Baekhyun has been sitting at the coffee shop for half an hour already. He’s halfway into his hazelnut frappe, seven dollars poorer, and he still doesn’t understand why Jongdae spends his entire Saturday afternoons camped out at this joint. He gets it; the nice stuffed arm chairs, and the ambience lighting makes him feel like he can lounge around for an eternity but the Starbucks beside the labs has the same thing in half the distance and twice the comfort. The girls are pretty enough, all giggling happiness and short skirts, but Baekhyun can see that at the quad free-of-charge without having to fork out everything in his wallet.
Besides, Baekhyun thought sullenly. He isn’t here for the girls. He had been led to believe that the guys here were top-notch, or more precisely Jongdae had explicitly mentioned “the guys will make you catatonic, Byun”. But from what Baekhyun has observed the thirty minutes he’s been here; he hadn’t seen anybody interesting. If anything, Baekhyun has already seen two of his ex-boyfriends dash in for a quick shot of caffeine and has had to sink low in his seat to avoid being detected. He feels like a meerkat, a stupid one.
Another arduous five minutes pass and Baekhyun is just about to give this up for a lost cause before a commotion draws his eye.
“Oi! Jimin, you’re late!”
The barista from behind the counter—Baekhyun did consider him for about a minute before deciding that if he wanted to date a giant, he would have stuck with Chanyeol—slips out of his apron and tosses it over to a man walking in from the staff door.
And Baekhyun’s breath catches.
He has bright orange hair and a face that Baekhyun wants to attach his mouth to. Internally, he thanks Jongdae for being such a good fucking best friend because the guy is gorgeous. He looks like a perfect eleven in a café filled with twos. And if Baekhyun’s mouth isn’t currently occupied with his straw, he’s sure he would be drooling.
The guy—Jimin, what a wonderful name—catches the apron easily and pulls it on, smiling till his eyes crinkle into slits. He’s wearing a sleeveless tank revealing delicious biceps that Baekhyun would die to have around himself and laughs when his friend leaves with a complaint, his face still lit in complete cheerful goodness. It’s half-endearing, half-hot and Baekhyun is sure he’s already half-in-love. The boy runs a hand through his dyed-orange hair causing it to flop beautifully back over his forehead, smiling at the next customer in line. Baekhyun feels his heartrate pick up. He hasn’t seen someone this cute since his first crush in elementary school.
i simultaneously hate u and love u, Baekhyun sends to Jongdae and resigns himself to staring at the hot boy for the next two hours. It’s a Thursday night and Baekhyun has already finished his Physics paper. He might as well stay and figure out the gravitational attraction between the both of them (if they were in a vacuum).
This is day four of Baekhyun’s latest operation and he likes to think that his nights at the coffee shop are an alternate form of recce. It’s worth it though, to see Jimin wait at the counter and draw pretty leaves into his latte like the cute and experienced and competent barista he is. He doesn’t even ask for Baekhyun’s name when he comes in anymore and the sight of the foam heart in Baekhyun’s cup at the very moment makes him want to gush in delight. He can cry over the dismal state of his wallet later.
“Really?” Kyungsoo asks, sipping at his espresso. “I could be watching my boyfriend sweat it out at dance practice but you dragged me here to look at some sophomore boy that you’re stalking?”
Resident-asshole Do Kyungsoo is Baekhyun’s favourite frenemy. They have been friends since kindergarten, when Baekhyun pulled at the side of Kyungsoo’s cheeks until he cried and Kyungsoo had stolen Baekhyun’s coveted glitter market in retaliation. In middle school, it was Kyungsoo who introduced him to Jongdae and Chanyeol, the worst and the second-worst thing in his life respectively, and so Baekhyun has rewarded him with the pleasure of his eternal friendship.
“How’d you know he’s a sophomore?” Baekhyun asks, perking up.
Baekhyun scrunches his nose as a girl passes Jimin her number. Jimin gets way too many passes working here, Baekhyun decides irritably. Once they’re boyfriends, he’ll find Jimin a much nicer job at a library or a backroom where no one can spend time staring at his handsome face like what he is doing now. The answering grin Jimin gives her only makes Baekhyun feel jealous, wishing he could just saunter up there and toss Jimin his number and a wink too, but someone this hot requires finesse and Baekhyun needs time to plan damn it.
Jimin accepts the girl’s number from her filthy fingers and flushes adorably, reminding Baekhyun of a video he watched the other day of a golden retriever puppy playing around in snow. Feeling his heart squeeze, Baekhyun turns his attention back to the devil.
“He’s in Jongin’s dance class. I’ve seen him around,” Kyungsoo says off-handedly. His casualness slides away to regret, however, as soon as he sees Baekhyun’s face light up with pure glee. Baekhyun knows there’s a reason why he kept Kyungsoo around as a friend, connections to a certain dance-major boyfriend besides. It’s been some time since Baekhyun has seen Jongin anyway, he would be a bad friend if he didn’t care about his friend’s boyfriend, right?
Thank heavens for small mercies because Kyungsoo doesn’t bother protesting. Baekhyun smiles sweetly.
“You don’t understand, Yeol,” Baekhyun complains, shoving at Chanyeol’s foot on his stomach. “He’s the hottest boy I’ve ever seen! I bet he can match Minseok-hyung with those goddamn muscles and don’t get me on the fact that when he smiles, the sun shines out of his ass, I swear to god.”
Park Jimin is heaven’s most perfect work of art and Baekhyun is an art critic.
Over the weekend, Baekhyun has done his digging and so far, has heard nothing but glowing praise. The words friendly, sweet and loyal come up a lot, much to Baekhyun’s satisfaction, but so do the words hot, young and available and Baekhyun doesn’t know if he likes that sort of reputation to go with someone like Jimin. The boy’s so sweet and charming, Baekhyun almost hates himself for falling so easy for him. “He volunteers at an orphanage on the weekends like what the fuck! I can’t even drag myself to the shower on Saturday mornings but the children there call him ‘Chim-chim’, Yeollie! Dear god, he makes me want to be a better person just so we can match like the destined couple we are meant to be.”
And Jimin really does. Baekhyun has even caught himself looking at a poster for an animal sanctuary on the walk back to his dorm. Usually, Baekhyun doesn’t even read anything unless it involves the Copenhagen Interpretation or instructions on how to make his butt look perkier.
Chanyeol shakes his head and stretches. The sofa is lumpy and smells sort of weird whenever it rains outside so Baekhyun has never quite understood Chanyeol’s love for crashing over at their place whenever they came back after club-hopping the night before, but Baekhyun likes waking up and having someone to talk to and Chanyeol’s a wonderful morning person. Unlike the dying zombie flung over his futon a short distance away.
“You never said that when you were dating me,” Chanyeol answers after awhile, pouting and settling his heavy leg on Baekhyun’s chest again. Baekhyun has been on the opposite end of that pout more than enough times to know how to defend himself against it though.
“That’s because you were tall, twitchy and mildly creepy, Yeol. You still are.”
Before Chanyeol gets a chance to riposte, from across the room, Jongdae groans and tosses a pillow in their general direction. The sad attempt at shutting them up lands with a dull thud on the carpet and Baekhyun cackles.
It’s Monday morning and while they didn’t have classes till the afternoon, Jongdae has never been one that deals well with hangovers. Man drinks like a fish and drowns like a dead bird the morning after. Baekhyun likes to think that god is tormenting Jongdae for all the girls he picks up then drops and hopes that the cosmic powers will see fit to grant him impotency before finals swing around. But until then, Baekhyun contents himself with talking louder. Park Chanyeol will understand Baekhyun’s utter adoration for Jimin come today or tomorrow.
Another pained whine and another thrown pillow lands five feet from where Baekhyun is currently reclining.
He loves Monday mornings.
To his credit, Jongin does look slightly suspicious. It isn’t as if Baekhyun doesn’t come around often, it’s just that as someone who’s reading Physics, there really isn’t a point for him to walk across campus to the performing arts buildings. Not to mention how the place seems to be a sanctioned laissez-faire area for the very flexible to start showing off their moves. Last time Baekhyun was here, someone almost somersaulted into his face.
Jongin watches Baekhyun carefully and Kyungsoo is quick to assuage him. “He’s here to watch Jimin because he’s a pervert,” Kyungsoo says before leaning up to give his boyfriend a kiss.
Baekhyun follows Kyungsoo over to where the boyfriends and girlfriends and other interested spectators sit, which turns out to be a corner in the studio with a power supply to charge numerous laptops and smartphones. Kyungsoo doesn’t really know what Jimin’s schedule is but Jongin gives his word that the sophomore will be in today and so Baekhyun can do nothing but wait.
Baekhyun has never dated a dancer before. He has dated a couple of athletic jocks, one of those artistic-emotional types, Chanyeol, and a hipster music elite who hated his Girls Generation CDs and only drank organic soy milk, but he’s never actually dated a dancer. Which, Baekhyun thinks as he watches scores of boys thrust their hips in front of a floor-to-ceiling mirror, is a pity. He cannot believe Kyungsoo has been holding this out on him.
The demon in question has his eyes trained on his shy dancer boyfriend, proud smile curving his lips and Baekhyun drops the issue. He’s not sure he wants to spend his afternoons beside Kyungsoo and Jongin being sickeningly adorable and chaste with each other anyway, hot hip-thrusting boys or not. As it is, the view is nice, even if it isn’t what Baekhyun came for. An hour or two passes and there’s still no sign of the cause for Baekhyun’s heart palpitations, so he entertains himself by watching dancers leave and enter the large studio, groups of them work on new choreography or a solo just honing his skills with earphones on.
Maybe the air turns different. Or maybe Baekhyun has become so infatuated that he’s becoming a little desperate but that bright shade of orange is hard to miss and Baekhyun feels his heart pick up even while Kyungsoo tugs at his sleeve.
“Jongin’s done with practice. We’re going for dinner,” Kyungsoo says, sliding his laptop into his bag.
“I can’t leave for dinner now!” Baekhyun protests, half an eye still watching Jimin high-five his friends and drop his duffel bag on a nearby chair. “Jimin just came in!”
“I’m not inviting you,” Kyungsoo replies shortly, rolling his eyes. “Jongin and I are going for a date and you’re staying here to satisfy your perverse interest in an innocent young sophomore. Bye.”
And with that, Kyungsoo wanders off to meet his sweaty boyfriend somewhere else, leaving Baekhyun alone and friendless, with no one to turn to if anyone asks him why exactly is he sitting here charging his phone when it’s already at 83%. Just when Baekhyun decides on either leaving or calling for backup—Jongdae likes hot girls and there are plenty here, he reasons—he hears someone call his name.
“Hey! Baekhyun, right?”
He knows that voice. He has heard that voice ask him for his order at least five times already and strained to listen to it chat to other café-goers when he sits near the counter. Jimin grins like the morning sun and waves and Baekhyun feels his head start to scramble in the heat. Running a hand through his wretchedly glorious orange locks, Jimin looks like Heracles reborn and Baekhyun belatedly thanks god he didn’t call Jongin. The latter would be having a field day for weeks if he sees Baekhyun in this pathetic state of being.
Jimin plops down beside him, muscle tank revealing brilliant pecs. “Haven’t seen you around here often. Are you here for someone?”
Resisting the urge to be honest, Baekhyun shakes his head. He had a million plans well-orchestrated for such a scenario and yet none of them come to mind so Baekhyun continues to smile like besotted idiot that he is, hoping that Jimin would assume that he’s gone insane and retreat to a safe distance so Baekhyun’s brain can function again. But Jimin does no such thing. Instead, he nods and bites at his lip shyly.
He’s adorable, Baekhyun thinks woefully and he feels entirely too fond of someone he has barely spoken to. To stop himself from blushing, Baekhyun tries to concentrate on the other dancers, only to spot a group of boys laughing and pointing at him surreptitiously.
Fine. Okay. Baekhyun knows he isn’t exactly dressed for the studio but he likes his sweater with holes in it. And considering some of the things these people are wearing look like they’re a seam away from falling off altogether, Baekhyun doesn’t understand why he’s being singled out for ridicule. Uncomfortable, Baekhyun nudges Jimin and points at the group.
“Do you know who they are? They look like they’re staring at me.”
Baekhyun glances from the group to Jimin’s face, only to see the younger flush, rubbing his neck awkwardly. “I wish I didn’t… Aish. This is going to sound desperate, I’m so sorry.”
Baekhyun is confused but motions for Jimin to continue.
“It’s stupid but I—ah, have been sort of crushing on you since you came in last Thursday?” Jimin’s face turns redder and Baekhyun almost coos. “Those people are my friends and they bet me twenty that you wouldn’t say yes if I asked you out. Which I’ll totally understand, by the way. I mean you’re like a senior and you probably have better things to do than to go out with some dumb sophomore that doesn’t know what he’s doing. I mean—
Jimin winces when Baekhyun laughs but the boy brightens considerably when Baekhyun leans in to press a kiss on his cheek. Jimin smells like deodorant and clean sweat and when the younger’s fingers skitter across the spot where Baekhyun’s lips had just been in wonder, Baekhyun can feel his chest clench. It’s sweet and chaste and Baekhyun likes the fluttering feeling in his stomach when Jimin looks at him like that, all wide eyes and shocked smile. From across the room, Baekhyun watches the mouths of Jimin’s friends drop open.
“We can split the twenty. Pick me up at seven tomorrow?” Baekhyun asks and Jimin nods enthusiastically, sending warm butterflies to Baekhyun’s stomach.
Backup doesn’t need to be called because Jimin invites Baekhyun to stay for the rest of his practice session in the studio and he watches as Jimin saunters back to his dumbstruck friends. Besides, when Jimin lifts his tank up to reveal abs fifteen minutes in, Baekhyun knows the only way he’s leaving this place without Jimin would be if someone scraped his melted body off the hardwood floor. Patting at his hot cheeks, he ignores the snickers around him.
“First time here, honey?” A girl asks, winking at him like he’s just been let in on a secret.
Baekhyun nods wordlessly and she sympathetically pats him on the back. “I know. It was difficult my first time too.”
“No,” Baekhyun says, explaining again. “I’m capital ‘M’, you’re small ‘m’. ‘r’ denotes the distance between the both of us. It’s a basic equation, Jiminnie. It calculates the attraction we have for each other.”
“The value seems small.”
“It’s usually used to calculate celestial objects. Don’t be disappointed.”