Love Is A Lie
Kyuhyun looked at his own reflection in the mirror and groaned. His lips were chapped, his eyes were red, and his skin was blotchy. He had been dry heaving all night, all the symptoms of a hangover, except it wasn't a hangover. Unless it was possible to have a hangover from a broken heart. He should have gotten over it by now, it's not like they broke up the night before. It had already been two months and twenty-three days, but who was counting? Okay, he was, but Yesung didn't seem phased by it at all. The senior went about his life without Kyuhyun. He was all smiles and sunshine while Kyuhyun could feel himself die slowly on the inside. Everyday Kyuhyun felt just a little bit emptier, a little bit colder. Yesung had been his only source of light for a year and now he craved it like a struggling plant craved the sun.
Kyuhyun traced his pale face with shaky fingers. It was Wednesday, he still had half a week of school to go. Three more days of slow motion torture in mind-numbing classes while he pretended not to be staring across the cafeteria at his ex-boyfriend during lunch time. He splashed icy cold water on his face to try to lessen the swelling of his puffy eyes and smeared on concealer. His father would tell him that “men don't wear make-up,” but his father was never dumped by Yesung. His father wouldn't have approved of him falling in love with another man either, but that was no longer an issue. Kyuhyun checked his reflection again and made a mental note to thank his sister for the concealer. At least he could try to look normal in class and avoid any unnecessary questions about how he was holding up. He wanted to appear normal. He wanted to feel normal again, but he would never be the same now that he was alone. Kyuhyun brushed his bangs low; half-shielding his eyes, half-shielding his soul.
Because of You
Careless, that was the only word that Kyuhyun could use for it. Yesung had caught him staring several times. He really wanted the earth to open up and swallow him whole when the handsome senior raised a quizzical eyebrow at him during lunchtime and flashed him a brilliant smile. All Kyuhyun could do was sputter and choke on his carton of milk. Kyuhyun's best friend Eunhyuk had tried to comfort him. “Hey, no one else noticed.” Sure, not even all the popular seniors that sat at Yesung's table because they were pointing, staring, and whispering. They were obviously gossiping about any other junior sitting at his table staring open-mouthed at the most popular singer in school. Yesung was his once, so why couldn't he stare? Kyuhyun tried to bolster his own confidence until a popular girl suddenly clung to Yesung's arm and started chatting away as if it were her natural place. Kyuhyun's natural place was the far side of the cafeteria, all alone. He felt exiled, even Eunhyuk's voice couldn't reach him anymore.
The rest of the day passed by in a haze, so much so that he didn't even notice the object of his affection approach him in the hallway until it was too late. A familiar husky voice called his name and Kyuhyun stopped dead in his tracks just in time not to crash into Yesung. They were too close as it was. Kyuhyun was looking down at a perfect heart-shaped face so close to his own that their noses were almost touching. He stumbled backwards hastily and tripped on his own feet. Small hands instinctively reached out and steadied him while a loud chuckle filled the air.
“Are you okay?” Yesung asked between gasps of laughter.
Kyuhyun looked down at the older boy and flushed, “Y-yeah.”
He couldn't help himself when Yesung was so close, he allowed his eyes to linger a bit longer. The same eyes that curved into half moon shapes when amused, the sexy curve of lips that used to fit perfectly on his own, and the warm laugh that washed over him so completely it made him shiver. He missed Yesung so much, he was like rain on a parched summer's day. Kyuhyun needed him so much that his voice went dry. Yesung released him as soon as he was steady and the loss of warmth was so sudden Kyuhyun had to clench his hands into fists in order not to grab back onto those hands.
“You're looking good.”
“T-thanks,” Kyuhyun smacked himself in the face mentally. He didn't want to stutter every time his ex-boyfriend spoke to him.
Yesung stared at him with an unreadable expression and Kyuhyun smiled nervously.
“Are you mad at me?” Yesung asked softly.
“I would never!” Kyuhyun exclaimed while shaking his head.
“Then why haven't I seen you at choir practice?”
“Ah, I...well, I'm not feeling very well.” he croaked hoarsely. It wasn't exactly a lie, he hadn't been quite himself since their break-up.
“You do sound a little hoarse, but you could still show up for practice!” Yesung scolded. “I miss hearing your voice.”
Kyuhyun felt his face burn with embarrassment, “My voice is nothing like yours.”
“That's why we compliment each other so well,” Yesung said so softly that Kyuhyun wondered if he had imagined it. “Well, I expect to see you there after school tomorrow. Don't forget!”
Yesung then left just as suddenly as he had appeared and Kyuhyun was left in a daze. In truth, he wasn't sure if he could face Yesung at choir practice, it would be too much time together in the same room. At least they wouldn't be alone, but his heart still carried a dull ache. He wasn't confident that he'd be able to hide it for more than five minutes.
When Eunhyuk came to meet with Kyuhyun after classes that day he found the taller boy banging his head against his own metal locker.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
Kyuhyun turned to his best friend with tears in his eyes, “Hyuk, I'm an idiot.”
“Yes, I already knew that.” Eunhyuk wrapped an arm around Kyuhyun's waist and walked him home.
Friday, two months and twenty-five days apart, but now he was going to torment himself with Yesung's presence at choir practice. He threw up the remnants of his dinner and checked his reflection in the mirror. There were dark shadows under his eyes and his cheeks were beginning to hollow out. This was not good, he really needed to do something about his queasy stomach. All the concealer in the world wouldn't be able to hide his sickly pallor. Kyuhyun flopped back onto his bed and considered skipping school. Then he would have a whole weekend to avoid making a fool of himself in front of Yesung again, but he promised to go to practice. Kyuhyun groaned and dug the heels of his hands into his eyes. His vision blurred with the pressure and he kept his eyes closed for a few moments more. Darkness spread and sleep claimed him, casting him into memories he tried to forget. The sound of the ocean, the feel of a warm hand in his own, a smile, a kiss... He woke up with a start as his second alarm clock went blaring off. Kyuhyun was going to be late for school. He scrambled out of bed with a wrinkled uniform and bedhead that he tried to smooth out in vain.
After school, Kyuhyun entered the practice room a nervous wreck. Everyone was surprised to see him except for Yesung. Yesung beamed up at him and his breath caught in his chest. Almost three months and the older boy still took his breath away. Kyuhyun smiled awkwardly and wondered if life would have always gone on in such a fashion even if he had never dated Yesung. It was like that little blip of his life had never mattered in the grand scheme of things. The young man with the art-like voice would always smile and always sing and it didn't matter if Kyuhyun had ever been in the equation. It wouldn't have mattered if he had ever been born. Kyuhyun swayed on his feet, he felt weak. Yesung watched him with a frown.
“Kyuhyun-ah, are you feeling alright? You look a little pale.” Yesung reached out for him and Kyuhyun thought life was really unfair as he crumpled to the ground.
Kyuhyun was lost in darkness. He dreamed that he was back on that beach, but he was alone. It was eerily silent and the ocean was eerily still. There were no people. There were no wildlife. There wasn't even a breeze. It was just him, the sand, the silent ocean, and the relentless afternoon sun that threatened to bake him to a crisp. He looked down at his arms and was surprised to see that his pale skin did not have a sunburn, but it was steadily turning a dark brown color. He stared at his hands in horror as black claws began to grow from his fingertips. Then he saw it. His shadow. There was something odd about his shadow, something was sprouting from his shoulders. Jagged, uneven, sharp. Wings. Not beautiful white wings like angels would have but more bat-like, leathery and covered with a web of black veins. He was a monster. That's why Yesung left him. That's why Yesung couldn't love him. Kyuhyun was an ugly monster on the inside. He began to laugh hysterically, but the laughter turned into strangled sobs and he began to scream and cry. ”Please don't leave me, please help me, please!” He thought he would be trapped in this darkness forever until it began to rain. Suddenly, the hideous wings and the black claws melted away.
Kyuhyun felt something warm and wet on his hands. He was finally pulled out of that strange nightmare. He blinked in disbelief, Yesung was holding his hand and crying. Kyuhyun looked around slowly, he was in a hospital bed hooked up to a saline drip. Yesung had stayed by his side. Kyuhyun cried and the deep, dark eyes of the man he loved suddenly focused on him. Kyuhyun felt a glimmer of hope blossom in his heart. Yesung still cared enough to watch over him, he still cared enough to cry over him.
“Kyuhyun-ah! Are you alright? I'll call for a nurse.” Yesung got up, but Kyuhyun clasped onto his hand tightly and pulled him back.
“Don't leave me.” He could say it now. Two months ago the words were caught in his throat, lodged in his heart, but he could say it now. “I love you.”
Yesung sank back down into his chair and looked at Kyuhyun sadly. “I thought we were clear about this when we broke up.”
“I can't get by without you.”
“You promised me that you'd take care of yourself and now look at this mess.” Yesung gestured to the IV.
“I love you,” Kyuhyun persisted.
Yesung teared up, “Kyuhyun-ah, we can't go through this again.”
“Is it so easy to stop loving someone?” Kyuhyun asked dejectedly.
“Maybe, but I'll always love you in my own way.” Yesung ran his fingers through Kyuhyun's hair gently. “You'll understand one day, I'm not the one you really need.”
Kyuhyun turned away from Yesung as fresh tears welled up. Yesung released his hand and walked away. Kyuhyun felt his heart break for the second time. Yesung was right, they couldn't go through this again. It still hurt like hell to be abandoned the second time around.
Love is a Lie
Kyuhyun had finally lost count. He didn't remember how many days it had been since Yesung broke up with him. He didn't remember how many days it had been since the hospital. He didn't even remember how many days it had been since he locked himself up in his room with the curtains drawn and the lights off. He vaguely remembered his mother's pleading, his father's screaming, and Eunhyuk coming to chat about school. He didn't want to do anything. He didn't want to go anywhere. He just wanted to hide in the dark.
Eunhyuk came everyday, disturbed his peace and dragged his mind out from the murky depths of memories that he desperately wanted to hold onto. He would open the curtains and let the light in even as Kyuhyun grumbled and cursed and withdrew into a darker corner of his bedroom. Eunhyuk would dust, clean, and chatter non-stop. He talked about friends, complained about assignments, talked about dance club, and tried to get Kyuhyun to go back to school. The one thing he never mentioned was Yesung.
“Everyone misses you Kyu, you should at least visit for a while.”
“I doubt it.”
“They just want to see if I've lost my mind yet. Unfortunately, I haven't completely escaped reality yet, everything still hurts too much.”
“That's not true! We all love you! We're worried about you! That's why everyone wants to see you.”
Kyuhyun drew his knees up to his chest and hugged himself with boney fingers. Eunhyuk gasped at how thin his best friend was getting. “Hyuk, did you know? Love is just a lie. It doesn't exist...anywhere.”
Eunhyuk left early that day and Kyuhyun figured that he would never see his best friend again. Yet another tie lost and he wasn't even surprised. He was surprised when Eunhyuk returned as usual the next day as if nothing had happened, but Kyuhyun noticed a bandage wrapped around his right hand.
“What happened to your hand?”
“Oh, this?” Eunhyuk curled his hand into a fist and smiled as he tucked it out of sight into his jean pocket. “It accidentally ran into Yesung's face.”
Kyuhyun gasped, he wasn't prepared to hear that name spoken. He cried, “Thank you.”
Eunhyuk hugged him and they spent the night sleeping up against the wall with the curtains still opened to the world.
I Can't Do This Again
It was a Saturday. Kyuhyun still didn't know how many days had passed and he smiled. He figured he was finally on the road to recovery. He sat up in his bed and stared out the window, the light was so bright it was blinding. He stretched his hand out towards the golden sun and hummed at the warmth that spread through him. It was a similar feeling to being in love with Yesung, correction, it was similar to how he used to feel about Yesung. No tears came this time. Kyuhyun leaned back on his arms and smiled. He loved Yesung dearly, that was never a lie. It was possible Yesung loved him too and the older boy didn't lie.
Monday, Kyuhyun had finally returned to school much to the delight of all his friends. He wasn't naive though, strangers were gossiping about him, about his depression, about being rejected by Yesung again. There was nothing he could do about that other than grit his teeth and bear with it. Yesung was a big part of his life, outsiders just wouldn't understand. Kyuhyun was thankful he had Eunhyuk through it all and it had given him just enough courage to show his face in front of the choir.
"Are you really sure that you want to be in the same room as him again?" Eunhyuk asked before he ran off to dance club.
"Him? Ah, Yesung-shii is a respected sunbae. It's natural that he'd be there and if I want to continue singing it's natural I'd be there too." Kyuhyun tried to refer to Yesung formally, but it sounded alien even to his own ears.
He had to try though, he needed to create the distance. Yesung was a senior that everyone respected. They had no more intimate ties, there was no reason for Kyuhyun to even refer to Yesung as "Hyung" anymore. He would be formal and respectful and hopefully he could make it through choir without embarrassing himself any further. That's what he tried to tell himself, but it stung when he saw Yesung's pained expression at the formal greeting. Kyuhyun shouldn't have cared. They were over. "They" were merely in the past, but Kyuhyun never wanted to see that kind of frown on Yesung's face ever again so he reverted to calling the older boy "Hyung." Kyuhyun sometimes wished he could kick himself for having a spine made out of jello. Yesung had hurt him so much and yet he couldn't even distance himself.
His second mistake was staying for rehearsal. Kyuhyun had convinced himself that he was ready, but it had been months since he had truly heard Yesung sing. It had been months since he had heard the voice that he had loved so much. The memories came rushing back and tears threatened to spill from his eyes, but he held them back because he promised himself never again. He couldn't do this all over again. That's what Yesung had told him in the hospital, they couldn't do this. It hurt so much, Kyuhyun agreed he couldn't do this again. He couldn't live through it. He made a hasty exit once practice and rehearsals were over and didn't show up for choir again.
Kyuhyun wanted to pat himself on the back. He had managed to avoid running into Yesung for the rest of the school year, but it didn't mean his eyes didn't linger on the senior when he caught a glimpse of him and his raven hair. It didn't mean that he wouldn't often reminisce about the time they spent together. It just meant he was good at avoiding what he feared the most, rejection.
The second time Yesung rejected him he had sunken into a deep depression, he feared the possibility of a third time. That would kill him for sure. So Kyuhyun crammed his feelings and his heart deep down into his chest and pretended that he was over his first love. He was doing a good job of it too until Yesung sought him out before graduation.
"Kyuhyun-ah, I just wanted you to know Eunhyuk-shii and I had a talk while you were gone back then."
Kyuhyun cringed and thought about Eunhyuk's bandaged hand.
"I just wanted you to know, it was never a lie."
"My love for you, it was never a lie."
Yesung walked away then and Kyuhyun couldn't stop the tears from falling. He told himself never again, never again, but he really wanted to be with Yesung again. Even if the older boy would walk out on him a fourth time.