Chapter Nine:  The Innocent Boy Has his Official Date with the Innocent Girl and the Mom Decides to Host a Party


Rhett grimaced when he heard Junsu’s request at the front door. He had even interlocked his fingers to plead.  


“Slap me. Slap me hard!” 


Junsu was clad in what he believed to be the best outfit he had taken from a mannequin at a store; he was never a coordinator of fashion, more of a follower. He wore a black blazer, along with an equally dark tight-fitting pair of jeans, a black tank-top and a pair of leather shoes.  


Changmin popped out of nowhere with a spoon in his mouth, and noted, “You look like you’re going to a funeral.”


 

Junsu screamed, “What? You serious?”


Before Changmin could make another joke, Rhett suavely interrupted, “You look fine. Just be yourself, and no, I won’t slap you. I might kick you out of the house if you don’t leave soon!” Rhett then smacked Junsu’s back. “Good luck! Now, go!”


Changmin couldn’t resist commenting, “Why do you always have to make things so dramatic? You’re not starring in some film here, especially not with your beloved actress.”


“And you’re not hosting some comedy show.” 


“Oh, so you do find me funny! Why, thank you very much.” Changmin artfully argued. “I never knew you thought so highly of me.”


Rhett snorted, “And I didn’t know that your standards were so low. Sorry man, you just don’t hit the par.”


“What kind of saying is that? Isn’t it ‘you just don’t cut it’?” 


“It’s a Rhett saying. Don’t you know that clichés started out as unknown sayings?” Rhett nicely crafted, which silenced Changmin. 

There was some reason to Rhett’s words. Just a tablespoon worth of reason.


Junsu never paid so much attention to traffic lights in his life until today. He kept chanting in his head that green meant go and red meant stop. His brain was deteriorating due to sheer fretfulness. He had envisioned all the possibilities that his brain could offer. Now, he just had to follow one of them and see what would happen.


When he saw her dressed in a long, flowing white dress, he almost thought she was an angel. As he parked the car next to the curb, she opened the car door and sat beside the driver’s seat. His timing couldn’t have been worse. He should have helped her open the car door. In fact, that was what Yoochun had taught him a few nights ago. 


“Is something wrong, Junsu?” she asked.

“No, of course not!” 

Already, he had set the tone for awkwardness and inevitably, the whole ride was embellished with stillness. If people were to assess their situation, they would claim that they were having an argument. It wasn’t Junsu’s fault though. He couldn’t start a proper conversation. It seemed like she was waiting for him to say something and that burning pressure made him drive even faster.  

Please . . . let coffee do its charm.

Unfortunately for Junsu, the silence persisted. They only spoke to order their choices and even after his coffee had arrived, he had finished it in one fat gulp. Again, it wasn’t until his hand wiped his mouth did he realize that he had committed another blunder. Bye, bye amusement. Bye, bye romance.

Now, he wished that Rhett had slapped him. Perhaps pain would have made him recall what he had read online about dates. Online . . . why hadn’t he thought of searching up tips with his phone? Thank god for data plans! 

However, when he pulled his phone from his pocket, she asked, “Junsu, you’re done already? Maybe, we shouldn’t have gone for some coffee.”

Shouldn’t? Shouldn’t? Was that what she said? 

“No, no, no!” he attempted to explain. “I just . . . I just don’t know what to do. I mean, I’ve tried to, you know, read articles online and then . . . I was about to . . . argh! I don’t know what I’m saying, do you?” 

In a move of desperation, he widened his eyes and gazed into her chestnut eyes, hoping that she would understand him. Instead, she took a sip of her vanilla frappucino and then declared, “Nope. I have no idea what you just said, but why don’t we just be ourselves? Let’s forget that this is a date and—“
“So, does that mean that we’re over?” 

With the straw still between her lips, she giggled before saying, “You’re too cute, Junsu!”

“Cute?” 

Junsu’s jaw almost snapped in half. This wasn’t what he wanted his girlfriend to think of him: cute. What happened to his charisma or his sex appeal? Then, he could sense Changmin’s disturbing lullaby: “You never had any, cute dolphin.”

Ah! Nightmare on Junsu’s Street!

Her hand waved too many times in front of his face. “Junsu? Junsu?” 

“Thank god, it’s you and not Changmin,” he mumbled under his breath. 

Her eyes brightened. “Changmin? Who’s he?”

“Ah,” Junsu answered, “he’s one of my best buddies. We go all the way back when we were . . .”

In the end, the date progressed with stories regarding the boys, predominantly Changmin. Changmin’s comments were the most memorable for they caused the most turmoil in the household. It was hard to tolerate Changmin, yet it was also difficult not to accept him. 
               
Thanks to you, you annoying bastard.
 
Junsu had snickered to himself.

“Yo,” Jaejoong chanted in the living room. “Yo, yo, yo, I’m gonna say some yo yo. It’s about time we’ve had a party, homies!” 

They were all watching the latest cooking show thanks to Changmin’s overbearing request.

Yoochun rolled his eyes. “Dude, sometimes, I wonder if you actually have the skills to write songs. Thank goodness, you’re not a lyricist. Changmin is still the man!” 

It was true that Jaejoong was talented in music. He was like a genius; he could create songs out of the simplest sounds. Whatever he hummed became stuck in everyone’s minds and soon, the boys were begging him to finish the song. At that moment, Jaejoong would either agree to their pleas or he would invent another melody. Hence, this vicious cycle continued.

Jaejoong, however, had trouble creating the lyrics to his songs, so Changmin would take on that role. Changmin had a way with words, but that didn’t make him a smooth talker, like Yoochun. It was as if Changmin had a love affair with language; he knew what words to use to describe a situation or a mood. He would inscribe them for Yoochun, who would then compose the notes. In time, Junsu would be the one singing. Actually, Junsu never bothered to read music notes. He preferred listening to Yoochun play to the music, while Jaejoong sang first. Then, Junsu wouldn’t imitate Jaejoong’s voice. Instead, he would sing in his own style and still hit be on tune. Finally, Rhett would occasionally choreograph a dance. Although his voice was not spectacular, his dancing ability could mesmerize people, even males. Perhaps, all of them could have taken a part in the musical world, yet none of them did, aside from Yoochun. A hobby could only be a hobby. 

Maybe, that was why Jaejoong chose make-up over music. He could have been a chef, but Changmin was too whiny. Jaejoong certainly did not want to tackle all of the dishes that Changmin watched on the Food Channel. Changmin, thus, always insisted that the boys watch cooking shows with him all because Jaejoong had “refused to become even more talented.” 

Changmin took another scoop from his pudding while agreeing, “Sure, let’s have a party. If Jaejoong makes all of the dishes, then I’ll join in and help finish them all.”

Jaejoong looked towards the ceiling, thinking, Changmin, Changmin, when would that kid ever stop thinking about food?
 
“You can’t expect me to do everything,” Jaejoong argued. “I need some helpers.”

Changmin licked his spoon clean and scoffed, “Didn’t I say that I would help you eat everything? That way . . . you don’t have to put anything in the fridge.”

 “I’ll also help eat too!” Yoochun shouted, raising his hand high.

Changmin whipped a high-five towards Yoochun whose reflexes were adept enough to react on time.

 “Yeah!” 

Only Rhett, who sat at the edge of the couch, offered, “I can help buy some groceries after work and help wash the vegetables and the dishes.” 

“I guess I should taint their food then,” Jaejoong snickered. “Those disgraceful brats!”

Changmin directed his spoon at Jaejoong. “Oh, come on, senpai.” 

Jaejoong almost slipped from the couch and confirmed, “Senpai? Since when did you call me senpai?”
“I can call you that more often if you cook for the party.”

Jaejoong scratched his chin. Senpai was an awfully important term. This could be a deal of a life time. 

“All right, if you—“ 

“Okay! I’ll just call you senpai for that day. Deal!” Changmin butted in and instantly slapped Jaejoong’s open palm.

“You!” 

Jaejoong leapt to tackle Changmin, only to be stopped by Rhett, who said, “Jaejoong, what do you want me to get for the party?” 

Jaejoong responded, “Some carrots, portabella mushrooms, not the shitake mushrooms, some red onions and . . .” 

As Jaejoong continued listing, Rhett compiled all of his requests into a note on his phone. Changmin, on the other hand, secretly chuckled until he saw Rhett’s fierce glare. Then, Changmin focused on the TV screen and did not even speak for the entire night.

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