In the summer: The Butler
Also named take me to the place
Genre: romance, angst, melodrama
Word Count: 24k on-going
Summary: He was always seen as having everything, but to him, he had nothing. He would always bore that cold and indifferent expression, that is, until that summer. He met him.
The blue sky was brightened with a honey glow, and the morning sun glanced over the greenish garden with white gazebos and vibrant plants. The lonesome white mansion stood handsomely amongst the well gloomed garden. The sunlight peeked through curtain slit, and shone upon an angelic sleeping face.
“Young master!” an elderly voice hollered.
The said man continued in his slumber, but the elderly man in a butler suit persistently calling him. It didn’t take long for the youngster to sit up and his hand unconsciously rubbed his sleepy eyes.
The old man chuckled quietly at his childish antics, knowing this would be the only time his young master ever acted his age.
“It’s 7.30am, young master. I have prepared your warm shower,” the man said and bowed slightly when the young man stood up. The young master shot him an icy glare, but knowing his master well, he took the hint. “Master Kim would like a word with you at breakfast, thus the reason you have to wake up half an hour earlier,” he explained.
His name was Kim Myungsoo, the only heir to Kim Enterprise. All his life, he lived in schedule and planning. He was raised to a future that was to inherit his father’s fortune. And, that was the only description he would label himself with.
The hot shower washed away all the remaining sleepiness in his eyes and he stood out of the misty, warm bathroom and strolled into a wide walk in closet. On the Victorian iron wrought coat stand hung a perfectly ironed uniform. Putting it on and Myungsoo exited his room to see his old butler bowed to him in such perfect angle.
He resisted the urge to sigh at the perfectness he loathed.
Expectedly he was led to a main dinning hall, where his father usually dined, when he was attending his guests.
The high ceiling hung a grand chandelier with several antique lights surrounded the large hall. Right at the middle of the hall was a long Victorian mahogany dinning table with fine carving details. His father was seated at the far end with barely touched breakfast. “Take a seat, Myungsoo.” The voice rang in the hall and Myungsoo swore he heard the echo mocked him back.
The aging butler took no second to usher him to a seat far across from his father. Myungsoo chose to remain in silence.
“Serve him breakfast, Lee. Have the young man serves him.”Myungsoo felt his eyebrow twitched curiously at his father’s word. He heard the door closed behind him and decided to retain his silence. “I’m sure you have been informed that Lee will be taking a short leave, in which will be effective today. You will be having a new butler in the meantime,” his father continued.
Right then, they heard the door swung open as quiet as possible. The sound of footfalls echoed into the quiet hall and Myungsoo watched plates of food being served before him by a pair of thin hand.
The food as usual was Americans because it was Monday, and was served in a mannered that it can fill up five healthy male human.
He glanced up and met with a beautiful face. The adoring round eyes eyed the plate with such concentration and his pouty lips pressed into a thin line and his hair was styled to a side tidily. Myungsoo admitted he never expected the new butler to be someone so young and cute.
“Lee Sungyeol, Master Kim.” The deep voice rang in the air.
“Ah, yes… He will be taking charge of the household for these three months.” Myungsoo tore his eyes off the new butler and looked at his father. The feeling of alienation took over his stomach. “I’m taking my leave now. I’ll be flying to Miami tonight, Myungsoo. Take care of my son well, young man.” His father stood up.
“I will, Master Kim.”
Myungsoo merely brushed off his father with a nod, hardly even honored the man a sound of acknowledgement. Myungsoo was so used to it, used to his father not being there. A rough sound grumbled in his throat and he stared back at the breakfast.
Exactly as the needle on his watch pointed right at 8.20am, a black Mercedes benz rolled out from the garage and halted before him. The new butler opened the door with slight shaky hand, Myungsoo noticed, but the smile he bore did not wavered. Right as the sun hit his face, the smile looked extremely dazzling. Myungsoo wasn’t used to this, kept his silence.
“Have a good day at school, master Myungsoo!”
The cheerfulness in his voice felt alienating, but Myungsoo only did take a mental note to remind this young butler not to call his name. It irritated him.
He walked down the hallway of St. Jefferson High School. A high school attended only by those that blessed with glamorous background. Swooning with adoring gazes, Myungsoo brushed it off with his usual silence, only giving a nod when he reached his group of acquaintances. “I see you’re amusing yourself with these attentions, Woohyun-shi,” he smirked at the smiley boy.
“Oh, you should try it once in a while, they ARE amusing, Myungsoo.” The boy smiled, his dimples deepened beside his thin lips, and his hand gently brushed over Myungsoo’s shoulder. The girls squealed. Myungsoo shook his head. “The boredom is killing me,” Woohyun sighed suddenly.
“This is getting old. You know school is part of the schedule.” Though Myungsoo would never admit himself, Woohyun could possibly be the only person that could understand him. “Live with it,” he continued. Though Woohyun thought high school are a waste of time, Myungsoo thought otherwise. High school was the only thing he felt that was normal in his life.
What always killed his mood was the moment he reached home after school.
The same two maids that always opened the door for him, the elderly Lee that stood behind the door, the same lunch menu, and the never ending classes following annoyed him. Of all, the cold wind in the mansion never failed to make him chilled right through his bone.
“Welcome home, Master Myungsoo!”
A cheerful voice rang through his eardrums. The density of the voice shocked him and he frowned at the sudden intrusion. It was like an invasion to his normality. Again, the beautiful young butler graced him with another his wide smile.
“Do not call me by my name, Lee,” said coldly.
The butler’s smile retained its brightness, much to Myungsoo’s displeasure. “I’m sorry, master My-. I meant young master!” his voice went higher.
Myungsoo felt a headache creeping through the front of his head. “My schedule is running late if we continue to linger here,” he said.
“I’m sorry, master Myun-“
“Enough apology, just bring me my lunch.” Myungsoo stalked off, feeling even more restless than usual.
Afternoon classes that lasted for two hours normally comprised of economic studies, accountancy and law. Advanced studies that usually taken by people after high school, but HE was Kim Myungsoo, as if that was the legitimate reason he was different. His private tutor was a professor from University of Seoul and sometimes, Myungsoo wondered why he would want to tutor a kid like him.
“In microeconomics, production is the conversion of inputs into outputs. It is an economic process…” (line taken from Wikipedia)
A series of knocks interrupted them.
Entering the room was the new butler, his hand carrying a tray of Chinas. Warm mist diffusing out of the cups and filled the room with the thick aroma of caffeine, and cookies lied beautifully on the two plates. “When the studies get boring, I thought you two would love to have some refreshments,” he said with another of his sickening bright grin.
Myungsoo felt a grimace formed in his face. “Lee! Do not interrupt the classes again!” He watched the butler pouted cutely, feeling defeated at the kicked puppy look. “Fine, serve them,” he demanded. The grin immediately brightened the butler’s face and Myungsoo felt like he was somehow tricked by the man. After putting all the beautiful Chinas with delicious dishes in array, the young butler excused him, leaving the room sweet with coffee and cookies.
He took a sip of the coffee and felt the lukewarm liquid cleared his mind. That’s when he saw a secretive smile on his tutor’s lips.
“Honestly, I’m starting to like this butler,” the older man commented.
Despite hating it, Myungsoo felt economic didn’t sound as dull as it had with the extra sugar in his system. Bowing goodbye to his tutor, he headed for his room and saw his riding gear was well prepared in color black to top it. Though the butler had done nothing but bothering him all day, he did manage to memorize his schedule well.
Heading out to the ranch, Myungsoo let a small smile graced over his usual expressionless face. The cool air brushed his face calmed his tiring soul and he greeted CAP with a nod.
“Zodiac is prepared for you, young master. Pisces is still recovering.”
Myungsoo nodded and he brushed his hand gently over the striking black horse. His finger ran over Zodiac’s mane, calming the horse before taking the ride. Zodiac was the first ever horse he rode, a strong male stallion and the one knew him the most.
He felt most peace when riding. The cold air brushing through his body and his lungs filled with air. All loneliness and pressure cast out of his brain.
“Master Myungsoo,” the ever annoying butler hollered.
Myungsoo stared up, not surprising to find the wide grin over the delicate face. “How many times I have to remind you to stop calling my name? I would appreciate if you could tone down your voice, it’s giving me headache. It’s only 8 in the morning.” Myungsoo sighed.
“That is the most words you ever said to me, Master Myungsoo!” The cheerful high tone and the name again, Myungsoo swore he should give up trying to change Lee Sungyeol.
“Never mind what I said.”
Grumpily, he poked the salad. Nothing looked appetizing for him anyway.
“After fencing, you are to attend the birthday party of Park Sanghyun. Master Kim would be there as well,” the butler explained. Myungsoo shot a glare at him. “Park Sanghyun’s brother owned the largest shipping company, which have plenty of business association with Kim Enterprise. Your father wishes you to present,” the young butler continued, but Myungsoo hated the way he mentioned the words ‘your father’.
The man he knew as his father never did act like one.
“Master Kim says you would be excuse from tomorrow’s meeting as he would attend it himself before flying back to Miami.” Myungsoo stood up, leaving his breakfast cold and untouched. “Master Myungsoo, would you like for me to prepare your lunch in the club?” the butler asked, halting his unannounced departure.
“That won’t be necessary.”
Despite reaching the door, he heard the soft voice saying, “but you barely ate your breakfast…”
Saturday for Kim Myungsoo would always started with attending the Fencing society at a private club located on a peaceful suburban outside Seoul. Most people would be eager to get a glimpse of this exclusive club, but to Myungsoo, it was only a place for the riches to exploit their social connection.
Thus, his father had very well arranged him for several sports he deemed appropriate and beneficial since his early age.
“I see you’re infatuated with the attention again, Woohyun-shi.” Despite the formality, Myungsoo rudely joined the table without asking. “Hello, Howon-shi and Sungjong-shi,” he greeted at the other two on the table.
The two were bickering stopped to greet him before resuming their heated conversation.
“I’ve known you for 7 years, we all have. You have to start learning to drop the formality, Myungsoo.” The boy smiled, dressed in tennis gear despite attending the fencing society. “I’m not going to sweat myself for fencing, join me at the tennis court later.”
“Do I have a choice? You ARE my partner.” Woohyun merely smiled dazzlingly like he always does and the ladies giggled. Myungsoo was used to it.
“Reason one, Park Sanghyun was never within the circle. Reason two, my mother isn’t attending this party, eliminating the possible punishment we might get if our parents are to know…” Myungsoo watched Sungjong reticulated and Howon bore such disagreement on his face.
“If by any chance, are they talking about Park Sanghyun’s birthday party?” Myungsoo asked.
“It’s a small circle after all.”
“So, what is it they are arguing this time around?”
“To flight or not to flight.”
Myungsoo smirked. “I’ll pass.” Woohyun raised an eyebrow curiously. “If I fail to attend this one, I’ll be stuck in a four hours meeting tomorrow. This party sounds like a better deal,” he explained.
“Guess we are both stuck in the same fate.” Woohyun spoke with such a gentle smile that offered no discontented.
The pair of cousins, Howon and Sungjong decided to dump fencing and ended up joining them in the tennis court. Myungsoo knew the state competition was coming and Woohyun was one of their school representatives, thus his partner seemed to work him hard. Howon and Sungjong was the state champion in double, which wasn’t helping at all. Myungsoo didn’t like getting worked up.
“Let’s break!” Woohyun hollered.
Myungsoo wiped his sweats and threw a towel to Woohyun. The ladies that were watching the match swooned at their interaction. “You guys should stop,” he commented.
“What?” Sungjong asked dramatically, understood Myungsoo immediately.
Howon chuckled. “In doubles, we are the best. But, when it comes to single, that’s your world, Myungsoo,” he said.
“So, you’re joining the competition?” Myungsoo shook his head. He never entered a competition and would never, despite countless pled from Woohyun to join him. “You’re the best tennis player I’ve known,” Woohyun urged.
“It doesn’t worth it.” Nothing proved to be worthy to Kim Myungsoo.
By lunch, they were all showered and be seated at the club’s restaurant when a maid approached them with a basket. “Young master, I’m here to send you lunch,” the young girl smiled. Myungsoo’s frown deepened, as he clearly informed his butler not to prepare lunch. “Mr. Lee told me to give you this,” the maid, as he remembered as Park Hyomin handed him a note.
I’m sure you feel lonely to dine alone at home. This is Japanese cuisine. As I considered your eating habit, this is your favorite food. Please eat well and I’ve prepared enough for you and your friends. =)
Myungsoo resisted the urge to chuckle at his butler’s childish handwriting. He took note of the smiley face the young butler added in the note. He glanced over the table and noticed the plates of fresh and well décor sashimi, accompanied with beautifully prepared sushi.
“Mr. Lee also prepared your attire for the evening,” the maid bowed before retreating down. He watched his friends cast him a curious glance.
“It’s not like Lee to defy your command,” Woohyun stated the obvious.
Myungsoo picked up his chopstick and took a piece of fresh tuna. “Lee took a three months break. This Lee is my new butler,” he replied casually and dipped the fish with a generous amount of wasabi before putting it in his mouth. His friends took note of the fact.
Being raised up in a well off environment, Myungsoo was always exposed to good food and remarkable cookery. This was also the main reason that Myungsoo was extra picky when it came to food. Barely reaching 18 years old, he had tasted almost every single cuisine existed in the world, thus leaving him weak in appetite. This was made worse when his mother passed away and his father started to grow apart, leaving him alone to face the humongous mansion.
The majestic party of Park Sanghyun was held in the Frederick Carter Hotel, which happened to locate half an hour drive from the club.
The typical bright yellowish glow glanced over the wide hall with expensive buffet style dishes at a side. Waiters and waitresses clad in specially made silk clothing was seen passing over drinks for their wealthy guests.
A pianist graced the whole party with melody. Myungsoo smiled at the boring conversation, but still cared enough to drop a few line to acknowledge those imposters of their existence. The night would always grew longer and slower and he would entertain himself by watching Woohyun flirting around the girls.
But once the party grew hotter and the alcohol drowns everyone’s senses, he would find Woohyun leaving for a breath of fresh air. He would watch him closely and joined him for the share of the air. They would often wonder where the pair of cousins went to and departed when they deemed fit.
A typical Sunday would always saw Myungsoo ready in business tuxedo, leaving for his father’s company. He was then placed in a meeting room, which ran for at least 3 hours. It was prep for the future when he would be taking over his father’s businesses, as per said from the older man. Myungsoo inhaled a breath of air in bliss as this Sunday was like no other Sunday. He headed for the ranch for a morning ride.
The horses neighed in delights at his appearance.
“CAP,” he called. The young worker stopped his work and bowed to him. He merely nodded and the man passed him a brush. He ran his hand over the white mane and hummed a tune.
Pisces was still exhausted from his polo match last month, therefore leaving Myungsoo to ride Zodiac again. Myungsoo had over ten horses, all named from the twelve signs of Zodiac just because those were his favorite constellation in astronomy. The morning air and the green fresh grass calmed his restless mind and he found brunch tasteful than usual that day.
He would spend his afternoon in chess if Lee was around, instead of so, he grabbed a book and plopped down on the couch for a nice read. That’s when the door to the library swung open to reveal his new young butler.
“I bring you some refreshment, master Myungsoo,” the man chirped.
Myungsoo sighed at the interruption. However, the smell of caffeine lightened up his mood immediately and he welcomed the sweet liquid with unseen eagerness.
“Master myungsoo, would you like a game of chess?”
The question had him raised an eyebrow. He glanced up to meet his butler’s another bright grin. The sight held his breath for a second.
“Mr. Lee told me you enjoy chess, so I thought…”
“Prepare the chess board, and if you don’t serve as a competition, please do not offer yourself,” was said void of emotion. He closed the book and moved toward the chess table as the butler pulled the chairs for them to sit.
Just merely half an hour into the game, it had Myungsoo furrowed his eyebrows in deep thoughts. If he moved the knight, he would risk getting his queen killed and left his king in expose. But, if he moved both his king and queen, that would mean the end of the game. Glancing up from the board, he studied the butler’s face.
His big round eyes glistened brightly with the checker board.
Myungsoo had never seen such enthusiastic eyes and he found them so adorable, when suddenly those eyes turned up and caught him watching them. Myungsoo immediately looked away and coughed awkwardly.
“Master Myungsoo, can I ask you something?”
Myungsoo nodded and looked back at the game, but his mind wandered away. He didn’t want to meet Sungyeol’s eyes, as if of fear that he might drawn too deeply into those clear orbs.
“What is high school like?”
The question had Myungsoo looked up and he watched the older man with slight puzzlement. “Have you never been to school?” he asked with bewilderment in his tone. The young butler shook his head innocently, not even slightly offended. Myungsoo pressed his lips tightly, suddenly remembered that Sungyeol must have come from an unfortunate family, thus he had to start working in such a young age. “Well, high school is like somewhere all young peoples go to mingle around, to some peoples it’s only a place they’re forced to attend, to some peoples it might be a place for them to gain knowledge…” he explained the best he could.
“But what is it to you?” Myungsoo was stunned by the question. It was direct and he wasn’t used to it, for anyone to directly pry his thoughts. For a second, he didn’t know what to react. “You must be popular at school!” the butler commented suddenly and his smile was as bright as the summer sun.
Myungsoo chuckled. “How would you know?” he retorted.
“Well, you’re good looking, rich and smart…”
Myungsoo arched his eyebrows at the comment. “Are you checking me up?” he asked and he watched the butler’s face grew red.
“It’s your turn!” the butler shrieked and Myungsoo laughed at his childish act to cover his embarrassment. Turning back to the chess board, he felt a frown formed on his eyebrows. “You should smile more, master Myungsoo. You look a lot more handsome when you smile,” the butler said and upon knowing what he said, the butler turned red again.
Myungsoo couldn’t help grinning at the older man. For first, he didn’t feel so bad for losing the game. It’s nice to know someone that is not afraid of beating him.
Myungsoo let out a loud grunt in anger. He glared at the same two maids who opened the door for him and didn’t mind the fear in their eyes. He was beyond angry. “Welcome home, Master Myungsoo!” the irritating loud voice cheered. The loud voice further annoyed him and he threw his bag harshly over the floor, barely missing the butler’s leg. He cast an icy glare over the youngster’s face before stalking to his room.
He was grown to be the heir of Kim Enterprise. He understood the fact very well and knew his life was planned since young. It was a price for that one single fact. High school was his only kingdom that he ruled himself.
He didn’t have to care if he fell asleep at class and the way he handled the classes was all up to him. His father would not interfere because he had good grades. To have that one single kingdom disturbed aggravated him.
At lunch, the ugly grimace remained tugging his handsome face, but he didn’t care. When Lee Sungyeol came with his lunch, he had every intention to push everything off the table. But the plate that placed before him halted his eager hand. “Smile, master Myungsoo.” the young butler’s voice tore the silence in the dinning room. Myungsoo swore he had never seen such a deformed smiley face before and somehow he felt like associating it with Lee Sungyeol’s face. Not that he was saying Sungyeol is ugly, as he knew the butler was far from ugly.
He wondered if the lunch was cooked by the said butler. Suddenly, he felt reluctant to ruin the smiley face.
“Enjoy your lunch, master Myungsoo,” the butler said before retreating from the room. Myungsoo examined the fried rice with tomato ketchup smiley face with pure concentration. It was amateur, nothing like the professional cuisine he normally had. The aroma reeked of egg and vegetable and Myungsoo admitted to himself, it didn’t smell bad. Carefully he dug his spoon through the rice and gulped a full spoon.
He felt his mouth numbed for a moment and he chuckled to himself. He bit through the semi hard rice and swallowed it. The rice was beyond sweet and Myungsoo wondered if the butler mistaken sugar for salt because it tasted nothing like fried rice.
Somehow, the sweetness seemed to act a piece of magic and the young master didn’t feel as angry as before. One spoon led to another and halfway through the fried rice, the butler entered with a familiar face. “Master Myungsoo, young master Woohyun is here to see you,” he said and his eye grew wide at Myungsoo. Myungsoo choked, feeling embarrassed to be caught liking the fried rice.
He heard Woohyun chuckled and felt his face grew warm.
“The fried rice must have tasted heaven,” the smiling man commented as he approached Myungsoo. Myungsoo didn’t know how exactly Sungyeol reacted so fast because he was already handing him a glass of water. Drowning down the water, he couldn’t stop Woohyun from taking a bite on the rice.
In an abrupt, he gagged on the sugary rice, in which caused Myungsoo to laugh loudly.
“That does not taste like heaven!” Woohyun cried.
In response, the butler took a spoonful of the rice too. He shrieked and both Myungsoo and Woohyun stared at him in surprise. Sungyeol’s face grew red and smiled shyly. “I’m so sorry, master Myungsoo!” he cried. Myungsoo smirked, suddenly feeling accomplished to make the butler felt shy. “I’m going to take this away,” his hand grabbed the plate when Myungsoo stopped him.
“I’m not finish.” He smirked and he swore Sungyeol’s face grew even a darker red. “Go away, Lee,” he continued and took another spoonful.
“This is not good for your health, Master!” the butler cried in response and attempt to snatch the plate of fried rice away. Myungsoo slapped his hand away and laughed at his butler’s weak effort. When he finished the plate of rice, he noticed Woohyun was watching him with a weird grin. The butler pouted cutely as he collected the soiled cutlery.
He coughed, composing his thoughts and he found himself remembering the reason why Woohyun is here. “Lee, call Professor Shim, tell him that Economic will be put on hold for three weeks,” he said and made a head gesture for Woohyun to follow him.
Kim Myungsoo never intended to enter any competitions because nothing in this world worth his effort. Even when he could easily top the academic in high school, he would purposely drop a few marks, just to get that mere imperfection. He knew that getting a trophy or getting the best academic would never earn his father’s one smile. He had done that and had hated the admiration that his peers given him.
He had nothing.
When he entered the school tennis club today to receive a memo that he had to represent his school for the state competition, he felt threatened. People thought he could reject, but in means of dropping out of the tennis club, that was out of the line.
He stalked into his dressing room and realized he forgot to inform his butler to prepare his tennis outfit. He pulled out of his polo shirt and drawn open his closet door. The lines and lines of clothing had his eyes squint abnormally. After hopeless ten minutes, he pressed the intercom for his butler. As he waited, his mind wandered to a thought where his young butler running through the many clothes and his hopeless expression brought a smile on his face.
“Yes, Master Myungsoo?”
The pants knocked him out of the thoughts and he caught his butler gulped. Those enthusiastic eyes gaped at his body. He smirked at the blushing cheeks. Myungsoo had never seen anyone blushed as much as his butler does.
“When you finish staring at my body, fetch me my tennis gear.” He walked toward the couch and grinned at his butler’s red face.
It was as if Sungyeol memorized the whole closet in his mind because it only took the butler 5 minutes to prepare everything from the tennis attire to the tennis shoe and his tennis gear. Then, the butler made a run from the room like Myungsoo was a terrifying ghost. The young master laughed at his antics.
For the rest of week, Woohyun had joined him after school to polish their tennis skills. Myungsoo knew it was pointless because their only competition was each other. It was merely a reason for them both to escape from tutoring for three weeks. However, one thing frustrated him the most was when his butler learnt the news that he was selected to represent the school, the man had bothered him to no end.
“Energy drinks for you, master Myungsoo!”
“I’ve prepared a relaxing spa for you, master Myungsoo!”
Honestly, he had never seen anyone as concerned as his butler was for his welfare. It irked him that he had to put up with his butler because he would always fall for that kicked puppy looks Lee Sungyeol specialized in.
When the first day of the competition came, he was tagged along by his butler and the two maids the butler tugged along. “Good luck, master Myungsoo!!!” the loud cheerful tone and the bright smile plastered on Lee Sungyeol’s face. His hand was holding a board with ‘Kim Myungsoo’ written on it. Myungsoo rubbed his temple tiredly and rolled his eyes.
“Lee, you better stay quiet. If not, you’re not allowed to ever present a single game in the future,” he threatened and the young butler pouted adorably.
Scratched that, Kim Myungsoo did not think Lee Sungyeol is adorable.
The first match, as predicted, was an easy win for Myungsoo. His competitor was weak and slow, never did able to keep up with him. Returning home from the match was nothing more than a pain for Myungsoo’s part. Lee Sungyeol was cheering all the while and to his dismay, the two girls joined him. Myungsoo remained in his silence, but the smile on Sungyeol’s face tugged his heart.
The sun was blazing heat over the tennis court and Myungsoo felt sweats trickling down his forehead. He hated sweating for something unworthy as he stared sharply at Woohyun over the other end of the court. Up until today, it had been an easy cruise down the competition and just as he predicted, the pair of best friends and training partners met at the end of competition. Myungsoo knew Woohyun’s weakness, just as Woohyun knew Myungsoo’s, thus leaving them almost neck to neck in every single game.
He threw the ball high up and used as much strength he can garner before slamming the ball to a highest speed throughout the game. The ball hit exactly on the spot he intended and it happened to be Woohyun’s weakness spot. “Game to Kim Myungsoo,” he heard the empire chorused.
He walked toward the bench for a small break and immediately a towel was handed to him. He gladly took it and ran the soft fabric over his face. “You are great, Master Myungsoo,” he heard Sungyeol’s whisper through the cheering crowd.
He shrugged in response.
“Why does you always look like you don’t care?” the question stopped Myungsoo’s movement and he looked at his butler, who was handing him a bottle of energy drink.
He gulped a generous amount. “What do you mean?” he asked the taller man.
The butler smiled brightly and Myungsoo could feel the warmth Sungyeol emanating right that moment. “You don’t really care if you win or lose, right? But master Myungsoo, I will be really happy if you win and I know you will.” Those words clogged his throat because no one ever cared enough if Myungsoo won. No one ever truly smile for him if he won.
He felt a smile tugged on his face, actually happy at the newfound fact.
Myungsoo was only one point away from winning when he shoved the racket. Hitting the ball toward Woohyun that he knew his friend could easily return it. The speed of the ball however grew slower because of the height, just as how he intended. He moved to the front and slammed the ball down, sending it on a sharp pace. He saw Woohyun smiled and his eyes resembled two lovely crescent moons.
“Awesome game,” the man greeted him.
Myungsoo smiled in return, knowing he won the competition. “You are a great competition,” he returned. They both bowed to the cheering crowd and Myungsoo glanced over Sungyeol, not at all surprised at the beautiful smile that hung over that delicate face.
Soaking in the aroma of fresh flora scent, Myungsoo had never felt as calm and peaceful as now. The lukewarm water gently caressed his skin and he leaned over the tub. Closing his eyes, he welcomed the image of the end of competition. His calm and cold surface might fooled anyone, but he did felt accomplished, especially when he saw the smile on Sungyeol’s face.
The refreshing bath left Myungsoo feeling revive and when he entered the dressing room, he was surprised to find a formal wear prepared. It was white coat with black lining and underneath it was a simple white button shirt. He noticed Sungyeol didn’t match a bow tie or tie to give a mild of casualness, just like how he liked. Myungsoo didn’t give it much thought and he wondered what he would be having for dinner.
He wandered to the dinning room, finding it empty and his young butler was nowhere to be found.
The whole mansion seemed to fall into deep slumber.
He cast his long legs around the hallways, trying to search a single soul when he heard minimal chattering in the main dinning hall. He tinted his head in puzzlement and pushed the door open.
Kim Myungsoo grew up with endless parties to attend and mostly due to his family background. Quite frankly, he hadn’t like a single one and that even including Woohyun’s birthday party. Yes, Woohyun’s parents threw the best party ever due to their family business in hotel management, but alas, it was buttered with thick layer of business talks and fake relations. If possible, he would kept his own party as limited as possible.
The bright chandelier sparkled of yellowish light, however, seemed to mock Myungsoo of his intelligence right that moment. The esthetic faces smiled brightly to his astonishing face had him gritting his teeth.
Myungsoo told himself to breathe as he struggled to calm his anger. Woohyun came to him, hand holding a champagne glass, again clad with his usual dazzling smile. “Congratulation, Myungsoo!” he grinned.
The said man nodded apathetically.
His eyes ran through the crowd, completely ignoring his best friend as he searched for a certain tall butler. It didn’t took him long due to the fact the lad was busy wiping the goldenly trophy. Kim Myungsoo stalked toward him, disregarded all the flattering expressions that were threw toward him. He pulled the man and dragged him out of the hall.
They came to a secluded hallway when Myungsoo threw a punch and Sungyeol dropped a few steps away. He watched those doe eyes gazed at him with utter shock.
“It appear you think too much of your position,” the young master said darkly. He dusted the hem of his coat ever so casually. “Do not step over my head ever again. You think too highly of yourself, remember you are only a butler in this house, and a TEMPORARY one,” Myungsoo continued. When he turned away, he saw the hurt flashed through those eyes, but right that moment, Myungsoo couldn’t care more.
He returned to the party with heavy steps. When the bright lights lightened his presence, the smile immediately crept over his cold face. But if anyone dared to look deep into those eyes, they would see the emotions stirring within.
“Are you okay?” he felt a pat on his shoulder.
“You are great as usual today, hyung,” Sungjong said. Myungsoo nodded in appreciation. He never acted in front of his friends despite he never once let his emotion bare before them. But then, he didn’t want to show that he was unhappy, more over when the party intended to celebrate HIS win.
A hand grabbed his shoulder. “Are you okay, Myungsoo?” he heard Woohyun asked him. He nodded gratefully, knowing Woohyun understood him.
“To be honest, how old is your butler?” Howon asked suddenly. Myungsoo felt his heart died a little bit at the mention. The image of those hurtful eyes replayed before his eyes, but Myungsoo shoved them away angrily.
Howon took a sip of champagne. “I thought he is young, but his songs choice…” Howon show a face of disapproval and they laughed. Myungsoo instantly felt lightened.
“Since our parents are all not around, don’t you think we can stir something up?” Sungjong asked and his eyes perked at the idea. Howon seemed skeptical at his suggestion and Woohyun and Myungsoo can almost see an argument in coming. How typical of the pair of cousins.
Halting Howon’s opening mouth, a maid declared loudly. “Master Kim is here.”
Myungsoo glanced toward the main door and saw his father there. He had to blink twice to make sure the scene was real, not simply a mirage. There was his father, in his usual business suit and his signature smile, still handsome despite more than 40 years old. People always compared their resemblance as they admired the handsome traits that lied within their genes. Myungsoo wanted to scoff because as far as he knew, he was nothing like his father.
His father shook hands with the guests, mostly teachers from his school and some acquaintances he knew.
“Hello, Woohyun, Sungjong and Howon.” Myungsoo watched his father greeted his friends with ease, surprised at the fact that his father recognized them. The man before him never did play a part in his life. “Myungsoo,” his father called.
Myungsoo hummed in response.
His father smiled warmly at him. For the first time in many years, Myungsoo looked into his father’s eyes. There was fatigue and some agitation, as if he came in a rush, but there was also happiness and it astounded Myungsoo. “I’m proud of you, Myungsoo. Lee told me the news and insisted that I should present in this party.” Myungsoo felt a strong pat on his shoulder and he had never felt so lost before.
It was the first time he felt recognition from his father.
“Lee sends me all the news regarding your victory, I must say I have important matters to attend, but he says nothing beats seeing my own son winning a state competition,” his father said.
Myungsoo felt his eyes pricked and he resisted defiantly the sour sensation in his nose. His fist clenched tightly and he glanced over his fist, the light bluish over the pale skin, an ugly mark of the previous occurrence between him and the butler. “Thank you for coming, father,” the words stumbled out rigidly.
His father took off again after an hour with majority of teachers, leaving the youngsters to brew the night with blazing music and liquor. Howon and Sungjong were both hiccupping, mumbling incoherent words. Myungsoo laughed loudly, letting the alcohol drowning his sane mind. He did not want to be reminded of how he had treated Sungyeol, when the butler had done everything for him.
“You’re giggling,” Woohyun commented.
He grabbed the older man, clinging at him like his life depending on it. “I’m happy, Woohyun!!!” he sang.
“Are you?” Some doubt.
Myungsoo nodded. He hummed and dug his face deep into Woohyun’s shoulder. His eyelids felt exceptionally heavy and he closed his eyes. “Why aren’t you drinking, Woohyun?” he mumbled sleepily.
“Myungsoo-yah, don’t fall asleep on me!” the sound of Woohyun suddenly seemed faraway. His head felt heavier every second passed. The bright smile of Sungyeol invaded his intoxicated mind.
Next: Part Two
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