“Heyyyyyy!” Yunho yelled, as he entered Jaejoong’s apartment along with Junsu, who just grinned and shouted a little ‘yo!’. Seeing, as they got no response, they figured that Jaejoong was in the kitchen – making food probably. The apartment wasn’t big at all, but when Jaejoong was cooking, he had a tendency to zone every sound out and just concentrate on the cooking.
Junsu motioned that he’ll be in the living room, while Yunho made his way to the kitchen, where Jaejoong was busy with the cooking – he had a concentrated look on his face, biting his lower lip. It made Yunho smile – he and Jaejoong hadn’t had a convenient time to meet for a week or two and Yunho felt a bit lonely. Jaejoong had been there for him since forever and he had become so dependant on the other, that even a week without Jaejoong would make him feel lonely. He felt like a wussy, but he needed his best friend to be there – supporting him.
Yunho tiptoed his way behind Jaejoong and slowly encircled his arms around the older man’s waist and put his chin on the other’s right shoulder; Jaejoong froze, but slowly relaxed (even leaned a bit) to the touch, when he realized that it was Yunho.
“Jumpy, aren’t you?” Yunho grinned and leaned onto Jaejoong, so he could see what the latter was cooking. He saw as the right corner of Jaejoong’s mouth stretched upwards and he licked his lips (for a fraction of a second Yunho wanted to lick those lips, but shrugged it off immediately, forgetting it). Jaejoong turned his head a bit, so he could see Yunho’s head resting on his shoulder.
“Usually random people don’t hug me in my apartment, you know, I do live alone after all,” Jaejoong stuck his tongue out to Yunho (Yunho saw as the pink flickered out and back into Jaejoong’s mouth, and he wanted to bite it before it disappeared into the black) and shook the younger one off before starting to set up the small kitchen table – it could seat only three people, but Jaejoong hadn’t seen the need to buy a larger one and to be honest, he didn’t have the space to get a larger one.
Yunho ruffled Jaejoong’s hair affectionately and made his way into the living room, where Junsu was watching soccer on TV.
When Yunho was out of sight, Jaejoong felt his legs turn into pudding under him – this was wrong, he didn’t want to feel like this, Yunho usually wasn’t like this, he usually didn’t display affection to Jaejoong – at least not like this. It was always just sex – no comforting words or actions, sex between them was just like two good friends having a good time – at least on Yunho’s part, Jaejoong himself enjoyed it of course (Yunho was gentle, not some rapist) but it was the after effects that made him want to stop.
After having sex with Yunho, he would wake up in an empty bed, sheets ruffled and a free spot next to him – up for anyone to take. Jaejoong would feel hollow – maybe smoke a cig, it depended on the day – and upset that he was throwing his pride away like this.
He sighed as he finished setting up the table, leaving the food on the kitchen counter so his ‘guests’ could portion their own meals out. (Jaejoong couldn’t get it why every time they visited Jaejoong’s apartment, they would insist on having food – even though they knew his financial situation. Morons, Jaejoong would think and smile.)
“Junsu, when’s Yoochun coming?” Jaejoong shouted from the kitchen. Junsu turned to look to the direction of the kitchen and yelled back, “As if I know! He should be here any minutes, that idiot,” he murmured the last part before turning his full focus back to the soccer. Yunho noticed how Junsu’s face softened at the mention of Yoochun. Well, they’re very good friends, after all.
Just after Junsu had shouted out his reply, someone knocked on the door (it was clear that the person knocking was Yoochun, all the others used the doorbell). Yunho shouted ‘it’s open!’ and Junsu smiled, stood up and walked quickly so he could be the first to greet Yoochun. Yunho shrugged and stood up too, not before stretching his arms.
What caught Junsu’s attention when he saw Yoochun wasn’t actually Yoochun, but someone behind him. A tall male around his age, dark brown hair and an elegant look – very sophisticated, black leather shoes and a long dark coat resting on his arm. His hair was longish – but still not long, parted to the left. Junsu had had no idea that Yoochun had a friend like this.
“Well just who’s this?” Jaejoong heard Junsu’s voice question from the living room and he couldn’t understand just who had Yoochun brought with him (it couldn’t be a woman, since, well, if it was, Junsu’s tone of voice wouldn’t have been… like that).
Jaejoong cleaned his hands with the towel and made his way to the living room, where he could see Yunho standing with a confused look on his face and Junsu with a mischievous smile. When he entered the living room he got a shock – his eyes widened dramatically.
“This is Shim Changmin, a very good friend of Jaejoong’s. Well, I saw him standing around at the café when I passed by and couldn’t help but ask if he wanted to come over to visit Jaejoongie. Well, he didn’t have anything against it,” at this point Changmin was about to say something, but Yoochun hushed him, “annnnd here we are!”
After Yoochun’s explanation Changmin walked slowly to the apron clad Jaejoong who had sweatpants and a white t-shirt on under it.
“I’m really sorry for intruding like this, Jaejoong hyung, but Yoochun-sshi pressured me onto coming here and well, you know…”
The blabbering, that Changmin had started, made Jaejoong laugh out loud and he told the younger that it’s ok, actually, there’s enough food for even YOUR appetite – and I’ve had it in mind to ask you to come over, but this apartment… well, it’s not that shabby but I’m pretty sure that your own is much grander—
Yoochun saw the way Yunho’s eyebrows furrowed when Changmin pulled his hyung closer and hugged him, whispering something into Jaejoong’s ear (“Sorry that I couldn’t bring a gift”, of course Yunho didn’t hear this) and Jaejoong laughed, saying that it’s ok, it’s ok before taking Changmin’s coat and putting it into the rack.
Junsu immediately flew to Changmin, introducing himself and Yunho (when Changmin’s gaze hit Yunho, the older one just waved as a greeting), asking everything about the other and at the same time nothing – Changmin seemed a bit disturbed by this, but answered all the questions he could with a polite smile, Changmin’s eyes watching Junsu’s arm that was around his own now (Junsu was dragging the younger one to the couch while spitting out the questions) and he threw a glance at Jaejoong (who was now standing next to Yunho, laughing at how enthusiastic Junsu was), a glance that shouted help me!, and Jaejoong just shook his head, grinning mischievously – eyes glinting with amusement.
“Isn’t he cute?” Jaejoong said, watching how Junsu was torturing Changmin with all the embarrassing questions and Yoochun was laughing at Changmin’s uncomfortable behaviour – Yunho watched how Jaejoong’s eyes laughed – he was happy.
That didn’t sit well with Yunho. And it made him think.
Jaejoong smiling like that because of someone that seemed really close with him and that person was someone Yunho didn’t know – all of that made Yunho feel annoyed. When had this... this boy met Jaejoong? Yunho had never even heard the name ‘Changmin’ (he had, but he didn’t remember it). It made him feel uneasy; that someone as able to walk into Jaejoong’s life like this.
If this kid is the reason why Jaejoong hasn’t had the time to meet me, I’m gonna fucking kick that elegant ass out of this apartment in this se—
“Hello? Anyone there?” Jaejoong’s voice shook him from his thoughts and Yunho gave a hesitant smile.
“Yeah, really cute,” and saw how Jaejoong smiled, while Yunho’s only thought at that moment was ‘what the fuck?’.
When Junsu’s questions took the wrong turn (“Your sexuality? I mean you’re really good-looking, and well I’m just wondering—“), Yoochun’s face turned a bit sour and Jaejoong took it as his cue to go and save Changmin from the wrath of Junsu.
“Hold it now, mister flirty; can’t you see that our guest is getting a bit uncomfortable here in this interrogation?” Jaejoong sashayed his way to the couch, leaning against it with his arms crossed. As Jaejoong spoke, his breathing hit the nape of Changmin’s neck – the parts that his hair didn’t cover – and Changmin shivered.
The kid is obviously affected by everything that Jaejoongie does, Yunho thought – the thought of someone making Jaejoong vulnerable and taking the attention that Jaejoong lavished on Yunho tasted bitter in his mouth. Yunho understood that Kim Jaejoong had his own life to live and his private life wasn’t Yunho’s business at all, but it still felt unfair thinking that he couldn’t drop by Jaejoong’s any time he wanted – and it would be okay with Jaejoong, he’d laugh and say something like I was just about to call you, anyway, or It’s okay, it’s okay, I have nothing better to do.
But now it was different.
During the last week... every time Yunho had tried to meet up with Jaejoong, Jaejoong had declined. He had told him that he has ‘other plans’ (plans with Changmin, Yunho thought and scoffed) or that he had been doing extra shifts for extra money. There was even a time when he had said that he was plainly too tired – and wanted to go home to sleep.
Yunho ruffled his own hair, let out a quiet ‘aish!’ and thought about Changmin and his reactions.
If the boy wants to get completely into Jaejoong’s life, he has to get through ME first, Yunho thought, nodding determinedly, and puffed his chest out (he hadn’t noticed how Yoochun was staring him with a weird look on his face) before making his way to the kitchen, where the others – except him and Yoochun – already were.
Jaejoong was putting some food onto Changmin’s plate – Yunho almost pointed out that the kid was 20 and could portion his own meals out – and Changmin smiled as thanks. They were eating in the kitchen where the small table was (Yoochun and Junsu had taken their meals to the couch, I can’t see the TV from here, Junsu had said) and Yunho decided to join them; the table could seat three people, right?
He slipped on the seat next to Jaejoong’s and put some of the dish onto his plate (giving a slight smile to Jaejoong) and took some water from the can. He put some of the dish into his mouth and was just about to comment, when someone beat him to it.
“This is really delicious, Jaejoong hyung,” Changmin said genuinely, with a thousand watt smile that made Jaejoong smile as well, “It’s really just like the coffee you make – amazing. You really have all the qualities for a mother – the intelligence, the cooking skills and the beauty.”
Okay, so now the kid is openly flirting with Joongie, Yunho frowned as Jaejoong blushed a bit (he usually didn’t get such open compliments for any of the three before-mentioned qualities) and huffed.
“Mother? Do you take me as a woman by any chance, Shim-sshi?” Jaejoong put his utensils down and threw a mock-glare at Changmin, who just laughed in turn.
Had they forgotten that Yunho was there? (He was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable not knowing what really went on between these two.)
The best friend of Jaejoong coughed, reminding the two that he still existed.
“So, Changmin, when did you meet Jaejoong?” Yunho asked while trying to get some of the noodles into his mouth, not succeeding – they dropped off back to the plate. Yunho pouted a bit and tried again. Jaejoong watched him, smiling affectionately and with kind eyes.
“We met… umm, was it a couple weeks ago?” after getting a nod from Jaejoong, he continued, “Yeah, couple weeks ago – at the café. Since then I’ve been visiting the café every day – of course not only for Jaejoong, but for the coffee he makes. It tastes heavenly when compared to the coffee other ‘baristas’ make,” Changmin finished with a kind smile, eyes gleaming innocently. Jaejoong repeated the ‘when compared to the coffee other baristas make’ part, huffed and turned his face away from Changmin – chin held up high with pride. Yunho pinched Jaejoong’s left cheek and the older let out a ‘yah!’, making the youngest chuckle.
He could be so cute.
“Hmm, what do you do for living?” Yunho was really interested in this fact. Changmin looked like a rich kid – or at least someone with a really high pay and he couldn’t think of any jobs that a 20-year-old boy like him could get.
“You’re starting to sound like Junsu, Yunnie,” Jaejoong said and fixed his gaze on Yunho – and Yunho knew what it meant; that he should drop the subject.
“It’s okay, Jaejoong hyung, Jung-sshi is just curious, I assume,” Changmin gave one of his normal, kind, innocent smiles to Yunho and continued, “Well my job is kinda normal – a bit like photographing, but not.” Jaejoong’s eyes widened at this and his mouth stretched into a huge smile.
“Photographing? I love photographing! I’d like a SLR camera, but those are too expensive for my budget now…,” Jaejoong ended it with an embarrassed smile and Yunho ruffled his hair, not able to resist any physical contact with Jaejoong when he had that look on his face.
Changmin chuckled, “Well, when you’re clean on your loans you can start on saving money for one of those.”
As they ate, Yunho discussed many things with the other two (he usually didn’t talk much when he was at Jaejoong’s) and came to the conclusion, that Shim Changmin wasn’t that bad of a guy. His childish behaviour and intelligent words made him a person people found themselves easily liking.
Their chatter ended immediately when they heard something dropping to the floor. The three turned around to see Junsu standing there on the entrance of the kitchen, a hand on his mouth and a plastic mug on his feet.
“Now I know why you looked so familiar! You’re Shim Changmin!” he stated quite loudly and pointed at Changmin. Jaejoong’s eyebrows furrowed.
“No shit, Sherlock? Wh—“ he began, but was interrupted by Junsu again.
“No no no no no! Not Shim… What was it again—oh yes! Choikang Changmin! The guy that’s always on Yunho hyung’s girlfriend’s magazines – those women’s magazines! That model guy thing!” Junsu everything-but-shouted and Changmin’s eyes widened slightly.
Jaejoong’s face showed clearly what he was thinking; what the hell?!, but when he noticed Changmin biting his lower lip (clearly nervous), he remembered that the Changmin he got to know was Shim; not Choikang.
“No wonder you always have those sunglasses on and all those covering clothes when you come to the café! Wow, this really explains a lot of things, you know, Changmin,” Jaejoong said, smiling in a reassured way that made Changmin’s heart skip a beat.
Changmin had never ever been attracted to anyone in his life. He had gotten enough of the beauty and the lies the beautiful people created in his youth that he even felt appalled at times by the beauty of the female models he had to work with – and it was even worse when the beauty was false; fake breasts and botox in their faces, make-up covering every imperfection that made them human.
So one Tuesday morning he had gone to a cosy looking café that was on his way to work and met a person that looked honest, kind and at the same time beautiful. It felt wrong, really wrong to describe other man as beautiful, but it was the only thing that came into Changmin’s mind (okay so he lied, beautiful along with the words pretty, lovely) and he couldn’t but get slightly interested in the man.
It had been a (pleasant) surprise that the barista could make delicious coffee; the person (Kim Jaejoong he had read from the nameplate) was as complex as a Rubik’s cube; but somehow easily solvable.
Changmin had frightened himself with the straightforward attitude he had shown to Kim Jaejoong.
But as he got to know the older man, he found himself respecting him; Jaejoong had financial problems (this Changmin found out from Park Yoochun, a friend of Jaejoong’s) and love problems (again, Park Yoochun told him this), but he was still able to live and at least try enjoying life. This made a great impression on Changmin; he himself had got everything he wanted since he was young, he had never had any problems with money and if he had been interested in love, he would’ve had enough love to share.
There was one thing Changmin was sure of. He wasn’t in love with Jaejoong.
He didn’t know what love felt like – but he was sure that this feeling he felt for Jaejoong was not love. This feeling felt more like platonic, but he didn’t love Jaejoong in any romantic sense – this Changmin was sure of. Their relationship was more of a dongsaeng – hyung relationship. And he knew Jaejoong felt the same.
When Yoochun had mentioned that Jaejoong had problems with love, Changmin was quite shocked. Who wouldn’t want this person he had got to know? Changmin had tried to pry more into this matter, but Yoochun had shrugged all the questions off about Jaejoong’s unrequited love and said that he should ask directly from Jaejoong about it.
Changmin didn’t have enough courage to ask something so personal from a man he had known for such a short time.
But then today, on this surprisingly cold day, he had gone to the café in the evening – to check out if Jaejoong had a shift by any chance. The older man wasn’t there and Changmin was a bit disappointed, but shrugged it off and was about to walk home, when Yoochun saw him and came to greet.
The man told him all about the gathering at Jaejoong’s – two other friends of Jaejoong’s were coming, his eyes slightly darkening at the mention of two – and Changmin first declined; he didn’t want to intrude to a friendly meet-up with friends like this.
But then Yoochun mentioned that the object of Jaejoong’s unrequited love was coming also.
Changmin had immediately changed his mind.
When he had seen those two friends of Jaejoong – Kim Junsu and Jung Yunho – he immediately knew which one was the one Jaejoong had loved for the past years. The fleeting glances Jaejoong gave and the way he touched the other just a little more than necessary made it obvious (to Changmin, Changmin was an intelligent person with the IQ of 155 and nothing went unnoticed by him – even if he acted childish at times).
It disappointed Changmin, at first, when Yunho didn’t show any signs of jealousy but afterwards when his face told more than his words did, Changmin felt proud. He was sure that Yunho felt something for Jaejoong – maybe it wasn’t love, but it could grow into love at some point. Some best friends were like this – a bit possessive, scared of losing one of the closest persons they had to someone else.
Everything was going well until Kim Junsu – the dolphin boy, the duck butt, – had recognized Changmin. The youngest had gone into a silent panic, his mind in chaos and he felt his thoughts flowing out of his ears. I had hidden this fact because I didn’t want it to be known – the sentence was stupid and didn’t fit his level of intellect, but it still played itself in his mind.
But Jaejoong didn’t disappoint him.
No wonder you always have those sunglasses on and all those covering clothes when you come to the café! Wow, this really explains a lot of things, you know, Changmin, the oldest man had said, a kind smile on his face and a reassuring hand meeting Changmin’s left shoulder.
Changmin felt like hugging Jaejoong at that moment – he felt too emotional, Jaejoong wasn’t like all the people he got to know through his parents and work – but restricted himself.
The rest of the evening went well, maybe even better than in the beginning; Changmin was able to speak about the things he had hidden from Jaejoong and felt a sense of pride every time he made Jaejoong or the others amazed (but he liked seeing Jaejoong’s eyes wide, lips slightly parted).
Everything felt warm.
Jaejoong sat on his bed and watched out of the window. The sun was setting and he had the pleasure to feel some of the last rays against his face, warm and inviting. It painted the normally white falls red and yellow and orange; warm colours.
There was no one next to him and the bed felt like it didn’t need a second person.
The evening had been somewhat relieving; Changmin had been open about everything and Yunho had been… Yunho – but Jaejoong wasn’t prepared for a change in his best friend, so maybe it was better like this. Maybe he could wait.
Jaejoong’s back hit the bed as the last rays of sun disappeared… somewhere, Jaejoong wasn’t quite sure where. He fell asleep with the thought of sun rays dancing in Europe (he had always wanted to visit a country in
Jaejoong smiled in his sleep and curled his body into the fetal position.
“Jaejoong, what the FUCK?” One thing hadn’t changed; Yoochun still threw fits in the mornings.
“Chunnie, you don’t like it how I wake you up?”
“…fu—I mean… what’d you say?”
“Are you awake yet?”
“…wh…,” a male voice could be heard in the background – was that Junsu?
“Yoochun, is that Junsu?”
“Yeah, after Hyukjae picked me and Junsu up we went clubbing, you know, I haven’t met any chicks for the past week because of work – and decided to relax now, but…” Junsu was speaking something in the background and Yoochun burst into laughter, making Jaejoong distance himself from the phone. Even if the phone wasn’t near his ear, he could hear Yoochun’s and Junsu’s laughter there.
They’re gonna wake up the whole neighbourhood.
“Jaejoong, oi, Jaejoong – are you there?”
“Yeah, yeah. But I’ve gotta go to work, you know, so—“
“Did Yunho stay last night?”
“Uh, no… Why?”
“He just told me that his girlfriend wouldn’t be coming home that night, so I wondered if he stayed for… you know.”
Jaejoong thought about it for a while. Wasn’t this a good thing – that Yunho hadn’t come for sex? A part of him was glad, happy, relieved that he didn’t have to feel that hollowness, that incomplete feeling – that he didn’t have to wake alone after a night of something that made Jaejoong want to wake up with a person next to him.
And then a part of him feared that Yunho would never touch him again, never see the way Yunho’s face became crinkled and then relaxed when he came. It felt embarrassing to look back on those moments – even a bit humiliating.
“Well, he didn’t.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” Fucker, reading my mind like that.
“But you know, I gotta go – Junsu’s about to rip my head off if I don’t end the call now, so…”
“Call me when you get back from work. I’ll come and visit, okay?”
“Don’t sound so upset, you idiot. I’m pretty sure Yunho wants to fuck that pathetic excuse of an ass you have again – even if for the wrong reasons…” Jaejoong heard Junsu’s confused voice, something along the lines of ‘what the fuck?!’ or similar, but Jaejoong couldn’t bring himself to care if Junsu knew. He smiled.
“Whose ass are you calling pathetic, when yours is… well, I don’t know what they even call that abominable thing that you have.”
“Oi, oi, oi now, Joongie! Don’t go insulting this fine A-quality butt I have!” Junsu’s dolphin voice was heard in the background and the boy laughed when Yoochun fell silent, and then continued, “I really gotta go before the dolphin becomes too mean.”
“You really should, nimrod.”
“Jaejoong—I mean, what the hell? Nimrod?”
“You like it?”
“No fucking way in hell, shitstain.”
“Just hang up already, bastard.”
“Maybe I will, douchebag.”
Yunho came into the café in the morning – at 7.45 to be exact. The man rarely visited the café in the mornings because his dance instructing (elderly people in the mornings, rehabilitation people in the days and adults and teenagers in the afternoons and evenings) began some days at 8 AM and some days at 1 PM. If it started later, he would also work later into the evenings.
So today his work began at 1 PM – but why is he here? Jaejoong wondered. Usually Yunho liked to sleep late on days like these.
Yunho strode to the counter with long steps and smiled brightly as he sat down in front of Jaejoong. The seat in front of Jaejoong seemed to be always empty – no, the seats on the counter always were empty. It seemed uncomfortable to sit close in front of someone they didn’t know while the other was working there.
“What are you doing here?” was what Jaejoong said and not what Yunho expected. He expected a friendly smile and a breath of ‘what’d you like?’ like the other customers got. Not a dull ‘what are you doing here?’ – almost like telling him to get out of here.
“I mean, you usually sleep late on days like these, so… What are you doing here?” Jaejoong cleared up the slightly malicious sentence he had said before. Yunho grinned a shit-eating grin.
“Well I detest waking up in the mornings like this, but this morning Heechul woke me up at half past six, calling me about something as random as what do cats eat, I mean—who the hell calls his friends in the morning hours to ask a moronic question like that?! Everyone knows what cats eat – and if some idiot doesn’t know, they can just Google it!” Yunho ended his rant with a little huff in the end – he is so cute at times when he isn’t in bed, Jaejoong thought but tried to bring his concentration back to Yunho’s speech but completely missed the end of it.
Yunho was waiting for a response.
“Yeah right,… sure?” Jaejoong tried, an uncertain smile on his face and Yunho laughed.
“Were you even listening? God, Joongie, you yourself asked why I was here and then you tune me out? Geez, thanks,” the younger one whined with a mock-hurt look on his face and Jaejoong ruffled his hair – Yunho leaned slightly to the touch.
Changmin was about to enter the café Jaejoong worked at – but at the sight of Yunho he stopped. He watched as the two talked – and when Jaejoong went to serve a young looking businessman, Yunho’s eyes followed and narrowed when the man’s eyes lingered on Jaejoong a second longer than it was appropriate.
When Jaejoong had returned to the counter, Changmin watched Yunho’s lips as he was speaking (“Did you see how that guy looked at you? I mean— is he gay or something?”) and Jaejoong laughed at it, threw a towel at Yunho and said something (“Stop gossiping about my customers, dimwit.”) that Changmin obviously didn’t hear.
Yunho laughed and took Jaejoong’s hand into his own before sipping his coffee and checking out the other people that were in the café. Jaejoong had a confused look on his face as he was wondering the meaning of the hand-holding, but smiled and stared down at his own shoes.
Changmin turned away from the café, smiling brightly – somewhat happy for his hyung. He knew that something could develop from those feelings Yunho had, but it would take some time.
Changmin just needed a good plot to get the emotions out of the man.
He smirked and put on his sunglasses.
It was going to be a bright day.
* * *