It was in autumn, Mark’s sophomore year when he first had a glance of Haechan.
He still remembers everything that day. How the balls are scattered everywhere around the gym, how he’s rolling the carts to collect the balls around, who was spiking at the moment, it was Lucas, and what their coach, Johnny, was doing.
He knows because at that moment, he felt like his time stopped and he could only see the young man appear before his eyes.
The door to the gym opens, five young men went inside pushing each other, probably forcing one another to talk to the coach. They were here for the inquiries about the try outs and it just so happens that Mark was the one nearest to the bench. He could only hear them whispering, not bothering to look over his shoulders to check or ask, he wasn’t one to start a conversation at all.
“Come on, just ask him please” one of them said.
“Why do I have to be the one? I’m not even interested in volleyball” the young man scoffed, clearly irritated, but it looked like they were putting all of their trust on the young man with them.
A few more seconds of bickering went on until Mark felt a tap on his back. He saw a young man, tan skinned, chubby cheeks, pouty lips and brown haired. It almost felt like there were lights shining on the back of the boy, as if this is what he’ll see when he reaches heaven. Mark was left staring at him with his mouth slightly open, he asked himself if this is the love at first sight they were saying because damn his heart did flutter
The boy gave him a cute smile and introduced himself, “ Hi, I’m Lee Donghyuck but you can call me Haechan.” he laughed awkwardly, I don’t know why I’m saying that but my friends are asking if the try outs are already open because they would like to join the team. Can you ask your coach? My friends are cowards”
Oh my god even the way he talks is cute.
“I’m Mark” he blurted out. He doesn’t know why he suddenly said that, he just turned around and left to ask his coach about the try outs.
Mark didn’t get to have a conversation with Haechan again, Johnny already went to the five so they could discuss and let their questions be answered. The following days, even after his friends Yangyang, Jaemin and Jeno joined the team, he could only have a glimpse of his figure since Haechan doesn’t really visit their training sessions and the campus is too big to bump into each other. He does, but rarely, only when their fifth friend, Renjun, shows up too and brings their friends drinks.
Haechan does attend their matches and Mark has always been looking forward to seeing his face among the crowd, he gives him extra energy boost even if he wasn’t really the one he’s cheering for. He could at least pretend his cheers were for him and that’s enough reason to put him in his best condition. Mark discreetly glances at him from time to time, every time he serves or when they score or when he scores, which isn’t really that common when you’re a setter. He checks if Haechan’s eyes were on him, he wanted Haechan’s eyes to be only on him.
A year passed already and he has been silently crushing on him. He doesn’t really intend to make a move on him because Mark believes in fate, he’d only go with the flow even when Renjun already gave Haechan’s number saying that it’s for emergency purposes then proceeded on giving him a wink.
When he finally had enough and decided to take the matters in his own hands, it took him a lot of courage to send a simple message to Haechan.
hey, i heard you have a great voice?
do you mind if you can try singing that song i wrote?
this is mark from volleyball btw!
it’s okay if you refuse haha i got your number from renjun i hope i didnt creep you out sorry!
And that’s the start of their friendship and Mark pining, nothing new but he’s now closer to him.
Mark waited outside the bathroom as Haechan changed into more normal and less fancy clothes unlike the one they used during the competition. He leaned on the wall and tapped his feet patiently when Haechan finally came out and gave Mark a smile, Mark’s favorite of all time.
“So should we go to Yuta hyung’s resto now?” Haechan asked, the both of them are already walking out of the building.
“Oh I was thinking maybe we could celebrate our win?” Mark nervously asked, “just the two of us, then we’ll go there after?”
Haechan acted like he was thinking in consideration which made Mark more nervous, “Okay then where should we go?” Haechan grinned at Mark and clinged his arms on the older dragging him down forcefully but not strong. Mark is already used to this type of skinship, Haechan naturally does it with anyone he’s close with.
“Should we go for a walk?”
“At the park!” Haechan enthusiastically said, “I’ll buy some fish cakes first and we could sit and eat while talking, right right right??”
“Yep whatever you want” Mark agreed, patting Haechan’s head as the latter closed his eyes and leaned towards Mark’s hands.
Mark almost forgot his real intentions. He’s finally going to confess, it doesn’t matter what answer he’ll receive whether it’s a good one or a bad one, the only thing that matters is Haechan will finally know Mark’s true feelings towards the latter.
They sat on a bench with cups on their hands and a steam coming out from the fish cake, they were next to each other just sitting in silence. Mark was finding the right timing to say something or smoothly bring up the topic. Haechan put down his cup and released a satisfying breath after eating a tasty snack, he looked at Mark and opened his mouth with an ‘ah’ waiting for him to give him some more. Of course, Mark ended up giving him the rest of his food.
With his heart beating so fast Mark could even hear it through his ears, he felt like he could vomit anytime out of nervousness but he swallowed all of his fears and got himself ready to drop the bomb. He puts his hands on his knees rubbing it up and down with anxiousness and clears his throat.
“To be honest, I actually have something to say” Mark started catching Haechan’s attention.
“Do you like me?”
“I actually like you”
They both said at the same time.
Haechan laughed his heart out, holding his stomach and leaning his head backwards. Mark, even though he’s still in a daze, thought he was doomed, Haechan wouldn’t have laughed if what he said wasn’t ridiculous to him. It’s completely over and his hopes were shattered but he’d accept it anyways.
“Why?” Haechan asked in a serious tone, he already stopped laughing and only looked at Mark.
“What do you mean?” Mark was confused, one moment he was laughing and the next he’s this serious. He really can’t read him sometimes.
“Why do you like me? I mean people usually don’t like me you know? I’m annoying and clingy and a brat, they said. I also can’t seem to stop my mouth from spouting out some harsh words I sometimes don’t mean. People are usually scared of me, you know?” He stopped for a moment and sighed, “So why do you like me?”
Mark grabbed Haechan’s hands and pressed it on his chest where his heart is located.
“I don’t think words can justify the way I feel about you” Mark softly smiled, hands still on his heart, “feel my heartbeat instead”
Haechan’s hands rested more on Mark’s chest even after the older man took away his hand. He never had someone genuinely like him like this, everyone always ended up saying they were too much for him so that’s why he feared that Mark would only be the same as the others. Yes, he does like him too, him blurting out the ‘ Do you like me?’ was only supposed to be a joke.
“You can feel it, right?” Mark asked, scooting closer to Haechan, “If feeling it is not enough, then go ahead and listen”
He doesn’t know where he found the courage to say all those things, maybe it’s the way Haechan said those self-deprecating words that led him to proving every single one of those words were wrong. He placed his hand on the younger’s back of the head and his other on his waist, he pulled him gently towards him making sure that Haechan’s head was close to his chest.
They stayed in that position for a while, at some point it wasn’t to check Mark’s racing heartbeat but they’re just hugging and living in the moment. Mark’s finger laced against Haechan’s hair and patted him as if he was comforting him.
“Hyuck, I like you so much. I have for a year now, I only got the courage to confess because we got closer and you really drove me crazy to the point that I was willing to throw every inch of my dignity just for you.” Mark placed his finger on Haechan’s chin and raised his head so he could take a look at him, “I never want to hear you say those words again to yourself. You are not annoying, well sometimes you are but in a cute way, the kind of annoying where I’d probably hug you tight but not the one where you could punch someone get it?” they both laughed and Mark tightened his hold, “I love your honesty the most and the lack of your mouths filter, show them who the boss is, okay? Don’t think of anything bad instead maybe you could think about me alright”
Haechan stared up at Mark and adjusted his position so he could lay his head on Mark’s shoulder instead. His arms snake around Mark’s waist and Mark’s arm is placed around his shoulder too.
Haechan let out a loud sigh, “I like you too. I was just afraid you’d change your image of me when we do start dating. You’re the only one who could put up with me among the many persons who tried. I’m glad it’s you, Mark. I’m sorry for what I said earlier and maybe thinking of you would really ease me up”
Mark couldn’t believe what he was hearing, his feelings were reciprocated and he felt like crying. He just wanted to hug Haechan and baby him around, give him pats and say that he’s proud of him. He wants him to feel loved by him, to brag about him to the whole world, and keep him under his wings. He is feeling every kind of affection towards the younger..
“Can I- uh can I kiss you?” Mark hesitated, biting his lips.
“Not yet on the lips, but yes” Haechan agreed and closed his eyes waiting for Mark.
Cute, Mark thought.
Mark places his lips on Haechan’s forehead, both sides of his cheeks and his nose last. The older hugged the younger one more time and rocked their bodies slowly as Mark sang silently next to Haechan’s ears.
“you are my sunshine, my only sunshine ”
Haechan laughed lightly, “Why that song suddenly?”
“Because you are my sunshine, it’s pretty self explanatory” Mark boops Haechan’s nose.
“Aren’t we going to the afterparty?”
“Oh right, I forgot. Let’s go now” Mark held Haechan’s hands and led the way to the designated place. They talk about a lot of other things during their walk on the way to Yuta’s place, like Johnny and Ten’s supposed secret relationship that actually is a total lie (they don’t have to know that). The both of them shared a lot of ideas and even songs but it’s not long until they arrive at the place, their own conversation being cut off and going in to socialize with the others.
The both of them were happy and that’s all that matters the most right now.