Jongin presses the cloth into his nose and inhales deeply. Familiar, warm, clean. It smells just like him. Jongin closes his eyes and draws another shaky breath.
He runs his finger lightly down the lapel of Sehun's white blazer. Drapes the sleeve over his neck. If Jongin tries hard enough, he can imagine that it's Sehun's actual arm around his shoulders. That the weight of the fedora on his head is Sehun's fingers carding slowly through his hair.
Sehun has been gone for a week now. The pretending helps.
Seven days earlier, the phone had rang at dinner. Sehun had tensed up, knuckles going white against the grain of their kitchen table.
Jongin had thrown him an uneasy glance, watching his boyfriend get up to take the call.
Their phone is old fashioned, styled like a telephone booth. Sehun had claimed it was for aesthetic appeal. No one will have a phone like ours, he'd said. Sehun had still been happy back then. Now, Jongin understands it much differently.
It's a very simple process. The phone rings, Sehun picks it up. He never says hello, he never says goodbye. And no matter what Jongin tries to say, Sehun will always leave.
Once, Jongin had tried to listen in. He thought he heard something like music.
"It's just a few days," Sehun had told him quietly. Jongin hears the empty void behind the words and tries to swallow back the dry lump in his throat.
"Don't leave me," he'd whispered, fingers closing around Sehun's sleeve.
Sehun had turned to look at him, eyes scared and expression tense, and Jongin couldn't take it. So he'd kissed him.
The stiffness in Sehun's body melted away as Jongin tugged the jacket down his boyfriend's shoulders. Sehun had pressed him gently into the threshold of their door, mouth marking a trail down his neck as Jongin blinked away tears he didn't remember crying. Sehun's lips found his again, so Jongin closed his eyes and leaned in, trying to relish all forms of the contact that was so rare. He'd felt something being dropped onto his head, and opened his eyes to see Sehun bend over and pick up his blazer.
"Don't cry," he'd said, and placed the piece of clothing in Jongin's trembling hands. Sehun reached up and swiped his thumbs under Jongin's eyes. "I'll be back soon."
Before leaving, Sehun had looked Jongin seriously in the eye. "If the phone rings, don't answer it."
Then he was gone.
Jongin remained in the same spot for a long time, Sehun's coat in his arms, hat pulled low over his eyes, heart pounding as though it would break.
Jongin lies on the carpet, clutching his boyfriend's clothes to his chest. It had been ten days. Sehun still wasn't back.
A sharp trill cuts through the dusty silence of their home.
Jongin sits upright, his eyes fixed on the phone. Sehun's words replay through his mind.
He stands up on wobbling legs and makes his way to the phone. It rings again, loud and demanding.
Jongin hesitates, then his hand darts out and picks up the receiver.
There is nothing but static.