With a swift click of a button, Edmund locked the doors behind his sleek black car as he walked towards the school building. There was speed in his steps, walking briskly as he navigated his way around the building, passing by lockers, classrooms, and other parents while he tried to find the homeroom classroom of his daughter. Edmund Hyun wasn't normally one to be late, he ran a tight schedule with a planner that indicated every important event he had planned with the exact time he should be there. However, there were some complications in the recent case he was in, just another case of big headed corporate pigs trying to get the most profit out of the other. He reluctantly had to act as the mediator during the whole debacle and was forced to contact the school, saying that he would be late and to move him to be the last parent of the infamous Mr. Sunny.
He's heard quite the stories about his daughter's favorite teacher and he would be lying to himself if he wasn't at least a bit excited to finally have a face to match the name. Ophelia, the apple of Edmund's eye, described the man as if he were a mythical being. With hair color changing on various occasions that Edmund was beginning to think some of the details being described were works of fiction. His daughter just letting lose with her imagination and picture one of her teachers to be a metamorphmagus like that one character from Harry Potter, whom she couldn't stop drawing after he read to her the series as a bed time story. Regardless, Edmund was ready to meet Mr. Sunny, he knew that he was a recent member of the faculty, not recognizing his name from the previous school years and besides the information his daughter says about him, the parents council loves to gossip.
A young teacher, only just recently graduated from university. It was only good things from them (well besides the distasteful remarks from more conservative parents but Edmund never gave them the time of day). Which sparked even more interest since the parents council always had at least one negative thing to say about others, it was a rather cut-throat party underneath it all.
Edmund stopped at the door that hung the sign, "Mr. Sunny's class". He dusted off his suit, the color today was a royal blue with a single gold rose pin on his chest; first impressions were everything. With a polite smile on his face, he gave the door a gentle knock, it would only be polite that he shows his presence before finally opening door. Ophelia had been chatting up a storm to the man Edmund could only assume to be Mr. Sunny, with the topic being... him? Before Edmund could genuinely try to listen in, Ophelia turns her head and immediately stops mid-way in her conversation and runs towards him, arms out for a hug.
He lifted her up, swinging her around in circles as he embraced his daughter, a light laugh escaping both before he puts her down. "Hello my little doe." Edmund pet her hair, fixing the strands that were misplaced after her little merry-go-round spin.
She huffs at the nickname, clearly embarrassed that it's being used when Mr. Sunny was around. "C'mon, you get to meet Mr. Sunny!" At the mention of the name Edmund subconsciously perked up and looked towards the man in question.
He looked exactly as Edmund imagined him to look like yet nothing like the image at all. Without him realizing, he takes in the image of the man before finally speaking, "It's so nice to finally meet you Mr. Sunny, my daughter has said a lot about you." Placing a hand against his lower lip, he gives a soft laugh at his thought. "And your everchanging hair color."
Reminding himself that this was a parent-teacher conference he managed to force Ophelia to wait outside while the two can talk about her without any disruption. It took the promise of icecream on their way home but she left the classroom nonetheless, giving a big wave goodbye to her teacher before closing the door. Leaving the two alone. "I must apologize for being late, some work had abruptly changed my schedule. I hope it didn't inconvenience you that much."
Sunny wouldn't deny that he was nervous. That wasn't new--he was always nervous when it came to meeting parents, and he doubted that would ever change. This was a different kind of nervousness that usual, though, because he had actually heard about this parent; He had heard a lot about him, from both his kid and the other teachers, and everything that he had heard made him more worried that he was going to somehow mess this up. Edmund Hyun was, as far as Sunny knew, a classy, put-together man who was going to come in and tear his classroom apart. After all, Sunny didn't do classy or put-together. He had absolutely no idea what Edmund had heard about him, but he could only assume that it wasn't all good.
And then, of course, there was the aspect of it that he was trying desperately to forget about--the part where Edmund's daughter had been trying to set them up together since school started. Sunny knew that was just Ophelia being a kid, but it didn't make meeting Edmund any easier. He felt, strangely, the way he did before a blind date; Only this hadn't been set up by some hapless third party, but was instead a school mandated event. Right, Sunny himself, he was just doing his job. He told himself that over and over, to try and calm himself down.
It didn't work.
Sunny kept a smile on as he listened to Ophelia speak about her father, even though her words were just making him more and more anxious. It was then that he heard a knock at the door, and looked up to see who he could only assume to be Edmund stepping into the room. He quickly rose from his desk, swallowing the frog in his throat as he watched the man hug his daughter. Well, that sight was strangely comforting at least, and it put him at ease slightly, to see the man be so soft around his daughter. He let out a soft laugh at her protest to the nickname.
As soon as she was out of the room Sunny was stepping forward to shake Edmund's hand.
"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Hyun,"
he said with a smile, just like he had rehearsed. A hand subconsciously came up to run through his hair as it was mentioned, and he laughed nervously before going back to sit at his desk.
He waved a hand dismissively in the air as Edmund spoke.
"It's no trouble at all, really,"
"It gave Ophelia and I some time to catch up."
He began to search through his messy desk, looking for the file on Ophelia so that he could show it to Edmund. He finally found it and folded it open, sliding it over to the other side of the desk and gesturing for Edmund to sit in the chair across from him.
"Ophelia is a pleasure to have in class, you know. She really is a bright kid, as I'm sure you'll be able to see from her grades. There is, uh, one little behavioral issue, though."
He looked away, cheeks heating up slightly as he thought about how to word this.
"She has this... Idea in her head, that you and I are going to get together. Now, that's nothing to be really concerned about, but it has caused her to be disruptive in the past. I've tried to work it out with her, but she's pretty persistent."
He let out another laugh, shaking his head.
"But like I said, other than that she really is a great student."
"Please, the pleasure is all mine." He gave a firm handshake back before resting his hand on the edge of his blazer, Mr. Sunny was rather... petite thus he needed to bend down a little to give the handshake. He decided against mentioning it. After years of representing clients in court, arguing against witnesses and the like, Edmund was good at reading people. Mr. Sunny was nervous, that was clear. He knew very well about his reputation, Edmund had a way with intimidating others when he first meets them. However, with Mr. Sunny instead of finding his nervous energy to be amusing, Edmund found himself finding it endearing.
He smiles fondly at the mention of his daughter as he made his way to the chair across from the teacher. "I'm glad. My daughter has taken quite a liking to you, you've become all she ever talks about really." A part of Edmund wanted to ask about what they were talking about before he entered the room, curiosity being both a blessing and a curse. Again he kept his mouth shut, instead focusing on the file on the desk.
Edmund couldn't help but puff his chest in pride as he heard the praises of his daughter. Of course his little Ophelia was well-performing student, she was his daughter after all. Unlike most kids, Ophelia had knack for studying and found it to be a fun pastime (which was always a relief to know, considering that his ex-wife has the tendency to ignore her homework when Ophelia visits for the weekend). He perked up at the mention of a behavioral issues. "Oh?" He leaned closer, out of his seat, curious to know what Mr. Sunny meant. A behavioral issue? Ophelia was a sweet girl! What could she possibly do—
The father wanted to smack a hand against his forehead. How did he not see the signs? Admittedly, he had thought that it was his daughter who was smitten towards her teacher. Not that she has been trying to set him up with him. "Her always talking about you is starting to make sense now." He couldn't help but laugh with the teacher, trying to ignore the heat on his cheeks. Edmund hadn't felt the creeping sensation of blush for years, and didn't quite know how to feel about it. He was a single father since Ophelia first learned how to walk, and juggling both his career, his responsibilities as dad, and parents council vice-president, Edmund found himself not having time for romance of any kind. It was sweet of Ophelia to think that it was time for him to find partner again yet there was a strange feeling he couldn't quite describe knowing that she thought that her teacher was a suitable match. "I'm sorry about her, she means well. If it's any consolation, I think it means she's quite fond of you, I don't think I've ever seen her pull something off like this."
"May I ask what she says about me? I hope they were all good things considering that she was trying to woo you for me." He couldn't help but tease. This wasn't at all what he was expecting from the parents-teacher conference, but perhaps he was found pleasantly surprised by it all.
Sunny let out another soft laugh, running a hand through his hair. He was glad that Edmund seemed amused by the whole thing, if a little embarrassed--it was nice, if nothing else, to not be the only blushing one in the room. He rose his eyebrows at the question, looking down at his lap after a moment, because he didn't think he could get through the answer if he was looking Edmund in the eye.
"She says... well, she says a lot of things,"
he muttered with a soft laugh.
"That you're handsome, and hard working, and--well, just about every compliment in the book, she seems to give to you. She makes you seem like Prince Charming."
He snuck a glance back up at Edmund, smiling softly.
"And all of that seems to be true, if you don't mind me saying so."
He looked back down as soon as he got the words out, feeling embarrassed by the implications of what he had just said.
Clearing his throat, Sunny began to search for something on his desk to busy his hands with. He settled on a stress toy that he had brought in for the kids who needed something to fidget with during class. Slipping it under the desk, he began to mess around with the toy, keeping his attention trained on it so he wouldn't have to worry so much about his next question.
"And, if you don't mind me asking--what kinds of things does she say about me?"
He couldn't help but wonder, after hearing that he was talked about at all. And, well, Edmund had asked the same question, so he supposed it was ok.
Edmund's gaze was fixated on the teacher as he intently listened to every word he said. Legs crossed, and arms comfortably crossed as he found himself falling deeper and deeper into this oddly pleasant experience. At first it was fondness towards his daughter, finding it kind of her to paint him to be a noble prince with chivalry and charm like one out of a fairytale. But then the soft gaze of Mr. Sunny meeting his eyes briefly made him breath hitch. At that moment he felt bewitched, blushing like a smitten high schooler at the simple gesture of the man saying that Edmund too seemed like a prince in his eyes.
This was admittedly, thrilling. A selfish moment of indulgence that Edmund wouldn't normally allow himself, especially with both his daughter's teacher and someone he had just met. "I'm glad you think so." He said smoothly, eyes still on the teacher as he watches him search for a stress toy, a subtle hint of newfound fondness in his eyes. His earlier description of endearing only seemed to grow the more he spent time with Mr. Sunny. Whether the pink haired fellow knew it or not, he was quite the character with a charismatic aura in his hesitant, yet genuine nature. It was like a breath of fresh air.
He unfolded his arms and place a hand on the edge of Mr. Sunny's desk. Mentally debating with himself how much he was to tell to the teacher, and how he wanted to word it out. Edmund wasn't one to falter in his gaze and despite the sudden racing in his heart, he managed to continue to look towards the teacher. He was curious to see the reaction of him as he finally decided his next step of approach.
"I don't mind at all. All good things," Edmund recalled the mountains of compliments he heard from his daughter in regards to her teacher. "If I'm honest, I may be able to write sonnets with the compliments she gives. If I am a prince then you are a muse, genuine and caring. It's rather cliché but I too feel as if her descriptions are true." His smile grows, his right dimple out on display. "She practically adores the ground you walk on, praising you for your kind nature. Ophelia also finds your hair to be pretty." A chuckle escapes at the last words in particular.
"You must be quite the charmer, having earned her fondness on your first year here. Are you enjoying yourself so far?" Words came naturally to Edmund's surprise. He normally found small talk with Ophelia's past teachers to be suffocating and painfully awkward. This was felt different it was... nice.
Sunny's eyes went wide for a moment, because he certainly hadn't been expecting Edmund to say something so sweet in return. If his cheeks were previously heating up, now they were a bright pink, practically matching his hair. He let out a soft laugh in return, shaking his head as he finally managed to look back up at Edmund.
"your daughter is quite the charmer, and now I see where she gets it from."
In a moment he's looking back down at his lap, seemingly unable to sustain eye contact with Edmund for long periods of time. He doesn't think his heart can take it.
He tilts his head to the side at Edmund's next question, humming softly.
"Working here is a dream come true,"
he says, meaning it wholeheartedly. There had been parts of college where he truly hadn't been sure he was going to make it being a teacher, but now that he was finally here he felt nothing but happy with the work.
"I'm really lucky to have gotten a job here. The kids are amazing, and... Well, the parents can be less than amazing, but it's nothing too hard for me to handle."
He looks back up at Edmund, retracing his words.
"Not you, of course. You're great."
Sunny finally managed to settle the stress toy aside, feeling a little childish for playing with it for so long.
"And what about yourself?"
"Everyone around here says you're great at your work--do you enjoy it?"
He can't help but be curious about Edmund, wanting nothing more than to know more about him. He just hopes he isn't overstepping a boundary.
Was what they were doing now flirting? No, of course not. Just a pleasant conversation among two men who could acknowledge each other's praises. Though Edmund couldn't deny the smug glint in his eyes when he saw Sunny's cheeks flush deeper. Edmund was a gentleman, simply speaking the truth the best way he could articulate. If he had the time, Edmund might find himself writing away in his home office eloquent poetry to simply prove his point. His mind only short-circuited for a moment when the teacher implied he was charming. Compliments weren't uncommon for him, but just as before, the words felt different when it came from the man across from him.
He nodded his head at the words of Sunny, trying to clear his mind and calm himself down. Edmund wasn't a teenager getting flustered by a childish crush, this was simply mature chit-chat in order to get to know his daughter's teacher better. Refocusing his mind, he couldn't help but laugh at Sunny's attempt to retract his prior statement. "Oh no I understand. The parents here could be a bit... loose lipped when talking about their thoughts on faculty." The clear distaste bled through his words. It was one of the things he disliked about being an active parent, the immature gossip they so loved to spread. If he had a nickel for every time a council meeting was extended due to excessive banter about the personal lives of faculty, Edmund could practically fund Ophelia's college course on those nickels alone. "Don't worry, I have yet to hear anything bad about you that matters. But I'm glad you're enjoying your stay here so far, I think the faculty is lucky to have you."
Edmund's brows raised in surprise in Sunny's display of interest in his life. It wasn't everyday someone would ask him about his own career without it sounding nosey and invasive. Normally he would be brief, cutting the subject by the legs before it would have time to fully ground itself. Edmund found himself doing the opposite. "I tolerate it. To no surprise legal matters, especially in the business field are painfully boring. Being a part of the parents council has given me at least something enjoyable to do, bakesales and the like. You should attend one." He had only recently had a meeting with the other council members about the bakesale drive to fund an activity for the children, planning to launch it by the end of the week. "I enjoy how it gives me the ability to spend time with Ophelia." He smiles fondly.
"It's funny how people seem to talk about me often here, hm? I'm admittedly a bit of a recluse. Which is probably why Ophelia thought it was a good idea trying to set us up, she probably thinks I'm lonely." He laughs, picturing the image of Ophelia ranting to him for the 100th time that month about trying to find a new partner.
Sunny was relieved to hear that Edmund hadn't heard anything bad about him from the other parents. He had no idea what they talked about when it came to the faculty, and for some reason he hated the idea that Edmund might've heard gossip about him. He tried not to think about that too hard, that he cared so much what Edmund thought about him. He was used to being nervous, but not this nervous--certainly, the pounding of his heart in his chest was something new, that he wouldn't be examining.
After all, this was just a parent teacher conference and nothing more. Even if it felt like flirting, Sunny was sure that it was just Edmund being his usual charming self.
Sunny was drawn from his thoughts as Edmund began to speak about his own career. He found himself strangely fascinated with his words, for a reason he couldn't quite place. He tried not to think about that too hard, either, his newfound fascination with everything that Edmund said, how he was suddenly clinging to his every word like a child.
"I'd love to come to a bake sale,"
he said, a little too quickly.
"I mean, it's always great to have an opportunity to support the kids."
He let out another laugh at Edmund's next words, shaking his head.
"It seems like the whole staff is fascinated with you, reclusive or not. I can see why; You're pretty amazing."
He let his head tilt to the side, contemplating his next words.
"It... It seems to me that if you wanted to, you could get just about anybody to help you with that loneliness. Now, I hope this isn't rude to say, because of course I don't know about your personal life--but getting back into dating might not be a bad idea. For Ophelia's sake, I mean. It's good for kids to have positive relationships around them to model off of."
He already felt bad just for mentioning it, worried that he had ruined their rapport, so he quickly tried to backtrack.
"I'm sorry if I've being presumptuous by saying that. You seem to be doing a great job raising Ophelia by yourself, so there really isn't anything to worry about. It's... Just a thought."
Simple compliments from Sunny felt like praises from the gods against his ears. Edmund can't remember the last time he was smiling so hard, with his elusive dimples gleaming brightly on his face, if not a bit sheepish at the Sunny's advice to get back on the market. He was hesitant and began to backtrack immediately afterwards which was to be expected. Normally Edmund wouldn't appreciate another person telling him how to live his life and the way he makes himself a role model for Ophelia. Perhaps in another world he would be more standoffish if Sunny's words didn't give him an opening to say what he said next.
"No, no, I suppose you've got a point, Mr. Sunny. For both Ophelia's sake and... perhaps my own, indulging isn't a sin, is it?" He takes a moment to ponder, if not trying to answer his own question. It was a selfish desire to focus on his love life, to balance a relationship with another when having so much on his plate already. But Edmund deserved to be selfish every once in a while, did he not? His daughter sure thought so with her persistence to find someone for him and the opportunity was sitting right across from him.
Finally making up his mind, he leans forward against the front of Sunny's desk, hand extending to meet the teachers in a gentle grasp. "And if that is the case, would you do me the honor of accompanying me to the bakesale this weekend? It will be in townsquare, we plan on using the money raised for a winter solstice come December. I would enjoy selling cookies with you at my table."
His heart was rushing in his chest but he showed no sign of nervousness, instead intently looking into Sunny's eyes, patiently waiting for an answer. It was a decision acted on by impulse, something Edmund rarely ever relied on, knowing that impulse usually lead to immediate regret shortly after. However, seconds passed and Edmund felt no shame nor embarrassment, for once he felt content with the quick decision. He genuinely wanted to get to know Sunny more, curious to see where this could take them, and willing to spend more time with him outside the realm of a parent - teacher conference.
Besides, Ophelia already has been trying to set the two up from what Sunny had previously said, why not see if her intuition is correct?
"I must admit, you have seemed to bewitch me throughout our talk and I would like to get to know you better. And what was it that you said about the bakesale?" He paused to recall, giving a low hum when he remembered. "It would be a great opportunity to support the children, and I couldn't agree more."
Sunny certainly hadn't been expecting Edmund to say something like... That. If anything, he had been expecting him to get angry at him for overstepping and storm out of the room. His actual reaction was certainly more pleasant than what Sunny had thought would happen, but it was also almost impossible to believe.
Sunny's mouth fell open slightly as Edmund grabbed his hand, searching for words and unable to find them. This certainly couldn't be real. Maybe he was dreaming--Sunny briefly wondered whether he should pinch himself. But the warmth of Edmund's hand against him felt real enough, and Sunny found himself wanting more of that touch before he could stop himself.
He let his lips fall closed, swallowing harshly.
he started, before finding himself once again unable to create words. He shook his head before he caught himself.
"Oh, that's not a no!"
He said suddenly, leaning forward.
"I mean--I'd love to. I'm just... Surprised. I--are you sure?"
A nervous laugh escaped him. Edmund didn't seem like the type to do something like this if he wasn't sure, but still, Sunny was in disbelief that he would ever offer such a thing. Whyme? he wanted to ask. Surely Edmund could get just about any man he set his mind towards.
Edmund's laughter escaped, mirroring Sunny's however it was more of amusement than of nervousness. The pink haired teacher displayed all the emotions Edmund was internally feeling but forced to hide, he didn't want the other to think he had any other feeling besides full intent. He wished to pull the other in for an embrace, wanting to dismiss any of the doubt the other had felt, but he wanted to take things slow with Sunny. They had only just met and Edmund hasn't been an avid dater since... well never. With his most recent partner being the woman he had signed a divorce paper with. For now, a soft rub of his thumb against the other's palm was enough.
"I wouldn't joke with you on matters such as this, Mr. Sunny." He replied softly but the conviction in his tone was clear. Call Edmund Hyun stubborn, but when he made his point clear, it was hard for him to stray away. This was new. New for him and just by the reaction of the teacher, new for Sunny as well. Edmund could only hope that the man across from him felt the same ounces of excitement coursing through his veins as he is feeling. "I mean every word."
"Would you prefer we meet up at townsquare or would you like me to pick you up?" Even as the words exited his lips, this all felt surreal. It was a good feeling being able to pursue ideas he oh so wanted to pursue. Liberating to know that this was a moment he could treasure wholeheartedly without having to think of his reputation or anything outside of these four walls. This brief moment they had was their's and it only has the possibility of growing into something more grand. "Ah, and before I forget." With his free hand (he cant bring himself to let go of Sunny's hand) he took out his wallet, slipping out a glossy business card.
Edmund Hyun. Corporate Lawyer.
With his phone number provided right below his name and profession. "Although the bakesale isn't until this weekend, I would like it if you had my number. Just in case you'd like to chat while we await the day." For the first time, Edmund avoided the other's gaze, finding it a tad bit too embarrassing to give someone his business card for the sake of liking than of professional use.
Sunny was comforted by the feeling of Edmund's finger rubbing reassuringly against his palm, and after a moment he smiled at him, a breathless sigh escaping his lips. He took the business card with his other hand, fumbling slightly as he went to pocket it. In a moment he was looking back up at Edmund, and a laugh escaped him when he realized that the other man was the one averting his eyes this time.
he said, bringing his other hand up and placing it over Edmund's.
"There's no need for you to pick me up, I'll meet you there. And I'll be sure to call if I need anything."
He still couldn't quite believe that this was happening. He found himself grinning like an idiot, unable to stop himself from gripping Edmund's hand slightly with both of his own just to remind himself that he was real. After a long moment, he cleared his throat and hesitantly pulled his hands away, bringing them to rest on the arms of his chair.
"I suppose that's all,"
he said with a soft laugh.
"Thank you for meeting with me. And, uh, thank you for the invitation. This'll be my first time looking forward to something like a bake sale."
The lawyer perked up at the pleasant surprise of Sunny placing his other hand on his, looking to the other with a startled look which soon melted back to fondness. Just simple actions alone affected him so greatly, he was down bad, wasn't he? Ophelia would never let him hear the end of this when she finds out that he would be taking her teacher to the bakesale. He could already hear her chanting, "I told you so!" during the entire car ride home.
He cleared his throat, regaining composure. "That'd be nice. I'd love to hear from you over the week." Admittedly, he didn't want to part from the other, having grown smitten. Edmund knows so little about the other yet desires the time to truly get to know Sunny. And if they can't meet in person till the weekend, since both have their own responsibilities to their jobs, texting would suffice. Perhaps Edmund would start making it a habit to pick up his daughter directly from her classroom. And the mention of relying on him if ever the other needed anything sparked something within him. Edmund wanted to be as accommodating as possible.
Edmund couldn't help finding it a bit disappointing feeling the heat of the other's hand leave so quickly. Or at least he assumed it was quick, he's found himself losing track of time the more he's talking with the teacher. As if the classroom was a paradox where nowhere else mattered. He awkwardly brought his hand back to his person, folding them like before.
"This has been quite the eventful teacher - parent conference." He laughed as he stood up from his chair, adjusting his blazer. "But my most enjoyable one by far. I'll do my best to make this be your best bakesale by far. I must warn you though, I get rather competitive with the other council members. Winner gets to choose the theme of the solstice after all." Edmund decided not to mention that he was currently on a winning streak, thinking that it would make Sunny even more nervous about their little date.
What could initially be seen as an attempt to give the other a handshake like they did before when they had first introduced each other. However, instead of gripping Sunny's hand in a handshake, he bended down to give a soft peck on his hand. It ended as quickly as it began, afterwards bringing their hands down, allowing his gentle grip on the other linger before he finally lets go and straightens up his posture. "It's been a pleasure speaking with you Mr. Sunny, I hope we get more opportunities in the near future."
With the brief hand kiss and another soft smile, Edmund exited the door. The loud whining of Ophelia asking, "What took you so long?" audibly heard along with his pleasant laughter. When the two got to their car, he confronted her about her schemes of trying to set him up with her teacher, only to admit to her that they would be meeting with Mr. Sunny at the bakesale that weekend and that he's agreed to help him at their stall. (Which catches Ophelia's attention real fast, her papa has never needed nor asked for help!) They drove off to buy the icecream like Edmund promised his daughter before returning to their lavish home. And when Edmund was in the sanctity of his home office he put his hands over his face, taking a deep sigh as he felt his entire cheeks burn ablaze.
Sunny still couldn't quite believe this was happening. Sure, he had been texting Edmund all week--practically nonstop, since he hadn't been able to control himself after sending that initial text--but that was all words and pictures on a screen. This was real. He was here to meet Edmund Hyun for what was, for all intents and purposes, a date.
Sunny would pinch himself if he hadn't already tried that. Somehow, this wasn't a dream.
He had tried, at the very least, to make some cookies himself so he at least felt like he was contributing to the bake sale. But, like everything Sunny baked, they had ended up burnt beyond repair by the time he was done. So the cookie idea was scrapped--he brought enough money to buy up half the bake sale, though, and he hoped that would be enough of a contribution.
Sunny arrived early, while they were still setting up, because he didn't want to risk being late. His fingers toyed with the ends of his sweater sleeves while he searched the town square for Edmund. He wasn't that hard to spot, of course, being taller and better dressed than the majority of the other parents. A relieved smile crossed his face as he spotted him, and he quickly rushed over to greet him.
"Hey! Sorry for being so early,"
"Guess you could say I'm just super excited about this bake sale."
This week had quite possibly been the best few days of Edmund's life. The more he continued to talk with Sunny, the more smitten he got with him. On the day of the bake sale, Edmund got up at the crack of dawn to reheat the batches of cookies, wrapped them into their bundles and scurrying around to find something appropriate to wear. It was a strange feeling, being nervous and self-conscious about what he was to wear, but he wanted to look good for Sunny, and decided on his more brighter suits. Specifically the yellow floral print and instead of wearing the matching tie that normally goes with it, he decided to the button against his neck unclosed. It was his best attempt of formal casual while maintaining a professional outlook towards the other parents that would be attending.
From the pleasant banter, cat pictures, and gift giving to earn said cat's approval, all those memories brought a pleasant aura to Edmund, walking towards the rest of the parents setting up their stalls with a small smile as he carried his containers full of cookies and of course the banner Ophelia had made. There was small talk being exchanged between him and the parents, some commenting about the pink haired addition to Ophelia's drawn out roster as Edmund put it up.
"So this Mr. Sunny fella really is joining you for the sale?"
The surprised tone of the parent made Edmund laugh as put the final pin into the banner, letting it fully hang on the top of the stall. "Yes. I believe he will help me set the new record for most cookies sold." His competitive streak seeping into his words which made the parents laugh, but Edmund could see the same hint of competition in the atmosphere. Taking a step few steps back, he admires his work, just through the crude drawing of his 1st grader daughter, Sunny looked like he belonged with them on that banner. It made his small smile grow a tad bit wider
He heard the rushed steps drawing near him and turned around to see the man running through his mind. Edmund placed a hand on the other's shoulder, taking in his presence as his smile only grew tenfold. "Hey. I'm glad you're just as excited as I am. Come, you can help me setup the cookies for display." With a small squeeze he retracts his hand and go back towards the stall, motioning Sunny towards his eco-bags of wrapped cookies and an easy-to-build tower display to put some on. "Ophelia will be here around noon, she's having a morning date with her mother around the square. She wanted to ask your thoughts on the banner she made for us." Edmund began setting down the cookies, Ophelia had made sure to make them vary within types much to the destruction of their kitchen when they made them. From chocolate, to oatmeal, to red velvet, Ophelia had big ambitions and Edmund couldn't help but make them come true. He had to clean up the mess afterwards all night.
Admittedly through all the things happening that week, it almost didn't cross his mind that Ophelia would be spending the day with her mother, Agatha, until he had checked his calendar the night before. "Also please help yourself to some, I might join you. I may have forgotten to eat breakfast amidst all this chaos." He laughed to himself mostly.
Sunny couldn't help but let his smile grow at the sight of Edmund. He couldn't help but think that he looked amazing, in his yellow floral suit--Sunny felt hopelessly dressed down against him, but he couldn't even worry about that with Edmund around. The touch of Edmund's hand on his shoulder gave him a warm feeling, one that he didn't want to fade away.
He looked up at the banner as Edmund stepped away, his grin somehow growing even wider.
"I'm telling you, Ophelia is going to be a master artist one day."
He let out a soft laugh before heading to help him set up the display. The mention of Ophelia being gone made his cheeks flush just slightly. He had been expecting her to be there the entire time--without her accompanying them, their meeting began to feel a whole lot more like a date.
He shook his head to rid himself of those thoughts and began to set things up, organizing the cookies to the best of his ability.
he said to the mention of him snagging some of the cookies,
"or I might just take you up on that. Oh, but I brought some money to pay for the treats I do end up stealing. All from your stall, of course. We can't have you losing the bake sale because of me."
He looked up to shoot Edmund a wink before looking back down to hide his pink cheeks.
"I don't know about that, she seems to be very invested in baking lately. With all the flavors she wanted this time around, I still think there will be flour in the corners of my kitchen till the next bake sale." He chuckled. Although the creeping unease that came from the idea of Agatha eventually coming to the stall to drop off Ophelia while he was having a semi-date with Sunny was in the back of his mind, it was easily overshadowed with the idea of having the opportunity to get to know the teacher better. With it just being the two of them for the morning made it feel more intimate, leaving a warm feeling inside that Edmund could only feel when around Sunny.
The playfulness of the teacher breathed a new sense of life in Edmund. It was light, stunning, yet warming all in one. The wink caught him by surprise, making him need a moment to blink blankly at the display before clearing his throat, a familiar heat slowly meeting his cheeks. "You don't have to do that, I'm more than willing to pay for the treats we end up grabbing through out the day. Call it a compensation for your time." Chivalrous as always, no matter how flustered he internally felt. How a simple wink had such an affect on a grown man like Edmund? He was truly beginning to believe that Sunny had him under a trance of some kind.
His kind smile turned smug as he thought of a way to get back at the teacher. It was only fair to make Sunny feel the same way he did, if they were truly starting to play around. "I would only hope you only take from my stall. I wouldn't want to fight any of the parents here for my business partner." He made sure to emphasize the "my" looking directly at Sunny as he did. Before he stole a wink back and went about arranging the cookies like nothing happened at all. There was an underlying truth to his statement, fault it as his competitive nature or an underlying possessiveness but Edmund was more than willing to fight Sandra or Earl if it were to keep Sunny by his side.
He did say that Sunny would guarantee him the new record of sales today after all.
"master baker, then. Whatever she decides to do, she'll be amazing at it."
He let out a soft laugh, though he completely meant what he said; He thought Ophelia had great things ahead of her.
Sunny shook his head at Edmund's insistence on paying for the cookies he took. He didn't feel the need to be compensated for being here; After all, he couldn't help but feel that it was a gift to him, the opportunity to spend more time with Edmund. He would buy all the cookies in the world if it meant spending more time with the other man and getting to know him better.
"You really don't need to do that,"
"I can afford to pay for a few cookies."
He felt a blush take his face at Edmund's next words, eyes widening slightly at his wink. He opened his mouth to say something, but Edmund simply turned away like nothing happened. After a moment another laugh escaped his lips, as he turned back to the display and continued to put it together.
he said softly,
"there isn't anyone else I'd rather spend the day with."
And he meant every word.
Stepping back as he completed his part of the set up, Sunny looked over their stall approvingly.
he said with a smile, looking back to Edmund.
"so, when will customers start showing up? I need to get ready to turn on the charm,"
Sunny is polite and compliments his kid? He might as well have Edmund wrapped around his finger at this point. "Let's make a compromise, how about we split it?" Although Edmund was more than happy to pay for the cookies that the both would eat throughout the day, it was a refreshing experience seeing someone actively try to pay for their own things when around him. He couldn't blame his colleagues and friends of course, Edmund had an excess of funds and when given the offer from him to pay for things, most people wouldn't refuse. But Sunny insisting of paying his share told a lot about his character, and it was safe to say that Edmund found his selfless and kind nature to be an attractive quality.
Even though Sunny couldn't see it but a warm grin grew on Edmund's face at the teacher's simple, yet genuine words. He was a grown man, yet felt the sensation of butterflies fluttering in his stomach. His laugh was like music to Edmund's ears, he hoped to hear more as the day progressed, while his daughter was away, making Sunny have an amazing not-so-date was Edmund's top priority. And though he's too embarrassed to admit, it has bested even his desire to win the bake sale (although both winning and giving Sunny a good day would be preferable)
"I don't think you need to turn up anything, you are charming just the way you are right now, Mr. Sunny." Edmund placed the final batch of cookies down for display, keeping just one packet in his hand as he walks to stand beside Sunny, admiring their work with him. Their. It has a nice ring to it. He peered down, shifting between both the beautiful display of their stall and the even more beautiful man who helped him create it. "We make quite the team." There was fondness in his tone, working with others, especially this intimately was new to Edmund. But he had to admit, he quite liked it and could get used to it.
Glancing at his wristwatch, Edmund checked the time. 8:45 AM. "Customers usually come by nine o'clock, so not that long." He hummed, picking up a cookie from its packaging before motioning it towards Sunny. "Would you like a cookie while we wait, darling?" The words felt foreign to his tongue, having not used pet names on others in so long. It was to test out the waters, and just as before, he could grow accustomed to calling Sunny with such sweet words.
It didn't take long for people to start coming by the stalls, after how heavily the parents council promoted the entire ordeal. To Edmund's gratification, Sunny and him had garnered quite the number of sales, having a line full of people ready to buy the cookies on display. It was a nice feeling to have someone to help him multi-task from talking to customers, receiving and giving change, and distributing the cookies. With Edmund being independent for so long, finding himself opening up to this new change, especially with Sunny was an experience he'll treasure in his heart of hearts forever. He did of course, always check in on the pink haired man just to make sure he wasn't overwhelmed or tired. Edmund wanted him to have a pleasant time after all.
As lunch came close, the crowd slowly started to disperse, though Edmund knew there would be a resurgence once people had eaten their lunch. He fixed his hair by combing his hand through, laughing tiredly as his free hand finds its way to Sunny's shoulder. "How are you feeling after all of that, darling?" He gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze as he looked at the other with affection.
Edmund freezes at the sound of her voice. He's seen her on a regular basis at this point, he shouldn't feel surprised whenever she speaks to him, but he couldn't help but flinch every time they have to see each other. Reluctantly, he looked away from Sunny and towards the woman presumably in front of her. And there she was, hand on one hip as she looks at Edmund with a look he couldn't describe. He was never good at reading her.
Ophelia, who had been beside her mother came running towards both Sunny and Edmund, hugging them at their legs. "Papa! Mr. Sunny!" She giggled, looking up at them both. "You guys didn't have too much fun without me, right?"
To which, Edmund laughs, petting his daughters hair. "Of course not, my little doe. Mr. Sunny and I were just getting to know each other. Now how about you play together with Peter for a little bit, I know that Sandra had brought him along and I heard that he's been dying to play with you all day." Needing an excuse to have his daughter momentarily leave as he had a brief conversation with his ex-wife. "Agatha." His smile never reaches his eyes when he looks at her, only keeping up pleasantries for the sake of Ophelia.
Agatha completely ignores this and focuses her attention to Sunny, smile showing all but kindness. "So this is the Mr. Sunny I've been hearing all day about. A teacher and a parent. How scandalous."
Sunny found himself settling in easily with Edmund. He thought he could get used to this; The little petnames (however much they flustered him), their work side by side, the gentle and casual touches that they shared as they worked. Something about being with Edmund made even the most unpleasant parts of the job something to look forward too, simply because he got to be with him. He could feel himself already tipping over the edge of infatuation into something deeper, and it scared him just a bit, because he hadn't exactly experienced something like that before. But even that, the fear of the unknown, was made manageable by Edmund's side.
Sunny let out a sigh as the crowd began to die down. He wasn't too exhausted, used to spending most of the day on his feet as a classroom teacher, and the good parts of the day far outweighed his tiredness. He looked to Edmund with a smile as he squeezed his shoulder, flushing slightly at both the touch and the nickname. He was ready to say something in response, until the voice of someone else cut off his words before he could even start.
He looked forward towards the voice, but before he could get a good look at her he was forced to look down at Ophelia at his legs. He grinned at the sight of her, letting out a little laugh. Seeing her was another welcome part of the day, especially getting to see her and Edmund interact. He couldn't help but find it adorable, the way Edmund seemed to grow softer around her. It was yet another part of him that made his heart swell.
As Ophelia ran back off, Sunny looked up to see the woman in front of them. A thin smile took his face as he connected the dots. Well. This would surely be unpleasant.
"You must be Ophelia's mother,"
he said, putting on his teacher voice and trying to come off as bright and cheery.
"It's a pleasure to have your daughter in class, she really is amazing."
His smile only grows more strained as the woman continues to speak. He tilts his head to the side, and without meaning to his hand edges over to rest against Edmund's, searching for some of his warmth to help get him through this. It's also a bit of a possessive gesture, because even though he knows he shouldn't be, he's a little jealous of her. It's a stupid emotion to have, but he can't help it.
"I don't see anything scandalous about it,"
he starts, still maintaining that bright voice despite his growing discomfort with the situation.
Edmund's brows are raised in both surprise and minor annoyance when Agatha completely ignores his presence and talks to Sunny like a lion sizing up its possible victim before going in for the kill. "Yes, Agatha. Charmed, I'm sure. " Her smile had a devious glint to it, the kind that she'd have when she has ulterior motives. Before Edmund could cut in, Agatha opens her crimson mouth once more, "I can only assume our darling Ophelia is delightful in your class. Like parents like daughter, as I always say. Isn't that right, Eddy?"
He hadn't heard her call him Eddy since the peak of their marriage and he personally wasn't one to reminisce. Agatha had always been someone to run her mouth in an almost condescending way. If it weren't for the sudden warmth of Sunny's hand meeting his, Edmund probably would have been all but pleasant. The gesture caught him by surprise, eyes glancing towards him, seeing how uncomfortable he is.
"That's quite enough, Agatha." Edmund did promise to himself after all that Sunny would enjoy every second of their little event. He narrowed his eyes, his words cold as ice, a juxtaposition to the soft grip he had onto Sunny's hand. "It's not polite to berate Mr. Sunny when he's just trying to help me raise money for Ophelia's winter solstice event at her school." In a way, both Sunny and Edmund were correct, there was nothing to be considered scandalous when it was just a friendly invitation to help him in the bake sale to which Sunny had so kindly accepted.
Although them holding hands right in front of her eyes made her scoff, clearly not believing both of them. "Oh so it's back to Mr. Sunny and not darling? You know I was just joking." She laughed, giving Edmund a small playful smack on is arm as she did. Her grey eyes looked back to Sunny, boring into his. Agatha is a tall woman, standing proudly at 5'11", with a hand on her hip she said, "Ophelia has been talking about you all day. You've seem to have my ex-hubby wrapped around your finger."
Sunny stared at Agatha as she punched Edmund's arm lightly, expression turning slightly sour as he listened to her speak. He was a little intimidated, honestly, especially since she was so much taller than him. But it wasn't just her height--her whole demeanor seemed larger than life. Sunny could see why Edmund had married her. She was beautiful, and she had a strange energy to her that seemed to suck him him, though it was acting completely negatively on Sunny.
He squeezed Edmund's hand tighter, trying to remind himself of the basic fact that Edmund was here with him today--not Agatha. He was the one he had chosen to spend the day with, and so there was no reason for him to suddenly be feeling so jealous. Of course, the emotion was illogical in and of itself, so he couldn't do much to change it. He hated himself a bit in that moment, for letting himself get so wrapped up in her already.
After all, he was right when he had said that this was just a bake sale. For all he knew, it wasn't even a date. So he had no right to get jealous, not in the slightest.
Sunny stopped forcing on his fake smile, simply staring straight at Agatha, because he couldn't bear to keep on that teacher's expression any longer.
he said, voice still deceptively sweet,
"he is your ex-hubby for a reason, isn't he?"
He tilted his head to the side, no longer hiding his disdain for the situation.
He looked over to where Ophelia was playing, reminding himself to keep his cool as he looked over her. He couldn't cause a scene right now, if he didn't want to ruin Ophelia's bakesale--and embarrass Edmund in front of everyone. But he couldn't force himself to be polite any longer, either. So he bit his tongue instead, trying to keep himself from saying anything further.
The lawyer found himself in an interesting turn of events. What he thought was going to be a wholesome bake sale full of quality time and subtle hints of courtship soon devolved into a passive-aggressive dispute between his ex-wife and their child's teacher. If someone would have told him that he would be smitten with his daughter's teacher and that Agatha would be making it about her, he'd probably agree about the latter part about his ex-wife but would have laughed in the person's face at the idea of himself even considering the idea of romance. It wasn't that Agatha had ruined his ideals of a relationship, they just continued arguing during their marriage up until Edmund reached his final straw and filed the divorce papers. At the best moments of their relationship, the two were a force to be reckoned with and at their worst, it was what could be crudely be described as a hot mess.
Sunny's presence alone made him reconsider his reluctance for romance. There was a welcoming nature that drew him in from the very beginning and continues to pull him closer, wanting to get to know him more and more. A pang of guilt swells inside his stomach, he didn't mean for this situation to occur. Choosing not to think much about the possibilities of Agatha snooping into his private life after her day out with Ophelia. It was to be expected the more he pondered about it, which only made him feel worse.
The grip the teacher had on his hand did not go unnoticed, having Edmund rub his thumb against the outside of his palm in comfort. Looking away from his wife, he saw an expression on Sunny's face that he's never seen before. Was their jealousy in the glint of his eyes? Gone was the polite teacher persona and in replacement was was disdain, envy. Edmund couldn't find any words in his vast vocabulary to describe how he felt at that moment. Surprise seemed to undermine the pleasant satisfaction the blended into the mix when Sunny defended himself. Just when Edmund was starting to understand the man, a new side to him is shown.
Agatha wasn't used to her behavior being challenged by others, especially when it was coming from her daughter's teacher and the coy smile turning into a displeased scowl made that evident. For once in the moments she's been causing chaos at their stall, she looks up at Edmund. "Are you just going to let him speak to me like that?" Her tone was pointed yet hushed, clearly aware that she too, doesn't want to make a scene for the sake of herself and for the dignity of her daughter.
An amused smile grew on Edmund's face as he looked at her then to the Sunny, then back to her. He shrugged, "Like you said, he has me wrapped around his finger. I'm not sure you should be expecting me to do anything but ask you to leave." Agatha opens her mouth to rebut only for Edmund to continue his words. "You have been rude to him since you've arrived, he is only just defending himself. It's immature and I only wish to eat lunch with my daughter and Mr. Sunny in peace before we continue on the bake sale."
He follows Sunny's head facing Ophelia who has been playing make-believe with her friend not too far from where the trio stood. When he faces back at Agatha, she seems to have done the same. "Please Aggie, this is none of your concern."
Pleasantly surprised by the use of her nickname, she smiles, ready to finally concede. "Fine I'll get out of your hairs. I have things booked for this afternoon anyway." Nonchalantly rolling her eyes, before looking back to Sunny. Agatha wasn't known to be embarrassed— what could she be embarrassed about? But at this moment, she did show the slightest bit of sympathy right after taking a long look at Sunny from head to toe. "I may not have gotten on the right foot with you. But..." She hesitates, trying to find the words. "Take care. I've got a watchful eye on you." And with that, the clack of her polished heals make impact with the pavement as she struts to Ophelia, giving her a hug goodbye before continuing on with her afternoon.
"I'm sorry about her. She's just... Agatha." Edmund could never find the words to truly define her. Squeezing the others hand he looks back at Sunny, his smile turning sheepish before quickly averting eye contact. "Are you alright?"
Sunny looked back and returned Agatha's smile, forcing his own back onto his face to keep their interaction from souring any further than it had.
"You take care as well,"
he said, and he was honestly surprised with himself at his ability to keep his tone sweet. He supposed that his time dealing with parents and other teachers had prepared him for uncomfortable moments like this one.
When she finally walked off, Sunny let out a sigh as his smile dropped from his face, before a softer expression overtook him as he looked back to Edmund.
"I'm just fine,"
"sorry for getting a little... heated."
He knew that by most people's standards that was passive aggression at best, but Sunny had never been a very aggressive person in the slightest, so getting even that worked up was both shameful and surprising.
Sagging slightly, Sunny let go of Edmund's hand and began to lean on his shoulder instead, letting his eyes fall closed as he took a deep breath. He was silent for a moment, before an amused smile took his face.
"Was that whole thing about being wrapped around my finger really true?"
he asked, a teasing glint in his voice as he leaned back upright so he could look at Edmund with a mirthful eye.
"I hadn't realized I'd had such an effect on you, darling."
The sound of the petname on his tongue was slightly foreign, but, he noted, not at all unwelcome. In fact, he quite liked the sound of it.
The loss of warmth around his hand left Edmund missing it (How long had they been holding hands? Edmund couldn't tell if it were for too long or too soon) However the heat he missed from Sunny's hand was quickly replaced by a burning sensation on his cheeks as the teacher brought up the words his ex-wife had once used against him. And him suddenly having the courage to call him darling? May whatever deity looking down on the poor lawyer help him maintain his composure. "I believe everyone but you has realized the effect you have on me." It was true, even co-workers who haven't even met the teacher pointed out how much happier Edmund has been acting since they began talking. Jabs at him always looking at his phone whenever he was free became a common occurrence.
Though saying Edmund was wrapped around his finger would be a bit much, right? He wasn't entirely whipped by Sunny, right? Edmund would say it was hyperbole he played into because of Agatha constantly bringing it up when she bickered with the two. Although the treats and toys for the other's cats simply as bribe to get them to approve of him argued the statement wasn't as hyperbolic as he'd like to think.
No matter. He'd rather not think too deep into how deep he's fallen for the other. There was a lot of room for error, having this be their first "private" outing together and it had almost been soiled if Agatha didn't concede. The thought alone of the two having to cut their not-date short because of discomfort left a sorrowful feeling in his core, he probably would have taken his ex-wife to court again just to re-negotiate with the judge custody on Ophelia for tarnishing the developing relationship between him and Sunny. Petty, yes (something he never thought he would stoop down to) but a gut feeling told him that it would be his methods of revenge if fate hadn't been so kind.
Instead of succumbing to the unpleasant what-ifs, Edmund chooses to brush it aside and appreciate the moment before him. With him and Sunny, and the other man calling him darling. He hopes that it wasn't just a one-time occurrence.
"I think all that bickering has worked up my apatite, we still have around thirty minutes before the end of the lunch break. Shall we?" Edmund beckoned Ophelia to come back, which lead to her rushing over to the two in an instant. As much as she enjoyed playing with her friends, she was on the verge of whining about food. Apparently all that shopping with her mother made her famished.
"So Mr. Sunny is eating with us?" There's an ecstatic expression on Ophelia's face despite her hunger. If anyone was rooting for the two to make their relationship to develop, it was Ophelia, who had indirectly brought the two together in the first place. "My papa knows a ton of great places to eat at." Ah, so this what it looked like whenever she would try to sell her father to her teacher. Endearing, but at the same time embarrassing. Like having a mini-wingman who only knew how to boast about everything she knew about her father.