"Five bucks you can't down ten in a row."
"Fine! Just do it and puke all over yourself after, it'll make for good content," Chenle sighs, annoyingly pushing Jeno towards a table full of liquors and red solo cups.
"Pleasure doing business with the rich," Jeno grins sleazily, words slurring together and all his thoughts meshing into one.
It's times like these he thinks it's okay to push his impeding hangover to the back of his mind. If his mind is still intact, Jeno knows he's way far gone.
But, twenty-five dollars was tempting, and maybe it could go towards pizza and wings for his next date with Jaemin.
Jeno's lovely, absolutely lovely, sparkly eyed, pink haired boyfriend...
Who's gonna kill him when he comes home drunk out of his mind, reeking of alcohol.
"Twenty seconds," Chenle says, pouring drinks into ten cups. He seems smug when he motions for Jeno to come forward, seeming satisfied when Jeno stumbles over his feet a bit.
"Dude," Jeno groans, making out Chenle's face through all the strobe lights. "That's impossible."
"I'm sure you can do it,"
And so Jeno does, because it seems rational for twenty five dollars, in his muddled brain. And because the alcohol here is the good kind— belonging to one of Chenle's rich friends. That's part of the only reason he came to this party, since it was promising.
He just about throws up as he finishes the last cup, swallowing the burning liquid down when Chenle hits 'twenty'.
"You're so annoying," Chenle groans, shoving bills to Jeno's chest.
Jeno hears cheers and whoops as he pockets the money, only now registering the crowd of people he's gathered. His adrenaline pumps high, as well as the buzz running in his veins, and he decides that now would be a good time to call Jaemin.
Yeah. At 11:29pm, because Jaemin doesn't sleep, and always picks up when Jeno calls. Plus, he's just got to tell him about his hard earned twenty five dollars, already planning their next date in his head.
If Jeno's this excited, then he's sure Jaemin will be equally as excited. They share small simplicities like that.
Jeno finds a somewhat quieter corner of the house, somewhere near the garage door, and calls Jaemin's contact.
He doesn't have to wait long, as he expected, as Jaemin picks up on the second ring.
"Oh, Na Jaemin," Jeno slurs back, leaning against the wall behind him. His knees kind of feel weak, and his head is spinning. "Guess what?"
"Hm, what?" Jaemin hums, and even if Jeno is drunk off of his wits, he can still catch the loving drawl to his tone. He sounds too interested to be sleepy, and it's one of those rare times he indulges in Jaemin's weird sleeping habits.
"I just won us twenty five dollars," Jeno says, sounding proud.
"Us?" Jaemin asks curiously, and Jeno has to really strain his ears in order to hear his voice over the loud music and voices.
"Yeah. Wanna go on a date, Jaemin-ah?"
Jeno doubts his words are coherent enough to understand, but either Jaemin is used to it or his slurring isn't as bad as he thought, because Jaemin laughs loudly into the phone right after.
"You idiot, you probably won't even remember asking me on a date tomorrow morning," he sighs, and Jeno vaguely hears some rustling and shuffling from Jaemin's end, but doesn't pay it much mind. "What game did you even win?"
Jeno smiles, although he knows Jaemin can't see him.
"Downed ten cups because Chenle bet on it,"
There's three seconds of silence coming from the other end, and Jeno briefly wonders if Jaemin hung up, but then he hears a long, drawn out sigh, and knows that Jaemin is still there.
"Jeno-ya," he starts, sounding like a mother about to lecture their kid. Jeno is familiar with the tone, and finds himself dreading what might be the next twenty minutes of his life. "You know you shouldn't drink so much in a row, you could get really sick,"
"Jaemin, you sound like cotton," Jeno answers, sighing and tilting his head back, not even flinching when it hits the wall behind him with a loud thud. His eyes are closed, and if he focuses enough, he can see Jaemin in an oversized t-shirt and track pants, lazing around their apartment.
"Jeno, I'm coming to pick you up, okay? You sound hammered, babe,"
"If I see you, can I kiss you?"
Jeno hears Jaemin snort.
"If you can find my lips, sure Jen, you can kiss me."
Jeno smiles, probably looks like an idiot to anyone who passes by and sees him, and then remembers that Jaemin can't see him.
"Nice," he ends up saying, tone probably giddy.
"I'll be there in ten minutes, okay Jeno? I'll hang up now, please stay somewhere I can find you easily," Jaemin says, and Jeno frowns.
"No, don't hang up," he whines, belatedly realizing that anyone could potentially be looking. "I like you."
Jaemin hums again, and this time, Jeno catches something akin to a smile in his tone. He also hears keys dangling in his hands.
"I like you too, dummy. But I'm driving and I gotta put the address into the GPS. I'll see you soon."
"Fine," Jeno sighs. "Bye bye Nana," he says reluctantly.
"Bye bye Jeno,"
And then the line cuts off, and Jeno is left in a corner with his phone call ended and mind filled with Jaemin.
His boyfriend of three years to be exact. They started dating in their senior year of high school, and it was scary near the end of their year because they didn't know if they were going to the same university. But it's all better now, after they held hands tightly and opened their mail to find out they've been accepted to the same school.
He still remembers that day, filled with tension in the beginning, which evaporated into happiness and kisses at the end.
Jeno wants to kiss Jaemin.
But Jaemin isn't here right now, and as he checks the time on his phone, he sees that it's only been three minutes since the phone call has ended. He still has around seven minutes before Jaemin will arrive, but that's seven minutes too long.
Sighing, Jeno moves out of the corner near the garage, making his way to the where the front door is. He doesn't have enough energy to find Chenle or any of his other friends to let them know he's leaving, instead simply sitting down against the wall in the foyer. He has perfect sight of the front door from here, and he'll see Jaemin immediately when he walks in. He's also in a spot where Jaemin can see him easily, just like the younger had asked.
Jeno doesn't know how fast or how slow the minutes tick by, but the next time the door opens, it's Jaemin walking in; with his plaid blue pyjama bottoms and white university hoodie. His candy floss hair is messy atop his hand, and he watches as Jaemin runs a hand through it, as if that does anything.
When he sees Jaemin scrunch his nose in distaste as someone bumps into him, Jeno makes his presence known.
Startled by the loud call of his name, Jaemin looks around until his eyes land on Jeno. He makes his way over, crouching down in front of the boy who's sitting up against the wall.
"Hey," the younger greets, taking in the droopy state of Jeno's eyes, and how relaxed his shoulders are. "Ready to go home?"
When Jeno nods, Jaemin takes both of his hands between his own, starting to pull him up onto his feet.
"Wait!" Jeno suddenly says, letting go of Jaemin's hands and instead cupping the other's face. His eyes dance around Jaemin's features until they land on one spot, smiling victoriously. "I found your lips. C'mere baby."
Jeno doesn't wait for an answer before smashing their lips together, kissing Jaemin. The latter can taste all the different kinds of beer he's had on Jeno's tongue, and he lets out an embarrassing squeak when Jeno tugs him forward, losing his balance and landing on the other's lap.
Jaemin's hands come up to hold Jeno's by the wrists, slowing their kiss down until he can pull away calmly, catching his breath. He watches from up close as Jeno's eyes slowly flutter open, eyes crinkling up contently when he makes eye contact with Jaemin.
"More kisses," he starts, leaning in. Jaemin leans back however, stopping Jeno with a hand on his chest.
"I'd like to kiss you more too, but I'd rather get you home first. Plus, the smell here is killing me," Jaemin says, standing up. This time when he tries to pull Jeno up to his feet, he succeeds, keeping one hand in the other's as they manoeuvre through everyone and make it to the front door.
Jeno doesn't say anything as he trails behind Jaemin, just watching the younger from behind as he manges to shoulder through the crowd. He's still watching, when he sees a hand reach particularity close to Jaemin's behind, and finds himself grabbing that hand and twisting its wrist, suddenly sober.
"Don't fucking look, don't fucking touch, and don't fucking think of looking or touching," Jeno growls, eyes trained on the owner of the hand, a boy who looks like he didn't know any better. "My boyfriend, not yours."
When the boy nods vigorously, Jeno lets go of his hand and kicks him away, turning back to Jaemin, who's mouth is parted in shock.
"Let's go," the older boy sighs, this time taking it upon himself to lead them to Jaemin's car.
Jaemin sighs from behind him, probably thinking about what just happened. It wouldn't be the first time, and it definitely wouldn't be the last.
"Jeno, honey relax a little," Jaemin says once they're at his car, ignoring them other people scattered across the lawn and driveway. "I'm okay and you probably scarred that kid."
"People never know not to touch what's not theirs," Jeno sighs, looking at Jaemin. "I don't need anyone looking at you like you're a piece of meat."
"You do that though?" Jaemin teases, opening the driver's side door and getting in. Jeno does the same on the passenger's side.
"Yeah, but that's because I'm allowed to," he says, rolling his eyes. Once the door closes behind Jeno, he freezes for a second. "Unless you don't like it," he adds quickly, looking at Jaemin concernedly. "I can stop if you don't, seriously."
It's Jaemin's turn to roll his eyes, patting Jeno's cheek twice before buckling his seatbelt.
"Relax," he says, starting the car. "I'd tell you if I minded. I don't, so you're good."
"Okay," Jeno sighs, rolling down the window and letting the cool night breeze sober him up more. "What were you doing before this anyway?"
Jaemin pretends to think about it.
"Reading," he answers, taking a right turn. "Nothing important. It's hard to fall asleep alone."
Jaemin snorts, not what Jeno would've expected.
"What are you sorry for? Having a life? Jeno, you worry too much," he sighs, sending the older boy a small smile. "Don't be sorry for these things. You're supposed to have fun."
"You know," Jeno starts, rolling up his window and looking at Jaemin. The latter doesn't look back, obviously, but Jeno knows he's listening. "If it weren't for the frat, I wouldn't go to half these parties," he admits.
"You don't have to say something to make me feel better Jeno. I'm not upset," Jaemin says sweetly. He puts a hand on Jeno's thigh, keeping one on the steering wheel. "I'm glad you get to let loose."
Jeno digresses, simply squeezing Jaemin's hand on his thigh as they continue the ride home in silence.
Once parked in the garage and standing outside the apartment door waiting for Jaemin to unlock it, Jeno feels a headache rush in.
He groans, loud enough and pitifully enough for Jaemin to chuckle, throwing an arm around his waist as he leads them both inside.
"I always tell you not to drink too much," Jaemin chastises lightly, sitting Jeno down on the couch. He quickly brings the trash can over in case he needs to throw up, and tells Jeno to relax while he gets water and aspirin.
When he comes back, it's to Jeno moaning into the trash can, seemingly on the verge on spewing his guts out.
Sighing, the younger boy sits down on the couch next to him and gently pats his back, trying to ease him into throwing up if he needs to.
"And all this for what?" Jaemin tsks. "Twenty five dollars?"
Jeno groans, head still in the bin. Jaemin's glad he gave Jeno a clean one.
"For a date," Jeno says, before gagging and proceeding to throw up an ungodly amount of... Well, everything that was in his system for the past twelve hours.
Jaemin scrunches his nose at the smell, put keeps put next to Jeno with a hand on his back. It sounds painful, enough for Jaemin to wince, and he's suddenly glad he doesn't tag along to these parties.
"Idiot," he murmurs, glad that Jeno can't hear him over his own retching.
When he's done, he collapses against the couch cushions, despite Jaemin complaining about how sweaty he was and how he's probably going to throw up again if he doesn't get cleaned up.
"I'm in pain and you're going to make me get up?" Jeno asks scandalously, or as scandalously as he can when his voice is raw.
"Would you rather sleep on the couch?" Jaemin taunts, coming back from cleaning out the bin Jeno has thrown up into. "I'm not sleeping next to you tonight if you stink."
"You're horrible," Jeno grunts, pulling himself off of the couch. He makes sure to glare at Jaemin on his way to the bathroom, but all he gets back is a sparkly grin, so he couldn't stay mad even if he tried.
"I love you!" Jaemin calls as he enters the bathroom, and instead of replying, Jeno makes sure to slam the door shut behind him.
Shaking his head with a smile, Jaemin washes his hands and makes Jeno the sandwich he always loves whenever he's drunk, despite it being close to 12:30am. It's simply peanut butter and raspberry jelly between four slices of bread, and Jaemin doesn't understand how he likes all the bread. He doesn't complain though, grateful since it's always something easy to make Jeno.
It's doesn't take longer than ten minutes, which is coincidentally how long it takes for Jeno to come out of the bathroom, freshly showered and dressed in pyjamas.
"See, that wasn't so difficult, now was it?" Jaemin coos, earning nothing but a grunt from Jeno as the older boy sits down at their table.
Jaemin places the plate in front of him, along with the water and aspirin he didn't end up taking before he left for the bathroom.
He settles down next to Jeno afterwards, watching him eat like a starved man. He guesses that's what happens when you puke everything out of your system.
"Thanks," Jeno says when his plate is empty, food, water and medicine in his body.
Then, he proceeds to burp loudly.
"I'm dating a kid," Jaemin sighs, picking up Jeno's dishes, leaving them in the sink to deal with in the morning. "Come on, let's get you to sleep."
Jaemin comes up to hold Jeno's hands and pull him up, but the latter is insistent on sitting down, keeping them both in their places.
"Did you eat anything yet? I feel bad that you have to do all this for me if you haven't."
Jaemin softens just the tiniest bit, lovingly pinching the other's cheek and smiling.
"It's okay babe, I had dinner earlier," he assures, now successfully lifting Jeno off of the chair.
They both make their way to the bedroom quietly, turning off the lights behind them on the way.
Once in the bedroom, Jaemin quickly changes out of his hoodie and into a sleeping shirt, immediately tackling Jeno onto the bed.
"Hm, you smell good," he mumbles, nose pressed into Jeno's neck.
The older boy snorts, wrapping both his arms around Jaemin and moving them under the blankets.
"I did just shower, so that may be it," Jeno answers sarcastically, but Jaemin is too warm to complain about the sass. Instead, he presses his head to Jeno's chest and kisses just above his heart through his sleeping shirt.
"Goodnight Jeno," he drawls out, eyes already closed and body lax.
So Jeno just smiles, and presses a kiss to Jaemin's temple before closing his own eyes and relaxing his own body.
Jeno learned early on that Jaemin didn't move in his sleep, but every time he wakes up next to his boyfriend, he's always surprised to find him in the same position he settled in hours ago.
At first Jeno thought it was weird— how could you just not move in your sleep— but then he's learned to understand that it probably means Jaemin is extremely comfortable.
"Nana," Jeno probes, poking the younger's cheek with his finger. Jaemin has a natural pout on his face as he sleep, two lips jutted our adorably. "Wake up. My head hurts."
Jeno knows that, realistically, he can get up himself and reach over to his beside table and take ibuprofen with water, but he likes watching Jaemin wake up. When the latter's eyes flutter open with his long eyelashes, mouth patting open in a yawn and rubbing his eyes with his tiny fists.
But it takes more than just poking his cheek and calling his name for Jaemin to wake up, which is why Jeno finds himself peppering kisses all over Jaemin's face.
It works like a charm because it tickles, and soon enough, Jaemin's face is scrunching up at the sensation while his eyes open.
"Good morning," Jeno hums, right against the younger's ear while his lips still on his cheek. "Make me food."
Jaemin groans, pushing Jeno away from his by the shoulders. He wipes at his face with a lazy hand after, despite knowing there wasn't anything on it. His hair is messy and sticking up in weird directions on his head, but Jeno thinks it adds to the 'grumpy kitten' aesthetic he has going on.
"Good morning," Jeno tries again with a pout, shoving his face in Jaemin's personal bubble. The younger's hands make their way up to probably push him away again, but Jeno moves quicker and grabs the younger's wrists in one hand, pinning them above his head. "Make me food."
Jaemin, not surprisingly, whines at Jeno's insistence, turning his head to the side and admitting defeat.
"Make your own food," his morning voice ends up croaking, trying to wiggle his wrists free. Jeno lets up, it's too early in the morning, and isn't too surprised when Jaemin burrows deeper into the blankets. The only thing visible now is a tuft of pink hair.
"Baby, come on~" It's Jeno's turn to whine, high pitches and uncharacteristic, but it's just Jaemin so there's no big feat. "Don't you want a good morning kiss too?" He asks, tempting with his tone.
Just like always, it works, and now Jaemin is poking his head out of the blanket slowly.
"No fair," he pouts, lowering the blanket until his chin. "You're bribing me."
"Yeah," Jeno admits, leaning down to kiss Jaemin. "You like it though."
Jaemin only hums, his arms coming out of the blanket to wrap around Jeno's beck. His fingers start weaving through his already messy locks, scratching his scalp slightly.
Sharing lazy kisses with Jaemin in the morning was always his favourite activity.
When Jeno pulls away, he's happy to see a small smile on the younger's mouth, eyes closed and blissed out expression on his face.
"Good morning," Jaemin whispers, lips curling up in a bigger, angelic smile, pulling Jeno down by the neck until he's laid down on top of him. "Let's go back to sleep."
"Nana," Jeno groans, being manoeuvred into laying back down next to the younger. "I'm hungover."
"Just take your medicine," he mumbles already half asleep where his cheek is pressed against Jeno's collarbones. "And then knock out with me."
Because Jeno doesn't know how to say no to Jaemin's cute morning voice and adorable pout, long eyelashes fanned out on the highs of his cheeks and body lax, Jeno does just that.
Jeno remembers a time when dating Jaemin was a secret. A time when Jeno hadn't wanted to tell anyone in fear of rumours getting to Jaemin's head and messing up whatever they were creating between them.
It took a year before Jeno grew enough confidence to trust that Jaemin wasn't going to leave him over rumours, and that his 'Mean Frat Boy' persona was there to scare thoughtless newbies into not joining and keeping the freshman in the frat out of trouble.
It's admirable until people who weren't trying to enter the frat started whispering about how Jeno had serious attitude problems.
He knows Jaemin knows it's not true, Jeno is the way he is out of genuine concern for younger and newer fraternity brothers getting into trouble and being strict, but it translates wrong when people don't know the full story. It doesn't bother Jeno, despite everything Jaemin would've thought, but he's glad that it doesn't.
He doesn't let Jaemin see that side of him much anyway, unless he's at the fraternity house, for whatever reason. Jeno only has three close friends that he hangs out with outside of brotherhood; Chenle, Renjun and Yangyang, and sometimes the five of them hang out. They're nice, Jaemin likes them, and they're like Jeno in some ways.
Anyway though, moving onto the present time, Jeno is once again reminded of why he had wanted to their relationship a secret when he hears some girls who think they're being discreet start whispering from their spot behind him in line.
"Isn't that Jaemin?" One of them asks.
"Jeno's Jaemin?" The other asks for clarification, earning a hum. "They're still together?" She gasps in surprise, and it makes something ugly stir in Jaemin's heart.
Did they not seem like they'd last?
Not that it matters what other people think, but it's not a nice though to have either way...
"I know right, that frat is known to come and go."
Sure, the older alumni from the fraternity are known for that, but it's just another reason towards why Jeno is the way that he is when it comes to newer brothers. He doesn't support that type of culture, and wouldn't want their brotherhood to known as that.
Part of the price of being ruthless to newcomers is that while they do get scared off, it also gives him a poor reputation.
On the brighter side though, it means people who do end up joining the fraternity are people who already share the same morals, so although it's slow, bit by bit, the fraternity is losing its poor reputation caused by the alumni.
Right now though, he's dealing with the negative side of things.
But he's Lee Jeno.
And sure, even if he let this dampen his mood for like, three minutes, he wasn't going to let it dampen his mood for the rest of the day. Baseless and false rumours weren't worth time to him.
Instead, he deals with this the only way he knows how to; by being passive aggressive.
Not today, and not any other day, will he let people poke at his insecurities without knowing the full story.
"Hello?" Jaemin says when the phone line connects, and Jeno makes sure to make brief eye contact with the girls before he speaks.
"Hey babe!" He greets cheerfully, making sure he's loud enough to be heard. "What're you up to?"
Jaemin doesn't seem to catch onto Jeno's exaggerated tone, to which the older boy is grateful.
"Grocery shopping," Jaemin hums. Distantly, Jeno hears the wheels of the cart against the linoleum floors. "What's your fruit of the week by the way? Plums or peaches?"
Jeno smirks, knowing that what he's about to say is going to catch the girls, who are undoubtedly listening in on him, off guard.
"Whatever you want, my love."
It's almost like Jeno can hear the confusion through his phone, because Jeno is always in charge of the fruit of the week. Jaemin is in charge of the vegetable of the week.
"Uh," Jaemin starts, and Jeno wishes he could see how it terribly cute he looked when he was confused. "Did you wanna choose the vegetable or...?"
"Nuh uh. Whatever you'd like, Nana."
He purposefully draws out the end of his words sweetly for emphasis, despite knowing he doesn't have to prove anything to anyone.
Jeno was just petty like that.
"Okay..." Jaemin's voice comes through, and Jeno can hear the rustle of plastic bags. "Um, will you be home soon? I think I'm done, just have to check out."
"Home?" Jeno repeats for dramatic effects. "Home is anywhere you are, Nana baby."
From behind him, Jeno hears the two girls whispering rapidly, and he has no doubt he's caught them off guard. At this point, he feels like he can tone it down, but when he hears Jaemin choking on the line, he decides it's too fun to let up.
"I'm going to go now," Jaemin says, and Jeno is amused by how strained he sounds. "I'll see you soon. Bye Jen."
"Bye bye Jaeminnie!" Jeno coos, but before he can finish his sentence, the calls cuts off.
The girls behind him didn't need to know that.
Jeno gets home after Jaemin, toeing off his shoes and watching as the younger is putting away the groceries he bought.
Jeno joins to help without a word, but he's not blind to the way Jaemin eyes him cautiously.
On the inside, Jeno finds Jaemin's reactions humorous. But on the outside, he doesn't let that show.
"What?" The older boy asks confusedly, tucking a box of cereal away into a cabinet.
"You seem perfectly fine," Jaemin says wearily, movements slow as he keeps an eye on Jeno while putting milk in their fridge. "So why did you sound so weird on the phone?"
"Sounding sweet is weird?"
"No!" Jaemin immediately denies, eyes wide as he stares at Jeno. "I'm just saying it was unusual. And weren't you outside at the time?"
Jeno sighs, putting down the peaches that were in his hand. He looks a bit more serious now, eyebrows pinched and hands on his hips.
"Does it bother you?" Jeno asks seriously.
Slowly, Jaemin puts his box of mushrooms down and pays attention to Jeno only.
"Does what bother me?"
"The way I am around other people," Jeno clarifies. "Y'know what they say."
And then, it all seems to come together on Jaemin's face.
"Jen, did someone say something?" He asks gently, walking closer to his boyfriend. He takes the older boy's hands in his own, running his thumb over his knuckles soothingly. "You know you shouldn't listen to them."
"How can I not?" Jeno asks defeatedly, leaning his forehead down on Jaemin's shoulder. As much as he didn't want those stranger's words to hurt, they always do.
Jeno is trying his best to appease everyone, and the scariest part about that is that there's a possibility of losing Jaemin along the way.
To Jeno, there's nothing without Jaemin.
"I don't wanna be seen as some monster—"
"No one looks at you like a monster," Jaemin cuts off, kissing Jeno's temple for comfort. "Maybe a little brazen, but that's all," he adds on teasingly.
It manages to put a little of a smile on Jeno's face, as he lifts his head up a tad and softly smiles at Jaemin.
"I just don't want you going anywhere,"
Jeno admits in a whisper, and when Jaemin looks into his eyes, he doesn't see what everyone else sees.
He never does.
He doesn't see the rude boy who snarls at freshman.
He doesn't see the boy who dishes through friends and relationships.
He doesn't see the boy who only values parties.
All he sees is Jeno.
Lee Jeno, who he's known since high school, before all these useless rumours.
Lee Jeno, who values every single person who he lets into his life.
Lee Jeno, who's always been more than the fraternity he's apart of and the parties he reluctantly goes to.
The only Jeno he knows is the Jeno who downs ten shots in a row to pay for a date night.
And there's no other Jeno he'd like to know.
Jaemin makes sure his boyfriend knows as much.
"Jen, honey I've stuck around even after seeing you puke after playing beer pong, so hard that it came out your nose and you went viral on Twitter. It's going to take a lot more than some weak rumours to get rid of me, unfortunately."
Normally, Jeno scolds Jaemin for bringing up that viral video, but today, he just kisses him.
Perhaps he was a bit too paranoid, thinking Jaemin was that easy to get rid of.