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If it wasn't evident from all the shuffling and fixing of his clothes Leigh was doing in the mirror, he was nervous. How could he not be nervous when this was the first time he was going on a public date...well ever. He had been insistent he didn't want to go for a while, Leigh didn't do well with crowds and much preferred to stay at home but Irene had reminded him that many potential investors for the cafe were going to be at the party. In the end he had reluctantly agreed, how bad could it really be right? A bit of dancing...listening to people talk about themselves and maybe some food.
He was trying to convince himself it would be okay, fumbling over the invitation the other day when Eun had come over for a surprise visit, they had been more common lately. Their relationship felt like it was at the start of this crazy big journey Leigh didn't know yet and while Leigh knew things were complicated, more complicated than he wanted to admit. The kitsune was happy beyond belief. Of course Eun had noticed his nervous state and asked to see the invitation before insisting he was coming along with him. In one part Leigh was relieved he wouldn't have to face the party on his own but on the other, the therian was worried about showing the not so great parts of himself.
Like this one for example, Leigh could barely breathe because of the nerves he was feeling as he did up the buttons of his suit jacket and then headed out into the lounge. He smiled because Minha ran over to greet him and he laughed under his breath "I know I look like a penguin" he responded as he scratched under her chin and then behind her ears. When he heard the doorbell Leigh snapped out his daydreaming and headed over to the door, opening it without hesitation. It wasn't Eun he was nervous about seeing but Leigh did gasp as his eyes trailed over him "Wow..." he spoke softly and blushed a little "You look amazing...I mean you always look amazing...but...your hair" Leigh swore he had never felt so attacked by a forehead before in his life. Of course before he could reach for Eun, Minha was already pushing her way between them, vying for Eun's attention "I think she missed her cuddle buddy" he spoke softly.
If this is how his heart will feel every single time he heard a confession coming from Leigh, then he’s fine if it’s like this. It made him feel like for once in his life, he’s being accepted for being himself instead of being praised for his achievements. It was a change of air he needed. It was no wonder the dhampir preferred to stay here instead of going back home, and it’s not just because his love is there. Leigh had these dimples so Eun often poked his cheeks randomly because he loves seeing it, which is a whole bonus considering the kitsune was smiling happily. He winked playfully and cleared his throat “What can I say, I have a thing for older people” he chuckled, most of his crushes are indeed older than him, he just couldn’t possibly see anyone younger and feel much because he’d feel like he was responsible for them which sometimes defeats the whole feeling.
“And I do feel confident.” He knows what he likes now, and what makes him happy. He could feel his cheeks heating up when Leigh pointed out that he still has yet to shake off the custom of bowing to people because it was just his second nature back home, which made Eun rub the back of his head awkwardly “I mean… it’s hard to shake it off only after staying here for a few months. I don’t think I’ll be able to fully shake it off even after years honestly, it’s just been ingrained in me, you know?” Some others may have an easier time adapting to it but Eun was brought up quite strictly and his family could be conservative, with the exception of his siblings which marked a new generation. “Why do you say that?” he asked softly, eyeing the taller male with a gentle look because he didn’t think Leigh defied all of those. “My mother would still like you. She would love to know I found someone who loves me for me… someone with a good heart.”
He leaned against his shoulder instinctively and hummed in affirmation “Yeah it was hell… law school was always going to be more challenging but the education system in Korea doesn’t make it easier. Social capital is even higher there…” Hence why like it or not, Eun has been cultivating his contacts since he was accepted into university. He had to prepare. He grinned playfully when he fixed his tie, placing one hand over his, and smirked “I still have the uniform back home obviously, maybe one day I’ll wear it for a while just for your eyes.” When Leigh listed all those, he tried to recall if he has ever gotten the chance to really enjoy aside from those small trips “Maybe with the family… but I couldn’t make it for most of the time because of my schedule so I get left out plenty” he wanted to enjoy it too but what could be done anyway? He chose this path, did he not?
“I want to go to the beach with you… I haven’t surfed in such a long time.” Once they arrived and rushed inside to their table, Eun let out a tired groan and surveyed the menu, already making his mind to order plenty of meat, listing them down to the waiter like he’s a regular. “I’m actually going to stuff myself with meat it’s not a joke… so hungry. I wonder if family barbeques are fun too…”
Leigh smiled and tilted his head as Eun talked about how most of his crushes had been older than him “But I’m younger than you” he commented and gasped slightly, admittedly it was only by a year and they would have been in the same classes had their attended school together but it was funny to tease nonetheless. He always felt so reassured by the dhampir which was such a stark difference to his previous relationships, Eun never failed to make him feel like he was wanted and important, like he didn’t need to question his worth because it was pure fact.
“I think it’s part of your charm to keep those important points of your culture, just because you’re here now, it doesn’t erase how you were raised or the person you were back home” nor would he ever want that to happen, Eun wasn’t American, he was Korean and that was what made him the person he was. He looked at Eun and pressed his lips together when Eun asked why he thought he was the opposite of what his mother would want from him “I hardly think I’m going to be the person she pictures when she thinks about who you would end up with” he commented in a shy manner but perhaps Eun did know better, maybe knowing how much he loved the dhampir would be enough.
Leigh never really had trouble with schooling, at least not the academic side of it anyway, he had always just managed to click when it came to learning things and he had even managed to skip grades thanks to his hard work and intelligence. “It makes me wonder whether I would have done well there...or if the pressures would have gotten to me too” he’d been lucky with the experience he received here but sometimes he couldn’t help but be curious about how things would have been had his raising been different. Leigh chuckled when Eun said he might show him his old school uniform “That would definitely be quite the sight” he murmured, intrigue showing on his expression.
Leigh felt a little sad hearing Eun admit he didn’t really remember if he had experienced most of those things “What’s the point in working so hard if you never have the time to stop and enjoy the results of that hard work?” he questioned curiously. He loved the idea of getting to go to the beach together though “We should plan a trip then…” he commented and smiled, there were so many adventures he wanted to share with the half-valkyr. After they got to their table he sat opposite Eun and thanked the waiter, before long they had listed out their extensive list of requests which made him laugh because it was evident they both still starving “They are fun, my dad always gets way too much meat from the store and we get the grill going and just cook batch after batch...it’s so much fun” how badly he wanted to share that with him.
He blinked a few times in surprise as he finally digested the information, right he’s a year older than the kitsune, how could he forget. “Well damn, I finally fell for people younger than me, so you like older men huh?” he teased, two can play at this game. “Maybe this is a sign to my former younger self that I am meant for someone who’s younger and not older” he shook his head dramatically and placed one hand over his temple. “This is such a revelation.” Eun is a traditional guy, that much he knew about, and that even if he was to move here, to a more liberal country, he still wouldn’t abandon his roots or change too dramatically.
“So it makes me more charming that I’m a traditional guy?” he jested, he knew what Leigh was talking about but still, it was fun to make the situation more lighthearted than it originally was. God knows they need a brighter atmosphere. “I mean, I don’t think my mother would be so judgmental about the gender of the person I fell in love with. I mean one of her other sons, her youngest, is currently engaged in a relationship with the love of his life, who happens to be a guy too. So why can’t I? She loves me too.” Even as a conservative guy, Eun hardly thinks that gender really mattered when talking about love. If that was the case, then he wouldn’t be able to imagine himself with Leigh, which is not what he’s feeling right now.
“I mean my father will conveniently tell me it’s just a phase and that may work with Jae but it won’t with me, I’m 30 already.” He was honestly thinking about how he’d break it to his parents but sometimes it just gives him unnecessary stress. “You’re smart, Leigh so I’m sure you would’ve done well either way. The pressure might get to you, I won’t lie because even to me… it was overwhelming by a mile.” He chuckled when the other male said it’d be interesting to see his old school uniform “I think I’ll still rock the look.”
What was the point of working hard? To get acknowledgement, perhaps. In his world, that is synonymous. “I don’t know…” He does like his work, he grew to like them. The idea of them going on a trip does make him smile, a vacation sounds nice right about now. It was honestly making his mouth water upon hearing that they would grill meat together, he wanted that too. “I want to steal your dad… badly. But you’ll never have extra meat around when you have me though, it’ll be finished, I promise you that. Either way you look at it, it will be finished.”
Leigh laughed and blushed slightly, perhaps he did always tend to find himself with crushes on people older than him, he preferred those who were mature, that was his type for sure “Can you blame me…” he murmured softly as he watched the dhampir with a soft expression “Maybe that’s it…though I’m curious to know what kind of crushes you’ve had that are older than you” he bit his lip and smiled softly, Eun was kinda mysterious about his type and honestly he wasn’t sure if the other male would have even noticed him if Leigh wasn’t so obvious with the way he felt about him from the start.
“I mean I can never complain about how romantic you are with your traditional ways” he commented and nodded his head a few times, there were parts of Eun’s culture which Leigh was still learning about but he enjoyed getting to respect it “Besides it feels like learning a little bit about where I came from” he commented and smiled, he might not be born Korean but it was still a part of his roots and he wanted to honor that. “It sounds like your relationship with your parents is…complicated” it made him sad to think a parent could ever give up on the child they raised because of something that small, simply because of their own pride.
Leigh nodded slightly “What we have feels like so much more than a phase” he commented softly, he didn’t want to make bold proclamations about what future they could have because honestly, he wasn’t sure how things would play out, given that they came from such different worlds and things were complicated, all he knew is he wanted to hold onto this. “I was never really good with pressure, I used to have the habit of biting my nails and it got really bad whenever exams came around” thankfully it was something he had been able to break the habit of but it hadn’t been easy.
Leigh laughed when he said he wanted to steal his dad “Honestly I have the feeling he’s going to want to steal you right back” he teased softly and looked up at him with a grin “If you think you can out-eat two therians then you are in line for a wake-up call mister” he teased as he looked up seeing the waitress bring over the drinks they ordered “Why don’t we go see them then…I’m overdue a trip home and they’ll fawn like crazy if I tell them I’m bringing you” not that he wanted to put any pressure but he was dying for Eun to meet his family.
The kitsune is still cute even when he's flustered, he never thought he'd actually have the time of his life teasing someone and feeling happy about it, in a not mean way, but here he is, sitting across from his boyfriend while poking fun at him. "No, I can't say I can" he jested, "What kind of crushes I had? I mean I have never really crushed on actual people that's within my reach before… surprising, I know" which made him wonder if he is just incapable or desensitised back then, until he realized it was something more. "But celebrity crushes? Ashton Kutcher…" He grinned when Leigh pointed out that his traditional ways are romantic "I'm glad you see it that way, most people might think I'm too conservative" he's honestly glad the other male didn't didn't so because the dhampir is very connected to his roots and wouldn't want to change anything about himself when it comes to that.
If he doesn't believe in his customs, then what would he believe in? Eun pressed his lips together and shrugged, because even he couldn't describe his relationship with his family in an easier manner. "I guess that comes with having a dysfunctional family? I don't know… my mother is pretty nice, she's very loving. But my father, although not that bad, he can be controlling and he doesn't even see the wrong in it and that's often the problem" the fact is that his father wanted to right his wrongs but didn't realize it was ruining his children. "Pressure was always around me as a kid… I was the eldest, the firstborn, I had to be the best example for my younger siblings. And let's just say, law school was even more brutal because everyone had connections."
Even if he aced the bar exam, there was no telling he'd be able to find an adequate firm to take him in if he wasn't wasn't as his father's son. Talent can only take you so far and it left a bitter taste in his mouth. One day, he's going to start his own firm. He thanked the waitress for bringing their drinks and took a sip of his, ears perking up at the sudden mention of a trip. "Sounds spontaneous, how long will the drive be to your hometown? I can drive" he offered, why wouldn't he want to meet Leigh's family, it's a step further in solidifying their relationship. "I want to know when too, I need to prepare some gifts, I need to do my best to impress my boyfriend's family, no? I need one week at least though."
Leigh leaned against the table as he watched Eun, a small smile on his lips because he loved it whenever the dhampir talked about himself and the things he liked “That is surprising…surely you must have had plenty of attention, you could have had your pick of anyone” the kitsune had certainly fallen for him almost immediately, it was impossible not to like someone when they were so charming and kind, Eun had made his heart flutter from day one. “Oooh that’s quite the man” he chimed in and grinned slightly. “Maybe you might seem conservative on the surface but I’d argue you’ve been pretty open-minded” just because someone was traditional didn’t mean they were completely stuck in their ways after all.
There was always two sides to Eun when he talked about his family, one side showed just how much he cared about them and there was a sense of loyalty there which couldn’t even be questioned but on the other side there was someone who was frustrated because he could never measure up to the bar that had been set for him “No one should have to try to live up to standards like that…it’s impossible” and yet it seemed far more common than it should be. “With everything you’ve done, they should be praising you for coming so far…not scolding you for not going even further” it really must be exhausting for the other male.
“It must have been so frustrating for you” he stroked his hand gently against his arm and offered a comforting smile as though to say he would support him regardless of whether things went well or not. Leigh blinked because he wasn’t expecting Eun to want to make the suggestion tangible so quickly but he quickly picked himself back up “I guess as long as we didn’t leave in heavy traffic it would take about 6 hours?” he raised his brows as though to question if he was serious about wanting to go, it made his heart flutter that he did seem it. “I guess if I call my mom we could go next weekend?” his parents were usually around at the weekends and would be happy to push their schedule aside if they got to see him anyway.
“You don’t have to bring gifts though, just your presence will be enough” he smiled encouragingly, excited about the idea of being able to bring Eun home to meet his parents.