Dongyoung was soon at the motel reception and he saw a very fine man around his age. Maybe one or two years older. He did seem familiar. Very familiar to him but he couldn't recall exactly who as the man's head was down. He went to his side and started greeting the said man.
“Good evening, Sir. My name is Kim Dongyoung, the manager of this motel. How may I help you today?” He asked the guest, showing his bunny smile and waiting for the latter to look at him and share his concern.
The man finally looked at him after a few moments and he wasn't actually ready for such an encounter that late in the evening. “D-Doyoung?”
“You really have become a fine man.”
“So have you, Taeil”
”But you're the finest one, Doyoung.”
And Taeil wasn't wrong. All these years passed and the younger had changed quite much than before. To Taeil, he had always been perfect but he really didn't expect to be that mesmerized by the aura that Dongyoung held by then.
He had become broad and tall. Even taller than him. His curly and fluffy hair were now straightened. His eyes had become more sharp and pointy. Gosh, Taeil felt as if the younger could shoot fire just by his gaze.
But there was one thing that wasn't changed a bit. And that was his bunny-like gummy smile. His plump and juicy lips. The lips that he still remembered had stolen his first kiss. And he actually won't mind if they'd steal more.
“I'm pretty sure that you're just pushing me to the clouds like you used to when we were little and there are quite more fine men than me but still, thank you.” Dongyoung said while chuckling as if Taeil cracked a joke.
Taeil frowned. He was serious. “Well, there maybe. However, for me, you're the finest and I couldn't look to others properly to see if they could be compared to you or not. Neither do I think they are comparable.”
The taller male blushed and looked at the elder for a few moments and the latter did look serious. So he just cleared his throat and tried changing the topic. “So… What brought you here in Seoul after years?”
“Awhh… Are you not happy to see me?” The elder male faking a hurt expression. Dongyoung started waving his hands in defence. He actually didn't know what he was saying. He just wanted to make the situation less obvious. “No, no. I didn't mean it that way. Ahh… I'm just trying to make a conversation. Gosh. I'm sorry.”
Taeil giggled at the younger's act. His panicked side was still at its best. He remembered how the latter used to get tensed at the smallest things. He could even cry on jokes but of course, he would never show his tears. Whether they were caused by panic or real pain.
“You still are the same Doyoungie.” Taeil said, making the other look down in embarrassment. “Anyways, remember I told you that if you won't come back, I'll reach you.”
Dongyoung looked at Taeil. Still a little embarrassed but now he felt a little bad too. “I'm sorry that I couldn't keep my promise.”
“Hey, I understand, Doyoung. And, does it really matter? Sometimes it's you to keep the promise and sometimes it's me. It was my turn this time round.”
“You're also still the same Taeillie I knew as a child. Talking philosophies but not telling the truth.” Dongyoung joked and started laughing a little. Taeil didn't seem to enjoy the joke.
“I mean okay. But that's still a part of the truth. Anyways, I actually got transferred as a librarian at Seoul's central library.” Taeil declared and something hit the younger. “Wait, did you say, Seoul central library?”
“Yes. Why so? Do you visit there often?”
Dongyoung smiled and shook his head. “I'm not really into books but Jungwoo is. He is also a librarian there.”
“Oh… Woo-ah! Really? Since when did he become a bibliophile?”
The younger's expression saddened a little when he started answering. “Since our parents left, he always kept himself with the world of fiction through those books. So I guess since then.” Taeil frowned, not really getting the term left and he wished it wasn't that what he thought. “But it's really a good thing that he at least got something joyful for him. Whether it's books, movies or music, I don't care. As long as it makes him full of himself, I'd support him. And being his only guardian now, it's my duty to keep him happy and in place.”
So Taeil was right about the things left. And now he really felt bad for Dongyoung. As well as Jungwoo. He shouldn't have asked such a question. “I'm so sorry Doyoung I, I didn't know…”
“Hey, it's okay, Taeil. You didn't have an idea and besides, death is a truth that everyone will have to face someday. It just sometimes decides to meet some people earlier than usual and in unfortunate ways. And it does hurt. Really hurts. But, it doesn't mean to be lost and vulnerable all your life. It actually means that it's the time to keep the things and situations and responsibilities up that your loved ones left behind. As a son, it's my duty to get the achievements and fulfil the dreams that my parents had in their eyes for me. As a brother, it's my duty to raise and take care of him the same as how my parents used to. As a person, it's my duty to keep my sanity in track the most I can during difficult situations.”
Taeil kept listening to Dongyoung's each and every word. They were filled with pure gentleness and sincerity. He admired how the younger had managed himself all so stable even after experiencing such a thing. How he did look so calmed with all the responsibilities on his shoulder. How he cared for his brother like a parent even after being only a few years older. Gosh… Was it even possible for someone to be that perfect?
“Well, I think I'm now talking a bit too much. And you haven't even eaten anything yet. The good must get cold. We should for real by now.”
The elder chuckled realizing that they hadn't even touched their meals after ordering because of how engaged they were in their own reverie. “I have to say that your motel caterers are so good. It's really delicious. And by the way, congratulations on achieving such success.”
“Congratulations to you too for the promotion.”
They finished their food and their bills came. Dongyoung, being the gentlest man of course, insisted on letting him pay their bills and Taeil actually didn't protest because, “I will return it with the hotel charges as I know there's no use to argue with you.”
“As if I'm gonna take.” Dongyoung exclaimed to which Taeil retorted, “I'm gonna make sure to make.”
“What does that even mean?” The younger asked to which the latter just shrugged and they both started laughing at their own silliness.
Dongyoung then started checking time in his watch only to realize, “You still don't have a watch because you always forget to buy yourself one.” He looked at Taeil who was now giggling and it made him again embarrass as well as blush a little. He checked the time in his phone then.
“My bad. I will buy one tonight for sure. Anyways, it's actually getting late so…”
“Are you going to leave me already?” Taeil asked while pouting and Dongyoung didn't know how to respond exactly. “Ahh… Yeah? Did you need anything else? Well, Jaehyun is there so you can let him know if you need anything and they'll provide you.”
“Yes but, Jaehyun is not my type.” Doyoung blushed and Taeil could see the panicked expression on his face. He started laughing lightly and the latter just frowned.
“Just kidding. Well, I don't really need something but I wouldn't mind if Mr. Kim Dongyoung would show me around.”
So here they were. Through the popular water park's waterfall of Seoul. Taeil obviously played like the toddler he was while Dongyoung kept checking so he wouldn't slip or fall or hurt himself.
“Yahh! Doyoung, come on it's fun!”
The younger just waved his hands in the air. “I see but I think I'm just fine here. And what's even fun in getting wet?”
The elder shook his head and started splashing water on the latter. “Here! Feel it. Get wet!”
“Taeil, stop. Okay, you wanna pick a fight? I'm up then.”
They both started playing and enjoying themselves. Dongyoung enjoyed himself and he didn't even remember when was the last time he had laughed that much.
He actually couldn't even point if it was because of that little event or because of the man in his front. But the said man was a part of it, for sure.
He remembered their childhood when they both were carefree and almost every time, together. How they used to study together but always end up playing and telling each other their own endless reveries.
He also remembered how it was mostly Taeil to approach him and accompany him. He mostly just returned what Taeil gave but never actually made any move by his side. Maybe the confession he had made was the only move taken by him first into their relationship. He suddenly wondered if Taeil remembered that or not. Or if what he had said was even true or not.
He looked at Taeil who was still almost showering in water. His clothes went wet and it actually gave Dongyoung a better view of Taeil's frame. He knew it was inappropriate to eye someone in that way. But his heart won over his mind.
He really was amused at how cutely small Taeil was. Besides his height, he didn't even age by face. He literally looked like a kindergartner skipping class and playing all day. His puffy features just made Dongyoung to hug him and pinch his cheeks till they got swollen and red. And his lips…
“Here's my another attack!”
The sudden splash of water brought Dongyoung to reality and Taeil had actually attacked him a bit too hard that it made him sneeze and the elder went worried. “Omo! Are you okay? I'm sorry. I didn't know it would hit too hard. Please Doyoung say something.” Dongyoung chuckled at seeing Taeil getting panicked for the first time since they met.
“Yes. Hey, you'll get cold. It's getting too late. We should get going.”
“Okay but you are all fine right?” Taeil asked again worriedly and Dongyoung giggled. “Two hundred percent.”
They both dried themselves up a bit through towels Dongyoung had in his car and soon the younger dropped the elder by the motel.
“Will I see you tomorrow?” Taeil asked, pouting.
“Do you not have to start your work from tomorrow?” Dongyoung asked to which Taeil responded an, “Oh no, and yes.”
“Okay I'll call you then. Here, enter all the numbers I can dial to contact you!”
The younger smiled and shook his head but did as asked nonetheless. They both exchanged the numbers and bid their goodbyes but a sudden question hit Dongyoung right when Taeil was about to exit.
The said man looked at him and raised his brow. “Yes?” Dongyoung hesitated a bit before asking, “Are we still best friends?”
“Well of course we are. But, I won't mind being something more than that, Doie.” Taeil said and kissed Dongyoung's cheek and exited the car. Leaving a blushed and dumbfounded Dongyoung sitting and caressing the cheek that was just kissed by the moon of his dreams.