jung jaehyun. | repetition.
summary. sick and tired of reminding you to care for yourself, jaehyun decides to teach you a lesson. after all, repetition is key and he’s not going to stop until the message has sank in on paper and skin.
pairing. y/n x nct’s jaehyun.
genre. established relationship!au, college!au
word count. 4k.
warnings. explicit smut, swearing, unprotected sex (wrap before you tap pls), dom!jaehyun, sub!femreader, slight cumplay, bondage, spanking, praise kink, clit play, oral fixation? (idk jae finger fucks y/n’s mouth), foreplay (both receiving), dirty talk, degradation (receiving), choking, throat-fucking, rough play, little plot, in general, this is straight smut; dni if this is not for you :)
“BABE?” JAEHYUN CALLS out from the other room. It takes you several seconds to reply.
You hear his feet pad into the main room in the apartment, a creak of wood signifying he’s leaning against the doorway. When he doesn’t make a sound after a moment or so, you look up from your work and see Jaehyun’s disappointed face, arms crossed as he watches you.
Instantly, you know what he’s mad about.
“I have two more pages.”
“I don’t care. You haven’t moved from that spot in hours, I can tell.”
You don’t answer because you know it’s true. You’re particularly self-destructive around finals week and Jaehyun knows that well, dating you for well into 2 years now.
“Sometimes I feel like your mother, you know that?” Jaehyun raises an eyebrow as he heads towards you, twisting the stool chair you’re sitting on to stand between your legs. Reluctantly, you take your fingers off your laptop’s keyboard, a little pissed you’ve stopped your good pace.
“No one told you to be my mom.” You sheepishly smile, trying to ease off his annoyance.
Jae sighs, caressing the outside of your bare thighs. “I act like your mom because I care about you.” The seed of shame grows in your stomach. You feel like a child.
“When’s the last time you’ve eaten?”
“It’s 9 P.M.”
“Well... my lunchtime is different from yours. And I’ve had a bunch of snacks.”
“You do realize it’s me you’re talking to, right?”
You huff. “Look, I’m so close to finishing this paper. As soon as I’m done, I’ll eat.”
“It takes around five minutes minimum to eat a full meal Y/N, you can spare the time.”
“I’m so close, Jae. So close to finishing. Another hour or so, max.”
Jaehyun’s expression changes to stone-cold as he licks at his right canine and you suddenly feel like you’ve really fucked up. He’s broken your trance of concentration already and now he’s truly mad too.
“We’ve had this conversation many times now,” You nod as he tilts your chin up, “Why don’t you ever listen, huh?”
“I do listen—”
“You listen to everything except for when it comes to taking care of yourself.”
You bite your lip, realizing you’re wasting time here. “Let’s talk about this later, please.”
Turning away from his hold, you reread your last sentence and continue typing, ignoring Jaehyun’s silent fuming. You can feel his presence on your back but try to ignore it in favor of finishing this, eating, and then resolving this petty argument with Jaehyun.
Your efforts become fruitless when he lifts your laptop out of reach and slaps a piece of blank paper down in front of you. Jaehyun also roughly grabs a pen off from the side and you twist to look up at him in anger.
“Seriously, Jae? This is petty, I have work to do.”
He tilts his head to tick you off. “So is not answering me directly.”
He at least has the decency to make sure your work is saved before placing it on the couch. You get up to go grab it but Jaehyun stops you by placing his arms on the countertop, caging you in.
“Just give up for a second. Grab the pen and write down what I tell you to.”
“Jae, this isn’t the time, it’s due in—”
“Do it.” His voice is sharp and loud, telling you not to mess with him. You shift in your seat, cursing yourself for liking his demanding behavior.
Picking up the pen, you await his words. His breath tickles your ear as he leans over you.
“A good girl eats her dinner.”
A shiver runs down your spine at the words, warmth growing on your cheeks. When you don’t do as he says, Jaehyun grabs your jaw roughly, forcing you to look into his eyes.
“I said… Do it.”
Biting your lip, you quickly turn around and scrawl out the embarrassing words on the paper. It’s messy from your usual handwriting and Jaehyun catches it.
You obey and focus on each letter, making the sentence perfect on the page.
“That’s better.” You await more instructions but none come. Twisting around, you connect gazes.
“What’s your color?”
Now, he wanted to ask that? He already knew you were too invested now. The word “green” is on the tip of your tongue, the wetness between the apex of your thighs screaming at you to get dicked down right now. Your monkey brain does have some decency to remind you of your paper though.
You stall. “... It’s due soon.”
Jaehyun closes his eyes in annoyance, thick brows pinched. “I don’t give a fuck about the paper Y/N.”
When he opens his eyes once more, the molten desire in them makes up your mind. “I want to teach you a lesson. And after that, you’re eating.” Jaehyun says matter-of-factly.
Swallowing roughly, Jaehyun raises a mocking eyebrow. “Now, what’s your color? No matter whether or not you’re in the mood, you’re fucking eating.”
Might as well have fun if you’ve decided you’re not finishing this paper tonight.
Jaehyun smirks and leans over you once more, spreading your legs for his hands to roam. His fingers are icy cold compared to your hot skin, excited for what’s to come.
“Continue writing that phrase down for me. After all, repetition is key, isn’t it? That’s what your professor tells you?” Jaehyun’s gravelly voice drips from his lips, printing the words down the side of your neck.
You try your best to focus on writing but all of your senses are on overload as Jaehyun roams your body, your (his) shirt riding up as he touches your hot skin. Eventually, the pads of his fingers touch your wetness through your underwear, making you jerk on the stool.
His fingers play, pressing into you. “So wet for me. Just from a few words? How pathetic.”
You moan in surprise when Jaehyun pinches your clit through the fabric, sending a shock of pleasure throughout your body.
“Who told you to stop writing, huh? Can’t you do anything right?” His words send shame flowing in your veins and you hastily continue.
He forces your head to turn after you finish another perfect line, pressing your mouths together insistently. Jaehyun’s tongue brushes your top lip, a gasp opening your mouth to invite him further. He dominates quickly, biting the tip of your red muscle and licking the back of your teeth.
Moaning, you turn to face him but Jaehyun resists the movement, biting your bottom lip hard and disconnecting your lips. You trail after his mouth involuntarily and he chuckles.
Jaehyun grabs another pen from the side, leaning on the side of your head to look down at your heaving body. You can tell what he’s writing near the apex of your thighs by the way he purposefully presses the ink onto your skin.
He continues inking the filthy words on you as his other hand explores, occasionally squeezing a breast whenever he deems your handwriting sloppy. Jaehyun chooses the spot behind your ear a perfect place for a hickey and it takes your breath away, never knowing how sensitive it was until now.
Your grip on the pen tightens, ink trailing off. Even Jaehyun can’t scold you now, too occupied with painting the skin on your neck blue. Your fingers desperately seek to touch the hard planes of his chest, to pull at the drawstrings of his sweatpants, anything at this point.
You seek your request immediately, gasping out, “Can I touch you? Please, Jae?”
He draws away from your collar, slowly backing up to look at your side profile. “You want to touch me, baby?”
Nodding harshly, his hand feels your pulse as it wraps your neck prettily. His tongue runs slowly over his lower lip, voice calm.
“How about you read what I wrote on you then?”
Shivering at the thought of saying it aloud, you tilt your chin higher, defying nonverbally. Jaehyun cocks his head, a pleased smile growing on his face.
“What? You can’t do it, baby? Too embarrassing?”
Your cheeks are getting warmer and warmer as he continues to stare in amusement and you grow more and more frustrated.
You whisper despite the way your shared apartment has no one else in it besides you two. “I can’t say that aloud.”
“And why not? Everyone knows it.”
He chuckles, grabbing at your hips to spin the stool and tug you closer to him. “Do it, baby. And you can touch me all you want.”
Jaehyun’s eyes catch the way your fingers pull at the hem of his shirt, squeezing your wrists in a warning. You stop but wonder how much you can push. Or maybe… not back down at all.
You’re already in enough trouble as it is. What’s to do with adding more?
Shaking your head, you decide that’s enough as an answer. His voice is too calm, thumb pushing under your jaw to look you properly in the eyes. “No?”
You can’t help but look down, another bad thing to do because Jaehyun laughs. It’s out of place in this context; a shiver runs down your spine. “Oh, you make things fun, baby.”
And then you’re being dragged off your seat, pushed front-first into the back of the couch where you’re mockingly looking down at your laptop, the document app still open and displaying your paper. Fuck’s sake.
Gathering your hands behind your back, Jaehyun roughly pulls the edge of your shirt up, finger playing with the waistband of your panties. He pulls it higher up, watching you whine as it doesn’t stimulate anything you need to be stimulated.
“Please, Jae. I want—”
“You’re not in any place to be begging, darling. You just lay here face down, and take what I give you, got it?” Jaehyun makes a point to tap on the laptop’s screen, lighting it up since it’s dim from no use. “You know what actually? How ‘bout you continue your paper, baby? That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”
You don’t realize you swore at him under your breath until Jaehyun leans imperceptibly closer, hand at your neck squeezing once.
The calloused palm baring your wrists clasp tighter, making you wince.
“I didn’t ask politely. Repeat what you just said.”
“I didn’t mean it—”
He doesn’t say anything, chest lifting from your back. You exhale shakily, a little scared to look back and see what he’s doing. All of Jaehyun’s hands are off of you suddenly and getting self-conscious, you’re about to just fuck it and turn around when you hear a zip of cord friction against cotton.
Taking the hands that had disobediently left your back, Jaehyun pushes your head down, gathering your wrists and tying them together with… the drawstring of his sweatpants.
This is not what you meant earlier when you said you wanted to pull at them two minutes ago.
“That alright?” Jaehyun asks, brushing your hair to the side and pulling at the knot to make sure they weren’t too tight.
You mumble a yes and your boyfriend curls a piece of hair behind your ear. He gets closer once more, hips nestled against your ass. Desperately fighting the urge to press back into the bulge you can clearly feel, you instead try to steady your shaky breathing.
“Count for me, will you baby?”
A sharp, burning sting on your ass makes your head whip around in shock, lips being bitten to avoid satisfying Jaehyun with a sound.
Because of no drawstring holding up his sweats anymore, Jaehyun’s V and the trail of hair aren’t hidden by the band of his pants. Your hands automatically clench in pain and desire to rake your fingernails through that trail.
“I said… count.” He accentuates with another spank and you hiss, “Don’t make me add more onto 10.”
“10? No no, that’s 11 then—”
“Please, keep on running that mouth then, brat. I’ll add more on with pleasure.”
Clamping your mouth shut in frustration, you seethe past clenched teeth, “Two.”
“One.” He corrects and you close your eyes in preparation.
Another spank and your body jerks, pressing further into the couch.
“Two.” You manage to whimper out.
Two hits are given in succession and a moan tumbles out. You’re ashamed and can feel the grin on Jae’s lips behind you.
On the seventh, your body slackens, teeth ground into oblivion. When the smallest wail escapes you this time around, Jae asks again.
You catch your breath and sniffle, tears pricking your eyes a little. “Green. It’s green.”
He pets your head with his dominant hand, fingers pinching at the nape of your neck just as his non-dominant finds its way pushing your underwear to the side, circling your clit.
You moan in delight, Jaehyun’s words forcing your body to wriggle.
He ends the spanking quicker, the last three slaps delivered fast and sharp to your ass. Your cheeks burn and you itch to soothe it but Jaehyun does it instead, brushing lightly on your now bruised skin. Flinching at his touch, he stops.
Yanking your hips away from the back of the couch by taking a forearm, he bends to drag your panties down your legs, making a point to blow hot air against you. Mewling at the sensation, it takes everything within you to not grind back into your boyfriend’s face.
Pulling your shirt up until it’s high up above your breasts, he pinches your nipples in appreciation, lips pecking your shoulder blades and down your spine.
“You did so well, baby. Took that punishment like such a good girl.”
His hand comes back like a lost necklace you found, the other dragging down your stomach to tease your clit once more. You want to sob, the teases never-ending.
“Jae, I’ll be good now. I’ll eat dinner on time, I promise! Please just do something, please.”
“You finally learned your lesson, huh?”
Nodding frantically, you could care less about preserving self-respect now. You can feel your wetness running down your thighs. You need something, anything.
“Alright. You’ve earned it, darling.” Jaehyun bites your earlobe, middle finger easing slowly into you. A high-pitched noise leaves you, clenching and fluttering around his digit to keep it in there.
Jae groans, nails momentarily digging into your throat. You can’t help pushing back, his pointer finger brushing against your clit. You open your mouth to spew out more pleas but Jaehyun beats you to it, fucking his finger in and out like it was his job.
Head lolling backward to settle on his shoulder, moans spew out steadily from your raw, bitten lips. Jaehyun drinks up the noises, adding a second finger when he feels like it. He can tell you’re getting close so the fingers slow, curling up to press into that spot that makes you see stars. You hardly register what Jae says next.
“Read what I wrote on you and I’ll make you cum tonight. Deal?”
Whining noisily, you grind against his hand and Jae stills them completely.
“I’ll leave you like this, Y/N. All needy and desperate on this couch. You can fucking watch me jerk off as you stay tied, kneeling on the floor at my feet.”
Groaning, you’re embarrassed before you’ve even said anything. You knew that Jaehyun would go through with his stubborn threat if you really didn’t.
You take a deep breath and wonder whether or not you should break your resolve.
Taking too long, Jaehyun’s fingers leave you. Clenching around nothing, your legs shake in protest. He makes a point to turn you around, grabbing your forearm and going around the couch to make you kneel before him.
Jaehyun looks delectable, black hair falling into his eyeline, still slightly wet from his earlier shower after work. Pulling his sweats a little down his thighs, your mouth is dry as his hand tightly grips himself, jerking once. You make a sound of discontentment, wishing your hands were free to roam.
From the back of his T-shirt, Jaehyun lifts the other arm to yank off the offending clothing. You ache and pulse, whining at the sight of his chiseled stomach. Oh, how you want to explore.
Rough fingers tangle in your hair to pull you closer to his crotch. “Say it, baby. Last warning.”
“What does it say?”
“I-I’m a fucktoy…”
Occupied hand still stuffed his pants, his other brushes your bottom lip, your naturally inviting mouth allowing his thumb to hook at your row of teeth.
Around his thumb, you mumble, “Yours, Jaehyun. Only you.”
“That true, baby?”
Closing your eyes, you nod, suck on the digit once and let it go. Jae’s thumb presses on your tongue laid flat in your mouth.
He groans loudly, low eyes lock on your closed lips as you suck hard. Jae adds two fingers, fucking your mouth like he owns it.
“That’s my girl. I bet you’d let me do anything to your pretty body, huh?”
Your chest gets hot, heart beating fast. Considering how much you love and trust the man you were currently kneeling for,Jaehyun was not too far off.
“Can I put your mouth to good use, baby?”
You nod rapidly, wanting nothing more than to please him. He inhales sharply at your excitement, sitting down and pulling your body between his thighs.
The sweats are taken off all the way and you suck a hickey on his thigh in impatience. Breathing hotly on him, Jaehyun shakes in anticipation.
All of his fingers tangle in your messy hair, slowly easing you towards him. Tongue out lewdly, Jae halts your movements just before his tip which is laid on his soft stomach.
A thumb brushes baby hairs from your sweaty forehead, dark eyes searching your wide ones.
“I want to be rough. Very rough. Is that okay, baby?”
“Yes. Yes, please.”
“You pinch my ankle if it’s too much, alright?”
Swearing once more, he pets your head and lets you suckle on his tip. Careful of your teeth, you swirl your tongue around his cock and it earns rewarding high whines, all airy. The tip of your wet muscle presses into the underside of his head and Jaehyun pants like a dog above you, hips lifting from the couch.
Insistently, his hands press you down further on his length. Your gag reflex kicks in, stomach spasming emptily. Trying your best to suction and brush your tongue down the large vein of his cock, you clench your thumb tightly to get rid of the feeling.
Wanting to perform well for him, the gags die out and Jaehyun moans deep above you, beginning to pump your throat slowly. Moaning at the sensation yourself, the vibration it sends down Jaehyun’s length forces a shudder to wrack his body.
His abdomen clenches as his hooded eyes stare into your bleary ones.
“Fuck, you’re so good to me baby. So fucking good.” Jaehyun accentuates himself by thrusting your hot mouth faster.
Choking on his cock, he thrives off your attention, getting off on your garbled noises of pleasure. Pulling you off when he gets close, you gasp for air, coughing and pressing your cheek onto his thigh again.
Taking a minute to calm down, Jaehyun inquires; “You okay, darling?”
His thumbs brush away the trails of tears on your cheeks softly. You whisper a weak yes and he bends down, pressing a kiss to your forehead before pecking your lips. Giving chase, his tongue slips into the cavern of your warm mouth for a split second. You miss it with every fiber of your being, whining noisily.
Then he gets behind you, scooching you closer to the couch so you can bend over, chest pressed against the seat cushions. Jaehyun kneels behind you.
His large palm grasps into the cord of the drawstring, pulling it tight around the irritated skin of your wrists as the other rubs his cock between your wet folds. You can’t help the high and pleasured noises escaping your throat as Jaehyun’s dick runs up and down, fucking himself into the tight space of your clasped thighs.
As soon as he’s wet enough with your arousal, Jaehyun presses into you. You’re soundless as his girth stretches you but your mouth is wide open, more desire seeping past his intrusion. Clenching around him tight, Jae groans, gripping onto your hip tightly.
Swearing under his breath, he reaches down to kiss your cheek. “You’re perfect, you know that?”
Grinning, you mutter, “Green.”
Jaehyun sets a steady pace, pleased exhales running down your bare back. He buries himself to the hilt each thrust, making you breathless.
“You feel so fucking good.” He moans, hand coming to squeeze at your throat once more. The small amount of oxygen coming through makes the wetness between your connection drip down further.
Whining a yes, a hand locks into your hair and then he’s going, pumping into you at a quick pace. Eyes rolling, you try to push back in tandem but it’s hard and you decide to take what Jaehyun gives, slacking to lean back.
As he looks down at your coupling, his eyes trail the dirty words on your skin. Grabbing your thighs to force them apart, he grips the meat of them tight.
“Oh, I bet your professor would love to see this.” He teases breathlessly. You shove your head into the cushions in mortification, imagining your 45-year-old professor watch you climb down the stairs with a skirt on and see those words peeking through.
Jaehyun can tell the comment had affected you because you’re tight and tense, hiding your expressions from him. He laughs, your neck taught as he pulls at your hair to force your face up.
“Oh, you want him to see it, huh? D’you want that? You want your professor to know how much of a cockwhore you are for me?”
The shake of your head doesn’t convince him enough and Jaehyun growls in your ear, tone playful and breathless. “Show your professor tomorrow baby. Flaunt yourself in a skirt and widen those thighs. Show him you’re all mine.”
You tremble hard, mewling loud when the pad of his fingers find your clit, rubbing figure eights. Scared at how fast your orgasm is approaching, you’re gasping and moving your hands up as far down as you can touch Jae’s abdomen.
“Take. What I give you. With gratitude.”
Louder slaps of skin shut you up, his tight grip on your throat grasping your forearm instead. Warning him of your quickly approaching orgasm, you clench tight, muscles locked up as Jaehyun keeps snapping his hips into yours.
A particularly hard thrust has you floating, the delicious high causing white in your closed vision and hearing muted. Meek noises climb from the bottom of your raw throat, all raspy and small. When you come back down, oversensitivity kicks in and you’re begging for Jaehyun to cum.
You readily offer him moans of encouragement and clench down. Groaning low, he presses himself into you. Jaehyun empties around your pulsating walls, gripping the base of his cock as he leaves you full of his cum. Slacking against Jae’s hold, he’s the only thing keeping your hips up as your knees fail you.
You already know without looking behind you that his eyes are zero in on your hole, a dripping mess that has his essence escaping. You feel beaten and tired, not understanding his fascination with it but let him watch freely in fascination.
When his finger brings his cum back up to push into you, you feebly whine.
“Sorry, babe.” Jaehyun kisses your right ass cheek, still inflamed and agitated.
“I’m scared to sit, Jae.” You confess, half-humored and half-concerned. Jaehyun chuckles, pulling up his sweats and untying your wrists. Rubbing at the skin once it’s gone, he gently places you in his lap once he plants himself on the couch, careful of your bum.
You melt into his chest as he brushes your hair with his fingers. Humming in satisfaction, a few minutes pass by in relative quiet, disrupted with worried questions if he was too harsh. You say no to all and are about to get up to clean yourself when your stomach growls… loudly.
Jaehyun looks at you knowingly and you purse your lips. An annoying smirk curls the corner of his mouth.
“Does my good girl want to eat dinner?”
You go to slap Jae’s bare chest in retaliation but he catches your wrist quickly.
“Nice try, darling. I think you should keep doing your lines as you eat though. It looks like you need more repetition for it to sink in.”
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romancing | lee donghyuck
REPOSTED FROM MY OLD BLOG!
pairing. lee donghyuck x female reader
word count. 23.7k
genres and warnings. fluff, comedy, college au, enemies to lovers, podcast au, contains: loads of banter, swearing, weird references of tinder and tiktok references; and hyuck being whipped asf
synopsis. running a romance advisory podcast with lee donghyuck means clashing and feuding with him because you’re too hopeless while he’s too realistic. practically everyone in campus listens to it, which is why you have no idea that your co-host has started asking the show for love advice since he’s fallen for someone. for all you know, lee donghyuck does not fall in love, but you don’t know what’s changed.
author’s note. i am so scared to repost this. idk why. but ahahahaha i hope you enjoy my favourite fluff monster
Welcome to Romanicing, a romance advisory podcast hosted by two broke college students who are only doing this to pass their Speech Communications class. Nothing really special, except for the fact that the two broke college students starring this podcast haven't actually been in any form of romantic relationships. Fun, right? If you believe so, tune in every Friday 8pm for mediocre content and send in your love letters for your story to be featured!
EPISODE 1: the art of online dating sites
If there is one successful dating tip that you know could never go wrong, it would be to never chase over people that do not have the same values as you and will not care to change theirs for the sake of the relationship. You’d like to give full credit to your history teacher back in high school for introducing you to that idea, because now that you’re more exposed to the dating world with all it’s perks and scandals, you’d like to say you survived a good portion of people and their opposed political views from yours.
It is the reason why all your tinder dates have been a failure; none of them can’t even go past the first date level and it almost scares your neighbour from seeing the amount of dinner dates you come home from with the worst scowl on your face. In fact, your tinder dates are worse than Jaemin’s calculus marks, and everyone knows he failed that course twice already.
You won’t fully admit that this dating tip has been the major factor to why your dating life has been a total flop, you’d beg to differ. It actually gives you a greater hope that one day, you’ll find the perfect person that will actually fit your standards out of all the other ones that haven’t fit it. And when you finally find that person, it will be the best day of your life.
For now, let’s focus on the worst day of your life.
The day you are forced to chase a person who doesn’t have the same values as you. All for a decent mark in your Speech Communications class because your professor had the audacity to partner you up with Lee Donghyuck even after witnessing all the heavily tensioned debates that ensue between the both of you in class.
“The fact that this is all going to be pre-recorded but we sound like complete idiots makes my headache,” you mumble to the microphone, earning a look of displeasure from your partner, “Anyways, I’ve recently opened our PO box, and I didn't realize that tons of you guys would actually participate. Thanks for the support.”
“With all the posters you placed on campus and peer pressuring anyone that passes by you in the hallways to send in some love letters, I’m surprised if nobody would participate.” You watch as Donghyuck rolls his eyes, and if it only weren’t for the expensive equipment separating the both of you across the table, you would’ve thrown the closest item to you, which is your morning coffee.
“It’s called advertising, Donghyuck.”
“No wonder why you didn’t pursue business; wise words from a Communications Major.”
There’s a sparkle of satisfaction running through his blood when he sees you taken aback. And knowing that you can’t do anything about that witty remark, he leans back on his chair, watching as you make an attempt to keep yourself composed during the recording while he lets out a light chuckle.
The moment he notices you clench your fists, the smile on his face grows wider.
Fake it till’ you make it.
“And since we’re talking about communication, the first set of love advice we’ll be sharing with you guys is about online dating and meeting people through Omegle—you like what I did there?” You say to the recording. Not to Donghyuck — never Donghyuck. “Many of your stories were surrounded by this concept and it’s only fair if we start off this podcast with a bang.”
“I think online dating is stupid,” your partner comments unhelpfully. It doesn’t help that he hasn’t read any of the love letters and has been relying on you to carry the project. Curse him and his invalid opinions. “I’ve never seen anybody that used Tinder to have gone farther with their relationship other than the talking stage or one-night-stand stage”
“That’s because you're searching in the wrong places,” you take his words to heart, almost pettily because you have to deal with a person who easily stereotypes the online dating world when you know there’s so much more to it. You can’t really say much about it (since your experiences really aren’t the best), but the fair share of documentaries and stories you heard about the successful matches should get into people’s heads.
“Look— there was a couple that started dating through Omegle, and the boy lived in California while the other is currently living on campus. They’ve been together for two years.”
“Oh. That’s cool, I guess.” He shrugs, still seeming unconvinced. You’ve made a lot of bad decisions throughout your lifetime, but creating a podcast surrounding the concepts of love and dating with Donghyuck is your worst decision yet. Because now that you watch him tap the pencil on the table with little to no interest on his face, you conclude that Lee Donghyuck knows nothing about love and the perks of it.
“That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say?” You stare down at him, agape.
“I mean— What else do you want me to say?”
“Donghyuck, this is a podcast.” With that, he looks at you as if you’re speaking to him in a foreign language. You don’t understand why he chose to pursue this type of education when he doesn’t know the basic means and fundamentals. “You need to… you know… talk…”
“Can’t we just cut this part then?” Donghyuck raises both of his hands, his tone sarcastic and emotions unbothered.
“Don’t play stupid. I’m not going to spend most of my evening editing this just because my co-host, which to note is pursuing a career that consists of talking to other people, can’t think of the proper words to say.” You let out a loud sigh, grabbing your mug of coffee and chugging down the lukewarm drink out of stress. They say that doing group work means less individual work, but when your partner does the bare minimum, it feels as if you’re doing double the work instead.
“Okay, okay, calm down.” he chuckles lightly, whisking away his hand and adjusting the office chair to speak closer to the mic. He looks straight into your eyes when he talks, and you don’t know if he’s doing it to tease you. “Hmm, I’m just a little sceptical about meeting other people through the internet. I have my skepticisms on it. The first and last time my housemate tried online dating, he just got catfished.”
“Are you talking about—?” You suddenly get reminded of Jeno.
“Mhm.” He nods. “So yeah, big red flag for me there. If you guys want to find sentimental, genuine relationships with others. I’d say look for the people around you in person.” Donghyuck is right and wrong at the same time.
“I don’t think online dating sites take away someone’s ability to be genuine to another person. I don’t think it really takes away anything for the matter. Yeah people use it for hookups but there’s a whole other side where people actually look for love. In fact, it probably makes relationships stronger; especially when there’s a distance, a screen that’s refraining you from actually meeting a person until you do; it just shows how even through this separation love can bloom.”
“Now you’re just sugarcoating.” He wails and leans back aggressively on the chair, the both of you done with each other's opinions but have nothing to do with it because you need this assignment mark. And it seems like even with 50% worth of both your grades worth on the line, it seems he can put his differences aside to make this podcast seem less of a circus and instead a decent outline to get dating advice.
“I’m just spreading hope. Unlike you over here who probably hasn’t made an attempt to download a dating app.” It’s no use trying to correct someone who doesn’t want to be corrected.
“Did any of your Tinder dates work?” He attacks out of nowhere, and your heart stops for a second when a smirk forms on his face mirthfully.
“Pardon?” You ask, blinking your eyes repeatedly.
“Answer my question.”
The heat on your cheeks keeps Donghyuck’s face looking satisfied because he knows that he’s cornered you at the end of the alley. And it’s worse that you're a person who never lies, “No…”
Your hands slightly clench under the table. “And that concludes our stance on online dating. It. Doesn’t. Work.” At that, Donghyuck pats himself on the back.
Your eyes widen. What is he doing? It’s like Donghyuck wants to lose viewers and lose both your credibilities. And now, you genuinely hope your professor steps on a path of Legos for partnering you with him. “Don’t listen to him, I swear one day you’ll find someone! Love takes time! You’re first right swipe isn’t necessarily your life-long partner, you just have to be patient—”
“Are you going to listen to someone who can’t even find a date herself?”
It’s when Donghyuck bites his lip to refrain himself from laughing that you’ve lost all the last droplets of your patience.
“Your face looks very punchable right now.” You tell him through gritted teeth.
“Come at me. I don’t mind.” The beam that breaks out on his face doesn’t make the situation any better, and your whole body collectively agrees to never be in the same room with him, alone, after this project ends.
EPISODE 2: the morning after (the show went live)
Right off the bat, you knew the podcast would gain some talk around the campus, but you didn’t actually expect for it to blow up over night.
You have a faint idea as to why it happened, and it’s no surprise that the first two thoughts that popped up in your mind would be because of the excellent marketing skills you’ve contributed to the project or; because Donghyuck is the school’s well known striker in the soccer team and (you hate to admit) a heartthrob and most of the views are coming from the people that think he’s hella cute. You hope for the former.
But when Jaemin reads out the school’s bi-weekly paper in the middle of his tutoring lesson, you realize that the reason why people in your school are tweeting about the podcast is because of a whole other reason.
The reason being, yours and Donghyuck’s on-mic banters.
“That was so hilarious,” Jaemin gets distracted for the upteenth time during his tutoring session with you, indulging himself into some talk about your new podcast with his roommate while he throws his pencil up in the air in a frantic manner. Fun fact, actually really really sad fact, the reason why you know Donghyuck on a personal level is through Jaemin, and being the wonderful best friend he is to you (insert the sarcasm), he finds it absolutely lovely you can interact with his roommates.
“For you, it was.” You shove in a piece of broccoli from the college meal plan in your mouth. Well, Jaemin’s piece of broccoli because he refuses to eat it and gives it to you instead. You chew your food as you talk, “I mean… yeah people got a good laugh because of it. But I don’t want to enter the lecture and see a disappointed look from prof’ after hearing how unprofessional me and Donghyuck were.”
“Uh…” Jaemin chuckles nervously, not knowing what to say as he scratches the back of his head. There’s a meek smile playing on his lips, “It’s not about being professional. I think it’s nice that you guys are able to banter like that, it shows your personalities… and some on-mic chemistry.”
“C-Chemistry?” You stare at him in the most awe-struck expression your face can muster up, lips turning pale at the fact that Jaemin thinks that you and Donghyuck have a dynamic like that. It’s weird to think about. You and Donghyuck... with chemistry... you feel a shiver run through your back.
“Well, yeah. You guys always know what to say to each other.” Jaemin absentmindedly comments as he closes his calculus textbook. You’re pretty sure he’s stalling at this point and he doesn’t want you to talk anymore mathematical terminology, but you’re too worried about his opinion to continue teaching him.
“That’s because we argue a lot. I practically think of arguments in the shower so I make decent comebacks from his insults.” You raise your arms in defeat, leaning back on your chair and unable to realize that Donghyuck is listening well to your conversation with Jaemin.
“So you think about me in the shower?” He says from the living room — which is honestly only ten metres away from the dining table — and a smirk lingers on his face, “I love that.”
You hate his egotistical mindset, “Not in that way, you idiot.”
“Oh,” he shivers delightfully, “I love the degradation, keep on going, princess.”
You jerk your head to face him, squinting as you watch him sit down on the couch, placing his sports bag right on the vacant area beside him and turning his periphery back to you to notice the literal death glares you're giving him. He likes the attention.
You decide not to argue further, unless you want to make Donghyuck satisfied. You don’t. He wants you to piss him off, to give him all the attention you can give. So you give him the opposite of what he wants.
“Anyways, Jaemin.” You turn your head back to face your best friend, opening up his textbook and watching as he slumps down. Jaemin really thought he could get away with his act, “Look at problem number four...”
And while you start to get back into the tutoring lesson, Donghyuck watches you argue back and forth in the slightest ways with Jaemin, his heart racing when he hears the small giggles that elicit your mouth when you let Jaemin complain to you how much of a pain his mandatory calculus class is, or when your eyebrows furrow at reading his textbook. He thinks it’s cute.
“So... How long are you gonna put up with this act?” Donghyuck almost forgets that Jeno is in the same room as him, which is why he jumps from his seat when he sees Jeno looking up from his laptop to look back at Donghyuck with such a taunting expression.
He clears his throat, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Donghyuck makes a reminder to himself to keep his tone low, because even if yours and Jaemin’s voices are too loud to be able to hear the other conversation happening on the other side of the room, there’s still a possibility you can hear it.
“Yes you do.” Jeno chuckles, standing up from the love seat and making his way so he can sit on the same couch as his roommate, “You definitely know what I’m talking about.”
At this, his throat turns dry.
There’s a confession Donghyuck needs to make, and probably everyone has already been aware of this secret before he even confesses it. Well, not everybody. He doesn’t actually hate you. In fact, he doesn’t know what catalyzed him to pretend to hate you in the first place. But you don’t know that. Not when you’re too busy mustering up your next argument with him to realize he actually doesn’t reciprocate the hatred you give.
He doesn’t hate you. He thinks you’re pretty cool. Pretty and cool.
And the thing is, when Donghyuck thinks someone is pretty (and) cool, he would like it if he could get their attention. Even if that attention isn’t the best form of attention that could exist. It’s stupid. It’s his beautiful and absolute form of desperate measures. But you’re pretty and cool.
He wants your attention.
"Okay, listen," he keeps his tone low, leaning closer in order for Jeno to hear his whispers. It's almost passive aggressive, and he talks through gritted teeth. "You don't just say this out loud, what if those two hear you?”
Although it contrasts Donghyuck's stance, the last thing he wants to happen is for you to find out about his perception of you. It's better this way, he assumes. It's better because he doesn't have to over-analyze anything. If anything, it keeps him more at bay; obviously excluding the times Jeno has to call him out on how whipped he looks. Because he isn't whipped nor infatuated, he just finds you tolerable more than you can account. And, again, pretty cool.
“You’re. Right. What if those two hear us? Will something happen?” Jeno emphasizes; still not empathetic of Donghyuck and deciding to talk in such a loud manner.
Donghyuck's heart races when you momentarily turn to their direction, eyebrows furrowing at the commotion of the two boys. It makes him freeze to his spot, terrified of almost getting caught before you turn back around casually and continue on helping with Jaemin.
Jeno watches as Donghyuck releases a breath of relief, and this causes a nudge on the shoulder, because Jeno should know when to keep his mouth shut, yet he still decides not to. He wiggles his eyebrows at Donghyuck with a mischievous glint taunting his eye, enjoying the scowl on the boy's face.
“Don’t.” Donghyuck leans back on the couch, sending Jeno those words in a whisper-yell.
If Donghyuck ever regrets any moment he's done in his life, and his you-only-live-once agenda, it would be that he told Jeno of all people his secret. And with every passing second, Donghyuck feels as if he's falling into a miserable hell hole because of anxiousness, trying his best not to look back at your figure just to make sure you aren't listening to the conversation.
He feels like a high school student being painfully obvious about his crush. But he knows better than to compare this to a crush. It's not a crush. It's just you. The bane of his existence. And that can mean something different depending on the context and perspective you look through.
“Don’t what?” Jeno tests. Yup, he hates his guts. And the chuckle that escapes the other boy's lips is turning Donghyuck crimson red.
“Fuck you.” He mutters underneath his breath, trying to fleet his mind of the situation as he plays with the laces of his soccer shoes inside his backpack; anything to distract him. He doesn't even know why Jeno has the audacity to bring this up now, he knows you're at the same roof as him; and his eyes light up when he hits a nerve.
“Imagine all the girls that will be disappointed when they find out that pretty boy over here can swear.” Jeno shakes his head in faux disappointment, making his way to grab the remote controller and turning on the television. In attempts to drown out the noise they are making. “Now tell me, what with Y/N that makes you act like… this.”
The question causes him at a halt. Why is he even acting like this? What the fuck?
After a five second pause, he speaks up, “Nothing. I just think she’s cute.” Donghyuck shrugs, finally making an effort to compose himself instead of staying flustered in front (but not really in front) of you.
“Yeah, sure.” Jeno rolls his eyes. He doesn't buy it.
Blame his marketing tactics, because Jeno knows when someone is lying or not. It's a business major instinct, to know if someone is being genuine with their words, or just saying them to save face. He knows Donghyuck is just saying that to save face.
And you know what gave it away?
It's when he looks down at the ground, smiling to himself when he says those words. No one does that unless they are whipped.
“What?” Donghyuck looks up, furrowing his brows and staring at Jeno questioningly, his eyes asking for him to elaborate.
He has a slight idea of what Jeno is implying.
“So, you’re not going to tell her.”
Jeno says more as a statement rather than a question, nodding to himself to accept how that situation will end up as. For some reason, Donghyuck can hear the downheartedness enlaced in his roommate's voice, and he doesn't understand why so. Because Jeno knows you, it's not even that serious. He knows Donghyuck isn't that type of person.
But it's the fact that it is you of all people that caught Donghyuck's eye. You. Just regular, mediocre, you. Jaemin's best friend who visits the apartment every other day and shares an 8am class with him. Nothing special at that. But something special enough to gain a reputation from Donghyuck that is not part of the people that likes him for clout. You're the enemy-not-so-enemy.
It's almost flattering that you both end up like this. It keeps him up his toes, excited at what next argument you'll be able to muster up in front of him. There's no compliments nor sweet interactions. It's purely of insults and dirty looks and maybe a casual interaction once in every new moon. And he thinks that that is pretty cool.
“Hell nah. She doesn’t need to know.” He likes it this way. It's fun, new, refreshing. “I don’t want to see her getting all gassed up because of it.”
Donghyuck chuckles to himself, zipping up his backpack.
“Or maybe you can actually have a chance.” Jeno corrects, but Donghyuck refuses to let this get to him.
“Nope.” He shakes his head. “Never that.”
And he will take this stance till’ the day he dies.
Because Lee Donghyuck, soccer player, campus heartthrob, will not say those words out loud. Lee Donghyuck refuses to, and he too refuses to fall in love. Romance podcast or not, he will not fall in love with anyone; his extent will only be thinking of someone as ‘pretty cool’, and that already, is sending red flags his way.
EPISODE 3: the sports captain stereotypes
The next two weeks, you find yourself in utter chaos as you navigate through the waves of learning how to properly detail the podcast so it will be user-friendly enough — curse being a Technology Grandma™ in the first place — and; doing the editing, rough scripts and idea planning all by yourself. All while your supposed partner in crime does the bare minimum.
You try not to blame him, since he did mention that his schedule is pretty hectic: Tuesday and Thursday mornings are designated for going to the gym, Wednesday to Friday at 3:00pm is for soccer practice, his weekends are also busy because he uses that time to party and study; and though you have your fair share of college struggles, it isn’t as ridiculous compared to a student athlete, which is why you brought it up to yourself to carry the assignment.
But it still doesn’t change the fact that he must still contribute to the good mark, after all, he too is one of the professor's favourite student’s (along with you, surprise), and he would be dead-fucked if he fails this course.
It doesn’t help that you hate his guts.
It doesn’t help that you have to put aside that hatred to get this project finished, instead of hating him more for not doing anything.
You don’t know how you’ve managed to memorize his schedule… then again, you also remember Jeno’s schedule so it shouldn’t be that of a big deal… but you decide to take advantage of this piece of knowledge and proceed to reach out to Donghyuck.
It’s a shame that desperate times call for desperate measures, because if Donghyuck had the initiative to at least help you with some parts of the project, even with his schedule, then you wouldn’t end up with this predicament.
Jaemin and Jeno says they will wait in the car, eating away the fast food takeout you three ordered earlier (you doubt they will even save some food the time you return) and sending you an encouraging thumbs up before they bury their faces in the burgers, you looking at them painfully disgusted before grabbing your laptop and notebook, trudging across the parking lot and towards the campus field.
Right from the get-go, you can already dread the image of talking to him; Donghyuck, the one who’s most likely dripping in sweat because he’s just finished practice, feeling the shivers crawl down your skin the moment Donghyuck realizes that you took the time to work on the assignment even under the sun. Especially with your whole “I don’t chase people” ordeal, he will definitely not forget this.
To you, Lee Donghyuck is merely a boy who you will only act respectively because he’s your best friend’s roommate, and for the sake of getting a good mark. There has always been a principle to his arrogance and smugness — something that will unforcebly cause your face to scrunch in disdain. And with the amount of torment he’s given you by just simply existing in your life, you’d like to say you have your fair share of valid reasons why you don’t want to be in the same league as him.
But nevertheless, you will still work with him. Again, just for the sake of getting a good mark.
The sun delicately drips down the soccer field, rays of golden light seeping down the grass patch just while the Coach’s whistle blows, the sound of him screaming ‘thirty seconds left’ from the sidelines causing the team to speed up their laps around the field. At the opposite end of the field from where you're standing, is the specific person you’re looking for; he who has placed more effort than anybody else to sprint the last few seconds.
“Oh,” you accidentally let out when your eyes trail to Donghyuck’s figure, seeing how his jersey tightly clings onto his body. Although everybody else in the field is decked out in the exact same uniform, you could easily recognize the outline of his ass and how his shorts perfectly hug his skin like it’s already part of his body. And you instantly look away, hating that you can admit such a fact in the first place.
A smirk plays across his face when he realizes he’s the first one done the laps, his chest heaving up and down heavily and placing his hands on his knees, catching his breath. You swear, you don’t mean to look at him, heck you don’t even know why you still look back at his figure, but the odds are never in your favour when Donghyuck looks up.
He feels a presence looking at his figure, and when he decides to see where it’s coming from, he sees you, standing meekly by the sidelines, hugging your laptop like it’s a safety blanket and the tote bag tempting to fall off your shoulders, and the smirk on his face grows wider.
And Donghyuck is good at maintaining eye contact, because his gaze lingers on you for a little while, wiping off the sweat trickling down his face all while keeping his eyes on you. You can feel your cheeks heat up, and when you turn to stare at another soccer player to save some embarrassment, Donghyuck scoffs and chuckles to himself.
He stands straight, turning to the coach and lifting his hand.
“Coach give me five,” he calls for five, and the whistle blows loudly through your ears. It's only been less than thirty seconds since your arrival, and you can already feel yourself regretting going here in the first place. The hold on your laptop gets tighter when he walks up to you, an aura of confidence and mirth radiating his presence as he moves closer to you.
You glare at him, but it doesn't make your side of the situation any better. Instead, the smile on his face unwavers. The annoyance dripping against your gritted teeth reaches the maxima when he stops in front of you, only inches apart, placing both hands on his hips and wondering why the hell you're here.
“Well, if it isn't my favourite girl. I’m glad you came to cheer for me,” the sweetness in his voice irks your skin, if your hands weren't full in this moment, then you could've used it to push him away from you.
“Woah, calm down for a sec’,” you step back, opting to place your stuff on the bleachers beside you and giving him a slight glare, “I’m not here to ‘cheer’ for you, I’m here against my own will just so I can find time to do this project with you. So if you can, will you please catch your breath quicker and do this with me?”
He pants heavily, touching his chest and controlling his breathing. When he sees you roll your eyes at his act, he snickers and proceeds to swipe his hair back, feigning amusement when you try to ignore what he's trying to do to you.
Honestly, you could just turn your heel around and act as if you never made the decision to visit him during practice. You can act like this was all just a plain dream and pretend it never happened; just texting him later in the evening to do his part of the project and hope for the best that he will, actually do it. In fact, you can pick your stuff up from the bleachers and just eat the take out in the parking lot with the other two boys, but because Donghyuck has called a five minute break just, it's the simplest reason why you're holding back.
“Feisty.” Donghyuck notes to himself aloud, and you send him a snarl, only for him to make another step closer to you, “Anyways, you know we could’ve just done this at my place.” He crosses his arms, waiting for another one of your (excuses) retorts and waiting for you to pretend as if everything he does, does not matter to you.
“And everytime I try doing it at your place, you end up stalling and telling me to hang out with Jaemin instead.” You spit, moving aside to grab a seat, the heat of the metal causing you to wince for a quick second before getting accustomed to it.
If only Donghyuck isn't a pain in the ass, then you could've been doing this project peacefully at his dorm; though you realize after years of hanging around with him and the other boys that he is not like that. Donghyuck is of spontaneous, messy schedules that end up seeming as if he has his life down to a t. He can do these things with you anywhere other than mid-practices, but that really doesn't sound like a Donghyuck move to do so.
So, this is what you have to deal with for now.
“Fine then,” he sits beside you by the bleachers, grabbing a quick drink of water before facing you, “What do you want me to do?”
He watches as you turn on your laptop, giving him your notebook in your tote bag and a pencil to write some stuff down. Little do you know, the rest of the team, along with the coach, is giving the captain a strange look; pretending to talk amongst themselves about new game tactics and such, but they instead are just observing your interactions.
Especially since they all know that you both host the new hit podcast around the school. And they all know about the on-mic banters that ensue you both. They briefly wonder if that's all a popularity stunt, a hoax, a marketing plan so you both can get clout, or, if you and Donghyuck actually hate each other.
And seeing how uninterested their captain looks, while you on the other hand look stressed, they assume that whatever the hell your relationship holds with one another, they know that it isn't one that is good.
“I need a new idea for next week.” You start to type on the document that stores all your podcast ideas, Donghyuck just waiting for you to say something that will have to deal with his contribution. “And, I won’t be able to edit this week’s audio. I have to study for a test in my other class, so I was wondering if you can do it just for now?”
You look up from your screen, and you notice that he's holding back a laugh.
“Damn.” Donghyuck nods to himself, drawing scribbles on the notebook for good riddance while you look at him confusingly.
“This is the first time you’re begging me for help.” He drops the notebook in front of him, propping his hands behind his back on the seat.
His eyes light up when he realizes he's hit another nerve in you.
The shit-eating grin seems to never leave his face, and you can just pull his locks away from his head out of displeasure. You want to wipe off that sickening look on his face, but your annoyance seems to gain him more pleasure. Remind you that he does this all for simple measures — to gain your attention, nothing less, nothing more — and you're just giving it to him.
“I am not ‘begging’ for help, Donghyuck.” The amount of time you have to talk back and answer/correct him for the past few minutes has already started to make your head spin. If only you really could, you would've stuck up the middle finger at him right then and there, but you're desperate, and even if you don't want to admit it, you are begging Lee Donghyuck for help. You sigh, hesitance enlaced in your words, “Listen, if you don’t want to do this. I’ll find a way to do it myself.”
“You talk too much,” this time, he rolls his eyes, placing his hand out, “Just give me the USB. I'll do it.”
Your eyes widened in surprise at how easy this was, “Are you sure?” And you can't blame yourself to think that he might just be pulling a joke on you, and at the final second, that he might pull his hand back and tell you to do this yourself because he needs to work his ass off for the his stupid, upcoming game.
Wait, no. He actually looks serious this time.
“It’s my project too, you know.” He says out loud, exasperated, yet for some reason, you can also hear a tone of reassurance in it. “I have to do something.”
You almost think he’s a hypocrite for saying such words — and since you're already in this topic, you would like to complain just how group projects are just pure, blissful pain. Period. Because Donghyuck could’ve been doing something this whole time.
Well, it’s still partially your fault for volunteering to do the majority of the work, but still! Who’s going to do it if it isn’t you? Your trust with group projects doesn’t make your reliance on him any better. At least he’s the professor's second favourite student? Oh. You totally forgot about that.
You look down, smiling at yourself at the amount of stress you're giving to your body and how crazily worried you are, at this point, it’s better to just shake it off. After this day, you make a mental note not to underestimate the man sitting across from you, and maybe, rely on him more often, only if he’s deemed worthy.
“Well, I’m glad you know that.”
You giggle, and Donghyuck’s heart starts slamming out of his chest, taking a breath of relief and shifting on his seat. He’s in a state of bewilderment, almost taken aback that you didn’t scold him this time or tell him that you will punch his face. And he doesn't know how to feel about it.
“Okay,” his voice doesn’t come off as strong as he initially wanted it to, but he’s thankful you’re not paying much attention to it, immersed in your own feelings to worry about his’. “For the next episode, what if you talk about secret admirers, I’m sure there’s a lot of love letters they gave us about that.”
It’s the first idea that pops up in his mind. No clue to how he got that idea. But it works. It makes sense. And probably better than any idea you can think of on the dot. You quickly type it up on your laptop, and you too are surprised at how easy this conversation has been in the end. Well, compared to all the others then yeah.
“Hmm, okay I’ll write that down,” you give him a meek smile before shutting down your laptop, taking the notebook away from Donghyuck and facing away from him to fix your stuff, “Thank you, I guess.”
“Whatever,” he proceeds to stand up, you see his shadow on the ground, and you’re unable to see Donghyuck’s gaze lingering on you a little longer, “I have to go now, coach is calling. Do you need anything else?”
“I’m good now, thanks.” You shrug, glancing up at him for a split second before going back to placing your items back in your bag.
Donghyuck takes one last sip from his water bottle before he walks back to the field, the coach blowing his whistle and everyone rounding to huddle in a circle.
Oh my god what are you doing?
Donghyuck turns back at you, puzzled. “Do you want me to wait for you until practice ends? Jeno and Jaemin are in the car right now, and we’re going somewhere after.”
His eyes soften, you can feel a weird flutter settling in your belly, having the sudden urge to slap your head at the spontaneity of your question. Donghyuck can assume you probably didn’t mean it at all, and it was just an act of kindness. But he can tell that you're trying. “It’s fine. I might have to do more drills after practice, but I appreciate the offer.”
He wants to say yes, after all, this is the first time you're offering for him to join whatever you, Jaemin and Jeno are up to, but he feels as if you’re just doing it for the sake of being nice.
What Donghyuck assumes is something far from the truth.
“No worries.” You tell him it’s fine, and Donghyuck rubs the back of his head, taking a step back awkwardly. Just then, his coach screams out his name from across the area.
He apologizes, before running towards the huddle circle with his team. You watch his demeanour shift during his practice, and you let out a sigh, trying not to over-analyze the whole situation. You stand up, heaving another breath before turning your body to walk to the parking lot.
Donghyuck turns to look if you're still there, but much to his dismay, he sees you figure slowly exiting out his periphery.
Maybe next time, he tells himself.
If there even is a next time.
EPISODE 4: for lovers who hesitate
Donghyuck reads the set of love letters for the first time during the podcast. After reading through just one of them, he has made a conclusion to never read another one for the remainder of the season, and he will partially — or maybe wholeheartedly — blame it on the way the letter was almost as if it was directed to him.
It isn’t directed to him, he wishes.
Because he feels awfully attacked by it.
“Dear Romancing…” He follows through, eyes glued to the paper as he reads it aloud in front of the microphone, “I have a friend. He’s a great guy, really, but I sometimes think he’s the dumbest person to have ever existed. He says he doesn’t fall in love. But it looks like he wants to fall in love. And I think that’s really weird because I don’t know what’s stopping him. I hope he listens to this podcast, because I want to knock some sense into him.”
It’s the last sentence that makes his eye unconsciously twitch, sending imaginary daggers to the person who gave the letter because he knows exactly who wrote this. Either it has to be related to the things he said to a certain someone, or he’s just overthinking and this isn’t actually about him. But his gut feeling is telling him it’s about him.
Yeah, you could say that these type of friendships are the ones that are keepers, since they tend to be chaotic yet for a reason, and Donghyuck honestly thinks having friends like that are cool, but when he’s on the receiving end of the slander, he just wants to take his soccer ball and drop kick it to the person’s face.
Because he can imagine the look of amusement on Jeno's face when he placed this letter on the PO box.
“Oh wow. That’s so cute.” You giggle quietly. Usually Donghyuck would feel some sort of butterflies when hearing it, but he feels more at fear for himself and has no time to give a damn about what you're saying. Because all he cares about is to save face from you. “People who have friends like these are the best. Right, Donghyuck?”
He’s reading the letter quietly one more time, the only thing remotely important at this time is if any part of the piece contains any easter eggs that will show that his roommate (and now-ex-best friend) is the cause of this.
“Hyuck?” You call out his name, turning to see his eyes glued on the piece of paper.
“Mhm. Yeah. What you said.” You can tell he’s not listening, it’s all evident from his facial reactions.
“Are you even listening?” You drum your fingers on the desk repeatedly, waiting for Donghyuck’s gaze to shift to you as you raise your tone of voice a little louder. There’s a difference between someone being able to hear a person and someone listening to the person. And you know for a fact Donghyuck can hear you, he literally winced when you spoke up, but the thing is, he’s not paying attention.
“Mhm.” Donghyuck mumbles, if it wasn’t for the podcast currently recording you would’ve easily just grabbed the paper away from him and asked him what’s his problem. But you have to act like a proper civilian here and add even one more droplet in the smallest bottle of patience you have for the boy.
“So if you were forced to be in a room full of creepy dolls, then you would?” You raise your brow, testing him.
“Mhm.” And he replies immediately.
The corners of your lips twitch up.
“And if Jaemin asks you to buy him a $100 meal tonight, would you give it to him?”
“Mhm.” This time, he adds a nod to his answer, nose still up the paper. To that, you let out a snort, glad that this conversation is even recorded in the first place so now people can realize how much of a fool your co-host is. The noise coming from your mouth makes Donghyuck look up, “Wait, what?”
“I think there’s a little birdie in the room that can resonate with this letter.” He gulps at your word, and you feign innocence in front of him, acting as if you didn’t just make him agree to buying a hundred dollar meal for Jaemin, “So… Hyuck… How’s your love life going?”
The taunt in your voice makes him want to add you on his ‘people to drop kick list’, and the way your batting your eyelashes, attempting to keep things at bay at the same time poking fun of his actions, gives him more of a reason not to tell you about his slight attraction for you.
The moment you find out about that, he’s completely, one hundred percent fucked. He doesn’t think the idea of it stroking your ego would be the best. And this idea makes the one hundred dollar meal for Jaemin look more appealing.
“Shut up.” He mutters underneath his breath, before sliding the love letter across the table. You take it from him and read the words yourself, the smile on your face evident that it will stay there for a while.
“Okay but really. To whoever sent this letter, I too get confused when people get scared to fall in love. I swear it’s the best feeling ever.” You gush over it, exasperated and talking to the mic, it makes Donghyuck want to barf. He gags when your cheeks heat up at the thought. “Or that’s probably just me being the hopeless romantic that I am, but people are missing out if they hold back with love.”
“At least you admit that you’re hopeless,” he sighs, tempted to slap his palm on his face, but deciding to do so mentally, “It doesn’t hurt to think rationally sometimes.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” You give him a look, taken aback at his offense as you fold the letter closed.
“It means your acting as if being in love is the solution to everybody’s problem.” He’s diving onto an even more sensitive topic over here, and the smile that was evident on your face slowly dissolves with each nasty word coming out of Donghyuck’s mouth. It’s nasty because you know he isn’t wrong, which on your part is a struggle to admit. “Maybe the friend is hesitating because they are scared.”
Donghyuck, ever the realistic one between the both of you, leaves you tongue tied again. Your heart drops at the thought that someone would refrain themself because of fear.
“You’re right…” You swallow the pill in your mouth, feeling some sort of lump in your throat as you search for something— anything from Donghyuck that will make you understand further. “But I don’t get why they would be scared.”
You don’t get why people are scared because you’ve never felt the reason to be scared.
You fall in love because you find you have a reason to, even if you don’t know specifically who or why you like the feeling.
Donghyuck thinks it’s naive for you to think so.
You think it’s heartless for him not to think so.
“I don’t know.” Donghyuck slowly rolls his thoughts off his mouth, shifting on his seat. It doesn’t take him long before he finds the perfect excuse for him and his predicament, something so simple yet effective, and it’s the two sentences that he tells everybody else when they ask him why he doesn’t fall in love. No one gives him follow up questions after he says it, “Maybe they already felt it once. And maybe they don’t like the feeling.”
Donghyuck lets out a quiet breath of relief, assuming that you’ll understand now that he doesn’t want to talk about it. But much to his dismay, your eyes light up instead, concluding that he says his words so vaguely because he wants you to talk to him more about it. No. He doesn’t want that. Sigh. “Have you ever fallen in love before?”
You prop your elbows on the table, curious as ever, and so oblivious. Donghyuck makes a mental note to not read any more of the love letters during the recording. He also makes a mental note to discuss what weekly themes the podcast will talk about before recording sessions, so he won’t act like a complete idiot in the room. Sigh.
“Do you want an honest answer?” He’s hoping you just drop the topic, but he might as well just say it. He might as well just say it in front of the fucking podcast, for thousands of people to hear, for you to hear. Just so you won’t bother him about it again. After all, if you think of him as Mr. Pessimist, you might as well know why.
“Well.. yeah.” Your body tenses up the same time he does this, you almost regret saying you want to know about what happened.
“Then yes. I did. And I think it’s overhyped.” Donghyuck says it firmly, and it gives you a reason to shut up. He doesn’t say anything as well after, and the recording turns dead. You conclude the podcast with an awkward chuckle, a meek apology to your co-host for being so nosy, while his jaw is clenched and his heart is at closed doors.
When you leave the studio that day, you take along with you new knowledge about Lee Donghyuck. Firstly, he might potentially have a hopeless heart. And that hopeless heart started to become a little too literal till it finally crushed him into pieces. The idea terrifies you. Mainly because you have a hopeless heart right now. And you wonder what would happen if you were in his shoes.
Secondly, Lee Donghyuck fell in love once. And you briefly wonder who that person is, before wondering why they would break his heart. Truth be told, Donghyuck is a decent man to an extent, and you wonder why they would make him feel this way.
You walk back home with a messy recording ready to be edited, and Donghyuck walks home with a shard of glass running down his body; pissed and anxious. He feels the vibrations of his phone, and it doesn’t make his mood better, but at the same time, it doesn’t make it worse.
[2 messages from Jeno to Hot Boy Shit]:
so… how was the recording?
did you like what i sent? *smirks*
[2 messages from Jaemin to Hot Boy Shit]:
wait whats happening lol
ive just got a text from bestie that you owe me a 100$ meal ?!
[2 messages from Donghyuck to Hot Boy Shit]:
nah fuck you
both of you
EPISODE 5: past and present roads collide
Donghyuck comes home to a lot of things.
He comes home from the sight of Jeno doing his marketing homework, papers sprawled in the middle of the dining table while his oversized hoodie gets the best of his body.
He can also come home from Jaemin’s failed attempts at baking, the weird smell of something burning seeping through the air, and him fanning a cloth over the smoke detector just so it won’t alarm.
Honestly, it’s safe to say he’s seen a lot of things when he comes home, whether it be something so simple, or something so questionable. This is his small ball of a constant, and him being a strong advocate of habit, he thinks this is all part of routine.
But there he is, coming home from soccer practice, his headband pulling back some parts of his hair away from his face, and he sees a sight he’s not accustomed to (Spoiler: it’s not you, because that sight of you is something that's already been part of his constant).
In other words, Donghyuck thinks he’s seen it all, seen so many oddities in the past years of being roommates with two fools, there will be nothing that phases him.
Or so he thought.
Because there goes Jaemin with a light pink party hat, standing by the front door of the apartment, holding up a banner alongside Jeno that says the exact words that elicit out of his mouth. It’s ten past seven, and Donghyuck was expecting to come home and take a fat nap, but he looks at the sight in front of him, and tries so hard not to drop his duffel bag on the floor in awe.
“Awe, what’s with the face? Do you not like it?” The enthusiasm in Jaemin’s face drops, and although Donghyuck doesn’t like seeing him being the killoy of all this, he genuinely can’t understand why there is an all of a sudden surprise party. He looks around, and there are faces here that he is more so familiar with, like yours, and some others he sees passing in the hallways.
“What is happening… is it someone’s birthday?” Donghyuck rubs the back of his head, awkwardly chuckling. He tries to look around the room if there’s any clues to the occasion, and he is completely aware that it’s neither anyone he’s close to having a birthday around this time… so?
Jeno steps forward, grabbing Donghyuck’s sports equipment, placing it on the corner of the room and proceeding to take off the boy’s headband, replacing it with the same designed party hat as Jaemin’s, “You know how you reached 10k listeners the other day? Yeah, Jaemin wanted to celebrate.”
He points to your figure, who is busy interacting with a group of first years. You look like you don’t mind the party, and he pulls the tiniest form of a smile when he sees you laughing over something the girl beside you said. The party hat on your head looks like you’ve a unicorn puked over your head. He wonders if you know how much of an idiot you look with it.
“Oh.” Donghyuck’s lips part, turning back to his two roommates, he doesn’t really know why they decide to host a party over something like this. But you know, they are college kids and uh— Jaemin will find every reason to party, even if it means celebrating the amount of clout you and him gained over the podcast.
“I swear to god, Hyuck. If you don’t show enthusiasm I will kick you out of this house.” Jaemin squints his eyes, his arms dropping, tired from holding up the banner and waiting for a decent reaction to come out of Donghyuck. Don’t be mistaken though, he’s lowkey touched by this celebration, because the boys always take the time to accomplish him with any milestone he’s reached, he’s just in awe.
Who even knew that he had the luck to get such roommates? He’s so starstruck, to the point he can even formulate the proper words, but apparently Jaemin thinks the opposite.
“No, no. It’s wonderful, I’m just shocked.” There’s something about this that Donghyuck finds so fucking endearing after each passing second, because when he looks around the room more, he sees a small cake in the middle of the table, and if he listens closely, he can hear the speakers blaring the recordings of his podcast (but let’s be real, Donghyuck hates to hear the sound of his voice).
Donghyuck pats his friends’ back as his gesture of a thank you, and takes off his shoes slowly.
The two boys move out of the way so Donghyuck can see the commotion they’ve done. You turn away from the first years you’re talking to and do a double take when you see Donghyuck finally home from practice, and Jaemin takes this as his cue to leave, “Okay, then. We’ll be playing Monopoly in Jeno’s room if you’ll be looking for us.”
“I won’t,” he jokes around, but when he peaks through Jeno’s bedroom and sees five more people trying to fit in there just to play that game, his words might be truer than he supposes. He cringes at the sight, before making his way to you.
“Well you seem grumpy in this fine evening,” you call out, watching as Donghyuck approaches you with ease, giving a head nod to the people he is familiar with, and pausing to stop in front of you, “Who am I kidding, you always look grumpy.”
He gives you a look, before clearing his throat. “Y/N.”
The way he says your name stiffly makes you scrunch your nose in disgust. And Donghyuck too crunches his face in disgust when he’s up close, next to you. You reek of alcohol. But you don’t look like you're getting tipsy, maybe give it a few more minutes, but the looming smell surrounding you explains why you’re easily talking to Donghyuck.
You hold out your bottle of alcohol and offer it to him, as if you guys are friends sharing a drink. “Here, drink this. It will help you loosen up.” The group of first-years move to a different spot in the house, maybe to get a drink from the kitchen, who knows, but for Donghyuck, he hesitantly takes the drink from you.
“Thank you.” He takes a sip from your cup, a small smile forming on your face when he doesn’t bother to hesitate — you repeat, as if you guys are friends taking a drink. You both know this won’t happen again, not unless you're sober. “Congratulations by the way, to us, that is.”
“Can you at least not sound dead when you say it?” You giggle, and Donghyuck awkwardly chuckles, chugging down another sip of the drink and facing away so you won’t study his reactions.
Donghyuck made a terrible mistake by doing that.
Just when Donghyuck is ready to loosen up and have fun at the party dedicated to him, he sees two figures he’s been trying to avoid since senior year of high school.
And he has no idea which one of the people in the room concluded that they have the audacity to bring these two here as their plus… two.
Two years of not seeing them. To be specific, two years, seven months and three days, but who’s counting? Definitely not Donghyuck.
He mutters curse words underneath his breath, and you’re too busy talking about how many streams the podcast reached and how much pride you take in doing so, but Donghyuck honestly is not listening. The second time he’s done that to you in the past month. Somewhat the same reason — or same context — because he feels so bothered looking at the sight right across from him.
Your back is facing it, continuing to ramble on and on, all while Donghyuck feels his heart just pondering just as his mind unlocks a distant memory.
“You good?” You finally look up at his face, and realize the wrinkles on his forehead from frowning. Before Donghyuck can get further welled up by the sight, he turns right at you, and musters up the fakest smile possible. You reek of alcohol, so he hopes you don’t sense this facade he’s putting up.
“Yeah uh, I just need to g—” his words trails off, before glance at the sight of the girl he onced loved, and once of his best friends in high school, looking at each other like they are so in love. He wants to scoff at it, he wonders if they even know that they’re doing such an act at his home.
And he asks himself, again: who the hell invited these two?
He’s not mad. Because it doesn’t feel like his blood is boiling, instead it feels like it’s turning cold.
“What are you looking at?” As you turn your head back, curious to the cause of the boy’s suspicious behaviour, he sees the two, observing an interaction between the two that just shows that they are a happy couple before turning back to Donghyuck, who’s not fully chugging the rest of the alcohol in the cup. “I—? Um— Mark?”
“You know him?” Donghyuck looks at you, tilting his head, clearly flustered and confused.
“Yes, he was in one of my classes last sem,” you explain to him, taking one more glance at the two, “I’m guessing that’s his girlfriend.”
The word girlfriend makes him wince. His heart tries to get accustomed to the title, and he hates how the cup in his hands is empty. He can’t drown those sorrows away.
“Yeah…” Donghyuck sighs, he feels helpless. Which is weird, because he rarely feels helpless, and all of a sudden it’s all crashing down on him.
You can tell something is up.
“Do you want to talk about it?” You ask, grabbing the empty cup in his hand and walking towards the area with the drinks, refilling it for him because you almost feel bad.
He leans his body on the wall, amused at your observations. “Woah. Did I just hear that right?”
“Huh?” You hand him back his cup, and he chuckles.
“Last time I checked, you don’t care about me.” He calls you out, in a light tone, not spiteful. His almond eyes continue to regard you with keen interest as you tempt yourself away from slapping his arm.
“Shut up.” You mutter angrily, but soften up to him when he spares another glance at Mark and his girlfriend. It’s the fact that he is acting like this matter isn’t making him feel some type of way, while his eyes tell a different story.
“But really, do you want to talk about it?” Look, this will be the only time you’ll feel empathetic towards him. (It’s the alcohol in your system that makes you talk to him like this. That’s all.)
But it’s enough to make Donghyuck try to forget. He shrugs, lips forming into a thin smile. “I’m good.”
“No. You’re not.” You say as if you’re talking to a child, causing another sigh to escape his lips. The small persistent nature in you has been making Donghyuck say too much about himself to you, and he doesn’t know why he keeps on word vomiting such vulnerable parts of his life. To you.
And he knows it’s not your pretty (cool) privilege that he has for you.
“Remember that one podcast episode, when I told you I fell in love with someone?” You nod, remembering it clearly because the idea of Donghyuck — the boy who doesn’t fall in love — actually falling in love has been living in your mind for the past few days. “I liked Yeri before, That’s Mark’s girlfriend.”
He swirls his drink, taking another aggressive chug before moving his gaze at the two. The more he keeps on glancing at them, he thinks it will make the pain less, since he’ll start getting accustomed to it. But the more he sees how in love they are — how in love his old best friend is, the pain he tries to subside doesn’t get easier.
“Oh. I’m sorry.” He glances at you, and you try to reassure him. But he doesn’t know why you're sorry. You don’t know why you’re sorry. It’s not your fault Donghyuck's life has gone to this. He chose to love, and though he once understood how much of a beautiful thing it could be, he refuses to do so again. It’s not your fault he feels this way. It’s his. He doesn’t know why you’re saying those words.
And he doesn’t like that you’re saying those words. Because you of all people don't know how it feels to be heartbroken like this.
He won’t despise you for it, though. After all, he once knew how it felt like, and he won’t take that away from you, nor place the negative emotions penting in his body towards you. “It’s no worries, you didn’t do anything wrong.”
If he thinks about it, he’s thankful that you’re here. It makes the fog trafficking his thoughts subtly clearer.
And you try to change the topic. To make the atmosphere between the both of you lighter. It’s a party dedicated to a milestone you both reached, and it would be foolish if you spend the rest of the night worrying about what could have been. You pat Donghyuck’s shoulder awkwardly, yet with sentiment, and it’s enough for him to forget.
“By the way, there’s cupcakes in the refrigerator. Don’t worry, I baked it this time. If you need it, you can take the whole batch.” You gesture to the kitchen, and your head starts spinning when you take a step forward.
It’s the way you barely drink. Oh god.
“You’re being awfully kind to me,” Donghyuck looks down at your figure, taking a hold of your hand before you accidentally tip forward. It’s his first time making contact with your skin, and his heart — from being so stone cold — warms up at the thought.
“At least I’m not being a pain in the ass this time, you're welcome.” The corners of his lips tug up when you try to compose yourself. This is much better than being a heartbroken fool at your own party.
“You’re so drunk.” He grins when you swat his arm away from his hold.
Who knew, huh.
From the corner of his eye, he can feel someone’s gaze lingering his way, but he’s too busy to notice.
“No I’m not. I only drank half a bottle.” You argue back, trying to keep a firm stance but your voice starts to slur. As you try to explain yourself, Donghyuck takes the party hat off his head and swipes his hair back. Oh.
“So you’re lightweight?” Though he tries to refuse the delight creeping up his way at your drunken state, Donghyuck can’t help to feel at glee, especially after seeing you just gulp down harshly, unknowingly keeping eye contact with him for longer than the normal.
You look away immediately when he smirks. “No no no. I’m alright. It will take an awful lot of effort for the alcohol to do its job, I’ll be alright.” Your words and actions say two different things, and when you take one more step, your mind suddenly faces some difficulties.
These difficulties come in the form of you almost tripping over air, and Donghyuck having to grab a hold of your wrist, you throwing your body at him, and him scoffing at you for it.
“If you say so…” He most likely drank more than you with his two complete chugged down drinks, yet here you are, looking like a complete idiot. As always. If he can, he would declare it as your brand.
“Yes. And let’s get some of my cupcakes and go play Monopoly with the others.” You finally reach the kitchen, and Donghyuck props his weight on the counter with an eyebrow raised, watching you (try to) open the fridge.
“Who said I want to do that?” He does not want to play Monopoly with the boys in that sweaty room.
“You want to stay here and watch those two lovebirds?” Even when you're intoxicated, you still find a way to say smart things, and Donghyuck hates that for you. He doesn’t glance back this time.
Monopoly it is.
Donghyuck moves towards you and then beside you, helping you take out the batch of cupcakes after seeing you struggle to get it yourself. The proximity makes the butterflies in your stomach do some flips, re: you’re drunk and you won’t think of this while you're sober.
But while you’re still not-sober, you turn your head to face him, realizing your faces are inches apart from each other’s. He gives you an endearing beam, and that not-sober mind of yours makes a pact that smiling looks better on Donghyuck than a frown, and you’ll do whatever it takes to see it again.
Re: you’re drunk.
EPISODE 06: the rise of secret admirers
Lee Donghyuck does not fall in love, but maybe there could be a few exceptions.
“Okay so I will pick out our fifth love letter of the day… again, by natural selection.” You try to joke around, but your attempts to do so ends up in the trash when the boy across from you rolls his eyes. And you shoot him a sarcastic grin back at him out of impulse.
With Donghyuck, there’s bound to be endless banter from left to right, no matter how much progress the both of you made to try and cross the line between being in each other throats to finally having a decent form of friendship, all costs and efforts are lost the moment one of you open your mouths to say something to the other.
“Please. If you’re just going to laugh at me, why don’t you say something interesting instead.” You wail in frustration, throwing your rough script up in the air hopelessly. Being a comedian has never been your strong suit. “We need content. And I’m the only one giving proper content to the media.”
“Excuse me for being a prude,” Donghyuck straightens his posture on the chair, staring right at you as he speaks, “But I have made my fair share of top tier content for this podcast. You just don’t have the humor to think mine are okay.”
“No. Shut up.” You grumble.
And he puts up a taunting grin, “You’re just mad that I’m right.” He begins to tease, voice echoing with rich velvet and mirth, “And watch your language, we’re recording.”
“College kids listen to this, not elementary kids. I think I’m allowed to swear.” You fire back. There are so many things tempting to come out of your mouth, but the evident distaste in your features leave him with pure entertainment. He’s such a hypocrite, because you know that in the next few seconds, he’ll probably blurt out some foul language that is much more inappropriate than your simple ‘shut up.’
You continue to stare down at him, sending daggers at Donghyuck’s way and him easily dodging each one.
“Just read the goddamn letter.” See? What did you say?
After that night, the night where you treated Donghyuck as if he was a friend — someone that can lean on your shoulder when times get tough, he seems to search for the version of you through the days following. But the more the both of you keep firing fire in the pit, he slowly wishes that he never associated with you in the first place. Because you are a pain.
You are so intolerable.
He doesn’t even know why he likes you.
“Dear Romancing, I’m the friend that got called out the last time. The one that doesn’t fall in love. I don’t know, it’s not that I don’t want to, I just don’t think I’m ready.” You begin reading another letter from the pile, but this specific one causes Donghyuck to freeze. He forgot he wrote that out of impulse.
Let’s see. How shall we explain this? So to keep a long story short, he did it for a variety of reasons that absolutely make no sense, but if they had to come down to the top three, most rational, valid explanations it would be because of Jeno’s peer pressure, content for the podcast, and seeing your reaction without directly asking it from you.
It’s like a beta; to see how you would present yourself in this type of situation, and how you’ll handle it, so Donghyuck will know what to do when he himself introduces his not-so-loving self to you. He wants to see if you can teach him to fix it.
But he can’t imagine that the letter — out of the hundred others in the mail — that this one would be the lucky draw. If he calculated correctly, then the chances of his letter being read out loud would be lower than the acceptance rate of Harvard.
This says a lot about his fate, because if you think about it, Donghyuck is one lucky bastard.
Your eyes blink at the paper, forming sparkles as it moves across the sheet. He hopes that the look on your face is a good thing. “But there’s this girl. And even though she can be an ass sometimes, it just feels nice to be around her. But I don’t want to admit that.”
As you repeat the words written, the tone of your voice can depict your excitement. And if only the both of you were filming a Youtube Video instead of recording the podcast, the audience would be able to witness how bad your cheeks are heating up. You think it’s absolutely cute how the person sending the letter is able to find exceptions in his stance.
At the same time, the boy across from you contemplates on how oblivious you are, because there’s a complete set of puzzles set in front of you, and you still haven’t pieced any of the dots together.
“Now this is content.” You chide delightfully, enthralled that there even is a part two to this specific love-advice-story. Everybody, say thank you to Donghyuck for this.
“Damn.” He comments quietly; nibbling his bottom lip to refrain from word vomiting.
“Mr. Guy That Doesn’t Fall In Love, let me just say one thing, because I have a feeling you already know what you're feeling inside.” You beam, sitting on the edge of your office chair as you clear your throat. “If you feel happy with that girl, it’s most likely you’re making the girl happy too.”
His eyes widen.
What the fuck.
“What type of advice is that?” When Donghyuck bursts, you look back at him with an unphased expression, shrugging at him because you know that what you said is correct.
This is not what he was expecting from you. He expected something along the lines of ‘aS a hOpeLeSs rOmAnTic, i tHinK yOu sHouLd gO fOr iT,’ then that could give him a sense of validation that falling love wouldn’t be so bad. But… this?
You tell him that you won’t say anything because you apparently know what he’s already going to say… and you end up giving him reassurance about giving each other happiness…?
What does that even mean—!
“It’s great advice. Better than what you can think of.” You commend yourself with great honour at the piece of advice you gave; Donghyuck thinks it’s pure bull. It keeps him in place, it reminds him why he doesn’t fall in love with people because they too don’t know how to properly explain why it would be so great to do so.
But at the same time, though he utterly, unquestionably, undoubtedly thinks that sending in this letter is such a waste of time, now that you have given him one of the worst replies — and those words only start with the letter ‘u’, there’s much more where he comes from — it still lifts some sort of weight. It did jackshit, but nevertheless, it made Donghyuck somewhat better. Just a little bit.
He feels so conflicted.
“You said something?” Donghyuck pretends to be deafened, holding up his hands to cup his ears.
“Get out of here.” You groan, attempting to ignore Donghyuck as you make an effort to give the patron the advice they are looking for, “But Mr. Guy That Doesn’t Fall In Love, if you feel something towards someone, don’t stop yourself. Don’t be like Donghyuck. Look at him now, he’s a miserable motherfucker.”
At that Donghyuck looks at you in disbelief, crescents in his eyes forming, and though he tries not to show it, he thinks that that was one of the best things you’ve said all day. Even when the ridiculing is directed to him. It made him smile.
Donghyuck’s pretty sure he said that in his mind. Not out loud. But when you look at him, taken aback, he flutters his eyes shut and wishes he can erase himself from the embarrassment. You perk up, and he knows you won’t let this off the hook.
“Thank you, I know I am.” You over-exaggerate how flattered you are, flipping your hair dramatically and straightening your posture. Deep inside, you still feel flattered, but by acting over the top, it makes it seem like your heart isn’t failing on you at this moment. But it is.
This is the art of sarcasm, and it has given you a whole lot of perks.
“I wasn’t talking about you.” He tries to take back what he said, but it’s already engraved in your mind.
You lean forward to the table, “Then what are you referring to as cute? The guy in the letter?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
Donghyuck has reached peak humiliation, and he doesn’t know why he can’t just embrace his slip up and act like the charismatic guy he is towards other people. It’s your fault he’s like this. It’s your fault everyone will find out how whipped he is for you the moment this podcast episode goes live.
He wonders why he can’t act normal toward you, why he can’t ever do his almost-playboy antics— but it’s you. He uses this as another opportunity to learn something about you. And it is exactly how hard it is to figure out who you really are that keeps his interest levels high. He could go whipped for any other person, he is the star soccer player on campus, but his dumbass-of-a-brain chose you.
“Loser.” You voice out Donghyuck’s thoughts about himself. Because he’s starting to slowly admit how much of a loser he is. And it’s all your fault.
EPISODE 7: the first-first kiss
Slowly but surely, Donghyuck starts to admit that he is going through a free fall. Well, not really a free fall because there would be air resistance — the air resistance being his metaphorical refusal that he is indeed going down. And if this version of Donghyuck told the version of him several days ago that he will one day admit this calling, past Donghyuck would not take it well.
But here he is now, grasping in the atmosphere of his defeat; he almost feels like those Ancient Gods that carry the weight of losing an important battle, but he doesn’t know which one specifically because he hasn’t taken any world history courses.
Lee Donghyuck has hit rock bottom with his relationship with you. He is like a lost puppy, a clown embarrassing himself in his own circus, a shrivelled up leaf on the sidewalk, and every other comparable item that he can think of on the top of his head.
So when he looks up at the ceiling, he acts as if all the answers could be found there, throwing and catching the soccer ball in his hands as he lies down on the couch as another awful sigh escapes his lips. He can hear your voice inside his head spewing out nonsense. Honestly, you’ve been living in his mind for a while now and could ask you to pay for the rent you’ve been occupying.
He’s immersed in his own thoughts, that he has forgotten that you are actually here, and he can hear your voice. And it’s not the voice that he’s imagining. “Can you stop sighing, it’s getting annoying.”
Donghyuck catches the ball with his hands, holding it firmly before proceeding to turn his head to your voice. When he looks at you, he’s faced with the wrath of your dead face, seeming as if you’ve been sick and tired of his noises of complaint, that he isn’t aware he’s doing. It’s the way you have your arms folded, waiting for him to do something, as you sit on the floor by the coffee table with your laptop in front of you with a bored expression that makes him sigh even louder.
“Why are you even here?” He sits up, leaning his back on the cushions and mirroring the expression on your face, “Aren’t you done tutoring Jaemin?”
“Yeah. But is there something wrong with me staying here?” You interrogate him, and he just closes his eyes in despair. Does he want to deal with this right now? Not really.
Here we go again. “If you’re wondering why I’m still here. I’m going to make those Dalgona Coffee things that’s everywhere on Tiktok with Jeno. I’ve been dying to make them, and Nana did not want to do them with me. He says it’s too messy—”
You stop your rant abruptly when you realize that Donghyuck has been staring at you quietly. He’s nit-picking one of the pieces of loose thread on the throw pillow, and even listening to you, which is to your surprise.
“Oh?” He tilts his head when you quit mid-sentence, waiting for you to continue on, but instead you shake your head, shifting closer to the coffee table and typing away on your laptop.
“I went on a tangent, my bad.” You purse your lips, and you still feel the weight of his eyes directed towards your face.
He feels his heart soften at how casual you are just seconds ago. All while you feel hues of crimson taint your cheeks, bashful at your passionate ramble about coffee. “And you didn’t try to ask me?”
You tilt your head up, eyes churning to see Donghyuck with a grin on his face, which causes you to furrow your eyebrows, “Because you’re going to say no?”
“You never know. I could’ve joined you.” You’re pretty sure this is all talk; last time you checked, you and Donghyuck never did something together voluntarily.
“But knowing you, if you did join me, I would’ve probably thrown all the ingredients at you in less than five minutes because you would make me mad. Plus, Jeno seems like he’s actually down to do them with me. You’d probably feel forced to do it.” You take note that you’re rambling again, and you want to slap your forehead for it.
Maybe it’s the lack of sleep kicking in your system, because that always has been bringing you to do this you won’t usually do on the norm (I.e. talking to Donghyuck properly), of course other than drinking alcohol, that also makes you do weird shit.
But you're making the coffee with Jeno later in the evening, most likely around 11pm, since he needs to use the caffeine to stay up for his Marketing assignment. That’s still in a few hours, though.
“Wait. Do you perhaps have any fever patches?” You shut your laptop and ask.
Donghyuck is taken aback by it, eyes slightly bulging out of his head from worry (but you don’t know that), “Are you sick?”
“No,” you trail off, rubbing the back of your head meekly, “I’m just getting really sleepy and I need to stay awake.” You don’t explain further to him, you don’t need to. But he finds that there’s a certain level of oddity at your proposition.
Remembering that one kdrama Jaemin indulged in around a year ago — where the guy placed a fever patch on his forehead during a midnight study session, because the coolness kept the guy awake — Donghyuck nods in acquiesce, not bothering to question if those things actually work.
That’s probably why Jeno once bought a whole stash of them one time, “Okay, lemme get them. I’m sure there’s some in the bathroom.” He gets up and pats down his shirt before proceeding to get the fever patches.
You fidget and tap on the surface of the desk while waiting for Donghyuck to come back, yawning shamelessly and shaking your head furiously to remove all the sleepy jitters trying to crawl your skin. From your periphery, you can see him coming back with a fresh box of the item you asked, speculating it before diverting his eyes to you.
He stops in front of you, kneeling down to level himself alongside and letting you watch as he rips open the packaging. “Oh. Thanks.” You try to grab it from him, but he pulls his arm back.
As you try to grab the fever patch from him, he preps it and holds the edges of the square with both his hands, making sure he doesn’t touch the sticky part. “I’ll put it on you.”
“There’s no need— oh.” Donghyuck shifts his weight, leaning forward as he takes off the grasp of one side of the patch to tuck your hair back behind your ear. Your breath hitches when you take note that his body is inches away from yours.
He delicately swipes back more strands of hair before aligning the patch straight on your forehead, rubbing it with his thumb softly to ensure it won’t fall off. You look up at him, seeing that he’s focused on putting it properly. This is probably the closest you’ve seen Donghyuck.
“I must say, you don’t look that bad up close.” You comment, Donghyuck feeling your breath hit his skin, and his lips twitch up. The way you’re studying him gives him the sole reason why the butterflies are fluttering in his stomach.
“It’s good that you know that, Princess.” He smirks, finally mustering up the courage to bolden up, just to cover up the fact that he is clearly flustered at where you both are positioned. He wonders where this energy has gone a few days ago.
“Not the nickname again.” You cry, letting out a huff before pushing him away from you. He’s still sitting in front of you, and there’s an evident glint in his eye. “Nevermind what I said earlier, sometimes your face looks very punchable.”
“Oh, really?” He tests you, lifting up one of his eyebrows.
“Yes. Really.” You squeak, looking down at the carpet with a smile, but as your gaze diverts back to him, you can suddenly feel a lump in your throat when he looks right back at you. His eyes pierce into you, as if he’s searching for something in the stars of your own set, “Donghyuck, what are you doing?”
You awkwardly clear your throat.
“Looking at you.” He says straightforwardly, and the way he’s still looking at you sends shivers down your back. Donghyuck notices the effect it has, and it makes the crescent of his lip more apparent, “Why? Am I not allowed to?”
“It feels weird.” You reply truthfully, wanting to bury your head in a hole or maybe run to the opposite end of the country just to avoid this contact. It’s leaving brushes of shimmer against your skin, and you don’t particularly know how to feel about it.
“May I know why it feels weird?” He waits for an answer, so confidently, as if he wants to challenge you.
“You better stop what you're doing.” As you warn him, it only makes him more satisfied, more bold.
“But you said I don’t look bad up close.” There’s a tone of mockery enlaced in his voice, trying to reach and copy the same tone of your voice, only to end up pitches higher as he pouts. The way Donghyuck’s eyeing your lips don’t go unnoticed and your eyes unknowingly rests on his as well, “Don’t tell me you regret saying it. That would be unlike you.”
“Shut. Up.” You say through gritted teeth, looking at him through your lashes as your heart continues to beat rapidly. It’s so intense, you swear if Donghyuck is paying attention to it, he would be able to hear it synchronizing with his own heart.
He looks back up at your eyes, only to catch you staring at his lips.
Before neither of you can take back the situation, his lips smash against yours.
You don’t even know who decided to finish the act, whether it be you or him, because he asked you to do it, but you don’t know if Donghyuck was impatient and just did it a millisecond before you. But there are goosebumps rising on your skin when he tilts his head to deepen the kiss; his lips finding solace in yours, it just feels so sweet.
You don’t even know if you're doing it correctly, but Donghyuck makes it so that your stomach knots harder and unravels quickly again, a bloom blooming throughout your chest as you relax under his touch.
If he’s being honest, he’s always associated a pair’s first kiss as something so over romanticized. Because he’s never felt that way before. And he would always scoff at the idea of first kisses feeling like fireworks or warm vanilla. He doesn’t know how to describe this one. But he knows it feels right.
Donghyuck doesn’t fall in love, but if this, if this is what it feels like to fall in love; the one that you won’t ever shut up about, then maybe he wouldn’t mind it at all.
Because maybe he’s growing fond of the idea.
EPISODE 8: shoot your shot
“And there we have it, Lee Donghyuck scores another goal!”
HOME: 1 | VISITORS: 1
Neither of you talk about The Incident for the next few days and you’re thankful Donghyuck doesn’t taunt you for it nor bring it up. If you think about it, it might be better this way. It’s just as if that distinct memory you shared with Donghyuck by the coffee table banished right after it happened, and you blame it for your sleep deprivation that it even happened because having lack of sleep should be able to make you irrationally kiss the boy you would never think of kissing. Yeah. Totally.
At least Jaemin, or Jeno, did not see whatever that was. If they did, you would’ve hid in the closet for the rest of your lifetime. But they didn’t. And that’s all that matters.
Which is why when the two boys drag you to one of Donghyuck’s soccer games — as their means of being supportive to their roommate, as well as to drag you out of your dorm to get some sunlight — they don’t act differently towards you, and they don’t interrogate you about the status of your relationship with Donghyuck. Because they don’t know what happened.
Unbeknownst to Donghyuck, he doesn’t know that you will watch his game. Especially since you never even bother to participate in watching any of the sports games held around campus, so he believes that he has the liberty act however he pleases, just because a specific pair of eyes, that belong to you, isn’t watching him. And it’s doing him hella justice.
Or so he thinks.
“He looks so cool.” Jeno says through the food he’s eating, leaning forward on his seat to get a better view of the game while there are spots of ketchup and mustard left on the corner of his lip from the hotdog.
You raise your head to get a better view of Donghyuck, finally spotting him as his brown locks are pulled back by a headband as he jogs from one end of the field to the other. His tongue is slightly sticking out as he runs with the ball, eyes following it attentively and glancing up to see where his opponents are going.
As you carefully take a bite of your hotdog, you focus your periphery on the main action on the field, seeing the ball fly up in the air towards Donghyuck’s direction, before it lands on the ground a few metres away from his foot. You realize that there aren't a lot of people with the ball other than Donghyuck, and when he sprints to it, there are multiple opposing players trying to take the ball away from him or stopping him from getting closer to the ball.
He slides past them like it’s such an easy feat to do so, and the crowd goes wild when Donghyuck makes a successful long-distance pass, kicking it to one of his teammates before it reaches the other team’s goal.
“Oh my god, did you see that?” Jaemin stands up next to you in excitement, turning momentarily to see your reactions with an awe-struck one laid on his face.
“Yes, Nana. We saw it.” You chuckle, shaking your head with a smile before shifting at your spot once more to find the best view to the game, since there are so many heads in front of yours and the three of you came to the stadium with half the seats already filled.
As you jerk your head to follow the ball, you see the backs of two familiar figures, pointing at the game and clapping just like everybody else is.
“Is that Mark and his girlfriend? Over there, look.” You point your lips to the two, nudging Jeno’s side so he can look at where you are looking. He snaps his neck and widens his eyes when he recognizes Mark and Yeri.
He then turns to you in question, “Yeah. What about them?”
“I don’t know. Donghyuck told me something before.” You shrug, lifting your shoulders.
“Wait. He told you?” Jeno purses his lips, before a knowing smile slowly forms in his face, thinking the most out of the situation. “I didn’t know you were close like that.”
“I don’t think we are? It was a one time thing.” You answer honestly, a nervous chuckle coming out of your throat as you avoid the way Jeno is staring down at you. He scoffs in disbelief, and when Jaemin is finished cheering, he sits back down and joins the conversation, leaning his body to hear what you two are saying.
“I’m surprised that it’s only a one time thing, since you guys have been spending a lot of time together the past few weeks.” Jeno confesses, which makes Jaemin nod furiously as he adds on. “I think you’ve been spending more time with him than me.”
Your gaze shifts back and forth at the two boys, tongue tied because you don’t know how to reply to that. The fact that they are stating this out of the blue, in the middle of a freaking soccer game, makes you want to cough out the hotdog you're eating.
They might be right about that, how you’ve been spending the past few weeks a little more than your liking with Donghyuck; but them of all people should know that you’re only doing so because of reasons that include everything along the lines of ‘podcast assignment’ or ‘mutual friends’.
Your heart races at the idea, and when you can feel Jaemin and Jeno waiting for your next move, you suddenly just want to break out in cold sweat.
What makes you even more terrified, is that you’ve only realized now that you stopped complaining about Donghyuck to Jaemin.
“Go, Hyuck!” The girls sitting behind you scream out loud, causing you to flinch while the two boys jerk their heads to see why the crowd is suddenly getting hyped up. You let out a huff of relief when they finally quit the curiosity towards your relationship with Donghyuck, and now moved to the game instead.
But your half-second calmness is immediately replaced with a new problem.
Because as you decide to see the commotion, and why everyone is starting to cheer for the captain (yet, again), his eyes land where you are sitting. He notices you. He looks down at the ball for a second before turning back to you, and it causes you to freeze at your spot.
Everyone around you is cheering loudly, some of them even standing up from their position in enthusiasm. Donghyuck grins smugly and looks back at you, pointing his index finger in your direction that has several fellow watchers trying to find who he was exactly pointing to. Your cheeks start to heat up when Jaemin’s jaw drops and looks at you in disbelief.
“Holy shit. Donghyuck has never done that before. You saw that, right?” Jaemin says in excitement, his lips curving up the slightest as it replays in his mind. “Y/N. What the fuck. He’s fucking flirting with you.”
“He was just pointing at me. I don’t know what that means.” You lie. You have an idea what it means, but trying to admit it will only make you feel even more flustered, so it’s better that you avoid it and play dumb.
“He just straight up dedicated his next shot to you. Come on, Y/N. Did you not find that cute?” Jaemin tries to get something out of you, but you don’t bulge; your eyes are still on the game, Donghyuck gets the goal in and the yells from around you helps you ignore the crazy thumping in your chest.
Yes you find it cute. Nobody’s ever done that to you before. Donghyuck’s never done that to you before. Now shut up before you start feeling some type of way.
“Oh, please. He’s probably done this to other girls. It’s not that serious.” You shake your head, trying to get your mind out of the gutter. You’re trying to remember that Donghyuck and you still despise each other, but you begin to take knowledge of the little things that are changing in this relationship.
“I’d beg to differ.” Jeno smirks, leaning back in his seat with amusement taunting his iris’. You turn your head with a frown.
“Shut up, let’s just watch this game.” Jeno laughs, shaking his head at your denial.
“What if Donghyuck likes you?” Jaemin gasps at the sudden idea he’s thought of, proud at the on-the-go assumption he’s made, while you look at him disappointingly. “Come on. Don’t give me that look. It was like he was dedicating his next score for you.”
“Jaemin.” You warn him, and he lets out a giggle.
“Look at that. Someone’s blushing.” Jeno pokes your shoulder teasingly. You should’ve never allowed them to bring you to the game if this is what they were going to do.
“Jeno.” You say through gritted teeth, and you don’t miss the way the two boys bump their fist together behind you.
“So you like him.” They say as a statement instead of a question. You wonder why they are so convinced you like him, because you haven’t done anything to make them think in such a way. Well, unless Donghyuck told them about the kiss— if he did, you would whoop his ass. You suddenly think back to the time Jaemin noted to you that you and Donghyuck seem to have ‘chemistry’ while recording the podcast, and you don’t know if he’s taken those words to heart.
“I don’t like him. And he doesn’t like me. It’s as simple as that.” You make an attempt to sound strong and firm, but your words come out as a mere squeak.
If anything, you’d like to say Donghyuck has turned into a friend. That’s only if you’re willing to call him such, because the past few weeks prove to you that he really isn’t as bad as you suppose. But you don’t like him, you swear. Maybe.
“If you say so.” They drop the conversation, since there’s still a game you have to focus on.
You don’t even understand why you’re getting affected by this; last time you checked, you and Donghyuck don’t share the same values. He doesn’t fall in love. And you want to fall in love. But if you fall in love with someone who doesn’t, then it won’t do you any good. But what if he’s changed? But what if—
“30 seconds on the clock.”
The commentary snaps you back into present time, a quirk of an eyebrow while you flick your eyes to the scoreboard makes you realize that both teams are on another tie.
HOME: 3 | VISITORS: 3
“Oh shit.” You hear Jaemin curse, moving his butt closer to the edge of the chair while he grasps on his hotdog tighter. You too, feel the rate of your heart quicken.
“Here comes Lee Donghyuck with the ball—”
Fixated on his figure, your able to follow where Donghyuck is moving with the bolded #1 on his jersey, seeing that he’s running towards the ball with all his might, zipping through all his opponents and flashing through the grass like lightning. A player with a different coloured jersey starts to run beside him, and it cues Donghyuck to pick up his pace. Everything is getting intense, and Donghyuck starts to grow in desperation after every passing second just so he can touch the ball and kick it to the net.
Jeno’s holding the handle of the chair like his life is on the line, muttering in hushed whispers ‘you better get this one, idiot’ and you want to laugh. But you have no time to laugh.
“Finally!” Jaemin shouts when Donghyuck gets a hold of the ball after failed attempts prior, kicking it to the other side of the field where the goal was. Every student who is rooting for the team is now standing in excitement, ready to cheer if Donghyuck delivers the winning point. Since he’s captain, though you might now want to acknowledge so, you believe that he can do it.
It’s not until he moves closer to the opposing side’s goal, moving past the defence players and slipping in between the gaps as they try to take the ball away from him. Donghyuck uses his footwork to keep the ball to himself, and your fists subconsciously turn white at how it’s clenched.
Donghyuck looks at where he’s trying to shoot, doing his best to break the tie and win this game. In a millisecond, he swings his leg back and kicks the ball with just the right amount of energy, causing it to fly before it stops at the net.
“There we have it. The winning shot from none other than the captain himself!”
The commentator tries to scream the stats louder than the noise in the crowd, but everyone is busy screaming in glee, Jaemin and Jeno included as they almost throw their food up in the air from all the exhilaration. Jeno claps his hands, and Jaemin hollers. As for you, you let out the biggest breath, not realizing how apprehensive you’ve become.
A soft giggle elicits from your throat as you watch Donghyuck run through the field haphazardly, his teammates scurrying over to him to engulf him in hugs and pats. And you feel at ease.
When Donghyuck takes off his headband, wiping the sweat off his head with his arm. He takes a sharp inhale, and eyes going off to search the crowd, immediately stopping when they meet yours in the crowd. There’s so much screaming from the crowd, but you hear bells. You hear bells ringing through your ears and everything about this just feels too good to be true.
He ignores the pushes and shoves from his teammates when his gaze is at yours, and it’s just as if time has stopped just for you to share this moment with him. You give him a smile, a small-thumbs up, and he reciprocates the act, making your heart set off into a rocket.
“So, what’d you think about your first game you watched?” Jaemin asks, “Is it good?” The thing is, you don’t need to say anything for them to know what you're feeling.
“It’s… okay…” And both Jeno and Jaemin know that you’re lying. Your eyes are telling them it’s more than okay. In fact, by the looks of it, they can tell you won’t be needing your Tinder app anymore.
The two share a knowing look at each other when you continue to look back at Donghyuck, a whole galaxy painted in your eyes. If only you can acknowledge them.
EPISODE 9: meet-cute (and puppies)
There’s a shift.
You can just sense it.
Or perhaps, you can’t only just sense it, but you know it. And you know it because you have never looked at Donghyuck in that way before. Not in a way where you seem like you're looking for something in him: something specific but not knowing exactly what it is.
For the most part, this acquired proposition doesn’t completely impact your relationship with him: there’s still the occasional banter from one end to the other, and his continuous foolish acts still makes your skin boil, but now, the way you act around him, when it’s only the both of you in the room, is more tense.
And not the good kind of tension.
“Hey, are you okay?” Donghyuck says softly, his eyes showing worry when he’s caught you lacking and staring off at a random spot in the room for the past few minutes.
Your eyes avert to him, and you swear, it feels much weirder to look at him straight in the eye. It doesn’t feel natural. It feels like you’re hiding something from him, but you don’t know what it is in Donghyuck that’s making you feel this specific, new way towards him.
Nowadays, you feel yourself holding back when you converse with him. It takes you an unusual amount of willpower to not all of a sudden worry about the way you speak to Donghyuck. He’s supposed to be one of the people you have no filter for, to be yourself and not worry about what he thinks. But it really doesn’t feel the way you want it to be at the moment.
He waves his hand across your face, causing you to get your mind off your daydream and you give him a faint smile of reassurance before sitting up straight. “Yeah, I’m good.” You clear your throat, adjusting your headset and placing your face closer to the microphone, muttering an apology.
You can still feel Donghyuck’s stare on you. You’re unable to meet his eyes without panicking, which is why you avoid looking at his figure.
This shift is making you shift on your seat uncomfortably.
“Your shoulders are tense. We can’t have you breaking cold sweat now.” Donghyuck notices the tension in the air, trying to fix it by calling you out and chuckling it off. But everything comes off as awkward. A disconcerting feeling starts to stir in the pit of your stomach, so you take a deep breath and try to forget that Donghyuck is in the room.
Just pretend you're talking to someone else. Absolutely. This is going to work out perfectly if you act like it isn’t your crush that’s right in front of you. Wait— holy shit you did not just say crush.
“Right.” You yelp, and flick your leg to stop acting like a total fool. Donghyuck just stares at you suspiciously, before he suddenly grabs the notebook where your podcast ideas are written down and pretends to not notice the strained atmosphere. He gets ready to talk, pressing the resume button on the recording and your shoulders drop in ease that he total focus isn’t on you anymore.
“Anyways, I’ll be the one introducing this week’s topic.” he brings himself closer to the mic as he looks up at the ceiling, trying to formulate and visualize the proper words to say. He looks really pretty. “I think it’s my first time introducing the topic… huh.”
“It’s about time,” you mumble, blushing when you feel the sudden weight of his gaze. He gives you a warm smile when you're finally trying to talk to him properly, and it makes things seem much easier to do so.
“Okay, okay. Here we go.” He says excitingly, and your wariness slowly fades away; the bliss he’s giving you when he gives you a knowing look that reminds you that you both are going to talk about a topic you’ve been dying to discuss in the podcast. Donghyuck checks off that topic from your list as he talks, “We’re going to be talking about meet-cute incidents. A topic that has been on our list of discussions for a while now. But we only decided to talk about it now for one specific reason:”
He gestures for you to continue on. He sends you a message through telepathy on what to say, and you hold back a grin suddenly remembering why you and Donghyuck decided to make this your theme this week. Because of Jaemin. The boy across from you feels his heart blossoming when you start easing up in the room.
It’s like the saying, ‘seeing you happy makes me happy,’ in this case, that form comes in you.
“We have this friend, and when he came back home from his volleyball practice, he brought home a dog that he picked up on the sidewalk because apparently the owner couldn’t be found. At first, we thought that the dog had rabies so we told him to kick the dog out, but he insisted on finding the owner.” You start to talk about Jaemin’s incident from earlier this week, and Donghyuck finds that the small giggle coming out of your mouth is very pretty. “Next thing you know, the owner comes and picks up their dog. And our friend just looked so starstruck when he opened the door.”
Here’s the thing: you’re pretty good at sharing stories about other people in your circle without spilling out their names, and although most people know and associate you with Jaemin and might have an idea that this story is about him, you still do not mention his name for many reasons. But at least it gives a mysterious element in the story, because they wouldn’t officially consider that you are talking about him unless you straight up announce it.
You try to stop yourself from smiling at the memory too hard, picturing how Jaemin looked when he met the owner of the puppy for the first time, because minutes after the puppy is gone, he either wouldn’t shut up about how cute the owner looked, or would just start grinning to himself at the small memory. You, Donghyuck, and Jeno saw him almost trip on his foot once because of how distracted he’s gotten.
“I never seen him with that look before. It looks nice on him.” Donghyuck laughs wholeheartedly, neither of you getting slightly worried that Jaemin will come screaming at you for telling his story to the podcast. But again, you did not say his name. And if anything, you can drag Donghyuck down with you if Jaemin does get mad.
“It does.” You agree with him, and he throws his head back in bemusement before huffing a sigh of content.
“To the person who picked up their dog from our friend. This is our love letter to you. Our friend is probably whipped for you now.” Donghyuck does his job as a love advisor, but this time, a matchmaker too, “Last time we talked to him — which was a few hours ago, he couldn’t stop blushing while doing his calculus assignment.”
You’re happy for your best friend, you really are, but the more you see romance happening all around you, from the podcast to now your best friend, your mind goes back to asking when you’ll have that moment as well. Because you, of all people, have been waiting patiently for your turn.
“I wonder when I’ll have my meet-cute moment,” you say out loud, and it perks up Donghyuck’s interest.
He wonders if you remember the first time you met him.
“You know, when I first heard the term 'meet-cute’, I thought it meant that you’re meeting a really cute person for the first time.” This makes you giggle. You nod at him, agreeing because you thought the same thing as him when you first heard of this term. “But it isn’t necessarily that.”
“Well, you’re not wrong.”
You clear your throat. “Okay, I’ll get started with the love letters. Donghyuck, pick one from the pile and give it to me.” Grabbing the basket with all the letters you place on the table in front of Donghyuck, as he picks one out, there’s something about the way he looks up at you; it makes your body feel as if it’s zapped by electricity. He’s barely doing anything to make you feel like this, but it almost makes you dizzy — like the blood is rushing hard around your head.
“Here.” He takes one and gives it to you, your hands momentarily brushing which makes your whole body jolt. A warm tingling feeling courses to your own fingertips, and you wonder how holding his hand would feel like.
“Thank you.” You mumble bashfully, your cheeks painted with scarlet hues as you try to open the letter. When you unfold the piece of paper, you are meeted with a full page, and you look up at Donghyuck, widening your eyes. “Oh. This one’s a long letter.”
He chuckles, and leans back on his chair, as you start reading.
There is a shift. You can sense it. But for some odd reason, you’re starting to let it grow on you.
EPISODE 10: professor’s matchmaking services
If there is one (1) professor that has been bearable throughout your years as a college student, it would be Professor Dae. And you have a variety of supporting evidence to why you picked her.
For one, she too is a hopeless romantic and will rave over classic love stories she’s stumbled on through Netflix with you. Professor Dae allowed you to email her some Kdrama recommendations, throwing the professionality aside and even giving you five minutes of time after the lecture just to talk about it with her. It’s lovely. Dae is lovely.
And she also likes mint chocolate chip ice cream— though, she seemed more like a caramel ice cream lover. But when after hearing that fact about her during the icebreakers on the first day of school, you knew that you would get along with her easily, because unlike all the others that think mint chocolate chip ice cream tastes like toothpaste, there’s someone you know that finally has a good set of taste buds.
You love your professor just as much as you love your romance films and mint chocolate chip, but after the stunt she pulled, where she made you and Donghyuck partners for this project, she became one of the teachers in your list of ‘watch-out -for-next-semester’ professors.
“So, how’s the projects going along?” She looks around the classroom, blazer and suit in check, clasping her hands sweetly with a warm smile and her overly large glasses looming over her face when she turns to face you. “Donghyuck? Y/N?”
You freeze when you hear your name, shifting your gaze away from the powerpoint slide filling the window in your laptop, and turning to see everybody in the class looking at you in anticipation. Professor Dae notices you trying to tiny yourself in your spot, and she chuckles.
“I’ve been hearing a lot from yours. Care to share a little bit with the class before we start our lesson?” She raises her eyebrows, she’s not offering you to share what’s happening in your project, she’s making you share what’s happening in your project. Professor then moves her head to look at Donghyuck, who is seated on the same row as you as she coughs aggressively, making him turn up in surprise.
“You don’t have to share if you don’t feel comfortable.” You have to share whether you feel comfortable or not.
You and Donghyuck give each other a look from across the lecture hall before turning back to Dae.
“It’s been good…” you clasp your lips together, your cheeks heating up from all the attention. “...We’ve been getting a lot of… exposure.”
“Oh really?” Her eyes widen, though little do you know, Professor Dae already listens to your podcast (look, she listens to all her students podcasts, there’s no favouritism here). And she knows what has been happening, at this point it’s just playing the oblivious role. “It’s that good?”
“Well, I’d like to think it is. But there’s probably more arguments in the podcast than actual advice.” You can feel yourself beaming like a complete fool, in front of everyone that’s watching you, and potentially Donghyuck too, which is super risky. But he doesn’t notice because he himself is grinning behind his laptop screen, scared that you’ll catch him.
Professor Dae bites back a simper.
“I’m excited to listen to it.” She claps once, enthusiasm radiating through her words that gets a couple of students to laugh. “Especially since you two would always get into arguments here. I’m surprised you two haven’t gotten along yet.”
Your eyes widen, shy to respond while your tongue gets stuck in your mouth, unable to tell any of them you did start getting along with Donghyuck just recently, but you’re too afraid to admit it. You’d expect Dae to move on and discuss with another student about their communication assignment, since you’ve stopped talking and moved on to continue reading the Powerpoint slides, but apparently she’s not done.
“Well…” She waits in anticipation, but you have no idea what she’s referring to.
So she does want you to correct her.
“We’ve gotten a little bit closer? I think?” You don’t sound as confident as you intend to, because the mere idea of getting closer to Donghyuck, and tipping over that relationship that consists of you despising each other to tip over to friendship, makes your gut, mind and heart ricochet right before your eyes.
You turn to his direction, seeing if he will correct you and say that you both are still what you were at the beginning of the podcast, but when he looks at you, he sends you a subtle grin, as he nods hesitantly.
Professor Dae snickers, face livelier than ever, “Then that’s nice to hear. It’s about time that happened.” She shakes her head, and finds a new group to taunt.
EPISODE 11: there’s just something about you
Donghyuck’s mind is engulfed by you.
And it means a lot coming from him.
When you sit across from him across the recording studio, he feels like the luckiest man alive that Professor decided to partner you up with him. There are plenty of victories he can acknowledge that happened during his college life — the notable ones including his numerous wins during his soccer games — but this one feels special in it’s own way. There’s triumph in this sense, and his mind can’t simply phantom why he particularly feels this way around you.
But he finds solace in it. He finds solace whenever he sees your eyes from crescents over the smallest things, whenever you try to hold back that smile of yours, whenever you pout or frown over something stupid he says.
He’s always enjoyed the attention from you, the way you banter with him because you're not like the other ones who easily let him into their lives. But the very moment you showed him the other side of you, the side he didn’t think you would ever give him, you make it feel like it’s a dandelion wisp, something so fragile that he’s scared he would never see it ever again.
It feels so beautiful and painful in every way, and Donghyuck didn’t know he would ever have the capacity to hold such emotions for you.
“So, we’re nearing the finale.” You note out of the blue in the middle of the podcast, “How do you feel?”
He remembers when you both were so done after the first episode, but after all the things you’ve been through, he can genuinely say that he will miss this. “Delighted. I don’t have to talk to you as much anymore, and we can go back to our separate ways and ignore each other.” He jokes around, it’s all shown in the way his eyes sparkle.
“Fuck you, Lee Donghyuck.”
“I’d love that.”
And maybe. Just maybe. You're going to miss Lee Donghyuck; questionably humbled soccer player, decent podcast co-host, not so charismatic and more awkward boy, and the boy who’s somehow entered your heart in the weirdest way possible.
“This will be our last week of accepting letters, so get everything in while we’re still here. We won’t be having a Season 2.” It leaves you with a bittersweet taste in your tongue saying these words. You’re going to miss this, but you don’t think you’ll be able to tolerate spending another series of sleepless nights just to edit and think of ideas. Yeah the clout is cool, but it has drained you out a lot.
“We have reached the end of this week’s recording, so a reminder to hit that five star rating and tweet to us your thoughts of this episode.” You start to sound like those Youtubers that shamelessly promote their content, and it makes Donghyuck’s lips curve up to a grin. You sigh, confessing your thoughts, “I’ll miss this.”
“No you won’t, you’ll be thrilled we’re done with this. No more pulling all-nighters to do the editing.” He says in a sing-song tone, and you place your hand by your heart in faux pain.
“That was so uncalled for.” You sneer at him wittily, and as much as you can agree with him, you don’t like the way he’s bluntly saying it for the world to hear. Who knows. Maybe Professor will take off part marks for saying that.
“Okay but I think I’ll miss this too.” When you turn back to Donghyuck, his features soften; the words escaping him simmer in the silence between you, and you never could have imagined that things would end up like this. That you both would actually be at a level where you’ll feel weird going back to the lives you had before Professor brought you together.
And you press the stop button. Sighing, full of contentment and giving Donghyuck an air fist-bump, in which he gives back through tired eyes.
You take off your headset and gather your bag from under the desk, standing up from the chair and slinging your backpack around your arms, clutching it tightly as you get ready to get out of the room.
“Do you need a ride home?” He asks while you get ready, he’s still sitting down, watching as you move and scurry along the recording studio.
“Nah, I’m good. I’m meeting up with an old friend in that Korean Barbecue place in thirty minutes.” You play with the strings of your backpack as you reply to him, standing awkwardly by the exit. He stands up,
“Should I drop you off there, then?”
You shake your head, reassuring him that you’ll be fine, “It’s okay. Thank you, though.” But he looks at you as if there’s so many things drowning his mind, like there’s so much more of the unspoken words that you share. For some reason, you want to say yes to his question, just so you can spend just a few more minutes with him.
When you turn your heel and turn the door knob, you hear Donghyuck quickly clutching on his keys, the metal clinging furiously as his chair pulls back.
“Wait, Y/N.” He hurries to your side, and next thing you know, you can feel his fingers wrapped around your wrist. You give it a glance, and you suck in a deep breath, your heart dead struck at from his touch.
“What is it?” You whisper, doubting your own voice.
“I— I need to tell you something...” His voice trails off, and you turn back around so you can see his face, which is inches apart from yours. Donghyuck’s nerves wrack together as he finds the right way to say what he’s been dying to tell you for the last few days, and when you look at him so patiently, so lovingly, he thinks it’s no better time to tell you but now. “I think I might’ve caught feelings for you.”
There’s a grace period that happens immediately after, the delicacy of his hold starting to tremble as he waits for an excruciating amount of time to hear if you feel the same way or not. He hopes he has a chance, he hopes he’s just not misinterpreting everything that happens, and you as well felt the same spark he felt. It’s like his heart is getting ripped out of his chest, and though you don’t mean to, you might’ve broken him as you say your next words.
“Are you sure you’re not just saying that?” You know why you don’t want to admit how you feel about him just yet. “I don’t know. I don’t know if I can believe you.”
“You can’t?” He releases his hold.
“I’m sorry…” But it’s not that you're scared of him, no, you feel everything but that. But there’s just stopping you from telling him now. You don’t think it’s the right moment. There’s a glint flickering your iris’, a heavy burden that makes you want to believe that Donghyuck does feel the same way about you, but he said he doesn’t fall in love. And it’s hard to believe that someone who doesn’t want to have those feelings suddenly gains them in a span of weeks.
There’s a reason why Donghyuck teaches you to be realistic at times, and these are one of the circumstances where you have to.
“B-but I like you.”
The way his body is sending you the message makes you want to believe him. Because heck, you like, really really really feel the same way. But now that you’re able to finally accept what it feels like falling in love, you’re almost terrified at the idea. You’re scared that Donghyuck is just saying that because this was the first time he felt something different, or if he sincerely feels that way toward you.
“Then— then prove it to me, I guess.” You tell him, and this makes Donghyuck feel his body that was slowly falling, earning its wings. “I don’t know if I should trust your words, when just weeks ago, you told me, and everyone that listens to our podcast, that you don’t fall in love.”
And he thinks your words are valid. It’s the way you're giving him a chance that keeps him up his toes. And he knows you’re not purposely playing hard to get, because that game has already been going on since the day you met him. “So what do I do when I prove it?”
You place your hands on his shoulders with a small grin painting your lips, before opening the door. “Do it first. Then I’ll tell you what I’ll do after.”
“Is this a challenge?”
“I don’t know. Is it?”
For some reason, even though it should feel like you indirectly rejected him, he still feels like there is hope. After all, you did not completely shut him down.
EPISODE 12: let’s fall in love
Donghyuck does not know how to ‘prove it’. If he’s being real, he does not know what that statement even means, but after talking it out with the only person who seems to wholeheartedly understand him, also known as his roommate: the Lee Jeno, he’s been given a good pep talk and decent advice to what he should do.
It is the exact reason why he’s gone through with his plans right after his soccer practice just so he can tell you. You asked him to prove it, and he will do just that.
He’s panting at your front door, not because he’s exhausted, because everyone knows he has way too much stamina to feel out of breath from just running to your place for a good three minutes. But instead, it’s him standing at your front door, already knocked at the piece of wood with his practice uniform that makes him feel as if he’s ready to give his heart on a platter in any form he can.
You open your door, wearing one of your worn out high school club shirts and flamingo pyjamas, hair tousled and mix-match socks, and Donghyuck still thinks you're absolutely breathtaking. Your eyes almost bulge out, bewildered at the fact that Donghyuck is standing in front of you at an hour you don’t expect him to. “Woah— what are you doing here?”
“You asked me to prove it to you. So I’m doing it right now.” He doesn’t know why he’s being so straightforward with it, but as he collects all the courage he can muster up so he can talk to you, he believes that this is his one and only chance to make things right. Everything about this feels so right. The drink he's holding, that you still don’t notice, still feels so right.
“Okay,” your face perks up. His attempt at doing this makes you laugh. It’s airy. Light. Saccharine. And it gives Donghyuck hope. So much hope. It gives him hope that love is worth it. “How so?”
“Here.” He holds up the drink in front of you, and you look at it with furrowed eyebrows. “Does this remind you of anything?”
“It’s bubble tea.”
He gives off a single nod, eyes flickering at the same time you look at him in concern, blinking repeatedly, causing Donghyuck to close his lips shut, refraining himself from the crescents tempting to form his lips. It’s just a simple drink. Taro bubble tea. You don’t know why he’s giving it to you.
“It’s how I first met you.” He beams, simpering when you turn speechless. “You said you wanted a meet-cute moment, maybe I can help you remember ours.”
This alarms a strange, familiar tightening in your chest.
“We met at the bubble tea shop near the library. Jaemin wanted to introduce his best friend to us for the first time, and he was pretty excited and told us all about you. Then you enter the shop with the warmest smile on your face, and I remember feeling so ecstatic seeing you.” He takes a deep breath, and he doesn’t remove the contact he has with your eyes. If he only can, he would choose to be lost in them for an infinity.
And it makes you burst through the seams, letting him take your hand and hold the drink.
“But then when we got our orders, my drink accidentally spilt all over your shirt. And you got so mad at me after that because the purple stuff is now stained on that shirt.” He chuckles, looking down at what you're holding, then back to your face. “You hated me so much after that, and the debates we had in class didn’t make it better.”
“That was not a meet-cute.” You tell him the truth, it’s probably a meet-messy more than a meet-cute, but no matter what it is, the idea of Donghyuck even remembering this keeps your cheeks vividly flaring and fingers quaking. He fucking remembers.
You look at him gently, sharing a comforting moment through the borderline of your dorm and the hallway.
“Yes, it was.” Donghyuck begins to groan, “It was the first time I felt hopeful. After what happened in high school.”
You study the drink amusingly. You can’t believe you, the mediocre and simple you, was able to be the reason why Donghyuck has learned to find the value in falling in love. “I can’t believe I did that.”
But what you can’t believe is that you, the hopeless romantic and tinder date searching you, was able to find your reason to fall in love through Lee Donghyuck. The bane of your existence. But now, that has a different meaning.
“Yeah you did.” He wants you to believe him. “I know I say I don’t fall in love, and I know I have been firm with it. But god, Y/N. If only I knew this is what love would feel like.” And you do. You do believe him in every sense, in every word that he tells you.
“Can I drink this?” You hold it up higher, waving the drink at his face and poking the side of the straw, seeing his face drop because just when he’s sure that you will say the words back — because he knows — you do this instead.
“Are you being for real right now?” Donghyuck gawks, looking at you in disbelief, and you put up your best meekful expression. He really wishes you're messing with him right now, he really does, but it’s exactly the way he just gave his heart to you like that only for you to pull this card on him. “I— you know what. I can’t do this. Nevermind what I said.”
He huffs out a breath, taking a step back and getting ready to head to the elevator.
You grab his wrist.
“So do you love me or do you not love me?” His back is facing you, refusing to turn and look at you because he refuses to make a fool of himself to you one more time. “I can’t believe you're running away already.”
“I said what I said.” He says with a sigh.
“Answer my question.” Deciding to spare a glance at you, he thinks he will be greeted by a stern, or maybe a mirthful expression, but he notices neither. There you are, opposite of hard, of everything fond, sentimental, poignant, compassionate, he really thinks you would play with his feelings for another time.
Instead, you give him a look, one willing to listen to him, one filled with everything he’s been looking for. Seeing how your eyes don’t hold anything back anymore, you hold onto his wrist a little more delicately, like how you would hold his heart, and it makes Donghyuck loosen up and feel jittery at the same time.
“Yes, you fool. I do. And if I want to prove it to you by kissing you, but instead I had to make a whole monologue just so you can believe me. But look at where we are now.” Hearing his blunt words, his voice trembling at the same time, you cup his cheeks, making him look at you.
“You talk too much when you’re nervous.”
You let go of his wrist, moving it to rub your thumb across his cheeks, and Donghyuck finds himself relaxing under your touch.
“So… what are you gonna do now?” He asks you. There’s a twinkle of light that you don’t miss in his eyes, a subtle hint from him to you in hopes you’d continue instead of turning the other cheek.
“I don’t know.”
“I answered your question and you’re not going to say anything—?” Before he can say anything further, or reprimand you for fooling with his heart again, you cut him off, placing your lips on his, and it feels no less than the first time you did so, back by the coffee table.
Donghyuck’s head is spinning, letting out a gasp of air as honey and sugar drips from your lips, he kisses you, brings you closer, realizing right then and there, though he already knows, that you feel the same way. He’s reassured that you feel the same way.
You smile at him, lovingly. Ready to tell him anything and everything. “Lee Donghyuck. I have started catching feelings for you too, and I knew falling in love would be wonderful, but I didn’t know it would feel like this.”
“Good.” He says teasingly, and you push your drink against his chest, chuckling, not bothering if you spill it, because that’s how you met, right? “Because if I didn’t say it already, I love you.”
When Donghyuck smiles at your expression, you best believe that it is the most beautiful thing in the world. His mouth is formed so tender and lovestruck and his eyes turn into moons, it’s such a sight to bask in under the constellation painted in the night sky. You probably realized this a long time ago, and you have only come to terms to admit it now — Donghyuck is beautiful. His smile is beautiful. Everything about him is so beautiful that he can easily turn your world around just from his presence.
“I love you too, Mr. Guy Who Doesn’t Fall In Love.”
“Wait, you knew that was me?”
“Excuse me what?” You look at him weirdly, unable to register his words until one, two, three seconds, and your head snaps up. “I just said that as a joke. Oh my god, Donghyuck.”
“Oh well,” He shrugs, before the corners of his lips turn up for the umpteenth time, pulling you into an embrace. “At least you know what happened to his story now.”
Project Title: Romancing
Member Names: Lee Donghyuck and Y/N
Final Project Mark: 95%
Taglist. @vocalracha @jishyucks @strawbaeri-s @neoteez01 @thatanonymousgirl-as14 @b1kon131 @freesmbdy134 @teardroplover @haruharux23 @haechanswhore @ndr1271 @channiedani @fullfarmrascalpeach @ellethereal00 @jensbae @bluejaem @hhyuckkkk @jensrose @zcl01 @tyunsie
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