Title: Days without you
Word Count: 8390
Side Pairing(s): None
Warning(s):[click to open]None
Disclaimer: The celebrities' names/images are merely borrowed and do not represent who the celebrities are in real life. No offense is intended towards them, their families or friends. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this fictional work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: No. It is just... living with you was difficult. But living without you? It is unbearable.
Author's Note: Dear prompter, it went in a completely different direction than I'd originally planned, but hopefully it is still to your liking. My undying love to P and to the wonderful, lovely, patient mods. Thank you so much.
The bedroom's cold, despite the running heater and the thick brown velvet coverlet, now bunched at the foot of the bed. Perhaps curtains would help keep the chill of late December, but there was something about the starkly exposed panes of glass across the wall that appeals to him and Chanyeol lay in bed, listening to the slowing sounds of the crickets chirping as the sun rose beyond the window pane, casting its amber light across the grey room.
The morning air was thick with a white mist that wasn't thick enough to be called fog. Chanyeol shuddered and rolled his shoulders a little. The air still had a bit of a chill to it, and he couldn't help but wonder if, wherever his husband was, he'd remembered to wear his coat. He never used to and Chanyeol was the one who always had to remind him when it was cold outside.
Chanyeol took a deep breath and felt as though his nostrils were being filled with a faint smell of cigarettes. There was a pang in his chest as he remembered those reeking cigarettes Baekhyun used to smoke, the smell of which hung cloying in their bedroom for days whenever he tried to write a new song back then.
Back then when things had been different.
When they'd thought they had a whole life together ahead of them.
God, how he both loathed and loved that smell, thinking of Baekhyun and knowing, at once, that it was all that remained of his husband.
The warmth of the kitchen was a temporary relief. His bare feet slap softly against the black and white tiled floor. Copper-bottomed pots hang over the kitchen counter, gleaming in the bright morning light. There's a half-pot of coffee left from midnight. He poured a cup. Last night coffee was lukewarm and muddy when he lifted it to his mouth. Chanyeol didn't care and drank it quickly, alternating gulps with some biscuits he found on the table. When he finally set the cup down, his hands just stopped shaking.
A few of old edition newspapers scattered over the coffee table. Chanyeol didn't need to look at the papers_ he already knew them by heart.
After just one month in the limelight, popular idol Baekhyun has confirmed the rumors of his divorce.
A representative from Baekhyun’s agency, Choi Tae Joon, has confirmed that “Baekhyun and his husband decided to divorce due to personal reasons.”
The representative also added that it’s difficult to comment further due to the personal and private nature of the divorce, and asked for patience and understanding regarding the star's separation. See page 33_
PHOTOS: kpop superstar Baekhyun ready to take on America
The article didn’t even pretend to be sorry about their divorce, and Chanyeol wasn’t sure if that was worse. He pushed his mug of coffee away and walked back to the bedroom. The clock over the kitchen doorway ticked, enunciating the emptiness of the house.
It'd been almost four months now since he saw Baekhyun. Somehow, it felt like forever..
When Chanyeol came home from work, it had already passed eight in the evening. The house was quiet inside, with the only light in the living room to welcome him home. He saw Baekhyun standing in the middle of their backyard, looking up the night sky. Chanyeol smiled and strode down towards his husband across the yard.
“How is my husband doing today?”
Baekhyun looked at him from underneath his fringe. Something was different, Chanyeol could feel it in his waters. He frowned at him. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine.” Baekhyun swayed sideways, only to be buffered by a shoulder, a warm shoulder of his husband beside him. The warmth made him drop his head onto it comfortably. “It is nice to be here.”
Chanyeol looked up the sky. Indeed it was nice. The skies were clear and the stars were blurry enough that it looked like a mass of white hung about his head like a canopy. But he knew it wasn't the reason Baekhyun was here. There was definitely something wrong and so he pressed.
“Don’t lie to me, Baek.”
Baekhyun lifted his head from Chanyeol's shoulder and looked at him. Starlight shone in his eyes, and the gentle light softened the angles and planes of his face, and just at that moment, Chanyeol very much wanted to kiss him. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing’s wrong,” Baekhyun said in a small, defeated voice. “It’s just I…” He shut his eyes for a moment and let out a sigh. “The company wants to keep our marriage from the public.”
Completely overwhelmed, Chanyeol fell silent. Baekhyun squeezed his hand, his eyes clouded and sad, and Chanyeol gave him a wan smile, trying to tell him this wasn't his fault.
“But if we can contain our relationship to stay within these four walls...” He turned away from Chanyeol's gaze.“You know the rule of Internet. Pics or it didn’t happen.”
Chanyeol’s heart was sinking even further. He’d known that this was what would be required, but to hear Baekhyun spell it out was depressing. Baekhyun looked just as miserable.
“We don't need to hide forever, yeol. I can’t do that anymore than you can.”
Chanyeol sighed, a long and shuddery one. “I don’t want to hide, Baek. But I will, if you say we must. Your career is the important thing here. I want you to have the chances that are worthy of your talent.”
Chanyeol wanted nothing more than to grab a megaphone and announce to the world that he and Baekhyun were together, to tell the world, to tell everyone that Baekhyun was his and everything else be damned. But he couldn’t. They couldn’t.
“I hate it. You know.”
A low, melancholy tune from the other side of the wall drifting through the air and warming the night. Baekhyun reached out and took his hand before wrapping his arms around Chanyeol once again. Slowly, Chanyeol began to sway, rocking them both gently to the music that fills the air, his hands on the smaller's back holding him firmly against his body.
I need you. Promise me this won’t tear us apart. I love you. Tell me you love me, for better or for worse. Tell me I’m all you’ll ever need. Swear we’ll get through this. Let me hear you say it because nobody warned me that a side effect of being wildly in love is that you need reassurance that you’re not alone in it.
Chanyeol screwed up his courage up to say—something, though he wasn’t sure what it would be. He took a breath, and stepped away from Baekhyun so he could look in the smaller’s eyes, but whatever had been about to come out stalled in his throat because he saw there, in his husband's eyes, was the same fear that he’d been wrestling.
Baekhyun took his hand, pressing it to his chest and holding it there with his own. Chanyeol could feel Baekhyun's heart beating against his palm, steady and strong, sending a metrical thrum into his own body until he could no longer tell his heartbeat apart from Baekhyun.
“This isn’t going to break us, Chanyeol. We can do this.”
What if everything changed and you didn’t know how to make it right again?
Together with Baekhyun, they'd been through so much already.
The chill of winter, their feet crunching in the first snow. Baekhyun's pink cheeks above his thick red scarf. His smile, bright and warm on a December morning. Steam rising from a paper cup; the scent of coffee wafting through crisp air. Falling into bed, laughing, as the snowflakes taps lightly at the window panes. Damp skin. Soft hair. Hot kisses. Baekhyun's I love you warm against his mouth.
The ringing of his cellphone pushed him from his train of thoughts. Chanyeol answered it without even looking at the caller ID.
“Chanyeol. Baekhyun is here.”
He saw the news that Baekhyun might be in seoul during christmas holiday. At the same time in his heart, there stir a quiet pain knowing that their home was the last place baekhyun wanted to be. He answered Junmyeon.
“I know, hyung.”
“No Chanyeol. What I mean is he is here. At the hospital. He fainted at the airport on his way back. I just thought you'd want to know.”
For a moment, Chanyeol couldn't replied him.
Baekhyun is at the hospital. He fainted.
“Are you going to be all right?”
Junmyeon seemed like he wanted to tell him something. Whether it was because he knew it’s a sensitive subject to Chanyeol, or simply the fact that he was worried about him, Chanyeol couldn’t quite tell. But no. Chanyeol didn't want counseling. His mind didn't need healing, he had no desire to be cured of his love for Baekhyun as if it's a distasteful affliction. He closed his eyes, muscles stiffened against the shakes that only became worse the more tensely he held himself. He answered Junmyeon, his voice a hoarse rasp in the empty room.
“Its all right, hyung. Thank you.”
Chanyeol stood there silently, his hands still clutching the phone. The curtains billow white around him in a slight breeze.
He had never felt so alone.
Chanyeol crawled into bed and pulled the blankets over him, listening idly to the sound of raindrops pattering against the windowpane. He didn’t hear the footsteps coming up the hall until they’d nearly reached his bedroom. They hesitated by the door, then came inside.
“Chanyeol. Are you sleeping?”
Chanyeol sighed when he felt the other side of bed dipped but didn’t roll over.
“I'm sorry that I missed the dinner. Next time–”
“Next time,huh?”The words came out of his mouth with so much bitterness.“How can I believe your words, Baek?”
He had finally had enough of Baekhyun telling him not to wait up for the dinner. Had enough of being stood up even for their anniversary dinner.
"Just because of a few missed dinner, now my words are now somewhat questionable?"
"It is more than just a few dinner."
Baekhyun slid into bed beside Chanyeol, yawning.
“You know how my job is important to me, Chanyeol.”
He did and he knew it. Chanyeol looked away, watching the flickering shadows against their bedroom wall, becoming angry and annoyed at the same time that they had to have this argument again.
“I know.” Chanyeol sighed, “I know you put your work before everything.”
Baekhyun let out of a breathless puff of dry laughter. “You're going to try and blame this on me now?” He asked, a tad sharp. “It's not like I wanted to go; I had to.”
“I'm not blaming you,” Chanyeol said, fighting to keep his voice level. “I am saying that at least you should have cared.”
“Of course I care!”
Chanyeol turned around and saw the look on his husband's face. Baekhyun looked miserable and torn, as though he were on the verge of crying.
“How could you say that to me?” Baekhyun was almost screaming now, the muscles in his cheeks clenching. He took a deep breath before he spoke again.“I cared about you more than anything, you unbelievable prick. You are my entire world!”
Chanyeol reached towards Baekhyun and wrapped his arms around him tightly. He had long since lost any delusions about his ability to resist distressed Baekhyun. He couldn’t stand hearing the note of insecurity in his husband's voice. The world knew Baekhyun as a confident, arrogant guy who didn’t give a shit about anything, but they couldn't be more wrong. Baekhyun just hid his vulnerability well. Sometimes too well.
“I'm sorry if I've made you upset.” Chanyeol whispered as his fingers worked their way through the soft hair on the back of the smaller's head. Baekhyun just sighed. His eyes flickered up to meet Chanyeol's for a moment, before they fell again. He nuzzled against his neck and inhaled deeply.
"Believe me Park Chanyeol. Even if I had to choose between my career and you, I'd always choose you."
And that was the one Chanyeol knew he couldn't let him do that, couldn't demand Baekhyun jeopardize his career, no matter how desperately he wanted to be that selfish.
Everything was glaring white with the pungent smells of cleaning chemicals across the hospital. Chanyeol stopped in front of a dimly lit corridor. At the end of it, he could see two bodyguards guarding a door. He hesitated a bit, shoving his hands into his pockets and staring down at his shoes, unsure of what else to do.
He shouldn't have come.
Chanyeol was about to turn around when he came face to face with the only one he hadn't wanted to meet.
Choi Taejoon, the one and only manager of Baekhyun.
“What are you even doing here?” He said snidely. “I thought Baekhyun showed you the door months ago.”
It took all his strength not to beat the other into a plup. Chanyeol stood still, tense, his fists clenched at his sides, his mouth a thin line. “Yes, you accomplished that,” He glared at him. "Well done, you."
Taejoon just shrugged. "You haven't really changed, have you?"
Chanyeol wanted to scream at him that he's wrong, that everything had changed. Last year he was focused on his career, on rebuilding the relationship with his fellow students from university. Last year he was determined to go for the head professor place in literature department. Last year he was a volunteer in Helping Hands, a charitable organisation for ill children. Last year, he had Baekhyun.
Now, only one of those things was important to him, and he's no longer here to care.
"You cannot blame me for merely pointing out to Baekhyun that you were merely an obstacle in his career. He is better off without you."
That was the truth. But it hurt more than he think it should.
"Besides, you agreed to let go of him. It was also your decision."
Suddenly, Chanyeol caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and saw Baekhyun standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame. Taejoon's face turned white.
"Baekhyun, you woke up."
Chanyeol just wanted to turn and leave, but his brain wouldn't allow him to. It's been months since they were together, four since last he saw him before Baekhyun left Korea. And he'd missed him so much.
"Yeah, just now. You've brought my dinner, right?"
Baekhyun's chocolate brown eyes were clear, the expression on his face blank. God knew how much he’d heard of all that – his face gave nothing away. But that didn't stop the manager shuffling like guilty schoolboy caught doing something he shouldn’t.
"Steak, your favourite. I know you hate hospital food."
Taejoon brushed past him into the room and Baekhyun turned around to face him. Then there, he caught a glimpse of the vulnerability Baekhyun hid so well, concealed beneath layers of intelligence and arrogance. He’d see a lonely kid from years back who leaned into the press of Chanyeol’s palm, one who couldn’t hide his surprise at the simplest of someone taking care of him, one who was - still the boy that he loved. And it squeezed his heart, racing like static across his skin as his eyes burned.
He dropped down to his knees when the door closed right in front of him.
Chanyeol snapped awake at six a.m. He was impossibly warm and comfortable, and he did not wish to be awake, except that if he weren’t, he’d be missing out on the quite extraordinary sensation of Baekhyun snuggled up to him, curled around his back with his arms tucked around Chanyeol’s waist. Chanyeol twined their fingers together on his stomach and turned his head a bit to nuzzle at Baekhyun's face.
“Morning.” murmured Baekhyun with his voice rough with sleep. Chanyeol smiled and turned around to face the smaller, whose arms tightened around him and pressed face into his large chest.
“Good morning.” Chanyeol said back, his lips touched the smaller's forehead, placing soft imprints of his lips there. The last warm layers of sleep flake away as replaced by a different sort of warmth, Chanyeol’s lips worked their way around to the side, then the front of his neck, then Baekhyun was tipping his head back to kiss him properly, both of them exhaling sleepy breaths as their tongues wound around each other, slowly and gently, like they’d got all the time in the world.
Chanyeol rolled Baekhyun onto his back and kissed down his neck to his chest. His skin was smooth and pale over his leanly-muscled torso; it fluttered under Chanyeol’s lips as he moved down in the bed. He slipped Baekhyun’s pajama pants down and took him in his mouth. He heard the smaller suck in a sharp breath, then felt his fingers thread through his hair, not pulling, just holding. Chanyeol glanced upward and saw Baekhyun with eyes closed and neck arched, biting that delicious lower lip of his, and the sight was just about enough to make him come without even a hand to himself. He urged Baekhyun's legs apart and settled himself between them, lifting one of his legs and hoisting it over his shoulder.
As they moved together, slick and hot, Baekhyun reached back, tangling his fingers into the hair at Chanyeol's nape, pulling him closer as he shifted, drawing his knees up, opening himself to him. Chanyeol slid in deeper and both of them groaned as Baekhyun wrapped his arms more tightly around him, reaching both of their climax.
They just lay there clutching each other for a moment, catching their breaths. Chanyeol combed his fingers through the soft curls of Baekhyun, as he thought he’d never get tired of doing and spoke, “I could get used to waking up like this.”
A smile spread over Baekhyun's face, as slow and warm as a pat of butter melting on a hot slice of toast. And Chanyeol kissed him then, slow and deep, pressing his tongue against Baekhyun’s, sliding his arms around Baekhyun and held him close, felt the other’s heart pounding behind his ribs, and Chanyeol let his eyes drift shut as Baekhyun kissed him back, like he could just keep on doing it forever and never get tired of it.
Whatever else this day might bring, it'd be all right because he had Baekhyun in his arms.
Chanyeol woke up alone. For a long moment he stared blankly at the stretch of empty sheets beside him and strained his ears for the muted rush of the shower running or the clatter of the kettle on the stovetop in the kitchen or the soft rustle of newspaper from the living room. But there was only silence, and then he remembered.
Baekhyun was no longer here.
Chanyeol let his eyes slide shut and pretended that his world hadn’t just fallen apart. In a moment, Baekhyun would reach for him and they’d wake together the same way they wake together every morning. Chanyeol would start with his fingertips gentle at Baekhyun's throat and slid down to trace his collarbone, then lower, skimming his palm over the smaller’s chest, the soft pads of his fingertips swiping down his sternum, down his belly, and beneath the waistband of his pyjamas.
Chanyeol opened his eyes to the dark, chilly flat, devoid of warmth. He sighed as the familiar bittersweet feeling filled his chest. Coming back to this cold, sterile reality was actually painful. He wished he didn't go to meet Baekhyun at the hospital that day. Now all those memories were coming back to him and he was so empty that he ached.
He rolled over, closer to Baekhyun’s side of the bed, his palm sliding over cool cotton, his nose brushing his husband’s pillow. He inhaled, and it smelled like Baekhyun, like the lavender they washed all their clothes with and the faintly spicy scent of expensive cologne and the faintest trace of cigarette smoke and something warmer that Chanyeol was never quite been able to put his finger on in all the years they’d been together.
He slipped out of bed and padded downstairs to put the kettle on. Craddling his favourite mug of coffee in both hands, Chanyeol pretended not to look at the one with the mickey mouse print and the chip in the handle, which was still sitting on the dining room table, right across from him. A beep from the answering machine filled the empty void.
You have reached Park's answering machine. Please leave your message after the tone.
Hello, Mr. Park. This is from Kim's lawfirm. I wonder if you could drop by the office today? There are still some paperworks we need to discuss with you. Have a nice day!
Chanyeol picked up his mug of tea and took a sip, but it had gone cold, so he dumped it down the sink, trying not to look at the dining room table as he passed by, and went to get dressed to go out.
“You have gone for four days.”
Chanyeol gave a nod to Baekhyun's statement while he reached for another stack of paperwork. Gods, he was tired. The last four days had seemed interminable, one endless conference after another, one lecture after another. He loved his job as a professor but giving lecture as a guest professor in six universities in four days became too much, even for him. Amount of paperworks would be the death of him one of these days, but he shouldn't exactly rely solely on his husband's income.
“Why didn't you tell me?”
“I called you. Your manager picked it up.”
Things became harder than usual with both of them having insane work schedules. Baekhyun had job that kept him away from home for days on end. And there were also days that Chanyeol had to stay so late at the office that he couldn't do anything but fell into bed and slept the moment he got home.
Baekhyun frowned a bit. “I was busy.”
“He told me so.” Chanyeol didn't told Baekhyun the exact words from his manager telling him that Chanyeol ‘was only interested in what he could get’ out of being with an idol. “I didn't know I need permission from a manager first to call my husband.”
Your manager had the ability to make me feel like I was whining prat that couldn’t see past his own needs.
“Taejoon is just worried. That's all.” Baekhyun lay down to sleep on Chanyeol's lap and rubbed his eyes. “Besides, we all are busy with my debut in America.”
A wave of anger surged through him. Chanyeol said tightly, “You didn't tell me about this.”
The fissure between them over the course of a year grew rapidly into a gaping chasm. Whenever one tried to talk, the other ignored him, busy with his own stuffs.
“I didn't?” Baekhyun frowned again. “Sorry. I thought you knew.”
Chanyeol was speechless, completely thrown at his words, and not to mention enraged. He tried to ignore those blunt words, and swallowed the bile that was stuck in the back of his throat. He blinked slowly, and tightening his lips.
“Baekhyun. Don't you think this is too much for you? You barely slept. You are dieting. Look at you. All skin and bones.”
They shared a tense silence, before Baekhyun sighed and looked at Chanyeol a bit unsurely.
“I choose this path and I need this, Chanyeol. I'm fine. But this is my chance for a new career, a better one.” He bit his lip and gazed at Chanyeol speculatively. “And everyone from my company is cheering me up.”
“They don't really care about you, Baekhyun. They only care about the money you bring in.”
“No, you are wrong. They are my family.”
Chanyeol took a deep breath. He didn't really know what he had to do, except to stop whatever all this was, and it might either end their relationship or…well. Chanyeol had no idea what the other option was. One thing he knew was that things had changed between Baekhyun and him.
Chanyeol said at last, “What am I to you then?”
We've been growing apart lately, Baek. Can't you see that?
Baekhyun looked at him as though Chanyeol had said a big silly joke. He let out a strangled laugh and got up from his lap.
“That's why Taejoon said my ‘partner’ doesn’t really understand me.”
“What_” Chanyeol just looked at him, feeling more defeated than he could remember feeling in the whole of his adult life.
“that you only see that my job is getting in the way of your personal happiness.”
Chanyeol was unable to say anymore but the heaviness in his heart was building and he really didn't want to have this discussion, it could only lead to pain and anguish.
“Don’t,” He rubbed his face. “Don't start with this, Baek.”
Baekhyun stared at him for a moment longer before pushing himself from the bed.
Chanyeol’s heart clenched hard.
The door had made such a final sound as it had slammed shut behind him.
A few minutes later, Chanyeol watched his husband's car sped out of the driveway and onto the street, the tires screeching.
And everything went quiet.
He was alone.
Chanyeol freezed on his spot when he met Baekhyun in the waiting room of the Kim's Law Firm. Baekhyun was still the same: with fluffy hair, a black shirt and ripped jeans. And Chanyeol just wanted to throw his arms around Baekhyun and to pull him closer into a passionate and fiery kiss, to never let him go. But he couldn't, not anymore.
“I'm sorry that I have to call you both.”
The lawyer's face was full with 'I have to discuss things with both of you. Sorry for the trouble.'
Chanyeol watched Baekhyun went past him into the office and took off his coat. He bit his lips, unsure of what to say to Baekhyun. He had separated himself from Baekhyun since that day and the suffering and humiliation he’d endured afterwards, but the thought of sitting across from Baekhyun once again set all the hurt, embarrassment and guilt right in front of him, and he could neither deny nor ignore it.
Three more months and it would all be over.
Chanyeol stared at Baekhyun for several seconds, just taking in the lines of his face. It had been a while since he'd been this close to Baekhyun. He saw a bittersmile on his husband's face. “It's all right Mr. Kim. Let's just get over it.”
For the first time, Chanyeol realized how tensed Baekhyun was as he spoke and how fast he spoke.
Facing your soon-to-be divorced husband had been a difficult task, for they had been avoiding each other since that day when Baekhyun finally decided to end and had not even met when filling the divorce papers.
“The first one is about the separate property.” Their lawyer started, looking at Chanyeol. “In the document that you has submitted, you said you are not interested in income from Baekhyun's profession. Is that right?”
“As long as Baek decides not to touch my shares.”
He saw Baekhyun's eyes shone with anger, “I am not interested in your shares.”
The lawyer continued as if he hadn't been interrupted.
“And marital properties. You both agree to sell the house in gangnam and apartment in apujeong and divide the money half by half.”
Both of them nodded, silently. The lawyer's eyes were gentle, watching them as he reached for another paper.
“And the house in ...”
This time Baekhyun glared into his eyes, holding the gaze for a minute. He spoke quickly. “I'm not giving you that house.”
Chanyeol closed his eyes and sighed. “I already said that I can give you refunds.”
“I don't need refund. I want that house.”
The lawyer stared at them in stunned expression. He seemed to be wondering why would they fight for a small house.
Silence passed down between them before Chanyeol finally sat down, staring Baekhyun intently. “All right, you can take that house.”
Relieved, their lawyer let out a sigh.
“But you have to chop down the pine trees in front of the house.”
The street was quiet and now that dusk had fallen, people were out walking their dogs without the pain of the heat of the day. Chanyeol greeted a woman, exchanged a few words with her, and went on towards the small house that sat against a well-manicured lawn and beautifully flowering shrubs. Baekhyun walked faster to keep up with the large steps of the other.
“Chanyeol, what are we doing here?”
Baekhyun seemed honestly perplexed, and turned completely around to look at Chanyeol as if there were pigs flying about his head.
“Beautiful, isn't it?”
Chanyeol smiled at the confused boy beside him. A part of him was still in denial that this was actually happening, that he and Baekhyun were actually looking at their soon-to-be home together.
Before Baekhyun could utter a word, the woman from earlier catched up with them, her high-heeled foot tapping. “Fourty-and-sixty square feet, ten minute walk to subway and five minute walk to bus-stop.” She unlocked the door, turned to see the two boys behind her.
The house was very homey, full of rag rugs and rocking chairs and wooden furnitures. Chanyeol watched Baekhyun walked around the house, then towards the window, pressing his face against the cool pane of glass. From their view, they could see a quiet dog park across the street, abloom with summer flowers, and the tree-lined street, busy with cars and harried pedestrians hurrying home from work. The sound of a jazz saxophone drifts across the street from the cafe on the corner.
Baekhyun ran his finger across the glass and held it out to examine the fine layer of dust from the tip of finger.
“The house is small but I hope you really like it because…” Chanyeol flushed when Baekhyun stared at him, wordless. He struggled on,“I want you to move in, Baekhyun. Here. With me.”
Baekhyun continued to stared at him with wide eyes.
“I know it seemed like a sudden move.” Chanyeol said quickly. He knew he was babbling. “But, you see, I don't really want you to continue to stay with your aunt. And this place is not far from your work. Mine too.”
“Chanyeol. It's perfect.” There, Chanyeol saw the dopey smile fighting its way onto Baekhyun's face. Just looking at Baekhyun's smile was enough to send the butterflies in his stomach into a full gymnastic routine.
“Home. This will become our home, right? I've always_” Baekhyun stopped, unable to continue to speak. But he knew Baekhyun was not merely speaking of four walls and a roof over his head. He was talking about home, and all the connotations of heart and hearth that came with it. Not a place filled with furniture, but the nexus of everything he considered important in his life. Love and all.
“We're going to plant all kinds of flowers here.”
“And trees.” Chanyeol added. He opened the window and let the breeze enter into the house. “It'd be nice to have many trees around here.”
“Could we be happy here?”
Baekhyun spoke softly but didn't look up when Chanyeol's fingers thread through his, though he squeezed him back. Baekhyun's beautiful slender fingers were perfectly fit with his large ones and Chanyeol secretly promised himself to hold them. Forever.
“We could be happy anywhere, Baek. As long as we are together.”
Chanyeol bit the inside of his cheek, feeling a physical ache in his gut. He missed the privacy, the calm, the intimacy of living there with Baekhyun, like they were any other couple setting up housekeeping together, fighting over chores, puttering around the house, cooking and sleeping and talking about everything and nothing. Now, there were so many problems to deal with, all the time, never ending – the company, their agents, the business, the rumor mill, the blogosphere that drove them insane.
The tick of a clock in the room was the only sound and both of them remained silent until the lawyer cleared his throat.
“May I continue with the agreement?”
“Oh sorry. Yes of course you may..”
“Wait! I also want my grey sweater back.”
The lawyer's jaw dropped at Baekhyun's words. He was about to cry in despair but Baekhyun ignored him. “The one in the drawer beside our bed.”
Chanyeol looked at him critically. “That one is not even yours.”
“But I knitted that sweater with my own hands for one month. That's mine. And I want it back.” Baekhyun held out his hands and waved in front of him. Chanyeol could see the tiny, faded scar on the right index of Baekhyun's hand where he hurt himself while knitting sweater for him.
When Baekhyun realized that Chanyeol had been staring at his scar, he dropped his hands immediately. He turned to other side, pretending to gaze out of the window.
Outside, they could see a group of children playing a snowball fight.
Chanyeol had always enjoyed the holiday build up more than Baekhyun. This was their first christmas together, and Chanyeol was busy until the last minute, joining the mad rush to buy and wrap his gifts. He also loved to take charge of decorating their home, while Baekhyun on the other hand, kept ranting how he did not want to get sap on his hands from the tree or get dust in his nose from unpacking all the ornaments. But Chanyeol saw how his face lit up as he placed each bauble and bulb into place.
On the morning of Christmas, Chanyeol woke up to the yelling of Baekhyun into his ears. He sat up a bit, pushing away a strand of hair and blinking. Once he was more awake, he was greeted with the sight of a scruffy but adorable looking Baekhyun, who was still in his pajama; gazing out the bedroom window at the sight of a gentle snowfall.
He stood beside Baekhyun overlooking the snow. It had already covered the lawn in the front of the house, and barely touched the sidewalk outside. A very thin frost gathered on the windows, and crawled around the edges of the front door. Though he could hardly see it, tiny speckles dropped from the sky, and dotted the world with a bright white. Chanyeol grinned,“White christmas.”
“Come on, husband. It's time for the presents!”
Chanyeol took the package Baekhyun handed to him, deadly curious about what it could be. He opened the wrapping and lifted the box’s lid to find a blue handknit sweater. Chanyeol stared down at the sweater for a moment, then lunged across the sofa as he pulled Baekhyun against him, and kissing the breath out of him. Baekhyun's hand landed in Chanyeol's hair, cradling the back of his head, and his lips parted slowly for Chanyeol. He nibbled at Baekhyun's lip before releasing it, keeping their foreheads close. “Thank you, Baek. It’s the most perfect gift anyone could ever….” He shook his head. “Is that what you've been trying to hide from me the whole month?” Chanyeol said, grinning. His fingers still moved softly through Baekhyun's hair. “You silly thing.”
“And it's worth it.” Baekhyun beamed at him. “Now, it's my turn.”
Baekhyun took the large package from his hands and tore the wrapping off. He was so excited that it seemed to take forever opening the box, but finally Baekhyun lifted his christmas present out of the closed case.
"Is this for me?"
Baekhyun was gaping at the guitar on his lap, mouth open.
"Yeah," Chanyeol breathed. "I didn't –" he swallowed hard, buying himself time to find the right words. "I thought that maybe this was what you wanted. This is only second hand, you know. I had to try and –"
"Chanyeol," he sobbed. "This is wonderful. Thank you."
Laughing softly, Chanyeol moved a little closer to him. “You are welcome. I’d really love to hear you play sometime.”
“You can hear me right now, if you like. I can play it for you.”
“Are you sure?”
Chanyeol questioned the smaller who was now settling himself on the floor. He watched Baekhyun tuned the instrument, cocking his head toward the strings, finessing the pegs, then looked at him. “What would you like to hear?”
“Whatever you like.”
Baekhyun grinned at him. He made a few experimental scrapes across the strings, then launched into music.
Chanyeol watched him, entranced. The piece sounded familiar but he couldn’t name it; his knowledge of music was limited to only a few songs. Whatever it was, it was beautiful. But it wasn’t the music that riveted his attention, it was Baekhyun.
People often spoke of him as being cold and emotionless. That had certainly been Chanyeol's impression of him before he’d gotten to know him personally. But the music was imbued by Baekhyun’s hands combined with his angelic voice with sweeping landscapes of emotion, as if everything he did not express in life was funneled into his song.
And Chanyeol sat there in the middle of the room, watching Baekhyun singing, and had a moment of clarity. He realized that he liked seeing Baekhyun happy and suddenly Chanyeol found himself wishing he could give Baekhyun the world to make him look like this every day.
I am in love with this man, and I am terrified.
It took him a moment to realize that Baekhyun had finished his song and was now looking at him with an expectant expression. “Chanyeol?” He said, sounding a bit unsure.
“You are amazing.”
Just looking at Baekhyun's self-satisfied grin was enough to send the butterflies in his stomach into a full gymnastic routine.
Chanyeol closed his eyes and held onto Baekhyun for all that he was worth. "Merry Christmas, Baek."
“Oh, before I forgot,”Baekhyun's voice snapped him out of the past. Chanyeol glanced at the lawyer behind the desk whose expression which chanyeol might probably laugh at when he was not in this situation. But his mind was already at loss. He turned to face baekhyun.
Baekhyun's hands reached for the pocket in his coat. When he pulled out, there was a tiny golden ring in his hand. “Here. I will give it back to you.”
Chanyeol thought he gasped aloud. He shot Baekhyun a shocked look, mouth slightly open, eyes rounded with surprise. After a beat, he told Baekhyun in a shaky voice. “You can keep it. Or throw away. whatever.”
“I can't. I - I don't want it.”
Chanyeol had put the first red rose in the middle of the hallway to their bedroom. Trailing that rose were flower petals that led to another rose which was a few paces away from the door of their bedroom.
Then, he waited for Baekhyun to come back home.
Out of the sounds of faint crickets' chirping, Chanyeol tried to pinpoint the noise of a vehicle. A good five minutes later, said noise was heard. Smiling, he continued to work his way towards the bedroom and waited for Baekhyun in there. He heard the car door close, their house door open, and then the usual "I'm home!" voice of Baekhyun. The stairs creaked as the smaller tripped up them, and Chanyeol swallowed audibly.
You can do this, Chanyeol told himself, you can so do this.
From the slighty opened bedroom door, Chanyeol watched Baekhyun crouched down and picked up the first red rose in the hallway, together with a card that read, 'This rose represents the past.'
Chanyeol silently chuckled at the confused Baekhyun as he followed the trail of petals to the second rose. He closed their bedroom door when the other became nearer to the second red rose with the note which read, 'This rose represents the present.'
The third rose was held by Chanyeol in the bedroom.
The door clicked open, revealing slightly confused Baekhyun who was still carrying the two red roses and cards in his hands. And Chanyeol walked towards him.
"this one," Chanyeol said softly, "represents the future."
He got down to one knee and turned the rose on its side to reveal a ring that looped around the stem. “I'm not sure if I'm rushing things. But I want to be with you whenever it is, the past, the present or the future. So, will you marry me, Baekhyun?”
Chanyeol had always wanted to be able to say that Baekhyun was his. It didn’t matter if it was formalized or if they were wearing each other’s rings. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with Baekhyun.
And he also knew that Baekhyun wanted to do so.
“Yes. Of course, yes!”
Chanyeol slipped the jewelry onto the other's finger, and watched Baekhyun's face changed into crimson red. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Baekhyun rolled his thumb over the ring, his eyes fixed on it, his face falling into thoughtful lines. “You know what these rings mean?”
Chanyeol fingers curled around his, and he kissed those slender fingers of Baekhyun.
“It means I belong to you. And you belong to me.” Baekhyun lifted his eyes and they held Chanyeol’s steadily, tenderly. “That you’re mine and I’m yours, and we always will be.”Baekhyun lowered his hand, his thumb once again caressing the gleaming band on Chanyeol's finger.
Chanyeol stared into his eyes, a poignant warmth blooming in his chest. “You are mine.”
“I am,” Baekhyun agreed softly, finally dropping Chanyeol’s hand and slipping his arms around his waist. Chanyeol lifted his hand, pushing at Baekhyun’s unruly fringe, his fingers savoring the feel of the silky hair. “Always.”
“You can sign the papers now. There'll be Guidance and Reconsideration Period. Then The Family Court will confirm the intention to divorce after one month.”
The lawyer sighed, obviously relieved that all of these came to an end. He seemed to have half a mind to crawl and hide under his desk and not come out for the next thousand years or so.
“I can recommend both of you to take counsel with a professional counselor who has expertise and experiences in counseling during one_”
There was a voice beside Chanyeol and the lawyer stared in horror when Baekhyun let a small whimper escape his mouth and then turned around to left the room. Before he knew what he was doing, Chanyeol ran after him to the parking lot.
Chanyeol watched Baekhyun walking away from him. His heart pounded for no reason, and his palms were suddenly sweaty. He didn't want Baekhyun to go away...even if it was only a couple of steps from him. In a burst of madness, he was sure that he would regret later, he reached out and grabbed hold of Baekhyun's arm again. To his horror, he saw tears rolling down Baekhyun's flushed cheeks.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
“Why are you doing this to me?”
Memory was such a fickle thing. Chanyeol didn’t remember a lot of things that happened more recently, but he did remember that cold, rainy evening with perfect clarity. He remembered the chill seeping into his body as he stood, clutching Baekhyun's slender wrist.
Baekhyun stared at him. His hair was hanging in his eyes, dripping water down his nose and over his lips, which sprayed as he spoke. But his eyes…his eye still burned him and threatened to not only break down his will, but virtually smash it apart.
“I think we both needed to take a step back, figure out what we’re doing and what we want.”
Baekhyun's voice growing quieter with each one. He wasn't looking at Chanyeol but instead staring at the wall off to the side of his face, his jaw clenched and his mouth pursed.
Chanyeol's hands reached out and grabbed Baekhyun round the back of his neck, pulling him into a deep kiss even as he whispered, “I don't think we_”
It was so bittersweet this kiss: the last kiss that they shared. Chanyeol thought. Baekhyun's lips were cool, but heated as they moved with his own like they had been made for them. Chanyeol's arms snaked round Baekhyun's waist, up his back, and bunch up his shirt, like he was hanging on and didn't ever wanting to let go. He was clinging desperately to his senses, his lips clinging desperately to Baekhyun's, and God, it felt so perfect and right, but it hurt. It hurt. It felt like he was burning and blistering.
Baekhyun stopped kissing and pulled back, gasping and breathing heavily.
“Let go,” he said, his voice sounding suffocated. He started to step back, but Chanyeol curled his hand around his arm, holding him in place.
“Baek.” Chanyeol whispered, despairing.
If you love him as much as you claim to, you’ll stop being a selfish little shit and let him go.
Unspoken words hung in the air. Then Chanyeol unclenched his fingers slowly, releasing Baekhyun.
“I love you,” Chanyeol whispered. The words poured from him like a dam bursting, uncontrollable. Destroying everything in its path.
“I love you.” He repeated again, even if there was no one to hear him.
Even if there was no one to say it back.
Chanyeol reached out, pulled Baekhyun hard against his chest. Baekhyun closed his eyes, his hands fisting in Chanyeol’s shirt, his body trembling a little. “I’m sorry, Chanyeol. I can't do it. I didn’t know,” Baekhyun said, his voice unsteady. “I didn’t know all those horrible things they kept talking to you. And I should have believed you.” He pressed his hand over the one on Chanyeol's chest.“I'm sorry that I've hurt you.”
“No, Baek. Look at me.” Chanyeol said firmly, pulling back and cupping the other's face in his hands, thumbs ghosting over the wet, flushed cheeks as he stared intensely into those brown eyes. “I'm the one who let you believe our relationship is not worth trying. I'm the one who let go of you.”
Baekhyun closed his eyes for a moment, inhaled, and then looked into Chanyeol's directly. “I'm taking a break.”
“Our CEO balks at giving me an indefinite break, telling me it's career suicide.” Baekhyun started to smile a little. “I threatened him that I'm not signing a new contract with him.”
Surprised, Chanyeol straightened and frowned. “I'm not sure it is a good news or bad news, Baek. I just want you to be happy. With me or without me.”
“How can I be happy without you.”
It broke his heart.
Desperately, Chanyeol reached for him, pulling him into his embrace and kissed him. Baekhyun moaned into his mouth, and was pressed between Chanyeol and his car.
I want you. I've missed your touch so much.
Chanyeol opened the door of his car and both of them fell on top of the car cushion, tangled in each other. His hair felt the same, exactly the same, and Chanyeol’s heart soared. His tongue tasted the same, and Chanyeol sucked on it greedily. His body felt the same against his, more arousing than any body before or since, and Chanyeol pressed into it, moving his other hand from Baekhyun's thighs around to fill his palm with one globe of his round ass. His hand lifted to the front of Baekhyun's shirt, and cool air washed over his skin, making his nipples contract swiftly. They separated just long enough for Chanyeol to drag his own shirt over his head and throw it aside.
“Oh, God,” Baekhyun groaned against cool skin when Chanyeol’s fingers slid down the crease between his cheeks, fingertips ghosting over the tightly furled entrance to his body. Almost instantly stars exploded behind his tightly closed eyelids when Chanyeol unerringly caressed the knot of nerve endings that inspired a rare kind of madness. Baekhyun knew he was mumbling incoherently, but he couldn’t control it.
When Chanyeol finally pulled back, pressing a gentle kiss to one shivering thigh, then the other, Baekhyun was a quivering mass of jangled nerve endings.
Chanyeol sent his hands up the sides of Baekhyun’s body, then he curled them around his slender ribcage. As he leaned over him, Baekhyun stared, his eyes glassy and his heart pounding as Chanyeol smoothly parted his thighs and knelt between them.
“Are you ready for me?”Chanyeol asked, his other hand dropping, sliding between Baekhyun's legs to give his rock hard cock a slow stroke before dropping lower, and Chanyeol finally pushed inside the clinging heat. His hand slided under and finally curled over Baekhyun's shoulder. Fingers dug into the smooth skin as Chanyeol sought the leverage that allowed him to press further, to connect their bodies in the deepest way possible. Baekhyun's neck arched as he pressed his head back into the bed, his own hands curling around Chanyeol’s hard biceps and holding on tight.
There was no need to hold back. This wasn't the time for slow and careful. Baekhyun hitched his thighs up higher around his waist, ankles crossed over Chanyeol's back, opening himself further. Eyes fixed on him, Baekhyun let Chanyeol see all the fear and hope that had been mingling in his mind for the past months.
"I love you." The words were out of his mouth before Chanyeol could stop it, murmured desperately as his arousal built.
The look of pained longing on Baekhyun's face morphed into soft expression.
“I love you too.”
Chanyeol leaned down to kiss him, soft and slow, and Baekhyun exploded in his hand, his body freezing as his cock pulsed warm come between them. Chanyeol captured Baekhyun's moan, letting Baekhyun gasp against his mouth, panting, as his own orgasm rushed through him.
Chanyeol planted a kiss on Baekhyun tenderly, almost chastely on the lips. When he lifted his head, Baekhyun looked up through pleasure glazed eyes to see Chanyeol watching him gently.
“So you are mine again?”
Alone in the office, Mr. Kim Jongdae put the papers back into the safe, wondering if the couple still needed them. He did hope the Park couple had actually made up.
And after this time, perhaps, even if things went wrong, they could fight a little harder.