Pairing: Yoosu, Jaeho, Yoomin
Genre: Romance, fluff, angst
Rating: PG – PG13
Summary: It’s the umpteenth time Kim Junsu is out of love. Feeling thoroughly exhausted, he vows never to fall in love so easily again. Meanwhile, Park Yoochun is in need of money and stumbles upon a deal to make Junsu fall in love with him – then dump him heartlessly.
Chapter Three: A Step Forward
No, Yunho was fucking rich.
Jaejoong tried not to gape as he entered the gigantic home, its interior almost as dreamy as its facade—flawlessly marbled floor with a long, dark carpet in the centre leading up the grand flight of stairs, sophisticatedly renovated rooms with seemingly no end, expensive paintings and artistic sculptures (that Jaejoong knew he would never be able to appreciate) in meticulously selected areas, and antique lamps of various shapes and sizes in every corner that tinted the house a pale, soothing orange color.
It had been a long time since he saw a place that was as enthralling as this.
“Here’s my room,” Yunho opened the door for him, and Jaejoong noticed that the exquisite doorknob looked like it cost more than anything he ever owned.
“Wow,” Jaejoong finally said, placing his slightly dirtied bag on the little elegant leather stool next to the door. He licked his lips hesitantly at the obvious mismatch.
Yunho grinned and beckoned Jaejoong to follow him to the left side of the room, where a stylish but untidy study table was positioned together with two big armchairs. The shorter boy sat down in one of them with an awkward expression as he continued taking in the unfamiliar environment. A low chuckle beside him interrupted his thoughts.
“Maybe we should have gone to the library instead,” Yunho dug through the heap of books, smiling.
They had thought of the school library first, but in the end, Yunho had invited Jaejoong to his house since it would be more comfortable. Jaejoong had agreed after a minute’s consideration, but it did not occur to him that his ‘house’ was actually a castle.
Definitely a prince.
“You’re rich,” Jaejoong stated, blinking at the complicated carvings on the desk drawers.
“Umm, yes,” Yunho pulled out a brown notepad and settled down beside him, amusement in his eyes. “But I like to keep a low profile.”
Jaejoong nodded thoughtfully. No wonder he hadn’t heard of him or seen him with truckloads of giggly girls following behind. It was good anyway; it meant lesser competition for Jaejoong.
“Where shall we start?”
“Where were you yesterday?” Yoochun demanded, folding his arms in front of him unhappily. They were released for lunch and he could finally grill Jaejoong properly. “I waited for you till I fell asleep.”
Jaejoong gave a sheepish grin and slung his arm around Yoochun’s shoulders. “Sorry, I know I was supposed to help you brainstorm.”
“That,” Yoochun glanced around the crowded cafeteria for an empty table and frowned. The nonstop chatter reverberating in his ears was enough to give him a headache. “is not an acceptable answer.”
“Alright, I was tutoring Yunho—this guy I bumped into yesterday,” Jaejoong said, grinning slightly at the memory. “He’s really cute.”
Yoochun rolled his eyes and looked at him accusingly. “You kept me waiting at home half the night because of tuition? You lovesick girl.”
“He has a History test today, it was urgent,” Jaejoong formed a perfect pout with his lips as they found a table at the end of the noisy cafeteria.
“Excuses,” Yoochun sat down on the flimsy plastic chair. “I wanted to start off today, and now it’s impossible.”
Jaejoong was about to open his mouth to object when he spotted something behind Yoochun. His doe-like eyes twinkled and he gave a meaningful grin. “Maybe not.”
“There,” Changmin whispered when he spied two familiar forms at the back of the cafeteria, pulling Junsu over with him.
“Alright,” Junsu wrinkled his nose as he remembered the plan Changmin worked out yesterday night. He was supposed to drag Jaejoong off to buy food, accidentally spill food on his shirt and bring him to restroom, leaving Changmin enough time to ask Yoochun out. It was a cracked plan, Junsu had told him (because he was never a good actor), but Changmin had insisted it would work. “W-Wait!”
“What if I can’t spill food on him? What if—”
“Junsu! You promised!”
“Fine, fine. If this retarded plan fails miserably, it’s not my fault.” Junsu hid a pout as they neared the table.
“Hi!” Jaejoong greeted brightly as they reached, and Junsu wondered how he could bring himself to dirty the white jacket he had on. Hopefully spaghetti sauce could be washed off.
“Hi,” the both of them returned the lively greeting as Yoochun turned around and smiled. A tad stiff-looking though, Junsu noticed.
Before he could sit down next to the Jaejoong, and Changmin next to Yoochun, the blonde clapped his hands together loudly, seemingly remembering something. “Ah! I just remembered—Ms. Lee is looking for you, Changmin. She said it’s something important.”
Junsu froze with his round bottom inches away from the seat. He stared at an equally taken aback Changmin. Neither of them had expected the plan to backfire when it had not even started.
How pathetic. He would have laughed if he had forgotten the last bit that Changmin told him last night.
“I’ve figured everything out. If, somehow, the plan fails and you’re alone with Yoochun, help me find out more about him.”
“Talk to him, ask him questions!”
“Okay, guess I have to skip lunch then,” Changmin frowned, giving Junsu a look that he hoped meant ‘plan postponed’. Junsu blinked at him in return. At least he did not have to stain Jaejoong’s pretty jacket today.
“I’ll go with you,” Jaejoong offered, standing up quickly. “I’m not hungry yet. We can get a quick bite after that.”
“Sure,” Changmin smiled, then waved goodbye to the other two. The both of them disappeared into the crowd, with Jaejoong pulling Changmin with him enthusiastically.
Junsu relaxed into the chair and smiled half-heartedly at the only person left with him at the table. Here goes nothing.
“What’s your favorite food?”
Yoochun tried his best not to give Junsu an alien stare. He had been bombarded with random questions like that (“Do you like tall people?” and “Do you have any weird habits?”) for the past ten minutes and he was starting to feel hunger rumbling in him, as much as Junsu’s behavior was amusing.
It was all thanks to a certain Kim Jaejoong, who dumped him with Junsu without any warning. Didn’t he realize that Yoochun had not decided on his first step yet?
And Ms. Lee looking for Changmin was like the crappiest lie ever. Who the hell was Ms. Lee anyway? He had a sneaking suspicion that Jaejoong simply gambled with some familiar name.
“Uh, well, ramen?”
“Ah.” Junsu nodded, locking his hands together on the table. To Yoochun, he looked somewhat insincere, like he was conducting a random survey, but hey, it made everything easier if Junsu had some kind of interest in him.
“Do you want to get something to eat?” Yoochun finally asked, putting an end to the little survey. He needed food before he could get his mind to focus on what to do next, anyway.
“Oh, sure. Could you get something for me?” Junsu asked, smiling as Yoochun stood up. “Anything that you’re having. I’ll take care of the seats.”
“Okay,” Yoochun walked off speedily into the queues. Junsu was acting rather strangely, although he couldn’t deny that it was cute in a way.
Especially the way he smiled.
“I’m dying of hunger,” Changmin complained, plopping himself down on a bench near the staff room. They had been walking around fruitlessly, and half the lunch period was already gone.
“Me too,” Jaejoong admitted, settling himself down beside Changmin. But it’s all for a good cause.
That thick-headed Yoochun had better make full use of this opportunity and charm Junsu. Jaejoong raised an eyebrow comically at the thought.
If there was any progress, Yoochun had better thank him. After all, Jaejoong didn’t know who the hell Ms. Lee was anyway. It just popped into his head because he heard a couple of students talking about her in the morning. Fortunately, Changmin seemed to know who she was.
“Where in the world is Ms. Lee??” Changmin huffed, running a quick hand through his brown hair. “Let’s just go back for lunch, I’ll look for her after school.”
Jaejoong stood up, pulling Changmin with him. “How about we try the lounge? One last try.”
Changmin pondered for half a second and nodded reluctantly. “Alright.”
The lounge was at the other end of the building.
“Here,” Yoochun placed the plates of spaghetti down on table. He watched as Junsu’s eyes lighted up a fraction before glancing at him.
“Wow, how did you know that I was craving for this?”
Yoochun had studied the profile of Junsu that Shiwon gave him while waiting up for Jaejoong last night, and by now, he was already well-equipped with almost every piece of information on Junsu—dumped in every relationship he had, likes soccer, eats spaghetti in school on alternate days… The profile was the most detailed thing he had ever read and it made him feel like he had just spent years with a person in only a few minutes.
The worst point was, though, that Junsu never had a boyfriend. But that would change.
He shrugged as casually as he could, grinning. “I felt like eating this too.”
“I guess we have same tastes—” Junsu stopped in mid-grin, appearing to have thought of something. His spoon paused near Yoochun’s nose as he motioned Yoochun to come closer. “Wait, do you… like guys?”
“What?” Yoochun half-shouted, almost bumping his head into Junsu’s. The part about him being straight in the profile was totally off. …Not that he minded, it was all the better.
“No?” Junsu looked slightly wounded, and Yoochun considered. He liked girls; no questions about that no matter what Jaejoong said, but he was on a special mission.
Still, it was difficult for him to say it.
“I… Uh, I—”
Junsu leaned back in his chair suddenly, eyes widening in late realization at what he just implied. “I-It’s fine, I mean, umm. Let’s eat.”
Yoochun caught the pinkish tint on his cheeks. Junsu was interested in him, he had to be. “Oh. Okay.”
They ate in silence for the next five minutes, save for Yoochun’s noisy chewing. Junsu played with his fork and looked up for a moment, still visibly bothered by what he had said.
Yoochun shifted his attention to Junsu, mouth full of food.
“Just now… I wasn’t thinking properly. So… don’t, uh, misunderstand, okay?”
Yoochun swallowed the spaghetti. “Too late, I already did.”
Junsu jerked up in alarm, fork dancing in the air anxiously. He had been expecting Yoochun to say okay. “It’s not like that! Really! It’s all Cha—No, I mean, can’t you… erase it from your memory or something?”
Great. Why did that suggestive question even come out from his mouth in the first place?! He was going to get skinned alive by Changmin if he ever found out.
“But I have a good memory,” Yoochun stopped himself from grinning. It seemed like fun to tease this innocent target, and now, he had a good idea of how to get Junsu to go out with him. If he was lucky, only a bit of diversion was needed.
“Please,” Junsu begged, and his lips formed a small pout unconsciously. “You’ve got it all wrong!”
“Alright,” Yoochun decided suddenly, smiling as he leaned over the table towards Junsu.
Relief flooded Junsu’s distressed features. “Really?”
“Really,” Yoochun said, looking into Junsu’s unsuspecting eyes. “On one condition though.”
“Okay, anything you say!” Junsu responded promptly, beaming and ready to attack the plate of spaghetti again. How bad could the condition be? He did not need to be skinned after all.
Yoochun struggled not to laugh at his lack of caution. “Go out with me.”
“Go out? Where—” Junsu gave a confused look before understanding what it actually meant. He gave a start, nearly upsetting the plate, and waved his hand frantically in front of Yoochun’s amused face. “What?!! No, I can’t—”
“You already agreed.”
Yoochun returned his attention to the spaghetti, grinning a little. “Tomorrow, at two.”
“Just... this once?” Yoochun looked up briefly, and there was something in his soulful eyes that stopped Junsu from protesting again.
He sank in his chair, appetite gone.
Now he was going to be skinned, chopped into pieces and boiled in Kimchi soup.
How could you have asked a question like that?!
“Dumbass,” he told his reflection in the mirror, frowning.
Wait, he had to sort things out first.
Junsu pointed at the desk mirror. “Let me get this straight. Changmin likes Yoochun and you don’t, but you’re the one going on a date with Yoochun tomorrow.”
Staring at himself for a full minute, Junsu blinked in realization. “Shit, look what you’ve done! You don’t even like guys, Kim Junsu!”
He was about to pull his hair off when the door clicked and a tired Changmin walked in, giving Junsu a weird look.
“Talking to yourself again?” He shook his head as he dropped himself on the bed wearily. The never-ending after school activities were killing him. He should never have joined half the clubs in school. Plus, it turned out the search for Ms. Lee was for nothing because Jaejoong remembered wrongly. The expression on his face was kind of strange though, Changmin recalled.
Junsu bit his lip and sat down tentatively next to Changmin. “Min.”
“Yeah?” Changmin mumbled, closing his eyes for a short rest. Then he remembered the day’s lunch and sat up keenly. “Oh, how was lunch? Did you get anything out of him?”
“I was about to tell you,” Junsu took a deep breath. He had to let Changmin know about this; there was no way he could lie and go on a date with Yoochun secretly.
Changmin noted his expression with unease. “It’s nothing bad, right?”
“He… He asked me out.”
There, he said it. Junsu held his breath and waited for a reaction. At least he liked Kimchi soup.
“Asked… you out?” Changmin looked considerably shocked, but his voice was calm. “You agreed?”
Junsu made a worried grab for his hand. The quiet, composed reaction was something he had been dreading, and he would honestly choose getting boiled in soup over that.
Changmin could be playful and jovial all the time and look unaffected to everything negative, but to Junsu, it only showed how vulnerable he was inside. He knew Changmin wasn’t as strong as he seemed.
“It-It was only because he tricked me! Min, I really—”
“Don’t worry about it,” Changmin managed a smile. “Maybe he’s asking you out because he wants to know more about me through you first. You know, the get-to-know-the-best-friend kind of thing.”
“Oh, right,” Junsu nodded vehemently. He hadn’t thought about that, but now that Changmin said so, it had to be this way. “It must be.”
They fell into silence and Junsu squeezed the hand he was holding. Changmin never kept his mouth shut (heck, he talked in his sleep too), except when he was eating or studying.
“I’ll help you, I promise.”
The worn-out boy gave a reassuring smile, patted the top of Junsu’s head and dropped back down onto his bed, eyes flying shut once again.
Changmin never patted his head either.
A/N: ..I promise the next chapter will be better? *hides*
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