Doyoung is probably the most annoying kid in Jaehyun’s class. Jaehyun reaches this conclusion shortly after his mom’s dropped him off on the very first day.
“Can I have some of the blue legos?” Jaehyun asks.
“No,” Doyoung says immediately.
“They’re all mine,” Doyoung declares. Jaehyun stares down at the pile of blue legos that his classmate has accumulated and seems to be guarding with his life.
“That’s not fair,” Jaehyun decides out loud. “Mrs. Park said that we have to share.”
Doyoung looks unfazed. “I like blue,” he says. “These are mine. You can have the red legos.”
“But I already have red. And green. And yellow and orange. I want blue,” Jaehyun argues.
Doyoung simply furrows his brow and ignores Jaehyun, returning to his task of stacking the blue legos on top of each other to make a supreme blue tower.
Jaehyun crouches down and grabs one of the unused blue legos, earning a smack and an offended wail from his new enemy.
It escalates a bit. Some legos end up getting thrown. Mrs. Park has to separate them and send them off to different time-out corners. They’re now both banned from the legos for the next week.
“I hate school,” Jaehyun later tells his mom. “And Doyoung.”
“Who’s Doyoung?” his mom asks.
“It’s weird. I dare you to ask him why,” Taeyong says. Jaehyun’s mom had always thought Taeyong was a bad influence on her son, partially because he’s two grades above him. Jaehyun thinks she might be right sometimes.
“No, you do it,” Jaehyun says. “You’re older than him, anyway.”
“But he’s taller than me,” Taeyong says. “He’s not taller than you. And isn’t it kind of a rude question?”
“Yeah. That’s why I don’t wanna do it.”
They both go silent for a few seconds, staring at Doyoung from across the cafeteria. He’s aggressively stabbing an apple with a plastic spoon. What a strange kid. Jaehyun hates him.
“I double dare you,” Taeyong says. Jaehyun’s mom was right. Taeyong is terrible.
Jaehyun, however, stands up and paces over to Doyoung. Taeyong lets out a gentle gasp.
“Hey,” Jaehyun says to Doyoung once he’s approached him.
“Hello,” Doyoung says, still staring at his mauled apple.
“Why are you in the same grade as me?” Jaehyun asks.
Doyoung looks up from his apple. And he blinks. Jaehyun can’t tell if he’s offended or not.
“Like… you’re eleven but I’m ten,” Jaehyun elaborates. “Shouldn’t you be in fifth grade?”
Doyoung furrows his brow. It’s scary. Jaehyun contemplates running.
“Maybe you’re supposed to be in third grade,” Doyoung challenges. “Please go away.” Some of Doyoung’s friends laugh at Jaehyun, but he doesn’t mind that answer. Doyoung is petrifying and now Jaehyun has an excuse to flee the scene.
“What did he say?” Taeyong asks with wide eyes when Jaehyun returns.
“He got all mad and told me to go away,” Jaehyun says.
Jaehyun just shrugs and pops an Oreo into his mouth. “He’s weird,” he decides with his mouth full.
It happens fast. Jaehyun is playing a pathetic game of frisbee with Ten and Taeyong when it all suddenly goes awry.
It had been a pretty windy day; a bad day for frisbee. They're out on the soccer field at recess. Jaehyun throws the frisbee at Taeyong when the wind catches it and changes its course.
Doyoung happens to be walking by with Yuta. Jaehyun watches the frisbee fly in their direction and calls out a desperate warning to them, but it's too late.
Yuta seems to run away from the scene, probably to fetch a recess monitor. Doyoung is sitting up on the grass, but wincing. It’s clear that he’s injured. In fact, the frisbee had hit him straight in the face so it would be more surprising if he isn't injured.
Jaehyun and his friends run over to assess the accident.
“Are you okay?” Jaehyun asks. Doyoung’s eyebrow is gushing blood all over the soccer field.
“I’m excellent,” Doyoung snaps sarcastically. “Who threw the frisbee?”
Silence looms over Jaehyun and his friends. Ten and Taeyong lock an uncomfortable stare with each other. They all know that it's Jaehyun's fault.
“I—I’m so sorry,” Jaehyun amends, looking down at his own cuffed sneakers because Doyoung’s gaze will probably burn him alive. “It was the wind.”
Doyoung glares up at him. He throws the cursed frisbee at Jaehyun — who catches it before it can hit his stomach — and he bitterly proclaims, “Well, it hurts.”
Taeyong snickers softly. “Sure looks like it.” Jaehyun looks over at Taeyong, whose smile quickly disappears. Taeyong coughs. “Sorry.”
One of the teachers on recess duty arrives and helps walk Doyoung off the field. Jaehyun looks nervously at Doyoung's friend Yuta, who looks like he wants Jaehyun’s ass on a skewer.
Jaehyun is anxious for the rest of the day. Doyoung doesn’t return to class. If Doyoung didn’t hate him before, then he certainly does now.
Grade 10 (beginning of first semester)
Jaehyun should’ve never signed up for journalism. When he makes eye contact with Doyoung from a few seats away, the expression on his assigned partner’s face seems to reflect the same thought.
“I wanted to be with Ten,” Jaehyun tells Doyoung once they’ve taken their seats next to each other in the computer lab. They haven’t talked since fifth grade, when Jaehyun accidentally hit Doyoung in the face with a frisbee at recess. Jaehyun’s mostly blocked it out of his memory. Mostly.
“I wanted to be with Yuta,” Doyoung shoots back. “Yuta’s smart.”
“And I’m not?” Jaehyun asks.
“You’re mean,” Doyoung counters, as if meanness and intelligence have any correlation.
“Look, for the umpteenth time, I’m sorry about the frisbee. It was windy. Its path was unpredictable.”
“I had to get stitches,” Doyoung complains dramatically. “I could’ve gone blind.”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes and angrily types his password on the keyboard.
“What are we doing again?” Jaehyun asks.
“Interviewing the dance team,” Doyoung replies. “And then writing an article about it,” he adds unnecessarily.
“Well, duh,” Jaehyun snaps. “It’s a journalism class, Einstein.” Doyoung’s eyes widen, which Jaehyun ignores. “They have practice on Friday after school,” Jaehyun comments. “I can interview them.”
Doyoung lets out a laugh. “I’m coming with you,” he says. “We’re partners.”
“You’re mean, too,” Jaehyun says randomly.
“What?” Doyoung looks confused.
“You said I’m mean a minute ago and I said you’re mean, too. You wouldn’t let me have any blue legos in kindergarten,” Jaehyun explains sourly.
“I was six,” Doyoung points out.
“You were mean,” Jaehyun concludes.
Doyoung groans and buries his face in his hands. “This is gonna be a long semester.”
Jaehyun mentally agrees.
Jaehyun’s phone scares him awake from his nap that evening.
buttface (5:07 PM)
i spoke to the dance coach and he said practice is cancelled this friday
Jaehyun (5:07 PM)
buttface (5:07 PM)
they have a meet on saturday and he said we could go with them and interview the team after that
Jaehyun (5:08 PM)
buttface (5:08 PM)
Jaehyun (5:08 PM)
isn’t their meet like four towns away
buttface (5:08 PM)
Jaehyun (5:09 PM)
buttface (5:09 PM)
coach said we can take the bus with them
Jaehyun (5:09 PM)
how long is it gonna take
buttface (5:10 PM)
the entire day probably
Jaehyun (5:10 PM)
Jaehyun (5:10 PM)
Jaehyun’s so glad that Taeyong and Ten are on the dance team.
Likewise, Doyoung’s probably glad that Smart Yuta’s on the dance team as well so he doesn’t have to spend the whole day dealing with Dumb Jaehyun.
“I’m so sorry,” Taeyong mumbles on the bus when Jaehyun has to explain that fate has somehow made him and Doyoung partners in journalism.
“I don’t see what’s wrong with Doyoung,” Ten pipes in. Jaehyun wants to punch him right in the face.
Taeyong sighs. “You don’t understand, Ten.”
“He’s kind of cute, in my opinion,” Ten says with a shit-eating grin. He looks up over the bus seats to get a better look at the boy in question.
“Oh my god,” Jaehyun mutters. “Can you stop preying on my nemesis?”
“Aren’t you boning Johnny, anyway?” Taeyong asks. Ten’s smile disappears and he lands a firm punch on Taeyong’s shoulder.
“Okay, fine. Make me understand why I should hate Doyoung,” Ten demands.
The three of them go silent. Taeyong lightly nudges Jaehyun. “Doyoung doesn’t share his legos, right?”
Ten lets out a wail.
Jaehyun does a pretty good job of avoiding Doyoung at the dance meet. He follows Taeyong and Ten around like a confused puppy. It works out well until it’s time for the team to perform.
Jaehyun awkwardly takes a seat on the bleachers in the gymnasium. Alone. He gets his phone out. He opens Candy Crush to occupy himself before the competition starts. And then someone sits next to him.
“Really?” Jaehyun asks.
Doyoung peeks at Jaehyun’s phone. “Really?” Doyoung shoots back.
Jaehyun angles his phone away from Doyoung. “How’s Smart Yuta doing?” Jaehyun asks. (He doesn’t really care.)
“He’s doing fine. Why are you avoiding me?”
Jaehyun scoffs. “Me? Avoiding you?”
“Yeah, you are,” Doyoung replies bluntly. “We’re supposed to be partners.”
Jaehyun suddenly feels… awful. He decides to change the subject.
“Do you have the interview questions?”
“What do you mean?” Doyoung asks.
Jaehyun looks up from his phone. “The… interview questions. You can’t have an interview without… questions.”
“I thought you were writing them,” Doyoung claims innocently.
“So we don’t have any interview questions,” Jaehyun states.
“I contacted the coach! I thought you would write the questions!”
Jaehyun lets out a strangled noise of defeat at the exact same moment that a spokesperson introduces the first dance team from some fancy private school. The gym fills with cheering.
“We have to go write questions,” Doyoung says. “It’s too loud in here.” He lightly touches Jaehyun’s arm, trying to get Jaehyun to walk with him. Jaehyun hates Doyoung.
“Please don’t touch me,” Jaehyun grumbles. Doyoung doesn’t hear him.
Grade 10 (end of first semester)
“What’s wrong?” Jaehyun asks. “You’ve been, like, pouting this entire week. It’s funny. But also concerning.”
Doyoung glares at him. Jaehyun has that effect on people.
“It’s the end of the semester and you’re sad because you’re gonna miss me when our schedules change,” Jaehyun guesses.
“You’re funny,” Doyoung says, but he isn’t laughing so Jaehyun doesn’t believe him.
“Are you thinking about the time I accidentally frisbee’d you in the face again? Because I said I was sorry like fifty times—”
“It’s not about the damn frisbee. Why do you care so much, anyway?” Doyoung shoots back.
Jaehyun raises his eyebrows in defeat and turns back to the article he’s writing.
“Yuta’s moving,” Doyoung finally says.
“Oh.” Jaehyun shouldn’t have asked. He’s not good with emotional situations. He knows how close Doyoung is with Yuta. “Oh,” he says again.
He kind of tells Doyoung that he can sit with him at lunch if he gets lonely.
“Doyoung? The Doyoung?” If Ten opens his eyes any wider Jaehyun fears that his eyeballs might roll out of his head.
“The Doyoung that you conditioned me to hate because he doesn’t share blue legos,” Ten adds for clarity.
Jaehyun grimaces. “Don’t say it like that.”
“You told him he could sit with us at lunch?” Ten asks.
“Was it not clear enough the first time I said it or—”
“But why are you being nice to him?” Taeyong jumps in. “We can’t just let random lego hoarders sit with us or people will get the wrong idea about us.”
“His best friend’s moving away,” Jaehyun says. “He’s gonna be lonely. I felt bad.” His face is heating up. Fuck.
“Doyoung has other friends,” Ten says.
“Okay, I think I’ve conditioned you to hate him a little too much,” Jaehyun says.
“Jaeeeehyuuuun,” Taeyong whines because Taeyong is annoying and whiny sometimes.
“Taeeeeyoooong,” Jaehyun returns.
“Ten,” Ten says.
“Just give him a chance, okay?” Jaehyun tries not to sound desperate.
“But he’s mean and annoying,” Taeyong counters.
“Actually, he’s still cute,” Ten decides. “So I don’t know why I’m complaining about this.”
“You’re still boning Johnny,” Taeyong reminds him.
“Oh yeah,” Ten says. He shuts up.
“What changed?” Taeyong asks Jaehyun.
“I mean, he’s been like… a decent partner in journalism. I guess.”
“He forgot to print your article last week and you said that you couldn’t believe god would allow such a useless human being to exist,” Taeyong points out.
“I didn’t eat breakfast that day. I was cranky.”
“So you’re suddenly the Doyoung Defense Squad,” Taeyong says.
“For starters, you can’t really be a squad if you’re by yourself but—”
Taeyong lets out a loud groan and buries his face in one of Jaehyun’s couch pillows.
“Please don’t say that word around me,” Doyoung requests.
“College?” Jaehyun asks.
Doyoung reaches over and begins scribbling on Jaehyun’s math notes. Jaehyun cries out and pushes him away. Doing homework with Doyoung can be such a challenge sometimes.
“What’s wrong with... c-o-l-l-e-g-e?” Jaehyun asks, furiously erasing the mess that Doyoung’s made.
“What isn’t wrong with it?” Doyoung replies. “It’s just homework and stress.”
“Not much different than what we’re doing right now, to be fair.”
“Except it’s worse,” Doyoung insists. “Sometimes I fear for my brother’s safety when he goes back there.”
“Your brother’s still alive, though,” Jaehyun says.
“He was this morning. But now? Who knows? The midterms could take him away from me at anytime.”
“I think you’re being dramatic,” Jaehyun says.
Doyoung’s phone suddenly buzzes. He turns it over.
“My mom’s calling,” he says. “Reporting my brother’s death, probably.”
“Such a shame to lose a man as beautiful as Gongmyung,” Jaehyun says. Doyoung pushes him and accepts the call.
Doyoung’s kind of a decent person. And a decent friend. It just took Jaehyun ten years and lots of studying together to realize it.
“Prom is stupid,” Taeyong declares. “Why would you want to pay money to watch a bunch of nasty couples grope each other to the beat of Dynamite by Taio Cruz?”
Johnny scoffs. “You’re just saying that because you’ve never had genuine emotions for another person.”
“Ten, where’s his off button?” Taeyong asks.
Ten’s asleep on Taeyong’s couch. He lets out a gentle snore in response.
“Taeyong’s a Cancer,” Doyoung speaks up. “Of course he’s felt emotions. He’s probably felt too many emotions.”
“Jaehyun, where’s his off button?” Taeyong asks.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Jaehyun says. Stupidly.
Johnny and Taeyong burst out laughing. If Jaehyun starts running now, he can probably make it back to his house before midnight. Alternatively, the ground could open up right now and swallow him whole.
“I don’t have an off button,” Doyoung mutters. “And even if I did, why would I give Jaehyun permission to use it?”
“True. You won’t even give him legos,” Johnny chirps with a smug face.
Taeyong laughs. And chokes out something about Johnny being hilarious. Jaehyun hates his friends.
“So you’re telling me I shouldn’t go to prom,” Jaehyun says.
“I mean, our prom was kind of lame,” Taeyong shrugs. “You might be into lame stuff, though.”
“Weren’t you prom king?” Johnny asks Taeyong.
“I’m overflowing with charisma,” Taeyong explains with a shrug.
“I don’t have anyone to go to prom with,” Jaehyun says before Taeyong can boast anymore.
“Doyoung’s right there,” Johnny states.
“You don’t have to go as dates,” Taeyong clarifies, to Johnny’s annoyance. “Just go to check it out. And if it sucks then you can at least say you tried.”
“A surprisingly uplifting message from Lee Taeyong,” Doyoung comments. “What’s next? You feed orphans on the weekend?”
“You could also go as dates, though,” Johnny suggests, waggling his eyebrows like the prick that he is. “It’s cheaper if you buy tickets together.” Jaehyun wants him dead.
“Do you wanna buy prom tickets together?”
Jaehyun drops his pencil.
Doyoung’s ears suddenly turn bright red. “What’s wrong? Johnny said we save money if we buy tickets together.”
“Yeah, like, a whopping two dollars,” Jaehyun deadpans. “And since when did you listen to Johnny? He said Myspace is cool last week. And Myspace is not cool.”
“Well… it’s not like we have to dance together or anything. We just have to show up together. Which is what we planned on doing anyway, right?”
“Okay,” Doyoung says. He nods. Jaehyun doesn’t know why he’s nodding because he hasn’t agreed to anything.
“Do you really want to go to prom?” Jaehyun asks, sounding defeated.
“It’s like a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Doyoung justifies. “I don’t wanna regret not going.”
Jaehyun sighs. “I’ll think about it.”
Doyoung is… very attractive. Jaehyun feels funny looking at him. He quickly looks away.
“You don’t look very great,” Doyoung comments.
“I’m glad you think so.”
“No, I mean…” Doyoung puts a hand on Jaehyun’s shoulder. Jaehyun wants to scream at his hand. “You look like you’re gonna be sick,” Doyoung says with a laugh.
“I don’t like dressing up fancy,” Jaehyun lies.
Doyoung laughs again. Fuck him.
“You look great, though,” Doyoung insists.
“That’s funny because you literally just said the exact opposite of that ten seconds ago.”
“Okay, you look anxious,” Doyoung says honestly. “But still very good, I promise.”
Jaehyun looks at Doyoung. Cutecutecutecute—
“I’m just a little nervous,” Jaehyun lies again.
“Are you gonna be okay? We already paid thirty dollars for the tickets.”
“I’ll be fine,” Jaehyun says because he is a serial liar.
Jaehyun’s mom takes a few pictures of them awkwardly standing next to each other in front of the house and then they say goodbye to her. Jaehyun drives surprisingly well for being half-distracted by his very good-looking friend.
It’s just rude, honestly. Doyoung's beauty is nauseating. He should’ve sent Jaehyun a warning text. Like “hey by the way I look really good tonight, so prepare yourself” or something. This unexpected flood of emotions is gonna drown him by the end of the night.
Prom is pretty awkward. Jaehyun thinks it would be less awkward if he actually had a real date that he could dance with. It gets even worse when Open Arms starts playing.
“I hate slow songs,” Jaehyun mumbles. “Reminds me of how lonely I am,” he jokes.
Doyoung, standing next to him silently, just nods. “I’m gonna go get something.”
Jaehyun waits for a minute, left with no choice but to stare at dozens of mushy couples. Doyoung returns with two cups. “Shots!” he teases, handing one to Jaehyun.
“Thank you, but this is a red solo cup,” Jaehyun observes. “What's in here, anyway?”
“Sprite.” Doyoung giggles.
They stay for another half hour in case prom magically gets better. It doesn’t.
“We should leave,” Doyoung mumbles when the prom queen starts grinding on the student body president right in front of their pure eyes.
“Glad we’re on the same page.”
Jaehyun drives Doyoung back to his house. Doyoung criticizes the dance during the entire ride.
“We’re here,” Jaehyun says, parking at the curb.
“Thanks for being my date,” Doyoung jokes. “Sorry prom sucked.”
“It’s fine.” Jaehyun blinks. He looks at Doyoung. Jesus Christ. He has the most beautiful eyes —
Doyoung clears his throat.
“You, uh… you looked good,” Jaehyun blurts out. “So it wasn’t all bad.”
“Oh. You’re making me blush. Thank you.”
“I’m gonna get going, then,” Doyoung says. “Probably gonna crash for ten hours. I’m pretty tired. Thanks for the ride.”
“Yeah,” Jaehyun says again.
Doyoung reaches for the door handle and Jaehyun panics.
“WAIT—wait wait wait,” Jaehyun interrupts. He accidentally hits the horn on the steering wheel and nearly scares the shit out of both of them and probably the entire neighborhood. “Uh. Sorry. Oops.” His heart is racing in his chest. Partially because Doyoung's attention is entirely on him and partially because the horn was loud and terrifying.
Doyoung blinks in confusion. Jaehyun’s mind goes completely blank. Actions speak louder than words, he supposes. So he leans over and kisses Doyoung quickly.
“Oh,” Doyoung says when they break apart.
“Yeah,” Jaehyun says for probably the hundredth time that evening. He rests his forehead on the steering wheel and thinks about how stupid he was for doing that.
Jaehyun lifts his head up and faces Doyoung.
“Wanna make out?” Doyoung asks casually.
Jaehyun is too taken aback to form words so he just nods quickly. Doyoung presses his lips to Jaehyun’s.
Freshman Year of College
“You have such soft hands,” Doyoung observes.
“My hands are flattered.”
“No, like seriously.” Doyoung brings Jaehyun’s hand obnoxiously close to his face for examination. “Not a flaw.”
“You’re so weird, Doyoung.”
Doyoung just giggles. Jaehyun looks over at the purple-haired boy that’s lying next to him on the uncomfortable dorm mattress. Doyoung has his own bed on the other side of the room but he claims that Jaehyun’s bed is more comfortable. He claims that same thing every night. Jaehyun doesn’t complain.
“I can’t believe you didn’t win me anything at the fair earlier.” Doyoung suddenly whines. “What kind of boyfriend are you?”
“A clumsy one,” Jaehyun deadpans. “Those games are hard. And I’m pretty sure half of them are rigged.”
“I wanted that giant unicorn,” Doyoung says.
“The one that was cross-eyed and had its tongue sticking out.”
“I can probably just buy it for you from Amazon—”
Doyoung smacks Jaehyun kind of harshly. “It’s not the same, you butthead. Just practice for next year, I guess. Ten said that Johnny wins him stuff all the time.”
“Should’ve dated Johnny,” Jaehyun grumbles.
“You’re right. Johnny wouldn’t disappoint me like this.”
Jaehyun furrows his brow. “Why don’t you try to win me something at the fair next time?”
“So I have to do all the work in this relationship.”
“Yes,” Doyoung agrees.
“Doesn’t sound very fair to me,” Jaehyun decides.
“Sorry, our office is closed right now. If you would like to file a complaint, please call back between our normal business hours.”
“You always say that.”
“You always complain,” Doyoung fires back.
“And who was complaining thirty seconds ago?”
Doyoung smiles but doesn’t say anything. Jaehyun just scoffs and hugs him tighter.
“Have you ever had sex?” Doyoung asks out of nowhere, avoiding eye contact like the plague.
“That was very direct,” Jaehyun observes.
“You’re my boyfriend. Answer the question.”
“Can’t your boyfriend have secrets?” Jaehyun inquires.
Doyoung adjusts their position a bit so he can elbow Jaehyun in the ribs. Jaehyun yelps.
“No, I haven’t,” Jaehyun says. “Why? Have you?”
Doyoung shakes his head, but maintains a neutral expression, as if this is just mundane small talk. “We should try it sometime.”
“I’m not ready for kids, Doyoung.”
“Hahaha,” Doyoung says monotonously. “I mean. I’d be willing to try it. When you’re not busy.”
“When I’m not busy,” Jaehyun repeats. “Just when I need to pass some time. Between classes maybe. I’ll call you up and be like, ‘Hey Doyoung, where are you? Let’s have sex.’”
“Ugh, you always make things awkward,” Doyoung whines, burying his face in Jaehyun’s shoulder. “I can’t stand you.”
“Clearly. I’m sure that’s why you want to have sex with me.”
“I’m breaking up with you,” Doyoung mumbles into Jaehyun's shoulder. “I’m serious this time.” It doesn’t sound very convincing.
Jaehyun wants to have sex with Doyoung. It’s just. He doesn’t know how.
Like, he gets the gist of sex. And the number of times he’s thought about sex has increased exponentially since Doyoung brought it up a week ago. But he has to do some… research. In the incognito tab on his laptop. Strictly when Doyoung isn’t in their room.
And he also needs to, like, buy things. Which is why he’s at the store right now, eyeing a box of condoms apprehensively. They don’t really need condoms if they’re both virgins but he figures it’s not a bad idea to practice being safe. So he chucks one in his basket quickly, next to the box of lube that’s in there. He feels like he’s buying stuff for a science project. A really fun science project.
He’s in the cereal aisle when some demon taps him on the shoulder. Please don’t be someone I know—
“Jaehyun! I haven’t seen you in so long!”
It’s Taeyong. Jaehyun would recognize that pink hair anywhere and now he wants to die. He tries to hide his basket behind his body. Sex isn’t embarrassing but he doesn’t want Taeyong knowing that he’s doing it.
“Oh! Hey! It’s been… two weeks,” Jaehyun says.
“Two weeks too many. I wish we’d gone to the same university. How’s college treating you?”
Jaehyun was crying into his math textbook an hour ago. “College is fine,” he says.
Taeyong’s smile disappears. “Are you okay?” he asks. “You seem off.”
Taeyong squints. “How are things with Doyoung? If he’s being a dick again then I can talk to him—”
“No. No, no, no. He’s fine.”
“Fine?” Taeyong repeats.
“Yeah, we’re fine,” Jaehyun promises.
“Do you know any other words besides ‘fine’?”
“No,” Jaehyun says without thinking. “College made me dumber.”
“Okay,” Taeyong says slowly. “What are you doing here?”
Taeyong is silent for a few seconds. “Right. Of course. Are you on drugs right now?”
“What the fuck?”
“Sorry, sorry. You just seem a little… glitchy.”
“Thanks?” Jaehyun says. “I’m fine, I swear.”
Taeyong looks unconvinced. “I should get going then. Text me. We should totally go to that Justin Bieber concert next month.”
“I hate you.”
“Now there’s the Jaehyun I know,” Taeyong beams. “I’ll see ya.”
And then it happens. Jaehyun brings his basket around too quickly and Taeyong notices. He lets out a snort and his eyes go wide.
“Don’t,” Jaehyun whispers.
“Are those condoms?” Taeyong asks around a giggle.
“So things with Doyoung are better than fine,” he says smugly.
Jaehyun lets out a groan.
“I’m sorry. I’m so happy for you. But how is it?”
“That’s none of your business,” Jaehyun grumbles, staring at a box of Rice Krispies because he just can’t make eye contact with his best friend right now.
“You haven’t even done it yet,” Taeyong concludes.
“Why are you so concerned about my sex life?”
“Are you gonna do it tonight?” Taeyong asks. Jaehyun remains silent. Taeyong takes the silence as an affirmative response. “Are you nervous?”
“I trust Doyoung.”
“You’re nervous,” Taeyong says.
“What the—stop—how are you even doing this? When did you become Sherlock Holmes?”
“Hey, don't be nervous,” Taeyong comments. “I'm sure it'll make your whole week,” he finishes with a wink.
Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “Any other insanely personal questions you want to ask?”
“Can I tell Ten? He’s gonna love this.”
“God. I guess. But only because Ten's gonna hate me if I tell you and not him too.”
Jaehyun gets a notification from their group chat half an hour later when he’s back at his dorm.
TY (4:35 PM)
OH MY GOD TEN
TY (4:35 PM)
TY (4:35 PM)
JAEHYUN’S HAVING SEX WITH DOYOUNG TONIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER
Ten (4:36 PM)
OH WOOOW OMGGGGG TELL US HOW IT GOES JAEHYUNNNN
Jaehyun (4:37 PM)
i absolutely will not do that
Junior Year of College
“What are you doing?” Doyoung asks.
Jaehyun forcefully zips up his suitcase. “Leaving.”
“You’re being immature.”
Jaehyun takes a deep breath so he doesn’t accidentally burst into tears. That would be embarrassing. “I need a break.”
“From what? My opinion?”
“Yeah,” Jaehyun snaps. “I don’t need you commenting on all of my decisions.”
“I’m just giving you advice. If you want to drop out of college and throw your life away then I can’t stop you. But it’s not the right choice. You don’t—you don’t even have a plan.”
“My plan is to get the fuck out of this apartment,” Jaehyun says harshly. “Away from you.” Doyoung looks stung but Jaehyun thinks he deserves it. “You have no idea how I feel. You think I’ve put no thought into this when I’ve been thinking about it for months, Doyoung. And you think this is a walk in the park for me. You just want me to stay so we can split the cost of rent. That’s all you give a shit about.”
“Jaehyun, that’s not true.” Doyoung tries to put a hand on Jaehyun’s arm but Jaehyun pushes it away.
“Please don’t touch me right now.”
“I want whatever’s best for you. This is kind of a huge decision. Plus, money has nothing to do with this. I like rooming with my boyfriend and I feel like that doesn’t need an explanation. But I know plenty of other people who would be willing to split the cost of rent with me.”
“Then I guess you should start contacting them.” Jaehyun swings open the door.
“Jaehyun, wait. At least put on a coat. It’s miserable outside and I don’t want you to get sick.”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes but grabs a raincoat from the coat rack by the entryway of their apartment.
“Hold on, Jaehyun. How much alcohol did you drink? You’re not thinking clearly.”
“I’m not drunk,” Jaehyun promises. “I had a few shots. I’m sober enough to know that I’m annoyed at you and don’t want to be with you right now.”
“You shouldn’t go wandering around at this hour,” Doyoung says. “Not like this. And not by yourself.”
“I’ll be fine,” Jaehyun insists. He awkwardly falls against the doorframe. It takes him a few beats to regain his balance. And then he slams the door behind him.
“So are you just gonna sleep on my couch for the rest of the year?” Taeyong asks awkwardly. “And you really want to drive an hour to and from your campus everyday?”
“I don’t really have much of a choice,” Jaehyun grumbles, scrolling through Twitter and trying to appear careless. It’s been three days of radio silence from Doyoung. He cares very much.
“I’ll talk to Doyoung for you,” Taeyong decides.
Jaehyun goes silent. His mind that was once filled with anger towards his boyfriend has slowly become flooded with sadness. He misses Doyoung. He wishes he didn’t.
Taeyong pulls his phone out of his pocket. “I’m gonna talk to him right now.”
“Taeyong. Please don’t.”
“Then what do you want, Jaehyun?” Jaehyun winces at his best friend’s tone. “You still love him, right?”
Jaehyun pauses for a few seconds. “Yes.”
“Then this needs to be fixed, obviously.”
“But he doesn’t respect my own choice.”
“You can’t just run away from him,” Taeyong says with a short laugh. “This is just one disagreement. Don’t let this end your relationship.”
“Thanks, Dr. Phil.”
“I’m serious,” Taeyong says. “Why do you love Doyoung?”
Jaehyun smashes his face into one of Taeyong’s couch cushions. “Do we have to do this right now?”
“I just want to prove to you that the pros outweigh the cons.”
Jaehyun huffs. “He’s a boy, not a washing machine. I’m not in the market for washing machines, anyway.”
“Come on, Jaehyun. Why do you love Doyoung?”
Jaehyun hates Taeyong with every fiber of his being. He lifts his head up reluctantly.
“I don’t know. I guess he’s, like, kind of cute,” Jaehyun mumbles into the cushion.
“Only kind of cute?”
“Shut up, Taeyong.”
“Okay, sorry, sorry. Go on.”
Jaehyun lets out a long sigh and squishes his cheek against the cushion. “He’s really cute. And he packs snacks for me before I go to class. And he plays with my fingers when we cuddle, which is a lot because he likes cuddling, and he cares a lot about other people. Like, he’s always volunteering and always trying to make people happy.”
Taeyong looks satisfied. “You’re blushing,” he comments.
“Awesome,” Jaehyun deadpans. “Just… please don’t call him, okay? We can sort it out ourselves.”
“Will you?” Taeyong asks.
“Why do you care so much?” Jaehyun asks.
“He makes you happy and I want you to be happy.”
“Aw,” Jaehyun says. “That’s cute.”
“I also want you off my couch,” Taeyong admits.
There’s a knock at the door. Jaehyun answers it, assuming it’s Domino’s dropping off the pizza Taeyong ordered in celebration of Jaehyun’s birthday. But it’s not Domino’s. It’s Doyoung. Jaehyun instinctively closes the door before either of them can even get a word out. He hasn’t spoken to Doyoung in a week.
“Taeyong?” Jaehyun calls.
“Just put it on the kitchen counter!” Taeyong shouts faintly from his room.
Jaehyun walks over to Taeyong’s room and stops in the doorway. “It’s not pizza. It’s Doyoung.”
Taeyong’s eyes go wide and he tears out his earbuds. “Doyoung’s here? Don’t tell me you told him to go away.”
“I didn’t,” Jaehyun says. “I just… closed the door on him.”
Taeyong lets out a scream of anguish and his earbuds fall out of his hands. “Go back and open it!”
“Okay.” Jaehyun turns around and heads back to the door.
Doyoung’s still there, surprisingly. He’s wearing a thick winter coat and holding a neatly-wrapped present. His nose is a little red from the cold weather. It’s cute. Neither of them say anything. Doyoung holds the present out for Jaehyun.
“What is it?” Jaehyun asks.
Doyoung just holds it out further.
Jaehyun awkwardly takes the gift from him. Doyoung’s face is completely unreadable. “Open it,” he says.
Jaehyun tears off the wrapping paper and stares down at the box in his hands. It’s a building kit consisting of nothing but blue lego pieces.
“Where did you get this?” Jaehyun asks.
“There’s a note. On the bottom.”
Jaehyun turns the box over.
Jaehyunnie. I got this from Toys-R-Us, since I know you’re going to ask. Sorry for not sharing the blue legos 15 years ago. You deserve all the blue legos in the world. Also sorry for not supporting your decision about school. I still don’t support it, but I now understand that it’s your choice and not mine. Happy birthday. I miss you. Please come home? I’m tired of eating microwaved chicken nuggets for every meal.
Jaehyun looks up at Doyoung. He looks scared but hopeful.
“Uh…” Jaehyun bites his lower lip in an effort to hide his smile. “Yeah. I’ll come home,” he says with a nod.
Doyoung smiles. “Sweet. Can I—can I hug you?”
Jaehyun shrugs. “Sure.”
Doyoung steps forward and wraps his arms around Jaehyun. Jaehyun returns the hug, almost forgetting how wonderful it feels to be in Doyoung’s embrace. They stay like that for a long time.
“How did you know where I was?” Jaehyun asks over Doyoung’s shoulder.
“I followed you out of the apartment after our fight. I watched Taeyong pick you up.”
“That’s kinda creepy,” Jaehyun says.
“You were drunk,” Doyoung explains.
“I wasn’t that drunk,” Jaehyun challenges, as if he didn’t throw up a few times in Taeyong’s car that night. He wants to blame that on general carsickness, though.
“You were pretty drunk,” Doyoung responds. “And it was like 2am on a Saturday night. I wanted to make sure you would be okay.”
Jaehyun swallows nervously. He’s glad that Doyoung can’t see his face right now because he imagines that he looks like the tomato from VeggieTales. “Oh,” Jaehyun says. “Thanks. I missed you too.”
“Good,” Doyoung replies bluntly. Jaehyun laughs.
Senior Year of College
“Are you nervous?” Doyoung asks.
“Not really,” Jaehyun says honestly.
“I am. What if I trip onstage? What if my tassel flies into my mouth? What if my cap falls off? I can’t get it to stay on.”
“Just get your diploma and run,” Jaehyun advises. “It’s all you need, really.”
“My whole family’s out there,” Doyoung says. “They’re counting on me not to mess up. Grandma especially hates it when I mess up because she’ll be recording the whole thing and she won’t want to post it on Facebook because she’ll be too embarrassed to have me as her grandson.”
Jaehyun squeezes Doyoung’s shoulder. “It’ll be fine. I swear. They’re proud of you.”
“Ugh, I hope so,” Doyoung mumbles.
“Taeyong and Ten and Johnny are in the crowd, too.”
Doyoung’s jaw drops. “That’s not very comforting. Johnny would never let me live it down if I tripped walking across the stage.”
Jaehyun shrugs. “Then don’t do that,” he advises weakly. Doyoung frowns. “I would be very proud of you for tripping on your face,” Jaehyun assures. “I’m proud of you right now.”
“Aww. I’m proud of you, too,” Doyoung coos.
“You’d better be proud of me always.”
Doyoung smiles. “The greatest trophy boyfriend ever. What should we do after we graduate?”
“We should pretend we’re still in high school and make out in my car. And then we should travel the world eventually.”
“Can we go to France first?” Doyoung asks. “I want to see the Eiffel Tower.”
“I can’t really afford France right now,” Jaehyun says. "Think a little smaller?"
“Fine. I guess a nice cuddle will suffice, then.”
“Hey, remember when you hated me?”
“You remind me of this everyday,” Jaehyun replies.
“Do you still hate me?” Doyoung asks.
“Yes. Even more every time you bring this up.”
Doyoung pouts. “But seriously. You hated me so much that you threw a frisbee at my face.”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “You know that wasn’t the goal.”
“I should’ve called the cops on you for attempted homicide.”
“And what would you do with your boyfriend in prison?” Jaehyun questions.
Doyoung thinks for a moment. “That’s a good point.”
“Thanks for not calling the cops on me.”
“Thanks for being cute,” Doyoung mumbles, looking away from Jaehyun.
“That was disgustingly corny and out of the blue,” Jaehyun comments.
“Shut up. Put your cap back on. We’re about to go walk out there.”
“Don’t trip,” Jaehyun says. “But if you do trip then make sure to smile for the cameras.”
“If I trip then you have to trip too, okay?”