered before throwing the sliding door open.
“Nugget!” Baekhyun called out to shore where Nugget was sitting patiently for Baekhyun to return. “When you’re a little bit bigger, you and daddy can come out here together.”
Baekhyun dipped underwater a few times, careful to stay at a part near the shore—at least waist deep where he could feel the ground beneath his feat. When Baekhyun resurfaced, he flipped his hair back and turned towards the fading sun.
“Yah, Nuggster, are you seeing that?” Baekhyun called out to behind him. “It’s really pretty…” Then, as if hearing him, Nugget barked. Baekhyun smirked and decided it was time to go inside, but not before a final dunk.
Falling back, Baekhyun submerged himself in the water, feeling free under the calm ocean. He touched his hair down under the surface, playing with the fluidity of it before rising up again, gasping for air. He swam a bit to get closer to shore and stopped when he was sure he could walk the rest with the water being at his waist only.
When Baekhyun managed to flick all the salt water out from his eyes’ way, he saw the figure standing like a giant next to Nugget and his belongings. Seeing that it was Chanyeol, Baekhyun took a few steps back and bent his knees so that the water could cover more of his body.
Chanyeol was surprised by Baekhyun’s actions and confused as to why he had dropped back down into the water. Folding his arms, he loudly called out to Baekhyun. “Baekhyun, get out of the damn water! Don’t fucking swim when there’s barely any light out, you dumbass!”
Baekhyun swayed lightly with the soft waves. “Why’d you come out here?” he called back.
“Because I was making sure you didn’t die on my property!”
Baekhyun grimaced. “Okay, well I’m alive. Go back inside.”
“Get out of the water.”
“I will once you leave.”
Chanyeol laughed sarcastically. “What’s gonna happen when I leave? Nothing. You’ll keep on swimming, pretending to be fucking Ariel the mermaid, then whoops, you get drifted out to sea, but too bad no one will see you before that happens cause there’s no light out anymore.”
“Not true,” Baekhyun argued. “Nugget would see. Dogs can see in the dark—or so I’ve read.”
“Chanyeol, seriously, I don’t want to expose myself to you.”
Chanyeol snorted. “I’ve seen your girly nipples before, Baek. There’s nothing scandalous about them—nothing worth being embarrassed about.”
“It’s not that…” Baekhyun mumbled.
Chanyeol didn’t hear. He looked down and noticed a towel on top of something fairly lumpy, but Chanyeol didn’t think too much about it. “Baekhyun, get out. Now.” Leaning down, Chanyeol grabbed the towel.
“Get out and I’ll hand you your stupid t—” Chanyeol froze and Baekhyun mentally slapped himself. The item that the towel was covering caught Chanyeol’s eye as he picked it up slowly. It didn’t even take a split second for him to know what it was, and it didn’t take so much as a glance his way for Baekhyun to know that Chanyeol figured it out.
“I just, you know, felt like being naked...”