Taekwoon has never been one to get too involved with things such as art class and he honestly can’t afford to, either. His parents expect things from him-- things he knows he won’t be able to realize, but he can try. He has to. He, however, has signed up for art class this semester, after hearing about how damn easy it is from an upperclassman. It’ll even his grades out nicely, and he’ll be able to go to university as at least second best of the school.
What he did not hear about in advance, however, is that they have to sketch a nude portrait. He’s thankful it’s not a woman, really, but this guy has such a fine build that it’s hard to look away despite him being a man. That’s basically the idea-- since looking at the guy you’re supposed to sketch is probably a big part of sketching him.
Taekwoon isn’t good at art, but in this class that usually doesn’t matter. You’re allowed to not draw a single damn thing and work with other materials instead, but now he’d actually have to give an effort. He’s not horrible at art despite him not being good at it either, and he’s good at learning textbook stuff.
“Everyone, this is Lee Hongbin,” his teacher introduces the guy. Hongbin. Taekwoon wonders why he’s doing this, but figures there’s probably some sum of money involved. Something like that. Everything is about money, even the way his parents are forcing him to do well in school is. Taekwoon hates money.
“You will be sketching him today. Nude.”
Girls giggle, hide behind their easel, a few guys sigh and there’s one asking why it’s not a girl, all things his teacher probably anticipated, and Hongbin doesn’t seem too phazed by it, either. He’s done this before.
The sketching goes relatively well; he holds out the pencil in front of him, measures -- something he knows he’s actually good at -- and lightly sketches, knowing and fearing he’ll make a dozen mistakes. He does, but his teacher reminds him that’s part of the process-- that’s why you sketch in the first place. Sounds reasonable.
Something about Lee Hongbin pisses him off. Maybe he’s jealous-- he does have a good body. Completely heterosexually speaking, of course. Completely.
During break he and his friends overhear the girls in the storage room that’s used strictly for secretly smoking, talking about how hot the model is, how they’d want to talk to him, and it pisses Taekwoon off even more.
“What the hell’s so good about him?” he mumbles, more to himself than intended for anyone else’s ears, but he forgets he’s surrounded by guys and they chuckle.
“You having some sexual tension there, Taekwoonie?” one of them asks, patting him on the back. “Even we’d have to admit he looks good. Probably works out a lot. He does this modeling thing for a living, right? I think you have some issues, kiddo.” “Shut the fuck up, Wonshik. Why don’t you go write some pathetic raps that will never let anyone -- ever -- fall for you?”
“Sheesh, cool down.”
Taekwoon shuts up again and takes a drag of his cigarette instead-- he never speaks much to begin with and, albeit unintentionally, others constantly remind him to keep his mouth shut. His parents, sisters, his friends-- he’s been like this since quite a while and whenever he decides to show a little more of himself he gets kicked down so he hardly even tries anymore.
Long after the class is done, his perfectionism causes him to stay behind after class is over, and it’s just him and his teacher who thinks continually telling him that it’s okay if it’s not perfect is actually helping him. He knows that, but his parents obviously don’t, and it’s rubbed off over the years.
Him not having his model around at the time isn’t really helping, but at least he’s not burdening anyone. He’s continually erasing an adjusting from memory-- at least he’s got that going for him. His teacher tries giving him a few pointers even though she’s said she’s not supposed to. Taekwoon figures she feels like she needs to help him somehow due to his extreme perfectionism.
Taekwoon gets so absorbed into his work that he blocks out his surroundings and only realizes the model is standing behind him when the latter coughs. He panics, pencil leaving a long, unintended line over the paper, and it rolls over the floor.
“Whoa, sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Taekwoon lets out a gasp, looks at him from the corner of his eyes and bends over to grab the pencil off the floor.
“It’s okay,” he says in a soft voice, a slight tremble present.
“You shouldn’t do that without an example. It’s not going to work out well that way. It’ll end up looking nothing like me.”
“It’s fine. My memory is pretty good. Thanks, though.”
Hongbin doesn’t seem to care about how good Taekwoon’s memory is and starts unbuttoning his shirt.
“What-- what the hell are--”
“I-- I can… I realize that. It’s unnecessary.”
Hongbin raises a brow and chuckles.
“Alright. Suit yourself.” He buttons back up and sits down on the chair behind Taekwoon, grabbing his phone out of his bag.
“What are you still doing here?” Taekwoon asks, slightly annoyed by his sheer presence.
“Waiting for the next class to start. I do go here, you know,” he answers. “And I don’t have much else to do. I don’t smoke, like you and your friends do. Bunch of delinquents if you ask me.”
“Just don’t mind me. Go on. Show me how great that memory of yours really is.”
Gaining more motivation by Hongbin’s offhanded insult he focuses on the canvas again, trying to perfect it in detail, despite it being a sketch. Sketching just doesn’t work out well for a perfectionist.
When the bell rings and Hongbin’s seemingly already left, Taekwoon looks down at his masterpiece. Now that was perfection. He grimaces, presses his teeth down onto his lower lip and leaves the room.
His little prank does, obviously, have consequences. Unwanted confrontation, questions he doesn’t want to (or can) answer.
“What the hell is this?” Hongbin asks, chuckling. He doesn’t seem mad. He seems to be… rather enjoying himself.
“You. With a beak. Thought I’d bring out the ugly duckling you are inside,” Taekwoon lets slip out before he even realizes what he’s said. That’s basically what always happens; he holds every single feeling in and when the time comes he just vomits words he doesn’t want to express.
“Whoa there. Did I upset you the other day?” Hongbin asks, not really phazed.
“No, I…” Yes.
“It’s okay, man. I thought it was funny.”
“How fulfilling. That’s just what I was going for,” Taekwoon sarcastically retorts, the urge of slapping himself in the face increasing. “You gay or something?” Hongbin asks. “Wow, sorry, that came out snarky. I meant--”
“Look, I don’t know entirely what’s going on, but how about you and me grab a coffee?”
“What the hell are--”
Before Taekwoon is even able to finish his sentence, Hongbin grabs him by the wrist and drags him through the hallways, out the front door and into the open world-- all with a big grin on his face.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Taekwoon finally asks --rather hisses-- when they’re on the pavement in front of the school.
“We’re going on a date.”