Major Side Characters: Yesung, Kyuhyun
Minor Side characters: Ryeowook, Henry, Heechul, Siwon, Jungmo, Leeteuk, Hangeng, Seoyeon (OC), Haneul (OC)
Warnings: College AU and this is fiction of course.
Word count: 8.739
Summary: Sungmin is a guitarist, composer and lyrist for his rock band, Youngwoon is a barista and patisserie who dreams to be a musical actor, Jongwoon is Korea's dearest balladeer 'Yesung' whose hobby is to help talents reach their dreams, Kyuhyun is a college student working part time in a very unusual place, who happens to have eagle eyes to certain things. Books & Cupcakes is the place where all of them met and were tangled in lyrics that talked about loyalty, friendship and love.
A/N: I guess i didn't get comments in chapter 3 because of the 'part 01' in the tittle right? *get's bricked. well then here is part two proof-read and awesome for you guys *gets bricked again* <3 enjoy~
Youngwoon had just opened up the door for books & cupcakes to hang the open sign when he came face to face with a tired looking Sungmin and it surprised him a whole lot. He knew the guitarist would show up in the morning that Friday but never could he imagine the younger would open the shop with him, so to say.
"Morning, Youngwoon-ssi." Sungmin smiled a small smile as he greeted, not really waiting for a reply as he walked further into the café.
"Good morning, Sungmin-ssi." Youngwoon replied walking after his favorite customer and noticing other things that were off about the younger. For a start he was not wearing his usual rocker outfits, but a more athletic gear, he was also not carrying his guitar case.
Nevertheless, Ryeowook who was behind the counter, fixing up the cash register, looked up surprised at the mention of the name. He had heard much about Sungmin and the unexpected decision Jongwoon had made about the third floor had made him really curious about the other, not to mention the possibility of joining a band was a good prospect, even if rock was not exactly his cup of cappuccino.
The two baristas watched as the guitarist made his way to his pet stool and, after sitting, how he simply slumped over the counter and sighed.
"Sungmin-ssi, are you not feeling well?" Youngwoon asked with a tone full of worry, he didn't like seeing Sungmin like that and he willed his heart to stop aching when he didn't even know what was wrong.
Sungmin raised a hand and flailed it from side to side before letting it fall back on the counter limply. "I'll be ok after having breakfast." He mumbled loud enough to be heard before he turned his face to look at the younger barista while still half laying on the counter. "Ryeowook-ssi, I’m sorry for getting acquainted like this, but let me give you a good hyung advice, if you happen to be chosen for the band, never ever agree to exercise in the morning with our drummer. Never. Ok?"
Said barista only nodded quite dumbly in reply. Meanwhile right after Sungmin's first line, Youngwoon had already moved to the other side of the counter and was in the process of mixing a macchiato for Sungmin while the younger continued talking. He had felt grateful for knowing what was wrong, but he felt uncomfortable whenever he heard about the younger's closeness with his band mates. He knew it was ridiculous to feel like that, but he couldn't keep himself from doing so.
The silence continued for the time it took Youngwoon to fix the drink and it felt rather strange to break it. "Sungmin-ssi." Youngwoon called softly, because it had seemed the younger had actually managed to fall asleep. The guitarist hummed to announce he was not in dreamland yet, causing the older barista to smile. "Here, drink this up. A raspberry muffin is good?"
Sungmin looked at the mug Youngwoon handed him and forced himself to sit straight as he hummed an affirmative hum. The older barista was placing the muffin on a plate when he heard the younger sighing in delight. "Ah, I'm alive again." Youngwoon smiled brightly at seeing Sungmin's pleased expression and how the younger seemed like a little kid warming his hands with the hot mug still touching his lips. "Youngwoon's coffee is the best." The guitarist complimented as the barista placed the muffin in front of him.
"Thank you, Sungmin-ssi." Youngwoon replied still smiling brightly as he watched his customer delighting himself with his cooking.
Meanwhile Ryeowook had done nothing but to stare amused at his hyung. Kyuhyun had warned him about what he would see, but the change in Youngwoon's demeanor was beyond his expectation.
The day really started after Sungmin had finished his food and Youngwoon stood aside so the guitarist could carry out his unofficial audition. He watched closely as Sungmin and Ryeowook moved to Sungmin’s pet table and kept talking lowly about music and how the screening would be, the guitarist heard the demo Ryeowook had prepared and like with the other candidates Sungmin took a selca and then spent a few minutes typing things out in his phone.
Not long after the guitarist stood up. "I'll see you later then." Sungmin said with a smile that was completely aimed at Youngwoon. That line had made the two baristas look at him in wonder.
"Are you not meeting the last candidate this morning? I heard Henry had agreed to pass by." Ryeowook was the one asking.
Sungmin nodded. "Yes we had, but I need a hot bath and I need to pass by the studio to fetch the demo we'll be sending to you guys, so you can prepare for next Saturday." The guitarist explained leaving the two baristas to have nothing to say to that, other than to wish him a safe trip. "I'll be back in around two hours, so if Henry-ssi arrives before I manage to get back, please keep him entertained, yes? So see you later." He waved and left Books & Cupcakes in a slight rush.
Truthful to his words two hours later Sungmin was back in his casual attire yet even before he opened the door he could hear a dramatic violin song. Curiously he opened the door hoping not to disturb the violinist. He recognized the one playing as someone he had seen at Books & Cupcakes before and he certainly was close with Kyuhyun.
Upon seeing him, Ryeowook was about to call for the violinist's attention, but Sungmin signed him not to. He wanted to hear the other playing. As he closed the door behind himself, Sungmin first noticed there was someone to his right so he looked at the first sofa and saw that Seoyeon was there reading a book. He had smiled at her and he had wished to greet her, but she was so immersed in what she was reading that she didn't give him attention.
As he looked at the counter though, Youngwoon was smiling at him and he promptly smiled back that tad bit more brightly. He looked at the tables then and frowned upon seeing them occupied, so he walked to a stool and sat down in front of Youngwoon.
"Want to eat something?" Youngwoon asked in a whisper getting closer so he wouldn’t disturb his friend playing. Sungmin thought he had to thank the boy for that. "Maybe later." The guitarist replied doing the same. Even though the two of them had felt very comfortable in that close proximity while staring at each other, they couldn't keep their moment since a voice coming from the second sofa interrupted the violinist.
"That was amazing, Henry! Do you mind doing the soundtrack for the whole book?" A guy asked causing the violinist to grin cheekily. "If you pay me for that." He replied as he put aside his violin and reached for a mug in front of him. Sungmin was quite impressed.
"Now I think you should greet him, Henry-ah." Ryeowook said with a grin of his own. "I think you started with extra points and it's not fair." The barista continued looking from his friend to Sungmin, who smiled before replying to that. "I promise you the band will be impartial, our fans will choose regardless of our preferences."
Henry had looked from Ryeowook to the guy that had talked and upon hearing those words he stood up in a rush and bowed to Sungmin. "I'm sorry, I didn't know you were already here, I really didn't mean to ignore you or impress you or cheat." The boy started to ramble but he stopped as he heard Sungmin's melodic laughter along with Youngwoon telling him to loosen up because "Wook is just teasing you."
"I'm Lee Sungmin, the second guitarist, composer and lyrist for Titanium, the band you are trying to join, I am as well one of the founders." Sungmin said and reached a hand for Henry to shake. Ryeowook didn't really react to those words because he had heard those earlier that morning, but Youngwoon did react by cursing Jongwoon in his head, as he finally understood why the singer had chosen titanium to be the name of their new membership.
"Nice to meet you, Sungmin-ssi, I am Henry Lau, I am majoring in classical music, violin." The boy replied bowing again but then taking a seat closer to the guitarist as the other probed him to.
"How long till you graduate, Henry-ssi?" Sungmin asked focusing his attention on the boy, giving Youngwoon a very professional aura and a nice view of his side profile.
"Two years." Henry replied with a grin as he felt himself relaxing, though Sungmin's presentation was quite intimidating, the guitarist had an amicable posture.
"Are you just studying or do you have a part-time job?" Sungmin asked back. Henry nodded. "I work part-time at a restaurant along with a friend that plays the piano and a friend that plays flute." The boy replied softly.
"I suppose you brought a demo for me, since you said you had not tried to cheat." Sungmin teased and slightly embarrassed Henry pulled his phone and earphones to show the guitarist his demo.
Sungmin took the device gratefully and proceeded to listen to the younger's song, now and then making a comment about Henry's talents and flaws, exactly like he did with the previous candidates. When he was finished he smiled at Henry. "As I asked Kyuhyun to tell you, next Saturday we'll hold a showcase for our fans to choose our new member, later today I’ll e-mail you a music score for one of our songs, you'll play one of the instrumental solos and a song you either composed yourself or a cover, it can be instrumental or if you are confident with your singing you can sing." Sungmin explained and Henry nodded at every few words, even though, when Sungmin silenced he dared ask.
"Won't it feel strange though? To have classical music thrown in the middle of a rock show?" Henry didn't mean to be disrespectful and Sungmin didn't see the question as such. "We've been preparing this showcase for quite a while now, we'll perform acoustic version of our originals so the classical will fit perfectly. Another point, next week since all candidates will have time, you are welcome to come to our studio to practice with us. I'll e-mail the address along with the music score."
Henry nodded in understanding and the two exchanged phone numbers and e-mails, Henry also passed his demo to Sungmin, who promptly sent it to his band members. Also as per usual the guitarist took a selca of the two of them before dismissing the boy and announcing in their fan café the last candidate.
Youngwoon had been sneakily spying on the two, just to finally know more about Sungmin's band and how this selection would go, yet he was fairly disappointed as Sungmin stated all his afternoons would be occupied the next week, it could only mean Youngwoon wouldn't be able to see him at all the next few days, the older barista felt even more disappointed when the guitarist greeted him goodbye saying he had a lunch appointment with a friend.
Yet Youngwoon finally admitted to himself that he was further downhill with his feelings for Sungmin, for they were deeper than he wanted to acknowledge, when Seoyeon looked up from her book the moment the guitarist was reaching the door, Sungmin looked at her, smiled, waved and greeted. "See you Tuesday, Seoyeon noona."
There was something really not in its right place if Youngwoon had felt jealous of his own sister. He stared at the vitrine window after the door was closed behind Sungmin, but Youngwoon ended up actually growling in frustration at the fact the guitarist had taken the opposite direction to leave, denying the older barista his last longing glance.
Youngwoon had tried to busy himself with other things to do, but he ended up retreating to the safeness of his kitchen when he received a text message from Seoyeon. |Your jealousy flatters me.| She had written and Youngwoon thought for the first time it had not been a good idea to allow her to date Jongwoon, she was being exposed too much to his annoying annoyness.
Youngwoon had never been one to hide behind a bush, but he was also terrible with putting his feelings into understandable words, so there he was sitting on his bed staring at Sungmin's phone number he had 'stolen' from Books & Cupcakes records.
He mustered the courage to send the guitarist a message, so with a fast typing he wrote down | Are you free next Tuesday night? Youngwoon| he stared at the words in his screen and then mumbled his frustrations. It was too straight forward and didn’t exactly go to the point.
He closed his eyes, lowered the mobile and banged his head on the backrest of his bed. Contacting the other was harder than he thought, because every line coming to his head just didn't seem right. After a long sigh he looked back at his mobile screen to erase what he had written and start again, but his eyes widened as he felt horrified at the realization that he accidently had sent the message. He panicked. That message was just creepy, he was already imagining the guitarist never showing up at Books & Cupcakes because he had felt creped up by Youngwoon.
He almost threw his phone away when the thing went off in his hand and he saw Sungmin had actually replied. Youngwoon swallowed and opened the message. | Are you asking me out for a date? :) |
Youngwoon had to read it five times to make sure he had read it right. Sungmin had not felt creped up. The little smiley also said Sungmin was in good mood. | Not exactly... I was wondering if you would like to watch a musical... Starry sky. |
The reply came almost five minutes later with no emoticons. | Sorry, Youngwoon-ssi, I have an appointment that night.| Youngwoon couldn't help but feel disappointed, he was just starting to type out a reply saying he would act in that musical and that he really wanted Sungmin to go watch, but a new message came from the guitarist. | Are you free, not this but next Saturday night?|
Youngwoon felt his heart skipping a beat. Sungmin was really inviting him to his band's showcase? | I am. Will I get VIP entry?| he replied in half a joke. He didn't expect what he got as reply. | Sure. I'll try to fix a backstage pass too. |
The two kept messaging each other for a few more hours, Youngwoon's messages were short and mostly he would make questions about the things Sungmin was telling him, the guitarist kept gushing about his schedule for next week and how he was excited about the audition, they talked about the candidates and how Sungmin thought they would deal with Heechul and Jungsoo. As result Youngwoon ended up not talking about the musical and during the weekend the two didn't talk because Sungmin was busy and his phone had been confiscated by Jungsoo - because he showed up with bags under his eyes and kept chuckling over things he read on his phone - and was not given back until Monday morning, because after the device being taken Sungmin almost fell asleep when the manager was talking about the new merchandise to their web store.
Youngwoon didn't know Sungmin had rejected the musical offer because he had heard Yesung was the main star in it, and even if the relationship between the singer and the barista was one of family bond, he didn't want his potential first date with Youngwoon to be related to the singer, that's why he started to gush about his own stuff and he felt glad that Youngwoon seemed to share his enthusiasm even though his replies were always short. He was making questions and that was the real important point, Youngwoon wanted to know more about him.
Sungmin arrived at books & cupcakes about five minutes after the opening hours. When he looked through the vitrine window he saw Youngwoon fumbling with the espresso machine, but he didn't see Ryeowook. He had opened the door with all the intention to talk about the musical Youngwoon had asked him out to, but before he could greet, Sungmin felt his heart skipping a beat and then he felt horrified because of all songs Youngwoon could have been singing, he was singing ‘Fractions’.
The first conclusion he got was that Henry had broken the rule of not disclosing the band's song he would perform. Youngwoon wouldn't have access to it if not through Henry. Youngwoon should not have heard the song yet, how could Sungmin confess with it now?
"Sungmin-ssi!" Youngwoon called with a happy surprised tone, bring said male back to reality from his reverie. He smiled that tad bit sad and Youngwoon noticed. "Is there anything wrong? Another exercise session with the drummer?" the barista asked after noticing Sungmin was once again using his sportswear.
"No, I went to the gym alone. I can't keep up with Siwon." Sungmin replied getting to the counter and sitting on his pet stool as he tried to figure out what to do now that Youngwoon knew his song by heart.
"I hope you didn't think badly about me messaging you too out of the blue like that, since you didn't reply my messages during the weekend." Youngwoon started with a small voice as he looked at the younger male, Sungmin on the other hand threw every thought out as he looked up and reassured the older male. "I didn't mind at all! I didn't reply because Jungsoo confiscated my phone! Sometimes it's hard to live in a house with other four guys, you see."
The older barista smiled slightly relieved with hearing that. "So you live with the other members of the band and the manager?" Youngwoon asked not breaking eye contact.
Sungmin barely nodded. "We were from the same college, so once we all graduated we moved in together, we were already quite used with living in dorms so it was not that big a change."
Youngwoon chuckled for learning more about his favorite customer and Sungmin smiled. "I hope you didn't spend the whole weekend awaiting for my reply." The guitarist joked but the barista smiled a half smirk. "I would have, if Kyuhyun didn't beg me to save him. He had an assignment due for today and I spent the weekend helping him. Thanks to him I got distracted from checking my phone every five seconds and even got addicted to this song, even though I don't know who sings or the name of the song." He explained pulling out the earplugs he had in one of his ears and putting the device that was playing the song aside.
“How is Kyuhyun-ssi related to that?” Sungmin found himself asking because he couldn’t really connect, some part of him was still blaming Henry for the leak. Youngwoon didn’t quite understand Sungmin’s question but answered what he thought the guitarist wanted to know.
“Kyuhyun and a classmate of his had to make a report about places musicians could make a life, Kyuhyun interviewed the owner of an orchestra and his classmate the owner of a Show House, but their teacher stated last week that even though it was a pair assignment each had to write a report about the two places and hand in a transcription of the interviews. While he wrote the report I did the transcription for him, his friend had forgotten to turn off the recorder so he got part of a song from the band that was performing that day. It’s really cool song even though it’s just half the music.” Youngwoon explained as he kept staring at Sungmin, for some reason the guitarist seemed to be lost in far away thoughts, he was not sure the younger had heard him at all.
Sungmin stared at him with a blank expression as he processed the information. It had not been Henry’s wrong doing, but a wild trick of destiny? They had performed that song only once that Friday his band had gone down to Zero Gravity to talk with the LME scout, it could only be destiny playing tricks on him because the band performing that night was actually from a close hobae of theirs, therefore they practically demanded Titanium to perform at least one song that night and they had agreed to play ‘Fractions’.
"Sungmin-ssi?" Youngwoon called and the guitarist blinked before replying. "Sorry, I just remembered about something I have to do later." Sungmin replied smiling again but before anything else could be said, the guitarist blushed as his body demanded food with a loud grumble.
Youngwoon chuckled louder. "What can I get for you, Sungmin-ssi?" The barista asked and the guitarist placed his order. While he was having his breakfast Ryeowook rounded the counter coming from the private session and upon seeing Sungmin, greeted him cheerily.
The two of them talked a little about the plans for the week and because of that the musical topic slipped past them just like that. Sungmin only remembered about it when he got to the studio and Jungmo was practicing 'Fractions'. He had pulled his mobile to text Youngwoon about it but Jungsoo was fast into snatching the device from a pouting Sungmin.
The guitarist only remembered about the musical issue the next day when he was entering Books & Cupcakes. Ryeowook was talking with a girl, Haneul if he remembered her name correctly, and it seemed they were both upset over something.
The moment he took a seat on his pet stool, things had seemed to cloud even more as he girl took hold of one of his hands and spoke with a heartbroken tone. "Sungmin oppa, tell Wookie oppa that it's ok for him to miss rehearsal today."
The guitarist was fairly taken aback by that request so he instantly looked over at Ryeowook who was also wearing some sort of sad expression. "Haneul-ah, don't be like that... I promise to make up for it this weekend." The male barista had tried to reason but the girl still pouted.
"But, oppa, it was supposed to be our first official date... And today is such a special day too." She retorted to Ryeowook, but then was looking back at Sungmin. "Would it be bad if he missed rehearse today? Oppa is really, really genius when it comes to piano." She continued to plea but Ryeowook once again reinforced that he would make up for it in the weekend.
Halfheartedly Haneul accepted his point but she still kept gloomy about the situation. When Ryeowook served Sungmin's breakfast the guitarist called for the male barista in a small whisper.
"Why is it that she's so gloomy about a date?" He understood the first date point but it didn't seem to be just that.
"It's not just our first date as a couple, it's also an important day for hyung and I didn't want to miss it, she's not just sad because of us." Ryeowook started explaining but upon seeing Sungmin did not understand his point, he explained further. "Today is the first performance for Starry Sky we always go to hyungs' musicals on the first day, we had this night planned months ago, just that since we're dating now we were going to it as a couple."
Sungmin's expression cleared but something was still off about his reaction in Ryeowook's point of view, especially for what the guitarist replied. "Why would the rehearse be in the way then?"
Ryeowook hesitated slightly before replying. "Your studio is on the other end of the city, it would take one hour and a half to get to the theater, it would be impossible to go after rehearse and if I was to get out earlier I would practice for just two hours and a half, what would practically mean it would be better for me not to go. I talked with hyung and he said he would be sad for me not showing up, but that he knew the audition was an important moment for me and I should give my all to it."
Sungmin had become strangely pensive after 'Starry Sky' was mentioned and Ryeowook could hardly believe what he heard after. "Where is the theater?"
The barista replied in concealed disbelief but then smiled more than relieved with what the guitarist proposed. "Indeed taking the subway or going by car you wouldn't be able to make it, but if we leave some fifteen minutes earlier I could drop you off there, I have to go get our clothes for the showcase and the atelier is close to the theater so it wouldn't be a problem to give you a lift. Motorcycles make our lives easier sometimes."
Ryeowook was about to thank him for that help but Haneul, who had been eavesdropping on them shouted before her boyfriend could speak. "Thank you, Sungmin oppa! I love you!" But then she diminished her tone and just grinned happily. "Not as much as I love Ryeowook oppa, though."
Sungmin was first taken aback but then just grinned back at her. "Be careful of your demonstrations of love, I would be jealous if I was your boyfriend." He grinned over at Ryeowook then who was just chuckling to himself.
The guitarist left books & cupcakes, not long after. feeling lighter, even though he couldn't talk about the musical with Youngwoon he figured something could be arranged if he gave Ryeowook that ride. He had innocently though that the baristas had organized another staff gathering and that’s why Youngwoon had said it was not exactly a date. Little did he know that right after he left, Ryeowook and Haneul stared at each other frowning.
"It seems Youngwoon hyung didn't tell him about the musical." Ryeowook said with a doubtful tone. Haneul bit her lower lip as she thought of a solution for that miss-encounter. "But we can still help them up, Wookie oppa." She announced as her expression brightened and in the next second she was speed dialing Seoyeon. When the phone call was over she cheered. "Unnie has a plan! We can rest assured."
Ryeowook smiled down at her and stole a kiss for her lips. "We can work assured you mean, it's still 8:00 am." Before she could retort to that, one of the members that was patiently waiting to be attended cheered. "Oh my God! Are you guys really, really, really finally dating?" The two baristas blushed at the remark, but their story was a whole story in itself.
Later that day, Sungmin and Ryeowook left the studio fifteen minutes earlier as they had agreed and about forty minutes later they were parking in front of the theater, Haneul was already there wildly waving at them with a bright smile, dressed over with a very beautiful long coat, he noticed then that even though Ryeowook’s clothes had been very casual and comfortable, his coat was also a bit fancier. The good points of layers of clothes he thought to himself, they didn’t need to remove their coats inside the theater if they didn’t want to.
Sungmin walked up with Ryeowook in hope of spotting the other staff of Books & Cupcakes and speaking with Youngwoon, but he ended but being disconnected from the world as he saw Youngwoon’s face, but not where he had expected to see it. He stared at the musical's poster in disbelief. Sure Yesung was there with the lead actress right up front dressed in traditional Jeoseon clothing, but he couldn't believe his eyes as Youngwoon was also in the poster wearing similar clothes but staring at the couple with evident jealousy. He looked up at the names of the three main leads. Yesung. CL. Kangin.
What the heck was exactly happening? He somehow felt like an idiot for never suspecting that side of Youngwoon. He should have suspected the older barista must have something to him related to music. Everybody around Yesung had something to do with it. Plus Sungmin had heard Youngwoon singing before, his voice was that of someone who knew what singing was all about, but of course he had not taken much consideration of that because heck Youngwoon was singing ‘Fractions’ and he shouldn’t be.
He needed answers but before he decided to question Ryeowook or Haneul about that, he found himself instantly looking at the ticket booth, but he groaned at spotting the sold out sign. When he turned around to talk with the couple he was taken a back because they were no longer there, instead Seoyeon was standing alone not far from him with a knowing expression. She was wearing her couple coat, he didn’t miss to notice.
"My Youngwoon oppa is kind of useless sometimes." She said smiling at Sungmin and walking closer to him, her expression turning sympathetic. "He didn't tell you anything about the musical?"
Sungmin shook his head but then amended. Youngwoon had tried to tell him about the musical. "He had invited me to see it, but he didn't tell me he was actually starring in it." And truthfully Sungmin had helped Youngwoon in not being able to tell him that.
Seoyeon rolled her eyes at the reply as if she had just confirmed her expectations. "Oppa is seriously a lost cause. He usually is not one to delay things once he decided on something, but he also is a disaster trying to put his feelings into understandable words, so be patient with him, Sungmin ah."
The guitarist felt his heart doing a double jump at the implications of those words and he felt more than ready to take up the first step if only he was given the chance, he was not going to wait till the showcase anymore, even if he had to wait the whole night at the theater’s back door, he would confess his feelings that night.
Seoyeon smiled at his determined expression, evidently pleased. "Would you allow me to still use couple outfits with oppa, Sungmin-ssi?" She questioned reaching for the guitarist a VIP ticket and a backstage pass.
Sungmin stared at the two items and smirked. "People wouldn't really notice if we were to wear couple outfits, and being famous we have to look up not to spread rumors. Since you are my one and only noona-in-law I should help with keeping you happy." He said as he reached for the two pieces of paper that held the key to his destiny.
Seoyeon laughed as she let go of the two items and then held his arm cuddling close. "Well said, dongsaeng." Sungmin laughed lightly at how perfect his accomplice was, and he felt really grateful to her. And for Haneul to have made a fuss about Ryeowook not coming. But he really had an appointment that night and he couldn’t exactly turn his back onto his band members, so he quickly pulled out his phone and called over the only member that had nothing else to do that night. When the call connected he was right at the point. “Something urgent came up and I can’t go fetch our clothes, so get your ass to the atelier in time. This is punishment for all the times you had stood me, so don’t talk back. See you tomorrow, Jungmo.” He hung up before his friend could even try to protest.
Youngwoon was staring quite remorsefully at the VIP balcony where he could see Ryeowook, Haneul and Kyuhyun already seated and waiting for the show to start. He looked over at the two unoccupied chairs and sighed. He should have tried a little harder to invite Sungmin properly.
He walked back to the dressing-rooms corridor to do a last check up on his makeup but right after he opened the door to his private dressing-room – being one of the main leads had it’s good sides - someone pushed him inside and closed the door with the lock, that little sound was unmistakable. When Youngwoon turned around quite pissed, thinking it was some sort of prank from the ex-strawberry head, for a brief second he was rendered speechless and considered if he was having hallucinations-pre-performance as he saw Sungmin smiling up at him. But then there were hands on his shoulder and lips nibbling softly on his lips. Before he could actually get his brain to function the lips were no longer there but Sungmin was still standing in front of him and smiling.
"Sung..." Youngwoon had started but the younger interrupted him. "I'll be cheering for you from the VIP seats, so do your best, Youngwoon hyung." After saying that, grinning for the adorable blush on Youngwoon's face, Sungmin inched closer and whispered at the elder’s ear. "Let’s stop running in circles around each other and just run side by side. I love you, Youngwoon hyung."
Youngwoon held Sungmin with one arm in order not to mess up his costume but he deemed no concern for his makeup as his lips once again found Sungmin’s. The actual kiss had felt way better than the previous touch and incomparable to all the times Youngwoon had wondered to himself how those lips would taste on his. After they parted the words slipped past his lips easily like that since he was overflowing emotions. "I love you." There was a wide grin on his lips as he felt himself being filled with confidence.
Sungmin grinned back taking up his distance and helping Youngwoon put on the hat of his general costume. "Shine brighter than Yesung, Kangin hyung." The younger demanded inspecting the damage caused to the other’s makeup, but he felt glad the touchups seconds before going on stage would fix those. Youngwoon laughed slightly but nodded. "I will." He assured because he was certain he would.
Halfheartedly Sungmin gave one last encouragement before turning around and unlocking the door before he retreated back in the corridor to go find his seat. Youngwoon halfheartedly followed to the door and watched Sungmin round the corner.
Indeed that night Youngwoon had shone brighter than anyone on stage.
The next day Sungmin made sure to leave his apartment to go to the gym before any of his friends had woken up, and that was an impressive doing since sometimes he wondered if Siwon ever really slept, so early the drummer would go out to his morning exercises. Sungmin had done his gym routine diligently even picking up some more exercises because he was quite sure he would become a first-hand guinea pig for Youngwoon’s new recipes after what happened to the two the night before. He punched the air in excitement when he remembered the most intimate moments before and after the musical.
On his way to Books & Cupcakes he had stopped by a news stand to check out what the critique had said about ‘Starry Sky’. He felt proud as more than half of the articles were talking about how unusual it was for the second main lead to finish the play with such spotlight. Youngwoon’s character was said to be an outstanding personification of abandonment for love and how the actor had nailed in portraying the emotions and the vocals all through the play. Sungmin thought that the musical poster should have been different, they shouldn’t had given the main couple so much screen, Youngwoon’s character was the real key of the play, they shouldn’t be calling him second main lead.
With those thoughts creasing his face with a frown he arrived at Books & Cupcakes while Youngwoon was in the kitchen fetching the last batch of cupcakes for the food display. With a grin he pulled out his mobile and sent a text for Youngwoon. | Would you open up the shop earlier for your favorite customer? |
He waved with an idiotic grin through the vitrine window as moments later Youngwoon’s head appeared by the kitchen’s door. The barista smiled and rushed to the main door, quickly opening up for Sungmin and then locking it again. Sungmin felt glad that the door had no transparent parts because the very first thing he did was pull Youngwoon closer for a kiss. He had always wanted to do that, yet he felt slightly disappointed as Youngwoon pulled away with an apologetic grin when the kiss had started to feel really good. “Cupcakes in the oven. I can’t let them burn.” The barista explained as he took a step back. “But you are welcome in the kitchen if you promise not to distract me.” Sungmin could do that. Or maybe not. There were no burnt cupcakes but Ryeowook did walk in on them when the younger barista entered the kitchen asking Youngwoon why the food display was still not fully filled and the espresso machine was not ready for work since they were nearly late to open the shop.
Sungmin had been ordered to help place the cupcakes in the food display for distracting Youngwoon. He had promised it wouldn’t happen again, but somehow Ryeowook knew that promise was most probably empty. Sungmin ate his breakfast with a satisfaction no-one but Youngwoon could imagine.
Saturday came too quickly after that. Youngwoon had spent a few minutes at the candidates dressing room trying to give some good encouragement to Ryeowook, but Haneul was all over him, Kyuhyun was all over Henry so he decided he had played enough of the good hyung, since he was not that close with the other candidates. Hence why he sneakily went out of the dressing room and stood in front of Sungmin's dressing room cursing the fact that it also belonged to all his band members.
He knocked on the door and then opened it putting just his head inside in hope Sungmin was alone in there. The guitarist was there strumming his guitar, but so was Jungmo with his own, Heechul, Siwon and Jungsoo were also there watching something in a laptop.
Heechul looked up at him using the mirror, Siwon and Jungsoo turned over to look at him, Sungmin and Jungmo looked up from their guitar and suddenly Youngwoon felt like an idiot for being there.
"Let's go check the stage." Heechul suddenly said standing up. Siwon and Jungsoo followed him without saying anything, Sungmin made himself comfortable on the sofa he was sitting at and so did Jungmo, who went back strumming his guitar. Siwon had beckoned Youngwoon inside when he walked outside while Jungsoo walked back in calling Jungmo and figuratively pulling the guy along by the ear. Youngwoon felt extremely thankful for that.
Sungmin put his guitar aside and walked over to Youngwoon. "Don't mind Jungmo, he is the only single one now." The guitarist said with a teasing tone. "Tell him I’ll give him a discount if he helps us get quality time alone." The younger laughed at the reply agreeing that bribes would work better with the first guitarist.
"May I know..." Sungmin had started to ask, but Youngwoon cut his speech by kissing the younger man on the lips much like it happened backstage at the musical. The guitarist had no problems in shutting up and enjoying the moment. “I don’t know if I can tell you to shine more than the others but at least shine more than Jungmo-ssi.” Youngwoon mumbled still holding on to Sungmin who laughed and nodded. “I will.” He retorted feeling grateful for that small moment. He wrapped his arms around Youngwoon’s neck and smiled lazily. “You shall sing with me.” The younger added confusing Youngwoon with that.
“Sing what?” the older guy asked but the younger shook his head. “You’ll know when the time comes.” Sungmin replied before demanding another kiss. Someone knocked on the door when the two were taking blind steps to the couch. “Min-ah! Five minutes!” the call had startled the two love birds that disentangled themselves. Youngwoon laughed over Sungmin frantically trying to adjust his clothes and only then did he notice Sungmin’s hair had strands dyed in purple.
“You better run to get to your seat.” Sungmin said and Youngwoon focused his attention back on his lover’s face. “My apartment later?” Youngwoon asked with a bit of hope, they had been discussing if they could escape to have the rest of the night for themselves or if they would end up wasting themselves in some kind of after show party. “Your apartment later.” Sungmin confirmed with a bright smile before stealing a peck from his boyfriend’s lips, then rushing with his guitar and pulling Youngwoon with him out of the room.
Youngwoon had felt surprised when he arrived at the VIP balcony at Zero Gravity, not because the place had the most perfect view of the stage, but because Jongwoon’s manager was there at a corner awaiting for the show to start. Suddenly a lot of things made sense and he felt like calling his friend to tell him he wouldn’t receive first hand cupcakes anymore for gathering information on Sungmin behind his back like that.
He was not given time to do that though because the balcony lights diminished and the lights on the stage started to flick and move in all direction. Fireworks exploded and the word ‘Titanium’ appeared at the back of the stage. Everything went dark before a guitar started to be played and the fans crowding the show house started to scream. A spot light appeared as the lights kept flickering on that spot illuminating Jungmo in his intro solo. Seconds later another spotlight appeared as the second guitar was heard and the fans screamed even more as Sungmin made his entrance. Moments after, the drums came on full force along with the third spotlight and more hysterical screams from the fans. Youngwoon thought it was impossible for them to shout louder than that but they managed to do so when the fourth spotlight appeared and Heechul started to sing, soon the fans were singing along and Youngwoon felt the adrenaline rising along with the music tempo.
The next second though literally everything went dark as if the lights had gone out. There were unpleasant murmurs from the crowd. Youngwoon looked around in hopes to find some emergency lights or something, but then there were light once again on stage, faint colorful lights. When he looked up his eyes moved to the smudges of purple, he knew that was where Sungmin had been standing. He noticed then the members of the band had their hair, clothes and music instruments painted with fluorescent colors. Sungmin was purple, Siwon was blue, Jungmo was green and Heechul was orange. They were moving on stage and then they stopped each at a certain point. After that ‘Titanium’ reappeared but it was no longer written with the fancy led but, with of all things, emergency lights.
Other lights flickered under the band’s name and then the ‘energy’ seemed to be back as ‘Titanium’ reappeared written with led lights but under it was also written the word ‘unplugged’. Two spotlights reappeared when Jungmo started to play an acoustic guitar and moments later Heechul started to sing the same song he was singing before but of course sounding much more acapella. Nevertheless the fans still sang along through the whole song. Youngwoon sneaked a glance at Jongwoon’s manager. He was clearly amazed.
Sungmin had been the one playing the acoustic guitar for the second song, but at one point he stopped playing and Jonghyun appeared out of nowhere playing piano. The fans went mute when he appeared but then clapped when his small solo was over and Heechul along with Sungmin started playing again. When the song was over the spotlight once again was on Jonghyun who performed his solo for the fans. They cheered enthusiastically when he was finished.
The next song was the cause for the fans to scream hysterically because Jungmo was playing the guitar for Siwon to sing. One of the candidates also performed the instrumental part of the song, once again piano, and followed as the next solo performer. Heechul sang another song, then another candidate performed. The relative silence at the VIP balcony was broken when the stillness between songs came.
“Haneul-ssi. Please refrain from cheering for Ryeowook, he’ll be next to perform.” Jungsoo suddenly said beside him causing the girl to look at him as if the older guy was crazy. “Why would I do that? How can you ask me not to cheer for my boyfriend?!” the girl retorted evidently displeased with the absurd request. Calmly Jungsoo retorted while giving her an apologetic smile. “this device in my hands measures our fans’ response to the performances. Up till here there was no interference because you guys kept quite calm, if you shout for Ryeowook the device won’t give him his real score, so it would be bad for him.” Haneul had clearly wanted to retort to that but she understood her cheering could end up affecting badly her boyfriend so she nodded and sulked.
The fans once again cheered hysterically when Sungmin played the guitar for Jungmo to sing. Ryeowook performed the instrumental for the song and afterwards his own solo and personal composition. A sweet love song he had composed for Haneul. He would always call her his bright spring sky for a reason.
Since all members of the band had performed a song so far Youngwoon was already expecting the next one to be Sungmin’s, he didn’t expect though what he heard. Jungmo didn’t play the guitar as the barista was expecting, instead Sungmin played his own guitar while he sang. The melody had somehow felt familiar but it was only when the words actually left his mouth that Youngwoon recognized the song feeling like he had been struck by lightning. “We only know a fraction of each other… Too afraid of the knowledge… We keep our distance since the moment we met… But like a bird learning to fly… I end up discovering a new side of you.” Sungmin sang with closed eyes and a very small smile.
Youngwoon had felt Kyuhyun moving closer to him, had felt his hand on his arm but he didn’t hear what the Younger told him. He could only hear Sungmin singing the missing words of the song he knew so well. “We only know a fraction of each other… Too afraid of disappointment… We gravitate around each other… Running in endless circles that hardly overlap… I keep my secrets from you.” Kyuhyun pulled harder on his arm but he couldn’t keep his eyes out of Sungmin to give his dongsaeng attention, he probably wanted to tell him something he already knew. Youngwoon’s lips moved in sync then with Sungmin’s though no sounds came out of his mouth. That’s what the guitarist had wanted him to sing along, but somehow he couldn’t. Sungmin’s voice was too perfect singing it. “We only know a fraction of each other… Too afraid of rejection… We smile over this frail point of certainty… Building up the courage we always doubt we have… In a distant horizon you are like a shining star…”
Suddenly that song had seemed to speak so much more to him. Youngwoon could link each part of the song to how slowly his feelings had developed from simple curiosity into something way deeper. Those lines also spoke how Sungmin’s feelings developed along with his and how he had been so blind to see, he really didn’t want to acknowledge just like the lyrics said. “We only know a fraction of each other… Lying to ourselves that what we have is enough… Not knowing that the sleeping seed awoke… That the crimson rose is growing to bloom… We hide ourselves behind that word… The word that speaks of fake safety.” At that point Youngwoon remembers that the drums would become prominent as Heechul would sing the last part of the song, yet in the acoustic version Sungmin sang along with Henry playing the violin with a dramatic tone to it, that diminished into silence before the very last verses of the song. “We only know a fraction of each other… We try to ignore the knowledge we actually know more… That the wings we didn’t know we had.. Had spread open and made us fly… The ordinariness of our days had long became our secret… The fraction we know of each other… Had forged an eternal bond… We didn’t want to acknowledge as love.” The silence lasted for a few seconds before Sungmin’s soft whispery singing ended the song, with those lines Youngwoon ended up unconsciously singing along. “But now we know… It’s not just a fraction we know of each other.”
He may have imagined wrongly that during those lines Sungmin had been looking straight at him from the stage, he couldn’t possibly know where Youngwoon stood in that semi-darkness. But he was glad he imagined that because that made all the difference. The rest of the show was a blur, later he felt bad for Henry for not really paying attention to his solo, ‘Fractions’ sung by Sungmin wouldn’t leave his mind.
It was a sunny afternoon when Youngwoon noticed there were girls outside Books & Cupcakes taking pictures through the vitrine window of a very concentrated Sungmin. It had happened before and somehow he didn’t really like that, those girls were disturbing his view. The barista prepared a caramel macchiato and took it to Sungmin who gratefully took the mug with a warm smile. Youngwoon noticed the girls took even more pictures of them.
Something else he also noticed was the amount of new members that had attached either to their clothes, or bags or wallets silvery chains with either Sungmin’s name or a guitar pending from them. Sure Sungmin’s fans had never made a ruckus at the shop even if Sungmin was there, but it still made him annoyed how he had to be extra careful to not smile too much, or touch too much. He couldn’t even steal a kiss or two because of them. It didn’t help that Sungmin had refused to go hide at the garden so Youngwoon could have a bit of his boyfriend.
At least more often than not Sungmin would crash at his apartment courtesy of Jungmo helping them up for the sake of free cupcakes. “I don’t like your fans, Min. Tell them to stop showing up at Books & Cupcakes.” Youngwoon ranted one of those nights as they were cuddling to sleep.
“I like my fans and they can come as much as they want.” Sungmin
replied with a teasing tone before straddling Youngwoon and leaning in
for a kiss.
Youngwoon wouldn't be pacified by Sungmin's words that easily, and somehow the ex-strawberry head had actually done something he had to thank the latter for. In a bright and cold afternoon of December Sungmin entered Books & Cupcakes with his standard bright smile, he waved at some of his fans that were by the bookshelves before sitting on his pet stool in front of Youngwoon who was grinning in a way that perked the guitarist's curiosity.
"Sungmin-ssi, our membership system will change for the next year, so you'll have to submit another form to confirm your personal information, membership pack and payment method." the barista announced with a professional tone and a charming smile as he placed in front of his favorite customer the new form.
Sungmin stared at it without expecting much to change, Youngwoon peeked as the guitarist filled the blank spaces, feeling giddy as Sungmin marked 'in a relationship' at the specific part of the form, but he couldn't refrain the grin that spread over his face when Sungmin looked up with wide eyes and asked curtly "Titanium?"
Books & Cupcakes became even more special for Sungmin because of that. The ordinariness of their time spent at the shop had really became their secret and he wouldn’t give up on that.