pg; 1784 words
pg; 1784 words
This fic is written for Fede’s (@ontokkiland) birthday. Sorry it took so long! The prompt for this fic was taken for Writing Prompts @ Reddit, wherein they specified the prompt as: A love story between a woman who takes everything literally and a man who speaks exclusively in metaphors. It was quite a challenge and i diverted from the challenge (quite liberally, too orz) but I enjoyed writing it, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, too!
Jinki was on his second cup of tea when the door to the restaurant opened, the tell-tale chime making him look up. He peered over his teacup just as the newcomer hurried to his table.
“Sorry for being late!” Jonghyun said, wiping the sleeves of his shirt as he sat down. “It’s raining cats and dogs outside.”
Jinki looked out of the window. It was raining hard, but he couldn’t see any cats nor dogs. Maybe Jonghyun just saw some pets getting washed away by the rain? Was the wind that strong to lift off tiny furry animals and drop them somewhere else?
Despite his thoughts, Jinki gave Jonghyun a smile, “It’s okay, you don’t have to be sorry.” They shook hands and Jonghyun took a seat across Jinki’s.
Jonghyun smiled and shook his head a bit, flipping his fringe to the side. Jinki thought he had wonderful eyes. He was staring so much that he flinched when Jonghyun trained those beautiful eyes on him. “You really look more beautiful up close,” Jonghyun remarked, ducking his head and hiding behind his fringe suddenly, as if he was embarrassed by his own words.
“I, uh…” Jinki could feel his cheeks getting warm. “You…you, too.”
Jonghyun laughed, his voice breathy. “Thanks. Um. I hope it wasn’t that obvious, but when I entered and recognized you, I was so surprised I think I lost all my marbles.”
“Oh,” Jinki said, his face full of concern. “Should we look for them? They couldn’t have rolled far away.”
“No, no,” Jonghyun said, laughing as he waved his hands in negation. “I just want to say that you look great tonight. As for my marbles, well, even a ghost wouldn’t know where they are by now.”
Jinki wondered why ghosts would know anything about marbles in the first place. “Shall we order?” he said instead, picking up his menu so he can hide his obvious blush. “What do you want to eat?”
Jonghyun studied the menu, too, but before they could decide on their meal, a waitress came up and brought them some greens. “Ah, we haven’t ordered these. We haven’t ordered at all,” Jonghyun clarified.
The waitress smiled. “It’s on the house, Sir.”
“Wow,” Jinki said. “You must be proud of your innovations on rooftop urban gardening!”
The waitress had a confused look on her face, but Jonghyun laughed again. “You’re so funny, Jinki. But I guess that was what I like about you to begin with.”
“You’re funny, too,” Jinki returned.
Jonghyun shrugged and rested his chin on a hand. “I guess it’s true that birds of a feather flock together.”
“Well, it would be strange if they have a different bird joining their midst, right?”
Jonghyun huffed and laughed out loud, all the while telling him how he was too funny. Jinki cleared his throat to hide his embarrassment. They put their orders and tasted the salad. It was okay, but some leaves were a bit wilted. Maybe urban gardening wasn’t working out for them.
“Why do you look so deep in thought? Penny for your thoughts?” Jonghyun softly asked, intently looking at Jinki. It’s not like Jinki would be willing to sell something as mundane as his thoughts, but wasn’t Jonghyun a bit too cheap with the penny?
“Ah, I just remembered that you work with music,” Jinki started with a small smile. “And you told me you were first taking up something unrelated, like engineering. So I was just wondering what made you change your mind.”
Jonghyun pressed his fingers to his chin as he thought. Jinki admired the slim, tapered fingers. “Well, I did try getting through engineering first before going to music, but somehow I felt like a fish out of the water in my college.”
A college with such poor oxygen conditions actually existed? Jinki was aghast by the revelation. “Was it because they lack ventilation? Maybe the air was saturated?” Jinki asked out of concern.
“Nah, it’s not that. It’s more like I try my best to grasp the concepts but everything sounds Greek to me.”
Jinki thought for a while. “Um, maybe you enrolled in the wrong university,” he said helpfully. “If they’re explaining the concepts in a foreign language you don’t know, then maybe they can consider transferring you or something.”
Jonghyun did his breathy laughter again. Suddenly, the ends of his fingers met Jinki’s own. “Do you know that you are so adorable?” He softly said. Jinki’s throat suddenly felt so dry.
The mood was broken when the food arrived, and they spent some time trying to avoid each others’ gazes and concentrate on the meal.
“Wow, this is really good!” Jonghyun exclaimed as he tasted his pasta. “This is probably the best thing since sliced bread!”
Jinki smiled, even though he didn’t quite understand what was so great about sliced bread. He preferred croissants himself. His steak was really delicious, too, though. “I’ve always wanted to pursue a musical career, too, but I’m afraid I’m stuck in science my entire life.”
Jonghyun blinked in mid-bite. “Jinki, you don’t have to choose one over the other. Sometimes, you can do things at the same time, you know? Of course, it takes a bit more hard work for you to pursue both, and the effort can cost you an arm and leg. But in the end it will be worth it!” He picked up his goblet and took a sip to end his statement.
Who knew pursuing a musical career would be so violent? Why would they take an arm and leg from you? Jinki thought it was terrifying. But he could see Jonghyun’s arm still intact and his foot was moving against Jinki’s ankle under the table, so maybe losing an arm and leg wasn’t that common?
“I don’t know exactly what you do in the lab, but maybe you can use music to relax or to change your pace,” Jonghyun was rattling off as he chewed on his food. “Sometimes, maybe you’d get so inspired you’ll burn the midnight oil and suffer the next day, haha!”
Oil? Jinki thought. Guess he needed to buy an oil burner later if he wanted to be inspired with music!
“I guess,” Jinki said, a bit unsure of what to say. Jonghyun was so willing to suggest things to him. “I can try playing instruments or singing? I am not very good at either, though.”
Jonghyun shook his head, his silver locks glistening in the dim lighting. “Jinki, I heard your songs and I think they sound amazing. Don’t be discouraged. Do things one step at a time. There will be times when you want to give up, but music is something that is eternally within us. You will encounter it every time.”
Jinki rested his cutlery on his plate and wiped his mouth with the napkin. “I guess I’ll give it a chance, even when I’m busy. Thank you, Jonghyun. I’ll have to apologize beforehand for when I make any drastic decisions and bother you.”
Jonghyun laughed and scratched the back of his head. “Nah, I won’t judge your ‘drastic’ decisions at all, when they come. That would be like the pot calling the kettle black.”
“Oh no,” Jinki shook his head. “I don’t think you’re a colorist, Jonghyun. You’re too kind.”
“I don’t think so, too?” Jonghyun answered, albeit a bit confused. “I just never get asked about it out of the blue?”
Blue? What could come out of blue? Isn’t it already primary color? Maybe Jonghyun was even more into optics than music?
Jinki tried to ask, but Jonghyun waved a hand dismissively. “Ah, it’s a hot potato that I don’t want to deal with.”
“Ah…” Jinki thought it was interesting how Jonghyun didn’t like potatoes like him. Maybe he did really like bread that much and dislike other carbohydrate sources?
As they settled the bill, Jonghyun rested his chin once more on his intertwined fingers. “So, Mr. Lee Jinki, how did we fare?” He held the door open for Jinki as they left the restaurant. The rain had stopped and thankfully, there were no cats or dogs in sight.
Jinki took a deep breath. “To be honest? I think I would like it very much if we meet each other again.”
The wide smile that stretched across Jonghyun’s face made Jinki glad that he bravely said those words. “I think so, too!” Jonghyun exclaimed. “We totally see eye to eye!”
Jinki smiled, too, though it was easier to see eye to eye when they were sitting across each other. Standing side by side and with Jonghyun a bit shorter than him made it a bit difficult. “Should we meet again next week?”
Jonghyun looked ecstatic that Jinki’s pulse quickened. “Really? Uhm, then would you come to my apartment?” Suddenly, Jonghyun looked panicked as he fumbled for words. “Oh, I mean just…I will cook dinner! I’m not really…it’s not like I’m asking you to hit the sheets with me or something.”
There didn’t seem anything about about hitting sheets? It would be probably like a pillow fight, right? “I don’t mind?” Jinki asked, his smile unsure.
Jonghyun stopped fumbling for words. “W-what?”
“Hitting the sheets. I don’t mind it, Jonghyun.”
Jonghyun’s mouth was open for so long, Jinki wanted to lift a finger to close it. “I’m….I didn’t want you to think I’m….are you sure?”
Jinki smiled in complete affirmation this time. “I’ll be glad to.”
“Oh, god,” Jonghyun said, grasping Jinki’s hands. “You made my heart soar just now.”
Jinki looked up in concern. “Do you think we’ll be able to catch it? Since you do need it to live.”
Jonghyun laughed out loud and circled an arm around Jinki’s own. “We can find it as we take a walk, then!”
“I’m a bit surprised that you said you will cook, Jonghyun. You never told me about your cooking in our chats,” Jinki remarked as he followed Jonghyun’s steps, walking alongside him.
Jonghyun had a smug look on his face. “I live alone so I have to care for myself. Cooking was something that came naturally to me, though. It’s a piece of cake.”
“I guess we’ll be eating a lot of sweets, then,” Jinki concluded. Well, it wasn’t that bad, he could eat sweets if Jonghyun made it for him.
“Jinki, really. If that’s what you want I can do it!” Jonghyun said. “That’s how much I like you, okay?”
Jinki looked to his side to watch Jonghyun, with his red cheeks and smiling eyes and wide smile, and felt his heart do an erratic beat. He shuffled closer and reveled in the warmth they shared.
He found a nearly perfect man.