Jaemin is so deeply, irrevocably in love.
He gently strokes the ruby petals of the bouquet with the pads of his fingers and carefully places them in his Renjun’s locker, not forgetting to slip in a wax sealed letter before taking the five minute walk back to his college dorm.
From the day he met him, crying on the playground swing, till the day he would eventually leave for bigger and better things, Jaemin thinks he will always love him. Oversized hoodies, doe eyes, pretty smile and a personality to match, and so loyal at that. He is so glad to have loved such a sweet, pure person since the ripe age of ten, he is so thankful for being his best friend, for being able to stay by his side as they grew and lastly,
He is so happy to be lucky enough to live with him.
He opens the door and smiles to see Renjun sitting on the couch. Renjun doesn’t turn away from the TV, just pats the spot next to him with a small ‘welcome home’, shoving more popcorn into his mouth as Jaemin sets down his camera and bag to join him under the huge, quilted Moomin duvet he must have painstakingly brought from his room. Jaemin’s mind just melts at the thought of his small body being encased by the huge blanket as the other boy lifts a hand to Jaemin’s mouth to feed him, which he gratefully accepts.
“What are you doing? Watching 27 Dresses again?” Jaemin reaches into the bowl to grab more popcorn and briefly brushes against Renjun’s hand, though the other doesn’t seem to notice as he eats as if nothing happened.
“Nope, full romcom marathon this time. I need to wallow in my loneliness. Are you going to watch with me or just sit there and judge me?”
Jaemin holds his hands up in mock defeat, snickering at the other’s indignant expression before feigning attention on the moving pictures on the screen for a few seconds. He ultimately fails, gives up and stares at Renjun, taking the opportunity to admire him while he has his attention trained on Katherine Heigl spinning around in different, ugly dresses in front of James Marsden.
He doesn’t know how he got so lucky to be with someone that just, embodied light. Until the day he fell in love himself, he didn’t think it was possible to love everything about someone, even their flaws. But in his eyes, Renjun was everything he could ever dream to wish for. He loved his cute hands that he can encase his own and loved the cute lips that once in a pout, can make him melt in a puddle onto the floor any day of the week. He loved the snarky remarks he would make from time to time to spice up his day, and gosh, he was even cute when he was angry!
He was just, so perfect.
Jaemin stares more, so absorbed in his best friend’s beauty that he doesn’t even realise how much time has passed until he can feel a familiar weight on his shoulders. He chuckles as he strokes Renjun’s soft hair with his fingers and uses his phone to turn off the TV, plunging them into darkness.
“Hey Jaemin, do you believe something like that could ever happen to me? That someone will come with a dashing smile as he sweeps me off my feet?” Renjun’s voice rings clear in the silence of the room. “That my life could be something out of a romantic movie?”
Jaemin attempts a faux look of contemplation, earning himself a crinkled smile as he answers.
“Yeah, I believe it can. In my opinion, any guy would be lucky to have you.”
“Stop, you’re only saying that because you’re my best friend!” Renjun giggles as he softly slaps his arm. Jaemin smiles and hums as he looks up to their decorated, starry, glow in the dark ceiling.
“If it makes you feel better, I swear on my pinky toe that you are an objectively attractive, beautiful and kind person and that I firmly, sincerely believe that anyone would be lucky to give you kisses and cuddles every day”
Tired laughter speckles the room like sparkles of light as Renjun rubs circles around his hand.
“But you need your pinky toe for balance”
“I don’t care. My big toe can come and save the day.”
Jaemin grins and continues stroking the other’s head, thinking that they will fall into another comfortable silence but Renjun’s voice catches him off guard, saying words that were wrapped in a mumble, said so softly that they almost got lost in the room if he wasn’t listening so carefully. Words that had more impact than Renjun could ever know.
“You’re the best friend in the world. You know that right?”
Jaemin bites his lip as he suppresses the bitter feeling in his heart at the words, instead, smiling at Renjun as he nods. That’s right, he was the best friend, the roommate, the childhood friend. He should know his place, and stay there.
“Yeah, I know.”
Renjun’s arms encircle around his waist, head buried further into his chest as he drifts off and Jaemin feels all fuzzy, the moment warming him just as much as the duvet around his arms.
“I’m so lucky to have you Jaemin.”
Jaemin praises his past self for not signing the notes. To not come home to this, to not have Renjun in his arms as they watch movies all for the mistakes of his stupid heart, he didn’t think he could bear it. He would conquer kingdoms for this boy, he would give him the world if he asked for it, surely for him, he can get over his own feelings.
And if the day comes, the day Renjun ends up loving someone else, he’ll learn to live with it, because maybe, just maybe, this is enough.
“Me too Renjun, me too.”
Jaemin closes the door of the fridge as Renjun skips into the room, positively beaming as he keeps smelling the bouquet in his hands. The boy glowed as he gently touched the petals of the tulips with soft hands, and slumped in his chair, a dopey grin on his face. Jaemin had spent ages with a very reluctant Donghyuck looking for the perfect flowers, after he mentioned off handley that he loved tulips. He was happy to know that it was worth it. Jaemin takes a bite of his apple with a gentle, adoring smile. His eyes followed Renjun as he put the flowers into a glass vase, ripped open the waxed seal envelope he had spent a good $25 on and avidly read the letter encased inside it, and Jaemin swears that his heart turns to putty as Renjun glows, squealing as he throws the letter beside his stack of literature essays. Jaemin almost drops his apple at the adorable sight, but he quickly schools his expression and places an arm beside Renjun.
“What’s got you so happy today?” a dazzling smirk painted his face as the other boy blushed and rolled his chair back, vase in his lap, head leaning away from him
“None of your business Jaem. And what did I tell you about personal space?”
Renjun pouted as the pink haired boy put his hands up teasingly and he steps away. Jaemin takes a few seconds in his head to coo at the boy’s ruffled hair and light blue sweater paws before snapping back to reality.
“We’ve been best friends, soulmates, peas in a pod since we were ten Junnie! That’s cold.” Jaemin replies, smirk turning into a cheeky grin.
“I’ll stop being ‘cold’ when you start doing the dishes once in a while.”
Renjun gestures vaguely at the alarming stack of dirty dishes in the sink, resembling the leaning tower of Pisa as it threatened to topple onto the tile floor. Jaemin chuckles and took a few steps closer.
“Junnie, is this because I got a higher mark then you did in creative writing?”
Renjun almost falls off his chair as Jaemin laughs at his indignant expression.
“Shut up!’ Renjun pouts even further, nose scrunched in irritation “It didn’t make sense for a film major to get a ninety five in creative writing while the literature major didn’t! The teacher was just distracted by your pretty face!”
“So you admit that I’m attractive?”
Renjun rolled his eyes and placed the vase between his thighs before throwing his hands in the air.
“Of course I do! Everyone around you thinks that and that’s why you get good grades! Pretty privilege I say!” Renjun rolls away from Jaemin to place the flowers back on the desk.
“Does this mean you have ‘pretty privilege’ too? Since you appear to have quite the devout secret admirer if he gave you such pretty tulips”
Renjun flinches, mumbling a small ‘how did you know’ under his breath, before noticing Jaemin’s eyes trained on the letter. Jaemin wishes he could take a photo of his expression as he raises an eyebrow.
“The flowers were so romantic Jaemin you wouldn’t believe!” He sighs as he spins in his very worn office chair “I can’t wait to meet him, he seems so dreamy! He knew my favourite chocolates last week when I was sad, he made a playlist a few days to confess his love to me. The presents are just so… thoughtful and so personal! And the letters, oh the letters, they almost wax poetry about my personality! Ah, I’m in love!”
Jaemin chuckles at the pure elation of the other boy, feeling that giddy feeling himself for being able to cause that.
“Who do you think it is?”
Jaemin’s heart stops as Renjun gives him the purest grin in existence, eyes crinkled cutely on the sides as he grabs Jaemin’s arms, and Jaemin almost falls into it, sinking into the depths of his brown eyes, but he hears the next sentence that escapes from Renjun and it all crumbles as quickly as it was built up.
“I’m absolutely sure it’s Jeno! I would throw away my whole Margaret Atwood collection if it isn’t him! I’ve had a crush on him for the longest time Jaemin! I’m so, so happy! What should I say to him?”
Jaemin’s heart sank to his feet and shattered into pieces on the wooden floor. He felt like he was going to cry. He wants to scream, run away from the situation, anything. But he forces himself to calm down, giving a shaky smile in support.
“I thought you got over him freshman year?”
“Nope, I just started to tutor him at the start of this year and they popped up again!” Renjun stuck out his tongue. “I didn’t tell you because you would just tease me like last time!’
Jaemin wills himself to not break down into tears on the hardwood floor.
“That’s great Junnie, but have you considered it might be someone else?”
Renjun shakes his head, as he smiles, and Jaemin wants to sob in front of him.
“Nope!” He pops the word in the most adorable way and Jaemin just falls even harder. “I’m confessing to him tomorrow, it has to be him! He is the only person who would know those things about me besides you and my friends. And they’re all dating someone. And you don’t have feelings for me do you Jaemin?”
Jaemin ignored the tugging of his heart, the tears threatening to appear in his eyes and the pain in his gut. He ignores the shambles his emotions are in and pushes the crush that he had ever since he met the boy to the side, for Renjun was so happy. Jeno was a lucky bastard to have Renjun love him, and he knew for a fact that Jeno loved him back. Who was he to get in the way?
“No, I don’t. I’ve got a class to get to soon, so I have to leave”
He walks away to grab his vintage camera bag, as well as his backpack and slings it over his shoulder. Renjun looks over with a quizzical expression.
“It’s 6PM though Jaemin.”
Jaemin hastens his steps and puts his hand on the door handle.
“The teacher called me in for a night class with the seniors.”
Renjun accepts the answer as he bounces in his chair and gestures over at the fridge.
“I made some ice tea if you want it Jaemin. It’ll power you straight through that class so you can put all those seniors to shame!”
Jaemin freezes in his steps and takes a few shaky breaths.
“No thanks, Junnie. Thank you.”
He doesn’t turn to face Renjun as he heads out the door, barely registering the chirped ‘bye!” in the distance as he numbly heads down the stairwell. He walks and walks, gathered in his thoughts before he reaches a secluded part of the park, devoid of children and sits on the swings. His legs barely feel the pain of the 30 minute walk as the tears stain his cheeks and fall onto the concrete
He was too late.
And with his head in his hands, he finally breaks down. Heartbroken and alone.
“Jaemin? Jaemin? Are you there?”
Donhyuck waves a hand over Jaemin’s face as the other stares forlornly towards the happy couple near the campus fountain. He swears he can see a bit of Jaemin’s soul chip and fall away at each giggle Renjun puts into Jeno’s kisses, glowing as the other pulls away and smiles. Looking down, Donghyuck grabs his hand and rubs a thumb over it, which the heartbroken boy responds with a vice like grip as he holds back tears.
“You didn’t answer me. Tell me, do you regret it Nana? Letting him go?”
Jaemin forces himself to rip his eyes away from the scene, instead, focusing on the unfairly clear, blue sky that won’t let him wallow in his own misery as he lays a hand over his eyes.
“He was never mine in the first place Hyuck. What was there to let go? Look at them.”
“10 years of feelings don’t go away that easily,” Donghyuck mutters as his feet swing off the top of the campus wall that they perched themselves onto. “Your efforts, your admiration, your relationship. They weren’t nothing and you know that. I know what you are thinking and I’m here to tell you that you have a right to be upset.”
“He said yes to Jeno, even after finding out that he wasn’t the one. He looked so in love, so fucking elated at the fact that Jeno liked him back. Who am I to get in the way of that when I, so clearly, never had a chance?”
A lump forms in Donghyuck’s throat as Jaemin’s whole body trembles. His lip starts to quiver and a tear slips away from his hands. Donghyuck tries to reach out, to help, but the blue haired boy just turns away as both his hands cling onto his own arms, almost like he was grounding himself.
“I should be happy for them Hyuckie. They are both my best friends and Renjun had a crush on him for ages. I shouldn’t feel like this. I shouldn’t be this pathetic”
“You learned that yesterday Jaemin, you didn’t know” Hyuck sighs, adjusting his grip on Jaemin’s hand. His own was starting to hurt.
The water in the dam was slowly building up as more tears poured down Jaemin’s face.
“But I should have known, I was his roommate and his fucking best friend for god sake!”
“But that wasn’t your fault.”
The wind suddenly starts blowing, making the scene just a little more picturesque as Jaemin spins around and grabs Donghyuck by his shoulders. The other finds it unfair that he still looks beautiful, even when crying his eyes out for a boy now out of reach.
“For God’s Sake Donghyuck! Stop being so fucking understanding! Tell me I’m irrational, tell me that I’m stupid for getting myself for getting into this situation! Tell me that I should’ve signed my name on the gifts that I put in his locker! Tell me I’m a jerk for feeling like this! Tell me anything Donghyuck!”
Jaemin heavily pants and closes his eyes, gathering his bearings, while Donghyuck stares in shock, his long hair sticking to his face from his own tears. The tanned boy doesn’t hesitate as he quickly brings him in for a hug, running his fingers through his hair as the other sobs into his shoulder. Under the harsh Tuesday sunlight, Donghyuck whispers soft reassurances into the other’s ears, until he hears Jaemin’s voice break through the air like a knife.
“Do you want an answer to your question?”
Donghyuck lets him go, rubbing his shoulder as he pulls away.
“Not if you aren’t ready, we can always leave it fo-”
“It was a rhetorical question”
Jaemin takes a deep breath and faces Donghyuck as he leaps off the garden wall and onto the concrete. The wind suddenly feels crisper, the colours of the scenery start to feel more saturated and Donghyuck can feel time stop in his tracks and stare at Jaemin, waiting for the other boy’s words.
“Do I regret it Donghyuck? Falling so deeply, irrevocably in love with a boy that I, so clearly, could never have? Do I regret thinking that I actually had a chance?”
Jaemin then musters the most broken smile, gleaming in the sunlight as tears fall down his face again. Donghyuck can feel his own heart shattering in his chest as he looks down into Jaemin’s eyes and to only see pain, anguish and pure heartbreak. He reaches out a trembling hand, and Jaemin gently guides it towards his cheek, leans into it and whispers.
“Yes, I do. So, so much.”