I have this sick idea that
I'm only in love with you
because I choose to be.
And the moment I decide I don't want to be, then
I won't be.
It's that simple.
I want it to be that simple.
I need it to be that simple.
Because if it turns out, it is not, I don't know what
I'll do with myself when I try to fall out of love with
you, and realize, I can't.
"Is it wrong?"
Kai's voice was painted neutral, hands gripping the edge tightly, feet dangling above the street lights and flashing cars. Traffic was heavy even at two am, but it's to be expected from the city that never sleeps.
The question had fallen on deaf ears, it took a considerable amount of time for Soobin to speak.
Was the forethought response Soobin gave. Perhaps months ago Kai would've been annoyed at the ambiguity, or at the fragility with which it was uttered. As if Soobin knew the effect his words could have.
But as it was now, he couldn't muster enough emotion to care that it wasn't the answer he had hoped for.
The uncertainty trapped him, he wasn't sure what answer he was hoping for.
"So what if it's wrong?" Soobin's voice grew steadier, trying to strengthen his argument pointlessly. Kai could still detect the slight wobble it had.
At his inquisition, the black-haired boy gave a hollow laugh.
"What do you mean 'what if'? There is no 'what if'," Kai's knuckles whitened, "it's wrong."
Kai knew the weight his words carried. He knew what they meant.
He couldn't bring himself to care. Not that it mattered.
"Is it really?" Soobin insisted because it always came back to this. Because this was their punishment, their limbo. It was a question they always asked each other, one of them said, 'I'll let you go ', the other asked, ' will you really? '. They never made an effort to answer. They didn't want to.
Kai looked down at his wrist, the name hard to decipher due to his blurry eyes. Small black letters were carved in cursive, weaved into his skin permanently. He could feel the older's stare zoom into it as well, looking at the name with crystalized eyes. Unconsciously, Kai's gaze drifted to Soobin's hand, where his mark rested.
Something inside Kai cracked every time he saw it. Every single time.
The first time their soulmate's name's appeared, they cried for hours.
Disappointment created a web in their hearts as they saw the tiny features blossom on their skin. A lifetime crushed instantly. Kai saw their future, the mornings and nights, laughing, dancing, gone. Slipping through their hands without a sliver of hope.
After that, they tried. They tried , they really did, to fall out of love. But Soobin came home one day stressed and crying, ranting about not understanding chemistry and how he was so close- so close to graduating. If he failed...Kai wrapped his arms around him, ordered his favourite take-out, prepared his favourite movie.
"Stay with me."
"Hyung I'm not going anywhere," Kai had laughed then, how silly to think he'd leave his boyfr- best friend alone in a dire time.
"No, not like that I know you wouldn't-I mean-" Soobin pushed Kai gently, back flat on the couch, "Stay with me."
"We'll break each other's hearts," Kai whispered, staring up at the only person he'd ever fallen in love with, someone he wasn't supposed to love.
"You're worth it." Their lips locked and broke apart over and over and Soobin couldn't ever think there was someone else out there for him. There couldn't be. No one would ever make him feel as alive as Kai did.
They gave up on break-ups, decided maybe they'd never find their soulmate. After all, it wasn't as uncommon as it might seem, some people just never found the right person and either settled for someone else or didn't at all. Soulmates weren't rare per se. Everyone had one. Yet you didn't always meet them if you didn't make a bit of an effort to find them, then there was nothing you could do about it. Sometimes life just worked that way. People were often left with the self-destructive thought that they did have a soulmate, just...who knows where.
And that's how it was for a while, a long while, between Kai and him.
But…Soobin did meet Beomgyu. That's how they'd ended up here.
A month ago at a college frat party, one of Soobin's last, he met the boy he was supposed to spend his life with.
He didn't love him. He didn't feel anything.
Soobin knew he should turn away, ignore him, pretend he never saw him. He kept repeating it like a mantra as he drew nearer, as he introduced himself. The thought kept plaguing him, it was in the back of his mind when he cracked a few jokes. When he gave Beomgyu a friendly hug.
You're hurting him.
"So what's your major?"
You're giving him false hope, when you know the only person you can love is sitting at home, waiting for you to go back to him.
Soobin still lingered, something about seeing his soulmate laugh was pleasing, like the tingling sensation of joy you feel when your best friend is happy, or when your sister enters university. It was a different type of fondness; as if Beomgyu were someone he'd cared about his whole life. Beomgyu should've been.
Stop this. Don't hurt him.
He thought of that only once, when Beomgyu hugged him albeit a bit shyly, the corner of his eyes welling.
"I thought I'd never find you."
I wish you hadn't.
The other was so damn happy he'd finally found the person that was supposed to love him, accept him, cherish him.
Soobin didn't return the hug.
Beomgyu let out a tiny, shaky laugh, letting go cautiously.
"I have class tomorrow, but this is my number. Call me, okay?
Soobin had gone back to his and Kai's dorm later on, with the promise of meeting Beomgyu again.
He found the younger on the couch, blanket enveloping him like a burrito and Soobin smiled at the comparison.
The cutest burrito in the world.
He brushed the hair away from his face and placed a small tender kiss on his cheek.
The first tear fell.
Kai wasn't meant for him. They weren't made for each other, weren't a match. So then, why was it so hard ?
He let go, knees kissing the ground, chest shrivelling, air lacking. The sobs came like a storm, incessantly, suffocating.
"Soobinnie? Hyung? Hyung, what's wrong?" Kai scrambled to comfort the older, dizzy from the juxtaposition in the atmosphere.
"Hyung?" Kai hugged him, rubbed his back, but he didn't understand.
He wouldn't be doing this if I told him.
"I met-I met Beomgyu today."
And it was like the bells chimed their damning timbre.
Before, so many years ago he'd once told Kai, "this can't work, you'll leave me... or- or I'll leave you. Either could happen at any time. This isn't stable."
Kai had only shrugged.
"It's worth it, we, us, labels... someday it won't matter. I'm happy, so are you. And one day that's all we'll know; that we're happy with each other."
Kai'd gotten close, ran his hands up and down the length of Soobin's back in a comforting manner, then softly kissed his forehead. "I'm just a moment," Kai's pupils dilated, and his voice spoke softly, pleadingly, "and they, like so many things, end. One day we won't...know if- don't allow us to end. Not yet." He'd leaned in, so much closer than before, whispering against Soobin's ear words he knew he couldn't say no to.
"Make this mistake, make the mistake of choosing me."
And Soobin had.
And now what felt like a lifetime later here they were. A bottle of vodka in their hands, sleep-deprived and on the rooftop of an abandoned bank in the middle of the city far from where they're used to being. Watching the cars go by, watching their moment drain away.
For the first time that night, Soobin smiled, "I don't care," an underlayer of uncertainty was still present beneath his words, but he prevailed, "I don't care." His voice was now more affirmative, confirming what he was trying to convince both of them of. "I don't care, you know what? I don't care if it was a mistake , I know it was. Choosing you was the biggest mistake I've ever made. You were the wrong choice. Have always been." The anguish bled from his eyes, he stared at Kai who had a burden that rivalled his own, "but the regret? The regret of never having chosen you is worse."
The dam broke. Whatever composure Kai had been trying to fake crumbled. The ugly pain poked its head through the cracks and echoed into the dark sky. He poured out everything he'd been too afraid to admit.
Kai didn't want anyone else, not with him, not by his side. He was so scared because it was selfish, wasn't it? Terribly tragically selfish of him and yet.
Kai knew to some extent he was holding Soobin back from having a much happier future, one with the person he was supposed to be with.
What if he was fated to a better life with Beomgyu? What if the guilt of having broken two innocent hearts clouded them? Rained upon their sunshine and fabricated resentment towards each other?
What if this destroys us?
They weren't meant to be, but gods above neither of them would be aware of it if it weren't for the treacherous names etched on their skin.
Kai didn't want to choose, to break his soulmate's heart, somewhere out there wherever they were, and poor sweet Beomgyu who he had met. Who was still dreaming about true love and destiny.
Most of all right now, Kai was afraid to ask again.
Because he knows what it'd mean for them, and he wishes for the millionth time he wasn’t in love, he wasn't so weak to his own desires. It has to be significant enough to overpower the guilt because despite everything he still needs to ask; "Will you choose me again?" They both know the answer before Soobin's lips start to move.
Te presto mi vida,
Por el toque del reloj,
Por el tacto de tu mano.
Un intercambio haremos,
tus ojos por mis años,
tu aire por mis hábitos extraños
tu amor por el mio.
y recorrer en puntillas
rodeados por el uno y el otro,
por tu vida y la mía.