Sooyoung has two neighbors.
One is a fellow freshman who’s usually mistaken as a theatre major because of his model-like aura, but Sooyoung remembers him as the sleepy one. His name is Oh Sehun.
The other is a junior by the name of Do Kyungsoo who always greets her over his round glasses and heavy, heavy textbooks. She calls him the cool one because he’s cool as a cucumber.
The two of them are relatively easy to get along with and both like to keep to themselves although Sehun can be prone to having louder friends over, but every morning after he drops by and hands her a small note apologizing and attached is usually a certificate for a random shop. Because he lives at the very end of the hallway, Sooyoung is the only neighbor he really needs to worry about bothering.
With two perfectly respectful neighbors, Sooyoung wouldn’t expect to be too troubled, but here she is, in the middle of the first semester, wondering whether she should move out.
You see, Sooyoung has two neighbors and both are rather popular.
“You should invite us over for a housewarming party,” Taera, a friend of hers, suggests a week earlier after finding out who Sooyoung’s neighbors are. “Invite your neighbors too. Share the wealth.”
She giggles at her own statement and elbows Sooyoung.
“You can’t keep them to yourselves,” another friend, Suji, whines. “You have our department’s most popular guys living next door to you.”
“I don’t want to make them uncomfortable,” Sooyoung says in return, feeling rather uncomfortable herself.
“Have you ever asked Kyungsoo sunbaenim for homework help?” Taera asks excitedly.”
Sooyoung lies and replies, “No, I’d rather not bother him.”
This conversation happened exactly one week ago. Seven days. One hundred sixty-eight hours ago—give or take.
“Why does your phone keep going off?” Sehun asks from the table where he’s setting down bowls and utensils.
“Um…” Sooyoung quickly glances at her phone to see a dozen more text messages from different girls in the chemistry department. “Just some homework issues,” Sooyoung says as she sees iterations of Do you want to study together?.
“What homework?” Sehun asks. “Did I miss something during class?”
“N-No,” Sooyoung says after she catches a glimpse of Can you text me your address?. “People just aren’t as smart as you I guess.”
“You know it’s because hyung is a great tutor,” Sehun replies just as Kyungsoo comes out of the bathroom.
“What’s going on?” Kyungsoo asks and Sooyoung feels her insides melt a little.
He’s wearing a navy hoodie and his glasses are pushed up snugly on his nose. Kyungsoo may not have Sehun’s model proportions and sharp features, but he’s certainly attractive in his own right, especially when a smile graces his face.
Sooyoung has a little bit of a crush.
“Sooyoung keeps getting texts from our classmates for help in homework.”
“Oh.” Kyungsoo walks over to the stove where he has some tteokbokki simmering. “Well, they should talk to the TA then, not Sooyoung.”
“What problem are they texting you about anyway?” Sehun asks, walking over to where Sooyoung is sitting to peer down at her phone.
“All of them,” Sooyoung blurts out, slamming her phone down on the table. Sehun jumps a little at the noise and Sooyoung feels her cheeks redden. “We have a dumb class.”
“Did you bring your side dishes?” Kyungsoo asks as he begins pouring the tteokbokki into a clean bowl.
“Yes,” Sooyoung answers, gesturing towards the unpacked tupperware she brought over from her own apartment. “Here.” She hands the food to Kyungsoo.
“Our class can’t be that dumb,” Sehun says, ignoring their conversation to continue his own. “I was talking to some others and they didn’t seem to be having too much trouble.”
“Maybe only dumb people text me,” Sooyoung says, trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice. Maybe only stalkers who want to see Kyungsoo and Sehun text her.
“Block them then.”
Sooyoung smiles weakly. She’s blocked almost thirty people at this point. If Taera or Suji gives away her address it won’t matter anyway.
“That’s just mean,” Sooyoung says as she puts her phone on silent. “I’ll just ignore them until after dinner.”
“Oh, someone else is coming over tonight,” Kyungsoo says as he grabs a thick mat to set the hot pot of tteokbokki on. “He’s someone I’ve known for a long time.”
Before Sooyoung can ask for any more information on the man who’s about to crash their biweekly neighbor night dinners, there’s a knock on the door and Sehun shoots up to answer it.
“Sehun!” Whoever is at the door sounds very lively and very familiar…
“Hyung,” Sehun responds in a surprised but pleased voice. “I didn’t know you were coming tonight.”
Sooyoung is so focused on eavesdropping that she jumps when Kyungsoo sets the large pot in the middle of the table with a thud. Kyungsoo laughs a little at her response and pats her shoulder once before going back to the stove. Sooyoung’s shoulder now feels very tingly.
“Kyungsoo, where are you?” the new man whines as he trails Sehun into the kitchen.
Sooyoung’s eyes widen when she realizes who it is.
Sooyoung can only stare as Byun Baekhyun, campus boyfriend and all-around charming man, stands in front of her and greets her. She may have a crush on Kyungsoo, but everyone has a crush on Baekhyun.
As she looks around the room filled with three handsome men, Sooyoung begins to wonder if she’s landed in the middle of a harem manga without realizing it.
“Hey, you good?” Sehun asks, waving a hand in front of her face.
“Oh! Yes! Sorry! Hello! Nice to meet you!” Sooyoung stands up and nearly hits her head on the table as she bows.
“Nice to meet you too,” Baekhyun replies with a surprised laugh as Sehun lets out a snort from behind him. “Please, relax.” He has a handsome laugh along with a really nice smile that makes his eyes sparkle. And wow, his eyes really do sparkle.
Sooyoung really isn’t any better than the weirdos who keep asking for Kyungsoo and Sehun’s address.
“You’re here,” Kyungsoo says with a grin on his face as he opens up the tupperware Sooyoung brought. Baekhyun lights up at the sound of his voice and gives him a wave.
“Of course. I wouldn’t miss my first invitation to one of your neighborhood gatherings.”
“It’s only the three of us,” Sehun replies drily. “There’s hardly enough people to fill the bathroom, much less the neighborhood.”
“Don’t be such a downer, Sehun,” Baekhyun says, grinning as he steps up next to Kyungsoo. “Where should I put the soju?” he asks, holding up his pack of green bottles.
“In the fridge,” Kyungsoo says, smiling back.
Dinner is nice and a bit livelier than usual as Baekhyun asks about their day and incessantly teases Sehun. Sehun pouts quite a bit and his usually intimidating presence is completely nullified by Baekhyun’s winsomeness. Kyungsoo and Sooyoung are a little quieter, but there’s a constant smile on Kyungsoo’s face that seems to be on the verge of laughter.
“So Sooyoung, what do you think about this weirdo here?” Baekhyun asks, jabbing a thumb at Sehun.
“Hm?” Sooyoung is caught off guard, chopsticks halfway to her mouth with a piece of tteokbokki. She sets it down as quickly as she can. “Sehun-ssi is very kind and helpful.”
Baekhyun narrows his eyes and smirks. Beside him, Sehun’s pout is completely gone, replaced with apprehension instead. Sooyoung has a feeling she’s missing something.
“Huh,” Baekhyun says as he continues to stare at her. “You still call him Sehun-ssi?”
“Um, y-yes?” Sooyoung looks to Sehun who seems to be avoiding her eyes.
“Interesting…” Baekhyun says, leaning back and nodding. All he needs now is a beard to stroke and the look would be complete.
“Stop teasing them,” Kyungsoo interrupts, elbowing Baekhyun.
“Oh, but does Sooyoung-ssi even know what I’m talking about?” Baekhyun asks. When Sooyoung shakes her head, Baekhyun begins to say, “Well, Sehun over here-”
Abruptly, Sehun stands up, looking incredibly nervous now. “Hyung.”
“Okay, okay,” Baekhyun says, hands going up as if surrendering, but he still has a slight smirk on his face.
At the end of the night, Sooyoung helps Baekhyun clear the table as Sehun and Kyungsoo do the dishes. Baekhyun is rolling up the sleeves of his sweater when he says, “Did you know Sehun dances?”
“I think I heard him talk about that some time ago,” Sooyoung says. “Is he good?”
“Oh, yeah,” Baekhyun says, nodding vigorously. “He’s definitely one of the best ones on his dance team. There’s a showcase coming up and he has a solo.”
“What?” Sooyoung exclaims. She turns to look at Sehun in amazement, but she must’ve been a bit loud because Sehun is already staring back at her with what looks like fear. “Sehun-ssi, why didn’t you tell me?”
Sehun drops the tupperware he was washing and glares at Baekhyun.
“Why would you tell her?” Sehun asks, sounding angry.
Baekhyun seems unfazed as he shrugs his shoulders. “I thought she’d want to know.”
“I’m sorry,” Sooyoung says, taken aback by Sehun’s reaction. “I didn’t realize it was so personal.”
“I-” Sehun ducks his head down. “Can you finish the rest of the dishes, hyung?”
Kyungsoo nods and Sooyoung can only watch as Sehun grabs his things and leaves.
“Why don’t you go with him?” Baekhyun suggests. “Make sure he’s okay.”
“I didn’t realize dancing was such a sensitive topic for him,” Sooyoung says as she brushes herself off and brings the rest of the dishes to the sink. “I’ll get going then.” She bows and grabs her things.
Sooyoung catches Sehun walking down the stairs and hurries to catch up with him.
“Hey,” she says once she’s beside him.
Sehun whips his head around and nearly falls down the stairs when he sees her.
“I’m sorry about earlier,” Sooyoung says as they stand frozen in the stairwell. “I was just so surprised.”
Sehun seems to deflate when she says that.
“So there wasn’t a chance for me?” Sehun asks as he looks anywhere but her.
“What do you mean?” Sooyoung asks. “Oh! Did you want me to come see you?”
“See me?” Sehun repeats. “See me do what? Confess to be promptly rejected?”
“Is it that kind of showcase?” Sooyoung asks, getting more confused. Competitive dancing must be really intense. “I’m sure you’ll do great either way. Baekhyun was bragging about you while you weren’t listening.”
“Wait what?” Sehun’s face reflects her own confusion. “What are you talking about?”
Sehun stares at her, eyes wide, and slowly sinks to the ground.
“Oh my god,” Sehun says, covering his head with his arms.
“What?” Sooyoung asks, bending down to make sure Sehun is alright.
“We weren’t talking about the same thing,” Sehun answers, voice muffled.
Sooyoung thinks for a moment, trying to figure out what Sehun is talking about. His sensitivity, his nervousness, his confession, his showcase, his anger, his-
“Oh Sehun,” Sooyoung says, realizing something. “Do you have something to say to me?”
Sehun takes a deep breath and then lifts his head up to give Sooyoung a nervous twitchy look.
“I don’t want to be rejected,” Sehun confesses. “And I know you like Kyungsoo hyung, so I don’t want to make things weird.”
“I don’t like like him,” Sooyoung splutters in protest. She didn’t realize she was so obvious. “And I’d prefer to continue seeing him as my sunbae, not anything else.”
“Oh,” Sehun replies eloquently. They sit in a few moments of awkward silence, before Sehun finally says, “I like you.”
Even though Sooyoung is expecting the confession, she gets a weird fluttery feeling in her stomach.
“Thank you,” Sooyoung says with a nervous smile. “For liking me.”
Sehun seems surprised by the lack of rejection and his expression grows more confident as he sits up a little taller.
“Would you be willing to go on a date with me?”
Sooyoung’s nervous smile turns into a shyer one as she nods.
“Yes, I’d be happy to.”
“That was mean,” Kyungsoo says after Sooyoung rushes out after Sehun.
“You didn’t stop me,” Baekhyun reminds him as he wipes down the table. “And I didn’t think there were going to be other people here when I came.”
“You did all that to get me alone?” Kyungsoo asks, giving Baekhyun an unimpressed look.
“Yes, I did,” Baekhyun answers, checking to make sure that Sehun and Sooyoung didn’t leave anything in the apartment. “I haven’t seen you in three weeks, so I thought we were going to do something together, but I come to see you torturing Sehun and Sooyoung.”
“I wasn’t torturing them,” Kyungsoo says as he finishes washing the dishes. “I was feeding them.”
“Sehun has a huge crush on Sooyoung who was too busy admiring you to notice. I think that’s pretty close to torture.”
“Sooyoung doesn’t like me,” Kyungsoo scoffs as Baekhyun walks up behind Kyungsoo to wrap his arms around the younger.
“She has a small crush on you, Kyungja.” Baekhyun rests his head on Kyungsoo’s shoulder and grins when Kyungsoo pets his head.
“Too small to really matter,” Kyungsoo says, turning around so that he’s facing Baekhyun. “And I’m not exactly available right now.”
“True,” Baekhyun agrees, smile widening. “So really, I think what I did was for the greater good.”
Kyungsoo is fighting down his own smile as he shakes his head. “You talk too much.”
Baekhyun’s smile turns into a smirk as he leans in to kiss Kyungsoo.
“Hyung, I just wanted to apolo-”
Baekhyun and Kyungsoo break apart to see Sehun and Sooyoung standing in the doorway with the latter’s eyes wide in shock.
“Apologize?” Baekhyun finishes for Sehun. He still has his arms around Kyungsoo’s waist and Sooyoung’s eyes are zeroed in on them. Sehun looks mildly uncomfortable, but he nods.
“Aw, that’s sweet of you Sehunnie,” Baekhyun says, glancing at Sooyoung who is still staring at their hands like she’s seen an alien. “Are you alright Sooyoung-ssi?”
“I,” Sooyoung says in a shaky voice. “Can’t believe that two of the most handsome guys in our school are dating.” Before anyone can react to her statement, she adds, “And I just got to see them kiss.”
Kyungsoo and Baekhyun stare at her in silence, unsure how to respond, but Sehun pulls no punches as he says, “You do realize you just said that out loud right?”
“I did?” Sooyoung replies dazedly.
“Alright, we’re going to actually leave now,” Sehun says, carefully steering her shocked form out the door. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Baekhyun echoes as Kyungsoo covers his face in embarrassment. When Baekhyun turns to see Kyungsoo turning red, he bursts out laughing. “Hey, at least we don’t have to tiptoe around everyone now.”
“We weren’t ever tiptoeing,” Kyungsoo retorts as he lets Baekhyun pull him into a hug. His own hands are trapped between the two of them as he hides his face. “I feel like we traumatized her.”
“As a matter of fact, I think we blessed her,” Baekhyun replies cheekily, earning a punch in the arm.