BAP · fanfiction · gay

Grotesque Infatuation

Published: [x][x][x]

TW: mild homophobia, mild domestic abuse.


People have always said that starting life anew is one of the best ways to forget everything. Leaving everything behind in the hopes of a better future.

A new life.

Youngjae had chosen to take a chance and move out of his old life.

Out of the life spent living under the shadow of his older brother. Out of the life spent living every day keeping secrets from his loved ones.

Moved out of the life where one night could make everyone turn their backs on you.

He had packed minimally, taking only the bare necessities. His laptop, clothes, a few pairs of shoes, some cash, and his optimism.

Luckily, his landlady had given him a small allowance to furnish the small bungalow since the last tenant had ripped the place to shreds, leaving it with a fridge that barely worked and broken bits of wood scattered about.

His phone vibrated with a text:

I’ll be delivering the furniture to your address in 5 minutes.

Junhong

Youngjae put his shoes on and stepped outside the front door, awaiting the delivery van with the furniture he had ordered. He wrapped his arms around his torso, a small breeze (courtesy of autumn) making the hair on the back of his neck and down his arms stand up.

The delivery van arrived a few minutes earlier than expected. It pulled into the pebbled driveway and a tall, fresh-faced man stepped out of driver’s cab. He seemed almost too young and lanky for the job he had, Youngjae thought to himself.

The man gave Youngjae a lopsided smile and shook his hand, “Junhong, nice to meet you. Where do you want the stuff?” His handshake was surprisingly firm.

But what Youngjae found most captivating was his radiant smile. It had a touch of arrogance behind the shy exterior. A contradiction that Youngjae didn’t have enough time to ponder before the smile disappeared.

“Youngjae, nice to meet you too. I’ll help you take them into the living room.”

Youngjae watched as Junhong attached a ramp to the end of the van and began to drag the first box down the ramp. As soon as it touched the pebbles on the driveway, Youngjae immediately helped with carrying the package inside.

He noted Junhong’s effortless strength, his biceps bulging with strain yet his face remained as youthful as when he had first smiled at Youngjae.

Soon, all the furniture was inside and Junhong began to pack away the ramp attached to the van. Just as he was about to hop back into the driver’s cab he turned to talk to Youngjae.

He paused when he noticed Youngjae’s eyes searching his face listlessly, both their hearts quickening. Junhong drew in a breath to speak but he felt something hold back his breath, almost as if something was stuck in his throat.

Suddenly Youngjae broke eye contact with a soft blush as he looked to the floor, “Thanks for the quick delivery.” he muttered, crestfallen as he realized he would never see Junhong’s snow-white skin.

Junhong’s heart seemed to stutter and he felt that soft, warm feeling deep in his stomach. Could Youngjae be sad that he was leaving? Could he allow himself to hope?

Junhong decided to take a chance and smiled at Youngjae, “I’ll talk to you later…?” Junhong watched as Youngjae’s eyes lit up and a small smile creeped up his face, “Youngjae. Yoo Youngjae.” He filled in for Junhong.

Junhong grinned back and nodded, “Choi Junhong.” He left it at that and jumped into the driver’s cab and began to reverse the van out of the driveway.

Youngjae waited at the threshold of the door to the bungalow and waved as Junhong left, driving away with a small wave and a soft smile.

A few hours later he received a text:

Starbucks, tomorrow 2pm? 

JH x

Youngjae didn’t hold back his smile as he quickly replied:

Sounds good.

YJ x

Youngjae took his latte to the table in the furthermost corner of the coffee shop; he didn’t want any negative attention from those who disapproved. The memories of his life in Seoul were still fresh, however hard he tried to ignore them.

He sat down and let his coffee cool as he waited for Junhong. In his nervous state, he had accidentally arrived 2o minutes earlier than the meet up time.

He connected to the Wi-Fi and scrolled aimlessly through the news feed on his phone to pass the time, taking small sips from his latte every few minutes.

Youngjae blocked out his surroundings so well that he nearly jumped out of his chair when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to the direction of the tap and broke out in a grin.

“Junhong! Thank you for asking me out.” He offered a shy smile and broke into a nervous chuckle as Junhong sat in the cushioned seat in front of him.

“It was my pleasure, I couldn’t refuse such a pretty face.” He finished it off with a small smirk and chuckled when Youngjae’s face erupted into an intense red and covered his face with his hands.

Junhong waved his hands in front of him, “Sorry, that was too much and too soon! Do you want another coffee?” he pointed at the almost empty cup in front of Youngjae.

Youngjae smiled at Junhong’s concern, “It’s okay, I’m just shy. And that would be lovely thanks. Could you make it decaf please?”

Junhong nodded and stood up to walk towards the counter to place the order. He came back just a couple of minutes later carrying a tray with two drinks and a slice of cake.

He placed the tray on the table and sat down again. “I don’t know which cake you prefer so I played it safe with chocolate cake.” He handed Youngjae a fork and began to dig into the slice.

Youngjae drank a bit of the latte and then joined Junhong in devouring the cake, although his attention was drawn to Junhong’s eyelashes draped over his pale skin as he looked down at the cake.

Junhong’s soft blush coloured his otherwise paper-white skin.

Junhong had insisted on driving Youngjae home after hearing that Youngjae had walked to the coffee shop. It was close to 7pm as they both lost track of time eating various foods from the street stalls down the local park as they got to know each other.

The sun had long began to set and so Youngjae decided he needed to get home to wake up early for work tomorrow.

“I really don’t want to inconvenience you! It’s totally fine for me to walk. It’s not too far and I’m used to much more dangerous places.” Youngjae didn’t want to elaborate further into why, not wanting to stir up memories of his home city and his not-so-friendly neighbourhood.

Junhong shook his head with a smile, “I’ll give you a ride, Youngjae. I don’t want that pretty face to be hurt.” He winked when Youngjae looked up at his face whilst walking by his right side.

Youngjae blushed furiously and pouted, “I still think you’re prettier than me, but whatever…”

Junhong chuckled as he brought an arm around Youngjae’s shoulders, “You’re so much cuter than me, believe me” and he led them both towards the car park at the centre of town.

“Youngjae, can you bring me a fork from the kitchen please?” Junhong asked from the living room as Youngjae passed the door on his way to the kitchen.

“Sure!”

A few minutes later they sat in front of the TV with a plate of rice and bulgogi beef soaking the rice beneath it on the coffee table, the baseball game well underway.

“Yes!! Home run for Boston Red Sox!” Youngjae suddenly leapt into the air as he cheered loudly. Junhong pouted and tutted, “That’s the loudest I’ve ever heard you and it wasn’t even a scream of joy for me.”

Youngjae chuckled and sat down again before wrapping his arms around Junhong’s neck and pulling him in for a short yet passionate kiss. He pulled away and smiled as he met eyes with Junhong, “I’m happy that you’re here with me, Junhong. Thank you.” He gave him a small smile and turned to the TV.

Junhong stared in wonder at Youngjae for a few seconds before pulling him onto his lap and into a passionate kiss, “I love you, Youngjae. I know it’s only been a few months but I genuinely feel like I love you.”

Youngjae was taken aback by the sincerity behind Junhong’s words, his youthful face suddenly serious and ten years more mature.

Youngjae wanted to reply but hesitated, the memories he had held back whilst blinded by Junhong’s bright happiness suddenly seizing his breath.

Junhong searched Youngjae’s eyes with a panicked, frantic look in his eyes, “Youngjae?”

Youngjae looked down to his hands on his lap, “I’m sorry, Junhong. I’m not ready to say those words yet.” He brought his hands to cover his face as he began to quietly cry.

Junhong froze and wrapped his arms around Youngjae, bringing his face to the crook of his neck, “I’m sorry, Youngjae. I was inconsiderate and said them too soon. I’ll wait for you, for as long as it takes.” He whispered the soothing words into his ear as Youngjae soaked his shirt with his tears.

Junhong felt awkward as he continued to watch the game with Youngjae who had now descended into quiet sniffles. He had never seen Youngjae feeling anything other than happiness and excitement, and it scared him that Youngjae was hiding such sadness within him.

Junhong was worried but chose to ignore it for now. He trusted that Youngjae would tell him if something was wrong.

Youngjae heard the front door open and close, followed by confident footsteps down the corridor.

“Youngjae?” Junhong called out.

“I’m in bed, Junnie!” Youngjae called out as loudly as he could, given his sickly state.

Junhong frowned as he walked into the bedroom, “God, Youngjae. You look ever worse. Have you taken any medicine for it?” he put a bowl of chicken soup on the bedside table and sat on the bed beside Youngjae.

He threaded his fingers through Youngjae’s damp hair, watched as Youngjae closed his eyes and leaned his flushed red face into Junhong’s hand.

“The rent is due in a couple of days and I haven’t gone to work in a week. I need to save every penny and it’s just a flu anyway.” Youngjae whispered, his throat still too sore from his shouting earlier.

Junhong sighed and leaned down to kiss Youngjae’s forehead, “Please, Youngjae. Take something. I’ll go out to buy it and you don’t have to worry about paying me back. Please, Youngjae. Let me do this for you.” Junhong pleaded as he kissed Youngjae’s face; his soft cheeks, his nose, his forehead, and then his lips.

Youngjae kept his eyes closed and shook his head, “I don’t want to burden you in that way, Junhong.”

Junhong growled in annoyance and ran his hand through his hair, “Don’t be an idiot, Youngjae. I just want you to be happy again.”

Youngjae opened his eyes and smiled brightly, “I’m happy that you’re here with me.”

Junhong growled again, “That’s not enough, Youngjae! I want – no! Need – you to be healthy! I love you, Youngjae. I don’t want to see you hurting anymore.”

Youngjae sighed, “Go on, then. I’ll eat the soup well. Take an umbrella with you, April showers are so unpredictable” Youngjae smiled lightly as Junhong began to smile again.

Junhong stood up, “Thank you, Youngjae!” he grinned before he ran out of the room and left the house.

“So the company fired you, just like that? That’s too harsh! You’re so young!” Youngjae frowned over his cereal.

Junhong shook his head and sighed, “Times are tough and I’m only a part-timer.”

Youngjae rested his forehead against the crook of Junhong’s neck as he hugged him, Junhong’s strong arms swallowing up Youngjae’s lithe form.

There was a certain irony in that Youngjae was now the one feeding them both – he was the one protecting them.

“Don’t worry, Junnie. You’ll get a job soon and everything will be okay.” Youngjae reassured Junhong with a soft, comforting tone.

Youngjae pulled away with a bright smile, holding onto Junhong’s shoulders as he grinned, “In fact, I think that little café in town is looking for a full-time barista!”

Junhong chuckled and kissed Youngjae’s lips softly, “I’ll go and apply right now. I love you, Youngjae. What would I do without you?” Junhong let his face nuzzle into Youngjae’s hair, breathing in his strawberry-scented shampoo.

Youngjae held back his shudder at the family words – “You wouldn’t dare leave, would you?” – And covered for his pause with a light chuckle.

Junhong had been given the job almost immediately and his first few weeks working at the café had been perfect.

He came home with a couple of cake slices for him and Youngjae every day and his bi-weekly salary allowed them to live a comfortable life with some luxuries.

Youngjae was tying his striped tie as Junhong walked into their shared bedroom, two mugs of coffee in each hand. He crossed the room to Youngjae’s side of the bed where Youngjae stood next to the floor-length mirror and handed him the coffee.

Youngjae gave Junhong a grateful smile, “When do you get home today?”

Junhong took a sip from his coffee and smacked his lips, “2pm. Want to call a date night? There are some cool movies in the cinema in town.” He exaggerated his wink and smiled as Youngjae laughed and shook his head and took a sip of his coffee.

“Sounds good. I’ll be home 5pm.” Junhong nodded and handed Youngjae his shoes.

It was good while it lasted.

Life was good – they could afford a couple of restaurant dates each week and they even had satellite TV.

It was a change from the life that Youngjae had abandoned in Seoul. He would wake up beside Junhong and eat a hearty breakfast, leave for his office job with a kiss or two. Come home to Junhong’s glorious cooking and dinner by the TV, cheering for baseball teams.

Passionate kisses on the sofa, eventually guiding them through the corridor and into the bedroom. Each passionate night with Junhong left Youngjae feeling happy and comfortable. He was caring and affectionate, always checking if his delicate Youngjae was okay.

Junhong had come to accept that Youngjae wasn’t whole. There was a part of him that he wasn’t showing to the world, for whatever reason.

Junhong knew that from the moment that Youngjae flinched when Junhong touched his neck.

Something had driven Youngjae out of Seoul and hurt him so badly that Youngjae was left hurt and permanently damaged.

It all fell apart on their one year anniversary of moving in together.

Junhong had planned a romantic night for the both of them. Not only were they celebrating a year of living together, but also two years dating.

Junhong had finished lighting the scented candles when he heard the front door open and Youngjae’s quiet singing reached his ears.

He took a deep breath to calm his nerves before smiling to himself as he crossed the house to meet his partner at the threshold of their house.

Youngjae hung up his coat and turned to face Junhong, both of them greeted with giddy smiles.

“Welcome home, Jae.” Junhong leaned onto the door frame with his arms crossed as he watched Youngjae take off his shoes whilst blushing.

Youngjae smiled brightly, his eyes shining with emotion.

“Come on, dinner’s ready.” Junhong held his hand out for Youngjae to hold and they walked together towards the kitchen.

Youngjae’s eyes widened in wonder as he noticed the various candles lit up around the house, the scent of lavender that calmed his stressed mind, and the rose petals scattered around their dinner table.

Junhong pointed Youngjae to a chair at the dining table and then went to fetch dinner from the kitchen.

Youngjae eyed the setup as he waited, from the full set of cutlery around their plates to the bouquet of daisies mixed with baby’s breath in the centre of the table, surrounded by taller candles than the ones lit around the house.

Junhong soon walked through the kitchen arch and to the dining table, carrying a pan with a steam that carried a strong aroma around the dining room.

He placed it onto the table and reached for Youngjae’s plate. Youngjae gently handed him the plate as he smiled, his chest swelling with pride and adoration for his beloved Junhong.

It was moments like these that made his life worth living. Watching Junhong bite his bottom lip, leaving it slightly swollen. Watching Junhong carefully plate his meal, his hands shaking with nerves.

The food was magical and soon the empty pan was in the sink, ready to be washed the following morning. Neither of them wanted to wash it as they melted into each other’s heat and presence, their steps leading them towards the bedroom.

As the room began to heat up, so did their desires and Junhong began to leave little red kisses along Youngjae’s body on their bed.

His kisses reached Youngjae’s neck and as he began to lightly dig his teeth into his neck, he felt his lover stiffen.

Youngjae suddenly began to take in fast, heaving breaths and pushed Junhong off the bed quickly before running into their shared bathroom and locking the door behind him.

Junhong sat up from his position on the floor from being pushed down, he felt a wave of concern flood himself as he pondered over Youngjae’s actions.

He stood up and walked over to the door, leaned his sh0ulder on the doorframe and lightly knocked on the door, “Youngjae, are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

Junhong felt a sinking feeling deep in his stomach. Their anniversary had gone so well, yet Junhong’s passion had gone too far for Youngjae. Junhong had ruined their night.

The only replies that Junhong could hear from Youngae were light sobs and whimpers, muffled by the door between them.

Junhong felt like his heart had been stabbed knowing that he had done this to his beloved Youngjae.

He leaned his head onto the door and held back the tears – he didn’t deserve to cry after having done this to Youngjae.

The thing about love is that whilst love can heal wounds and keep you up at night with warm feelings deep in your stomach, love can also make you sob until the sun rises.

This was what Youngjae had learnt in his life after being hurt and used for so long.

He hadn’t meant to react that way to Junhong’s passionate kisses – he knew that Junhong deeply loved him and would never consciously hurt him.

But the scars and memories from his darling Jimin had suddenly bubbled up into his consci0us and Youngjae couldn’t think of anything beyond Jimin’s rough, calloused hands wrapped around his neck and Jimin’s fist colliding with Youngjae’s temple, making him see stars among the black spots in his vision.

And suddenly Junhong was Jimin and Youngjae wanted to escape. He had to go before Jimin got to him. He loved Jimin deeply, but he was scary when he came back from work, his nerves frayed from the stress and his disgust with himself for loving a man running rampant.

Jimin insisted that Youngjae was a secret. Jimin was a businessman and any indecent rumours were harmful to his career.

And so Youngjae lived half his life in secrecy and fear.

The nights he spent at his parents’ home were peaceful until he had to make up an excuse as to why he hadn’t found a girlfriend yet or who the attractive young man was that he often visited.

The nights spent in Jimin’s house were much more mixed. Sometimes Jimin would smile and indulge Youngjae with warmth and comfort in their bed.

But sometimes Jimin would come home smelling of soju and cigarettes, angry at the world for being so against him and his business, and Youngjae would become his release.

Those nights, Y0ungjae didn’t miss.

But every good thing about his life came to an end one night when Youngjae realised how unforgiving the cold city of Seoul was.

Youngjae and Jimin were in the living room, watching a cheesy romcom and occasionally sharing some kisses. It was Jimin’s little treat to Youngjae who had recently passed an important exam in his law degree.

But Jimin’s carelessness in forgetting to lock the front door had ruined their quiet lives.

Jimin’s coworkers had decided to deliver some paperwork that Jimin had forgotten at the company. When her knocks weren’t answered, she let herself in to leave the paperwork somewhere for Jimin.

And she walked into Jimin and Youngjae’s passionate kisses, Youngjae half-naked with his top half littered in little red marks of passion.

“It’s not what you think it is, Soojung!” Jimin jumped up from the sofa and tried to walk over to her.

Her face was twisted into disgust, “So when you weren’t at my apartment you were here with this…. Pervert?” she shouted before running out of the apartment.

Jimin was torn, eyeing the doorway and glancing at the frozen Youngjae. He sighed and ran after Soojung.

And that was the beginning of Youngjae’s end. Jimin had chosen his secretary girl over him.

His Youngjae, his rock, the love of his life, his muse.

Worth nothing for some office affair.

But what broke Youngjae the most wasn’t Jimin leaving him for the girl, but the cruelty of the city around him.

Youngjae had chosen to sleep in their bed. And by morning, it seemed the whole city had suddenly turned on him.

From the angry texts of his parents demanding that Youngjae pick up theirs calls to the graffiti all over his car spelling out “faggot”.

The loss of his law school scholarship, leading him to dropping the course due to his own poverty and even having no warm home to crawl to safety to at night.

The city had turned on him.

And so Youngjae left to a place where he could start from the beginning.

And yet here he was, sobbing with his arms wrapped around himself in his bathroom as Junhong broke down and let the guilt consume him from the opposite side of the door.

Junhong had lost his job shortly after Youngjae’s panic due to not turning up for work the next day and then being unfocused the following few weeks.

Their house had become sad and with a heavy atmosphere of sadness and trepidation and Junhong hesitated in touching Youngjae in fear of provoking another attack.

Despite Youngjae reassuring Junhong with a few hugs that he was okay, Junhong insisted that he needed to make things better for them.

And so he began to look for a better job – they needed change to leave this stifling atmosphere.

At first he struggled to find anything around their local area, and he even widened his search to Busan – his brother, Yongguk, urging him that the coastal city could revitalise their moods.

When Busan produced no results, Junhong began to apply for jobs in Seoul and even began to look for an apartment for him and Youngjae. He just wanted them to be happy again.

And finally, he was offered a job in Seoul as some kind of technician for an office. This was the hope that he had been looking for and he itched to share the news with Youngjae as soon as he got home from his own job.

He sat on the living room sofa whilst waiting for Youngjae, flicking through their TV channels.

He jumped up when he heard the front door open and Youngjae step into the house.

Youngjae walked into the living room, a content smile on his face as he noticed Junhong’s hopeful smile.

“Youngjae, I’ve got a really good job offer!” Junhong grinned from ear to ear, one of the widest smiles that Youngjae had seen from him since he had lost his job.

Youngjae set his jacket down on the coat hanger next to the living room door and walked towards the sofa before sitting down, sitting close to Junhong.

Junhong lightly kissed Youngjae’s forehead before resting his forehead against Youngjae’s, “I’ve got a job as an ICT technician for this fancy office in Seoul.” He continued with his announcement, failing to notice how Youngjae’s face had fallen into a distraught expression, his shoulders tense, “Everything is sorted out and I’ve already accepted the job. They’ve even given us a free apartment so we can leave this sleepy town once and for all and you don’t have to worry about a job for a while!”

Junhong paused to hear Youngjae’s response, but was only met with a silence of a thousand words and a thick cloud of sadness invade the happiness surrounding the house, the cartoons on the TV creating a freaking sense of irony.

Youngjae pulled back from Junhong’s embrace, his face unreadable although his eyes seemed clouded over with memories and fear – Junhong was always too scared to ask Youngjae about why he had left Seoul in fear of triggering those glazed eyes of fear.

“I c-can’t go back to S-seoul. I just can’t. I’m sorry, Junhong.” Youngjae shook his head frantically, his eyes scrunched up, holding back tears, and his fists balled up tightly. His breathing began to quicken and Junhong knew this was his usual signs of a panic attack.

By now, Junhong already knew what to do. “Youngjae, breathe in with me-“he held Youngjae’s right hand to his chest, just over his heart,”- In, and out. In, and out.” He carefully led Youngjae’s breaths before he could erupt into a full-scale panic attack.

Once Youngjae’s breathing had calmed down again, he breached the subject again, “The apartment is already fully furnished and everything, you don’t have to worry about anything Youngjae. You’ll be with me and you’ll be safe. I love you and I’ll look after you, I swear.”

But those words were empty promises to Youngjae since he had heard them so many times before, but they had failed him when he most needed his significant other.

“I can’t, Junhong. I can never go back to that place. I just won’t go. I’m sorry.” Tears of sadness and frustration with his own weakness slid down Youngjae’s face. He wanted to go with Junhong, he had begun to love him – even if he knew it was a bad idea.

But he couldn’t. There were too many memories in Seoul. Too many what-ifs and forgotten promises and dates that would never be realised.

Junhong’s face had fallen to match Youngjae’s own detached yet distraught expression, his jaw slack and his eyes shining with fresh tears. “What do you mean, you can’t go? Youngjae, I’m doing this all for us!” Junhong’s voice had steadily grown in volume, his tears running down his face, making his eyes appear bloodshot.

Youngjae flinched at Junhong’s tone, lifting himself from the sofa and walking towards their bedroom. Memories of his own disappointment with Jimin invading his thought space – he had run to his bedroom at that time too. Would Junhong disappoint him in the same way? Why would Junhong even want to be with Youngjae if Youngjae had never done anything to satisfy him?

Did Junhong have his own secretary girl to give him what Youngjae couldn’t?

The poisonous thoughts did nothing to relieve Youngjae of his panic which rapidly escalated as he locked himself in their shared bedroom in an attempt to avoid having to reply to Junhong’s panicked questions about what was wrong.

Junhong didn’t know how to react to Youngjae locking himself away again; so he gathered a blanket from a cupboard and slept in the living room sofa. His sleep was plagued by nightmares of a panicked and sobbing Youngjae. And sometimes an empty bed with no sign of Youngjae. He didn’t know which was worse.

Junhong lifted the last cardbox box into the van and closed the doors. He turned to face Youngjae behind him who had helped him lift the boxes into the van.

There was a stagnant silence and air of sadness and disappointment surrounding the pair – from Youngjae’s blank face and glazed-over eyes to Junhong’s own red eyes, red from all the tears he had spilt, begging Youngjae to at least make eye contact with him as they exchanged their farewells.

“Goodbye, Junhong. I hope everything goes well in Seoul for you. May the city be kinder to you than it was to me.” Youngjae’s usual melodic lilt was gone, replaced with a monotonous tone that offended Junhong’s ears.

Junhong looped his thumbs with the loops on his jeans in an effort to hold back the embrace he was yearning to give to Youngjae. He nodded solemnly, “Good luck to you too, Youngjae. I hope you find everything you seek in life.”

As Youngjae nodded back and turned to walk back to their – no, his – house, Junhong felt his chest heave with a violent sob and he couldn’t hold back his words, “I love you, Youngjae. I hope one day you can love me too.”

Youngjae failed to reply or even acknowledge that he had heard Junhong, but Junhong knew he’d heard him.

And so life continued in the city for Junhong, too fast paced for Junhong to ponder too long over why Youngjae feared the city.

6 years later

Youngjae’s job as the regional manager for his company had led him to take on many projects that required him to travel all over the country.

He had spent time in Busan with its metropolitan cityscape contrasting with its sandy beaches in a peaceful summer haze to sleepy Jeju and its quiet villages with high walls and a thousand and one gods dedicated to each inactive volcano.

And finally he had to deliver a speech to the CEO and the Board of Directors on the results of the Mokpo regional office for that year – a sharp increase in revenue since Youngjae was appointed as regional manager.

He looked over the notes for his speech as he walked into the office and sat in one of the chairs in the waiting line outside the conference room. A few years back he would’ve been fidgeting, sticking his hands under his legs to stop himself from chewing his nails. However, after many years of steadily climbing the ranks in the company, he had lost the jitters and began to gain the confidence in himself.

His sharp suit and shiny leather brogues portrayed only part of his work ethic – Youngjae even preferred to spend his luxurious vacations in the Caribbean on his laptop by the poolside, making changes to the yearly plan or the staff rota for next month.

He had fully invested himself into his career – whether he consciously replaced his past relationship with his career, he didn’t know but he was happy this way.

However his little bubble of happiness was disturbed as he heard a familiar childish tone by the Nespresso coffee machine in the opposite corner of the waiting corridor.

The sound of laughter confirmed his suspicions.

Sitting across him was Junhong. However it also wasn’t Junhong – this man no longer had the same boyish charms from before – his laugh was deeper and his eyes a little less childish and seemed to be hiding some maturity.

But perhaps the most shocking was the gold wedding band on Junhong’s ring finger that startled Youngjae the most.

But whatever it was, it was quickly shaken from Youngjae’s mind as he heard a voice call his name. He stood up and walked into the conference room, ignoring the quiet “Yoo Youngjae?” from behind him.

They had both moved on and the past was the past.

Even if Youngjae had taken years to realise that he had fallen in love with Choi Junhong.

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