There he goes, walking right past me again with the body type I am so envious of and that smile that could light up even the darkest and dreariest of rooms. And here I go again, feeling that all-too familiar flutter in my chest and playing it cool by pretending not to be nearly as interested as I actually am – trying not to stare at him for too long so that he doesn’t notice my eyes laid on him.
What is this feeling? Why now? I can’t be attracted to other guys… can I? As much as I’d like to say no, the feeling I get when he’s near me tells me otherwise. The more I’m with him – the more I get to see how truly wonderful he is – the more I want him, and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to deny it.
I can’t tell him about this. What would he think of me? Surely he’d reject me or think I’m strange. Or maybe he would be understanding and return my feelings, though I can’t rely on that. What would he think of me if I were to tell him? What would the others think? If he were to reject me it would surely cause tension throughout the group and I can’t let that happen. It’s cruel, not being able to tell him how I truly feel because that’s all I want to do.
Maybe I’m just grateful over the brotherly relationship that we have. Maybe I can repress these feelings. I’ll have to try my hardest in order to keep us all together. As the leader I can’t jeopardize the future of the group due to my own personal feelings. After all, I’ve always been interested in women… right?
I walk into the kitchen, Sandeul by my side as he places leftovers that he’s taken out of the fridge from the dinner I had made last night onto a plate at the kitchen table. He smiles warmly; eyes large and thrilled about the food which of course makes me smile in return.
“This was really delicious, hyung! I’m so excited to eat it again!” he exclaims, motioning toward the food on his plate as he picked it up with one hand. I can feel my eyes widening almost as much as his at his compliment, even though it wasn’t the first time he had complemented a meal I’ve prepared.
“Ah, I’m glad you liked it,” I say softly, almost shyly, and I want to cringe because I don’t know why I’m behaving this way.
Suddenly he places a hand on my shoulder before I turn to grab a drink from the fridge and I stop at his sudden touch. “You should cook every day! I would enjoy it so much,” he says happily, the familiar cheerfulness in his voice that instantly brings me happiness sounding so sweet.
I shake my head and my smile unintentionally widens. “If I would if I could, though it would be great if you cooked for us every now and again, Sandeulie.” I jokingly nudge his arm, careful not to make him drop the plate in his hand.
He laughs and falsely pouts, turning fully toward me. He stomps his foot to go along with his little act and I’m already laughing at him in amusement. “But I like Jinyoungie hyung’s food so much more than when I make anything!” he whines; his mouth gaping just a bit in an open frown as his head tilts back a bit. Almost immediately after, a smile returned to his face as I humor him and he nudges me back. “Kidding~!” he chimes in a sort of sing-song voice before walking into the living room, a certain bounce in every step.
And I’m left there still smiling like a fool as I try to avert my gaze before someone else walks in to catch me in the act. Why must he make me so happy? I’m not going to be able to repress these feelings as I’ve hoped, am I? Aigoo~
I grab a drink from the fridge and sit beside him on the couch as he eats; my eyes drawn to chopsticks quickly being brought up to his lips every few seconds as he seemed to nearly inhale his meal. I tune out as I focus on him, but it isn’t long until I’m interrupted by Sandeul holding his chopsticks near my mouth. “It tastes even better today! Say ahhhh~” he tells me, eagerly waiting for me to open my mouth. How often have we shared food in the past? Plenty of times, I’m sure. Though how long has it felt this special?
Opening my mouth wide, I slurp up the noodles that hung from Sandeul’s chopsticks, nodding in approval of my handiwork as I try not to laugh at how ridiculous I must look with so much food shoved in my mouth. “You’re right. It does taste better,” I tell him joyfully and a small spark in his eye shows me that he’s thrilled that I’m agreeing with him. Are you always so desperate for hyung’s approval, Sandeul?
I’m sort of surprised that none of the others are in the living room with us. I hear one of the showers running and faint talking coming from one of our rooms down the hall and it’s moments like this, where it’s just me and him together, that I really appreciate. He smiles warmly at me between slurping and chewing and we talk about how practice went. I ask him if he’s getting the choreography down, he answers, he asks me the same thing in return, and we take the opportunity of being alone to make jokes about the others – giggling amongst ourselves at first before breaking out in hysterical fits of laughter. Through my laughter, I listen to his. What a sweet sound.
A few minutes pass and we quiet down and for a moment we just look at each other, small giggles still escaping Sandeul’s lips here and there before he is suddenly silent and he shakes his head, fixing his slightly messy bangs before looking away. There’s a cautious look in his eye and I really want to know why, but something stops me from questioning him about it. Something has suddenly changed, but what could it be?
I hear a door opening at the end of the hall when Channie walks in, carelessly falling back onto the couch beside Sandeul; eyeing the small amount of noodles still on his plate. “Oooh, is that some of what Jinyoungie hyung made us last night?” he asks curiously, and we both nod in response.
“Yeah, and it’s even better tonight than it was last night!” Sandeul exclaims, taking what was left and shoving it into his mouth. “Waaahhh~! So gooood!”
Now that Channie’s here I have more confidence to fool around than I did before. “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” I joke, poking both of his cheeks playfully. Channie then joins in and snatches the empty plate away from him, the chopsticks falling to the floor, and he tries to hold Sandeul still as I continue to poke and pat his cheeks.
It isn’t long before Baro walks in, quickly rushing over to us and assisting us in messing with Sandeul, tickling his sides. We all laugh as we watch him squirm as he tries to break free from Channie’s grasp, Channie himself practically doubling over from laughter.
“Ahh! Guys! I’m gonna choke!” Sandeul struggles to say between fits of laughter as Baro refuses to back down on his tickling. “Really! Stop it, stop it!” He starts speaking in English out of desperation and I can’t help but think of how cute he is; my hands still placed on his cheeks as I lightly slap them.
We all decide to stop and I catch my breath, as does Baro and Gongchan who both collapsed on the floor with laughter, and Sandeul most of all. He glares at me with narrowed eyes – his face scrunched almost like a bunny – and he crosses his arms at me. “You’re so cruel,” he complains, slapping my arm with the back of his hand before he turns to Channie and Baro in front of us. “And you two are too!” He points at them and they laugh at him again. Then he turns back to me and points to the chopsticks that we caused to fall on the floor. “You clean that up now!” he jokingly demands, hitting my back as I hunch over to pick them up.
I’m still giggling as I’m picking them up but from behind me I hear Sandeul’s laughter and feel his foot hit my butt as he kicks me and I fall face-first onto the floor between Channie and Baro who are now laughing even harder than they were before. I roll over onto my back and look over at Sandeul who’s still sitting on the couch, falling to the side as he curls up in laughter.
There’s an evil gleam in his eye as he then stands once he calms down. He gets on all fours and crawls over me and I feel my heart unintentionally racing, making sure not to let my mouth gape so I smile and raise my eyebrows in curiosity instead, trying not to let my inner uneasiness slip through. His eyes still a bit glassy from laughing and he takes the chopsticks from my hand. “I’ll take these, hyung~” he hums, and he stands and walks into the kitchen.
And I lay there, pretending to find it funny, but now I realize that I want so much more from the relationship that we share. I want to establish an entirely new one. I want us to be more to each other – to mean so much more to each other. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t simply shrug it off and deny what I feel. I have to tell him… but I can’t find it within myself to do so.
I sit up and shake my head, fixing my hair before turning to Baro and Gongchan who are both looking at me. “Looks like he got you!” Channie says, pointing at me.
“Ahh, that’s unfair. Why am I the victim?” I cover my face and pretend to be upset and Baro chimes in.
“Maybe it’s because he likes you best, hyung. Sandeulie doesn’t love uuuuus!” he pouts, flailing about on the floor which I can’t help but smile at, but I try to find the logic behind his words. Did he mean it? He couldn’t have. There’s no way.
That’s it! Baro. I can tell him anything, I know it. I can’t take this feeling anymore. I can’t tell Sandeul, but I have to tell someone. Tonight – tonight I will have to confess.
It’s now late and everyone but Baro and I are asleep. He’s usually awake while the rest of us are sleeping, but tonight I have too much on my mind to sleep. This is the perfect opportunity to tell him, but I’m so afraid. I don’t want to risk our relationship and the future of the group just because of my own personal reasons, but I’m afraid that the future of the relationship of the group might falter if I don’t tell anybody about this. I can’t be a good leader with all of this on my mind.
I can feel my hands getting clammy as I walk up to Baro who’s sitting up on his bed, the room lighting up slightly from the screen of his laptop. I bite my lip for a moment as I reach up to tap his arm. “Baro,” I whisper, cautious not to wake anyone.
He takes his headphones off and looks at me with questioning eyes, letting out a small ‘hmm?’ that has a way of intimidating me as I now know that I can’t turn back. “Can I talk to you about something?” I bite my lip again as he nods and he climbs off of his bunk and follows me into the living room where we sit on the couch.
“What is it?” He asks with a concerned tone. It’s not very often that I talk to him about many problems that I’m having, but whenever I do he seems to be very reassuring and understanding. He has a big heart and I’ve always like that quality of his. I have to rely on that now. Please don’t hate me…
My mind is rushing and I can’t seem to come up with a proper sentence to explain what I’d like to. I take a deep breath and I can tell that my actions are making Baro worry. “Ah, I’m really afraid to tell you what I have to, but I can’t keep it to myself anymore,” I say nervously and I can hear the slight tremble in my voice. “I don’t want you to think I’m strange for feeling this way and I really want you to understand because I really don’t know what to think about this.”
Baro nods, then tilting his head to the side. “Don’t worry. You can talk to me about anything. You know that,” he says, but it isn’t enough to make me feel completely at ease.
I take another deep breath and the few seconds between the brief silence and my confession feels like countless minutes. This is it. “I… I’m gay.”
Instantly his eyes widen. He looks so surprised, but he doesn’t seem angry or upset. “Really? You are?” he questions, and I nod awkwardly. It takes him a few moments to talk again and I anticipate what he’s going to say to me next. “I never would have thought! But that’s okay. You don’t have to feel strange about that.”
I can’t help but smile at his kindness, but I again think of what I really wanted to tell him.
“So, are there any guys that you like?” I’m snapped from my small sense of calm as he says that. Did he really just ask me that? So casually, just like that?
“Whaaa?!” I can’t think. I laugh nervously and scratch one of the palms of my clammy hands, avoiding Baro’s gaze for a moment while I collect myself. “Well… yes. But I really need you to be understanding of this too!” I try to stress how important this is to him, remembering how difficult it can be trying to get something across to Baro when he’s excited.
He sits up straight and happily and there’s anticipation in his bright eyes that are glowing with excitement. “I will be! You know me.”
I try not to think about it as my heart is pounding in my chest, making it hard for me to form the words that are so simple. “It’s…” Come on, Jinyoung. You’ve come this far. “…It’s Sandeul.”
I can’t believe that I actually said it. I’m cringing and waiting for Baro’s response and he looks absolutely dumbfounded. Oh no, what have I done?
He tilts his head, inching a bit closer to me as he whispers. “Sandeul? Our Sandeulie?”
I nod quickly and urgently, wanting to rush his final response as I analyze his expression.
It’s silent again for a few moments and I can tell that he’s trying to think of something to say. I anxiously wait for whatever it is that he has to say and I’m practically making myself sick. And finally – “Are you going to tell him?”
Again, so blunt! I suppose he has to be when he can’t find much else to say about this. Does this mean he’s okay with me confessing this?
“I can’t,” I say, burying my head in my hands, wanting to curl up with my shame.
“Why not?” Baro’s response makes me look up at him again and I find it stupid that he would ask such a thing.
“Why not?” I repeat his words and laugh sarcastically. “I can’t because I’m afraid of what he’d think. If I tell him and he doesn’t feel the same that could destroy the group! I can’t do that to us.” I let out a long sigh and look down at my hands, clasping and unclasping my fingers over and over to draw my attention to something other than the situation I was in.
Suddenly, I feel Baro’s arm around me and I jump a little since I’m already so uneasy. “Why don’t I try to figure out what he thinks for you?”
I’m completely shocked and I look up at him in surprise. Now I’m the one who must look dumbfounded. “…what?”
He smiles kindly and nods reassuringly at me, keeping his arm around me. “Why don’t I try to ask him what he thinks of you for you tomorrow? That way you don’t have to look awkward and you’ll know for sure what he thinks!”
That’s… such a great plan! Baro, you’re a life saver! “Baro… would you really do that? Could you do that for me please?” I ask of him, feeling so overwhelmed with happiness. What a relief!
He nods again, but yawns as he does so. Both of us are tired now and we should be getting to bed. He stands up and I follow him down the hall and we both stop before we go into our rooms.
“Thank you,” I whisper as softly as I can, but also say it in the most genuine way that I can.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!” he assures me, making his hands into guns as he winks at me. You’re so corny, Squirrel Princess. Don’t let me down tomorrow~
I wake up to the sound of everyone else already up and throughout the dorm and unlike any other day where I would usually be laying in bed for an hour, I get up almost immediately. Today’s the day I find out what Sandeul thinks of me. As much as I’m excited to find out, I greatly fear that Baro will ruin the opportunity. I can’t risk him telling Sandeul how I feel. He’s so terrible at keeping secrets and Sandeul is so good at discovering them! Like that time we tried to hold a hidden camera for his birthday. Now I’m having second thoughts.
I get into the shower and quickly get ready and when I come out of the bathroom CNU is looking at me with a surprised look on his face as he’s walking by. “Wow, you’re ready so fast today!” he exclaims, clapping his hands to jokingly praise me.
“I know, I know,” I reply, and he pats me on the shoulder as we walk past each other.
I see Sandeul talking to Baro at the kitchen table; Sandeulie’s smile is lighting up the room and even his eyes seem to be smiling in Baro’s direction. I wonder if Baro’s already asked him.
I walk into the kitchen looking over at the two of them and Sandeul waves as he says good morning, smiling just as cheerfully at me as he did to Baro just before and it makes me feel so much more at ease. His smile could cure anyone of any ounce of uneasiness that they feel, I’m sure of it.
Before I can say anything Baro’s pushing me out of the kitchen. “Sorry, Jinyoungie has to go fix his hair!” He shouts to Sandeul who’s looking over at us with the most confused expression on his face.
“I don’t need to fix my hair, I just did!” I say, trying to figure out what Baro thinks he’s doing. “Hey--!”
He reaches up for my hair and ruffles it and successfully pushes me out of the kitchen and back into the hallway. “Now you do~!” He suddenly looks so serious and he wiggles his eyebrows at me. “Got it?” Now I know what’s going on. So he hasn’t asked him yet afterall.
He walks back into the kitchen and I stand in the hallway to listen in, a mix of curiosity and nerves getting the best of me. I hear him sit down and pull in his chair and he clears his throat. Sandeul’s questioning him about what just happened and he’s awkwardly laughing and telling him that he did that just to mess with me – a good cover, I must say.
They’re quiet for a moment before I hear Baro clear his throat. I feel like everything is standing still and I can’t breathe, feeling as if my heart has stopped as I hear Baro beginning to speak. “So uh… how do you feel about gay people?”
...Are you kidding? I want to curl up onto the floor, but I quietly facepalm instead, rubbing my hand against my face a few times as I dread to hear whatever Sandeul had to say in response to that.
“I… I have no problem with them.” I can tell that he doesn’t know how to respond and it’s making me want to cringe. Baro, you’re blowing it! “Why are you asking me about this?” Sandeul asks and I can imagine the look on his face as he asks it. His head is probably tilted to the side with big curious eyes, an eyebrow raised at how unnatural and random that question was.
“Oh, no reason. It’s just that Jinyoung brought up a conversation about gay people last night and I was wondering what the other members thought about the subject. Speaking of Jinyoung, how do you feel about him?”
My jaw is going to hit the floor at these questions and I can feel myself being overwhelmed by the uncontrollable urge to walk in there and break this conversation up. Not only am I getting embarrassed, but I’m getting second-hand embarrassment from Sandeul. These are not comfortable questions to answer so randomly!
“What do you mean by what I think about him? He’s a good leader, very handsome and sweet and I like those things about him a lot,” he replies, and I instinctively smile at what he says. I’ve heard these compliments from him before during interviews, but even so they still bring a smile to my face. You’re the sweet one, Sandeulie.
“Is… Jinyoung okay with gays?” he asks hesitantly and I wonder why he said that, my mind racing as I wait for Baro to respond.
“Oh, sure he is! He… uh… he loves them!” That is definitely not the response I was hoping for. I can’t listen to this anymore.
I walk back into the kitchen pretending as if I hadn’t been standing around the corner the entire time, stretching my arms over my head. “Ahhh~ I fixed my hair! It’s much better now, thanks Baro.” I harshly pat him on the shoulder and hope that he gets the hint to stay quiet, which thankfully he did. “You’ve been very helpful,” I say through clenched teeth, nudging him to leave which he stands in reply, winking at me before walking away.
If I’m going to do this, I have to tell Sandeul myself and he’ll have to tell me on his own too. I can’t keep hiding it like this. If it means the end of our relationship as friends then I’ll have to make sure that he understands that he can’t let it destroy the future of B1A4.
I take his seat and I’m quickly trying to think of something to suggest as Sandeul looks at me with a peculiar face, his mouth in a small pout and it’s making me rush to think of something even more. “So Sandeul –“ I start and he jumps a little at the suddenly broken silence, which I laugh and apologize for. “Do you maybe want to go to the park with me later? I thought of something that I’d like to tell you, but I don’t want the others to know just yet… okay?”
The peculiar expression disappears and is replaced with a friendly one – his usual face that I find just so irresistible, but there’s a certain gleam of happiness in his eyes and I can’t draw my attention away from them. “Sure! After I get ready we can go, if you’d like.”
“Wha… so soon?” I scratch the back of my head nervously and I can tell that my smile is crooked as I realize that I don’t have as much time as I thought I would to prepare myself. But I can’t deny him; he seems so thrilled. “Sure, that sounds great.”
Before we arrived at the park we stopped at the convenience store near the studio and I bought some bread for us to feed the ducks and of course Sandeul had no objections. I joked with him about feeding him the bread instead and once we go to the park and started feeding them, it wasn’t long before he started goofing around and playing along, quacking and pretending to flap his wings.
I took out a piece of bread and rolled it up into a ball in my hands, then holding it with two fingers as I teased Sandeulie. “Now, if you want this piece of bread you’ll have to earn it!” I said, waving my hand with the bread in front of him. He looked eagerly at it and nodded happily, jumping up and down. “You have to do a flip for me right now~”
Without even hesitating, he took a few steps back and did a flip in front of me, almost losing his balance on his landing but catching it quickly. Still jumping up and down, he jumped over to me for the bread but I was quick to pull it away. “Nah-ah. You have to catch it,” I teased, holding my arm out behind me.
I was expecting him to object to it, but he surprised me by opening his mouth and preparing for me to throw it. I aimed carefully to ensure that it landed in his mouth, which it did when he lunged forward a bit to catch it.
“Yeah!” I shouted excitedly, almost forgetting what I had invited him there with me for and was when I remembered that I suddenly felt the burden of my feeling once again.
We continued to feed the ducks, and I continued to feed Sandeul, which eventually led us to sit on a park bench which overlooked the lake where some ducks still flocked around.
We’re sitting in the sun and we’re both silent, looking out at what’s going on around us. I’m so nervous that I want to suggest that we return to the dorm, but I can’t do that now. He knows that I wanted to tell him something and that’s what I intend to do. I could easily lie, but he would probably be able to see through it anyway. I would rather be in any other situation than this one and I wish that my mind would easily wander to other places, but it simply can’t when he’s with me. He’s invaded my every thought and I want to share every bit of myself with him. Show him all that I am and all I can be for him, but I can’t do that unless I tell him how I feel about him. That I’ve fallen for him and that all I want is for him to be mine and share my feelings in return.
I sigh loudly and bite my lip before speaking, my heart beating faster than it ever has before when I was around him. I have never felt so insecure and longing for acceptance until now and I feel so timid and shy even though I want to show him my confidence all while there is no confidence within me to be shown. “Uh, Sandeul?” I say softly. He turns to me with a small ‘huh?’ and I smile despite my overwhelming anxiety. “I uh… I wanted to tell you something, right?” I ask, though that’s obviously why we’re here and he knows it. I’m stalling.
“Mhm!” he nods happily, but looks at me with such compassionate eyes. I’m finding myself getting lost in them and it makes it even harder for me to continue. If I weren’t so nervous, I would wish for this moment to never end. This could be the last time he looks at me with those eyes.
“I know that this isn’t the perfect setting that I would hope for to tell you this and I know you might hate me, but if you don’t agree then all I ask of you is that you’re understanding about this, okay?”
He looks really concerned now and I wish that the words could just roll off of my tongue but I feel as if I have to force them from myself. The anticipation is building for both of us and I can’t hold back anymore even though I have never felt so scared in my entire life. “I… love you…”
The words flow from my mouth and I immediately cover my face with my hand. I can’t look at him. “Ahh, this is so embarrassing…”
Then I feel his arms around me. My eyes widen as I uncover them while my mouth slightly hangs open, accepting his embrace. His hair brushes against my cheek as he pulls away and takes my hands and holds them in his, so gently and caring. I don’t know what to say, but he’s blushing with the most alleviating smile I have ever seen. It’s not his usual cheerful smile, but it’s a calm one and it’s even more wonderful than his usual one.
“I’m so happy that you told me because, well, I’ve felt the same way about you for a while now. I was too scared to tell you so I kept it to myself and when Baro was asking me those questions earlier today I thought there was some hope that you felt the same way…”
Is this really happening? This moment seems far too good to be true. “I was scared too. I thought you would hate me.”
His cheerful smile is returning, wide and bright as ever and he pulls my hands up to his mouth, gently kissing my fingers. “I could never hate you.”
His lips against my skin, so tenderly and so lush – I can’t believe that this is happening.
He moves closer to me and leans his head on my shoulder as he still holds one of my hands in his and I gently kiss the top of his head, taking in the smell of his hair as I close my eyes from the pure bliss of this moment. I realize that I’ve already said it before, but I just want to hear it again. Freely this time, without the paranoia of being rejected. Such sweet words now being accepted. Words that I’ve longed to say for such a long time – words he’d been waiting to hear for such a long time. “I love you, Sandeul."