C H A P T E R - S E V E N
Having Sundays off was always a treat and something that should be valued highly since it usually happened once in a blue moon. Today was definitely worth celebrating since both YunHo and JaeJoong were off duty and were able to spend the entire day with EunMi. Since she just recently learned how to move and crawl on her own, JaeJoong had to always follow her around, making sure she wouldn’t slip somewhere dangerous.
YunHo was recording everything on his phone when the little one popped out of nowhere while they were both in the midst of putting away her clothes and toys.
“She looks like a little snail. Look at her go.” YunHo commented, grinning widely as EunMi made small noises of frustration, trying to reach the rattle JaeJoong was waving. He was sitting on the other side of the room and it would take some time for little EunMi to reach him and grab the toy.
Playing with the baby girl had always been a stress relief, her chubby cheeks, small eyes and pouty lips would simply melt you into a messy puddle of cooing goo. Both of them swore not to use baby talk, yet sometimes they would find themselves unconsciously doing it. It was JaeJoong most of the time who noticed it and quickly chastised YunHo when he was caught.
EunMi squealed in delight once her tiny hands enclosed around the rattle. JaeJoong picked her up from the floor and jiggled her up and down, laughing when she raised her arms up, hugging him around his neck. YunHo smiled at the adorable sight they made, still capturing everything on video on his phone. The memory card of his phone was brimming with all sorts of videos and photos of his pseudo-family. If a person would look through it, they’d get the impression that he was already a married man with a very beautiful child.
“The weather’s perfect today.” JaeJoong observed with his eyes thoughtfully staring afar through the window. “We should go to the park.”
After getting all the necessary things for the baby, the two stepped out of the house and walked a few blocks leading to the nearest park. This wasn’t the first time EunMi was taken into such a public place. It was, however, the first time that all three of them were going together. They would definitely make an odd sight for the regulars hanging-out there.
They found an empty park bench next to a tree appropriate for shading the harsh sunlight, leaving just enough. With EunMi on his lap, JaeJoong leaned back against the bench and revelled in the fresh air, a feat most city people could rarely get a hold of.
The weather was too perfect, YunHo thought. He wondered if there was going to be a heavy rainfall later.
“YunHo.” The taller man turned and glanced at him curiously, “Don’t you ever wonder what happened to HaNa’s case?” She was a victim of a hit and run and yet up until now, there was no news reaching them about whether the culprit was caught or not. EunMi’s grandmother, Mrs. Kim, would only call to ask about her granddaughter and that’s it. It was odd how nobody seemed to be doing anything to investigate about HaNa’s death.
Nodding his head, the doctor replied, “I do but it never occurred to me until now that you asked. I thought her dad was going to have that incident investigated?”
“Well,” JaeJoong began with an air of uncertainty, “Mrs. Kim’s not telling me anything about it, that is, if they’re really having it investigated.”
“It was an accident. Do you think there was a foul play behind it?”
“Regardless of that, the person who was driving should get punished for killing her, accident or not.” JaeJoong looked down at the bundle of love snuggling against his chest. EunMi fell asleep with the feel of the soft breeze brushing against her skin and the warmth of the sunlight. An orphan right on the day she was born and JaeJoong’s heart ached for HaNa and the baby she never had the chance to hold.
Sensing the sadness radiating from the other man, YunHo reached out and gave JaeJoong’s shoulder a squeeze. “Hey, if you want, I can ask my cousin. He’s a public defender and maybe I can have him look into it.”
JaeJoong gave him a soft smile, a little surprised that YunHo would have a solution right away when he wasn’t even asking. “That’s a great idea, but we have to talk to her parents first.” They really should pay them a visit one of these days and have EunMi get acquainted more with her blood relatives. “It just pisses me off how society can condemn innocent people yet they couldn’t even put someone to jail for committing an actual crime.” Memories of his mother’s trial when he was young resurfaced in his head once again, which he shook off quickly before it consumed him. Right now wasn’t the best time to dwell on it.
“It’s sad how true that statement is.” With a heavy sigh, YunHo shook his head. He was no expert but he was sure that whatever happened to HaNa should be justified. Her death was too abrupt. Sometimes he wondered if EunMi’s unknown father had something to do about it. The man never claimed his rights, which was relieving, if he says so himself. Now at seven months of being with EunMi, there was no way he would give her up so easily. The bastard better find a high-end lawyer if he wants his daughter’s full custody.
Silently, JaeJoong observed the play of emotions on YunHo’s face, making him wish he could read the doctor’s complex mind. A complete opposite of his expressive self, YunHo preferred boxing all of his emotions and opinions to himself, making him recluse from the rest of the world.
“What are you thinking?”
Eyes shifting towards JaeJoong and down to the sleeping baby, YunHo softly replied, “Nothing. I just realized how much I want to protect EunMi.” And you. He wanted to say, but the words were stuck in his throat. The way JaeJoong was looking at him felt like he was expecting something more than that and ended up visibly deflating.
With a forced smile, JaeJoong nodded and stared off the distance, avoiding YunHo’s eyes by all means. He didn’t understand why such a meaningful statement disappointed him so much. What did he want YunHo to say anyway? Amongst his jumbled thoughts about YunHo and their complicated relationship, a figure suddenly appeared and approached their bench.
“Oh!” Came his startled gasp, “Jeff!” the man looked radiant against the sunlight, wearing what seemed to be his running apparel.
“What a surprise. I didn’t know you come around this part of town.” The green-eyed doctor said, stepping closer. “Hi, YunHo.”
“Hey,” YunHo replied, still miffed that the man somehow threw formalities away and found it comfortable to call him by his first name. Unlike before, Jeff was making an effort to make friends with him lately. He didn’t know what changed but he figured it had something to do with JaeJoong.
EunMi woke-up at the noise around her, irritatingly rubbing her eyes for being disturbed. YunHo took her into his arms, appeasing her sour mood. His eyes sent Jeff an obvious hint of displeasure, but JaeJoong quickly elbowed him on the rib. “Stop glaring at EunMi’s paediatrician.” The shorter man whispered tersely, smiling at Jeff who was looking at them with a wistful smile.
“So, this is um…” Jeff started, eyes shifting between the two of them. He knew little about what occurred between the two and how they ended up living together with a baby, but JaeJoong would assure him all the time that he and YunHo were not in that kind of relationship. A spark of hope ignited within him when the beautiful man said that and yet looking at them now, standing in the park with a baby between them, surely made that spark dwindle.
“We raise EunMi together,” YunHo explained, eventually realizing what Jeff was trying to say. “It’s complicated.” He laughed, sounding not too genuine before slipping the inevitable. “So what’s going on between you two?”
“YunHo,” JaeJoong interrupted, giving him a meaningful glare and a forced smile on his face. “Can you give us a minute?”
YunHo shot him an affronted glare, not exactly pleased at the idea and yet he ended up walking away with EunMi. They found a running Labrador around with its owner and the two went to meet the energetic mutt.
Although EunMi was too young to play with bigger dogs, YunHo made sure that he would hold her in a certain way so that it wouldn’t be too dangerous. She received a huge lick on her face and a nudge on the chest, to which she both giggled relentlessly. YunHo grinned appreciatively when the dog’s owner came over and praised his parenting skills.
JaeJoong, however, was not pleased as he approached them with a twisted smile on his face; twisted in a way that it was fake for the dog’s owner and ominous for YunHo. “What were you doing? That dog is too huge for her!” he whispered urgently as they walked back to the bench where they previously sat.
Looking around, YunHo found no trace of the persistent Dr. Smith, much to his relief. “Where’s Doctor Love?” he prompted, stirring JaeJoong’s attention away from the fact that their seven month old baby just played with a huge dog with her daddy YunHo’s permission.
“Hm?” JaeJoong intoned, glancing from EunMi to the taller man, “What?”
“I said, where’s Dr. Smith?” he refused to address him anyway that was informal. Because they were not friends and he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to be friends with the guy.
“I don’t know. Jogging, I guess?” JaeJoong gave him a look as if judging him for asking such a stupid question.
“Right.” YunHo reiterated, rolling his eyes. “What did you two talk about?”
“Why do you want to know?” JaeJoong questioned automatically.
“Did he ask you out?” YunHo questioned aggressively, gazing at JaeJoong suspiciously.
Eyebrow arched, JaeJoong bounced the baby in his arms and glared at the other man over her head, which was snuggled over his shoulder. “What if he did?” All these mixed signals were a complete throw-off and sometimes, JaeJoong wished YunHo would be a little more forward and less reserved. There was something between the two of them that pretty much gave him the idea that the doctor wasn’t sticking to him just because he was obligated. But none of them would acknowledge it. It would always be hanging in the air, thick and heavy, forever ignored because they were a pair of men with much egos the size of the Statue of Liberty.
Shrugging his shoulders lightly, YunHo looked away, hoping that the obvious disappointment on his face was left unseen. “I want to know if you’re going to bring men at home anytime soon. Tina did say we have to be careful when it comes to these things. I would appreciate it if you would think about EunMi and make her your top priority.”
“She is my top priority.” JaeJoong said with an edge on his voice. He couldn’t believe that the guy was actually questioning his priorities and the fact that he was making it sound as if he would actually take home every guy he would date. “Though I can’t say the same for you, given that you went home on few occasions pissed-drunk not to mention, you even brought your drunken friend along with you too. So much for good parenting.” He wasn’t exactly updated about those incidents per se, but at that time he just wanted to spew issues that would irk YunHo. A sudden desire to draw a reaction from the other man clouded his head and messed-up his way of thinking.
YunHo paused mid-step and faced JaeJoong who had been caught glaring daggers behind him. “That was a long time ago and don’t make this all about me, Jae. I’m not the one who’s having secret conversations with EunMi’s paediatrician.”
“Prude.” The male midwife scoffed. He stalked away, quickly walking his way back to the apartment while YunHo strode behind him, neither slowing down or keeping-up. He knew he pissed him off but he was too irritated to spout an apology. He didn’t mean it to sound so offensive but then he couldn’t help the fact that JaeJoong would take his words exaggeratedly.
Once back at the house, JaeJoong went straight to the baby’s bedroom to put the sleeping child in the crib while YunHo headed towards the kitchen, grabbing himself a glass water and chugging it down as if his bad mood would go away with it. It didn’t take long before he heard the thundering footsteps signalling JaeJoong’s fiery arrival. He barely placed the glass on the counter when he had JaeJoong standing a few feet away from him, poking a finger right up on his chest.
“Just so you know, he did ask me out and we’re going out on a date later.”
Swiping the finger off his chest, YunHo puffed his chest out and towered over the other man. “Just so you know, I don’t care.” He wished he didn’t stumble so much when he said that. Turning away to mask the embarrassment on his face, the doctor strode into his room and remained inside for the next couple of hours.
Trying to analyze health statistics had never been so challenging, especially when JaeJoong kept on interrupting his train of intellectual thoughts. At this point, YunHo pretty much had an idea why, but he wouldn’t acknowledge it. He could already hear YooChun’s cackling in the background, whispering ‘I told you so’ like the annoying creep that he was.
Why JaeJoong? “Why?” he bemoaned between his palms, scientific research blurring behind his closed lids as more images of JaeJoong started to accumulate in his head. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that they basically saw each other most of the time, or that YunHo was sexually frustrated over the months of singlehood that JaeJoong was the only source of relief he could access. That sounded so wrong and he gave himself a mental punch for even thinking about it.
Emerging out of his room, he was surprised to find a fully dressed man in front of his door. JaeJoong was wearing a low v-cut shirt that exposed too much of his chest and collarbones while his legs were clad in sinfully tight tattered black jeans with a pair of stylish leather boots YunHo had never seen before. Actually, this was the first time he had seen the man all made-up and it brought the air to suspend in his lungs for several seconds.
Mouth agape, YunHo continued to stare at JaeJoong with his eyes roving from head to toe, making the other extremely uncomfortable. “I was wondering when you were going to get off your high horse and come out.” Torn between closing the man’s mouth with his own and teasing him some more with a flick of his hair, JaeJoong settled for just rattling the stuff needed to be done to EunMi while he was away.
YunHo scowled, “I was busy.” He looked at the other man again and unconsciously ran his eyes from top to bottom. “So, you’re really going to go on a date with that guy, huh?”
“He has a name, YunHo.” JaeJoong spoke quietly, hand pressed against one of his hips and allowing most of his weight rest on one of his legs. “He calls you by your first name.”
Shrugging, YunHo replied. “He talks to me as if we’ve been best friends since we were in diapers. I can call him whatever I want.”
Sighing heavily, JaeJoong straightened up. “He’s going to be here soon and you better behave.” Turning on his heel, he walked off, making sure that the other was following him out. “Don’t forget to feed EunMi, okay? There’s a bottle of milk that you can pre-heat and a bowl of mashed carrots in the fridge.”
“Do you honestly think I’d forget feeding our da...” he was about to say ‘our daughter’ but YunHo quickly caught himself and quickly changed the word, “… our angel?” he followed JaeJoong downstairs, almost whimpering to himself at the sight of the man’s sinewy back, muscles playing as it was exposed by the low v-cut on the back part of the shirt.
“No, but I feel like I should remind you at least.” Like a nagging spouse, YunHo bitterly thought.
“I don’t understand why he asked you out. Isn’t there a boundary between the doctor and the patient?”
“Well he’s a paediatrician. If he’s dating a patient, then yes, that would be a problem.”
Talking to JaeJoong right now was like drawing blood from a stone and YunHo chose not to do that anymore. The next few words slipping between his lips however, were beyond his control. “Don’t go.”
“What?” JaeJoong laughed, “No way. I’m all set.” He made a move to walk away again but YunHo shot a hand forward and grabbed his arm. “YunHo—”
“Don’t go.” Though his hold tightened, YunHo said in a contradicting tone of calmness, “I don’t want you to see that guy.” Or with any guy for that matter, he added as an afterthought.
JaeJoong searched YunHo’s determined eyes for some sense of comprehension or perhaps a hint into what he still couldn’t understand. “Then what do you want?” he questioned softly. The answer was both obvious and confounding. He knew YunHo liked him; no man would just simply embrace him when he wanted to, or sleep with him on the same bed on nights when it was too lonely to sleep alone. No man would act like a barbarian at the prospect of him dating somebody else and enforced that it was all a platonic concern.
YunHo liked him and he liked him too.
Then what was taking them so long to just admit it?
Surprised at the question, YunHo took a step back abruptly. He released the raven-head man, his arms falling to his side in a show of conceding.
“Yeah, I thought so.” Turning on his heel again, JaeJoong sent him what seemed to be sharp leer before he made his way to the living room. It was no more than a few minutes when the doorbell rang.
YunHo stayed where he was and didn’t bother to see how the paediatrician would sweep the man away. He heard Dr. Smith’s compliments followed by dull chatter. Eventually the two of them left with the signal of the front door closing shut.
Finally, all by himself on the hallway, YunHo released a heavy sigh, ruffling his hair violently at the thought of his blunder awhile ago. For years of living a life of freedom and aversion, YunHo was beginning to think how much he changed in the past few months. Whatever happened to the guy who vowed not to make things complicated? Whatever he was feeling at the moment would definitely interfere with the harmony he and JaeJoong managed to build up so far.
Desperate to let out his feelings without making a crazy man out of himself, YunHo grabbed his phone and called the person who wouldn’t drop his call. YooChun had been doing that lately; still sour about the nasty argument they had a few days ago. He was immediately crossed out of the short list of people he would confer with.
The person picked-up on the third ring. “Hello?”
“I’m in desperate need of your wisdom.” YunHo plopped on the bed, nestling the phone next to his ear while staring aptly at the dark ceiling above. “MiYoung.”
“Do you know what time it is over here?” came her sleepy reply. YunHo figured his phone call managed to beat-up her own alarm clock. It totally slipped his mind that his ex-girlfriend was now living Seoul, and that his next phone bill would probably kill him. Either way, he wasn’t going to hung-up despite of the consequences. “It’s seven in the morning, YunHo. What do you want?”
“There’s something I really want to ask you and I want you to be honest with me.”
“I’ll try my best. My brain’s barely awake.”
YunHo suddenly felt bad for waking her up, and then not quite. He really needed to vent out or else he’d turn to EunMi and tell her all the stuff she can barely understand. “Do you think it’s healthy to have a clear vision of where I want to go or what I want to build?” he grabbed the pillow and placed it against the headboard.
MiYoung released a heavy sigh over her side. Trust YunHo to ask her such things, regardless of the time. “I guess so…” she should be excused for equally philosophical answers.
“Isn’t it dangerous to have a clear cut idea about people, though?”
“Like, what? Preferences?”
“Of course we’ll gravitate toward certain characteristics, be it physical, mental or spiritual. We prefer some traits over others. That’s fair.” There was a sound of rustling, probably MiYoung moving to sit-up against the headboard as well. “We all have preferences and we call them our ‘types’.” She carried on.
Drawing the blanket and comforter close, YunHo debated his next words. “I always thought you were my type.”
The other chuckled, “Are you trying to tell me something here?”
“I like JaeJoong.” He said in a rush, like a gush of breath out of his lungs.
“Good god, it took you this long to realize it?” MiYoung questioned frenziedly, “You know we shouldn’t even be talking about this. I’m your ex.”
“Yeah, well we’re not the normal kind.” They really weren’t. The reason why YunHo couldn’t introduce MiYoung to his parents is the fact that she was not the type to invest in a fully committed relationship.
“Point.” He could imagine her lips quirking into a smirk. “Anyway, back to the fact that you’re in love with JaeJoong,” YunHo wanted to correct her but the way she said it made no room for arguments. He kept his mouth shut. “did you tell him how you feel? Does he feel the same way?”
“Of course not.”
“Is this the reason why you called me? To help you grow some balls through an overseas phone call?” it seemed like she was beginning to embrace the fact that she was awake now, her voice changing in timbre and sounding less agreeable.
Shaking his head as if the other person could see him, YunHo informed, “He went out on a date tonight and I think I’m going to go crazy with worry.” It was difficult not to when the guy JaeJoong went out with was pretty much a perfect candidate, an unmarried doctor. Although he didn’t know much about Dr. Smith, most of the nurses, even SeoHyun raved about his personality and his winning, sparkling pearly whites. “I tried to stop him. It was kind of embarrassing how I just stood there, gawking when he asked what I wanted.”
“What do you want then, YunHo?” She questioned incredulously. “I don’t understand why you’re acting like this. You’ve always been upfront when you want something and look at you now, struggling like a teenager.”
“It’s different with him, okay?” YunHo supplied in excuse, still unable to come up with a proper answer.
“Surely it’s not because he’s a guy. May I remind you of that particular boy you met in med school—”
“Let’s not unfold the past now, shall we?” He didn’t need to be reminded of all of his exploits before to convince himself that he was, in fact, very much leaning more towards his attraction to men than women. “It’s different because we’re raising a child. What would happen if we get into a fight or much worse, if we break-up? I can’t afford to lose both him and EunMi.” It didn’t help that even the Child Social Services disapproves of them considering a relationship more than friendship.
Grumbling a note of disapproval, MiYoung heaved a sigh as she answered, “I think you should toss your principles away and fight whatever problems you’ll go through in the process instead of labelling what is right and what is wrong. It’ll pop your bubble and will force you to take what you want and not the other way around.” The woman went to say, sounding thoughtful. “Go do something about it.” She finished succinctly. YunHo was amused and quite taken aback at MiYoung’s words. They said a few things before both hung-up, leaving YunHo to his thoughts in the confines of his room.
It was a little after eleven when YunHo heard the sound of the front door opening and closing with a gentle thud. Standing in the hallway just outside the kitchen, he watched as the other man removed his boots, stacked them on the shelves and then enters the household.
“Hi.” YunHo greeted to make his presence known.
Starting at the sudden voice, JaeJoong replied with eyes wide, “Oh. You’re still up.” He rushed to the kitchen and dumped his things on the counter.
Amused, sensing some lingering scorn and awkwardness from JaeJoong, YunHo followed him to the kitchen, standing patiently as the male midwife grabbed himself a glass of water.
“Fun night?” He asked, smiling reassuringly. His behaviour was surely suspicious and that brought an odd smile on JaeJoong’s face.
“Yeah. He was nice.” He wiped the stray droplet of water on the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. He didn’t know if he just imagined it or not but he was sure YunHo just followed the action with his eyes. “I’m tired. I’m going to bed, okay? Good night.” But before he could escape, YunHo moved closer, trapping him against the kitchen counter.
“Toss your principles away.”
Without a word, the taller man leaned in and placed a kiss on the raven’s lips. It was soft and brief, sort of sweet and lingering. JaeJoong was too shocked to even process what was going on. Suddenly, YunHo was in front of him, towering and kissing him.
Standing back, YunHo gave the other a scrutinizing gaze. “This is what I want.” He moved to kiss him again, smiling against plush lips when he felt JaeJoong’s arms slink around his torso, clutching the back of his shirt. For the next few minutes, nothing else mattered except the responsive man melting in his arms.
AN: And here we are, at the climactic part of the story. After six chapters, there's finally YunJae, hooray!!! LOL I'm sure some of you wanted to strangle Yunho to death for being such an ass almost half of this chapter, but finally! We have some progress, and a huge leap at that! Now please don't kill me for leaving you with a raging/obvious cliffhanger? Yeah, love you guys too. <3
I appreciate your feedback so please do comment~ thank you! ^^
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