"Sorry," Jongin says for the umpteenth time, holding his single suitcase close to his side. "I'm so sorry for intruding, it was kind of a rash idea."
Kyungsoo laughs and takes the suitcase from him; he takes a step back, cocking his head to the side, and takes in the sight of Jongin standing in his home, the dark-eyed boy too gorgeous to be a mere waiter at a restaurant Kyungsoo only entered on an errant thought. "You know, when I told you I'd never let you be without a roof over your head, I meant it. And it's not like I don't have the space."
"You live here alone?" Jongin asks in disbelief, still looking around at his surroundings with a skeptical awe.
"My parents have their own place—it's bigger, if you can imagine that. This one is fully staffed with maids and chefs and anything you can think of, but I spend more time at the office than I do at home." Like you, Kyungsoo adds mentally. It's odd that they reflect each other in some ways, like the way they chose to work recklessly hard in order to cope with the emptiness of a place they can't call home, yet manage to be such different people. Kyungsoo has rarely had to work for the more materialistic things in life, and his family's business means that he doesn't have time to cultivate proper relationships outside of the work environment. When he first looked up, past the smooth, black vest and white dress shirt collar, into Jongin's face, his first thought had been wistful and yearning and helplessness, emotions that only intensified when he seemed to be driving Jongin away from him at first. That Jongin doesn't stay by his side for the money or the attention, but for him, is more than Kyungsoo could ever dream of having.
Jongin reaches out to smooth a hand across Kyungsoo's bedspread, the rich fabric giving easily under Jongin's fingertips. His head jerks up when Kyungsoo moves away, and he follows Kyungsoo to the closet door, gaping when Kyungsoo pushes the door open. "This is a closet?"
Kyungsoo struggles not to laugh. "Yes, this is your side here." He places Jongin's suitcase down beside the rack along the wall. It's mostly empty, save for the suits Jongin has been wearing to the parties Kyungsoo drags him to. It's the first time anyone Kyungsoo actually wants to spend time with has consented to go with him to any of the corporate parties, so Kyungsoo intends to hold onto Jongin for as long as he possibly can. He's even better company outside of the parties.
It's been a long time he liked someone so much, Kyungsoo realizes, flushing when Jongin presses a kiss to his temple in an absent-minded thank you when they finish unpacking Jongin's things, Jongin having had refused the offered help of a maid. He leads Jongin down the hall to the room designated as Kyungsoo's study, his breath catching when Jongin's arm slips around his waist as naturally as it did the first time it happened.
Jongin sits in front of Kyungsoo's huge monitor, staring blatantly, as the computer boots up. "We use computers often enough in my business classes, but yours is huge."
"I often need to look at separate documents at the same time," Kyungsoo shrugs. "Trading deals, emails, you know. My father gave me this computer when I started high school and I haven't had to upgrade since." He hovers behind Jongin's seat for lack of a better place to wait, unsure if he should back off and give Jongin some space or curl his arms around Jongin's shoulders like he so desperately wants to do. In the end, he opts for pulling a spare chair over and watching as Jongin opens a map up and frowns, trying to decide what will be the quickest way to the bus stop that takes him to the university and the restaurant.
"You know, I could easily lend you a car to get around," Kyungsoo offers. "That would be more convenient."
Jongin turns to him sharply, frowning, but his eyes give away how tempting the offer is. "I couldn't."
Kyungsoo tugs him to his feet, curling his fingers around Jongin's, and takes him to the garage. It's a vast room, occupied by five sleek vehicles; at the overwhelmed look on Jongin's face, Kyungsoo decides not to tell him that they have another garage at his parents' place with even more cars and even a motorcycle or two. "You can pick any of them," Kyungsoo says, sitting on the chair in front of the now empty valet booth.
"Any of them?" Jongin repeats, walking hesitantly towards the closest car, a gleaming silver Volkswagen.
Kyungsoo nods, watching curiously. Finally, Jongin stops in front of the hood of Kyungsoo's favorite car, the Coupe he went to pick Jongin up for all those parties. "Can I use this one?" Jongin asks.
"Sure," Kyungsoo says, surprised. He was so certain Jongin would pick the sports car, his father's pet project, in the middle of the garage--his car was hardly anything special, just a bit expensive compared to the average citizen's. Abandoning the line of keys hanging along the wall, Kyungsoo crosses the room to stand beside Jongin and hand him the set of keys from his back pocket. "Here you go, then."
Jongin takes them slowly. "This is your car," he says, dawning comprehension quickly replaced by horror. "Kyungsoo, you shouldn't—"
"I want to," Kyungsoo insists. He's never had someone he's wanted to give good things to, never had someone he wants so much. "Jongin, everything I've given you so far was something I offered, not something you took."
"I guess so," Jongin says. He allows Kyungsoo to curl his fingers around the keys.
They're back in his bedroom, sprawled along the length of Kyungsoo's bed, when Jongin suddenly sits up, putting a hand over Kyungsoo's. "Kyungsoo—" he says, so serious.
Kyungsoo blinks. "What?"
"I—" Jongin closes his mouth and hesitates, then presses a chaste kiss to Kyungsoo's lips; longing opens like a chasm in Kyungsoo's chest instantly, and he inhales the heady scent of the boy before him when Jongin pulls away. "Thank you," Jongin whispers, his eyes clear and tender and sincere.
Jongin leaves for evening shift a while later, Kyungsoo handing him his jacket and his wallet as he heads down the hall. "Will you come for dinner?" Jongin asks, a slight smile gracing his face.
Kyungsoo feels bad when he tells him, "No, not today. I'm working late tonight."
"Will you be home when I get back?" Jongin asks. His coat is only half on, one sleeve evading his searching arm, and Kyungsoo straightens the sleeve for him so Jongin can slip it on. His sneakers are scuffed but Kyungsoo finds it cute.
"I can work in the study instead of at the office, I suppose," Kyungsoo says. Had it been any other night, Kyungsoo would have driven the Coupe back to the company buildings and worked until late, the minimalistic design of his office more relaxing than the lavish decor and looming emptiness of his house.
Jongin smiles and curls an arm around Kyungsoo's shoulders, pulling him close for a heartbeat. "I'll look forward to coming home then."
Home. Kyungsoo nods, unable to speak past the choking lump in his throat, and watches Jongin drive away before returning to his study. He has the biggest trading deal of the season to worry about, and he fully intends on bringing Jongin to Friday's press conference.
What Kyungsoo likes best about their new arrangement is that, no matter how busy they are throughout the day, there is always the warmth of Jongin's body to lull him to sleep after a long day of meetings and paperwork. Jongin takes Friday off—things are much easier now, when he no longer has to pay rent; even when he splits a quarter of his paycheck for Lu Han, who refused anything more, he still has some leftover for student loans and luxuries—but the press conference isn't until afternoon, so Kyungsoo gives the kitchen staff the day off and cooks them lunch; they slept through breakfast unintentionally, both tired and stressed.
"Aren't you relieved the deal is done? You should be resting," Jongin says from where he's been banned to the dining table.
Kyungsoo beats some eggs furiously and pokes at the sizzling bacon in the pan. "Cooking relaxes me. I've told my parents time and time again that I don't need a chef and maids but they just insist I have better things to do with my time."
Jongin props his chin on the table under his hands, watching Kyungsoo putter around the kitchen with a softness in his eyes Kyungsoo can't meet because he thinks he'll start blushing. "You're such a busybody," he teases.
"You're just lazy," Kyungsoo shoots back. Already, Kyungsoo has picked up on several mannerisms of Kim Jongin; he is horrible at waking up in the mornings, hates keeping his pants on at home, chews on the ends of his pens while studying Econometrics, and tends to blast hip hop and rock music when he thinks Kyungsoo isn't around to hear it. Back when he sang, all Kyungsoo learned were opera and show tunes and ballads; all his parents approve of listening to is classical music, so Jongin's taste is a shock to Kyungsoo's system, boldly and shamelessly different.
Jongin pouts at the joking insult. "I'm hungry, too," he says, making a face. Kyungsoo laughs and beckons him to the kitchen so he can help take the finished food to the table. When Jongin compliments him on the meal, as sincere as ever, the warmth in Kyungsoo's chest intensifies, filtering out as a smile.
When it nears one in the afternoon, they go into Kyungsoo's vast closet to get dressed for the press conference. Jongin allows Kyungsoo to fasten his tie for him without bothering with the initial fumble, protesting when Kyungsoo pretends to tie on a pale pink bowtie instead, and stands in front of the bathroom mirror to gel his hair up. On Kyungsoo's part, he rarely bothers with hair products, giving his short hair and dark grey suit a cursory look before turning to appraise Jongin. He looks as handsome and polished as ever, and Kyungsoo feels a wave of possessiveness when Jongin gives him a tentative smile. His reputation as Do Kyungsoo is enough to keep the girls away from Jongin, but he always knew a face like Jongin's would be popular with the ladies, married or not, rich or not. He will knock the reporters dead.
"You look like a cat in front of a bowl of milk," Jongin comments, smirking slightly as his hand trails down Kyungsoo's side, a touch Kyungsoo can feel even through all the stiff fabric.
"Maybe I am," Kyungsoo concedes. "Let's go."
The press conference venue is crowded with fancy cars and limousines, one of which Kyungsoo's parents insisted he and Jongin take. Jongin stared at the interior of the limo the entire ride, Kyungsoo taking his hand into his own when Jongin eyed the mini-fridge of beer. When they get out of the vehicle, Jongin takes his hand away to slip it around Kyungsoo's waist despite the crowds of frantic reporters that accost them the moment they step out. As security ushers them back, Kyungsoo glances up into Jongin's face, but the hand on his waist is unwavering. They enter the building like this, Jongin flinching away from the glaringly bright camera flashes.
The building is well publicized, Kyungsoo can see that immediately. Spectators crowd the back rooms, surrounding a long table in the center of the room where both parties of the deal are to sit. With the other partner of the deal being a famous commercial brand, it's not a surprise they're making the finalization such a big affair; for Do Trading Company, and for Do Kyungsoo, this is a big step—proof that the transfer of power in such a powerful company leads to success rather than failure. As if in response to the weight on Kyungsoo's shoulders, Jongin's arm tightens. People are staring at them as they enter and walk down the long carpet between aisles, not even looking away after Kyungsoo reaches his designated seat, Jongin allowed a chair slightly behind his.
Once a representative from the other company arrives, bowing to Kyungsoo and his parents, the conference begins. A flurry of speeches are given, including the short piece Kyungsoo prepared and anguished over to Jongin for the past week, punctuated now by the click of hundreds of cameras, reporters crowded around the table. One final speech, by Kyungsoo's father, ends the conference, and as the dignified man Kyungsoo has looked up to all his life leaves the podium, Kyungsoo just can't help but wonder, when did the lines on his father's face deepen so much, when did his hair become more grey than black? His mother can hide the effects of her aging with creams and dyes and powders, but only power and confidence hides how tired and weary his father is. Kyungsoo has a road as long as the one his father is completing ahead of him.
Kyungsoo shakes hands with everyone at the table from the other company, and Jongin, close to his side, forgoes contact with strangers with a polite smile. When they finally head outside for their ride, it is obvious the reporters are more focused on the hand Jongin has touching Kyungsoo's back rather than the trading deal.
"Do Kyungsoo!" a reporter shouts, waving her notebook in the air. "Is that man really your boyfriend?"
"Is it true he is actually a waiter named Kim Jongin?" another calls shrilly, and Jongin is obviously surprised they know of him. A glance at Kyungsoo, who shakes his head imperceptibly, keeps him quiet as they wait for security to clear a path to their limo.
"Kyungsoo, is he the man who moved into your house this week?" asks a reporter from the back, voice raised to be heard. The crowd seems to pulse with energy at these questions, people pushing and squeezing to get a better look at Kyungsoo and Jongin. Even so, Jongin's hand does not withdraw.
Kyungsoo slips into the limo first, pulling on Jongin's arm so he will follow, but Jongin gently tugs free to face the mob. "Yes," he says clearly. "My name is Kim Jongin, I work as a waiter, and I am living with my boyfriend, Do Kyungsoo." The shrieks punctuate the frenzied air, reporters wildly scribbling down his words verbatim, and Jongin slips into the limo to see Kyungsoo gaping at him in shock.
The way that Jongin affirmed that he is Kyungsoo's boyfriend, that they are together, is ringing in Kyungsoo's ears. However, the only thing he says is, "Publicity is going to kill you."
The person in charge of Do Trading Corporation's outflow of information on personal lives, a woman named Shin Eunhee who Kyungsoo has always admired for her sense of purpose and efficiency, sends Kyungsoo a very angry email demanding him to "control his boyfriend before he ruins the company, or else" the moment he returns home. To his credit, Jongin looks awfully pleased with himself, heading into the bathroom for a shower. Kyungsoo, meanwhile, changes into the shirt and pajama bottoms he goes to bed in, struggling to keep his trembling to a minimum. Getting into bed and inhaling the distinctive scent of Jongin that now clings to the sheets helps a bit.
Jongin is whistling as he strolls out of the bathroom in merely a towel, his damp hair sticking to his forehead and the nape of his neck. As Jongin crosses the room to get to the closet, Kyungsoo averts his eyes because he knows he'll end up staring if he doesn't. When the door shuts, Kyungsoo allows himself to relax into the blankets and release a sigh; he isn't exactly too sure of when he relinquished control of their relationship, but he's certainly regretting it.
When Jongin slips into bed, he's only wearing a wifebeater and boxers, a fact that doesn't help Kyungsoo's pounding heart when Jongin curls his arms around Kyungsoo's torso to spoon him, as they both like. He calls Kyungsoo's name softly, nearly crooning the two syllables into his ears.
"What do you think you're doing?" Kyungsoo asks, a bit angry to cover up his nerves.
Jongin laughs a bit, not the slightest bit admonished. "Did I freak you out?"
"I can't believe you were so rash," Kyungsoo mutters. "The media got to call you my boyfriend before I did."
"It felt good to say it," Jongin says, still as satisfied as ever. He buries his face into Kyungsoo's neck, then says, "I was almost afraid you'd deny it, seeing as I'm broke as fuck and mooching off of you."
"It's not like that," Kyungsoo says, upset, but Jongin soothes him with a kiss under his ear.
"I'm glad," Jongin murmurs, flitting fingers down Kyungsoo's side; Kyungsoo wriggles away from the tickling fingers.
Kyungsoo finally bats way Jongin's exploring hands when they curl around his hips, trying not to tense up so much that Jongin can feel it. "Watch it, boyfriend."
"Do I make you nervous?" Jongin asks mock-innocently, but his arms obediently curl around Kyungsoo's waist and stop moving.
"Yes, so stop and let me sleep," Kyungsoo retorts, knowing Jongin can hear the affection in his voice, unsurprised when Jongin only presses closer.
They are quiet, Kyungsoo almost dozing off from a strange mixture of exhaustion and contentedness, when Jongin whispers into Kyungsoo's left ear, "I really like you." Kyungsoo is thankful that his face is out of Jongin's sight when he smiles.
The phone call comes two days later, a frazzled maid running into Kyungsoo's room with the telephone and squeaking when she sees Kyungsoo and Jongin in the same bed. Trying not to blush and completely fling his reputation out the window, Kyungsoo takes the phone from her, dismissing her with a quick gesture as he brings the phone to his ear. "Hello?"
"Hello," a woman's voice answers, sounding testy and going to no measure to hide it. "I was given this number as a reference to contact Kim Jongin, and I would like to speak to him."
Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow at the woman's rudeness but leans over to poke Jongin awake. At the touch, Jongin scoots away, eyes still closed, but when he slides an eyelid to look at Kyungsoo when Kyungsoo doesn't laugh or kiss him, the expression on Kyungsoo's face is enough to pull him into a sitting position. "What is it?" he asks, lowering his voice to a whisper. Kyungsoo merely hands him the phone, watching silently as the mirth slides off of Jongin's face.
"Wait—" Jongin says after a few moments of listening, the color leeching out of his usually tan face. After a bit of hesitation, Kyungsoo reaches out to take his free hand, biting his lip when Jongin squeezes it.
"Mother, it's not like that, Kyungsoo and I are—" Jongin interrupts, and Kyungsoo's eyes widen in realization. "I don't—" Jongin says again, then flinches away from the receiver when his mother screeches something that sounds awfully like "I did not raise you for you to sell you body in order to get somewhere! Not to some—"
"I didn't sell my body in any way!" Jongin shouts back. "And don't you dare call Kyungsoo that!"
"What are you doing at events like those press conferences. You don't know a thing about trading," she demands, Kyungsoo flinching away from her shrill voice, but Jongin tightens his grip on Kyungsoo's hand, staring straight ahead without seeing.
"Mother, I major in Economics. Of course I know something," he says flatly, which seems to set her off worse than before, being reminded that for all her work, her only son refused to go into her field in medicine. Just when Kyungsoo considers taking the phone from Jongin and hanging up on her, Jongin recoils as if he's been slapped. "Father, I said, Kyungsoo and I aren't like that. I'm not his dog."
Kyungsoo cringes as Jongin's expression becomes frostier with each of his father's words. "Unbelievable or not, I actually like Kyungsoo and he actually likes me, as a person. If his side is where life takes me, instead of a hospital or a clinic, then this is the life I want. Never contact me again." He rips the phone from his ear and slams his finger on the red button, looking as if he wants to fling the phone across the room only to think better of it at Kyungsoo's worried face. Instead, Jongin flops back into the pillows, wrapping an arm around Kyungsoo's shoulders when Kyungsoo settles down beside him. "Sorry about that," Jongin mutters into Kyungsoo's hair.
"If those are how your parents are like, no wonder they kicked you out," Kyungsoo says softly, burrowing his face into the curve of Jongin's neck. "I'm surprised you didn't run away."
"They're right though. About how different we are. A poor waiter isn't supposed to go out with the heir of an enormously wealthy company," Jongin says, a bit bitter, a bit helpless.
Kyungsoo hisses angrily. "In this bed, between us, neither of us are the waiter or the heir. With you, I'm not Do Kyungsoo. I'm D.O and you're Kai and nothing can change that."
Jongin smiles at the nicknames. "Yeah. You're right."
"Of course I'm right," Kyungsoo says, letting his mouth slip into a pout because he knows Jongin will kiss him. Jongin does not disappoint.