When Dowoon said he liked him, Wonpil didn't know if he was surprised by his words or his voice.
"Really?" he asked and Dowoon laughed awkwardly, his deep voice making it worse, and he looked down at his feet. "You barely know me. Why do you…?"
The laughter ceased quickly and the silence took place, leaving a gaping hole in the atmosphere, Dowoon looked nervous and uneasy.
"It's hard to explain," he said and let out a sigh, Wonpil only watched him. "I have to go, I have music theory now, so...I guess I'll see you around."
The entire situation was weird, the way Dowoon took off as soon as he turned his back to Wonpil made it even harder to know if it was real or not - was it a joke?
The books he was holding felt heavier and his steps were slower, there was just so much someone could have inside their head and Wonpil had too much going on there.
"It must be a joke," he told himself and pressed the books closer to his chest. "It's always a joke."
((The red that colored Dowoon's cheeks at that time told him otherwise but he was unwilling to believe it.))
Exactly a week later, Dowoon was standing in front of him and he doubted his own words slightly - his mind chanted it's a joke, it's a joke, it's a joke all over but he couldn't move.
"Actually," Dowoon started and wrapped the ending of the strap from his backpack around his fingers and sighed every time he opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out. "Actually, it isn't something hard to explain."
The look of confusion that crossed Wonpil's eyes gave him the message and Dowoon stared intensively into his eyes until Wonpil himself broke the contact and looked away.
"What are you talking about?" he coughed into his fist and took a step back, Dowoon followed his movement and took a step back as well.
"I'm talking about the question you made the last time I talked to you and I didn't give you a proper explanation, just a bad excuse," he looked sad but still smiled and Wonpil thought it was oddly calming. "I shouldn't have done that."
Wonpil's eyes were fixed on Dowoon's lips moving while his ears blocked all of his words off.
"Hey?" Dowoon waved a hand in front of his eyes and Wonpil blinked twice before getting flustered and unsure of what to say - how do you explain to someone why you were blatantly staring at their lips and not listening to what they were saying? "Are you okay?"
"You have a pretty smile," he blurted out and Dowoon pressed his lips together, eyes wide in surprise. "I mean, I didn't listen to a single word you said and the compliment was not to soften the fact that I was being rude for not paying attention when I was the one who asked for an explanation."
The corner of Dowoon's lips twitched and he tried not to smile - as Wonpil noticed, and he was doing a good job so far, he was also running short on breath for speaking too fast.
"I mean it," Dowoon said. "When I told you that. I might not know you just like you said but, I feel like I do, and the fact that I know close to nothing about you makes me want to know more. Wow I overused the word know."
His remark got Wonpil holding back a chuckle and his eyes roamed the hall, fingers crawling at the cover of whatever textbook he had in hands.
"What do you mean with 'you think you know me'?" he asked instead and Dowoon looked honestly surprised.
"I don't know," Wonpil tilted his head and looked at him in disbelief. "I have seen the way you're always alone, that during the only class we share you often draw bunnies on the margin of your notebook, or that whenever the teacher looks your way you pretend that you're interested but that once he focuses somewhere else, you bury your face in your hands and sighs, and you really look so lonely and sad, but so gentle and I don't know, nobody seems to notice that."
"But you did," Wonpil pointed out shyly and Dowoon grinned at him.
"At first I was like, wow so he's as lonely as me, but I often caught myself observing you and wondering if you were okay and I pondered how would I feel if you smiled at me and then I realized that I kinda like you."
The halls were starting to get crowded, the next classes would start soon and the sudden rush of students going a certain way pushed Dowoon to the front and, of course, in front of him was Wonpil, who got startled and dropped his heavy books on the floor, barely missing his own feet. "Thanks," he mumbled as Dowoon helped him pick it up, the evident blush from the boy's words still lingering on his cheeks. "I gotta go."
"Yeah, me too," Dowoon looked regretful, Wonpil wondered what made him feel like that but before he could do anything, Dowoon was saying goodbye and walking away like the first time they talked.
"Hey," he called and Dowoon turned his head in surprise. "Uh, if you ever think you're too lonely, you can look for me."
Dowoon broke into a big smile and he nodded his head, no words coming out of his mouth.
"We can-" Wonpil stopped, took one deep breath with his eyes closed and held his books tighter. "I guess we can be lonely together, it would be…nice."
The reply was never heard, but Wonpil saw the way the younger's lips moved in among all the noise and he returned the gesture with a wave of his hand and a smile adorning his lips.
((Maybe it was Dowoon's smile, but Wonpil thought that he could get used to that and ditch loneliness if it meant having it (it being Dowoon's smile and consequently his company) just for himself.))