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The bass is always pounding at Club Zouk. The decor has a hint of the futuristic about it with its ultra-modern aluminum bar stools, and the walls are peppered with blue LED light. It's like a midnight sky, illuminated by a million pinpricks of light. Club Zouk is about as far from piano sonatas and concertos as it's possible to get, but Joonmyun doesn't mind. Today has been long and heinous, and he’s up to here with grumpy kids and teenagers.

As soon as he stepped out of the music school where he worked, Joonmyun had practically groaned in relief—hastily removing his tie and loosening his collar. That had been hours ago. He's since exchanged his blue chambray button-down shirt and tan chinos for ripped black jeans and a sleeveless, black tee that clings to his lean, toned body. The tee is a plain one because Joonmyun prefers clean and simple lines. This is about as wild as Joonmyun ever gets and that's okay with him.

He used to come here with his friends all the time until a few months back. They'd started hanging out at Destiny a few blocks away because, as Kyungsoo had rightly pointed out: their drinks are cheaper and the boys are cuter.

So it had been a surprise to Joonmyun when Jongdae had suggested they hang out at Club Zouk tonight—for a change. But Joonmyun had always liked the house music at Club Zouk; and the cool bartender Amber sometimes gave him free shots of Triple Sec when no one was paying attention. He hadn't seen her in months and free Triple Sec sounded real good after the day he'd had. So Joonmyun had agreed to Club Zouk. Without hesitation.

He should have known better.

 

***

 

Of course, Jongdae only tells him ten minutes after they arrive, that they're meeting “someone” here. Joonmyun's gaze flicks over to Baekhyun and Kyungsoo making out on the couch before settling on Minseok's mouth on Jongdae's neck—and makes the obvious third wheel connection.

"You fucking set me up with someone? Are you serious?!"

"Hey, hey! Who said anything about setting you up? I just want you to meet this dude. He's nice, okay? From Accounting. I've known him a while but I didn't know he was gay till super recently."

"He's your colleague? No fucking way. This has Very Bad Idea written all over it. I don’t date. I like being single. I don’t need a nice, gay accountant in my life." Joonmyun holds his hands up in an emphatic gesture of NOPE. But Jongdae is nothing if not persistent.

"His name is Choi Minho. He's 6 feet...I dunno, 13? He's really good looking and he's fucking tall, okay? With legs that go on forever and his biceps are like...he could just pick you up real easy and j—"

"Careful. You sound like you want him to pick you up and throw you over his shoulder with those rippling biceps of his," Minseok's voice is dripping with sarcasm as he gives Jongdae a well-placed pinch on the waist which makes him yelp.

“You know I have eyes for no one but you, babe,” Jongdae gives him a lascivious smile and a kiss which might have looked like a gesture of pure lust to any stranger in the club, but Joonmyun knows better. Jongdae is totally gone on Minseok even if he always tries to pretend he's too cool to feel any actual emotion for another human being.

“You guys are so gross. I’m leaving,” Joonmyun announces.

“Wait, I see Minho. Over there, Myun,” Jongdae surfaces from the kiss to point in the direction of a tall, tanned, broad-shouldered male striding through the crowd. His eyes light up when he spots Jongdae waving to him and Joonmyun thinks about an evening of awkward getting-to-know-you small talk ahead of him and...he just can’t do it. Not to mention the fact that Jongdae’s colleague is just a little too handsome for comfort. Joonmyun doesn’t feel like putting his heart on the line and his heart always tries to get in the act no matter how hard he tells it to butt out.

I’m really sorry, Choi Minho. I just came here to dance, Joonmyun apologizes softly—just before he turns on his heel and heads for the pulsing mass of arms and legs on the dance floor.

“Myun, come back you dumb ass!” Jongdae yells but Joonmyun can barely make out his voice over Major Lazer and DJ Snake's driving beats and he’s glad for that.

I just came here to dance, he whispers to no one as he slips into the crowd on the dance floor.

 

***

 

There’s a boy with pink hair dancing on his own—at least Joonmyun thinks it's pink. But who can tell under the sickly purplish white strobe lights? He’s wearing a sleeveless black tee that’s not too different from the one Joonmyun is wearing. His arms are slim and toned, and the intricate, black geometric flower tattoo inscribed across his left shoulder is stunning.

The boy's long, lean body is gyrating, his movements fluid and elegant. He's so beautiful that Joonmyun's heart catches and trips over itself. He wonders if the boy is a complete dick. Someone that attractive has to be a dick, right? But that’s okay because Joonmyun isn’t planning on chatting him up. He just loves the way he looks as he sways to the music—eyes closed in some expression of rapture.

Oh God, he’s beautiful.

Joonmyun isn't good with words. All he knows is that he likes the boy's exotic features and the lazy sensuality of his eyes. And he's drawn to the generous curves of his mouth, the strong line of his jaw. Irresistibly so.

The boy's ear lobes are studded through with multiple piercings, but they're not big, in your face ones (whatever they're called). They're fine hoops which look elegant against his skin. Joonmyun can't tell whether they're silver or gold because in the club, pretty much everything is bathed in varying shades of pink and purple.

And then there's his body. The boy's body is lean and long with broad, bony shoulders. He's at least 6 feet tall, Joonmyun reckons. Enough to tower over him and make him feel overwhelmed. Not that he wants to be overwhelmed by the pink-haired stranger. His movements are supple and energetic and flowing and for just a few seconds, Joonmyun imagines that body moving against his.

Embarrassed, he pulls his gaze away from the stranger and just concentrates on his own awkward dance moves. He never manages to look comfortable on the dance floor but he doesn't really care what people think. Joonmyun just wants to dance.

"Do you mind if I—" The voice is like velvet. The music is loud, so whoever it is has to speak right next to Joonmyun's ear, just so Joonmyun can hear him. Hot puffs of breath are tickling his ear and Joonmyun feels an answering tug in his groin. This never happens. Not in public. Why is a complete stranger making him feel so aroused? A complete stranger whose face he can't even see. This isn't him at all.

"Sorry?" Joonmyun turns towards the stranger and his heart is suddenly beating too fast, too quick because it's Pink-haired Hottie. And his hair really does look pink, now that they're face-to-face.

"You seem to be dancing alone and I was wondering if maybe I could join you? If this is awkward, just let me know and I'll go,"

"Well, I guess it's a little awkward," Joonmyun laughs nervously, "but stay anyway?"

The boy looks...relieved. Had he been expecting Joonmyun to say no? Joonmyun can't quite understand it but the boy really had looked like he'd been expecting Joonmyun to reject him.

"I'm Jongin," he says in a deep, rich voice that makes him think of whiskey. Joonmyun wonders why he'd even been worried about Jongdae's accountant. This boy poses far more danger to Joonmyun's heart than Choi Minho ever could.

Step away from the flame, Kim Joonmyun. Walk away and keep your heart safe.

Joonmyun hears the nagging words in his head and flings them aside as Jongin takes him further and further into the ocean of pulsating bodies.

"What's your name?!" Jongin asks. His mouth is inches away from his ear—tongues of hot air licking at his skin.

"Joonmyun," he answers hesitantly. He's not used to people as attractive and glamorous as Jongin paying him any attention. Joonmyun is used to being that slightly nerdy friend who hangs out with the cool kids. Not even wearing an all black outfit and having rips in his jeans can quite scrub away the streaks of geek. But Joonmyun is okay with that. What he can't understand is why someone like Jongin would be okay with that when there are so many good looking, hot guys in Club Zouk.

"I think you're really cute, Joonmyun," Jongin says as he begins to move and sway to the beat.

"I don't...I don't really know what to say,"

"You don't have to say anything. Just dance with me," Jongin smiles, his eyes warm and inviting as Swedish House Mafia pounds a dizzying beat in the background:

Who’s gonna save the world tonight,
Who’s gonna bring it back to life
We’re gonna make it, you and I,
We’re gonna save the world tonight.

Fingers wrap around his, tugging him to the dance floor. Joonmyun's heart doesn't just trip this time—it falls and falls and keeps on falling.

 

***

 

"Ah, I see you found Jongin," Kyungsoo's voice is spilling over with curiosity.

"He can dance really well," Joonmyun tries his best to sound non-committal and he hopes it works because he doesn't really feel like being interrogated right now.

"He has a reputation—"

"Who says I'm interested in his reputation?"

"You've been staring a hole in his everything for the past three minutes. I've been watching you."

"HE DANCES WELL. You know rhythm and grace are important to me because I have none. I'm just appreciating the way he moves," Joonmyun insists and gets a very loud, skeptical snort from Kyungsoo in return.

"So anyway, he comes here to dance all the time. He always comes with his friends and he leaves with the same friends. Like a couple or so might leave on their own if they hook up with someone? But other than that, they come as a group and they leave as a group."

"So?"

"Jongin has a reputation for turning everyone down. And he never gives out his phone number."

"How do you get all this information? Jesus, Kyungsoo? Did you try picking him up?"

"Well...not me personally. But I know of at least five different people who have tried and failed, and they've known other people who have tried and failed so yeah."

"Maybe he just comes here to dance? Maybe he isn’t gay?" Joonmyun suggests.

"It’s possible...but he's never said so to anyone who's tried to pick him up. Are you gonna try?" Kyungsoo watches him intently and Joonmyun decides not to tell him that he and Jongin have already met and danced. Not that they’d said anything much to each other with how loud the music had been. But still, they’d danced.

"Me? Pick him up? Nah. Why would he bother with someone like me?"

Someone boring like me, Joonmyun doesn't say.

He registers Kyungsoo’s expression of mild shock at almost the same moment he feels a warm hand slide over his own. Stunned, he turns to see who’s taken his hand, his mouth on standby to give whoever it is a lecture about respecting personal space. But then he sees an already familiar face. Alluring, chocolate eyes lined with kohl, bronzed skin and ash pink hair.

He can't breathe.

“Dance with me,” the boy smiles, almost shyly. His equilibrium shot to pieces, Joonmyun doesn't even reply. He just nods, and lets the beautiful boy pull him towards the dance floor.

 

***

 

“Shit,” Joonmyun ducks his head as he notices Jongdae on the edge of the dance floor. There’s a tall, good-looking man right behind him. Choi Minho, fuck his life. Choi Minho looks more bemused than anything, but Joonmyun takes one look at the determined expression on Jongdae’s face and knows he’s done for.

“Trouble?” Jongin’s voice is curious. They’re still dancing—or at least Jongin is. Joonmyun is just trying not to die of mortification. A dramatic scene of some kind seems inevitable and Joonmyun is the kind of person who generally walks ten miles to avoid drama of any kind.

“Can best friends be classified as trouble? Because this one’s usually more trouble than friend,” Joonmyun semi-shouts over the music. “Anyway, he's trying to set me up with some accountant but I’m just not interested in making small talk with a stranger tonight? Even if he’s a good-looking one,”

“Are they here? In the club? I’m curious to see what your concept of good-looking looks like.”

“They’re headed this way,” Joonmyun cringed because Jongdae would probably reach them in approximately 27 seconds.

“Which one is the accountant?”

“You don’t have to check him out to figure out my idea of good-looking.”

“Come on, Joonmyun. Give me a clue,”

“You. You’re my idea of good-looking.” As soon as the words are out, he wants to take them back. But it’s too late. If Jongin’s startled expression is anything to go by, it’s definitely too late to take them back.

“Joonmyun! Come meet—” is all Joonmyun hears before a warm hand fits over the small of his back and reels him in. Then his vision is filled with Jongin’s sensual mouth and his eyes. His eyes are simmering with some kind of intense emotion, and the boy is close. Too close...or maybe not quite close enough. Joonmyun's overworked heart can't quite decide. The music is pumping and Jongdae’s disembodied voice is calling but all Joonmyun can see and hear is Jongin.

“I think you’re good looking too,” Jongin says, his lips grazing the shell of his ear. A dark wave of desire crashes over Joonmyun, and he completely forgets he’s in a club surrounded by people as he steps further into Jongin’s embrace. His body thrums as their lips meet, and when Jongin’s hot, wet tongue sweeps into his mouth, the sensations spread and pool before narrowing in a line straight to his groin.

Jongin’s lips are surprisingly soft and plush against his own and when his tongue runs over the inside of his mouth and over his tongue, Joonmyun knows he wants to do more than kiss him tonight. He doesn’t even care if it’s just for one night. He just knows he wants...no, he needs more than a kiss from this boy.

The music is pumping and Jongdae’s disembodied voice is calling, but all Joonmyun can see and hear and taste is Jongin.

All he can taste is Jongin.

 

***

 

When they finally draw apart, Joonmyun's eyes open to Jongin’s smile. It’s not a smirk like he’d been half expecting. Instead, it’s a smile tinged with wonder—like Jongin hadn’t expected to enjoy the kiss quite as much as he did. His fingers are still wrapped around Joonmyun's bare nape even though their impromptu kiss has ended. They curl against his skin in an almost possessive gesture and Joonmyun doesn’t mind it at all.

Joonmyun hears his name being called. It’s loud and abrupt and shakes him out of his reverie.

"Joonmyun," Jongdae calls out again and he doesn’t sound upset so much as concerned. Joonmyun can’t blame him because he’s never done anything like this. He’s never kissed a total stranger in a public place so he can understand why his best friend is worried. Jongdae can be maddening and annoying at times, but his heart is in the right place, and he’s always been fiercely protective of Joonmyun.

Giving Jongin an apologetic look, he turns to face Jongdae. Jongin's hand slides slowly down before breaking contact, and his skin misses his touch right away.

To his huge relief, Choi Minho is no longer with Jongdae. The man must have made a considerate exit at some point during the kiss. Jongdae takes his arm and leads him a short distance from Jongin.

"What the hell is going on?"

"I kissed a boy?"

"I can see that, for fuck's sake!" He's never heard Jongdae sound so exasperated. "What are you doing kissing him HERE? Do you even fucking know him?"

"Well, I do now," Joonmyun can't help chuckling. It isn't every day he manages to get Jongdae all riled up.

"Do you know what you're doing, even?!"

"Hell no," Joonmyun admits honestly—dragging his fingers through his hair. "But for once, I want to just, I dunno, take a risk and let things take me where they take me. Can you understand this?"

"Yeah," Jongdae nods, "I guess." But his voice is riddled with reluctance.

“So we’re cool?”

“Please tell me you have condoms with you. If you don’t—” Jongdae starts reaching into his back pocket.

“OHMYGOD STOP! Who says I’ll need any? We just met! Jesus, Jongdae!”

Thankfully, the music is so loud that Jongin can’t have overheard. Thank you, Roger Sanchez.

“YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL!”

“YES, I have a condom—which I probably won’t even need. If nothing else happens, though, at least I got to kiss a cute boy tonight.” Joonmyun is pretty sure the smile on his face is a goofy one, but he doesn’t even care.

“He’s...waiting for you. The cute boy. Just...be careful, dude. Okay?” It’s the last thing his best friend says before he pushes Joonmyun in Jongin’s direction. Joonmyun nods, giving Jongdae's shoulder a reassuring squeeze before he walks away.

“Is everything okay?” Jongin’s forehead is creased with frown lines and Joonmyun’s fingers itch to smooth them away.

“Yeah,” he says as he rests his hands on Jongin’s waist. “Dance with me?”

Jongin laughs and pulls him in close. As Joonmyun loses himself in the music and Jongin, he knows he’s never felt freer than he does right here in this moment.

 

***

 

In the end, Joonmyun isn’t sure who suggests going back to his apartment. He can't even blame his current recklessness on alcohol. Amber had given him two (free) shots of Triple Sec that evening, and he’d downed them in quick succession. But while the shots had given him a nice, warm buzz, they hadn't contained anywhere near enough alcohol to make him lose all common sense and self control. So why is he bringing a virtual stranger home? A stranger he's kissed but still—a stranger.

Because I want this. Because I want to let go, to live a little—even if it's just this once.

The words echo in his head as he fumbles with the key to his front door—Jongin’s arm draped tightly around his waist. He’s still not over the fact that he's doing this. Cautious Joonmyun who's never brought a stranger home, letting Jongin into his apartment. And there’s a good chance they’ll end up making out and...doing possibly even more.

His hand is shaking so bad he almost drops the key. When Jongin's fingers cover his own, Joonmyun can't quite stifle the small noise in the back of his throat. Jongin's fingers are steady and sure as they guide his own into turning the brass key. When he hears the loud click, Joonmyun pulls the door handle and Jongin releases his hand—his fingers ghosting over Joonmyun's forearms.

"Well, so much for looking cool. I couldn't even open my front door without help," he mutters sheepishly.

"Looking cool is overrated," Jongin’s husky voice tickles his earlobe, and his arms slip around Joonmyun's waist from behind.

"I'm...I mean I'm really not cool. I could pretend that I am and that I bring guys home all the time but yeah, that's not me."

"Thank God for that," Jongin's chuckle is low and sexy, and rich like golden molasses. Warm tingles swirl along Joonmyun's earlobes and nape at the sound.

"You don't mind that I'm not exactly the most exciting person on the planet?" Joonmyun turns to face him and Jongin's hands link and rest on the small of his back.

"I wouldn't have asked to follow you home if I didn't find you exciting, Joonmyun. But you know what? I've never liked labels. People are so much more than labels. All I care about is that I enjoy talking to you and that I want to know more about you. I also know I really really like looking at you. And last, but definitely not least, I know I like kissing you and that I want to kiss you again."

Jongin leans in, his eyes closing just before his velvety lips slide over Joonmyun's. His tongue probes the curves of Joonmyun's mouth before pushing gently inside. It feels so good to breathe in the scent of caramel skin and taste the subtle saltiness of his kiss.

Jongin's mouth is seductive and sweet and Joonmyun can't get enough. Hell, he doesn't know if he'll ever get enough. He knows that his current recklessness is probably going to come back and bite him on the ass later. But for now, he doesn't give a fuck. He just wants Jongin—even if tonight is the only time he gets to have him. Closing his eyes, Joonmyun's palms move urgently over Jongin's broad, strong back.

He waits for Jongin to deepen the kiss and to drag him to the nearest fuckable surface. But inexplicably, Jongin breaks off the kiss, panting slightly as he rests his forehead against Joonmyun's.

"Too fast. This is going too fast," Jongin's voice is breathy, his words coming out in a frustrated rush of syllables.

"I don't understand?" Joonmyun hopes he manages to keep the disappointment out of his voice.

"I'm not—I don't want you to think that I'm here just for the sex."

"I don't care if you are, Jongin," Joonmyun lied with a nervous, self-conscious laugh.

"Well, I care. And I'm not," Jongin's mouth rests on Joonmyun's shoulder just before he pulls him into a hug.

He's so much taller, Joonmyun thinks as he noses Jongin's collarbones and breathes in the traces of a citrusy cologne mingled with a deeper, masculine scent and cigarette smoke from the club.

"You play the piano?" Jongin's question is unexpected—a complete 180 degree turn from their previous topic of conversation.

"I'm a piano teacher," Joonmyun admits. Embarrassed.

"That's—"

"Lame? Yeah, pretty much."

"I was going to say sexy," Jongin chuckles, just before he angles his head and kisses him—his tongue sliding in warm and gentle like he does this all the time.

"I'm anything but that," Joonmyun half gasps, half protests.

"Denied. But let's talk about that later. Teach me how to play."

"I've...I've never actually taught anyone here. In my apartment, I mean. I give lessons at a music school. I like keeping my personal space private."

"So you're not going to teach me?" Jongin gives him a quirky smile.

"I'll teach you," Joonmyun says hastily and before he knows what's happening, he's sitting on the piano stool—hips wedged between a pair of hard, leanly muscled thighs.

"I'm ready," Jongin links his hands loosely over Joonmyun's tummy and rests his chin on his shoulder. Joonmyun feels secure in the warm circle of Jongin's arms and body but at the same time, hopelessly distracted. And attracted—he’s so desperately attracted to Jongin.

"You'll have to hold your hands out and spread your fingers over the keys," he says, voice more than a little shaky as Jongin's hands move closer to the piano. He's done this a million times with his kids—teaching them finger work and arpeggios and everything from simple to complex pieces. But teaching Jongin is nothing like teaching his students. There have never been any blurred lines with his work. He's never wanted to cover his students' fingers with his own, never wanted to kiss them or touch them or know them.

"This is a little too complicated for me," Jongin announces after about two minutes. He rests his palms on Joonmyun's thighs, "maybe...could you just play something for me?"

"Y-you mean something contemporary?" Joonmyun gasps as Jongin's lips brush against his bare arm.

"Actually no, Joonmyun. I'd really like you to play something classical," Jongin says as the tip of his nose trails down Joonmyun's nape. His concentration is in shreds but Joonmyun casts around for a piece he knows like the back of his hand, and settles on one of his favorites.

"This piece is Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 9 No. 2."

"I'm ready," Jongin's mouth is so close that his warm breath is tickling Joonmyun's ear. Joonmyun has to struggle to ignore the tightening in his groin, has to struggle to remember where his fingers have to go. But somehow, his musical instincts take over and the empty spaces of his tiny living room fill with the melancholy tune of Chopin's nocturne. It's haunting and familiar—a comforting anchor Joonmyun clings to with all the bleak determination of a drowning man. It's the only thing now with a hope of taking his mind off Jongin and how much he wants to kiss him and do all kinds of other things to him.

"That's beautiful." Jongin's voice is full of wonder. Sincere wonder. Joonmyun's chest hums with warmth at the tone of admiration and he pours more emotion into his performance.

"Thank you. It's a little sad though," he says as the final note wavers and fades into the night.

"You could play something happier next?" Jongin’s palms are still spread out—heat radiating onto Joonmyun's lap in the most distracting way.

"Maybe I'll play CPE Bach's Solfeggietto in C Minor for you."

"CPE? That sounds like a complicated name,"

"I guess? It stands for Carl Philipp Emanuel," Joonmyun's voice is reduced to a whisper as Jongin's hands move, slowly, lazily to his waist.

"I can't wait." Lips graze Joonmyun's earlobe and he can feel his cock stirring. God knows how he'll remember the notes for the piano piece—and it's such a fast one too. "Aren't you going to start playing, Joonmyun?"

"I...yeah," Joonmyun's fingers stroke the ebony and ivory keys before he lets the muscle memory take over. His fingers begin to move rapidly—so rapidly that they're a blur over the keys as they pick out the complex, aggressive notes of the Solfeggietto.

Joonmyun is about a minute into his fevered playing before he realizes Jongin's moved closer. His boner is pressing against Joonmyun's tailbone and it’s such delicious pressure that Joonmyun can’t resist leaning back. Meanwhile, his own growing erection is trying to force a tent in his jeans. Jongin’s long, slim fingers and broad palm slide over his crotch in tantalizing strokes and the music stops as Joonmyun closes his eyes. The only sound in the room is the small breathy gasps he makes as Jongin strokes him through black denim.

“Why did you stop?” Jongin whispers against the small patch of skin where his neck meets his shoulder. Then his mouth makes contact with the skin and Joonmyun can't stop the moan that escapes. It sounds so loud in the quiet of the apartment. "Play for me, Joonmyun," Jongin says as he kisses Joonmyun's shoulder and palms his painfully aroused dick.

“I’m...I—I can’t remember what comes next,”

“Play for me,” Jongin says again as his lips and tongue kiss and lick a warm wet path across his nape. Joonmyun's so turned on he can't speak, but he makes himself focus. He makes himself find the notes again, but his movements stutter erratically. His fingers don't fly like they usually do, because Jongin caressing him has his concentration is in tatters.

When Jongin begins to caress and tweak his nipples, Joonmyun's brain shuts down and his fingers abandon the piano keys. Moaning, his hands grip Jongin's leanly muscled thighs and the other man's cock twitches against his ass. It feels unbelievably erotic and Joonmyun needs...more. More, he thinks as he climbs onto Jongin's lap so they're chest to chest, crotch to crotch, thigh to thigh.

"Is the song over?" Jongin asks, his lazy, sleepy eyed smile tripping Joonmyun's heart all over again.

"No," Joonmyun whispers just before he crushes his mouth to Jongin's, his tongue thrusting impatiently into the boy's mouth. "Can't think right now. Need—" The words come out in an agonized whisper as he rocks his hips in a slow roll that leaves them both gasping. He slides his cock over Jongin's and they both moan as bursts of pleasure flare beneath the skin at the friction. Joonmyun feels...so much that it doesn't even matter that their jeans are in their way. Just like it doesn't matter that he's never gone further than kissing on a first date (if you could even call this a first date). He can't believe he'd just climbed onto Jongin's lap so casually, like he's done it a million times over.

A pile of twisted black fabric falls to the ground and Jongin's hands are wandering over the bare skin of his shoulders and torso. Joonmyun is itching to take his pants off too so he can feel Jongin's hands on his—

"What do you need?" Jongin's hot, wet mouth clamps onto a pale pink nipple as he grips Joonmyun's hips and drags him closer.

"Idon'tknowIdon'tknow," Joonmyun gasps as Jongin's tongue circles his nipple and his fingers release the top button of his jeans.

"If things get too intense and you want me to stop...just tell me, okay?"

"Okay. But I'm pretty sure I won't want you to stop," Joonmyun laughs.

"Still, just tell me to stop and I will," Jongin's expression is dead serious and Joonmyun's heart drops into the ravine just a few more feet.

"I will," he sighs; then the mood changes as they start kissing again. Tongues in each other's mouths, their fingers work frantically to unbutton and unzip black denim. Soon they're dressed in nothing but their underwear—Jongin in his dove grey Calvin Klein hip briefs and Joonmyun in Banana Republic navy blue boxer briefs.

Jongin is straddling the piano bench while Joonmyun straddles him, and their bodies are an almost perfect fit. He loves the wet glide of Jongin's tongue against his own, the plushness of his lips and the slight salty tang of him. He loves the way Jongin says his name in a kind of raspy half moan, and he loves the gentle pressure of Jongin's palms against his skin. When they move together, there's an intense, sweet friction as their cocks rub together through soft cotton.

Slowly, he shifts his hips from side to side so that his cock drags over Jongin's and back again. It feels so good—a little different, but God, it's so good it's almost too much. Fuck, do that again. Please, Joonmyun, Jongin begs, his voice throaty with want. Joonmyun swivels his hips, and lets his cock graze and tease Jongin’s. But it’s a double-edged sword because it leaves him crazy with want too. When Jongin flips the coin and starts shifting his hips from side-to-side, it takes all of Joonmyun’s self restraint to not come in his underpants.

Dizzy with desire, they both moan as they kiss and suck hickeys into pale and bronzed skin. Joonmyun's fingers curl tightly around Jongin's shoulders as they thrust urgently at each other, and he thinks about what it would feel like to have Jongin's warm, bare skin sliding over his own. His self-control shatters just a bit more when Jongin cups him through his briefs, and grips his cock through the cotton. It's not quite as hot or intense as bare skin would be but it's still incredibly erotic and Joonmyun knows it won't take much more stimulation to make him come.

"Maybe I should get a condom and some l—"

"No, not this time. I just need to touch you. I don't want to stop...we don't have to go all the way this time," Jongin says as he pushes his hand down the front of Joonmyun's briefs. Bare skin. Oh God.

Joonmyun raises his hips as he bucks into Jongin's hand. Lower lip between his teeth, Joonmyun forces himself to focus and he manages, somehow, to shimmy out of his briefs. Now, Jongin's got one hand wrapped around his cock and the other cupping his ass and the exquisite tightness in his groin climbs and climbs.

With urgent hands he tugs at Jongin's briefs, maneuvering the grey cotton carefully over his erection and down his thighs. Flushed a deep pink, Jongin's cock curves towards his stomach and Joonmyun aches to touch it. So pretty, he thinks, as he takes Jongin in his hand. The skin is soft and warm and taut and even more perfect than he'd imagined.

They're both completely naked now and Joonmyun doesn't care that he barely knows this boy whose dick is sliding against his. He just wants to feel and to touch and worry about the consequences later (or not).

Somewhere in the background, Joonmyun hears the ticking of the metronome that sits on top of his piano. Had Jongin touched the pendulum by accident? 50 beats per minute, he estimates in an abstract way as his hips begin to follow the tempo. Jongin matches his pace, his muscles straining as his palms press down onto the leather surface of the piano bench for support. Joonmyun's toes curl and grip the floor; then he pushes his heels up and rocks into Jongin.

Suddenly, it feels like the metronome is ticking at 60 beats a minute, but Joonmyun has no time to analyze things. He's far too devastated by Jongin's touch to hold a thought in his head. The pressure in his groin is mounting and the hidden knot of pleasure begins to untangle and unfurl and he whimpers as he bucks his hips, faster and faster and faster. 60 beats a minute he chants in his head as Jongin’s mouth fits over his sensitized nipple. When Jongin begins to lick and tug on it with his teeth, it’s the end for Joonmyun as white, hot heat floods his body. He's still shuddering from the aftershocks when he hears Jongin's answering cry of ecstasy.

"Thank you," the beautiful boy with the pink hair whispers against his cheek. "Thank you, Joonmyun," Jongin rests his forehead against his collarbone, panting with exhaustion. Joonmyun's arm curls around him and somewhere in the background, there's the clinical tick of a metronome.

“I should probably head home after this," Jongin says quietly, rubbing his chin along Joonmyun's jaw. No one’s ever done that to him before and he likes it.

"No. No, I want you to stay," Joonmyun's never been more certain of anything in his life.

Jongin doesn't say anything. He just wraps his arms around Joonmyun in a hug that feels like relief and joy and lust all rolled into one.

"Stay," Joonmyun whispers as he sinks into the embrace and his hands cling to Jongin's back. He's so glad Jongin is here, and it's not weird at all that they just met five hours ago.

 

***

 

They'd showered after the piano session and lain in bed in boxers Joonmyun had procured from his dresser drawer. They'd chatted about things they liked and Jongin had trailed his finger along Joonmyun's forearm, down to his wrist. One thing had led to another and they'd ended up naked again. But this time, they'd used condoms and lube and gone "all the way" as Jongin called it.

Stay.

It had been the single, solitary word he'd heard in his head as Jongin had made the final, lingering thrust that had brought them to climax in the darkness of his bedroom.

"Thank you for letting me stay," Jongin mumbles sleepily as he curls around Joonmyun's body like a living, breathing blanket.

You don't ever have to leave if you don't want to, Joonmyun thinks but doesn't say. Tired and sated, he snuggles closer to the beautiful pink-haired boy. Shutting his eyes, Joonmyun wills tomorrow to come as late as it can (or not at all).

 

***

 

Joonmyun isn’t used to having another person in his personal space who isn’t one of his friends or someone from his family. He's only ever lived alone since his first roommate got married and moved out. It had just turned out that way. So it should technically weird him out a little that there's a half naked, not-quite stranger in his kitchen. It should, but it doesn’t. It's nice. It’s actually really nice. Joonmyun pours equal amounts of cereal into two bowls and pushes one in Jongin’s direction. He sprinkles a tablespoon of raisins, and looks up just in time to catch Jongin dumping at least 3 tablespoons of raisins on his breakfast.

“Oh my God?”

"I have a sweet tooth," Jongin chuckles at his shocked expression. His voice is throaty from sleep and his caramel skin looks flushed and healthy. Joonmyun casts admiring eyes on his bare chest and shoulders and his lean, bare arms, and forgets how to chew.

It's like staring at the sun.

"I can see that," Joonmyun laughs and suddenly it's not so awkward having breakfast with someone who's only wearing borrowed boxer shorts—someone he'd never set eyes on before last night.

"You're probably thinking that I do this kind of thing a lot," Jongin brings the spoon to his mouth. He's a neat eater. He doesn't overload the spoon and he makes sure the spoon goes all the way in before he pulls it out sans food. And he chews with his mouth closed—not boisterous chewing but not prissy either. Just nice. It's ridiculous to be turned on by the way Jongin eats but Joonmyun finds it just a little bit sexy.

"I'm not thinking anything of the kind. I'm just struggling to accept that I just spent the night with someone I met only hours before."

"I hope it wasn't a bad experience?"

"It's the first time I've done anything like that. Ever. I'm the nerdy friend that the cool kids bring to the club with them because we've been friends forever. Also, I'm handy to have around because I don't drink much so they can get wasted and I can drive everyone home."

"That's not very fair to you," Jongin says—looking a little disapproving of Joonmyun’s friends.

"Nah, it's cool. They pay for my drinks and dinner and besides, I just...wanna dance y'know? Even if I can't dance," he laughs as he takes another spoonful of milk and cornflakes.

"It's not that you can't dance. You're just...inhibited. I could show you how to let go. If you let me, I mean." Jongin's eyes are simmering with...something, and Joonmyun doesn't even try to ignore it as their eyes meet across the breakfast table.

Unbidden, his mind is flooded with images of all the things they'd done the night before and all of a sudden, Joonmyun can't eat another bite. He's lightheaded with the memories of long, elegant limbs wrapped around him in the dark. The sinuous movement of Jongin's hips as he moved over him—his hands imprinting his skin and his soul with so much heat. Oh God, all the heat.

His spoon clatters on the table. Jongin is watching him, his eyes dark with some kind of longing.

"I think I've had enough to eat," he says as he puts his spoon down quietly and stands up—the chair legs scraping the floor noisily. His boxers display his proud boner and Joonmyun is glad to know he's not the only one having flashbacks.

He's about to stand up himself when slim and surprisingly strong arms lift him up. Before he can even react, Jongin's lips are pressing and probing—his needy tongue invading the spaces of his mouth. Without missing a beat, Jongin adjusts Joonmyun's legs so they wrap securely around his waist. Then Jongin moans as his mouth latches onto his neck. Arching his back, Joonmyun presses closer to his bare chest, closer to his marauding lips.

"So pretty," he says softly as he traces the exquisite lines of the mandala flower tattoo with his tongue. Sighing at the beauty of the boy before him, Joonmyun licks the contours of his collarbones, down, down, down till he has one dusky pink nipple in between his lips. He teases it with his tongue and Jongin drowns the Saturday morning silence with shameless groans of pleasure. Smiling, Joonmyun takes the second, erect nipple in his mouth, then gasps as Jongin's large hands grab his ass and pull him closer.

Joonmyun moans into Jongin's mouth as his crotch impacts with Jongin's hard abs. When the tip of Jongin's cock pushes against that dip between his buttcheeks, Joonmyun’s moans escalate. Their boxers are in the way and the sensations already have him almost undone. Joonmyun thinks he might die when they're both naked.

Nothing but skin.

Joonmyun can barely breathe at the mental image of their naked bodies sliding and pushing and oh God, he needs to stop. It doesn’t help that Jongin never stops kissing him the whole time he’s getting them to the bedroom.

"I want you so much," Jongin whispers as he drops Joonmyun on the mattress with barely concealed impatience. And then he's lying on top of Joonmyun—skin to skin except for the sliver-thin layers of cotton in their way. His skin is alive with sensation as Jongin's warm body presses down on his, hips rocking as he thrusts deep and hard, over and over—their cocks rubbing against each other.

Just when Joonmyun thinks he might actually come in his boxers from all the stimulation, Jongin stops moving. Flipping onto his back, he slips the cotton off his narrow hips—as fast as he can, anyway, with the challenge posed by the tent in his shorts. Then he pulls a surprised Joonmyun on top of him.

"Your turn," Jongin grins as his fingers slide under the waistband of Joonmyun's boxers—his palms cupping his ass, squeezing and kneading. And just when he thinks he can't take anymore, Jongin drags his boxers down to his knees so he gets the full impact of velvet smooth skin against his own—and almost explodes.

But Jongin doesn't let him. Not yet. He guides Joonmyun through a series of increasingly fevered thrusts. And somehow they manage to hold back long enough to grab some lube and a condom. When Joonmyun's cock finally slides home, he almost expires from how tight and good Jongin feels.

"I want you so much," Jongin says again, his eyes closed in rapture as Joonmyun moves inside him, smooth and deep. Jongin's long, lean legs wrap around him—his calves pressing into his ass, pushing Joonmyun deeper still into him.

"Probably not as much as I want you," Joonmyun groans and he realizes that he means it—that it's true. Moaning, he thrusts into Jongin's tight heat again and again and the storm of emotions and sensations grows increasingly intense. When Jongin angles his hips up, Joonmyun's cock fills him up, right to the hilt. It's so fucking tight as Joonmyun's cock slides in and out, the tip brushing against Jongin's prostate.

"Show me," Jongin moans, his lips warm and wet around Joonmyun's right nipple. "Show me you want me more." Jongin's legs twine around his hips and his back like they'll never let go.

Jongin's eyes are shut in ecstasy and Joonmyun knows the boy is close. He's so fucking close, he chants in his head as he thrusts harder and faster. Their mouths lock in a kiss as Joonmyun pins his hands down. He can feel Jongin's dick poking against his belly as he pushes into him over and over—the storm brewing and building. The sensations come stronger and quicker, rushing across the skin. Finally, the intense sensations push Joonmyun over the edge, with Jongin following close behind.

The storm broken, they collapse back on the bed, sweaty and spent in each other's arms.

 

***

 

Joonmyun wakes up in a tangle of limbs and he wonders what's woken him up. After a bleary few seconds, he realizes that it's an f(x) song—Rum Pum Pum Pum. He gets ready to pound his fist against the wall and ask the college boys who live next door to shut the fuck up. They have a girl band obsession and often blast f(x), Mammamoo and Red Velvet and God only knows who else at all hours of the day. It doesn't usually bother Joonmyun all that much on weekdays, but disturbing his Saturday morning sleep-in is Just A Little Bit Rude.

He's about to hammer on the wall when he realizes that the song isn't coming from the apartment next door; it's coming from a pool of stiff black denim on the floor. It's definitely not his ringtone so it can only be coming from a phone that belongs to the boy currently draped all over him.

"Noooo, make her go away," the husky tones caress his skin as Jongin grumbles into his shoulder.

"She?" Joonmyun tries to still the erratic beating of his heart.

"My mom," Jongin groans. "That's her ringtone. She loves f(x). But when she calls me this early on a Saturday morning, it's never good news."

"What do you mean?"

"She never calls me on a Saturday morning unless a) she needs me to drive her somewhere far away like the next town or worse, the next state. Or it could be that b) she needs me to help her make something horribly time consuming and labor intensive like mandu, or c) she needs me to come into the shop because one of her workers has called in sick. None of those options sound appealing right now. I really don't want to know what she needs," he groans. "I'd rather stay here all morning with you. Maybe even the afternoon and night? If that's okay with you?" Jongin's stubble tickles his shoulder and Joonmyun feels like he's dissolving in an ocean of tingles.

"You can st—" Joonmyun begins to say, but he just manages to stop himself from inviting Jongin to stay all weekend. As he tries to compose his answer, the girls from f(x) sing incessantly.

Jongin sighs in frustration and the music cuts off abruptly. "Hi Umma. Yes, I've eaten," Jongin's features soften as he speaks into the phone. Joonmyun had been half expecting him to be short and impatient with his mom, but he only sounds indulgent and respectful.

Oh great. Like I need any more reasons to like him, Joonmyun buries his face miserably in his pillow.

 

***

 

"I have to work today because one of the regular shop assistants called in sick and things just happen to be crazy today," Jongin explains as he pulls on his shirt. It's only slightly wrinkled from its night on the floor. He looks so handsome in black, and Joonmyun gulps as his eyes are drawn to the mandala patterns on his arm.

I want to trace every single line one of that someday. Maybe on a lazy Sunday morning or afternoon, when it's raining outside and there's nothing to do but lie in bed all day.

His heart is suddenly thick with want. He doesn't want Jongin to go.

"Jongin, I—" but Joonmyun never gets to finish the sentence because his own phone rings. He groans because it's Baekhyun. And Byun Baekhyun has an alarming propensity to ask six thousand embarrassing questions, and he's as persistent as a tick about having them answered. All his friends had seen him leave the club with Jongin so he knows there's no chance he’ll get out of this easily. He really doesn't want to answer (or avoid answering) any of Baekhyun's questions in front of Jongin so he lets himself out of the bedroom while the other man gets dressed. Bracing himself for a brutal interrogation, Joonmyun winces and takes the call.

"Dude! Where the hell are you? We need you to come NOW!"

"Wait, what's going on, Baek?"

"Didn't you check your messages? I called you three times but I just couldn’t get through. The cell signal up here must be fucked. Our car broke down on Lincoln Highway and no one else is answering their phones—including the fucking mechanic. Come get us now! It's hot and muggy and Soo is in a foul mood and like NOW, KIM JOONMYUN. You know how feral Soo gets when he’s kept waiting, and I’m the nearest available pincushion for now. Even being his boyfriend won’t count for anything! You need to rescue us, please! I already sent you our location so come now."

Kyungsoo in a foul mood is...damn.

It’s no wonder smart ass, breezy Baekhyun had sounded like he was borderline panicking. Joonmyun would have been freaking out too if he’d found himself stuck with an irate Kyungsoo, in a car going nowhere. He had to get changed right away. Just as he’s about to head back to his bedroom, Jongin walks out. He’s dressed in his sleeveless black top and ripped jeans from the night before. Smudges of kohl are all that’s left of last night’s makeup; everything else had been kissed away during sex or washed off in the shower. He looks devastating and Joonmyun wants nothing more than to drag him back to bed and keep him there with him for the rest of the day. Too bad the whole universe is conspiring to keep that from happening.

"I really have to go, but call me," Jongin smiles at him. Then he leans in and kisses Joonmyun. So many of their kisses had been hungry, passionate ones but this one is sweet and tender and Joonmyun wants to bottle it so he can keep it always. “I really enjoyed myself,” Jongin cups his cheek, “I wish I didn’t have to go but Mom’s delivery guy is waiting for me downstairs. She’s not taking any chances I’ll be late so things must be pretty hectic at the store.”

“Will I...will we see each other again?”

“I’d like that a lot,” he says, his lips sliding over Joonmyun’s. Before the kiss has a chance to deepen, Jongin’s phone rings and he groans in defeat, “Myungsoo’s parked in a no standing zone so I really have to go. Bye, Joonmyun!” He snatches one last kiss and then he’s out the door.

“Bye, Jongin,” Joonmyun whispers to the open doorway. The apartment suddenly feels very quiet.

 

***

 

Joonmyun’s VW Rabbit is nosing its way through moderate Saturday traffic when the weather suddenly turns weird. Violent gusts of wind pick up leaves, random bits of paper and candy wrappers, smacking them against the wind screen. Summer leaves skitter over the glass and Joonmyun swears as he remembers, suddenly, that he'd left his apartment windows open. He thinks seriously about going back to shut the windows, but the skies are clear. It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain and keeping Kyungsoo waiting would be dangerous. No one makes Do Kyungsoo wait. No one. Saying a little prayer for Baekhyun and his continued existence, Joonmyun steps on the gas.

 

***

 

Cars are honking and drivers are sticking their heads out and gesticulating. There must be a pile up ahead because the traffic has choked up to outrageous levels. Tempers are fraying around him but Joonmyun doesn't really notice because he's lost in thought as he walks down the avenue.

Joonmyun doesn't know how or why, but Jongin has somehow unlocked a part of him he’s kept repressed all these years. Maybe he isn’t just quiet, respectable, boring piano teacher Joonmyun. Maybe he can be interesting too. And attractive—Jongin had made him feel so attractive. It was just too bad he hadn’t stuck around.

That had hurt. It still hurts, but Joonmyun knows he’ll be okay. For that one night and morning at least, Jongin had made him feel beautiful and that's enough for him. For now, anyway. He might even go to Club Zouk this Friday night. They have the best dance music after all, and maybe...maybe he'll even see a beautiful, pink-haired boy.

Joonmyun isn't the kind to lie to himself and he knows he'll take Jongin any way he can have him—even if it means having to do it with no strings attached. He's had two weeks to try and forget him but Joonmyun wants Jongin just as much today as he had two weeks before.

Joonmyun walks past a hairdresser and they’re having a special promo on dye jobs. To his chagrin, he realizes he's never had his hair colored. Just how boring is he? He remembers the way Jongin’s ash pink hair had looked and felt between his fingers—so silky and vibrant. He'd liked it so much. The way it hadn't been dark, the way it hadn't been conventional. Fists curling, Joonmyun decides it's time for a new look. He’s had the same boring, short dark brown hair since sophomore year of college and fuck it, he doesn't want to be boring anymore.

Change is a good thing. Right?

Mouth set in a determined line, Joonmyun pushes the glass door open. The air inside the salon is cool, almost too cool, and Joonmyun almost backs out. Fortunately, a stylist sees him loitering by the door and guides him to a chair before he has a chance to flee.

"Color? Cut? Wash?" The hairdresser is tall with straight, electric blue hair and he shifts from one foot to the other as he speaks—like he's buzzing with energy. He blinks as his emo fringe pokes at his eyes. It looks edgy and cool but it has to be irritating as fuck, Joonmyun reckons, as he watches the man push his hair out of his eyes for the fifth time (and he's only been in there for two minutes). There's a thick black band tied around his left wrist that's printed with white alphabets that spell out the name Chanyeol.

"Color," Joonmyun answers quietly and Chanyeol (or whatever his name is) nods before disappearing. He returns half a minute later with a color chart and shows him swatches of browns and subtle reds. Joonmyun feels a prick to his ego. Doesn't he look like he could go for something more interesting than brown and red? Annoyed, he flips the charts until he finds the shade he wants.

"I think the wine red or mahogany would be gr—"

“I’ll take golden blond,” he says—eyes and voice resolute. Chanyeol looks surprised but to Joonmyun's relief, he doesn't try to talk him out of it.

"I'll have to bleach it first though," Chanyeol warns and Joonmyun nods. He doesn't want dark, conventional hair anymore—and it doesn't even have anything to do with Jongin. Well...not much anyway.

When the strong-smelling chemicals begin to stain his hair, tiny waves of regret creep over him. Should he stop Chanyeol? Maybe he’s been too rash, too impulsive. But he remembers the morning he'd woken up to Jongin sleeping across from him, eyes shut with ash pink hair falling over the crest of his eyelids. The beams of gold light bouncing off Jongin's hair was one of the most sublime things he'd ever seen, and Joonmyun knows he's made the right decision.

 

***

Joonmyun has never liked Für Elise. He hadn't liked it the first time he heard it as a child, and now that he's 26, he still hasn't warmed to it. So he grits his teeth as twelve year-old Hannah mangles her way through the piece—making him dislike it even more than he already does (if that's even humanly possible).

As she hammers incompetently at the keys, Joonmyun's mind begins to wander. Within seconds, he's trying his best to suppress images of the time he'd tried to teach Jongin how to play Chopsticks, and they'd ended up frotting on the piano bench in his apartment. It's been two and a half weeks but he's still haunted by tangible memories of the brief time they'd spent together.

He can see and smell and touch everything. Strands of ash pink hair falling over Jongin's forehead like so much silk. The texture of his soft hair between his fingers. Jongin's lazy, husky laugh which had made Joonmyun's heart stir with all kinds of difficult emotions. The scent of Jongin's skin after he'd emerged from the shower. He'd used Joonmyun's soap and shampoo but he hadn't smelt anything like Joonmyun. He sighs distractedly. He could breathe in the tantalizing scent of Jongin's skin forever—

"Mr. Kim! Mr. Kim! What do I play next? Für Elise again or something else?"

"Oh dear God, definitely not Für Elise," he says firmly.

 

***

 

get flowers for umma

Joonmyun's phone chirps on repeat as he walks along Albert Avenue. He feels a sense of satisfaction that he's already on the way to the florist without any help from his phone reminder. In fact, he only has to take ten more steps before he's standing in front of Just Flowers.

He's been buying bouquets from this florist for a year now because it's near his apartment. But the main reason he frequents the place is because it belongs to a really nice ahjumma who dotes on him. Mrs. Kim always pops in a few extra flower stems for Joonmyun because she reminds him of her nephew who lives in the next city. She even gives him mandu sometimes. When Joonmyun protests that he can't possibly accept the food, she won't hear of it.

"These are extra special because my son helps me make them. You must bring some home," she always insists as she shoves a pre packed takeaway container into his hands. In the end, Joonmyun never puts up much of a fight because those dumplings really are delicious.

He's never seen the flower shop ahjumma's son. All he knows about the man is that he makes kick ass mandu and that his mother adores him. Joonmyun wonders if he's short and cherubic and just like his mother.

Her generosity always makes him feel a little guilty so he makes sure he buys flowers only from her. And he always tries to buy her some hotteok or tteokbokki from Koreatown on his way to the flower shop because those are her favorites. This time, it's a paper bag of honey hotteok Joonmyun's got in his hand. For all that though, Joonmyun doesn't see her all that often. He’s dropped by here about six, maybe seven times this year. After all, it's not like he's got anyone to give flowers to other than his mom or his sisters and sisters-in-law. It's not like he's into girls.

But today is a little different; today, his mother turns 52. So Joonmyun is here to pick out a nice bouquet for her before he meets the rest of the family at Heart & Seoul Restaurant for her birthday lunch. Joonmyun is hopeless with flowers but Mrs. Kim always suggests beautiful blooms that appeal to his mom. And if she's not in the shop, one of her able assistants Joy or Irene will stand in for her. Either way, Joonmyun isn't worried. Smiling at the thought of seeing the flower ahjumma again, he steps into the shop, only to find the store deserted. There's no sign of the ahjumma or her pretty, long-haired assistants. Where could they be?

"Hello?" he calls out tentatively.

"I'll be with you in a sec," says a husky and very male voice from somewhere in the recesses of the shop. Joonmyun's been coming here for twelve months and he's never seen any male employees. Where had this one even popped out from?

Joonmyun finds himself smiling because the idea of a guy working with flowers is kind of romantic and he's always been a little susceptible to cheese. Uninvited, he sees an image of Jongin in a long beige apron with small pots of flowers in his hands. And he's smiling and he's so beautiful and—

Joonmyun's heart aches a little, or maybe a lot, he can't tell. It's been three weeks and he's had enough of being in limbo, had enough of waiting for Jongin to show up on his doorstep with his lazy, sleepy eyed smile like he hadn't forgotten Joonmyun for three weeks. He's had enough of this waiting bullshit and he decides that he'll go to Club Zouk tonight—with or without his friends. If he's lucky, Jongin might be dancing there. Kyungsoo had said he always went with his friends and never hooked up with anyone. He clings to the fact that Jongin had made an exception when he left the club with him. It gave him hope.

He's never actually pursued a guy this way before. He's more the type to have quiet, unrequited crushes on people. But he can't seem to forget Jongin and he just wants to see him again. Unconditionally. So he'll try and find him tonight and if he sees him, he’ll ask him to dance. He has to at least try because Jongin seems worth it, despite the three-week silence.

Just dance with me. That’s what Jongin had said to him at the club and that’s what he’ll say to him if they meet tonight.

Mind made up, he walks further into the shop. There are large, plastic tubs of gorgeous flowers arranged in colorful clusters, and there's someone bent over one of them. All Joonmyun can see is long, leanly muscled legs and a well-proportioned ass. He appears to be wearing blue denims and what looks like a plain white tee under the beige apron. He has to be a fairly new employee because he certainly wasn't here three weeks ago when Joonmyun had dropped by to order flower arrangements for some event at his office.

Without warning, the man straightens and turns around. Joonmyun manages to catch a flash of pink just before the man faces him for real.

"Hi! How can I h—Joonmyun?"

The puzzle pieces suddenly fall into place. Jongin's mom has a shop he works in sometimes. He helps his mom make mandu. Why hadn't he made any connections when Jongin had told him these things? There's so much that Joonmyun wants to say and to ask, but in the end, all he says is hi.

"You changed your hair color,"

"I...yeah, I did. I wanted to do something different for a change," he says self-consciously, rubbing the back of his head with his left hand. He doesn’t regret dying his hair blond, in fact he likes it a lot. It doesn’t really matter (much), but he wonders if Jongin likes it.

"You were perfect the way you were," Jongin says, "but you look even more beautiful now. Because that's how you are to me, Joonmyun. You're beautiful—change, or no change."

Joonmyun wants to sound all cool and all hey-I-haven't-seen-you-in-a-while, but in the end, his heart decides to hijack his mouth, “You never came back.”

"I was waiting for you to call me," Jongin says as his hands slide into his pockets. "I thought maybe you'd decided that sleeping with me was a bad idea. I thought maybe you thought we were a bad idea."

"I couldn’t call because you never gave me your phone number." Joonmyun’s fingers keep worrying the seam of his jeans.

"But I left you a note with my number on it. I never give out my number...but I really wanted you to have it," he explains. He sounds calm but there's confusion in Jongin's eyes and maybe even a little touch of hurt.

“I never saw it. I left the apartment right after you did and I forgot to shut the windows. The wind was crazy that day and it must have...I’m so sorry, Jongin,”

“All I want to know is, am I alone in thinking we could be good together?” Jongin stops right in front of him and Joonmyun is reminded of how much taller, how much broader he is. “Am I alone, Joonmyun?”

“No, you’re not. I wanted to see you so badly but I didn’t know where to go. Why didn’t you come back?”

“In the note, I said I wouldn’t rush you if you needed more time. And I promised I wouldn’t come look for you unless you asked me to—and well, you never called. You have no idea how many times I wanted to just drive over and knock on your door. But I promised I wouldn’t,” he sighs, threading his fingers through faded pink hair. It had grown a lot in the past three weeks.

“I really wish you had come over,” Joonmyun takes a step closer to him.

“Not gonna lie, I was going to show up at your apartment tomorrow because I couldn’t take not seeing you anymore. I had to at least try to change your mind, y’know?”

“I was going to try and find you at Club Zouk. Tonight,” Joonmyun admitted.

“I’m—can I hug you, Joonmyun? I’d really like to hug you so I can make sure that you’re real and that you’re really here.” Jongin’s expression is so serious and so anxious that Joonmyun rushes at him and grabs him in a bear hug. “I know we didn’t spend much time together and it probably sounds stupid but I really missed you, Joonmyun.”

“I missed you too so I guess we can be dumb together,” Joonmyun gives a strangled laugh. One minute he’s staring at Jongin and the next, they’re kissing and Jongin’s kisses are tender and hungry and perfect. They’re so wrapped up in each other that they forget where they are.

“Jonginnie? Is that your boyfriend?”

It’s a familiar voice and Joonmyun pulls away from Jongin in shock. He’s embarrassed—too embarrassed to turn around.

“Umma, I didn’t hear you come in,”

“Well, you were rather...occupied, son,” she chortles. “Introduce me to your boyfriend. He’d better be your boyfriend and not some random customer. You shouldn’t go around kissing strangers, Jongin.”

“Um, he’s my uh—” Jongin begins to say and Joonmyun swallows nervously before turning around to face Jongin’s mother. He knows he can’t hide forever.

“Ahjumma, it’s me, Joonmyun,”

Ommo! I didn’t know you knew my Jongin!”

“I didn’t know he was your Jongin,” Joonmyun shuffled his feet, “you never told me your son’s name.”

“This is the boy who reminds me of your cousin Siwon. The one who likes your mandu!” Jongin’s mother explains excitedly. Joonmyun can’t get over how blasé she is about her son kissing a dude in her shop.

“Are you serious? Joonmyun is the nice boy you wanted me to go out on a date with?!” Jongin grins at Joonmyun.

“YES! I’ve been waiting for the right time to ask you both over for dinner at the same time but you’re both so uncooperative. I’d just about given up! Lucky you found each other without any help from me,” she claps her hands in delight.

“I guess we did,”

“I’m very happy for you, boys. Ah, this is really a story to share with my Go-Stop buddies. But for now Jongin, I really need you to move your ass to the front of shop in case walk-in customers want to buy flowers. You boys can talk and kiss and go on a date later. After you finish your shift, Jonginnie. Araso?”

Araso, Umma,” Jongin nods respectfully. This time, he makes sure to ask Joonmyun for his number before he leaves.

 

***

 

Jongin is picking him up in twenty minutes and Joonmyun is practically thrumming with anticipation. That is, anticipation and a little bit of dread too. Will they do well in public with all their clothes on? Will there be awkward silences? Will Jongin find him boring? Will he drop his food? Spill his wine? So many things to worry about, Joonmyun sighs as he puts his cellphone on the dresser. He's so distracted he doesn't even notice that it knocks into his black hairbrush. The brush slides off the edge of the dresser and dives down onto the hardwood floor with a loud thunk. Groaning, Joonmyun hopes he'll be more co-ordinated during their date.

As Joonmyun bends down to pick up his hairbrush, he sees a minute triangle of white protruding from beneath the dresser. Could it be Jongin’s note? His hands are trembling as he maneuvers it out. It's a page from the memo pad he leaves on his dresser and the note has been written in Joonmyun’s teal ballpen ink, in neat, masculine script. The past three weeks would have gone so differently if only he’d seen this piece of paper that Saturday morning. Taking a deep breath, he begins to read:

 

Dear Joonmyun,

I'm sorry I had to leave in hurry, but my mom really needs me at the shop right now.

I had a really good time. I know we rushed things and did everything all backwards, but I hope you'll give me a chance to spend more time with you. So we can like, you know, do things the usual way. Go out for coffee or a meal or a movie. Go dancing. Anything you want, just as long as we get to do it together.

What do you say? My number is 202-555-0105. If you call me, we can figure out what to do next. For starters, I could take you out for dinner tonight ^^. Not that I’m trying to influence you or anything LOL.

If you think things went too fast last night and you need more time, then I'll wait. It's going to kill me to wait but I promise I won't try to see you till you're ready. Like, you set the pace, okay?

I really like you, Joonmyun so...I hope you’ll call me. Soon. Please?

Jongin

PS. Sorry I had to borrow a pair of boxers! My mom wants me to go straight to work so no time to go home and change. CALL ME.

 

Joonmyun’s heart falls the last few feet of the ravine and he doesn’t think he’s getting it back anytime soon. But that’s okay with him.

 

***

Eating dinner al fresco at a French bistro had been lovely. Walking hand in hand along the esplanade had been lovely. Kissing behind the phone booth on Sycamore Street had been lovely. Jongin had been lovely. It had been the perfect date, but Joonmyun is glad they’re back at his apartment now.

His hands are shaking again as he tries to turn the key—not as badly as they had the first time he’d brought Jongin home but still, they’re shaking.

“Déjà vu,” Jongin whispers, his lips grazing Joonmyun’s ear as he helps him unlock the door.

“Why am I still nervous?” Joonmyun grumbles as they enter the apartment, “It’s not like you don’t already know I like you.”

“I’m nervous too, if it makes you feel any better.”

“I don’t believe you,” he snorts in disbelief until Jongin takes his right hand and places it over his heart. It’s racing, almost as fast as his own heart is racing. How does Jongin keep making him fall harder when there’s already nothing left of his heart to spare?

“Do you believe me now?”

“Okay, fine, we’re both nervous.”

“So gracious,” Jongin laughs before he drags Joonmyun towards the piano bench.

“I’m not teaching you to play tonight,” he warns.

“I’m not asking! Anyway, you never got to finish playing Solfeggietto,” Jongin pulls Joonmyun onto his lap for a few seconds before settling him comfortably between his thighs.

“I can’t believe you actually remember the title. So you want me to play the piece again? You have to let me finish though. NO. DISTRACTIONS. Do you want me to play it now?”

“Well, not exactly,”

“But—?”

“Just listen, okay? I’ve been practicing,” Jongin says cryptically and Joonmyun doesn’t know what to expect. Is he going to play Chopsticks or Mary Had a Little Lamb? Because there’s no way a beginner could play a piece as complex as Solfeggietto. No way at all. Except...Jongin begins to do just that and it becomes exceedingly clear that Jongin is no beginner. In fact, he’s playing the piece with as much skill as Joonmyun possesses. He doesn’t know whether to be ecstatic that the boy he likes can play the piano beautifully or whether to be mad that he’d acted as if he couldn’t play the first time they’d sat here.

“You shit!” Joonmyun turns around and scolds him when the last note dies. “That was beautiful and how dare you make me like you more when you lied to me!”

“I didn’t lie! I never actually said I couldn’t play. I just asked you to teach me,” Jongin has the decency to look a little sheepish. “Did you just say you like me more?”

“Never mind that! You shit!” Joonmyun glares at him but they both know there’s no real fire in his words, “and the fucking metronome! That was you, wasn’t it? You set it going, didn’t you? Cheeky bastard,”

“I might have?”

“And you raised it from 50 to 60 beats per minutes so I would move faster?”

“Maybe? But I was keeping to the tempo too,” he pointed out reasonably.

“OH MY GOD, KIM JONGIN I HATE YOU!” Joonmyun punches his arm.

“Ouch!” Jongin half protests, half laughs, “Don’t be mad, Joonmyun. I’m really sorry and I swear I’ll make it up to you. I swear.” It pleases him that Jongin really does look a little guilty.

“When did you stop having lessons?”

“Does college count?”

“College?! You studied music in college?!”

“I’m a piano teacher like you,”

“You shit! Why didn’t you tell me?” He punches Jongin again but he’s grinning now. It’s impossible to hold back the joy because he’s actually floating on a cloud of euphoria at the way things have turned out.

"Well, we kind of did things out of order. We did the getting naked part before we got to the what do you do for a living part,"

"But you asked me to teach you how to play!" Joonmyun tries his best to sound disgruntled even though his laughter is threatening to bubble up to the surface. He's so happy at this point that he doesn't even care that Jongin tricked him into thinking he couldn't play the piano.

"It was the best way I could come up with to get you on my lap," Jongin says cheekily and he looks so attractive Joonmyun can't find it in himself to be annoyed let alone angry. "But I promise you, that will legit be the last time I ever hold back the truth from you."

“It had better be,” Joonmyun warns and Jongin kisses him. I promise, he whispers as he links his hands over Joonmyun’s belly.

“Thank you for not throwing me out,” Jongin rests his cheek on his shoulder.

“It was a close thing. You’re lucky I like you so much,” Joonmyun admits before changing the topic, “Will you teach me how to be cool when I dance?”

“I definitely like you more than you like me and of course I’ll teach you to be cool. But there’s nothing wrong with the way you dance now.”

“I want to be cooler,” Joonmyun insists and Jongin agrees to help with an indulgent smile.

They cuddle quietly for a few minutes before Jongin says, “I was thinking, maybe we could try playing a few duets together sometime? I’ve been wanting to play Mozart’s Piano Sonata for Four-hands in D Major for years but I’ve never been able to find the right partner. I think you’d be the perfect partner, Kim Joonmyun.”

“But I haven’t played many duets—definitely not that one. I’m definitely far from perfect.” Joonmyun tries to sound nonchalant, even though the idea of sitting beside Jongin as they play the piano together makes him feel warm all over.

“Well, practice makes perfect so we can take as long as we need to master the piece,” Jongin says as he interlocks his fingers with Joonmyun’s. “I wonder if we could play a duet with you on my lap?”

“I can sit on your lap but I don’t think we’ll get much piano playing done,” he snorts.

“That sounds like a challenge! We need to put your theory to the test,”

“I’m probably going to regret this later but yeah...okay.”

“Joonmyun, can I—” Jongin suddenly looks shy. He gets like that sometimes and Joonmyun kind of likes the fact that he’s not completely self-confident. He likes that the perfectly beautiful boy in front of him isn’t perfect. He likes that Jongin is flawed and human like him. He likes it very much.

“Yes?” Joonmyun turns around so he can face Jongin as he sits on his lap. “What do you need?” He slips his arms around Jongin.

“Can I stay the night?”

“Yes, Jongin. I’d like it a lot if you stayed.” Joonmyun smiles as Jongin’s arms tighten around him and he snuggles up against his chest happily. Inside his head, where the words are safe from Jongin’s ears, Joonmyun tells him something else altogether—

You can stay always.

A/N: Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this, comments and kudos are very much loved <3