The summer in Italy were always like that, hot and wet. Jeongguk could feel the warm wind entering by the window of his room, the same wind he desired so much so he could feel a little less of that wet that was glued to his skin, but actually that hot wind would only make it worst. It was like the breath of the devil himself. He could not help to wonder if it was like this that people who go to the hell would feel when they die. He could hear the leaves of the trees moving out there in the hot wind, as well as the noise of Ah-ri, the family cook working on the first floor.
Jeongguk was retiring his clothes from the wardrobe, throwing it beside where Marzia was lying in the boy’s bed. He has known her since he was just a little boy, as his parents came from Korea at least once a year during the vacations to stay with part of their family that lived in Italy. Not only because of this, but also Europe was an amazing place for the work his father performed. Jeon Han-gil was a Mester in Ancient Studies. Professor and Researcher of a college. He researched everything that was related to the History of Humanity and Art. He was PhD in linguistics and communication through the centuries, master's degree in study of paintings and sculptures. Everything that was from another century and smelled like old things, you could look for it and then there was where his father would be. And his mother would be together. Jeongguk loved it, after all he had grown up in the middle of all that, in the air bridges between South Korea and the rest of Europe, the “Cradle of Humanity”, like his father would call it.
It was perhaps by their influence that Jeongguk had chosen music as a profession for his life. In the midst of so much art and so many classics, the song had caught his eye. His mother told him that since he was a child, it was a classical song to start playing anywhere that he would stop doing whatever he was doing, close his eyes and pay attention to all the notes - which at that time he did not even know what they were - until the song come to an end. He would then turn to his mother and say, "Angels say so many things when they sing Mommy, one day I will learn to speak the language of the angels." And that's how fifteen years later, he was starting his sophomore year at a Music College. Instrument? Piano.
Jeongguk stopped what he was doing when he heard the car noise coming down the estate road from the window. He looked at Marzia with a smile playing on his lips while he said, "He's here." More than quickly Jeongguk wore a red wine shirt over his head and ran out of the room, stopping only when he reached the window of the hall that led to the door of the house downstairs. Marzia caught up with him seconds later. His father's moss-green car parked downstairs while Dah-ko, the family gardener, left it accompanied by the famous Taehyung.
Kim Taehyung was a great writer of books about Antiquity, researcher as Jeongguk's father was. Mr. Jeon had long talked about the work of the writer, how he was a type of Archaeologist of Paintings, looking for Antiquities as if looking for treasure, and when he found something he would analyze everything, searching for dates, the History of these works, authors and all that would involve that Art. Then merge all the information about the treasure hunt into his books. Jeongguk had heard several stories about the researcher/writer, and now that he had finally come straight from the US to work with his father, Jeongguk could not contain the curiosity and excitement that flowed from his parents, mirroring it in him.
"Mr. Jeon!" Taehyung celebrated, shaking hands with the older man. "It's a pleasure to meet you, finally!" The first one seemed as happy with the event as the latter.
"The pleasure is mine! You're a lot younger than you looked through the photos."Jeonggukk heard his father say and looked at Marzia as he rolled his eyes, smilling. His father when excited about something would always end up saying exactly what he was thinking, without any filter, and there he was doing it again.
"I can say the same about you!" Taehyung replied as he took the suitcases out of the car, with the same sympathy as Mr. Jeon. "Then you can stop formality, and just call me Han-gil, please" Mr. Jeon replied. They were still laughing at what they had talked about when Jeongguk's mother reached where they were.
"Hello Taehyung, my name is Naeun, it's a pleasure to meet you," she said, reaching for Taehyung, who squeezed her hand back after a brief respectful bow. "It is a pleasure to meet you too, and thank you for welcoming me into your home."
Jeongguk could not see from above, but he imagined the giant smile that must have been on his mother's face. She loved educated people. They had begun to enter the house when he heard his father's voice shouting a loud and clear "Jeongguk!" He ran up the stairs, down the steps two by two until he found his mother in the hall of the house. She opened a giant smile to him as she wrapped her arm around his shoulders. "Come on, you need to meet our guest," to which he only nodded as he planted a kiss on the top of his mother's head. The voices now came from his father's office, and when Jeongguk and his mother came in he came across something totally different than he expected.
Whenever his father spoke about a researcher, writer, or any person who had already graduated and had at least two books already published, the first thing that came into Jeongguk's mind was a person who was at least 40 years old, just like his own father. But the person standing before him was very different from that. In fact, the other man seemed to be his age. If he was 23 it would be too much. Another thing that had surprised him was the fact that Taehyung was Korean too. Okay, his name was in Hangul, but he had never stopped to search for the guy, nor had he ever even seen a picture of him. All he knew was what his father had told him, or he had overheard the various conversations Mr. Jeon had with Mrs. Jeon in front of his son. That is why Jeongguk had created in his head the image of a middle-aged man all Americanized. Unlike the man that was standing in front of him, who actually looked more like a boy in his early twenties, with Asian traits like his own.
The third thing that surprised him was the beauty of Taehyung. He was not that tall - indeed maybe only two inches taller than Jeongguk - and neither was he strong, even if his shoulders were still wide. His skin had a light, very light tone of bronze. The legs were long, the torso slim as well as the neck was. The face was smooth as baby skin, his eyes were like as the eyes of any Asian, but they were still large for what was common among Asians. The well-defined jaw line in contrast to that straight grayish blonde hair - Jeongguk was almost sure that it was dyed - completes the profile that did not seem to exist in this world. He was not only handsome as a model, but maybe it was beyond that. Jeongguk could not explain, but he knew that anyone who looked closely would understand what he meant.
"Jeongguk this is Taehyung, and Taehyung this one here is Jeongguk, my only son" his father's voice took him out of his thoughts, which was good since he needed to pay attention to what was happening. Taehyung opened a giant smile, and Jeongguk realized that the smile was another beautiful thing on the other man's face - or should Jeongguk call him boy due his appearance? -.
"It's a pleasure to meet you!" Taehyung exclaimed, squeezing his hand tightly. "I can say the same. How was your flight? "Jeongguk replied, because in fact, the other's face appeared the weariness jetlag causes on people after so many hours of flying.
"You must be tired," Mr. Jeon said.
"I'm a little bit" Taehyung replied by placing his hands in the front pockets of his pants.
"Come, come then! Jeongguk will show your room, so you can rest," Mr. Jeon said as he laid one hand on Taehyung's back, showing the way.
"Can I take your bags?" Jeongguk asked, exchanging a brief glance with Taehyung, who nodded with a small smile."Eh... Sure, you can," he then turned to Jeongguk's father, raising one eyebrow in question, "My room?" Both Jeongguk's parents laughed at Taehyung's joke. He seemed to be the playful kind, even when he was tired.
"It's up there, please, follow Jeongguk," Mr. Jeon said as Naeun pointed upward.
Jeongguk who was already carrying the writer's bags in hand, began to guide him around the house, leaving his parents behind. He could feel the presence of the other right behind him as they crossed the hall and started up the stairs. The silence that surrounded them was the kind of strange silence that happens when two people are still a little strange to each other, it was not comforting at all, but it was not uncomfortable either. Halfway up the stairs they found Marzia, who was coming down the stairs with a giant smile. Jeongguk could see that her eyes measured Taehyung from top to bottom. "Are you already going?" He asked, to which the girl replied with a nod. She gave Jeongguk a quick kiss on the cheek, doing the same with Taehyung. "It's a pleasure to meet you," she said non-stop to hear the answer. Taehyung frowned, muttering an "Equally".
They went to the room Jeongguk was in before Taehyung arrived. He put the guest's bags on the floor, ran to the bed, grabbing all the clothes he had thrown up there in his arms, leading them through the door that led to the other room, which he would stay, and dumped everything on the bed that was there. "You're going to stay in my room, and I'm staying in this one on the side. If there is anything you might need just call me," he said, going back to the other room as he finished closing the wardrobe. "We're just going to have to share this bathroom here, do you mind?"
Taehyung who until then only watched the younger boy's movement, looked towards the bathroom that had a door on the other side, which led to the other room in which Jeongguk would stay. He shrugged. "No problem at all." He looked back at the bed and sighed loudly, throwing himself in the blankets, not saying another word. The musician stood there for a few moments looking amused at the way the other had thrown himself on the bed, and then realized that Taehyung was probably already falling asleep. Jeongguk shrugged and retired to his room, closing the door carefully, not forgetting to carry his guitar with him.
Jeongguk sat at the desk facing the window, scattering the sheet music he had to study during the summer in front of him. Jeongguk did not know what to think about the new guy. He seemed cool and fun, but there was still something in Taehyung that did not fit the context. Maybe it was the air of a person coming from a big city in the West, he could not be sure. Jeongguk shook his head. Now it was time to study, he would have plenty of time to make his daydreams later.
That same day, after what seemed hours and hours of many sheet music, many musical notes being drawn on top of them, studied in a concentrated way, Ah-ri's bell rang up there on the first floor, warning that dinner was ready. Jeongguk rubbed his eyes away from sleep, only realizing now that the sun had set, and the cool breeze of the night came through the window, announcing the end of twilight.
He got up and went to the door of Taehyung's room, tapping gently against it, getting no answer. Jeongguk opened the door and strode into the room, finding the American lying on his stomach on the bed, more or less in the same way he had been when he had thrown himself there. Jeongguk considered ways of waking the man without being rude, without invading the space of the other as he paced the room. There was not much to do. Then he went to his bookcase, pulling out a book from there and dropped it on the floor. The book slammed against the woody floor, causing Taehyung to wake up startled, mumbling incoherent things.
"Han? What's going on?" Taehyung asked, the voice that was thick before, now in an impossible way seemed even thicker, and hoarse. His straight grayish blond hair fell over his sleepy eyes.
Jeongguk grinned at the other. "Sorry, I was..." he pointed to the book he had just collected from the floor "Dinner is ready, Ah-ri just warned us by ringing the..."
"Oh yeah, can you tell your mother I'm not going down for dinner tonight?" Taehyung cut him off, fidgeting in bed until he could hug the pillow that had been under his head until then. Jeongguk watched the other in silence, before mumbling an "Okay." He put the book back in the bookcase, and walked out of the room without another word until he listened. "So this room is yours, huh?" Taehyung asked, his voice still husky.
Jeongguk turned back to face the other, standing against the doorframe. "It is," it was all what he replied since he did not know how far the American wanted to continue the conversation.
"And why am I here? Where are you going to sleep now? "Taehyung brushed the hair from his eyes so he could see the other better against the hallway light.
"Here is more comfortable for you." Jeongguk shrugged. "I'm in the next room, the guest room" repeated what he had said earlier, and the writer seemed not to have paid much attention.
"Oh, that makes sense. See you later. Thank you for the information, buddy..." Taehyung replied, and whatever he would say more was lost in the great yawn he gave, as his eyes closed again, dragging him back to the dream world.
Unbelievable, Jeongguk sighed. He walked back out of the room, down the hall toward the stairs. Jeongguk always knew that news could be accompanied by surprises, but he never expected this writer to bring so many. And something told him that the surprises coming from him were just beginning. He just could not tell if he was happy or not about it.