Grinning at him from across the room is a woman Baekhyun had firmly placed in the way out of his league category the moment he’d arrived. It’s a baby shower, so he’s not here to pick anyone up anyway, but his brain is always working, always placing people in their allotted slots so he knows where he stands with them. It’s not necessarily a bad habit, per say, but Kyungsoo is always telling Baekhyun that people are more than generalized labels. Baekhyun knows he’s right, but he also can’t help himself.
Baekhyun is propped on the arm of the couch, only half watching as Joohyun rolls her eyes fondly at her husband Joonmyun who is carefully pulling the tape off each gift so he doesn’t rip the paper. It’s so very Joonmyun of him, but Baekhyun knows that he’ll store the wrapping paper in a giant gift bag and stick it in his attic, and it will sit there, forgotten. Baekhyun knows. He’d been one of the people who had helped move Joonmyun out of his tiny apartment when he and Joohyun had bought their house. Baekhyun and Chanyeol had made a silent pact to throw away all the bags of wrapping paper.
Baekhyun snickers when Joohyun curls her finger under the edge furthest from Joonmyun’s reach and she pulls, leaving a long rip in the side of the paper. Joonmyun freezes, mouth open as he gives her a look.
“Oh well,” she shrugs. “Might as well just tear it all now,” she tells him fondly.
Joonmyun doesn’t pout for long - not when he’s busy cooing over the fuzzy little duck onesie, complete with duck feet, that came in the box. He pulls it up and places it on Joohyun’s belly, smoothing it out as people take pictures. The two share a moment; Joonmyun places a soft kiss on Joohyun’s forehead and her smile is bright enough to light up the night sky.
Baekhyun sighs. He wants that. He’s been searching for that for so long that he feels like he may never find it. He’s only twenty-six, but most of his friends are settled down and starting families. Joonmyun and Joohyun are married with a kid on the way, Chanyeol and Jongin have been together for five years and they have a house full of dogs, and even Kyungsoo has managed to snag a surly looking man for his own. Yifan had been threatening looking for all of ten minutes before Baekhyun had to witness his puppy eyes when he gazed adoringly at Kyungsoo.
Which leaves Baekhyun - woefully single Baekhyun.
He glances back at the woman across the room. She’s nursing a glass of orange juice, holding it to her chest. She still has her eyes on Baekhyun and he licks over his lips, weighing his options. Is it socially incorrect to hit on someone at a baby shower? In the end, he decides he doesn’t care. No one is paying attention to him except her anyway. All other eyes are on Joohyun and Joonmyun as Joonmyun dives head first into a gift bag taller than he is. Baekhyun didn’t even know they made them that size, but Chanyeol is known to find the oddest things.
Baekhyun slips off the couch and walks over, offering the woman a smile. She holds her glass up and takes a sip as Baekhyun nears.
“Hello,” she greets first, still smiling. Still stunning.
“Hi,” Baekhyun almost whispers. “You look like you could use some company over here.” It’s lame, but it works.
Her smile grows as she lets out a chuckle. “I wouldn’t want to take you from the excitement,” she teases.
They both glance over to where Chanyeol is now trying to help pull Joonmyun out of the bag; everyone is telling Joonmyun to put down the gift inside so Chanyeol can get him out, but he’s refusing.
Baekhyun looks back at her and shrugs. “I’m used to Joonmyun getting stuck in various places. The excitement wears off after a few years.” Her laugh sounds genuine, which gives Baekhyun hope. “I’m Baekhyun.”
“Hyeran,” she introduces. “I work with Joohyun.”
“Ah, so you know the better half of the pair.”
“You must be Joonmyun’s friend then,” Hyeran laughs.
“Since our first days of college,” Baekhyun tells her. “He kind of grows on you. Like a fungus.”
She ducks her head when she laughs, dark hair cascading from where it had been tucked behind her shoulder, and Baekhyun’s stomach nervously shifts. He’s no stranger to the dating game, or to flirting, but he generally knows when not to bother. And even though Hyeran is speaking to him, it doesn’t mean she’s interested, but he really wants her to be.
“So where’s your plus one?” Baekhyun questions, wheedling for information before going any further. “Shouldn’t he be keeping you company?”
“Ah,” Hyeran comments, shaking her head at him, “no plus one for me. What about yours?”
“Tragically single, I’m afraid,” Baekhyun answers. “I could have brought my dog, but he’d just shed on the baby clothes.”
“We can be single together then,” Hyeran says, her eyes scanning Baekhyun’s face before moving to settle on Joonmyun who is still struggling with a teddy bear larger than he is. Joohyun is laughing, and Chanyeol is trying to defend his purchase because Joonmyun is insisting that no kid needs something this huge.
“And after the baby shower?” Baekhyun inquires, hoping that his luck holds out.
“What do people do for dates nowadays?” Hyeran replies. “Is it coffee shops?”
“I hear coffee shops can be quite romantic,” Baekhyun tells her, sliding a bit closer to her. “And great for conversation.”
“It’s a date then,” she says, head tilting as she smiles up at him. “You can pick the place and I’ll buy the coffee.”
Baekhyun’s heart soars. “You have a deal.”
The sound of Chanyeol’s laughter breaks through and they both look to see that Joohyun has laid the teddy bear out on the floor and is now laying on top of it, grinning. Joonmyun visibly deflates while Jongin, and several other guests, take pictures.
“I win,” Chanyeol boasts.
Joonmyun scrunches his nose, but concedes. Baekhyun glances at Hyeran who now has her phone out and is taking a few pictures too. He sighs wistfully. Maybe, if he’s lucky, in a few years, he can have this too.
you're up, carpesoo