Counting Stars [1/3]

Title: Counting Stars
Pairing: YunJae
Rating: NC-17
Summary: In which Yunho falls in love with a stranger on the bus.

Lately, I’ve been,
I’ve been losing sleep,
Dreaming about the things that we could be.

Lately, I’ve been,
I’ve been playing hard.

Sitting, no more counting dollars,
We’ll be counting,
We’ll be counting stars.



Jung Yunho didn’t know what he wanted in life, but he knew what he should be wanting; and those baseless thoughts were enough to push him blindly through his days.

At age eighteen, he would leave the house for university, major in business and marketing. At age twenty two, he would join a company and work his hours nine to five, carefully saving his every penny with each paycheck and setting it aside for when he would marry a woman his parents approved of.

By age thirty he would have a spouse of his own, and a year later, a baby, boy or girl, it didn’t matter cause given another two to fours years he would have another child- either gender, but, hopefully of the opposing sex to his first: one boy and one girl. He would continue to work in the company maybe get a promotion or two, buy a house in the most suitable location- close to his children’s schools, close enough to the local market, and not too far away from his work. He’d raise his children to be hard-working, thoughtful, kind, teach them to have their own minds, and most importantly, to be the opposite of him.

He didn’t know what he wanted in life, but he did know that he wouldn’t want his children to turn out like him. He would want them to know that it was their decision on what path they took, and that the conventional way, may not always be the best- the safest, maybe, but rarely liberating. That conventionality seemed to lack that significant aspect of life. He would want them to live life, not let it live them. Not like him, not pushed by other’s expectations, but only by their own.

He would want them to be happy.


--
--


Yunho stared at the sheet of paper on his desk, the lettering at the top big and bold and painful to his eyes. He continued to stare at the heading, his mind blank, pen in hand, heart numb, his ears deaf to the sounds around him.

He sighed, crumpled up the paper, and threw it in his bag.

He then laid his head on his arms and closed his eyes, waiting for the bell to ring.

The noisy chatter of peers excitedly sharing their thoughts with each other returned, and the paper in his bag unraveled slightly, giving sight to the bold heading once more- Career Choice.


--
--



He walked slowly down the street. His each step laborious as he knew what was waiting for him once he returned home.

He’s sure they have already received the phone call from his teacher.

He’s sure they’re already on the couch, siting side by side, their appearance matching in its intimidating perfection, not a wrinkle of clothing and not a hair out of place.

They’re probably frowning, discussing where they went wrong, cause nothing he ever did was right, not now, not before. He’s sure they would start with the same old words, the same old lecture, the same sigh of resignation as if they had already given up.

No, Yunho wasn’t ready for any of that.

He didn’t want to go home.

He turned around and backtracked his steps to the nearest bus stop.

He made up his mind.

He wasn’t going to return.

Not yet.


--
--


He made a list.

As he rocked side to side with the momentum of the bus and faintly listened to the names of districts being called out on the speaker, he penciled down his every stray thought.

He may not know what he wanted, but maybe he could find out.

First, he thought about what his parents expected of him- perfection for one thing, he needed to be smart, therefore, he needed to study and study some more even into the darkest hours of the night. Maybe today he won’t touch his textbooks. He won’t think about the pile of assignments in his old black binder organized by class, due date, and the percent of grade its worth. Maybe he should just trash the whole thing- his pen abruptly paused in its movement- no- he decided and crossed out everything he had just written. That would be wasted effort on his part, all those hours of work for nothing. He wouldn’t do that to himself.

His eyebrows furrowed in thought. In all honestly, he didn’t really know what his parents expected of him; he just knew that he never did anything right. Not his perfect grade average, not his magnitude of awards from his many athletic activities, not even when he did something simple like cook them breakfast, his food was too dried out, too seasoned, too bland, too undercooked, too much of this, too much of that, too much of everything. He wasn’t even in the right when he pushed himself to learn about topics his parents were interested in just so that he could hold a conversation with them. What are you doing wasting your time with this? You should be focusing on your studies. They said. He’s pretty sure they didn’t even realize that he did it for them.

Maybe he was thinking too inside the box; instead of doing the opposite of what his parents wanted, maybe he should just do what no parent would want of their children.

Maybe he should get a tattoo, or an ear piercing, or an eyebrow piercing, get golden teeth implanted, dye his hair, or- Yunho glanced up when the bus stopped. He darted his eyes around, unsure of where he was. He was at least an hour away from home, and he briefly thought that maybe he should get off here, it was a sufficient enough distance away from his house.

He was sliding his notebook into his bag when a flash of black caught his eye, and he fully looked up at the stranger that sat directly diagonal of him.

His breath caught.

His mind stopped.

His heart went into double-time.

Maybe, he thought, as he dropped his bag back on to the seat, the list completely forgotten, maybe he should wait a little longer.

The bus took off, and Yunho could only sit, mesmerized, and gasp in surprise at the sudden onslaught of fluttering in his stomach when the stranger turned in his seat, giving him the perfect view of the other’s profile, dark does eyes, pale smooth looking skin, his lips pursed in a pout. The stranger’s eyes were focused on the phone in his hand, and whatever he was reading was causing him distress; however, the wrinkle on his nose soon smoothened out and a small smile formed on the stranger’s lips.

Yunho only had one conscious thought in mind.

Beautiful.


--
--



Yunho sat there for a good half hour- glancing every now and then at the beautiful stranger.

He wanted to walk up to him- suavely say hi, maybe start a conversation, find out the other’s name, where he was going, if he was single, maybe somehow make the other man fall in love with him, maybe convince him to marry him, and they could adopt children- twenty five of them- he would have more daughters than sons and- whoa, too fast. Way too fast. Yunho forced his eyes to look out the window, bewildered and honestly shocked by his own thought process.

Feeling the need to glance at the stranger once more, he closed his eyes instead and tried to sort out his thoughts.

Maybe he should write another list, but he made no movement to reach for his bag. He knew if he opened his eyes, he’d end up staring at the other man again.

He sighed and forced himself to relax.


--
--



He didn’t know how much had passed only that he felt the shaking of his shoulder and a gruff voice telling him to wake up.

Snapping his eyes open, he glanced around, a man- the bus driver, he realized- was standing in front him, a frown on his face. The bus was empty, and Yunho felt his heart drop when he noticed that the stranger was gone as well. He gazed up at the driver and absentmindedly nodded his head to the older man as he told him that he was at his last stop of the night.

Yunho stood, picked up his bag, and bowed in apology. The old man only shook his head and handed him a number for a nearby taxi service.

“You’ve been on here for six hours. I doubt you’re anywhere close to home.”

Yunho smiled in thanks and walked towards the exit; he spared one more look towards the stranger’s seat and then stepped off.

The bus drove away. Yunho felt an ache in his chest. He had missed whatever chance he had, and somehow, he thought, as he called for a taxi and waited for it come, it hurt more than anything he imagined his parents saying to him, any look he knew was sure to be aimed at him, and all thoughts that he would never be perfect enough.

For the first time in his life, he had wanted something, had pictured a future different from all expectations, had felt warmth at the thought of it- happiness.

But, now, it’s gone, and any possibility he had. It all disappeared with the stranger whose name he didn’t know cause he didn’t have the courage to step up and ask.

He knew that whatever he had just felt had slipped from his grasp, and that he would probably never feel it again.

The taxi pulled up in front of him.

Time to go home.


--
--



When Yunho returned home the next morning, he was grounded for half a year and lectured till his ears bled.



--
--



Months passed.

Graduation came and went.

Yunho was accepted into a nearby university, full scholarship. His major was Business and Marketing.

He never did meet the stranger again.
hope that yunho can face his parents n tell him that he had enough with them n its time for him to chase his own goal.....of coz with jae in it....n of coz after he met jae again in near future..heheeee