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Pride

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“Hey…”

Four pairs of eyes are watching him intently. Soo proceeds to his cubicle, doing one of his many talents— pretending not to notice.

“Morning.” he gives a simple greeting for his teammates. He then starts organizing his table, unaware of the subtle glances they shared.

Dongwook tilts his head to try catching his gaze. When Soo finally looks at him, he sees a sheepish smile on his coworker’s face.

“Was able to get sleep back?”

“Mm-hmm.” Soo nods, unintentionally catching Seojin’s eyes when the latter kept watching him too. “I literally passed out as soon as I got home from that party.”

The other man doesn’t say anything else. More like— he doesn’t know how to sneak in the question. One of the girls widened her eyes at him but Dongwook shakes his head, urging them to ask instead of him. He already initiated the conversation!

“So last Friday…” Minji slowly continues for them, smiling in a very unusual way.

This made Kyungsoo pause for a moment, but he doesn’t make it obvious. He glances at her with his usual blank gaze.

“What about it?”

Kyungsoo looks around and finally gets a better look at his teammates he was just drinking with a few days ago. They were all watching him attentively, but quickly retreat back to their own work when he began looking at them one by one. Minji sheepishly laughs.

“President Kim… brought you home…”

He raises a brow, trying to maintain a straight face even if the memory brings him so many unwanted feelings. Kyungsoo has been dodging any chances of recalling that night. He never thought someone else would actually be that curious to make him dig it up. His whole team, actually. It’s useless to hope they’d forget about it since they were drunk, too. Cause then again, why would someone forget if that happens? Your boss insisting to take one of your coworkers home when he got too hammered?

Indeed sketchy.

“He did?” Soo pretends to narrow his eyes as if trying to recall, “Can’t remember. I was too hammered.”

Who is he kidding?

Should he tell them how he got fucked by the man he despises the most? Literally and figuratively? Should he tell them how he got sobered up by simply overthinking a few words said that night, then still overthinking as soon as he woke up the next day because he’s alone in bed? Like a fucking toy left after a one night stand?

He probably should tell them that. That’s what happened, anyway.

Soo unintentionally crumples the side of the sketch pad he’s holding. He rubs it on the surface of his table to straighten it again while a small bitter smile situates itself on his lips.

“So does he… usually do that?” Minji reluctantly asks further. Soo even caught Seojin looking down on her sketch but was obviously listening. He never expected they’d be this curious. It quite makes him nervous about what Jongin possibly told them that night. Most of the memories aside from the sex are still a big blur in his mind.

He will never ever drink that much again. After that night, Kyungsoo appreciated Seonho so much more. There was a reason why he never let him drink so much when they were in New York. He’d always get himself in trouble and Seonho was very much aware.

Look what happened when he was deprived of guidance.

“I forgot to mention.” he fiddles his pencil in his hand while looking at Minji, “We live in the same building, that’s why.”

Soo faces his working table again, as if it’s a signal to finally end the conversation about it. Talking about that certain topic makes him more fidgety.

“Maybe CEO Kim saw him drunk on the couch and got concerned so he offered.” Dongwook butts in when Minji remained looking unsatisfied for her curiosity.

Seojin finally speaks as well, “Yeah, and you guys knew each other in college, right?”

Soo keeps his eyes on his working sheet, beginning to draw even if his focus wouldn’t get to it. It’s like his body is intentionally torturing him when he began feeling the way he was handled again, so clearly. The feeling of the hands and lips all over him.

He swallows hard and blinks a few more times.

“Yup.”

 

x

Soo hasn’t been feeling well for the past few days that went by. Not in a sense of sickness or what, but he seems so worn out, easily pissed and sucked out of life. With that, he tried cheering himself up by pranking Mia.

Maybe or not, you’re curious why— he doesn’t exactly know either. It all just occurred to him after that night, so many questions snatched his focus and productivity. He would sometimes space out while Seojin kicks his chair. When he gets home, he would succumb into another session of overthinking whenever his phone calls with Seonho end.

Kyungsoo refuses to believe he made it so easy. He gave in that fast after years of holding himself together. It frustrates him so much— how an overflowing amount of liquor and a concussion beat him into doing it. Now, he’s being tortured by the aftermath that’s much longer than the brief pleasure it gave him. And for what?

Meanwhile, the subject of his thoughts and haunting dreams didn’t show himself after that. Soo heard he’s busy because of more companies acquired by KJI recently. Junmyeon made sure everyone is catching up with the news, even if a certain designer would only roll his eyes subtly while he’s making announcements in meetings.

He’s surely happy for the CEO. At least he has a lot going on to distract him from thinking about that, too. Bitterness consumes Soo whenever he reaches that certain train of thought; or maybe he doesn’t need a distraction at all because he never cared?

It’s not like Soo’s so desperate for an explanation. If it was indeed a one night stand, then great. Better, actually. At least he’s still having good sex while he’s suffering in this place, right?

Now he’s slightly scowling while washing his hands under the faucet. It’s the middle of working hours so the restroom is empty. That being said, Soo barely noticed the person stepping in, also slowing down upon seeing him.

“Good morning.” he slightly flinches after being greeted. Kyungsoo sees Baekhyun through the mirror, timidly smiling while making his way to the other sink to wash his hands, too.

Soo only responds with a formal smile before going back to scrubbing his hands. It’s stained by ink from Mia’s pens that he sabotaged.

Baekhyun clears his throat and tries to initiate a conversation, “How’s your parents? Sukyung?”

The designer is a bit taken aback. After months of working here, he hasn’t really talked to Baekhyun like this. It’s not like he wants to, actually. If anything, this is one of the many things he avoids.

“They’re okay.” he answers shortly, not removing his gaze from his hands even if the other male watches him from his place.

“I’m sorry about your Dad, by the way...” Baekhyun blinks a few times. Soo badly wants to loudly chuckle but he doesn’t want to be rude. At least not yet. He’s still his boss, after all.

Instead, he only shrugs. “He did that to himself.”

It’s obviously difficult for Baekhyun because of his short responses. Soo wants him to take a hint. He doesn’t want them to talk, but it seems like the former is too eager to keep their conversation longer.

“I’m sure they’re glad to have you back.”

“I guess so.” Soo forces a grin, relieved that the stain is completely gone from his hand and he could finally leave. He adds a sarcastic note, “What can’t a rebellious son do to save the day, right?”

He pulls some paper towels out to dry his hands while Baekhyun remains on his post, gulping upon recognizing the hint of sarcasm in his response. His lips are pursed, like he badly wants to say something more to his old friend. When Soo wordlessly turns away after finishing, he finally calls him again.

“Hey, Soo?”

He had to take another gulp when Kyungsoo looks at him blankly. Still, Baekhyun tries to smile hopefully.

“Do you wanna have coffee sometimes…?” he blinks when the other simply stares as a response, “O-Or later… if you don’t have any plans?”

Soo momentarily remains silent before raising his brows in confusion.

“Why?”

“S-Sorry?”

“Why should we do that?”

Baekhyun parts his lips even if he isn’t able to instantly form a response. Kyungsoo’s uninterested gaze seems to intimidate the usually confident socialite.

“To… catch up. Talk about things…” he responds timidly, “I know it’s been a while since you’re back but I didn’t really have the chance bef—”

“Why?” another question from Soo shuts him up, “Why do we need to catch up?”

The other male rapidly blinks, “I-I…”

Kyungsoo’s lips finally curve into a smile.

“We don’t have to, Baekhyun.” the said man finally purses his lips in shame when he hears the sarcasm dripping from Soo’s tone, “There’s no point doing that.”

Baekhyun’s soft smile finally falls. He could only stare at Soo, looking crumbled.

“We don’t need to catch up. That’s something friends do.” Soo starts speaking straight from his emotions.

He convinced himself that he’s long over their fallout and he couldn’t care less about him anymore. But right now, Kyungsoo seems to be saying all of this to get even. Like he’s been keeping in these words deep inside him for so long, hoping one day he could throw the pain back. And so it comes.

“I appreciate the offer, but go ask others. Architect Jung, probably?” he speaks further without remorse even if Baekhyun’s obviously hurt enough, “Maybe she’s free.” then he left.

 

x

Just when he thought he got out of that restroom scenario with a great satisfaction, it only proved his life is a big joke. Because hours after that conversation, it never left Kyungsoo’s mind.

The satisfaction got replaced by guilt and all the other bad feelings a bad person like him should feel. He couldn’t get the image of Baekhyun close to crying out of his head. It stayed there and punched him straight in the chest and gut whenever he recalled. To add more to that, he didn’t see Baekhyun for the rest of the day.

You know those chances you get wherein you realize you’re actually not a bad person and you feel relieved? He wanted the other way. He wants to be completely horrible. By then, he wouldn’t have to be so guilty about saying things that deserved to be said.

“This isn’t as demanding as our other projects so we only chose the three of you. But it’s still a big one.”

And then just when he thought his day couldn’t get worse, they’re called into a closed-door meeting. In the CEO’s office with Architect Zhang, and yes, the CEO himself. Before Soo completely goes crazy, he decided to focus on his notebook instead. He was never the type to take notes but it has been an effective escape mechanism whenever he doesn’t want to focus. He takes notes even if it’s completely unnecessary. In that way, he’d look ridiculous but there’s nothing really they could do.

“Our client is building an office at Amsterdam.” Architect Zhang says while the two other designers frantically nod their heads. Soo writes every word down, “That’s all you need to know.”

The CEO looks serious while watching the only designer writing down.

Seojin asks, obviously thrilled by the said project. “What are the client’s preferences, Architect?”

“Nothing. You have all the freedom on this project.” he glances at the CEO behind the table before continuing, “We will provide you the blueprint of the building and it’s completely up to you. The client will choose afterwards.”

“Freedom… you mean…?” Minji blinks her rounded eyes.

“The client wants your personal touch for the designs.” Jongin answers her this time after watching a certain male for a while, “Design it like how you visualize your dream space. You’re given the full creative freedom.”

“When is the deadline?” Soo mindlessly asks without removing his gaze from his notes.

Jongin stares at him, raising a brow. “Deadline?”

“For the designs.” Soo fixes his glasses on the bridge of his nose.

It surprisingly took a while for them to answer such a simple question. Architect Zhang looks at the CEO again, who simply nods to give him the signal to answer this time.

“The client can wait until the end of this month.” Architect Zhang smiles at them, “Take all the time you need for this.”

Seojin and Minji started smiling in excitement. Meanwhile Soo writes every verbatim line from Architect Zhang.

“You have the blueprints and contract copy with you.” the CEO tells them, looking frustrated over something. This made the designers instantly stand up from their seats and bow as respect before leaving his office, “That’s all, then. You’re all dismissed.”

Soo walks behind the other two, but before he could step out of the door, he pauses. Architect Zhang and the other two designers don’t even notice him while they talk on their way out. The petite male gathers all his courage to face his boss again, who’s now focused on the pile of paperwork and blueprints on his desk. He raises his gaze from them towards the boy who remained still on his office door.

“Anything else?” Jongin asks seriously.

Yes. Soo wants to answer back after gulping. First of all; how fucking dare you?

“Uh… should we have our drafts checked before the submission?” he asks while keeping a blank face.

“Yes.” Jongin doesn’t even look at him while answering. He goes back to working on the files he needs to review, “You can ask Junmyeon to lend me your designs if you want them checked.”

Soo grits his teeth while watching him, feeling so mad that he wants to burst. He doesn’t even know why! It’s like seeing Jongin again after that night, gathered all the pent up emotions and he has the urge to make him pay for it.

Don’t even mention this sudden professional act he’s trying to show now? After fucking him while he was drunk and then leaving in the morning as if he was his whore?

Again, how fucking dare this bastard?

“Is that all?” Jongin asks again when the said employee stays on his door while looking deadly.

“That’s all.” he responds before slamming the door on his way out, making sure it would be felt until where his damn table stood.

 

x

Despite his current hatred for the world, the project is successfully distracting him. For once, he feels free again. Just like his days in New York, he doesn’t have to worry about designing things he doesn’t like because he has the creative freedom.

He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he’s certainly happy he’s chosen for this.

“I’m really glad about this project, Kyung.” Seojin tells him once they’re in the pantry to have some snacks in the afternoon, “I think this is my favorite so far.”

It’s been days since starting their designs for the Amsterdam deal. Fortunately, there isn’t much going on with their other projects in the firm so it isn’t hectic. It helps Soo to be more inspired and clearly visualize the dream space he has in mind.

“Why are you whispering?” he asks her.

“Because I think it’s a top secret! No one else knows aside from the three of us!” the woman smirks proudly, “I’m starting to think we’re the best designers here that’s why we’re chosen.”

Soo looks around the other employees doing their own thing from the distance, then he chuckles.

“Or maybe they just want to drown us with more task.” he says while eating his Yakult jelly. Recently, he’s becoming more and more pessimistic than Seojin. Very unusual.

“Hmm. Probably.” the said girl shrugs, “At least we’re getting high commission from this. It’s not bad. Considering there’s not much challenge about the project because we can freely design it on our own. God, Amsterdam. I’m thinking about rustic elegance or Scandinavian themes…” Soo looks at her twinkling eyes while she gazes up to imagine, “What do you plan?”

He thinks of the designs he already started. Soo loves them so far, but he hides his smile. “Nothing yet.”

This one feels inexplicably personal to him that he’s reluctant about sharing them yet.

“I’m actually starting with mine now because I want to have it checked by President Kim before he leaves.” Seojin tells him with a small pout, “But I heard it’s already this Wednesday, so I guess we just have to wait until he comes back.”

This made Kyungsoo look at her again, parting his lips to ask about it if it isn’t for the person happily walking towards their way.

“Why are you having snacks without me?” Minji interrupts his upcoming question when she sat with them, wearing a familiar grin. “My co-top designers?”

Soo slightly rolls his eyes when the two girls started to giggle. It seems like both of them are thinking about the same reason why they’re in this project.

Still, he ends up smiling while watching them. He’s fortunate. At least, he’s in this project with his teammates. It makes it a lot bearable.

Maybe he agrees with Seojin; this being his favorite.

“I was just telling Kyung how I think we’re the best designers here.” Seojin mumbles while still grinning, “Imagine Mia’s face if she finds out we’re getting a big Amsterdam project.”

“I’m going to slap her with the incentive we’re gonna get here.”

Soo blinks a few times before asking his interrupted question a while ago.

“Why can’t we have our designs checked on Wednesday?” he asks, genuinely curious.

“President Kim is leaving for Shanghai.” Seojin answers, “He’ll be receiving an international award. I heard he’s attending some gala too.”

He slowly nods, lips slightly parted.

Minji scowls, “Psh. That’s why Architect Jung feels like she’s the queen of the world again.”

The mention affects him just the same.

“She’s going too?” Soo asks.

“Yeah. I don’t know if other board executives will go but Architect Jung is always there whenever Kim Kai makes a public appearance.” Minji chuckles while shaking her head.

“She thinks being an arm candy is a career.” says Seojin, unable to notice the way his face softens.

“Tss.” Minji’s voice becomes a little louder because of irritation, “I bet those company events are the best alibi for overseas sex.”

“Minji!”

Soo simply chuckles as a response, though his eyes settle on the empty pack of Yakult in front of him.

“What?” Minji raises a brow at the frowning Seojin, “Don’t tell me they’re not in the same room, doing nasty things whenever they go out of the country together!”

“You can’t talk like that here, if someone hears you…”

“She’s President Kim’s girlfriend, what’s so new about that?”

Soo proceeds to opening Seojin’s Yakult to drink it himself.

“Come on.” the said girl doesn’t even notice him stealing it, “We’re just assuming their relationship since the start. President Kim never confirmed having a partner.” Seojin says suspiciously, “It could literally be anyone else but Architect Jung.”

The male designer gulps the Yakult in one go.

“That’s dumb.” Minji responds in disbelief, “They’re literally slapping us with the truth! Have you even seen how Architect Jung tails behind him everywhere, especially when her father comes?”

As much as he wants to agree with Minji, the last part of her statement caught his attention.

Despite wincing from the continuous drinking, Soo manages to ask. “What’s with Architect Jung’s father?”

For some reason, it rings a bell in his mind.

“Sometimes he comes to board meetings. He’s a stockholder in KJI.” Seojin answers, frowning after noticing he already drank the Yakult she got for herself.

“Since when?”

“From what I’ve heard when I was in KJI, he was one of the pioneer investors that helped Kim Kai build KJI Industries.” Minji answers casually this time, as if it’s a well-known fact. But Soo appears confused, “It probably explains why Architect Jung feels like Kai’s wife already. She feels like she has all the right since Kim Kai became business partners with her Dad.”

Kyungsoo spaces out for a while because of this. His question was answered but it still doesn’t make sense to him. Is that even possible?

“I won’t be surprised if they get engaged one day. She seems like the type to beg her father so he could guilt-trip our CEO into proposing because he owes them.” Minji adds with her usual hateful note to the architect, “The daughters of Kim Kai’s other business partners aren’t as crazy as her, honestly.”

Soo remembers a specific detail.

“But…” he blinks slowly, “I thought her family wasn’t rich before?”

The two shrug at the same time. How would they know?

“Maybe Mr. Jung really took a risk on investing for KJI and got lucky.” Seojin says as if it’s the only feasible explanation.

It’s a bit sickening how simple facts bother him like this. What’s so interesting about it, anyway? Of course she’s his girlfriend. It’s only natural that their families are already tied together.

“So doesn’t it mean they owe him more than he does?” Soo vocally expresses his thought, “I mean… he made them rich.”

“I guess so.” Minji says with another shrug, “That’s why Architect Jung wants the CEO all for herself, Kyung. Maybe that’s how it works.”

He stares down at his two empty Yakult packs. He doesn’t speak anymore.

  

With that conversation lingering in his mind, he worked on his designs nonstop. The rest of the week. There’s an uncomfortable feeling in his chest. It wouldn’t leave him. It sucks having such a wide imagination. He’s in a confined cubicle working his ass off, but his thoughts were flying off somewhere. In another country, probably— clearly picturing what’s possibly happening.

So when Monday comes, Soo steps in Junmyeon’s office, holding his finished drafts with a timid smile on his face.

He was listening when Junmyeon told them the CEO will be back in the firm as soon as the week starts. He actually paid attention.

“Hi Kyungsoo.” Junmyeon smiles despite appearing surprised by his arrival.

“Hello…”

He stands up from his swivel chair, being as welcoming as he always is. “Can I do something for you?”

Soo casts a glance at the pile of work on his table. He feels bad for Junmyeon. Must be hard having to shoulder all the work just because your boss is having fun somewhere else.

“I’m just wondering if I can have this checked by the CEO?” he asks formally, yet there’s an uncontrollable anticipation in his chest.

“Oh…” he blinks when Junmyeon appears dismayed, “I forgot to mention he’s still in Shanghai right now… he extended for a day or two.”

Soo slowly nods in awe, forcing a smile.

It must have been really fun.

“Ah.” he blinks rapidly and instantly comes up with another way, “I have soft copies here. Maybe you can send them to him? It’s just… I’d really like to have progress on this project.”

Junmyeon looks a bit torn upon seeing his effort. Without Soo knowing, he appears hopeful to the manager.

“I’m really sorry, Kyung.” Junmyeon smiles apologetically, “But CEO Kim doesn’t usually want to be disturbed during an overseas trip unless it’s urgent.”

He subtly grits his teeth. Disturbance.

The designer holds his designs close to his chest, bitterness consuming him whole while he steps back to the door.

“Okay…” he nods while smiling at the manager who still looks torn, “thanks Junmyeon.”

He closes the door, just in time as his professional smile falls. He goes back to his cubicle and drops the drafts on his table. Fuck these designs then. The action earns him a look from some of his teammates nearby.

But Soo plops back on his seat and resumes to working, even if it’s the last thing he feels like doing. Even if his nerves tremble in infuriation.

You know what pisses him off? His designs. The shitty days in this office. Junmyeon, probably. Or maybe those bosses who are supposed to be working but abandon their responsibility just to have fun.

No, actually— maybe it was really just the quick fuck. A quick fucking toy for his needs, so why would he deserve an explanation in the first place? He was just like everyone else. Just like those people he foolishly stalked weeks ago. He’s no different from them. A quick fuck because he was an easy target.

There it goes, the only thing that has been pissing him off, honestly.

He feels like crying out of frustration. Soo never thought he’d be this petty at one point.

Aside from that, he feels low. How could he sleep with someone who’s already committed to someone all this time?

He goes back to sketching his anger. Sublimation. Just like that.

 

After that, Soo didn’t feel like working efficiently anymore. He felt bummed for no apparent reason. Day by day, he just waited for working hours to be over while polishing some of his designs.

At Wednesday of the following week, it’s the same boring day of working in his cubicle. As soon as 5PM arrived, he packed his things up and left the office unnoticed. Though when he got outside of the building, Kyungsoo also didn’t feel like staying in his apartment for the rest of the night. There’s a strong urge to go out but having no one with him, it seems pointless too.

How did I end up being such a loner?

With that, a bitter smile settles on his lips while walking out— must feel nice having fun abroad? Having the time of your life, huh?

While walking on the sidewalk, his phone vibrates in his pocket.

from: Chanyeol

What are you pouting for

The message makes him raise his gaze in an instant. He looks around, instinctively trying to spot a familiar motorcycle. When he doesn’t see it, a car honks from across the street.

A black pickup rolls down its window, where Chanyeol slightly sneaks out his head to wave at him. Still a bit confused, Kyungsoo still makes his way towards it, finally getting a good look at the huge beam on the taller’s face.

"Chanyeol?" his brows crease while watching the other male hop off the driver’s seat, "Why are you here?"

"End of working hours, right?" the big grin on Chanyeol’s lips is starting to intrigue him, "Got plans for tonight?"

Soo couldn’t help his eyes from lightening up because of the question. Just in time.

"Is that a bait?" he pretends to think by glancing up, "Aside from rotting in my apartment, none."

The taller chuckles heartily.

"Congratulations then, you won a coupon of celebratory drinks. All on Chanyeol."

Kyungsoo still looks confused. For someone so eager to finally have someone to hang out with, he’s prolonging this too much.

"Remember the producer I was telling you about?" Chanyeol speaks further, amused by the shorter’s lost expression. "The one I thought was impossible for me to work with?"

Soo glances down to recall. Looking back to the conversations he had with Chanyeol, he finally figures out what he was pertaining to. His eyes rounded.

"Oh god..."

"He loved my demos." Chanyeol smiles big. He looks like he’s trying to suppress the excitement but is failing terribly, "He's arranging a meeting with me to negotiate."

"Wow..." Soo gasps before quickly hugging him, "I'm so happy for you!"

He can feel Chanyeol’s happiness just by the tightness of his embrace. He knows he’s been waiting for this shot. Soo remembers hearing so much about how he looks up to this producer a lot. As someone who barely knows a thing about the current music industry in the country, he had to look it up from the internet. He found out how big this producer is and understood why his friend really dreams of working with him. Soo might have pushed him a lot to try after that.

Somehow, this good news finally cheered Kyungsoo up from his sullen days.

Chanyeol pulls away, still holding onto his shoulders with a glint in his eyes.

"Drinks, then?"

"Wait... why me?" Soo asks, brows creasing even if he’s still smiling back. "I'm flattered that you're offering me but how about your other friends? You have a lot to treat!"

"I will. Don't worry about it." Chanyeol nods once, "I wanted to let you know first since you were the one constantly encouraging me to give my demos a try."

A flattered smile situates itself on his lips. Chanyeol sheepishly chuckles because of this.

"I was just being unusually supportive." he shrugs, "But okay, why would I say no to free drinks?"

Chanyeol scrunches his nose, wrapping an arm around Soo’s neck while they walk to his car.

"You're saying a lot that I almost took the offer back."

They decided to have an early dinner first before going for a drink. Chanyeol wanted to go to this high-end bar nearby. Upon hearing which bar it is, Soo fell silent for a moment. It was the one where he and his team celebrated a few weeks ago. You can say the last impression he has for it isn’t really good.

But there’s no way he’ll spoil the night for Chanyeol. He just has to get over it. At least his haunting memory from the place will finally be replaced by something good. Not being hammered or sleeping with your boss who happens to be the same man you’ve been avoiding for the past eight years.

Great.

He’s in the middle of listening to Chanyeol when his phone buzzes again, flashing a new message from one of his bosses.

From: Junmyeon

Hey Kyung ^^ President Kim has already arrived here from the airport. I told him about your draft, would you like to have it checked now?

Something flinches in him upon reading this. His focus wavers for a moment, as if Chanyeol’s simply talking to an empty space. So he got back? Soo stares ahead, thinking how the recent days could be so enjoyable.

He looks at the same text before typing a response.

To: Junmyeon

Oh, sorry I'm already out of the office

He goes back to listening to Chanyeol who barely noticed his momentary distraction, still talking while he drives. Despite that, Soo waits for his phone to vibrate again by another text from Junmyeon. But it rings for a call instead, urging him to excuse himself from their conversation.

"Junmyeon."

"Hi Kyung..." he hears the usual nice tone from the Operations Manager, "Are you home now?"

He glances at Chanyeol beside him before raising a brow.

"No..." he says, "I'm out with a friend, actually. We'll get some drinks. I guess I won't be home 'til later."

The way Junmyeon paused doesn’t go unnoticed to the designer. He watches the moving buildings while waiting for his next response.

"Uhm..." the man from the other line sounds reluctant this time, "President Kim wants to check your draft now..."

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes. His infuriation comes back in a split second.

"I can't go back." he says firmly, "Tell him I'll just have it checked next week with Minji and Seojin."

He hears Junmyeon’s muffled voice after that, as if the latter covered his speaker with a hand to talk to someone. Soo clenches his jaw while trying to make something out of the sound.

"Minji and Seojin already had theirs checked now..." Junmyeon says that gets him frowning even more, "President wants it within the day..."

Okay, now he finds it ridiculous. Wasn’t he asking for his work to be checked a few days ago? Now that working hours are over, he’s demanded by that asshat to go back to the office so he could have his designs checked?

Tell me I don’t have to get mad.

“Ah, really?” Soo tries to keep calm because he’s still talking to Junmyeon. But he ends up seething, "Tell President Kim I’m out of office grounds and office hours so he can wait for nothing today.”

“I—”

Kyungsoo drops the call, looking extremely sullen while staring outside. There’s a bit of guilt that he had to snap at Junmyeon like that. But he had to end the call before his boss’ irrational demands push him to his limits.

There’s an undeniable agitation when he realized what his consequences would be. They’re still his superiors. But Kyungsoo being Kyungsoo, he keeps his ground for his choice. He should’ve checked that in Shanghai instead of having fun.

“Geez.” Chanyeol mutters. Turns out he’s been watching him sulk for a while now, “He’s serious about bossing you around, huh?”

“It’s not like I’d let him.” Soo rolls his eyes when his answer comes off funnily. He remembers they’re talking about his boss, “At least not all the goddamn time.”

Chanyeol voices out Kyungsoo’s worry, “Wouldn’t you get into some sort of trouble for that?”

Soo purses his lips before squinting his eyes.

“For telling my jerk of a boss to get out of my face when office hours are over?” he sarcastically asks and frowns again. Chanyeol’s gaze lingers on him before letting out an amused chortle.

Soo looks at him inquisitively, but Chanyeol seems so used to his dagger eyes that he doesn’t budge.

“What’s funny?”

“Nothing… just a bit of nostalgia hitting me hard.” Soo’s brows furrowed even more, “It’s amusing how it was completely the other way around before. Who would’ve thought…”

The designer blinks a few times.

“What do you mean?”

“You bossing him around…” his frown falters when Chanyeol said this with a hint of smile, “Although of course you have completely opposite responses.”

Kyungsoo falls silent. There’s a sudden tug in his chest when he remembers a little fragment of that memory. No, every bit of it actually.

Then he doesn’t try speaking anymore and looks back at the ever interesting window instead. There’s a brief silence that followed, considering that Chanyeol didn’t expect the lack of response.

“Try to understand Jongin.” Chanyeol speaks again, “I mean, after being on the headlines again for breathing, I’m sure he’s so stressed.”

Soo looks at him.

“Headlines about?”

“Simply the press making a big fuss about him being seen with Jung Soojung again.” the taller shrugs casually, “There’s a lot of engagement, marriage rumors circulating like they’re not used to seeing them in company events.”

This made him still for a moment. If it wasn’t for Chanyeol who stopped the car in between his deep thought, he wouldn’t have been distracted. They finally stopped near the lane full of diners and restaurants.

“Okay, now you pick the restaurant.” Chanyeol grins at him.

“Why me? You’re paying for it!”

“I know, but I don’t want your judging look while eating if I pick a place you don’t like so you do it.”

Soo chuckles because of this. He jokingly narrows his eyes.

“Are you sure no one will come and punch me on the face if we’re seen together?”

The tall guy jokingly pinches his plump cheek.

“I’m as single as you want me to be, Soo.” Chanyeol clicks his tongue, “So pick now cause I’m starving.”

 

 

Is KJI Industries’ CEO finally getting serious with business partner? The business tycoon and well-known architect sparked engagement rumors after being seen at a Shanghai Gala.

He repeatedly goes through the same words on his screen.

Ah.

“What’re you reading?”

Kyungsoo swiftly flips his phone over and settles it on his lap. Chanyeol hovers in front to try and sit beside him, holding bottles in both his hands.

They finally reached the bar Chanyeol wants to try, and while the latter got them drinks, he stayed on their table and looked up things in the internet. Which he shouldn’t have, actually.

“Nothing.” he forces a little smile, “What do you have?”

“Beers!” the taller flashes him his usual big grin while lifting the bottles up, “Let’s try the others later. I think I got overwhelmed by the drinks here, I ended up ordering beer again. It got so obvious that I’m not rich.” the volume of his voice becomes lower this time while looking around the expensive place, “Damn. This is such a high-end place.”

“This is where high-profile people get wild. It got such a high security.” Soo chuckles knowingly, “This place holds a lot of dirty secrets, I guess.”

“Rich brats.” Chanyeol grimaces before looking back at him, “Have you been here before?”

“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you ask me right after saying rich brats.” Kyungsoo hisses that earns him a laughter from the other, “Believe it or not, I’ve just been here once. Just… weeks ago, actually… with my team for a celebration.” he tries to maintain a casual expression despite having to recall every detail of the said night, “This wasn’t a thing before I left for US eight years ago. When I was still a rich brat.”

Chanyeol shakes his head in amusement. He hands one of the beers to Kyungsoo before taking a sip from his own.

“God, you make it seem so long ago. Are we really that old now?”

Soo grins a little when certain memories hit him. Good ones, fortunately.

“Are you cringing whenever you remember the weird hair colors you tried before?” he teases Chanyeol who starts cringing upon the mention, “But yeah… it’s really a long time ago.”

Chanyeol almost chokes on his beer when he remembers something funny, “Remember that one time in the diner, we—”

“Catching up, reminiscing, aren’t we?”

Both of their smiles falter at the same time when a familiar voice interrupts them from behind.

Kyungsoo’s face turns serious upon seeing the guy smiling at them.

“Baekhyun.”

“Hi, Soo!” Baekhyun looks slightly red, and now that they hear him speaking, it’s safe to assume he’s tipsy. “Why the long face? Did I interrupt something?”

Soo caught Chanyeol looking down at the floor. He sighs and looks at Baekhyun again. He’s not feeling good about this, at all.

“What are you doing here?”

Baekhyun chuckles at the question.

“I could ask the same to you. I mean… I didn’t expect to see you here. Wow. Seems like you’re celebrating for something, huh?” he says while still smiling, eyes lingering on Chanyeol. When the taller doesn’t spare him a glance, he shrugs, “I actually co-own this place. I’m always here, being wild. Being my usual self.”

Baekhyun is smiling, but he doesn’t seem happy at all. If anything, he looks like he’s trying to keep himself from speaking more.

He seems to be at the edge of something while looking at them, together.

Soo forces a smile just to get it over with, “That’s good to hear.”

But then it’s far from done when Baekhyun gasps and laughs at the response he got.

“You’re not going to stand up and storm out after knowing I own this?” he gapes in awe, smile turning sarcastic. “Wow, I’m so moved! I thought you’re disgusted with everything related to me? This is a character development!”

Chanyeol takes another sip from his beer while still staring on the same empty spot. He refuses to intervene even if he’s equally involved in this as they are.

Soo tries to maintain composure.

“Would you like us to leave?”

“Of course not!” Baekhyun answers without thinking twice, rambling his words. “I’m flattered that you chose my bar to have a date. Actually… you know what? Choose every drink you like, it’s on me!” he yells because of the loud music, “Come on! You can have all the drinks!”

He’s really taking Kyungsoo’s words when they last talked. As much as Soo wants to directly tell his former best friend off in the most effective way he knows, he still doesn’t want to ruin this night for Chanyeol too. Baekhyun is drunk, and going along with his tantrums will only make things worse.

“Thanks, Baekhyun. But we’re fine.” he assures him with a formal smile, glancing towards the table with a noisy bunch of people calling for Baekhyun’s name. “I think you should head back to your friends. They’re calling you.”

But Baekhyun stays there. Now that Soo takes a better look at him, he sees his eyes being a bit bloodshot. His jaw also hardens.

“Back to brushing me off again, Soo. Smooth.” this time, the acid in his voice becomes more evident. “I’m sorry, am I ruining your special date?”

“You’re drunk, Baekhyun.”

“Oh I guess I should ask Chanyeol then.” Baekhyun raises a brow and watches the silent guy beside him, “I think I’m ruining this so much for him since he’s been waiting for this moment for so long, right?”

Chanyeol doesn’t answer, but his chest is obviously heaving.

“You’re obviously ruining this not just for us but for the other people around you’re disturbing, Baekhyun.” Soo begins to flare up as well when they start gaining some attention around, “Stop acting like a child.”

Baekhyun laughs out loud, gritting his teeth in between.

“Now I’m acting like a fucking child, Soo!” he chuckles in disbelief and more people are starting to notice the commotion, “Like I was the one being so hung up and unforgiving about some shit that happened so many years ago, standing up on a huge pile of pride, I’m the one acting like a child!”

Soo gives him a sarcastic smile. He’s aware that the other is drunk but he’s not having any of his bullshit either.

“I’m not the one who walked up to someone else’s table and started creating a scene for something that shouldn’t even be a big deal. Exactly like a child.” the calmness in his tone seems to fume Baekhyun up even more, “And there’s nothing to forgive, Baekhyun. I didn’t get any apology.”

Baekhyun doesn’t get to answer immediately, but his gaze is still sharp. Despite the dimmed lights, Soo can notice the way his eyes slightly glisten.

But Soo remains unapologetic. Did he lie?

He feels a gentle hand on his knee.

“Soo…” Chanyeol tells him while continuously blinking, “that’s enough.”

Baekhyun gets a good look of the brief scenario, dismissing his socialite friends calling for his name while walking closer.

“An apology?” he asks in disbelief, looking straight into Kyungsoo’s eyes. “An apology after you fucking disappeared without even caring about anyone? Without any fucking trace, huh Soo?”

Kyungsoo falls silent, staring back at Baekhyun who’s waiting for his next response.

“B! What’s going on?” Baekhyun’s tensed state relaxes when some people from his circle walks up to them to check. Soo noticed the way they grimaced at him and Chanyeol, as if wondering how they’re so worthy of attention. “We’re all waiting for you there to resume the game. Who are these people?”

Baekhyun gulps hard before smiling.

“Oh, you know…” he shrugs, intentionally raising his voice when he realized some people are looking, “just my ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend having a date together. I was just asking them if they find my bar satisfying.”

Kyungsoo looks at him seriously, “Baekhyun, stop it.”

“I guess complimentary drinks wouldn’t be bad as a treat from me, what do you guys think!” he asks the people around that earns them even more buzz. Soo gulps and looks at Chanyeol when people start whispering every after glance at them.

“Where are their drinks? Hey, I want every fucking drink on their table now.” Baekhyun orders the bartenders nearby, who instantly nod as per the bar owner’s request. Baekhyun glances back at the people he left on the VIP table while grinning from ear to ear, “Actually… I should do my dare, too? Some hottie’s waiting for me!”

He takes quick steps towards the said area, grabbing one handsome guy that seems to be waiting for him, then kisses him hard on the lips. As expected, the scene earns a collective coo and cheer from his friends and the other people watching. Watching the known socialite effortlessly complete a heated dare in front of everyone.

“Soo.” Kyungsoo snaps out from watching Baekhyun in disbelief when Chanyeol calls him. The latter is smiling at him reassuringly, “let’s just go.”

There’s a pinch inside his chest while looking at Chanyeol’s face. Soo doesn’t say anything else and nods. Before the free drinks arrive, the two of them already got up from their seats and find their way out as subtle as they can while everyone’s still immersed with some public stunt pulled by Baekhyun.

And then Kyungsoo thought about it. If it was just him, he doesn’t know how bad it could’ve ended up. He wouldn’t have let Baekhyun humiliate him like that. But then there’s Chanyeol. Chanyeol who simply smiled after everything and calmly asked him to leave. Soo realizes why Baekhyun never really deserved him in the first place.

“Where are you guys going?” Baekhyun asks when he caught them leaving. Kyungsoo gears up to snap but Chanyeol firmly holds his arm to continue walking. Despite that, they didn’t have to wait for too long until Baekhyun reaches them.

“Hey, Chanyeol!” he calls, still smiling but is desperately demanding for a certain attention now. He gets dismissed until he actually blocks the taller’s way. Baekhyun heaves, “Stop! You haven’t said a single word to me.”

Soo simply stands behind Chanyeol, watching how Baekhyun obviously crumbles inside despite being the center of attention. The last person he’d fool with that bright grin is the one who really knows who he is. Soo can see through him, and despite having so much spotlight for everything he does, he’s obviously yearning for someone else to notice. And it kills him that he’s not having it at all. His eyes are screaming about it.

Chanyeol, on the other hand— remains on the same spot, maintaining silence.

“Are you happy now, huh?” Baekhyun desperately asks while trying to catch his gaze. He begins gulping in between, “Because I wish you are! I pray to god you’re having the time of your life! I bet you waited so long for this and now you have it. You have w-who you truly wanted.” he glances at Soo while blinking rapidly. Then he gives a different smile to Chanyeol, “I-I was just a bridge for you from the beginning, wasn’t I? Someone to fill you when my bestfriend left?”

The taller looks at him. But he doesn’t answer. It seems like it’s completely pointless. Baekhyun would only believe what he wants to. Why do you think they’re here right now?

“Huh? Say something.” Baekhyun’s eyes glisten in anger, pushing Chanyeol’s shoulders. “Answer my fucking question!”

Baekhyun’s aggravation instantly crumbles down when Chanyeol finally stares at him. But the latter simply smiles, looking sincere as he always is.

“Don’t drive home by yourself, Baek.” he tells him before walking past the shorter to finally leave the place. Before following outside, Soo managed to see how a few words made Baekhyun distraught on the same spot.

 

 

He didn’t try lightening up the atmosphere after that. There’s just… no use. The night has completely been spoiled no matter how much fake chuckles and smiles Chanyeol responds to his stories. The man offered to move to another bar instead, but Soo declined. Not for him, but for Chanyeol himself. He’s obviously too bothered over something. There’s a small crease on his forehead while driving in silence.

Soo remembers Chanyeol telling him about how he never knew if Baekhyun considered their relationship official, like he did. Tonight, Baekhyun actually confirmed it, himself. He called Chanyeol his ex-boyfriend. He will never dare to ask directly but somehow, he hopes that it’s a closure for Chanyeol. He will never have to think about that question over and over again, no matter how terrible this night turned out to be.

Kyungsoo can confidently declare they still aren’t over each other. And it’s so much worse than he expected— to think that he’s the main reason why they’ve reached this fallout.

He’s at fault, right? As always?

“Soo…” Chanyeol starts off while walking him up to the tower entrance, “I just want to clarify things—”

“You don’t have to.” Soo interrupts before he could even finish, reassuring him with a genuine smile. “We’re friends, Chanyeol. We have always been friends.”

The taller forces one back. Both his hands are in his pockets, obviously still bothered about it.

“I don’t know… where Baekhyun gets his ideas.” he tries to chuckle, staring at Kyungsoo. “But… it doesn’t really matter, right? I can’t control what he thinks. It’s a long time ago, too.”

Kyungsoo nods before exhaling a deep breath.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have provoked him.”

“No… it’s my fault.” Chanyeol shakes his head, “I shouldn’t have brought you to that bar in the first place. Had I known he owns that…”

Soo grins, “That makes the two of us.”

He gets another forced chuckle. It’s starting to get to him, honestly. It pains him to see Chanyeol spacing out like this, faking expressions and being bothered by something he’s never at fault for. He’s one of Kyungsoo’s few, good friends and he’s one of the nicest people he knows as well. Chanyeol shouldn’t even be going through this.

“Chanyeol…” he worriedly calls when the taller unconsciously spaces out again, “you’re okay?”

Chanyeol smiles before shrugging.

“Of course.” he shakes his head, “Just bummed about our mini celebration. But we can always do that again.” he blinks a few more times before starting to step back, “I should get going now, then. Thanks for tonight, Soo.”

The designer nods.

“Anytime. Good luck on your new venture.” he waves back, “Keep me updated, producer.”

“I sure will.” Chanyeol sends him a half-smile, “Night.”

Even after going inside the tower lobby, Kyungsoo stood behind the glass door to wait until Chanyeol’s car left. Without having anything else to do, he takes the elevator to finally go back to his unit. Back to being all alone again.

The night is far from over since he didn’t really get to drink that much with Chanyeol. They surely didn’t even finish a bottle. Baekhyun just couldn’t wait to make a scene.

Now it all adds up to his thousand problems. They will have to interact in the office after that. No matter how much Kyungsoo wants to live his life here professionally and in complete peace, they just wouldn’t give it to him. He thought about his possible responses in case Baekhyun does that again, but he begins to have a headache. He decides not to worry about it for now.

So as much as Kyungsoo wants to stand by what he said in that phone call a while ago, he has no choice but to finally have his designs checked by the CEO. It’s also the right time to apologize about how rude he was, especially to Junmyeon. The latter was simply doing his job but he had to take that outburst.

If it was only for Soo, he wouldn’t be bothered. But then reality hits him hard— they’re his bosses now. He’s nothing but a subordinate.

“Hey… Junmyeon?” Soo begins hesitantly when his call was answered, “I just… called to apologize about the way I spoke a while ago.”

“Oh… it’s okay, Kyung. Nothing personal.” Junmyeon pauses, probably trying to figure out his whereabouts based on the silence around. “Are you home now?”

The designer had to blink in awe because of how easy it was. Junmyeon is a way too nice guy, isn’t he?

“Yes, actually I’m on my way to my unit.” he says while playing with his access card in the hall of his floor, “I could send you the file in case the CEO is still in the office.”

“No need for that, Kyung.” Junmyeon says, “He can check it personally. He’s in his penthouse. Top floor of your tower.”

Soo stops in front of his door.

He starts blinking, “I…”

“President said he’ll wait for you there.” Junmyeon tells him as if he just got the go signal at the very moment, “He wants it checked today, remember?”

Soo stares on a certain spot. Eventually, a sarcastic grin forms on his lips.

Is that really what you want, Kim Jongin?

  

Just for the record; he stayed in his unit for a while and had a serious debate with himself whether he’d go or not. Junmyeon said their boss is already expecting him, so it didn’t really give him a chance to postpone again. He can, of course. I mean, who the fuck does he think he is to stop me? But then again, KJI’s CEO had also made him pay the prize for disobeying him a lot of times. He’ll surely get another consequence if he does it again.

But was it really the reason?

Because he’s afraid of the punishment?

Was it, Soo?

Or maybe because he’s certain that they’d go out of the agenda? He already knows Kim Kai so much and his sly plans. But more than that, Soo knows himself, too. Despite knowing what possibly awaits him in that penthouse, he doesn’t want to back down. To appear scared. That’s just how he is. Pride and dignity over anything.

Aside from that, he’s curious about the penthouse.

That being said— he’s now on the top floor, with a binder of designs in his arms. He didn’t even bother checking them before leaving his unit. Not as much as he checked himself on the mirror. You know, priorities.

Soo remained staring at the same door for about a minute. As expected, you’d see no other rooms around on this floor. The penthouse occupies all of it. He suddenly thought about the helipad above this. It’s not hard to figure out who’s responsible for those helicopter landings on this tower every now and then. There goes the urge for another eyeroll.

He exhales a shortened breath, fixes his eyeglasses and presses the button on the wall to make his presence known.

It opens shortly, revealing the CEO in his simple black shirt and pants. Unsurprised, he looks at Kyungsoo and raises a brow in both intrigue and amusement. Soo had to take a subtle gulp despite having his straight face maintained.

“My designs…” somehow, he feels tongue-tied. “you want to have them checked?”

Jongin glances down at the binder in his hands before pulling the door open.

“Come in.”

The shorter doesn’t comply for a second until he’s completely left on the doorstep. He steps inside the penthouse, unable to conceal the awe upon seeing the place personally. He’d only seen this in Architectural Digest and exhibit prototypes at Parson classes before. The interior is flawless, details intricately emphasized. Kyungsoo finds himself customizing the place in his head like what he usually does whenever he sees a good place. He puts ideal furniture or designs on some corners he finds empty, even though this one doesn’t really need much revising.

Jongin watches him looking around while still standing on the same spot. He goes to the counter for drinks near the penthouse door to get glasses.

“Would you like something to drink? Eat?”

Soo blinks a few times when he realized he’s been too immersed on evaluating the place. He shakes his head.

“No, I’m full. Thanks.” Jongin looks at him because of this, raising a brow and nodding once as if he wants to say something.

“Are you just going to stay there?” he asks that makes the shorter suddenly conscious. The businessman tilts his head, pointing to the receiving area while he holds a bottle of expensive liquor in his hand. “Make yourself comfortable in the living room. I need a bit of whiskey.”

Despite the reluctance, Kyungsoo couldn’t deny both the curiosity and excitement to see the entire place. He walks in the hallway leading to the spacious living room, eyes sparkling upon seeing a big glass window, extending to the end of the wall. The buildings all over Seoul look like tiny flickering lights around.

Soo unconsciously smiles in awe. He takes slow steps towards the tall glass window, dropping his binder on the couch to watch the said view. The penthouse has nothing but dimmed side lights, simply illuminated by the city and nearby buildings outside. God, what he’d give to live in this kind of place. Even his old Gangnam apartment from college or New York one with Seonho doesn’t come close to this.

Well… it’s not like he owns a damn tower in the first place.

“How are you finding the place?” he doesn’t flinch when he hears a deep voice behind. There’s also a sound of ice clanking against a glass, interrupting the silence he had for a while. Soo simply gives a side-eye, not turning away from the breathtaking view. Though he starts clutching onto his sides.

“Great.” he says without showing even half of his enthusiasm for the place, “Impressive interiors and city view.”

His gaze stilled on a certain spot when he feels a warmth on his back.

“Good.”

The hot breath on his nape turns into kisses, traveling on the side of his neck while hands settle on both sides of his waist. Kyungsoo’s lips unknowingly curl up.

He was right, after all.

He exhales through his lips when the familiar feeling instantly settled all over his body. Soo keeps his voice solid while tilting his head to the side to give more access to his neck and jaw.

“I thought I had to have my designs checked.” he says casually, still staring at the city lights outside even when a pair of rough hands already made their way underneath his shirt. He glances at his binder on the couch, fully aware that they won’t really be checked tonight.

There’s no way he’d let Jongin know that he was expecting this to happen.

“Just put them there.” Jongin mumbles close to his ear, “They’re approved.”

This made the designer frown.

“You’re not even going to pretend to check them?” he turns around, brows creased even if he was greeted by a short yet firm kiss on the lips.

He sharply stares at his boss’ strikingly handsome face, not failing to notice the trace of exhaustion from his eyes after almost a week of working overseas. His gaze settles on the petite male in front of him, like he’s been deprived of a necessity.

“I’ll pretend tomorrow morning.” Jongin says with finality, clutching on to the hem of his shirt. “Now take your clothes off.”

The CEO raises both his brows when his working hands get slapped away.

“You can’t approve them that easy.” Soo tests the other’s self-control simply with his puckered lips. “I maintain credibility.”

The shorter tries not to bat an eye even when the businessman starts gritting his teeth in impatience.

“Why don’t you just be grateful?” Jongin scoffs, pulling him close again. “After disobeying your boss to have a drink with someone, I’m being kind.”

He attacks him with his lips again, grinning in satisfaction when Soo doesn’t push away nor resist. His hand grips tighter on Jongin’s arm. It’s only when he pulls away that the shorter glares at him again.

“You mean in exchange of sex, you’re approving it?” he hisses, lips swollen. He could taste the whiskey on his lips now, sending jolts all over the other’s system when he unconsciously licks it.

“At least you still know a thing.” Jongin huffs, reaching for his nape again for a deeper kiss. Before proceeding, he speaks further while their lips lightly brush. “Stop complaining. I’ll have your damn designs checked tomorrow.”

Soo clutches on his chest, parting his lips as Jongin seeks for his tongue. His other hand rubs on the small of Kyungsoo’s back, swifty traveling down to his clothed bum. The shorter grunts between the kiss when he feels a grip on his ass. He pulls away from Jongin who seems to get impatient so easily based from the way he tries to keep him still, but as usual, the feisty designer slaps his hand away to get on his knees, clinging onto the hem of the CEO’s pants.

“Not yet.” Jongin slightly leans down to pull him back up, “I want to kiss you.”

Oh do you now?

Soo sends him a sharp look while working on his belt, “Shut up. You’re not the only one in control here.”

He goes back to unzipping it even when Jongin clenches his jaw upon hearing his response, watching him intently. Soo looks back at him with testing eyes, urging him to say another order so he could snap back.

“Soo.”

“I said shut your mouth, Kim Jongin.” the shorter hisses back again and the businessman completely falls speechless. Soo eventually pulls his pants down, still glaring. “I want to kneel and suck your fucking cock, what about it?”

His cock sprung free from his lowered pants, warmed by the hand of the boy kneeling in front of him. Soo makes sure he keeps his eyes on his face, watching every second of Jongin’s breath hitching from simply the action. He lets his hand do the job first, tauntingly letting the tip touch his tongue when the tanned man starts quivering.

So this is what he wants? Kyungsoo is old and wise enough to understand what he’s trying to do. He’s not the drunk guy who had a concussion that would let himself be slammed on the bed and fucked according to Jongin’s terms. No. This time he’ll start making sure he has the upper hand.

He probably wasn’t sated by his girlfriend from that trip that’s why he’s resorting to the best one he could easily pull. Despite the bitterness, Soo wouldn’t deny the satisfaction that settles in him.

If this is what Jongin wants, then he’ll give it to him, no hesitations. If he’s a quick fuck just like everyone else, then okay. He can get used to this. This is just sex. They can go back to despising each other in the office each day. That’s what constantly runs in his head. At least he’d get the part of the deal. It’s hard to go on without getting a good sex every now and then, anyway. But he won’t be bossed around even here.

That’s just that.

“Oh… fuck, Soo…” the CEO had to tilt his head up when his whole shaft fills the inside of his warm cavern, tip reaching the throat that produces a gagging sound. His breath becomes shaky when Soo holds on to his bum to bob his head back and forth, making sure he sucks every inch and wets it with his tongue.

Fuck baby, I’m close….” Jongin grunts while holding onto the nearby couch. He has to control the strong urge to rock his hips against Kyungsoo’s throat, so as to not choke him. But the attempt seems useless when the shorter is basically the one desperately taking him whole, glazed eyes sinfully looking up at him.

“S-Soo…”

The said boy briefly pulls away to speak raggedly, “Cum inside.”

He’s still reluctant, but the firmness in Kyungsoo’s tone ended all the questions. In the end, Jongin lets out another moan in between heavy breaths when he felt himself reaching climax, spilling everything in the boy’s mouth, holding on his locks as he finishes with a few sloppy thrusts.

Watching Soo take him whole in his mouth is still a sight to behold, but seeing him swallow and lick him off expertly is just on another level. He wants to pull him up and bend him over the nearest couch to get it over with, yet this night surely wouldn’t end up that way.

Jongin has obviously gone more impatient, pulling Kyungsoo's shirt up while the latter is still in the middle of standing. He slides it off his neck and swiftly uses it to wipe the trace of his cum on the designer's lips. Right then, he drops the shirt to the floor and kisses him one more time, hard and dominating.

He barely took his time having control when Soo harshly pushes him down the couch, standing in front of him. He lets the businessman watch while he strips himself off from all his clothes. The look of both awe and impatience on Jongin while he takes initiative brings him some kind of satisfaction. As if wanting the said effect to be brought by him. Just him, always.

"Did you drink a lot?" Jongin even managed to ask him tauntingly, brows raising along with the side of his lips.

Soo takes the challenge by settling his naked self on his lap, making sure he'd wipe that smug smile on the jerk's face by grinding his bare ass against his hardening cock.

"Yes." he responds, obviously bluffing. They're mocking each other, anyway.

He grits his teeth when Jongin simply grins bigger, caging him in his arm to pull him close and suck on the skin of his chest. He assures the both of them there will be visible marks.

"How about a concussion?" he asks while his lips travel up to the man's collarbone, "Did you hit your pretty head tonight, baby?"

Soo responds with a shove on his shoulders, pressing his hand around Jongin's jaw to make him look up at his face, clearly not amused. When he sees the same infuriating grin and familiar glint in his eyes, Soo could only just claim his lips again, still grinding against his groin.

"I'm going to give you a concussion if you don't shut the hell up." he hisses and wastes no time when he reaches for the shaft underneath him, pointing the tip of his hole that finally got Jongin's smile faltering.

"Jesus... Soo, wait. I'm getting a lube—"

"I said shut up and just sit there!" he snarls and still proceeds, causing Jongin to look at him in disbelief.

"You'll get hurt!"

"I can take it." he speaks before completely drooping his ass down to get filled, "I don't need... ah..." he winces when he began feeling the sting from the friction, "A-Ah shit..."

Jongin stares at him, obviously enraged by his stubbornness. Soo catches his breath when he feels his whole dick inside him, hands slightly trembling on Jongin's shoulders because of the pain from rushing and taking it raw.

"You're so fucking hardheaded, aren't you?" he asks through gritted teeth, yet his hands are gently caressing Soo's bottom. "Don't move."

Despite the pain that's still there, Soo really just does the opposite of what Jongin tells him. He exhales through his mouth and starts to slowly move his hips.

"Kyungsoo I swear to god!"

He looks at Jongin's angry face with his half-lidded eyes, testing the so little patience left.

"P-Please!" he whines when the CEO firmly grips around his waist to stop the movement he continuously does.

"Disobey me one more time and I swear I'm going to flip you over here and fuck you until you can't walk for weeks." he threatens and Soo isn't even shaken. How is it a bad offer, anyway?

Jongin instantly understands his expression, "And if you take a leave from work for that, I'm not going to pay your salary and allowance. Is that what you want now?" he raises a brow when Soo sends him a sharp yet defeated look, "Tell me."

With lips tightly pursed, Soo stares at him. He looks like he badly wants to complain if it wasn’t for the cock filling him up to his brim. Jongin looks back right into his eyes with testing gaze, as if his insides aren’t wobbling just by the sight. Soo straddling on his lap, desperately grasping on his shoulders. Just by his skin against him, his messy locks all over the place, and the way his cheeks flush when pleasure eventually takes over pain.

He watches it, takes it all in, engraves it in his mind.

The businessman lets out a ragged breath through his lips when Soo buries his face on his neck, breathes right there and begins to disobey everything he just said by slowly rocking his hips back and forth.

“Soo.” Jongin huffs threateningly, but isn’t able to say anything else after that when he gets overtaken by rapture. His cock is being taken so good.

“Let me… f-fuck please… I-I want to…” he begs even if he’s completely taken it to his own hands by moving faster. “I-I need… this so much. Ah fuck, fuck just like that…”

It becomes a vigorous pace when Jongin attempted to hold his waist and guide him gently, which ended up futile when the shorter bounces on his lap, moaning incoherently on his shoulder. And just like that, so easy, Soo gains the control back. He faces the breathtaking view of Seoul, yet it’s unmatched to the sight of Jongin in front of him, either biting his lip or parting them to say his name. His eyes are clouded with so much lust, rough hands gripping hard on the skin of his hips while he rides his cock. Any scenery wouldn’t compare.

Oh, did Soo mention that he’s going to have the upper hand tonight?

He lets the CEO cage his face between his hands to pull him down for another long and breathless kiss. Soo lets him for a while, before pulling away to offer his neck instead. He grins to himself when Jongin digs it, nibbling down on his chest while his movements have gone wilder to repeatedly hit his own certain spot. Kyungsoo screams louder, he didn’t even have to exert so much effort given the other man’s length.

“Jesus, Soo…” Jongin’s lips curve in between marking his skin, “Be grateful we don’t have neighbors.” he looks up at the dazed male, eyes glinted. “You have such a loud mouth.”

Soo dismisses it with another hard kiss on his lips, feeling something building up in his gut.

“I-I’m close…” he mumbles, almost inaudibly unlike his moans. Jongin begins to meet his thrusts by arching his hips up while holding him firmly with one arm.

Soo eventually quivers on top of him. He breathes heavily in between his declining moans as he reaches his peak, cumming untouched. His face droops back on Jongin’s neck, while the latter finishes his own by a few, hard thrusts up his ass— jetting it all as soon as he pulls out. His cum trails down on the other’s ass cheek, staining all over the hand marks he’s also responsible for.

When his legs wobble even more after that intense sex, Kyungsoo fights the urge to slap himself. How could he initiate that when he doesn’t even exercise regularly?

They stayed like that for a moment, with Soo settled on his lap, breathing silently against his shoulder. Jongin caressing circles on his back lulls him even more. He doesn’t see the way his lips curl up upon feeling his erratic heartbeat against his chest and hearing the sound of his slowly stabilizing breath.

It’s only when he got laid down on the couch when Soo finally opened his eyes, seeing Jongin sitting beside him while taking his shirt off starting from the back. His heavy eyes rounded.

“I’m tired…” he complains, though he couldn’t take his eyes off the businessman being fully naked in front of him. True enough, he earns a deep chortle from the taller.

“Understandable.” he frowns when Jongin smirks at him, swiftly reminding him of what he just did. The way he rode him like there’s no tomorrow. He gazes all over Soo before reaching for his hand, “Let’s move to the bed.”

“No…” he shakes his head. His plan was to be dicked down and not spend another night with this man, naked in the sheets. No. Especially not in his place.

This is fun sex not complicated sex.

But fuck, it’s hard to say no when he looks like that. For once, Soo admits he understands the hung up hookups.

“I’m tired… I’m gonna go back…” he says, face plopped on the couch that it sounded muffled. For some reason, it’s so difficult to stay looking at him with that hard on like he hadn’t made him cum twice tonight. On the other hand, Jongin slightly clenches his jaw. Every second of watching Soo spread out like that without him filling that ass again terribly frustrates him.

“Not yet.” Jongin says, caressing his thigh while waiting for him to get up. “I gave you what you want, now it’s my turn. Baby, come on…”

“I can’t move!” Soo whines against the couch, even if he was kicking a foot while saying that.

“I’ll move this time, don’t worry.” his hand travels in between his thighs, “You don’t want me to make you feel good, Soo?”

Soo doesn’t give an immediate response. He tilts his head from burying it on the couch surface to stare at Jongin, whose lips curve upon seeing his reaction.

“Want me to walk you back to your unit now?” Jongin asks and it’s the last thing in the world that seems appealing to him.

The CEO raises a brow when he looks at him, cheek still pressed on the couch.

“Just… fuck me again on the couch…” he couldn’t even believe his own words, though it’s too late to take it back when the sunkissed man grins at him, leaning down to place a kiss on his shoulder.

“On the bed.”

“J-Just here!” he complains, yet lets himself be pulled up from the couch. “So that after… I could leave then!”

Jongin simply shakes his head and gets him off the couch, “My bed is more comfortable.” he wrapping an arm around his waist, “And the couch can’t handle another bouncing.”

 

x

Ironically, the silence woke him up the next morning.

Kyungsoo can still feel the stinging feeling on his lower half, limbs strained despite being in the softest bed he's ever been in. Confusion doesn't hit him like it always does during mornings. The thought of last night runs back to his mind even before he opens his eyes, like it actually settled there for his dreams.

Soo slowly looks at the space beside him, which is empty. He expected it. It's the same scenario when they did it weeks ago. It's no big deal.

Really. It's not.

When he paid more attention, Soo finally hears a muffled sound of Jongin's voice from the portico outside that room, leading to the rooftop pool with an overlooking view. He managed to get a good look of that as well last night even when he's being fucked against the bed. Unlike now, where he can't see the view outside, the wall curtains were up then that's why Soo just had to stand by his priority being a designer and natural critic.

Anyway, since it's easy to figure out that the other man is in the middle of a business phone call outside, he quickly gets up from the bed. Soo whispers a profanity when he doesn't see his clothes on the floor or anywhere. He remembers stripping in the living room so after throwing another cautious look at the veranda, he steps out to the said room, hoping to immediately put some clothes on and sneak out of this place the soonest that he can.

After putting his boxers and shirt back, the next thing he looks for is his glasses. Turns out it's under the couch where he was riding a dick last night. Now Soo couldn't help wondering how the hell it possibly ended up there.

"You little shit..." he grunts under his breath, struggling to reach for the damn thing because of his short arm. He's bended on the carpet, ass perked up. It's unbeknownst to him that it's a sight currently being enjoyed.

"What's that?"

Soo flinches on the floor when a voice startles him. He proceeds to extend his hand to get the damn glasses before finally looking at the man leaning on the wall, watching him intently.

"Nothing." Soo keeps a blank gaze, hastily grabbing his pants. He’s slightly panicking inside, "I'm going. I'm late."

Intentionally keeping his eyes away from the businessman, who's wearing nothing but the pair of pants he had last night, Kyungsoo continues to get dressed. There's something that makes him irritated. Maybe the fact that he got nothing but silence.

He reaches for the binder on the couch.

"I'm still gonna check that." Jongin finally speaks, seriously staring at his frowning face.

"I thought it's approved?" Soo has his brows furrowed.

"No, I changed my mind." he says that infuriates Kyungsoo even more. "Stay for breakfast."

They stare at each other from both corners of the room, gazes testing when Soo doesn't look amused for one bit.

"I'm just going to leave them here. I'm late for work." he responds but Jongin is already making his way towards the dining area.

"You don't need to worry about that." he tells Soo, walking around the room topless while running his hand through his hair every now and then. "Put that there and sit here. The food is ready."

Despite the big frown on his face, Soo looks at all the food on the table, then to the pair of plates and utensils set on it.

He turns to Jongin who's expectantly raising a brow.

"You're not the one doing overtimes when coming to work late, President Kim." he sarcastically says that wipes the curve on the taller's face. "So if you don't mind."

The CEO sighs at his stubbornness. Kyungsoo sees him glancing at the wall clock then back to him, looking grimmer.

"And whose orders do you and everyone follow in the office?"

Soo purses his lips tight. He hates it. He fucking hates it so much whenever this asshole uses his authority to shut him up. He hates how it works every single time.

"You don't need to do overtime today. Consider your breakfast here a part of your working hours. As a direct order from the CEO." Jongin speaks with emphasis for every word, "Does that sound appealing to you now?"

"No."

"You're the most stubborn and ungrateful brat in the world, Kyungsoo." he glares at Jongin when the latter speaks relentlessly. He shivers on his nape when his whole name harshly escaped his lips, "Makes me think you want to revise designs again. Maybe that's what you like?"

Soo struts towards the dining table and sits there, earning a chuckle.

"I'll have breakfast." stupid, fucking jerk. He wants to add. Jongin looks so entertained while sitting across him, watching Soo put food on his plate while looking like he’s about to kill them again. The CEO shakes his head while smirking.

"Stop scowling." Jongin taunts at him, holding a cup of coffee on his hand. "You obviously like my penthouse so much, that's why I'm letting you stay longer."

Soo continuously eats, not sparing him a glance. "Your penthouse sucks."

"You were gaping at it last night." the designer rolls his eyes while chewing but he proceeds, "You didn't even have those unnecessary critic commentaries you usually do. You were just awed."

"Well I have a lot. I had to list them down." Soo directly looks at him again, "Your penthouse sucks."

"Stop pretending like it was never your biggest dream to live in a place like this." the businessman rests his arms on the table, the side of his lips curling up. "Especially after settling for a tiny apartment in New York for so many years."

Soo feels insulted, judging from the way he paused. But there’s no way he’d let Jongin gain satisfaction from that.

"I never worried about the place we had." he drinks water and continues to eat again, "We're fine with simple, I don't expect someone sleeping in a bed of money to understand."

It’s Jongin’s turn to raise a brow.

"Really now?" he scoffs, "I thought money was the most important thing to you?"

"I'm not like you."

"Rich, fun assholes who could give you thrill." it’s suddenly hard for Soo to swallow his food, but he keeps his gaze on the plate. "Do you remember that?"

"No."

Jongin grins, "Oh you do."

Soo doesn’t dare to look at him, nor let this conversation flow. He didn’t leave this place and everything else behind just so he could be placed in front of this man and talk about their past.

"I don't need to convince you." he says with a shrug, yet he feels the need to drink more water. "Things change. I'm fine with simplicity. I don't care about what anyone think of our home there, I was just contented with my life in New York. I was happy."

God, this conversation is making him miss his idiot friend who’s surely sleeping from where he is.

The CEO leans back on his seat while his gaze lingers on him, still. The morning light from the outside that surrounds them makes his bronze skin even more dashing. He looks like a god sent from heaven to make a certain human suffer.

"That's not how it seemed to me when you were screaming on my bed last night." his eyes become more challenging while Soo almost chokes on his drink, "Contented, huh?"

He doesn’t answer anymore. Jongin will surely find a way to drag him back to that topic and he’s not letting him. Soo decided to keep his mouth shut and finish his food instead.

"Break up with your boyfriend." Jongin firmly says when he remained silent. Soo frowns at him for this.

"What?"

"You heard me." the businessman says and leans on the table again, "Break up with him."

Soo appears confused for a moment. Boyfriend? Before he could deny, a certain person pops up in his mind. He doesn’t even realize he’s saying it out loud.

"Seonho?"

"Do you have boyfriends other than him?" his frown relaxes, opposed to Jongin’s hardening jaw. "Is Chanyeol your boyfriend now, too?"

Soo rolls his eyes again, still not grasping the idea of what he just heard because of the mention of Chanyeol.

"No, it's not my fault that I didn't forget Chanyeol because of the success I've got." he sarcastically says that instantly earns a chuckle from Jongin.

"Really?" the tanned man looks at him knowingly, "Who do you think pulled the strings to give him a shot to that producing deal?"

He momentarily stops eating.

Soo’s eyes rounded, "You did that?"

"Stop trying to change the topic." Jongin simply says.

His lips protruded, finally realizing his edge. Soo suppresses a grin when he realizes what’s currently happening.

"What was that even about?" he fakes a look of disbelief then shrugs again. He even plays with his spoon in a taunting manner, "I'm very happy with Seonho."

"That's bullshit. You know that." Jongin chuckles in a deriding manner. Yet, he’s clearly pissed over something, "Break up with your damn boyfriend."

Soo lifts his spoon along with a brow, "And you're so eager about this because?"

"You want me to tell you why?" Jongin asks back that scares him in an instant.

His chest heaves.

"No, you're so full of shit." the shorter goes back to frowning at his almost finished breakfast, "I'm not meddling with your relationship. I'm not telling you to break up with your girlfriend... or fiancée, or whatever the hell is Soojung. I'm not meddling. That gives you no right over mine." he hisses with a piercing look in his eyes.

Jongin flashes a little amused smile, as if he realized something along with it.

"Hmm." he slyly hums, "So you want me to break up with my girlfriend… or fiancée?"

Soo unknowingly slows down from chewing his food, then he shakes his head.

"No." he shrugs and stares on his plate with a blank face, "Maybe just don't fuck me right after sleeping with her for days. I don't wanna get STD."

When he doesn’t get an answer, Kyungsoo looks up. His heart flips when he sees Jongin smiling on his seat, watching him.

"What's so amusing?" he snaps.

"I didn't know it bothers you a lot." the businessman shrugs too, "Is that why you were so eager to have those checked while we were in Shanghai?"

Soo gets infuriated by this, flashing an obviously fake smile. "I was simply trying to get you do company related tasks."

"In case I was having fun with my girlfriend on a business trip?"

The designer rudely drops his spoon, making it clank against the plate. But Jongin doesn’t bat an eye.

"I don't give a shit about what you do with Architect Jung." Soo tells him while grimacing, "You can get married today for all I care. I'm simply here to get this job done."

Jongin intentionally appears to be unconvinced, "Mm hmm."

"I don't need to convince you, Kim Kai." Soo hisses when the mocking hum pushes his limit, "Did you forget that I was basically the reason why you're together today? I was pushing you together in college. I was your middleman." he couldn’t even control what he’s saying anymore. He’s just terribly pissed, unaware of the sudden change from the businessman’s expression when he finally utters it himself. "I even told you, you were perfect for each other, right? Did you forget?"

His smile falters before he could even say another word, but Jongin’s already waiting for him to be done before retaliating.

"I didn't. How could I?" Jongin doesn’t hesitate, nor blink an eye while staring right into his eyes.

Soo purses his lips, stilled by his own words. He thinks of a way to take them back but Jongin has completely taken it to his own accord.

"I was a poor, pathetic boy and I deserved to go back to the shithole I came from. You also said that, right?"

His own bullets hit him back harsher than he expected. Soo tightly grips on his glass, while vivid images of that specific night come back to haunt him. Right in front of Jongin. Exactly like the said memory.

"I remember every single thing you said, Soo. Do you want me to repeat all of them now?" Jongin tells him with testing and driven eyes, tapping a finger on the table. "Let's tick off everything that was proven wrong. Come on."

It was the last straw. The shorter takes another gulp while holding his breath in.

"I'm done." he surprisingly doesn’t stutter even if his insides began quivering while standing up from his seat, "I'm going."

Soo takes big steps towards the door of the penthouse. Jongin doesn’t try stopping him even until he slams the door shut.

The designer tries to catch his shortened breath while walking towards the elevator. Someone approaches from the opposite direction. Being more conscious this time of the day, he’s quick enough to realize how unlikely it would be, considering that the penthouse is the only unit in this floor.

So when Kyungsoo lifts his gaze up and sees Soojung slowing down, he shouldn’t be surprised at all. He’s not, actually. But the twinge in his chest becomes worse. And before he makes a fool out of his already stupid self again, he dismisses her shocked face and quickly walks past her to go back to his unit.

Back to his rightful place.