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eau d'amoureux

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Sehun smelled like a different cologne every time Minseok saw him. He has gone through perfumes, celebrity fragrances, drugstore sprays --- it all worked for him, so Minseok was unclear as to why he changed it more often than he changed his hair color. Eventually, the older had to give up attaching a smell to his dongsaeng and just accepted that Sehun smelled nice.

Their friendship was born of common interest --- for each other instead of for any thing. Their first meeting was an amalgamation of hand brushes and shoulders bumping, of eyes tracking one another across the room and the distance between them, in terms of age and interests, increasing their intrigue. There wasn’t so much of a conscious decision to become friends as there was the fact that they fell into it, melding their lives together with the ease of the shifting formations in a well-choreographed dance.

As luck would have it, they were both wont to idle on the sidelines in parties, the ones that Sehun kept attending even though he never really participated in their activities and the ones that Minseok had to attend as a part of the duties of being captain of this, and the head of that society, and the advisor for such. They both liked to eat well and lost themselves in the anonymous hum of restaurant conversations. They had the same friends, surprisingly, their meeting an inevitable step in the progression of life. They were so unalike, yet it was so easy for them to walk side-by-side through all walkways of life, shoulders brushing.

Minseok never contemplated this much, but he did think a lot about Sehun, unwittingly or not. The currently-pink-haired man was on his mind as he picked up yet another card from within his football locker. This card was a creamy white, inscribed with swirling calligraphy just like the others. He paid as much attention to this card as he did to the others as well, slipping it into his duffle before any of his teammates caught on that their captain was receiving love letters in his lockers every day. He appreciated the efforts of his admirer, but Minseok’s affections were already taken.

A text arrived as he was walking with Lu Han to the bubble tea place, where they were meeting Sehun. It was the brat himself, asking if practice had ended yet in his usual whiny tone.

We’re on our way over to you now , Minseok texted back.

The sound of the answering text rang out over Lu Han’s rant about his Biology professor. “And when she gave me back my paper --- is that Sehun?” The rant was stopped in its tracks as Lu Han’s interest was suddenly caught on something else.

Minseok nodded, reading over the hurry up, i need someone to distract me from these yoga moms.

??? was sent from Minseok’s phone.

theyre so fucking loud

they keep checking out my hair hyung come quickly

my life is in your hands

Minseok rolled his eyes. Dramatic.

“Wow, it’s good to know where your priorities lie,” Lu Han said. Minseok looked up at him, uncomprehending. “It only takes a text from Sehun for me to not exist anymore.”

Minseok scoffed, but Lu Han wasn’t taking it. “I don’t see why you don’t just ask him out. Sehun won’t hold it against you even if he says no. You know that.”

Minseok pretended to think about it. “There’s a better time to do this. Besides, I am perfectly content with just friendship right now.” The last part might have been just a tad untrue, but if he shows even a little doubt in his decision, Lu Han will manage to convince him against it.

“Whatever you say,” his friend uttered. Lu Han was dropping the argument for the time being.

Sehun was waiting for them at their usual table in the bubble tea store, giving off a bored and nonchalant aura as he stared down at his phone. He didn’t look up when they pulled themselves into the high chairs.

“Have you ordered yet?” Minseok asked.

Sehun faced him then. “No.”

Throughout their conversation while they drank their bubble tea, Lu Han kept stealing glances at Minseok until he finally blurted out, “Aren’t you going to tell Sehun about the love letters you’ve been getting?”

Both of his friends turned their heads too quickly to him, equally murderous gazes on their faces.

“Love letters?” Sehun finally said, voice coming out a little choked. “From who?”

“I don’t know,” Minseok replied. “It doesn’t matter anyway.”

“What do you mean?” Sehun squeaked. “You have a secret admirer. Aren’t you curious about hi--them?”

Minseok raised an eyebrow and shifted uneasily in his seat. Sehun’s citrus-y and vanilla ice cream scent for the day wafted over to him at exactly the wrong time. He felt his face turning red as he explained, “I already like someone.”

For some reason, Sehun looked stricken at this pronouncement. Lu Han seemed to be holding his breath when Minseok looked over to him for help. Minseok took a calming breath and changed the subject to some joke one of the football players played that day.

When Minseok returned to his dorm and began unpacking his sports bag, the scent of citrus and vanilla ice cream lingered. His fingers brushed against the card as he reached in the bag for his dirty clothes, and he took it out, meaning to throw it into the same drawer as the others. But when he opened the drawer, he made a split-second decision and brought the card to his nose.

Underneath the stench of sweat and unwashed clothing was citrus and cool vanilla.

Minseok reached into the drawer slowly, movements akin to a zombie’s as he gathered all the love letters in a pile on his bed. He sank into his pillows, surrounding himself in days worth of colognes, fragrances, and Sehun.