Pairing: Chanyeol/Baekhyun, Chanyeol/Kyungsoo
Genre: romance, angst, infidelity, drama, implied!Character death
Length: twoshot / 13k
Summary: Chanyeol wanted a divorce. Baekhyun asked for a week.
NOTICE: No adaptations. [ No se permiten adaptaciones. No lo copies, uses o cambies. ]
Their time of courtship lasted only seven months. Their happiness was measured in the amount of laughter they shared, the amount of endless nights where they spent tangled in each other’s arms, and the amount of love they had for one another. Brief kisses on the college campus sufficed whereas the nights satisfied. It took Chanyeol two weeks to come down from his composed cloud to gather up the courage to approach the petite and lively brunet in one of his classes, but it only took Baekhyun a second to say yes to whatever the handsome tall guy was asking him.
Within a month, they learned about each other. Baekhyun was a writer majoring in English and journalism, though he didn’t have any plans on working for any magazines or newspapers. He preferred writing novels and being his own independent person. Chanyeol was in marketing and business. Everyone who saw them thought that the two were an unlikely pair. Baekhyun was open about his thoughts and constantly smiling, whereas Chanyeol always had this look on his face along with a quiet demeanor. Their differences went deeper than their majors and personality. Baekhyun liked his coffee with milk and sugar and wrote works of impossible situation and fantasies. Chanyeol, on the other hand, liked his coffee black and preferred practicality and realism over fantasy. People believed Baekhyun’s outrageous and fun personality would never click with Chanyeol’s collected and rational self, but they were wrong.
Seven months of absolute perfection, Chanyeol proposed and his petite brunet, Byun Baekhyun, said yes.
They waited a few months before promising to love each other until Death would tear them apart. After their graduation and wedding, they found an apartment. It was small, but it didn’t bother them. Baekhyun’s touches made it into a home; a home that Chanyeol enjoyed returning back to at the end of a hard day at work. Every night he’d hold Baekhyun and whisper promises of a bigger house, one where he could decorate to a broader horizon. And every night, Baekhyun would smile into Chanyeol’s bare chest and thank him.
Chanyeol’s work ethic and charming personality at work enabled him to climb up the company ladder quickly. As his income rose, so did their bank account. One night, Chanyeol gently pulled Baekhyun’s laptop away from him and set it on a nearby coffee table. Then he kneeled before him, taking his husband’s hand in his.
“Baek,” he started slowly, keeping Baekhyun’s gaze, “I want to buy you that house I’ve always been promising to buy for you one day.”
With quivering lips, Baekhyun nodded profusely before gasping, wrapping his arms around his husband’s neck while thanking him. That night they entangled themselves in each other, savoring the touches and making love slow and deep.
The house had to accommodate what Chanyeol thought Baekhyun needed for his line of work: peace and serenity. They found a small, but perfectly quiet estate out in a spaced out higher class neighborhood out near the country. When Chanyeol looked at Baekhyun and asked, “What do you think?” he already knew the answer.
“I love it, Yeol…”
Smiling, Chanyeol took Baekhyun’s hand in his. “Then let’s get it.”
Looking up at his husband, Baekhyun looked a bit worried. “But it’s an hour away from your work.”
Chanyeol shrugged. “If you love it then I don’t mind the commute. It’s only sixty minutes to and then sixty minutes back. It’s not an impossible feat to commute back and forth.”
After a moment, Baekhyun asked him again if it was really alright. Chanyeol nodded and soon after, the papers were signed.
The arrangement was for Chanyeol to travel back and forth from work, but as time dragged on, work began to pile and pile, causing Chanyeol to work overtime. As the endless cycle continued on, he found it hard to commute on a daily basis. He often found himself tired and blurry eyed when driving. Because of this, he had to drink caffeine before driving, which would either cause him to crash during work or make him unable to sleep once he arrived back at home.
Baekhyun began to feel guilty for enjoying a quiet life while his husband labored to give him that type of lifestyle. Contemplating about other alternatives, Baekhyun came to one possible solution to the problem.
“Chanyeol, maybe you should get an apartment in the city,” Baekhyun gently suggested at the dinner table one night. When he raised his eyes to his husband, he saw tired eyes looking back at him.
“You want me to get a what?” Chanyeol said, sounding like he was in disbelief.
Sighing, Baekhyun gave him a concerned look. “I don’t like seeing you this way anymore, Yeol. Every day you go to work looking like you’re half dead. Then when you come back, you end up looking worse. You spend two hours just going back and forth. That could be time that you’d be using to get more sleep…”
In a bad mood, Chanyeol rubbed the corner of his eyes. “Baek, I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not!” Baekhyun argued. “Listen, an apartment could mean—”
“I said I’m fine, Baek,” Chanyeol repeated sharply. “Quit worrying, damn it.”
Baekhyun grew irritated at Chanyeol’s indifference. Setting down his utensils, Baekhyun stood up from the table. “Well, is it wrong to worry about you!?” he cried in a strained voice.
Unlike Baekhyun, Chanyeol kept himself in his seat. “Baek, sit down.”
With closed fists, Baekhyun glowered. “No. Chanyeol, you’re not hearing me out. I just want to help you.”
“Help me?” Chanyeol snapped. “No, Baek. To me, having you try and case the idea of me getting a separate place to live makes it seem like you want me gone.” The lack of sleep and the fact that he had been overworking himself did no good other than make him more irritable.
Taken aback, Baekhyun looked shocked. “That is not what I want!”
“Keep your voice down, Baek,” Chanyeol growled. “You’re being too loud.”
Frustrated, Baekhyun harshly pushed his chair in. “I don’t want you gone! You’re such a frustrating man, but damn it, I love you! So it hurts watching you add two more hours of stress onto your day just travelling back and forth.” Baekhyun bit his lips. “It hurts so bad, Yeol, but you don’t see it because the moment you step into this house, you fall asleep. You don’t even look at me anymore because you’re that tired.”
For a moment, Baekhyun waited for a response, but Chanyeol remained static. Then he said, “You’re being overdramatic,” he muttered.
Baekhyun felt as if he was just struck. It was obvious that there was no reaching Chanyeol. His husband refused to listen to him and even had the outlandish audacity to call him out for being “overdramatic” when in fact, he was just expressing his concerns. Shaking, he turned and left the table before Chanyeol could see the bitter tears forming in his eyes.
When Chanyeol’s mind was finally in full clarity, he re-evaluated Baekhyun’s proposal the night before. He admitted his fault in not allowing Baekhyun the chance to present his case, but ultimately blamed the lack of sleep for causing his sour and disagreeable mood that night. Finally willing to hear out his husband, Chanyeol knocked on Baekhyun’s closed and locked office door.
“Baek, I know you’re in there. Open up.” As a minute passed by, Chanyeol knocked again. “Baekhyun, open the door. We need to talk and you letting me just stand out here is wasting time.”
It wasn’t long until Chanyeol heard Baekhyun unlock the door. Letting himself in, Chanyeol watched as Baekhyun turned his back to him to sit back down at his desk. Chanyeol wasn’t amused at Baekhyun’s decision to give him the cold shoulder, but he rationed that he probably deserved it. Neither of them spoke for the longest time until Chanyeol set his hands on the back of Baekhyun’s chair, leaning over him.
“Baek…” he said, softly. “You know I don’t like it when you ignore me…”
Turning his head around, Baekhyun gave the giant a sad, but angry look. “But when I actually care, I’m overdramatic, right?”
In that moment, Chanyeol regretted not biting down his tongue the night before. He knew that they were different. Baekhyun liked to voice himself out whether that meant moving his hands or straining his voice, whereas he liked to keep things settled. But sometimes he’d forget that Baekhyun’s habits made Baekhyun himself, insult those intricate details, and ultimately hurting his spouse.
With a solemn look on his face, Chanyeol swiveled Baekhyun’s chair around and pulled him up. When Baekhyun resisted, Chanyeol tugged a little bit stronger until Baekhyun reluctantly stood up. Engulfing him in his arms, Chanyeol nestled his face against the top of Baekhyun’s head.
“I didn’t mean that.” Slightly rocking their bodies from side to side, Chanyeol continued. “I’m sorry, Baek.”
It seemed like forever before Baekhyun finally moved his arms, slowly touching Chanyeol’s chest with the tip of his fingertips before wrapping his arms around his waist. “You’ve been really moody lately, Yeol…”
Chanyeol pursed his lips. He knew his mood was in the gutters lately—in fact, for weeks. Lack of sleep and overtime did its damage. It was clear to him, though, that the damage was not only done to himself and his body, but his relationship with his husband as well. “I know. I’m sorry.”
To Chanyeol, there wasn’t much he could do other than say he apologies. He couldn’t make promises. He couldn’t make promises to get home more early, to cut work, or to get more sleep. Promises like those were impractical because he didn’t know if he could even uphold them. It was better to give no promises at all rather than to give a hallow one.
If he hadn’t been listening or if the room hadn’t been as quiet as it was, Chanyeol would never have heard Baekhyun’s sniffle. When he tried to look at his face, Baekhyun only hugged tighter, pressing his face harder against Chanyeol’s chest, restricting him from seeing. Chanyeol stood still for a while and only moved to place a soft kiss on top of Baekhyun’s head.
“I shouldn’t have shut you down,” Chanyeol admitted. “You were just trying to help.”
A silent moment passed before Baekhyun lifted his head up. “I’m worried about you. You know that, right?” Chanyeol nodded. “Sometimes I think that getting this house all the way over here was a mistake. I feel so guilty at night, Yeol,” he cried with a breaking voice. “You did all this for me and now you’re like this. I—”
Chanyeol cut him off with a sharp look in his eyes. “Stop it. You have no right feeling guilty about anything. I love you. I did this for you. Why I’m like this has nothing to do with you, though. It’s because of work, so don’t go blaming yourself for my lows.”
“But if we had just picked some place in the city, then—”
“It’d still be the same,” Chanyeol argued. “It’d still be the same amount of work load and the same amount of unreasonable issues I have to go through on a day to day basis. Plus, you wouldn’t have the quiet life you need to concentrate on your books, and I know how important the one you’re working on right now is. It’s your debut novel and you don’t need any distractions. That’s why we’re here. That’s why I chose listed places where it’s quiet. I did it for you and if I had the chance to change anything back to when we were house hunting, I wouldn’t change anything, because I promised you something like this and I got it. It’s our little haven from the city, Baek.”
Biting his lips, Baekhyun glanced down. He dropped his hold around Chanyeol’s waist and, instead, held him by his shirt. “The commute is too long. It’s too long. You drive in the early morning and late at night. I don’t want you to get into an accident because you’re too dead tired to keep your eyes open,” he said. With a shaky breath, Baekhyun exhaled and looked back up. “Chanyeol, please consider buying a temporary apartment in the city. Just somewhere where you can go to if you find that you don’t have it in you to come home.”
Chanyeol unhinged his mouth to argue, but Baekhyun gave him a look. “I don’t want you gone and I don’t like the idea of us being separated, but if it’s easier on you and your body, then—”
“Baek, at least at the end of the day there’s you,” Chanyeol interrupted. “I might be tired as hell and I might look like hell, but at least I get to come home to you.”
“If you fall asleep driving, then no, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun said in a stern, broken voice. “You won’t. You’d be dead and the next place I’d be seeing you is at the morgue, identifying your body!”
Chanyeol dropped his arms and put his hands on Baekhyun’s shoulders. “Baek—”
“Yeol, I did the math, alright?” Baekhyun said, trying to change the subject from something less morbid. “It’s easier and more convenient than having to check into a hotel over and over again.”
“Baek, I don’t care,” Chanyeol groaned. “If anything, you’re the only one keeping my feet on the ground—keeping me sane. Sleeping at some apartment in the city might mean I get an hour or two more of sleep, but that’d be fucking isolating me from you, damn it!”
“Then let’s sell the house!” Baekhyun said desperately.
Chanyeol looked at him aghast. “What?”
Baekhyun furrowed his brows. “Let’s sell it. Let’s move back to the city. It’ll be—”
“No,” Chanyeol said adamantly. “We’re not selling this house. I got this house for you because it’s perfect for you and what you need.”
“I said no, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol said, giving Baekhyun an apologetic look. “I don’t want you to have to give this up. I don’t want to take you to a place where it’s always about the fast life—the loud hustling and bustling of the city.”
Moments passed before Baekhyun asked, “Then what do you want to do?”
Looking down at him, Chanyeol rubbed the back of his neck before cupping one side of Baekhyun’s cheek. “Fine. We’ll…” He clicked his tongue and heaved a deep breath. “We’ll look for something—but we’re gonna sit down and plan everything out,” he said sharply. “Like, if I’m scheduled to have a busy week, you have to come and visit me at least four times a week to cook for me something. Because I need you, too, Baek. Not just sleep. I need you in bed with me, whether that’s to just go to bed together or to do something more.”
Slowly, Baekhyun nodded, slightly happy that Chanyeol had agreed. “We won’t let distance be a problem. We’ll call—No, I’ll call. I’ll call during your lunch breaks and everything. You have to call me if you decide you want to come home for the night, but as for the weekends, you have to try and come back for at least those two days. Saturday and Sunday, I mean, because I need you, too.”
Catching and interlacing their hands together, Chanyeol relaxed his shoulders. “When do you want to go start looking?”
“Doesn’t everything we do depend around your schedule?” Baekhyun kindly reminded with an attempted smile.
The remark was true. Everything that they did together had to fit with Chanyeol’s schedule. It didn’t used to be. Back in their newly wed period, Chanyeol wasn’t as busy as he used to be and had more room to change his activities at work. Now, it was structured. Some things like meetings and presentations couldn’t be move, and it was very rare for anything else to be rescheduled just because someone wanted a day off with their spouse or lover. Even though things had changed, they had learned how to cope with these strained changes, especially Baekhyun. Chanyeol was slow at noticing, but it was only because he was part of it all. Baekhyun noticed more because he was the one sitting idly, watching his husband go up in rank and leaving him at the beginning.
“Let’s go when you have a day off.”
“I don’t have any days off, Baek.”
Baekhyun gave him a small laugh and a light punch on the side. “I know.” He sighed in an exaggerated fashion and shrugged. “I’ll look at listings and we can go together when you do have the time. If not, I’ll do it for you.”
After studying Baekhyun’s face for a moment, Chanyeol softly asked, “Are you sure about this?”
Gently, Baekhyun nodded his head. “Yes. It’ll just be like owning two houses. It’ll be fine.” Hugging Chanyeol again, Baekhyun buried his face in Chanyeol’s chest again as his husband wrapped his arms around him. “We’ll be fine.”
“Fine” perfectly described their situation, but fine only lasted a while. For weeks their arrangement turned out okay. After finding an apartment for Chanyeol when he didn’t feel like he could safely go home, they put their plan into effect. On nights when Chanyeol decided to stay in the city, Baekhyun—if he could—would quickly prepare some food, take a fairly long ride on the subway, and then a cab just to go give Chanyeol his dinner. He always made sure that the food tasted just right and that it was something Chanyeol was probably craving, which he had developed a sixth sense for after being married for nearly two years.
Chanyeol tried to go home on the weekends like they had arranged, but he found that exhaustion would just devour him by the end of the week and wouldn’t allow him the well-being enough to do so. So, after many attempts and a few successful tries, Baekhyun smiled at him and told him that it was alright to stay in city and that he didn’t need to strain himself just to go home. At first Chanyeol was hesitant in accepting Baekhyun’s kind gesture, but in the end he began staying the weekends in the city. And even though the apartment was supposed to be used for those difficult moments when he couldn’t get himself home, Chanyeol began to use it frequently each week until it’d been months since he last stepped foot on the property he had gotten for the two of them. In a way, their little haven was blurred in his memory, replaced by the practical function that the large one bedroom apartment in the city had to offer: convenience.
On Baekhyun’s part, he began to frequent the apartment less and less due to the deadline of his first book. He would take the time and try to reach Chanyeol by phone or video call when he could, but like everything else, those moments declined in numbers also. When Chanyeol was working at the office, Baekhyun was sleeping after writing and planning until the break of dawn when he would finally collapse on his bed alone.
And in the rarity of those moments when Baekhyun would have luck on his side when calling his husband, their conversations were always brief and generic. Overtime, it had gotten bland with the casual and usual questions of “How have you been?” and “Have you eaten yet?” The calls were always kept brief because of the simple fact they both knew how one or the other either needed to go to sleep or go to work.
One night as Baekhyun lied alone in their bed with nothing to look at, but the full moon glowing past the window and the soft waving of the thin curtains, he thought about their decision. He contemplated about what was happening. He felt a rift between them. Distance was not a kind factor, but nor was it an impossible feat to overcome. The fact that they rarely saw each other in person wasn’t a very big factor. To him, it was more. Distance didn’t matter because even if they were living under the same roof, the situation still wouldn’t change. Both of them would still be too busy for each other. It’d be the same situation, but with different circumstances.
Back in college, Baekhyun held an interest in different languages. One of the things he’d often do to Chanyeol was leave him messages in foreign languages that he knew his business-minded boyfriend would have no idea how to read. To him, that was the fun part; watching Chanyeol do work in deciphering his message.
Baekhyun always made sure to keep his messages simple, but meaningful. Often times, they were just “I love you” notes. Chanyeol, despite looking and acting like a cold-shouldered brute, would always write back the words, but in Korean, the language that the both of them shared.
One of the things that Baekhyun picked up in his many days of following Chanyeol around the library was an interest in binary codes. As Chanyeol would sit and look through stacks and stacks of reference books for an upcoming test or quiz in one of his classes, Baekhyun would look over the shoulders of other students, observing them as he usually did since he was more of an observer than a doer. It wasn’t until he looked over one student’s book that his interest was caught by the amount of ones and zeros on the page.
The student was writing in a language Baekhyun recognized, but their eyes were glued to the book. It took a moment for him to realize that they were translating the numbers. No matter how much he stared, Baekhyun couldn’t figure out how the hell they were getting letters from what looked like a random arrangement of the first two positive numbers—though one could argue that zero is neutral.
It was then that Baekhyun stepped back and ran back to where Chanyeol sat. Then he quickly asked his knowledgeable boyfriend what he just saw, to which Chanyeol answered with his usual face, “It’s binary code, Baek.”
Binary was simple, yet secretive to a point where only a few of the general public could understand. Not only that, but it had some sort of “cool” factor to it that drew Baekhyun in. Cracking a large smile, Baekhyun thanked Chanyeol, quickly kissing his bookworm boyfriend before wandering around the library in search of something that would teach him the art of Binary.
In their early days together as a married couple, back in their tiny apartment, the two of them would dedicate Saturdays to movies. Some days they would watch romantic comedies and other days, they would watch a dramatic family movie that would leave one of them—most of the time, Baekhyun—in tears.
In times like those, Chanyeol would pet Baekhyun’s head and tell him not to cry, that it was just a movie, and that crying wouldn’t change anything about what just happened. To that, Baekhyun would huff and argue, challenging Chanyeol by asking him whether or not it was wrong to wish for a different outcome. Chanyeol would always answer, telling him that there was no point in wanting a different ending because the movie was done and there was nothing changing it. Baekhyun would proceed to call him an insensitive brute, to which Chanyeol would ignore the remark, lean over, and kiss Baekhyun’s movie-induced tears away.
Once Baekhyun’s first book was published, he finally felt free. He felt as if he could finally go visit Chanyeol and visit him, but with the success that came with its publication, a full schedule also ensued. The one night that Baekhyun went to visit Chanyeol, it was spent with general talk. Baekhyun still said “I love you” and Chanyeol also, but it didn’t have the same warmth dripping from the words like it used to way back when.
And when they made love that night, there was a need, but all the while, it felt forced. Both of them felt it. They felt the rift between them. There was a fear between them that they sought to fill up by making love like they used to, but there was no helping it. Chanyeol was tired. Baekhyun was tired. But, they still put up the effort to feel something despite craving sleep and rest over a lustful night with each other.
Board games were something that they used to enjoy on Friday nights. When Chanyeol would come home at around six, Baekhyun would prepare dinner and pick out a game board to play with. After eating, brushing their teeth, and a little bit of heated play, they would take out the game and begin. Sometimes there were stakes. One time, they played Monopoly. Every time Chanyeol would buy out one of Baekhyun’s properties, the smaller guy had to take something off. Chanyeol—being the business major—always played tactfully and would have Baekhyun stark naked within the first thirty minutes of the game.
Their board game nights would never last long. The creaking of the bed would always last longer than their games. And when they finished, Chanyeol would whisper, “I win.” Baekhyun would smirk, pull them closer and shake his head.
“No. I won,” he’d say, kissing Chanyeol deeply. “You’re mine. Forever.”
“I’ve got a book sign event this weekend, Yeol,” Baekhyun said, smiling into the webcam.
Chanyeol returned him a tired smile. “Really, now. Your book’s doing good?”
Nodding, Baekhyun grinned. “Yeah, it’s pretty high up on the charts for new authors. I’m really happy about that.”
“Thanks, Yeol.” There was an elongated silence following them for a second. “So, will you come? Please?”
Opening his mouth, Chanyeol hesitated. He knew that he most likely wouldn’t be able to go so he didn’t know why he said, “Sure.”
Beyond Chanyeol’s notice, Baekhyun’s eyes lit up. “Buy a book! I’ll sign it for you!” he joked. Then he glanced down at the time. “Ah, I have to go now,” Baekhyun said, yawning.
Chanyeol bit down the urge to yawn also. “Alright. Bye.”
“Bye,” Baekhyun said, nodding. “Oh, are you coming home this weekend?”
Hiding behind a smile, Baekhyun waved him off. “It’s okay! I already knew the answer, so you don’t need to say anything. I understand…You should come back some time, though. I planted some nice flowers out in the yard.” Seeing Chanyeol’s face, Baekhyun knew that his husband didn’t know how to respond to that. Feeling like he was making his husband feel bad, Baekhyun picked up his mood, even if it strained his face. “I’ll take photos for you, okay?”
“Bye, Chanyeol. I love you.”
Chanyeol took a moment. “Bye, Baek.”
Baekhyun waited for the “I love you” part that would usually ensue, but after two seconds, he nodded and signed out. He reasoned that Chanyeol was just too tired to remember; he was too tired to remember those three simple words.
Baekhyun had the habit of carving on trees. Back when Chanyeol usually had the weekends off, they’d leave their apartment and go to the park. That was where Baekhyun would use a sharp object to carve their initials into the wood. Chanyeol would keep on the lookout, worried that some sort of authority figure would arrest his whimsical husband for damaging a tree, even if he was doing it for love.
At the signing event, a crowd of people showed up, but no matter how much Baekhyun craned his head, he couldn’t see his giant anywhere. Figuring that perhaps he was running a little bit late, Baekhyun went on with his day, signing happily for fans and curious onlookers who were interested in getting a book signed by a possibly famous individual. He had hoped and he held Chanyeol’s promise to heart, but as the crowd died down and Chanyeol was still nowhere to be seen, Baekhyun’s heart felt a little empty.
He knew he shouldn’t have taken it to heart. Chanyeol was busy, he knew that. But he also knew that Chanyeol didn’t make promises he knew he couldn’t keep, yet he still told him that he’d be there.
The next time they video called, Baekhyun didn’t try to appear like he was happy, because he wasn’t. “Upset” was the word, but he didn’t want to lash out because Chanyeol was busy. He had an excuse not to go to some stupid book signing. But it wasn’t just a “stupid” book signing to Baekhyun. It was his first and he wanted Chanyeol to be there, but he wasn’t, and that was that.
Chanyeol was too tired to see what was wrong. He had apologized, but Baekhyun’s mood didn’t seem to lighten up despite the fact that he had said it was okay. In turn, it irritated Chanyeol, making him cut their call short and call it a night.
With success came strain. Time was no longer available for leisure. It was no longer available for one to spend time with their loved ones or reconnect with friends. Time no longer provided intimate moments. It provided the opportunity for productivity in one’s line of work.
Like old photographs, their relationship began to change. Like the faded images of pictures that were once bright and vibrant, their relationship had grown stale and quiet. They had become strangers in their own marriage, often forgetting the moments that they used to have together back when things were simpler.
The calls became less frequent. The text messages were brief. Visits were rare. They had basically stalled.
Two years and eleven months in their hanging marriage, Chanyeol stood in his bedroom, looking at his picture perfect self in the mirror. He fixed the cuffs and perfected his hair. He looked at the time and found that he was on schedule, but with no minute to spare. But despite his clock-work routine, he couldn’t help but sit down at the edge of his bed, heaving a heavy sigh as he stared at his open wall.
His heart felt weighed down and it had taken him weeks—perhaps a month—to self-diagnose his issue. It was uncertainty. He struggled with the horrid thought of not being in love with his husband anymore, but as the recent days passed, he found that he could deny it no longer.
He felt lonely, but Baekhyun was too out of reach for him. Chanyeol knew that he still loved the brown haired author, who he’d sometimes see in the papers or online, but he knew that he didn’t feel like same way like he used to. They hadn’t made love in months. Baekhyun rarely visited. Date nights were never a thing, because they weren’t possible with their schedules. In fact, the more Chanyeol thought about it, he saw more of Baekhyun through their short and infrequent video calls than he did in person.
Turning his head, he looked at his empty bed. He missed it. He missed the attraction, the activities—everything. The distance was one thing. The isolation was another. The lack of communication foreshadowed the end, but it was the heavy feeling in Chanyeol’s heart that brought the gavel down on the block.
Sometimes Baekhyun thought about moving on, but his heart wouldn’t let him. He still loved his giant despite the fact that every night he went home to “their” quiet estate only to lie in a bed with a cold side unoccupied at the end. He missed the nights when they’d stay up just whispering to each other. He missed the board games, the trees, and the movies. The only thing that would sometimes get him through the day were the photographs from their wedding day.
Chanyeol was obligated to go to his company’s annual Christmas party for appearances sake and had to reject Baekhyun’s offer to come back home for the holidays. Like always, Baekhyun said he understood and hung up soon after. The lack of argument and Baekhyun’s peaceful conceding bothered Chanyeol. He thought that maybe if Baekhyun had fought for his time a little harder, he would have said yes. But then he reminded himself that he couldn’t have said yes. He was busy.
With a relationship dry and cold like the weather, Chanyeol moved on. With a drink in hand and a smile on his face, he lifted his eyes. It was there at that annual Christmas party that he met Kyungsoo.
During one of the hardest times in Chanyeol’s finals week, Baekhyun sweet talked Chanyeol’s roommate, Kris, into letting him into their room early one morning the day of Chanyeol’s exams. He placed three pieces of Chanyeol’s favorite candy near his textbooks before tiptoeing over to Chanyeol and gently putting a sticky note on his head. With a smile on his face, Baekhyun quietly laughed before backtracking and quietly leaving the room.
When Chanyeol woke up thirty minutes later from his alarm clock, the first thing he noticed was the paper stuck on his forehead preventing him from rubbing his eyes. Taking it off, he squinted his eyes and took a closer look at the letters. As his eyes focused, he noticed that the written items weren’t letters, but rather, zeros and ones.
“01000111 01101111 01101111 01100100 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01100101 01111000 01100001 01101101 01110011 00101100 00100000 01100111 01101001 01100001 01101110 01110100 00100001”
Chanyeol’s eyes dragged down and looked at the bottom part of the message.
“01001001 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100001.”
Despite having just woken up, Chanyeol took the time to decode the note. As he walked to his class that morning, he quickly and efficiently copied the numbers onto his cellphone. Using a translator, he read what Baekhyun had written for him.
“Good luck on your exams, giant!”
Lastly, Chanyeol translated the shorter message at the bottom.
“I love you!”
Christmas passed and all that was shared between them was a card on Baekhyun’s part. A simple gift was also sent. Baekhyun didn’t know what to send, so he sent three pieces of candy.
It should’ve felt wrong, and maybe it did, but as time went by, the office attraction grew. What went from innocent glances eventually evolved into something more physical starting from when Kyungsoo took the step and slanted his lips over Chanyeol’s.
And when Chanyeol laid Kyungsoo down on his bed, he did away with the voice inside his head that kept telling Kyungsoo didn’t belong there. The voice kept telling him that it was Baekhyun’s bed as well as his, but never Kyungsoo’s. To this, Chanyeol executed his conscience, reasoning that Baekhyun was no longer there, that they were estranged, and that he needed something—something that Kyungsoo could give him and Baekhyun could not.
Just before Kyungsoo lowered himself on Chanyeol’s body, he took Chanyeol’s hand and slipped his wedding ring off, tossing it to the side where it silently fell to the floor
It was in late spring that Baekhyun suffered pain. He began to notice it when the headaches that he began to frequently have wouldn’t go away. He also noticed his body being fatigued. After two weeks of trying to cope with the use of pills, he caved. There wasn’t much in his mind about what was wrong with him other than the thought that it was just headaches and issues that would soon go away with a magic pill from the doctor.
He went in expecting nothing and came out with the feeling like the whole world was on his shoulders, bearing down on his heart as well.
They told him that he was scheduled to have a CT scan the next day, but for once, Baekhyun truly didn’t want to do it alone. The first person that came to mind was Chanyeol, his husband and his rock. Quickly taking the subway, Baekhyun headed over to Chanyeol’s apartment, holding back the tears and trying to maintain a strong front.
Afterwards he jumped in a cab, only to freeze when the driver asked him for an address. He realized that in that moment he didn’t know. He wasn’t aware. He tried to recall, but he couldn’t remember the address he had once known like the back of his hand. Flustered and upset, unable to explain his sudden and temporary memory loss, Baekhyun jumped out of the cab and opted to run, because unlike the address, he remembered with faded memory the streets and the corners where his rides in the past had usually turned.
He had a hope that perhaps they’d reconcile and take one night to make up for the year of blatant time lost. Baekhyun had hoped and he imagined, but as his eyes focused in on Chanyeol coming out of his apartment building with someone with their hands intertwined and with their faces smiling in happy content, Baekhyun stopped and watched as all those hopes fell apart.
And like the pain that he had felt in those past weeks, his eyes watered slowly, before trickling down until he could no longer bear any of it anymore. With shaking knees and blinded eyes, he took a step back and turned the other direction. Alone.
Six months into the year, in the beginning of summer, Kyungsoo sat on Chanyeol’s bed, waiting for him to come back from the shower. In his hand was Chanyeol’s wedding band, which Kyungsoo kept turning and turning, inspecting every aspect and every detail. It had passed the time long enough for Kyungsoo to be entertained when Chanyeol came back to the room.
“What’re you doing there, Kyungsoo?” Chanyeol said with a small smile.
Shrugging, Kyungsoo’s stoic face remained. “I was just thinking—actually, I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time, really.”
Zipping up his pants and grabbing for a shirt, Chanyeol looked at him. “What’s on your mind?” When he saw the ring in Kyungsoo’s hands, Chanyeol sighed. “Kyungsoo.”
“Chanyeol, why don’t you just divorce him?” Kyungsoo burst.
“You’ve been estranged for so long,” Kyungsoo said. “Your relationship was already beyond dead when I met you. Why’re you dragging something when neither of you feel anything for each other anymore?”
“I can’t just slap divorce papers on him so suddenly,” Chanyeol argued. “He needs some notice, at least.”
“Then give him a notice,” Kyungsoo said, gripping the ring in his palm. “In fact, have one of those lawyers deliver court papers to him. That’s notice enough, don’t you think?”
“—Chanyeol.” Kyungsoo gave him a look. “It’s better to end things now, you know. So we can really have a fresh beginning. Then you and I can get married and the both of you can move on. You’re with me now and, let’s face it. He probably has someone else, too.”
Chanyeol’s throat tightened at the thought of Baekhyun having another man. It was hard to imagine and ultimately struck a chord in him. “Kyungsoo…”
“I love you, Chanyeol, and I know you love me, too,” Kyungsoo rasped. “So just do it, please. For us. For him. For all of us.”