“Delight was truly the mere thought in my mind when you decided to take out this great opportunity after all,” Minho said with a content voice as they shook hands quickly, and he gestured Baekhyun to go inside by keeping the massive door open for him.
“Well, I had no other chance,” Baekhyun muttered behind the man's back as they walked through the decorative lobby to another door which led to a large white staircase. “Let's not call it great, I just have one damn rent to pay.”
“I'll show you your classroom,” Minho continued, not noticing or very successfully ignoring his uninterested expression.
“Right. Can't wait.”
Baekhyun wasn't sure whether the board had intentionally chosen a classroom that was in the northern wing of the institute, while he had always been practicing with Kibum in the southern part, but from obvious reasons he decided not to bring the topic up.
“And here we are.”
The classroom Minho presented was basically the spitting image of his homeroom with two black grand pianos in the middle of everything, a few wooden chairs piled up and stacked next to the large window, two posters of Bach and Mozart hanging on the walls and several metallic music stands in the corner.
“Must feel kind of nostalgic, right!” Minho beamed. “We decided to give you the biggest classroom.”
Baekhyun wasn't feeling as excited as the board member but somehow he compelled a forced smile.
“Aside the classroom we'll give you the locker and the slot from the teachers' office in case there will be internal mail dedicated to you, and naturally there's complimentary coffee, tea and water served all the time,” Minho explained over his shoulder while nervously walking around the room, not standing still and pulled off the curtains to let the sunshine creep in.
Baekhyun walked next to the grand piano and slid his hand over the smooth keyboard cover.
“I've informed our secretary Kim Hyoyeon that you're a new teacher in the house, and she'll be working during office hours, so if you need anything just contact her. You can find her office from the seventh floor.”
Baekhyun opened the cover and took of the felt cloth, placing it on the bench. He gently touched the surface of a few keys before pushing the D note. Sharp F. Then A. D major chord.
“It's not much we can offer, as you know, but we'll hope you will enjoy doing your work here and it's probably easiest for you two to use the same classroom to make it as comfortable as possible. It's a new situation for both of you after all.”
Baekhyun pricked up his ears, taking his hand further away from the keyboard. “About that... interestingly the only thing I've got no information about is the student I'm going to teach.”
“Junmyeon will show you his records and resume later on, but basically he's a very promising new pianist and it hasn't been long since the institute picked him. He has his lacks, I admit, especially with keeping up the tempo and some general sloppiness but nothing you couldn't fix. And he's a genius, really!” Minho's eyes were suddenly gleaming with excitement as he spoke out the last words.
“Apparently he started playing piano by ear when he was five, absolutely no notes used! And then he already played Liszt before he was eight, mastered Chopin's Etude in G Minor at the age of ten! That young man is really something, we have high expectations of him.”
“Interesting,” Baekhyun said slowly, not completely sure if that was a risk or a chance to have someone as a student who didn't even start their journey with piano by learning notes. Since that was perfectly the opposite how Baekhyun had reached his professional level: with painstaking obedience of the notes. Notes had always been everything for him.
“He's a diamond in the rough, but we do believe with your help we'll get the polish and the refinement done by no time. We hope to see him in Seoul International Music Competition next month, and maybe in Vienna in December. We have a big trust on your professional skills.”
“Thank you for your trust,” Baekhyun nodded, yet he couldn't help thinking where he had got himself into. “What's his name by the way?”
“Oh yeah, he is called Park Chanyeol. I'd like to schedule you two to meet as soon as possible, so we could confirm the classroom reservation and you could start giving the lessons. How does tomorrow afternoon sound to you?”
Baekhyun glanced at the clock ticking on the wall.
Four minutes past two, which meant his student was already late from his first lesson, how fucking fantastic. He hadn't been into this teaching idea at all even in the first place, and now he already started deeply regretting he had listened to Junmyeon, Kyungsoo and everyone else's stupid advice to accept the position.
Another minute went by.
If his foolish student wouldn't show up in another ten minutes, Baekhyun swore he would tell the board to forget everything, and he would take back the work agreement he had signed a day before. No excuses. Baekhyun was an artist, not a mediocre teacher who would suck up some chap's fickleness. If they didn't arrive on time, there was no way he'd share his knowledge for them either. He had way better things to do.
Another two minutes.
Baekhyun was about to curse to himself.
“Geez, sorry I'm late!”
As soon as the door was pulled open, a tall lanky guy in a black hoodie rushed in. Baekhyun scanned the comer from head to toe. He was holding a black backpack on his shoulder, round glasses were hanging on the tip his nose, and under messy hair there were big peculiar ears which were standing out from the side of his head. His brown eyes were also big, Baekhyun swore he had never seen such large eyes before.
“I'm Park Chanyeol, your new student! It's very nice to meet you, Hyun-ssaem! I've been waiting for this!” the guy exclaimed happily (with a surprisingly low voice), not knowing whether he should bow, put his back bag somewhere or just do something else, so he ended up making a few awkward turn-arounds on his spot, and making a slipshod nod at Baekhyun's direction before throwing his bag on the chair next to the other grand piano.
“I've watched all your performances on Youtube, I could say I'm a fan of yours! This is such an honour for me! Please accept me, I hope we're going to have great fun!”
The tall guy bowed one more time, and flashed a wide smile with all teeth.
“Once again, sorry for being late but I pretty much lost the track of time when I sent a funny video link to my friend Sehun, and therefore I of course missed my stop so that's why...,” the guy, Park Chanyeol, continued babbling cheerfully but Baekhyun didn't let him continue even a word.
Just who the hell did this dude think he was?
“Be quiet,” he cut him off very angrily.
Chanyeol complied and quieted down in a flash.
“First of all, you're strictly obeyed to come to the class in time. This is the first and the last time I tolerate such a rude behaviour from you. If you're going to be late, you're not coming at all, alright? Secondly, it's Byun Baekhyun-seonsaengnim for you, don't even think about calling me with any other stupid names you've made up. Understood?”
Chanyeol gave an obedient nod and shot his look down, staring at his toes as if he was embarrassed of his hectic entrance.
Good, he'd better be.
“And that chair where you just threw your bag,” Baekhyun continued tightly, “is the chair where I'm going to sit when I'm going to evaluate your playing. For your information, I'm not going to just stand all the time so that your precious dirty bag would have a seating here.”
“Also, I'm telling you this is only a test class. I haven't made any promises, decisions or whatsoever that I'm going to teach you in the future. So you better make hell of a good impression on me, Park Chanyeol. And I must say that won't be easy,” Baekhyun said with an irritated tone, and couldn't help adding: “And when considering these two minutes: I'm not particularly convinced.”
It was nearly comical how his words had such an impact on Chanyeol. Despite his height he looked like he had just shrunk a few centimetres in a few seconds, thanks to his harsh words, and Baekhyun was secretly satisfied with the power those words seemed to have.
No student, especially student like that, would be allowed to mess around in his classroom like that, Baekhyun would make sure of that.
“Understood?” Baekhyun repeated one more time, and tried to ignore that Chanyeol looked considerably young and cute when embarrassed, although apparently he was only six years younger than Baekhyun.
“Fine. Now let's start.”
Chanyeol nodded apologetically and took off his bag from the chair, then slowly sat down on the bench in front of the piano. He kept his hands on his lap, while looking at the keyboard in front of him in a way like he had never even seen the instrument in his life before.
He glanced over his shoulder questioningly when Baekhyun didn't say a word.
Baekhyun frowned. “Well, play something! For god's sake.”
“What should I play?”
“Hell, it doesn't matter! I need to listen to your playing somehow,” Baekhyun sighed and sensed the headache coming soon. He had lost the count how many times he had uttered a frustrated sigh during that day, and how many times he had already been on the verge of losing control.
He seriously needed to control himself.
“Okay right, do you know how to play Fantaisie Impromptu?”
Baekhyun spread his arms. “There you go then.”
The pianist placed his hands on the keyboard and pushed down a long grandiloquent chord that was the beginning of the whole piece. Chanyeol started accelerating the tempo with an each note, and Chopin's music filled the room.
Baekhyun put his hands on his hips, and held his gaze at his student.
Chanyeol's way of playing was very straightforward yet airy, he made it sound incredibly easy. He didn't stumble even with the hardest parts but went on with the same confidence he had in his playing altogether. His hands were quite big, but fingers definitely were long pianist fingers, and those said fingers moved so quickly across the keys that it looked like they were prancing daintily. Baekhyun caught himself staring at Chanyeol's hands and fingers longer than maybe necessary.
As he reached the slower part Chanyeol's head waved a little bit, and he almost even closed his eyes to enjoy the feeling of playing to the fullest before the final climax of the piece was about to start.
Chanyeol was good, Baekhyun could definitely tell that. But there certainly were also some careless errors and, like Minho had warned, his tempo wasn't on point all the time. Technically his playing wasn't even nearly perfect, and his arrogant attitude was another huge problem. That all-knowing confident face didn't disappear throughout the piece.
When he finished the song by pushing down the keys to master the final chord of the piece Chanyeol stayed still for a few seconds before raising his hands off from the keyboard.
He turned around, flashing an expectant smile at Baekhyun.
“Well?” Chanyeol inquired, looking annoyingly satisfied on himself.
He was probably waiting for all praises and admiration from his new teacher, like he in all probability got from most people he played for for the first time.
But little did Chanyeol know that Baekhyun wouldn't be the same.
Baekhyun crossed his arms in front of himself. “Well listen, your tempo is messed up. The way you use the pedal is reckless. At some point you pressed some of the keys fully while some other keys you left hanging in the midway.”
Chanyeol's face dropped.
“Also, you're not supposed to close your eyes when playing. Ever. This is not a tacky jazz bar.”
“Hey! I was trying to enjoy...”
“Was I finished yet?”
Chanyeol muttered something incoherent, but once again he obeyed and quieted down.
“It wasn't a complete disaster but don't you dare to think even for a second your playing wouldn't have some serious problems. Your technique is sloppy and you tend to rush too much. We're talking about Chopin's music here, not a horse race.”
It was easy tell that Chanyeol was about to protest back as he opened his mouth but no words came out after all. Instead he simply nodded, a bit sheepishly.
“We have a long way to go,” Baekhyun said dryly and rolled the sleeves of his shirt up to his elbows.
“Does... this mean you're willing to be my teacher?”
“I said that we have a long way to go. Now start playing from the beginning.”
It turned out that they did have more than a long way to go.
The class had already taken 50 minutes but Chanyeol still played with half-interest, or so it seemed since even the first notes were played differently each time he started the piece from the beginning. Now the chord was pushed down way too hard, like a bomb that exploded. And that irritated Baekhyun since he had already told Chanyeol to add more softness into his playing.
“It's too hard, your chord is still too hard,” Baekhyun interrupted the pianist with an annoyed tone, and asked him to stop playing. His headache was already there but he wasn't willing to give up until he heard it just right. “Again.”
Chanyeol sighed and played the chord again.
“Too hard. Again.”
Chanyeol started again.
One more try.
Now it looked like Chanyeol really put all his concentration on the first chord. But it was still too hard for Baekhyun's preference.
“Still too hard.”
Chanyeol tried again.
“Now it's way too soft.”
Repeating the same part once again.
Over and over Chanyeol kept playing the chord and he couldn't get further with the piece since Baekhyun always hurried to interrupt him.
Baekhyun couldn't be satisfied and as he looked at his student maybe the biggest problem was in Chanyeol's hand position, his slack wrists needed to be more vigorous.
“It's your wrists,” Baekhyun said, frowning again.
“What's wrong with my wrists?”
“The position.” Baekhyun promptly pulled a chair under him so he could sit next to Chanyeol.
He lightly tapped Chanyeol's wrist with his index finger.
“You need to keep them more straight. More strength here.”
As Chanyeol still couldn't grasp the idea when trying to play the chord again (too hard), Baekhyun forcefully grabbed the pianist's right wrist. Chanyeol's wrist was warm and firm, Baekhyun caught himself thinking very quickly and very absent-mindedly, but he shook off the thought immediately. The strength wasn't in the right place there and it needed to get fixed.
“Here. Put the strength here,” he instructed and soothed the pulse part with his thumb.
Chanyeol let out a small hum to imply he finally got it, and Baekhyun let go of his wrist.
All of a sudden, Chanyeol did manage to fix his position magically and his playing already sounded much better from the beginning. Not good, such a praise would have been exaggerative, but unquestionably a lot better. But how much it had required, that was another thing.
It looked like Chanyeol was half-expecting Baekhyun to interrupt him again, all prepared to stop again, but that time Baekhyun let him play the piece until the end.
“It's getting slightly better,” Baekhyun commented slowly, when Chanyeol was finished. This time the student wasn't throwing expecting glances but stayed completely mute while sitting on the edge of the stool.
“But you should practice more, put more concentration on the position how you're holding your wrists.”
“I don't get you to hold my wrist every time in the future?”
Damn those sassy students these days.
“No. You won't have a teacher sitting beside you when you're performing.”
“I got it. Thank you Hyun-ss- I mean seonsaengnim.”
“Believe me, there's not much to thank anyone at this point,” Baekhyun rolled his eyes, and then couldn't help commenting on one more thing that had been greatly bothering him. “And about that hoodie of yours, it's not very appropriate for a piano lesson. How about you take that off the next time, so those long sleeves won't disturb you when playing?”
Chanyeol suddenly grinned in a wicked manner. “Are you asking me to strip, seonsaengmin?”
Chanyeol smiled, the corners of his eyes forming wrinkles. It was kind of amazing the guy was smiling like that although he had basically got nothing but complaints and hard critique coming from Baekhyun's side during the whole lesson.
Baekhyun snorted in confusion. He was so done with jokes at this point, yet he also realised he had no idea how to read Chanyeol as he didn't seem to react to many things in a way Baekhyun had maybe predicted.
“As you can see, I'm usually quite good at telling jokes,” Chanyeol continued.
“I don't even want to know.”
“What's the difference between a conductor and God?”
Baekhyun answered nothing but raised his eyebrow questioningly.
“God doesn't think he's a conductor.”
It was so lame, Chanyeol looked ridiculous in his big hoodie and round glasses, his hair was a mess and his big ears were impossible to ignore, and something about the combination of that everything made Baekhyun's mouth twist upwards faintly.
“See, you liked it!” Chanyeol exclaimed.
“Let's just move on, we need to fix the tempo next.”
“There comes our new colleague, Mr. Teacher himself~ How did your first lesson go?” Minseok asked as Baekhyun stepped into the teachers' room.
Baekhyun threw his note briefcase on the table and slouched to the kitchen counter to make himself an Americano with an instant coffee machine.
In fact, he hated coffee. He didn't like the bitter taste and he was more into sweet stuff in general, but the headache was too strong, and he gravely needed any kind of relief in that very moment.
“Don't even ask,” Baekhyun muttered as he added three bags of syrup into his coffee. His new student hadn't even bothered asking if he would have wanted something to drink and if he could buy that for him, and the mere thought made him annoyed again.
“Oh, that bad?”
Minseok's tone wasn't accusing or judgmental but rather curious, Baekhyun had always liked that calm side of him. Minseok was also one of the piano teachers at the institute, and he was close friends with Jongdae, who instead was the violin teacher Baekhyun had known for years through working together in various music projects and was one of his good friends nowadays.
Minseok had come with Jongdae like as a package deal, and while Baekhyun had always been more or less busy while still playing under sponsorship he had gone to have dinner with two of them every once in a while. Minseok was a calm laid-back guy with the most random punchlines and the sweetest gummy smile, and Baekhyun had quickly decided already during the first meeting that he liked him. Therefore, it wasn't too bad to have Minseok as a colleague now.
Baekhyun sighed. “Park Chanyeol is a naturally talented pianist but immensely arrogant, self-confident to too great an extent and way too cocky. I'm going to have hard time because of him.”
“Really? He seemed quite nice and polite to me when Junmyeon introduced him to me quickly.”
“He plays piano like he's acting in a musical, he's not taking anything seriously. And he came to the lesson wearing a hoodie with sleeves that were too long. Hoodie! And the worst is only coming up. When he was about to leave I asked in passing if he has ever considered wearing contact lenses for classes instead glasses and it turned out he doesn't even need glasses! That chap told me they're just for fashion.”
“Sounds like he has some good sense of humour then at least,” Minseok laughed gently. “I bet you two will get along just well. You can be a funny guy too if you want to be one, Baekhyun.”
“Ouch, don't tell him that or he might start believing you,” Jongdae, who just entered the room, hollered. He was carrying a pile of notes which he placed and arranged on the table next to Baekhyun's briefcase.
“Come on, Baekhyun needs some encouragement now!” Minseok said and patted Baekhyun on the shoulder. Silently Baekhyun took a sip from his coffee, it was still too bitter for his taste. “He's new to this and apparently his new student is giving him hard time.”
“Hard time? Is he that hot?” Jongdae wiggled his eyebrows.
Baekhyun screwed his face into a grimace, and the coffee wasn't the only thing that made the reaction. Why did that fucker called Kim Jongdae even have to be there in the same space with him right now?
“Holy moly shit, you have that face! You think your student is hot!”
Baekhyun knew there was no way to make Jongdae stop anymore. “Could someone remind me why am I even friends with you?”
Jongdae made a kissy face. “Because you love me, Baekhyun. Can't get enough of me. Or your student.”
Now it was Jongdae's turn to pat his shoulder. “Don't pout, that makes you look ugly. Let's go for an afterwork dinner tonight?”
Alright, it's orangegreenlove's turn! :)