"How are you feeling about being invited to one of the biggest art exhibitions in Seoul, Mr. Oh?"
The Seoul Modern was the largest art exhibit in South Korea, attracting thousands of customers during the four weeks it lasted. Held in the Exhibition Hall of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the exhibition was made up of more than 500 individual art pieces from more than 285 artists. Often referred to as SM, the Seoul Modern turned out to be the first large art exhibit Sehun was officially invited to.
At the age of 25, Oh Sehun had established a renowned Instagram account under the username Picassoh that featured up- and coming artists, reviews of older pieces and educational posts about a selection of famous art pieces from all eras. While Sehun nowadays mostly reviewed modern pieces, his love for art was deeply rooted in a large portion of renaissance, a bit of realism and a hint of cubism. By now, he’d finished his studies at Seoul National University and had gotten his Master’s degree in Aesthetics with a specific focus on Art.
During his studies, Sehun had began to build up his Instagram account. What started out as occasional posts of analyses of art pieces he liked, quickly turned into a large following of people that seemed to appreciate his analyses. With the growing number of followers, Sehun decided to also increase the number of posts. Nowadays, Sehun posts almost daily. Instead of just analyses of art pieces, however, reviews, criticism and explanations on general knowledge concerning art theory and history had joined the repertoire of his Instagram account. With the followers also came the recognition from official art magazines and actual artists. The latter were the ones that actually made Sehun feel the giddiest, every time one of the artists he analysed, reviewed or just somehow mentioned in his posts, there was a slight chance one of them would comment under his post and when it happened, Sehun would feel ecstatic for the rest of the day.
Still, Sehun didn’t consider himself famous. The large number of followers on even his personal Instagram account as well as the money he made from his posts were probably supposed to tell him otherwise, but what really got him was the invitation to the Seoul Modern.
And here he was, pulled right into the first interview during the exhibit and Sehun was panicking just slightly.
"I feel incredibly honoured to be here. When I received the invitation, I couldn't believe my eyes and it took a while to let it sink in. And from what I've seen so far, it definitely exceeded my expectations by far." His response came out surprisingly smoothly and Sehun even managed to send the reporter a winning smile. Beside him, his manager and close friend Junmyeon sent him an approving and slightly impressed smile.
The reporter seemed to soak up every single syllable that left Sehun’s lips. "That's good to hear. Do you have any favourites so far? Not that we won't hear about them on your Channel, I'm sure of that, but just give us a little taste of what you're going to highlight."
Due to the fact that Sehun had only arrived at the exhibit about an hour ago, he hadn’t even seen everything yet. "Well... I won't give away too much but what I can say for now is that I am really impressed with Do's work. The colour scheme, the composition... Do Kyungsoo has shown us heartfelt irony with the dark concept of "Tender Love" that stands in a stark contrast to its title." The words easily fell into place as Sehun thought about the large acrylic painting that reminded him of the early works of Rembrandt. Just like the Dutch artist, Do Kyungsoo had an incredible ability to catch and portray light in his acrylic paintings. Even though the style differed, the artist’s paintings always carried that certain aura that had drawn Sehun in right from the start. For the SM exhibit, Do had actually decided to showcase his newest work which was a portrait of a young couple, beautifully painted and artistically composed. Sehun had been head over heels when he laid his eyes on it upon entering the exhibit and had spent a considerable amount in front of that work alone. Therefore, the commentary he could give was rather limited.
The interviewer didn’t seem to mind though. "We've heard that Do has been praised highly for that work. What do you think about Byun's installation though? As far as we know, it's the talk of the whole exhibition."
Byun Baekhyun was an artist that Sehun had often featured on his blog and he’d actually met him and talked to him in person twice before.
"Sadly, I haven't been able to take a look at it yet...I was actually on my way there when you asked for the interview." He explained to the interviewer.
With a nod, the interviewer moved on to the next question already. Honestly, Sehun hadn’t expected there to be so many. It was kind of overwhelming. "Alright then, we don't want to keep you any longer. But one last question, who do you think did it better? Park with his collage based on Guernica by Picasso or Zhang with his modern take on the sculpture of Rodin's Kiss?"
There was no correct answer to the question and both Sehun and the interviewer knew that. Now, he just had to make sure that he chose his words well. "I think nobody has ever asked me such a tough question. You're lucky, I've actually taken a look at both pieces today already." Beside him, Junmyeon shifted a little uncomfortably. Usually, Sehun discussed criticism with him before as they didn’t intend to offend large artists. However, this time Sehun didn’t have to worry because he wasn’t going to choose one over the other anyway.
"I don't think I can actively choose or say who did it better. Even though both followed the idea of basing their work on an already existing one, both Park and Zhang did it in such a beautifully complex, novel way that it took my breath away. If we look at The War by Park Chanyeol, it becomes rather clear that he had the famous painting of Picasso in mind. But his new on-take with choosing a refugee mother with the corpse of a baby to portray the pieta element was daring but well executed. Also, keeping the element of the bull was incredibly crucial to the whole new interpretation as it still connects the new meaning to the original background of the civil war." Sehun paused. "Concerning Zhang's new interpretation, I am just as amazed. Choosing two women to portray the sculpture by Rodin which is an iconographic representation of love was much needed in our day and age. I'm actually surprised nobody has tried out that take before but I'm glad it was Zhang who did it in the end. The way he used the growing of plants and formed them into the shapes of the two women to portray how natural homosexuality is took my breath away. All in all, I really loved all the works I've seen so far though." Sending the woman a smile, Sehun felt rather satisfied with his response. Apparently, Junmyeon felt the same way, judging by his content smile when Sehun side-glanced at him.
It seemed to have been the last question. With a bow, the interviewer thanked them and sent Sehun another smile. "Thank you for granting us some of your time, Mr. Oh. Please enjoy the rest of the exhibition."
"Thank you, you too!" Sehun responded, watching as the woman disappeared into the crowd with her team. Next to him, Junmyeon let out a breath and Sehun couldn’t help but chuckle. It almost felt like his manager had been more stressed about this interview than Sehun had been.
In fact, Sehun honestly didn’t mind interviews. As long as the question were aimed at art, there was always something he could say, something to give an opinion on. It might not always be the best opinion, but at least he tried to keep it honest without intending to degrade any of the artists because in the end, he had nothing but respect for them even when he didn’t hype one of their works as much as others.
Clearing his voice, Junmyeon checked his phone. They’d been at the exhibition for about an hour and were still far from having seen even half of it.
Looking up at Sehun, his manager sent him a smile. "Now, that went pretty well. You're definitely getting better with interviews."
"Thank you, hyung. That was a nice way to say I was shit beforehand. But I appreciate the effort." Sehun chuckled as he snatched a champagne flute from one of the trays that a waiter offered them. If he was being honest, Sehun didn’t even particularly enjoy champagne. He felt like it fit the scene in front of him though and he was thirsty. Taking a sip, his eyes travelled through the room while Junmyeon looked around in search of a glass of champagne for himself.
"You're a brat, Sehun." He said, half-distracted as he tried to wave at one of the waiters to come towards them.
The glass pressed to his lips, Sehun chuckled. "Love you too, hyung."
Apparently, the waiter hadn’t seen Junmyeon’s almost embarrassing attempts at fixing himself a glass of high-end champagne. Instead, they had attracted other visitors though.
"Don't freak out now, but Kim Jongin is over there and it looks like he's walking right towards us." Junmyeon’s words seemed to sink into Sehun with delay, as if they had to pass a wall of cotton first before his brain registered their meaning.
"You're messing with me." His eyes flitted through the room while he tried to figure out if Junmyeon was trying to pull one of his lame jokes. If he was, Sehun didn’t think it was lame at all.
"Do I look like I'm joking?" Junmyeon huffed but Sehun only rolled his eyes.
"Well... You always look like you're trying to joke around but it never works out." He pointed out, still searching with the crowd to check if Junmyeon had been telling the truth.
"I swear, Sehun-" Junmyeon had started but then broke off, twirling around on the spot with a bright smile suddenly etched onto his face. "Good evening Mr. Kim, Mr. Lee."
A glance over his shoulder told him that, in fact, Junmyeon hadn’t been messing with him.
There, right in front of him, stood Kim Jongin.
It was the first time Sehun saw him in person and the first thing that came to his mind was the realization that pictures just didn’t do this man justice. At 1.83 metres, the man was just slightly shorter than Sehun but his presence seemed to take over the whole room. If Sehun hadn’t had his back to him, he was certain that he wouldn’t have any troubles finding Kim Jongin in a crowd full of people. There was just something that practically begged everyone to put their attention on him, and while Sehun couldn’t place what exactly it was, he didn’t doubt that he had something to do with the insane attractiveness of the other man.
"Good evening, Mr. Kim. Mr. Oh, it's a pleasure to meet you." Chocolate eyes fixated on Sehun and where words of a greeting had been about to leave Sehun’s lips, they were suddenly stuck in the back of his throat.
"I- it's a pleasure to meet you too, Mr. Kim." Sehun wanted to punch himself for stuttering. Kim Jongin was still staring at him and it was doing weird things to his pulse that he was sure weren’t healthy. For a moment, he felt like he could get lost in the intense stare before he remembered that the man was actually accompanied by someone else. His eyes landed on the man beside Kim Jongin, sending him a polite smile. Without doubt, Lee Taemin was incredibly handsome as well, but like moths drawn to flames, Sehun could already feel his gaze returning to his object of interest. "And you too of course, Mr. Lee."
A faint smirk had appeared on Jongin’s lips and Sehun wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing.
"I saw you walking around the exhibition earlier but I was too busy to approach you. I really wanted to tell you that I love your work."
The other man’s words took Sehun by surprise.
"You do?" He asked, not sure what kind of good thing he must have done in his previous life to deserve this.
"Of course!" Jongin broke out into a full smile, his eyes crinkling a little, and suddenly he felt a lot more approachable. Not less attractive, probably the opposite, but there was something so warm in his expression that allowed Sehun to relax a little.
"You have a broad knowledge of not only modern art but also the history and development of it. Personally, I enjoy the old arts a lot, so seeing your Instagram bringing those paintings, sculptures and everything else closer to the people is amazing." Jongin elaborated.
The thing was, Kim Jongin was a big name in their industry. And by big, Sehun meant so big that he wasn’t over-exaggerating when he assumed that every adult in South Korea had heard of Kim Jongin at least once in their life. As easy as it was to assume that his reputation came from his good-looks and charming smiles, the thing Jongin was actually known for was his work for the Ex’act Art magazine. As the youngest art critic in the history of the magazine, Kim Jongin had succeeded in taking not only the hearts of the readers but also those of the artists that he discussed in his articles, by storm. Due to his charismatic persona, Jongin regularly had interviews with both national and international artists.
For years now, Sehun had subscribed to the magazine and it was a given that Sehun always read Jongin’s articles in the magazine first.
Therefore, any compliments coming from Kim Jongin himself felt like a gift from god. Because to him, Kim Jongin was a kind of god. One that came in human-shape with an abnormally attractive face, luscious lips, broad shoulders… With a slight shake of his head, Sehun attempted to concentrate.
"I... I really don't know what to say. Thank you, Mr. Kim." He sent Jongin a polite smile that bordered on a grimace as he tried not to grin like a giant idiot because he still hadn’t gotten over Jongin saying that he loved his work.
A twitch of the right corner of Jongin’s lips drew Sehun’s attention to them again and he watched, fully enraptured, how they moved while Jongin spoke. "Oh, you can call me Jongin."
"Thank you Jongin, I really-" Sehun had just managed to drag his eyes away from his lips again to meet Jongin’s stare when someone behind Jongin cleared their voice.
All pairs of eyes in their small circle were directed at the man that had stepped up to them, looking slightly uncomfortable with the sudden amount of attention.
"Mr. Kim? We need you over here for a group picture." He was solely looking at Jongin and honestly, Sehun couldn’t blame the man.
An expression of disappointment flashed over Jongin’s pretty features, but it was gone as quickly as it had come. Turning to Sehun, Jongin sent him an apologetic look.
"I'm sorry, it sounds like I really have to go but I'll catch you later? I want to hear what you have to say."
"Alright, Jongin." Truthfully, Sehun kind of pitied that Jongin had to leave already but there was nothing he could do about it and his heart rate would probably thank him for being able to normalize again by the time Jongin would be out of range.
Watching the art critic follow the man that seemed to be some sort of assistant, Taemin turned towards them to excuse himself as well. Sehun had almost forgotten that he’d even been there.
"I'll see you later then, Mr. Oh. Mr. Kim, it was good to see you again." With a nod, Taemin left them to themselves, a stunned silence spreading between them as they stared after the pair.
"See you later, Jongin..." Sehun mumbled way too late for the other to hear.
It had taken about five minutes of staring at a modern painting with utmost concentration without really seeing it before Junmyeon broke the silence.
"What the fuck was that?" He asked, turning his head to look at Sehun who was still staring at the painting as if he was trying to make sense of it. In reality, his head was filled with thoughts about Kim Jongin and nothing else.
"What do you mean?" He asked, slowly tearing his eyes away from the art piece.
Junmyeon looked at him like he’d just insulted his mother, his future partner and their non-existent children. "Kim Jongin was 100% flirting with you."
A snort so loud that people actually turned their heads escaped Sehun. "Are you nuts? His boyfriend was right next to him?" The thought alone was absurd.
"Lee Taemin?” Junmyeon cocked his head, taking a step back from the painting to let other visitors get a better look at it. Neither Sehun nor Junmyeon had been particularly impressed by it, but it wasn’t terrible either. “I mean they're close, but not that close. Haven't you heard the news of Taemin supposedly dating Choi Minho? Also, Kim Jongin was eye-fucking you so hard, I'm surprised you didn't notice. But you're kinda dense, so..." A teasing smile spread on Junmyeon’s lips but Sehun’s cognitive functions had come to a stop already by the time Junmyeon had mentioned that Kim Jongin was in fact single.
Still, he couldn’t believe it.
"He wasn't flirting though."
"He was flirting."
"He wasn't flirting."
"He definitely was."
"I'm telling you he wasn't-"
An enraged sigh fell from Junmyeon’s lips and he pushed Sehun into the direction of Byun Baekhyun’s infamous installation. Before he could respond again though, a voice interrupted their tiny argument.
It wasn’t often that even Sehun had to look up to meet someone’s eyes, but Wu Yifan was one of the few people that Sehun looked up to quite in the literal sense. If he didn’t know about his manager’s painful crush on the tall art curator of the Seoul Modern Exhibition, Sehun would’ve definitely dipped that.
Yet, all he could do now was watching the scene of bilateral awkwardness enfold in front of him.
"Hello Junmyeon, I didn't know you were here too." Yifan stared down at Junmyeon who was already beginning to blush. Up to this day, Sehun wasn’t exactly sure how these two still hadn’t managed to address the obvious crushes they had on each other. It was hopeless.
"Oh, Yifan. Hi..." His usually eloquent manager stuttered. "I saw you earlier but you looked busy." Now, that was a lie. Upon entering the exhibition, Yifan was practically the first person they’d spotted that they knew and he had been standing on his own. Sehun had even asked Junmyeon if they should say hi but his friend had just rushed a shitty explanation about why that probably wasn’t a good idea because Yifan was probably busy or something. Sehun called bullshit.
"Oh really? You should've hit me up. I can always make time for you." Yifan smiled at Junmyeon with a softness in his eyes that almost made Sehun jealous. Yet, the way they tiptoed around each other would piss him off way too much to want that for himself.
In the end, the two actually managed to strike up a decent conversation, albeit both seeming unusually flustered as they chatted. At some point, Sehun had enough of third-wheeling and decided to explore the exhibition on his own for a while.
When Junmyeon joined him again, Sehun had just been about to finally take a look at Byun Baekhyun’s art installation but it seemed like the gods were somehow trying to prevent him from doing just that.
With a sly grin, Sehun nudged Junmyeon’s side. He needed to hear all about that conversation now, Byun’s work could wait.
"Now if that ain't whipped culture, I'm not sure what it is."
Lying had never been Junmyeon’s forte but he tried it anyway. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"'I can always make time for you' like, you don't even suck his dick and he's that nice to you? Tell me how that works." Giggling, Sehun watched as Junmyeon’s face took on the colour of a ripe tomato.
"Sehun, shut up! Someone could hear you." With quick glances around them, Junmyeon made sure that nobody had heard Sehun’s indecencies. They couldn’t have his reputation going to shit over some vulgar jokes, could they?
"I mean it though. He's totally into you. If you wanted to, you probably could suck his dick."
Junmyeon looked like he was about one second away from strangling Sehun with the fancy scarf that he was wearing around his neck.
With a snicker, Sehun flipped his hair out of his face. "No, I'm very lovable."
Just when Sehun had been about to suggest finally taking a look at Byun’s work, Junmyeon spotted a familiar figure across the room.
"Oh, there's Huang Zitao, over there and I really wanted to talk to him about his new work."
It was then that Sehun was really starting to think that he’d probably never get to see Byun’s installation after all.
In the end, Sehun of course managed to take a look at Byun Baekhyun’s installation. A recurring theme that Sehun had witnessed throughout the whole exhibit was the connection to nature. He wasn’t exactly sure if all of the artists were hinting at environmental changes and the problem coming with them, but Sehun certainly saw a pattern there.
Byun Baekhyun had probably prepared one of the more openly critical pieces of the exhibit and had garnered praise from all sides for it. A whole, small room was dedicated to Byun’s installation in which the whole floor was coated in dark, musky soil. Right in the centre of a room, a tiny sprout was blooming out of the earth and around it, hints of more sprouts could be seen. There was a tiny path through the soil around the area were the seeds were sowed, but otherwise there were no fences or other restrictions. The artist had apparently sowed the seeds the night before the exhibition had begun. The intention behind it was to show how quickly life could be created and sustained under the condition that nobody actively tried to affect the plants’ growth by, for example, leaving the path and stepping on them. Actually, Byun had arranged a shelf with watering pots on one side of the room. They were extremely small and carried only a tiny amount of water so whenever the visitors wanted to play their part in making the plants grow, they could just take one of the miniature watering cans and drip the few drops of water inside on the plants. That way, they regularly received water in tiny amounts but also weren’t overwatered.
Of course, Sehun had instantly headed for one of the cute, little watering cans and had got down to water around the center-sprout when Byun Baekhyun himself had chatted him up. They’d talked about the artist’s intention for a while and even took a selfie in front of the installation together for their Instagram pages before Sehun had to excuse himself to take a look at the rest of the exhibit that he hadn’t seen yet.
It took him three more hours to conclude his walk through the large halls of the Seoul Modern Exhibit, and by the time he was done, Sehun was ready to fall asleep on the spot.
That quickly changed though when a familiar voice spoke up right next to him, sending his heart rate into dangerous territories again.
"Ah, there you are. I've been looking for you all night."
Upon turning his head, Sehun spotted the one and only Kim Jongin right beside him, once again carrying a blinding smile on his sinful lips. Sehun honestly wasn’t trying to stare, but he just couldn’t help it. Those lips demanded to be looked at.
"Mr. Kim- I mean Jongin!" He managed to pull his gaze up to actually meet his eyes. "You were looking for me?" Just the thought alone made Sehun feel reminiscent of his teenage days when his high school crush did only so much as only looking into his direction.
Raising a brow, Jongin sat down next to Sehun who’d gotten comfortable on a bench not too long ago. Visiting art exhibits was a lot more tiring that one would expect, and Sehun was glad for any option that allowed him to sit, even if that meant having to resort to admittedly very uncomfortable stone benches (if Sehun were to rate them on their design, there lack of ergonomic shapes would definitely be a huge minus).
Instead of thinking about how well-designed some random stone benches though, Sehun had a much bigger problem at hand that was named Kim Jongin.
"I told you I'd come back, right?" The handsome man sent him another smile and Sehun was beginning to wonder if Jongin’s face was capable of any other expressions besides smiling in a way that blinded him and smirking so sexily that he was about to pop a boner just from looking at him.
"That's true." Was the only thing goldfish-brained Sehun got out and he instantly wanted to punch himself for that.
Kim Jongin, however, didn’t seem to mind how lame he was. "So what was your favourite work that you saw today?" He asked, cocking his head to the side a little.
"You know that question is impossible to answer, right?" Sehun blurted out before he could really think about it. The thing was, it wasn’t exactly wrong. Choosing just one work was a tough task, but he also hadn’t intended to sound rude.
"I do. I'm asking it anyway." Instead of looking offended though, Jongin actually laughed. Sehun wanted to pinch his cheeks and coo while simultaneously climbing onto his lap. This wasn’t good.
"Well, thank you for that." Sehun mumbled. It wasn’t like there wasn’t a favourite work he had in mind already. The problem was just that there were so many other great works that he wanted to talk about that it felt very restrictive having to break it down to solely one. "If I really had to choose I think it would be Kim Jongdae's photo series of the student's lives in South Korea. It may not be as artistic in the stereotypical sense as the other works here but its meaning is undeniably relevant. It portrayed the feelings of high school students incredibly well and both the good times and the struggles were picked up. I think it's time to give young people a voice, and I feel like his work did it in a beautiful way. I hope his pictures will help and make school a little more endurable for students."
The whole time he’d talked, Jongin had been watching him intently.
"You really have a way with words, Sehun. I meant it when I said that I really like your Instagram. You really seem to put your heart into it, I feel like that's something people seem to be lacking in this industry as crazy as it sounds. Art needs passion, and you have that."
For a moment, Jongin’s words left him speechless but he then forced himself to not make a complete fool out of himself. "Thank you so much. You're... Basically a role model for me."
Sehun wasn’t sure if the surprise in Jongin’s voice was honest or fake but Sehun still decided to elaborate.
"Yeah... You're like... My age but you're already a renowned art critic. That's a pretty big deal." It wasn’t like he really needed to explain that to Jongin himself but Sehun felt like he needed to make a point here.
With a nod and a hum, Jongin’s gaze fell onto the painting in front of them. It was a work by a Chinese artist called Lu Han and it was one of the last pictures Sehun had taken a look at as he’d strolled through the exhibition.
"Well, technically you're a renowned art critic too, just that you don't work for a magazine but you're your own boss. That might be even better." Jongin glanced at Sehun again for a second, looking like he was waiting for his reaction.
"My manager makes sure that I don't get in over my head." Sehun just shrugged, vehemently staring at the painting in front of them. If he met Jongin’s eyes now, he’d most likely melt into a puddle. The next thing Jongin said, however, made Sehun’s insides dissolve into an actual lake.
"That's good to know. I was wondering... Would you like to grab dinner with me? All the snacks here were nice, but I'm craving a real meal." There was a hint of uncertainty in Jongin’s eyes and it was all that Sehun need to know that the other man wasn’t bullshitting him right then. Still, he needed to make sure.
"You want to have dinner with me?" If it weren’t for incredible amounts of self-control, Sehun’s jaw would be gaping by now.
Jongin just nodded. "Yes. Is that a problem?” He asked as a hand came up to scratch his neck. “Ah, if you wanted to go to the after-party, that's fine. I personally don't enjoy going to parties so I kinda forgot about that."
Instantly, Sehun shook his head. "No it's fine! I don't have to go there. I think I'd rather have dinner with you." Even though the initial plan had been to attend the party, having dinner with Kim Jongin sounded a billion times more appealing than any aftershow party ever could.
The smile that lit up Jongin’s face was definitely worth it. "Is that so? Well, I'm ready to leave whenever you are." He asked while beaming at Sehun.
"Alright, I just have to tell my manager I'll be leaving."
Feeling a little like a teenager that had to ask his parents for permission to go out after his curfew, Sehun quickly made his way over to Junmyeon who was chatting with one of the artists. After quickly explaining the situation in hushed whispers to him, Sehun began to more and more realize how much of dream scenario of his that actually sounded.
"What do you mean you're going to have dinner with Kim Jongin?" Junmyeon was staring at him with large eyes.
Trying to play it cool, Sehun rolled his eyes. "Well I think it's pretty clear what that means." In reality, he had no idea what it actually meant to have dinner with Kim Jongin but if he knew one thing, it was that he was 100% ready to find out.
Junmyeon seemed to have an idea as well. "That you're going to fuck instead of making contacts at the Aftershow party?"
"What the hell, no! I am just having dinner with him... Platonically... While thinking about how much I'd want to fuck him. But we're just having dinner. Also, you could go to the Aftershow party for me and get some nice contacts." Sehun was ready to use the pout, his most effective weapon in convincing Junmyeon. Yet, he already knew that the other wouldn’t stop him from having dinner with Jongin. Junmyeon was sometimes a little too stressed and in return easily annoyed, but he wasn’t a cockblock.
"Any more wishes?" Junmyeon asked Sehun, and the younger man already knew he’d won for good.
Still, he tried to add zest to it for Junmyeon. "I bet Yifan's there too."
The reaction was instant. Junmyeon’s face flushed in a pretty shade and his words came out in a stutter. "I- that's beside the point. But whatever, just make sure you use protection."
"Thanks hyung, I love you." Pulling his manager into a hug, Sehun squeezed Junmyeon’s hand softly before slipping back into the crowd to return to his spot next to Kim Jongin on the awfully designed bench.
Actually leaving the exhibit took them about thirty more minutes after saying goodbye to Junymeon. It seemed like half the people that they met felt the need to personally say goodbye to Jongin. On one hand, Sehun couldn’t blame them for wanting to talk to him, but on the other hand it got a little annoying after being stopped for the 28th time while just trying to make their way to the exit.
Once they had reached the street outside the exhibition hall, Sehun finally felt like he could breathe again. Only now he realized how suffocating the many people inside the building had made him feel after so many hours and a side glance at Jongin told him that the other looked equally relieved to have escaped the following after party.
"Your manager didn't look too happy. Is it really okay that I'm kidnapping you like this?" The art critic asked Sehun as they walked down the street towards a restaurant Jongin had suggested. Apparently, it was owned by a friend of his and had the greatest fried chicken in the whole city of Seoul. Even though fried chicken wasn’t one of the dishes he would’ve associated with fancy, turtle-neck wearing Kim Jongin, Sehun was going to take what he could get.
"It's fine, don't worry. He just constantly stresses too much. I'm actually surprised his hair hasn't turned white yet." Sehun easily brushed it off. There was so much he wanted to talk about with Jongin but his manager definitely wasn’t one of those things.
The restaurant turned out to be considerably fancy after all, and Sehun was glad that he had his credit card with him. After taking a look at the menu and finding several fried chicken specials, Jongin explained to him that his friend’s restaurant was actually known for one-of-a-kind types of fried chicken dishes and that many people came here to try the different flavours and spices that were used.
To Sehun’s surprise, there were no awkward silences with Jongin. There was always a topic that they found they could talk about, and it wasn’t just art. As their food came, the both of them were stuck in a conversation about their favourite TV shows and their favourite clothing brand, and Sehun quickly realized that he could probably never get bored of Jongin.
Unsure of what to ordered, he’d listened to Jongin’s suggestions carefully until he’d decided to let the other just pick something for him in the end. When the food arrived and he tasted it, he wasn’t disappointed at all, especially not when Jongin cutely asked him if he could try a bite as well. Of course, Sehun had obliged and had in return even received a bite from Jongin’s dish, fed to him by Kim Jongin himself.
"Let's play a game." Jongin suggested eventually. Their empty plates and bowls had just been taken away, only their newly filled glasses of red wine on the table. They were both far from drunk, not even tipsy, but the beverage left a strong aftertaste and a soothing feeling in his throat.
“A game?” Sehun had just taken a sip and promptly choked on it, coughing a little as he tried to clear his windpipe. Tears shot into his eyes, but he forced himself not to take on the colour of a tomato in the span of five seconds. It only worked to a certain extent.
"Yes, a game. It could be fun." Jongin nodded, seemingly excited about his idea. Sehun thought it was adorable. "Do you know it? It's called 20 Questions."
A beautifully curved eyebrow shot up. "Oh, so it's one of those games where you try to ask spicy questions and hope to get some naughty answers." He deadpanned and instantly wanted to punch himself in the face for it. There was still a chance that Jongin didn’t like that kind of snark at all and he had to tone it down a little for now to leave a good impression.
Yet, Jongin didn’t seem to care too much.
"I guess that depends on the questions that you ask." He sent Sehun a blinding smile. The sun was fired, Kim Jongin was doing a more efficient job. "But is that a yes or no?"
As if Sehun could actually say no to him. "It's a yes. I feel like it's a fun way to get to know you." While that wasn’t even a lie, he honestly wasn’t sure what kind of questions to expect. The only time he’d played the game before was at a party where a guy had desperately wanted to get into his pants. All of the questions had been explicit with no exceptions while Sehun had had fun asking things like “Would you rather fight a duck-sized horde of horses or a single horse-sized duck?” In the end, nobody at the party but the guy that Sehun had been playing with had been surprised that Sehun hadn’t wanted to head home with him.
The man in front of him seemed almost ecstatic that Sehun had agreed to play the game with him though. "Okay, great. Since I suggested doing it, you can ask the first question." He offered, taking a long sip from his wine. It took Sehun a huge amount of effort to not stare as Jongin licked his lips clean, a few drops of the red liquid clinging to his tongue.
"Really?” He croaked out, reaching for his own glass as a distraction.” I'm honoured. Hmm... I don't know what to ask." Nervous fingers drummed against the neck of the glass until a question popped up inside his mind.
"Do you often ask random art Instagram account owners to have dinner with you?"
Surprise flashed over Jongin’s handsome features and he laughed out loud.
"Actually, no. I think it's the first time I asked a "random art Instagram account" out for dinner. But I don't think you're so random. You've got like 15 million followers, don't you?" He paused but then a realization dawned on him. "Ah wait, that wasn't my question for you though so ignore that." He quickly added. "What I was really trying to say is that I don't think you're so random, Sehun. Everyone in the Korean art scene knows your name, and even beyond that you’re recognized. Don't talk yourself down just because you don't work for a famous magazine or a publisher. You're your own boss, I wouldn't call that random."
Heat had begun to fill Sehun’s cheeks from the first few words on and it had only progressively got worse as Jongin continued to talk. By the time he was done, Sehun had melted into a metaphorical puddle on the floor that wanted the other to step on him.
"You're so nice to me, why?"
For a moment, Jongin looked surprised but then he shook his head. "Hey, it's my turn to ask a question now. Also, I'm just stating the truth." He sent him an assuring smile and Sehun wasn’t sure how he was supposed to survive these many compliments.
"Alright... Trip to outer space or to the bottom of the ocean?" Jongin thankfully pulled him out of his thoughts by asking his next question. Expectant eyes were resting on him and Sehun wondered if Jongin had more questions like these in stock.
"That's a question I certainly didn't expect." He informed Jongin and took another sip from his glass. "Hm... Okay, I think I would choose space. The ocean is insanely beautiful, a masterpiece of nature herself. But the bottom of the ocean is kind of creepy. Do you know these fish that have see-through skin on their head and their eyes are humongous? I'd rather float through space and stare at earth and the stars then. Even though I have to say the thought is scary, too. Maybe I'm just a coward." Sehun finished with a slightly embarrassed laugh.
To his surprise, Jongin appeared to think similarly about the topic though. "No, I think I feel the same way about that. I'd choose space too, but just the thought of being alone up there would freak me out."
"Yes, exactly. I mean, you wouldn't have to be there alone. But still, it's scary." Sehun fully agreed before randomly coming up with the next thing he could ask Jongin. "Okay, similar question. Volcano eruption or Zombie apocalypse?"
Time seemed to rush by as they continued to ask each other more or less useless but interesting questions about each other while drinking the expensive red wine that tasted as brilliant as the food had earlier. He was seriously beginning to wonder why he’d never been to that place before.
In-between sips of wine, the two decided to continue their little game.
"What would you do job-wise if you didn't work for Ex'act?" Sehun asked as he watched Jongin take another long sip from the crystal glass in his hands.
Done with swallowing, Jongin could finally answer. "I think I might have been a professional dancer. I used to learn ballet as a child but as I grew older, I didn't have the time for it anymore. I still dance though, mostly contempt or hip hop. To me, dancing is like art. My body is the paintbrush and the stage is my canvas." The corners of his lips lifted up in a soft smile.
Of course, Sehun had known that Jongin had a way with words that he felt he was sometimes lacking. However, hearing such passionate words directly from him made him admire the man in front of him even more. Jongin wasn’t just a pretty shell, he was also beautiful from the inside. "Maybe you should become a poet instead." He smiled and then returned his focus on his wine to distract himself from the blush that was creeping up into his ears.
"Actually, this might be the hardest question today. Who's your favourite artist?"
Hours had gone by without them really noticing. They were both on their second glass of red wine, feeling sated from the delicious dinner and relaxed from the slight buzz of alcohol.
They had reached the last few questions by now and this one was the first one that Sehun was seriously struggling to answer.
"You can't just ask that. It's impossible to answer." A reproachful look was aimed at Jongin who didn’t look sorry about asking at all though.
"Try it. You can ask me a question that's just as difficult afterwards." He retaliated and honestly, Sehun just couldn’t say no to him.
"Okay, but this question really sucks. But I'll try. Give me a moment.”
Taking another sip from his wine to mentally prepare himself, Sehun knew that no matter what he said, he probably wasn’t going to be satisfied with his own answer either way. Yet, he tried.
"I don't think this is the choice I would choose tomorrow as well. Every day, my taste changes. I can't just settle on one. So I can only tell you who my favourite artist today, right at the moment is...Earlier at the exhibit, I was reminded how much I love art citations. Taking an already existing work and making something entirely new but still somewhat similar of it is just mind-blowing to me. Therefore, today I'll be going with Francis Bacon today. When I take a look at his painting series targeting the popes, I just... Can't stop looking. If we just look at "Study after Valésquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X" I think it becomes clear what I mean. Turning an originally requested painting that was drawn in a rather naturalist way, Bacon turned it into a masterpiece of dark feelings and a lot of questions. Why is the pope screaming? Is he really caged in and tied down? There are so many takes on this painting that every time you look at it, a new piece of information begs you to encode it. While Velasquez was commissioned to create the painting of pope Innocent X, Bacon avoided commissions. There are so many dissimilarities surrounding the two paintings that it's easy to overlook the obvious similarities. His whole series reminds me of that. So yes, for tonight, Francis Bacon is my favourite artist. But tomorrow it might be Magritte, or Hockney or maybe even Raphael. It just depends on the mood."
The pair of chocolate eyes had been trained on him the whole time Sehun had talked, and even now, they were examining him closely.
"And right now your mood leads you to screaming popes in dark shades?" Jongin giggled, breaking the short span of silence that had stretched between them after Sehun’s explanation. When Jongin caught sight of Sehun’s eyebrows shooting up though, he quickly tried to explain himself. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I respect your choice. I actually love the pope series, it's a pity that Bacon destroyed several pieces." Shaking his head, Jongin leaned back in his chair. Once again, his eyes were trained on Sehun. "I'm actually thankful that you were even willing to answer this."
Feeling his cheeks heat up once again, Sehun reached for his wine glass again as if it were a lifeline. "It really was a hard question. I'm seriously struggling to come up with an equally tough one." It wasn’t in his nature to let the other off with a simple question. His next one had to be at least as difficult to answer to make up for his suffering.
Laughter bubbled up in Jongin’s throat and he leant forward, propping his arms up on the table to rest his head in his palms.
"Take your time, I'm not going anywhere." He grinned, his lips faintly tainted from the red wine. Sehun wondered if they tasted as good as they looked.
"I just realized it's the last question."
Jongin’s eyebrow shot up in surprise. "Is it?"
"It is." Sehun hummed. Neither of the two had realized how much time they’d spent playing the game already and honestly, Sehun wouldn’t mind continuing. However, it was getting kind of late.
In front of him, Jongin had seemed to come to the same conclusion. "Go ahead then."
To be quite honest, the question had been lingering in Sehun’s mind from the second on he’d agreed to this game but he had needed some time to work up the courage to actually voice it.
"Is this a date?"
It was tough, but somehow, he even managed to uphold eye contact even though it felt like his face had reached the colour of beet red by the time he’d finished the question.
"I was hoping for it to be one. Do you want it to be one?"
The moment his brain registered the meaning of Jongin’s reply, Sehun’s facial expressions went from surprise, to disbelief and lastly to a beaming smile in less than three seconds.
"I was hoping you'd say yes, so yeah, I do." He mumbled shyly, internally throwing a fucking party though.
Taking another sip from his wine, Jongin pushed his now empty glass away and leant forward until there were only a few centimetres left between their faces.
"It is a date then."
Fifteen minutes later, the two of them were standing outside the restaurant. After the end of their game, they’d decided that it maybe was time to head home. To Sehun’s initial discomfort, Jongin had insisted on paying for Sehun’s food as well and although reluctant at first, he’d eventually given in to the others wish. Next time, he would make sure to pay for Jongin instead, granted there was a next time, of course.
Now that they were standing in the fresh air of a spring night, it was obvious that neither of the two was sure how to proceed, and Sehun ended up being the first one to address the elephant in the room.
"Would you... Like to come back to my place and have some wine? My flat is nothing special but I was recently gifted that bottle of expensive wine and..." The coldness helped to fight the heat in his cheeks but he was still glad that the light of the street lights was only bright enough to illuminate the streets in a warm but faint light, tinting his face in a soft veil of darkness.
"As much as I'd love to do that, I know that when I have another glass of wine or two I won't be able to resist you any longer." Instantly after voicing his thoughts, Jongin noticed the confusion and disappointment in Sehun's eyes and he hurried to correct himself. "What I'm trying to say here is that I don't want to rush this."
"Rush...?" Trailing off, Sehun tilted his head a little to the side.
Jongin nodded. They were standing so close to each other, he would have to take just a single step forward to close the distance between them.
"Yeah. If I go to your place now we both know where that ends. But I want cute dates first to get to know you better than just through 20 question."
Now that made a lot more sense to Sehun. "Okay then. Take me on a cute date then, I'm looking forward to it. Spoiler: I love chocolate bubble tea." He grinned, a feeling of giddiness taking over now that he was starting to realize that this was his life and not a dream that would be interrupted by the annoying alarm clock ringtone Junmyeon set for him a while ago because of his tendency to oversleep.
When they both stepped backwards to let a couple walk past them on the sidewalk, their fingers brushed together and Jongin sent him a quick side-glance. "I'll keep that in mind as inspiration."
For a moment, Sehun could do nothing but stare back, subconsciously wetting his lips as his eyes landed on Jongin’s beautifully plump ones.
"So, I guess I'll call a cab then." Sehun mumbled when the couple had passed them.
With a hum, Jongin turned around to face him again, his face closer than Sehun remembered it to be. "Good night, Sehun. I had a wonderful evening." If Sehun wasn’t mistaken, there actually was a faint blush on Jongin’s cheeks too. "I can't wait to see you again."
If that hadn’t made Sehun blush already, his next suggestion certainly did.
"You know, if you don't want to come home with me, I guess you could at least give me a kiss as compensation, don't you think?"
A soft chuckle escaped Jongin and he took a step closer, their lips only centimetres apart. "That sounds only fair." He breathed before their lips met for the first time, his hand coming up to cradle Sehun’s cheek gently.
And as much as Sehun himself thought it was cheesy, he couldn’t help but feel like they would make the perfect couple in the centre of an impressionistic masterpiece.
"Good night Jongin." His cheeks were still glowing when they pulled apart, but Sehun couldn’t remember feeling this happy in a long, long time.
Leaning in for another quick peck, Jongin smiled back and then took a step back before he decided that heading to Sehun’s place sounded like a too good deal to decline after all.
"Good night, Sehun.”
"So you're saying you didn't even get laid? And you left me at the after party, all alone, for that?"
A cup of cold coffee, only half empty, was standing on the fashionable couch table in front of Sehun. Just like Junmyeon himself, his flat always looked neat and clean. Only the people close to him knew that this wasn’t the result of Junmyeon himself though, instead it was his housekeeper’s magic that kept the surprisingly untidy man’s flat in a constant state of picture-perfectness that could stem right from the pages of an interior design magazine.
It was the morning after the exhibition. While Sehun had gone on his spontaneous date with Jongin, Junmyeon had attended the after party of the SME. Now, they were sitting in Junmyeon’s living room to discuss the events of the previous day and talk about their respective nights.
Lounging on a Barcelona chair, Sehun folded his legs, the coffee cup in front of him long forgotten. There were much more important things than a cup of Junmyeon’s awful coffee (although Sehun would never tell him his coffee tasted like shit, he was always way too happy to use his fancy coffee machine).
"Hyung, I literally scored a date with the hottest guy on the planet and he didn't want to sleep with me ‘cause didn't want to ruin it by rushing it. My dick cried but my heart went uwu." His eyebrows scrunched up as he let himself fall against the backrest of the designer chair.
Across from him on the couch, Junmyeon sent him a judging look. "Please don't say that out loud, that is only meant to be written."
"You legit would try to read out emojis if you could, so don't come at me." The younger man pointed out and Junmyeon couldn’t really argue with that. Sehun wasn’t done yet though. "Also, didn't you have a good time with Yifan? I think I heard someone in the background when you picked up your phone when I called in the morning."
In less than two seconds, Junmyeon’s face had taken on the shade of the fiery red giant vase that was standing next to the couch. Up until then, Sehun hadn’t thought it was possible for someone to flush this quickly but Junmyeon’s facial colour proved him wrong.
"That's none of your business." His manager pressed through his teeth, looking considerably uncomfortable. Of course, Sehun had no intention of just letting it slide though.
"Come on hyung, don't be like that." He leaned forward, eyes falling onto his phone screen that had lit up with a message just now. Sadly, it was just a mail from one of his sponsors and not a message from Jongin like he’d secretly hoped. Last night, the two had exchanged phone numbers and even before Sehun had arrived at his flat, he’d already received the first message from Jongin, asking if he had got home safely.
In front of him, Junmyeon was shifting uncomfortably. "Okay, okay.... I admit it." His manager eventually gave in. "I went home with him."
Sehun knew that Junmyeon was kind of crushing on Wu Yifan, he hadn’t expected the shy man to actually go for it in such an aggressive manner. He was honestly impressed and just slightly offended that Junmyeon had attempted to avoid the topic around him. "Holy shit, and you were trying to keep that from me?"
At least, Junmyeon had the decency to look abashed. "I don't even know what it meant. He did make breakfast for me, though. Then we had sex in his shower." There was a dreamy expression on his face and if Sehun didn’t feel the urge to throw up at the thought of it, it would have almost been cute.
"That is simultaneously gross and hot, I'm confused."
With a snort, Junmyeon pushed himself off of the couch to walk through the room towards the open kitchen area to grab himself a glass of water. Raising his voice so that Sehun could still understand him, Junmyeon busied himself at the refrigerator. "Anyways, I don't know where we stand. He was really sweet but we didn't agree on another date or anything like that."
If Sehun wasn’t entirely mistaken, a hint of disappointment could be detected in Junmyeon’s voice. He couldn’t blame him.
"Does he have your number?" Knowing Junmyeon, he could imagine that the other had just forgotten about exchanging numbers with Yifan and then wondering why he didn’t get a text. However, that didn’t seem to be the case.”
"He's had it for a while. It's important in this business to have connections, Sehun." Junmyeon explained and it seemed like that was that for the topic for now. Not wanting to upset him, Sehun didn’t comment on it when Junmyeon changed the topic.
"So now that I've mentioned business, I might have a new collaboration for you. Do you remember Kim Minseok? He said he'd be interested in joining for a collaboration video to talk about how artists get by in Seoul. You know, the project we've been talking about."
For a while now, Junmyeon and him had considered creating a series of short videos on the art scene in Seoul to support both famous and lesser known artists while also creating interest in the topic itself. Kim Minseok, a young and ambitious artist, seemed like the perfect fit for their project though. Sehun had met him before at smaller exhibits and every time they’d talked, he had been blown away by the other’s charisma and knowledge. Therefore, a collab with Minseok seemed to be just about the perfect thing for his Instagram account.
"That sounds really good, hyung. Maybe we can brainstorm some of the topics we want to tackle in the series.”
After their initial first date after the Seoul Modern, it felt like Jongin and Sehun never really stopped texting. Just like during their conversation, they never seemed to run out of topics to talk about and quickly enough, Sehun was beginning to feel like he was getting to know the other on a more personal level, too.
Not only did they share their interest in art, they apparently had similar tastes and opinions on several things. TV shows, music, politics, whatever they talked about they seemed to have at least a few things in common.
Due to their busy schedules, they hadn’t been able to meet up again yet. One week since their shared dinner had passed and for the first time, Sehun had a considerably free day if he ignored the work on the video he would have to do later that day.
To his surprise, it seemed like Jongin had a day off too.
[Jongin] do you have time for brunch today?
[Jongin] let's go to a smaller exhibit as well? You know, one of the smaller, more private one. A friend of mine knows the artist and I think her works are stunning
The message caught Sehun by surprise and instantly, a tiny smile began to blossom on his lips. He was still lounging in bed, his dog Vivi snoring beside him softly as he typed the reply with a pounding heart.
Not only did the prospect of seeing Jongin make him swoon already, brunch and the small exhibit sounded just like his kind of date.
[Sehun] sure, that sounds good! Do I know the artist?
Interested in Seoul artists, Sehun knew one or two things about the art scene in South Korea, especially the one in Seoul. Even if he could put a face to the name, he would surely be able to recognize it.
However, it seemed like Jongin wasn’t willing to give that away just yet.
[Jongin] possibly but let's just say it's a surprise
Sehun had torn feelings about surprises. On one hand, he didn’t like waiting, on the other he loved being surprised. And knowing that it was Jongin, he couldn’t wait to find out what artist he wanted to show him.
[Sehun] I'm looking forward to it
The tiny exhibition ended up just being Sehun’s type: beautiful artwork, perfect installation and enough privacy for him to admire the pieces in peace. Especially now, with Jongin accompanying him, Sehun had finally found someone to seriously discuss art pieces and simultaneously giggle about stupid things that popped up in his mind while they chatted.
Jongin, apparently, seemed to not only have similar tastes but also a similar humour. At some point, Sehun was beginning to wonder if the other man could get even more perfect than he already was. He was pretty sure it was impossible.
After the exhibition, the two ended up having dinner again. And just like last time, Jongin sent him home with a kiss and a promise for another meeting.
Another two weeks passed by, and they’d met up two more times in-between, one time for a cute coffee date and the other time for a stroll through the park. In moments like those, Sehun felt like he was a college student again, trying to woo his crush with sweet words and subtle touches. When Jongin had laced their fingers together in a quieter corner of the park, Sehun’s heart had leapt in his chest and he’d probably taken on the colour of a tomato once again.
On a Saturday afternoon, a few days after their walk through the park, Sehun found himself meeting up with Jongin again. This time, the other had invited him to meet at an address that he’d texted Sehun but besides the directions how to get there, Jongin hadn’t given away anything about why they were meeting there or what they were planning to do. Therefore, Sehun had no idea what to exactly expect.
In front of the large building in the middle of Seoul, he met up with Jongin. Greeted with a faint kiss to the cheek because they were in public and South Korea still wasn’t the most accepting country regarding homosexual relationships, they waited until they’d made it into the elevator before Jongin pressed his lips against Sehun’s in a sweet kiss.
Even after four dates, they hadn’t progressed much further than sweet kisses and holding hands but Sehun found himself not caring too much. Even though Jongin was sin personified, at least his body, he didn’t have any qualms just spending time with Jongin chatting or being cute with each other. Actually, Sehun kind of liked it that way, even though he’d been ready to climb his dick after meeting him for the first time.
"Where are you taking me?" He now asked for the third time when Jongin told him to keep his eyes shut. They’d stepped out of the elevator, having almost reached the highest level in the building. Still, Sehun had no clue where they were headed.
"Shh, keep your eyes closed. I don't want you to see just yet." Nudging him forward, a hand softly placed on his back, Jongin led Sehun through the hallway while he made sure the other actually kept his eyes closed.
What Jongin probably didn’t know yet that there was only a certain amount of time until Sehun’s patience was beginning to wear thin. "Why not?" He asked, a pout on his lips as he carefully set foot in front of foot, constantly scared to bump into something although he knew that Jongin most likely wouldn’t let that happen.
"Cause it's a surprise." Jongin held onto Sehun’s waist to tell him to stop before stepping past him, doing something that sounded an awful lot like fumbling with his keys. A sudden idea popped up in Sehun’s head, and he was starting to wonder if Jongin would finally show him his flat. They’d almost met up there once but then Junmyeon had called Sehun in for a really important meeting with a sponsor and he had had to call the date off, much to his dismay. Now, however, it seemed only logical that Jongin would take him to his flat.
"I'm too impatient for surprises." Sehun muttered to himself while he listened to the sounds of a door being unlocked.
When the gentle hand returned to the small of his back, Sehun let Jongin guide him through the door into the room behind it. With his eyes still closed, he really had to force himself not to steal a few quick glances without Jongin noticing. The other was somewhere behind him, closing the door before stepping next to him.
"I promise it'll be worth it." Jongin giggled, leading Sehun further into the room. The floor felt different compared to the hallway, Sehun noticed.
"Okay, I'll tolerate it just because it's you. But now I can look, right?" Unable to keep the impatience out of his voice, Sehun huffed when Jongin giggled at him.
“Alright, alright. You can open your eyes.” The deep voice rang closer to Sehun’s ear than he remembered.
"What is this?"
Blinking his eyes open a few times, Sehun needed a moment to adjust to the light before he could properly take in his surroundings. By the looks of it, they were in some sort of loft and studio. Plain white walls with large windows, allowing them to overlook the city from one of the highest floors in the building.
A set of two canvas stands and canvases were set up right in front of him and Sehun was beginning to understand what Jongin had planned for them.
Stepping next to him, Jongin wrapped an arm around Sehun’s waist gently. The touch sent a thrill up his spine and subconsciously, he leaned into the touch. "It's a studio. A friend of mine owns it and he was friendly enough to let me use it for an hour or two." Jongin explained as he walked past Sehun only to stop right in front of where the canvas stands were set up.
"What's the reason behind those two huge canvases?"
Art utensils were neatly placed on a table next to the canvases. Metal tubes lined up in numerous colours, a grand selection of what seemed to be pricey brushes right beside them. Spatulas and other tools were arranged on the table as well, gleaming in the soft light that shone through the large windows of the room.
Picking up one of the larger brushes, Jongin turned around to face Sehun. "I thought we could maybe try out a different take on art today. And by that, I mean actually painting."
After seeing the utensils, Sehun should’ve guessed it, but he’d told himself that couldn’t really be the case. If there was one thing Sehun was utterly shitty at, it was painting.
While he was insanely interested in art and it’s meaning, the act of creating art in the form of paintings, sculptures and similar things had never come easy to him. Instead of working on a piece, Sehun had early on realized he rather worked out its meaning.
"You know, one of the reasons why I analyse art instead of creating it is because I fucking suck at anything that relates to it." He came to a stop beside Jongin, examining the art supplies with a sceptical but also curious stare. Just because he wasn’t any good at painting it didn’t mean he couldn’t have some fun, Sehun figured.
Apparently, Jongin thought the same thing because he handed Sehun a brush and sent him a pretty smile before pointing at one of the two canvases. "I bet it's not that bad." He replied, referring to Sehun’s art skills.
However, Jongin quickly realized he’d been wrong about that.
"It's an abstract painting, okay?" Sehun had his arms folded in front of his chest, staring at the whirlwind of colours he’d managed to somehow arrange on the giant canvas. They’d been painting for a good hour and a half until they’d decided that neither of their paintings could be salvaged anymore. "The degree of iconicity is really high." Sehun quickly added and slapped another streak of colour into the already messy construction.
"It's... Something.” The carefulness in Jongin’s voice was crystal clear as he took a look at Sehun’s picture. They both knew it looked like crap but Jongin still tried to see a deeper meaning behind it while truthfully, Sehun had just slapped a few colours onto the canvas that he thought might look good together.
“I mean you could say that the choice of colours reflect inner turmoil... Dark blues, reds and purples... But that fleck of green there symbolises the spark of hope I think? Ouch-"
Jongin reached out to rub his arm where Sehun had just slapped him, an instant cute pout appearing on his lips. In that moment, Sehun couldn’t resist leaning in to give the other a sweet kiss. When he pulled away though, he was ready to hand out some criticism in return.
"Stop making fun of me. Yours isn't any better. What even is that? The title should be: A big blob of beige." A long finger was pointed at the ‘blob of beige’, as Sehun had described it.
Acting offended, Jongin gasped when Sehun didn’t recognize what motive he’d been trying to paint.
"It's supposed to be the moon." He provided and Sehun almost broke out into a laughing fit.
"The emphasis lies on "it's supposed" He giggled, stepping closer to examine what Jongin made out to be the moon. It looked more like a bumpy egg that hadn’t been cleaned properly yet. At least, Jongin’s equally bad skills made him feel better about his own drawing.
"But it's okay, mine sucks too. I guess we're both better off as critics rather than artists. You don't have to be good at painting to appreciate a masterpiece."
Their eyes met and both simultaneously broke out into fits of giggles and they looked at their miserable attempts at creating high-end art pieces but looked more like the scribbles of a bored 4th grader.
Looking away from the canvas and back to Sehun again, Jongin smirked.
"That's right. I don't have to be a model scout for me to realize that you're insanely pretty."
With burning ears, Sehun was unable to suppress a dopey smile. Whenever they spent time together, Jongin would drop cheesy lines like those and even though Sehun would be grossed out by them if it were literally anyone else, Jongin weirdly made it work.
Sehun wasn’t sure what to reply. Instead of trying to come up with an appropriate answer, he turned around to face the canvas again when an idea popped up in his mind. With a devilish grin, he reached for one of the paint tubes.
"You know, that colour would suit you." One wipe of a finger, and a light purple line was etched across the whole front of Jongin's basic, white T-Shirt.
"Hey, my shirt!" Jongin's words of protest died in his throat when Sehun pressed his whole palm, covered in acrylic paint in a whirl of colours, against Jongin's chest to leave a colorful handprint.
"You told me to wear something that could get dirty and I feel like we haven't quite made use of that just yet." Grinning, Sehun turned around to coat his fingers in another onslaught of paint again, when something warm and soft collided with his back. The drag of Jongin's fingers went down to where Sehun's shirt reached his pants, leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake.
"You deserves that." Jongin chuckled when Sehun craned his neck to examine the line of bright yellow on his worn-out grey shirt.
"Wonderfully executed." He commented just before splashing bright red paint on Jongin's shirt, leaving large and small blotches on his new canvas. A few specks of colour hit Jongin's neck and cheek and Sehun felt like maybe Jongin was the most beautiful piece of art he'd ever looked at.
Before he could get lost in staring, Jongin retaliated with a handprint on his own on Sehun's chest, this time, going in for a second time just for his hand to linger on Sehun's chest instead.
In a matter of seconds, the mood tipped. It took them another inhale of breath until they were kissing, Jongin's arm slung around Sehun's waist to pull him closer.
Automatically, Sehun's lips parted when a brush of Jongin's tongue met his lips, asking for entrance that he gladly allowed.
Head tilting to the side for a better angle, Sehun sighed as Jongin's tongue slipped into his mouth to explore. It had been a while since he'd made out and he'd forgotten how good it actually felt. However, Sehun was certain that most of it had to do with the fact that it was Jongin he was kissing.
One kiss turned into several, and soon enough, Sehun had Jongin pressed against the wall of the loft, Jongin's leg between his thighs as he planted hot, open-mouthed kisses down Sehun's neck.
"I've been wanting to do this the moment I laid eyes on you." There was a slight huskiness in Jongin's voice that usually wasn't there and Sehun loved it. He wasn't sure if it was his voice or his words that made his cock twitch in response, or the leg between his thighs that pressed against his growing bulge. Maybe it was a combination of all of those things.
When Jongin sneaked a hand under his shirt, Sehun decided that it didn't really matter anyway. A finger trailed over the faint hint of abs until it reached one of his nipples to tease it lightly.
"You already look beautiful, but you'd look even better without the shirt." Jongin murmured against his skin, sending another wave of heat crashing into his core.
"Really? I thought you liked the artwork on my T-Shirt. A really talented artist created it." With a giggle, Sehun let Jongin take off his shirt nonetheless. Soon enough, they were both shirtless and the small, red splotches on Jongin's cheek and neck the only hints to their acrylic fight just minutes ago.
Before they could get to shedding their jeans as well, Jongin steered Sehun towards the couch in the back of the loft. By the time his back hit the soft surface, Jongin's lips had already captured his in another heated kiss.
While Jongin was working on opening Sehun's pants, the younger took the time to explore Jongin's upper body with his hands. Tracing the lines of his his abs, Sehun wished they were in different positions with him on top of Jongin so he could worship his body. Like this, he trailed his fingers over his shoulders down to his back, slipping them into Jongin's pants to squeeze his ass. The immediate response was a soft gasp and a squeeze to his bulge before Jongin finally managed to take Sehun's pants fully off.
The first time Jongin wrapped his fingers astound Sehun's cock, Sehun let out an embarrassingly loud moan. As they'd undressed each other, their lingering touches and kisses only furthering their arousal so that they were both rock hard once they'd shed off the last articles of clothing.
"Your friend that let us use the studio will never grant you a favour again when he finds out about this." Sehun couldn't help but giggle at the thought.
"Let's just hope she won't find out." Was all Jongin managed to say before he moaned when Sehun distracted him by grabbing his cock to give it a few experimental strokes.
"Please tell me you have a condom with you. And lube." Pleading eyes stared up at Jongin while Sehun continued to trail his fingers up and down his shaft, his thumb swiping over the head to swipe up some of his precome.
"I've got a condom and some lotion in my bag, is that okay?"
For some reason, Sehun was kind of glad that Jongin didn't seem perfectly prepared either. It had been Jongin, after all, who'd wanted to take it slow but by now Sehun had realised that their pace had been perfect for them. Sometimes, a masterpiece took its time to reach perfection.
While Sehun got comfortable on the couch, languidly stroking his cock, Jongin slipped away to grab the condom and lube. It took just a few seconds until he was back, pushing Sehun's legs apart gently.
"Is this okay?" He asked, his fingers stroking over the sensitive skin of Sehun's thighs, never touching where the other one really wanted it.
"It'd be more than okay if you got your fingers inside of me. You're wasting time." His words would've sounded harsh if it weren't for the teasing undertone in his voice coupled with the gentle smile that reached his eyes.
"You're so demanding." Jongin chuckled as he undid the cap of the lotion. "It's cute."
"I'm not cute. Well, maybe sometimes." Just as the last words left his lips, Sehun's eyes fluttered shut as Jongin's finger circled his hole teasingly before pushing inside. Both sighed at the stretch, Sehun at the intrusion and Jongin at the tightness around his digit.
Taking his time, Jongin made sure that Sehun was fully enjoying himself as he worked up to three fingers before Sehun told him that it was enough.
"I need you inside me now.”
The words pulled Jongin out of his haze, looking down at Sehun who was spread out on the couch, flushed in a pretty pink and cock leaking onto his stomach from the constant abuse of his prostate by Jongin.
“You can’t say shit like that, I’m gonna come way too early if you keep this shit up.” Jongin whined, his words turning into a moan when Sehun took the initiative to roll the condom over Jongin’s cock, giving him a few strokes before spreading his legs even wider so that Jongin could fit in-between them.
When Jongin pushed into him, they both held their breath at the feeling. For Sehun, it had been a while to have something inside of him bigger than his own fingers and the stretch was bordering on uncomfortable but he tried to stay relaxed.
“Is it okay?” Apparently, Jongin had noticed his strained expression, too. A hand came up to swipe a strand of hair out of Sehun’s face that had been hanging in his eyes before he cupped his cheeks gently. Instead of leaning down to kiss him, Jongin just stayed still, knowing that any kind of movement might make Sehun uncomfortable for now. Only when Sehun himself began to experimentally move his hips, did Jongin began to slowly rock into him.
Wrapping his legs around Jongin’s waist, Sehun reached up to pull Jongin down by his neck to press their lips together. Together, they began to work up a rhythm with their hips while they kissed, quiet pants escaping them between kisses. The red spots were still there on Jongin’s cheek and neck and Sehun was tempted to trace them with his lips but tasting the chemical paint wasn’t one of the best ideas for sure. Instead, he decided to nibble on Jongin’s earlobe instead, drawing out a loud moan from the other.
It took Jongin a while to find the perfect angle, but when he did, he hit Sehun’s prostate dead on with almost every thrust. The drag of Jongin’s cock against the sensitive spot and Jongin’s hand that had sneaked between them to stroke his cock made Sehun keen, his legs squeezing Jongin’s waist so hard that he was worried he’d leave marks.
There was no time to warn Jongin before he was coming when the other did something with his hips that made him see stars. With his nails digging into Jongin’s skin, he cried out as he spilled between them, his hot come hitting their bare skin with every spurt while Jongin messily stroked him through his high.
Unable to hold out much longer after that, egged on by how Sehun convulsed around his length, Jongin only held on for a few more thrusts until his hips stuttered as he spilled into the condom, burying himself inside the other as deeply as possible. Blissed out, Sehun watched Jongin’s face scrunch up in a way that would ridiculous on everyone else but incredibly sexy on Jongin and Sehun realized that he was already falling hard for the other man.
Collapsing on top of him after having disposed the condom and wiping them clean to stop from any spillage on his friend’s couch, Jongin buried Sehun under his weight. Naked chests pressed together, Sehun could practically feel both their heartbeats slowly calming down as they just listened to each other’s breathing evening out.
“We should probably clean up.” Sehun mumbled eventually. He had no clue how much time had passed, but apparently it had been enough for Jongin to doze off. A cute noise escaped him when he was startled out of his slumber from Sehun’s voice, blinking his eyes open in confusion. “Oh… yes, probably. Do you… you know, want to come over to my place afterwards? I would love to suggest cooking dinner together but I can’t cook so maybe we can just order something instead?”
A chuckle escaped Sehun and he nodded. “I can’t cook for shit either so that sounds brilliant. You had me at food anyways.”
“So you’re just coming for the food?” Jongin pretended to look offended but it didn’t quite work out.
With a smile, Sehun watched as Jongin sat up a little just to lean down to give him a soft kiss. Sehun was completely whipped.
Pushing himself up a little, he looked up to meet Jongin’s eyes. “Don’t tell the food, but maybe it’s actually you that got me hooked.”
Breaking out into a heart-warming smile that made Sehun wanted to coo, Jongin beamed down at him. “I was hoping for that.”
"You should take a night off, you're overworking yourself."
Without any warning, the headphone’s were pulled off of Sehun’s head. For the past few days, he’d holed himself up in his office, working on new videos for his Instagram account. They were currently doing a series on famous artists and once Sehun got started, it was hard for him to stop, even though this behaviour was bordering on being unhealthy.
"It's fine." He mumbled, staring up at Junmyeon who’d placed a mug of coffee on his desk and who was still holding the pair of large headphones he’d plucked off of Sehun’s head. There was a concerned look on his face and ostentatiously, Sehun averted his eyes.
Junmyeon wasn’t having any of it. "No seriously, you should. The posts are prepared for next week and the video edit is almost done." He sat down on the chair beside Sehun, propping his arms up on the table while his eyes bored into Sehun’s profile. "Why don't you go and spend the evening with Jongin? You've been holed up in here every night for the past week."
At the mention of Jongin’s name, Sehun winced.
"I don't know, I really want to finish this though. Just one or two more hours." Eyes focused on the screen again, he pressed play to re-watch the scene he’d been editing. On the screen, he could see himself going off about Albrecht Dürer’s famous self-portrait and the symbolism of its construction, colour scheme and the similarity to typical Jesus paintings.
However, Junmyeon hadn’t been his friend for years for him not to notice that something was off.
"Where's your initial fire? Just two weeks ago, you couldn't get out of office early enough to meet up with Jongin." The mug was pushed towards Sehun’s hand, but Sehun didn’t show any signs of taking it.
"I just really want to finish the video." He mumbled.
"I know you, Sehun. Something's up."
"How are things going with Yifan?" Instead of answering the question, Sehun tried to distract from the topic at hand. In the past two months, Yifan and Junmyeon had actually started dating just like him and Jongin. Usually, whenever he asked his manager about his boyfriend, Junmyeon’s eyes got all dreamy and he started telling him about amazing his dinner or coffee date or whatever it was with Yifan had been.
"Oh, were having a date- wait! Don't distract me." It took him a second to realize what Sehun had been trying. "Seriously, Hun, what's wrong? You know you can tell me. Did something happen with Jongin?"
There wasn’t any sense in avoiding the topic any longer.
"It's... The articles."
Sehun actually granted Junmyeon a quick look before he stared at the screen again, lips pressed into a tight line.
"The articles." Junmyeon deadpanned, not quite understanding what Sehun was getting at.
"You know, those articles."
Two and a half months had passed since him and Jongin had first slept with each other in Jongin’s friend’s art studio. That night, Sehun had fucked Jongin in Jongin’s bed again and the next morning, he’d woken up with an armful of the other. There had been not hesitation in Jongin’s voice when he’d agreed to make it official when Sehun had asked, and ever since then, they were officially dating.
While everything had been picture-perfect at first, their lives as somewhat public figures had quickly brought them down to earth again. For approximately two months, things had gone surprisingly well. Even though they hadn’t attempted to hide their relationship at all, none of the media seemed to have picked it up just yet.
Only when a paparazzi took a picture of the two of them sharing a sweet kiss outside a rather expensive restaurant Jongin had invited him to, things had began to go south.
Just a day after the picture had been taken, random articles began to pop up all over the internet and social media.
“Kim Jongin and Oh Sehun - is the Instagram star just using Kim to boost his account?”, “The truth behind their relationship – how Picassooh’s Oh Sehun has caught himself a big name.”, “True love or free publicity – how real is Kim Jongin’s and Oh Sehun’s relationship?”
With the growing number of articles, the amount of bullshit headlines and content grew as well. The main focus of most articles was generally the idea that Sehun was just dating Jongin to have more publicity and to profit from Jongin’s fame and career.
He’d stopped reading the articles after seeing the first 20 or so. Every word had cut deep, and even though he knew all of the accusations weren’t based on real facts, not everyone knew that what the websites were publishing was far from the truth.
While Jongin had immediately assured him that he knew that Sehun wasn’t dating him just because of wanting to gain more followers and have more recognition, Sehun couldn’t help but feel burdened with the issue. Whenever they went out now, he tried to avoid publicly showcasing their relationship so that nothing he did could be held against him. If he wasn’t seen in public a lot with Jongin, people couldn’t say he was just using the other as a means to gain followers, right?
"And now you're trying to avoid him? You can't be serious." Of course, Junmyeon knew about the articles as well. Actually, he’d been the one to initially direct them to him because at the time the articles and pictures had been released, Jongin and Sehun had been spending the whole day in bed, getting each other off and watching TV without minding their phones until Sehun’s wouldn’t stop ringing.
At first, Sehun had thought there would be just a few articles. But when it didn’t stop and the stories began to become even wilder, he was seriously beginning to take them to heart.
"What? I'm just trying to refrain from tainting his reputation." He now muttered, finally picking up the mug of coffee Junmyeon had brought upstairs with him. There was a reason his manager had a key to Sehun’s flat after all. "Maybe they're right and he's better off without me."
The words tasted sour in Sehun’s mouth and without intending it, his eyes began to prickle a little with hot tears that weren’t quite willing to spill just yet.
"We both know that's not true." A sneaky arm wrapped around his waist and pulled him in closer. Automatically, Sehun rested his head on Junmyeon’s shoulder. "You're not a leech, Sehun. Jongin even was the one who initiated contact. Those newspapers and websites don't know shit."
Of course they knew that, but the newspapers certainly didn’t. "I know but... What if he believes them?"
Just the thought alone made him hate himself a little. He knew he should have more trust in Jongin, but sometimes, Sehun’s thoughts just ran wild. Assuming the worst-case scenario at least prepared him for falling hard, even though he was pretty sure that if Jongin dumped him, nothing in the world could really prepare himself for that.
In just the short span of time, he’d already fallen for the other man, and boy, had he fallen hard.
"I think you should have more trust in Jongin than that." Junmyeon pulled him out of his spiral of thoughts. It felt good to hear him say that, but still, Sehun wasn’t entirely sure.
"Maybe you're right." He mumbled, although not very convinced just yet. “But for today, I really do want to finish this video. Tomorrow I’ll text Jongin though. We haven’t seen each other in more than a week.” They both knew that a week was pretty long for the two of them at this point. Before the whole “scandal”, Sehun had slept at Jongin’s place almost every single night. On the nights he didn’t sleep at Jongin’s place, the other stayed over at Sehun’s flat.
In the past week, however, Sehun had managed to avoid Jongin at all cost though. Obviously, they were still texting, and it was still sweet, but Sehun had successfully avoiding any possible situation that could lead to them meeting.
To be precise, Sehun didn’t exactly know why he was doing that either. All he knew was that he didn’t want to make Jongin’s career suffer from this incident and therefore, he came to a conclusion.
The following day, Sehun couldn't avoid Jongin any longer. The art critic had invited him over for take-out and a chill movie night and Sehun had no excuses left to refrain himself from being able from coming over.
Therefore at 8pm on a Tuesday night, he found himself stepping through Jongin's door into his luxurious but cozy flat.
While many high-end apartments tended to follow a rather impersonal minimalist style, Jongin had managed to maintain a comfortable and inviting vibe with the choice of furniture and the colour scheme in his apartment.
The first time Sehun had stepped foot into the flat, he'd immediately felt comfortable.
Today, however, something felt off.
"I missed you." Jongin had dragged him into his living room to the large couch, making Sehun sit down while he filled them two fancy glasses with wine.
"I missed you too." His reply was half-hearted and both of them could feel it. Yet, Jongin didn't comment on it. Instead, he wrapped an arm around Sehun's waist and pulled him in so that Sehun rested his head on his shoulder.
"You look tired. Let's lie down and cuddle until our food arrives. I really need that." Pressing a gentle kiss to his head, Jongin then motioned towards the couch.
After a few seconds of shuffling around to find comfortable positions, they ended up with Jongin lying on top of him, his face smushed against Sehun's neck. Because of that, his words were a little muffled when he spoke up again.
"Something's been on your mind, right?"
Staring up at the ceiling, Sehun denied. "It's nothing."
Still, Jongin wasn't satisfied with his response though.
"It feels like you've been avoiding me." He pressed the issue. Although he could feel that Sehun felt uncomfortable for some reason, he felt that he needed to find out what exactly that reason was.
A large hand found its way into Jongin's hair, scratching at his nape in soothing ways. "I haven't been avoiding you."
That made Jongin prop himself up onto his arms, sending his boyfriend an incredulous look. "Then why have you called off all our dates in the past week and don't text much anymore? You only write when I text you first." There was a hint of accusation in his voice but not even Sehun could blame him for that.
"I've just been busy." Sehun's eyes were trained on a spot somewhere above Jongin's head. It frustrated Jongin to no end.
"Yifan told me your manager said that you've been voluntarily locking yourself into your office and that you're stressing for no reason." Even though he hadn't intended to let that slip, Jongin felt like he had to. In the past week, Sehun's behaviour had been nothing less than weird. There had been no trace of his usually cheerful and kind boyfriend. Instead, Jongin had been greeted with a lack of responses that were short in nature and didn't leave much room to build up a conversation. In short, Jongin was dissatisfied with the whole situation.
His statement seemed to have Sehun's attention though. The others eyes were no longer staring at the ceiling but were now boring into Jongin's with an intensity that made a shudder run down his spine. "Well I think I'd know better than Yifan, don't you think?" He snapped. Both men were surprised by the sharpness of his words and for a second, a fleeting expression of confusion passed Sehun's handsome features. Yet, he didn't take words back.
"All I'm saying is, it feels like something off." There was a weird thing going on between them and Jongin sat up. Being so close to Sehun seemed off right then and they needed to talk this out, he became surer of this with every passing second.
Apparently, Sehun got the gist too, because he followed suit and sat up as well. Running a hand through his hair, he didn't know where to look as he thought about how to formulate his next words.
"Do you think it might be better for us to break up?"
Upon that, Jongin's head snapped around to stare at Sehun "What?" He asked, not entirely sure if he'd heard right.
"I mean- I'm shedding bad light on you. I don't want to ruin your reputation. The articles, they-" Sehun still wasn't looking at him, staring at his lap as he continued. "you should just break up with me."
The words felt like a punch to Jongin's gut. He'd honestly expected a lot by now, but not this.
Or course he'd know that the articles had got to Sehun. Right after their release, they'd skimmed through them together and Jongin had continuously assured Sehun that he did not have to worry. The thing was, Jongin knew how to deal with media plays like this a lot better than Sehun. It had been years since the first articles had been written about him and throughout his career, he'd learned that it was easier to just ignore them. Sehun, however, hadn't had that experience just yet. To him, the attention was entirely new. Of course there'd been articles about his Instagram before but the difference was that they'd been about his account, not about his private life. This time, the focus was on his relationship and not his newest video on Pointillism.
Still, Jongin hadn't expected it to affect Sehun to the extent that he was seriously considering breaking up with him.
"You don't seriously mean that." His voice was soft when he spoke and Jongin placed a hand on Sehun's thigh, hoping that the contact would make Sehun look at him.
"What if I do?" Turning his head, Sehun met his eyes. They were glistening and immediately, Jongin felt the need to reach out and wipe away unshed tears.
While he wanted to comfort Sehun, his words had also had left him in shock.
"Then I- then I had a different image of you in my head and also in my heart to the one you're showing me now. You can't make such decisions for me, Sehun. If I wanted to break up with you, I'd do it. What do you think of me to assume that I would even listen to a single word those articles write? They're bullshit. We both know that. Isn't that all that matters?" Determination rang in his voice and Jongin wished for nothing more than for Sehun to understand that he really didn't care about the articles at all.
Apparently that wasn't the case. The look in Sehun's eyes spoke of nothing less than sorrow. "I just thought- I wanted to make it easier for you-"
That statement alone made something snap inside of Jongin. Instead of sadness, anger began to well up and he rose from his seat.
With wide eyes, Sehun watched him as Jongin stared down at him.
"I think you should go now, Sehun." He told him, a quiet finality in his voice that didn't allow for any protest."I need to think about this."
And even though that it originally had been Sehun's intention for Jongin to break up with him for the sake of his reputation, he couldn't bring himself to feel better about this. His voice barely avoided cracking as he whispers a quiet "Okay..." and he left the flat with a broken heart, the tears flowing the moment the door fell shut behind him.
The next morning, Sehun left for a business trip to Busan. In the city next to the sea, they were supposed to film an interview and a short documentary on a local artist whose art Sehun was in awe with. Kang Seulgi was a captivating woman with an incredible sense for catching the perfect shot. The young photographer specialised in shooting portraits and had recently photographed old people in their homes to showcase the problems of the older generation to sustain an appropriate lifestyle in accordance with their special needs.
As much as Sehun was in awe with the series, he just couldn't put his heart into the production of the videos. Jongin was on his mind every wake minute and the feeling of having messed up made him unable to eat. Every bite of food made him feel like he had to throw up and by the end of the first day in Busan, Sehun felt like a wreck.
For the sake of not ruining the interview and out of his respect for the artist, Sehun forced himself to at least attempt to function like a normal human the following day which he almost succeeded in. Still, he didn't feel any better.
By the end of the three days, Junmyeon couldn't stand it anymore and told Sehun to get a grip and just talk to Jongin again. It took him a bit of convincing but in the end, he managed to make Sehun understand that not everything had to be lost just yet if he just got to apologize to Jongin.
Like that, Sehun ended up in front of Jongin's apartment once again, this time with a large bouquet of roses in his hands. Just pressing the doorbell seemed like a huge task already and he needed a solid two minutes until he could bring himself to do it.
When the door was pulled open, he was met with a Jongin that looked like he'd just woken up from a nap.
"You're early, Taemin- oh. It's you."
Realization hit Jongin and instantly, Sehun could see the shift of his expression. It kind of hurt but he also knew that it was his own fault.
"Do I have bad timing? I just- I needed to talk to you Jongin. I needed to apologize." His words were rushed. His fingers fiddled with the strings on his hoodie nervously. It was the one Jongin had left at his place a month ago and Sehun hadn't been willing to give it back anymore because it smelled like Jongin.
There was a hint of hesitation in Jongin's voice but in the end, he stepped aside to make way for Sehun to give him access to his hallway. "It's okay. Come in."
Glad that Jongin was at least willing to listen to what he had to say, Sehun followed him inside. Just like he'd expected, the couch looked ruffled like Jongin had just been sleeping there. While Jongin left for the kitchen to grab a vase for the roses Sehun had handed him upon entering the flat, Sehun sat down on the couch as he waited for Jongin to return. When the man returned from the kitchen, he was carrying the vase with the flowers, putting them on the couch table right in front of Sehun. Settling next to Sehun, Jongin gave him an expectant look that suggested he was ready to hear what Sehun had to say.
Clearing his throat, Sehun felt sweat gather on his forehead as he prepared the words he needed to get out in his head to make sure he was saying the right thing. In the end, he ended up forgetting about all that again and just spoke what he felt right in that moment.
"Let me get straight to the point. I was an idiot. An asshole, a dumbass, a dick, you name it." He began. "It was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life to assume that I could decide for you in this matter and I thought I was doing the right thing." A quick glance to Jongin told him that the other was listening, but his expression was unreadable. Sehun decided to continue. "That doesn't excuse anything, I just wanted to tell you that. I was so scared that you really felt that way so I went and fucked it up myself in the end. I thought on the work trip I could distract myself but it was the opposite. All I could do was think about you and how I was the one who ruined everything. I should've had more trust in you and I'm here to apologize."
Silence stretched between while Jongin processed the words. Anxiously, Sehun sent him another glance, hoping to find something of the warmth in his eyes that he'd been missing so much.
After a minute or so, Jongin opened his mouth to say something but closed it again. Then, he eventually found the right words. "You know, I was really hurt that you thought I'd be ready to dump you just like that." Their gazes met and Sehun's heart skipped a beat just from the mere eye contact. "But I understand where you were getting from. I just wished you'd talked to me first before you distanced yourself."
There was a serious undertone to his voice but the tiny smile on his lips made hope bloom in Sehun's chest.
"I'm really sorry, Jongin, I mean it." Sehun was willing to say it a million more times if it would make Jongin take him back, but he also knew that that a simple sorry sometimes wasn't enough.
Therefore, when Jongin took Sehun's hand into his own, the hope that had bloomed in Sehun's chest began to blossom into a petal of relief.
"You're lucky you're so irresistible, Sehun. I don't want us to be over. You made a mistake, that's true, but everyone deserves a second chance. Just promise me that next time, you'll talk to me when something bothers you, okay? I need you to promise me that." The urgency in his voice told Sehun that Jongin wasn't fully over this yet, but just the fact that he was giving him another chance filled him with ecstasy.
"I promise you Jongin." A squeeze of his hand, and Sehun sent him a genuine smile. "I think... In the past three days I realized that.. I think I'm in love with you, Jongin. I was so upset about how things ended and I knew I had to do everything I could to make it okay again." There was a faint blush on his cheeks but he managed to uphold the eye contact with Jongin. It wasn't like he'd only realized his strong feelings in the past three days, it had been a lot longer than that. However, in those three days without him, the realisation that a life without Jongin wasn't a life that he wanted had overpowered his fear of any negative backlash from the public.
When Jongin let go of Sehun's hand, for a second Sehun thought he'd said the wrong thing. But when the other cupped his face gently instead, they both broke out into smiles.
"I think I love you too, Sehun. I've felt like that for a while now."
The moment their lips touched, Sehun knew that he would never give this up again for anything in the world.
After their lips had parted again, Jongin pressed their foreheads together, his eyes fluttering shut. Sehun could feel the others breath on his lips as he listened.
"Next time, we'll solve problems together, okay?" Jongin asked quietly.
"I promise." Sehun smiled. "I guess sometimes even the best artist needs a second take to create the masterpiece of his lifetime, but that's okay cause art takes its time. In that way, it's just like love." Their lips brushed together again.
"But from now on, we've got all the time we need to create our very own masterpiece."