johnny tries not to think too much about their relationship. sleeping and waking up holding taeyong’s small body against his, kissing taeyong good morning first thing after he opens his eyes in the morning, begging taeyong to stay longer in bed, johnny making breakfast for two – god knows when was the last time taeyong touch anything from his pristine kitchen other than a couple of spoons and forks – while taeyong prepares 2 cups of coffee, one black and one is a bit too sweet.
sometimes taeyong waits for him to come home, sometimes it’s johnny’s turn to wait instead. but to be frank, this whole ordeal of moving in without really talking about their feelings first is disorienting for johnny. but then johnny catches taeyong humming to love songs and thinks, at least he’s happy.
it’s not like johnny’s unhappy.
the thing about happiness is that sometimes it crept up on you and it gets taken away at once when you look away. all his life, johnny’s been conditioned to always be ready to pack his bags, leave, and be okay with it. to keep walking because for someone like him, who has nothing, life doesn’t wait for him. permanence and long term commitment, no matter how mundane, are foreign for johnny.
that’s why he tries not to bring everything to taeyong’s place. he leaves a bit of his decent clothes in his studio – just in case taeyong kicks him out as soon as he’s not interested anymore. taeyong notices, like always. instead of questioning him, taeyong simply notes, oh you don’t have much stuff.
johnny still pays his rent for the flat he shares with yuta too. just in case.
they can’t help but fall into a routine only lovers do after johnny moved in. domesticity.
sometimes it’s taeyong coming home to johnny. he’d cook him dinner and taeyong probably gains a bit of weight from eating the homemade food johnny made, because johnny just won't stop feeding him. sometimes it’s johnny coming home to taeyong. taeyong doesn’t attempt to cook because there’s mrs. kim to cook for them when johnny’s gone. sometimes taeyong orders in too.
johnny would write his thesis in bed while taeyong dozes off against his chest. sometimes it’s johnny bothering him when taeyong's on the phone with clients.
some days, johnny shows taeyong the movies that meant so much to him. one night they watched jacquot de nantes together, taeyong cuddled up against johnny and johnny told taeyong that the child reminded him of himself.
taeyong kissed him right after the movie ends. he ensured johnny and murmurs against his lips, listen to me, johnny. one day, you’ll make a film so beautiful you’ll inspire little kids to become filmmakers like how agnes varda inspired you.
sometimes taeyong would tell him about his youth too. his days in london. when he stayed in berlin for a few months for an internship. taeyong would sometimes open up about jaehyun too, careful with his words. but johnny never presses further, respects taeyong for sharing this part of him with johnny.
they still soak in the bath. these days, they smoke together in their balcony too, johnny holding taeyong from behind so that he doesn’t get cold from the night air.
with both taeyong and johnny knowing yukhei, it’s only natural for johnny to know ten too. after all, ten is taeyong’s longest friend – a friend that witnesses everything from his graduation, when he first landed his job, when taeyong started to be known in their scene… when he snorted snow for the first time in one of their ridiculous parties when they were still in their 20s. a friend that has seen everything but ironically still trying to understand taeyong; because that’s how taeyong is. taeyong won't listen to whatever ten says anyway.
ten is also a friend that knows exactly why and how jaehyun left. how taeyong copes after that – mindless sex with pretty strangers. days and days of drinking and chain smoking. ten noticed how taeyong smoked more blunts too after jaehyun left, but he didn’t say anything about it.
after jaehyun left, taeyong is like a broken, beautiful porcelain that somehow still holds its shape. from miles away, it looks beautiful. ethereal. strong. once you get closer, you can make out the cracks all over its surface. broken beyond repair.
one wrong move and it will come crumbling down.
but now, ten notices how much healthier and happier taeyong looks, so he tells taeyong that.
“i’m glad you found him,” ten says.
taeyong sips on his drink and chuckles. “you make him sound like he’s a stray cat or something.”
“more like a big stray mutt with the way he looks at you like that.” ten mutters. “if he’s a dog he’s probably gonna wag his tail whenever you’re close, yong.”
taeyong laughs again and tells him, “you’re not making sense, tennie. are you drunk?”
“stop acting like he doesn’t mean anything to you. i know he’s more than a…” ten stops himself to think about the right word because frankly, no one knows what johnny and taeyong are. both johnny and taeyong probably don’t know what this means either.
“more than.... yeah. whatever this is. a close friend. that lives together with you and kisses you when you get home or whatever. god, you two are worse than me and yukhei.”
now that johnny knows ten too, sometimes ten invites both of them over to his place. sometimes ten invites himself to taeyong’s place, because taeyong is territorial. but ten and yukhei are obviously an exception.
like tonight, johnny realizes that he doesn’t understand why the rich pop champagnes on the daily.
“champagne? what’s the occasion?” johnny asks as he watches ten pour champagne, a mischievous glint in his eyes. johnny can hear taeyong vaguely, probably smoking and chatting away with yukhei in the living area.
ten chuckles and says, “oh darling, you better get used to this.”
during nights like these, all they do is talk and drink. ten and taeyong would reminisce about their so called youth. johnny would groan and stop them from acting like they’re fifty. yukhei would laugh and make fun of how ten nags like he really is fifty.
ten and taeyong would pick their favorite records and johnny would load them carefully, lowers the arm of taeyong's turntable slowly because it's precious to taeyong. yukhei’s in charge of making sure their drinks are always full, which means he's in charge of making everyone drunk. sometimes they’d play bowie, sometimes it’s cher. but tonight, it’s prince night. taeyong and ten would dance, yukhei cheers from the armchair. johnny though, he could only stare at taeyong with awe. because taeyong is especially pretty when he laughs with no care like this.
usually the night ends with taeyong passing out on the couch because he’s a lightweight and a sleepy drunk. but tonight when ten and yukhei were singing their hearts out, taeyong clambers to johnny’s lap.
johnny freezes, not knowing where to touch because they usually don’t show much affection in front of others. taeyong doesn’t seem to notice johnny’s hesitation and circles his arms around johnny’s neck then kisses him lazily. taeyong whines when johnny doesn’t kisses him back and tries to kiss him deeper. johnny eventually complies and lets taeyong slip his tongue inside. with them tasting each other like this, johnny can really taste the moët they just drank. johnny wonders if they’d kiss the first night they met each other, would he taste like moët too.
taeyong giggles when johnny wrestles him so that taeyong’s back is flat against the couch and johnny on top of him, cheery now that johnny kisses him with intent.
taeyong breaks the kiss and tenses when they both hear the sound of the front door closing. the elevator dinged not long after that.
“they left?” johnny asks against taeyong’s lips. taeyong hums.
johnny tries to kiss taeyong once again but taeyong freezes and he eventually pushes him away, tries his best to be nonchalant when johnny could literally see him retreat into his shell. when he moves away from johnny’s hold, that’s when johnny cracks – because everything was so good up until now, and he doesn’t know what he did wrong now. they were laughing and kissing just now, what went wrong?
taeyong walks away to the master bedroom, away from johnny, and johnny’s heart is beating so hard and his chest constricts with pain, but he tries to put on a brave face. now or never.
“what’s wrong?” johnny asks, loud and clear. desperate. pitiful.
taeyong turns around and smiles, shakes his head and says, “i’m sleepy… and tired. it’s time for bed anyway,”
"where are you going? stay," johnny begs. taeyong still won't listen.
johnny knows that’s not the case. taeyong disappeared without johnny realizing it. and it took johnny quite some time to gather his courage to stand up and walk away from that damn couch.
taeyong is buttoning his pajamas when johnny opens the door to their bedroom. in other circumstances, johnny would crowd him against the wall and kiss him senseless. johnny hopes that the other johnny in another universe would do it for him instead. because right now, this johnny can physically feel his heart breaking.
“what did i do wrong this time? tell me, taeyong.” he asks. he doesn’t mean to sound angry but that’s how he probably sounds now to taeyong. taeyong flinches and johnny hates himself for making taeyong scared like that.
taeyong struggles to answer him so johnny continues instead.
“were you ashamed?” he accuses. taeyong finally looks at johnny. the thing about being a director is that johnny knows the art of facial expression and emotions. he literally directs actors. right now, taeyong is looking at him and just from his eyes alone, johnny can see a mix of disbelief, sadness, hurt, and… disappointment. but johnny can’t help it, can’t help the way he presses on further and says, “of being intimate with me in front of your friends?”
“of course not. why would i even be ashamed of you?” taeyong says. johnny hates himself for making taeyong teary like this. johnny hates himself even more for not being able to stop himself from demanding more answers.
johnny sighs and looks away. he asks, one last time. defeated. “then why did you stop?”
taeyong finishes buttoning his pajamas and walks to the bed. “i’m tired, johnny. can we please, go to bed?” he says. his way of saying, enough, end of conversation.
johnny watches taeyong turn his body so that it faces johnny away. when johnny finally gets in bed, taeyong is still facing the other way. he looks small and almost fragile compared to the big bed he’s sleeping on. johnny wants to cry but he doesn’t want to look pathetic in front of taeyong. doesn’t want to look childish in front of taeyong.
johnny really, really wants to hold him and pull him close. so he does that. he kisses taeyong’s right shoulder twice, one as a good night kiss and one as an i’m sorry, i’ll make it up to you kiss.
even when he holds taeyong like this, taeyong still feels unreachable to johnny. like a yellow light from a lighthouse that looks so close but johnny, a lost sailor, can’t seem to get close to it. johnny wonders if it’s just an imagination all along. both the lighthouse and taeyong’s affection and tenderness.
he knows that either of them will wake up alone tomorrow. it’s probably gonna be johnny.
the thing about living together is that you can only do so much in this situation because you’re still going to see each other at the end of the day. you’re still going to hold each other to sleep. wake up in each other’s embrace. no place to run away to because this, this is home. taeyong has a lot of spare room in this penthouse and johnny can probably run away and sleep at his flat even though that means he’s gonna have to put up to the noise of yuta fucking his boyfriend.
but he does not want to risk it. after all, he was the one who started the fight.
johnny’s scared that once he walks out of this fucking penthouse, there’s no longer a place for him: in taeyong’s arms, in taeyong’s bed… and he’s scared that if he leaves, another one will come and replace him.
johnny did wake up alone the next morning. as expected.
but then johnny hears the ding of the toaster and he can vaguely smell the scent of coffee. taeyong’s still here, he thinks.
when he groggily walks downstairs and sees taeyong being so busy in the kitchen, he decides that this is one of his favorite sights of taeyong. it’s weird to see him manning the kitchen, even wearing the same grey apron johnny usually uses. the eggs he’s frying right now are probably a bit burnt but this is new and johnny loves it.
“you’re making breakfast.” johnny says matter-of-factly. “day off?” he was already half hugging taeyong when he remembered the fight they just had last night. johnny thinks fuck it, and hugs him tighter anyway, resting his chin against taeyong’s shoulder.
taeyong flinches and turns around, his hair tucked behind his ears and his smile so soft johnny’s heart melted right then and there. “no, i just have more time today.”
“hmm,” johnny hums and kisses his shoulder while taeyong busies himself with the eggs. “how much more time?” johnny says against taeyong’s neck, determined to suck a fresh bruise onto the skin. when taeyong grinds his ass against his hard on and moans, johnny turns off the burner. that damn sunny side up is unsalvageable anyway.
johnny knows that this is a bad idea, aren’t we supposed to talk? but then taeyong turns around and kisses him, breaks the kiss only to sit on the kitchen counter himself before pulling johnny close and kissing him hard. “does it matter how much? you’re gonna make me late for work anyway.”
breakfast be damned. and they can talk later, too.
it’s hard for johnny to immerse himself with work like usual. although they did fuck against the kitchen island this morning.
but johnny knows they need to talk.
“coffee?” sehun offers. “you look like shit. no, scratch it. you look… pathetic today. no offense, suh.”
“yikes. thanks, i guess.” johnny accepts the cup of coffee and sips it. he almost spits it out because he was so lost in thought he did not notice that the coffee is scorching hot but hey, at least that stops johnny from being a worry-wart for a while.
sehun shrugs him off. “you’re seeing someone, johnny?” sehun asks indifferently while he busies himself with the work in front of him.
they’re currently in post-production and sometimes sehun would tweak some clips himself. johnny thinks he’s micromanaging. sehun thinks otherwise and argues, i can’t stand being idle. and anyway, there are some certain things that only you know exactly how to fix.
johnny supposes that sehun probably knows things about johnny more than he thinks.
“not really… well. it’s complicated. you don’t wanna know. we’re just… fooling around. he’s not into relationships.” johnny tries to explain. sehun doesn’t buy it and rolls his eyes. johnny could not help the sigh he let out.
“doesn’t look like fooling around to me,” sehun scoffs, eyeing the bruise taeyong left this morning, too high to be hidden. “if you’ve been fooling around since when we started discussing our project then… you’ve been, like.. hooking up with the same guy for almost three months. damn, isn’t that a boyfriend? i think it is.”
johnny was about to tell sehun yeah, i’m pathetic, when sehun beats him to it.
“look, john.” sehun stares at johnny straight in the eyes. johnny looks away because he can sense that sehun is probably going to go off in a long rant and sips his coffee instead. “i know lee taeyong. i know you’re seeing him.”
and this time, johnny chokes on his coffee for real.
johnny was still trying to regain his breath after a long coughing fit when sehun continued and said, “i know lee taeyong, we talked several times. we used to go to the same parties too. and yeah… i know the guy he used to date too. i even know some of the guys he slept with after he broke up with that damn model. from what i’ve heard he doesn’t do casual sex with the same guy more than once.”
johnny can’t seem to think and form a decent reply. he blames it on the lack of oxygen. his tongue is burning too. fuck oh sehun, for always saying the right things but definitely not at the right time. so he manages an okay, and? before he downs another glass of water.
“god, for someone that goes to SNU you’re… do i have to spell it out for you?” sehun sighs. “talk to him about your goddamn feelings. of course he’s scared of getting into a relationship after jung jaehyun left, but that doesn’t mean you’re… whatever. go figure it out yourself, you’re literally a grown adult.”
johnny sighs and mumbles yeah, i’ll talk to him. now shut up.
the place smells heavenly when taeyong gets home.
suddenly, he feels bad for sitting in his car with his forehead against the steering wheel for a good thirty minutes just because he’s not ready to meet johnny yet. he was so disappointed at him last night but still he held him to sleep. and now he cooks him dinner.
he feels sorry for still trying to avoid him, for acting like he was fine although his heart hammered so hard when he met johnny at breakfast this morning and when johnny hugged him so tenderly, so lovingly… taeyong can’t help but feel the tension from his body leaving.
he almost sobbed out of relief.
because taeyong thought that johnny was about to confront him but then they started kissing and johnny fucked him instead.
that’s why he’s scared shitless now. he knows johnny will bring it up over dinner tonight.
truth is, taeyong can probably handle confrontations. but the rejection and abandonment that may come after? well, jaehyun abandoned him (or did he abandon jaehyun?) anyway. he’s been through the worst so taeyong hopes that if johnny leaves him… it shouldn’t hurt much.
or at least he deludes himself into thinking so.
because he knows, with johnny, he feels like he’s one step away from giving him his all – his vulnerability included. and if johnny abandons him... taeyong really won’t know how to cope.
taeyong walks to the kitchen area to see johnny cooking dinner for two. he pressed a soft, fleeting kiss to johnny’s cheek while he shrugs off his suit jacket, the scent of clams and cooking aromatics hit him with full force.
“hmm, if you dismiss mrs. kim because you cook a five course meal that rival her’s every night then i’m technically just paying her to do our laundry,” taeyong says. this earns a chuckle from johnny and taeyong laughs with him. he missed this. their banter.
“how’s work?” johnny asks instead. taeyong was in the middle of deciding which wine should they have tonight when he answers, “work was work. how’s yours, baby?”
“hmm, the project i’m doing.. well, we’re almost done. just a bit more sound editing and it’s done. we’ve picked the time and place for the premiere though. probably about a month from now.” johnny says. “of course it’s not going to be big – we’re not expecting a large audience. just uhm, for close friends… a bit like my exhibition before. sehun’s inviting his director friends though.”
taeyong hums, absent-minded, because suddenly the memories of johnny kissing taeyong for the first time at his exhibition rushes back and taeyong can’t help but smile at the fond memory. “am i invited?” he asks lightheartedly.
“well.. do you want to? please, don’t expect too much. i’m no park chan-wook.” johnny turns off the stove and walks to the dining area, scooping the pasta to their plates.
they finally settle on their seats and johnny sips the sparkling wine. “johnny, of course i would love to be there.” taeyong tries his best to sound earnest, because he really means it. maybe if johnny moves to new york too, this time, taeyong would throw everything away for him and board the flight. “and stop downplaying yourself. people have been talking about your work. and i’m no sadie coles myself, so please.. of course i want to be among the first ones to see your new work.”
johnny suddenly turned serious and stopped himself from sipping the wine taeyong just poured. “please don’t praise me too much in front of other directors, taeyong. you know i don’t want that. i can’t handle the raised expectations, okay? and i don’t want people to think i’m taking advantage of you.” johnny says. “well, i am taking advantage of you, i guess. but you know what i mean.”
taeyong nods and goes silent after that. ah right. the arrangement. the whole sponsor thing. they’ve been toeing the line between casual and not-really-casual for so long, and taeyong is disoriented now that he’s reminded of it.
in all honesty, taeyong really wants to say, you’re not taking advantage of me. when i talk about you with others, it’s because i’m so fucking proud of you. and i believe in you. not because i want others to know that you’re taking advantage of me. everything i do, i do it because i want it too. i want others to know that somewhere in seoul, there’s suh johnny. an aspiring director that will grow into something bigger. maybe even bigger than hong sang-soo. park chan-wook. and maybe... i’m so in love with him.
he holds himself back because he knows they’ll fight again if he doesn’t. johnny doesn’t notice his turmoil and taeyong compliments his cooking instead to fill the awkward silence.
they chat away about johnny’s project after that. johnny asks him about oh sehun and taeyong recounts story about when oh sehun was just an aspiring director too. johnny goes silent for a while, and not long after that he sighs. taeyong knows he’s about to apologize and he braces for the storm.
“i’m sorry about last night. i shouldn’t shout at you like that… you must be scared. i’m sorry, taeyong,” johnny starts. “i was just… sometimes i just don’t know what i did wrong, because suddenly you’d push me away. and the thought of you just leaving me without saying anything… it scares me so much. i just wish that you’d talk to me. instead of keeping everything to yourself.”
taeyong was about to answer when johnny seems to realize something and before he could stop himself, he muttered, “shit, i’m sorry. it’s not my place to demand things from you. sorry.”
“no, johnny… i’m sorry,” taeyong stops him from apologizing even further. here goes.
“sometimes i’m just… scared that it will happen again. and i know i shouldn’t project my fears to you. because i know you’re different. you’re not him. i’m so fucking sorry for pushing you away, you know i didn’t mean to. and why would i leave you? i was the one asking you to move in with me. so please, i should be the one apologizing. i'm sorry for being such an emotional mess. sorry for being mad and distant for you for no fucking reason.”
“i’m just…” taeyong sighs. maybe it’s time to face your demons for real, instead of hiding away from it forever. “i’m just scared of trying again. i'm tired of losing people. johnny, you know you're free to leave right? you don't have to stay with me if you don't want to."
“do you want to try again then? with me?” johnny asks. they’re looking eye to eye now and johnny is looking at him like he’s trying to read taeyong. taeyong wants to shrivel from scrutiny. “do you want me to leave?”
johnny waits for taeyong's answer but all he gets is a sigh. "i don't know if i deserve this, johnny. what if it happens again? like last night? i don't want to put you through hard time because i haven't healed yet. you're so kind and i'm happy when i'm with you. but johnny, don't you want to date someone your age? why settle with someone like me?" he’s close to tears by now because he’s not used to talking about his feelings openly and frankly like this. “if we do this, for real, then what about our first agreement? do i still send you money? i really... don't know what to do with how i feel, johnny.”
“taeyong, you’ve given me so much already. it’s enough to last me for a lifetime, okay? all i want is just...” johnny says as he reach out and holds taeyong’s hand with both of his palms. “please, be with me. let’s just, at least try. please? i want you to trust me and rely on me. you don't have to heal alone.”
johnny doesn’t have to beg because really, taeyong would’ve said yes from the start.
they’ve never done it this slow. because right now, johnny’s sucking taeyong’s erection into his mouth so languidly like they have all the time in this world. maybe they really do because taeyong feels like time moves slower when they’re in bed like this. or is this making love? taeyong supposes so, but maybe it’s probably because they’re both wine and love drunk too.
because this isn’t like what they’ve had before. because it’s technically one of their firsts as both johnny and taeyong.
“don’t stop,” taeyong pleads, propping his upper body with one of his elbows while the other hand strokes johnny’s soft hair, so that he could see johnny worship his body.
a memory so precious for taeyong because if he could lock it away somewhere safe, he would do it.
johnny then fingers him, pushing two of his slick fingers. taeyong shouts and writhes against the bed when he comes into johnny’s awaiting mouth, can’t help but surrender from the way johnny’s giving literally everything for taeyong’s pleasure.
and with the way johnny is looking at taeyong like he’s completely enthralled, taeyong must have made quite a sight – eyebrows scrunched up, eyes closed, mouth open. johnny comes up and kisses him right after that.
he holds taeyong so close and dear when he pushes into him, chest to chest with his face buried on the slope of taeyong’s neck. one hand cradling taeyong’s face while the other around taeyong’s upper body. if the chandelier above their bed is a voyeur, they probably won’t be able to see taeyong apart from his moans, with how johnny covers his whole body with his own.
when taeyong finally comes for the second time of the night (and third time of the day, if you count their breakfast sex this morning), with johnny thrusting so deep into him and his slick hand working taeyong’s cock, he moaned johnny’s name against his jaw. a sound so close to maybe an i love you. johnny finishes not long after, calling out taeyong’s name onto his skin too.
days after that night, johnny realizes not much has changed after they’re really, finally together. probably because they’ve been acting like lovers for so long.
probably because they’ve been lovers all along. taeyong drives johnny to school and to the studio now, he never fails to kiss johnny goodbye everytime. sometimes it’s johnny driving instead, the roof of taeyong’s convertible down so that they’re bathed in the orange hues of the sunset, wind so loud taeyong had to literally shout so that johnny can hear.
on weekends, taeyong catches up on his readings while johnny bothers him. sometimes they’d fly to jeju for a staycation in taeyong’s ridiculously opulent beachside villa complete with a private pool where they could fool around.
the only difference now is that taeyong kisses johnny in front of ten and yukhei. johnny chuckles at the way taeyong’s cheeks redden whenever he does it, from both the alcohol and the shame for acting like teenagers in love again. taeyong tries so hard to ignore the way ten look at him like a proud mom while yukhei doesn’t miss the chance to tease them for it.
after everything taeyong’s been through, this is close to his definition of serenity.
“nervous?” taeyong asks him as he busies himself with johnny’s tie. he’s probably even more nervous than johnny himself with the way he’s fussing over him.
“honestly?” johnny says as he walks away and pours himself a drink. “i am,” he admits. taeyong kisses him good luck and hugs him briefly, whispers a you’ll do great, youngho, before they have to leave for the premiere.
as soon as the chauffeur starts driving, johnny is lost in his own thoughts. taeyong can see the worry on his face but taeyong respects it, giving him the space and quietness he needs while never taking his gaze off of johnny.
when johnny realizes, he takes taeyong’s hand and intertwines them. he smiles at taeyong before he kisses his knuckles, his way of saying i’m so thankful you’re here because you’re my light, my anchor.
and when they get there, johnny introduces taeyong to sehun as this is lee taeyong, he’s my… boyfriend, taeyong can’t hold back his sheepish grin. oh sehun can’t seem to hold back his knowing scoff too, although both of them knew it’s lighthearted. "johnny, i know taeyong. but really, nice to finally meet you again," sehun says. sehun introduces them to their friends right after that, some were taeyong's acquaintances.
johnny excuses himself not long after that, murmuring a wait here, i’ll be back, to deliver his opening speech. taeyong’s breath hitched when johnny stands before a podium, adjusting the microphone because he’s so damn tall. the man standing in front of the audience right now is not just the suh johnny that holds taeyong to sleep and strokes his hair, not just the suh johnny that cooks him nice, homemade dinners, not just the suh johnny that lights his cigarettes.
standing there on that stage is suh johnny the aspiring director, ready to make movies that touch hearts. and taeyong loves him so much. he haven't told him yet, but maybe when they get home tonight, taeyong will whisper it against his tan skin.
hi everyone, good evening. i’m suh johnny, born suh youngho. i hope starting from now, i can get to know you all better. i’m a final year student… and i am lucky enough to study in SNU. i co-direct lilith together with sehun and... i aspire to be a good filmmaker.
when i was a kid, on christmas day, my dad and i watched the sound of music. from that moment, i knew i wanted to make movies. up until now, i still remember the joy i felt when i first watched it.
i want to make something raw and real. something that provides both happiness and sadness. because only cinema can make you feel the things that you’ve never experienced – love, grief, joy, loneliness, desperation... loss. the things that make us human. that’s what i want you to feel from watching lilith, a story about a fallen angel banished from heaven because he fell in love with a mere human.
i know i still have lots to learn so thank you sehun for calling me and giving me this opportunity knowing i’m just a kid. for being the best co-director, a mentor, a friend. i would also like to thank the whole cast, the entire team, mark lee – our screenwriter. yuta, my best friend, although he’s not here.
i did not prepare a speech so i won’t keep you guys wait any longer. but please, let me thank someone i hold so dear to my heart. someone that makes me feel that everything i want in life is possible. he’s here, and i just want to let him know that i’m so thankful for him... and thank you for being with me.
after that, what johnny says sounds like an undistinguishable hum because taeyong can’t think, can’t seem to focus because all his mind repeats is the voice of johnny saying i just want to let him know that i’m so thankful for him. and thank you for being with me. when johnny comes back to his seat beside taeyong, he wipes taeyong’s wet cheeks – taeyong did not even realize he was crying – and kisses his cheek. he tells taeyong softly, "don't cry, you're gonna make me cry too."
when the screen dims and the big screen shows lilith’s closing credits – the words directed by oh sehun and johnny suh written in big bold words – taeyong whispers i’m so proud of you against johnny’s neck before giving a standing ovation, followed by everyone.
someone approached johnny moments after taeyong excused himself to the toilet while johnny sip on his third flute of champagne.
“hi, johnny. i’m kim jongin.” the stranger offers him his hand. johnny, still walking on cloud nine, shook it a bit too excitedly. “i enjoyed it. i think it’s beautiful. congratulations.”
johnny was about to thank him when kim jongin cut him off, “your boyfriend, lee taeyong, is he your muse?” his expression is unreadable, but johnny knows it’s not curiosity because kim jongin looks like he knows more than that.
“do i know you?” johnny asks, cautious. because right now, this does not seem like just a congratulation. more like a threat.
“nah, but i'm oh sehun's friend. and i know jaehyun. i know yukhei too. you see, it's a small, small world. taeyong probably don’t remember me though, but we met before.” jongin chuckles. “must be nice to have your career skyrocketing because you have a rich, household-name boyfriend. he vouch for you, you know. probably also the one that recommends you to sehun. or at least that’s what i heard from a friend. i mean, why would sehun pick a student with no experience like you?”
sehun and taeyong do know each other.
i know lee taeyong, we talked several times. we used to go to the same parties too. and yeah… i know the guy he used to date too. i even know some of the guys he sleeps with after he broke up with that damn model. from what i’ve heard he doesn’t do casual sex with the same guy more than once...
when johnny goes silent, kim jongin takes it as a cue to continue. “well, i must say. you do have talent because oh sehun did not even badmouth you.” he says as he pats johnny’s shoulder. johnny wants to shrug it off and break his arm instead.
taeyong knows johnny doesn’t like it when he talks to his famous friends about johnny. because johnny wants to build and work for his dreams alone, want to make a name for himself without the help of someone else. because johnny’s ready to sacrifice his blood, sweat, and tears for this dream.
because he doesn’t want that one day, people will downplay his hard work because he’s just lee taeyong’s boyfriend. taeyong knows this, knows how much johnny hates this. taeyong won't let it happen to johnny too.
but if this is true, then this milestone is not his. that’s because he’s lee taeyong’s boyfriend.
“be good to him, kid. who knows when he will leave you for someone younger. he left jaehyun and so many other men before, what makes you so sure he’ll stay with you? and if he leaves, who’ll have your back, johnny? remember me, we’ll probably meet more often after this. once again, congrats.”
kim jongin fishes something out of his back pocket and gives johnny his business card before walking away with a smile so wide and johnny sees red.
kim jongin / kai
114 Seolleung-ro 190-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
johnny crumples the card after reading it. although it’s too late because he could hear taeyong softly asking, “what’s that?” as he tried to take the piece of the card from johnny’s hand out of curiosity. johnny pulls away instead, pockets the crumpled business card away from taeyong’s reach.
“what’s wrong? are you okay?” taeyong asks, the sheer panic written all over his face. he took johnny’s face with his palms and begs, “johnny, please look at me.”
johnny sighs and looks at taeyong straight in the eyes. “was this your doing all along? is this why oh sehun asked for me instead of someone else? answer me.”
johnny waited for his answer but it never came. that itself is an adequate confirmation to johnny because johnny knows taeyong enough now to know if taeyong did not do it, he would straight up deny it. all taeyong said was just, “johnny, i’m so sorry. i can explain—”
“no need,” johnny says. “i won’t be home tonight so don’t wait for me.”
taeyong goes home alone that night, just him in the backseat and his chauffeur trying to ignore the sounds of his sobs.
he didn't get to say i love you to johnny.