Jonghyun sat at the table, heart in his ear. He had skipped out his daily ritual of going to the library, turned down Minho’s offer for his moms award winning Beef Chili only to be sitting in the corner table of a quaint diner, poking at his steak, awkwardly staring all over the place and speaking in monosyllable. Jinki had been entertained with all of this even laughing when Jonghyun tripped on his own shoelace while walking to their table.
Unable to contain his curiosity, he asked “Why did you ask me out? We’ve never spoken to each other and you don’t know anything about me.”
“And he knows more than one word!” Jinki raised his arms in exaltation. “I was waiting for that. So, where do I begin? I think it all goes back to the library. I was sent there by school in the name of ‘community service’ to generally help out. I observe people a lot. I may not know who the person is or what they do but I like building my own stories around them. Like look at that guy at the end of the restaurant” he pointed.
Jonghyun turned and saw an old man in suspenders drinking some soup and reading the evening newspaper. “I’d like to think that he comes here on the third Friday of every month, sits in that exact spot and has the same menu every time because it’s where he had a date with a woman who he had loved dearly but an illness took her away early. She loved this restaurant and that soup was her favourite and she always sat at that booth. He comes here to celebrate her memory and their time together. Anyway, back to how you and I came about. I could never build a story around you and it was like an itch in my brain that I just couldn’t scratch. Or maybe it was because I wanted to get to know the real you and not want it to be something fictional. So in order to get that itch out, I spoke to you Yes, I don’t know you very well but isn’t that what a date is for? To get to know the person better and for me to build the real story? Jinki laughed, eyes sparkling.
They walked home, welcoming the quiet and the cool breeze. Jonghyun was surprised at how soft a person Jinki was. He may look and act like a bully, but really, underneath all that exterior was a big soft plushie bear waiting to be listened. Jinki had spoken at length about his family and the problems he had at home and why he acts the way he acts. He had been surprised Jonghyun had sat through all that ranting and venting, nodding sympathetically and holding his hand at the hard times. On a whim, Jinki linked their fingers.
They stopped at the corner of Jonghyun’s street, “You want to know why I asked you out.” Jinki whispered brushing the hair out of Jonghyun’s hair. “Its cause in that shit hole we call school, you’re the only one who isn’t a judgemental prick. To be honest, I didn’t expect you to say yes but I’m so glad you did.” One hand still linked with Jonghyun’s, Jinki used his free hand to embrace Jonghyun, bringing him closer. Jonghyun froze for a brief moment before wrapping his arms around Jinki’s waist and giving a tight squeeze. He hoped the night would hide the colour rising in his cheek.
“Pink is a good colour on you” Jinki joked, still holding on to the hands as they pulled apart.
“I got to go. My curfew ended half hour ago” Jonghyun tugged but didn’t make an effort to move. He gazed into the kohl drawn eyes that looked blacker under the streetlight than the usual dark brown.
“I think it’s time you go home tiger. I’ll see you tomorrow” Jinki murmured pulling away. Placing a kiss on his cheek, Jinki disappeared into the night, leather jacket, earrings and all.
A warmth spread inside Jonghyun and he shivered. He felt a rustle when he put his hand inside his jacket and pulled out a green paper.
“Thank you for everything. Thank you for listening”