Character(s) / pairing(s): Jiyong / Seunghyun, Chaerin / Sandara. Hints of other pairings.
Word count: 3495
Warning: WIP. College AU. Or perhaps those two only serve as an incensive to read? Also my first time writing chaera, let me know what you think! It's always both exciting and a challenge to write an otp for the first time.
Note: I wrote most of this in... 2012, but for some reason always put off uploading it. Now it's here, and I'm determined to finally finish a chaptered fic for once! Please support me with that goal as my trackrecord with aformentioned chaptered fics isn't so good, haha. But we can do it together! Yeah!
Summary: Double dates are confusing: you might just end up falling for the wrong person.
When in College
It was an early Wednesday in October, as ordinary as those days come, yet Jiyong was feeling good. And a little excited.
“Chaerin-ah, you got any plans tonight?” Jiyong called as he stepped into the living room of their shared apartment, hair slightly windswept and clothes the usual seemingly thrown together (yet carefully thought out, make no mistake) mix of trendy-meets-artsy-meets-street.
Chaerin looked up from where she was lounging on the couch, a skeptic look on her face that did not particularly resemble Jiyong's excitement.
“Not anything you'll be doing, likely. I've seen enough bland college parties to last a lifetime, thanks.” She shortly inspected her polished nails, then added, “But if you're looking for a quiet night on the couch with Friends and ramen, you're welcome to join of course.”
Jiyong rolled his eyes as he shook off his jacket. “I'd say you've seen enough of those nights as well.”
He winced only slightly at the expression she shot him, then exclaimed, “Yah, we're in college! You know that any nights locked inside are a waste.” He clapped his hands and finally announced with the air of someone who had the solution to all their minor problems: “I got us a double date.”
There was a long pause.
Then Chaerin said, “You're not asking me out, are you?”
“Eh?” Jiyong actually had to laugh at that, ruffling his hair into an even messier hairdo, as was his unfortunate habit. He'd planned on hitting the shower later anyway, so no problem. “Clearly you do need to get out more, Chaerin,” he then replied. “A double date means we each go on a date with a different person, but with the four of us. So it's like, a date within a friend-date. Sort of.”
He drummed his fingers on the counter he was leaning against, and then added with a slightly sheepish expression, “What's so bad about the idea of me asking you out anyway?”
“But then what's the point of making it four rather than two?” Chaerin remarked, deftly ignoring his last question.
“To make it less awkward? If your date turns out to be a creep, you can fall back on me here.” He pointed two thumbs at himself and had an eyebrow raised in expectation, but Chaerin – as much impressed with his 'I'm a strong man yo' act as ever – ignored it.
“All right,” she sighed, “I suppose it's true I could go out a little bit more... and see a little bit less of the couch, comfortable though it may be.”
“Yeah, and don't wear those sweatpants.”
“Tsk, I know how to impress a guy, trust me.” She stood up, then asked, “What kind of guy are we talking about anyway? Do you even know him?”
“Seungri said he looks like an actor.”
“Seungri says a lot of things,” Chaerin countered, but was pleased enough anyway. “All right, let's do this. I'm going to woo this actor guy and you're going to...”
“ – make an impression on my 'super cute, super pretty' date,” Jiyong finished, talking as though he was quoting someone (Seungri again, most likely.)
“Of course,” Chaerin grinned, “I know you will, hyung.”
“Probably makes a better impression anyway. After all, gentlemen are always on time,” Jiyong announced to no-one in particular, quoting from some movie or another though he wasn't sure which.
Next to him Chaerin snorted as she casually studied the menu. “Well, you do look very fetching. I hope your date likes customised dinner jackets.”
“I hope she just likes me,” he confessed before thinking (one of his less favourite habits) and quickly signaled for the waitress that walked by their table.
Okay, so perhaps he was embarrassingly excited for this date.
They ordered two coffees and had just taken their first sip (Chaera black, Jiyong with extra sugar) when he noticed someone approaching them. One look told him this must be his date, because she was cute and super pretty and, well – he'd have to thank Seungri later.
“You must be Jiyong?” the girl said as she reached their table, voice sounding like she could do radio commercials.
“Indeed I am,” Jiyong replied and, feeling flirtatious, flashed her his cheeky welcoming grin. (He'd practiced.)
The girl blushed slightly and then nodded, a smile on her face.
“I'm Sandara, but you can call me Dara,” she introduced herself, “whatever you prefer.”
“Dara is just fine I think,” Jiyong said and indicated for her to sit down.
As she took the seat opposite him, Jiyong sneaked a glance to his right and saw Chaerin with a very rare, very pleased look on her face (rather like the cat just ate the canary.) One look at her newly arrived date told him why, because well.
He wasn't the only lucky one tonight.
Despite wearing a mauve jacket (mauve, really?) the actor qualities of Chaerin's mystery date couldn't be denied. Tall, lean body and enviably handsome face: Seungri should start a matchmaking business if college didn't work out.
Dara was as charming as Seungri had described her to him. She had an enticing smile which she showed often and enthusiastically, perhaps all the more so because she had declared early on to be quite nervous (“this is my first date in a long while, you have to tell me if I do something weird.”)
Apart from some jokes Jiyong didn't get (though Dara assured him that they really were funny once you did) there was nothing weird going on, and everything went as a first date should go: asking questions, listening to the responses, getting a question in return, trying to answer it as interestingly as possible (“I'm an inspiring musician” sounded better than “I'm stuck in college while I really want to do music”). Dara said she wanted to do something with advertising or pr, which didn't surprise Jiyong because he thought anyone would fall for that innocently pretty face and ditto voice.
As he sipped from his coffee, and soon after that his beer, he now and then glanced to his right where Chaerin and her mystery date had a conversation that seemed to take turns being very engaging and then quite dead. Chaerin had soon switched to wine, and her cheeks had become a little bit rouge like they always did when she drank. It made her look charming and more approachable, even though she'd dismiss it if you ever mentioned that. He noticed that her date, too, was drinking red wine which he thought was mildly interesting because most guys he knew were solid beer types. Then again, the mauve jacket (and the exceptionally handsome face) should have indicated that he was not Most Guys.
As Chaerin said something apparently funny, a dimpled smile showed on the guy's face. Jiyong's mouth corners inadvertently lifted up too, before Dara's voice brought him back to reality.
“So is Seungri a friend of you too, then?” She looked at him questioningly, though he didn't know if it was because of the actual question or the fact that he'd just let his attention wander to the table next to them. Well, you couldn't blame a guy for wanting to know how his friend was doing.
He emptied the last bit of his beer and then said, “Yeah, I've known him for a while now. He's nice, when he's not making a nuisance of himself.”
“Nuisance? Perhaps we've met different versions,” Dara laughed. “We're in some of the same classes, that's how we know each other. And then this week he sat down and asked how I'd feel about a blind date.” She let fall a meaningful pause. “Well, I couldn't say no after hearing your description.”
Curiosity sparked instantly. “Oh? What did he say to you?”
Dara looked like she wouldn't say anything, but he gave her his best pleading stare (which Chaerin described as pathetic but which he knew was irresistible) and Dara finally cracked.
“Well, he said you were very cool, and charming, and cute. And talented. And I'd like you.”
Jiyong blinked. Then he said with a pleased smile he couldn't prevent if he tried, “Okay, I suppose Seungri isn't a nuisance after all. What more do you need than a good friend, right?”
Dara laughed. “Yes. Your friend seems very cool, too,” she added. “Seunghyun's date, I mean.”
Jiyong nodded in agreement, mentally filing away that Mystery Man in Mauve Jacket was in fact named Seunghyun. “Yes. Chaerin. The height of cool, she is.” When she isn't doing Friends rewatches in her sweats, he mentally added but thought she'd probably kill him if he broke that news to someone.
Then again, Chaerin would never know.
“She's addicted to Friends ” Jiyong confided, “and likes to spend her nights on the couch doing rewatches.”
Dara stole a glance at Chaerin and smiled suddenly. “Oh, I love Friends. Rachel is my favourite.”
Jiyong accepted with a sigh that he had still found no companion in his apathy towards Friends marathons and signaled the waitress for another beer.
"So, how did you like your date?”
It was shortly after eleven and the both of them were languidly walking the pavement to their apartment, neither in a particular hurry to get there.
“Hmm? It wasn't too bad, I suppose.”
Jiyong grinned, soon turning into a full laugh: the aftereffects of a First Date Well Executed. “Wasn't too bad? Ah Chaerin-ah, you're never pleased. You just don't want to admit Seungri did something right.”
Chaerin rolled her eyes. “Well, it cannot be denied that he was very good-looking, even with the weird... purple-ish... jacket.”
Jiyong's grin widened. “I thought you liked men with outspoken styles.”
“Well, it'd have to qualify as style first.”
He snorted. “Well, Sandara Park was very nice. And lovely dressed.”
“Yes, I liked her jacket. It's from Carven.”
Of course it was.
“You're quite observant.”
She flipped her hair. “Skills. Now first let's get a bite to eat because a girl can't live on wine and coffee alone.”
The next morning, after a late-night kebab dinner and then an even more late-night Friends marathon (Chaerin insisted that he owed her for joining him on his double date, a statement that seemed utterly ridiculous to Jiyong but was at least more appealing than starting on his ten-page essay that was due the day after tomorrow) they both felt reasonably tired, but nicely so.
There was a difference between being tired from studying all night or because you happened to have a social life.
Well, and a friend who forced you to sit out re-watches of her favourite show.
Jiyong lounged on his kitchen chair, drowning his second cup of coffee (nothing quite like it on a bleary Thursday morning) as he simultaneously checked his smartphone.
“Oh, a text from Sandara,” Jiyong said with pleasant surprise, scrolling down the screen.
“I wasn't aware you'd exchanged numbers.” Chaerin critically examined her reflection in the mirror as she applied her lipstick and then smacked her lips.
In terms of getting ready in the morning, she always won by about an hour and a half.
“Well, obviously, if we wanted to go on a second date...” He turned away from his phone to look at her. “Don't tell me you haven't?”
“Well, it's not like he asked for it,” she responded, a tad defensive suddenly.
“Maybe he's as much of a technology noob as you. Match made in heaven in that case...” He turned back to his phone. “Or not,” he added as an afterthought, thinking of all the time he spent explaining base computer stuff to Chaerin and not fancying doing that once more.
She flipped her hair, indication that she considered the topic closed.
“So you're going on a second date with this Sandara then?”
“No, the text just asks whether we've accidentally taken her scarf because she can't find it anywhere. It's red, says here.”
He looked questioningly at Chaerin. She gave a small shrug.
“All right, so that's a no, then,” he said and typed a reply.
“She probably left it at the café,” Chaerin remarked, tone businesslike like always when there were problems to be solved. “I'm passing it on my way to class, I could check.”
Jiyong looked up. “Really?”
“Yeah. You just stay in here all day doing nothing.”
“I have a paper to write!” he protested faintly, though obviously Chaerin was right.
“Oh, new reply,” Jiyong said just as Chaerin picked up her bag to head out of the door. “Wow, I don't think I've ever seen so many emojis. Look at this.”
He held the phone out for her and she looked at it with a frown. “I don't understand what any of those mean.”
“They're cute,” he explained.
“Whatever,” she countered and headed out of the door.
As it turned out, Sandara had reached the same idea as her. Just as Chaerin arrived at yesterday's café she noticed the other girl exit from it, a slightly sullen look on her face.
“Oh, Sandara!” she called in order to catch her attention.
The other girl looked up, and the disappointment on her face made way for surprise.
“Seunghyun's date! Sorry, I mean, Chaerin. That's a coincidence!”
“I actually went here for the same reason as you, to look for your scarf. Jiyong-hyung explained.”
“That's very kind of you.” The morning sun made Dara's hair gleam in places, patches of light on otherwise dark chestnut. It promised to be one of those perfect, crispy days that autumn expertized in.
“I was passing here on my way to class anyway,” Chaerin dismissed the compliment, and then added, “so did you find it?”
“Unfortunately, no. I assume someone else must have taken it.”
“You shouldn't let your stuff lie around like that, you have to keep an eye on it,” Chaerin remarked with a concerned frown, before realising she probably sounded like a nagging mother.
Some habits died hard. Living with Jiyong who had his head in the clouds more often than not called for a practical mindset.
But Dara inclined her head in agreement. “Yes, I know. My roommates keep saying the same.”
Chaerin cleared her throat, feeling slightly embarrassed somehow. “Well, I'm sure everyone is just concerned.”
Redirecting her attention from the girl's face to her outfit, she noticed that this time she was dressed in an auburn dress or skirt (she couldn't be sure because of the coat) with tights and a pair of ankle boots underneath. It was less formal than the outfit she wore on yesterday's date, but Chaerin decided she liked it. It suited her somehow.
“Seunghyun said you're majoring in design?”
The question took her mind off clothes and back to the present conversation. “Oh, you two have been talking about me, then?” Chaerin asked, not knowing whether to be pleased or not.
Sandara for one decidedly looked more giggly than guilty. “Well, of course, that's what you do after a date. Don't worry though, he only said nice stuff about you. Seunghyun's like that.”
“How do you two know each other anyway?”
Chaerin didn't add 'are you by any chance related?' because good looks alone weren't basis enough for that assumption. Even if those looks happened to be of the 'stunning' category.
“We live in the same building, and we took a class together once. He's really very nice,” she added.
“Well, you really are in pr, aren't you?”
“Aha, so Jiyong also has been talking about me!” Sandara concluded with a slightly victorious smile and, well – Chaerin wasn't sure what to say to that.
(“He thinks your emojis are cute” didn't seem to cut it somehow.)
“Listen, I have to go now if I don't want to be late for class, but I'll see you around?”
“Yeah, I hope so!”
Chaerin blinked, taken aback by the enthusiasm it was said in, but then smiled. “Well, all right. Have a good day then.”
Sandara returned the smile. “You too! And thanks again for the help.”
Chaerin strangely felt like smiling until the next street corner, a rare, if not unheard of, occurrence on early Thursday mornings. Then again: it was a beautiful autumn day indeed.
Jiyong was heading home after one of his more boring classes when he spotted a familiar face in the crowd. Taller than most, Seunghyun stood out even when wearing the most inconspicuous of blue hoodies.
He debated for a second whether to approach him or not, because it was not like they talked much during their double date and he doubted whether Seunghyun even remembered him. But – why not? And so he walked up to him.
“Hey,” he greeted, his smile probably conveying his slight awkwardness.
“Oh, hey! Jiyong, right?” Seunghyun answered with a smile of his own, and Jiyong felt weirdly relieved and pleased that not only did Seunghyun recognise his face, he'd also remembered his name.
“Yeah! So, fellow college student then?” he asked, already well aware of that particular fact thanks to Chaerin's brief run-through the other night, but it was as good an opener as any, so.
“Yep,” Seunghyun answered and gestured to his hoodie where the university's emblem was printed on the front. “Actually, I'm just wearing this one because it's comfy.”
Jiyong grinned. “More comfy than a purple suit,” he quipped and immediately mentally berated himself because normal people didn't remember stuff like that.
But Seunghyun just laughed: “You gotta make an impression, right?”
Jiyong found out in the next fifteen minutes as they walked away from campus and the bustle of students, that Seunghyun was one of the easiest people to talk to he'd ever met. In fact, it felt like he'd known him for years rather than minutes which was weird, because Seunghyun was also one of the quirkiest people he'd ever met (that much became obvious even in the short amount of time they spent together) nor did he himself share any of Seungri's enviable social skills that magically turned conversations with strangers smooth and natural.
Still, somehow, it worked.
“So, you want to be a writer, then?” Jiyong asked as Seunghyun told him he was majoring in English.
“You mean drinking twelve cups of coffee a day and wearing old-man's glasses?” Seunghyun quipped.
Jiyong laughed before Seunghyun became serious and elaborated: “I just like inventing something from scratch, you know? Creating things. Stories, with nothing but words.”
His voice had gained a certain passion and Jiyong nodded silently because yeah, he did know what that was like: creating something that was your own, sprouted from nothing but your imagination.
“What about you?”
“I'm doing media management, but I suck at it, honestly.” He laughed. “I'd much rather do music.”
They'd come to a halt at a street corner, the gentle October wind blowing leaves across the pavement. Jiyong put his hands in his pockets, thinking he ought to start wearing warmer clothes soon. He always was a bit reluctant to bid his summer wardrobe good-bye.
“You play any instruments?”
Seunghyun regarded him from underneath a slightly messy fringe and for the first time Jiyong noticed how deep his eyes really were. It took a second before he replied, “– well, a bit, but it's mostly songwriting, really. The guitar and keyboard are there to accompany me, so to speak.”
He laughed slightly embarrassedly, thinking that just sounded lame, but Seunghyun didn't seem to think so. “You should show me sometime,” he said, and Jiyong thought he probably wouldn't, but – who knew.
Might be kinda nice.
“Listen, I gotta go that way, but I'll see you around, yeah?” The other guy waited a second before smiling and adding, slightly awkwardly, “It was nice running into to you.”
“Yeah, same,” Jiyong breathed, and felt oddly disappointed at the sight of Seunghyun turning around.
“Hey, wait –” he started, barely realising he'd spoken before Seunghyun turned to look at him again. “Ehm – Chaerin said you hadn't exchanged numbers, so maybe you could give your number to me? And I could give it to her? In case you want to meet up again...?”
He trailed off, feeling that this impulse had indeed been a Mistake.
Seunghyun, however, fished his phone out of his back pocket (who still kept their phone in that place?) and handed it to Jiyong.
“Sure, you can add it in there.”
Not knowing whether me meant his or Chaerin's number, in the end he went with his own as he wasnt' sure Chaerin would appreciate him handing her number out to random people.
Even if she'd been on a date with them.
“All right,” he said, handing him his phone back, “I'll see you around then?”
“Yeah,” Seunghyun said and this time turned around for real.
Read chapter two here!