Midterms almost completely push the strange encounter with Do Kyungsoo out of Jongin’s mind, his education on a line that’s precarious enough that his books are consuming all of Jongin’s time outside of the restaurant. Any free time he had before to wind down after a shift or grab an unhealthy snack from the university store must be dedicated to cramming instead, and he unwillingly cuts down his work time in order to make sure he aces his classes. When he does go to work, Lu Han always has the same message for him: “Kyungsoo was looking for you again.”
At the fifth time of hearing this same line, Jongin shakes his head, setting his thick Macroeconomics textbook aside and reaching back to tie the knot of his apron hurriedly. “Next time, tell him to give it up.”
“Did something happen between you two?” Lu Han asks in alarm.
Jongin flinches. “Nothing, don’t worry. I just don’t need to see him anymore. What time did he drop by again?”
As Lu Han struggles to remember when Kyungsoo came to eat, times that Jongin will note down and take care to avoid with the excuse of studying, Jongin has a moment to study the other waiter. Lu Han doesn’t seem to get severe eye bags or shadows like Jongin is sure he is sporting now, but there’s a sad, quiet weariness to him that Jongin is almost convinced goes bone deep, like he has been waiting for bad news for a very long time. After Lu Han rattles off all the times and dates he can remember, Jongin carefully reaches out to grasp Lu Han’s thin, thin forearm. “Are you doing all right?” he asks.
It takes Lu Han by surprise, Jongin can see, like he can’t believe what he just heard. Thankfully, he doesn’t ask Jongin to repeat himself, because they both know Jongin would mutter something like “forget it!” and run out of the kitchens. “Things are a bit tough right now,” Lu Han says at last. “But I’ll manage. Thanks for asking, Jongin.”
Jongin nods, out of his comfort zone but glad he tried. “Tell me if I can, well, help you. In any way.”
Lu Han gives him a sweet smile and gets to work, the double doors still swinging in his wake. After a moment, Jongin follows in suit. To his relief, Kyungsoo does not show up that night, and Jongin is able to focus perfectly that night save for that niggling worry in the back of his mind that something is terribly wrong in Lu Han’s life.
It is the night before Jongin’s last exam when Kyungsoo shows up at the restaurant again, for the first time in nearly a month. Jongin is in the middle of taking an order from a frazzled-looking lady struggling to hold onto her wailing son when he notices the shadowy figure slip inside, face buried in a high collar. Reminding himself he is still at work, he forces himself to turn back to the lady, who finally points out the dishes she wants and has to shove her child into Jongin’s arms in order to tend to her other baby while her husband is on the phone. Taken by surprise, Jongin just barely holds on to the squirming little body he now holds. The child sniffles once, equally shocked by the change, and stares up with wide, watery eyes into Jongin’s face.
The child is as good as any excuse for Jongin’s distraction; he cradles the young boy cautiously in his arms, taking care to avoid the mucus running out of his tiny nose, and hopes he doesn’t start crying again. Luckily, he seems to have quieted in Jongin’s hold, snuffling and sucking on his thumb drowsily. By the time his mother can accept him again, the child has almost fallen asleep against Jongin’s shoulder, warm, pudgy arm pressed against Jongin’s neck. His tired mother thanks Jongin profusely as she settles the child into his carrier.
He refills her tea and then goes around the tables in his section to do so for other customers, then making the rounds for a second time with a pitcher of ice water. When he takes the emptied pitcher back to the kitchens, he runs into Lu Han just inside of the double doors, noticing the other boy’s near-panic. “What is it?”
“I tried to serve him but he refused—Jongin, you have to go to him,” Lu Han gasps. There is no question who he is talking about.
“Send someone else,” Jongin says tensely.
Lu Han shakes his head. “He won’t. Do Kyungsoo is too powerful for us to refuse him now, but you know how much I hate to make you do this. Jongin, please.”
“Shit.” Jongin exhales angrily, wiping away the sweat at his temple with the heel of his hand. He’s been running around nearly all evening for his busiest shift, having had fallen asleep for a mere hour or two over his textbooks before jerking awake during his failed excuse for an all-nighter the night before. The night before was no better, and all the ones before that, and all Jongin wants is to crawl into bed and sleep until the next week. It doesn’t help that he’s running out of money for the month.
Still, he presses a hand over his face and nods in defeat to Lu Han, who grasps his shoulder reassuringly. Jongin does not shrug his touch away this time, sighing heavily and feeling his barriers slip just long enough that Lu Han starts to protest, but Jongin has to go. Quick strides take him back out into the bustling restaurant, his composure back in place, and he cocks his hip against Kyungsoo’s table and asks promptly, “What will you have tonight?”
Kyungsoo’s eyes are guarded, analyzing Jongin’s, but he concedes frighteningly quickly—no mind tricks or teasing or cryptic remarks, and especially no probing questions. “Noodles.”
“Coming right up,” Jongin says, equally polite. He disappears into the kitchen, and it’s obvious Lu Han wasn’t expecting him to return so quickly with the order; once Lu Han sees Jongin is all right, he lets himself be ushered back to work, pitcher in hand.
On Jongin’s part, he makes a round through his section, refilling drinks and taking orders as well, until the service light by the kitchens doors turn on and he rushes in only to discover it’s time to take Kyungsoo’s noodle dish out. A deep breath to steady himself, and he goes.
However, the exchange is anticlimactic, Kyungsoo accepting the food with a quiet “thank you” and beginning to eat. Jongin takes it as a good sign, busying himself with doing his job. When Kyungsoo empties his cup for the third time, Jongin realizes he’s staying until closing again, and the paranoia and anxiety begin to mount once again. He’s getting sick of being played around, of worrying about the next words that leave Kyungsoo’s mouth and struggling to understand what this boy, this boy who is clearly from a completely different world from him, wants from Jongin.
When Jongin pulls out the keys to the store out of his pocket, the last employee standing in front of the last customer, he stares down at Kyungsoo, who is still in his seat. “You coming?”
Kyungsoo is a silent but still unusual presence at his side, walking alongside Jongin as he makes his way down the snowy streets. They’re both bundled as far into their jackets as possible, trying to fend off the cold, but Jongin is undoubtedly the colder one out of the two, without cashmere and wool to protect his exposed skin. Ten minutes later, they sit down at the bus stop a while before the last bus is due to come, and this time it is Jongin’s turn to scrutinize Kyungsoo’s reaction. The other boy seems to be unfazed, eyes gazing around at his surroundings but lips pressed tightly together in a refusal to speak.
The bus is nothing like the classy van, but Kyungsoo does not protest when he sits down beside Jongin in the seats nearest to the door. Now that he’s in familiar territory, Jongin allows himself to relax a bit, standing easily when they pull up at the street of his apartment complex. A short trip down the street takes them to Jongin’s home, as cold and silent as ever.
“It’s not much, but…” Jongin shrugs, feeling the place deserves some introduction, and then pushes the door open to let Kyungsoo in first.
So maybe he’s staring, but it isn’t like Jongin didn’t gape or explore when he went to Kyungsoo’s house, so Jongin lets it slide and goes to hang up his coat and turn on the heating instead. None of the scorn or pity or arrogance Jongin predicted would appear in Kyungsoo’s expression has manifested yet, so Jongin doesn’t kick Kyungsoo out into the bitter cold, gesturing instead for him to go into the kitchen. “You just ate so I won’t offer you anything to eat,” Jongin says, letting a half-smile quirk his lips.
Kyungsoo smiles back, just a bit. “I wouldn’t take anything anyways.”
“Sit down,” Jongin offers. He pulls out a chair for Kyungsoo at the dinner table, abandoning the coffee machine after a moment to move his textbooks and notes away.
“Your handwriting is atrocious,” comments Kyungsoo, looking at the scrawled summaries and notes Jongin has been putting together for midterms. His last one, Econometrics, is on the very top, and is also the one covered with the most red ink and yellow highlighter. “What do you study?”
“Economics,” Jongin answers with a shrug. “Just something I’ve always liked, just enough to try it out. I don’t expect I’ll go anywhere with it.”
“Why are you studying it then?” Kyungsoo asks, his voice lacking the probing, invasive tone it had when he asked Jongin things about himself before. There’s curiosity, of course, and general interest, yet Jongin still feels Kyungsoo wants something. Less of a wanting, more of a wishing.
Jongin shrugs again. Tonight is not the night to go through his life story. “Long story.” His tone closes the conversation, and he stands to pour them both cups of coffee. Kyungsoo asks for milk, but Jongin drinks his straight black, wincing at the bitter taste but knowing he has a long night ahead of him.
“Hope you don’t mind if I study for a while? I have a test tomorrow,” Jongin says to Kyungsoo, a bit awkwardly, but the other boy shakes his head and settles down in his seat. Feeling a bit nervous under the scrutiny, Jongin opens his textbook to the chapter he left off at and keeps reading, taking notes whenever he feels something will be on the exam and struggling against yawns. A few quiet hours slip by before he realizes how much time has gone by, with Kyungsoo asleep on folded arms beside him and his notes finally finished, just in time for three hours of sleep before morning shift. Standing up inevitably rouses Kyungsoo, who blinks bewilderedly upon waking up in a strange place, beside whoever Jongin is to him.
“I’m, uh, headed off to sleep now. Do you…” Jongin trails off, feeling his stomach twist sharply at the bleary confusion and, oh god, the beginnings of a pout on Kyungsoo’s face. “Do you have a ride?”
“I can get one,” Kyungsoo says softly, “but I just—” He cuts himself off before he can finish the sentence, embarrassment clear in every feature.
Jongin sighs in defeat. By all means, Kyungsoo has been a rather nice presence tonight, without pushing boundaries or making any unreasonable demands, and he’s endured being taken into Jongin’s world with an impressive tolerance, as if he isn’t on the brink of inheriting one of the biggest companies in the nation. And, as much as Jongin hates to admit it, just having another presence in the apartment easies a discomfort he has always held during late nights like this. He holds his hand out to the boy who sits in front of him, whose hair is rumpled from being pressed up against his arm and whose bottom lip is pushed out almost petulantly, and doesn’t regret it. “Here. Come with me.”
Eyes wide with surprise and, Jongin dares, a bit of happiness, Kyungsoo reaches out to take his hand with warm fingers. He lets himself be led into Jongin’s bedroom, taking his turn to hover by the door frame as Jongin crosses to the closet.
“I don’t think you’ll fit perfectly into any of my clothes because you’re so much shorter than me, but at least they’ll fit around you,” Jongin reasons, flinging a plain t-shirt with some random logo across the chest and a pair of sweatpants he had long forgotten in his messy drawers into Kyungsoo’s arms. “The bathroom is right there if you want to freshen up but I only have one toothbrush, sorry.”
“I’m not that short!” Kyungsoo calls indignantly as he goes into the bathroom to change. Jongin laughs to himself, a quiet burst of mirth, when he realizes that Kyungsoo—Kyungsoo—feels too self-conscious to strip around him.
Jongin yawns widely and pulls on a wifebeater and a pair of boxers, setting his alarm early enough so he can shower and cram over breakfast in time for the morning shift, then clambers into his narrow bed. When Kyungsoo comes out of the bathroom, changed and the hair around his face slightly damp, Jongin is sitting up in his bed high enough that he can see Kyungsoo’s eyes widen almost comically when he sees Jongin waiting for him. He resists the urge to laugh again, indulging himself with a smirk. “Time for bed,” he says, unable to keep the teasing note out of his voice.
“I can see that,” Kyungsoo shoots back, voice defiant to hide the nerves, but Jongin can feel every stiff line of his body when Kyungsoo climbs into bed beside him. He tentatively offers an arm, breath catching when Kyungsoo wordlessly settles into the side of his body, so the other boy doesn’t roll off of the narrow bed in the middle of the night.
How did I go from running away to offering cuddles in bed? Jongin wonders, almost worried for his sanity, but it’s hard to focus when Kyungsoo yawns a bit and curls into Jongin’s body, a complete 360° from the boy who cocked his head and demanded for Jongin sit down at his table. Seeing Kyungsoo so defenseless scares Jongin, as if he doesn’t deserve to see something like this from the valuable heir of Do Trading Corporations, he who is just a waiter at the local restaurant and is on the brink of failing his hardest midterm despite all of his studying. Underneath the cold, poised rich boy is someone terribly vulnerable, someone starving for the gentle touch Jongin offers tonight. Someone who has let Jongin peel away the heir persona Kyungsoo wears like a shield in order to see Kyungsoo the person.
Jongin almost expects it will take a very long time before he falls asleep, but Kyungsoo’s warmth and the slow rhythm of Kyungsoo’s breathing lulls him to sleep surprisingly quickly. No matter how he denies it, this intimacy is something he has always wanted as well.
When the alarm blares in the morning, Jongin grumbles and starts to roll out of bed. It comes as a surprise, then, when he tries to move and ends up pulling against the grip of fingers tightening in the fabric of his pajama shirt, stopping him from leaving. His eyes shoot open, and he bites back every swear word he knows at the sight of Do Kyungsoo curled up in his bed. There is no alcohol, no meddling friends or coworkers to blame this time.
A moment to gather himself, and then he gently shakes Kyungsoo awake, unable to resist stroking his fingers through the dark hair at the base of Kyungsoo’s neck until the other boy stirs. To his surprise, upon seeing Jongin, Kyungsoo smiles sleepily. “Good morning,” he yawns, smiling.
“G-Good morning,” Jongin whispers back, the words unfamiliar in his mouth. “I have to go to work now, Kyungsoo.”
The whine that leaves Kyungsoo’s throat has Jongin shivering, something curling up hot and tight in his chest. “It’s way too early right now, you should stay a while longer,” Kyungsoo protests, still the languid and drowsy boy Jongin invited into his bed last night. He can barely resist this Kyungsoo, but the heavy pressures of work and school pull at him even as they speak.
“You can sleep some more if you like. Just let yourself out when you’re ready to go, the door locks automatically,” Jongin says, still carding his fingers through Kyungsoo’s hair.
The other boy almost purrs from the touch. “Will you come back during the day?
“Maybe for lunch, if I can make it,” Jongin says uncertainly as he draws his hands away. “I’ll definitely stop by after my classes, right before the dinner shift.”
“I’ll see you again later today then,” Kyungsoo decides even as he worries the hem of Jongin’s sleeve with his fingers. He is so needy and clingy that Jongin is afraid he won’t be enough to fill this gaping hole he has tripped upon in Kyungsoo.
Jongin reaches out to detach Kyungsoo’s fingers, starting when Kyungsoo tightens them around Jongin’s instead. He tries to pull his hand away, resisting the urge to lean forward and press a kiss the other boy’s forehead. “Kyungsoo, I really have to go.”
He leaves the apartment with some trepidation, picking up his usual brisk pace to the bus stop. His mind can't help but return to Kyungsoo, lingering almost painfully on the baleful way Kyungsoo peeked up at him as Jongin pulled away, or how Kyungsoo smothered a yawn into Jongin's blankets as if he belonged there, in Jongin's bed.
Someone like Kyungsoo could never belong in Jongin's tiny apartment, he reminds himself bitterly. Someone like Kyungsoo could never belong with someone like Jongin—someone whose family refuses to acknowledge his existence, who is failing all his classes and is trying his best to keep his body from failing, someone who needs to stay afloat on the meager waiter salary of a restaurant he doesn't even have a car to drive to work to in. Someone who needs to get himself together before all the pieces fall apart and scatter in the wind. Kyungsoo is worth more money than he could ever dream of having.
He nods in return to Lu Han's quick wave when he slips into the kitchens. Joonmyun hands him his apron and notebook, sighing when Jongin shrugs off the arm Joonmyun tries to loop around Jongin's shoulders, but that's just how they usually are. Jongin rarely lets others touch him because he likes to be in control of as much of his life as possible.
The morning shift is usually quiet, with less customers than noon or evening. A woman with spectacles perched on her nose orders a coffee that Jongin takes his time preparing; he makes sure the cream floats atop the surface of the drink in a light froth, the ritual task helping him relax a bit. Lu Han has a better eye for the perfect appearance but Jongin does all right. When he brings it to her, she lifts her eyes from her laptop screen to thank him.
A group of distracted high schoolers, clearly on their way to class, breeze in to get cappuccinos and muffins to go, but otherwise it is calm enough that Jongin sits in the corner of the restaurant with his books. Midway through the shift, Lu Han leaves once he sees Jongin can handle things, which is unusual but not unreasonable so Jongin leaves him alone. He crams for his midterm instead, panicking as he flips through the color-coded notes.
Shift ends with just enough time for him to snag the next bus to university. Jongin pulls out his pencils and notes and walks into Econometrics with sweaty palms. You've studied, he reminds himself. You'll be fine. His traitorous mind jumps to the memory of Kungsoo falling asleep at his shabby kitchen table as he studied, and Jongin swallows. Kyungsoo is the last thing he needs to be thinking about right now.
He gives one last desperate look at his notes, flipping through the messy pages as sneakily as he can while tucking them into his bag, then faces the front of the class.
"You may begin."
Jongin stumbles out of class two hours later, his mind buzzing with terms like "exogeneity of independent variables" and "linear regression model." A glance at the time shows he's going to be late to work, so he takes off running for the bus stop even as his classmates stretch and laugh and ask each other that they'll be doing for the next two weeks of break.
"Whoa—" He almost knocks Chanyeol over when he bursts into the kitchens, and instinctively reaches out to catch the tall boy's forearm so he doesn't fall. When Chanyeol regains his balance, Jongin snatches his hand back as if he's been burned, startled at himself. Before he can retreat, Chanyeol clasps a hand on his shoulder and grins at him. "Thanks, Jongin!"
The deep voice and bright smile contrast with each other greatly, but his friendliness surprises Jongin the most. "You're welcome," he manages in reply, and is rescued when Baekhyun nudges his hip into Chanyeol's and says, "That patch of tile over there needs sweeping, don't you think?"
Joonmyun and Lu Han both aren't at work for this shift, but it seems the restaurant is adding a new waiter. As Jongin shakes hands with a bewildered but earnest-looking boy named Kim Jongdae, half-listening as the manager instructs him to show Jongdae the ropes, Jongin can't help but feel apprehensive. They usually handle the restaurant well enough, he and Lu Han; it's not a very big place. That the manager feels the need to add Jongdae into the rotation means that one of them will be leaving soon, and Jongin doesn't have any plans to do so. He resolves to ask Lu Han about it. Is it his place to be concerned? Jongin isn't sure.
All the things with Lu Han aside, Jongin finds Jongdae to be a pleasant kid and hard worker, greeting customers with a friendly smile as he refills their water cups. Jongin puts him on that and cleaning duty for now, as Jongdae isn't familiar with the menu yet. Any more, and it'll be like Lu Han really is leaving.
The shift is over quickly and Jongin ambles back to the bus stop and sits on the plastic seat, picking at the loose string on his jeans. He has to resist the temptation to return home, to rationalize those few minutes of tardiness of Capitalism and Communism lecture. It's not like Kyungsoo is waiting for him at home, like he's Jongin's boyfriend or something.
He boards the bus quietly and sits near the front, jostled along as the bus bumps down the roads. The windows rattle slightly and the covering of the seats is cold and uncomfortable, but Jongin is used to it—that's all he has.
Three classes of last-minute assignments and "Have a good break!"s later, Jongin is released in time for evening shift, impatient and restless. When the night ends, much too soon, and Kyungsoo hasn't showed up to take his usual spot at his lone table, Jongin returns home with the bitter taste of disappointment in his mouth, and he hates himself for it.
Jongin opens the door to his apartment and is in the middle of toeing his shoes off when he catches the scent of kimchi in the air. Seeing as the only thing he can cook is beef instant ramyun, he briefly entertains the thought that Kyungsoo left him something to eat, though the food wouldn't smell so fresh if that were the case... He puts his backpack on the ground and beelines into the kitchen, staring when he sees Kyungsoo standing at the kitchen counter, chopping vegetables. The other boy turns around when he hears Jongin enter the room, his face brightening. "Jongin! You're back."
It's the closest thing to a "welcome home" that Jongin's ever gotten, and he can't help but draw closer to Kyungsoo, leaning against the cupboards adjacent to the stove. "I thought you'd leave."
"I almost went home for a change of clothes but you didn't come back for lunch, so I figured I'd wait up for you. You don't spend much time at home, do you?" Kyungsoo asks, looking up from the soup he's stirring to see Jongin's face.
"No, not really," Jongin says. He peeks into the bowl to see kimchi and meat, laughing embarrassedly when his stomach growls. "It's been a long time since I've eaten a meal like this."
Kyungsoo laughs a bit. "I realized that once I saw the refrigerator was almost empty, but everyone has some kimchi, some leftovers. You're out of ramyun, by the way."
"Not again," groans Jongin, checking his wallet if he has enough to get more this weekend. It'll be tight again this month.
"That stuff is so bad for you," Kyungsoo chides, almost maternally, and it's been so long Jongin has been nagged that he doesn't know how to reply other than to acquiesce.
"I'll eat at the restaurant more or something?" Jongin forces himself to move away when Kyungsoo reaches up to open some of the cupboards, in search of some spices. Kyungsoo shuffles around the best he can, but Jongin relents after watching him struggle for a while, choosing to help rather than give in to his reluctance to interfere. He stretches his own arm up, retrieving the little bottle of oregano Kyungsoo's fingers keep brushing but cannot grip. "Thank you," Kyungsoo murmurs, stepping back and gasping in surprise when his back collides with Jongin's front.
"S-Sorry," Jongin stutters, shuffling out of the way, but Kyungsoo's hand fisted into the corner of his sweater stops him from going far. The difference between their heights has never been so obvious.
Kyungsoo takes a shuddering breath. "Why do you always keep yourself so busy?" he asks, whisper quiet. "Sometimes I feel like you're much busier than me. You'll work yourself to death someday."
"Better that than get kicked out into the streets because I can't pay for rent," Jongin answers, just as quietly. The few inches he has on Kyungsoo forces the other boy to look up, tipping his chin back as if inviting Jongin to admire the column of his throat. He forces himself to resist.
"You know I'd never let you live out on the streets," Kyungsoo says with a smile. It's open and sweet and very real, and Jongin distractedly notices how white and straight Kyungsoo's teeth are rather than dwell on how much he wants to kiss that smile into oblivion.
"At least I'll always have a roof over my head," Jongin says in agreement.
Kyungsoo tilts his head thoughtfully, the appraising expression so familiar already. "So you'll stop working so much?"
"Well, school's out for the next two weeks," Jongin offers evasively. He can't admit to Kyungsoo that taking all those shifts is the only way to sustain his already minimal lifestyle. Without his waiter's paycheck, he'd never afford rent; he can't even get himself a cell phone or other luxuries. He's knee deep in student loans as well, so all of his money earned goes to that when he's done with necessities. He scarcely has the money for excessive tips or pressed suits or high-class vans.
Thankfully, it seems winter break is enough of a distraction for Kyungsoo. "You're off from school? Next Tuesday?"
Jongin can't check the calendar with Kyungsoo's eyes holding his, but he's pretty sure today is a Friday. "This coming Tuesday? I'm free, I guess."
"Will you—oh no, the food!" Kyungsoo extracts himself from between the cupboards and Jongin, running to the steaming pot and fretting over how to rescue what had once been their dinner. He is mostly successful, and Kyungsoo's guilty expression is replaced with happiness when Jongin compliments him as genuinely as he can. Burnt or not, it's delicious.
Jongin promises to wash the dishes, pretending he doesn't see Kyungsoo's look of disbelief, and they relocate to the couch in Jongin's miserable excuse for a sitting room. His three-room suite boasts the kitchen, the sitting room, and the bedroom, along with a closet for storage and a small bathroom—anything but the mansion Kyungsoo calls home. To see Kyungsoo entirely at ease in Jongin's apartment is more than he could ever ask for.
Jongin ends up with his head in Kyungsoo's lap, eyes closed, finally able to acknowledge how exhausted he is now that all of his midterms are over. The intimacy of their positions has his toes curling, but Jongin doesn't dare protest as Kyungsoo gently touches the shadows under Jongin's eyes. "What were you going to ask earlier, before the food burned?"
"Well," Kyungsoo says unsurely, pulling his hand away from Jongin's face. "I was just thinking, since you let me stay last night and all even though you didn't have to, especially after I—"
"Kyungsoo," Jongin interrupts. He opens his eyes and lifts his head a bit, making to sit up but Kyungsoo scolds him into lying back down with a "You need to rest!" Instead, Jongin carefully reaches up and cradles his palm against Kyungsoo's face, coaxing the other boy to look at him even as his fingers hug the curve of Kyungsoo's cheek. "Kyungsoo, just spit it out."
"I just thought since you let me into your life, I wanted to show you some of mine?" Kyungsoo says, a bit guiltily, a bit hopefully. "I'm hosting a corporate party on Tuesday and I want you to be there."
"A corporate party?" Jongin asks, his eyebrows raising. "Kyungsoo, I don't even have a suit!"
"You don't have to, I'll take care of everything," Kyungsoo says earnestly. "You just have to be there."
Jongin can't help but press his lips together into a tense line. "Are you sure it's even all right for me to be at one of those?"
"I want you to be there," Kyungsoo repeats. "Besides, my parents are always telling me to take people to social gatherings anyways."
"I'm pretty sure they mean a pretty girl," Jongin bites out.
Kyungsoo sighs. "Jongin, I don't want a pretty girl. I want you."
Jongin squeezes his eyes shut as tightly as he can, trying to keep himself from reacting rashly. It'll do no good to take Kyungsoo's words the wrong way. Just because he wants Kyungsoo so much doesn't mean that he deserves to have him, even if Kyungsoo says things like this, and it doesn't mean the rest of the world will allow him to have Kyungsoo either.
"Please?" Kyungsoo asks beseechingly when Jongin doesn't reply immediately. He sounds almost like a child, begging Jongin for a candy. Frankly, it's adorable, and Jongin is really beginning to think he's unable to refuse Kyungsoo anything.