"You need to take a break," Minseok had said last Thursday, refusing to let Baekhyun into his corner office until he had agreed to take the next two weeks off. Baekhyun had agreed just to appease Minseok, but when he came in on Friday morning the passwords on all his accounts had been changed by Jongdae, his assistant, and pulling rank wasn't an option because if Jongdae didn't want to do something, there was nothing Baekhyun could do.
Two days later he was boarding a flight to Boracay with a text in his pocket from Jongdae to not 'forget to sunscreen ur cute little nose'.
The flight was fine, the resort they booked him amazing, and within a couple of days, Baekhyun was admitting to himself that maybe he really did need to take a break from staying in the office until 10pm every night. He could get used to the room service, the pool service, the turndown service.
The small child entering his room from the one next door. That's different.
Baekhyun sits up on the bed, but no words come out. This isn't exactly something he's prepped to handle.
The child, a boy no more than 3 or 4, gives Baekhyun a small wave. Baekhyun waves back and watches as the kid looks around, then shuffles his way over to the bag of snacks Baekhyun had left on the table when he returned from lunch.
"Can I have one?" the child says, pointing at the package of cookies sticking out. His finger is tiny, his hand is tiny, all of him is tiny. Baekhyun should be concerned that a child just walked into his room, but he also has a weakness for adorable children, especially ones with pudgy little cheeks.
"Sure," Baekhyun says, walking over and opening up the package. "What's your name?"
"Sehun," the child says, daintily picking up a cookie. "I'm three." Sehun has a slight lisp and Baekhyun could just die.
"Where are your parents?"
"Daddy's, um, in the bathroom."
That explains why an adult didn't stop Sehun from entering a stranger's room. If Baekhyun concentrates, he can hear the shower running from the neighboring room.
"You should probably head back before he gets worried."
Sehun nods in agreement and toddles back toward the door. "Thank you for the cookie," he says before disappearing from view. Baekhyun closes the door and goes to lock it, but finds that the deadbolt won't budge.
Baekhyun leaves it. He grabs his pajamas and heads to the bathroom. At least now he has an amusing story to tell Jongdae and Minseok when he gets back.
It happens again.
Sehun shows up the next night and the night after that. Baekhyun starts finding reasons to stay in his room each evening.
Baekhyun learns about Sehun's favorite foods and colors. About his friend Jongin from daycare. About how his dad is trying to get him to eat spinach, but he doesn't like it because it makes his mouth feel weird.
The TV is set to a kids channel. Baekhyun has no idea what these shows are, but Sehun seems entertained.
"Does your dad know you keep coming here?" Baekhyun flicks the cookie crumbs collecting between Sehun's knees off the bed.
Sehun shakes his head. "Am I in trouble?"
Baekhyun hums. "You're not supposed to talk to strangers."
"You're not a stranger," Sehun says. "You're our neighbor."
Baekhyun snorts, amused that a toddler's logic has bettered him. He's about to tell Sehun that he should head back when a panicked voice rings from the next room, calling for Sehun.
"I'm here, daddy!" Sehun says, not even budging from his spot. The cartoon has returned from commercials.
Baekhyun, on the other hand, panics a little. He stands up and looks around wildly, as if tidying up the hotel room is somehow going to mask the fact that he's been hanging out with a small child with no relation to himself.
The connecting door to his room opens and Baekhyun is a deer in headlights. A tall, young man appears, his hair damp from the shower, and the words "I can explain" start to come out of Baekhyun's mouth, but it's like he isn't even in the room. The young man goes straight to Sehun and picks him up.
"Sehun, I told you to stay in the room."
"I'm visiting our neighbor," Sehun says matter-of-factly.
The young man looks over and Baekhyun is struck by his eyes. He feels very small when the young man takes two steps toward him. Literally. There must be a good ten centimeter difference between them.
"I — the door's broken and Sehun likes the cookies I buy from the shop on the beach," Baekhyun says, which sounds so stupid but the word vomit continues. "I only let him have one. Kids and sugar, right?"
To Baekhyun's relief, the young man smiles at him. Fifty years gets shaved off his life. "I was wondering where he was getting those," the man says, patting Sehun's back. Sehun cranes his head over his dad's shoulder so he can see the TV. "Sorry for the trouble. Ever since he learned how to walk, he's been two handfuls."
Baekhyun shakes his head. "Thanks for not pummeling me," he says, clearing his throat. "You're pretty calm for a parent who's just discovered their child hanging out alone with a strange man."
The young man laughs, a deep but clear sound. "This is hardly the most stressful situation Sehun's put me in." He extends his hand. "I'm Chanyeol, by the way."
"Baekhyun." Chanyeol's grip is large and warm. It swallows Baekhyun's hand completely.
"Thanks for putting up with Sehun," Chanyeol says. "I'll tell him to stop bothering you."
Baekhyun surprises himself and says, "It's okay, really. I've kind of liked his company. He's a pretty cute kid."
Chanyeol rolls his eyes fondly. "Don't fall for it. It's a total weapon to get what he wants."
"Yeah, don't I know it," Baekhyun says, rubbing the back of his neck.
There's a few seconds of awkward silence between them. Baekhyun takes a deep breath, but Chanyeol beats him to it.
"Hey, do you want to have breakfast with us tomorrow? My way of paying you back for the impromptu babysitting you've been doing."
"Okay," Baekhyun says before he can even think it over. He rocks back on his feet. "There's a mom and pop place near the boardwalk that's pretty good. If you're okay with that."
Chanyeol smiles and tries to catch Sehun's eye. "Baekhyun-hyung wants to have breakfast with you tomorrow."
Sehun gives his dad a toothy grin. The resemblance is uncanny. "Yeah!"
"Yeah!" Chanyeol mirrors, waving a fist in the air.
Baekhyun doesn't know what's wrong with him. He doesn't not like children, but he's never been particularly drawn to them either. But right now, watching Chanyeol and Sehun together unmistakably tugs at his heartstrings and he has no clue why.
"Say goodnight to Baekhyun-hyung," Chanyeol says, bringing Baekhyun out of his thoughts.
Sehun reaches out with his tiny arms and Baekhyun moves in close enough so he can get a kiss on the cheek. "Night night!" Sehun says. A few lingering crumbs transfer from Sehun's lips to Baekhyun's face, but that's not enough to keep Baekhyun from abso-fucking-lutely melting.
Once Baekhyun is alone in his room again, he falls onto the bed and throws an arm over his eyes. A minute later he rolls over and grabs his phone.
bbh: what do u think my type is
kjd: big dicks
bbh: fuk u be seriosu!!
kjd: i am??
bbh: what about kids
kjd: … dude thats fucked up
bbh: I MEANT A GUY WITH KIDS O MG
kjd: wtf we sent u on vacay not to recreate a nick sparks novel
bbh: i regret starting this convo goodBYE
Baekhyun tosses the phone aside and shoves a pillow over his face. What is he even thinking? If there's a kid then there's also a mom.
He gets too easily smitten with cute, smiley things, whether they're large or small. He needs to get that under control.
Baekhyun sets an alarm for 8 am and trudges to the bathroom to wash up. Tomorrow will just be a normal breakfast and then they'll part ways, Chanyeol and Sehun returning to Sehun's mom while Baekhyun returns to his workaholic schedule.
In the meantime, he supposes, it wouldn't hurt to admire from afar.
The restaurant could be more aptly described as a shack. There's two tiny tables inside and only a few more out on the patio. The whole place is decorated in beach-faded blues, reds, and yellows and on the walls hang strings of shells.
"Pretty!" Sehun says when they take an outside table. There's a third chair, but Chanyeol keeps Sehun in his lap.
The owner, a stout middle-aged lady with a nose ring, comes over and greets Baekhyun with a cheek kiss. "You brought friends," she says and Baekhyun laughs sheepishly, nodding.
"Are you already a regular?" Chanyeol says, giving Sehun the menu. Sehun, in turn, studies it very seriously.
"I've come here a couple times this week," Baekhyun says. "The porridge is pretty good."
"We'll go with your recommendation then," Chanyeol says, giving the owner his order when she returns. Baekhyun sticks with coffee, eggs, and toast.
Truthfully, Baekhyun is not a morning person so this is a bit tough for him. He suppresses a yawn behind his hand and watches Sehun stare at a large fluffy white dog strolling by on the boardwalk.
"Puppy!" Sehun says, pointing at it.
Chanyeol sighs. "Every dog is a puppy to him, no matter how large or small."
Baekhyun smiles. "That's some very cute and innocent kid logic."
They make some more small talk until their food arrives. Baekhyun is more hungry than he thought and digs into his sunny side up eggs on toast. He watches Chanyeol feed Sehun first. The little one is still avidly people watching, but his tiny mouth opens and closes around the spoon on autopilot.
"You're really good with him," Baekhyun says.
Chanyeol laughs quietly as he wipes the corner of Sehun's mouth. "Thanks. It definitely wasn't always like this."
"New parent learning curves," Baekhyun says.
"He's old enough to feed himself, but not without making a giant mess," Chanyeol says, finally taking a few bites himself. "And I don't have a giant pack of wet wipes with me."
Baekhyun stirs cream and sugar into his coffee. "I guess that's easier when both parents are around."
Chanyeol goes quiet and brushes Sehun's hair back a few times. "Actually, it's just me," he says eventually, giving Baekhyun a small smile. "It's been about a year now?"
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," Baekhyun says. He probably should've known that Chanyeol was a widower and now he just opened a sore subject without thinking. "Sorry for your loss."
Chanyeol's head tilts to the side before recognition flickers across his face. "Oh! No, it's not like that." He brings Sehun's glass of orange juice closer so Sehun can sip through the straw. "I'm divorced. Sehun's mom and I switch off every other week."
That doesn't sound any better to Baekhyun. He doesn't want to prod though, so he nods and drinks his coffee. Switching the topic is good. "So, does Sehun steal cookies from strangers all the time?"
Chanyeol laughs and immediately looks more relaxed again. "He's mostly too cute for his own good," he says, rubbing Sehun's back. "And he has a knack for charming his way through anything without even trying."
"I was definitely blindsided," Baekhyun says. His first encounter with Sehun is already a blur of a memory and he still doesn't quite know how he got here.
"I should pay you back for the cookies," Chanyeol says, twisting around awkwardly to pull his wallet out.
Baekhyun waves him off hastily. "You don't have to do that," he says, pushing Chanyeol's hand away when he hands over a few bills. "Honestly, it's for the best. I really shouldn't be eating so many sweets anyway. Really Sehun's being a hero, saving my waistline and fashion budget."
Eventually Baekhyun gets Chanyeol to put his money away by reminding Chanyeol that he's paying for breakfast. The rest of the meal goes by lazily. Sehun manages to get food on his shirt only once and gets excited about two more dogs that go by.
After Chanyeol pays, they both sit there for a while, an awkward silence hanging between them. Sehun gets antsy and squirms in Chanyeol's lap. Chanyeol lets him down.
"Daddy, beach!" he says, taking Chanyeol's thumb in his hand and pulling.
"Again?" Chanyeol says, slouching further in his chair. "We spent all day yesterday at the beach. How do you feel about relaxing in our nice air conditioned hotel room and taking a nap?"
"No! I'm not tired."
"Daddy's tired," Chanyeol says, giving Sehun a puppy dog face. Baekhyun hides his laugh behind his hand and a cough.
"So stop being tired."
Chanyeol shares a look with Baekhyun. "Why didn't I think of that?" he deadpans.
"I'll go with him to the beach," Baekhyun says before he even realizes what he's volunteering for. Chanyeol looks equally surprised. "I mean," he tries to recover. "I'm not like, a trained babysitter or anything, but I can look after him for a little bit probably while you rest. Technically I've already done it a few times."
"You're on vacation," Chanyeol says, keeping one hand around Sehun's arm so he doesn't run off too far. "You shouldn't be babysitting at all."
Baekhyun shrugs. "Yeah, but honestly it's been boring."
"Why are you on a boring vacation?"
Baekhyun blows his bangs out of the way. "I was sent here against my will."
"Ohhh, what a terrible punishment."
"Laugh it up," Baekhyun says, not bothering to hold back his pout. "My boss accused me of being a workaholic and my own assistant locked me out of all my accounts until I took this trip. I'm surprised they didn't follow me here to make sure I actually made it and haven't commandeered someone's laptop to cheat."
Someone with an English Bulldog sits at the table next to them. Sehun scampers over before Chanyeol can grab him, but the owner doesn't seem to mind at all. "Pet him gently, you don't want to hurt him," Chanyeol calls after him and Sehun is so careful, he barely even touches the dog's fur.
"Anyway, like I was saying," Baekhyun clears his throat. "I could watch him for a bit if you need a break." He can see Chanyeol's willpower start to crumble.
"You're sure you don't mind?" Chanyeol says, still keeping an eye on Sehun.
Baekhyun holds his hands out. "I'm offering free childcare," he says. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."
Chanyeol laughs and sits forward, propping his elbows on the table. Something twists in Baekhyun's chest. "Okay, all right," he says, resting his chin on a palm. "If you really want to handle a toddler that badly, I won't stop you."
"Then we have a deal."
Sehun's squeal of delight pierces through the air.
Kids do not travel light. Baekhyun grunts as he jerks his shoulder to keep Sehun's bag of supplies and toys from slipping. Meanwhile, Sehun himself is doing his best to pull Baekhyun forward to get to the beach faster.
Baekhyun is starting to doubt whether he's equipped to handle an afternoon where he's solely responsible for a small person. Worried Sehun will trip and hurt himself soon, Baekhyun picks him up like a sack of potatoes, arm looped under Sehun's tummy, and carries him the rest of the way. Sehun laughs like he's have the time of his life.
The resort has rows of lounge chairs and beach umbrellas set up for guests to use. Baekhyun finds an open chair in the first row and collapses onto it. Sehun tries to beeline for the water, but Baekhyun had the foresight to grab the back of his swim trunks.
"Give this hyung a second, okay?" Baekhyun says, pulling out a bottle of water and downing half of it. "Why do you have so much energy?"
"I wanna swim!"
"Okay, okay." Baekhyun makes sure Sehun's floaties are on snugly and takes his hand again, leading them down to the water.
The moment a wave rushes over their feet, Sehun is hop skipping his way in, jumping into the water without fear. Baekhyun follows close behind and maneuvers himself in front of Sehun, not letting him stray too deep, only to where the water reaches Sehun's chest.
It turns out by swim, Sehun actually means splashing and dunking Baekhyun until he looks like a drowned rat. He switches to a game of grabbing Sehun and tossing him into the water, which Sehun is a huge fan of, but leaves Baekhyun more winded then ever.
Minutes feel like hours and hours, days. Sehun's energy is endless. Baekhyun doesn't know how Chanyeol manages to keep up all the time when he already wants to succumb to a nap and it's barely early afternoon.
Finally, he can see Sehun start to tire. Sehun yawns twice and rubs at his eyes and Baekhyun's inner self celebrates in relief.
"Come on, pipsqueak," he says, picking Sehun up. He walks back to their chair and dries Sehun off, taking the floaties off too.
"I wanna play more," Sehun whines, even as he yawns again.
"Let's get more sunscreen on you first," Baekhyun says, sitting back in the chair and setting Sehun on his lap. He goes about smearing a greasy layer of sunscreen over Sehun's back, then swivels him around to do his front too. Sehun's eyes barely stay open when Baekhyun dabs the cream on his face. "You don't look like you want to play more, you look like you want a nap."
Sehun only whines and shakes his head heavily, but the resistance is futile. Baekhyun adjusts the umbrella so they're fully in the shade, then lies back with Sehun against his chest. Within seconds, Sehun is out like a light. Baekhyun slips on his sunglasses and decides to get some shut-eye too, patting Sehun's back lightly until he drifts off.
Someone is standing over him when Baekhyun wakes. He remembers that Sehun is with him and his protection instincts kick in, securing both arms around the kid even though his head is still groggy.
"That's adorable," the stranger says and his voice sounds awfully familiar. Baekhyun rubs at his eyes and realizes the silhouette belongs to Chanyeol. A distinct sound of a camera shutter goes off. "Look at you two."
"No, you have to get my good side," Baekhyun grumbles. Sehun whines in his sleep and smacks his lips before settling down again.
The neighboring chair is empty now and Chanyeol sits down. Baekhyun looks at his watch and sees they've only been napping for half an hour. "I can take him from you," Chanyeol says, reaching for Sehun, but Baekhyun waves him off.
"I don't want him to be cranky if he gets woken up," Baekhyun says. It strikes him that he doesn't know if that would happen, but he subscribes to the belief that children are just tiny drunk adults so he's probably not wrong.
"I don't know if I'm being too forward about this, but you don't have kids of your own, do you?"
Baekhyun shakes his head.
"Younger siblings? Lots of cousins?"
"Just an older brother and a couple of cousins around my age," Baekhyun says. "Are you trying to say my childcare skills are terrible?"
Chanyeol laughs and runs his hand through his hair. It ends up artistically tousled. Baekhyun averts his eyes. "No, the opposite actually," Chanyeol says, reaching over to smooth down Sehun's hair. "Sehun's really taken to you."
"That's not skill, it's because I'm the guy who gave him cookies and I'm basically a child myself."
A comfortable silence falls over them. Baekhyun takes in the look on Chanyeol's face as he watches Sehun. It's so obvious how much Chanyeol loves his son, to the point where Baekhyun feels a little bit like he's an intruder to this moment.
Even though Baekhyun made sure not to prod this morning, his curiosity gets the best of him. "Why did you and his mom separate?"
Chanyeol presses his lips together.
"Sorry, you barely know me, I shouldn't be asking something like that."
"No, no, you're fine," Chanyeol says, clasping his hands together. He stares out at the water, nose wrinkling a bit at the glare of the sun. "We checked the box for 'irreconcilable differences' when we filed the papers."
"I assume that's usually code for something." Baekhyun wonders if one of them cheated and tries to imagine Chanyeol as the guilty party. He doesn't see it.
Chanyeol laughs a bit and nods, scratching the back of his head. "Yeah, usually," he says, looking back at Baekhyun. "For me it was code for, I like men and couldn't hide it anymore."
That wasn't what Baekhyun expected. He stares a bit before thinking that's a rude thing to be doing right now, but Chanyeol hasn't looked away. In fact, he's definitely waiting for Baekhyun to respond.
"Yeah, that sounds like irreconcilable differences," Baekhyun says because he can't think of anything else. Very smooth. Chanyeol gives him a small smile and he's not sure if he's reading too much into the relief he sees behind it. "Did you always know?"
"More or less," Chanyeol says. He swings around and lies back in his lounger, hands pillowed beneath his head. "I just didn't want to admit it and go against what's supposed to be normal. I still haven't decided if I regret it."
"What do you mean?"
"On the one hand, I really hurt someone that I care about," Chanyeol says, looking over. "But on the other, I wouldn't have had Sehun and the idea of Sehun never existing is unthinkable to me."
Baekhyun looks down at Sehun too and wipes some dried sand off his arm. The idea sounds unthinkable to him too and that's dangerous because he barely knows these people. Two days ago he was sitting by the pool texting Jongdae a flurry of empty threats to try and get access to his work email, obsessing and fretting over all the projects due next quarter. Today he hasn't thought about work for even a second and his top concern has been making sure his hotel neighbor's three year old doesn't get a sunburn.
Combined with the new knowledge of why Chanyeol got a divorce, Baekhyun is in a perilous situation that is absolutely going to get him into trouble. If this is how jumbled his thoughts and feelings are after day one, he should just stay away after this because nothing good can possibly come of it.
Baekhyun does not do a good job of staying away.
It's just before 7 and he's standing in front of the mirror trying to decide if his outfit says put together, but also casual without trying too hard. He thinks about texting Jongdae to get his opinion, but that would just lead to questions about why he's asking for a fashion second opinion and he doesn't want to open that can of worms just yet.
He'd been ready to part ways with Chanyeol that afternoon, but couldn't say no when Chanyeol asked if he wanted to join for dinner. Not that he actually put in that much effort to turn the invitation down. Though he probably should have.
There's a quiet knock on the door connecting his room to Chanyeol's. He hasn't even answered when it starts opening, which is a sign that Sehun's on the other side.
"Are you ready yet?" Sehun says, when his head pokes around. "We're hungry."
"Sehun, that's rude," comes Chanyeol's voice.
"Sorry," Sehun says, pouting.
Baekhyun walks over and crouches in front of him. "You're forgiven," he says, patting Sehun's butt. "But I'm hungry too and need a snack." He grabs Sehun's arm and pretends to gnaw on it, laughing when Sehun shrieks and runs back to his room.
He's slipping on his boat shoes when Chanyeol comes in carrying Sehun. "Did you try to eat my son?"
Baekhyun shrugs. "I was hungry. I wasn't going to eat all of him."
"I can't blame you, he is quite delicious," Chanyeol says and proceeds to blow raspberries all over Sehun's face.
"Daddy, stop!" Sehun says, giggling. "I'm not food!"
"What are you then?"
"I'm Sehun," he says exasperatedly. "Duh."
"Duh," Baekhyun echoes, grinning when Chanyeol rolls his eyes at him. He grabs his wallet. "Ready?"
For a second, Chanyeol just looks at him. Baekhyun checks if the buttons are misaligned on his shirt or his fly is open, but there's nothing embarrassing he can see. By the time he lifts his head, Chanyeol is smiling at him and saying, "Yeah, let's go."
At dinner, Baekhyun helps Sehun read the menu and orders on his behalf one of the child entrees. In turn Sehun explains to him the intricacies of the world of Pororo.
Chanyeol continues to watch.
They take the long way after dinner and walk along the beach back to the resort. Sehun is asleep in Chanyeol's arms by the time they step foot onto the sand. Baekhyun thinks about how he's only known Chanyeol 24 hours and it's not like there's a minimum threshold for when walking together on the beach is appropriate, but Baekhyun doesn't exactly have an innocent history when it comes to barreling headfirst into infatuation.
There had been Do Kyungsoo who worked at the law firm a few floors above Baekhyun's ad agency. He had the sweetest smile Baekhyun had ever seen and whenever he said hello to Baekhyun in the mornings while they waited for the elevator, it sent shivers down Baekhyun's spine. Then there was Zhang Yixing who was Vice President at the company Baekhyun led a campaign for. He still hasn't scoured from memory the multiple times during meetings when Baekhyun had blanked out on easy words because Yixing chose that exact moment to roll up his sleeves and expose his annoyingly defined forearms.
Baekhyun hadn't approached either of them, which made Jongdae disappointed in him, at least until Yixing directed his attention to Jongdae. One thing led to another and before Baekhyun left on vacation, Jongdae had told him that he'd need a week off next month because Yixing wanted to take him to Bali for their one year anniversary.
Baekhyun likes to imagine things like someone whisking him away to Bali for a romantic getaway, but the real thing spooks him. Being here, watching Chanyeol shift Sehun carefully so he doesn't wake, is far from romantic, but it still makes Baekhyun uneasy. Because Chanyeol is good-looking and kind and tall and handsome and dotes on his son so much it makes Baekhyun's chest ache. He never thought Single Dad would ever be a thing for him, which means he's wholly unprepared for how much it definitely is a thing.
"You're quiet," Chanyeol says, glancing sidelong at Baekhyun.
Baekhyun cracks half a smile. "I'm questioning everything I know after Sehun blew my mind with all those Pororo facts."
"If he were awake, I'm sure he'd apologize for causing an existential crisis."
"Lesson learned; never underestimate 3 year olds," Baekhyun says, kicking at the sand lightly. He had gone barefoot before stepping off the boardwalk.
"I think he really liked spending the day with you," Chanyeol says. "I planned this trip not realizing exactly how much free time we'd have and entertaining a toddler is not easy."
"We're definitely kindred spirits then."
"I guess I'm a little grateful that you happened to be next door when Sehun decided to be adventurous."
Baekhyun smiles and peeks at Sehun's face, his cheek squished against Chanyeol's shoulder. "I'm glad too."
"When's your forced vacation over?"
Baekhyun struggles to remember how long he's been here. "I've got two more days," he says, tilting his head as he thinks about it. "What about you guys?"
"We'll be here through the weekend," Chanyeol says.
Back at the hotel, the elevator ride up is quiet except for the smooth jazz coming from the speakers above. Baekhyun lingers in front of the door to his room watching Chanyeol try to balance holding Sehun and digging out the key card.
"Which one do you want me to help with?" he says, unable to watch the struggle any longer.
Chanyeol smiles sheepishly. "Key card, please," he says, handing his wallet over.
Baekhyun holds the door open, following Chanyeol in after, though he doesn't really know why. He places Chanyeol's wallet on the desk while Chanyeol strips Sehun down for bed and gives a small wave before disappearing into his own room.
He collapses onto the bed, finally feeling the exhaustion of being out all day. He can't really feel his feet and his lower back aches. Right when he's about to drag himself into the shower, there's a soft knock on the connecting door.
"Uh, come in?"
Chanyeol looks a bit embarrassed when he comes in. "Sorry, I know it's been a long day," he says, pointing behind him. "But Sehun's fussing because he hasn't said good night to you."
"Oh." That's kind of adorable. Baekhyun gets up with a strained groan and retraces the steps he just took five minutes ago. "Ignore me, I'm an old man stuck in a young body."
Chanyeol laughs a little. "You can admit you were bested by a toddler, it happens to me most days."
"I will not," Baekhyun says, smiling when he sees Sehun sitting up in bed and rubbing his eyes groggily. He looks incredibly grumpy, eyebrows furrowed, but brightens a little when he spots Baekhyun. "I heard someone won't go to bed," Baekhyun says, perching himself on the side of the bed.
"Because we didn't say good night," Sehun mumbles and Baekhyun will forever keep to himself how much that tugs at his heartstrings.
"You're 100% right," Baekhyun says and flings his arms wide open. "Come here."
Sehun gets up and nearly topples over trying to walk on the mattress, but Baekhyun catches him at the last moment. "I had lots of fun with you today, Sehun," he says, giving him a huge bear hug.
"Can we go to the beach again tomorrow?"
"Sehun, Baekhyun-hyung already spent all day with us today," Chanyeol says before Baekhyun can answer. "We should let him do stuff by himself."
Sehun's face falls, but he nods and kisses Baekhyun on the cheek. "Good night," he says and toddles his way back under the covers. Feeling a bit guilty, Baekhyun leans over and returns a kiss to Sehun's forehead, ruffling his hair lightly after.
"I'll see you again before I leave, okay?" Baekhyun says, melting inside when Sehun gives him a sleepy smile. He gives another little wave when he stands up and walks backward, startling a bit when he nearly bumps into Chanyeol.
"Well, um, good night," Baekhyun says, rocking back and forth on his heels.
Chanyeol holds the door open for him. He takes a deep breath like he's going to say something earth shattering, but just smiles and says, "Good night, Baekhyun."
Before Baekhyun falls asleep, his mind goes a mile a minute wondering what it could have possibly been.
Baekhyun spends the next day doing business as usual. He heads down to the pool after a late lunch and barrages Jongdae with threats to fire him to get his account access back. When that doesn't work, he starts sending puppy face selfies to him.
Jongdae ends up calling him. "Stop sending me photos of your ugly face otherwise I'll tell Minseok to fire you," he says before Baekhyun can even say hello.
"Rude," Baekhyun says. A small child runs by and Baekhyun does a double take thinking it's Sehun. It's not.
"Go back to doing what you did yesterday," Jongdae says and Baekhyun can hear him typing away furiously at the keyboard. "You didn't bother me at all. It was amazing."
"What do you mean, you can't?"
Baekhyun takes a deep breath, wondering how Jongdae would react to the truth. He jumps into the deep end. "So there's a guy here."
Baekhyun pulls his phone away briefly to sneer at it. "Didn't what? I haven't even told you anything."
"You texted me the other day about it, you dumbass."
"Oh." Then, "Don't call your boss a dumbass."
"You're not my boss when you're on vacation," Jongdae says, sighing. "Especially when you're on vacation and going after a guy who has kids."
"I'm not 'going after' anyone," Baekhyun grumbles. And because details matter: "Also, it's kid singular."
"Well, that changes everything," says Jongdae sarcastically.
"I'm on vacation, I don't deserve this."
Jongdae doesn't say anything right away. Baekhyun would think the call dropped if not for being able to hear Jongdae's breathing on the other end. The typing stops and finally Jongdae says, "You haven't actually denied anything except my accusation of how aggressively you're perusing him."
Baekhyun chews on his bottom lip. "He asked if I wanted to join them for breakfast. And dinner. It's not like I had anything better to do."
Every fiber of Baekhyun's being is telling him not to keep on exposing himself, but he doesn't actually know how to stop. "I volunteered to take his son to the beach yesterday."
"Are you kidding me?" In the background, Baekhyun hears Minseok's voice asking who Jongdae is talking to, but Jongdae waves him off with a you don't want to know. "Exactly how long have you known this guy?"
Baekhyun laughs nervously. "A day and a half? Give or take a few hours."
Jongdae sighs loudly. When he speaks again, his voice is soft and concerned. "Do you know what you're doing? You get infatuated so easily and then wallow for weeks when your feelings aren't returned."
"I'm not like that," Baekhyun says in a quiet voice because he doesn't believe it either.
"You're exactly like that," Jongdae says. "Falling for a guy with a kid is basically asking to get hurt."
Deep down, Baekhyun knows Jongdae is right, but he also knows it's probably already too late. It's been 12 hours and Baekhyun already misses those two. He's been distracted by every dad and son pair he's seen this morning, hoping one of them will be Chanyeol and Sehun.
"Baekhyun, are you listening?"
"Yeah," Baekhyun says, clearing his throat. "I got it, I won't do anything stupid."
"Good. Just enjoy your last couple of days in the sun and come back rested on Monday."
Baekhyun smiles a little, grateful that Jongdae cares so much despite the crap they give each other. "If I'm good, can you reset my passwords early?"
"Not a chance!" Jongdae says, sounding truly gleeful about it.
After they hang up, Baekhyun feels pretty confident he can control a silly crush over the next two days. And then he'll just leave and be on his way and soon will barely remember this trip at all.
Easy as pie.
He makes it as far as that night.
He's just pulled his key card out when the elevator dings. Suddenly there's the scampering of feet and a too familiar voice yelling out.
That's all the warning Baekhyun gets before something runs right into him, latching onto his legs and nearly taking him down.
"Hey, pipsqueak," Baekhyun says, holding on to the door frame with one hand so he can hug Sehun back with the other. He glances up to see Chanyeol approaching at a more reasonable pace. "You guys just get back for the day?"
"We went to the aquarveeum!"
"It's aquarium, Sehun."
"That's what I said."
"That's what he said," Baekhyun says, sharing Sehun's exasperated look. Chanyeol holds both hands up in defeat. Sehun's still got his stick thin arms around Baekhyun's knees. It's obvious he wants to ask Baekhyun something but keeps looking back at his dad as if he isn't allowed to.
"Come on, Sehun, let's wash up for dinner," Chanyeol says, holding the door open to their room.
"But," Sehun starts.
"Okay," Sehun says dejectedly, letting go of Baekhyun. He waves sadly and mouths bye before disappearing into the room.
Baekhyun knows he shouldn't. He can hear Jongdae's voice in his head warning him to keep quiet and just walk away. He knows and yet.
"Hey. Mind one more for dinner?"
"And-and the sharks were huge but-but they only eat tiny things so the lady said, she said they're not scary but I wasn't scared at all."
Sehun is kneeling on his chair by the time he's done giving Baekhyun a full debrief of his day. He takes a huge breath after, but his tiny body is still thrumming with leftover energy, bouncing and wiggling as he goes for another chicken tender.
"That's amazing," Baekhyun says, making his eyes comically wide. "You're very brave."
"Yeah," Sehun says, nodding.
Chanyeol rolls his eyes. "I haven't gotten around to teaching modesty yet."
"He's young enough to get away with it still."
Chanyeol picks at his side dish. "How exciting was your day?"
"No contest when compared to you guys," Baekhyun says, propping his chin on both hands. "Called my assistant and got berated for the 10th time about how I fail at taking vacations."
"Do most assistants berate their bosses?"
"Only mine!" Baekhyun says, forcing a laugh. "He told me to do whatever I did yesterday since that kept me entertained enough to not contact him at all. So, here I am." Jongdae definitely did say that, even if he disapproved big time after he found out exactly what those things were and immediately told Baekhyun to stop.
Chanyeol smiles, but it doesn't quite reach his eyes. In fact, the whole dinner has felt a bit off, though Baekhyun hasn't been able to pinpoint why. Chanyeol isn't as talkative as yesterday, but he's not exactly distant either. Maybe he's just tired from chasing after Sehun all day. But Baekhyun can't shake the feeling that it's his presence Chanyeol's uncomfortable with right now.
"You okay?" Baekhyun says, touching Chanyeol's arm lightly. Chanyeol starts to jerk away like he's been burned, but catches himself. Baekhyun still notices and draws his hand back awkwardly. "Sorry."
Chanyeol shakes his head and rubs the bridge of his nose. "No, I. I didn't realize how tired I am."
"Do you want to head upstairs and rest for a bit?" Baekhyun says, glancing at Sehun who's finger painting in his ketchup. "I can bring Sehun up when we're done."
"No, I don't want to inconvenience you like that," Chanyeol says, setting his napkin on the table.
"You sure? Sehun looks like he'll be up for a while still. I'll take him for a walk around the pools to tire him out."
Chanyeol shakes his head more firmly. "It's fine, I can take care of my son." He reaches over and makes Sehun stop playing with his food, wiping down his hands. "We should get the check."
"Oh," Baekhyun says quietly, not knowing how to respond to Chanyeol's sudden coldness. "Sure. I'll just charge it to my room if you want to take Sehun up first."
"You don't need to do that."
Baekhyun smiles gently. "You can pay me back. You know where my room is."
For a moment, Chanyeol looks like he's going to continue arguing, but the fight drains out of him quickly. Baekhyun wonders why he wants to get away so bad, tries to think if something he said during dinner was over the line.
"Thanks," Chanyeol says, but he's not even looking at Baekhyun. He stands and picks Sehun up. "Come on, it's bed time."
"But I'm not tired," Sehun says, turning cranky. "I don't want to go to bed."
"I don't care," Chanyeol says, already walking away. Sehun bursts into loud, ugly tears halfway to the exit and Baekhyun watches them until they disappear from view.
After, he pecks at some fries still left on his plate before flagging down the server to pay. The uneasiness heavy in his gut still hasn't disappeared by the time he leaves.
When Baekhyun makes it upstairs, he can hear Sehun still kicking up a fuss next door followed by Chanyeol's frustrated attempts to get him to settle down. He jumps in the shower to avoid listening to it, feeling like somehow he's the reason why they're both upset.
Things haven't quieted down when he steps out. He tip toes around the room anyway like something he might do would make it worse. Honestly, he shouldn't be inserting himself into someone else's business anyway, but he's really bad at tuning out Sehun's crying. Impulsively, he knocks on the connecting door and opens it inch by inch.
Chanyeol's sitting at the foot of the bed with his head in his hands while Sehun's up by the pillows. His face is blotchy and eyes swollen, his shirt on backwards. He makes a quiet noise when he sees Baekhyun and hiccups a mumbled, "hyung."
"Sorry," Baekhyun says when Chanyeol looks up. "You can tell me to mind my own business. I just. Wanted to see if you'd like some help."
Chanyeol doesn't say anything and Baekhyun keeps standing there awkwardly. Finally, Chanyeol stands and runs a hand through his hair and over his face. "Sure," he says, quiet. "I need to clear my head."
Baekhyun nods and waits for the door to close behind Chanyeol before making his way over to Sehun. "You shouldn't make things so hard for your daddy," he says, grabbing a couple of tissues so he can wipe Sehun's face clean. Then he goes about fixing Sehun's shirt. "Do you want to watch some cartoons?"
Sehun sniffles loudly and nods. Baekhyun grabs the remote and slides under the covers, flipping the TV on. Sehun cuddles up to him immediately, ducking under Baekhyun's arm.
They watch for a good half hour until Sehun starts fading, his head lolling back and forth as he tries to stay awake. As Baekhyun's tucking Sehun in, the door beeps, signaling Chanyeol's return. He puts a finger to his lips when Chanyeol walks in and nods for them to go to his room.
The door's barely closed when Baekhyun suddenly finds himself shoved against the wall, Chanyeol's tall frame trapping him. "What— ," is all he manages before Chanyeol's lips press against his, kissing him hard and hungry. Baekhyun's knees go weak immediately but he eagerly kisses back, both hands clutching Chanyeol's shirt in case the other gets any bright ideas about stopping.
Luckily, it's the opposite. Chanyeol's hand cradles the back of Baekhyun's neck as he coaxes Baekhyun's lips apart, letting their tongues tease and slide together. It's so good, but Baekhyun holds back his moans, a part of him still aware there's a sleeping 3 year old next door. Finally, they part to catch their breaths, but Baekhyun sticks close, sliding his arms up and over Chanyeol's shoulders as he keeps stealing brief, lazy kisses. He wouldn't know how to stop even if he wanted to, quickly becoming addicted now that what he's only allowed himself to think about has become reality.
Baekhyun feels the sudden shift and tension in Chanyeol though and he tightens his hold. "It's okay, it's okay," he whispers, carding his fingers through Chanyeol's hair. "Please keep going."
But Chanyeol shakes his head and carefully detaches Baekhyun from him. "No, I need to — we should talk first." His lips are shiny and more red than pink and Baekhyun has to look away if he's going to respect Chanyeol's wishes.
Chanyeol moves to lean against the desk and covers his face with both hands, taking a deep breath. He looks lost and Baekhyun wants to touch him more than ever.
"I don't," Chanyeol starts, his voice muffled behind his hands. "It's only been a year since Sehun's mom and I — but I haven't. I've never actually."
"But you want to?" Baekhyun says, biting his lip nervously. "With me?"
Chanyeol lets out a hollow laugh. "So much."
Warmth blooms in Baekhyun's chest, but he tries not to show it because Chanyeol is still so obviously spooked. He doesn't know what to say that would be comforting, doesn't know if blurting out hey, that kiss was fucking amazing and I want more of it would go over very well. He takes one step, then another, until he's close enough to take Chanyeol's hand in both of his. But he doesn't do that, not yet.
"I'm not great at this either," Baekhyun says, fiddling with the ties of his robe. He berates his past self for not putting on some real clothes. "Showing people when I like them. Then they never know, so thanks for, you know, being the brave one."
"I wasn't sure," Chanyeol says, clearing his throat. "If you did."
Chanyeol nods. "Maybe 70% sure."
"70% is super high!" Baekhyun says, his voice going pitchy. "I was only 20% sure you were attracted to me."
Chanyeol laughs a little, covering his mouth with his fist. "It's more than that. A lot more."
Baekhyun swears he flushes all the way down to his chest and tightens his robe just in case. "If you like me so much, you should kiss me again."
Chanyeol's expression becomes neutral again and Baekhyun bites the inside of his cheek, wondering if he pushed too much. Taking a risk, he exaggerates pursing his lips and makes smacking noises at Chanyeol. It gets Chanyeol laughing again and Baekhyun sighs quietly in relief, using the chance to step close until he's standing in the space between Chanyeol's legs.
"Would it be better if I kissed you?" Baekhyun says, resting his fingertips on Chanyeol's knees.
Instead of answering, Chanyeol says, "You've known me for two days." Baekhyun nods. "I've known you for two days." Baekhyun nods again. "We came here separately for vacation. You're leaving tomorrow."
"We're going back to the same country," Baekhyun says, letting his hands float up to Chanyeol's broad shoulders. This is all getting very frustrating for him because Chanyeol is even more handsome up close. "Say what you're really worrying about."
"You treat Sehun like he's something precious."
"He is. Are you saying you don't find your own son precious?"
"I've known you for two days but Sehun already thinks the world of you and that's scary because that means I also." Chanyeol stops and sucks his bottom lip between his teeth. "It's a lot and this is very fast."
Baekhyun's hands travel even higher to bury themselves in Chanyeol's hair and to cup Chanyeol's face because his self-restraint is depleting quickly. "Because you're thinking too much. This can be a thing or not be a thing, but you don't have to define it right now. You can just let yourself enjoy right now and make decisions as they come."
One of Chanyeol's hands rests tentatively on Baekhyun's waist, so light Baekhyun wouldn't even know it's there if he weren't able to see it. "You really mean that or you're just impatient?"
"God, both," Baekhyun says, tipping his head back briefly. "I don't know what else you need me to say. Do you want me to tell you you're really hot? Because you are and I'm going to die if I can't make out with you in the next thirty seconds."
The corner of Chanyeol's mouth twitches. "I thought you said you were bad at showing your feelings."
The noise Baekhyun lets out is an unmistakable growl of frustration and he practically launches himself onto Chanyeol to kiss him, their lips slotting together awkwardly at first, but Baekhyun rectifies that quickly. The suddenness forces Chanyeol to grab onto Baekhyun and for a second Baekhyun thinks he's going to be pushed away, but Chanyeol lets him stay and even pulls him closer after they ease into the kiss.
It's even better the second time. Maybe it's because he hasn't kissed anyone in months, but maybe kissing Chanyeol is just that great. Baekhyun wonders if Chanyeol would freak out if he suddenly climbed into his lap. It's not worth risking, so Baekhyun happily stays put, directing all his attention and energy into making Chanyeol forget his own name.
Their kisses become lazy and they lose track of time. The only moment they part for more than a second is when Chanyeol moves to sit in the chair and he's the one who pulls Baekhyun into his lap. Baekhyun is giddy as hell. There's a faint undercurrent of pleasure thrumming through him and every flick of Chanyeol's tongue against his is a tiny shock that he quickly becomes addicted to.
Baekhyun's robe has loosened, one side nearly falling off his shoulder. The way Chanyeol stares at him and his exposed skin gives Baekhyun goosebumps.
"I'm not sure how far I can," Chanyeol manages, and Baekhyun shakes his head, pressing their mouths together softly.
"Just this is fine," Baekhyun says, giving an encouraging smile. He's pretty sure Chanyeol can feel just how affected he is, but he puts up with the discomfort. He has no interest in pressuring Chanyeol and he really is enjoying keeping it PG. Well, PG-13.
Chanyeol relaxes a bit and sighs, dropping his head forward. His mouth presses against the jut of Baekhyun's collarbone and lingers there. It feels almost too intimate, his skin prickling where it meets Chanyeol's lips, and Baekhyun takes deep, slow breaths to keep still.
"Doing okay?" Baekhyun says softly, letting his fingers curl against the nape of Chanyeol's neck.
Chanyeol lifts his head and stays silent, staring until Baekhyun begins to feel self conscious. Silence is not something Baekhyun is good at, so he's glad when Chanyeol moves, but the last thing he expects is for his robe to be pulled off his shoulders completely, leaving his top half bare.
A quiet, but high-pitched noise escapes Baekhyun in alarm and he crosses his arms as a defense mechanism, as if it really does anything. "Warn a guy," he hisses, more flustered than anything. Chanyeol offers an apologetic smile.
It works on Baekhyun.
Chanyeol's hands are large and warm and feel so nice against Baekhyun's bare skin. Baekhyun's watches Chanyeol's eyes follow them as they slowly explore Baekhyun's body. No one's ever treated Baekhyun like this, like he's delicate and fragile, and it's uncomfortable and flattering at the same time. When Chanyeol circles Baekhyun's wrists and looks up for permission, it fills Baekhyun's stomach with butterflies.
Clearing his throat, Baekhyun lowers his arms to his sides. Without the robe, the room is just cold enough to make his nipples harden and he knows Chanyeol can see it and god, it's embarrassing but it'd be more embarrassing if he called attention to it. When Chanyeol's knuckles drift over his stomach, Baekhyun sucks in a breath and jumps off, stumbling back a few steps. He tugs his robe back on and clears his throat and squeaks out, "I think that's good for now."
"Did I make you uncomfortable?" Chanyeol says, and he looks so nervous it's endearing.
Baekhyun laughs, only slightly forced. "That's not," he says, taking a big breath in the middle of his words. "No, it's not like that."
"Are you sure?"
"Pretty sure, yeah," Baekhyun says, smoothing out some non-existent wrinkles on the bed. "The other way around, I don't want to make you uncomfortable."
It takes a couple seconds for things to click for Chanyeol, but he gets there and his eyes flicker down Baekhyun's body briefly.
"My eyes are up here, buddy." The robe is pretty huge and Baekhyun is pretty sure it doesn't reveal anything, but just in case.
Chanyeol turns a little pink and stands, wiping his palms on his pants. "I should," he starts, pointing behind him. "I'll head back then and let you…" He drifts off with a vague, awkward wave of his hand.
"Oh." Baekhyun is slightly disappointed, but doesn't show it on his face, doesn't want to make Chanyeol stay if it's too much. He smiles and says, "Yeah, um. But breakfast tomorrow? Before I head out?"
Chanyeol smiles and nods. "Of course," he says, walking over to Baekhyun. He cups Baekhyun's face with both hands and leans down to kiss him gently. It leaves Baekhyun wanting worse than before and he has to bite back a groan when it's over.
"Good night," Chanyeol says, squeezing Baekhyun's hand.
"Good night, Sehun's dad," Baekhyun says, waving his fingers and watching until Chanyeol disappears back to his own room. After, he falls back onto the bed and sighs loudly. Closing his eyes, all he can think about is all the ways Chanyeol had kissed him, which does nothing to help quell his arousal.
It feels weird to take care of it, so he just ignores it, flipping the TV on to the default resort channel to distract him and kill his half boner with boredom. Soon he drifts off, falling asleep for the first time on this trip wishing he didn't have to go back to his business as usual life.
The room is dimly lit when Baekhyun stirs, but he doesn't remember turning the lights off. Or turning the TV off. Someone else is in the room and Baekhyun seizes up in terror before he recognizes the smell of Chanyeol's shampoo. The bed dips and Baekhyun is incredibly relieved to see Chanyeol sitting there when he opens his eyes all the way.
"Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" he says, voice scratchy, looking over at the clock. It's just past 2AM. "I know we made a breakfast date, but this is jumping the gun a little, isn't it?"
"I couldn't sleep," Chanyeol says, the quietest Baekhyun's ever heard him. "I kept thinking about kissing you. About when I could kiss you again. I can leave."
Immediately, Baekhyun grabs Chanyeol's wrist. "Don't you dare," he says, his stomach doing flips.
Chanyeol looks down at their hands. "I thought about other things too."
Baekhyun swallows. "Tell me."
After taking a deep breath, Chanyeol says, "I thought about how you looked when I touched you, about how much I want to see you naked, about touching you in other ways, about letting you touch me."
Baekhyun has never heard anything sexier in his life. His mouth has suddenly gone cotton dry, but he's forgotten how to form words anyway.
Chanyeol laughs nervously. "God, I feel like I'm in college again."
"You're not kissing me," Baekhyun says. Chanyeol's brow furrows in confusion. "You said you thought about when you could kiss me next but I'm right here and you're not kissing me."
The next thing Baekhyun knows, Chanyeol's lips are on his, kissing him within an inch of his life. There's a hint of desperation that wasn't there hours ago and it echoes in Chanyeol's hands as they move to undo the robe that got twisted around Baekhyun while he slept. Baekhyun shivers the moment the air hits his body and pulls Chanyeol closer for warmth, tangling their legs together.
He gasps into the kiss when Chanyeol's hands run down his chest and stomach, then back up. He wants to do the same to Chanyeol, but there's too many clothes in the way. "Off, off," he mumbles, trying to pull Chanyeol's t-shirt up.
Their mouths part only long enough for Chanyeol to discard his top on the floor. Baekhyun's hands are on him like lightning, pulling him down because he needs to feel Chanyeol's skin against his. His underwear is starting to get tight, his arousal pressing into Chanyeol's hip. He pulls back to try and get a read on Chanyeol, watching as he rolls his hips once, tentative.
There's a split second when Chanyeol processes what he's feeling, but then he reacts gorgeously, reaching down to cup Baekhyun's ass to encourage him to do it again. Soon, Baekhyun is practically riding Chanyeol's thigh, little puffs of breath leaving him as he tries to draw out the pleasure. He doesn't want it to end like this though, wants at least to see and touch Chanyeol too. Reaching between them, he fumbles to push down Chanyeol's pants and underwear at the same time, then his own, moaning loudly when there's finally nothing between them.
Chanyeol nearly collapses onto him when Baekhyun takes both of them in his hand, his strokes firm and quick. The sound of his name leaving Chanyeol's mouth, raw and desperate, only pushes Baekhyun closer to the edge. He pulls Chanyeol in for another bruising kiss that's mostly them panting into each other's mouths, while his hand works them faster.
Chanyeol comes first with a broken moan, but Baekhyun isn't far behind. The way Chanyeol's body seizes up above him, trembling, and how he throbs in Baekhyun's hand is more than enough to tip him over and he shudders through his orgasm, his grip on Chanyeol's hair tightening.
Everything is quiet except for their harsh breathing as they recover. Baekhyun's soiled hand hovers between them. He lifts his head to kiss Chanyeol softly over and over again, and it takes a couple seconds, but Chanyeol comes around and starts returning them.
"That was nice," Chanyeol says once he's shifted off to the side. "A bit high school, but nice."
"Shut up," Baekhyun grumbles, threatening to smear his dirtied hand all over Chanyeol. He gets up with a groan and heads to the bathroom to clean up, discarding his robe and underwear on the way back. Chanyeol's gotten rid of his pants, but kept his boxers on.
"Are we doing more?" Chanyeol says, one arm propped behind his head. "I don't actually have the recovery rate of a high schooler."
Baekhyun crawls under the sheets and curls up against Chanyeol for extra warmth. "I just like being naked."
"There really is very little difference between you and Sehun," Chanyeol says, laughing quietly when Baekhyun sneers at him. He sighs and rubs his hand along Baekhyun's arm. "So."
Baekhyun hums and rubs his face against Chanyeol's neck. "Is it time to have a serious talk?"
"Was this a one time thing?" Chanyeol says, his voice rumbling in his chest under Baekhyun's ear.
"I hope not. I really like you." When Chanyeol doesn't show any type of reaction, Baekhyun rolls onto his front and leans up on his elbows. "What's going on up there?"
Chanyeol's mouth opens and closes a few times. Finally, he says, "I'm a gay single dad you only met a couple days ago. Sehun's already attached to you. Are you sure you want to sign up for this?"
"It's scary if you make it sound like I have to commit to forever right now," Baekhyun says, playing with Chanyeol's hair, tucking it behind his ear. "You know you'd have to do the same with me, right? I could turn out to be a really terrible person still."
Chanyeol rubs his face and sighs. "I don't know what I'm saying. If I didn't have Sehun, I'd say fuck it and just let this run its course. But."
"But you do have Sehun."
Chanyeol runs his fingers through Baekhyun's hair. "I really like you too, by the way," he says, curling his fingers under Baekhyun's chin after to pull him in for a kiss.
"How about," Baekhyun suggests, his lips brushing Chanyeol's as he speaks, "I'll give you my number before I go and you contact me if you decide this is something you want more of."
"All right," Chanyeol mumbles, rolling on his side and pulling Baekhyun snug against himself. He closes his eyes. "Sleep now. I'm tired from all that thinking I did."
"Dream more about naked me," Baekhyun says, a yawn leaving him as he tugs the covers over their shoulders.
When he falls asleep again, Baekhyun dreams about lounging on the beach and watching a father and son play in the water as the sun sets behind them.
Baekhyun takes his invoice from the man completing his check-out and says a quiet thank you. When he turns around, Chanyeol and Sehun are right where he left them in the sitting area of the lobby.
Chanyeol had woken up as the sun was rising, untangling himself with a kiss to Baekhyun's forehead before heading back to his room, making it before Sehun woke up. It had been a little weird talking to Sehun at breakfast knowing what he did with his dad just a few hours ago, but Baekhyun distracted himself from that with many mimosa refills.
"Well," Baekhyun says, walking up and taking his carry-on from Sehun who had been watching it dutifully. "I should head to the airport."
Sehun jumps up and hugs his leg. "Are you coming back?"
Baekhyun sits down next to Chanyeol and heaves Sehun onto his lap. Three year olds are heavy. "No, I'm going home," he says, rubbing Sehun's back. "But you're going home in a couple days too and we might see each other again then."
"Of course." Baekhyun smiles and hooks his pinky around Sehun's tiny one, pressing their thumbs together. He looks at Chanyeol. "I just pinky promised Sehun, so you have to follow through now."
"I think Sehun will make sure I do."
If Baekhyun doesn't leave soon, he might not be able to catch his flight. He ruffles Sehun's hair and dumps the kid on the cushions, standing up again. He sticks his hand out to Chanyeol. "Don't forget about what you and I discussed either," he says, definitely holding Chanyeol's hand for longer than necessary. "I'll be waiting."
Before Baekhyun boards his fight, his phone vibrates with a text from Jongdae: are u happy u finally get to return to work
He can't bring himself to say yes.
Returning to the office is. Weird. He falls back into work habits easily, but his heart isn't into it as much as before.
Minseok had welcomed him with a sharp slap on the back, but Jongdae considered him more carefully.
"You did what I told you not to do, didn't you?" he says when he stops by to hand over a small list of items he couldn't address while Baekhyun was out.
"You were never specific about what I shouldn't do," Baekhyun retorts, avoiding eye contact. He also hides behind his coffee mug. "So no, I didn't do anything of the sort."
Jongdae jabs a finger in Baekhyun's face. "Don't try using a goddamn loophole. Tell me what you did."
"What do you want me to admit?" Baekhyun says, frowning a little. "Why are you making me feel bad about meeting a nice guy?"
Jongdae softens a little and comes around to sit on the corner of Baekhyun's desk. "I don't want you to feel bad. I worry about you. You're so soft-hearted."
A sad, lost moan leaves Baekhyun as he lets his head drop to the tabletop. "I really like him. I like him more than I ever liked Kyungsoo or Yixing." He gives Jongdae the most pitiful face he can pull together. "His son wouldn't go to bed without saying good night to me."
"Christ, Baekhyun," Jongdae sighs, letting Baekhyun's head rest on his thigh. "What happened to you down there?"
Baekhyun doesn't answer. His phone doesn't ring.
Two weeks pass and there's not a peep from Chanyeol. Baekhyun tells himself he knew there was always a chance this would happen. Chanyeol had even said outright he didn't know if it was all worth it.
He wishes he had gotten Chanyeol's number too, but maybe it's better not to hear the actual words of rejection.
One of the analysts in the department hangs up a child's drawing of Pororo in her cubicle. Baekhyun can imagine Sehun's voice, exasperated, asking if he's forgotten everything about Pororo already. Which he has and it would be nice if Sehun were around to tell him again.
Minseok has noticed by now. He pulls Jongdae to the side a lot to talk like Baekhyun can't see them watching him with concern. And it's not like Baekhyun is grieving or anything, not over someone he only spent 72 hours with, but. But it hurts still to replay Chanyeol telling him I really like you too in the middle of this radio silence.
The weather starts to warm up, enough that he and Jongdae start venturing outside for lunch instead of delivery everyday. They're at a casual Italian place waiting for a table when there's a soft, excited gasp behind them followed by—
Baekhyun is hearing things. And seeing things. Like Chanyeol standing in the doorway, frozen in spot while Sehun is trying his best to tug his dad forward. He gives up and runs to Baekhyun, his feet pattering across the concrete floor. Baekhyun breaks out of his daze in time to crouch down and catch Sehun in a huge bear hug. "Hi, Sehun," he says, a little breathless from the surprise. He stands with a heave, lifting Sehun and perching him on his hip. "Oof, you got heavier."
Next to him, Jongdae is very confused. "What is happening? Where did you get a child?"
Baekhyun waits until Chanyeol makes it over to introduce them to Jongdae. "I met them on my vacation," he adds.
Jongdae gives him a look that says 'so this is the guy you've been moping about for weeks' combined with 'he's hot, good job, I take back all my warnings about not getting involved'. Baekhyun barely keeps from rolling his eyes. "Nice to meet you," Jongdae says, shaking Chanyeol's hand. "And I'm afraid I just remembered I have a deadline to meet at work so I'll see you back at the office, Baekhyun?"
"What are you talking abou—"
"Enjoy your lunch!" Jongdae chirps, patting Baekhyun on the back as he leaves.
There's an awkward silence after Jongdae's gone. Baekhyun shifts Sehun in his arms and avoids direct eye contact with Chanyeol.
"I assume that was an excuse to leave us alone?" Chanyeol's voice is deep and soft, a little apologetic even, and Baekhyun is almost angry at how much he missed it.
"I'm his boss," Baekhyun says, setting Sehun back down. "I'm the one who even gives him deadlines."
The restaurant owner returns to seat them, confused at how Baekhyun is now with different people. It's Chanyeol who steps forward and says, "Table for 3 please."
Baekhyun hands the menu back to the waiter and takes a sip of his water. That's all he has to busy his hands. He and Chanyeol both watch Sehun color on his kids placemat, doing a terrible job of staying inside the lines.
"I'm sorry for not contacting you."
Baekhyun shrugs, not wanting Chanyeol to see how much it had affected him. "You never promised you would."
"You made a promise with Sehun though," Chanyeol says, watching Sehun draw large blue polka dots on the cow in the picture. "He asked me everyday when we'd be seeing you again. He started asking his mother too." The small smile he gives makes Baekhyun's heart constrict. "That was… an interesting conversation with her."
"You're scared still," Baekhyun says, both a statement and a question. He doesn't want to be here, wonders if he can sneak Jongdae a text to bail him out.
Sighing, Chanyeol nods. "I've been trying not to be though. The number of times I've sat there staring at my phone wondering what to write to you, or if I should call. I don't even want to admit how many. But the longer I waited, the harder it got."
A glimmer of hope rekindles. Baekhyun wants to tamp down on it, but it's no use. "What are you trying to say?"
Underneath the table, Chanyeol's foot hooks around his. It's so casual, so normal, that Baekhyun barely notices. "I'm saying that I was looking for a sign and today I literally opened a door to find you behind it. I don't know how much more obvious it can get."
Baekhyun has to bite back a smile. He clears his throat and sits up a little straighter. "I don't know," he says, forcing his expression neutral. "I'll have to think about it."
"Oh." Chanyeol's face crumples a little, suddenly vulnerable, and Baekhyun rushes to wave his hands in front of himself, doing damage control.
"No, no, no, I'm just kidding!" Baekhyun says, grabbing Chanyeol's hand in both of his like Chanyeol will bolt otherwise. "Please date me!"
The corner of Chanyeol's mouth twitches before he starts laughing, his shoulders shaking with it. He folds forward, resting his head on top of Baekhyun's hand momentarily. When he straightens again, he leans into Baekhyun's space and says, "I really wish I could kiss you right now."
Blushing, Baekhyun clears his throat. "Is that a yes to dating me?"
Chanyeol takes a deep breath, squeezing Baekhyun's hand. "It's a yes to a lot of things, but let's start there."
Which sounds perfect to Baekhyun. He can do that.
"You guys are gross," says Sehun.
When their food arrives, Sehun digs into his bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with fervor. More and more sauce ends up on his face with each bite. Baekhyun tells him about the picture at his coworker's desk and asks about the names of Pororo's friends.
"I already told you about Pororo's friends!" Sehun says, his entire body slumping over, heavy with the unique frustration of a child having to deal with incompetent adults.
Baekhyun shares a smile with Chanyeol across the table. Chanyeol takes out a pack of wet wipes, but Baekhyun grabs it from him, pulling out a sheet to clean off Sehun's face. He texts Jongdae to say he'll be having a long lunch, then turns to give Sehun his full attention.
"Tell me again."