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Everlasting

Chapter Text

 

 

 

If anyone asked, Baekhyun would say that his love for Chanyeol was inordinate. He would use words such as pure, shameless, passionate, intense, patient, and illogical to describe the man he cherished. Their love could only be described as everlasting; and an everlasting, devoted love was what they promised each other when they exchanged their vows under the soft veiled canopy on the beach where they’d first met. Baekhyun’s love for Chanyeol was boundless, and every moment he spent with Chanyeol was divine. 

 

Their love was built on trust and a shared dream; the dream of building a happy family together. Of course, they each had their own dreams as well. For Chanyeol, he wanted financial stability; he yearned to rise up in the social ladder, and to be recognized as the great man that his parents had always wanted him to be. For Baekhyun, his dream was simply to stay by Chanyeol’s side; to be his comfort and his safe haven. 

 

For Baekhyun, Chanyeol was his dream. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first year of their marriage was pure bliss. After returning from their honeymoon - courtesy of Chanyeol’s parents - they both went back to work, focusing on their own careers. After a few short months, and countless hours of overtime, Chanyeol had received the promotion he’d been pining after. Baekhyun’s small bakery was doing sufficiently well also. 

 

No matter how long the hours, or how tired they were by the end of the day, they both made sure to make time for each other. Every evening, Baekhyun would arrive home first and would begin his daily routine of preparing dinner. Chanyeol would come home shortly after, usually exhausted from the day’s work, but never too tired to wrap his his arms around his petite husband as the other man cooked. Baekhyun was never good at cooking, but what he made, he made with his love and soul; and Chanyeol would always eat every morsel. When dinner was finished, they would both tidy up together, usually alternating as one person washed the dishes while the other dried and put them away. 

 

At the end of the night, they would both snuggle in bed, talking over their days. Chanyeol would animatedly rehash his day’s event with the business lingo that Baekhyun could never clearly comprehend; and Baekhyun would tell him about the few customers that he’d sparked conversation with that day. They were opposites, from two completely different worlds; but it was their differences that attracted them to each other. Chanyeol was the dependability that Baekhyun needed in his life, and Baekhyun was Chanyeol’s breath of fresh air. 

 

Every night, before they closed their eyes and allowed sleep to overcome them, Baekhyun would stretch up to place a soft peck on Chanyeol’s lips; and Chanyeol would hug Baekhyun tight, burying his nose into the nook of the brunet’s neck and inhaling the soft, powdery scent that was distinctly Baekhyun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with any relationship, disagreements were bound to arise. Their fights never lasted long, however, usually only stretching to a maximum of four hours before one of them - usually Chanyeol - caved in and apologized. 

 

“Come on, B,” Chanyeol whined, trailing after the petite brunet with a bouquet of flowers in his hands. “I said I was sorry.”

 

Baekhyun huffed as he tried to hide his smile. He’d forgiven Chanyeol the moment the man walked through the door with the familiar pout and flowers in hand; but Chanyeol didn’t need to know that.

 

“Baekhyunnn,” Chanyeol whined again, taking the few steps necessary in order to intercept Baekhyun, blocking his way. “Look, they’re your favorite,” Chanyeol said, showing off the pale lilacs. 

 

Baekhyun couldn’t hold back the smile anymore as he’d taken the flowers, sniffing them gently. “You remembered.”

 

“Of course I remembered,” Chanyeol said, framing Baekhyun’s shoulders with his hands. “Purple lilacs stand for first love -  our love .” Baekhyun placed the flowers down, stood on his toes, and wrapped his arms around Chanyeol’s neck. “Do you forgive me now?”

 

“Of course I forgive you, Giant.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t that they fought often; they were both really good with letting the other know their feelings. Their biggest disagreement had been during their third year of marriage, when Baekhyun had told Chanyeol that he wanted to expand their family.

 

“Yeol, let’s adopt a baby.”

 

Chanyeol paused, lowering his coffee mug back down as he observed his husband. “Baekhyun, I thought we’d agreed that we would focus on our careers first.”

 

“But-“

 

“We don’t have the time for a kid right now.”

 

“Chan-“

 

“And we’re happy the way we are-“

 

“NO!” Baekhyun slammed his hands on the table, efficiently shutting Chanyeol up. “You wanted to focus on your career You don’t have time for a kid right now. You think we’re happy, but I’m not, Chanyeol.”

 

Chanyeol’s eyes widened at Baekhyun’s outburst, but he remained quiet as Baekhyun continued, his eyes becoming more and more wet with each word.

 

“I’ve always supported you, Chanyeol, but enough is enough. I barely get to see you anymore; we barely even talk anymore. You’re always at work, and when you come home you’re always so tired that you just shower and then sleep. We used to spend so much time together…” Baekhyun stood, taking the few steps over to Chanyeol. “All of this,” he gestured to their spacious flat, “it all means nothing to me without you; if I can’t be with you. I’d rather be homeless and be able to spend every waking moment with you than live in luxury and never get to see you. I don’t need all of this, Chanyeol,” he placed a gentle hand upon Chanyeol’s shoulder. “I just need you. I need us, together. I need a family.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’d decided to hold off on adopting, but Chanyeol had surprised Baekhyun one day, coming home with a small puppy in his arms. 

 

“For now,” Chanyeol had promised. “The puppy can keep you company in my place for now. Just give me a little bit more time, B. Things will get better as soon as I get this promotion. Then we’ll take the next step; then we’ll expand our family, okay?”

 

Baekhyun had nodded, reluctantly agreeing. A dog would never be able to take Chanyeol’s place; it wouldn’t be able to embrace him like Chanyeol does, or kiss him, sending shivers down his spine and give him butterflies in his stomach like Chanyeol does, but for now, a puppy would do. 

 

The moment he saw Buddy he was in love; the three-month of Bichon Frise puppy had scampered into Baekhyun’s life and stolen his heart. 

 

“Isn’t he so cute?” he had asked, holding the squirming ball of white fluff for Chanyeol to see. “He’s perfect, Chanyeol. Thank you!”

 

“As long as you like it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buddy had done a good job in keeping Baekhyun distracted; but he didn’t make Baekhyun forget. There was still that empty feeling he felt every morning when he saw Chanyeol off to work; and the bed still remained cold as he settled in for sleep at the end of the day. Buddy was Chanyeol’s way of making it up to him; to make him feel less alone. While the dog had done a sufficient job in keeping Baekhyun occupied, the pitiful look that Buddy gave Baekhyun every morning when he left for work mirrored Baekhyun’s expression when Chanyeol raced out of the house, and reminded him of how lonely he truly was. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second bump in their relationship emerged not long after they’d celebrated their fourth anniversary.

 

Chanyeol had started coming home later and later; sometimes, he wouldn’t even come home at all. Baekhyun was left to succumb to a fitful sleep most nights, only to wake in the morning, dejected, to find the other half of the bed untouched. 

 

On some occasions, Chanyeol wouldn’t return home for days, his excuse being that he had to go on business trips. 

 

“You’ve never had to go on business trips before,” Baekhyun had pointed out sadly when he’d received the call from his husband telling him he wouldn’t be home for a week. “Why so much now?”

 

“I’m rising up the ladder, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol had sighed in response. “They trust me now.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What began as a few days turned into weeks; and the weeks turned into months. On the rare occasion that Chanyeol was home, he would always be too tired to do anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Chanyeol, do you want to watch a movie?”

 

“I’m tired Baekhyun.”

 

‘You’re always tired nowadays…’  Baekhyun would leave their room gloomily, gathering Buddy in his arms as he sat for the rest of the night on the couch blankly staring at the moving pictures on the screen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Chanyeol, I made dinner.”

 

“I’m not hungry. You eat by yourself.”

 

‘I’m always eating by myself…’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Your parents called, they want us to come visit soon.”

 

“You go, I don’t have the time.”

 

‘You have all the time in the world, Chanyeol. You just never have the time for me anymore…’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baekhyun wished he could turn back time. 

 

Back to the first moments they shared together as a new couple. To their shy glances and stolen kisses. He wanted to remember; to relive those days when Chanyeol would get flustered every time he was late for their dates. He wanted to engrain into his memory the looks of adoration the taller male would give him every time he saw him; every time he pulled him into his embrace.

 

He wanted to go back to the time when Chanyeol cared.

 

He wished he could just go back to the time when Chanyeol loved him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’d noticed the subtle changes in Chanyeol, from the change of cologne to the different style of clothing. He would notice that his husband always seemed happier leaving the house than returning. He never wanted to admit it, though, because admitting it would mean defeat. And Byun Baekhyun was far too stubborn to admit that he’d chosen wrong; that he’d placed his trust and all of his love in the wrong person. 

 

The bright red lipstick stain on the collar of Chanyeol’s crisp, white shirt made ignoring a much harder feat. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The room was abuzz with business men and women alike, most in their later years of life. A sudden sense of pride hit him as he looked around, noticing that his husband was among the few younger people. It seemed that Chanyeol’s hard work and effort had paid off after all, resulting in him being the youngest Operations Manager the company had ever had. 

 

“Who’s this?” Baekhyun asked, walking up to stand beside Chanyeol as he offered the shapely woman a courteous smile. 

 

“Ryleigh,” Chanyeol had responded curtly. “She’s my secretary.”

 

Baekhyun nodded, offering his hand to Ryleigh. “Hello, I’m Baekhyun, Chanyeol’s husband.”

 

He didn’t miss the way Ryleigh tensed before extending her hand to him, nor did he miss the silent exchange between her and his husband when they thought he wasn’t looking. And as he walked away, he couldn’t help but think about how Ryleigh’s lipstick color matched perfectly to the stain he’d found on his husband’s color just a few weeks back. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He sometimes wondered if there was anything he could have done to save their marriage; if there was anything he could have said to make Chanyeol stay by his side. As he lie in bed at the end of the night, curled up with his legs towards his chest, one arm wrapped around Buddy and the other wrapped around the framed picture from their wedding, Baekhyun wondered if Chanyeol ever missed him. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanyeol rarely came home anymore; even less than before.

 

“Will you be home tomorrow?”

 

“No.”

 

“Can’t you just come home?” Baekhyun asked, practically begging. “Just for one night?” 

 

“I’m busy,” Chanyeol replied before the click of the phone indicated that he’d hung up. 

 

‘But tomorrow….it’s our anniversary.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moonlight illuminating through the open window, along with the dim glow of the muted television in front of him, gave just enough light for him to read that it was quarter past midnight. 

 

Chanyeol was late again. 

 

He mindlessly grabbed the cooled cup of tea off of the coffee table, bringing it to his lips as his eyes remained trained on the door. Every so often he would glance down at his watch again, only to look up in disappointment as the time continued to tick by, but Chanyeol was still nowhere in sight.

 

He didn’t know when he fell asleep, but the sound of a closing door was what woke him from his slumber. The light peeking through from under the door, along with the sound of the being turned on, affirmed that Chanyeol had finally returned home. Baekhyun got up from the couch, padding over towards the bedroom. He could hear Chanyeol’s soft humming; the sweet melody of the song Chanyeol had written for him echoed in his ears as he passed by the bathroom, bringing to him a sense of melancholy as he pulled back the covers on the bed and fluffed the pillows to Chanyeol’s liking. He’d just settled into bed when Chanyeol walked in, hair still wet from his shower, and a towel around his shoulders.

 

“You’re still awake?”

 

Baekhyun nodded, taking off his glasses and placing them on the nightstand. He eyed Chanyeol as he towel-dried his hair before climbing into bed.

 

“Go to bed, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol said, turning over to his side, his back facing Baekhyun. “And next time, don’t wait up for me.” 

 

Baekhyun wanted to respond; to tell Chanyeol that he wanted to wait up for him. That he needed to. That he couldn’t sleep unless Chanyeol was by his side. But his words caught in his throat, and he was forced to swallow them as Chanyeol reached over to turn off the light, enveloping the room in darkness. 

 

“Chanyeol?” Baekhyun whispered after a few moments of silence. “Are you cheating on me?”

 

Chanyeol stiffened beside him, his shoulders becoming rigid, but he didn’t offer any response. Baekhyun dejectedly lies down, hugging the blankets closer to himself as he lets the first drop of many tears fall. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He would be lying if he said he wasn’t expecting it, but the manilla folder sitting on the kitchen counter made Baekhyun’s heart drop down to his stomach. With trembling fingers, he reached in, pulling out the stack of papers, the dark words printed on them so defined against the white background. 

 

Dissolution of Marriage Report

Plaintiff: Park Chanyeol

 

He couldn’t see anything else written on the paper as his vision began to blur; as the tears began to fall when the reality of their broken marriage hit him full force. Sinking down to his knees, Baekhyun let the tears freely fall; forgetting his pride as he sobbed for all he was worth; for all their love was worth. 

 

Baekhyun had curled up on the couch with Buddy in his lap, staring blankly at the door; hoping and praying that it would open. That Chanyeol would walk through with his goofy smile and tell him that it was all a joke; that everything would be okay. 

 

But Chanyeol did not come home that night; and when morning came, when the soft glow of sunlight snuck through the blinds into the room, Baekhyun had accepted their fate. He was all out of tears, having cried all night, so when he looked down at the intricate ring on his hand - the symbol of their promise to each other - he could only laugh. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Chanyeol did finally come home, Baekhyun was in the process of packing up his belongings. 

 

“What are you doing?” Chanyeol asked, alarm flashing across his face for a short second before he schooled his expression to show indifference.

 

“What does it look like I’m doing?” Baekhyun replied, too drained to argue. If he’d had any energy left, he would’ve screamed; he would’ve yelled at Chanyeol and demanded an explanation. If he hadn’t spent all of his energy on the tears shed, he would have begged Chanyeol to changed his mind; to stay with him. “I’m packing.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I can’t stay here, Chanyeol…”

 

“Where are you going to go?”

 

“I’ll be staying with Kris for now,” Baekhyun responded, sneaking a glance at his soon-to-be-ex husband for any sign of reaction. Kris was Baekhyun’s best friend who he’d known since high school; and Kris and Chanyeol had always been rivals - always competing for Baekhyun’s attention. “Until I find somewhere else,” he added on, not sure why he even felt the need to explain. Chanyeol had nodded, but didn’t say anything; his lack of response only sent another stab to Baekhyun’s heart. 

 

The silence between them was deafening as Baekhyun slowly placed item after item into the cardboard box, and Chanyeol watched him from the couch, his eyes boring into the papers laying atop the manilla envelope on the coffee table, unsigned. 

 

“Stay here tonight,” Chanyeol said as he watched Baekhyun tape the last box closed. 

 

“Why?”

 

“It’s late. Just for tonight.”

 

Baekhyun wanted to say no; he wanted to save what was left of his pride, but one look at Chanyeol and he found himself nodding, silently agreeing. He had yielded again when Chanyeol insisted he slept on the bed rather than to where he was headed, on the couch.

 

As they got ready for bed that night, neither of them spoke. As Baekhyun crawled into bed, he watched as Chanyeol continued on with his routine like nothing was wrong; like they weren’t going to go their separate ways when morning came. Like he hadn’t just shattered Baekhyun’s heart with four words printed on a sheet of paper. As Chanyeol laid down to sleep that night, Baekhyun realized he was closer to him then he’d been the past couple months.

 

Before he fell asleep that night, Baekhyun swore he heard Chanyeol inhale softly, taking in his scent like he’d always done before; but maybe it was all his imagination, because when he turned around to look, Chanyeol was already fast asleep. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He woke up early the next morning - if you could even call it waking up; all night, Baekhyun had laid in bed staring at Chanyeol’s sleeping form. Memories of their past played through his head like a film, and Baekhyun found himself crying, yet again, as he thought about the possibilities that could’ve awaited them…if only things weren’t like this. They’d planned so much for their future, but all of that seemed so distant and lost now. 

 

As the sky started to color outside, before the light could flush into the room and wake Chanyeol up, Baekhyun was dressed and ready to go. He glanced around the flat one last time, saying goodbye to the place that he’d called home for the last five years as he passed by the bureau with the framed picture of him and Chanyeol during their honeymoon. Smiling sadly, Baekhyun placed the manilla envelope with the signed papers in front of the picture along with his wedding band. 

 

His hand shook as he reached for the doorknob. Turning back to look towards the bedroom one last time, Baekhyun felt a single tear escape him as he quietly opened the door.

 

“Goodbye….Chanyeol.”

 

His heart shattered along with the resounding click of the door. Hands clenched at his sides, Baekhyun took the first step away; away from everything he’d thought was perfect. Away from his pure and shameless and passionate love. Away from Park Chanyeol. 

 

He was promised an everlasting love. 

 

But not all promises were meant to be kept. 

 

And this one? 

 

It was destined to be broken.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Chanyeol had always said his love for Baekhyun was boundless. Right from the moment he’d met the petite brunet, he’d known that Byun Baekhyun was the man he’d want to spend the rest of his life with. His friends had called him foolish; they’d told him that love at first sight was a temporary thing; that he was actually in lust rather than in love. Chanyeol had nodded, but deep down he knew that they were wrong; because the feelings that Baekhyun brought about in him were not simply of lust; Byun Baekhyun instilled in him a sense of ease; he was the breathe of fresh air Chanyeol needed; he was the dissimilarity; and he was the color in Chanyeol’s monotonous life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To say that Chanyeol’s parents were upset when he’d told them that he would be marrying a baker and an orphan - someone so far from their social status - would’ve been an understatement. His father had threatened to disown him, while his mother had cried and looked at him in gloomy disappointment. The moment they met the petite baker, however, everything changed.

 

Byun Baekhyun had waltzed into their life and stolen away their hearts just as he had done to Chanyeol. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage life with Baekhyun was everything Chanyeol could have ever dreamed of. 

 

After spending a week in paradise for their honeymoon, they’d return home to their own slice of heaven - the homey flat decorated by Baekhyun’s careful hands. They’d been forced to return to reality, each focusing on their own work. Being away from Baekhyun was the hardest thing for Chanyeol; but what got him through the day was the thought of coming home, into the open arms of his loving husband, and to the smell of the best food he’d ever tasted in his life. 

 

He enjoyed every moment they spent together. Baekhyun made every chore an adventure; even washing and drying dishes. 

 

When it came time for them to turn in for the night, Chanyeol would pull the smaller male into his arms. He would tell Baekhyun about his day, purposely making it seem like he’d enjoyed it; like it didn’t kill him that he was forced to spend hours apart from his love. He would smile when Baekhyun would, in turn, tell him about the customers who’d been pulled in by Baekhyun’s charm; sometimes, he would become jealous of these strangers…for they were able to see and spend time with his husband when he couldn’t. 

 

When he noticed Baekhyun’s eyes slowly drooping, and when his husband began making the soft, whimpering sounds that he loved so much, Chanyeol hugged him tighter. He would wait for his nightly kiss before burying his face into Baekhyun’s sensitive neck, allowing Baekhyun’s scent and his puppy sounds to lull him to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanyeol never liked fighting with Baekhyun.

 

He hated knowing that he was the reason Baekhyun wasn’t smiling; because he loved when Baekhyun smiled. He loved the way his husband’s mouth would form a soft rectangle, and the way Baekhyun’s eyes would crescent; but even more so, he loved Baekhyun’s melodious laughter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baekhyun had always loved lilacs. He’d once told Chanyeol that the purple flowers stood or first love, and had admitted, shyly, that Chanyeol was his first love. 

 

From that day on, Chanyeol loved purple lilacs as well; but not as much as he loved Byun Baekhyun - his first, and only love. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Baekhyun told him he’d wanted to adopt, Chanyeol felt his heart drop. 

 

“I just need you. I need us, together. I need a family.”

 

‘I’m sorry, Baekhyun, but I can’t give you that.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baekhyun had always liked cute things, and Chanyeol had hoped that a dog would be able to keep his mind off of the aspect of family. He’d spent days scouring the city, going from pet store to pet store, and finally, he’d found him - the little white puppy at the run-down animal shelter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white powder puff of a dog - who Baekhyun had deemed as Buddy - had seemed to make Baekhyun happy for a while. It’s merry temperament and peaceful attitude made it the perfect companion for Baekhyun. Chanyeol had only wished he’d picked a dog with less of an issue with separation anxiety; the cheerful puppy would whine and cry every time they left the house, giving them sad, wistful looks as it watched them close the door. The look that Buddy gave them…Chanyeol couldn’t help but think about the way it resembled the expressions Baekhyun gave him when he thought he wasn’t looking every time he left the house. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“But…I didn’t have symptoms.”

 

“Unfortunately, these types of diseases can sometimes be asymptomatic; and symptoms only start showing when it’s too late. I’m sorry, Mr. Park.”

 

“I- How long?”

 

He didn’t have to explain for the man to understand what he was trying to ask. He was sure he’d heard similar questions countless times in his career. 

 

“At the stage you’re at, we can only try and make you more comfortable, and possibly try to prolong your time.”

 

“How long?”

 

“Two years, at the most.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The migraines had started getting worse and worse, becoming more frequent, incapacitating him. 

 

On certain nights, Chanyeol would find himself curled up on the lone leather couch in his office, hands fisted in one of Baekhyun’s sweatshirts that he’d always kept in his office, waiting for the pain to pass. 

 

He’d always make sure to bring the hoodie home and switch it out for a new one every time the scent would start to fade. 

 

“Chanyeol, have you seen my Supreme hoodie?”

 

“Hmm?” Chanyeol would look up from his laptop, watching in amusement as his husband went about the entire house, lifting up pillows and cushions, looking for his lost article of clothing. “No, I haven’t,” he would respond with a knowing smirk when Baekhyun groaned in frustration. 

 

“They keep disappearing and then reappearing weeks later in the laundry room!” Baekhyun would say, getting on all fours to look under the couch. “Yeol, I think we have a ghost.”

 

Chanyeol would chuckle, sending a knowing smile towards Baekhyun before looking back down at his laptop.

 

The sweatshirt took Baekhyun’s place in comforting him; it allowed him to imagine that Baekhyun was there, gently stroking his back and telling him that everything would be all right. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the migraines became more frequent, he’d started going home less and less. He didn’t want Baekhyun to see him in pain; he didn’t want to hurt Baekhyun too. 

 

And when he was home, the constant pain took its toll on him, making him too tired to do anything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Chanyeol, do you want to watch a movie?”

 

“I’m tired Baekhyun.”

 

‘I don’t want to let you see me in pain.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Chanyeol, I made dinner.”

 

“I’m not hungry. You eat by yourself.”

 

’I appreciate your effort, Baekhyun. It smells really good; but I can’t stomach any food right now. I’m afraid I’ll be sick, and you’ll worry.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Your parents called, they want us to come visit soon.”

 

“You go, I don’t have the time.”

 

‘It’s hard enough hiding it from you, Baekhyun. I can’t face my parents right now, too…’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He wished he could go back in time.

 

Back to a time when he could enjoy his time with Baekhyun without fear; without having to worry that the petite brunet would pick up on the slightest flinch of pain, the smallest tremor of his hands. 

 

Because Baekhyun was observant, and Chanyeol didn’t want to risk him knowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

 

“Please, just do it.”

 

“But your husband-“

 

“Please, just help me.”

 

He wanted to reach out and snatch the shirt back before Ryleigh’s lips could touch it; but as his secretary stained the brand new shirt, Chanyeol found himself smiling sadly.

 

‘It’ll be better this way, Baekhyun…’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He knew Baekhyun would see the shirt; he’d left it out, so obviously, atop the pile of dirty laundry.

 

What he didn’t know was how hard it would be to watch his husband doubt himself as his hands fisted the white material, eyes glassed over as he stared down at the red lip marking as if staring at it long enough would make it disappear. 

 

He wasn’t prepared for how much his heart would heart every time Baekhyun would look at him sadly, his eyes so puppy-like that Chanyeol just wanted to squeeze him in his arms and never let him go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Will you be home tomorrow?”

 

“No.”

 

“Can’t you just come home?” His heart clenched at the hurt evident in his husband’s tone. “Just for one night?”

 

“I’m busy.” 

 

He’d hung up the phone before Baekhyun could hear him break down; but as he looked down at the wrapped present in his hands, he allowed his tears to fall freely as he thought about his husband, alone at home on the anniversary of the day that meant so much to them both.

 

‘I’m sorry, Baekhyun.’ 

 

‘Happy Anniversary Baekhyun.’

 

‘I love you, Baekhyun.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sending the divorce papers to Baekhyun was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do; but he knew it was something that had to be done. 

 

His disease was getting worse; the tumor was spreading. He wouldn’t be able to hide it from Baekhyun any longer. 

 

‘It’s better this way, Park Chanyeol. It’s better if he hates you.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching Baekhyun pack away his belongings, taking away all traces of him made Chanyeol want to cry. 

 

He knew he should’ve just let go, but he couldn’t stop himself from begging Baekhyun to stay. 

 

‘Just one more night. Let me be by your side just for tonight.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He felt Baekhyun toss and turn all night, and when morning came, before the sun even had its rise, Baekhyun was up and getting ready to walk out of his life.

 

That day, he laid in bed all day and cried; not because of the pain in his head, but the pain in his heart. 

 

He’d promised Baekhyun an everlasting love.

 

He would keep that promise until the day he died. 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’d never expected he would see Chanyeol again.

 

Nor did he expect his heart to start beating twice as fast for the man who’d broken him after five years of marriage.

 

“Baekhyun…”

 

“Hello, Chanyeol.”

 

“What- How are you?”

 

“I’m fine, Chanyeol.”

 

‘Don’t let him know you still care, Byun Baekhyun.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He knew something was wrong the day Chanyeol’s secretary showed up on his doorstep. 

 

His heart almost stopped beating when he saw her pull out a stack of envelopes. He didn’t reach out for them, though; he couldn’t. Thankfully, Kris was there to take them for him, along with the cardboard box Ryleigh also handed over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letters.

 

Within each envelope held a letter that Chanyeol had written.

 

And as Baekhyun went through each one, he felt his heart breaking all over again. He tried his best to not cry as he observed Chanyeol’s handwriting get messier with each letter; and as each letter became shorter and less coherent.

 

He’d thought he’d done well…until he reached the last envelope. 

 

And once the first tear escaped, he couldn’t stop the rest from spilling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He asked me to take care of you,” Kris had told him. “He came to me one day and said he was dying, and someone needed to be there for you.”

 

Baekhyun had found himself overwhelmed - by anger…by sorrow…by loss.

 

“He made me promise not to tell you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anyone asked, Baekhyun would tell them that Chanyeol’s love for him was pure, shameless, passionate, intense, patient, and illogical. He would only use one word to describe the adoring giant: selfless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had promised that they’d love each other until the day they died. 

 

Chanyeol had kept his promise after all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Who’s this, Papa?”

 

Baekhyun placed the lilac atop the gravestone before turning to his son, smiling softly.

 

“Him? He’s the man you were named after; and he’s the one that showed me what true, everlasting love is.” He reached out to grab his son’s hand, leading him to stand in front of the grave. “This, Chanhyun, is Park Chanyeol.”

 

 

 

 

-FIN-