Title: What I Love About Sundays (What I Love About You)
Warning(s): minor/ mentioned past character death, mild language
Summary: Chanyeol didn't expect to stay longer than a month, and he certainly didn't expect to meet Do Kyungsoo under that stupid umbrella Junmyeon made him pack.
Author's note: Major thanks to Beta K for being ready and on call to edit this fic in minimal amounts of time.
It’s not a long walk from his house to the church, and it’s a nice one. The day is calm and the birds chirp at him from their places in the trees. To Kyungsoo, it’s a perfect day. He takes in the smell of freshly cut grass before entering the small white building. Most of the town is already there, and he can see Jongdae and Baekhyun several pews from the front, arguing about something already.
“Morning guys,” he says, taking his place next to Baekhyun.
“Jongdae says he can sing Amazing Grace better than me,” Baekhyun whines.
“That’s because he can.”
Jongdae reaches across for a high five, grinning at Kyungsoo. “Good morning indeed,” he says when Kyungsoo reciprocates it.
Baekhyun crosses his arms and pouts. “At least the Reverend is my friend,” he says.
“The Reverend is everyone’s friend,” Jongdae laughs.
Mrs. Kim sings off key in the pew behind them and Kyungsoo is pretty sure the Lee’s young son fell asleep in the pew across the aisle again. Baekhyun and Jongdae’s mothers are up front, putting extra fives in the plate. The reverend calls for an extra prayer and everyone’s collective amens settle in Kyungsoo’s heart. Sunday morning goes as Sunday morning usually does.
Only this Sunday happens to be the two year anniversary of the accident. Kyungsoo remains seated in his pew while the townsfolk file out around him. Jongdae and Baekhyun hover, flashing him sad smiles. Baekhyun rests a hand on his shoulder. “Mom said she’s doing a big brunch,” he says. “You should come over.”
He nods at his friends with a smile and stays behind to think about the night that shook the people of the small town. When everyone knows everyone, everyone gets hurt.
“Thank you for the service today,” he says to the reverend before heading out. As soon as he gets outside he lets a curse slip out under breath. It’s raining. Kyungsoo groans, he didn’t even think to check what the weather was supposed to be like, and he didn’t bring an umbrella.
Chanyeol’s alarm goes off at exactly 8:30am. It was one of the few things in Chanyeol’s home that was actually out of its box.
And that’s it for our traffic report, now on to the weather. Chanyeol groans and rolls over. Traffic? Does this town even have traffic? He’s pretty sure everything here is at least twenty years behind the city.
We’re expecting some showers in the later morning so make sure you grab those umbrellas! His hand slams down on the snooze button and he pulls the covers further over his head. He lays there for a few minutes before realizing how quiet it really is. He doesn’t hear the honking of car horns or people yelling or sirens in the distance. There’s nothing. “I’m not meant to be here,” he tells himself.
His phone starts ringing from somewhere in his sheets, Beenzino crackling loudly through the small speakers. He groans again, it’s too early for this. He fumbles with his sheets until he hears a thud, the phone flying out from the sheets and landing on the floor next to him. He reaches over to answer it.
“Why are you calling me,” he grumbles.
“Wake up call from Seoul!” Luhan is much too perky for a Sunday morning.
“I’m awake, I’m awake,” he assures his friend.
“I’ll bet you Sehun’s monthly wage that you aren’t out of bed yet.”
“Luhan what the fuck you can’t just bet another person’s salary!” Chanyeol hears Sehun yell in the background.
“What bed? I’m still on the goddamn floor,” Chanyeol grumbles. “But fine, yes, I am still under the sheets. I’m getting up now, thank you honey,” he coos.
Luhan laughs before going serious. “You ok though, man?” He asks.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, today is Sunday,” Luhan says softly.
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. Give me a few weeks, I’ll sell the house, and be back in no time.”
“We miss you already!” Sehun’s voice comes in.
“Yeah, yeah I miss you guys too, but I’m hanging up now.”
“Goodbye and good luck!” Luhan says. “And enjoy your little vacation while you can!”
Chanyeol rolls out of the sheets as soon as he hangs up. After a struggle with the water, he finally showers and throws on an old pair of jeans and his university sweater. He’s about to leave when he remembers the weather report from the radio. He fumbles through the box by the front door and finds his umbrella inside. He mentally thanks his boss for his Things I Know You’ll Forget But You Should Pack Them Anyways list. Chanyeol is pretty sure Junmyeon only likes him because he’s really good at selling Seoul apartments, but he’s thankful for the list none-the-less. He looks it over and sighs to himself. “This is stupid,” he says. “What kind of grown man carries a bright yellow umbrella with rubber duckies on it.”
Kyungsoo stares down at the dark grey stone. He’s pretty sure if he doesn’t get out of the rain soon, he’ll catch a cold, but he finds himself standing here anyways. His wet bangs press against his forehead and his clothes are soaked through. “Look,” he says. “You got me out in the rain.” Then he laughs sadly to himself. “How stupid.” He’s not sure if it’s the rain running down his face or tears, but he settles for the former. He hates how it’s raining and he hates how the dreary day reflects his mood.
He’s apologized to so many people so many times, but he’s apologized to the stone in front of him the most. He’s about to do it again when he feels a presence beside him and the rain stopping. A yellow umbrella with a rubber duck print pattern hovers over his head. The man holding it is unfamiliar and Kyungsoo gives him a quick once over. His hair is too red, his limbs too long, and his umbrella too bright for such dark weather.
“You’ll get wet,” the man says, and his voice is too deep.
“Do I know you?” He asks, and it’s blunt but Kyungsoo is sure he knows pretty much everyone in their small town.
“Ah, no,” the man says, reaching up and scratching the back of his head. “My name is Park Chanyeol, I’ll be living here for the next few weeks.”
“Did you go to service looking like that?” Kyungsoo asks, gesturing to Chanyeol’s worn out clothes.
“No,” Chanyeol says slowly. “I don’t attend service, I don’t believe in God.”
Kyungsoo gives him a look of confusion. “Then why are you at a church.” It comes out more of a statement than a question.
“I’m visiting my mother,” he says and he points across the field of stones. “She’s over there. They brought her back here five years ago because she wanted to be buried in her home town.”
“Five years ago?” Kyungsoo’s voice gets lost in the rain briefly.
“She was born here. I was born in the city, but Mom’s always been more of a country girl.”
“Then she was a smart woman, that’s why you always listen to your mother.”
Chanyeol laughs. “It’s too quiet here,” he says. “And there’s nothing to do, I could never live here.”
“Then why are you here, City Boy?”
“That house down the street, 1101, you know it?”
Kyungsoo’s face blanches. “Yeah,” he says cautiously. “What about it?”
Chanyeol reaches up and scratches the back of his head. “Boss has got me out here to sell it. I don’t know how to sell farm homes; I only sell high rise apartments, and expensive ones at that. Man, I don’t know why he’s got me out here for it.” Then he shrugs. “Something about taking a bit of a vacation but still kind of working. It’s a good challenge I guess. That kind of means I’ll be your new neighbour since it seems everyone here is considered neighbours.” He stops and looks at the boy in front of him, looking down at the wet grass.
“Mr. Park,” Kyungsoo says sternly, looking up through wet bangs.
“Oh just Chanyeol is fi—”
“Stay out of that house.” Chanyeol is taken aback by the demand.
“What? Why what’s wrong with the house?”
“Nothing,” Kyungsoo whispers.
“Then why—” he’s cut off by a searing pain in his left foot. “Ow!” he yelps, hopping
slightly. “What was that for?”
“Just stay out of the house!” Kyungsoo yells. Then he turns and walks out from under the umbrella and back to the main road.
“Hey! You’ll get wet!” Chanyeol calls after him, pain still crippling his toes.
“I’m already wet you idiot!”
“Mom, small town people are crazy, no wonder you left,” Chanyeol says, looking out at the cemetery. “But why would you want to come back?” He mutters to himself. Then he sighs and looks down at the stone they had been standing in front of. “What a shame,” he says, reading the dates. “So young.”
Chanyeol spends the entirety of Monday cleaning the empty house and making phone calls. (He counts the steam cleaner rental arriving on time as good fortune and is certain he’ll sell the house quickly.) He rearranges some of the furniture that had been left but figures he should leave most of it for the stagers. Monday night he sits at the old wooden table, fiddling with his Wi-Fi stick and trying to get it to work before he comes across an unlocked connection. Sharing is caring! His computer connects to the overly friendly and incredibly clichéd Wi-Fi just fine.
The stagers arrive just after noon on Tuesday (late, Chanyeol notes). They spruce up the old home but keep the country charm and Chanyeol lets the fact that they were late go.
By Wednesday evening, he has the house listing active and all the photos up to go with it. He pulls the For Sale sign out of the back of his rented truck and hammers it into the ground.
His Thursday is mostly spent on the phone with other realtors. Luhan calls on Thursday night just to make sure he’s still alive. “Honestly Luhan I don’t think there are any bears around here,” he says. “In fact, the townspeople are scary than a bear at this point.”
“What do you mean?” Luhan asks him.
“I spoke to one a few days ago. He seemed friendly until I mentioned I was selling the house, then he stepped on me.”
“Yeah, it hurt. Other than that, none of the neighbours here have said a hello to me, and I got more than a few glares when I was putting the sign up. It’s so hard hitting those things into the ground by the way, too much wood. Good thing I’m incredibly strong.”
“Weird townspeople?” Luhan asks. “I’ll bet you Junmyeon’s new Burberry watch that you are the main character in a horror film.”
“Listen man, I’m just saying, sleep with one eye open.” Chanyeol assures Luhan he’ll keep that in mind and hangs up.
By Friday Chanyeol is on his last bits of city food and he’s certain he should have brought more instant ramyun. “Am I going to have to go to a Farmer’s Market?” He asks himself, sprawled out on the bed. “I don’t think there’s a grocery store in this town. Just a bunch of houses and a little white church. How charming.” There were two young couples in that evening, neither of which seemed too keen on putting an offer in.
Saturday brings several more viewings but still no offers. Chanyeol falls asleep listing the pros and cons of the place. Pros: large lot, good price, lots of charm (has he bolded that on his list?). Excessive amounts of charm. “Country chic is in,” he tells himself. Cons: the neighbours are unsocial and they might step on you.
A loud banging on his door pulls Chanyeol out of bed at quarter to eight in the morning on Sunday. He grumbles to himself as he trudges to the front door, trying to remember if he had any bookings this morning and trying to fix the mess of hair on his head. He opens the door to find the boy from the cemetery last Sunday. He holds a large black pot and is dressed in a white dress shirt, complete with perfectly pressed pants and shiny black shoes.
“City Boy,” he says, giving Chanyeol a once over. “Are you going to the church looking like that?”
“I told you last week, I don’t go to church.” He rests one hand on the doorframe and rubs his eyes with the other. “I don’t believe in God or Heaven or Jesus or any of that fancy shit and I’ve never read the Bible.”
“I know,” Kyungsoo says. “I remember. But the first Sunday of every month, we have a town breakfast together at the church. I wanted to know if you wanted to come, I made rice.” He holds the pot out slightly.
“You are inviting me?” Chanyeol asks in disbelief.
“Everyone is invited. And you don’t have to believe in God in order to enjoy a nice breakfast at church.” Kyungsoo shrugs.
“But last week you stepped on my foot,” Chanyeol points out. “Very hard actually.”
“That’s because you’re selling this house.”
“But then why—”
“Are you coming to the breakfast or not?”
Chanyeol thinks about the lack of food in the house and figures a big breakfast might be a good idea. “Give me half an hour,” he says.
“You have five minutes. I’ll wait out here.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to come in?” Chanyeol asks and Kyungsoo shakes his head. He closes the door slowly, then runs to the bedroom. He throws on his dress shirt and pants, foregoing the jacket and a shower. He combs his hair down and brushes his teeth quickly, then sprays on a bit of cologne before taking a quick look in the mirror.
“You’re fine,” he says. “You look good and you probably don’t smell. You’re also incredibly charming and will make a great impression on the townspeople.” He winks at himself in the mirror then runs back to the door. He opens it to find Kyungsoo still standing there, pot in hand.
“It’s better,” he says, nodding at Chanyeol’s appearance. “Let’s go City Boy, or we’ll be late.”
Kyungsoo gives the For Sale sign a look of disgust as they walk through the front gate. The walk is quiet and Chanyeol shoves his hands in his pockets.
“So I never did get your name,” he says as they approach the old church.
“Kyungsoo,” he says softly.
“Kyungsoo! Good morning!” Comes a voice from behind. They stop to turn around and Chanyeol sees a young women running up to them, her husband and young son in tow.
“Oh good morning Mrs. Lee,” Kyungsoo says, nodding politely.
“How is your garden doing?” She asks, and Chanyeol watches as a large smile paints Kyungsoo’s face.
“Thriving!” He says with excitement. “The weather has been nice this year.”
She agrees then turns to Chanyeol. “Who is your new friend?” She asks.
“This is City Boy Park Chanyeol.”
“You can just call me Chanyeol,” he says. “Pleasure to meet you ma’am.”
“Are all city boys as tall and handsome as you?” She asks with a smile.
“No ma’am I am one of a kind!” He thinks maybe the townspeople aren’t as anti-social after all.
“He’s selling the Kim’s house,” Kyungsoo interjects flatly, and Mrs. Lee’s smile drops.
“Well,” she says, straightening out her yellow Sunday dress and clearing her throat. “Nothing can be done I suppose.” She turns to her husband and son and says, “Let’s go inside then boys.”
“Kyungsoo really,” Chanyeol pleads after watching the young family enter the church. “What’s wrong with the house?”
“I told you already. Nothing.” Kyungsoo follows the Lee’s into the church and Chanyeol trails. How is he supposed to sell a house that may or may not have something wrong with it?
“Kyungsoo!” Someone waves at them from near the front and Kyungsoo brightens again.
“Jongdae! Good morning!” Kyungsoo brings his pot to the table set up at the front and Chanyeol follows. He realizes he’s not really sure what to do in a church. He hasn’t been to one since his cousin’s wedding almost eight years earlier.
“Is this the city boy you’ve been talking about?” Jongdae asks, staring hard at Chanyeol’s face. Kyungsoo nods as he puts his pot down on the table. “You look awfully uncomfortable,” Jongdae says. “Relax man, it’s just church.” He reaches out and gives Chanyeol a hard pat on the shoulder. “I’m Kim Jongdae, pleasure to meet you.”
“Park Chanyeol, and I’m not uncomfortable I’m just—”
“Yo.” A brown hair boy stands next to Jongdae, holding a paper plate full of food. He takes a fork full and shoves it in his mouth.
“I can’t believe you got food already!” Jongdae throws his hands in the air.
“I told you I was hungry,” the boy snaps back. Chanyeol catches Kyungsoo giggle from in front of the table. “This is the city boy right?”
“Can you please close your mouth when you eat? You’re making a terrible impression already, this is why no one new ever moves here you ruin everything.”
“I’m Byun Baekhyun, probably the best person you’ll meet in this town,” Baekhyun says, smiling at him and reaching a hand out. Chanyeol takes it and Jongdae lets out a loud grunt of frustration.
Chanyeol admits that the people of the town make some really good food, and it’s probably the best breakfast he’s had in a while, even if he does have to sit through the service after all. He sits in the third pew, next to Kyungsoo, and Jongdae and Baekhyun sit on Kyungsoo’s other side. He misses every single one the unanimous “and also with you”s and “amen”s and he’s not sure how any of the songs go, but they’ve got an old school projector putting the lyrics up on a screen.
“Are you coming for backyard football at my place?” Baekhyun asks when the service finally ends. “We’re not terribly good at it, but it’s still fun.”
Kyungsoo nods and looks at him. “It’s fun,” he says, absentmindedly resting a hand on Chanyeol’s knee.
“You should come,” Jongdae says, so he does.
They lay out small orange pylons on the large lot to mark the goals and manage to throw together two teams of five. Minseok, Chanyeol learns very quickly, is impossible for anyone to get past. Yixing, he also learns quickly, is not the best, but they are worse, so he ends up scoring the goals anyways. They break for a quick lunch provided by Baekhyun’s mother and mostly everyone leaves around dinnertime. Chanyeol lays out on the grass, the tops of his shirt unbuttoned and Kyungsoo sits next to him in the change of clothes he had left at Baekhyun’s place.
“Sorry,” he says, picking at the grass. “I didn’t even think about your clothes.”
“Nah, it’s fine,” he replies, even though he’s sweating through his nicest white shirt and his legs can’t breathe.
“I’ll make some tea,” Kyungsoo says, getting up and going into the house. Chanyeol relocates himself to the back porch where Baekhyun sits on a bench. He spies a guitar in the corner when he sits next to him.
"Do you mind?" Chanyeol asks, gesturing to the acoustic.
Baekhyun shakes his head. "Not at all," he says. "You play?"
"Yeah. Well, I used to, for years. I kind of dropped it after college though."
"Let's see what you've got then," Baekhyun says, punching Chanyeol's arm. Chanyeol settles the guitar in his lap, strumming each string to check for tuning and adjusts each of the knobs as needed. Jongdae runs up the porch steps with Yixing and Minseok following. The screen door slides open and Kyungsoo walks out with a tray full of iced tea. He rests it down on the small wooden table, grabbing one for himself and sitting down on the bench next to Chanyeol. Jongdae dives in and grabs one for himself. "Are you going to play us a song?" He asks, before taking a sip. "Ah," he says blissfully without waiting for an answer. "Kyungsoo you make the best iced tea." Minseok grabs a tea for himself and Yixing and the three of them take a seat on the bench across the table.
"Well, what should I play?" Chanyeol asks.
"Amazing Grace," Baekhyun says.
"Why? So I can out sing you again?" Jongdae snickers and takes another sip of his tea.
"Blackbird," Kyungsoo says. "Do you know Blackbird?"
"Sure, I used to play the Beatles all the time," Chanyeol says. He begins to strum and Kyungsoo picks it up right away. He nods his head along with Chanyeol’s playing, then begins to sing.
“Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly.” Baekhyun nods his head along, but Chanyeol’s eyes wander next to him. “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.” Chanyeol doesn’t realize he’s stopped strumming until Kyungsoo’s asks him why he did.
“Sorry, I didn’t know you could sing so nicely,” Chanyeol says.
Kyungsoo shrugs. “I didn’t know you could play the Beatles off by heart.”
“We should do this next week!” Minseok suggests. “After dinner, we can sit out by the fire.”
Yixing nods. “I’ll bring my guitar too.”
Yixing and Minseok head out with a “see you next week” and a “you’ll be there, right City Boy?” Chanyeol says he will. Baekhyun excuses himself afterwards, saying he wants to check if his mother needs any help with preparing dinner, and he drags a reluctant Jongdae with him.
“You aren’t considered a guest if you practically live here now come help out.”
“Keep your promise, okay?” Kyungsoo says, leaning forward and resting his empty glass on the table. “Come out next week.”
“Sure, yeah.” Chanyeol puts the guitar back to its place in the corner of the porch. “Oh hey,” he remembers. “Is there a grocery store around?”
“No,” Kyungsoo says. “Grow it yourself.”
“But I don’t have a—” Chanyeol stops when he realizes Kyungsoo is laughing.
“I’m kidding,” he says. “There’s a market two streets down open every day from seven to four, or if you want to take that rented pick-up truck of yours for a drive, there’s a chain store about twenty five minutes away. I recommend the market though; it’s where I sell some of my veggies.”
The screen door scratches open and Baekhyun pops his head out. “Park Chanyeol,” he says. “Mum wants to know if you have food for dinner tonight.”
“I have instant noodles?”
Baekhyun shakes his head. “Yeah he says he’s staying for dinner!” He yells back into the house.
Chanyeol accepts all the acts of hospitality that come with his Sunday.
Monday sees more viewings and less noodles, so Chanyeol takes his free morning on Tuesday to visit the market Kyungsoo had told him about. He finds Kyungsoo there, denim overalls over a striped tee, and dark hair falling just above his eyes. He stands behind a wooden cart covered in potted plants and vegetables. There’s dirt on the front of his overalls and Chanyeol wonders if he knows. He transplants some Basil without gloves, dirt dusting his fingers and settling under his nails. Chanyeol doesn’t realize he’s staring until Kyungsoo looks up and catches his eye. He flashes him a smile, which Chanyeol thinks resembles something of a heart. His own heart does a flip, but he brushes it aside.
“Tired of instant noodles, City Boy?” Kyungsoo calls to him, hands still patting at soil.
“I’m not the best cook, but I suppose I could use some vegetables,” Chanyeol says, approaching the cart. An older woman at the cart next to Kyungsoo smiles at him.
“Kyungsoo here is a great cook,” she says. “You should try some of his food sometime, it’s a shame he usually only cooks for one.”
“You flatter me too much,” Kyungsoo says, and Chanyeol swears he can see a blush beginning to show on Kyungsoo’s ears. Or it could be the heat getting to him.
“Dinner would be nice,” Chanyeol says, and he thinks the heat of the day must really be getting to Kyungsoo when his ears redden more.
He doesn’t get dinner though and he doesn’t see Kyungsoo again until the following Sunday, when the boy knocks on his door at 7:45am. “This isn’t an invite to church,” he says pointedly. “This is a reminder that you agreed to come to our jam session this evening.”
Chanyeol runs a hand through his sleep mussed hair and sighs. “Couldn’t you have told me a little later in the day?” He asks sleepily. Kyungsoo opens his mouth to speak, but stops halfway. “What?” Chanyeol asks. “Stop staring I just got up, I’m not handsome like this.” Kyungsoo clamps his mouth shut and focuses his attention on the porch light.
“Waking up early is good for you,” he says. “And you look just fine. Don’t forget about this evening or else I’ll step on your other foot.” Kyungsoo turns and scurries off, flashing another distasteful look at the for sale sign on the lawn before he pushes through the front gate. Chanyeol also gives the For Sale sign a distasteful look because it’s still in the lawn.
He does go to the jam session that evening, as Kyungsoo called it, and he heavily regrets not bringing his own guitar to this vacation stay. It would have been the perfect time to pick it up again properly, but he hadn’t even thought of it. Junmyeon should have put ‘guitar’ on the list instead of that stupid umbrella. Baekhyun lets him borrow his again, saying he prefers to sing any ways.
Baekhyun might be a good singer, but Chanyeol wouldn’t know. Kyungsoo’s voice, despite being softer and smoother, seems to drown out both Baekhyun’s and Jongdae’s. Maybe it’s because Kyungsoo has sat himself down next to Chanyeol that he hears him the clearest. Or maybe it’s the fact that Kyungsoo knows all the words to all The Beatles’ songs that Chanyeol knows how to play off by heart. Or the way that Kyungsoo scrunches his eyes when he goes for higher notes or the way the Kyungsoo’s voice is the only one that settles deep into the pits of his stomach rather than just his ears. It could be any one of the reasons or all of them, but either way, Kyungsoo is the only one Chanyeol looks at all night. He sways with him, smiles with him, sings with him, and plays for him.
He also walks Kyungsoo home that night. “This is actually kind of nice,” he says, looking around at the houses lit up from the inside, shadows dancing across curtains and quiet laughter echoing softly through the night air.
“Different, right?” Kyungsoo hums in response.
“I’m not used to it being so quiet. I’m not used to seeing the stars.”
Kyungsoo shakes his head. “You’ve been in the city too long. Come here, I’ll show you something.” Kyungsoo’s fingers snake around Chanyeol’s wrist, pulling him quickly. He drags him all the way back to the church and then around behind it where the ground starts to slope upwards. Kyungsoo releases Chanyeol’s wrist and leads him up to where the hill reaches his highest point. Further off in the distance is a forest. Kyungsoo takes a few steps down the hill before sitting himself on the ground.
“This,” he says, lying down, “Is the best view in town. It’s so open here.” Chanyeol lies down next to him on the cool grass and looks up.
“Wow,” he breathes out. “There’s so many.” The stars light up the night sky, twinkling like small lights.
Kyungsoo reaches upward, holding his palm out towards the sky. “Someone I know is up there,” he says. “Your mother, she’s up there too. They look down on us, to make sure we’re doing all right down here.” He pulls his fingers into a fist and points. “The Big Dipper,” he stays, tracing a line of stars with his index finger. “You can’t see that in the city, can you?”
“I don’t really look any more,” Chanyeol admits.
“You should. You should slow down a bit and realize there’s more to life than running. Life’s not just about where you are, but who you’re with. Your job or the amount of money you make, doesn’t really define you either.” He lets his hand fall between them, his arms resting against Chanyeol’s. “Why rush to your destination when you can enjoy the road leading you there? We all go back to the stars at the end of it anyways.” Chanyeol moves his hand slowly over Kyungsoo’s as a shooting star falls quickly above them. “Ah! Make a wish!” Kyungsoo says and Chanyeol closes his hand over the younger’s.
“What did you wish for?” Kyungsoo asks, turning his hand and lacing their fingers together.
Chanyeol turns his head to look at him, the cool grass tickling his cheek. “If I tell you, it won’t come true.” When Kyungsoo looks back at him, Chanyeol swears he can still see the stars.
He walks Kyungsoo home hand in hand. “Thanks,” he says.
“For showing me the stars. It was really nice. It’s really relaxing here, maybe I did need this.”
“Most people do every once in a while.” Kyungsoo stops them there. “This is me,” he says. The small white house sits next to a large garden, white picket fence surrounding the lot. The lights are off in the house and it sits quiet and empty.
“No one else is home?” Chanyeol asks and Kyungsoo shrugs.
“It’s just me,” he says. “It has been for a while. But it’s not lonely, not when there’s so many good people around here.” Kyungsoo pulls his hand away and moves to open the gate.
“Hey! Uhh…” Chanyeol stutters, scratching the back of his neck. “Can I, like, get your number, or something?”
Kyungsoo laughs. “Are all city boys as tall and awkward as you?”
“No I’m one of a kind,” He replies, looking at Kyungsoo softly.
“I’ve noticed.” Kyungsoo reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. “Here,” he says, handing to Chanyeol. “Put your info in and text yourself.”
He bids Kyungsoo adieu that night shortly after, with a simple “good night.”
Kyungsoo spends most of his days outside in his garden. He enjoys the colours and the smells that surround him. He spends extra time watering his hydrangeas, and smiles proudly at how big they’ve grown, white and blue and purple snowballs turning green. Purple clematis and yellow roses snake up the side of his house and an assortment of pansies grow along the ground. The white chrysanthemums in the corner serve more of a reminder than anything else. He checks the vegetables every day, and happily notes that the tomatoes should be ripe within a couple more days. The lettuce and the peppers look ready though, and he figures he can bring those to the market tomorrow. The herb garden brings the heaviest mix of smells. Rows of basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and dill. He keeps the mint in a separate area, checking them every day and repotting them to sell when ready. Kyungsoo finds the garden to be more of a home than the house itself, and he gets himself lost among the greens every day.
He’s kneeling in front of the green peppers, pulling off the good ones and setting them down in a plastic bag next to him when someone calls his name. “Kyungsoo? Kyungsoo are you in here?”
“Over here!” He calls back, reaching in to the plants behind.
“Where?” He hears after a few more seconds.
“Over here!” He calls again. “By the peppers!” He doesn’t look up when Chanyeol comes down the dirt path Kyungsoo had made over the years. “You can find your way through busy city streets but not a garden?” He asks with a grin, pulling off another green pepper.
Chanyeol sits down next to him. “Who said I could find my way through city streets?” He crosses his legs and watches Kyungsoo push aside some of the leaves to inspect his peppers. “I went to the market today, they said I could probably find you in here.”
“I’m not there every Wednesday,” Kyungsoo comments. “I go whenever I have my veggies and herbs ready to sell.” He pulls away from the plants and looks at Chanyeol. “Why? Were you looking for me?” Chanyeol nods, reaching out and touching Kyungsoo’s face. Kyungsoo flinches backwards.
“You have dirt on you,” Chanyeol says. “How did you get dirt on your face?”
“Dirt gets everywhere,” Kyungsoo responds reaching up and trying to brush it off.
“I’ll get it, I’ll get it.” Kyungsoo slowly leans his head forward and Chanyeol reaches out to swipe away the dirt at the corner of his jaw. “Let’s do dinner,” he says, searching Kyungsoo’s eyes and not pulling his hand away.
“We can do dinner any time,” Kyungsoo says. “Baekhyun’s mother is always happy to have us. We can all get together and—”
“I mean just us. Like a date.” Kyungsoo’s hand finds a place on Chanyeol’s knee as he stares him down.
“Why?” Kyungsoo finally asks.
“Because… I like you,” Chanyeol says slowly.
“But I stepped on your foot.”
“I forgive you,” Chanyeol says with a smile, and Kyungsoo smiles back. Then he reaches up and grabs Chanyeol’s wrist, squeezing hard.
“Ow, ow, ow.” Chanyeol chants, trying to twist himself out of Kyungsoo’s grasp. He frees his hand and begins to rub his reddened wrist. “You’re really strong for someone so small,” he says.
“I’m not small you’re just freakishly tall!” Kyungsoo reaches to push Chanyeol, but Chanyeol falls too easily and Kyungsoo gave himself too much spring.
“Ow,” Chanyeol grunts when his head hits the ground. Kyungsoo groans, his face buried in Chanyeol’s chest. Chanyeol laughs loudly as Kyungsoo pulls himself up. He looks up at Kyungsoo, and he’s certain he’s staring, but Kyungsoo doesn’t look away so he doesn’t stop.
Kyungsoo brings his face down, inches from Chanyeol’s. “I could kiss you right now,” Chanyeol whispers, and slowly, Kyungsoo’s head comes down, his forehead resting against Chanyeol’s. Chanyeol tilts his head and their lips brush, but Kyungsoo’s lips are quickly replaced by his hand as he scrambles off Chanyeol and runs into the house, leaving him alone in the garden.
“Tell us honestly,” Baekhyun says, as Kyungsoo sits himself down on the porch bench. “Why are you being so nice to that real estate agent?”
“Small town hospitality,” Kyungsoo says. “You two should learn it.”
Jongdae sighs, sitting next to him. “The real reason, Kyungsoo.”
“I just said—”
“You’re lying.” Baekhyun crosses his arms, looking down at him. “We’ve known you since forever, and we know when you’re lying.”
“Does this…” Jongdae pauses and take a breath. “Does this have anything to do with Jongin?” He finally asks.
“Why would it?” Kyungsoo asks.
“That agent is selling your best friend’s old house,” Baekhyun sighs.
“I said it has nothing to do with him.” Kyungsoo narrows his eyes.
“Does he know?” Jongdae asks quietly.
“Does who know what?”
“Does Park Chanyeol know you don’t want him selling that house?”
“Yes, I stepped on his foot.”
“Does he know why though?” Jongdae asks.
“Well… No. But it’s not something he needs to know.”
“Maybe you should tell him anyways,” Baekhyun says gently. He moves to sit down next to Kyungsoo.
“Because you’re fond of him.”
“Actually,” Kyungsoo says. “I really wish he weren’t here.”
“That doesn’t mean you aren’t fond of him,” Jongdae says with a smile. “Tell him tomorrow.”
“Tell him I’m fond of him?” Kyungsoo squeaks.
“I was going to say tell him why you don’t want him to sell the house, but sure that works too.”
Kyungsoo stands up to leave. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow morning at service.” He says, not turning to look back.