Donghae woke up to the sound of his phone ringing.
It took a few dazed seconds to realise that it was his phone ringing and not his brother’s.
Donghae madly fought with his bedding to try and find the ringing phone that had somehow migrated from underneath his pillow to halfway down his bed.
“Hello?” he panted down the phone.
“Did I wake you, Mr Lee?”
Donghae’s stomach dropped at hearing Sungmin’s voice, and hurriedly lied to the male that he hadn’t.
Sungmin chuckled at his lie. “I’m calling to inform you that the job is yours, if you still wish to have it.”
He got the job.
Donghae’s brain sort of left him at that.
He bit his lips to contain the triumphant yell, and cleared his throat. “When do I start?”
“You can move in today and get yourself familiar with the apartment. I’ll be here in case you have any questions.” Sungmin told him, and Donghae glanced around his room, calculating how long it would take him to pack what he needed and get to Hannam.
“I’ll be there at 12?”
“I’ll inform the doorman,” Sungmin told him as Donghae slowly crawled off his bed. “You know which floor to come to, just ring the buzzer and I’ll let you in.”
Donghae said goodbye to Sungmin, and once the call ended, he raced from his room to bombard his brother with the good news.
Donghae still felt like he was being stared at.
Glancing over his shoulder, Donghae noticed a couple standing behind him.
Seeing the immaculate and stylish clothing, Donghae resisted the urge to shrink into his skin as he saw his reflection in the closed elevator doors.
His clothes were decent, but they weren’t designer or looked remotely stylish. He had dressed in clothes that were suitable to move and carry his bags to and from places, and according to the look of distaste in the female’s eyes behind him, she didn’t approve.
Donghae dropped his eyes from the reflection to stare at his feet, grimacing when he noticed how tatty his sneakers looked with his grey jogging pants.
The doors of the elevator pinged open, and Donghae hurried himself and his bags in it.
He pressed the button for his floor, and tried to squash himself as far away from the female as he could.
He heard her scoff and mutter something about the floor he had pressed, and gritted his teeth as he ignored the whispered snort that came from her.
Rich people, Donghae thought to himself with loathing.
The couple got off at the 20th floor, and Donghae purposely kept his gaze off them, despite knowing the female had turned back to look at him.
Once the doors shut again and he was alone, he finally allowed the tension in his body to ease a little.
He prayed that his boss wasn’t like her with being judgemental of appearances.
The doors opened to his floor, and Donghae planted his back against them as he dragged and shoved his bags from it. He had only brought three. One was a suitcase, and the other two were huge weekend bags.
If he needed to bring anything else, he could always go back to his brother’s and get it.
With a bag on each shoulder, he dragged his suitcase behind him and pressed the buzzer on the door as the elevator shut behind him.
Sungmin must’ve been poised near the door, because as soon as he buzzed, the door opened immediately to reveal the assistant.
“Let me help you,” Sungmin greeted him upon seeing his bags, and Donghae fumbled in his haste to decline.
“It’s okay, I can manage.” He told the male with a smile, and Sungmin frowned at him, but didn’t try to grab one again.
Sungmin led him inside, and Donghae once again kicked off his shoes and toed on a pair of slippers. He made a note to come back and right his shoes on the shelf when he was done packing and followed Sungmin.
Sungmin led him around the white leather sofas and bypassed the kitchen. Donghae’s eyes began to notice the way the white floor didn’t look as shiny as he had once thought, and he could see a thick layer of dust on the storage units that lined the wall that was next to the wall-to-floor windows.
“This is your room.”
Donghae realised that he had paused to look around the living area, and turned to see Sungmin standing in the doorway that was to the left of the windows.
Donghae hurried and followed Sungmin into his bedroom, and immediately halted at the seeing the wall of glass that was straight ahead of him and also to his right.
Donghae abandoned his bags, and rushed to look out at the Han River.
“Wow,” he breathed, hands pressed against the cold glass.
Sungmin chuckled from behind him, and he heard a click of a door opening.
“This door is partially hidden, so remember that this ‘window’ is actually the door to the garden.”
Donghae turned to see what Sungmin was talking about, and gaped at realising his bedroom easily accessed the garden he had seen in the main room.
Stepping out onto the wooden patio, Donghae inhaled the sharp smell of the plants and flowers, and also the crisp smell of the river.
He was surprised at how quiet it was, and knew that he could spend hours out here in the peace and secluded garden.
“That’s Kyuhyun’s room,” Donghae glanced at where Sungmin was pointing, and stilled at seeing that his boss’s room was across from his.
Donghae jerked in realisation that he didn’t even know his boss’s name until now.
He followed Sungmin through his bedroom and into his bathroom that connected to one of the spare rooms, and began the tour of the other side of apartment.
As they moved from room to room, Donghae noticed the lack of cleaning, and began to make notes where to begin. He also noticed that the right side of the apartment seemed to be Kyuhyun’s own, and the other side had been left alone, until now.
Donghae had winced at seeing Kyuhyun’s dressing room, or closet. Whatever it was, it was a mess.
“Any questions?” Sungmin asked as they paused in Kyuhyun’s office.
Donghae gazed at the wall that held a fancy glass cabinet.
“Who is my employer?” he questioned at seeing the row of awards.
“I wondered how long it would take for you to ask,” Sungmin laughed, and Donghae moved closer to the cabinet.
He saw a picture of a young male with an actor Donghae has seen in a film recently, but couldn’t place his name.
The young male was pale, with brown eyes that smiled along with the small one on his lips.
“Have you heard of Cho Kyuhyun before?” Sungmin curiously asked him, and Donghae paused to see if the name registered.
He shook his head. “Sorry, I haven't.” He told Sungmin as he turned to face the male.
Sungmin looked amused at his answer.
“That’s new,” he commented, and Donghae gave him a confused look.
“Why?” he asked as Sungmin began to leave, with him following closely behind.
“Most people have heard about him,” Sungmin told him, and Donghae frowned.
“Celebrities don’t interest me,” he defensively told the male.
Sungmin paused at that and gave him a look at sent Donghae insides twisting with nervousness.
“You’re very interesting, do you know that?” Donghae felt his cheeks burn at the male’s comment, and rushed after him as he went to the front doors.
“Where are you going?” He asked; panic briefly flooding his system.
“I need to check in on Kyuhyun,” Sungmin spoke as he bent down to slip his shoes on, “I’ve showed you everything you need, and Kyuhyun’s allowed you to spend the rest of the day unpacking and becoming familiar.”
“When will you be back?” Donghae asked, and firmly reminded himself that he was not allowed to ask questions like that.
He was now a housekeeper; not a carer.
Sungmin gave him an amused smile as he gripped the door handle. “I’ll text you mine and Kyuhyun’s number.”
Donghae bowed goodbye as Sungmin left, and the beeping of the door relocking seemed too loud in the sudden silence.
Letting out a heavy sigh, Donghae wandered back to his room to unpack.
An hour or so later, Donghae was in the kitchen filling up a metal bucket with disinfectant and warm water. Lifting the heavy bucket from the sink, he grabbed the rags and mop with his other hand and made his way to Kyuhyun’s side of the apartment.
For the rest of the afternoon, he cleaned. He knew that he didn’t have to start working yet, but Donghae couldn’t rest knowing that the apartment was in this state.
He started with Kyuhyun’s private bathroom, cleaning and dusting every surface, and scrubbing the tiled floor until his hands started to twinge in discomfort from not wearing gloves.
He made a note to buy some when he would go shopping, and just bore with the discomfort as he worked from the bathroom and into Kyuhyun’s room.
Kyuhyun’s room was mainly dusty, and the bedding was crying out to be changed.
Donghae stripped the bedding and dumped it in the laundry basket that was starting to spill onto the floor in the corner of the room. He had to hunt for ten minutes until he found where the bedding was located, and sighed at the mess that was in there as well.
Once the new bedding was on, and the room was dusted, Donghae went to retrieve the vacuum cleaner and chuckled at how small and useless it would be.
Kyuhyun’s room was carpeted, just like his own, so using the small vacuum cleaner took longer than expected, but Donghae sang to himself as he worked.
By the time he finished Kyuhyun’s room, his white t-shirt was sticking to his back from sweat, and he had rolled up his jogging pants so that they were now shorts.
He opened Kyuhyun’s door to the garden to allow the fresh air to circulate the room, and did the same in the bathroom. He didn’t dare touch the huge windows in the main area, and went to clean the spare room on Kyuhyun’s side.
All the bedrooms must be carpeted, and Donghae started to curse the lacking vacuum cleaner as it struggled to pick up the fluff.
He glanced up at the ceiling window, and started at seeing the darkening sky.
Rushing into the main room, the huge windows confirmed that it was indeed getting darker as the evening began.
Donghae panicked at how late it had gotten and wondered if he should prepare dinner or not. Sungmin hadn’t said when Kyuhyun would be home, or if he should cook.
He also had said not to work, but let’s forget about that.
Donghae backtracked into Kyuhyun’s bedroom and bathroom to shut the windows, and made sure that the rooms he had managed to clean were neat and ready for their owner to see.
He was dragging the useless vacuum cleaner back to the cleaning cupboard when the beeping of the front door had him freezing.
He had been passing the hallway at that moment, and locked eyes with a surprised Sungmin.
“Are you cleaning?” Sungmin demanded in surprise, and Donghae shuffled the cleaner behind his legs.
“I’ve just finished cleaning a little,” he admitted in an unsure tone, wondering if Sungmin would be pissed that he hadn’t listened to his and Kyuhyun’s wishes.
“I thought I told you that he didn’t have to work tonight?” came an unfamiliar male’s voice, and the owner of it entered behind Sungmin.
Donghae’s eyes widened a little at seeing the younger male. He was taller and thinner than Donghae, and much more handsome too.
Donghae bowed low in greeting, unsure of how else to greet his boss as the beeping of the door relocked.
As he rose back up, Kyuhyun was smirking at him, while Sungmin sighed and shook his head.
“Finish clearing up and meet us in the living area,” Sungmin told him as he and Kyuhyun passed, and Donghae rushed away with the small cleaner.
“He’s eager,” Kyuhyun noted as he sat down on the white sofa with a tired sigh.
Today’s session in the recording studio had drained him. He wasn’t happy with any of the demos, and so the day felt like a failure.
“He’s attentive,” Sungmin corrected.
Kyuhyun waved the correction away and watched as his new housekeeper hesitantly stood behind the sofa that Sungmin was sitting on.
“You can sit.” Kyuhyun told him, and kept his lips straight to prevent the amused smile from forming as the male sat down on the same sofa as Sungmin.
“Did you finish packing?” Sungmin questioned, and the male nodded.
“Is there anything you would like to drink or eat?” his housekeeper shyly asked, and Kyuhyun’s amusement rose as Sungmin pinned the male with a look.
“I told you that you didn’t have to work tonight,” Sungmin chided softly.
His housekeeper kept quiet, and Kyuhyun decided it was his turn to speak.
“What’s your name?” he asked, and the male’s head snapped to look at him.
“Lee Donghae,” the housekeeper told him, and Sungmin gave Kyuhyun a small warning look.
Of course he already knew the male’s name. Sungmin had told him when he decided to hire him.
“Do you want to eat in or out?” Kyuhyun questioned him, and Donghae looked stunned at having the options directed at him.
“Whatever you want, sir.” Donghae almost stumbled on the word ‘sir’, and Kyuhyun knew it was because he was younger than the male.
“Just call me Kyuhyun,” he told the male. He didn’t like the formality anyway. It left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Kyuhyun’s lips twitched at the added ‘shi’.
“Let’s order in,” Kyuhyun decided. “Sungmin, will you call our regular place and order set 2 & 4 with extras?”
Sungmin nodded and rose from the sofa so that could make the call away from them.
“I could have called them for you,” Kyuhyun heard Donghae mutter, and he watched as the male’s hands fidgeted with the rolled up ends of his pants that were above his knee.
His legs weren’t too hairy, but the hair was dark. Kyuhyun also noticed that the male had thick calf muscles, and that his skin was slightly tanned.
“That reminds me,” Kyuhyun began as he forced his tired body to rise from the sofa, “I have your uniform in my room.”
He heard Donghae’s slippers rush to follow him as he moved to his bedroom, the automatic lights flickering on and causing him to still when realised that his room was clean.
He inhaled the fresh air, and noticed that his bedding was different.
Kyuhyun turned to glance at Donghae, who was two steps away from him with his hands held behind him.
He looked like a child who was about to scolded.
“Thank you,” Kyuhyun kindly told him, causing Donghae to jerk in surprise. “I’ve been complaining forever to change my bedding, but I never have the time or energy to do so.”
He left Donghae stunned in his bedroom doorway and moved through his bathroom, also noticing the shine of cleanliness on the floor and shower walls and bath, before entering his dressing area.
He noted that Donghae hadn’t cleaned in here, and he couldn’t blame the male. It was a mess. He went to get the black trousers and crisp white shirts he had bought for the housekeeper, and turned to go back and give them to Donghae.
He froze in surprise to see Donghae standing in the doorway.
“This is your uniform,” he told the older male and handed the hangers to Donghae’s waiting hands. “You don’t have to wear it during the weekend since that’s your time off.”
Donghae nodded, and held his arms high to prevent the black trousers from dragging on the floor.
“Which other rooms did you manage to clean this afternoon?” Kyuhyun curiously questioned, leaning against the small island he had in the room that stored his shoes around it.
Donghae told him, and before he could say anything, Sungmin’s voice came from his bedroom to let them know that their food would be here in twenty minutes.
Kyuhyun smiled at Donghae, noticing the way the male’s white t-shirt was rolled up his arms so that it acted as a vest instead.
Now that he was looking, he saw how defined Donghae’s arms were as he held the hangers high.
Kyuhyun swallowed. His mouth was suddenly dry.
“You should go shower before it arrives,” he told the male as he moved past him, his nose greedily inhaling to see if he could catch Donghae’s scent.
He could faintly smell the male’s deodorant, but also the musk of a man who has been hard at work.
Kyuhyun hurried away from Donghae, and watched as the male left his bedroom. He tracked the male’s movements through the large windows - he should inform Donghae of how to set the tint for the main exterior windows, and smiled as he saw Donghae jerk in surprise in his own room when he caught Kyuhyun looking.
“So, what do you think of him?” Sungmin questioned curiously from where he sat on Kyuhyun’s bed.
Kyuhyun continued to watch Donghae move around his bedroom as he put his new clothes in the large wardrobe, and also picked out new clothes from the set of drawers next to it.
He watched as the male paused to look out at the Han River, and saw the male smile at the view of it.
“He’s intriguing,” Kyuhyun finally answered when Donghae went into his bathroom.
“He doesn’t know who you are.” Kyuhyun raised an eyebrow at that, and glanced at his assistant/close friend.
Kyuhyun isn’t bigheaded, but he does pride himself with the fact that he’s currently the most popular ballad singer and talk show host. He’s not the type to throw his celebrity status around, nor is he the type to spend loads of money – it did take him two years to consider spending the amount of money on this place.
“Good. It means that I won’t be living with a fan.” He eventually says, and goes back to his dressing room.
Twenty minutes later, all three of them were in the kitchen eating the take-out that Kyuhyun had ordered.
Donghae was freshly showered, his face still slightly flushed from the shower, and he and Sungmin were chatting about some sport that Kyuhyun didn’t care about.
But he was interested in watching Donghae.
Donghae could feel Kyuhyun’s eyes on him as they ate, and focused all the more on Sungmin as they discussed soccer.
He had tried to include the younger male, but Kyuhyun had scoffed and shoved more noodles into his mouth.
Now that they were done, Donghae placed the used dishes back into the plastic box they came in, and cleaned the island while Sungmin distracted Kyuhyun with an email that came during dinner.
Once he was finished, Donghae picked up the box and left the kitchen, his intentions clear that he was going downstairs to leave it with the doorman so that the delivery boy didn’t have to come all the way up here for it.
“What are you doing?” Kyuhyun demanded as he looked over from the sofas as Donghae headed towards the front doors.
“I’m taking this downstairs so that it’s easier for them to collect,” he told the male, and frowned when Kyuhyun pointed his hand down, indicating for Donghae put the box on the floor.
“Sungmin is leaving now; he can take it on his way down.”
Donghae bit his lip to prevent from arguing further, and tidied the shoe rack at the entrance since he had forgotten to do it earlier.
“See you on Thursday, Donghae.” Sungmin called goodbye from behind him, and Donghae spun on his knees to see that the male was slipping on his shoes.
Donghae hurriedly rose and picked up the box before Sungmin could, and smiled at the male when he got a frown in return.
He bowed goodbye as Sungmin left, and turned his back on the beeping of the lock.
Kyuhyun waved him over before he could take another step.
“Tomorrow is my day off,” Kyuhyun told him as he sat down on the opposite sofa.
Kyuhyun leaned forward and placed a black card on the small table, and pushed it towards Donghae.
“Use this card to buy groceries, and also other bits and bobs you may need to clean or just need,” Kyuhyun told him as he stretched, and Donghae hesitantly took the card. “Every week I’ll top it up for you so that you won’t run low.”
Donghae thanked him softly once Kyuhyun told him the pin number.
“If you want, I can transfer your wages to that account, or do you wish for it to be in cash?”
“Whatever is easier for you, Kyuhyun-shi.” Donghae told him, and froze at the pinned look he got for his answer.
“Cash, please.” He eventually caved, and Kyuhyun nodded.
“I don’t want to be disturbed tomorrow,” he warned Donghae as he rose from the sofa with Donghae rushing to follow.
Donghae nodded and bowed as Kyuhyun bid him goodnight.
Once the door to Kyuhyun’s room shut, Donghae’s body relaxed.
Why was he so tense around his new boss?
He fingered the black card, and sighed softly. He should make a list of what was needed.
He found a pad of paper in a drawer in the kitchen and made a shopping list of the essentials he’ll need. He paused about halfway through it.
He didn’t know what Kyuhyun liked or didn’t like.
He needed to know this to avoid embarrassment later and also to ensure that he didn’t accidently kill his boss by buying something he may be allergic to.
Shuffling silently to Kyuhyun’s bedroom door, he shyly knocked and waited for permission to enter.
When it didn’t come, he knocked again, but this time it was louder.
Was he asleep?
Donghae pressed his ear to the door, and faintly heard the sound of water running.
Kyuhyun was in the bathroom.
Donghae debated with himself for a few minutes on whether to just enter and ask him from the bedroom. A few more minutes pass with him hoping that the water would stop running, and when it didn’t, he grasped the door handle and entered Kyuhyun’s room.
Donghae eyed the laundry basket that had the clothes Kyuhyun had been wearing thrown near it. He shoved the clothes into the tall basket, and picked it up to place it near the door so that he could take it on his way out.
He didn’t get far when the bathroom door opened and Kyuhyun entered the room.
Donghae dropped the basket onto his toes.
Kyuhyun was naked.
“What are you doing?” Kyuhyun demanded; his voice high from surprise as Donghae dropped to his knees to pick up the fallen clothing.
He kept his head down as he spoke. “I need to know what you like or don’t like, or what you may be allergic to,” he hurriedly spoke.
“I’m not allergic to anything,” Kyuhyun told him, voice calm and back to normal now. “But I really like fruit, mainly strawberries, red apples, and honeydew melon.”
Donghae nodded. His eyes still down at the floor as he shoved the last piece of clothing into the overstuffed basket, and rose from his knees with it.
“Are there any dishes that you like in particular?” he asked as he fussed with the basket to keep his eyes anyway from looking at Kyuhyun.
Silence met his question, and Donghae peeked to see that Kyuhyun was in his bed with the navy duvet covering his lower body, but leaving his naked upper body exposed.
Donghae’s body was still tight with tension, despite the fact it was only Kyuhyun’s naked torso.
He’s seen naked bodies before. He’s had to wash them too. So why was he reacting like this to Kyuhyun’s?
“Are you good at picking out alcohol?” Kyuhyun questioned him instead of answering his question as he dried his hair.
Donghae shook his head. “I’m not a strong drinker, so I tend to avoid it.”
Kyuhyun hummed and leaned back against the wooden headboard. “I love fried rice with egg, so I don’t particularly care what dishes you cook, Donghae, just as long as you enjoy them too.”
Donghae almost dropped the basket again at Kyuhyun’s answer. He had expected his boss to be cold towards him and just treat him like the maid he was paid to be. But so far, Kyuhyun had been kind and warm to him, making him feel welcome.
He bowed again, taking care not to spill any clothes, and hurried from Kyuhyun’s bedroom, only pausing to shut the door behind him.
Donghae dumped the basket in the small laundry room that was tucked in between the kitchen and the other spare room.
He took a few calming breathes so that his heart wasn’t threatening to leave his chest, and made his way around the apartment to make that windows were locked and the front door’s alarm was engaged.
Finally, Donghae called it a night and closed himself inside his room.
He still got caught off guard by the view of the Han River.
He switched off the bedroom light and eased his tired body under his blankets, eyes fixed on the view.
Movement caught his right eye, and he glanced to see Kyuhyun moving around his room.
He had loose fitting pants and a t-shirt on now, and Donghae relaxed at seeing him clothed.
A yawn forced its way free and Donghae set his alarm before lying down and snuggling into the puffy pillows.
His first day of a housekeeper was over, and it went a lot better than he had expected.
He just hoped that he could keep Kyuhyun satisfied with his work; otherwise his new job will be short-lived.