The first time Henry ever crushed on someone he was ten years old.
It never got to anything real since Henry himself didn’t know if it was okay to like a boy; he had never been told about homosexuality before and he never bothered in asking since he didn’t care as well, in fact he had never been told about relationships in general before; to be honest, he was naïve about these things, and that rising curiosity only made his confusion grow more.
He decided it was best to go ask Clinton; since to Henry’s eyes Clint knew everything about anything.
Mom and Dad knew everything too, but Clinton spent more time with him during the day and he wasn’t sure how his parents were going to react about this; so Clint obviously was the most indicated.
At least all he would do, in the worst of the cases, was to laugh his ass off and tell him to stop bothering on such little, stupid things. Besides, when it came to Henry’s parents he wouldn’t be that sure about their reaction.
They were just too unpredictable.
“Hey, Clint…” Henry muttered, in very shy English.
“What’s it?” Clinton asked, eyes fixed on the computer screen. He didn’t look at Henry; perhaps he was on a chat with his friends or playing a game, whatever it was, he was paying little to no attention to his little brother.
Not that Henry minded, after all, Clinton did the same every day, so Henry eventually got used to it.
“Is it okay that…I mean, what do you think about…?” Henry made a little pause and reformulated the question again in his mind. “Is it okay if a boy likes other boys?”
Clinton gasped, though Henry didn’t notice at all.
“Well…as long as he is not doing any harm to others it’s pretty okay; you shouldn’t feel bothered with it, after all…they’re people with feelings too” Clint shrugged. “Same happens with girls who like other girls…it is okay.”
“Then why don’t people talk about it?”
This time Henry could pretty much notice his older brother’s frown. Clinton was clearly having difficulties with this matter.
“God, you’re just ten years old, Henry!” Clint suddenly would blurt out. “You’re not supposed to know about sentimental relationships at all!”
But no one can ever stop a curious child from their rising questions. Both Clinton and Henry knew that.
Clinton tried to explain things in a more detailed way, failing, as expected. After all, what do you exactly expect from a fourteen year old? To know how to deal with ten year old brats and their complicated questions? He remembered he wasn’t that curious when he was a child back then.
So Clinton decided to do the best thing a teenager like him could possibly do: take a deep breath and tell Henry to go away and ask someone else.
“…It’s complicated…ask mom or dad, or you teacher or I don’t know, I’m busy right now!” Clinton spat, desperate by such complicated questions. “They know better than I”.
But the thing Clinton said before was enough to Henry. He was glad liking other boys wasn’t prohibited or something. ‘So it’s okay…then I think I don’t have any problem with it’.
Now, as Henry would look back in the past, he couldn’t help but laugh himself off because his little self was just too oblivious.
A couple of months later, Henry would reunite all the courage he was capable of and told that kid he liked him very much. Of course the other one glared at Henry with a disgusted pout in his face and turned him down; he didn’t tell anybody about Henry confessing to him, though.
At the end Henry ran off to his mother’s arms and cried for a while; it was the first time he had gotten his heart broken and, frankly, he was still a crybaby.
Mrs. Lau didn’t have a clue neither on what was going on with her baby boy, nor what exactly was it that made Henry cry; when she tried to find out he would refuse to tell. So Mrs. Lau just held her son tight.
That really helped the poor fellow a lot. That moment he realized it didn’t really matter how confusing and ugly things may seem, his mother would always be there, bringing support and love.
That kid would never look at Henry the way he used to before. Though Henry at first felt uneasy, he eventually just didn’t care anymore.
It was okay because nowHenry knew it was okay to feel attracted to boys instead of girls. In the next couple of years he gave little importance to his sexuality and although he would also have little crushes on other boys every now and then, still he was too shy to ever tell them; he grew up thinking it was alright and that there was nothing to be ashamed of.
When he turned fourteen years old, it took him a couple of months to reunite again all the courage and strength he needed and told his parents and brother he was homosexual.
At first his dad didn’t say anything, just stood quiet and listened to Henry’s whole speech with a neutral look on his eyes; his mother at first seemed surprised but immediately smiled and hugged him very tight. Clinton just shrugged and said he had no problem with it.
It was only when he fully accepted his sexuality that he saw with clear eyes what Clinton meant with “It’s complicated…” back then when they were children.
He had accepted months ago that if he wanted to lead a calm life there in Korea, he would have to keep the whole being gay issue as secret. Of course if someone ever approached him and asked something concerning with sexuality he wasn’t going to deny it and haters would feel free to hate; still, the less people knew about it, the better.
Not that he was ashamed of liking other men. He was afraid of other people’s reaction.
As far as he could recall, not single one of his Korean friends had ever shown anything that could make them seem gay or anything. Perhaps he was the only one who openly admitted liking men; though that didn’t mean there weren’t others out there.
For example, Kyuhyun-hyung and Zhou Mi-ge liked to fool around each other and they made the whole thing so painfully obvious it sometimes was annoying. But neither of those two ever said something concerning the matter, and no one really bothered in asking, actually.
But as far as he could tell, the other ones were pretty much straight, just happened to be a little bit more into skinship than any other average boy.
And then there was this guy who happened to be so charming it made Henry want to punch him.
First of all; why was Jiyong suddenly so nice and considerate with him? He was always asking things only his mom had ever asked Henry: “Have you eaten well? How was your day today? Are you feeling alright? You look dizzy.”
“‘May I carry your backpack for you?’ ‘You’re always staying until almost midnight studying…want me to bring you something to eat?’ ‘Don’t worry about that exam of yours, I myself am witness of the effort you put in studying for it, so you’ll do fine…’ ’Oh, I see you didn’t do well in the test, well…you shall study more for the next time, right?’ ”
Jiyong had always been all smiles and kindness with Henry ever since he could tell…but this week it has become something more…weird.
Jiyong sometimes took him to have an ice-cream or a milkshake…some days he would also cook for him (the last statement wasn’t really true at all…Henry would sometimes catch Daesung giving the food he made to Jiyong, who later on paid him. Daesung would complain about Jiyong not even being able to do something for himself, but, hey, the intention is what counts in the end, right?)
Henry himself thought that was really kind of Jiyong, nevertheless, it still made him feel as some sort of parasite who is trying to live off from Jiyong and his sweet actions; the fact Jiyong would also seem to arise his grades all of a sudden made Henry feel confused; Jiyong never seemed to care about school before, so whenthe final grade cards were delivered, Jiyong’s card made everyone, including Jiyong himself, raise an eyebrow and ask what happened to him.
Right after Cho Kyuhyun, who amazingly maintained a general average of 100 during the whole period, Henry and Jiyong were next, with 98. The thought of Jiyong being his rival on that field never went across Henry’s mind before.
So, in less than six months, Jiyong became a model student out of the blue.
Henry didn’t know if he should feel either proud because he somehow helped Jiyong to achieve an almost perfect average or suspicious because someone else entered that game which had only been played by Kyuhyun and him so far.
Not that he was envious; Jiyong was his friend, after all.
“So, has he made a move yet?” Heechul asked, eyes glimmering with that mischievous gaze he only possessed.
“What are you talking about, hyung…” Henry muttered…this time his mind was wandering through other places, and he wasn’t paying attention to what his friends said at all. All of them were clearly holding their laughter in, but Henry couldn’t tell exactly why.
“Oppa, don’t keep on pestering him” Amber replied with her usual playful tone. “Can’t you see he’s over the moon still thinking about that guy?”
“Amber, please…I don’t think-”
“What’s with that guy?” Sungmin interrupted Henry when he was about to kindly ask his friends to stop. Obviously no one bothered in telling him what was going on with Jiyong and Henry. “Who’s that guy you’re talking about?”
Henry sighed again. This was surely going to be long; it was always uncomfortable whenever he heard his hyungs talking about Jiyong and how close he suddenly became to Henry.
Which pretty much upset him; suddenly he was the boy whom seemingly everyone cared and watched for; the virginal, clueless person who didn’t have any experience with this kind of things –which didn’t make sense to Henry himself, since he had more dating experience than most of the people in there; everyone worried he would eventually get his heart stolen by that twat –as Heechul promptly remarked, because obviously all Jiyong could do was wrong, because he was that kind of naughty, bad boy.
To the majority of people’s eyes, of course. For Henry knew he wasn’t a bad person.
The Jiyong Henry knew was a sensitive, smiling, kind-hearted person, who just happened to be misunderstood by most people; beneath that cool, arrogant kid façade, there was that of a boy who often isolated himself from the rest of the crowd to think; someone who is always well aware of what happened around him; a boy who also made mistakes, a boy who cried often.
“Hip hop boy surely is hitting on Henry; though he hasn’t made a move yet…” Heechul finished talking.
Hip hop boy.
Okay, that term surely was new.
Henry’s phone buzzed; it was either a text or a chat reply. He picked it up and saw it was from Donghae.
“Don’t let their words get to you; you know how they are”
Henry sighed again; he knew some of them were still doubtful of Jiyong and his actual purposes towards Henry; whilst some other guys likeDonghee, Youngwoon, Hangeng, Jungsoo, Sungmin, Hyukjae, and to an extent, Kibum –who hardly ever talked to Henry anymore- remained neutral –or oblivious about it, and a few ones actually encouraged Henry to keep being close to hip hop boy.
Heechul openly expressed his disapproval of Henry being acquaintances with all five of them. He liked Seunghyun and often hanged out with him, met him on parties, or talked to him; but still, he refused to talk directly to Jiyong, because he ‘gave him the creeps’. The feeling wasn’t unrequited at all; Henry often saw those two exchanging glances of what he could tell wasn’t exactly longing or love.
Siwon tried to show support when he first found out Henry was gay; however he always would try to dissimulate his disgust whenever he saw Jiyong and Henry acting too friendly with each other, it made him frown and he would look away, in search for something that would keep away his eyes from such scene.
Henry gave Siwon bonus points for at least trying.
Jongwoon just said something like: “Even when I wouldn’t choose him as my friend, it’s your life, Henry. I love you like a brother and you know you can always count with me, but I don’t think it’d be good to hang out with him. Just saying…”
And then you had Zhou Mi. On the contrary, he had always encouraged him in meeting new people and making new friends; he thought Jiyong was pretty cool and the fact he was also a fashionista made him even like the boy more. Henry had thought about introducing them someday, but he hadn’t got the chance to do it properly.
Donghae had seemed understanding and caring, but didn’t really encourage Henry into anything- to which he really felt thankful for; but Henry knew he would always be there, so he hadn’t taken a moment to bid a very honest Thank You to him.
Kyuhyun just shrugged and also helped Henry out a bit with Jiyong. The three of them spent nearly every Thursday at Kyuhyun’s place, studying. He borrowed the two younger ones his notes and textbooks and that pretty much was it. Although he hadn’t expressed his support directly, at least Henry was concerned that Kyuhyun didn’t mind the boy.
So it didn’t take him long to reply to Donghae.
“Don’t worry; It’s not like they hate me anyway…besides, I don’t need anyone’s approval so it’s okay”
He knew he loved his hyungs, and that his hyung loved him back. Still, their logic sometimes drove him nuts.
“You must really like him; at least enough to stand up for him when he’s not around”
Henry thought about lying, but rejected immediately the idea.
Because Donghae knew him just too well.
He didn’t try to deny it. In fact, he had accepted a long time ago he had fallen for Jiyong and his charm quite a long time ago; more specifically, that day at the woods he had felt something, but didn’t really notice it; that day he accidentally tripped on him and he wrapped his arms around Henry, that something fluttered in his chest and he felt pain and confusion; the day he and his friends invited him go clubbing, he discovered that something felt really good; right at that night, when he gave Jiyong a little peck near the lips, his heart would feel so happy it almost made his chest explode. That day he invited Jiyong to hang out with him, he already knew he liked Jiyong a lot ; the way he would console him after that heartbreaking movie, squeeze his hand and lean on him, made his heart ache nonstop.
“I only like you as a friend”
Those words would have made Henry feel relieved two months ago, but now, those same words were the reason he often would feel like crying.
“You should do something about it, then” Kyuhyun stated dryly. “See, you are lovesick; your appetite isn’t the same, you’ve started to lose weight and your gaze has turned dark and empty, you look cadaveric. God, I never thought you would seem like this”
“I can’t help it, hyung” Henry replied softly. “That idiot just kind of…makes my head dizzy and I don’t know if I am exactly reciprocated…”
“Okay, stop it, will you?” Kyuhyun replied harshly. “Stop being a drama queen and just tell him how you’re feeling! You’ll never know for sure if you keep your lips shut.”
“But what if he feels disgusted and tells me to fuck off?” Henry spat violently. Discussing matters like this with Kyuhyun made him feel desperate. Kyuhyun thought everything would ease if Henry just had enough guts to face Jiyong and tell him he actually liked him and that the only thing that made him freak out when Jiyong was around was the fact he used to think Jiyong was going to murder him in his sleep, though that thought did no longer scare him, it was still somehow frightening.
“Well, I’ve had enough with you acting like a fucking Juliette in search for her fucking Romeo, so if you are not willing to tell him, don’t ever doubt I will! I am sick of this drama! I am sick of you acting like a mademoiselle in distress and surely I am dead sick of seeing you like this!”
God, that was enough.
“I am sorry hyung…” Henry uttered ashamed. “But what can I do about it?”
“Tell Jiyong you like him, duh.”
“It ain’t that easy!” the youngster exclaimed. “It’s not like I can normally approach to him and tell him I like him!”
“Well, I see it as the easiest thing to do as for the moment…” Kyuhyun commented. “What are you going to do? Hide away until you forget him completely? You’ll get heartbroken and that’d just worsen things more.”
“What can I do then?”
Kyuhyun thought for a few seconds.
“When are you going out with Amber?”
“Is he attending the meeting as well?”
“I invited him.” Henry replied simply, already guessing what Kyuhyun was about to propose. “Along with the other boys”
“I see…” Kyuhyun rubbed his chin as he reconsidered again what he was about to say. “You tell him right that night, end of the conversation. You get it?”
“Don’t ever think of not doing it” Kyuhyun threatened. “I’ll have Zhou Mi to tell me if you actually did it” and, raising his index finger, he warned again. “If you don’t, then I’ll make sure to tell him in the most mushy, embarrassing way ever possible. Get it?”
“What else can I do, then?” Henry bemoaned.