some people long for a life that is simple and planned. they get married, settle down in a nice house, work the job of their dreams, have a few kids, and move into a care home when they grow too old for work. it’s the easy life that children dream of when they first learn about the world outside of their imagination, and the majority of adults live contently throughout their life in this set plan. there’s no surprises waiting around the corner for them, and they can foresee their simplistic future without second guessing what comes in between.
but jisoo walks down a different path of life.
as he leaned over the balcony of his house, fingers laced with one another, he watched as his husbands were whisked off by their drivers to head on separate business trips. again. seungcheol would only be gone for a week, whilst jeonghan would be gone for two, but it still felt like years to jisoo, who was stuck in the house with no way out. his auburn hair was being swept away by the chilling breeze, wanting to run after his husbands and hold tightly onto them so they couldn’t go away. he had to resist the urge of the winds.
the life of a househusband wasn’t the liveliest of ones, having to perform the tasks that a young team of maids would be able to complete in less than three hours on a daily basis. nevertheless, jisoo accepted the fate that the stars gifted him, and tries to think of the positives of the matter. like for the fact that they were going to have children soon, all once the documents have been filed through and they’re legally allowed to adopt. it would give jisoo some new entertainment, a new twist in life, whilst his husbands would be a mere shadow in the child’s life due to their dedication to their jobs.
soon enough, all jisoo was waving to was the bundle of trees that trapped him from the outside world, and was unconsciously ushered by his mind back into the house.
sometimes, the man thought that he could be swallowed up by the home that he shared. there was more empty space than filled rooms, seemingly because they bought the house to brag about their money to their families, who never believed in them at all. the only occupied rooms were a living room (which was attempting to be cosy like the one they used in their first apartment), a kitchen (which held utensils that jisoo didn’t know existed until he moved in), a bedroom for he and his husbands (which mostly leave jisoo shivering alone due to the length of time that seungcheol and jeonghan would spend out of the house), and a nursery for a child that was yet to be known to them (which was all but bland despite there was no life living within it). echoes would bounce off of the lonely walls as jisoo sang to himself, every little noise picked up by the wall cavities surrounding him, and it made jisoo seem all the more isolated. all the more remote. all the more alone.
yes, even with his sparkling ring that he was blessed with years ago, jisoo felt so alone in his relationship.
“i’m scared, junnie.” he announced, the named man leaning his head on his arms. the computer speakers crackled when the younger breathed, processing thoughts in order to find an appropriate answer.
“you shouldn’t be. they love you, josh.” he replied as jisoo chopped up some onions. “it’s a business trip, they can’t do anything other than work for their salary and then come back home again. it’s something that they can’t control, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.”
“but it’s just that their lives just revolve around work. eat, sleep, work, repeat. it’s almost as if i don’t exist in some parts.” he sighed, noticing the odd jagged breath escape. “i regret dropping out of school for them.”
promises had to be kept. jisoo believed that if you decide to make a promise, then breaking that would be a sin. he and his husbands made a lot of promises when they were younger, ones that might’ve been stupid to think about now. promises to buy ice cream on their next date; promises to attend this music festival when the time rolls around; promises to call every morning and every evening.
although, there was one promise that affected jisoo’s life to this very day, one that seungcheol and jeonghan stuck to each and every day. it was at a point in time where both jeonghan and seungcheol were told that they could take over their parents’ businesses whenever they desired, all whilst they were still in high school. prestigious was the institute, as the families had to pay to allow their students through the grand doors - all except jisoo, who was the only student allowed in on scholarship terms. once the news was announced to the youngest, both seungcheol and jeonghan made a promise.
“when our parents sign the papers to hand the businesses over to us, you can drop out of school with us!” seungcheol smiled, his hand holding onto jisoo’s protectively.
“but finals are coming up, i won’t be able to get any jobs or go to university.” he looked at the older two, their facial expressions showing no fault in their seriousness despite their beaming grins. “how will i be able to support my family, or even myself?”
“we will do all of that.” jeonghan quickly reassured, “you won’t need to bring any money into the household, you can just pay us with your love and affection.”
the blonde nuzzled his cheek into the crook of jisoo’s neck, as a blush bloomed on the cheeks of the youngest. “this is too much, what would i do at home anyways? be a househusband?”
“anything you desire. if that’s what you want to do, we won’t be against it. we promise to support you and your family financially until the end of time.”
“yes, we promise!”
looking towards the sunset in front of them, jisoo contemplated the suggestion. he loved the older two dearly, and would follow them anywhere and everywhere if they allowed him to, as if he was tied to them by a leash. but was he willing to risk it all just to be with them? was he willing to give up his chances of being a world-renowned english professor in order to live a lifetime with his lovers? was he willing to go against his parents wishes of giving up seungcheol and jeonghan so that he could live with a smile on his own face? was he willing to risk his own chances in life just to expand theirs?
the sunset was too blinding, too many colours blending together at such a rapid rate that it hurt jisoo’s head. it was almost hypnotising jisoo. hypnotising him to say yes.
so he did.
“trust me jisoo, you don’t regret it. it’s just the spur of the moment.” junhui had given jisoo time to catch up with his breath and his racing mind. he knew how much jisoo had been through, with the struggles of rejection needing to be balanced with enough affection to keep him upright. he knew jeonghan and seungcheol well, anyways, and they couldn’t bear seeing jisoo doubt his past, present, and future. “they wouldn’t have told you to drop out of school if they knew you wouldn’t get the attention you deserved.”
“then is this what i deserve? do i deserve to hardly see them?” jisoo was beginning to overheat, and he didn’t know whether it was the heat of the topic or the bubbling of the dinner. “do i deserve to be left alone, struggling to keep myself entertained day after day? do i deserve to cry myself to sleep every goddamn night in fear of never seeing them because of their lack of communication? do i deserve to feel unwanted and like a waste of space because they never take any time off to spend with me, as if they’re trying to get away from me on purpose? is that what i deserve, wen junhui?”
“jisoo, you know that’s not what i meant—“
“of course it isn’t! because you know what proper attention and affection feels like, you have jihoon to support you and hug you and tell you that he’s never going to leave you! do you just expect me to accept the quick text messages i get every now and then when they’re out, whilst i’m trapped inside this maze? they are all i have, junhui! you’re really not helping me at all, making it seem as if i’m the bad guy, so why can’t just you be my friend for just one second!”
junhui fell silent, and furrowed his eyebrows. “you know what? if you can’t listen to me, then what’s the point? i’m trying to help you, but you just can’t keep your mouth shut.” the younger reached his arm over his own computer screen, his finger hovering above a specific button. “good luck, jisoo.”
jisoo was met with a blank screen after those last words, and he couldn’t tell whether his tears were from the events that just occurred, or from the onions he just cut.
something hurts in his chest, like a spike pushing through abruptly. choking on the air lost from his lungs, jisoo found himself stumbling backwards towards the countertop, the machines around him screaming in his ears. he feels so afraid, because what if he did deserve to think this way?
but then again, jisoo was trusting seungcheol and jeonghan with his life every day. with the amount of promises piled upon each other in the jar of love, jisoo highly doubted that they would do anything to hurt him.
“yeah,” he wiped the tears abseiling down his hot cheeks, “junhui must be right...he has to be right.”
the older two had already been a couple before they met jisoo, known as one of the most powerful couples in all of their high school. their parents needed business partners to build up reputation points in their industries, and they both had sons that were somewhat attracted to one another. when jisoo was first invited to the chois for a family dinner as fresh dropouts, the youngest boy couldn’t help but feel out of place - he was wearing a cheap button-down whilst the rest wore suits; he wasn’t very smart whilst the rest had libraries of knowledge in their brains; he had only earnt pocket money from his parents whilst the rest were bathing in their company riches. the only thing jisoo was useful for (other than looking good on seungcheol and jeonghan’s arms) was helping seungcheol’s mother and the maids with preparing the food for the evening. for some reason, that’s where he felt at ease, behind a stove which cooked food for the other men of the household. other than that, jisoo seemed more worthless than a song without sound, or a meal without tastes, or even a cologne without a scent. he owned no other purpose other than to cook the food, clean the house, and love the husbands that gifted him these luxuries.
he doubted every little thing they did for him, no matter how large or small the act was. it was possible that it was an act of love, but jisoo had a feeling it was an act of pity towards a scholarship boy whose life was slowly falling apart around him. it shouldn’t particularly matter whether jisoo happened to be living on the streets or in the largest penthouse standing, they should love him for his personality. but, the fact that they allowed him to drop out of school, lose his chance of an education, and supply him with glorious items just for some housekeeping and some affection, it seemed a bit odd for a second. however, his true state of mind and his true opinions were filtered by his passionate love for the two older men, which is why he felt so impacted when they returned home later than usual.
jisoo relied on them financially and romantically. constantly, he walked on a tightrope, knowing that there was some sort of safety net beneath him. he trusts them with all of his secrets, hopes, and emotions, and they often do reciprocate those as well.
but jisoo can’t help himself to feel paranoid about the situation.
he just has to remember the smiling faces that would greet him at the door every evening; the beautiful kisses that would leave his skin flustered from head to toe; the refreshing voices that would say his name meaningfully. there was so much evidence that could make jisoo believe that there was nothing wrong with their relationship. it was just another business trip, and before he would know it, both jeonghan and seungcheol would return home to engulf jisoo in a long-awaited hug, to apologise for being away for longer than expected whilst pecking every inch of his face, to treat him like a prince to make up for their losses. their seaside marriage confirmed their love for one another, and allowed the tranquil reminder that jeonghan and seungcheol vowed to never leave him to idle in his mind. god, he was so in love with the two older men, and he prayed with all of his heart that the relationship could last for infinity and beyond.
until, a text message came through, and jisoo was definitely sure his heart stopped.
junhui: i’m so sorry… www.seoultimes.com/news/today/ceo-choi-caught-cheating-on-husbands
something was caught in his throat.
this could not be real. surely it’s fake.
it has to be a scam.
after all of those promises that he’ll never let go, that he’ll be by his side forever, that he’ll always be there for him, seungcheol was smashing them simply, as if they were used champagne bottles.
did his confessions of love truly mean nothing? did he really love jisoo and jeonghan alike?
it must be his fault. they were happy without him.
they could’ve just gotten on with their marriage and left jisoo alone, left him lonely back in high school so they could follow their separate pathways through life. but no, jisoo just had to cling onto their tails and rely on their every action to keep him safe.
did his phone really say that it was 25°c outside? because his entire body was shivering heavily, fearful goosebumps littering his skin.
he stumbled up towards his bedroom, ignoring the heartbreaking memories that used to be displayed proudly along the corridors. now they were just a thing of the past, a false reality that he was forced to believe was the utmost truth. seungcheol was his rock, and now it had eroded into pure dust and particles, leaving him cold on the cliff, teetering over the edge with only jeonghan holding him to prevent him from falling.
maybe there was still hope. he didn’t have to give up now.
jeonghan would be equally as hurt from the news, and they could run away together from the monster they had come to fall for over the last few years. hell, they could even kick seungcheol out onto the streets with his crumbling business as a punishment for the wreckage of their hearts.
jisoo leaned against the bed frame, the ominous ringing of the phone droning in his ears. jeonghan had to pick up, he wanted him to pick up, he needed him—
“jeonghan! thank god you picked up, did you hear the—“
“listen, jisoo, i really can’t talk right now.” the room jeonghan happened to be positioned in seemed fairly crowded, from the sound of the rowdy antics coming from the background.
“but, hannie, this is important!”
“honestly jisoo, can it not wait until another time?”
“no it cannot! you have to listen to me, baby!”
“come on now, mr yoon. you’re getting distracted from the true prize here. hang up on him.” the voice seemed slurred, and he prayed that jeonghan would come to his senses.
“i’m sorry jisoo, i have to go.”
“you can’t go!”
“i don’t care about your stupid dilemmas right now! i have things to get done and you’re distracting me with gossip about junhui or questions about simple tasks!”
“but you haven’t even bothered to listen to me—“
“just call seungcheol or something, jisoo. i need to go. see you when i’m home.”
all sound disappeared.
as if a song of pure white noise was playing instead of the noises of nature.
his limbs felt as if they had been smothered in numbing cream, struggling to keep himself standing when all the strength in his body was wiped from him. the soft maroon eyes that were one complimented so often for their unique shape and their rainbow of speckled colours held in the irises were wrecked by salted floods soaking his face and molten lava stinging at the edges of his socket. words were failing to be formed in his head and from his lips as his entire being went into lockdown. his brain was reduced to an abandoned cinema, replaying the same treasured moments before the tapes were burned and melted into ashes.
he had fallen from his tightrope.
but seungcheol and jeonghan weren’t there to catch him when he did.
his safety net was gone.
the worst part was that jisoo was still trapped.
if he left them now, he would be left with nothing but the clothes on his skin. with no qualifications to his name, nor any money to his bank account, he would be the most vulnerable of the homeless. he would be forced to complete tasks that were illegal at most, and disgusted him to the point where he desired to puke. he didn’t want to go out into the world without jeonghan and seungcheol, and find his way into a pit of misfortune. but then, he would be stuck in a house with two men who clearly didn’t want him around.
the only thing he could really do was stay.
landing onto the rock-hard bed, he sank into the pillows, the outside breeze rushing through the ajar windows and glazing his back and stomach. jisoo found himself unable to put up a barrier for his tears to stop, so they continued to flow and soak into the sponge-like cushions. this was the bed that he shared with them: the people who obviously didn’t love him. the people that fooled him because he’s so gullible to be oblivious to the facts. the people who broke all of the promises.
the circus was entrancing. every act left him and his boyfriends mesmerised by their abilities. all the bright colours kept his eyes busy as the fast-paced performers bounced about the stage, showcasing their talents inside the tent. every single one of them received a standing ovation from seungcheol, jeonghan, and jisoo, because they truly did deserve it. they obviously enjoyed their job, as the smile on their faces displayed their pride in their controversial work every time they pranced onto the stage. the indian elephants and the glorious lions dressed up in shimmering jewels cooperated with their trainers at every point in the show, not causing a rampage or disobeying orders.
jisoo had always wanted to go to the circus, mostly because he wanted to see the men and women walk across the tightrope.
the fear of them falling.
the adrenaline rush of just watching.
the elegance of their outfits.
the grace of their movements.
jisoo admired each and every part of it.
so it was foreseeable that once jisoo would exit the tent, he would ramble to his boyfriends about how beautiful and gorgeous and extraordinary the tightrope walkers happened to be.
“i would do anything to see a performance like that again!” seungcheol and jeonghan watched jisoo’s pretty lips as they talked about their enjoyment of the event, awestruck from his beauty and the circus show at the same time. “please tell me that we can go to the next circus show that comes into town, pretty please!”
jeonghan chuckled at the adorable actions of the youngest. “of course, baby. we could rent out the entire circus tent just for you if you desired.”
“really? could you do that?”
“we will one day, just for you. we promise.”
“on the topic of promises,” seungcheol stopped them from walking further, holding his hands behind his back. “there’s something i want to give the both of you. it’s not what you would expect, but it’s something to bind our love together for now.”
then, seungcheol revealed two sparkling rings, held in burgundy, velvet boxes. in the centre of the ring, the bands connected together through an infinity symbol, embellished with aqua blue diamonds along each curve. inside of the ring was a certain sentence, engraved in a hue of ebony so it was clear to see no matter the lighting.
‘i promise’, it read.
“it’s a promise ring, because i promise to be by both of your sides for as long as i shall live.” seungcheol spoke softly as he slid the rings onto both of their fingers.
“i promise to never let go of you both, no matter the circumstances.” jeonghan announced, holding a grin so strong that jisoo knew his jaw would ache until the end of the following day.
“i promise to be yours, forever and ever.” jisoo smiled before embracing both of his boyfriends in a tight hug, his heart thumping louder than the fireworks bursting in the sky above them.
but then again, people can break promises as easy as they can break champagne glasses.
they can break hearts that easily as well.
hearts like jisoo’s.