theme: o35. Blind
(Part of the For Two Series.)
One of Seoul’s most popular evening restaurants, Suju went almost into a frenzy when the most popular of their waiters stepped through the door. Amongst the loud applause, he held up his hands to calm them,
“It seems this place has become a zoo since I left last month,” The waiter chuckled as he shook hands with his coworkers, some even slapping his back amicably,
“Eh, we’re all just tired of hearing all the female customers yell when they see you’re not here,” The head chef replied, leaning against the bar,
“You mean ‘cry’, Hankyung-sshi,” the sous chef corrected his Korean as he appeared at his side,
“Ah, yeah, yeah, what Kibum-sshi said,” the head chef nodded, “Either way, it’s good to have you back, Heechul-sshi.”
Heechul gave them a winning smile, “Thank you,” he said with a shake of head as the rest of the staff began to break up and go about their business, preparing for that evening. When the last of the crew dispersed, Heechul stretched his arms above his head, “And how are you two getting along?”
“No idea what you’re talking about,” Kibum muttered, almost bitterly as he turned to leave.
Hankyung grabbed his hand before he could leave, giving a smile to Heechul, “The move went fine, but until we have all of Kibum’s things unpacked, it seems he’ll be staying in my room with me.”
“You told me it was a two-bedroom apartment,” Kibum hissed as he glanced around the restaurant front, assuring himself no one was in earshot of the conversation,
“And it is, but all of your boxes are occupying the other bedroom,” Hankyung said with a shrug of his shoulders, “And it gets too cold in winter for you to sleep on the table,”
Heechul blinked, “Table?”
“He means the couch,” Kibum said with a roll of his eyes. He yanked his hand from Hankyung’s grasp then stormed into the kitchen.
“Eh… I always get those two words mixed up,” Hankyung sighed, running a hand through his hair, “And I’ve already been here for a year.”
“Don’t worry about it too much. Now that you’re living with Kibum-sshi, you’ll be able to practice your Korean at home too,” Heechul offered a small smile as he gestured for Hankyung to follow.
They went to the male employee’s change room. Heechul threw his bag into his locker and hung up his jacket.
“Is it really okay for you to start working again?” Hankyung asked hesitantly as Heechul pulled out his black apron and tied it securely around his waist, “It was only a few weeks ago that you had surgery-”
“They wanted me to wake at least another week… but I have bills to pay,” Heechul explained as he checked himself out in the small mirror he had hanging on the inside of his locker door,
“Welcome back Heechul!” Heechul glanced over to where the chorus came, “Ah, thank you, Kyuhyun-sshi! Yesung-sshi!” He thanked the head host and another waiter of the restaurant.
Kyuhyun adjusted the sleeves of his shirt, opting to just push them above his elbows as he waited for the waiter, Yesung. Yesung threw his bag into his locker, grabbed his black apron then flicked his locker door closed, not realizing the force of it would make it slam shut. He muttered his apologies before leaving the change room.
“He’s in a bad mood again,” Kyuhyun sighed with a shake of his head before following his friend out of the locker room.
Hankyung watched as the young man left before turning back to Heechul, who had stuck his head into his locker at the loud sound of the locker closing,
“I wish they could cure this,” Heechul muttered, as he straightened, pulling his head from his locker,
“Well, I’ll see you out there,” Heechul said, a smile plastered on his face. He clasped a hand on his shoulder before stepping around Hankyung and leaving before anything else could be said.
Later that evening, Heechul went over to the host’s podium by the restaurant’s entrance. He nudged the head host in the side,
“Hey Kyu, who’s the new guy?” Heechul asked, gesturing towards a heavier-set waiter who was enjoying a laugh with a table before taking their order and heading to the kitchen,
“Ah, when you left, we hired a new waiter to make up for the loss,” Kyuhyun explained as he went through the computer’s database on the table settings, “Shindong-sshi… He was just going to be a temporary replacement, but after Shiwon-sshi saw how much the customers liked him, he decided to keep him on. Besides, it’ll help for when people are sick or during vacation and such.”
“Shiwon-sshi?” Heechul asked, running a hand through his chin-length hair,
Kyuhyun looked away from the touch-screen and at the waiter, “You don’t even know who the owner is?”
“Why waste my time worrying over pointless information?” Heechul scoffed, “Eh, Kyu, when is your break?”
“I already had it,” Kyuhyun replied when a few female customers entered, “Ah, welcome to Suju restaurant.”
“Heechul-sshi! You’re back!” The women said happily,
Heechul picked up some of the menus and offered his arms to the ladies, “What’s an open table, Kyu? I’ll show these beautiful ladies there myself.”
The customers laughed bashfully as Kyuhyun rolled his eyes and checked the touch-screen, “Table five.”
Flashing them with a winning smile, Heechul led his customers to their designated table.
Later that evening, Heechul stood once more at the host’s podium with Kyuhyun.
“Ah, why did you ask about my break, before?” Kyuhyun asked as he catalogued that day’s customers and began putting the menus away,
“I wanted to talk to you,” Heechul answered,
“About what?” Kyuhyun turned his head to look at Heechul. Heechul, in turn, glanced at Kyuhyun’s hand that was hovering above the touch-screen, then met his eyes once more. Self-consciously, Kyuhyun drew his hands away from the computer and turned them palm up to inspect them. On each of his ten fingers, thin bandages covered them completely from base to their tips; “Everyone sees them, but everyone’s too scared to ask.”
“I don’t want to pry… I just want to know… the way you got your injury, do you still… do you still get scared of it happening again?” Heechul asked tentatively,
Kyuhyun stared a moment at his bandaged fingers, “Sometimes… there are times when I’ll wake up in the middle of the night because I relived it in my dreams…” He sighed heavily before forcing a smile, “I wonder if there’ll be a time when I’ll forget what happened.” He tentatively pocketed his hands, “Heechul-sshi?”
Heechul shrugged, not knowing what to say. How could he explain the undeniable fear that swept over him whenever he heard a loud crash? Practically feel the burning in his head whenever the memories flashed in his mind. In his silence, he heard a soft, sad melody float over towards them, voicing the feelings he could not.
“Heechul-sshi?” Kyuhyun prompted in askance. Heechul was looking over his shoulder at something across the restaurant,
“How long have we had a piano player?” Heechul asked,
Kyuhyun blinked, “Eh? Since we opened four years ago!”
Heechul whipped his head back to stare at Kyuhyun, “Really?”
Kyuhyun shook his head, smiling, “You really didn’t know? Every night, for at least an hour, he plays… You really have no eyes for anyone but the ladies, huh Heechul-sshi?”
Heechul glance back towards the piano, but the music had stopped and the pianist was gone. He forced a small laugh, “Yeah… that’s me, the ladies’ man.”
A few nights later, on his way back from serving a table, Heechul noticed the pianist sitting at the bar. Over the past couple of nights he had caught glimpses of the piano player, but this time he was closer than ever before. Hesitantly, Heechul approached him, leaning his back against the bar,
“It’s a pretty quiet night, hmm?” Heechul asked casually,
The pianist took a sip from his glass of water, “It usually is on Sunday nights,” he replied.
Heechul felt his voice was smooth and sweet like honey. Now that he was so close to the pianist, he realized how handsome this man was. Silky, black hair, straight nose, chiselled jaw - a true man indeed. He felt a warmth spread within him and found the feeling intoxicating,
“I don’t think I’ve ever formally introduced myself,” Heechul said, “I’m Heechul,”
The pianist paused, his glass a thread away from his lips, “I’m Shiwon,” He replied before drinking the rest of his water.
Heechul watched him, intrigued. The name rang a bell in his memory and yet he wasn’t sure why. “Shiwon-sshi-”
“Shouldn’t you be attending to your tables?” The pianist interrupted,
“As a waiter,” Shiwon replied as he stood up, “Excuse me, I need some fresh air.”
Heechul watched as Shiwon stood up from his seat and slowly made his way to the back, presumably going to go outside the employee’s entrance at the back of the building.
A few days later, during his break, Heechul went over to the piano and sat on the edge of the bench beside Shiwon,
“Thinking of something to play?” Heechul asked lightly,
“What do you mean?” Shiwon asked, not looking at him,
“Well, for the past half hour, you’ve been sitting here, just running your hands up and down the keys… I thought-”
“For a busy night like Friday, you sure aren’t focusing on your work,” Shiwon replied easily, “To notice what I’ve been doing with my time.”
“I find it hard not to look at you whenever I work,” Heechul confessed, his voice low and sultry,
Shiwon laughed lightly, “That’s the tone you use for your female customers, is it not, Heechul-sshi?”
Heechul blinked, startled to realize that Shiwon was right; “Ah… I’m just trying to get you to lighten up and not fuss over my work. You’re more concerned about me working than I am.” Heechul forced a laugh before repeating, “So, have you been thinking of something to play?”
“Ah, no I’ve been waiting for someone,” Shiwon explained,
“Someone?” Heechul said in askance,
Suddenly the head chef appeared at the piano, placing a half-filled wineglass on the piano, “Sorry Shiwon-sshi! With all these people and Kibum sick I was stuck in the kitchen until now,” Hankyung apologized, “I didn’t mean to make you wait.”
“It’s fine. Just listening to the customers around me, enjoying their time here is music enough,” Shiwon smiled up at Hankyung, “But I’m glad you brought me my wine… eventually.”
Hankyung laughed, “A promise is a promise.”
Heechul watched, suddenly irritated at the friendly, warm exchange between the two. He saw Shiwon smile at Hankyung and felt angry that he had never felt that smile fall upon him. Abruptly, Heechul stood up and walked off.
Hankyung watched the waiter leave as Shiwon began to press some of the keys, slowly pulling a sweet melody from the piano, “Is he upset?”
“Don’t mind him,” Shiwon replied as he closed his eyes, allowing his hands to move fluidly over the black and white keys,
Hankyung leaned a hip against the side of the piano, crossing his arms lightly, “Are you gaming with him, Shiwon-sshi?”
“You mean ‘playing’,” Shiwon corrected immediately, “And no, I’m not playing with him.”
“So this isn’t some sort of revenge or getting back at him?” Hankyung asked, his voice low and suddenly serious,
Shiwon suddenly stopped, his fingers still held down on the keys they were playing. The music stopped, but the voices around them continued to swirl.
“Of course not,” Shiwon turned his face up towards Hankyung‘s, “What happened is because I love him.”
Before Hankyung could say anything, Shiwon turned his head away and continued to play. Realizing he had just been dismissed, Hankyung hesitantly turned and returned to the kitchen.
It was three in the morning when the restaurant was done closing up for the evening that day. Shiwon stood outside the front when Heechul came bounding from around the corner, leaving from the employee’s entrance at the back of the building.
“Waiting for a taxi?” Heechul asked as he tentatively came to stand beside him.
Over the past few weeks he had been using all of his prowess to draw Shiwon to him, and yet it seemed nothing was working. It confused Heechul, his charms always worked with women and on the off chance some male customers preferred that path in life, worked with them as well. However, it seemed nothing was getting the right attention from the restaurant’s pianist.
“Ah, Heechul-sshi,” Shiwon nodded, “Did you want to split one?”
Heechul nodded, looking away, hoping the heat he felt wasn’t turning his cheeks pink.
“Did you?” Shiwon repeated,
Heechul blinked, “Yes, I nodded that I did.”
“Ah, did you?” Shiwon gave a small smile when a taxi came to stop before them,
“Shiwon-sshi, good evening!” The taxi driver rolled down the window, “How was business tonight?”
“Ah, the middle of the week is always slow,” Shiwon replied amicably as he reached out for the door and fumbled for the handle. When he finally got it, he opened the door, “A detour to Heechul-sshi’s place first, please.”
“Ah, of course, of course,” The taxi driver replied.
Shiwon gestured for Heechul to get in then slipped into the back after him. He closed the door securely as Heechul gave the driver his address.
“Shiwon-sshi…” Heechul began hesitantly,
“Yes?” Shiwon replied, his face staring ahead of them,
“Someone like you… who dresses like you… and acts like you… I would think would drive to and from work,” Heechul commented lightly as he intently observed the other’s face,
Shiwon said nothing and because of his silence, Heechul didn’t press on. However, when they reached Heechul’s stop, he handed the driver over money, then got out of the car. Before it pulled out, Shiwon rolled down the window and called after him. Heechul paused and looked back at Shiwon,
Shiwon laughed lightly, his cheeks dimpling, “It took you this long to realize this?”
“Eh! It’s not like… at the restaurant… no opportunity…” Heechul stammered in frustration, running his hands through his long hair,
Shiwon’s smile widened, “Cute.” He rolled up the window and the taxi drove off.
Heechul stood there, watching as the taxi, “He thinks I’m cute…” Heechul blinked, feeling the heat return to his face again, “EH!? But I’m a guy! I can’t be cute!”
It took you this long to realize this?
Heechul ran a hand through his hair as the taxi turned a corner and disappeared from his sight, “If it’s him… I guess it’s okay…” He sighed heavily before turning on his heel and walking towards his apartment building.
The next evening when Heechul went into work and cornered Hankyung in the employee parking lot that was found behind the restaurant.
“Kibum still sick?” Heechul asked, noting that the sous chef’s car was nowhere to be found.
“That’s why his car’s not here,” Hankyung replied, almost bitterly. Despite being together with Hankyung for a year, Kibum wanted to keep their relationship a secret from those they didn’t consider their close friends. “What’s up?”
“How come you never told me Shiwon was blind?” Heechul demanded then, taking an akimbo stance,
Hankyung blinked, “You’ve been back for over a month and you’re only realizing this now?”
“Well, he’s usually at the piano and I never once thought that he was playing without seeing the keys… and the one time I did see him manoeuvre around the restaurant, he was heading back for a break and he seemed to move like he could see,” Heechul defended hotly,
Hankyung nodded in agreement, “He does have a good command over the placement of the restaurant. And he’s always been a talented pianist.”
Heechul sighed as he ran a hand through his mane-like hair, “It took me so long to notice we had a pianist at the restaurant - let alone he’s Shiwon and not to mention he’s blind.”
Hankyung paused as he got off his motorcycle and the two began walking up to the restaurant, “Wait… You didn’t realize Shiwon was the pianist until recently?”
“Didn’t you hear me? I didn’t even realize we HAD a pianist!” Heechul exclaimed with a sigh, “I don’t know how that happened.”
Hankyung watched him a moment before replying, “For as long as I’ve been here, you’ve always been in a world of your own. Sure you flirted with every dress that came through that door-”
“You mean ‘skirt’,” Heechul prompted automatically as they walked through the back hallways of the restaurant to the male employees’ locker room,
“Yes, that - and even then you just did whatever you wanted,” Hankyung shrugged as he pulled off his jacket and hung it in his own locker, “And as best as my memory serves me, you’ve never remembered Shiwon nor who he is, always saying it was pointless information you don’t need to worry yourself over.”
“I didn’t realize I was such a jerk…” Heechul murmured as he put his own stuff in his locker,
“You weren’t a jerk,” Hankyung replied, “You were just… flippant, carefree - we couldn’t pin you down with worries.
Heechul sighed, “I need to stop being so self-centered,”
Hankyung paused a moment, crossing his arms lightly, “Why the sudden change? We’ve never had any complaints about your personality.”
“Because I never saw past myself it took me years to even notice Shiwon existed,” Heechul explained, “How is THAT not being a jerk? I’ve been working with him for almost four years and only this past month have I acknowledged he was around. He’s a nice guy, certainly good looking, talented - I have nothing to hold against him and yet I still didn’t find him important enough to remember him.”
Hankyung shot him with a hard stare, “Heechul… are you falling for Shiwon?”
“No… yes… I don’t know,” Heechul sighed, running his hands through his silky locks, “All I know is that since I saw him all I wanted was to jump him… and then after earlier this morning after the restaurant closed, I suddenly wanted more than just to jump his bones…”
“What changed after the restaurant closed after last night?” Hankyung asked curiously,
“Shiwon… called me cute,” Heechul muttered quietly, avoiding Hankyung’s eyes as he felt the heat in his cheeks,
“Females - and the occasional male - have called you more intense things than that,” Hankyung commented, “What’s the difference this time?”
“At first… he was unaffected by all the tricks I’ve ever used to get someone… and it seems like he likes me not because of my looks which is what usually got all the others… and certainly not all my tricks since those seemed to either make him laugh or angry,” Heechul leaned his back against the locker adjacent to his, crossing his arms loosely about his torso, “So maybe… just maybe he likes me for more than the façade I put on just to be a popular waiter.”
Hankyung smirked as he buttoned up his chef’s jacket and closed his locker door, “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”
“W-w-what?” Heechul stammered, standing up straight,
“Your reaction a few moments ago when you told me what Shiwon called you,” Hankyung replied as he ran a hand through his hair to fix it after having a helmet on it for so long, “Is the same reaction on Kibum’s face when I call him cute.”
Heechul reddened immediately, “Shut up,” Heechul snapped as he slammed his locker door and pushed past Hankyung out of the locker room.
Hankyung laughed after him, “That’s what he says too.”
As the restaurant opened for the evening, being a Thursday, business was still slow for a night restaurant. Heechul watched as Shiwon suddenly appeared at some point in the evening and sat at the piano. A few seconds later, Hankyung came out and brought him his habitual half glass of wine before retreating into the kitchen. It was almost two hours later when Shiwon took his leave of the baby grand piano and, while accepting compliments as he walked, made it to the bar and greeted the bartender,
“Beautiful playing as always,” the bartender commented quietly as he dried glasses from the other side of the bar,
“Thanks Eeteuk,” Shiwon smiled at him as Eeteuk placed a glass of water atop the bar for him. He sipped it slowly as Heechul came and sat on an empty stool beside him,
“He’s right, you know,” Heechul said, “Your playing is always… indescribable,”
“Oh?” Shiwon chuckled softly, “I just play what I’m feeling.”
“But that’s the good thing. You play from your heart and that’s how your music captivates people. It draws them in because your music speaks what people are afraid to say themselves,” Heechul insisted,
Shiwon took a long sip of his water before asking, “Is there something you want to say?”
“Shiwon-sshi, I’ve been meaning to ask,” Heechul began tentatively, deciding to talk more earnestly with this man who captivated him so,
“Yes?” Shiwon asked as he finished his water and placed it on the bar for Eeteuk to take away,
“You play maybe one or two hours a night, but you’re here from the moment the restaurant opens up until all the staff - save the cleaners - are gone,” Heechul noted,
Shiwon nodded, gesturing for him to continue,
“What do you do all those extra hours?” Heechul wondered, “Where do you go for the rest of the night that I can’t even find you if I wanted to?”
“You’ve looked for me?” Shiwon asked, startled,
Glad that Shiwon couldn’t see him blush, Heechul cleared his throat, “And being a pianist can’t pay that much… do you have another job?”
Amused that he had avoided the question, Shiwon smiled and stood from the bar, “Follow me,”
Heechul stood up and hesitantly began following him to the back of the restaurant, “Where-”
“I’ll show you where I go when you can’t find me.”
A few moments later, they stood before the door which Heechul knew led to the owner’s private office. The restaurant’s managers had their own office but closer to the kitchen. The more Heechul thought about it, he had never gone this deep into the back of the building, except for when he was going to the locker rooms or to the employee entrance.
“You go to the owner’s office? Are you friends with him?” Heechul asked, curiosity suddenly piqued.
He had known Shiwon only a month and even though Shiwon seemed quite open about everything, it seemed to Heechul as if he was the most secretive person ever. Despite talking to Shiwon frequently, Heechul realized he knew little to nothing about the pianist except that his name was Shiwon, he played from the heart and he thought Heechul was cute.
Shiwon let out a hearty laugh as he boldly opened the door and gestured for Heechul to enter ahead of him. Nervous and hesitant, Heechul slowly stepped into the office, relieved to find it was empty but then suddenly worried the owner would walk in on them and fire them on the spot. All of his fears intensified when Shiwon immediately walked towards the desk in the room and sat behind it, in a leather arm chair,
“Shiwon-sshi what are you - your name is on the name plate,” Heechul blinked, his hand coming up to his mouth, “Oh. My-”
“It took you this long to realize this?” Shiwon grinned at him as he came around to the front of the desk, “Do you seriously have no recollection about Suju restaurant’s owner? At all?”
Heechul walked forwards and slumped in one of the chairs before the desk, “Apparently not,” He muttered, startled thoroughly, “Why didn’t you ever say anything!?”
Shiwon crossed his arms loosely, “I knew you were oblivious to man obvious things - I didn’t realize the degree of your ignorance though.”
“You’re the owner… and you’re the pianist?” Heechul blinked, “But… why don’t you just hire your own pianist?”
“I did,” Shiwon replied honestly, “But upon meeting him I realized I erred in my judgement, so now he’s a host here.”
“Really? Who?” Heechul asked as he stood up and came beside Shiwon, leaning the side of his thigh against the desk as he faced Shiwon fully,
“I QUIT!” The office door banged open as one of the waiters entered in a fury. His white button-up uniform had the top two buttons undone and sleeves rolled to his elbows. He was breathing heavily as he glared at Shiwon,
“Yesung, why are you quitting now?” Shiwon asked, almost exasperatedly,
“Either you fire Shindong, or I quit,” Yesung warned,
“And what did Shindong do?” Shiwon asked patiently,
“He’s stealing my regular customers from me!” Yesung exclaimed,
“Well it’s not that hard when you’re in here once a night, telling me you’re quitting,” Shiwon said dryly,
“I’m being serious!” Yesung argued, he suddenly pulled at his shirt until the buttons tore off. He ripped the button-up off of himself and threw it on the ground, clad in just a red wife-beater, “I’ll quit this time!”
“That’s what you said when you said Kyuhyun purposely gives you the mean customers… or when you were positive that lady had added pepper to her own dish then claimed she was allergic just to get a free meal,” Shiwon counted off Yesung’s past reasons,
“I still think that old bat was lying,” Yesung grumbled,
“She swelled up like a balloon!” Shiwon exclaimed, “We had to call an ambulance!” Shiwon raked a hand through his hair, “Lately it seems you’re hell-bent on quitting-”
“Don’t listen to him!”
All attention was drawn towards the office door where Eeteuk stood, “Yesung’s just upset on my behalf and he’s just acting irrational.”
“Eeteuk-sshi?” Shiwon guessed at his voice.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Eeteuk replied as he came and stood beside Yesung who was picking up his ruined uniform shirt, “Something’s come up and Yesung’s just high strung.”
“At least one of us is upset!” Yesung grounded out bitterly at the bartender,
“Shiwon-sshi, is it okay if Yesung goes home now? Before he quits again?” Eeteuk asked. Heechul was startled that Eeteuk still bowed despite knowing that Shiwon couldn’t see him,
“And you Eeteuk-sshi? Do you need to go home early too?” Shiwon asked quietly,
“I… I’ll finish my shift,” Eeteuk replied after a brief pause, “If I didn’t, and if I acted like I was upset, someone would be upset with me.”
“Very well,” Shiwon sighed, “Yesung, go home and cool your head. I don’t want to see you back here until you’ve decided to stop raiding my office every night. Eeteuk, I want you to take another break before heading back to the bar.”
“Thank you,” they both said and, Heechul was surprised again when they both bowed before leaving.
When the office door firmly closed behind them, Shiwon sighed heavily as he turned to face Heechul, “Are you okay?”
Heechul blinked, “That just happened and you’re asking me if I’m okay?”
Shiwon gave him a slanted look, “When the door slammed open you suddenly froze up beside me.”
“I was startled,” Heechul replied easily,
Shiwon shook his head, “No, it was something else… you were scared. Not just from being surprised, it… it was felt like you were really, truly-”
“OKAY I WAS!” Heechul threw up his arms in the air, “I was scared, okay? I get scared whenever I hear a loud noise because…” He sighed, allowing his sentence to end there as he plopped down in a chair before the desk,
“Because what?” Shiwon asked softly as he came and sat in the other chair beside Heechul’s,
“I’m scared of getting into another accident,” Heechul said quietly, “Since you’re the owner, I’m sure you remember I took a month off work-”
“Yes, they told me your eyes had been injured, but they never told me why,” Shiwon prompted tentatively,
“I’m a waiter by night and during the day I work at a laundry place. One day I was working and a customer came to ask for more detergent - the person who worked the last shift didn’t refill the boxes… So I went to the storeroom to get more. The detergent was high on a rack and when I reached to grab it, the entire rack fell on me. I’m not sure what it was, but something got in my eyes and all I remember was the crash of the fall… and… and the excruciating burning…” Heechul’s voice had gotten quieter as his story went on and by the end of it, he was barely audible, “The place was closed down after that by the health and safety department, and they paid for my eye surgery.”
“I hope this fear doesn’t stay with you for too long,” Shiwon said comfortingly, his voice like warm honey, “A Heechul who is living in fear is a sad thing.”
“What?” Heechul asked,
“One of the things that first attracted me to you, Heechul, was your carefree spirit,” Shiwon explained, “From the moment you walked through the front doors for your interview, I knew you were different.”
“You interviewed me!?” Heechul gaped, “How dense can I be!?”
“A lot it seems, since you never realized that since I hired you, I have watched you for years,” Shiwon admitted, his voice quiet yet firm; “Whenever you laughed I felt happy. Whenever I saw you flirt with customers I got jealous. I found myself looking forward to seeing you, looking for you while I sat at the piano…” Shiwon leaned across until he felt Heechul’s face at his finger tips. He softly brushed his fingers across Heechul’s eyes, “The way your eyes lit up when you laughed…” he moved his hand to Heechul’s hair, barely grasping a lock before retracting his hand, “The way you would unconsciously make sure your hair was in place and perfect…”
Heechul gaped at his words, feeling revelation wash over him, “I’m not dense… I’m an idiot,” Heechul muttered as he got to his feet and stood before Shiwon’s chair. He dropped to his knees before the owner and grabbed Shiwon’s face, forcing it to face him directly, “I’m an ignorant, naïve, idiot.”
“Heechul?” Shiwon said in askance,
“You weren’t always blind… were you?” Heechul asked, his voice shaking and suddenly suffocating him,
“Not until two months ago,” Shiwon confirmed, his voice barely above a whisper.
A strangle cry ripped loose from Heechul’s lips before he pulled Shiwon’s mouth to his own. Immediately, Shiwon pulled back, cradling Heechul’s face in his hands,
“I taste salt,” Shiwon muttered, “Why… why are you crying?”
“Because you saw me long before I ever saw you,” Heechul murmured, running his shaking fingers over Shiwon’s eyes, gently prompting him to close them. He leaned into him and pressed his lips wet with tears against each eye lid, “And you loved me enough to give me back my sight.” Heechul closed his own eyes, to fight against the torrent of hot tears. He slowly caressed his lips down Shiwon’s cheek from his eyes to his lips, “And no matter how much I love you now… or ever… I’ll never be able to repay you.”
Shiwon, still cupping Heechul’s face, held his lips against his own, “Then be the eyes for the both of us,” he murmured against his lips, “Never leave my side.”
Heechul answered with a kiss.