Pairing(s): BaekYeol, XiuHan, KaiSoo, TaoRis, possible Suho/Sehun
Summary: How Park Chanyeol expresses interest
A/N: So I've decided on the format. I'll number each 'story' so that way there won't be any taxiconfusion and because, like, you can call the levels of an apartment building a story
I feel like I’m running out of breath
I think love has found me
Baekhyun stops short, keys prepared to unlock his door in his right hand and groceries in his left hand. He blinks a few times, wondering if maybe he’s seeing right or if he didn’t have enough coffee this morning because he can only live on two hours of sleep if he has enough coffee in the morning. So maybe he hasn’t had enough coffee in the morning.
After he blinks, leans down and touches the petals of the top, most protruding lilac, to make sure that he has had enough coffee, Baekhyun starts looking left and right to make sure that maybe these weren’t meant for someone else and just delivered to the wrong apartment door.
In the end (after fifteen minutes of standing, sniffing the flowers, turning the keys around and around in his hand, sniffing the flowers, touching another petal, sniffing the flowers, nudging the base of the vase with his foot, and sniffing the flowers), he decides to take the flowers in with him (the vase is heavy enough to make him totter unsteadily). He’ll keep them in his apartment so they don’t get stolen while he makes a call to the receptionist (who conveniently also lives in 1210, nearly right across from Baekhyun) and ask him who the flowers were actually meant for.
“You’re never supposed to walk in front of me,” Jongdae says, and rubs at his nose as Wufan unlocks their door. “You know that.”
The reporter glances back. “Not my problem that you’re short,” he says. “Not my problem that you can’t see where you’re going.” Wufan continues to stab the key into the keyhole.
“I can see where I’m going,” Jongdae defends himself. “I just saw that,” he points and Wufan follows the direction of the younger man’s finger, “and—”
Wufan’s eyes narrow—squinting as he looks down the hall in the direction Jongdae is indicating. “Isn’t that Chanyeol?” he asks. “Are those flowers?”
“Why is he in front of the new guy’s door?” Jongdae asks, confused. He’s confused, but he’s not confused that he’s confused because, after occupying the same hall as Park Chanyeol (and rooming with Wufan, who works with Chanyeol), he’s learned that if he isn’t confused while watching Chanyeol exist, then Chanyeol is probably sick—or just not having a good day.
Wufan turns the key and opens the door. “Hurry up and get in,” he says, and pushes Jongdae (the younger man nearly lands on his face), “before he sees us and starts asking us to even out the flower stems.”
Kyungsoo quickly yanks out a handful of Kleenex from the tissue box, sprinkling them over the wet, sopping mass that was, a split second ago, his nearly finished theory homework. He also shoves his cup of hot chocolate as far away from himself as possible because he’s no longer drinking anything for the rest of the night out of pure trauma. (He also wipes his mouth because spitting out hot chocolate gets chocolate all over your face which is sticky and unattractive and awkward when you’re the receptionist and your face is the first thing people see when they walk into the apartment building)
“Excuse me?” he says and forces himself to sound calm through the receptionist desk’s phone (linked to all the apartment rooms).
“Yeah,” Byun Baekhyun (of 1213, as told by the ID number of the phone) says, confused. “There were flowers with—like—no sender card or anything on my doorstep, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t order any, so I was wondering if maybe they were sent to the wrong door?”
For a moment, all Kyungsoo can do is sit there with his mouth open, staring straight ahead out the front doors of the lobby where an influx of seventh floor habitants seem to have just gotten back from work (parking their cards and chatting with each other). “I—”
“You don’t have to send anyone,” Baekhyun says cheerily, “I can give them to the right door if you tell me which one they’re meant for.”
Kyungsoo presses his fingers against his forehead. “What kind of flowers are they?” he asks weakly.
There’s a pause.
“Lilacs,” comes the reply. “They smell really nice.”
The choral major sighs. “I think,” Kyungsoo says slowly, “you should keep them for now. While I—um—figure out what door they’re actually for.”
Baekhyun sounds uncertain. “Okay,” he says. “But what if they start wilting before—”
“That’s fine,” Kyungsoo cuts him off and quickly hangs up before anything else can happen and the migraine in Kyungsoo’s head grows worse.
Oh, oh I’m up and high
You caught my eye—you’re my style
Personally, Chanyeol thinks that the company that built these apartment complexes would be making a lot more money and gaining a lot more renters if they’d designed the doors’ peepholes to have greater circumferences. He’s also of the opinion that it would help a lot if they made the heights that the peepholes are built at to be an adjustable feature for the poor souls who are slightly above or below the estimated height of the average South Korean.
Because after forty minutes, hunching to three-quarters of your height starts to hurt.
At the very least, it’s worth the forty minutes of damaging his spine to see Baekhyun find the second batch of lilacs (a white hybrid this time around, to set off the light violet the first batch was—hopefully they haven’t wilted yet and Baekhyun can put them next to each other).
Chanyeol watches (his eyes are also starting to sting since it hurts to squint one-eye-open-and-one-eye-closed for forty minutes) as Baekhyun stands and stares for all of five minutes before picking up the vase in his arms (tottering unevenly just like the first time and making Chanyeol’s heart thump to the adorable uneven steps in rhythm), opening his door, and disappearing into his apartment.
The first time Chanyeol saw Byun Baekhyun was when Baekhyun tottered into the apartment building carrying two large cardboard boxes stacked one on top of the other, waving to Kyungsoo (since Kyungsoo was the receptionist on shift when Baekhyun began his rent) and walking past Chanyeol into the elevators.
Really, ever since Baekhyun moved in, Chanyeol hasn’t really spoken to him other than a bow and a greeting in the hallways when they pass each other. Really, ever since Baekhyun moved in, Chanyeol has found out all of zero facts about him, but, personally, Chanyeol is okay with that so far.
He thinks Baekhyun is attractive, and from what Kyungsoo’s told Chanyeol—amongst all Building E’s inhabitants—Baekhyun is the most polite, the nicest, the brightest, whenever he calls down to the desk. It’s hard to be bright every single day, especially when you’re calling in downstairs for a problem with the apartment. Baekhyun also, apparently, bows and greets Kyungsoo whenever he passes by the desk—which also is pretty rare since even Chanyeol doesn’t bow and greet Kyungsoo every single time (mostly the times when Chanyeol is running thirty minutes late and doesn’t want to be glared at by Wufan for the entire day at the office).
Chanyeol has no idea if he loves Baekhyun, doesn’t even know if he likes Baekhyun, but he does know he’s interested and wants to be friends (probably more) and if Baekhyun does too, then flowers are always a good way to start.
And if Baekhyun doesn’t, then they can just stay as friends and Chanyeol’s okay with that too.
(He just thinks Baekhyun is cute—and flowers are cute—and things that are alike belong with each other, right?)
Joomyeon drops his last bottle of lemonade (with the cap off) on Sehun’s foot.
“Fuck,” Sehun hisses, and starts hopping around on his uninjured foot as Joomyeon immediately grabs the roll of paper towels sitting on the kitchen counter while Jongin slides to the floor without even taking his shoes off.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Joomyeon asks, as he starts wiping up the spilled lemonade and Sehun hobbles to get some ice for his foot.
Jongin looks incredulously (still panting from whatever he apparently encountered before arriving home) to the older man. “Okay—I just nearly died, hyung, and that’s all you can say? Park Chanyeol was—like—sprinting at me with this vase of flowers twice his size and he couldn’t see so he nearly ran into me and it was a metal vase—”
“Did you go for a drink without me after class again?” Sehun asks glumly, packing ice into a plastic bag.
“I—no—I’m not drunk—”
“Did Kyungsoo-shii ignore you ag—”
Jongin kicks off his shoes (damaging the plaster in the exact same spot Joomyeon had just finished re-plastering two days ago) and stands up, storming towards his room. “No—okay—you don’t have to believe me,” he says irritably, “I’m just going to finish off the cheese cubes and none of you get any.”
When Zitao comes back from finishing up some details with registration at the university, Luhan comes back with him since the translator has been driving Zitao all around Seoul this past week in order to have Zitao feeling settled enough to make his way around campus and off-campus.
Minseok looks up from his grade book and sniffs the air once they both step through the doorway. “Why do you guys smell like flo—why do you have flowers?” he says, as he turns and catches sight of a small bouquet of white and purple lilacs in Zitao’s hand.
“The—a man out there gave them to me,” Zitao says in his accented Korean. “Neighbor.”
“Chanyeol,” Luhan elaborates, as he leans down, palm on the edge of Minseok’s desk, lips brushing over the teacher’s briefly. The translator’s knuckles poke playfully into Minseok’s cheek and a faint, teasing baozi is whispered against the shell of Minseok’s ear.
Minseok coughs, eyes hastily finding Zitao—who, at the moment, thankfully looks too occupied with his lilacs. “So why does Chanyeolie have flowers?”
Luhan shrugs, leaning on the edge of the desk and peering lightly over the papers Minseok is grading. “I think he’s trying to ask the new guy in 1213 out,” he says. “He had a huge vase and some of the flowers kept falling out so he just gave Zitao a handful.”
“Baekhyun-shii?” Minseok asks, with raised eyebrows. “He’s nice. And cute.” His eyes flicker automatically to Luhan’s face.
Luhan catches the teacher’s gaze, and grins. “You’re cuter,” he shrugs, and Minseok instantly looks away, eyes back to his grade book. (He also hopes he’s just imagining Zitao laughing)
By the eighth vase of flowers (now a mixture of assorted daisies), Baekhyun wishes that whoever the sender is would come out and say what needs to be said because while the gesture is terribly romantic and lovely and sweet, he’s kind of running out of places to put the vases—which have progressively gotten bigger and bigger until the eighth one probably weighs more than Baekhyun himself does.
Also, insects like flowers and some of them seemed to have taken lodge in vases three and four.
He’s midway through trying to push the eighth vase through his doorway (because there’s no way he’ll be able to pick it up, let alone carry it) when there’s a tap on his shoulder and he turns around—
And nearly falls backwards into the vase.
“I’m sorry!” Chanyeol grabs Baekhyun’s hand and reels him back to his feet before he falls. Baekhyun’s tall neighbor backs up a few steps because clearly he hasn’t realized that that kind of height combined with that kind of proximity is unsettling if unexpected.
“It’s okay,” Baekhyun dusts the pollen off the back of his shirt, and smiles. He gestures over at the flowers. “Do you like them?”
“Do you?” Chanyeol asks right back, widening his eyes (which were already wide to begin with and looking at eyes that wide makes Baekhyun involuntarily blink faster).
Baekhyun nods. “The lilacs were the best though,” he says. “You should come in and see them.”
Kyungsoo wrenches half the Kleenex in the box out in one go and slams the thicket of tissues onto the sopping mess that was once his attempt at redoing his theory homework. He also uses a few of the tissues to wipe the security monitors dry (hastily, so he can continue watching his best friend’s apparent progression at actually not getting a restraining order from Byun Baekhyun and possibly being invited into Byun Baekhyun’s apartment).
Unfortunately, he finishes wiping banana milk off his homework (which he’s going to have to redo a third time) and the screens, but not off of his own face by the time Kim Jongin and Oh Sehun of Apartment 1217 walks through the double doors of the lobby (probably returning from their usual post-lecture alcohol binge).
They’re both giggling, arms slung over each other, and looking every bit the polo-wearing, over-privileged, under-parented, high societal heirs they are and Kyungsoo tries his best to slump lower into his seat so Jongin doesn’t see him because for some reason Jongin always tries to start a conversation with Kyungsoo and Kyungsoo—just—no.
(It’s not that he hates rich kids because Joomyeon, also from 1217, is a rich kid and he’s rather nice—relatively nice, at least—only drunk on the weekends, at least)
Thankfully, Jongin and Sehun seem too drunk to notice Kyungsoo huddled behind the desk, hiding, and stumble on past towards the elevators. Kyungsoo sighs in relief and sits up straighter, setting his homework aside (maybe it’ll dry and Kyungsoo won’t have to redo it, considering banana milk stains a lot less noticeably than hot chocolate) to continue watching Chanyeol and Baekhyun through the security camera monitors.
“Um,” Chanyeol rubs his hand up and down his arm, biting his lip with a nervous smile, “I kind of already have. I kind of—like—I’ve seen all of the flowers you have already.”
Baekhyun blinks. “But—I haven’t seen you while I took them in—”
“Yeah,” Chanyeol says and their eyes meet, “exactly.”
I’ll love you like a love song
Please accept my burning love
Baekhyun stares. “You don’t know me though,” he says, the tips of his ears suddenly bright red (although Chanyeol doesn’t think his own ears are much better off—they feel like they’re melting from the sides of his head).
“I think you’re cute,” Chanyeol blurts. “And you always smile at Kyungsoo even though not everyone smiles at Kyungsoo when they pass downstairs and he says you’re always nice when you call in even when—like—your ceiling was cracking and stuff and you have a nice smile when I pass you.”
Baekhyun’s mouth drops open a little, the rapid blinking resuming. “Um,” he says.
Chanyeol waits, chewing on the inside of his cheek. “I can help you carry this one in, by the way,” he adds, pointing to the eighth vase. “I had to roll it up with a cart—so I think it’ll take both of us to carry it.”
There’s a burst of laughter after that—Baekhyun laughs out loud, brief and light, but it leaves a wide grin on his face and he directs it up at Chanyeol. “Where’d you get the cart?” he asks, amused.
“The ahjumma at the flower store let me borrow it,” Chanyeol says brightly. “We’re friends now.”
Baekhyun laughs again, licks his lips—bites his lip. His eyes flicker down back at the vase and then at the open door of his apartment, before coming back to meet Chanyeol’s gaze. “D’you want to come in?”
“With the vase? Oh, su—”
“With the vase,” Baekhyun says, smiling, “and maybe for a drink? And then you can tell me what store you got the flowers from—the lilacs still smell amazing.”