Jimin is adamant about the apartment. He's certain the loud sink isn't an issue and the rent isn't too big of a problem either, because he knows a guy who knows a guy. He's certain.
Jeongguk is almost never certain. He's only certain about things that don't directly involve himself, like the fact that he has known Jimin for long enough to be certain that he's overly optimistic and would somehow find the greener grass in a barren desert. It's always psychological, though, Jimin would find it psychologically, never physically, and they'd probably both end up dying from heat exposure.
Jeongguk doesn't tell him he thinks this about his methods, though, because Jimin's self-esteem fluctuates from one extreme to another in record time.
They sign the lease either way, and Jeongguk can't believe they even managed to land this place, as shitty as it is.
They're both recent graduates - Jeongguk with an engineering diploma, Jimin with one in nursing - and no real job prospects besides the the co-op they're still riding out. They don't divulge this information to the landlord; as far as he knows, the funds they're getting through work right now are meant to be a constant figure well into the foreseeable future.
Jeongguk supposed he doesn't know much about this move - he doesn't even know the other guy, Jimin's 'other best friend': Taehyung. Jeongguk has heard about him a lot, more than almost anything else in Jimin's life throughout their ten year friendship. Taehyung lives in New York, and he's finishing his degree in fashion design (Jimin travels there every New Year). Jeongguk has seen photos and videos of the two of them together but other than that, Taehyung is physically non-existent.
That being said, Jeongguk could probably write a novel about this guy he's never met because of how much Jimin talks about him. There was maybe some jealousy involved when Jeongguk found out about him, very soon into their friendship, thinking maybe people can't have more than one best friend. Jimin assures Jeongguk that it's completely normal, and Jeongguk assures Jimin that he doesn't care and doesn't understand why Jimin is telling him this information even they both know Jeongguk is a pretty clingy guy when he likes someone.
That's how they bond, initially, because Jimin is clingy too. The first time they met in a required English elective, they were both going through dramatic break-ups with their girlfriends, complete with late night phone-fights and failing grades to show for it. They spent the next few weekends going out, getting goosed, convincing themselves that the anonymous sex they were having was really just a representation of their new freedom and not of the fact that they were really fucking depressed and needy.
They find solace in each other, in their own little neurotic ways that somehow match up, and there's something therapeutic about it.
"Taehyung just landed," Jimin smiles down at his phone, one hand paused mid-swipe through his hair.
Jeongguk struggles with the end of his mattress, thinking Ikea sucks and 'espevär' was the wrong fucking size, but then it shifts into place and the thoughts dispel. "Is he cabbing here? The airport is pretty far."
Jimin doesn't respond, apparently fully engrossed in texting. Jimin has been dealing with another break-up struggle, this time with Taehyung, who apparently just broke up with his boyfriend of four years. Jimin says Taehyung seems weirdly zen about it, though, so the struggle is actually on Jimin's part, and it's a struggle to understand that sort of calm after a breakup.
Jeongguk isn't weirded out by homosexuals, he likes to think he's as open-minded as the next guy, but he can't help the slight dread of trepidation before meeting Taehyung. He hasn't really been friends with a gay person before, and he's worried he's probably going to say something stupid. That, and they'll be sharing an apartment together now: what's the protocol? He brought it up to Jimin and Jimin just told him he's being ignorant, that he should just treat Taehyung like any other guy. Jeongguk defends himself by saying he just doesn't want to offend Taehyung by saying something offensive, accidentally, and Jimin is already laughing before the sentence leaves his mouth because apparently Taehyung has thick skin - Jeongguk thinks the condescending laughter is annoying, because how was he to know that?
Jeongguk can feel his tshirt stuck to his back, and tries to avoid thinking about it because he knows he won't be able to shower until they finish unloading the moving-truck, having only booked it for one day.
"About that," Jimin says, a good three minutes later. "I was thinking maybe...you could go get him."
"Are you serious?" Jeongguk says, standing straight. He feels his nostrils flaring - he is the last person on earth to annoy right now.
"You know the state my car's in, Guk. And, like, I drove us around this whole day," and that's a low blow so Jimin asserts quickly that, "I don't mean that as a reason to pick him up, I just mean I'm really tired. I know you're tired too, but I still have to call financial aid about my loan repayment before they close and-"
"Alright, fine," Jeongguk runs both hands through his hair, feeling the grease between his fingers. "I'll go. You're setting up the rest of my bed."
"Such a bro. Such a fucking bro, Guk. I will fucking set up your bed so hard."
"Great. Hand me the apartment keys."
Jimin scrambles to the couch, his hands fisting at the cushions like he's playing whack-a-mole until he hears a jingle and pulls out the band of keys. "You don't have to worry about his luggage, his parents are driving up tomorrow to drop it off."
"You told me yesterday," Jeongguk says, taking the keys and shoving them into his pocket, reaching back to smack at his own ass, making sure his wallet is there.
Jimin is furiously texting again, reaching up to violently sweep a hand through his hair every few seconds as though he doesn't understand that his bangs will just perpetually curtain back down into his eyes. "He says he'll wait in arrivals."
Jeongguk is already walking towards the door. "Just text me if anything changes."
"I fucking love you for this."
Of course, there's traffic on the way to the airport. A typically thirty minute drive takes an hour, and Jeongguk feels the tension building back in his shoulders as he grips the steering wheel of his black Hyundai. The one thing he's thankful is the fact that he just recently revamped the air-con and engine at his workplace car-shop, so he sits in relative silence, the cool wind blowing through his hair from the panel.
Jeongguk doesn't see Taehyung at first, and he tries hard to just imagine all the photos as he scans through the crowd. He feels a little embarrassed, like he might look like he's waiting for an online lover he's meeting for the first time. He's spending too much time scanning peoples' faces, holding his phone in his hand.
i dont see him
he's there!! he says he's been sititng by the magazine stand for hours!
i see him
"Hey," Jeongguk says, reaching out his hand.
Taehyung looks up from his phone in surprised. "Oh! Hey! Jeongguk, right?" he jumps up from his spot, taking Jeongguk's extended hand into his own.
"Yeah. Nice to meet you, finally," Jeongguk says, smiling. Taehyung looks taller and slightly more broad than he did in the photos, and Jeongguk had heard his deep voice before, on speaker-phone, but it's still surprising.
"Yeah, me too. Jimin is constantly talking about you," Taehyung says, grabbing his expensive looking leather duffel-bag off the chair next to him. "Jeongguk this, Jeongguk that. Constant."
"I was about to say the same about you," Jeongguk says, nervously, a little shook that Taehyung stole the small-talk topic he came up with on the drive here. Now what's he supposed to say?
"You look younger in person," Taehyung says, shifting to stare at his face while they walk and Jeongguk feels a surge of embarrassment because he fucking hates when people tell him he doesn't look his age. "Well, your face does."
He smiles and emits a small, unconvincing laugh. Taehyung grins widely in response then scans the parking lot. "Let me guess, that's your car."
Jeongguk looks up to see him pointing at a red Mustang. Jimin never told him Taehyung was going to be this ruthless.
"Hah. No. Why?"
"Red, flashy...spacious backseat." It's almost funny how completely off the mark this is, and Jeongguk hates that he's pretty much used to it.
Taehyung laughs, it's low-pitched and breathy, like he's laughing out of his chest. "Hey. I meant that as a compliment. You can't hate me now, I haven't even moved in yet."
Taehyung: the mind-reader.
"Hate you? Apparently your first impression of me is that I look twelve and finger girls in the back of my sports car during my spare time," Jeongguk says and he's not really trying to be funny but Taehyung is laughing loudly, slapping a hand against his back like they're old friends.
"I think we're gonna get along. I mean maybe not on the fingering girls front, but," Taehyung trails off then perks up when he hears Jeongguk's car honk as he remotely unlocks it. "Oh. A black Hyundai was my second guess."
Taehyung talks. A lot. He talks through most the hour long car ride. It's usually about his life, and he often interrupts himself to ask Jeongguk for his own experiences with the same topic. He doesn't sound like he's doing it just to be polite, which seems like a good skill to have.
Jeongguk just kind of rambles back and Taehyung is turned slightly in his seat, listening with such a fascinated look on his face that Jeongguk feels like he needs to amp up his stories.
Jeongguk also makes the mistake of handing him the auxiliary chord, and he's having to sit through the strangest mix of 1950s and mid 2000s music - never until the end of the songs, because Taehyung changes them to the next track as soon as they run through the first chorus.
It's a curious feeling though, this car ride with Taehyung. It feels like he's known Taehyung for a while, and while Taehyung clearly operates on a different level from Jeongguk, their personalities just sort of mesh together like his new roommate is some type of soul-chameleon.
They finally get to the apartment and Taehyung beams when Jeongguk takes his duffel bag out of the car for him, slinging it over his shoulder. "After you."
"What a gentleman."
Jimin practically bursts out the door as soon as Jeongguk edges the key towards the doorknob and he nearly falls off the stoop as a result. "Tae!"
"My wee little man," Taehyung grabs at Jimin, lifting him up in the air tightly and Jeongguk thinks they look a lot like a couple from an equality ad like this. "You've gained weight!"
"Hospital food," Jimin says after Taehyung puts him back down. "It's been stressful, let me tell you."
"You should take tips from you friend over here."
"I don't have his will-power."
Jeongguk stands awkwardly to the side of the stairs, watching them talk back and forth like it's a ping-pong match. He still has the house-key poised between his index and thumb.
They finally get inside after what seems like an eon, and Jeongguk immediately starts moving around the rest of the boxes still left in the way. Jimin did do a good job, he's relieved to see - not that he doubted Jimin's word, but it's nice to know he'll be able to take a shower after so damn long.
Both Jimin and Taehyung are munching on halves of a turkey sandwich Jeongguk is almost certain is moldy, and he hears his own stomach growl. There's too much going on though, and he can't concentrate on everything at once.
"Did Jeongguk sit quietly through that entire car ride?"
Jeongguk looks up angrily. The easiest most frequent jab at Jeongguk from his friends is his apparent initial lack of conversational skills, and Jeongguk feels slightly betrayed to hear it coming out of Jimin, who generally defends him from the same insult.
"No, he was a very nice host. I was smitten immediately after seeing his cool car," Taehyung says, looking over at Jeongguk knowingly, and Jeongguk is surprised that Taehyung may have read his facial expression accurately so soon after meeting him.
"Thank you, Taehyung. My new roommate and best friend," Jeongguk says, standing up and wincing at the soreness in his lower-back.
Taehyung bows slightly with a hand against his chest.
"Jeongguk's pretty funny when he wants to be," Jimin says, popping the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and clapping his hands to rid them of crumbs.
Jeongguk spends thirty minutes in the shower, letting the hot water run out as it pours down his shoulders, loosening his muscles. He's quite red when he steps out, wiping the mirror to study his reflection.
When Jeongguk walks out with a towel wrapped around his waist, Jimin and Taehyung are sitting on the couch eating out of a shriveled chip-bag, still deep in conversation.
"Hey, keep the bathroom door open if you can, I just showered and the steam could cause mold."
"Yes, mom." Jimin's on a roll with the insults tonight. He's projecting in front of his friend and Jeongguk is sure he can deal with it for a little while longer before he hits him.
Jeongguk sees Taehyung's eyes flicker down his torso for a small moment before he looks away, reaching back into the chip bag.
It's a little weird but also a little flattering.
Taehyung is loud and he leaves his shit everywhere.
Within the first few weeks they get into a few little tiffs, which mostly involve Jeongguk pointing out the stupid things Taehyung has done (like leaving the stove on, or keeping plates with food on it around the apartment for days) and Taehyung playing it down in an obnoxious way that Jeongguk both hates and finds effective at diffusing his annoyance.
Taehyung has a winning smile, the kind that makes it impossible to be stay mad at him - Jimin shares that quality - so Jeongguk finds it difficult to be mean to either of them for too long. Jimin has milked this out of Jeongguk for years, and Taehyung has already quickly picked up on Jeongguk's lack of bite. Still, Jeongguk finds himself getting into little vocal back and forths with Taehyung that are more fun than they are actual methods of punishment. Taehyung comes up with ridiculous excuses that Jeongguk can't help prodding, like telling him he was "saving" a week old piece of cake in his room to eat later.
("You were saving it for later?"
"Eat it, then."
"I'm not hungry right now."
"Put it in your mouth, Taehyung."
"Wow, buy me dinner first. Jesus.")
This eventually ends with Jeongguk running around the apartment, in pursuit of Taehyung, with the piece of cake in his hand. A few pieces of furniture are toppled in the fray and Jimin huffs angrily after them.
Honestly, Jeongguk isn't the world's cleanest person either, so even Jimin points out that he's just picking fights with Taehyung for the sake of their arguments. The typical chain of anger usually starts from Jimin reprimanding Jeongguk for being messy to Jeongguk scolding Taehyung for being even messier.
Jeongguk eventually concludes that Taehyung just happens to be an incredibly likable guy, as Jimin often stressed to him before they met. Any time Jeongguk is bored, he pretty much relies on Taehyung to fill the slate.
Then there's the whole sexuality thing. Jeongguk sometimes forgets Taehyung is gay - not because he assumed he would be a different species, but because he seems to stray away from talking about anything overtly sexual when Jeongguk is around. He supposes Taehyung probably tells Jimin all of this information and stops short of Jeongguk because they aren't that close yet.
He can't help feeling a little upset about that. Not because he thinks Taehyung should just tell them everything after only a few weeks of knowing him, but because he already genuinely likes Taehyung, which is rare with new friends, and wants him to be comfortable around Jeongguk and not assume he's the sports car driving douchebag he might have initially thought he was. Also there's that whole Jeongguk being clingy issue he's still working through.
When he walks into the kitchen, sometimes, Taehyung trails off the subject he was talking loudly about. That's when Jeongguk knows it might have been something about a hook-up. Jimin is usually a giveaway too - looking flustered, shaking his head, smiling wide.
"So then when it happened it was..."
Taehyung sees Jeongguk entering the kitchen.
"...you know. Just like. Yeah. So. It was weird."
Jeongguk opens the fridge and takes out a bottle of water.
Jimin laughs. "Well. You should have...prepared for that. If you know what I mean."
Jeongguk turns around and looks at them, holding the bottle. They smile back artificially.
Well. This is totally fucking normal.
"Uh. Sorry, I'll let you guys talk," Jeongguk mumbles and starts to walk out of the kitchen, which invites Taehyung to jump out of his chair and swing his arms around Jeongguk's neck from behind, trailing behind him like a cape.
"Hey, hey, where are you going?" he asks pleasantly against his ear.
"For a run."
"Can I come?"
"I guess. If you want," Jeongguk says back, because yes, yes having Taehyung bubbling next to him on his run might actually be pretty fun.
Within the next few months, Jeongguk finds himself spending more time with Taehyung than he does with Jimin. Not necessarily because the dynamics have shifted, but because Jimin gets hired to a higher status of nurse (Jeongguk didn't know there was a ranking system) and is simply almost always at work. Apparently nursing is one of the hardest jobs out there.
Jimin ends up spending 13 hour shifts at work, and when he does get home, he's exhausted and angry and doesn't want to talk to either of them. Jeongguk even notices a flash of jealousy - or maybe it was hurt - in Jimin's eyes on one particular evening, when Taehyung makes a joke at Jimin's expense after he gets home and Jeongguk laughs wholeheartedly because it actually was pretty damn funny. Jimin doesn't seem to get the humour though, so he just stomps off into his room in his little light-blue scrubs and Taehyung's expression turns from an open-mouthed laugh to horror.
"Oh shit, did I hurt his feelings?"
"I... think we both did."
"But I said the joke. Oh my God. Oh fuck," Taehyung says and scratches at his head in a panicked sort of way. "I'm such a shitty friend."
"Take it easy, it's okay. We'll apologize to him-"
"- okay, let's go," Taehyung says and actually holds out his fucking hand like they're going to prance into Jimin's room together to read out an apology they co-wrote.
"-separately, what the fuck," Jeongguk swats his hand away and Taehyung's face falls.
"But he's probably more upset with me than he is with you," Taehyung whines, like he needs all the support in the world to apologize to his best friend. It would be tragic if it wasn't pathetic.
They eventually settle for making Jimin's favourite spicy noodles (because Taehyung stresses that it's a two-person job), complete with green onion garnish, wakame, sesame seeds, and a fried egg on top. Jimin obviously plays off that he wasn't upset at either of them, that he was just tired and they really didn't need to make him food, but he says this with smiling eyes and a mouth full of egg and noodles so Jeongguk assumes it's a mission well accomplished.
Jimin passes out soon after eating, and, as per usual, Taehyung and Jeongguk are left in the living room, preparing for the next day at work. Taehyung is trying really hard to get out of his current job, seeing as he doesn't even like the brand he initially interned and then began to work for. He likes all of his coworkers, but has a hard time staying motivated when he doesn't have the ability to see his own designs make it to the store-front. His managers are apparently out for blood, and the politicized landscape of the fashion industry coupled with his own need to be seen and heard make for a difficult relationship.
Jeongguk watches Taehyung sitting with his knees tucked under him at the coffee table, sketching in his work-book. "I've redone this coat like twelve times. It's not even the one I started out with."
Jeongguk peers over from the couch and sees a well-done sketch of something that - if he's being completely honest - looks like any other fall coat."
"It looks amazing, either way," Jeongguk says, because Taehyung looks glum.
Taehyung looks up from his sketch, his face slightly confused, before his mouth breaks into a smile. "Cute."
"What's cute? The coat?"
"No," Taehyung scoffs then looks back at his sketch. "You."
Jeongguk is bored. Jeongguk usually relies on Taehyung to suggest something to do, but he doesn't usually feel a surge of energy this late at night before Taehyung - this time the roles seem to be reversed.
Taehyung's phone gives a little buzz and he drops his pencil, picking it up and staring down at the screen in anticipation. Jeongguk watches his expression lighten as he reads, smiling with his lower lip tucked into his mouth. He looks up at Jeongguk. "Hey. Um. Are you doing anything tonight?"
Jeongguk perks up for a moment, thinking maybe Taehyung wants to suggest something to do. "No. Why?"
"The night buses are super creepy. And, uh, I wanna go somewhere. To my friend's house. So like...I was wondering if you could. You know. Drive me there?"
The fog in Jeongguk's brain slowly starts to fade when he puts the elements of the situation together: the text, the look on Taehyung's face, his need to get somewhere fast - at night. Jeongguk is a good friend. But he's not so good of a friend that he'd just agree to this without teasing Taehyung about it mercilessly first. He's also upset, now.
"You want me to drive you. To a friend's house. At 12am," Jeongguk says, frowning.
"Yeah," Taehyung says shyly. "I just, uh, I haven't seen him in a while. Didn't know he was in town. It's like a thirty minute drive. By the time I call a taxi..."
"Right. So you have to meet up with him tonight, specifically, right now, instead of tomorrow."
"He's flying out tomorrow."
"Of course he is."
"Yeah, and I won't see him for a long time. So I'd really love to hang out with him-"
"-hang out with him-"
"-yes. Tonight. Will you drive me or not Jeongguk?"
Jeongguk stares at him, with an eyebrow raised. Taehyung's cheeks are pink and he's breathing slightly hard, like all the lies are really getting him worked up.
"Only if you admit to me why you actually want to go," Jeongguk says, leaning back into the couch petulantly, his arms crossed in front of his chest.
"Really?" Taehyung asks, threatening. "Are you sure?"
"I want to get fucked in the ass by a guy I like," Taehyung answers flatly and Jeongguk feels his heartbeat spike even though he knew Taehyung was going there.
"See?" Jeongguk says, sweating under his shirt. "Was that so hard?"
Taehyung rolls his eyes and absently pulls at the collar of his shirt that has begun to droop over his shoulder. "So, like. Will you do it?"
Jeongguk shrugs. "Fine. But is this guy...safe?"
"No. He's wanted by Interpol."
"Don't get fresh with me, Taehyung."
"Yes!" Taehyung throws his arms up in exasperation. "Yes, he's totally normal and fine. Don't act like you haven't done this millions of times before. I mean, with girls."
"Millions of times?" Jeongguk asks, incredulous and Taehyung looks at him in that annoying way, like he expects Jeongguk to know what he means.
"You seem like the type of guy who gets lots of pussy."
"What? Why?" Jeongguk asks, and it's more offensive than anything else, because it seems almost like Taehyung is calling him easy.
"You're hot, shut up, look at you. Let's go, please, please. Jeongguk. Please! He's gonna change his mind," Taehyung grabs Jeongguk's wrist and Jeongguk rips his hand back.
Jeongguk could sit and ask more questions about what kind of false image Taehyung seems to have in his head about Jeongguk, but he doesn't have the will to argue anymore because he is quite fucking tired of this topic.
"Fine. Let's go."
"Wait. You look super annoyed," Taehyung says, peering up at him with large eyes. He puts a hand on his thigh. "Jeongguk, I don't want you to drive me if you're gonna be pissy about it later."
"I'm not annoyed! I'm just...I don't know, I was bored. I thought maybe you wanted to hang out," Jeongguk says, and it comes out dejected because Taehyung is smiling with his eyebrows sort of drooping down at the sides sympathetically.
"Aw, sweetheart. You wanted to hang out!"
"Shut up," Jeongguk says, standing up. Taehyung is teasing him now.
"We'll hang out tomorrow," Taehyung says scrambling to his feet. "I promise."
"I don't want to hang out tomorrow," Jeongguk nails back. "What does me being bored now have to do with tomorrow?"
Taehyung pauses again and stares at him like he's a complex mathematical equation. "You know, you can be pretty bratty. I think this is my favourite form of Jeongguk." This shuts Jeongguk up immediately and Taehyung bounces amicably to his room.
"I'm not waiting for you to change," Jeongguk calls after him, his voice trying hard to lose the bratty quality Taehyung might have picked up on. "That's another thirty minutes. Grab your condoms and let's go."
"Okay, let's not get filthy," Taehyung says, poking his head out of his room; his tone is serious but his mouth is laughing. "I'm wearing my pajamas. I can't go like this."
Jeongguk considers telling him that he thinks pajamas are actually the sexiest thing a girl can wear, but then reconsiders because that would mean he's comparing Taehyung to girls he has fucked in the past and his brain is definitely not making that connection right now through no will of his own.
Jeongguk eventually convinces him he's serious by simply walking out of the apartment wordlessly. Taehyung runs after him, pulling up a pair of skinny jeans, the zipper and button undone, his wallet in his mouth as he struggles with the front of his pants.
Jeongguk yawns as he drives, reaching up to rub at an eyes.
Taehyung moans. "I owe you big time."
Jeongguk nods. "So, this guy. What's so special about him?"
"He hasn't showed any signs of being interested in me for months," Taehyung says and Jeongguk glances over once, twice, expecting there to be a follow up to that, a rest of the story, but there isn't. Apparently that's it.
"I mean, he's really cool. He's pretty cute."
"I'm driving you thirty minutes into the middle of nowhere to fuck a guy you think is 'pretty cute' who doesn't seem to like you back," Jeongguk says, feeling like wants to do an illegal u-turn in the middle of the road and drive in the opposite direction back home.
"First of all, he does like me back. He's just playing hard to get," Taehyung says, leaning back in his car-seat and extending his legs to rest his sandal clad feet on Jeongguk's dashboard. Jeongguk makes a sound of annoyance and Taehyung drops his feet back down. "Second of all, he's really smart and cool."
Jeongguk nods. "Right."
"So what about you, then," Jeongguk sees Taehyung glance over at hims through his peripheral vision. "Any hot girls recently?"
"Tons. One lay a night," Jeongguk mumbles and Taehyung laughs, then reaches over to flick his shoulder. It's fairly obvious what the joke here is, because Jeongguk doesn't enjoy going out to clubs or bars with the rest of them. He tends to spend his weekends eating, playing video-games, reading weird Wikipedia articles, and working out. This seems like a fairly normal list of things to do (save for maybe Wikipedia), but when you live with two extroverts, choosing to stay alone means you're planning ways to end your life.
Jeongguk does go out once in a while, when he's feeling especially horny, which is why he appreciated the comfort and convenience of a girlfriend - it sounds kind of archaic and fucked up when he tries to explain himself, but he's a pretty practical guy, to the point where it's creepy to others.
Jeongguk was recently forced to defend himself in front of a tribunal (Taehyung and Jimin) in order to convince them that he was not a serial killer, and that the reason he had "weird bruises" and scratches on his arm and looked "tired all the time" was because he tried out battle ropes for the first time at the gym. (Jimin wasn't swayed by that defence, but later explained to Taehyung that he didn't think Jeongguk could kill someone because he cried eight separate times while watching the movie Kes - the last time being so violent, that Jimin had to stop the film because he thought he was choking.)
They finally get to a swanky apartment in what seems like a secluded area and Jeongguk doesn't feel less hesitation.
"Are you sure this is it?"
"Yup. Thank you so much. Seriously. You're a gem," Taehyung opens the car door and steps out.
"Wait," Jeongguk says, nervous. "When should I. When will you be. Are you going to text me-"
He doesn't want to sound like this, especially not with Taehyung, but he genuinely feels some dread dropping off a friend in what looks like a still from a Stephen King movie adaption.
"I'm staying the night, so don't worry about that," Taehyung says, smiling and pulling up the sides of his apparently too-loose skinny jeans. "How do I look?"
The wind is blowing through Taehyung's fine hair, sending strands in all directions, and his nose is a little red from the cooler night air. His lips look more wet than usual, like they're anticipating what's about to happen tonight.
"You're such a poet," Taehyung says dreamily then slams the door. He looks back once to grin, as he's walking towards the apartment, his loose shirt flailing humorously against him in the wind.
Jeongguk supposes Taehyung's hook-up could think he looks more than fine, maybe even great. Objectively speaking.
"We'll hang out tomorrow," Taehyung calls over his shoulder.
"I don't want to hang out tomorrow," Jeongguk almost has to yell out the window because Taehyung has his back to him now, he probably can't hear him, and his guess was right: it does feel worse saying it louder.
He kind of just sits in the car for twenty minutes, trying to decide whether he should wait in case he hears a scream. Maybe he should get out of the car and scope the area. He's into his final stretch of deciding what to do when his phone buzzes and he looks down at a text from Taehyung:
(ɔˆ ³(ˆ⌣ˆc) ･:*:･。.♥
Jeongguk doesn't hear much else about this hook-up, in the next few weeks. Taehyung seems to go out more often than usual, though, and when he returns he looks more lively and full of colour, which is saying something because he's a fucking firecracker on a typical day.
"Look at him. He's been having so much sex," Jimin says over his egg sandwich to Jeongguk, as Taehyung hums to himself and sets out spools of thread to put in his work-bag.
"You think?" Jeongguk agrees, glancing over.
"He won't shut up about this guy, huh," Jimin continues and Jeongguk doesn't really want to have to say that no, Taehyung doesn't talk about 'this guy' with him, not even once since he acted as Taehyung's personal taxi.
In fact, Jeongguk doesn't even know 'this guy' 's name, doesn't know what he does, doesn't know how old he is. He doesn't necessarily really care, but yes, he is a little curious.
His curiousity comes to a jarring end one warm August Saturday, when he decides to go work out. He's been eating pretty badly the last few weeks, and he's starting to feel bloated. Jimin is off at work, Taehyung seems surprisingly (strangely) subdued and happy just watching TV alone, and Jeongguk figures now is a great window.
"Should I pick up anything on the way back?"
"Surprise me!" Taehyung shouts from the couch, his finger on the remote.
" 'kay. I'll be back in a few hours."
Any urge Jeongguk has to work-out is quickly dispelled when he sees the massive crowd in the weight room. He groans, standing at the entrance. He trudges to his locker and shoves everything inside, standing in front of it for a few moments, rerouting.
A jog seems like the best next option.
The August heat is stifling, and he feels sweat running down the side of his hair. He dabs at his forehead with the back of his hand as he runs.
An incredibly cute girl is running the opposite way, towards him. She has light brown hair slung back (in the sort of high ponytail that always gets to Jeongguk) and a small face with large features. She makes eye-contact with him, smiling, so he smiles too. He looks back when they pass and she's also looking back, so he spins his head around fast, embarrassed. He shouldn't be, because she was doing the same thing he was, but he can't help it. He doesn't break his pace, but he does mentally kick himself.
He's already tired after twenty minutes, so he blames it on the weather and the hot girl. He stops to drink from a fountain before running back to the gym to get his bag. He'll order food from home.
When he gets to the apartment, he hears the TV through the door, so when he unlocks it and steps inside he's entirely unprepared for what he sees:
Taehyung is on the couch, his back to Jeongguk, straddling a man with a round face and black rimmed glasses - Jeongguk does not recognize him at all. Taehyung is seemingly in his boxers and a tshirt, and the man's hands are gripping Taehyung's thighs.
"Oh!" Jeongguk yells, pulling the door back and hitting himself in the foot with it instead of managing to close it.
Taehyung glances back fast enough to cause whiplash, then swings himself off the man in one movement. "Shit! What the hell. You said you were. Ah. I'm sorry."
"No. No, sorry. I'll just. I'm. I'll go."
He manages to slip back outside before Taehyung can stop him, and slams the door, pressing his back against it. He waits for a moment, hearing his own breathing, the sound of heartbeats in his throat. There's a muted conversation coming from the other side of the door. He pushes off and grabs his bag from the floor, running down the stairs and out the building. He stands outside for a few moments, trying to convince himself that this wasn't really a big deal.
He decides to wait it out for an hour at the nearest cafe and Jimin eventually calls him.
"Hey. Where are you?"
Jeongguk can hear the hospital PA system in the background. Jimin is calling him from work.
"Just hangin' out," Jeongguk responds as casually as he can muster.
"Yeah. Having a coffee."
"Guk. Tae told me what happened. It's fine. Just go home."
Great. Now he has to pretend like he wasn't embarrassed about the whole thing, that he's not actually hiding here.
"I just came to get a coffee."
"Guk. Come home. I'll be there soon too. I got cut early."
When he steps back inside the apartment for the second time, Taehyung is sitting on the couch - this time fully clothed in a tshirt and sweats - sipping out of a juice box. Taehyung looks up at Jeongguk apologetically as Jimin muses with a playful expression on his face, his own juice box raised to his lips.
"Hey!" Jeongguk says, a little too enthusiastically.
"Sorry. Uh, about the eye-full," Taehyung says, then smiles shyly, lowering the juice-box into his lap.
"Hey, that's fine. At least you're getting some," Jeongguk thanks God silently for how quickly he manages that one.
"Taehyung is always getting some," Jimin says from the other end of the couch.
"Uh. Except not," Taehyung retaliates.
Yes, yes, bicker among yourselves. Jeongguk lets them talk and silently shuffles into the bathroom.
He finds out later, over pizza, that the man with his hands all over Taehyung was his 'this guy', or rather his 'that guy', his writer-friend, Namjoon. Jeongguk now has a name and a hazy face to put to the concept. Taehyung seems suddenly willing to talk about him, like he's given up any amount of tact after that encounter.
"Honestly, he's too smart for me. He's always going off about terms and books I've never heard about before," Taehyung says, sucking on his cheesy fingers.
"Sounds pretentious," Jeongguk says.
"He is, a little," Taehyung says when Jimin agrees. "But I like a challenge. So."
Jimin scratches at his knee. "So are you guys, like, dating?"
"Namjoon doesn't believe in monogamous relationships," Taehyung says cheerfully, except Jeongguk knows him well enough already to know that he fucking hates this more than almost anything.
"Well, they exist whether he believes in them or not," Jeongguk says and Taehyung stares at him.
"You know. It's cool, it's different," he says, unconvincingly. "I like not being tied down to one guy."
Jimin yawns, seemingly tired of this topic, and he shoves his face down into the couch. "I'm dying."
Taehyung pats at his head sympathetically. "Go to bed."
"How are you still working doubles?"
Jimin groans into the couch without moving. "Because they know I'm desperate to keep the job so they're taking advantage of me."
Jeongguk is familiar with the sentiment, having to work on the same old boring cars at the repair-shop, his manager being too afraid to give him a challenge he so desperately wants.
When Jimin finally trudges himself to bed, Jeongguk slips on the couch next to Taehyung, picking the remote up from the ground when Taehyung seems to be more interested in his phone than with what's on screen.
After a few minutes of silence, Taehyung looks up. "Fucking Namjoon. This guy sucks at texting."
"Cut him some slack. I'm like that too. It was one of the many things my girlfriend broke up with me over," Jeongguk says, and he's not trying to look for sympathy, he's trying to make a joke, but Taehyung is staring at him like he's a paralyzed puppy lying in a gutter and Jeongguk regrets his words immediately.
"Oh. I'm so sorry. Having someone break up with you is the absolute worst. It's literally the worst thing ever."
"Uh, that's a bit of a stretch. I mean, it was sad, but," Jeongguk is playing down the entire situation, because at the time he really did think it was 'literally the worst thing ever'.
"If it was anything like what Jimin went through, I feel sorry," Taehyung hums.
"Jimin is a little more dramatic than I am," Jeongguk lies. He cried himself to sleep every night for two weeks.
"So you must still be pretty dramatic then. If you're only a little less dramatic than Jimin," and Jeongguk starts to wonder how Taehyung does this.
"Yeah. Actually, I guess so," he finds himself admitting to a giggling Taehyung who nudges his arm.
"Hey, don't worry about it. I'm more dramatic than the two of you put together."
"I already know that. You got me to drive you thirty minutes out into some creepy gentrified part of the city to bang some guy at 12am," Jeongguk says and thinks maybe that was too mean for a joke but Taehyung laughs again.
"It was totally worth it too," Taehyung yawns as he gets up, stretching his hands above his head, and for reasons Jeongguk can't explain, he glances at Taehyung's ass. He doesn't get anything out of it, doesn't react at the sight, he just looks at it. He thinks it's probably out of some deep set curiosity, the idea that another man would want to touch and kiss and fuck Taehyung is interesting to Jeongguk. He's a good looking guy with great features across the board, so he's probably used to attention from everyone. He never seems to come across as cocky about it, unless he really wants to, mostly just exhibiting the kind of refreshing confidence of someone who is comfortable in their own skin.
That night Jeongguk spends some time on the internet. First he watches some YouTube video about war, which somehow leads him to a Wikipedia page about the genocide in Rwanda and he ends up crying for ten minutes. He decides to distract himself by cracking open a beer and looking at photos of dog-breeds Taehyung had recommended to him, for when he moves out on his own one day. But then he somehow ends up on an article (with an accompanying photoset) about a woman who took her old, dying dog to the park one last time to feed him hamburgers and be with him as he died peacefully under a giant pine tree.
Jeongguk has very strange dreams that night.
Jeongguk gets let go a few weeks later, and he's immediately plunged into a cold panic. His manager assures him it's not because he's a bad worker, but that there are more qualified workers who have been in the field longer and that once he has more experience he can apply again. Jeongguk is too stunned to tell him that kind of logic doesn't make any damn sense, because this job was Jeongguk's experience. So he sits there with his fists full of overalls, staring at his manger's desk while the man tries to lessen the blow by talking and talking.
He's so upset, that he takes the overalls home accidentally with the rest of his hello-I-was-just-fired box. He notices on the drive back home, but he's too emotionally volatile to have to drive back after that ordeal.
He gets home and Jimin is still at work. That thing he has that Jeongguk doesn't have.
Taehyung is standing over the stove, staring down at something like it's a science experiment.
"How do you know when pasta is ready?" he asks without looking up at the doorway.
"You just know," Jeongguk mutters, kicking off his shoes. He's probably pouting right now. He pouts when he's trying not to cry. He actively tries not to pout but it's too late because Taehyung finally looks up.
"Woah. You okay?"
"I just got fired."
"Oh my God. Guk, I'm so sorry," Taehyung says, walking towards him then pausing when Jeongguk shifts over to the couch and sits his sorry ass down. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Jeongguk wants to say no but Taehyung sits down next to him anyway, one leg tucked under him, the other off the couch. He reaches out to touch Jeongguk's arm but seems to think otherwise and lets it rest down on his own thigh.
Jeongguk sort of wishes he would have just followed through and touched him because he's feeling especially lonely right now.
"The reasoning was the part that got to me. They wanted to hire a guy who could do two jobs at once, in a fucking shitty way, instead of hiring two guys who are good at separate things," Jeongguk says, picking at his pants pathetically.
"Fuck them. You are the best mechanic in the world."
"Taehyung," Jeongguk says, lowly. "Come on."
"You are. And they're missing out. They're fucking stupid, don't think about them," Taehyung continues, very seriously.
Jeongguk smiles glumly. "Yeah.
"Aw, you're not going to cry are you?" Taehyung says, reaching out and playfully pulling at Jeongguk's earlobe. Jeongguk jolts back suddenly in embarrassment. Taehyung seems to catch a whiff of his energy and shifts away too, like Jeongguk has suddenly constructed an invisible force-field between them.
Jeongguk feels bad because he wasn't shifting back from the touch, just the words.
Taehyung looks at him with a rare look on his face. "Hey. I'm joking. I'm sorry."
It's okay. You can touch my ear again.
"I know, I wasn't. Thanks. You're...good at making me feel better," Jeongguk says and inches closer, offering an apprehensive smile. "I'm not gonna cry. Unless you make me."
Taehyung smiles back. "I wouldn't make you cry. On purpose, at least."
They sit in silence for a moment before Taehyung notices the box on the floor. "What's that?"
"My sad little box of shit. From work."
Taehyung reaches down and picks up an item Jeongguk was hoping he shoved down near the bottom. "Iron Man fan?"
"Remember when you said I look younger than I am? Joke's on you. I'm actually 12." He takes the bobble-head from him.
Taehyung laughs. "I like a man who can laugh through his misfortunes. Let's get wasted."
"Drinking makes me emotional. You do not want to see that, trust me," Jeongguk says, but he really does want to a drink right now.
"Woah, what," Taehyung notices his foot come into contact with Jeongguk's ex-overalls on the ground. "Is...I mean, was this your work uniform?" He grabs picks them up and holds them against the light, studying the grease-stained dark blue fabric.
"Damn," He raises an eyebrow like he wants to say something. He bites his lip and just offers: "Cool," instead.
What was he going to say?
"I actually wasn't supposed to bring them home. I was just so choked that I didn't realize what I was doing," Jeongguk says, reaching out to take them.
"We should burn them."
"Let's burn them," Taehyung says, grabbing them back, and Jeongguk thinks he finally, after all these months, understands why Jimin constantly used the word 'extra' to describe Taehyung.
"Jesus. No. Give them back," Jeongguk swings his hand in vain because Taehyung is already standing, holding the overalls in his hands, backing away.
"Trust me, this will be super therapeutic."
"It won't, Taehyung," he reaches out and Taehyung jumps back again, grinning. Jeongguk can't help smiling back but he still really doesn't want to burn those things. At least not until he know whether he has to pay for them out of his final check or not.
Taehyung's back finally comes into contact with the edge of their dinner-table and his eyes snap open wide, realizing he's cornered. Jeongguk grabs Taehyung's wrists, pulling him forward. He lets go of one to grab the overalls and Taehyung is pushing at his chest to get away, laughing all the while and uttering some sort of half-giggle-half-articulated jumble of words, still trying to explain himself.
Jeongguk lets go when he has the overalls held behind him. "You're insane, you know that?"
Taehyung smiles, and he really does look nuts like this, standing in the kitchen in his pajamas, with a facial expression Jeongguk thinks might generally be seen on the face of prison escapees. His tanned forearms are hued pink from where Jeongguk was grabbing them, and he rubs at them absently. "Wrestle me."
Jeongguk scoffs. "You should think twice before you suggest stuff like that."
"Wow. Okay. Wrestle me," Taehyung says again reaching out to jab at his rib.
"Taehyung, I lost my job and you want to fight me?"
"I'll let you pin me if it'll make you feel better," Taehyung says, poised.
"I'll end up breaking one of your bones accidentally," Jeongguk says, folding the overalls.
"You don't want to drink, you don't want to burn your overalls, and you don't want to wrestle. How else are you going to expel your pent-up anger?" Taehyung asks and Jeongguk just laughs. He'll probably just play some videogames.
"I'll find a way."
"Fine. I'll be in my room if you decide you want to do any of the things I offered," Taehyung huffs and walks over to his door before turning around. "Oh. And. Don't be upset, okay? Honestly, there are tons of car shops around here. You'll find a new job right away."
Jeongguk smiles. "Thanks."
He doesn't necessarily feel happy when he's lying in his bed later that night, attempting to fall asleep, but he does feel the load of bricks on his chest slightly lighter than it might have been before.
Jimin takes Jeongguk out for drinks the next day after work to console him. Funny enough, Taehyung is at a job interview, - he hadn't told Jeongguk about it the day before because he didn't want to upset him. He knows Taehyung probably understands deep down that Jeongguk would never be upset about Taehyung achieving something positive, but he appreciates his thoughtfulness either way. Jeongguk is thrilled, because he knows a better job environment is what Taehyung has been looking for since he started out in this field. He deserves it.
Apparently, after the interview, Taehyung is planning on going over to Namjoon's for a wine date.
"What the fuck even is that? A wine date?" Jeongguk asks, chewing on a soggy fry.
"Just the most fucking pretentious thing you could imagine. Come on. Try. Try to imagine the most pretentious date ever," Jimin says, leaning in in anticipation.
Jeongguk thinks for a moment, raising his beer glass to his lips. "Drinking- no, sorry, tasting wine."
"And...watching...documentaries about genocide?"
Jimin shakes his head then rolls his hands, urging Jeongguk to continue.
"...reading about genocide? Reading about..."
"What's with you an genocide, lately? But you're close, actually. Reading what?"
Jeongguk sighs, leaning back in his chair. "I give up."
"Namjoon performs poetry. Competitively. He's reading Taehyung some ideas for his next show," Jimin says, sliding his finger along the rim of his martini glass.
Jeongguk imagines Taehyung is someone with a large set of interests, so it's not entirely surprising that he might be genuinely enjoying this poetry stuff.
"I don't get it," Jimin says shrugging. "He must have a magic dick or something."
Jeongguk snorts, thinking this is sort of mean, what they're doing. Jimin seems to read his energy.
"I want Taehyung to be happy, but he needs to stop dating people he thinks are 'cool'. He loves 'cool' people," Jimin continues. "By the way, did I tell you I met someone?"
Jeongguk isn't paying attention anymore because that adorable girl he saw while he was jogging is across the pub, she is actually there, ordering a drink. She glances over and sees Jeongguk just as Jeongguk averts his gaze back down at the table.
"Oh?" Jeongguk says, trying to look as casual as he can.
Jeongguk doesn't know if his eyes are tricking him or if the girl really is starting to walk over to their table. Jimin is going off on the subject, and Jeongguk is looking at him but interrupting his own gaze to glance up and see her getting closer. As she nears them she raises a finger to her lips, staring at Jeongguk, then reaches out and clasps both hands over Jimin's eyes.
"Wha-" Jimin turns his face to the side. "Who's there."
"Me," the girl says, her register dropping to disguise her voice. Her face is serious.
She finally lets go and Jimin sees her, his eyes going wide in surprise before complete joy washes over his expression, and Jeongguk suddenly realizes this is the girl he was talking about.
"Jennie! Hey! Woah, what are you doing here?" he asks, and Jeongguk is almost jealous of how confidently he switches gears like that.
"Just came to get a few drinks with my cousin. He abandoned me though, mind if I join you guys?" she asks, glancing at Jeongguk and smiling.
Jeongguk smiles back, feeling his ears burn.
"Of course!" Jimin says, pulling out the chair next to him for her to sit on.
"Thanks. Hi, I'm Jennie," she says, reaching out.
Jeongguk takes her manicured hand and gives it a small shake. "I'm Jeongguk, nice to meet you." He really hopes she doesn't recognize him.
"The jogger," she says, her full lips in a teasing smile.
Jeongguk realizes it's probably too much to ask the universe that just fired him to be on his side. "Hah...yeah."
Jimin looks confused. "Wait, you know him? He's my roommate."
"No," Jeongguk answers right away, plainly, picking up his beer glass.
"I saw him jogging once upon a time," Jennie says, watching Jeongguk carefully before looking back at Jimin and offering him a small smile.
"Jeongguk's super into physical activity," Jimin says. "He's always moving."
"Where's Taehyung?" she asks, thankfully changing the subject.
"On a date," Jimin says, rolling his eyes.
She grins, suddenly excited again. "Oh damn. I have to hear about that."
Jeongguk wonders silently where and how they all met, but he assumes it's from one of the many times Jimin and Taehyung went out and Jeongguk turned down their invitation to stay home and play video-games or cook.
"I'm sure he'll tell you all about it," Jimin says.
"I should go, I think my cousin finally noticed I'm missing," Jennie says, standing up and pulling down the sides of her short, leather skirt. "I'll text you about this Saturday."
Jimin is clearly thrilled with how incapable Jennie is of hiding how cute she thinks he looks beaming up at her from the table like that. "Yes! I'll remind you, if you forget."
She winks then looks at Jeongguk, her facial expression suddenly neutral, polite. "Nice meeting you."
Jeongguk smiles, nodding as she walks off.
Jimin watches her walk away then turns back to Jeongguk. "Can you even fucking believe that? Just as I was talking about her."
"Yeah, that was pretty damn weird," Jeongguk says, but based on the kind of luck he's been having recently it doesn't seem too out of the norm that something like that might happen.
"She's gorgeous," Jimin breathes.
"She's cute," Jeongguk says, smirking at Jimin's excitement. He maybe should be jealous about all of this, but he's not. Losing his job fills the large bubble in his head that might usually be filled with emotions like jealousy. Jimin has been working so damn hard, having a girlfriend will definitely lessen the overwhelming waves of thirteen hour shifts. He's happy for both Jimin and Taehyung, today - even if he does wonder if he'll catch a break too.
"Taehyung is the best wing-man ever. Seriously, he has gay powers," Jimin continues, snapping Jeongguk out of his trance.
"Gay powers," Taehyung repeats the next morning, after Jeongguk tells him about Jimin's experience at the bar.
Jeongguk yawns from the dinner-table, rubbing at the side of his head sleepily. "That's his exact wording."
Taehyung smirks, laying a blouse next to the pants and belt he has already splayed out on the bed. He stands over his prospective outfit, wearing only his boxers, scratching at his leg.
He has a second job interview for a buyer position at some luxury brand beginning with a B that Jeongguk can't pronounce. He really wants Taehyung to land the position. He looks out of place like this, so serious, his face is almost unrecognizable as he frowns down at his choice of clothing.
"I don't have gay powers, but I wish I did. Whatever that means. I'm just good at talking to women," Taehyung says then reaches down to pick up the belt. "Forest green or maroon?"
"Maroon," Jeongguk says, standing up from the dinner table and walking towards him. "What the fuck are those pants, though. They're so baggy."
Jeongguk maybe doesn't understand why Taehyung would want to hide his long legs by wearing something like that.
"You're ugly," Taehyung laughs, punching him in the arm.
"I hope you get the job," Jeongguk says, and Taehyung meets his gaze and smiles.
"Thanks...I hope so too."
They stand in silence for a moment and then Taehyung starts unbuttoning the blouse to slip it on. "So, Jimin and Jennie. Cute match, right?"
"Funny, at first I thought you and Jennie would make a better couple. I mean, you weren't there, but after I talked to her I was like, hm, her personality seems like it'll mesh well with Jeongguk's," Taehyung continues, pushing his arms through the shirt-holes and pulling the blouse into place.
Jeongguk raises his eyebrows. "Really? I actually...saw her a while ago. Jogging. We smiled at each other. Don't tell Jimin, though."
"Shut up!" Taehyung's eyes widen. "Oh man! Okay, but that's fine. I know this other girl, she's so fucking cute-"
"Taehyung," Jeongguk interrupts. "I'm really...not looking for a relationship."
"Who said anything about a relationship," Taehyung says, his pink lips bending into a smirk.
"Whatever you're thinking about with that creepy expression on your face...I'm not interested in it. I'm interested in getting a job so I can pay my side of the rent. Before my savings run out," he almost regrets his words when he sees Taehyung's face fall apart into a look of agony.
"Jeongguk. My dude, don't even worry about that, we got you," he presses after seeing Jeongguk's embarrassed expression.
"Thanks, but uh, I won't be jobless for long, I promise," Jeongguk says either way, because he doesn't want Jimin and Taehyung to carry him around like he's dead weight.
"Either way. If you change your mind and want to have fun let me know. She's adorable. Cute pussy too," Taehyung leans down to pull on the pants.
"She has a pretty pussy. You know, sometimes..." he makes a disgusted expression as he slides on his belt.
Jeongguk is staring at him with his mouth hanging open. "Taehyung. Why? Why is that even-"
"I saw it. We're really good friends, she showed me one night when she was feeling self-conscious," Taehyung continues casually, straightening up to look at Jeongguk. "What?"
"You just...surprise me sometimes."
"I can appreciate a nice looking vagina when I see one, okay?"
"Of course," Jeongguk feels laughter bubbling in his throat.
"I want the very best for you," Taehyung's face splits into a grin.
"Yup. The very best pussies."
"I really hope my gay powers land me this job."
Taehyung does land the job, like Jeongguk and Jimin both knew he would, and he's hysterically happy when he gets the phone call two weeks later. He's so happy, he wants to take them both out for drinks, but Jimin has plans with Jennie. He offers to come anyway, with her, but Taehyung tells him it's their third date so she's probably going to put out, and he should just go with her.
"I want my presence to always affirm sex for you. I don't ever want you to think of me attached to a situation where you missed out on sex," Taehyung says, sitting in between them on the couch, swinging both his arms around their necks.
"I'm jobless. And relationship-less. I'll go with you," Jeongguk says, and both Jimin and Taehyung laugh in that polite sort of way.
"That's the spirit," Taehyung says, clapping him on the back with surprising force.
"Namjoon coming too?" Jeongguk asks.
"Nope, he's at some poetry thing tonight," Taehyung replies and Jeongguk can't see Jimin but they telepathically share a look. "Plus I want to get stupid tonight, I don't want him to see me like that."
"You should want him to see you whatever way you are," Jimin says and if they didn't know him any better they'd think he was joking, but Jimin seriously says shit like this all the time. Taehyung groans loudly in response.
Finally, after an hour of stressing over what to wear, half a bottle of cologne, and three aggressive bursts of minty breath spray, Jimin leaves the apartment.
"Okay. Let's do this. All drinks are on me," Taehyung says, grabbing his wallet from the table.
Taehyung wasn't lying about getting 'stupid' tonight. He forces three shots down Jeongguk within ten minutes of being at the pub. Jeongguk is lucky he had a meal beforehand, because it doesn't really get to him. Taehyung, on the other hand, already looks a little buzzed as he drags two girls to their table.
"This is Lisa. This is Jisoo," Taehyung says. "Say hi, Jeongguk."
"Don't be rude!"
"Hi, Lisa. Hi, Jisoo," Jeongguk extends both of his hands to shake with the laughing girls'. They look as embarrassed as he feels but they also look much drunker than he feels.
They're both very pretty, but Jeongguk finds himself more annoyed that Taehyung would do this after he explicitly told him he wasn't interested in meeting anyone. Jisoo is making eyes at him and Jeongguk smiles back, willing himself not to get sucked in, not tonight.
Still, they play Titanic with their beers and the shots of soju Taehyung orders, and Jeongguk loses. He grimaces as he swallows down the last of the liquid in his glass to the loud cheering of both Jisoo and Lisa.
Taehyung is loudly saying something to Lisa when Jeongguk feels a slender hand on his inner thigh and he glances up to see Jisoo leaning casually on the table, her chin in her left hand, her other hand under the table.
He freezes. She squeezes a little and he exhales. Don't get hard.
It's easier said than done because she's doing some sort of stroke squeeze, and her hand is dangerously up high on his thigh.
After a few moments he wills himself to look at her again and she's smiling at him, her eyes hooded.
"Taehyung," Jeongguk suddenly says, still looking at her, and when he doesn't respond he repeats it, louder.
Jisoo quickly removes her hand.
"We should go. Because, uh, Jimin. He's supposed. We're supposed to meet him, remember?"
"What?" Taehyung asks. Lisa is draped over his shoulder, pressing a kiss onto his neck, leaving behind a glossy mess of pink.
"We have to go," Jeongguk repeats.
Lisa pouts and pulls at Taehyung's shoulder. "Your friend sucks."
"Agreed," Jisoo says, coldly. She looks hurt and Jeongguk feels slightly horrible because she is super hot and he broke that contact in such an abrupt way.
Taehyung stares at him for a few moments, looking drunk but not belligerent, looking like he can still make sober decisions. "Fine. Sorry, girls."
Lisa follows Taehyung to coat-check and Jeongguk leans in to Jisoo. "Hey. You're very cute. I'd love to hook up with you. Just not tonight. I lost my job. I'm really depressed. Phone?"
Jisoo looks up in surprise, her glum expression turning into one of sly happiness. She reaches in her bag for her phone and hands it to him.
He types his number and name, then texts himself. "I'll text you. Very soon. I promise."
"Very soon?" she repeats, laughing, and she has a pretty smile.
"Give me a time-frame."
"Tomorrow," she suggests, jokingly. "Tomorrow morning."
"Deal. I will not let you down. Will you still be interested?"
She bites her lip and raises her eyebrows. "We'll see," she curls her hair behind her ear.
He meets Taehyung at the door and he's leaning next to the exit, texting. He glances up when Jeongguk gets to him. "That girl totally wanted your dick. What's wrong with you?"
"I told you. Not right now. Stop forcing it," Jeongguk says, grabbing Taehyung's arm and leading him out the bar. "Were you making out with Lisa?"
"Ah," Jeongguk says, and thankfully Taehyung continues because he doesn't want to say anything stupid.
"She thought I was cute and I didn't want to break her heart," Taehyung says, yawning. "Oh my God, no. I can't be tired right now. I'm not even that drunk."
"I have an idea." He feels bad for making them leave on Taehyung's celebratory night.
Taehyung is hesitant at first, but Jeongguk promises that buying liquor from a store and finding a place to drink isn't as depressing and lonely as Taehyung thinks. They opt for a large bottle of Bombay Sapphire.
It's mid-September, and the weather is still relatively mild, so standing in the park as adults and drinking like a couple of teenage delinquents is surprisingly refreshing. They pick a picnic table near the center of the park, and take turns chugging from the bottle.
Taehyung is trying to show Jeongguk how a guy at a club was dancing with him and Jeongguk is laughing too hard to stand straight, so he's clutching the picnic table while Taehyung gyrates exaggeratedly.
He laughs so hard he snorts and Taehyung drops to the grass at the sound Jeongguk made and they silent-laugh for a few seconds before Taehyung whacks at the grass with his hand, willing himself to stop.
"And the worst part," he gasps, "was that...I went...I went home with him." Taehyung presses his hands against his face, looking like he's in the midst of an existential crisis.
Jeongguk straightens up slightly, taking another swig. He feels very woozy, not entirely there. "He maybe had...Was he confident?"
"No. No absolutely not, I don't know what I was... I wasn't thinking. This was his dick," Taehyung holds up a pinky and Jeongguk doesn't see it at first because it's dark, because he's drunk, but his eyes adjust and he bursts out laughing again.
Taehyung laughs along with him. "I love your laugh. Your laugh is the fucking best. Your laugh makes me laugh."
"I think we might have drank it all. The whole thing. The gin," Jeongguk mumbles, holding up the bottle and swishing around the small amount of liquid left.
Taehyung is suddenly staring down at his phone. "Holy shit! Holy shit!"
Jeongguk scrambles to him, his legs taking him off course for a moment before he maneuvers himself back, and he crouches, swaying and grabbing Taehyung's shoulder to prevent himself from toppling over. He looks over at the phone but Taehyung is moving to get up and Jeongguk tips backwards and falls on his ass.
"Jimin's text. He texted. He's going to Jennie's," Taehyung says gesturing wildly at his phone, his voice suddenly high in register, excited.
Jeongguk is on his back, staring up at the sky. "Sex."
Taehyung looks at him from his phone and laughs, having a hard time keeping the device straight. "You are so. Fucking. Drunk."
"I'm fine. Things are spinning," Jeongguk says, breathlessly and Taehyung laughs again but Jeongguk hears him shuffling towards him on the grass, pressing his hand against Jeongguk's shoulder as he lies there.
"Here, I'll help you up."
Through some sort of miracle, Taehyung manages to heave Jeongguk up to a standing position. He slowly backs away with his hands out and ready in case Jeongguk decides to fall forward.
"Hey...I don't think I'm going to be able to carry you, big guy," Taehyung says, and his tone is worried but Jeongguk doesn't think he can read facial expressions anymore. "Please don't fall over. Here, give me your arm, let's go home."
Jeongguk is already taking off, he's sprinting through the park, as fast as he can to some place he doesn't know yet. All he knows is that the air feels good across his face and that his sneakers are soaked from the grass, still dewy from the sprinklers. He thinks he bites his lip or some other part of his mouth while he's running, because he tastes copper, but he doesn't feel pain since the alcohol has done a good job to mask his receptors. He's running so fast, his feet are barely touching the ground, he's flying like a fucking bird. He hears some sort of yelling behind him, far away, but it's wonky like the Doppler effect distorted its pitch. Maybe he broke the sound barrier.
Eventually he's out of breath, but didn't even realize it because his feet were the first to throw in the towel, his lungs came second, and he's crouched on his hands and knees, his hands fisting the grass.
He breathes there like this for a few moments, and he can't see a fucking thing.
He feels a pressure on his back and he's flipping over, facing the black sky and the white moon. He sees Taehyung's face enter his vision, or really it could have been anyone at this point. He thinks he's probably scolding him, but he can't hear anything, he's just watching his mouth move in slow motion, his eyebrows rising and falling as he yells.
"I feel here." Jeongguk doesn't know why he says it but it just blubbers out of his lips. "Sorry."
"What? Can you move, Guk, sit up with me."
Jeongguk grabs Taehyung's arm and pulls himself up. "Sorry."
"Stop saying sorry!" Taehyung laughs. "You just freaked me out. Why'd you run off like that?"
"I don't. I don't actually know," Jeongguk says, slowly, confused.
"It was really fucking funny watching you run...you know. You looked like you thought you were running straight, but you really weren't running straight. You were going in all directions, just like, running from one direction to another, it was so great," Taehyung says, and he's still a little breathless.
"Was that a metaphor?"
"No!" Taehyung grips his arm, hard. "Stop thinking about your shitty old job. You'll get a new good one. I promise. Or, like, we can go beat up your old manager."
"No. We'll let him live," Jeongguk says, nodding, like he's actually thinking about this. "I'm going to burn my overalls, though."
"I'm going to throw up."
Jeongguk leans over and promptly vomits on the grass next to him.
The next few hours go by in a blur, and it seems like it's some time in the early morning, probably four or five-am, because the sky looks a tiny bit less dark than it did before.
Jeongguk feels much better at this point, and Taehyung can't seem to stop talking about how hilarious the whole ordeal was during the cab ride back to their apartment.
"And then the way you fell over when you finally stopped running..."
"I get it, Taehyung."
"You just stopped, then your knees buckled. You looked like those Olympic athletes who collapse from exhaustion after marathons."
Jeongguk can't help but laugh, and it's mostly because Taehyung looks so fucking happy telling this story, like it's the plot of his favourite movie ever.
"I'm glad you had a good time."
Taehyung's smile dims a few watts. "You didn't?"
Jeongguk looks over. "Hm? Of course I did. I actually had a fucking great time. So...thank you. For letting me tag along."
The smile on Taehyung's face reconstructs itself. "No, thank you for the performance."
When they get back to the apartment Jeongguk falls down into the couch, letting his head fall back against the upholstery. He both appreciates and hates his fast metabolism for times like this, because he can feel his head already starting to pound. "I'm going to have the worst fucking hangover tomorrow. It's starting already."
He glances up and sees Taehyung musing at the dinner table, running his hands along the surface. He looks like he's deep in thought. "I couldn't get you laid tonight. I feel bad about that."
"I told you. That's too much effort for me right now," he leans his head back against the couch.
"Fucking is supposed to relax you," Taehyung says soothingly, like he's teaching a class.
"I know. I just. I'm too psychologically exhausted to perform."
"So what do you do?"
"When I have a lot on my mind?"
"When you're horny."
Jeongguk feels the couch to his right dip as Taehyung sits down, suddenly sensing the heat of of his presence, the unmistakable smell of men's cologne mixed with something sweet and personal.
He opens his eyes and looks to his right, and Taehyung is kneeling on the cushion next to him, staring at him, his eyes large and imploring. He glances down at Taehyung's lips and they look soft and full and very confusing.
"I um. I masturbate," Jeongguk says quietly, staring at his mouth, and he isn't sure if Taehyung hears him at first.
"Oh," Taehyung says, and he looks down at Jeongguk's lap, pointedly, then averts his gaze to the carpet. He appears so nonchalant, suddenly, even though his cheeks and neck are pink from the after-effects of their drinking, even though Jeongguk is burning up from the inside. Jeongguk is half-hard. "Must be annoying," Taehyung continues.
For reasons he can't explain, Jeongguk moves his hand over to his dick and slides his palm against it. Taehyung watches him salaciously, like he's waiting for instructions.
"Like...now." Jeongguk can't stop.
Jeongguk closes his eyes and leans his head back against the couch again. He doesn't fucking understand why he wants this so bad right now. He's too sober right now to blame it on alcohol. Is this normal?
"You can..." he finds himself stammering. "I mean, if you..."
"I do. I can. If you want me to."
He feels the couch shift again.
The next sensation is a pair of hands against his hips, hands that are not his own, and he opens his eyes, staring down. Taehyung is kneeling between his legs, his hands on his Jeongguk's belt, looking up at him from the ground, his lips wet, the way they were that night Jeongguk dropped him off at Namjoon's, and his eyes are hooded.
Jeongguk swallows. He doesn't make a sound. He feels like his whole body is paralyzed as Taehyung slowly undoes his belt, pausing knot by knot as he pulls the leather through the metal loop. He's staring into Jeongguk's eyes, like he's daring for Jeongguk to tell him he doesn't want this. Jeongguk can't say anything because Taehyung's eyes are so large and entrancing when they're staring up like this. And he does want this, and not only does he feel incredibly horny, he feels a sense of excitement building inside him as he enters uncharted territory.
Taehyung gets to the button of his jeans, and pops it open, his fingers slowly pressing against the zipper, starting to lower it even slower than he undid the belt. He reaches down to Jeongguk's thighs and grips the sides of his pants, tugging them down a few inches. He pauses again, then finally looks away, down into Jeongguk's lap, at the outline of his half-hard dick in his underwear. The expression on Taehyung's face is like nothing he's ever seen before.
He presses a large, warm hand against Jeongguk's dick and Jeongguk's head falls back against the couch. Theoretically, this should be turning him off, but it's doing the exact opposite.
Taehyung kneads at his dick through his boxers, then loops his fingers into the waistband of his black boxer-briefs and pulls them down, slowly, exposing Jeongguk's cock to the cooler air of the apartment.
The change in temperature suddenly sends a jolt through Jeongguk and he swings his head back down. "You..." He can't manage anything else.
"You okay?" Taehyung whispers suggestively, his hands flat around the base of his dick in a triangle, like he's framing it.
Jeongguk stares at him, his chest heaving with breaths. "Yes."
He feels a bead of sweat slide down the side of his neck.
"I can stop," Taehyung continues, and it sounds almost teasing. "If you don't want this."
Jeongguk shakes his head. "Don't stop," he croaks, almost wordlessly. "Please," he adds unconsciously.
Taehyung immediately gives Jeongguk's dick a deft pump and Jeongguk has to clutch the couch to stop from making any sort of noise.
Taehyung continues, smiling now, his bangs pouring into his eyes. He lowers his mouth and rubs his lips against the tip of Jeongguk's dick in small circles and Jeongguk quickly loses all trains of thought.
Jeongguk squeezes his eyes shut and opens his mouth noiselessly, his head pressed back into the couch.
Taehyung opens his full lips around the head of his dick, his hands pressing into Jeongguk's thighs. He swishes his tongue against the head, then lowers his face down, swallowing nearly the entire length into his mouth, and Jeongguk can't stop the whimper that crawls out of his lips. This feels so much fucking better than he could have imagined.
Taehyung hollows in his cheeks and sucks harder, faster, the sound obscene, and Jeongguk doesn't fucking understand how he's so good at this. Except maybe he should understand, considering Taehyung is probably used to this, and he knows exactly what feels good on a dick. Jeongguk is about to cum and it hasn't even been a whole minute. Taehyung releases Jeongguk's dick from his mouth with a pop like he just read his mind, and Jeongguk somehow wills himself to look down at him with blurry eyes. Taehyung cups one palm around the head of Jeongguk's dick, rubbing circles. Jeongguk shakes his head, and it's supposed to be a warning (since he can't use his words) that if Taehyung keeps this up, Jeongguk will come. He doesn't want to come in Taehyung's hand.
Taehyung stops and slides his hand down, releasing his grip. He lets Jeongguk's dick lean against his palm and presses his open mouth against the shaft, sliding it up and down the length, coating it in his spit.
Strands of precome and saliva are roping between Taehyung's fat, reddened lips and Jeongguk's cock, and the image of this will forever be imprinted in the back of Jeongguk's brain whether he wills it or not. Jeongguk humps up unconsciously, his dick sliding up and down Taehyung's palm.
Taehyung finally sits back, holding the base of Jeongguk's dick. His voice is deep. Taehyung is a man, and he's sitting between his legs, holding Jeongguk's dick. "Come in my mouth."
Jeongguk doesn't have time to even begin to answer because Taehyung swallows him again, deep, and Jeongguk feels the head of his dick hit the back of Taehyung's throat. He groans, his eyes rolling back as Taehyung sucks up and down almost violently - he wants to reach out and grab Taehyung's hair, but he doesn't, because he can't move. He can't even warn him when he comes, hard, his hips snapping up, Taehyung gagging but still keeping his mouth circled around Jeongguk's length. He milks the entire orgasm into his mouth, swallowing obediently while still staring up at Jeongguk.
Jeongguk's breathing is still labored and his thighs are shaking so hard that Taehyung starts to run his hands up and down them soothingly. He slowly leans back and lets Jeongguk's dick fall out of his mouth, like it was a straw.
"How...how do you...that was..."
Taehyung responds by reaching out and politely tucking Jeongguk's spent dick back into his underwear.
Jeongguk finally catches his breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth, like he's doing yoga. He's so wrecked from that orgasm he has to do fucking breathing exercises.
Taehyung sits down on the couch next to him. "Well?" he asks, cheerfully.
"That. That was the best head I've ever gotten in my life. Fuck, you're talented."
"Talented," Taehyung laughs. "Wow. You're not drunk, are you?"
"I'm incredibly sober right now." Taehyung - for lack of a better word - sucked the effects of alcohol out of him. "I. Uh..."
"Don't worry. It never happened," Taehyung says.
Jeongguk sits there, staring at the carpet. He wonders if he really can just peg this onto curiousity and forget about it tomorrow.
They pass the rest of the night mostly in silence, except for moment later when Taehyung peeks out of his room to say good-night. Jeongguk isn't sure if he's light-headed because of the alcohol still in his blood-stream or because of the fact that a man just gave him the best blowjob he's ever had.
He spends the next thirty minutes in bed, sleepily scrolling through forum posts about straight guys being blown by gay guys, what it means, if Jeongguk is over-thinking it - which he decides he is - and whether or not this is something he has to repress. He's too sleepy to come up with a game-plan, and he falls asleep with the feeling of Taehyung's mouth imprinted on his dick.