Lee Jeno- No Promises
summary: jeno and you were always bickering, loving to see the enemy provoked; but after a night at your party, you’re starting to think otherwise, that maybe you never really hated each other after all
pairing: football player! jeno x reader
genre: enemies to lovers? highschool au; fluff, humor
word count: 2.9k
a/n: happy birthday to my fav boy jeno <3 // also this is a part of my nct dream: unforeseen confessions one-shot mini series 💫 first runner up: jeno
You never liked Lee Jeno much.
There was no particular reason for the dislike besides the fact that he was always breathing down your neck, asking for notes, making dumb remarks, or simply calling you out for the stupid shit when you were just simply minding your own business. It all started from the moment you guys were partnered up for a project together back in freshman year, and nearly four years later, you still despised him. And just your luck? That guy was practically friends with the whole campus given his popular ass, and everywhere you went, he was there. You were unable to even escape him.
It was a total nightmare, a soon to be bloodbath, the moment you heard that Jeno had came to your birthday party, to which you didn’t even invite him too. You were even more mad with Jaemin who shrugged it off as no big deal.
Jaemin sighed, patting your shoulder as Jeno scowled beside him. “It’s no big deal y/n, we’re all friends here right? Plus you said I could invite anyone I wanted,” he tries to sympathize with you, but you still only sucked in your teeth. Given that it was your birthday, you decided to be nice for once and greet Jeno, who you couldn’t even lie, looked good with his newly dyed hair. It was only fueling your need to want him out of your face even more as you couldn’t deal with how finer he looked blonde.
Like what did he do in his past life to get blessed with a face like that? It didn’t even helped that over the past few years, puberty hit him like a truck and his voice had basically transformed, now lower muitltudues of octaves, and man did you hate it.
Jaemin flashed you a warm smile which practically warned you to ‘be nice’ before walking off, leaving you and Jeno standing alone in the middle of your living room. “Did you at least bring your hot brother?” You sighed, shifting your weight onto your right foot.
Jeno’s jaw practically dropped, in disbelief. “You mean Taeyong?”
You shrugged, “Yeah, I mean you only have one brother.”
“You do know he has a girlfriend and that he’s in college now right? Not to mention, he’s like five years older than you.”
“So? Age is nothing in the name of love.”
“It is, when you’re still in high school and he’s about to graduate college.” Jeno reminded you not too pleased with your crush on his big brother.
“Whatever.” You roll your eyes shortly and then it hit you... he didn’t even wish you a happy birthday. “So...?”
“So what?” Jeno sneered.
“Don’t you have anything to say to me? You know, the whole reason for this occasion in the first place? The reason why you came here even though you were uninvited?”
“Thanks for letting me stay? I don’t know.” He shrugged.
Jeno seemed genuinely confused but still, you grew a bit heated in the moment. “Are you really not gonna wish me a happy birthday?”
“You just love attention don’t you? Havent enough people told you that already?” He sighed.
“I guess...” You muttered, biting down on your bottom lip. You didn’t even know what you were expecting asking that, as you could never get much out of him. “Well...Happy birthday to you too even though you didn’t say it back.” you mumbled, about to walk away when he spoke to you again, “How’d you know it was my birthday too? Did you stalk me or something?” He joked.
“I mean you have it plastered all over your campaign for prom king; not to mention, you kept boosting about it on your Snapchat story that you were gonna age another year, so how could I not notice?” You snorted.
Jeno stood proudly with his head tall, now boosting to you, “Well, thanks. My parties next Saturday at the escape room down town you know.”
“Okay? Why do I care?” You spat, as you didn’t even ask.
“Just saying. It’s gonna be more fun then yours.”
There went Lee Jeno and his second nature to make everything a competition again. You could only sigh. “Right... Well, have fun at the party.” Tired of him, you turned your back, walking away. Your mood was only getting damper the longer you stood next to him.
Jeno stays back, fiddling with his fingers for a bit. Was he being too harsh? After all, he wasn’t even invited...
The fun begins as night fell, the party finally starting up as nearly everyone got loosened up and began to play the drinking games that Chenle and helped you set up prior to people arriving.
With a drink in one hand, you were chatting with Renjun, Chenle and Ryujin, discussing the events of last nights home game when Jeno suddenly chimed in, swinging an arm over your shoulder.
You groan at the weight inflicted upon you, knowing farewell that it was off the one and only Lee Jeno, so you try to knock off his arm, but it was to no avail.
“Who the hell drinks coffee at a party while there’s booze?” Jeno asked staring longingly into your red solo cup filled with caffeine.
“Don’t judge me Jeno. Now what do you want?”you sneered, turning to face his smug smirk beside you.
Your mouth falls agape for a second at what had just came out of his mouth. We’re you even hearing correctly? Silence engulfs your friend group as their eyes were on you. “What?” You mumbled.
“Just kidding.” Jeno smiled brightly, retracting his hand. You lightly hit his chest at the cruel joke that had your heart nearly beating ten times faster than it usually did when you drank coffee. He stood tall as he watched your frown grow more prominent, loving the way you reacted.
“You’re an ass.” You spat, before walking away from your friends.
“Geez loosen up a little, it’s just a joke.” Jeno tried to assure you as he jogged up behind you.
“Yeah, whatever.” You continued to walk upstairs to get away from him, but he was competent.
“Why? Are you actually mad?”
You sighed, as you were now near your room and he was still talking to you. “No I’m not. Why are you even following me? Just go back inside and flirt with Winter, or whatever her name was.”
Jeno’s eyes grew large, head tilting mockingly at you. “No way. Don’t tell me you’re jealous? How’d you even know I was talking to her hm? Couldn’t keep your eyes off me huh?”
“Never. And you weren’t being completely subtle, flirting in the kitchen where the drinks laid so don’t even get things twisted.” You sneered, before walking away to escape him to no avail as he still followed behind you.
“Is it just me or is it hot in here?” He joked, trying to spark small talk as he catched up to you. You don’t reply. “Can you just talk to me? Do you really hate me that much?” He asks, standing near the door way, running his hands through his hair in fustration.
You turn back to face him with wide eyes. “I have a gift for you for your birthday.” You said as you still sensed him behind you.
Jeno smirked. “Oh really now?”
You ignored the smug expression on his face. “Yeah, it’s in my room, I was gonna give it to you earlier but I forgot.” You shrugged, going up the stairs.
Rummaging through your desk drawer, you picked up a small pouch, walking towards Jeno. “I was gonna give it to you at school earlier but I forgot since I was late to class.” His eyes shot up in disbelief, freezing for a second as his gaze flickered between you and the small pouch tied with a golden ribbon. “Just open it.” You sighed, desperate for something to fill the awkwardness in the air. “You don’t have to keep it, you can just give it away if you want, but it reminded me of you so...”
“Aww.” He cooed, teasing you before pulling on the ribbon. He pulls out a small keychain, bringing it up to eye level as he examines the silver enamel football keychain dangling off the chain. “What’s this for?” He asked, eyes now looking back at you.
“Well you love football don’t you? After all, you’re the star quarterback, just thought I’d get you something memorable before high school ends.” You mumbled, now sitting on the edge of your bed, in which Jeno followed.
“Whats so memorable about this piece of metal though? I can literally get it off Amazon for like ten bucks,” he chuckled lightly.
You scoffed at how inconsiderate and unappreciative he was being, snapping the keychain back from him, flipping it over. “Did you even read the back?”
His eyes widened, now glued to the keychain that laid on the palm of your hands. “There was a back?”
“Yeah, you dummy.”
“life’s too short, so do what makes you happy” ?Jeno read the quote out loud, now confused as he looks back up to you with optimism. “What’s that suppose to mean?”
“Remember when you told me about your father?”
“I said many things.” He sighed, regrettably.
“That you were losing interest in football because of him? That he was pushing you too hard?”
“Okay... but what does that have to do with this?”
You turned to him sympathetically as Jeno was always to type to please others, a perfectionist, an over thinker, and not just some cocky jock people perceived him as.
You only knew off this because of a conversation you and him had one time, where you and him stayed after on the field when he lost a football game and you guys almost had an epiphany; one of those rare moments where you’re like ‘maybe I didn’t hate you as much as I thought’, but of course that didn’t last long, as you and him went back to bickering with each other the next day once the alcohol and deliriousness was no longer.
“I know you’re afraid of what the future has in store for you, that you don’t even want to pursue a career in football, let alone attend an Ivy League school like your father wants, so I guess the quote is a message from me to you. Life’s to short to do what your parents want, so do want you want, because in the end, it’s your life right? Not your father’s. He had his chance to pursue his football career.”
It wasn’t known to most, but Football was more like a hobby for Jeno. He liked it, but he doesn’t see that as a stable job for the future, but it’s not like his father would care. He gulped, his voice ringing out soft. “And why do you care so much?”
You shrugged. “I don’t. I just don’t want you to regret it later in life.”
“Right... Well, it isn’t that not that easy. You know how my dad is.”
You nod your head understandably as you’ve met his intimidating father figure before... “Do you still want to play? I mean you’re pretty damn good at it.”
His lips curl up at your words, almost as if he couldn’t believe they were coming out of your mouth. “Am I hearing this right? You’re complementing me?”
“Shut it Jeno. I’m just stating what all the trophies you scored the school says.” You decided on, a sigh escaping your lips.
Jeno smirked. “You know? I’m starting to believe you don’t hate me as much as you put on.”
You could only scoff. “Whatever, let’s just get back to the party.” You lifted yourself up from your bed, beginning to walk away when Jeno wrapped his hands around your wrist, making you turn back to face him. “I’m sorry.” He began softly, standing up to match your posture.
Your brows furrowed, “For what?”
“For not wishing you a happy birthday too... To be quite honest? I knew it was your birthday...”
You scoff. “Well doesn’t everyone here know it’s my birthday? I mean it’s my birthday party after all.”
Jeno chuckled lightly, now holding onto the both of your hands. “Happy birthday... and I hope you can come next week to my party too.”
“Thanks I guess, I’ll think about it.” You shrugged, seeming that it’s a little late now, but you still accepted it. You then tried to pull away from his hands, but it was to no avail as he only pulled you even closer to him. “I have something to confess too,” he muttered, your eyes now fully on him. “I like you.” And watching as your pupils enlarge, he anticipates your response. “It’s okay if you don’t feel the same, but I just wanted to tell you before the school year ends.” He added quickly with. warm smile
“Why are you telling me now?”
“Like you said, I don’t wanna graduate with any regrets...”
“Stop playin.” You huffed, turning away from him, “Let’s just go down to the party,” you insisted, one hand on the doorknob. Jeno placed his hands over yours though, preventing you from twisting it, “I’m not playing.” He insists, his voice ringing out sincere, making you look up at him. There was a slight glimmer in his eyes as he backed you up against your door, trapping you in between, his hands holding your hands to the side.
“Are you just gonna ignore me now?” He muttered lowly, as he made eye contact with you, making you gulp. He sighs. “Do you really hate me?” His voice rang out soft and vulnerable, making you feel bad as you never even hated him much. But there was a slight feeling you had for him else where you were scared to admit.
“No. Do you?”
“No. Like I said I like you... and I know you like me too.”
“I don’t,” you mumbled, eyes everywhere but at him.
Jeno then retracted one of his hands to now cup the side of your face. “You say one thing, but your eyes tell me a different story.”
You shrugged, now successfully getting out from under him. “Well my eyes are strained and sleep deprived so.”
At his last attempt, he wrapped his hand around your wrist once more, pulling you back to face him directly, “You know I see straight through you as you see straight through me right? Why is it so hard for you to admit it?”
“Because! I don’t know okay?!” You were pulling your hairs out at this point, not knowing how to feel about the whole situation. A part of you did like Jeno and deep down you knew it, but you still were so conflicted as this was all so sudden.
Jeno then sighed, taking a step closer, and you practically froze under the proximity, his hand now holding at the side of your face, “Tell me to stop.” He said softly. And given that your mind was too clouded, combined with how you unknowingly got lost in his eyes, you stayed quiet.
You only gulped. And in the minute of silence, Jeno took to initiative to close in, your lips now meeting. The kiss was slow, and steady almost as if he was testing the waters, and as wrong as you told yourself it was, you couldn't even lie, you liked the pressure of his lips pressed against yours.
Jeno smiled pulling back when he felt your lips chase the ghost of his. “You didn’t tell me to stop.” he mumbled teasingly, his eyes boring into yours as they screamed for some sort of response from you.
“I dont know how to feel about this Jeno, I mean weren't you just flirting with someone downstairs?”
Jeno chuckled lightly in amusement. “You mean Winter? I was just asking her about her boyfriend, aka Jaemin if you forgot?”
“Oh right...” You mumbled, now feeling slightly embarrassed.
“Go to Prom with me.” He blurted out. “I don’t wanna waste anymore time.”
“What do you mean you don’t wanna waste anymore time?”
“I’m tired of pretending like I don’t have feelings for you, I can only push them away for so long.”
You couldn’t help the feeling of butterflies that erupted inside you at that moment from his words. “Okay then.” You hesitantly resided on, letting out a heavy sigh of defeat. After all, you could only push yours away for so long as well, so you gave in to your heart.
Jeno smiled widely, swinging your arms back and forth, already knowing what you meant, but still wanted to hear you say it. “Okay what?”
“Okay, I’ll go to prom with you.” You playfully huffed.
Jeno smirked, eyes filled with glee as he pulled you closer. “Didn’t think you’d refuse the proposal to go with star quarterback... many would be die to be in your position.” He joked.
You ignored his cockiness, “But what does this mean for us now then?”
“We date duh,” he said as if it wasn’t obvious enough. “Now let’s put that smart mouth to use Hmm?” He smirked again, as he closed in on the proximity again. And feeling you smile poutingly when his lips touch yours, he pulled you closer; his hands on your waist, and your hands running up his arms.
There was an unfamiliar feeling uncoiling in your stomach mixed with the feeling of his lips on yours and you liked it. And in that moment, it was never clearer to you as you realized you never really disliked Jeno after all...
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until dawn; pt. II - ljn
part I | part II
⤑ summary: basic number one rule of the museum is not to touch the art. but no one told jeno that falling for one of them isn’t allowed either.
⤑ pairing: jeno x female reader
⤑ word count: 12.2k
⤑ genre: ANGST, fluff, romance, smut (f receiving, dom!jeno waow, dirty talk, wrap it everyone) | broke architecture major!jeno, historical figure!reader, enemies to lovers!au, college!au, night at the museum-inspired!au
⤑ warnings: references to actual historical figures, explicit language, graphic details, major heartbreak caused by another party, expect time jumps too
⤑ author’s note: happy jeno day!! i’ve been so excited to post this part, and i’m happy we’re here!! perhaps, this is the last long fic i’ll write for a while so i can rest, but i’ll still be posting short stories within the weeks to come! i’m excited for may to say the least hehe
btw, for the smut scene (indicated with **), i highly recommend you listen to strange (feat. hillary smith) by kris bowers!! this song is from the bridgerton soundtrack, and oh man, the feels!!
with that, enjoy!
italicized text either means they are personal notes or flashbacks.
this was meant to be more angsty, but either way, i screamed every time i wrote something gut-wrenching.
⤑ taglist: @renjunniehome
⤑ ctto above!!
⤑ leave me some feedback, constructive criticism, or hellos!
“You ready to get your butt beaten by me, Lee?”
“Prepare your final words when I win instead, (Y/L/N).”
Mischievous banter exchanged between you two became a new norm. Almost every night, someone within the art pieces established a contest over anything and it released the competitive sides of you two. So far, Jeno has been winning. Not like it hurt your pride, but maybe just once, you could conquer one game to feel better. Not only that, there’s a mini penalty for the loser. So far, you’ve cleaned up the lobby yourself and acted cutely to everyone the entire evening (or aegyo as Jeno called it).
Tonight, a game of archery was held by the Greek gods. They pushed away any extra pieces away, leaving the whole room vacant with two boards right beside Zeus’ throne. Numerous arrows were produced and sharpened, Zeus in the center announced to everyone participating.
“It’ll be 1 on 1 games. First to go are Jeno vs (Y/N), followed by Athena vs. Hermes, Cleopatra vs. Freddie, and last would be Hades vs Aphrodite.”
Cutting the chase, you didn’t expect Jeno to be that good at archery. Sure, he told you that he took classes with his friends for fun when he was younger, though it showed that he’s a fast learner and even hit one bullseye in the middle of the game.
Not slightly threatened until the last rounds, you fixed your aim and lessened your overthinking when preparing to shoot. Thus, you scored 2 bullseyes shot. It was a close fight, having the audience on the edge on their feet again because it’s the two of you. Your dynamic with the night guard always elevated the mood, shifting their bets over and over again.
By 1 point, you received your first victory against Jeno. Unlike you, he showcased his sportsmanship sweetly without any comments of disbelief. He’s never bragged about anything big in his life, not unless it’s a high grade for his plate. Normally, he celebrated wins in a laid-back manner. But don’t be fooled: he loves giving penalties.
“This is why I don’t make bets with my friends because I really go for their weak spots.”
“You’re cynical, Lee Jeno.”
“Only if you’re close to me, (Y/N) (Y/L/N).”
“Aren’t we already past that stage?”
Almost halfway through his job, he sustained a meaningful friendship with you. Out of everyone, you were his default person to hang out within the nights he had a shift. If he wasn’t present, he made sure to give you small treats or gifts as much as possible. An innocent friendship, it was that the world would’ve never believed in.
Or was it?
“To celebrate your win, what do you want me to do?”
“You’re too kind for me to play around with, even if you’re the complete opposite of me.”
“I’ll make it simple and worthwhile since I don’t know when I’ll win a game again.” As your finger tapped your temple as you pondered deeply, a smart idea came through. “Grant me 3 wishes.”
He chuckled, lowering himself to view you better. “Am I like some genie now to you?”
“No room to complain, I won, didn’t I?” You grinned, raising one brow to show your dominance.
“You’re petty in your own way, aren’t you?”
“Perhaps. Now come on, I want to use my first wish.” You shrugged it off like no big deal, loving the high feeling of triumph. You lead him to the center of the lobby, where a beautiful grand piano only selected people get to play during exhibits. “Open the museum piano.”
Ever since you were brought to life, you never used it. Tempting but because people from the outside might here, maybe it’s time to try something new. A new challenge, and besides, you missed entertaining people through it. The last time you touched the delicate piano keys was to your family before you ran away.
It’s a good thing that in the shackle of keys Jeno held, the needed key was there. Unlocking the lustrous black instrument, you sat by the matching black bench. Crackling your fingers, you tested by pressing a few keys to get the hang of it again.
“What are you planning to play, (Y/N)?” Jeno leaned against the side, his arms crossed.
Humming the first notes of your piece, the nostalgia ran through your veins. “Nocturne No. 2 in E flat by Chopin.”
Your fingers took off and played each chord slowly and calmly. This piece reminded you the most of your mother, who sat by the couch in front of your old piano with your father while guests from the party they hosted crowded around you. Being the youngest, they often requested you to perform as entertainment so you always put your best foot forward. Or so you tried.
Nevertheless, no one else in your family was capable to play this piece as perfectly as you. By the way your eyes closed and your body swayed to the mellow tune, Jeno observed how you memorized this piece by heart. A passionate flame you were, outshining every pianist out there.
He wasn’t surprised at how multi-talented you were, though there’s a different kind of aura you present when you played the instrument. From your hard and tough front, you could be soft and sweet to the right people.
In a way, you showed your comfort toward the boy by serenading him with the piano. Sketching him with him in the past was one thing, but this was another. You’d sketch with people you’ve grown used to, but you play piano to people you want to cherish in your life. As dangerous as it seems, Jeno was someone special to you, only wanting to have good moments with him.
Junmyeon will always have a huge part in your museum life, but Jeno filled the emptiness that he left behind. This loneliness for a human friend vanquished thanks to Jeno, and you didn’t want to jeopardize it at all. Sure, whenever he acted like a gentleman around you, let you inside the Foreign Art Room, or brought you food sometimes, you couldn’t help feel honored.
Though lately, every time he showed off his strength when he defeated Zeus and Hades during an arm wrestle game the god held again. You seriously had to catch a breath at every flex his arms made, like the goddesses. Maybe how he pushed his black hair back when he’s drawing another plate, you’d give yourself a few extra seconds to see his long fingers skim through them. He’d bit his lower lip when he’s in too deep with his creativity, wondering if he’d bite the lower lip of the girl he’d ki-
All right, (Y/N), relax. Maybe you’re thinking this way because it’s been decades since your last relationship. You wouldn’t want to fall for another possible trap and hurt yourself again, right?
Ever since this job, Jeno’s university life drastically changed. Yes, he still hung out with his friends and performed extremely well in his classes, though he prioritized anything related to the museum wherever he was. If they were drinking out, he’d buy an extra bottle of soju for you on his way back to the dorm. Rarely does he get shitfaced anyways.
If he and Renjun visited the bookstore to purchase pens or any art-related materials, he always bought either an extra sketchpad or set of pens. Even if you were simply a figure to everyone else, he appreciated the bond you both developed.
Every night, he’d tell you about his day from the start. Normally, it consisted of a lot of schoolwork and coffee, some stories about his roommates too. Speaking of them, he’d insert a lot of humorous words about his entire group of friends, whom you learned their names too.
Mark, Jaemin, Renjun, Jisung, Chenle, and Donghyuck, each of them presented a different color in their group. Jeno, who’d admitted to being shy and quiet, grew out of his shell because of them. A friend of Jeno’s would automatically be a friend of yours, if only you were allowed to leave the museum or become a human.
Jeno learned more about your past explorations that never got documented because you no longer had an interest in jotting them down. They were adventures you’d kept to yourself, memories only close to you then would know. Except now, Jeno was another addition. You’re not the type to instantly open to people, though again, a sense of relief surrounded him every time you encounter each other. It grew gradually like a warm hug, softening your heart and breaking your walls.
The more he spent time with you, nothing feared Jeno the slightest. He’s always maintained himself intact, avoiding lines to be crossed and giving respect to those who deserve it. However, he began to question himself where exactly his feelings lie with you after Jaemin tried to set him up on a blind double date just so the best friend of his date wouldn’t feel left out.
He’s rarely one to get crushes on people, even when other girls in his college openly showed their affection towards him. Valentine’s Day or his birthday, several girls sent him chocolate or flowers. Jaemin and Renjun got sick of girls reaching out to them first so they could reach him. It’s not because he’s not the dating type, but because he’s so goal-oriented that unlike his roommates, he doesn’t have a slight clue about dating.
Though one-night stands while at a party and dating were completely different, he’d still say he had experience with girls. Plus having an older sister, he never took advantage of them. He’d rather tell them in person that the feelings weren’t mutual than ghosting them. He’s not like Jaemin anyways.
With that, he’s so lost when his heart beats twice as fast the second you’ve woken up from your posing slumber. He doesn’t comprehend how flustered he’d be when you highly insist to help him with his plate or how cute he finds it when you’re playing fetch with Mochi. On top of it, when you chose to sketch each other for one of your sketching sessions, he’d take a longer stare at your visage before he drew some strokes.
A lot of historical accounts mentioned how your beauty was the standard of the Victorian era, wherein you were the jewel of your neighborhood and numerous men wanted your hand. Women envied you, especially having high intelligence skills that were equivalent to a man. That time, that felt like a threat to most men. Though surprisingly, it turns out there were men who liked intelligent girls.
Jeno knew he liked you as a friend, though liking you past that he didn’t intend. Nor was it allowed because it’ll break one of the golden rules. Before he’d go beyond contemplating, he had to stop himself. This was so unlike him. The feelings will fleet away, he’d repeat to himself. Don’t waste a great friendship because of your silly emotions.
Individually, both of you swallowed these harboring feelings down your guts and simply kept your friendship status safe. Doing your typical activities or whatever else you could think of, none of you minded to change it whatsoever.
Unknown to you though, it was obvious to the other art pieces ones that you two practically passed off as young lovers. Although they know that pushing one towards the other went against the rules, Aphrodite begged to differ.
“Holding them back from expressing what they really feel just because of the law here is a tragedy. They should at least try, you know?”
On another typical night, Jeno invited you to the Theater Room for a movie marathon. After finding out that you’ve never seen any moving pictures, he wanted to be there to introduce it. Luck was on his side to not have plates or requirements due for the week and everyone was behaving themselves, so he started with rolling out short films from the 88mm projector. Having premade popcorn and drinks, the two of you shared roars of laughter and emotional tears.
Switching to the cd player for longer and clearer films, you’d opt to believe that you were born at the wrong time. With all these advancements, it came with a lot of new beliefs. One of them was allowing women to study and work. Then again, she was a pioneer according to historians. Without her, it wouldn’t help shape society as it is today.
Nonetheless, this movie Jeno played on the big screen was what he defined as “one of the classics”, 10 Things I Hate About You.
This outspoken character named Kat was presenting a poem to her class, trying to hold in her raw emotions towards Patrick, the boy who broke her heart. Too engaged, you didn’t notice how Jeno stretched his arms out so he could wrap one around your shoulder. Not that you were complaining, his warmth reassuring you safety.
“I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you're always right. I hate it when you lie.” The way she attempted to keep her strong ground only reminded you of where you were weeks ago, especially once she excruciatingly broke down.
“I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you're not around, and the fact that you didn't call. But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.” Only when you leaned back to the chair, you felt his arm. His thumb caressing your covered shoulder, you peeked him a little bit. His eyes fixated on the screen, absorbed in the acting and how Kat’s tears weren’t scripted as she stormed out of the classroom.
Not that you were her, but it sparked the past memory of how you merely disliked him because of his job. But as a person, not even close, not even once did you hate him. How blessed that he never judged you for it, staying patient all this time.
Right before he could look back at you, you moved your face back to resume your watching. Jeno definitely noticed what you did, though not sure as to why. Whatever it was, it wasn’t harmful.
Once the film ended, Jeno checked his watch for the time. 4 am, he wanted to do something else now instead of film viewing. You were on par with it, wanting to walk it out after being seated for hours. As you both cleaned up and bid the posters outside goodbye, the doors to the museum were locked unexpectedly. Impossible on Jeno’s half because he had the keys for every room, but he double-checked his bunch.
Alas, the keys for these doors specifically were missing. But there was no other way anyone could’ve gotten it, plus it’s not like the last person he talked to, which was Aphrodite, would need it.
Or did she?
Rather than putting any blame on each other, your only wish now was to return to your section before sunrise. You and he could just relax momentarily before yelling for help.
“Maybe we should watch another film first?”
“Alright, you choose while I return the rest.”
As Jeno inserted the cd of Cinema Paradiso inside, the background music of the opening played. He hummed the first notes, already feeling the love from this film. Another must-see classic as recommended by Renjun, he wanted to rewatch it with you.
Slowly returning each cd and film roll to their respective drawers, the melodious theme had you waltzing in the small space. Even beyond your life, classical music never gets old. Aging like fine wine, sounding spectacular as time passes because of people’s creativity.
Jeno gazed over your sudden movements, smiling uncontrollably at how immersed you were as you multi-tasked. However, you took a wrong turn by the desk and almost dropped a priceless film roll. But before you fully slipped and fell, a pair of strong arms caught you at the right time. Panting from the nerves, mostly when he was inches from your face. Never has he pressed his body this close to you to protect you, and never have you seen his captivating eyes this up close.
As enchanting as the background music of Ennio Morricone was, it only became noise once Jeno took ahold of the film roll on your hand and placing down on the desk. Taking another step closer, you were backed up by the edge. Not to mention how his height dignified his impact on you, your arms were still situated by your side with nowhere else to go.
That was until his finger elevated your chin so he could meet you on eye-to-eye level. His other hand gripping your waist, you became brave enough to place your hands by his broad shoulders. Licking your lips, you glanced at his lips quickly. But he noticed it, and as risky as this was, it was a leap of faith to take.
“May I kiss you?”
Always such a gentleman, even when he already knew how much you desired him through your returning affections. Calming your breath patterns by the speed of everything occurring, you came back to your senses. He’s the one who constantly told you not to forget your roots, so you were going to take this one.
You trust him, and he does too.
Since the first film, some kind of tension increased the closer he moved or intimate his actions were towards you. You kept pushing it back in hopes not to ruin what you both have. But it only turned out to be mutual, especially how none of you held back as soon as his lips passionately clashed yours.
Tangling your arms around his neck, you stood on your tiptoes to press even closer to him. Feeling his lively heart pumping against your hollow chest, you bit his lower lip. Something you’ve secretly craved to do, he growled from the pleasure. He hoisted your waist to the desk, his impatient hands earnestly traveling all over your body. While your legs locked around his torso, your feisty nature leaned back so your entire body lied on the small desk.
Jeno was on top, placing one hand down to hold himself while the other squeezed your waist firmly. Even if you’re made of wax, you’re like an actual living woman at night. Everything about you becomes real until dawn. You emitted vulgar moans, giving him more access to your neck. Peppering a mix of soft to hard kisses, your hand teasingly snaked under his shirt. He really wasn’t joking when he bragged that he was quite ripped since he enjoyed sports and going to the gym, cupping a part of his toned abdomen.
“If you want something, all you have to do is ask.” He sluggishly sucked the area between your ear and neck, one of your weakest spots. “What’s on your mind, baby?”
The growing moistness in between your legs left a stain in your panties, trying to close your legs out of embarrassment. It’s been decades since you’ve been stimulated like this. However, Jeno beat you to it as he trailed the hand that was on your waist and lowering it right above your covered sex. He cupped it agonizingly slow, making you folding your leg from the pleasure. For a man who doesn’t date around, he knew exactly what he’s doing.
“I just kissed you, and you’re already this soaked. Can you handle me, baby?”
As the strong woman that you present yourself to be, it would selfishly take the right touch from the right man to weaken you. With his savage lips back on yours while your hands clutched on his shirt, he was simply waiting for a verbal answer, yet driving you completely mad. Everything was happening so fast, and here he was to please you in anywhere you seem fit.
You were deprived, and oh, you needed it more than ever.
However, seconds before you replied, there was loud rumbling from the main doors which stopped your devilish antics. As Jeno moved back from you to see the ruckus, you lifted yourself back up, pulling back your dress sleeves and flattening out the creases. The last thing you wanted was a trail of familiar red marks from the aggressive male, finding any reflective surfaces to check.
“I wouldn’t be that dumb to leave you hickies now, would I?” Jeno ended your worries as he placed his hands by your side again. His face leaned towards yours again, reliving the warmth in your cheeks. His lips were plumper, catching traces of your coral lipstick smudged there down to his jaw. He slotted himself again between your legs, grazing a hand on your waist and the other to your warm cheek. “The door’s unlocked now, and it’s 5 am. Do you want to clean up now?”
You playfully scoffed, aware that neither of you had plans to do that yet. Such a player while in the heat of the moment.
“Spare me 15 more minutes with you first.”
Hiding the romance you’ve both built failed without trying. Aphrodite spotted all the signs from your open physical affection and words of admiration, calling you two out in front of everyone without shame. She is the goddess of love, after all. You couldn’t fool her even if you tried.
Plus, she’s the one who locked the two of you up in the Theater Room that night. But neither of you know that.
“Sketch my ideal home?” Jeno bent down to the table, testing out his newly bought pens so they wouldn’t spill.
“Isn’t that why you decided to pursue Architecture in the first place? Come on now!” You pestered across him, opening your new sketchpad since your last one ran out of pages. As expected, Jeno bought you one when he went to the bookstore. As much as you insisted not to because he should use the money somewhere else, he did it anyway. He loved your works, encouraging you in any way he could.
When he was reminded of his humble beginnings of his passion for architecture by you, never had he envisioned exactly how his perfect home would be like. Settling down was so far beyond his mind, only focusing to graduate university then study for the licensure exams. However, he did miss drawing something for fun, not as a requirement. He also was the one who took charge of designing his dorm.
“Fine, only if you draw what your ideal home would’ve been if you never left London.”
Now as lovers, the only addition to your relationship were the public and private exchanges of affection. Deep conversations, film viewing, back and forth banter, you’re both still the same competitive duo everyone expected to be together. In public, the two of you held hands, hugged, kissed each other cheeks too when it felt right. Cleopatra’s face of fake nausea was priceless every time, while Princess Diana, Anne, and Katherine enjoyed it. It’s been years since they’ve seen this glow of adoration in you. Bit by bit, you’re going back to the old you. Except now, you’re a lot stronger.
Perhaps, this version of you proved wrong for the need for romance. Even if you made the choice not to settle down then, it would’ve been different if Jeno was in your universe then.
“Are you done there?” Jeno asked while you were finishing up your masterpiece. Life in London sounded fun when you were younger, having all these ideas on interior design and the like. An innocent time.
Instead of replying, you strode to his side and compared your pieces together. He pictured a two-story home, with a backyard and rooftop area. He definitely wanted to stay in the city as his whole life was based there. Although you preferred living in the countryside more for more freedom, you gave it a shot by pinpointing every detail of a wealthy typical Victorian-era home you liked. You desired a spacious lobby with a grand staircase in the middle, a crystal chandelier there too. The living room would have a small library and a grand piano, where wide doors leading to the grasslands were beside it.
Considering you two lived from different times, in a way your ideal homes were similar. Somewhere private, surrounded by nature and minimal furniture, you’re curious as to how it would look if the two of you fused them together. A mix of old and new, will it look pretty?
“What will look pretty?” Jeno questioned your random thought, looking back and forth at your sketches. “You know who’s pretty though?”
“If you say what I think you’re going to say, I’m lea-”
Jeno has gotten flirtier since that night, always finding the right opportunity to flatter you. Although you denied them out of embarrassment, the butterflies in your stomach can’t lie to you.
You’re so smitten, and so was he.
Jeno’s always one to follow the rules, but so far, he’s been breaking some of them already.
Just last night, he gave Renjun access to the lively museum because he needed more research regarding you. Initially, he practically interviewed Jeno for every piece of information he gathered because he used to be so deep in the books to study everything about you. Now in the past, Renjun still couldn’t forget how Jeno drunkenly admitted how crazy he was going to be over you and your coldness whilst sobering up in the dorm.
He didn’t understand one bit by that, especially when you’re technically dead. But by the sight of the first piece Renjun saw alive, which was Zeus, he almost passed out. Piece by piece, he viewed these artworks come to life from his fresh eyes. Right before he could’ve screamed when Athena shot a lightbulb in their exhibit, you happily called out Jeno’s name.
Renjun froze on the spot upon seeing your wax figure come to life. He’s browsed through this museum numerously due to the new exhibits, but lately, he checked your section out to find any tiny details that were linked to your life. Aside from the sketchpad, compass, and hairpins, he wanted to know if there was more to your life as an explorer.
As human interactions except the night guard weren’t allowed, Renjun needed help for his project in Women Studies. Just like Jeno’s assignment, you aided him. Fruitfully answering every question he gave you, Athena popped out of nowhere to inspect Jeno.
“I see you’re breaking another rule.”
“I’m sorry, Athena. He was desperate, and it would be selfish of me to let him fail.”
“This is the last one I’ll let slide, alright?” Athena huffed, not impressed by the reckless behavior Jeno acquired over time. She saw this coming, but for a change, she couldn’t punish him. He was a young adult, still learning more about life. Only will she step in if things turn for the worst. “I can’t believe I’ve gained a soft spot for you.”
Jeno laughed, hugging the figure like his older sister. “You love me though!”
Glad to say, Renjun aced his project and kept his word of not telling anyone about the happenings in Jeno’s job. Jeno even made a makeshift non-disclosure contract so Renjun wouldn’t spill the slightest details.
Lately, so much has been happening in the museum that having alone time with each other was rare. And when you did, the two of you made sure to maximize it and make every intimate moment count. From each touch, each longing kiss, each moan, and groan, never were you left hanging whether you’re at the Theater Room, Jeno’s office, or the Foreign Art Room.
The only time the two of you went beyond the boundaries was at the indoor garden. Jeno managed to get the key to it, lighting up some candles before you invited you inside. Thanks to the magic of the Greek gods, the cameras were bewitched to display fake imageries when security checks in the morning after.
Upon your deep conversations, you’ve mentioned once or twice about the indoor garden. It was the latest addition of the museum, opening in the early 2000s. Because it was a sacred place, no art piece was ever allowed inside.
Yet again, Jeno challenged the rules again when he invited you inside. A few minutes before, he set up some lights along the hallway of the garden, where he placed a blanket, a picnic basket, and his laptop right at the end of it. The best place to view everything, he just knew you’d love it.
He was undoubtedly right once you gasped at such a pretty sight. Seeing the silhouettes of various flowers and plants together with the night sky with all the stars sparkling, it was like you’re attending another ball with your sisters, who were looking for suitors then.
Once Jeno leisurely led you until the end, he brought out all the delicacies from the basket. One of them was this Italian savory dish of dough with toppings such as cheese and pepperoni, or pizza as they named it. The next ones were fresh strawberries and melted chocolate, followed by grape juice.
“I’d drink actual alcohol with you again, only if I didn’t get shitfaced and do my job properly.”
“Point taken. Besides, this is close enough. So pour me a drink please.”
Perhaps this was the closest to a date Jeno could ever ask you out to. With the restrictions and being constrained with time, he brainstormed all sorts of ways to bring the outside world to you. From simply letting you wander around this fascinating room, he unleashed the inner romantic in him. None of his friends would’ve thought since they never asked him about it, so he kept it to himself only. Finally, he’s satisfied with what he prepared. After eating, the two of you would watch more films before the sun rose again.
You’re just the right person for him at the moment he can act that way.
After your quiet stroll and sitting back down, Jeno surprisingly handed you a tiny box.
“Open it.” He sipped on his juice, paying attention to your actions. Gently untying the box, the amazement in your eyes couldn’t fathom such a lovely present. No words were required to verify that Jeno outdid himself again, just your facial expression alone is enough.
When Jeno said that he pays attention to the tiny details, he doesn’t bluff. Throughout your growing relationship, you’ve cited how you wanted another special flower in your life. Just because you couldn’t view lavender roses the same way ever again, it didn’t mean you wanted to kick them out of your life. Flowers were one of nature’s beautiful creations, so you’re wishing to find the love you once had for lavender roses in other ones.
Thus, you came across what you thought held the highest form of meaning: red roses. Despite its thorns, it’s still a marvelous flower. Innocently, you told him that just because of the memory of your father giving them to your mother on her birthday yearly.
Red roses represented true love and romance, a discreet message only those eager would know.
Jeno was one of them, which was why he reserved this gift for this very moment. It was a necklace he found through a college fair recently, a subtle red rose pendant in the center. Since he couldn’t give you huge gifts, he settled for something light. Something none of the guards or the director wouldn’t pinpoint out when they do their inspections.
“Do you like it?”
Not one utter from your mouth since you’re so hypnotized, your lips quirked up in a charming smile. “Is that even a question? This is astonishing, Jeno.”
After you attempted to put it around your neck, Jeno sighed and stepped in to help you out. “Turn around, (Y/N). Let me.”
The tension gradually heightened once you held your hair up so Jeno accessibly viewed your clean neck. Clasping the lock, it took all his might to hold himself back from you. Even from behind, your silhouette was attractive to him. The lights he set up weren’t helping the slightest of what he’s thinking to do with you.
“Done.” He breathily whispered in your ear.
If he thought he was the only one feeling something powerful, he’d be more than wrong. The lingering sensation of his slim fingers gracing your décolletage area unhinged another kind of want, the one you’ve only imagined in your mind when you were needy and alone. It shouldn’t be a sin unless you’re with the person you’ve fallen for, right?
Facing him again, the eye contact didn’t last long when you were the first one to strike a move. Jeno kissed back right away, his hands pulling you closer by your waist. Whatever sultry music Jeno played, it gave you the perfect momentum to grind on his lap. He groaned against kisses, adding his tongue. His thumbs sensually rubbed your hipbones, one of your hands toying around with his hair while the other one balled up his shirt by the chest. None of you cared if anyone caught you.
The last time you’ve been this aggressive was at the Theater Room, which eventually increased the hidden lust you’ve had towards each other. Taking things slowly at first, it’s about time to delve in for more. The mood was already set from the start, even if Jeno didn’t plan this to happen here. But being the prepared man he is, he did have a condom in his back pocket.
Your fingers trailed from his neck until his crotch. He was hard, sensing how suffocated he must be. But he kept himself in control. Locking eye contact, you sweetly spoke.
“Grant my second wish, Jeno.” That same hand of yours held one of his, planting it in your breast. “Make love to me.”
Giving the go-signal, he crashed his lips on yours while stripping you off your dress. Carefully, he turned you around to untie your tight corset. Once it fell, your neck leaned sideways as his lips attacked it madly. Your breaths were tremulous, placing both his hands on your freed breasts to knead with. His touch felt like fire on your skin, yet you couldn’t stop.
“Jeno,” Obscene moans from your lips choked out. You desired more, shifting back to face him again to attack his lips. Slowly feeling one of his hands laying you down, you spread your legs with ease just for him. He parted after your head landed on the cushion to unbutton himself. The way your mouth dropped to selfishly stare at his bare body, flexing them before getting back into position. He was fit and toned just as Cleopatra predicted.
As much as Jeno knew how wild your thoughts were getting, he was more taken aback by your perky chest.
“Fuck, you are divine.” He sucked one nipple as his fingers ventured to slip your panties down. So much was going on, you didn’t know which stimulated you more. You tried to close your legs around his hand, but he slapped your inner thigh to stop you.
The cool breeze shivered you, especially from your core. Jeno’s fingers adventurously grazed from your hip area to your lower lips. He teasingly rubbed it up and down in your essence, his index finger settling it right at your needy clit. Another moan escaped your lips, an opportunity for Jeno to slide his tongue in your mouth. Enjoying the moment, his fingers dipped inside you. A gasp broke your kiss, making him giggle in your ear.
He knew exactly what he was doing.
“Oh, angel. The things I want to do with you.”
Sliding them back and forth, curling it even, you squirmed for more. Dropping himself to meet your core, Jeno placed your legs on his shoulder. Pushing you closer, his steamy breath felt like friction. Your hips grinded against it, so he gripped on them so you stay put.
“Angel,” He chuckled darkly, his crotch tightening at how powerless you looked. “You’re so pretty.”
You were drenched from arousal. But to Jeno, you were glowing under the lights. He wanted to take his time to admire what he had done to you. His independent girl, only weak for him.
His fingers unfolded in your lower lips, diving in to your orbit. You could hardly speak from his skilled mouth, especially his tongue savagely lapping your clit in numerous paces. You’ve only daydreamed about what it could do aside from kissing, and it exceeded your expectations. By the heated sensation that had the heels of your feet digging his back deeply, you affirmed to have seen more stars than the night sky above you.
Your back arched uncontrollably while his hands grasped your hips to stay in place, the tears in your eyes formulating while tugging on his hair. Your thighs clenched around his face, but his broad shoulders widened it to taste more of you. No use of pulling away when his grip on you was tight, so you could only cry out from the pleasure.
The ringing sounds in your off were going off, your throat drying up from moaning once another orgasm was about to hit. Once the knot in you snapped, nothing could hold back your screams of pleasure whilst panting for air. Sensitive as he licked every remaining essence he caused, he smirked as he got up to unbuckle his jeans.
Oh, boy. He got quite a package behind his boxers.
Even while you were overly sensitive, you had to grasp it in your hands. He was yours, and you were his.
The way you clenched around his protected length, pausing to readjust yourself to the feeling. The foreplay deemed helpful, though the girth of him overwhelmed you. He stretched you out so good.
“Are you okay, (Y/N)?” The stunned face you made was expected, still feeling worried that it may be too much.
Biting your lip, you moaned once everything felt bearable. “You can move, Jeno.”
None of you could track exactly how many rounds you went through. Even in the semi-public area, it didn’t hinder either of you. There’s that thrill, and surprisingly enough, you both shared the liking of it. Always switching the positions, you decided to call it quits after another sloppy round in missionary. Something seeing Jeno on top, fully submitting yourself to him, made you feel calm to be vulnerable. It’s really the trust you’ve established from the start, making you rely on humans again once you’ve let the past be.
Jeno brought out another blanket, initially meant for cuddling. It was still applicable though, curling your body into a spoon towards his racing chest. Music was no longer noise, the intimacy creeping back instead of lust this time. The afterglow of Jeno, sweaty and knackered as his legs sprawled under the sheet, was a sight for sore eyes. He’s always been handsome while on duty, but post-sex gave him an extra boost.
Plus there’s pride from the red marks courtesy of you on his chest, grazing over it softly.
Jeno chuckled softly at your smooth fingers, lifting them up to kiss them tenderly before kissing your lips again. Only humans were capable of and to love, but you’re some kind of an exception. Regardless of the magic from the plate, you’d be able to love too if it weren’t for your background.
There’s so much love Jeno wanted to offer you, even if he hasn’t said it out loud yet.
Perhaps one reason was because time was beginning to tick. Finals were a few weeks away, then the one-month long semestral break until a new semester kicks off. Time really flew by, and his bank account and heart expanded too. Enjoying the now was all he could think of doing, but those uncertainties bothered him.
The biggest would be where you and he would stand when his job ended.
Jeno was too absorbed in his internal debate, as portrayed by his eyes staring off in space and running his hand in his hair repeatedly. Something was disturbing him, and you’re concerned as to what it was.
“Jeno,” Around his arm, you tapped his chest to get him out of it. “What’s going on in your head?”
Jeno approached every obstacle he faces straightforwardly, not wanting to let him hold back. Rarely did he keep secrets, especially from you. Instead of hiding away, he voiced it out.
“(Y/N), will we work out?”
“What do you mean, Jeno?”
You’re so occupied in the present that thinking of the future was never in your field. Like him, you’re just enjoying being in the moment. Though after tonight, it’s making you wonder if there’s a future.
“Well,” He placed his hand on top of yours, affectionately observing you. “Times flies faster when you’re having fun, and well, the semester is ending.”
His last words crushed a part of your heart, remembering his initial plan. None of you expected your friendship to bloom into what it is now, but life was just full of surprises without a schedule. At the same time, none of you wouldn’t have it any other way.
It may have been a few months since you two committed to each other, but the spark was still strong. It wasn’t like a summer romance kind of feeling. Time was not a determinant of love either, which you were certain of it with Jeno. A lot more than Junmyeon.
It should’ve frightened you when you realized your love for Jeno, but it didn’t. Even if you didn’t age physically, your mindset did. You’ve learned to forgive your younger self, and through Jeno, you let your guard down completely. From that, you let love in. Platonic to your fellow art pieces, and all of the above to Jeno.
Throughout your relationship, you regained all confidence in yourself and everything you set your mind to.
“I wouldn’t want to worry too much about it if I were you.” Your body flipped to lie on your stomach, resting your head on your palm.
“Why shouldn’t I, angel?”
Gazing back at him, you left a velvety kiss on his lips to rest his thoughts. His hand wrapped your neck, deepening it. But you pulled away with a giggle, all too knowing of his secret intentions as his cock began to harden again. His eyes narrowed down and his lower lip stuck out at your attempt of being a tease.
But enough about sex, you wanted to address a point.
Lee Jeno was going to be the biggest risk you wanted to take and fight for, and no one should try to stop you.
“I’ll ask Circe for a potion. For me, for you, for us.”
If it weren’t for insistent questioning towards every art piece, who kept their mouths shut, only Circe herself banished him from his suffering. Her series of potions varied, and the one you requested years ago which you threw out was capable of turning any art piece into a living human. No potion of Circe ever failed, so you entrusted your life for the day you do drink it.
“Are you sure, angel?”
Jeno knew about that one specifically, and as great to hear that you never threw it out, he never put pressure on you. He wanted you to do whatever felt right, even if deep down, he wished you’d use it. He was only worried about how the flow of the entire museum would be disrupted.
Typical Jeno always looking out for you, but you saw right through his concern. Here you were, caressing his check as reassurance. With an honest smile,
“I’ve never been more certain with anything in my life here until you came, Lee Jeno.”
Jeno opened up more to his life outside the museum, telling all sorts of experiences not just his days as a university student. From his childhood, his family, his travels, heck you even want to meet his friends at this point!
Newly, he shared with you how the sunrise and sunset looked like in Seoul with much vivacity. It’s a luxury as a human to witness as day breaks and ends, so you could imagine by yourself how it would look like. Sure, you had drawings and all, but that was from the real (Y/N) (Y/L/N).
This version of you wanted to live more; that’s your greed now.
“You’ve never touched snow too, right?” Jeno, who had his arm wrapped around you, silently watched the first batch of snow from inside.
“Yup, that’s the thing when you’re imprisoned in this place.” You sulked by his side, earning a chuckle from him who pulled you in closer.
“Don’t tell me now that you despise this place.”
“I don’t, but it hinders me to experience new things. The whole pattern of being awake at night by a plate gets tiring, Jeno.”
All Jeno would do when you’re frustrated was placing your head on his shoulder, listening as you talk.
“I know, angel. But it won’t be long until you leave this place with me, right?”
“You know it!” You interlocked your hands with him, eyes trained at every falling snowflake.
Sometimes, moments in silence with Jeno were all you needed for the night. Being within each other’s presence, focusing or admiring something from afar, it was all the peace you’ve needed from the bustling art pieces.
This week was the last of the semester, and Jeno’s off duty for tonight to focus on his exams. You’ll see him tomorrow night, which was his last shift ever, and also yours too.
Perhaps the biggest milestone you’re committing to without any regrets.
However, it took an unnecessary conversation you accidentally eavesdropped on to rock your decision.
You needed more ink after running out mid-way of sketching the sculptures as a secret parting gift. Before you could take a single step inside your exhibit room, a series of voices were full-on arguing. Booming back and forth, you peeped your ear out whilst hiding against the door.
“Athena, how dare you did to her?! She’s done so well from moving on from it, falling in love even! And now you’re telling me this?!” The distinct voice of Princess Diana, who spoke sweetly most of the time, boomed towards the Greek god. “You’re heartless.”
“I did what I had to do for the sake of this place, Diana!” Athena raised her voice, the lightning in her hands holding back from lashing out. She hated it when anyone argued with her, especially when she does things according to what she believed was necessary. Out of everyone, she had more leadership. “She had to know that her place is here as a wax figure, not outside. Talking Junmyeon out of it was for the best, plus it’s ideal when he drank the potion of memory loss from Circe.”
“But it tore her apart when he left her, and it’s going to tear her again if you do the same with Jeno.”
“How else are you going to approach the situation then, Diana? Those two have broken the highest golden rule, so they need to wake up.”
Right when she celebrated within herself for healing, hearing the unbearable revelation behind the past devastated you. This whole time, she internally blamed herself for being ageless and lashed out at others. The scary past barged back in, and you couldn’t handle it anymore.
Somewhere in the corner, you wept without a trace. You could care less about Athena’s opinions, but you found yourself agreeing to some of her words. You had a role to fulfill, and leaving that behind would be selfish and it could make the museum go topsy-turvy. As painful for Junmyeon to leave you, it was because the truth hurts. Nothing could change it, even if Circe could be your solution because it’ll leave a lot of questions. You didn’t want Jeno to be seen as a suspect.
There’s nothing wrong with falling in love either, you didn’t intend it to happen. But it becomes unfair when it compromises with your purpose, and that’s not how you are. You’ll always remember Jeno as your biggest risk, though it’s time to end things. Treacherous as it was to accept for you, risk-takers have boundaries too.
Fast forward, on the night of Jeno’s last shift, you’ve cherished every second with him. Playing around, chatting with other art pieces, kissing in private, you made it count. Before dawn broke, that’s where you chose to come clean by the garden, your sacred place. Not even your self-reassurance could prepare you to witness the hurt and confusion Jeno felt.
“You’re a mortal, and you still get to choose your path. Mine is already predetermined here as a wax copy of a historical figure.” You advised as you held both his hands, your voice shaking at the reality.
A few days ago, you were beaming with exhilaration at a new journey but now you’ve permanently backed out. Jeno couldn’t comprehend, and as much as he tried, he couldn’t. A life without you by his side would be empty and dull. “Even so, there are things about you that the original person didn’t have.”
Arguing with him wasn’t your favorite, and it’ll leave the two of you in a bad mood. But there is no way to negotiate this; you’ve already made up your mind. “We must end this, Jeno. You need someone who can grow old with you, and I can’t be that person for you.”
“But we can make it work!” His hands gripped on your slumped shoulders, whilst your face avoiding his to spare yourself from the heartache. “There’s still Circe.”
“I know, but recently, I found out that she’s an indirect cause of my misery.” Pulling away from his touch, you belted with frustration. “I cannot do this anymore, Jeno.”
You’ve always fought for whatever you wanted in life, and Jeno knew he was one of them if it weren’t for you telling him that. So he did the same, thinking of ways to make you feel whole. Now, he couldn’t tolerate the sudden crumbling of his heart from your outburst, and all he wanted to know was why you felt this way. How could he help you?
You don’t keep secrets from Jeno, but the truth behind your harsh actions cannot be revealed for the sake of the museum. Plus, you didn’t want him to despise this place he admired. Causing him pain wasn’t on your list, but keeping him safe was. It may be shown differently and he may not understand it now, but over time, he will.
“Jeno, you’ll find someone better out there. Someone with their whole life ahead of them, who’ll love you for everything that makes you who you are.” Repetitive punches in your guts urged you to barf at your half-lie, but you held it in.
“Why are you pushing me away? What happened to taking risks, (Y/N)?” Jeno interrogated, taking your hands in his hands again. They unconventionally quivered, like his lips. Jeno has never cried in front of anyone, not even when he was younger. Though for you, he just might. “Am I not worth it for you?”
Dear heavens, he was wrong. You internally screamed that, but you can’t let your selfishness seize the night. As Athena said, you had to wake up from your dream. “Committing to you was my biggest risk of them all, Jeno. Everything else that went along with it, I don’t regret it one bit. But time’s really up for us, and we must resume our normal duties.”
“I can’t lose you, (Y/N).”
“You never will, Jeno.”
He crouched lower to meet your height, his finger moving your head so you’d look at him back. Weakly enough, you did. “I want you to be a part of my normal life, angel.”
“I’ll always be here, you know. I’ll be standing in my usual spot upstairs, and you can drop by whenever you can.” You pressed your lips, lifting your head to avoid incoming tears. Meanwhile, he began shedding a few. You’ve hurt him big time, and you’ll never forgive yourself for this. “I still have one wish, right?”
Jeno’s sorrow was beyond his capacity, leaning his forehead against yours to kiss it. No matter what he could say or do, he already knew it won’t be effective. You’re affirmative in your choices, yet he still wanted to challenge it. All he wanted to know was why you’re doing this.
“Let me walk you one last time to your section.”
The black night sky had remnants of blue, motioning that dawn was approaching. Other figures gave their goodbyes to Jeno earlier, cleaning up their areas before they pose. Though none of them anticipated such a cold atmosphere between you two, they could only spy on what was bound to happen.
“My last wish is for you to let me go, Jeno.” You avowed, blinking your eyes with faux positivity. Your hands patted his blazer so it wouldn’t crease. “I already have a role to fulfill here, and you’re on the way to yours, future architect.”
“I love you, (Y/N) (Y/L/N).” Only tonight did he muster his courage to finally admit it to you after giving himself more time to analyze it. Timing was always crucial, and the badness of it showed.
Deep in your heart, you resonated the feeling. But it’ll make things more complicated, and it was the final thing you’ve wanted to occur. Someone had to be the strong one, and now, it should be you. With one more compassionate kiss on his lips, you stepped inside your section and readied your position.
“Goodbye, Lee Jeno.”
The sunshine brightened the room, and you’ve frozen to slumber again.
All Jeno could do was drop on his knees, sobbing over your rash actions. Unknown to him, a single tear left your eye as you posed.
Regardless of what status you were in, the pain of it all remained.
Jeno spent most of his semestral break with his friends to travel or whatnot, trying to forget it all. Even if he aced all his finals, his efforts felt like nothing if he never had you by his side to celebrate.
The sting over his short-lived romance with you never diminished the slightest, no one whom he could express his pain about it to especially when Renjun drank the memory wipe potion that Athena initially left for Jeno by his desk.
Forget it all, and live a peaceful life. You have so much potential, my mentee.
Perhaps this was the same thing Junmyeon drank all those years ago, but unlike him, he didn’t have the guts to. He still wanted another chance.
So every day since the new semester began, he spent every afternoon break at your section. He’ll be seated by the bench, doing his assignments and talking about his day while sometimes stealing a glance of your figure. Some habits don’t change.
He never got sick of the same smile you exemplified, falling even more for you. He’ll often wonder what you’ve been up to.
What are your new sketches?
Are you taking care of Mochi well?
Have you apologized to Sanghoon yet?
Speaking of him, he surprisingly scooted over to Jeno’s side. This was the first time Jeno met the man, and politely enough greeted him. Sanghoon interviewed the boy, asking all sorts of questions that Jeno had every answer to. The biggest change that Sanghoon noticed since he left was your personality. You no longer bite, but treat everyone kindly without bias. You’re always active to help him out in cleaning the lobby, and you don’t go easily defensive.
Once he found out that Jeno was the reason for that, he was overjoyed at the start and wanted to meet him some way. You were a tough cookie, but now you relaxed. That was all that mattered to him, hoping to know more about him from you. That was until Diana stepped in and told him everything that happened. Mostly, the bad.
Playfulness eventually bore love. The last time you fell in love was in the 80s and Junmyeon pushed you away, he recalled. This time, you’re pushing Jeno away because you simply agreed with Athena’s points.
This wasn’t right, but it wasn’t his place to interfere.
But then again, he finally caught Jeno for the first time today and this time, he was open to hearing his side of the story. Lessen his misery too.
“No matter how stubborn she is, she loves you.” He advised him, bringing out one of your full sketchbooks. As Jeno opened it, the majority of the portraits were him. Sleeping, smiling, laughing, you drew him from every minor detail you could spot like the mole near his eye and his crescent eyes.
A handsome face I would never get sick until the end of time. Someone I want to wake up to every day in the morning if it weren’t for that plate.
Towards the end, a sketch of a house unfolded. The interior was a fusion of modernity and old royal design due to its white walls, wide space, and the placing of less furniture, plus an open backyard. There’s another tiny comment on the side from you.
I was right. Joining our varying designs together is pretty. Maybe Jeno and I could live in a house like this one day.
If you loved him so much, why did you let him go then when you had all these plans with him? Even if he tried to understand, he just didn’t.
“Don’t give up just yet when she told you to.”
“Are you just saying this or something?”
“Well, Princess Diana passed this message on but after everything, I believe that she’s right.” Sanghoon gave his opinion, but Jeno was reluctant to accept it.
“I never got a proper explanation why she suddenly changed her mind, Sanghoon.” He ranted, raking his hand through his hair from puzzlement. “Did I do something wrong?”
Sanghoon pitied him, having the upper hand and questioning himself whether to reveal the truth. However, since this boy took the job, he’s succumbed to secrecy. Without any transparency, it could drive someone mad. He’s too young for that, so Sanghoon breathed in defeat and placed his hand on Jeno’s shoulder.
“Promise me you won’t be mad when I tell you because I was when I found out; almost screamed even.”
Jeno nodded, listening to whatever Sanghoon had to say.
Of all people, he never would’ve expected Athena to do such a brash thing. Someone he respected and trusted, only to betray him by doing something she believed was good for all. Except it wasn’t, and it ended up hurting you all these years. The woman he loved, now he’s a clearer understanding of why you did what you did. Yet, it can’t fix his excruciation.
Heartbroken was an understatement; he had no one to rely on. With Sanghoon, he finally had a proper breakdown. The older man could only comfort his quietly, picturing him like one of his sons going through a hard time in school. But if it involves the heart, it’ll take more time to recover.
“You’re always the one adjusting, Jeno. But I think this time, you’re the one who needs space.”
A Year and a Half Later
“Jeno Lee!!!” Jaemin roughly wallowed his best friend in a hug when he arrived in their dorm room for the first time in a long time. “You dyed your hair blonde again!”
Renjun, who was behind the two of them, only rolled his eyes as he helped carry Jeno’s bags. “God damn it, Jaemin! You’re supposed to be helping me first!”
“I know, but give me a few seconds! I’m just happy our group is back together!”
Jeno laughed at his friends’ annoying yet silly dynamics, giddy to be back home. For a year, Jeno spent his 3rd year of university in Rome, Italy after one of his professors brought up to him about a scholarship program there for his course. At the time where he needed a change of scenery, he sent his application form and got interviewed.
Acing it, he had the opportunity to fly across the world to study and travel. His English skills surely improved, even picking up Italian words along the way due to a required class for it. He studied the history of different locations and how they were built.
He also went on field trips almost every day if it weren’t for the Italian students assigned to tour him around, academic and non-academic. Nights he spent on drinking wine on the rooftop of his dorm with them, screaming his complaints in the world with them.
It didn’t hit him that his stay was reaching its end until he submitted his final plate. His goodbye party didn’t even feel like one, but a see you later in the next few years after he becomes a licensed architect with money. His goal of it felt more realistic, motivating him to excel in his remaining years in university.
After unpacking half of his things, he was reminded of an email from one of the head professors, who requested another copy of his confidential documents from the Italian university he went to as soon as he’s back on campus.
He raced to the department with a folder of them and luckily encountered the said professor. Handing it to him, this professor questioned how he was and what experiences he gained from the trip. With excitement, Jeno spoke all sorts of tales from his adventures, highlighting how determined he was now to be an architect.
“That’s great to hear, Jeno!” He celebrated, checking on his watch, and widened his eyes. Frantic at his colliding schedules, he asked Jeno for a favor. It turned out that at the same time as his emergency meeting, he’s supposed to tour the new transferee student around campus.
“Only if you have time, Jeno! I could always ask another student, plus you just came back and need rest.”
“It’s not like I left for a decade, sir. No worries, I’ll do it.”
“Oh, bless your soul.” He put his hands together in prayer position, bowing back and forth with gratitude. “Wait, she’s right outside! Go ahead and introduce yourself.”
Jeno nodded, exiting right through the department doors. This girl had her back turned, inspecting her surroundings. She wore a black and white tweed blazer that matched with her skirt, black high heeled boots, and a black handbag. She must be a foreigner, Jeno thought.
“Excuse me, are you the transferee in the department of Architecture?”
Jeno didn’t brace himself for the surprise he’d face once this girl reacted to him calling her out. Her face was one he could never forget, no matter how many times he told himself to. The same face he convinced his heart to stop beating for, yet it lied.
This radiant face was none other than yours.
Jeno almost dropped his phone. He tried his best to hold on to your promise, but he failed. It was the main reason he studied abroad; to forget and focus on his career path. So the least thing he could’ve done was to study hard for his dream career.
Just a glimpse of you projected back every single memory you’ve had together. Beautiful yet heart-wrenching, he kept his emotions to himself.
You even wore the rose necklace he got you. Could it be?
“It’s been a while, Lee Jeno.” You took the metaphorical scissors to cut the tension, trying to contain the crushing feelings. The faculty center was a public place, yet it’s like the two of you were on the main stage.
“Do you remember me?” Astounded, you nodded. Every single detail.
Jeno could’ve ran away, but didn’t. He could’ve left you hanging, but didn’t. He can no longer count how many times you’ve appeared in his dreams, only to be disappointed when morning comes to not have you in his arms. He took one step closer, taking his time.
“How do you know me?”
“You’re the boy whom I helped with his assignment, argued with me over Romeo and Juliet,” You mimicked his move, making you one step nearer to him. “And most of all, the boy I once gave my entire heart to.”
Another step, leaving a few inches between the two of you. His heart palpitated without caffeine. What if he was napping in his dorm again? It was all surreal. “Is it really you, (Y/N)?”
Hearing your name from his lips lowered your guard, you pleased him with a hopeful grin. “I’d be dust by now if I didn’t drink Circe’s potion, right?”
That’s where Jeno unchained himself from his emotions. He engulfed in a warm hug, one that has no plans to let go when his chin planted on your shoulder. You returned the gesture, dropping all your worries away along with your bag and papers as your arms snaked through his neck.
You knew you had to part ways for a while after everything, though you were unsure how he’d feel about it. You recalled every time he visited you after his job ended up until his intense chat with Sanghoon, where he bawled his heart out. You couldn’t take it anymore after trying to stay strong, crying as soon as you woke up that night.
All your fellow figures could do was soothe you down like before to the best of their abilities, yet this time, it was unsuccessful. You’re filled with misery, realizing later how much of a big mistake you’ve made.
You’ve isolated yourself again for a while, but less rudeness and more silence. It was until Circe visited you. She doesn’t like getting involved with drama, though now was different. She, alongside Hera and Aphrodite, couldn’t withstand you tolerating the heartbreak again. So they went behind Athena’s back on this one time and created a potion together just for you. But with a compromise.
“This potion can turn you into a human. However, there’s only a 10% chance you’ll regain all your memories from this place.”
“So I’ll forget everyone and him?”
“Yes, unfortunately.” You’re about to shoo her away, not in the mood to do something drastic as that. But Circe grabbed your arm again. “I strongly believe that if you and he meant to be, then there will come a time these past memories will suddenly surge at you.”
“Must I need to forget to live properly?”
You’re stubborn, and Circe expected it. “You’ve broken so many golden rules, (Y/N), so it must be done. I’ve gone against Athena for this potion, and rarely have I done that. So rather than wallowing up in misery, you should focus on yourself. Do what makes you happy because this place is trapping you from every great thing out there.”
Those were the word that the actual (Y/N) (Y/L/N) lived by, nevertheless, you’re unique from her. You built a separate identity from her. “But Jeno-”
“At the right time, (Y/N). Pull yourself together and do all the things you’ve dreamt of before he came into the picture. I just know he loves you that much, and that he will wait for you.”
That same night, you gathered all your senses and drank it. The transition was fast as lightning speed, and behold, you were like a new person. You’re back in London, with a family that closely resembled your former one; only 3 older siblings, making you the youngest. You also had a new set of memories, from childhood until your adult years.
From (Y/N) (Y/L/N), you became (Y/N) Edwards.
It took one drunken night out with your university friends for the unlikely surge of old memories to speedily hit through your intoxicated state. Way beyond a dream, you’ve dropped your shot glass and broke down in the bathroom of your dorm room. You left something unaccomplished, and you had to do something before it’s too late.
Thus, you rushed to Seoul thanks to your parents’ support as they agreed that exploring outside your home country was a great experience. The only excuse you gave to your friends for the sudden transfer was you finding a new calling.
Sure, studying abroad was an exciting thing but you’re more determined to reunite with him. Even if this encounter was unforeseen, it was bound to happen one day. It so turned out that you had the same major in your former university and this new one.
Head to toe, you remembered everything.
“I’m so sorry I took so long.” You cradled your head on his chest, unaware of how your new life left Jeno so troubled.
“That doesn’t matter anymore.” Jeno tightened his grip, scared of releasing you again. Those two years felt like a breath of fresh air and a punch in the gut. “I tried to live up to your last wish, but I really can’t.”
“I want to take that wish back, Jeno. I wasn’t thinking right and only ended putting you through so much.”
“Oh, angel. I slowly understood why you did it.” Before he got too fragile, he softened his grip on you and showed his face again to you. He wanted a better look at his pretty girl, his fingers brushing strands of your hair behind your ear. Heart-fluttering, you bit your bottom lip. “What would you want to wish for instead?”
“Instead of you letting me go, I wish you could take me back and love me again. I can’t undo the past, but I’d still like to think I’ve tried my best.” That was the only wish you could ever think of. As huge as it was, it was something he may not accept. Yet you gave it a go, risking it all. “I don’t deserve you at all, Jeno.”
“Don’t say that, (Y/N).” One of his hands grabbed yours, putting it on his cheek. Cupping it, “I’ve never stopped loving you, you know.”
Oh, love. An all-too familiar emotion that either makes or breaks you. Of all the times you could’ve said those words, you held back, especially that wretched night you two broke it off. Although you showed it, being able to say it to someone felt more empowering.
This was finally the chance you’ve unconsciously waited for.
“I’m stupid for not saying this sooner.”
“What is it?”
With intimate eye contact, you drowned in the comfort of his brown orbs. You trusted him then, and you trusted him now. “I love you, Lee Jeno.”
Secretly, Jeno anticipated for the day you’d say those meaningful 3 words. Just like you, he showed more affection through actions than words. He only admitted when he lost you, and never would he do the same mistake again. If he felt that the love was strongly present, he will say it aloud.
“I love you still, (Y/N).” His arm around your waist tugged you in further. “I loved you as (Y/N) (Y/L/N) and I will continue to love you as (Y/N) Edwards.”
He peeked on your ID earlier, but regardless, he stood by his truth. You’re still the same (Y/N).
Finally, he closed the limited space between your lips. The memories of your past romance replayed in sync of every touching kiss, popping one leg up like in the movies. The Princess Diaries, specifically. Like in the museum from your unbearable parting, one warm tear freed itself down your cheek.
The sweetness of being reunited with you again beat the torturous wait of Jeno. Time really made your hearts grow fonder. As everyone said, if the love between two people is real, then it’ll find its way back to each other.
The world must be on your side too because no professor called you two out on your public display of affection. Jeno pecked your lips one time before stepping away, picking up the things you dropped.
“Now come on, I have to tour you around as instructed.”
You stomped on your feet, rolling your eyes from being left hanging. He’s still the same tease from before. “After that kiss though, I would’ve thought we could reschedule it.”
“No can do, Edwards.” Passing over your things, he wrapped one arm around you as he escorted you out of the building. The university was huge, with more buildings and green fields surrounded everywhere. “Left or right? There are a lot of places you missed out on all those years.”
“Point taken. Then you lead the way, my love.”
18 notes · View notes
only look at me
jaemin x genderneutral!reader
word count: 4.65k
you should’ve known. you mistook kindness for love.
warnings/tags: best friends to lovers (idiots to lovers), fluff, angst
songfic inspired by only - day6 !
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful you
I love you
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful you
I want you to know
My dedication to you
In this world
Perhaps you’re the one person
Who doesn’t know it
The amount of colour decorating the school hallways was almost hurting your eyes, several large “PROM!” signs plastered onto the walls, and decorative garlands across the ceilings. Your school really went all out for prom… and it wasn’t even prom night. In fact, prom wasn’t until next week, but the decorations couldn’t wait it seemed. Despite the excessive amounts of glitter stuck to any available surface, you found the corners of your mouth quirking up in fondness at the sight of several promposals being accepted.
It wasn’t like your heart was made of stone and it was nice to see everyone smiling. There’d been no disastrous prom-related events yet, and you hoped it’d stay that way - you much preferred the promposals with happy endings. You won’t lie and say you didn’t gag at the couple excessively making out in the hallway yesterday, after a sweet promposal, but you’d rather have some not-so-PG-13 action than you’d have people holding back tears as they make a run for the bathroom.
Grabbing some necessary books from your locker, you paid special attention to some students not far from you. The guy down the hallway, currently mid-promposal was in your Physics class, you knew him fairly well. When the girl accepted and pulled him in for an awkward - but sweet - hug, you smiled in relief. Must be nice, you thought.
You were shaken from your thoughts when you sensed a sudden presence leaning on the locker beside yours. “What’s got my beautiful angel smiling today?” leaning softly on the locker was your best friend, a cheeky smile on his face. You huffed out a breath “you need to cool it Jaemin, my urge to resort to violence grows every day.”
“Guess I’ll have to try harder.” He pushed off the lockers and offered his hand, “May I lead you to Social Studies, love?” With a shake of your head, you accepted his hand.
“Do you even listen?” He shrugged. “Your eyes say it all, baby,” he teased, pushing his face into yours, and your nose scrunched at the mere cheesiness. Your head told you it was stupid, he’d just delivered the most generic line ever, but your heartbeat picked up its’ pace and you couldn’t seem to calm it.
The thing with Jaemin was, he looked at you with what seemed like all the love in the universe, and honestly, you probably did the same with him. Problem was, you weren’t sure that meant anything, at least not to him. He had always been the flirty type, he often made moves on you, but they never meant anything, that was just how he was. Besides, he cared immensely for everyone. That was one of the things you admired about him, his ability to care so much, even for strangers. He was always putting other people ahead of himself. He looked at everyone with love, you were sure.
You turned your head to look at your best friend - he was already looking at you. Your eyes met his, and your breath hitched at the close proximity, eyes wide in surprise. You didn’t like it one bit. How your breath was ripped from your lungs whenever he came too close, or whenever you agreed to go to the arcade instead of doing homework, and he beamed that beautiful smile of his. You hated that he looked at you with stars in his eyes, and that he took your breath away, and that he held your hand whenever you’d stand next to each other. You hated it because you loved it so much. You loved him so much. But that also meant you could lose him, and you didn’t want to lose him - your best friend, your comfort, your Jaemin.
So you turned your head again, breaking the eye contact and picking up your pace, as you entered the classroom which you’d reached. Jaemin followed as you took a seat at the back, and he watched as you brought out your book and your colour-coded pens. You felt his gaze. He looked at you with love.
Follow my gaze
With uncertainty in your eyes
Packing your notes back into your bag, you got ready to leave school for the day. You and Jaemin lived close to each other, so you always walked home together. At the cross-section where you had to part ways, he’d always give you at least two flying kisses and a not-very-threatening threat to text when you’d gotten home.
You knew his last lesson of the day was Math, so you went in the direction of his classroom to find him. As you were about to round a corner, you recognised the voice of your best friend speaking. Under normal circumstances, you’d keep walking, but his words made you stop dead in your tracks.
“Will you go to prom with me?”
Heart in your throat, you dared to sneak a peek at the scene. One second was all you needed, you knew the girl. She was in your Literature class - Jieun - very sweet, caring, fun. You’d never heard a single bad thing uttered about her. You were sure they would look good together, no doubt she’d treat him well. You wanted him to find someone who would treat him well.
So then, why was your vision slowly blurring?
However, it wasn’t the person he asked that caught your attention, it was the way he looked at her. He looked at her with love. You should’ve known. You mistook kindness for love. You left in a hurry.
Baby, you are my only love
My love is not two
There is only one
So no need to worry, love
I wish you could entrust yourself to my love
And only look at me
“I’ll message you later, then?” You walked side by side with your new partner for the literature assignment. You managed to discuss it a bit as you made your way to the cafeteria. “Sounds good, Jieun,” you agreed, and the girl smiled back at you with an enthusiastic nod of her head.
You spotted Jaemin at your table, out of the corner of your eye, and just as Jieun was about to part from you and go to her friends, you placed a hesitant hand on her arm. “Uh, do you- do you maybe want to join us for lunch? I-I mean Jaemin and I?” and immediately feared her answer. It was already clear to you, the way she’d be smiling at him, and he’d smile back at her, and it would be sickeningly cute. Maybe he’d hold her hand - he usually held yours - and they’d share food - he always gave you the sweets on the side “they’re almost as sweet as you” he’d add - they’d make a good couple…
To your surprise, Jieun gave a shake of her head, smile still bright, “It’s okay, I won’t disrupt the two of you. Besides, one of my friends owes me lunch.” And then she was off, hurrying towards her own table. Perplexed, but relieved, you went to take a seat with Jaemin, who greeted you with a big smile.
You finished your lunch faster than usual. His heart eyes were becoming increasingly suffocating to you.
As you and Jaemin got up and started walking to the next class, you were stopped by someone behind you. “I-I’m sorry but-” the guy looked a little nervous as his eyes flickered between you and Jaemin, and rested for a while on your linked hands. Then he took a deep breath in and looked straight into your eyes. “Y/n, can I talk to you for a second?” Your brows furrowed in slight confusion - Jaemin’s hand tightened around yours.
The guy’s pleading eyes bore into yours and you could tell he was nervous about something. Letting go of your best friend’s hand, you gave him a small smile, “Go ahead, I’ll be right there,” you assured, and he hesitantly left in the direction of the classroom.
You focused your attention on the stranger in front of you. “How can I help you?” you asked, a small smile on your lips. He nervously shifted his weight, “You probably don’t know me, and uh- uh we don’t have any classes together, but… I- uh- I’ve seen you around and I think you seem really nice so…-” he visibly gulped and your brows furrowed even further. When he spoke again, he did it so quickly you barely registered it, “WouldYouMaybeWantToBeMyDateForProm?” and he ended it with a nervous chuckle.
It took you a couple of seconds to register it fully - and then you felt awful. You didn’t want to reject the guy, he seemed sweet. What if he cries? You couldn’t do that to him, no way. But then… you also couldn’t accept. It wouldn’t be fair to him - not when you knew who you’d be thinking of on prom night.
You looked into his shaking eyes and forced the words out of your mouth.
“I’m sorry, but… I’m not really looking for a prom date,” you told him. It wasn’t really a lie. Well only partly at least. You were in fact looking for a prom date, but only if he went by the name of Na Jaemin.
He gave sad smile in return. “Ah, that’s okay. Honestly, I was kind of expecting this outcome,” he rubbed his neck anxiously as his eyes flickered back and forth. Then he cleared his throat, “But hey! If you find yourself in need of a dance partner at prom, feel free to approach me.” You let out a small chuckle, “Of course,” you assured, and his eyes lit up, the sad smile from before dissipating.
When you settled next to Jaemin in class, he looked a little distraught. You linked your pinky finger with his, which was resting on the desk, and gave him a curious look. “Everything okay?” He merely gave a tight smile in return and turned his attention to the teacher who’d just entered. With a small frown, you did the same and directed your attention to the board. However, your mind was on your best friend. Maybe something was wrong…
You tapped his hand with your pinky and you saw his eyes flitting to you. “Want to go to the arcade today?” you offered, hoping to cheer him up, and it seemed to work. His gaze was once again on you and the corners of his mouth lifted a little. His eyes filled with love. You didn’t mind this time, you just didn’t want to see him down. You wanted him to keep looking at you like that.
Why would I look at some else?
When the person right in front of me
Is the most beautiful being
In the entire world
It was raining, and it was raining hard. You’d just gotten up to leave for the day when the rain started violently pouring from above. Umbrella in hand, you rushed to get to the gym hall where Jaemin would be. It was located away from the rest of the building, to get there you’d have to run through the rain, which was fine for you - you had the umbrella. However, Jaemin did not have an umbrella. He’d given his own to someone else that very morning when the rain has been light, as he noticed they were trying to shield their face from the rain with their hands. With no umbrella, he’d merely snuggled under yours and you’d shared.
You and Jaemin usually met at the front gate, and you had no doubt that, despite his lack of shield against the harsh rain, he’d run outside just to get to your meeting spot. So you ran for the gym hall. Luckily, your teacher let you off a couple of minutes before class ended, so you hoped you’d be able to reach him before he stupidly walked into the rain and caught a cold.
You got there just in time - he was just about to step into the rain when you reached him. He looked surprised to see you there and rested a comforting hand on your shoulder as you put your hands on your knees and caught your breath. “Y/n? Did you run here?” You huffed out a small “Yes,” as you regained your posture, having caught your breath. He sent an amused smile your way and you sent a bright one in return. His smile took away your breath, just as it always did, but you were just happy to have gotten there in time.
You opened up the umbrella you’d carried, and he stepped under it with you.
“Thanks, Angel.” You turned your head to see him still smiling at you. He looked at you with love. His hair stuck lightly to his forehead, probably from showering after PE, but the rain had wet his skin slightly as well. Quite simply, he looked ethereal to you (he always did though). Your breath caught again, and your heart sped up like crazy as you took in the sight of your best friend. You looked at him with love too.
You also know in your heart
That I can’t lie
I think you feel my sincerity
A squeal pierced through your ears and you grimaced at the sound. Your friend, Sooyoung, grabbed you by the shoulders, shaking you lightly. “You look just dashing! Want to get married?” with a chuckle you gestured for her to turn around, “Just let me zip you up, silly.”
Prom night arrived quicker than expected - to be honest, you’d been fearing it a bit. You didn’t want to worry about Jieun and Jaemin slow dancing, gazing lovingly at each other, which is why you made Sooyoung promise to not leave your side.
You zipped up her dress and she immediately sat the two of you down on the bed. “Do you want me to rig the votes? I can make you and Jaemin win?” you noted that she sounded a bit too excited at the prospect and quickly denied. “No way! He’s there with Jieun!”
Your friend let out a sigh and went to put on her earrings, “If you say so Y/n. Just let me know if you need anything, I’m not opposed to crime either, you know.” With a chuckle, you threw a nearby pillow at the girl, “Don’t make me an accomplice when you actually commit a crime one day, Sooyoung.” She merely smiled at your remark and threw the pillow right back at you. “But that’s what friends are for!” And she pulled you into a hug which had you both toppling over on her bed.
At least you’d have Sooyoung by your side tonight - someone to take your mind of Jaemin and Jieun and the way they’d look perfect next to each other. Maybe their parents are taking cute photos of them right now… Maybe they’ll be leaving in Jaemin’s car soon… Maybe she’ll sit in the passenger seat, which is usually reserved for you. At least she’s sweet. She’ll be so good to him. She’ll look at him with love. That’s good… Right?
I have no thoughts of sharing this love
With anyone other than you
I am ready only for you
The over-the-top decorations in the hallways were clearly just a small appetiser to the real deal because the school gym hall was absolutely stuffed with decorations and - though the amount of glitter that adorned the room made you fear you might choke and die on it - you were stunned at how pretty it was. Tables filled with snack and drinks placed on your left, Sooyoung on your right. She nudged you with her elbow, “Let’s pillage the snack table,” and then she was pulling you by the hand with newfound animosity in her eyes.
After half an hour by the snacks, you were able to convince Sooyoung she’d stolen enough already. “I could’ve fit at least three more mini pizzas in there, you know, and those are heavenly the day after,” she complained, and you gave her arm a weak slap. “I’ll buy you as many mini pizzas as you want, as long as you stop stuffing them in your bag,” you assured her, and she turned you to look at her, pinky in the air. “Pinky promise?” With a nod and an amused smile, you linked your finger with hers. “Pinky promise.”
Distraught by Sooyoung, you didn’t notice Jaemin and Jieun talking nearby, nor did you notice his eyes on you the entire time.
With Sooyoung in the bathroom, you’d sat down at a vacant table to relax a bit. You jumped in your seat, startled, when you felt a hand on your shoulder. Whipping your head to see who the owner of the hand was, you were surprised to see Jaemin standing there with a sheepish smile. “Care for a dance?” He offered his hand to you. Slightly stunned, you slowly took his hand and got up. Is it wrong? He was there with someone else after all. Where is Jieun?
He led you to the dance floor and gingerly placed his hands on your waist as he pulled you closer. Once again, your breath hitched at the proximity but you didn’t dare to make eye contact. Uncertain hands snaked around his neck and settled there. “How’s your night so far?” he asked with a smile as he made you do a small twirl. The twirl caught you off guard, and you found yourself smiling at the unexpected move. “It’s been good. Apprehended a criminal earlier,” you replied, and he chuckled. “Yeah, I noticed Sooyoung’s not-so-subtle theft.”
As the song slowly came to an end, you couldn’t take his gaze on you anymore. “Don’t look at me like that,” you told him - harsher than you intended, but just as you were about to apologise, his face inched closer to yours. “Like what?” he teased. You didn’t respond - not verbally at least. Your body was screaming at you, responding in almost every way possible. You merely turned your head to the side. His gaze, which you barely caught out of the corner of your eye, turned from teasing to worried. “Angel?” You hummed in acknowledgement, and he let out a sigh. “Want to get out of here?” he offered, and you turned to face him again, head tilted in confusion. What about Jieun? “What-What about your date?” you asked, incredulous, and you’d never seen your best friend look so perplexed. “I don’t have a date?”
Your heart twisted in stupid hope, and you tried to stop it. He doesn’t have a date? How? Where is Jieun anyway? You searched the room for said girl, but couldn’t spot her anywhere. Did she reject him? No way, right? With a million thoughts floating through your head, your best friend shook you back to reality, and you noticed his curious eyes on you.
“You really don’t have a date?” you asked again, and he shook his head. “Ok then,” you gave a nod. “Let’s go.”
You expected him to smile and lead you out then, but you could tell he was now battling something in his head. Mouth opening and closing, he asked a hesitant question. “What about yours?” Your head tilted in confusion again. “My… what?”
“Your date.” He said as if it were obvious, and you let out a noise of confusion. “I don’t have a date either. Why would I have a date? Who would even be my date?” you spluttered, flabbergasted at his assumption. Jaemin looked just as surprised as you did, completely frozen it seemed. He slowly regathered his wits again, and took a hold of your hand, “Well, let’s go then.”
This love is yours
There is no one else for me but you
Hold onto me tightly with both hands
And please don’t let go, you
You entered Jaemin’s car, taking your usual spot in the passenger seat. Jaemin never drove to school but sometimes he’d stop by your house and insist you join him for a trip to the beach. Countless hours were spent in the passenger seat of his car - on sunny days, with the radio on, and full hearts.
He started the car and rolled onto the road, you knew exactly where he was going. Your town had a secluded hillside - like one from a horror movie, where the kids get murdered, except this one was beautiful and safe and it reminded you of Jaemin. He first took you there, when someone at school had thrown their drink at you because you refused to do their homework for them. You didn’t want to see anyone that day, so Jaemin took you to the hillside and assured you no one would disturb you there. Back then, he didn’t have the car, you were kids, so he’d grabbed you by the hand and started the 15-minute walk… That was many years ago.
“Why don’t you have a date?” he asked, and you turned to look at him. His eyes were on the road. You let out a small giggle at the question. “What do you mean?” You noticed his lips slowly turning into a pout. You knew he wasn’t aware of the cute pout forming on his face - you took your time admiring him.
“I just- That guy… That day in the hallway. I was sure he’d ask you out,” he told you, and you unconsciously bit your lip. “Yeah, he did,” you admitted, and his head turned to you for a quick second, before flitting back to the road.
“I didn’t really know him,” you told him. Again, technically not a lie. He slowly nodded in understanding. He pulled onto a more secluded road, and you knew you were nearing the destination.
“What about you?” You turned to look at him, “Why don’t you have a date?” His mouth opened as if to speak, but he closed it again. You decided to speak up then instead, “To be honest, I overheard you one day in the hallway,” you told him, and his face contorted in confusion. “I heard you ask out Jieun, Jaemin.” The car was silent for a moment, you waited for him to speak up. “I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to listen in on it. I don’t know why you two are not here together, but whatever the reason is, you should know that anyone would be a fool to reject you and-”
“You think I wanted to bring Jieun to prom?” he asked, incredulous, as the car came to a stop at the destination. Perplexed, you looked at your friend, “Why else would you ask her?”
You saw him hesitate for a second, before he stepped out of the car, and walked to the viewpoint. You followed him.
“I was practising asking someone else out,” he told you, with a blush slowly spreading across his cheeks, and looked at your best friend in slight wonder. “You looked at her very fondly though,” you shrugged, and focused your attention on the city below you. You sensed his eyes on you.
“Why would I look at someone else, when the person right in front of me, is the most beautiful?”
One second. Two seconds. You lost count. Did he- Did he say that to you? No one else is here. No way. You turned to catch the gaze of your best friend - your breath hitched and your heart beat so loud you couldn’t hear anything else. He looked at you with so much love, he always did. So why does it seem different now? You never wanted him to stop. You caught his eyes flickering - to your eyes, your nose, your cheeks, your lips - as if he were trying to read you. He was nervous.
“I can’t think straight with you,” he interrupted. The world spun a little faster around you. “Angel, you are my only love. There is no one else for me but you. I thought I made it obvious, but- perhaps you’re the one person who doesn’t know it,” he let out a soft chuckle, and it tugged on your heartstrings and warmed your cheeks. Your hands itched to reach out and hold his, but you stayed put.
“Jieun offered to help me practice. I was practising asking you out.” His eyes settled on the ground, head low, he looked like a child being scolded. “I’m sorry if you don’t feel the same. I- uh- I just wanted you to know, you know?” he softly kicked a rock on the ground as he rubbed his neck anxiously. You could do nothing but stare at him in adoration - you’d never seen your best friend like this before. You should’ve known. You mistook love for kindness.
“Even if you- If you don’t feel the same, I’ll always be here for you… If you want…” and his eyes slowly looked up to meet yours. Questioning gaze boring into yours. You weren’t sure how you were looking at him, but perhaps it didn’t quite radiate the overwhelming warmth he’d caused all over your body, because he seemed embarrassed, stuttering out another apology. “I-I’m sorry, I’ll give you some space, I shouldn’t have-” but you didn’t let him finish his sentence. Instead, you gave in, and let your hands reach out to grab his, as you used the grip to pull him closer to you. When your chest pressed against his, you heard his breath hitch - you weren’t sure how long you’d been holding your own. Your arms wrapped around his waist as you hugged him tightly.
“The last thing I want from you is space,” you told him honestly, and pulled back to look him in the eyes. His eyes were still a pool of uncertainty, and you realised your response hadn’t cleared up your feelings very well. Though you had to wonder if he couldn’t feel your heart beating wildly against his own. You placed a gentle hand on his cheek, hoping to bring the nervous boy some comfort, and then you kissed him.
The kiss was slow, but sure, and the moment your lips met, you felt him exhale into the kiss. His arms relaxed around you, and his nervousness faded bit by bit. Letting the hand that wasn’t caressing his cheek, pull him closer by the neck, you deepened the kiss. You didn’t want to part ways until you’d made sure there would be no space to doubt, just how much you loved him back. In turn, his arms tightened around your waist and you were pulled flush against him.
You wanted to keep going, to shower him with kisses, but you couldn’t help your happy giggle, and he soon followed. With lovestruck smiles on your faces, you both pulled back, foreheads resting against each other. “My love is yours, Jaemin, all yours.”
He let out a boyish giggle and hugged you tighter. “My angel is all mine,” he teased with a cheeky smile and you fake gagged at his antics. He only smiled brighter as he brought you in for a kiss. When you pulled away, you caught his gaze. You looked at each other with love.
I got only one love
I got only one love
Just the one
I got only one love
I wish you could entrust yourself to my love
And only look at me
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