“Are you serious?” Jimin asks, staring at his mother flabbergasted.
It is his father who responds. “Yes, Jimin, we’re serious.”
“An arranged marriage?” Jimin repeats what his parents have told him a few minutes ago just to be sure he heard correctly. Jihyun who is sitting next to him scrunches his nose.
“Yes, Jimin,” his mother confirms in a tone that sounds condescending. “You refused to get into the position of a soon to be CEO which Jihyun gladly took over, and said that you would do whatever we told you to if we let you study dance in university.”
“But, mom, an arran-”
His mother doesn’t let Jimin talk, interrupting him immediately. “You did, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did,” Jimin says through gritted teeth.
“And we let you give up the position of the CEO to study dance, didn’t we?”
Jimin forms his hands into fists under the table. “Yes, you did.”
“We’re paying your university bills, paying for all the extra costs, and your apartment. Don’t you think it’s time for you to keep your word now?”
This is a guilt trip to make him agree to everything. Jimin knows that and yet it works perfectly. His parents are doing this because they know it will work.
Jihyun looks at him apologetically but Jimin doesn’t react to it. He knows it’s not his brother’s fault.
“Even your younger brother is more responsible than you,” Jimin’s father speaks up, Jihyun cringing when he is pointed at. “He took over your position and allowed you to study dance. Don’t you think you should do something to lessen the family’s burden.”
Jimin grits his teeth. He is cornered and can’t do anything to get out of it. The promise he had made his family three years ago to do whatever they wanted him to if they only allowed him to study dance is now coming back to bite him in the ass.
He tried to be the perfect son his parents wanted him to be. After he finished high school he spent a year at his father’s office, preparing his many years long training to take over the business but it wasn’t only boring but it killed him. He can’t remember the countless times he had cried himself to sleep during that year, not even dancing because it was too painful to only pursue it as a hobby. After a year he had snapped, refused to go to the office any longer, and begged his parents on his knees to let him dance. His saviour in that moment was his younger brother, Jihyun, confidently telling their parents that he would take the business.
Jimin’s heart had hurt when he heard that but since then his brother has assured him multiple times that this is what he wants to do. While Jimin was sceptical in the beginning, he is now convinced that his brother is not only made for the position judging by how well he is doing but also wants to do it. The pain in Jimin’s heart eased after that.
This is his last year, his most important one. Jimin has to participate in various competitions, pass his exams, and manage to attract as many employees and funds as possible. If he doesn’t agree to this arranged marriage his parents will stop supporting him and on top of all of that he will have to find a job too. Not only him but also Taehyung who is currently living with him without paying any rent because Jimin won’t accept it. The apartment is too expensive for them to pay with measly jobs and they don’t have enough time to move into another place. Jimin might ruin both of their futures if he doesn’t agree.
He blinks to get rid of the tears slowly forming in his eyes. He has no other opportunity. Jimin has to agree to this and he hates his parents for cornering him like that, doing this to their own son. If he had known it would result in something like this, then he wouldn’t have ever agreed to them paying for everything. Suddenly he regrets for being so grateful over the past years.
“I’m gay,” he grits out as a last resort. “I won’t marry some girl you choose for me.”
“We know that. We don’t want you to marry a girl, Jimin.”
Jimin stares at them, heart sinking. They’ve planned this very well. Now he actually feels like breaking down. He wishes he were at his own apartment, cuddled up to Taehyung on the couch and watching a movie.
“Then who do you want me to marry?”
“The heir to the Jeon business, Jeon Jeongguk.”
Jimin hugs the pillow closer to his chest, staring at the cursed picture of Jeon Jeongguk on the magazine in Taehyung’s hands. Taehyung himself is looking at a picture of Jeongguk inside the magazine. He looks at Jimin, then back at the picture, looking as if he’s trying to find out the secret of the world. Hoseok, who is sitting next to him on the couch, couldn’t look less bored.
Then he breaks the silence. “So your parents have arranged a marriage for you. With THE Jeon Jeongguk.”
Jimin doesn’t respond, not wanting to make it even more real by confirming it out loud.
“Jiminie, you never told me you were that rich.”
“I’m not,” Jimin claims. “We’re nowhere near Jeon Jeongguk’s league. He has sole proprietorship over one business and is in a partnership with Seokjin hyung for another business. He makes millions a year, whereas my father has a very small business that gets maybe only plus one percent profit per year at best.”
“You’re so sexy when you talk business,” Taehyung whispers, going for seductive. Jimin throws his pillow at his head.
“For all I know, my parents could have made a pact with the devil or bewitched Jeongguk or someone close to him to make this happen.”
“Sounds logical,” Taehyung agrees, and goes back to looking at Jeongguk’s picture while Hoseok looks at him as if he has lost it. “He has quite the achievements on his plate. Really big business.”
“Another league, like I said. And pact with the devil.”
Taehyung puts a finger to his lips and hisses when he breathes in. He tilts his head, eyebrows furrowing. “This is like a drama.”
“What?” Jimin squeaks, wishing he had another pillow to throw at Taehyung’s head.
“You know, the typical drama. Arranged marriage and both partners are being forced but what doesn’t add up is that Jeongguk has the role of the rich main lead. That means that his other partner should be poor. I should be the other main lead.”
“What? You…You’re straight.”
“Yeah, but first of all, I’d love to be rich, and second, how do I know I’m really not gay? Maybe Jeongguk is the one for me. And if all fails me, I’m pretty sure I’ll pop a boner once Jeon Jeongguk sets a million won in front of my face.” Taehyung gasps suddenly and puts his hand on Jimin’s shoulders, shaking him. “What if I am the main lead? What if Jeongguk falls for me, and I am the reason why you never get to marry, and Jeongguk’s mother splashes a glass of water on my face while she tells me to stay away from Jeongguk.” Taehyung gasps again at the end, covering his mouth.
Hoseok sighs and Jimin groans. “Be serious, Taetae. I need help with this.”
“If you can’t say no then make him say no,” Hoseok suggests, closing his book.
Jimin turns to him. “What do you mean?”
“You said you can’t say no because your parents will most probably stop supporting you and thus ruin your future, which we aren’t sure of by the way. That means if you can’t say no then Jeon Jeongguk has to. They can force you into marrying Jeon Jeongguk but most probably not Jeon Jeongguk into marrying you.”
Jimin stares at Hoseok, wide eyed and with an open mouth. He hasn’t even thought of that. Jimin can go and meet Jeongguk just as his parents have arranged, and he only needs to get disliked by Jeongguk and this will be called off.
Jimin puts both hands on Hoseok’s shoulders and shakes him. “You’re a genius. I wish I could kiss your brain.”
Hoseok looks at Jimin with a mix of horror and disgust, and removes his hands. “No, thanks. Stay ten meters away from me and my brain at all costs.”
“But what if Jeongguk also can’t say no?” Taehyung asks. Jimin’s heart sinks instantly.
“I don’t think so,” Hoseok objects. “An arranged marriage usually happens when both sides are equally rich and all that, profit purposes and such. Jeongguk can’t profit from Jimin’s father’s business, especially since Jimin won’t inherit it. I don’t know what the reason is why Jeon Jeongguk is supposed to marry Jimin, maybe publicity which is also not logical, but he can most probably say no.”
“And how do I do that?” Jimin asks. He isn’t sure if Jeongguk can say no to the marriage but Jimin at least has to try to get out of this.
“Embarrass him. But don’t make it too obvious what you’re doing. Be clumsy, be loud, laugh like a dying hyena. Those are the least bearable people.”
“True,” Taehyung agrees.
Jimin bites his lower lip, thinking about what he could do to scare Jeongguk off. He only has a couple of days to think about this.
A dinner date. That is what is arranged, and Jimin finds it incredibly cliché. Taehyung is with Jimin as he is drilled into black slacks, a white button up, and black coat. He admits he looks good, even with his black hair, would have kissed his mother for giving him an outfit like that. If only he wouldn’t be forced to go on a date with Jeon Jeongguk.
Taehyung meets his gaze in the mirror and raises his thumb. “You look sexy.”
Jimin smiles and shakes his head, loves how scandalized his mother looks. If she didn’t like Taehyung so much she would have thrown him out of the house long ago.
“It’s not a business meeting, mum,” Jimin complains when his mother picks out a tie. He fights with her for a while, ruffles his hair again when his mother brushes it to one side. If his mother is so adamant about those two things then it means that Jimin has to do the exact opposite of it.
The past days have been terrible. Jimin was barely able to do his assignments and not even dance was able to distract him from this mess. He pondered for multiple days, sulked to Hoseok and Taehyung about it, who endured it bravely.
One day, Jimin was about to say ‘fuck it’ and just reject his parents’ money, ask his brother or someone else for some money but he knew he couldn’t do that. The only reason why he hasn’t broken down crying is because he hopes that Hoseok’s plan will work.
Jimin even looked up on the internet if there were some articles about Jeongguk’s past relationships, hoping that he would be able to find out how he should behave, what he should wear in order to be disliked by Jeongguk, but it seemed as if Jeongguk never had a partner. Even Jimin has had more action than the boy and Jimin only had one boyfriend in the past.
Jimin’s mother brushes off some dust, that is most probably not even there, from Jimin’s shoulder and tugs at his clothes. “Behave, Jimin. He is one the biggest men on top and having him as an enemy is not good for us, for anyone.”
“Why would he become our enemy?” Jimin asks, resisting the urge to look at Taehyung. His heart is beating too fast and he feels like a child that has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar although he has been told not to ruin his appetite.
“I’m just making sure,” his mother says with a smile and then ushers Jimin out of the house. She follows Jimin and Taehyung to the car and bids them goodbye. Jimin is only unnerved by it.
“You’ll be fine, Jiminie,” Taehyung says after Jimin hasn’t spoken for five minutes. Taehyung is driving because not even Jimin trusts himself to be able to drive now.
“I’ll be fine,” Jimin says, not believing it but he forces himself to say it for Taehyung’s sake.
“You don’t have to do that, you know? We can find another place, move out of that expensive apartment, find jobs. We’ll be able to do that. Others can do it too and so can we.”
Jimin smiles, feeling bad that his friend is worrying so much about him although he should be concentrating on his own studies. “Thanks, Taetae,” Jimin mumbles. “I’ll first try to make Jeongguk say no, then we most probably won’t have to move out. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll work out a plan.”
Taehyung nods, reaches over to take one of Jimin’s hands in his own to give him a reassuring squeeze. Jimin appreciates it and bemoans the loss of it when Taehyung has to change gears. The silence after Taehyung’s proposal is more bearable and comfortable. Jimin is overjoyed at the fact that he has a friend like Taehyung at his side who would rather live on the streets than in a comfortable apartment.
They reach the restaurant fast, too fast for Jimin’s liking, and it is exactly what Jimin has expected. Taehyung whistles when he gets out of the car and sees the restaurant. Jimin is amazed too. He has been on quite some fancy dinners with his family but never in this restaurant.
Jimin inhales deeply and turns to Taehyung, immediately wrapping his arms around his friend’s waist when he hugs him. “You’ll be fine, Jiminie. Always remember that. And if he’s a dick, call me. I hope your parents will lend me your lawyer. I’ll pay you back once I’m famous.”
Jimin huffs out a laugh and shakes his head. “I doubt he’ll be an asshole like that or we would have heard the scandals. And even if he is, he won’t do anything here where there are people of the same status around him.”
“I just wanted to let you know that I am ready to get sued for you. Just no jail please.”
“You’re weak, Taetae. You can’t hurt him enough to get sent to jail.”
Taehyung grimaces at him but doesn’t say anything. He hugs him again and then lightly pushes Jimin in the direction of the entry. Jimin inhales deeply and then lets out a sigh. For a moment, he contemplates walking back to Taehyung and just asking him to take him back home. The thought is too alluring but his conscience speaks up again.
It’s just a dinner date, Jimin tells himself. He won’t be here with a wedding cake. Oh god, hope not.
Jimin throws a last look in Taehyung’s direction, immediately getting a thumbs-up in response. He is surprised by how much energy it provides him with. The door is held open for Jimin, and it’s like he enters a different world. Quiet and slow music is playing in the restaurant but it unnerves him only.
“Park Jimin,” Jimin says before the woman can even ask him for his name. The woman smiles and looks through her list, Jimin hoping that she won’t find it but it’s futile. Fate really is against him.
“This way please,” the woman says and Jimin follows her, blood rushing in his ears.
A look on his watch tells him that he is a little late, Jimin already having the excuse rehearsed in his mind. Traffic. As simple as that. Taehyung had suggested they take even longer to be really late but that would have been too obvious. His mother sent Jimin out almost an hour early. In case they found out they would immediately know that Jimin is sabotaging this arrangement. And because Jimin feels bad. He’s mad at his parents and he knows he’s trying to sabotage this but he can’t let the anger directed at his parents out on Jeon Jeongguk and feels bad for making him wait for him. Jimin has waited for dates in restaurants too and it’s never a pleasant experience. Not even in the cheapest restaurants. That’s why Jimin is only five minutes late but for Jeon Jeongguk who lets every minute of his life count, it must be horrible.
They arrive at the table and Jimin thanks for the woman, for a second contemplating whether he should beg her not to let him alone with Jeongguk. The woman leaves and Jimin stares after her with a longing look and a pounding heart. He schools his expression into something more neutral before he turns to Jeongguk and instantly wishes he hadn’t. Jeongguk is standing, a perfectly fit suit hugging his lithe form, standing taller than Jimin, his face ethereal.
Jeongguk bows, then says when he’s upright again, “Good evening. I’m Jeon Jeongguk,” and offers Jimin his hand.
Jimin takes it, noticing with a blush how his hand disappears in Jeongguk’s. “Park Jimin.”
Jimin acts as if he doesn’t see how Jeongguk pulls the chair next to his out for him, and sits on the chair opposite of Jeongguk’s. It’s not because he’s trying to be rude, although that should be the reason, but because he can’t sit next to Jeongguk. It’s too close to the man who for some reason looks better in real life than in the pictures. It’s not fair.
Jeongguk takes his seat and speaks up again, demanding Jimin’s attention, “I hope you were able to find your way here easily.”
Jimin nods. “It was okay. Just-” his voice breaks and his clears his throat, “Just some traffic.” He doesn’t apologize for being late. He shouldn’t have even mentioned the last part but it’s too late now. Jeongguk nods.
Jimin busies himself with the menu, not wanting to look Jeongguk in the face. It’s the way that Jeongguk’s presence demands attention that makes Jimin a little nervous. It’s not surprising that Jeongguk oozes authority, being the heir of such a big company and everything, but it’s disconcerting because of Jeongguk’s age. Jimin has met quite a few heirs but Jeongguk is different. The man is too young, even younger than Jimin, to be this serious. Jimin doesn’t feel like he’s sitting with someone close to his age group but in a job interview where he has to prove his worth.
A waiter comes and takes their orders, Jimin ordering the most expensive thing on the menu although he doesn’t know what it is, and then leaves them in silence again. Jimin makes eye contact with an old lady on the neighbour table and smiles at her politely, gaping when she looks at him derogatory.
“Please be comfortable, Jimin,” Jeongguk says.
Jimin is stunned into silence and then wants to snort. “Hyung,” he says instead.
“Jimin hyung. I’m older than you,” Jimin clarifies. Having Jeongguk address him as hyung will give Jimin some kind of upper hand, and right now Jimin feels like he needs this.
Jeongguk stares at Jimin with a glint in his eyes. “Hyung. Right. I’m sorry,” he says as if he’s tasting the word, trying to connect it to Jimin. Jimin blushes and hopes that Jeongguk doesn’t notice it. “Am I correct to assume that you did a small research on me?”
Jimin’s eyes widen and he inhales sharply. He is sure that the new blush on his cheeks doesn’t go unnoticed by Jeongguk. Jimin fiddles with his sleeve and clears his throat before he speaks up. “I wouldn’t say I did a research on you. You’re a public figure, there is a lot about you on the internet and in magazines. And I guess I am allowed to find out who the person is my parents want me to date.”
Jeongguk silently stares at Jimin, his amused smile gone now and replaced by something Jimin can’t categorize. “You can ask me any questions you have about me. I promise to answer truthfully.”
Jimin inhales deeply, a little taken off guard by Jeongguk’s offer. He nods but doesn’t comment on it.
“I must admit I did a small research on you,” Jeongguk says after some seconds of silence and Jimin doesn’t know how to feel about it. He feels like his privacy has been hurt. “It was a little difficult because you’re not a public figure. I heard you’re studying dance though. What kind, may I ask?”
“You didn’t find that out?” Jimin asks with a small hint of bitterness that Jeongguk picks up on.
“I did but I was trying to make a polite conversation,” Jeongguk says carefully. “Are you angered about me prying into your personal life?”
“Who wouldn’t be?”
“Then am I allowed to get angry about you prying into my private life too?”
Jimin’s heart is pounding against his chest and he’s wondering if they’re having an argument right now. He feels a little stupid for being angry at something like this. The chance that Jeongguk is being forced by his parents into this marriage is just as likely as it is real in Jimin’s case, so he should be more understanding. But Jimin is working towards making Jeongguk hate him, so he swallows the guilt.
“It’s just like you said,” Jimin begins, “I’m not a public figure. One has to do a lot of prying to find out information about me, whereas all kinds of information about you is openly on the internet.”
Jeongguk nods. “Do you believe everything you read on the internet.”
Jimin doesn’t. He knows how wrong everything on the internet can be. “Is there a reason not to?”
Jeongguk looks at Jimin with a look that Jimin can’t interpret, pinning Jimin to his chair. For a moment Jimin feels like Jeongguk can see right through him, will call him out on his lie, or maybe, in the best-case scenario, will cancel the dinner. Jimin tries to hold Jeongguk’s gaze but it’s hard when he’s not being himself and doesn’t know how to behave.
The moment gets interrupted by the waiter bringing their dinner. Jimin waits until everything has been set on the table, happy that his dish isn’t something peculiar even if he hasn’t eaten it before, and starts poking in his food. He isn’t hungry per se but he remembers Taehyung’s advice about eating like a pig. Jimin wants to, he really wants to eat like a pig and make a fool of himself but there are so many people around him that and he can feel Jeongguk’s eyes always on him. They’re making him shy.
Jimin is slurping his soup in the most annoying way he can manage when Jeongguk speaks up again. “Why contemporary dance?”
Jimin peaks up at Jeongguk, finishes slurping his soup and wipes his lips with the back of his hand. “I like it.”
Jeongguk stares at Jimin and adds when Jimin doesn’t elaborate on his answer. “You don’t like any other forms of dances?”
“Quite different to contemporary dance,” Jeongguk points out.
Jeongguk narrows his eyes at Jimin when Jimin again doesn’t elaborate. Jimin wants to apologize, his gut is twisting in guilt because he is mistreating Jeongguk, but he has to do this.
“Isn’t contemporary dance just like ballet?”
Jimin gapes, insulted. “No. This dance spoke to me the most because of its form of expression and performance. I’m not saying people focusing on other dance forms don’t express themselves, they do, but in a different way. Contemporary dance incorporates aspects of many different dances; ballet, modern dance, jazz, and many more. You have to use many parts of your body to express yourself. The unpredictability in rhythm, speed and direction is also a characteristic of it. And even though it’s more popular in America and Europe it still incorporates elements of non-western dances, and there’s much more to it. You can’t just call it ballet. It’s completely different.”
Jimin finishes with a deep inhale, chest moving up and down visibly because of how breathless he is. Then he notices the small smile on Jeongguk’s face and realizes what he has just done. A blush starts forming on his face, deepening when Jimin notices others staring at their table, even the old lady from before. He curls in on himself, hating Jeongguk for having tricked him like that. Jeongguk is a force to be reckoned with, and Jimin worries he’s not made of a calibre that can keep up with the heir.
“You are quite passionate about it.”
Jimin glances at Jeongguk shyly and averts his eyes fast when they make contact with Jeongguk’s.
When Jimin remains quiet, Jeongguk asks with a smile, “What? Nothing to say anymore?”
Jimin clears his throat and takes a sip of his drink.
“Do you have any other hobbies?”
“Dancing is not a hobby.” Jimin protests immediately, not knowing why.
Jeongguk nods and apologizes. “You’re right, sorry. Do you have any hobbies?”
Jimin shakes his head and asks, “What about you?” As soon as the question is out, Jimin bites his tongue. He shouldn’t have asked Jeongguk, should only talk about himself to appear like a self-centred asshole so Jeongguk can call off the wedding. When he looks at Jeongguk he sees that Jeongguk is just as surprised by his question as Jimin is. So far Jimin had shown no interest in him even if he is intrigued.
“Well,” Jeongguk starts, sounding a little taken off guard, “I’m usually busy with the company and working with my step-father but I do like drawing, am interested in instruments, and dancing.”
Jimin narrows his eyes. “Are you mocking me?”
“We can have a dance-off if you’d like.”
Jimin scoffs. “If you can keep up.”
Jeongguk tilts his head and asks lowly, “Is that a yes?”
Jimin reels back immediately. Meeting up again with Jeongguk is not the plan, no matter how tempting crushing his ego and confidence sounds. Jimin clears his throat and pops a piece of meat in his mouth to keep himself busy. He doesn’t understand how Jeongguk always manages to make Jimin talk and drop the façade he’s trying to keep up.
For some reason it’s easy to talk to Jeongguk. Jimin often has to remind himself that he’s trying to be an asshole, only to forget it, and remembers it when it’s too late. Jeongguk seems genuinely interested in Jimin, asking questions about him and provoking the answers out of him. Jimin once even snorts at a joke Jeongguk tells and has to cover his mouth with his hand. Jeongguk smiles at him and his eyes drop to Jimin’s hands covering his lips, smile turning softer. Jimin blushes at that and lowers his hand and head again.
The conversation with Jeongguk is going well and Jimin is actually enjoying it. That’s not good. So when a waiter offers them some red wine and indulges Jeongguk in a conversation about its origin, Jimin reaches over, eyeing Jeongguk closely, and knocks the glass over, staining the white table sheet red. Jeongguk hears the clinking of the glass and looks at Jimin, who is frozen in his seat, and then Jeongguk is jumping out of his seat when the wine drips on his pants. In his rush, Jeongguk knocks the expensive wine bottle out of the waiter’s hands, the bottle breaking into multiple pieces when it lands on the ground. What makes Jimin snort, however, is when the old lady from the neighbouring table shrieks, apparently getting a fright, and spills the content from her glass on her cleavage.
Jimin starts laughing as multiple tables end up in chaos, waiters rushing everywhere to assist. He is still giggling when his wandering eyes make contact with Jeongguk’s, giggling dying down and guilt settling in instead. He abashedly hides his mouth behind his hands and waits for Jeongguk to say something.
The chief waiter comes over, apologizing profusely, and starts rubbing the wet spot on Jeongguk’s pants with a cloth, very close to Jeongguk’s crotch. Jimin snorts, hiding his laughter behind his hand, and turns away. Jeongguk pushes the waiter’s hand away, blushing, and readjusting his jacket. The chief waiter apologizes and bows multiple times.
Feeling bad for the elder chief waiter, Jimin decides to speak up. “It’s fine, don’t worry,” Jimin says and stops the chief waiter from bowing again. “It was my fault anyway. I accidentally knocked the glass over. I’m sorry about it.”
“Excuse me,” Jeongguk says and leaves in the direction of the restroom.
Jimin waits patiently, watching the waiters work, and now that he’s in a good mood he eats some of the delicious meat on his plate. He feels bad for the waiters and wonders for a second if he has to compensate for all of that. He hopes not. His parents will kill him.
Jeongguk appears out of nowhere and says, “I’m sorry, hyung. I have to leave. Something came up.”
He looks apologetic, frowning and smiling embarrassed. Jimin wonders why it affects him so much.
Jimin chews fast and swallows, nods and gets to his feet. He texts Taehyung to come pick him up. Jeongguk pays for the meal and some costs, and Jimin has to forcefully keep himself from offering to pay as much of it as he can. They leave the restaurant, the old lady still glaring at Jimin but this time he doesn’t care.
There’s a black and sleek car waiting in front of the restaurant, a chauffeur waiting next to it. As soon as the chauffeur sees them walking out, he opens the backseat door.
Jeongguk motions Jimin to enter the car. “I’ll drop you off first.”
“Oh, no. Don’t worry. I messaged my friend and he’ll be here soon to pick me up,” Jimin retorts.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, you can go ahead and leave,” Jimin cringes inwardly at his wording, apologizing mentally for how rude it sounds, “I’m sure you have important stuff to do.”
Jeongguk nods reluctantly and says, “I’ll wait with you.”
Jimin is taken off guard by it and it takes him a moment to reply. “No, it’s fine. He’ll be here soon.”
“I have time. Don’t worry about me.”
With that, Jimin stops resisting, painfully aware of Jeongguk’s presence next to him. The chauffeur closes the door and waits next to the car again. It’s silent, none of them saying a word. It’s a not an uncomfortable silence but a heavy one nonetheless. Jeongguk looks as if he’s deep in thoughts and thinking about a very important business deal. Jimin is about to tell Jeongguk again that he can leave but is interrupted by a honk. Looking into the direction of the car, Jimin sees Taehyung waving him over.
When Jimin looks back, Jeongguk is already looking at him. “I have to go now. Bye.”
Jeongguk looks at Taehyung and then back at Jimin. He opens his mouth and then closes it again without saying anything. Then he nods once. Jimin turns around, walks to the car, and lets himself in.
“You okay?” Taehyung asks as soon as Jimin is settled.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Jimin responds and sees Taehyung stare out the window. He follows his gaze and looks at Jeongguk who is still waiting in front of the car and looking at them. “I don’t think he’ll want to see me again.”
It's the third call Jimin gets from his mother and he’s getting concerned slowly. He wonders if he should go out to take the call but also doesn’t want to be called out by the professor. The last five minutes of the lecture are spent in tense dread, and Jimin is out of his seat as soon as the professor dismisses them. Jimin runs out of the lecture hall, phone in his hand to call his mother but his mother is already calling him again.
“Are you alright?” Jimin asks as soon as he picks up the call, not able to hide the panic in his voice, “Why are you calling?”
“Why are you not picking up?” his mother asks instead of answering his questions. “I’ve been calling you for so long.”
“I was in class. What’s wrong?” At this point, Jimin is assuming the worst. Is his father fine? Is Jihyun okay?
“Nothing’s wrong. Everything’s splendid.” His mother sounds as if she’s on cloud nine. “I have good news, Jimin. Jeon Jeongguk called again.”
Jimin stops walking, heart rate picking up. His eyes widen and dread settles in his gut. He’s forcefully brought back to reality when he gets bumped into and almost lets his phone fall. He walks to a calmer place and interrupts his mother’s rambling. “Mom, what do you mean? Why did Jeongguk call?”
“He called to ask for your phone number and I gave it to him.”
“YOU WHAT?” Jimin exclaims. Then he cringes at his volume and apologizes abashedly when some students look at him. Jimin lowers his voice and hisses into his phone, “You gave him my number?”
“Yes,” his mother says, sounding delighted instead of guilty and ashamed, and oblivious to Jimin’s distress. “He said he has something to ask. He told me he’ll contact you today and to anticipate his call. He’s so polite…”
Jimin’s mother continues fawning over Jeongguk but Jimin doesn’t listen anymore. Her voice gets automatically drowned out by the rush of his blood in his ears. He doesn’t understand why this happened. Jeongguk didn’t seem to have taken a liking to Jimin in the restaurant. In a way Jimin has been sure that Jeongguk will not want to see Jimin again, and yet here he is, calling Jimin’s parents to ask for Jimin’s phone number.
“I think I should start calling him son-in-law now, right?” Jimin’s mother says and Jimin wants to throw up.
“No!” he objects immediately.
“What? Why not?”
Jimin curses himself when he hears how suspicious his mother sounds right now. He really should get a filter if he doesn’t want his mother to find out how much he dislikes the idea of marrying Jeongguk.
“Uhm…” Jimin struggles to find a convincing reason and just spits out the first thing that comes to his mind. “It’s embarrassing. And nothing has been set yet. It might even put him in a bad light and ruin his business if word about this gets leaked. We shouldn’t talk about this so carelessly because he has so much to lose and should let him handle the announcement.”
At the end of his speech Jimin mentally pats himself on the back. That is quite a good reason. This will also stop his mother from saying anything to her friends.
His mother gasps on the other end of the line and agrees, “You’re right. We should wait for him to announce it. Listen, Jimin. You have to tell me what he tells you as soon as he does, so I know what to be prepared for. Okay?”
Jimin rolls his eyes and supresses a sigh. “I will. I have to go now. Bye.”
“I don’t understand what happened,” Jimin growls. He has come home after a disastrous dance practice session, and immediately told Taehyung about his mother’s phone call.
“I’m sure you were too ‘Jimin’,” Taehyung says.
“What do you mean?”
“You know? Too polite, and shy, and embarrassed, and all coy. You weren’t rude enough.”
Jimin sighs, hiding his face in his hands. “He was nice, Tae. I couldn’t just be that rude to him.”
“Well, do you want to be married to him?” Taehyung questions.
Even though it brings Jimin back to reality, he still feels a little bad about being rude to Jeongguk. Jimin is ripped out of his thoughts when his phone rings. He groans because his pity-party gets disrupted but picks up the phone nonetheless.
“Hello,” Jimin mumbles grumpily into the phone, can’t be bothered with being decent.
“Jimin hyung, it’s Jeon Jeongguk.”
Jimin squeals and sits up instantly, eyes wide and mouth opened in horror. Taehyung looks at him quizzically.
“Jeongguk,” Jimin says more to Taehyung than Jeongguk, wincing at his own volume. Taehyung’s eyes widen and he gets up from the floor to sit next to Jimin on the couch, puts his ear next to Jimin’s so he can hear Jeongguk’s words too.
“Yes,” Jeongguk retorts. “You sound surprised. Did your mother not inform you that I was going to call?”
“No! She did. She told me. I just didn’t expect this call to be yours.”
Taehyung nudges Jimin and makes some gestures with his hands that Jimin doesn’t understand. Then Taehyung removes the phone from Jimin’s ear and puts Jeongguk on speaker.
“Oh, I hope this isn’t an inconvenient time.”
Jimin is tempted to say ‘yes, it is’ but doesn’t. If he doesn’t talk to Jeongguk now, Jeongguk will call at a later time, and since Jeongguk has called him already, Jimin just bows to fate. “No, it’s fine. Did you need something?”
“No, not necessarily need but I was wondering if you would like to accompany me to an event of my office.”
Jimin is stunned into silence and looks at Taehyung for some guidance. Obviously, Jimin doesn’t want to go with Jeongguk to a boring event of his office but it’s not like he can say no. Taehyung nibbles on his lower lip and then taps his wrist.
“Uh, …when is the event?” Jimin manages to stutter out.
“Thursday, 8pm. Is it possible for you to attend?”
Jimin looks at Taehyung again for guidance and is not surprised to find him nodding but feels betrayed nonetheless. He pulls a grimace to let Taehyung know that he doesn’t want to say yes but Taehyung nods repeatedly.
“Yeah,” Jimin forces himself to say, “I’m free.”
“That’s great. I’ll send a driver over if you message me where you live,” Jeongguk offers, his tone having changed in a way that Jimin can’t assess.
“That’s not necessary,” Jimin declines, not feeling comfortable with the idea at all.
“Do you know where the event takes place?” Jeongguk asks.
“I’m sure it’s far from your place. It’ll be easier to be driven there by my driver. I would love to pick you up personally but I have to be at the event for the preparations and to welcome the guests.”
Taehyung nods again so Jimin relents. “Okay. I’ll message you.”
“Great. I’ll see you on Thursday then. Have a good night.”
Taehyung ends the call before Jimin can respond, and then Jimin buries his face in his hands again, groaning loudly.
“He’s not going to be here,” Jimin repeats for the nth time.
His mother is curious about Jeongguk and hasn’t stopped talking about meeting him. The first time Jimin told her Jeongguk isn’t the one to pick him up, she deflated visibly but then she said ‘One might never know’ and remained hopeful.
Jimin is at his parents’ house again, refusing to give Jeongguk his address. Taehyung helpfully told him to give him the address of his parents’ house since he’ll be there anyway. Taehyung isn’t with him this time but his mother has put Jimin into a new suit. She couldn’t keep her excitement at bay after Jimin told her that Jeongguk invited him to an event of his company.
“The car is here,” Jimin’s father calls from the living room and Jimin’s mother runs out of the room.
Jimin sighs but composes himself when he hears someone enter his room. Jihyun is standing in the doorway and looking at him. Jimin smiles at Jihyun to reassure him.
“I’m sorry,” Jihyun says and Jimin’s smile turns sad.
He shakes his head and approaches his brother, putting his hands on Jihyun’s shoulders. “Don’t worry about me. Hyung knows what he’s doing.”
“I can’t believe mom and dad are doing this.”
“Hey, like they said. At least it’s a guy.”
Jihyun shakes his head. “You should be able to say no.”
“I may not be able to but Jeongguk is,” Jimin whispers. He doesn’t want his brother to worry about him. He has enough to deal with, freshly back from the military and immediately working in their father’s company.
His brother looks at him questioningly, looking around to make sure their parents aren’t there. “What do you mean?”
Jimin smirks and presses a finger to his lips. Jihyun smiles, and Jimin joins his parents at the front door. His mother looks a little dejected but smiles when she turns to Jimin.
“Have fun and behave,” she says and tugs at Jimin’s suit again. Then she gently pushes him into the direction of the waiting car.
The driver is standing outside of the car and opens the door for Jimin when he approaches him. Jimin’s mother waves at him and for a moment Jimin doesn’t want to wave back. He is still bitter about all of this, even more so now after his first attempt to make Jeongguk say no failed. Still, Jimin waves back as the car starts driving because that’s just Jimin’s way. And this is also what is making it impossible for Jimin to be rude to Jeongguk. But this time not. This time Jimin has to be successful.
As Jeongguk has mentioned already, the event takes place far away from Jimin’s apartment and from his parents’ house, and he’s glad that he accepted Jeongguk’s offer to be driven there by his driver. Jimin is still deep in thought when the car stops and the driver announces that they have arrived.
Before Jimin stands a ship. It’s a small one but still too big to be considered a boat. Jimin’s jaw falls open as he stares at the ship and is on autopilot when the driver opens the door for him. He exits the car slowly, still trying to process the fact that there is a ship in front of him.
Jimin has been on boats before but never on a ship. Moreover, he expected the event to take place in a hall in Jeongguk’s office building or maybe a hall somewhere else but instead he’s faced with a ship, and he didn’t expect that at all.
What strikes him even more is the fact how many lights have been used to brighten up the ship. It’s full of lights and Jimin can hear music play on the ship. It’s overwhelming. Jimin can’t wait to get on it.
Jimin whips around and sees Jeongguk walk his way. He is wearing a dark blue, velvet suit, giving him an aura of mysteriousness, and his hair is parted in the middle. He looks confident, spilling a light that is different from the one in the restaurant. Jeongguk is not only Jimin’s almost fiancé. He’s now the heir to a grand company. Jimin’s feels his mouth go dry.
“Sorry,” Jeongguk says as he stops in front of Jimin. “I mean hyung.”
Jimin didn’t even notice Jeongguk drop the formality but the smile on Jeongguk’s face tells Jimin that Jeongguk may have done it on purpose and doesn’t regret his ‘mistake.’
“I hope your drive here was comfortable.”
Jimin stares at Jeongguk, still trying to process his words. Jeongguk tilts his head to the side and regards Jimin with searching eyes. It makes chills run down Jimin’s spine.
Jimin clears his throat and averts his gaze, feeling his face heat up. “It was fine. Thank you.”
Jeongguk smiles and then turns to the driver. “Thank you, Mr. Lee.”
The driver bows, enters the car and drives off. Jeongguk turns to Jimin again, the small smile on his lips unsettling Jimin a little, and spreads his arm out to the ship. “Shall we?”
Jimin nods. He follows Jeongguk and holds the railing as he boards the ship, afraid the movement of the ship may make him sick but has no other chance. The music is louder on the ship, and there’s chatter and laughter everywhere. Men are wearing suits and women dresses, creating a mix of different colours. There are waiters offering everyone drinks and there is a buffet laid out on one side of the ship. Everything is lighted up.
“Do you like it?” Jeongguk asks.
Jimin nods but doesn’t look at Jeongguk. From then on everything happens a little too fast. Jeongguk is needed everywhere, stopped by people all the time, and for some reason Jimin tags along. He doesn’t really have an option but when he gets the chance to break free, he does, walking around by himself. Great date that Jeongguk has set up here.
Jeongguk is still talking to a couple when Jimin spots a familiar mop of blonde hair and wide shoulders in the crowd, walking over to the man.
“Seokjin hyung, what are you doing here?” Jimin asks, beaming at the sight of his friend.
“Hello, Jimin. I was invited,” Seokjin responds, smiling at Jimin when he spots him. “You look good.”
Jimin looks down, eyes forming into crescents as a smile takes over his whole face. Seokjin just has that effect on people. Jimin is one of them.
Seokjin swiftly takes two glasses of champagne of a tray that a waiter is carrying past them and offers one to Jimin. Jimin accepts the drink with a coy smile, mumbling, “Thank you.”
“Seems like I don’t have to introduce you two.”
It feels as if cold water is splashed into Jimin’s face as he was sleeping peacefully. The glass Jimin was leading to his lips stops mid-air, and he turns to face Jeongguk.
“Jeongguk, I couldn’t talk to you properly before,” Seokjin says, and Jimin is glad about it.
“I was busy. I’m sorry.”
“I understand. Don’t apologize.”
“How is Demi?” Jimin asks, afraid Jeongguk will address him next. Before that happens, he needs to indulge Seokjin into a conversation. And he has missed the man.
“Demi, is great,” Seokjin retorts, referring to his dog, “She is growing steadily. Very excited and doesn’t listen to me at all.”
Jimin laughs, imagining the elder running after his dog. “Maybe you need to take her to a trainer.”
Jimin is quite successful in coercing Seokjin into a conversation. Jeongguk tries multiple times to end the conversation or lead into another direction but Jimin doesn’t let it happen. It also doesn’t help that Jimin wants to be with Seokjin. He has a crush on the man since he knows him but Seokjin has never been interested in Jimin like that or in men in general. Still, Jimin gets drunk on the attention he gets from the man. There is inarguably a charm about him that he uses for his advantage and Jimin doesn’t mind indulging in it because never before has it hurt him. They talk and Jimin laughs a lot, putting a hand on his arm or leaning into his side. It is a nice change to how the evening has been going so far, and Jimin wants it to stay that way, drinking one glass after the other.
Jimin looks at the hand in front of him and follows it up to Jeongguk’s face. Jeongguk is smiling at him, asking for a dance.
“Excuse me,” Seokjin says, disappearing into the crowd.
Jimin looks after him, bemoaning how he lost Seokjin so fast and has been left alone with Jeongguk already. Jimin turns back to Jeongguk and puts his hand in Jeongguk’s. Jeongguk takes the empty glass out of Jimin’s hand, putting it on a tray a waiter is holding, and walks Jimin to the dance floor.
Heads turn and eyes follow their every move, Jimin suddenly all too aware of it. Holding one of Jimin’s hand in his own, Jeongguk puts his other hand on Jimin’s hips firmly. Jeongguk feels strong and firm against Jimin.
“Can you dance waltz?”
Jimin snorts, “Yes.”
He squeaks when Jeongguk pulls him towards himself suddenly, pressing them close as he makes the first step and forces Jimin back. Jimin struggles to get into step with Jeongguk at first, clumsily following the man, but manages to do so at their fifth step. He has barely regained his composure when Jeongguk takes him off guard by turning their bodies. There is a confident smirk on his face. Jimin doesn’t know whether he should be embarrassed or let out a scream of joy when Jeongguk grimaces because Jimin steps on his foot accidentally.
“How do you know Seokjin hyung?” Jeongguk asks.
Jimin shrugs, lowering his gaze because looking into Jeongguk’s intense eyes is a feat Jimin hasn’t mastered yet. He tries not to think too much of how Jeongguk feels against him. “Met him on a business event years ago when I was there with my father.”
“After I graduated high school.”
Jimin looks up and then down again. He’s getting drunk on Jeongguk’s scent and perfume. “Excuse me?”
“Why did you choose dance instead of taking over the company?”
“I tried to for a year. It wasn’t what I wanted so I made a deal with my parents after Jihyun volunteered to take over the company.”
“What kind of deal?”
Jimin wonders if he should tell Jeongguk. Maybe Jeongguk would understand how unfair the deal is and would call off the arranged marriage himself. Instead of doing that, Jimin steps on Jeongguk’s foot to distract him, seeing from the corner of his eyes how Jeongguk face contorts in pain.
“Why are you taking over your dad’s company so young?”
“The current chairman is my step-dad and only a temporary chairman after my dad died. My older half-brother was seen as unfit to lead the company years ago by my dad and the company higher-ups. Now that I am soon old enough to lead the company, I am taking over even if it’s not the direction I imagined my life to go.”
“Why not let your brother do so when you’re so young and if it’s not what you want?”
Jimin has heard the stories about Jeongguk’s greed and how he doesn’t want the elder ‘bastard’ son to taint the company. Many magazines like to gossip about the tense relationships Jeongguk’s mother has with Mr. Jeon’s “fling” from his teen years and their son.
“Hyung has different plans for the company than dad. He wants to unearth the whole system and change it to his own imagination, even going as far as trying to change what we create. The company is the most important thing that I have left of my dad. I can’t just watch it all disappear. My life is a very small sacrifice that I have to give to keep what is most important.”
They have stopped dancing and are only rocking from side to side. Jimin is gaping at Jeongguk, feeling his heart constrict at the way the younger man has lowered his face and won’t look at Jimin, all the authoritative aura and confidence gone. For the first time Jimin is seeing what Jeongguk is. A twenty-two-year-old boy – barely a man – in a suit.
Jeongguk slowly sets them both into motion again, looking at Jimin sheepishly. “The magazines don’t talk about this. I know.”
Jimin blinks, lowering his head in shame. He regrets his words from their dinner a lot now but he bites his tongue to keep all the apologies in.
“Why tell me then?” Jimin asks to distract himself this time.
“The world doesn’t matter when it comes to me because it won’t take me as I am. They will bend and break everything about me to their own whim. But I want to be honest with you because you matter, and because I want to do this right.”
“This?” Jimin inquires before he can stop himself, looking up again.
Jeongguk looks into his eyes, making sure Jimin is unable to look away. “Us. I want us to start off right and honest.”
Jimin sucks in a harsh breath. His heart starts pounding against his chest. There is suddenly not enough air around for him to breathe.
Jeongguk chuckles when he takes in Jimin’s wide eyes. “What?”
Jimin shakes his head, lowering his eyes again. “Excuse me.”
Jeongguk seems hesitant as he lets Jimin go. Jimin stumbles around and asks multiple times before he can find the restroom. He ignores the other men and waits until they have left to splash some cold water into his face.
Jeongguk seems genuinely interested in Jimin. Groaning is all Jimin can do at this realization. This complicates everything. So much, Jimin can’t even measure it. He can’t even comprehend why Jeongguk likes him. He’s easy on the eye and he has a nice personality but it’s not like Jeongguk has seen much of that. It’s hard to tell whether Jeongguk likes him or is trying to like him because of the arranged marriage, but the chance of him saying no to it is slim.
After drying his face, Jimin goes back out. More people are dancing and Jeongguk is talking to two couples. He looks good, talking to them and smiling, one hand casually put into his pocket while he’s holding a glass of red wine in his other hand. Jimin chuckles when he thinks of the cheap beer he and Taehyung drink at home.
Jimin decides he can’t do this on an empty stomach, going to the buffet to eat something. He’s halfway through his plate when he’s approached by the man Jeongguk introduced as his uncle earlier.
“Jeongguk has some fine taste, doesn’t he?” the man asks as he sits next to Jimin.
Jimin swallows his bite and nods. “Yes, the party is quite nice.”
“Ha!” the man barks. “’Quite nice.’ It’s awesome. I remember him when he was this small.” The man holds his hand above the ground for around a meter. Jimin has a hard time imagining it. “He has grown so much.”
“Has he?” Jimin asks, hoping he’ll get some embarrassing stories about the heir out of the man. It’ll be good to distract him.
It’s easy. Jimin doesn’t have to do much besides drink with the man, which he seems to like a lot, and tells him everything without Jimin’s urging. The man trails off a lot but by then Jimin is so drunk he doesn’t mind, only giggles at the funny stories Jeongguk’s uncle has to tell.
Jimin looks up when he hears his name and excitedly claps into his own hands when he sees Jeongguk, getting to his feet.
“I was looking for you everywhere.”
“You didn’t tell me you used to be a kid,” Jimin giggles, hand on Jeongguk’s arm and leaving Jeongguk’s question unanswered.
Jeongguk’s eyes widen, taking in Jimin’s state and then looking at his uncle. “Oh god, he made you drunk, didn’t he? Uncle, I told you not to make people drunk.”
“Men know how to handle their liquor. Look at him. He’s fine.”
Jimin smiles from ear to ear to prove that he indeed is fine. Jeongguk doesn’t seem to believe it. Not that it matters.
“I wanna dance,” Jimin pouts, words slurred slightly. “But the music is so lame.”
Jeongguk chuckles lightly and holds onto Jimin’s hips to steady him. His eyes are glinting as he stares at Jimin. “I’m sorry but that can’t be changed.”
“Lets go to a club,” Jimin whispers, biting his lower lip.
Jeongguk raises his eyebrows questioningly and Jimin can sense he’s about to say no, so he leans in, playing with Jeongguk’s tie as he looks at him through his lashes. Jeongguk’s mouth goes slack.
“Please,” Jimin whines, lower lip jutting out in a pout. It’s good that Jeongguk is holding him, makes standing a lot easier.
Jeongguk curses under his breath, scratching his brow with his thumb. “Let’s make a deal: You behave until the end of this party and I promise to make it up to you.”
“What does that mean?” Jimin asks, not liking the mind games.
“Whatever you want it to be.”
Jimin beams. “Really?”
“Promise?” Jimin holds his pinky out.
Jeongguk chuckles and intertwines their pinkies. “Promise.”
“Yeay,” Jimin cheers lightly. Then he pulls Jeongguk towards the dance floor. “Let’s dance again.”
Jeongguk follows Jimin easily, making sure to catch him when he loses his balance a little. He steps back when Jimin stands too close to him, reminding him about their deal. “Remember: behave.”
Jimin nods and this time their waltz ends up something completely chaotic after a while. Jimin steps on Jeongguk’s feet a lot, albeit accidentally. He laughs and dances, is close to Jeongguk all the time, and just barely remembers the next day that Jeongguk’s driver drives him home again at the end of the night.
Jimin is sitting in class the next day, trying to take notes as fast as his professor is talking, which is quite honestly impossible but Jimin still tries. He has a place on the top that he needs to secure and he can’t do that while slacking off. Last night had been a disaster when it comes to his plan of making Jeongguk cancel the arranged marriage. He still doesn’t know how he managed to get so drunk that he forgot all about his plans.
That’s not even the biggest problem. Jimin knows he’s a clingy drunk so his mind wanders to making up all kinds of scenarios where he embarrasses himself in front of the attractive heir or clings to him the whole time.
Jimin had sobered up by the time he was being driven back home but the majority of before that is still an unidentifiable blur. His mother had stayed awake until one in the morning to ask him about the party but his father had come to his rescue. This morning Jimin managed to slip out of the house early without being caught by his mother, and had spent the morning ranting to Taehyung about his failure.
Listening would also be a lot easier if other students wouldn’t be whispering around him so much. It’s nothing new for students to start talking during class and Jimin has done so himself quite often too, but the suspicious thing about today that there is whispering around him everywhere. He only raises his head or looks into a certain direction when people around him stop talking all of a sudden.
This peculiar thing keeps him company in his second class too following him all over the campus and into the cafeteria. Jimin is sitting at a table, alone and freaked out at this point, when two girls approach him.
Jimin looks up, slurps in his spaghetti and cleans his chin with a napkin. “Yes?”
“Is this by any chance you?” the girl who addressed him asks, putting the magazine in her hands on the table.
Jimin carefully takes the magazine into his hand and stares at the front of page. Jeon Jeongguk seen dancing with a man on his last night’s celebration party. Jimin blanches. He reads the title again and then looks at the picture under it. It’s definitely him on the picture with Jeongguk. He knows it’s him but he still checks again.
“It’s you, right?”
Jimin startles, the magazine falling out of his hands. “Where did you get that?” he asks, opting for not answering the question.
“It’s basically everywhere,” the second girl answers.
Jimin gives the magazine back, puts his backpack on, and throws his food away, no longer feeling hungry. He goes to the closest newspaper stand on campus and looks through the magazines to find the magazine the girls showed him. Seems as if that isn’t necessary because he has managed to be on the cover of almost every gossip magazine. Even the most famous magazine and some newspapers have reported about it.
Jimin takes the most famous magazine because it has the most pompous headlines of all. For a moment he is inclined to buy every single magazine he has made it on but that would be too much. And he doesn’t have the money for it.
“Is that you?” the cashier asks when Jimin puts the magazine on the counter.
“No!” Jimin almost screams, scaring the man. He throws the note of money on the counter and leaves without taking the spare money.
Glad that he wore a hoodie that morning, Jimin puts the hood on and looks for his mask in his backpack. He has a class coming up next but that’s obviously cancelled now. Instead, Jimin goes to the restroom to read the magazine calmly.
Calm isn’t what he exactly is as he hides in a cubicle and reads the magazine. It’s… bad. Atrocious even. There all kinds of speculations about who Jimin is, how they could have met and what “obviously” makes them attracted to each other. Jimin feels like he is reading the most scandalous story that has ever been published. Everything that he is reading could have also been said in different words but instead they are intended to manipulate the readers into a certain direction.
“It’s not yet known who the mysterious man is who has captured the Jeon heir’s heart but it seems as if we haven’t seen the last of him.”
Well, he surely hopes that this is the last anyyone has seen of him. This isn’t even the worst. What unsettles Jimin the most is the ‘yet’ in that sentence. He feels like everyone is out to get him and expose his whole life to the world just because he has been seen with Jeongguk once.
The pictures are even worse. Some of them have been taken when Jeongguk was showing Jimin around, introducing him to different people, hand firmly around Jimin’s waist. In other pictures, which are more highlighted, Jimin and Jeongguk are dancing closely, smiling at each other. In one of them Jimin has even leaned his head against Jeongguk’s shoulder. It’s when he laughed at something that Jeongguk said, and now Jimin regrets it more than ever.
Jimin takes his phone out and sends pictures of the magazine to Taehyung. WHAT SHOULD I DO???? he asks. He gets his response minutes later, asking him where he is. It takes a couple of more minutes for Taehyung to appear in the restroom and bang on the cubicle Jimin is in.
“Did you run?” Jimin asks, which is a dumb question because Taehyung is out of breath and sweating.
“What the fuck?” Taehyung says in between pants. “What is this?”
Jimin pouts and sits on the lid of the toilet again. “I don’t know. I thought it was a private party. There weren’t even supposed to be any reporters and certainly no paparazzi.”
“That’s not what I mean. I mean this! You, cosying up to Jeon Jeongguk as if he’s the father of your children.”
Jimin groans. “It wasn’t like that.”
“Well, it surely looks like it. I thought you wanted to sabotage the marriage and not charm him into falling for you.”
“Listen, I told you I danced with him and how often I stepped on his feet. I even flirted with Seokjin hyung in front of him. I was just drunk.”
Taehyung groans and shakes his head. “They’re all over South Korea.”
“I mean it. They’re even online.”
Jimin groans, kicking his feet out in a childish fit of rage. “What am I supposed to do?”
“You can’t do anything. They’re all out already. Unless you make Jeongguk sue them or so you can’t do anything at all.”
Jimin gapes at Taehyung, Taehyung needing a moment to realize what is going on. “No,” he says afterwards. “Is that really a good idea? I feel like it isn’t. We should ask Hoseok hyung.”
“I already asked him and he’s not responding. I can’t wait for this to spread even more. I need to talk to Jeongguk now.”
Taehyung sighs but nods. “Do you need me to come with you?”
“No, I’ll manage. Thanks.”
Jimin bids goodbye to Taehyung and calls his father to ask were Jeongguk’s office is. His father tells him how his mother is freaking out because of all the magazines, and he’s glad he called his father directly on his mobile phone and not the landline of his home. If his mother had picked up, then Jimin wouldn’t have been able to escape her.
With his father’s help, Jimin takes a cab to the building, making sure his face is covered well enough, the ride horrible. The building is just as pompous as Jimin thought it would be but it still surprises him how grand the building is.
“Excuse me?” Jimin asks the lady at the information desk. “Could you maybe tell me on which floor I can find Jeon Jeongguk?”
The woman rakes his eyes from Jimin’s head to his toes and then back up again. Jimin feels self-conscious under her gaze, now painfully aware of how his black hoodie and jeans make him stand out in a building full of business men and women wearing suits.
“Mr. Jeon is busy right now,” the woman says, sounding as judging as she looks.
Jimin supresses the urge to pout.
“So is Mr. Jeon’s schedule.”
“Security!” the woman calls.
“What? No!” Jimin looks around as a security guard approaches them. He puts the magazine on the counter and says as sternly as he can, “I need to see Jeongguk. Now!”
The woman looks at the cover and then at Jimin. Her eyes widen slightly when she recognizes him, nodding. “I apologize. Take him to Mr. Jeon’s floor,” she says to the security guard.
The guard nods and motions Jimin to follow him. Jimin sighs and follows the man into the elevator and up. He is let out of the elevator at the right floor, the guard going back down.
Jimin is sheepish. There are so many people in the office, talking on phones, typing on their computers, or looking through papers. Jimin can’t even think of anything that they might be doing. All in all, Jimin feels lost between the busy people.
“Can I help you?”
Jimin turns around and comes face to face with a man half a head taller than him. It takes Jimin a moment to realize that he was the one addressed, and stutters, “Y-yeah. Sorry. I, uh, I’m looking for Mr. Jeon Jeongguk.”
The man furrows his eyebrows and asks, “What business do you have with Mr. Jeon?”
“That’s private. Can you show me his office?”
The man breathes in deeply, assessing Jimin from head to toe, his eyes widening afterwards. “You’re Mr. Park Jimin!” he exclaims.
Some people turn their heads towards them, Jimin shushing the man. It’s already humiliating enough that he had to use the magazine in his head to be let into the building, he doesn’t want even more people to know who he is.
“Quietly,” Jimin urges the man, making sure no one is watching and listening in when he says, “Yes, I am Park Jimin. I really need to talk to Jeongguk so if you could be nice enough to show me where his office is.”
“Of course. Please follow me.” The man walks ahead, motioning Jimin to follow him. “I’m Kim Namjoon, by the way. Mr. Jeon’s personal secretary. He is actually busy right now but given… your, uh, relation to each other, I’m sure he will make some time for you.”
Jimin’s eyes widen slightly when he hears the man say that. He wonders how many workers in Jeongguk’s office know about the arranged marriage.
They halt in front of an obviously separated office that sticks out from the cubicles. The man knocks on the door, waiting for a response and then stands in the doorframe. “Mr. Jeon, Mr. Park Jimin is here to see you?”
“Hyung?” Jimin hears Jeongguk ask. “Let him in.”
Namjoon makes room for Jimin, holding the door open for him, and excuses himself after Jimin enters the office. Jimin resists the urge to look around the office and see how the young man has decorated it, and looks at Jeongguk sitting behind his desk.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk greets, getting up and walking towards Jimin. “What are you doing here?”
“Am I not allowed to come?” Jimin asks, not knowing why but he feels unwelcomed with the way Jeongguk asks. They are still caught in the arranged marriage thing, are somewhat fiancés. Jeongguk should be nicer to him.
“Of course, you are,” Jeongguk assures. “I was just wondering if something happened? Or if you just wanted to spend some time together? Demand what I owe you? Did you have lunch already?”
Jimin blushes upon seeing the mischievous smirk on Jeongguk’s face while saying the last two sentences. “No, yes. I mean, it doesn’t matter,” Jimin stutters. He hadn’t thought about how his unannounced visit would look to Jeongguk and his employees. What if paparazzi saw Jimin walking into the building? Gosh, he should have thought about this better.
“Are you sure? You seem to need some energy. Do you want something to drink?” Jeongguk asks, hand flying to the phone on his table already.
Okay, fuck nice Jeon Jeongguk. Jimin now doesn’t know why he wanted Jeongguk to be nice to him.
“No!” Jimin calls out. “I’m fine. I just want to talk.”
Jeongguk puts the receiver down, nods, and motions to the couch in one corner of the room. “Okay, take a seat. Why didn’t you just call?”
Call? Jimin had completely forgotten about it.
“What is it about?”
Jimin refuses to sit next to Jeongguk and takes a seat on the second couch, putting the magazine on the table. “Did you see this?”
“I heard about it,” Jeongguk retorts, flipping through the magazine. “Does it say anything weird?”
Jimin clears his throat, uncertain what he should do about the intense gaze Jeongguk is looking at their pictures with. “Well, they say that we are in a relationship.”
“We kind of are,” Jeongguk says, finally averting his gaze from the pictures and looking at Jimin.
“Yeah, but the way they’re portraying it sounds as if we have an affair, like a scandal, something to look down on and be ashamed of,” Jimin protests, feeling his cheeks heat up gradually.
“Do you want me to clear that up? Make the dating official?”
“NO!” Jimin exclaims and winces at his volume. “Don’t do that,” Jimin adds much quieter. “I don’t want anything about that to come out.”
“Why not, if I may ask?” Jeongguk inquires, eyebrows furrowed. Jimin feels like a culprit in front of a judge.
“Well,” Jimin starts, struggling to find the right words, “Isn’t this still uncertain? The whole dating? We just started seeing each other without even knowing the other. Announcing a relationship while it’s barely one seems rushed. And everyone was already looking at me weirdly because of those pictures,” Jimin explains, hoping Jeongguk will understand, “I don’t want to give them an even bigger reason.”
Jeongguk nods, leaning back. “Okay. I’m sorry, I forgot that you’re not used to being in magazines. I’ll see what I can do about these pictures.”
Jimin exhales and feels like a burden has been taken off of his chest. “Thank you.”
Now that the matter has been taken care of, Jimin doesn’t know what to do with himself. He wonders how rude it would be to just disappear although Jeongguk is doing him such a big favour.
“Yesterday,” Jimin begins, remembering the events again, “Did I do anything… embarrassing?”
Jeongguk smiles and shakes his head. “No, you’re quite a cute drunk.”
Jimin scowls, wanting to look fierce but can’t fight the blush creeping up his neck. Jeongguk laughs when he sees his expression.
“Okay, I’m sorry. Teasing you is just fun.” Jimin wonders when they got close enough to tease each other. “You behaved after our deal just as you promised.”
“What deal?” Jimin asks carefully.
“You behave and in return you can ask for whatever you want. Which, by the way, still stands. I’m a man of my word.”
“You’re barely a man,” Jimin says before he can stop himself.
Jeongguk gapes at him, opens and closes his mouth like a fish. “I’m very much a man,” he protests.
“Pfft. Yeah. You definitely sound like one, Jeonggukie.”
Jeongguk suddenly lunges forwards, mouth almost touching Jimin’s ears when he whispers, “Do you want me to show you?”
Jimin blinks and breathes in heavily. This seems to be a wrong idea, Jimin decides as his nostril fill with Jeongguk’s dizzying scent. Jeongguk leans back just as fast and repeats his question from before with a smirk. Jimin clears his throat and breathes through his mouth to stop himself from getting more of Jeongguk’s scent into his nose.
Asking Jeongguk to call of the arranged marriage would certainly be too much, something that Jeongguk most probably won’t do. Jimin still remembers the way Jeongguk had said ‘us’ the night before.
Jimin opts for shaking his head. “You’re already handling the magazines.”
“You hesitated. The magazine is for both of us. Keep this promise for a time where you find enough courage to say what you just thought,” Jeongguk says, voice going softer as he adds, “I’ll gladly fulfil your every wish.”
Jimin’s heart skips a beat and then starts to race. He looks at his lap, playing with the hem of his hoodie.
Taking the magazine into his hands again, Jeongguk flips to their pictures again and smiles. “They’re nice.”
Heat shoots up Jimin neck and cheeks again. He holds his hand out and commands, “Give it back.”
“Why?” Jeongguk asks.
“Because… I bought it,” Jimin reasons, slipping to the edge of the couch. “It’s mine.”
Jeongguk smirks. “Do you want to have the pictures?”
Jimin splutters, “No! Why would I want them?”
“Then I can have them.”
Jimin doesn’t know why but for some reason the thought of Jeongguk having those pictures is much worse than the fact that they’re all over the internet and magazines anyway. Jeongguk is on those pictures with Jimin and it’s obvious Jeongguk is attracted to Jimin in some form. It doesn’t help that the pictures are very intimate. They were wisely chosen and taken in a moment where they had lost each other in themselves, Jimin having forgotten his plans of sabotaging this marriage. The intimacy in them scares him.
“No, you can’t,” Jimin insists, leaning over to take the magazine out of Jeongguk’s hand.
Jeongguk holds it above his head, out of Jimin’s reach. Jimin gapes, aware how close he has to get to Jeongguk now if he wants the magazine back but determined nonetheless. He gets to his feet and leans over Jeongguk to reach the magazine. Jeongguk blocks the way between the table and the couch with his legs, smirking at Jimin.
Huffing, Jimin leans over again and almost gets the magazine in his hand but Jeongguk puts his hand down. Jimin puts a knee on the couch next to Jeongguk’s thighs so he can balance himself better and won’t fall over. He wrestles with Jeongguk’s arms, only now finding out that Jeongguk doesn’t only have muscly arms but that he is also strong. It makes sense but having it confirmed is a completely different thing. Jimin is also toned, it comes with practice and working out but in Jeongguk’s arms he still feels small.
It takes a while for Jimin, bending his body in all ways he knows, but in the end, he has the magazine in his hand, “Yes,” Jimin cheers, smiling at Jeongguk to rub it in his face that he won.
His triumphant smirk gets wiped off of his face when he sees the smile on Jeongguk’s face, looking fond, for the lack of a better word. Then Jimin notices his own hand on Jeongguk’s shoulder, the way he is straddling Jeongguk’s muscly thighs, and how both of them are panting. He is sure his face is as red as lava, certainly feeling as hot.
Jimin can feel Jeongguk body heat. He only needs to lean forward a little for his chest to touch Jeongguk’s, and let him feel his racing heartbeat. Jeongguk’s breath faintly washes over his face, dazing Jimin even more.
Jimin blinks multiple times, body going putty as he gets conscious of Jeongguk’s hand on his waist. Clearing his throat, he grips the magazine harder and removes his hand from Jeongguk’s shoulder, the touch scorching. No longer having something to balance himself with, it’s much harder for Jimin to get off Jeongguk’s lap. Jimin hiccups when Jeongguk’s hands on his waist tightens.
Giving up, Jimin puts his hand on Jeongguk’s arm, feeling the muscle under the sleeve flex. Jimin almost whines. He stares at his hand on Jeongguk’s arm, playing with the thought of massaging the muscle in his hand to see how hard the muscles really are and wondering if Jeongguk will let him.
They had been close together the night before, the pictures prove it. Jimin can still feel Jeongguk’s chest against his own, Jeongguk pulling him in, his laughter resounding in his ears. Jeongguk pulls him in this time too, a little but enough to be noticed, and Jimin, drowned in Jeongguk’s doe eyes, doesn’t stop him.
A knock rips Jimin out of his thoughts, leaving him disoriented. His current situation comes back out of nowhere, hitting him like a train, and knocking him off of Jeongguk’s lap. Jimin whimpers when he lands on the ground and rubs his behind.
“Jimin.” Jeongguk gets to his feet and offers Jimin a hand but Jimin swats it away, afraid of his own reaction to Jeongguk being close to him again.
Jimin grabs his backpack and rushes to the door. Before he can open it, Jeongguk blocks Jimin’s way and holds the magazine out to him. “You forgot this.”
Still panting, Jimin grabs the magazine and is forced to look at Jeongguk when Jeongguk tugs at the magazine. “I’ll just buy a new one.”
Jimin’s eyes widen, heart hammering against his ribcage, breath caught in his throat. Another knock resounding form the door breaks them apart. Jimin opens the door, Jeongguk finally letting go of the magazine, and flees without looking back.
Jimin gets a message the next day. Took care of the articles! It says and indeed, the articles online are gone. The physical copies are most probably still going around but Jimin doesn’t mind that too much. They will get thrown away and then burned anyway. The online ones would have stayed forever.
Jimin’s eyes wander over to his closet where he has buried his own copy of the magazine. After coming back from Jeongguk’s office, he was so flustered and annoyed that he didn’t want to look at the magazine at all. Throwing it away is, of course, is also an option but Jimin couldn’t force himself to do it. He still thinks of fighting Jeongguk over it, even dreamt about it once. The way the man clung to it has Jimin wondering why? It appears to be more than just basic physical or sexual attraction. Jeongguk seems genuinely interested in him, and Jimin doesn’t know what to do with this information.
He stared at the pictures for a few minutes, tried to find out what was so special about them. Besides the fact that even he thought they looked like they were in love, he came up empty-handed. Jeon Jeongguk is throwing his world upside down, and he doesn’t like it one bit.
It has been almost a week now since that incident, people all over campus still looking at him sometimes when he walks by but it has subsided in the course of the days. Jimin has been breaking his head over how to get rid of Jeongguk, even asking Hoseok again but he got the same answer and a ‘maybe you should talk to him like an adult’ as if he didn’t know how ridiculous this sounded. Telling Jeongguk to break off the dating, the almost engagement, is asking him to go directly to his parents and say it’s Jimin who doesn’t want to marry him. Jeongguk is neither his friend not under any obligation to act as if he doesn’t want to marry Jimin. Being rejected like that must sit not well with any man, especially not a rich heir. Jeongguk could be nice like Hoseok is saying, Jimin thinking of the way he talked about his family at the party, but the chance of him not being nice is too high to risk it that carelessly.
Jeongguk has now started messaging Jimin occasionally as if he’s in the proper age to flirt over text. Jeongguk technically is but he’s also an heir to a big company and acts so authoritative that Jimin can’t imagine Jeongguk laying in bed at night, staring at his phone and messaging him like a love-struck fool. Jimin can’t even imagine Jeongguk going to bed without his suit.
Okay, that he can but he’d rather not.
Furthermore, Jeongguk isn’t flirting with him per se. He just asks Jimin about his day and another thing here or there but the conversations die out quickly. Jimin doesn’t make any effort to keep up a conversation, slightly feeling bad about it and killing off the doubt with thoughts of how terrible his life would if he were married to Jeongguk, and Jeongguk is too awkward to do it. It’s obvious that Jeongguk doesn’t text often or with people around his age, his texts too formal and grammatically correct. It tugs at Jimin’s heartstrings. But he doesn’t care. Of course, he doesn’t.
A groan comes from Taehyung’s room, Jimin looking up from his plate of breakfast to stare at his friend. The friend groans again, miserably, face puffy with sleep and eyes closed, doomed to walk into something but Jimin can’t be bothered to prevent. He has a text of Jeongguk laid out open in front of him and he’s trying to figure out what to do with it.
There is a loud noise, followed by some cursing, and Jimin only looks up to make sure Taehyung is still alive. He is, so Jimin goes back to his problem at hand.
“Minie Min, I hurt myself,” Taehyung whines and drapes himself over Jimin’s back. “Comfort me.”
“What do I say to this?” Jimin asks, choosing to ignore his friend’s whines and get a solution for his own problem.
Taehyung, still having his arms around Jimin’s shoulder tightly, stares at his phone with squinted eyes. “You say yes and get so drunk that you vomit on Jeongguk’s shoes. He’ll immediately call off the engagement.”
Jimin groans and pushes Taehyung off of himself. Sometimes Taehyung’s plans really are not worth anything. “Why would Jeongguk ask me if I’ll go clubbing with him?”
Taehyung, who is pouting and seemingly in a bad mood because he didn’t get any craved attention, pouts some more and huffs. “Go ask him. My ideas are shit anyway.”
Jimin’s shoulders sag in defeat and he skips over to his friend, circling his arms around his middle. “I’m sorry, Taetae.”
Taehyung squints at Jimin, not fully appeased yet, so Jimin pecks his cheek. Taehyung smiles, turning in Jimin’s arms to hug his friend back.
“What did you tell him?” Taehyung asks, not letting go of Jimin yet.
“Nothing yet. I wasn’t sure how to respond. It’s weird, you know?”
With a sigh, Taehyung pulls. “Well, not really but I might be able to imagine it. You should say yes.”
Jimin frowns, following Taehyung with his eyes as he settles back into his chair. “Why?”
“A club is full of people high on at least one thing. It’ll be easy to do something there that would annoy Jeongguk and drop your pretty ass.”
“Like what? Besides getting drunk and vomiting on his shoes.”
“Letting hot people dance up to you, but don’t make it too obvious. Just be the annoying drunkard.”
Jimin hums, taking his phone into his hands. “Hoseok hyung would say no to this.”
“He would,” Taehyung agrees.
“He also won’t have a better plan or he would have told me.”
“That means I have to go with my own plans.”
“Technically it was my plan.”
Jimin glares at Taehyung for a second and then turns to his phone, agreeing to meet Jeongguk tomorrow night. In case he gets drunk, he has the whole Sunday to get rid of his hangover.
“What do I wear?” Jimin asks, wondering if he should wear normal club outfits when he’s out with the Jeon Jeongguk.
Taehyung smirks at him from the other side of the table, waggling his eyebrows. Seems like letting Taehyung free rein over his outfit wasn’t a good idea. It actually is a good idea, Jimin thinks when he looks at himself in the mirror the next day. The only problem here is that Jimin looks too good. Leather pants is always a good idea when Jimin goes to a club. Those times when he went to a club, looking for a one night stand, Jimin never went out alone. Everyone knows Jimin’s legs look good in leather pants. But what makes him stand out that night is the black and white striped shirt, the black jacket with ambiguous patterns, and his black hair that Jimin thought of dyeing, parted in the middle. Jimin rarely ever goes for that hairstyle, too self-conscious to show his forehead.
“You look amazing,” Taehyung says, standing behind Jimin and assessing his work.
“Yeah but am I supposed to look that amazing?” Jimin inquires, tucking a strand of hair back in its place. It’s the second time that strand got loose. Jimin picks up the hair spray, shields his eyes with his other hand and sprays his fringe with it.
“Yes, you’re not dressed for Jeongguk. You’re dressed for the others. Now you only need to subtly flirt with others and be as annoying as possible. But, like, not Jimin level annoying. Real annoying.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, swatting Taehyung’s hands away. “I know. Thank you for the outfit.”
Taehyung smiles from ear to ear and waggles his eyebrows. “I would tell you to go get him but that’s not what we want. So, go get rid of him.”
Jimin snorts, pulling Taehyung after him. Jeongguk had wanted to send Jimin a car again to get him to the club but he was able to decline that offer. Taehyung drives him there. The club is one where Jimin has never been, a rather popular place for famous people to go to occasionally. It’s understandable that Jeongguk doesn’t want to go to a regular club because of issues like security and safety, but Jimin doesn’t know how fun that place will be or what to expect there. Even Taehyung excessive research on the club hasn’t been able to calm him.
They stop outside of the club, Jimin again a little late, and stare at the building for a little while. On the outside it looks like any other club, a line in front of the door, security guards keeping an eye on them, but from the pictures on the website they know that the interior is a little fancier than one from an average club.
Jimin hasn’t seen the club, he has never been inside it but he still hates it. It basically screams ‘Jeon Jeongguk’s Territory,’ just like all the other places when Jimin and Jeongguk met up. Jimin is always on Jeongguk’s territory. They always meet up where Jeongguk wants them to and Jimin just waddles there, but Jimin is aware he has no right to complain. So far, Jeongguk has always invited him to a date, Jeongguk has always organized them so of course Jeongguk would decide where they meet up. If Jimin isn’t okay with that, then he either needs to speak up or organize the dates.
Jimin spots Jeongguk among the people. He wonders how he could’ve overlooked him and understands why he did simultaneously. He understands because he has been mostly looking at the club and because he has never seen Jeongguk in anything other than a suit before. He doesn’t understand because Jeongguk looks outstandingly handsome. Even Taehyung gapes a little. The dark skinny jeans hug his legs tight and he looks almost sinful in the leather jacket.
The heir looks a little out of place with how he checks his surrounding every second and then looks at his watch, even going as far as picking on his clothes sometimes. Deciding he has made him wait enough, Jimin opens the door.
“I’ll go now,” Jimin announces after he has spent enough time staring at Jeongguk and calming his sudden nerves.
“You can do it!” Taehyung calls after him. “I will be with my parents tonight but you can always call me if something happens.”
Jeongguk spots Jimin as soon as he tries to cross the road, a smile appearing on his face. From up close, Jeongguk looks even better.
“Hey,” Jeongguk greets as soon as Jimin is close enough, meeting him halfway.
Are those locks? Jimin wonders as his eyes fall on Jeongguk’s hair, making his heart and him stutter in his reply, “H-hi.” It makes Jungkook look so soft.
Jeongguk seems to notice that Jimin is staring at his hair and raises a hand to pat his locks. “Is it okay?”
If it weren’t unimaginable, Jimin would say that Jeongguk looks shy, almost nervous as he asks the question. He is now scratching the back of his head with one hand and Jimin almost tells him off for it because he’s ruining his locks but lets it be.
Instead Jimin clears his throat and mutters, “It looks good.” He doesn’t wait to see Jeongguk’s reaction but walks towards the end of the line. Jeongguk catches up to him, guiding Jimin to the entrance of the club.
“Of course we can just walk in with you being here,” Jimin says after the security guards don’t throw them on the ground for trying to enter.
“The club belongs to hyung’s cousin. That’s why they know me. You look gorgeous.”
Jimin is a little taken aback by the sudden change of topics but gladly doesn’t have to say anything as Jeongguk speaks up again. “May I?”
Jeongguk points to Jimin’s jacket which he hastily tries to remove. Jeongguk helps him take the jacket off and offers it to the employee taking care of them. Jimin doesn’t know it as it happens but when he later thinks back to this moment, he knows this is when he makes his first mistake. He watches as Jeongguk removes his leather jacket, a tight, black V-neck hugging his torso and leaving barely anything to the imagination as Jeongguk’s muscly pectorals stick out in it. Jimin gulps, eyes bulging out even more when he sees the shirt has short sleeves and Jeongguk’s biceps are on display.
“Shall we?” Jeongguk asks, and Jimin finds out that he’s thankfully oblivious to Jimin’s small predicament. Jimin hums in agreement and follows Jeongguk further inside.
The club doesn’t look like it did in the pictures on the website but Jimin allocates that to the fact that in the pictures the club was well-lighted and was empty, and now it’s filled with dimmed light and dancing people. He can still recognize the booths though and the bar, and the upper area where the VIP guests go and from where you can look down on the dance floor.
Jeongguk puts a hand on the small of Jimin’s back and leads him up the stairs, Jimin blindly trusting him as he observes the club. It looks good, the atmosphere is amazing and the music is definitely something that he would dance to. If he weren’t here for the purpose of annoying Jeongguk, he would’ve immediately went dancing after taking a shot or two.
“Do you like it?” Jeongguk asks after they sit in a booth. It’s on the other end, far from the dance floor so the music isn’t loud here. The glass that separates the upper area from the down one helps in muffling the music too.
“Not the place I usually go to but it looks very nice,” Jimin admits, instantly wondering if he should’ve said he finds it detestable.
Jeongguk smiles from ear to ear, saying, “Yoongi hyung will be happy to hear that.”
“Of course, I am.”
Jimin looks up, finding a black-haired man stand in front of them. Jeongguk’s whole face brightens up and he gets up to hug the man who hugs him back just as tight. When Jeongguk lets go of him, the man looks at Jimin and holds his hand out. “You must be Mr. Park Jimin. Hello, I’m Min Yoongi. You can call me hyung.”
Jimin shakes his hand, getting to his feet and bows. He is a little surprised when Yoongi sits down next to him and immediately faces him.
“So you’re the famous Mr. Park Jimin?”
Jimin blinks. It’s not that unimaginable that Yoongi knows about him. He does seem close to Jeongguk but then again, their dating is rather new and wouldn’t be spread to every corner of the family, especially to the cousin of the illegitimate son. Which most probably means that Jeongguk told Yoongi. Jeongguk talks about Jimin.
The information makes Jimin feel funny.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk whines, surprising Jimin with the petulant tone. Jimin expected him to be stern but is instead greeted by a small pout.
“How do you know about me?” Jimin asks, following Yoongi’s example about not paying Jeongguk any attention.
“Oh, you know? People talk about you.”
Jeongguk clears his throat, Jimin’s eyes flicking over to him but then back to Yoongi when he speaks up again. “So, you’re studying dance?”
“Yes, I do.”
From there their conversation flows on their own. Yoongi who also went to a university has a lot of similar experiences to Jimin’s which they talk about. Yoongi tells them about the time when he was half naked and got locked out of his dorm room when he was having a rebellious phase and didn’t want to live with his parents. Jimin tells him about that time where the other boys of the dance team played a prank on him and made him believe the practice room was haunted so he wouldn’t always stay behind late. Even though Jimin leaves Jeongguk out, he’s still aware of his presence next to him, aware that Jeongguk is the reason he’s being this focused on Yoongi.
But he also enjoys Yoongi’s company genuinely. The man is funny, his jokes bad but they make Jimin laugh just as much. He throws his head back, throws himself onto Yoongi, puts a hand on Yoongi’s arm or thigh here and there, and smiles at him brightly.
“You have a very nice watch,” Jimin says as their laughter subsides. He leans over Yoongi so he can grab his left wrist and inspect the watch, having no interest in it at all. “What brand is it?”
Jimin raises his eyebrows, never having heard of the brand but sure that it’s expensive. “Sounds fancy. You’re really funny, hyung.”
“Thank you, and you’re just as sweet as I heard,” Yoongi says, Jimin’s smile faltering at the compliment, and he pulls his hand back.
“Why don’t you go and get us drinks?” Jeongguk asks, glaring at Yoongi rather cutely.
“Why don’t you go and get us drinks?” Yoongi counters.
“Because this is your club.”
“Exactly. I’m the boss and your hyung. So go.”
Jeongguk sulks but gets up anyway. “You better not talk about stuff I’ll have to make you regret.”
Yoongi smiles unbothered and then turns to Jimin again. The younger feels a little uncomfortable, Yoongi clearly having wanted some alone time with him. The smile on Yoongi’s face turns a little soft, Jimin not knowing what to do or to expect. He wants to back off but doesn’t want to make his discomfort too known.
“He really likes you.”
Jimin’s heart skips a beat, his breath stutters. His eyes widen and he hides his hands under the table.
“I know this information might burden you,” Yoongi continues, Jimin aware that he noticed his reaction. “That’s not my intention. I don’t know what you think of him or this arrangement but Jeongguk really likes you. And he has a very kind soul. He would never do anything that would hurt you.”
Jimin inhales deeply. He doesn’t know what to do with that information or what to respond. Does Yoongi even want a response? Did Yoongi notice what Jimin is doing and that’s why he told Jimin about this? Jimin suddenly feels ashamed of cosying up to Yoongi like that, the elder surely thinking badly of him now.
Jeongguk doesn’t even know me, Jimin wants to protest, can’t even imagine Jeongguk liking him, but in that moment Jeongguk comes back with the drinks and the conversation is dropped.
Staring at the pink and turquoise drink in front of him, Jimin wonders what it is and what it tastes like. He feels like he’ll need something stronger to get through the night.
“I didn’t know what you liked so I brought this,” Jeongguk says, “If you don’t like it we can just order another one. They’re free anyway.”
“YAH!” Yoongi calls out, Jeongguk instantly smiling mischievously.
As Yoongi goes on a rant Jimin takes a sip of the beverage and smacks his lips. It tastes great, fruity, and is prickling on his tongue.
“I like it,” Jimin speaks up, ending their banter, “Thank you.”
Jeongguk smiles as if he has won an award and then takes a sip of his own drink too.
“Well, I’ll leave you two to it,” Yoongi says as he gets up, drink in his hand untouched, “Hope you have a great time, Jimin.”
“Thanks, hyung. Bye.”
Yoongi leaves, and Jimin and Jeongguk are left alone.
“How was your day?” Jeongguk asks.
“Studied, danced a little. Nothing else,” Jimin retorts and adds after some hesitance. “How was yours?”
Jeongguk seems a little taken off guard, and it gets painfully aware to Jimin that even if he wasn’t a complete asshole to Jeongguk, he still has been one.
“Fine,” Jeongguk responds, and then goes on and on about his day at the office and a difficult client with utterly ridiculous demands. Jimin watches, trying to find the reason for the affection and love he saw in Yoongi’s face earlier when he was talking about Jeongguk. There must be a reason why the man was talking about the heir like that, and Jimin wonders if it could buy him Jimin’s affection too.
Suddenly, Jeongguk gets silent and sheepish, ripping Jimin out of his thoughts. “I’m sorry. This must bore you. I’m in the office all day so I don’t really have anything else to talk about. I’m… I’m really sorry.”
Okay. Wow. Ouch.
Jimin takes a deep breath to recover from Jeongguk’s confession. It’s obvious that the heir would spend the whole day in the office, Jimin himself can’t think of anything the other would be doing besides being in the office and signing papers or whatever, but the way Jeongguk said it tore his heart apart. Jeongguk is younger than him. He shouldn’t be in the office the whole day but be with people of his own age.
“No,” Jimin protests, not even trying to think of what the consequences of his actions will be, “This is your world and we’re supposed to get to know each other. It’s fine.”
Again, Jeongguk seems a little taken off guard. He nods but doesn’t talk about his office again. “Do you want to go dance?”
Jimin agrees, mainly because he doesn’t want to get deeper into Jeongguk’s world and because he needs to start being mean again, which he can’t do as long as he’s too understanding of Jeongguk. He remembers their talk from the restaurant and Jeongguk mentioning that he dances.
“You can finally show me your skills now,” Jimin says as they walk down to the dance floor.
Jeongguk turns around to him, stopping Jimin in the middle of the stairs who almost walks into him. He says with a smile on his lips, “So you do pay attention to the things that I say.”
Jimin’s eyes widen, cheeks heating up. He doesn’t know why he’s embarrassed but he feels like he has given away important information. Judging by the smile on Jeongguk’s face, he seems to be of the same opinion.
Jimin is in the middle of reprimanding himself for not being able to think of a witty response when Jeongguk turns away and starts walking down again. Jimin follows him, albeit a little reluctant. He has underestimated Jeongguk again and can’t allow himself another mistake like that.
“Do your skills of dancing also contain club skills?” Jeongguk asks, a small taunting smirk on his lips again.
Jimin scoffs, a little taken aback that Jeongguk would be so blunt. “Try to keep up,” he says before he starts dancing immediately. He can feel Jeongguk’s eyes on him, enjoying the attention that he gets from the heir because he knows he can use it against him in one of their banters again. If there is one thing Jimin knows, then it’s how to move his body and when to move which part, completely in tune with the beat.
Jimin stops after a few seconds, stepping back so Jeongguk has the majority of small space for himself. Jeongguk’s smile widens at the cocky look on Jimin’s face and he easily follows Jimin’s silent challenge. Begrudgingly, Jimin has to admit that Jeongguk is good. Jeongguk moves his body expertly, there isn’t a single move that looks badly executed but it’s also rather basic, and Jimin is a dancer. He refuses to get beaten at his own game.
Jeongguk lets Jimin take over with a smug smirk, knowing he has impressed Jimin at least a little.
In contemporary dance Jimin has not only learned how to be graceful and look as if your body weighs nothing but also how to be sensual. He knows how to tease and demand attention from everyone. So that’s what he does, gliding his hands over his body, moving his hips, every move deliberate. When he steps back to let Jeongguk have his turn, he knows he has won the round already.
Jeongguk looks flabbergasted. Even in the dim light Jimin can see that Jeongguk’s eyes are dilated and he gulps before starting to dance. Again, Jeongguk is good but he’s not like Jimin. Jimin entered the space of seduction that Jeongguk apparently doesn’t dare enter. His moves are in tune with the music, his strong body visible not only through the dance but also his tight shirt.
When Jeongguk stops, they both know that Jimin has won but Jeongguk just won’t admit. Jimin isn’t surprised by it. Jeongguk wouldn’t be at this point of his life if he weren’t determined. The competitiveness is also an attribute that one would usually associate with an heir, and both of that Jeongguk is showing right now. But Jimin is also nothing short of competitive and determined. Especially in this case since he knows Jeongguk will have to admit defeat at some point. So Jimin goes on, merciless and in for the kill.
After Jeongguk doesn’t admit defeat again, the songs having changed thrice already, Jimin opts for dancing up to Jeongguk during his round. Jimin isn’t ashamed of using all assets that he has. He’d rather not grind on Jeongguk but if that is the only way to make the heir admit defeat, then he’ll gladly do just that.
Jimin expected Jeongguk to pull him in or dance up to him but instead, no matter how close Jimin gets to him Jeongguk is always not close to him. He can feel the heir next to him, he won’t go too far but enough so they don’t touch too much. At one point, all reason leaves Jimin, and he turns to Jeongguk and wraps his arms around Jeongguk’s neck.
“Is that how you dance in a club?” Jimin asks as Jeongguk stiffens.
Jeongguk gulps audibly, hands hovering awkwardly around Jimin’s waist, and counters, “How does one dance in a club?”
Jimin pulls back and smiles tauntingly at Jeongguk. “I thought you knew how to dance,” he says and watches Jeongguk struggle for words. Then he walks past Jeongguk, calling out to him, “I need a drink.”
Unsurprisingly, Jeongguk follows him to the bar, standing close to Jimin in the density of countless bodies. They somehow end up with Jimin’s back against the counter, Jeongguk facing him but looking around and being a respectful distance away – as much as is possible. Jimin discreetly observes Jeongguk, again being reminded of his towering height. As a contemporary dancer, Jimin may be muscly and strong but he’s still small compared to Jeongguk, doesn’t have the broad shoulders and chest.
For the first time, Jimin tries to imagine himself with the man in front of him, tries to imagine a future together with him. Where Jeongguk loves him and he loves him back just as much. An expensive apartment or even a house, a big backyard that is taken care of by professionals and for Jimin to stare at. Soon into painting this odd picture, Jimin realizes that it seems farfetched. He has no idea where Jeongguk lives, how he lives, and, again, who he is. It’s time-wasting to think about such trivialities.
Jimin averts his eyes and locks them with another man to his right who’s also standing at the bar. The way the man is smirking at him makes a chill run down Jimin’s spine, the change from his imagination directly to this is too drastic for him to not be flustered. The man’s eyes rake over Jimin from head to toe, and Jimin almost shivers, skin crawling, but tries his hardest not to show it. He’s contemplating whether he should go over and hit the man or just ignore him when his train of thoughts gets interrupted by an arm that is put between them, that feels like an unbreakable barrier between him and the man. Looking up, he finds Jeongguk watching him with intense eyes, a tense smile on his lips.
Did Jeongguk notice Jimin’s discomfort? Since when did Jeongguk have his eyes on Jimin?
Jeongguk snakes the arm around Jimin’s waist and moves closer to him so he’s wrapped around Jimin. Jimin pushes at Jeongguk’s chest weakly, trying to ignore his thundering heart. Jeongguk merely tightens his grip on him and looks Jimin in the eyes.
Before Jimin can think more about how close he and Jeongguk are suddenly standing and how it makes him feel, their drinks arrive. Jimin takes his own and downs it one go. The fruity cocktail isn’t enough to give him the necessary energy to survive the rest of the evening, so without thinking much about it, he takes Jeongguk’s glass out of his hand and downs it too. The drink is unexpectedly strong, making him cough at his last gulp and sending pleasant warmth through his body after the burning in his throat subsides. There is a tingling in the area of his belly button but this is only the start.
“Maybe you shouldn’t drink this much, hyung,” Jeongguk says as they get their next round of drinks, Jeongguk firmly holding onto his glass so Jimin can’t drink that one too. He has removed his arm from around Jimin but is still standing close.
Jimin wants to tell Jeongguk that he has no right to tell him what to do when he’s the main reason for why he’s in need of this much alcohol, but the urge to drink wins over. He can only deal with Jeon Jeongguk and his pitiful life after he’s drunk enough. Jeongguk refuses to let Jimin get another drink and lures him onto the dance floor with another challenge that is soon forgotten in favour of mindlessly enjoying the music.
“Gukie,” Jimin coos at some point, squishing Jeongguk’s cheeks between his hands.
Jeongguk removes Jimin’s hands and holds them in his, not letting go as Jimin smiles at him without a care in the world. “You’re drunk, hyung.”
“No,” Jimin protests, extending his arms to his sides, “I am dancing.”
In the mass of the bodies, Jimin manages to sneak off to the bar and get two more drinks before Jeongguk finds him again and drags him away from there.
“I want a drink,” Jimin protests, too gone now to realize sober him would never talk in a baby voice to Jeongguk.
Jeongguk suppresses a smile, holding tightly onto Jimin. “But you need to show me how to dance in a club.”
“Say ‘please, Jimin-sunbaenim, teach me how to dance’.”
Jeongguk inhales through his nose, smile apparent in his voice when he repeats, “Please, Jimin-sunbaenim, teach me how to dance.”
Appeased by the fact that Jeongguk not only called him his senior but that the Jeon Jeongguk followed his demand so easily, Jimin starts dancing immediately. Later on, Jimin will realize that Jeongguk isn’t interested in learning how to dance in a club at all but only in distracting Jimin, but now he’s too drunk for this. So he dances shamelessly and in the middle of it ends up with his arms wrapped around Jeongguk’s neck and one thigh between Jeongguk’s legs.
Jeongguk’s hands grab Jimin’s hip in a tight grip, preventing Jimin from moving them to the beat of the music. Jimin gasps at the pressure Jeongguk puts in and shiver runs down his spine when he hears Jeongguk’s voice next to ear.
“What are you doing, hyung?”
Jimin leans into Jeongguk, mind hazy. He wants to feel Jeongguk and how strong he is. How easy would it be for Jeongguk to carry Jimin?
“Jeonggukie, how strong are you?” Jimin asks with a lazy smile.
No longer wanting to wait for an answer, Jimin lets go of Jeongguk and lets himself fall backwards. Jeongguk’s eyes widen when he sees Jimin fall backwards out of nowhere and his hands scramble to get a hold of Jimin. Jimin smiles when Jeongguk prevents him from falling down, arms now tightly wrapped around Jimin’s upper body, doe eyes still wide.
“Don’t do that again, hyung,” Jeongguk warns, placing Jimin upright.
“Why not?” Jimin whines and snuggles into Jeongguk’s arms, smiling when he feels Jeongguk’s muscles flex. He wonders how they’ll feel around him when they’re naked, skin on skin.
“It’s dangerous,” Jeongguk says but Jimin doesn’t hear it, too busy following his previous thought-line.
He thinks of the time when he was straddling Jeongguk’s lap in his office, how Jeongguk felt under him, his muscly thighs, and wants to do it again. Jimin feels an urge to feel Jeongguk in all ways possible, explore the man’s body. His cock twitches at the thought.
“Jeongguk,” Jimin whines, hands sliding up Jeongguk’s chest and hooking around his nape.
Jeongguk stops talking what he has been talking about and gulps audibly. “Y-yes, hyung?”
“Can we go back to the booth? Please?”
“Why? Are you not feeling well?” Jeongguk frowns, hand coming up to feel Jimin’s forehead and cheek.
Jimin leans into the touch and closes eyes. He shakes his head and thrusts against Jeongguk, letting him feel his semi. Jeongguk freezes instantly, jaw falling open as he looks at Jimin with horror written in his eyes.
Jimin slurs his answers, eyes drooping as he waits for Jeongguk to take him upstairs. It’s getting harder and harder for him to stand on his own, as a result leaning more onto Jeongguk. Jimin smiles when Jeongguk pulls him off the dance floor and follows without protest, too drunk to do so and to remember what happens afterwards.
The next day when Jimin wakes up he has, unsurprisingly, a murderous headache. Jimin likes to drink. He knows how to handle his liquor but the night before had been too much anyway. Refusing to wake up and surrender to the pain, Jimin shuts his eyes tightly and hopes he falls back asleep again. Sleep is so much better than having to endure this, and he doesn’t know what he has done to his body that it refuses to do as Jimin wishes. He got drunk, yes, but that doesn’t mean his body should betray him like this. As his sleepiness gets less and less, and his headache gets worse and worse, Jimin groans and kicks off the blankets angrily. All he wants is some rest, some sleep, and to not have this headache. This isn’t too much to ask. This small wish of his could easily be granted but no, he has-
Jimin jumps up, and groans when a sharp pain shoots through his head. He clutches his head with both hands, wishing he had something to calm it with. He hates himself right now. The mattress dips on the side and a hand touches Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin should look up and check who this is but he’s too distracted right now.
Jimin engulfs the glass of water that is offered to him and the hand around it without hesitation, almost groaning when the cold water soothes his dry throat. He could kiss the person for this. A saviour deserves a kiss.
Emptying the glass, Jimin wishes it were bigger, still feeling thirsty. At least his throat is soothed and he can finally look up to see who his saviour is. Jimin groans when he comes face to face with Jeongguk, remembering the night before, and lets his head fall on Jeongguk’s shoulder. He’s in too much pain and regret to care about the fact that he’s leaning onto Jeongguk’s shoulder. Instead he has to fight the urge to wrap his arms around Jeongguk’s shoulder to cuddle up to him. He becomes whiny and needy when he’s in pain but that doesn’t mean he can just hug the man.
A hand makes its way into Jimin’s hair, the weight of it against his head feels heavenly, would even more so if it wanders over Jimin’s stiff neck and aching back. Jimin almost moans when the fingers start scratching his scalp. His hands twitch at his side, wanting to close around Jeongguk’s middle but he keeps them where they are.
Jeongguk’s hand wanders lower to Jimin’s neck, massaging the muscle as if having heard Jimin’s silent demand. Jimin’s breath hitches, biting his lower lip to not let any sound out. He nuzzles Jeongguk’s neck, inhaling the man’s scent. Jeongguk smells clean, as if he has freshly showered, and there is a mild flowery scent that Jimin would rather associate with women and not men.
Jimin’s breathing turns ragged, body slowly melting as Jeongguk lowers his hand a little more and kneads the knots out of Jimin’s shoulder. The touch is warm, Jeongguk’s skin soft against his, treating the muscle delicately. Heat is coiling in Jimin’s lower stomach that turns into a pleasant tingling. He is about to ask Jeongguk to use his second hand too to massage his naked shoulder when he recoils. He slaps Jeongguk’s hand away, staring wide-eyed at his own chest. His naked chest. Jimin covers it with both hands, wide eyes now turned to Jeongguk. To his horror, Jimin notices he’s only wearing boxer shorts, cheeks setting aflame with the realization.
“Why am I half naked?”
Jeongguk blinks his stupefied expression away and puts his hand that was massaging Jimin’s shoulder a few seconds ago in his lap. “I thought they would be uncomfortable to sleep in so I took them off.” Jeongguk gets to his feet before Jimin can respond and picks up some folded clothes from the top of a dresser and brings them to Jimin. “They’re mine but I thought you’d want something comfortable for now. I made breakfast, haejangguk, but you should shower first.”
“No,” Jimin protests although the offer sounds tempting, “I think I should go home.”
Jeongguk’s expression falls but he composes himself fast. “Well, I kind of wanted to spare you that information but you threw up and look a little tousled. A shower will do you good and so will breakfast. More, like, lunch but yeah.”
Jimin stares at Jeongguk with an open mouth, not quite believing what he just heard. He threw up in front of Jeongguk and has no recollection of anything. Or how he got here, wherever “here” is.
Jimin looks at Jeongguk, thinks of his headache and the sour taste in his mouth, the dried sweat on his body. With a defeated sigh, he nods, Jeongguk’s face instantly lighting up. After explaining where the shower is and spare brushes and towels, Jeongguk leaves for the kitchen and lets Jimin shower in peace. He is grateful for the shower as soon as the warm water hits his body. It’s a little surprising to see Jeongguk use shampoos and body washes with mild fruity or flowery scents.
His thoughts wander to other issues when the pain in his head finally subsides a little. This is most probably Jeongguk’s apartment or house Jimin is in. This begs the question whether Jimin is in the Jeon residence or somewhere where Jeongguk lives alone. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
As Jimin scrubs his body with soap, he thinks back to the night before. Jimin can recall quite a few things but it gets blurry when it reaches the part where him and Jeongguk danced for a second time. Why is Jimin here? Did anything happen in the club? Did anything happen here?
Jimin freezes at the thought of Jeongguk taking advantage of Jimin in a drunk state. He washes the lather away hurriedly and inspects his body in the mirror for any signs or marks, any indication that might show Jeongguk touched him. There is nothing. Jimin was wearing his boxer shorts. He doubts Jeongguk would have put them back on if they had sex.
Furthermore, Jeongguk also was fully dressed and not laying in bed next to him when he woke up. But Jeongguk was in the room. But there is no way they had sex, and Jimin doubts Jeongguk would take advantage of him, especially after Yoongi claimed Jeongguk likes him. But maybe that is the exact reason – and the dating – that Jeongguk might have felt entitled to sex with his boyfriend, or whatever Jimin is.
Jimin puts on the clothes Jeongguk lent him and rushes back into the room. He looks at the bed, tries to see what it can tell him. Sighing, Jimin removes the covers to inspect the sheets. They look okay, look like someone has slept on them but don’t look rumpled enough to claim that two men had sex on them. And only the pillow on the right side of the bed, the one Jimin slept on, appears to be slept on. The other one looks almost perfectly tidy.
Calming his heart, Jimin inhales and exhales deeply. Once, twice, and again. He goes back into the bathroom to dry his hair with the towel properly and brushes his teeth without toothpaste because he hates how it ruins the taste of food.
“Okay,” Jimin tells himself, “Relax. You can do it! It’s just breakfast.”
After a few more seconds of pep talk, Jimin exists the bathroom and, guessing from the lack of personal things, guest room. The first thing Jimin notices about the place he is at, is that it smells of delicious food. Then that the place is big. There are three closed doors to his right and to his left he can see bits of a living room. Following that path slowly, Jimin does make it to the living room where Jeongguk is sitting on the couch, laptop on the coffee table. The concentrated look on his face turns soft when he looks up and sees Jimin, lips twitching up, and Jimin has to look away.
“Hyung, you’re done.”
“Come on. The table is set already.”
Jeongguk closes the laptop and walks up to Jimin. Jimin’s mouth falls open, eyes widening, as Jeongguk takes Jimin’s hand into his and leads him to the dining table at the corner of the living room. Jimin is too taken aback to react properly, more concentrated on the way his hand drowns in Jeongguk’s. He can’t look at that either, his heart leaping into his throat at the sight.
Just like in the restaurant, Jeongguk pulls the chair back for Jimin at the head of the table but unlike then, this time Jimin seats himself in it. Jeongguk sits down next to him while Jimin is eyeing all the dishes and the pots on the table that seem too much for just two people. Jeongguk opens one, revealing the kongnamulguk Jeongguk talked about, pours a bowl full of it and sets it in front of Jimin. Then he fills a bowl with rice, also setting it in front of Jimin. He pushes the fish and various side dishes closer to Jimin. Jimin watches with wide eyes, frozen in his seat.
“Eat well, hyung,” Jeongguk says with a smile.
This sets Jimin into motion and he picks up the spoon, muttering a ‘thank you,’ and dips the spoon into the soup. He blows air on the soup and smacks his lips when he drinks it. His stomach thanks him for finally giving him food after so many hours, his tongue just as much as the rich taste of the soup fills his mouth.
For a moment, Jimin forgets his manners and gulps down the soup spoon by spoon. His last meal is fifteen hours ago and the soup, even if it isn’t as tasty as what he’s used from home and restaurants, is still good. Jimin is about to eat a big spoon of rice when Jeongguk puts some fish on his spoon. That makes Jimin slow down his pace. He stares at the fish and then at Jeongguk who is back to eating his own food, the tips of his ears red. Jimin catches his lower lips between his teeth and lets it spring free. Deciding against thanking Jeongguk since both are obviously embarrassed by the act, Jimin simply puts the fish in his mouth.
It almost seems like Jeongguk is trying to prove to Jimin that he can take of him. No. This can’t be it even if it makes sense. Jimin shakes his head to get rid of the thought and resumes eating.
Jimin takes his time to assess Jeongguk from the corner of his eyes. It’s his first time seeing Jeongguk in casual clothes, some white shirt and loose sweatpants. It makes him appear as what he is, the barely adult man, someone younger than Jimin. It makes him appear as if he and Jimin could be friends, roommates maybe even, and are eating breakfast together before each goes to his own class. Swallowing his food gets hard suddenly.
Jeongguk looks attractive like this. He becomes real. So far, all Jeongguk had been was an heir, far away and from a different world. Him and Jimin had nothing in common. But as Jimin looks at him now, Jeongguk appears close and familiar. Imagining a future, not a marriage but something, becomes much easier.
Jimin clears his throat and averts his eyes.
After his stomach isn’t aching anymore from hunger, Jimin eats slower, mind now busy wondering what happened the night before. It takes him three more bites before he musters up enough courage to ask Jeongguk about it.
“What happened last night?”
Jeongguk looks up from his bowl and asks, “What do you remember?”
“I remember dancing with you after drinking at the bar,” Jimin retorts, trying not to blush at the memory of grinding up to Jeongguk, “And then it’s kind of black. But even here memories are muddled up.”
Jeongguk nods, taking a sip of his water before he talks. “I took you upstairs again for a break but by then you were pretty drunk. So I decided to go home. No one called you, your friend wasn’t outside and your phone is locked. It wasn’t an appropriate time to call your parents and bring you home while you’re drunk, and you got sick so I took you to my apartment. I hope you don’t mind.”
Jimin does mind, to be honest, but he also doesn’t. He doesn’t want to be in Jeongguk’s apartment with the man, alone, especially because of what happened after Jimin woke up. Remnants of Jeongguk’s touch are still lingering although Jimin scrubbed his neck hard in the shower. But he’s relieved about not being delivered home drunk of his ass. His parents wouldn’t have liked seeing that.
“Thank you,” Jimin says after the silence has lasted for multiple seconds.
“Of course, hyung.”
Jimin hesitates at the next question, unsure of how to ask. Again. “Did I do something embarrassing last night?”
Jeongguk looks at Jimin wide doe eyes at first. Then a smirk takes over and he says, “I didn’t know you could be that cute and demanding at the same time, Diminie.”
Jimin could swear he blanches, mouth falling open in horror but he feels his cheeks burn red. He is frozen for one second and then hides his face in his hands. “I am so ready to die,” he mutters into his hands.
“Aww, but Jeonggukie doesn’t want Diminie to die,” Jeongguk mocks, cringy baby voice on and making Jimin let out a pained groan.
“I’m going to kill you and sell your soul to the devil.”
Jeongguk laughs out loud, a sound Jimin hasn’t heard so far. Jimin never thought any of the would comfortable around each other to laugh like that, head thrown back and laughter loud but apparently something has changed since the night before. Jimin thinks of their intertwined hands and Jeongguk’s hand on his neck. Now he has Jeongguk’s laughter to add to that list.
“Can your hands even kill someone?”
Jimin glares at Jeongguk. “You wanna find out?”
Jeongguk rolls his eyes exaggeratedly, obviously mocking the elder again. What he says is even worse. “Please. Diminie should just eat his breakfast.”
Jimin gasps at Jeongguk’s audacity and swats his arm. Jeongguk groans, gripping his arm as if he’s hurt.
“I didn’t even hurt you that bad, you liar,” Jimin says, amused at Jeongguk’s antics.
“I’m dying,” Jeongguk groans, leaning his head to the side.
“Oh, good. Do so.”
Jeongguk looks up with an exaggerated pout. “That’s mean, Diminie.”
“Okay, that’s it,” Jimin says and gets out of his chair. Jeongguk merely laughs as Jimin attacks him and raises his hands to deflect Jimin’s hits.
Jimin gasps scandalized when Jeongguk pushes him. It doesn’t hurt physically but it does hurt his pride how easy it is for Jeongguk to push Jimin. Jimin flicks Jeongguk’s forehead and freezes when Jeongguk genuinely groans this time.
“Are you alright?” Jimin asks, pushing Jeongguk’s fringe away.
Jeongguk grabs his hand, smirking when he looks up. “Got you,” he whispers in an ominous voice.
Jimin’s eyes widen, and it’s impulsive when he tries to free his hand and run away. Jeongguk gets out of his seat when Jimin almost frees himself and wraps an arm around Jimin’s waist. Jimin pushes him away, happy to see Jeongguk doesn’t have it as easy as he thought he would. Jimin manages to free his hand and attempts to run past Jeongguk but Jeongguk catches him by his middle. One second, Jimin’s feet are on the floor, and the other, Jeongguk has thrown him over his shoulder, one arm tightly wrapped around Jimin thighs and his hand comes up to spank Jimin’s ass. Jimin gasps, feels his cock twitch and blood rush into his head and cock.
“Jeongguk,” Jimin breathes once he finds his voice back, “Put me down.”
“Don’t want to,” Jeongguk responds, tightening his arm around Jimin’s legs.
Jimin suppresses a moan when he feels Jeongguk’s arm flex, the muscles moving on Jimin’s clad legs. Jeongguk readjusts Jimin, Jimin’s hands scrambling against Jeongguk’s back for support.
“I mean it. Put me down. Now.”
“Nope, you’re just going to be mean again.”
“I’m sorry. I won’t,” Jimin says, trying to keep his crotch from touching Jeongguk. That’s when he remembers pressing his semi-boner to Jeongguk the previous night, asking him to take him to the booth.
Jimin whimpers when he remembers that, and the whole situation comes crashing down on him. What is he even doing? He’s supposed to make Jeongguk dislike him but is instead always in his arms, flirting with him.
Upon hearing Jimin whimper, Jeongguk puts Jimin down, worry etched on his face. “Are you alright, hyung?” Jeongguk asks, hands hovering around Jimin.
Jimin pushes them away and nods, avoiding Jeongguk’s eyes. He has been too nice to Jeongguk lately. Feeling like everything is out of his control and about to go wrong, Jimin is suddenly frustrated and turns silent. When did the events turn against him like that? Jimin can’t tell.
Jimin’s answers are clipped from then on and Jeongguk’s smile slowly dies down with each failed attempt to joke with Jimin or get him to talk. The look is tugging at Jimin’s heart, a deep and surprisingly strong part of him wants to restore the smile on Jeongguk’s face and beat his own ass for being a douche, but another, small part is telling him to keep going and end it for his own good. That’s what he wants after all.
“I’m fine,” Jimin says. “I have to go.”
“Oh,” Jeongguk gasps, “Yeah.”
Jimin rushes away from the table after getting his clothes before he can do anymore damage. Back in the room he woke up in, Jimin finds his phone on the nightstand, fully charged and with a ton of messages from Taehyung and his mother. Ignoring the ones from his mother, Jimin assures Taehyung that he’s fine and that he will tell him everything as soon as they’re back home.
It’s odd to wear the clothes from the night before even if they’re washed. But even as they smell the scent of detergent that always lingers on Jeongguk a little, they’re still better than Jeongguk’s clothes that are scorching his skin.
Jimin wants to leave as soon as possible but his polite side is refusing to leave before he doesn’t thank Jeongguk at least once, and decides to wait for him in the living room. That’s the least he can do after everything Jeongguk has done for him.
It’s weird to see Jeongguk’s living space. It’s so big, too big for a single person. The interior of the apartment is a little more modern but from different smaller decoration and extras that don’t fit into it, Jimin can recognize an attempt at making the apartment look homier. Then there are also the paintings, so many of them.
He gets a tiny heart attack when Jeongguk enters the living room wearing his suit. It gets painfully aware who Jeongguk really is, the opposite of what Jimin saw mere minutes ago at the dining table.
“Where should I drop you off?” Jeongguk asks, fidgeting with his cufflink.
“Nowhere. I’ll take the bus or train. I just stayed back to thank you.”
Jeongguk looks up, cufflink forgotten for a moment. “Let me drive you, hyung,” he insists. “The bus here is far away and you’ll have to change trains and busses a lot until you the inner-city.” Seeing Jimin’s hesitation, Jeongguk adds. “At least let me drive you to the stop where your bus or train stops.”
The train that will directly drive him home isn’t in the direction of Jeongguk’s office but even if, Jimin doesn’t want to tell Jeongguk about it. Only one train drives at that stop and Jimin doesn’t want Jeongguk to know in which direction he lives. At this point, he’s being irrational and maybe a tad bit paranoid, but he wants to remain as far from away Jeongguk as possible.
“Take me to your office. I’ll drive from there,” Jimin says.
Jeongguk nods and leads Jimin to the underground carpark.
“Do you think I’ll stalk you if you tell me where you live?” Jeongguk asks after they have been driving for five minutes in silence.
Jimin didn’t think that Jeongguk has noticed Jimin’s refusal to tell him where he lives, which is stupid because he knows Jeongguk is not stupid. He’s an heir, a soon to be CEO, and he’s most probably cunning and ruthless. Jeongguk has many enemies and thus must know how to play games but Jimin had still hoped. Now he feels bad. He shouldn’t though. Why should he? It’s not like he owes Jeongguk anything.
“No,” Jimin retorts, not elaborating. Instead he looks out the window and thinks of everything that isn’t Jeon Jeongguk.
They drive in silence then, Jeongguk only speaking up when they reach the stop close to the office.
“I have to tell you something, just in case you get approached again. Sometimes paparazzi sneak into hyung’s club and I think one was there yesterday. He may have taken some pictures of us although I’m sure you’re not in them.”
Jimin sighs, feeling his headache come back slowly. He will have to live with this apparently from now on. Hopefully he won’t have to get used to it, since he has no intentions of staying with Jeongguk. Once Jeongguk says no and disappears from his life, so will the reporters. Like a nightmare.
“Okay,” Jimin says. “Thank you.” He opens the door to step out and get his train back home so he can fall into his bed and relax.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk says when Jimin puts one foot out, voice sounding unsure. It makes Jimin sit back in his seat and face Jeongguk. “I-I’m sorry if I offended you earlier. I didn’t mean any harm with the teasing.”
“Teasing?” Jimin inquires against his better judgement. Something in Jeongguk’s expression makes him weak. If Jeongguk’s tone makes him stop, his expression renders him useless.
“About you using aegyo when you’re drunk and carrying you. I got ahead of myself. I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.”
“That- that wasn’t it,” Jimin assures. He opens his mouth to say something else but then closes it. Jeongguk is staring at him with doe eyes, not the heir with the authoritative voice but like a child who is waiting to be scolded. Why does Jeon Jeongguk have to change so much? Why can’t he just be an asshole?
“It’s not that,” Jimin says after a while. It would physically pain him to leave Jeongguk behind in a state of distress. He needs Jeongguk to know it wasn’t his fault. “I just suddenly remembered I hadn’t messaged Tae back and that I still need to train that one choreography before Hoseok hyung kills me, and the tests that are coming up. Reality just caught up with me.”
“Oh,” Jeongguk mutters, looking at his own hand. He looks up when he speaks again. “You should have told me, hyung. I wouldn’t have asked you out if I knew you are busy. Your study is important and you shouldn’t jeopardize it because of me.”
There seem to be a lot of things Jimin can’t do correctly lately. “No, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I have to go now. Bye.”
Jimin slams the door shut and runs down the stairs to the subway. He needs to be far away from Jeongguk, before he gives in and actually looks back to see what the man is doing, whether he’s watching Jimin leave.
At home, Jimin barely manages to slip out of his clothes, having answered his mother’s messages in the train, and falls on his bed. His mind is racing, a voice constantly knocking where Jimin has shut it out but he wants peace for a little longer. That’s why he ignores the voice and what it wants to say, and closes his eyes to get a little more sleep. He will have to get back to dancing again before Hoseok really beats his ass.
Jimin barely sleeps for half an hour and then gets up again. Taehyung will be back soon so Jimin prepares something to eat, other than instant meals. He ate well at Jeongguk’s, and needs to get the taste out of his mouth.
As food is cooking in the pot, Jimin takes out his phone to look for any articles about last night. If there are any, they surely must have blown up as much as the last ones if not more. Much to his dismay, there are articles but at least no pictures that caught Jimin’s face properly. He forgets all that as soon as he reads what they’re saying.
The oh-so-perfect-heir is now starting to act up. Who is the mysterious boy forcing him into clubs? Another one says: Is Jeon Jeongguk’s Rebellious Teenager Phase Now Kicking In? and quite frankly, Jimin is disgusted.
Almost all of the articles make up the most ridiculous stories about who Jimin is and why Jeongguk visited a nightclub with him. Is is that hard to understand that people go to the nightclub? With horror, Jimin realizes that those are the nicer articles. Some are downright disgusting, discussing Jeongguk’s dead father and saying how he and the pressure of being an heir to a business like that is the reason why Jeongguk is “going down the wrong path.”
By the time Jimin is finished with the article, he feels physically sick, as if he could throw up. He can’t even imagine how Jeongguk must feel reading articles like that. Jimin remembers the way Jeongguk talked about his father’s business, how much it meant to him, and to see people drag it down in some articles and bring his father into it has him seething.
Before he knows what he’s doing, Jimin has turned off the stove, has called Jeongguk and is pressing his phone to his ears, heart beating loudly. It’s already past four and Jimin doesn’t know whether Jeongguk is busy or not. Or if he hasn’t seen the articles already but he hopes he hasn’t. Jeongguk does not deserve that.
“Hello. Is everything alright, hyung?”
“Why are you assuming that something bad happened?” Jimin asks, getting distracted by Jeongguk’s tone and question.
“You never call.”
Jimin almost sighs. He knows he doesn’t, but the way Jeongguk says it makes him feel guilty. As if he has been ignoring a responsibility of his or has broken a promise. Choosing to go back to the reason he called Jeongguk for, he says, “Have you read any articles about us from yesterday.”
“No. Did they write anything idiotic again?”
Hearing faint tapping sounds from the background, Jimin panics and exclaims, “DON’T! Don’t look them up.”
“Why not?” Jeongguk sounds confused as he asks.
“Just, please don’t. They’re stupid and not worth it. I know I haven’t given you much reason to trust me but please trust me on this. Don’t look them up and don’t read them, okay?”
It’s quiet on the other end of the line, and for a moment Jimin thinks he has lost Jeongguk, that Jeongguk has looked the articles up nonetheless and is reading every single horrible thing written about him, but then he speaks up.
“Okay,” Jeongguk agrees, Jimin sighing relieved. “I won’t.”
Now that Jimin no longer has a reason to talk to Jeongguk, he doesn’t know what else to say. Does he just hang up or say goodbye or be an asshole again to show Jeongguk that he doesn’t care about him and this has only been a one-time thing.
“Thank you for caring, hyung,” Jeongguk says out of nowhere.
It takes a second for Jimin to register the words and its meaning, and when he does, his heartbeat spikes up. The articles, the sympathy he has for Jeongguk, Jeongguk’s words and tone are too much in that moment. He’s overwhelmed and panics. He ends the call.
For a few days, nothing happens. Jimin’s words about his load of work seems to have scared Jeongguk off but not enough to stop texting him. No one approaches Jimin about the articles, no one asks him questions besides his mother who has made it her habit to look Jeongguk up every day, especially when he’s out with Jimin. Jimin thought she’d pull his ears for how close he was standing to Jeongguk in those pictures, and she did say that she’d disapprove if this were a normal case but since it’s about seducing Jeongguk, she’s “glad that you’re giving your all, Jimin.” Jimin only sat there frozen.
It’s almost two weeks later when Jimin gets approached by a man when he’s on his way to the university.
“Excuse me, Sir?”
“I’m Kang Youngsoo and I have a few questions for you,” the man greets Jimin, extending his hand.
Jimin shakes the man’s hand, now wary. He never had any random people introduce themselves like that on the street when they were asking for the way or the time. They just always asked. Unless this isn’t a random person but someone who hasn’t selected Jimin spontaneously.
“What kind of questions?”
Jimin tries to get a better look at his face and see if he knows the man but half of his face is covered by a mask and he’s wearing a hat. It’s normal clothing, almost half of the people around them are wearing headgear and more than half of them are wearing a mask, but the combination of these two and the man’s question is odd.
Youngsoo pulls something out of the inner side of his jacket, Jimin instinctively taking a step back, and holds it out to Jimin. It’s a magazine, one he and Jeongguk were featured in.
“This is you with Jeon Jeongguk, right?”
“Yes,” Jimin says, eyes still on the magazine.
The man pulls it back, putting it in his jacket again. “I have a few questions about Jeon Jeongguk if you wouldn’t mind me asking.”
Jimin sucks in a breath, close to telling the man off. “I’m in a hurry,” Jimin says instead. “I don’t have the time for that right now. Sorry.”
“That’s fine. We can meet up later, discuss everything over a cup of coffee.”
The man takes out his card and holds it out to Jimin. Something tells Jimin that the man won’t back off easily, maybe go even as far as follow him around. That’s why he hesitantly takes the card, thanks the man, and put it into his wallet in front of him. Jimin sighs relieved when the man leaves.
He sets off into the direction of the subway. It’s not that odd to be approached by a reporter considering the circumstances he’s in but it’s still weird that the reporter wanted to ask questions about Jeongguk. Jimin fastens his pace, not wanting the man to follow him. He’s a little relieved when he barely makes it into the train, the reporter no doubt lost.
Jimin pushes it into the deepest part of his mind, intent on forgetting all about it and concentrating on his dancing and university. Everything is tough and it’s only going to get tougher. Jimin isn’t allowed to fail, he has to prove to his parents and to everyone else that he is good at dancing and that dancing is worth it. If he doesn’t make top, then what will he tell his parents what he left ‘everything’ for? What brings him back to the reporter though is Jeongguk, who randomly calls him during practice. For a moment, Jimin contemplates not to pick up, ignoring the way his heart constricts, but then he wonders if he has something to say about the reporter and gives in.
“Hyung, good afternoon.” Jeongguk sounds breathless, not anxious but soft.
“Is this a bad time?”
“No,” Jimin assures, catching Hoseok’s eyes from the other end of the studio. “Now is good. Did you want something?”
“Just wanted to ask how you’re doing and… hear your voice, I guess.”
Jimin closes his eyes, inhaling deeply. He doesn’t know where the ache in his chest comes from. Having to listen to Jeongguk makes the man so much more real than he was in the past days, and Jimin is hit with his existence, the fact that he is.
“I’m doing fine. Pretty fine… How’s it in the office?” Jimin can’t bring it over himself to ask about Jeongguk but he can at least do this.
“Fine. There’s always so much to do and so much to learn. It gets overwhelming at times. Sorry that was personal,” Jeongguk apologizes with a chuckle. He doesn’t sound amused, just embarrassed.
“It’s fine,” Jimin forces out but also not. He’s always conflicted when it comes to Jeongguk. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Yeah,” Jeongguk agrees but doesn’t pick up where he left. Instead it’s silent for a while, Jimin listening closely to Jeongguk breathe. Then Jeongguk speaks up again, hurried as if he has been running a mile. “Are you free this evening, hyung?”
“Is it about the reporter?”
Seems like Jimin got ahead of himself again. “Just a reporter. Wanted to ask me some questions when I was on my way to university. Nothing more.”
“I just thought seeing each other again would be nice but this is something that we should talk about. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“He didn’t insist on anything and let me leave. I didn’t think it’s something worth mentioning.”
“Hyung, he caught you on your way to your university. He may be stalking you. I’ll come over, if that’s okay.”
“Okay,” Jimin agrees, lets his instincts take over at this point without his mind meddling. It screams at him as soon as he has agreed but it’s too late already, and Jimin doesn’t really regret it.
Upon Hoseok’s calling, Jimin puts his phone away and starts dancing with the group again. It’s a tough choreography, even more so for Jimin and two more dancers because they’re dancing in two acts. It’s not certain yet whether the three will dance with Hoseok because Hoseok has been still discussing with the superiors about funding part of their performance and outfits but so far it hasn’t been successful. Jimin is planning to ask Hoseok again after the class.
He’s still in the middle of practice when there is a knock on there is a knock the door and Jeongguk enters. Jimin instantly freeze, stops moving and causes another dancer to walk into him because he didn’t free the spot her. He falls onto the ground and the girl on top of him.
The girl gets off Jimin, slapping Jimin’s back and scolding him for not paying attention, and Jimin groans. There is a hand on his shoulder and arm, helping him sit up.
“Are you alright?”
Jeongguk is kneeling in front of him, worried eyes focused on Jimin. Jimin takes his hand and gets up, rubbing his hurt elbow. Jeongguk removes his hand from his elbow and pulls his sleeve to look at the hurt spot. It’s forming red, just like Jimin’s neck. Jimin subtly pulls his arm out of Jeongguk’s grip when he feels the gazes of everyone in the room on them.
The music has stopped playing and everyone has stopped dancing. Jeongguk notices it too, pulls back embarrassed. Jimin almost falls to Hoseok’s feet in gratitude when he speaks up.
“You can wait for Jimin at the back,” he says to Jeongguk and then turns to the dancers. “Everyone back at their places. Jimin, Yoojung, are you good to go?”
The two nod, and Jeongguk walks to the back to sit on the bench.
It’s odd to dance in front of Jeongguk. Jimin has danced with the man already, twice even, but this is something else. It’s the first time Jeongguk is in his life, in his world that means so much to Jimin. Jimin hadn’t expected Jeongguk to waltz right into his dance practice, and to tell the truth, he’s quite nervous about it. So far, he has kept Jeongguk out of everywhere and it’s unnerving to see him suddenly in such an important part of his life.
It doesn’t help that he can feel Jeongguk’s gaze on him the whole time. They even make eye-contact when Jimin looks into the mirror for the times he has to watch straight ahead. He tries not to look at Jeongguk in the mirror but it’s hard, nearly impossible. Jimin also doesn’t understand why the man had to wear what he’s wearing. A long, dark blue coat, a white shirt, and dark jeans. The worst part about it is that his shirt is tucked into his jeans, showing off his waist and emphasizing his broad shoulder. It fits the man too well.
Other dancers from the group also stare at Jeongguk, at least three of them having recognized him despite the mask he’s still wearing inside the studio. There’s still half an hour left for practice to end when they take a break, and Jimin asks Hoseok if he can leave now. Hoseok’s eyes flick over to Jeongguk and he nods. Jimin jogs over to Jeongguk, sitting down next to him with a bottle of water.
“I’ll go take a quick shower and then we can go,” Jimin says breathlessly.
“It’s fine if you have still practice. Like I said, I shouldn’t get in the way of your study.”
Jimin shakes his head. “It’s fine.”
“You’re good,” Jeongguk says then, looking at Jimin intently.
Jimin hesitates, not having expected that from Jeongguk. He wonders how closely the man has been watching him. “Thank you. I’ll be right back.”
Jimin grabs his stuff and puts his bag and his phone on the bench in the changing room. He hates that he can’t enjoy the shower but there are more important things waiting for him. But just because he has to be fast doesn’t mean he doesn’t put any effort into looking good. Jimin has to look good, especially next to Jeongguk. After obsessing over himself for five minutes in the mirror, Jimin walks back into the practice and is stunned when he sees Jeongguk in the middle of the dance floor. He has discarded his jacket on the bench and his mask is gone, everyone most probably aware now who he is.
Jimin steps back to watch Jeongguk and see how the man dances. It’s a very short time for him to have learned the choreography which is why Hoseok only showed him the main parts of it that aren’t too complicated. And Jeongguk; Jeongguk dances well. He’s amazing for someone who doesn’t dance regularly and maybe also hasn’t done so properly in a long time.
Jeongguk is hesitant, Jimin notes. The way he stops after making a mistake and then looks at Hoseok for guidance is even cute. Hoseok teaches him patiently, the rest watching and here and there showing Jeongguk ways that may make the execution easier, and Jeongguk listens.
Jimin’s eyes widen when Jeongguk looks into the mirror and their eyes meet. Jeongguk stops again and turns around, everyone turning with him.
“You’re done, hyung,” Jeongguk says, hand going to the back of his head.
Jimin nods and motions to the door. “We can leave now.”
“Before you go, I have to say something,” Hoseok interrupts. “It’s about our performance at the festival. The dance department won’t pay for our costumes and stage extras since the university lowered the allowance for the department this year, and we only got third place in the last competition which didn’t bring in enough money to pay for all of it. So I guess, this year we have to skip the festival performance.”
“But, oppa,” Yoojung speaks up, “This is your last semester. You have to perform to be seen by some sponsors and talent scouts.”
It’s true. Jimin specializes in contemporary dance and has a spot in another group where he can show the scouts his talents. Even if he has been addressed by many talent scouts already, he still has this chance to impress more people, and Hoseok who also deserves it, sadly doesn’t.
“It’s fine. I already have a lot of achievements and numbers from choreographers and sponsors, and we still have the end of the year performance. We will give our all then.”
That will be too late, the majority, if not all, spots in groups and work places will be given out by then. Even Hoseok’s immense talent won’t help him if that is the case. Jimin wishes he could do something, his heart hurting for his hyung.
Jeongguk puts his jacket on and asks. “When is the festival?”
“In a month.”
“Can you even get spot for the show and get a choreography done by then?” The question is directed at Hoseok, sounds oddly formal. Jimin eyes Jeongguk with a frown.
Hoseok furrows his eyebrows, faces Jeongguk, and says, “We already have a choreography and a spot. We’re only missing the money and that’s why we have to give the spot someone else.”
Jeongguk hums. “Do you think you can come out as best with your group?”
“Well, it’s not a competition but yeah.”
“Are you uncertain?”
“Yes, we can.”
“Even after you placed third in the last competition?”
“Jeongguk,” Jimin hisses but Jeongguk quiets him with a hand. Jimin gapes at him but let’s Hoseok handle it.
Hoseok looks irritated now. “We’re dedicated. We may not have won out of many reasons; my team being tired, having chosen the wrong choreography, me not leading them properly, but we learned from it. We got better and we’re ready to prove it. We will prove it.”
“How when you don’t have a spot at the festival?”
“There is more than that. We have a YouTube channel that has quite the following and we perform on the streets sometimes. Admittedly, we have been doing less of that but we can start again. We can seek for permission to join outer school competitions and go to auditions. The opportunities are endless. No one from my group will go out of it jobless.”
“Okay,” Jeongguk says, nods. “I’ll sponsor you.”
It’s quiet for a moment, everyone’s jaws falling open as they process the information. And then they exclaim in unison, “WHAT?”
Jeongguk looks around a little surprised and repeats, “I’ll sponsor you. You convinced me.”
“Wait. This was a formal inquiry?” Hoseok asks, takes two steps towards Jeongguk in excitement.
“Yes? What did you think? I was asking for fun? Tell your superiors you’ll do it, send me a list of the things you need, you’ll get it in return for some advertising.”
Jimin laughs in disbelief. The uneasy feeling towards Jeongguk for the past five minutes has turned into affection and Jimin just wants to smother him in hugs.
“What kind of advertising?”
“Mention my company at the beginning, at the end. We have a new product out, which is approved by the way. I’ll send you some samples and give it out to students, put up a poster or two of it.”
“Oh my god, I’m telling everyone to only buy stuff from the Jeon company and their affiliated companies,” Sungyeol muses, the others agreeing.
“You’re not doing this for Jimin, are you?” Hoseok asks after a while, the sudden happiness in the room simmering down. Jimin’s cheeks tinge red.
Jeongguk looks at Jimin, then back at Hoseok, and says, “Do you have that little confidence in yourself?”
“No, but I do know you like him.”
This time Jeongguk doesn’t look at Jimin. “Yes. I like hyung. But I also saw you dance and members of your group. I saw you teach and lead them, and I saw you teach me, a beginner, with patience. I know for a fact that you all have been here since a couple of hours and you proved that you know what you’re doing. You won’t back out from anything rightful that you can do as the leader of your group and know all your chances. I may also know from personal experience how sparse the budget for art departments can be and if I can help some talented people who deserve it, why not?”
It’s silent for a moment, Hoseok and Jeongguk having a stare down that neither seems to want to break. In the end, it’s Hoseok who sighs, smiles and nods. “It’s a deal.”
The group breaks out in a cheer, Jimin joining them to keep himself from jumping Jeongguk right then and there. He still catches the look from Hoseok that says they have to talk.
“This calls for a celebration. How about coffee and cake? It’s on me,” Hoseok offers, looking at Jeongguk. Yoojung and Sungyeol immediately volunteer to give with him, discussing their favourite cakes.
“Not for me, hyung,” Jeongguk declines with an apologetic smile, “We have to leave.
“Something small maybe,” Jimin says, knowing how important this is to Hoseok.
“How about we go out to something small after your performance,” Jeongguk offers. “Then we’ll have more of a reason to celebrate.”
“You’ll come?” Yoojung asks.
“I sadly can’t promise but I won’t pass up the chance on free food.”
Everyone snorts at that, a pleased smile appearing on Jeongguk’s face after successfully making everyone smile. Apparently, literally everyone likes free food. The group decides to leave early to the cafe on campus.
“Give him a kiss from us. Or a blowjob,” Sungyeol whispers to Jimin as he leaves. Jimin kicks him, flushing red.
“You didn’t tell us you were dating,” Yoojung gushes, shaking his arm.
Yoojung and Sungyeol look at him with a deadpan look. “He said he likes you,” Yoojung adds.
Jimin whines. “It’s complicated. Nothing is really official yet because of his position in the company. Please don’t spread any rumours, and also tell the others not to.”
The two share a look and promise to tell everyone over coffee not to talk. Jimin trusts his group to do as he says and not spread any rumours. He waits until everyone has left for the showers, Hoseok throwing Jimin one last look, and then Jimin and Jeongguk are alone.
“Thank you for doing it,” Jimin says once it’s silent. “You’ve given so many of them a great opportunity.”
His heart is spilling and he has to let Jeongguk know it before he bursts.
Jeongguk shrugs. “You all deserve it.”
Jimin nods, not really able to respond. Jeongguk deserves so much more too, Jimin thinks and remembers the painting in his apartments, what Jeongguk has told him about himself so far.
“Shall we?” Jeongguk asks and motions to the door. Jimin nods and follows Jeongguk. They have barely made it out of the building when Jimin gets tackled by a figure.
“I thought you wouldn’t be done for another half an hour,” Taehyung muses as he hangs of Jimin’s back.
Jimin tries to turn back to look at Taehyung but his friend is holding on to him tightly. “Something came up.”
“What?” Taehyung steps in front of him and puts both hands on Jimin’s shoulders. “You’re not cancelling our date night, are you?”
Jimin closes his eyes, completely having forgotten about chicken and beer night, what Taehyung likes to call date night. Chicken and beer night is Taehyung’s favourite night. The fact that they only have it once a month due to past reasons doesn’t make this any better.
“I’m sorry,” Jimin mutters with pleading eyes.
Taehyung turns around, putting both hands on Jimin’s shoulders. “Can I know who’s so important that you’re cancelling our date night?”
Jimin looks behind Taehyung who follows his eyes and sees Jeongguk waiting for him uncertainly. Once Taehyung recognizes the man, he turns to Jimin so fast, Jimin fears he got a whiplash. Then he pulls Jimin to the side, away from Jeongguk.
“Dude, why is Jeon Jeongguk here?”
“He called because he wanted to meet up and I told him about the reporter that approached me today so he said we could talk about that, and I said yes because I want to get rid of the reporter.” Jimin ignores the voice that tells him that this isn’t the only reason he agreed to meet up.
“A reporter approached you?”
“Yeah but it wasn’t anything serious. I’m sorry I forgot about our night.”
Taehyung waves Jimin’s apology off and motions to Jeongguk. “It’s fine. We should go back to lover boy.”
Jimin rolls his eyes but doesn’t say anything. This isn’t the right moment to reprimand his friend. Jeongguk is waiting patiently, his eyes politely directed somewhere else instead of at Jimin and Taehyung. He turns around when he hears the two friends approach him.
“Is everything alright?” he asks. “We can postpone this if you want.”
“No,” Taehyung chimes in with a bright smile. “It’s fine. I’m Kim Taehyung, by the way. Jimin’s best friend and roommate.”
Jeongguk takes Taehyung’s held out hand. “Jeon Jeongguk. Nice to meet you.”
“Fuck,” Jimin curses when he sees Taehyung takes his phone out. “I forgot my phone in the changing room. I’ll be back.”
Jimin drops his bag at Taehyung’s feet and sprints to the changing room. He groans, relieved, when he sees his phone on the bench where he left it. Putting it into his jeans pocket, he runs back immediately.
The first thing he sees when he gets back is Taehyung staring at Jeongguk with wide eyes and parted lips which can never be a good sign. Taehyung has the same expression on his face when Jimin is standing next to him, looking rather lost. Jeongguk is hard to decipher because he’s wearing his mask, eyes set into stone. Jimin tries to ask Taehyung without using words what happened but his friend doesn’t respond. Instead, they bid goodbye and Jimin leaves with Jeongguk.
“Did Taehyung say something?” Jimin asks in the car, not being able to keep the question in anymore. He doesn’t know why exactly it bothers him so much.
“For example?” Jeongguk asks, one hand on the steering wheel, the other calmly rested in his lap. Jimin thinks back to when Jeongguk held his hand and wonders how it would look if Jimin were to reach out and take Jeongguk’s hand in his.
“I don’t know,” he says, turning his face away. “Just something not normal. You both seemed rather… alarmed after I came back.”
“I think it was just the fact that we’re both strangers and were left alone with each other. It can get awkward like that.”
Jimin doesn’t believe it. Taehyung is one of the most social people he knows, always managing to wrap anyone around his small finger. The fact that he didn’t convince Jeongguk to consign his business and money to Taehyung is because Taehyung hasn’t tried yet. Furthermore, Jeongguk is a businessman. He lives off of pleasant small talk. Jimin saw it during the party. But he doesn’t say anything.
“You did well,” Jimin whispers.
Jeongguk looks at Jimin once and then back at the road. “Excuse me?”
“In the practice room,” Jimin elaborates. “You’re a good dancer.”
This time, Jeongguk looks at him for a little longer and his smiles. “I told you I’ve got moves.”
Jimin snorts, turning his face to the window. “You never said that.”
They’re still bickering about that when they pull up at a restaurant that isn’t too fancy and hidden away enough to grant privacy. After their orders are taken, they immediately go to the matters at hand, Jeongguk asking Jimin about the reporter.
“He was casually clothed. I never would have guessed he was a reporter if he hadn’t told me. He showed me the pictures of us from the magazine and asked me if that was me, and then said he had some questions about you. He wasn’t too persistent but I think only because I accepted his card and agreed to meet up with him.”
“Do you still have it?” Jeongguk asks.
Jimin stares Jeongguk’s lips, the mole under his lower lip catching his attention. He has another one on his neck and his cheek, near his eyes. Jimin shakes his head and clears his throat. Remembering what Jeongguk said, he takes his wallet out and hands the card over.
Jeongguk takes the card and looks at the information thoroughly. Then he takes out his phone, calling someone. “Can you find out who Kang Youngsoo is after you’re done with the report? As soon as possible. Okay. Bye.”
“What are you going to do?” Jimin asks once Jeongguk ends the call.
“I’m not sure yet. We first have to find out what he wants but realistically there’s not much I can do. Reporters and paparazzi are free to do their job as they want as long as they don’t break any laws. By following you around, he didn’t really break any laws because the lines in journalism are very blurred. I’m sorry you have to deal with this because of me, hyung.”
Jeongguk seems tired, the soon-to-be CEO again falling apart in front of Jimin. Jimin wonders how often this is going to happen, pulling at his heartstrings.
“It’s my parents’ fault,” Jimin says before he can hold himself back.
“What do you mean?” Jeongguk asks, eyebrows furrowed as he looks at Jimin.
Jimin shakes his head. “It’s not your fault. You didn’t hire them to go after me.”
“But it is happening because of me.”
“So what are you going to do?” Jimin asks, “Stop being the heir of your father’s business? Stop dating or whatever this is? There’s nothing we can do and that’s that. It doesn’t make any sense to overthink it.”
Jeongguk is silent for a second and then says, voice small, “I don’t want to end this. Us.”
Jimin’s heart skips a beat, freezing in his seat at Jeongguk’s confession. He breathes slowly and nods. He looks at Jeongguk when the younger addresses him again.
“Are you… dating someone by chance?”
Jimin blinks at him owlishly and then cocks his head. “What do you mean?”
“Are you dating someone?” Jeongguk repeats and adds slowly, “Are you dating Taehyung?”
Jeongguk shifts in his seat, fiddling with his fingers. Jimin finds his behaviour a little disconcerting. The question in itself isn’t new. They have been asked the same question multiple times but he finds the fact that Jeongguk is asking a little odd.
“You two seem close and he said you had a date today.”
Jimin almost laughs out loud. “We have a chicken and beer night once a month and he likes calling it date night because it’s his parents’ favourite type of date night at home. We’re friends, not lovers.”
It’s tensely silent after that, the silence only getting interrupted by the waiter bringing the food. Jimin didn’t think Jeongguk would care about him maybe having a boyfriend, almost seeming insecure about having a rival. He thought Jeongguk would be the type of person who believed he deserved everything or maybe quite a few things without looking around to see whether someone else might deserve it more. At least at the beginning. Jimin doesn’t even know when he threw his image of the heir out of the window.
Would Jeongguk have backed off if Taehyung were his boyfriend? Should Jimin have said that Taehyung is his boyfriend to make Jeongguk back off? Or would it have only fuelled Jeongguk on? Even if Jeongguk would back off, he doesn’t know how Jeongguk will explain it to everyone. If Jimin’s parents were to find out that Jimin called Taehyung his boyfriend, he’d still be disowned.
Without thinking further about it, Jimin eats his food and watches Jeongguk eat his. It’s cute, the way Jeongguk fills his cheeks, how they puff up even more when they’re full of food. He chews fast but for long. It looks like he rolls the food in his mouth, eats with both sides at the same time. His eyes flash all over the dishes in search for what he wants to eat next and there is a piece of meat, the last one, that has been lying on the plate for three minutes, Jeongguk’s eyes always flicking back to it but never taking it, maybe leaving it for Jimin to eat. When it happens for the third time, Jimin takes it and puts it on Jeongguk’s rice. Jeongguk looks up, no doubt surprise and maybe shock written all over it, but Jimin doesn’t check. He keeps his head lowered, eating his own food, willing away the light blush on his cheeks.
When he doesn’t feel the weight of Jeongguk’s gaze on him anymore Jimin looks up again. The tense silence has turned more comfortable but heavy with unspoken things nonetheless.
It’s off-throwing how different Jeongguk looks again from the heir in the suit. He wonders how they look to outsider, what they think when they see them. Would anyone think the boy in front of him is an heir to an estimated multi-millionaire business? Not really.
Jimin looks at Jeongguk’s white button-up shirt, the way it shows bits of his chest and arms. He’s again reminded of how muscular they felt under his hands, making him wonder how often Jeongguk goes to the gym.
Jeongguk may not exactly look the heir at he is at that moment but he still looks rich with his expensive coat and shirt. It looks different from what Jimin wears and what Taehyung wears and the boyfriend look Jimin liked a lot in the past. He tries to imagine Jeongguk in it, then in a t-shirt, and then tries to imagine how Jeongguk’s arms would look in one in broad daylight and not the confines of a club.
“Would you ever wear a t-shirt?” It takes a few seconds for Jimin to realize that he asked the question. He coughs into his hand and takes a sip of his water so he doesn’t have to look at Jeongguk anymore.
Jeongguk swallows the bite of food in his mouth fast and then says, “Do you want me to?”
Jimin gulps. “No.”
Jeongguk smirks, Jimin feeling the impending onslaught of teasing. “I can wear one if you want.”
“I don’t want you to.”
“Aw, you can admit you want to see me in a t-shirt. I want to see you in a pullover that drowns out your cute, little hands.”
Jimin glares at Jeongguk, the man only smiling cheekily. “Are we there again?”
“I can’t resist them.”
“Stop teasing, brat.”
Jeongguk pushes the plates and bowls aside and leans over the table. Jimin’s eyes go wide at how close Jeongguk suddenly is, has to move back so he doesn’t go cross-eyed as he looks at Jeongguk.
“Stop being cute and I’ll stop teasing.”
Jimin opens his mouth and closes it without saying anything. His cheeks are tinging red the more Jeongguk smiles at him. “Y-you decide what you wear. I don’t care. Excuse me.”
Without looking back, Jimin runs off to the bathroom where he curses himself in the mirror first. Then he slaps his own cheeks with his hands, pacing in the small space that he has.
“Get it together,” he reprimands himself. “Stop acting like a fool.”
After looking at himself on the mirror, fixing his hair and fanning air to his face with his hands, Jimin walks back out to the table. He finds Jeongguk smiling to himself which makes him hesitate in his steps and almost slaps himself in the middle of the restaurant when he notices his own smile. Jeongguk smiles at Jimin when the man sits back down again.
“You paint, don’t you?” Jimin asks, remembering Jeongguk’s ‘personal experience’ in the arts department. “I didn’t put it together at first but the paintings at your apartment are yours, right?”
Jeongguk nods, looking down as if to avoid Jimin’s gaze from embarrassment.
“Did you study it for a while at university?
“A semester before I gave it up for the company.”
Jimin thinks about himself, working in the company and not dancing, how it hurt him. Jeongguk may have an intrinsic interest in the company and he does seem passionate about the work, but Jimin still wonders if giving up on art hurts Jeongguk.
“How often do you paint?”
“I try to do it as often as I can but in the past weeks sadly not much.”
“Oh. Is that also the reason why you stopped dancing?”
“Is there anything you do in your free time?” Jimin asks, needing to know an answer. He hopes Jeongguk does at least something for himself.
“I sometimes play games,” Jeongguk admits sheepishly.
“Games? Which games?”
“Anything that catches my eyes but right now I’m really into Overwatch.”
“You should play with Taehyung one day. He’s crazy after it,” Jimin says before he can stop himself.
“Really?” Jeongguk asks, sounding surprised.
“Yeah,” Jimin says, more hesitant now, “If you want to. Sometimes he plays in lectures.”
Jeongguk snorts. “Sometimes I play in the office and then Namjoon has a very hard time because of me but he understands. I know he does. Even if he acts stern in front of me. He’s more of a friend than a secretary anyway.”
Jimin smiles, biting on his chopstick to have something to play with. They both have stopped eating by now. Jeongguk’s statement eases his heart but one aspect still bothers him.
“Do you not exist outside of the office?” Jimin asks, hoping Jeongguk won’t take any offense. “I mean, a big part of your life has to do with the office, even people who are fond of you which is understandable but it’s so focused on the office.”
In all the time Jimin spent at his father’s office, he always wanted to be with his friends throughout it.
Jeongguk is quiet for a moment, playing with his glass of water. Then he speaks up, quietly, “Sometimes it really feels like that.”
Jimin inhales sharply, feeling a tug at his heart.
“Sometimes I feel like I’ve ceased to exist outside of the office. There I am, and out of it I… am not, don’t even exist.”
The conversation has taken a turn that is inappropriate for a talk in a restaurant but it has already started. And Jimin gets him. He knows what Jeongguk means, has lived through it too but he was blessed enough to have gotten out of it. Even while he was going through the same, it wasn’t really the same. Jeongguk’s dilemma and suffering must be so much more than his.
“You haven’t,” Jimin says, the knot on his throat making it hard for him to talk. Jeongguk stares at him with wide, doe eyes, probably not having expected Jimin to say something. “You’re right here, Jeongguk. You breathe, and think, and have your own words, and opinions. You live. Not only in the office but also here.”
Jeongguk stares wordlessly.
“You are,” Jimin breathes.
He ends with a tense silence and a beating heart. He’s surprised to see that Jeongguk looks like he wants to jump over the table and hug Jimin. At one point he even expects the frozen man to almost jump over but their silence is interrupted by a waitress taking away the empty plates. Jimin requests the check and has to fight Jeongguk to pay the bill but Jeongguk insists.
“You call me hyung but won’t even let me pay? The disrespect.” Jimin huffs.
Jeongguk sighs, accepting defeat with a smile. Outside of the restaurant, Jeongguk fiddles with hands, burying them in his coat. Jimin is just as affected by their conversation.
“Thank you for coming, hyung. And for paying,” Jeongguk speaks up.
“It’s fine. Nothing to thank me for.”
Jimin sees dried sauce on the corner of Jeongguk’s lip, and without thinking about what he’s doing, wets his thumb, and rubs it away. His attention is brought to the mole under Jeongguk’s lower lip, thumb slowing down in its movements until Jimin glides it over the mole, caresses it.
It has caught Jimin’s attention so many times over the past weeks and has managed to entrance him every single time. The fact that it’s just below Jeongguk’s lip doesn’t make it only a mole but actually a beauty spot. Something that definitely speaks for Jeongguk’s attractiveness.
The tip of Jimin’s thumb touches Jeongguk’s lip, and Jimin pulls his hand back as if he has been burned, finally coming back to himself. He looks up to find a wide-eyed, frozen Jeongguk, cheeks aflame.
Jimin motions to his own lip with his thumb and stutters, “You had, um… there.”
Stupid, stupid Jimin. Why can’t you just be normal? Jimin scolds himself.
“I should go now,” Jimin says out loud and turns around.
“Hyung, wait.” Jeongguk says and grabs his hand, holding onto him. Jimin looks at their hands and then back at Jeongguk. “Let me drive you home.”
Jimin hesitates at the hopeful look in Jeongguk’s. “I’m-” he starts and then stops. He clears his throat and then simply nods.
Jeongguk smiles brightly and squeezes Jimin’s hand in his. He leads them to his car and eagerly opens the door for Jimin, like a child opening his presents on Christmas. Jimin seats himself silently, and doesn’t say anything.
“Where to?” Jeongguk asks excitedly, turning to Jimin.
Jimin blinks, shakes his head, and then tells Jeongguk his address. Jeongguk doesn’t try to make any conversation with him but puts some music on and hums to it softly. It’s sweet and melodic, lulling Jimin into calmness. He wonders whether the man can also sing.
Jeongguk stops in front of Jimin’s building and Jimin gives him enough time to inspect the building before he speaks up.
“Thank you for driving me.”
“I’ll go now. Bye,” Jimin says and opens the door.
Jeongguk’s hand shoots out and holds Jimin by his wrist. Jimin stops, looking at Jeongguk’s hand and then at him with a beating heart. Jeongguk grabs Jimin’s hand and leans over the gearshift into Jimin’s space.
“Thank you for today,” Jeongguk says, speaking slow and low. “Your words mean a lot to me.”
Jimin gulps audibly. His heart jumps in his throat when Jeongguk grabs his hand and intertwines their fingers. Jeongguk leans over, and for a second Jimin thinks Jeongguk will kiss him but Jeongguk stops mere centimetres in front of him and looks into his eyes. He continues to raise Jimin’s hand that he’s holding and presses his lips against the back of it, closes his eyes. Jimin inhales sharply, tightening his hold on Jeongguk’s hand automatically. Jeongguk opens his eyes, Jimin rips his hand away and rushes out of the car. He looks at Jeongguk one last time before he enters the building, and walks in.
“You’re back.” Taehyung appears in the hallway, watching Jimin slip out of his shoes hastily. “What’s wrong? Was it something about the reporter?”
“Who?” Jimin asks, needing a moment to remember who Taehyung means. “No. Just Jeon Jeongguk.”
“Is that why you’re red?” Taehyung asks, following him to his room.
“What?” Jimin touches his cheek and looks at himself in the mirror. “Shut up,” he adds when he sees that he’s indeed red.
Taehyung smirks and asks, “What happened?”
“He’s just… so himself. It’s infuriating.”
Jimin looks at the back of his hand and then at his thumb that he touched Jeongguk with, tempted to take it into his mouth and suck it, see if he can taste Jeongguk on it. Catching himself at this thought, Jimin rubs his thumb furiously on his pants. Why won’t his body and mind just obey him? Why are his mind and his feelings conspiring against him?
“Dude he’s so cute he asked me about your likes and dislikes,” Taehyung coos. Jimin wrinkles his nose in response. He can’t really deny it.
Taehyung grabs Jimin by his shoulders and forces his friend to look at him. Jimin stands unmoving as his friend watches him with scrutinizing eyes. Then Taehyung cups Jimin’s cheeks and squishes them, forcing Jimin’s lips to pout.
“You’re getting soft for him,” Taehyung says.
Jimin pushes his hands away. “You’re one to talk. You’re gushing over him after only one meet up. I had to meet him so often.”
“He’s so cute. I don’t think I can break his heart.”
“It’s not you who has to break his heart but me.”
Taehyung pouts. “Why does heart-breaking have to be involved?”
Jimin inhales deeply, feeling his chest tighten at the question and more so at his answer. He may have been uncertain when Yoongi told him about it but he’s sure now. “Because Jeongguk is already in too deep and I don’t know how to let him down carefully.”
Some could say the realization that Jeongguk likes him would stop Jimin but he gets only more determined. More than ever, now he really needs Jeongguk to reject him. If Jimin is an asshole and Jeongguk gets over his infatuation and Jeongguk rejects Jimin as a result, he won’t be hurt that much. They barely know each other. Jeongguk will get over his infatuation fast.
The problem is: he doesn’t know what to do.
He has been barely replying to Jeongguk’s texts and when he does, it’s only short answers. Every conversation dies out pretty fast because of Jimin refusal to elaborate. Jimin doesn’t meet up with Jeongguk and one time he even cancelled last minute, saying he had something to do although he was lounging on the couch. Out of the three times Jeongguk called, Jimin picked up once, only to end the call soon after with a bullshit excuse.
All of this irks Jimin, makes him irritated and unbearable to deal with. He doesn’t want to treat Jeongguk that way, doesn’t believe the man deserves it but he has no other option. Jeongguk’s insistence on messaging him and asking him out makes Jimin feel even worse. Mostly because it makes Jimin doubt whether Jimin is only infatuated with him, only has a crush, but it can’t possibly be anything deeper than that.
He’s currently in the gym, having spent two hours there to distract himself from his chaotic life. Sadly, running on the treadmill for almost an hour and doing some other training hasn’t activated any part of his brain that would magically provide him with a solution for this mess like he hoped it would, but at least he’s now exhausted enough to just fall asleep once he reaches his apartment. Hopefully then he will forget about this.
Jimin is walking down the few blocks to his apartment, completely immersed in his thoughts. He doesn’t even hear it when someone calls him, then again, doesn’t notice until someone pulls his arm. Turning around, he’s almost ready to deck the person. Well, maybe give them a chance to explain and then deck them, but he’ll see. It depends on the person.
In front of Jimin is a tall man, frame lithe, and face hidden by a mask and sunglasses. Instinctively, Jimin takes a step back, wondering if it’s another reporter.
Jimin eyes him up and down, retorting slowly, “Yes?”
“I’d like to have a small chat with you. Now.”
Jimin almost scoffs at the order which should actually sound like a request. “No interest. Thank you,” he says and turns to leave.
“Shouldn’t you try to be civil with your future brother-in-law?”
The reaction is instant. Jimin freezes, a shudder making its way down his spine, and he suddenly feels nauseous. He turns back around to face the man, eyes flicking all over his body to find a single indication that connects him with what he said.
“Let’s go. Hyung will invite you to coffee,” he says, pointing at the café down the street.
Jimin gulps, trying to swallow the bile that threatens to make its way into his mouth, and breathes in deeply. “W-what do you want?” he asks with a shaky voice.
The man chuckles, not sounding friendly at all. Jimin doesn’t know if it’s his paranoia or reality.
“I just want to talk to you. I promise. Get to know my future brother-in-law.”
Jimin nods and follows Jeongguk’s older brother to the café. He can’t imagine what the man wants from him, whether Jeongguk knows about this or not. What’s creepy about this is the fact that this doesn’t seem like a coincidence. The man was waiting for Jimin, knowing fully well where Jimin was going to be and which way he was going to take home. He takes out his phone and lets Taehyung know that he’s with Jeongguk’s brother in the café close to their apartment.
“I hope you’re not texting Jeonggukie,” the man suddenly speaks up, Jimin almost dropping his phone. He shakes his head. “Good. It’s better if he doesn’t know.”
This means that Jeongguk isn’t aware of this. Jimin wants to run away but that wouldn’t be wise. He should at least try to find out what the brother wants.
Jimin tries to collect all the information he has about the brother. It’s not much. He’s barely mentioned in the media, and the majority of what Jimin knows is from Jeongguk. There’s no piece of information that could hint to what he wants from Jimin.
In the café, they sit down at a booth far in the corner where they can’t be seen properly which does nothing to assure Jimin. Jeongguk’s brother removes his sunglasses and his mask, revealing his face to Jimin. He seems like the stranger that he is. Sharp nose, small eyes but Jeongguk’s thin lips. There is a tiny resemblance to Jeongguk in the man. Jimin can see it if he looks closer. He even seems to ooze the same authority the heir does when it’s all about business.
Once their orders arrive, Jeongguk’s brother speaks up. “I guess you know who I am.”
“Jeongguk’s older half-brother.”
“Exactly. Jeon Junghwan.”
So he carries the family name, Jimin thinks to himself, says it with pride even. He really should’ve done his homework on Jeongguk’s family but he never would have guessed that he would need it.
“I hope I didn’t catch you at an inconvenient time,” Junghwan says with a smile.
It’s a little late to worry about that but Jimin doesn’t say that out loud. He shakes his head and takes a sip of his latte to warm himself up, the chills coming back every few seconds. How does Jimin act like he is serious about Jeongguk?
“So, how are you, Jimin? How is studying?”
“It’s fine. Just busy. How, um, are you?”
“Fantastic,” he retorts and means more towards Jimin when he speaks up next, never having touched his coffee. “How’s Jeongguk?”
Jimin gulps, finding the question odd. He’s Jeongguk’s older brother. He must know how Jeongguk is. “Fine,” Jimin says. “He’s doing fine.”
“How’s his business?”
Jimin stops with the cup right in front of his lips, eyes set on the smiling Junghwan. He wishes he knew what kind of game the brother is playing, so he knew what to say. “Okay, I guess. I don’t really know. I never ask about his business.”
“But shouldn’t you care about your future husband’s business?” Junghwan muses, tone slightly mocking.
“I’m just a little busy right now, and Jeongguk doesn’t really talk about it.”
“Does he not trust you?”
“I don’t think it’s that. We just don’t feel the need to.”
“Hmm. Let me get to the point of this. I think you’re wondering why I randomly abducted you. I have a small request.”
Jimin raises his eyebrows. What could Jeongguk’s brother possibly want from him. “That would be?”
“Jeongguk and I have a small competition going on about a client. I want you to go to his office to retrieve the file about it and bring it to me.”
Jimin’s eyes widen and his mouth falls open. He doubts he heard correctly. “You want me to what?” Jimin feels horrified. He kind of guessed the relationship between Jeongguk and his brother isn’t rosy and friendly but he never thought it would be this bad. Junghwan wants Jimin to spy on his younger brother for him.
“I want you to bring me the file.”
“Why would I do that?” Jimin asks incredulously.
“Because you don’t want to marry my brother and don’t know how to call off the arranged marriage.”
Jimin blanches. His heart stutters and then immediately spikes up, blood rushing in his ears as he tries to process what is going on.
“You’re sick,” Jimin mumbles, hoping he looks convincing.
Junghwan laughs. “You look sick right now.”
“I’m not doing that. I won’t betray Jeongguk like that.”
“Not even for your freedom?”
Jimin hesitates. He’s weak and he knows it but what else is he supposed to do?
“You aren’t even denying that you don’t want to marry Jeongguk.”
“I do,” Jimin says automatically. The sentence only makes him sicker.
Junghwan chuckles. “Cut it out. I have my sources and they tell me you’re trying to break this off by making Jeongguk say no.”
That is scarily accurate. “How do you know that?”
“Your brother is quite talkative when he’s drunk.”
Jimin almost gasps. He leans towards Junghwan, trying hard to control his voice when he says, “How do you know Jihyun?”
“Let’s just say I met him somewhere and I asked some questions. Don’t worry. This isn’t about your father’s business. I don’t care about that. I just want that file.”
Jimin shakes his head, not even wanting to think of that. He’s shaking and the world is spinning around him, his head feels cold.
“It’s not anything serious, Jimin. You can even look into the file. You know how business works. It’s only one client that I will get. It’s not like I’m asking you for dad’s will.”
Jimin lets out a breath at that, feeling his chest tighten around a knot. No. He can’t do that. Never.
“All I’ll get is one small win in the gamble against my brother. It won’t even be worth of one percent of Jeongguk’s future business but to me, a bastard son who’s trying to make himself a place, it will mean the world.”
Jimin inhales deeply, finding it harder each second. Stealing from Jeongguk, betraying his trust, and give it to his brother. That’s not something Jimin can do. Or can he?
Junghwan’s voice rips him out of his thoughts again. “I promise you, Jimin, you won’t ever have to see him again. In person at least. You will be free of this forced marriage.”
Junghwan waits for Jimin to say something and leans back in his seat when Jimin doesn’t speak up. He takes a card out of his wallet and slides it over to Jimin. “Call me when you decide what’s more worth to you. The trust of a boy who has everything and you don’t love or your life which you worked hard for and even bled for. It’s your decision.”
Junghwan leaves, his coffee untouched, Jimin instantly wrapping his arms around his stomach and leaning forward. A waitress asks him if he’s fine. The card is still on the table.
Jimin is standing in front of Jeongguk’s office building, contemplating his life decisions. Where in his life did he go so wrong that he has to resort to things like this? Jeongguk is currently in a meeting that will still take some time but Jimin doesn’t know. Well, he does, but no one in the office knows he does. He knows from Junghwan.
After taking the card home days ago, Jimin thought about throwing it away and never thinking of the man again. His proposition is horrible, Taehyung agreeing, both of them trying to come up with a different way to make Jeongguk break up with him. Pictures of Jimin and Jeongguk on their amusement park date and of Jimin and Taehyung in a gossip magazine are the reason why Jimin admits nothing will work as fast as Junghwan’s idea. Paparazzi have found out who Jimin is and that Taehyung is his friend, “maybe boyfriend,” and Jimin just needs to get rid of Jeongguk as soon as possible before his world gets even more chaotic.
He called Junghwan the day before, got told that Jeongguk has a meeting today and that this would be the perfect time to go over and steal the file. Jimin isn’t sure how to do it but he hopes to be let in Jeongguk’s office while Jeongguk is away.
Armed with takeout from Jeongguk’s favourite restaurant, which was Junghwan’s idea, Jimin enters the building finally and goes to the reception, removing his mask. Thankfully, he doesn’t need to show the lady the magazine of him and Jeongguk that he dug up from his closet, and is let up immediately. She seems to recognize him, even people in the office stare at him. Seems like everyone knows the rumours about him and their young boss.
Jimin turns to the old woman who approached him and bows, hoping she can help him.
“Can I help you, dear?”
“Yes, I wanted to know if it’s possible to meet Jeongguk?” Jimin asks, hoping the familiarity in address will allow him to be let into Jeongguk’s office.
“Mr. Jeon is in a meeting right now.”
“Oh.” Jimin frowns, lower lips slightly jutting out to show his disappointment. “When will he come out?”
Jimin shifts the take out in his hands, the lady looking down and her mouth falling open. Jeongguk will come out in half an hour, Jimin knows that but he has to keep up the act.
“In about half an hour, maybe a little more,” the lady says with a friendly smile.
“Can I wait here? I promise I won’t disturb anyone,” Jimin says, looking around with big eyes and slightly drawn up shoulders.
“I’m sure Mr. Jeon won’t mind if you wait in his office. Then everyone else can also concentrate on their work.”
“Really? I don’t want to bother anyone.”
“Oh, you’re not. I’m sure Mr. Jeon will be delighted to see you. Follow me.”
Jimin does so, feeling like the worst person ever to lie to a nice woman like her. It’s so easy to fool her that he feels bad. He hopes she doesn’t get into any trouble after the file can’t be found which won’t matter anyway then because Jimin would most probably be caught as the main suspect.
But apparently there’s nothing to worry about. Junghwan told Jimin that there are no cameras in Jeongguk’s office. Their father wanted to be able to open and close the files peacefully, without thinking that someone is looking into them over his shoulder through cameras, and Junghwan told Jimin that Jeongguk is doing the same.
Jimin bows to the lady when she lets him into the office, watching until he puts the take out onto the table and seats himself on the couch. He occupies himself with packing out the food, setting up plates, and looking busy.
“There is a microwave in the kitchen where you can warm up the food and even get coffee. Do you want some?”
“That’s lovely but no thank you. I’ll wait to see what Jeongguk has to say about the food, if he has time to eat. He’s so busy lately.”
The lady frowns, wrinkles full of worry and pity. “The young boss has a lot of responsibilities. Please don’t be too sad if he can’t give you too much time right now.”
Jimin shakes his head and smiles reassuringly. “It’s fine. I know he’s busy. Thank you.”
The woman leaves, Jimin instantly buries his face in his hands and groans. Why can’t this be any easier? After waiting for a few seconds, Jimin reminds himself why he’s there and gets to his feet.
Junghwan told him the file is brown, out of paper and with a blue star on top. It seems like a pretty important file to be distinguished like that but Jimin doesn’t worry about that. He needs Junghwan.
He walks to Jeongguk’s desk, the three files on top of the desk, obviously, aren’t the one he’s looking for. With an eye on the door, he starts searching through the drawers of the desk, making sure to place everything where he took it from and in the same way. He’s quite unsuccessful, with each wrong file his hope dwindles. He even goes as far as looking through the shelves, under the couch and desk. In the end, he falls in the chair, pouts and wonders what to do now. Even calling Junghwan won’t help him because if he knew where the file is, he would have told Jimin.
Just as Jimin starts swivelling in the chair the door opens. Jimin bumps the chair and his hand against the desk as he tries to scramble out of it but Jeongguk has already seen what he was doing, eyes wide as he stares at Jimin. Jimin stops the still moving chair and moves it to its place, clear his throat as he walks out from behind the desk.
“Hey, Jeongguk,” Jimin says, almost groaning aloud when he sees Namjoon behind Jeongguk. Has the whole office seen his weird behaviour?
“Will it look too bad if I say the chair looked appealing?”
Jeongguk laughs out loud, a cackling sound that Jimin would have never associated with the man. It untangles the knot in Jimin’s chest, helps him relax enough to let out a chuckle too.
“It’s fine, hyung. The chair can be quite tempting. I used to play in it all the time as a kid.”
Jimin pouts at the teasing tone, skipping over to the couch.
“You should have lunch. I’ll see you later,” Jeongguk tells Namjoon, taking a file from him. Jimin’s heart skips when he sees the star on top of it.
He looks at Jeongguk when he notices belatedly that he said something. “What?”
“I said, there was no need to buy lunch.”
Jeongguk moves to the desk, opening the top drawer of his desk and putting the file inside. Jimin looks away when Jeongguk looks up, trying to appear nonchalant.
“Yeah, it’s kind of an apology,” Jimin says, remembering Jeongguk’s comment. “For being so closed off in the past days. I don’t know how to let people in and shutting them out is my immediate reaction no matter who it is.”
Jeongguk stares at Jimin a little wide-eyed and then his eyes light up, a smile conjuring up his face. “No, hyung. Don’t apologize. I understand. I was a little worried at first because I didn’t know what was going on but I get it.”
Jimin is an awful human being. It’s decided right there. Jeongguk must feel happy that Jimin trusted him with this but instead Jimin is using it to his own advantage.
“There was no need for that,” Jeongguk continues, “I get that you have your own life and that I’m not really a part of it, but I want to be. I know it’s not easy to let people in but know you can always rely on me. I will try my hardest, with everything I have, to help you.”
Jimin gulps, the sincerity in Jeongguk’s voice choking him up. He turns to the table and starts taking the lids off the plastic containers. Jeongguk looks like he wants to say something else but chooses not to.
“I don’t know if you’ll like. It’s bokkeumbap, bulgogi, and also jajangmyeon from a restaurant in town, near the cinema and video game shop.”
“Really? I love that place,” Jeongguk says. He takes off his jacket and sits down.
“That’s good to know.” Jimin gives Jeongguk chopsticks and pushes the majority of food towards Jeongguk. He doesn’t feel very hungry.
“Thank you for the food, hyung.”
Jimin eats with Jeongguk half-heartedly, so he doesn’t appear suspicious. Jeongguk gulps down the food in big bites, barely having swallowed the previous bite before he puts another in his mouth. He looks tired.
“You seem hungry,” Jimin comments, no longer being able to keep the comment in.
Jeongguk looks up with jajangmyeon sticking out from his mouth and wide eyes, like a deer caught in the headlight. He chews fast, swallows, and says. “Didn’t have breakfast.”
“Had to prepare for the meeting.”
When Jeongguk is busy with the next bite, Jimin pushes the food closer to him. Jimin acts as if nothing happened when Jeongguk notices it and looks at him questioningly, also ignores how his heart flutters when Jeongguk smiles to himself.
“Is the meeting important?” Jimin asks.
“Yeah. It’s a client we have since almost a decade. Dad liked him a lot and now that I’m about to take over, I have to prove myself to him. He isn’t allowed to get any losses from a business deal with me. I was so nervous,” Jeongguk admits.
Jimin inhales deeply, thinking about Junghwan’s words again, how the deal isn’t important to Jeongguk. He pushes that thought aside and thinks of himself, needing his freedom. “Is it done?”
“This one? Yes, but I still have to work over the report on the weekend and later I have go to a late lunch with a client as a thanks for a deal. All he does is talk about his achievements and tries to give me some tips. That would be awesome if it weren’t for the fact that a lot of it clashes with what my dad taught me.”
Which means that Jeongguk doesn’t need the file anymore for today.
Jeongguk chuckles and leans back against the back of the couch. He closes his eyes and says with a tired smile, “I wish I could call in sick, call my mom and beg her not to make me go just like when I was a kid.”
Jimin’s heart hurts, remembering from his own months working for his dad how hard those things were.
“You’ll make it,” Jimin says, also more to convince himself than Jeongguk but it does the job.
Jeongguk opens his eyes and stares at Jimin as if he’s seeing right into his soul. He then sits upright and nods. “Thank you. I won’t betray your trust in me, hyung.”
Jimin clears his throat, feelings his cheeks heat up. “It was a small encouragement. Do you always have to be so serious?”
“Well, I take us serious.”
There it is again. The cursed ‘us.’
Inhaling deeply, Jimin starts picking up the empty food plates, Jeongguk helping him throw everything away. Jeongguk begins taking out multiple files from his drawers, even the one with the star, as Jimin stands next to the desk to see what he’s doing with it. Jimin can’t wait to get out of there and finally leave behind the dread that has settled into his stomach.
“Hyung?” Jeongguk speaks so low, Jimin thinks he only imagined it for a second.
“Are you sure you’re not dating your best friend?”
Jimin blinks at first, taken off guard by the unexpected direction of the question. “Yes?”
“Why does this sound like a question?” Jeongguk asks, not looking up but getting more and more files out.
“Because I’m confused about why you would ask that when I told you already that we’re not.”
Jeongguk is quiet for a moment and then sighs, mindlessly flipping through a file. “It’s just that in the magazines you two look very comfortable with each other.”
“Oh, so you saw that?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry they went so far.”
“It’s fine. Like I already said, it’s not your fault. And yes, I’m sure we’re not dating.”
Jeongguk stares at Jimin for a moment, long look and searching eyes, before he puts the file on the table. He rounds the corner, grabs Jimin by hips and pushes him back against the table. Jimin gasps, taken aback by Jeongguk’s forwardness, and his hands fly up to grab Jeongguk’s arms and steady himself. His heart starts pounding against his ribcage and even more so when Jeongguk’ scent hits his nose. It’s sweet, not piercing like so many male perfumes or aftershaves are. Jimin finds himself inhaling deeply.
Jimin lowers his eyes and turns his face to the side when Jeongguk levels his eyes with Jimin’s. It’s hard to look directly at Jeongguk when Jimin’s stomach is doing summersaults because of him.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk speaks, voice low.
Jimin closes his eyes and tightens his grip on Jeongguk’s sleeves.
“I really, really like you, hyung. I always think of you, think of how I can be good to you, how I can make you like me.”
Jimin’s heart constricts at Jeongguk’s words, chest feeling tight as he tries to breathe through his nose. He’s slightly shaking at this point and is overwhelmed with the confession but apparently Jeongguk isn’t done yet.
“I know you don’t like me that way, but please give me a chance. I want to prove myself to you.”
Jimin’s eyes flutter open until he’s looking at Jeongguk. At seeing Jeongguk’s doe and pleading eyes, Jimin averts his gaze again, unable to look at the man properly. A voice is screaming at him to say something but he’s too shaken to do so. He’s conflicted, Taehyung’s words ringing in his head alongside Jeongguk’s, and he’s a mess.
“I-I, um…” Jimin stutters. He takes a deep breath but no words come out.
Jeongguk buries his nose in Jimin’s hair and speaks against Jimin’s temple, lips touching skin softly, “It’s fine. You don’t have to say anything now. I’ll wait.”
Jimin closes his eyes again and lowers his head, gut twisting at Jeongguk’s words. Jeongguk lets go of Jimin’s hips and steps back, and Jimin is forced to let go of him too.
“I’ll be right back.”
Jeongguk leaves and Jimin steadies himself by putting a hand on the desk behind him. Why does Jeongguk have this much of an effect on him? He flinches when something falls to the floor and turns around to see what fell down because of him.
Jimin’s eyes widen and his heart freezes. Should he really do this? He looks at the door and walks to the other side, puts the fallen files back on the table and looks through the files to find the one with the star on it. After finding it under the mess, Jimin rushes to his backpack but pauses. He stares at the file in his hand, doubt filling him.
He tries to imagine how betraying Jeongguk like that is possible. Does it even count as betraying when Jimin never had a say in all of this? Jeongguk likes him and trusts him though. Of course, it’s betrayal. Jimin gulps, gripping the file tightly in his hands. The noise of the door opening startles him and he stuffs the file inside his backpack fast, closing it immediately.
Jimin jumps when he sees Jeongguk, feeling like Jeongguk already knows that he took the file. Jeongguk looks at him with wide eyes and then looks away as his cheeks colour a soft pink. Jimin feels sick and his chest feels heavy, the burden of the file in his backpack weighing him down. Taking his backpack, Jimin gets to his feet and motions to the door with a shaking hand.
“I should go now. You have stuff to do and I have stuff to do.”
Jeongguk looks a little disappointed but nods. “Yeah. Thank you for the food hyung.”
“It’s fine. Bye.”
Jimin rushes out without looking at Jeongguk like his mind is screaming at him to do so. He walks through the rows of cubicles, sticking out painfully with his everyday-clothes between all the suits. People don’t move out of the way fast enough, the elevator doesn’t go down fast enough, Jeongguk’s hands on him and his words won’t leave him. He’s so focused on running away and leaving all that behind that he doesn’t even see the group of people until they have surrounded him right in front of the office building.
Microphones are being shoved into Jimin’s face, flashes of cameras blinding him, and paparazzi pushing him around as they ask him if he’s Park Jimin. Jimin tries to push past them but there are too many.
“What were you doing at the Jeon headquarters?”
“Were you visiting Jeon Jeongguk?”
“Are you two dating?”
Jimin pushes the microphone away as softly as possible, excusing himself as he tries to find a way. He doesn’t know what to say, there are too many voices, they’re too loud, and Jimin, who is already shaken up from what happened in the office, gets only more anxious. His shaking gets worse, pleas to let him through are barely stuttered out. It’s like he’s caught in an ocean of screaming people.
Some are downright asking him whether he has an affair with Jeon Jeongguk while having a boyfriend on the side, if he’s trying to make his father profit from dating Jeongguk, some calling him a gold digger.
He doesn’t know what to do, not a word making its way past his lips as his eyes fill with tears. There is a lump in his throat on which he’s threatening to choke, and he’s not getting enough air.
A brawl breaks out between two paparazzi, one pushing the other, a third and fourth party joining the pushing. Jimin tries to break them apart but is pushed down himself, hissing when someone steps on his hand. The flashes continue, so do the questions, and Jimin just gives up, remains on the floor as he starts sobbing and curling up on himself.
Jimin doesn’t notice the mess has quieted down, that no one is stepping on him anymore, and neither screaming at him until someone touches his shoulder softly. He flinches, tries to get away but two strong arms pull him in, pressing him against a warm chest.
“It’s alright, hyung,” Jeongguk coos, holding him tightly. “I’m here. I’m sorry. I’m here now. You’re safe.”
Jimin doesn’t look up. He only clings to Jeongguk, sobbing uncontrollably as Jeongguk picks him up in his arms, and hides his face in his chest. Jeongguk walks through the line his security guards created for him, stops at the end of it, and turns to one of them. “I want the name of every single one of them and then call the police.”
Jimin isn’t aware of anything else after that. He knows he’s being taken somewhere but he refuses to let go of Jeongguk and Jeongguk doesn’t force him to, only holds him, presses kisses to the top of his head, and coos reassurances.
By the time Jimin’s shaking and sobbing subsides, some parts of his body are throbbing in pain and he’s at the hospital.
It’s a whisper in his ear, soft and barely there. “I’m sorry, hyung. I failed you.”
I failed you.
Jimin sighs, close to tears as the words ring in his head.
It has been four days since the incident with the paparazzi in front of Jeongguk’s office building, and Jimin is lost. At some point after being taken to the hospital Jimin managed to let go of Jeongguk and allowed the doctors to check him up. He was told he’s fine, just some minor bruises will form that he’s supposed to cool with ice, and with two days in bed he’d be okay to go back to his daily routine.
His mother was still crying, Jeongguk was still apologizing to his parents, bowed deeply, as Jimin’s father stared at him with stubborn refusal to forgive the boy but also couldn’t just ignore. It had taken Jimin almost another crying fit to make Jeongguk stop and his parents finally forgive Jeongguk although there was nothing for them forgive. It wasn’t Jeongguk’s fault.
Just as Jeongguk promised, he named each paparazzi involved in the incident and sued them. Jimin didn’t want him to. The incident is still scaring him endless, needing Taehyung or Hoseok to be at his side all the time after he went back to university the third day, but he feels like he deserves this.
I failed you.
Jimin failed Jeongguk much earlier, in his home as he agreed to Junghwan’s proposal and then took the file from Jeongguk’s office. The file is still in his apartment, having ignored Junghwan’s calls for the past days. But just because Jimin hasn’t given Junghwan the file and bought his freedom doesn’t mean he’s clear of sin. He sinned. He betrayed Jeongguk’s trust and what happened to him was only his punishment. So how did Jimin have any right to sue those paparazzi? He didn’t.
But Jimin is afraid something like that will happen again, not only to him but also to Taehyung, and he doesn’t know how to explain to Jeongguk why he doesn’t want to sue them. He is a coward and he can’t speak the truth. That’s why he lets Jeongguk handle the situation.
Jeongguk hasn’t been getting in touch with him at all. Only once to apologize again and ask him how he is. Jimin has taken it upon himself to message Jeongguk in the past days, remind him that he isn’t at fault, and that he should eat or he’d have to come to his office again.
You don’t want your hyung to get troubled like this, Jeongguk-ah, do you? he had joked and instantly felt like a hypocrite.
With another sigh, Jimin closes his eyes and tries to think of Jeongguk only, without all the drama. He thinks of their first date, how intimidating the sweet boy looked, how mislead Jimin had been. He thinks of their second date, dancing with Jeongguk and then again in the club, thinks of their text messages, of Jeongguk’s teasing, Jeongguk’s smile, mole. His thumb on Jeongguk’s mole.
When Jimin had finally managed to convince Jeongguk that he’s fine and that they should meet up, he didn’t have this in mind.
Jimin looks at the entrance of the amusement park, sees rides and other attractions that are big from there, hears the laughter, screaming, and music, and then looks at Jeongguk. Jeongguk is looking at him expectantly, a nervous smile on his lips.
“Do you like it?” he asks.
Jimin looks back at the amusement park and says, “I’d have to try it out first, don’t I?”
There is honestly no explanation to why Jimin got roped into a date with Jeongguk besides wanting to make sure the man is fine. Jimin knows Jeongguk is blaming himself and he doesn’t want to let that happen. So Jimin called Jeongguk and let him decide where to go as long as it’s “something fun.” Jimin didn’t think it would be an amusement park.
It’s odd. It’s a perfect place for a date and it’s cute but also so different from the rest of their dates. It’s obvious they’re going to see different sides from each other during today, judging by the looks Jeongguk is giving the roller-coaster and similar rides. Jimin hates those. They make him queasy and nervous, his stomach flip in a bad way. He can’t understand the glint in Jeongguk’s eyes as he looks at them.
As soon as they walk in, Jimin gets so distracted by a group of children playing tag near the water fountain that he doesn’t the see the golf cart. A pair of hands hold him by the waist and pull him back against a firm chest.
“Carefully, hyung,” Jeongguk says as the golf cart drives past.
From then on, there’s always a hand either on Jimin to subtly guide him in the right direction or hovering around Jimin to intervene as soon as Jeongguk might need to.
They start off slow, which is Jimin’s doing, by going to the balloon race. It may not be anything heavy but Jimin’s heart still stutters once they’re seated and the gondola starts going up. He bites his lower lip when the gondola tilts and holds the side of it as Jeongguk sits in front of him with a bright smile. Jimin knows he’s laughing at him but he doesn’t mind.
Jimin doesn’t have to be persuaded much to go to the bumper cars. Jeongguk mainly chases Jimin around and bumps their cars but not in the way the others do. It’s not as harsh and doesn’t hurt. That one time someone bumped Jimin hard, Jeongguk immediately bumped into that man. Jimin had to stop his heart from fluttering.
Jimin is the one to suggest going onto the log flume, liking the way the boat sway and the water dabbles.
“Aren’t you afraid, hyung?” Jeongguk teases and points to the two high-points the boat will go to. Jimin pinches Jeongguk’s stomach for being bratty.
Jeongguk is right. Jimin is afraid but he doesn’t mind that much as he sits in the front of the plastic log and tries not to pay Jeongguk any attention as he sits behind him. Jimin squeals when the log starts going up, heart already beating fast. Jeongguk giggles.
“Are you nervous?” Jeongguk asks close to his ear.
Jimin scoffs. “As if. I’m fine.”
Jeongguk hums, a mocking sound that encourages Jimin even more to not show any weakness. Instead he focuses on the sounds the water makes and how the boat sways in the water. His heart leaps into his throat when the log goes down and he lets out a surprised scream as Jeongguk behind him cheers. Water droplets hit his face but he doesn’t heed them, too busy holding onto the side of the log tightly.
They drive along, seeing other attractions and people enjoy them. The flume is built in a way it looks as if they’re going through mountains and the parts where they go inside a fake mountain they see dolls put up as if they’re working in a mine, all the sound effects added to it. Other parts of the flume are also decorated with similar things.
“Ah, that’s so scary,” Jimin whines when they’re about to go down again, clutches the sides again.
His freezes when he feels a pair of arms around his middle. Jeongguk hooks his chin over Jimin’s shoulder and pulls Jimin against himself, Jimin’s back to Jeongguk’s chest.
“I got you, hyung,” Jeongguk whispers and tightens his embrace on Jimin’s middle to emphasize his words.
Jimin wants to say something but the log is already falling down, Jimin’s heart skipping a beat. He grips Jeongguk’s arms and closes his eyes, nuzzles deeper into Jeongguk’s embrace. Jeongguk sighs and buries his nose in the hair of Jimin’s nape, hot breath fanning over the heated skin. When they get off the log, Jimin feels weirdly hot and stupid for having let go like that. What if someone sees them?
Jeongguk reaches for Jimin’s hand but Jimin pulls his back fast, feeling like he got electrocuted. He points to the first thing he sees, which is a haunted house. “Let’s go there,” Jimin says and walks over without waiting for Jeongguk’s consent. He just wants to hide his red cheeks and racing heart.
“How are the preparations for festival going?” Jeongguk asks after they wait silently in line for a while.
Jimin, aware of how close Jeongguk is standing too him, doesn’t look at the man. “Fine. We got the stage extras and also the outfits. We’re practicing even harder now. Sometimes I feel like my feet are going to fall off.”
“That’s not good.”
Jimin steals a glance at Jeongguk. “That’s life. We’ll have a break after the festival so it’s fine. Now we need to concentrate on doing everything right.”
“You’ll be fine. You’ve always been good and I’m sure your teams are no different.”
Jimin turns to Jeongguk who is already looking at him. “How do you want to know?”
Jeongguk shrugs and averts eyes. “Haven’t you always been?”
“Yeah but how do you know?”
“I did some research on you, remember?”
Jimin thinks back to their first date and how angered he had been about finding out that Jeongguk gathered information about him. It seems like it was so long ago. He thinks of the first impression the heir had on him that day and how he looked. Then he looks at Jeongguk standing right next to him. They appear like two different people. Jeongguk in his suit back then and Jeongguk in a thin jacket, white shirt, black skinny jeans, and brown timberlands now. Jimin smiles when he sees the timberlands.
“What?” Jeongguk asks upon noticing it.
“You’re wearing timberlands.”
Jeongguk looks down at his feet. “What about them?”
“Nothing. Just didn’t think you’d be a timberlands guy.”
Jimin looks at the conductor who is dressed up as some kind of monster. Jimin’s eyes widen, never having expected to reach the front that fast. It only now sinks in that Jimin has been waiting in line for a haunted house, something he has always been too afraid of to go in.
“Come on,” Jeongguk says and tugs at Jimin’s hand before Jimin can even protest.
Jimin gulps and follows Jeongguk silently. The conductor says something that Jimin doesn’t catch, too distracted by the open door that shows the dark inside of the haunted house, and he breathes in deeply. Jeongguk goes in without any hesitation, and notices only a few steps in that Jimin has stayed behind.
“What are you doing, hyung?” Jeongguk asks.
Jimin, who’s still standing at the closed door, waits until his eyes have adjusted to the dark and he can make Jeongguk out. Assured that nothing is going to happen until the spot where Jeongguk is standing or it would have happened already, Jimin walks to him and stands next to his side anxiously.
Jeongguk is excited, Jimin notes. It’s surreal to Jimin how excited the man is over being in a haunted house. Surely he must be either a psychopath or an adrenaline junkie. Jimin is uncertain whether he should be sad that Jeongguk just goes ahead without really paying attention to him or if he should be happy because then Jeongguk won’t notice how scared he is and he won’t make a fool out of himself. Certain is that Jimin is scared.
He follows Jeongguk quietly, afraid of every step he takes. Another thing that is good about Jeongguk walking ahead is that way Jimin can find out about every hidden monster or other thing that is supposed to scare him beforehand. The first time a man jumps out from the corner, Jeongguk just stands there until he has enough space to walk past and Jimin almost screams aloud. Instead he manages to only squeak and runs by that corner fast, still getting scared when the monster jumps out.
Deep regret fills him now. How could he have been so idiotic to point at a haunted house to go in and then even stand in line instead of changing his plan midway? Being close to Jeongguk really freaked him out enough so he couldn’t think straight. But now he fears he will get a heart attack. He somehow makes it to Jeongguk’s side again, forcing a smile onto his face when Jeongguk looks at him.
Feeling someone watching him from behind, the hair at the back of his neck stands up and Jimin turns around only to be met with a white-cloaked person, long hair covering their face. Jimin lets out a scream, fastening his pace and walking straight into someone because he didn’t look where he was going. He lets out another scream and fights the hands on his body away.
“HYUNG, STOP!” Jeongguk exclaims, shaking him slightly.
Jimin stops fighting against Jeongguk, heaving and shaking.
“Are you okay?” Jeongguk asks, voice now laced with concern.
Jimin forces out an awkward laugh. “Y-yeah. I’m fine. Let’s go.”
Jeongguk pulls Jimin back and roots him to his spot by holding his upper arms. He makes sure Jimin is looking at him before he says, “Why did you come in here when you were scared?”
Because of this, Jimin wants to say but instead he shrugs.
“Why didn’t you say you’re scared?”
“Am not,” Jimin protests weakly, pouting when Jeongguk looks at him sternly.
“Come on,” Jeongguk says and intertwines their fingers. “I'm here, hyung.”
The thought to protest crosses Jimin’s mind but then he thinks of the scary music in the haunted house, the scary laughter and screams that resound in it, the scary monsters, and how good Jeongguk’s hand feels in his, and Jimin dismisses that thought. Without any shame – what does he need shame for when he doesn’t have any dignity left – he stands closer to Jeongguk and puts his free hand on top of Jeongguk’s arm. His dignity is restored a bit when Jeongguk neither questions him nor looks at him.
After that, the walk through the haunted house passes a little faster. Jimin gives up holding onto Jeongguk’s arm and turns to hugging it at the next scare, letting out his squeals and squeaks against the toned limb. At one point, Jeongguk wraps his free arm around Jimin, Jimin still holding onto him when they get out of the haunted house. Jimin needs a moment for his eyes to adjust to the light and for the shaking to subside slowly. His heart is racing still and his bones feel like jelly, but at least it’s done.
He looks up at Jeongguk to find the man smiling softly at him and his heart jumps. Jimin lets go of his arm, clears his throat, and announces. “I’m hungry.”
Jeongguk matches his pace this time, smile ever apparent on his face, and he points to multiple restaurants and food stands on the way. Jimin ignores his light teasing on their search. They opt for a fast food place where they can sit inside and be a little away from the noise outside.
They order big burgers, fries, and big cokes, and at the end Jeongguk holds the menu out for the waitress and asks, “Could our order fall under this special?”
“Yes.” The waitress writes it down and then disappears with a smile.
“What special?” Jimin asks.
“Just one that will get us more fries.”
Jimin is neither suspicious of Jeongguk’s smile nor of how odd the special sounds. Only when the order arrives with one big cup with two straws does Jimin glare at Jeongguk. Jeongguk smiles innocently and says, “Thank you for the food, hyung.” Jimin wants to address the ‘one-cup-and-two-straws’ thingy but he’s too shy to do so. Instead he picks up his own burger and starts eating.
“What?” Jimin asks after taking his third bite and sees Jeongguk smiling at him.
Jeongguk’s smile widens. “Your mouth is so small it barely opens for the burger. It’s cute.”
Jimin gasps, feeling offended and embarrassed which only triggers Jeongguk to laugh. Jimin swallows the bite of food, wipes his mouth, all with a frown and then leans over to drink. Just as he takes one of the straws into his mouth and sucks, Jeongguk leans in too, taking the other straw into his mouth. Jimin looks up, meets Jeongguk’s eyes, and freezes. His heart stutters and he barely remembers to swallow before he gapes at Jeongguk. Jeongguk’s eyes flick to Jimin’s lips around the straw and then back to Jimin’s eyes. Jimin pulls back with his heart hammering against his chest and concentrates on his burger again. After that, when he needs to drink he picks the cup always up and brings it to his lips instead of leaning over.
They eat in silence, Jimin pays, and then go out again. Jeongguk points at a stand selling sweets and says, “Let’s get something sweet.”
Jimin nods, walking over with Jeongguk’s hand at his back like for the majority of the day. As soon as they arrive, Jimin is overwhelmed by the offer of sweets. Apples with caramel, sugar and covered in other sweet things are displayed. Popcorn, ice cream, cotton candy, bonbons, and so much more. There’s just way too much for Jimin to decide what to get, and in the end, follows Jeongguk’s example on buying ice cream.
“Why would you choose banana?” Jimin asks to take revenge for Jeongguk teasing him. “That’s so basic.”
“Oh and hazelnut isn’t?” Jeongguk retorts, eyes flicking to Jimin’s lips.
Jimin smiles and holds his ice cream out to Jeongguk, teases, “Do you want a taste?”
Jeongguk eyes the ice cream and then Jimin’s smug expression. Then he nods. “I’d love to.”
Jimin’s smile drops and he blinks owlishly at Jeongguk. His heart jumps and he lets out a squeak when Jeongguk cups his cheek with one hand and brings their faces close, stopping right before their lips touch. Jimin stares wide-eyed, almost crushing his ice cream in his hand, and only moving when Jeongguk backs off with a smirk. Jimin turns around, runs away.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk calls after him. “Where are you going? Wait.”
Jimin doesn’t. He speed-walks away, fighting off the blush on his cheeks. How can Jeongguk just do that?
“Hyung.” An arm wraps around Jimin’s waist and he’s pulled against a firm chest. “Where are you going?”
Jimin heart stutters and he closes his eyes for a second. Seems like Jeongguk is out to kill him that day, and Jimin can’t even run away.
“Can we go to the roller coaster?” Jeongguk asks, breath fanning over Jimin’s neck and making him shiver.
At this point, Jimin would do anything to get Jeongguk off. His poor heart can’t take the proximity. So he nods, not trusting his mouth.
“Really?” Jeongguk asks and cheers when Jimin nods again. “I need to taste the ice cream first though.”
Jimin frees himself from Jeongguk’s arm and shoves the ice cream in his face. Jeongguk puts his hand over Jimin’s and takes a huge bite that leaves Jimin’s mouth hanging open out of Jimin’s ice cream.
Jeongguk nods and hums to himself. “It’s okay.”
Once Jimin has unfrozen, he grabs Jeongguk’s hand with which he’s holding his ice cream and takes an even bigger bite out of it. Jimin’s brain freezes for a moment but the gaping expression on Jeongguk’s face is worth it. Jimin manages to keep his ice cream safe from Jeongguk but his smugness ends when they’re on the roller coaster.
Day turns into night and by the time they’re finished, they have eaten multiple more sweets, have gone on more rides, and Jimin has a big plushie in his arms that Jeongguk won for himself but Jimin ‘convinced’ him to give it to him. Both know it was meant for Jimin from the beginning on but neither mention it.
“Thank you for the… date,” Jimin says when it’s time to say goodbye. They’re in Jeongguk’s car, waiting outside of Jimin’s place, the plushie in Jimin’s lap.
“You’re welcome,” Jeongguk mumbles, eyes set on Jimin who is looking everywhere else but him.
“It was fun,” Jimin adds, not wanting to leave yet, something is keeping him with Jeongguk still.
When Jimin finally looks up from the plushie and looks at Jeongguk, he knows that he’s looking for an answer. He may have forgotten the file that is buried under his bed for the duration of the date but it has come back full force now. The soft look Jeongguk is regarding him with gets overwhelming and Jimin has to breathe in deeply.
“I should go,” he whispers, sees Jeongguk shift in his seat.
The tension in the car is thick and Jimin knows Jeongguk is yearning for a kiss, his lips tingling with the ghost of one too, but he can’t now. Not like this.
“See you soon,” Jimin adds to reassure Jeongguk but also himself.
Jeongguk nods. “Soon. Good night, hyung.”
Jimin exits the car and waves once before he enters the building. In his dark apartment – Taehyung having gone to sleep already – he sets the plushie on his bed and changes into his pyjamas before he walks over to Taehyung’s room. Jimin opens the door and peeks inside the dark room. Taehyung only raises his hand to let Jimin know that he’s awake but barely. Smiling, Jimin slips inside Taehyung’s room and then under Taehyung’s covers. Taehyung opens his arms for him, letting Jimin wrap an arm around his waist and wraps one around Jimin’s shoulders.
“You’re smiling,” Taehyung notes, voice gruff. He can’t see Jimin but he just knows. Jimin is too hot and giddy not to be happy.
“I really liked the date,” Jimin confesses quietly and plays with the neck of Taehyung’s shirt. He’s happy it’s dark and he doesn’t have to look at his best friend.
Taehyung chuckles sleepily. “That’s good.”
Jimin nods and stays silent for a while. “He’s so nice, Tae. He has so much warmth and happiness to give. He couldn’t keep his hands off me. It was kind of cute. He’d blush so much. I…” Taehyung tightens his embrace on him and Jimin buries his face in Taehyung’s neck. “I think I like him.”
The confession hurts Jimin a little. It stings even more when he thinks about how horrible he has been to Jeongguk.
Taehyung hides his nose and Jimin’s hair and breathes in deeply. “That’s okay.”
Jimin closes his eyes. “Will he forgive me?”
“If you’re honest with him and explain everything to him I’m sure he will.”
Jimin inhales deeply and lets the breath out slowly. He closes his eyes and hopes that Jeongguk will understand.
Jimin doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. There are so many thoughts rushing through his head that it’s not possible to form a coherent thought. Jimin’s parents, the arranged marriage, Junghwan’s proposal, and Jeongguk. Sweet, pure, adorable Jeongguk who has done nothing but good to Jimin. If only they hadn’t met under these circumstances, Jimin thinks, then they certainly would have become best friends at the least but most probably more. If only it weren’t for this.
Being with Jeongguk has become light. Jimin likes talking to him, wants to see him, meet him, and hear his voice. Especially after the date in the amusement park. Jimin has finally admitted that Taehyung was has been right. Jimin likes Jeongguk. The night before, Jimin called Jeongguk and they talked for hours. In hindsight, Jimin couldn’t tell what about but it was amazing. Nothing else matters.
The more heart-shattering it is for Jimin to see Junghwan’s phone number on the display of his phone, calling him for the third time in a row. The past days, Jimin had luck and he wasn’t approached by the man. Guess he’s too afraid to when some paparazzi might still be following Jimin.
Knowing that he has to pick up one day, Jimin does it now. “Hello?”
The first thing he hears is a sigh and then some silence. “Jimin. I’ve been trying to reach you for so long.”
“Why didn’t you pick up?”
“Didn’t want to,” Jimin admits.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t want to do this,” Jimin confesses, dread settling into his stomach but simultaneously also relief.
What the fuck are you saying?”
“I can’t give you the file.”
“Oh, so you want to marry my brother now?” Junghwan’s tone turns mocking, menace filling his voice slowly.
“No, but I decided to talk to him about this. To give us a normal opportunity.”
Junghwan scoffs. “Do you think he’ll say ‘yes, Jimin. I love you but let’s not marry’? He’ll force you to.”
Jimin’s gut coils, doubt settling in slowly. “No, Jeongguk isn’t like that.”
“I know my brother. He’s not what he’s making himself out to be. He’ll take your freedom from you, your parents willing to let it happen, and you will cry for the rest of your life.”
Jimin shakes his head, not believing what he’s hearing, not wanting to. “No,” he protests. He says it to Junghwan and the doubtful voice in him. “Jeongguk isn’t like that.”
“I’m giving the file back. Don’t ever call me again.”
Jimin ends the call before Junghwan can say anything, breathing in deeply. It’s much easier to do so now after he has chosen Jeongguk, but the weight of the file still weighs heavy on him. He won’t be able to live normally with it on him. He needs to get rid of it.
Despite thinking Jeongguk might be busy right now, Jimin calls him instead of texting him like he usually would.
“Jiminie hyung, hello.”
Jeongguk has started calling him by that nickname, and while at first Jimin protested, he lets Jeongguk call him that, loves it secretly.
“Hey. Are you busy?”
“Nope. I’m free to talk for however long you want.”
Jimin hears someone clear their throat in the back, laughing when he thinks it’s most probably Namjoon scolding Jeongguk.
“I won’t hold you back much. I just wanted to know whether you’re free tomorrow.”
“Why?” Jeongguk asks, tone teasing.
“Because I want to go on a date.”
“Oh, wow. That was quite direct.”
Jimin chuckles, finding Jeongguk’s genuinely surprised tone adorable. “We have been on dates before, you’re aware of that, right?”
“Yeah, but that was me asking you out and not the other way around.”
“I asked you out for our last date,” Jimin protests.
“Yeah but you never called it a date and I decided the place. So it doesn’t count. I don’t know how to deal with you asking me out.”
“I’ll give you a tip: just say yes.”
“Hm, I don’t think that helped. You might need to give me another tip.”
“Meanie,” Jimin whines. “Say yes.”
“Okay, yes,” Jeongguk laughs, Jimin’s pout turning into a smile. “But not tomorrow.” Jimin deflates instantly. “Let’s meet up on Saturday. You won’t have classes the next day and I’ll be free too.”
“Okay,” Jimin agrees slowly.
“Are you pouting?” Jeongguk teases.
“No.” Jimin feels his cheeks redden at that.
“Hmm. I can see you pout all the way over here but I’ll let it slide. What do you want to do?”
“Can we have a night in at yours? I don’t feel like going out. Sometimes I still feel like there are cameras following me around.”
Even though this time, Jimin isn’t manipulating Jeongguk for his own benefit, he still feels bad about lying to him. Jimin does feel paranoid when it comes to cameras but it also isn’t as bad as he’s making it out to be.
“Yeah, of course,” Jeongguk agrees easily. “Dinner?”
“Yup. We can cook together.”
“Sounds good. Send me your favourite dish and I’ll buy the ingredients.”
“You can buy groceries like a commoner? Wow. What can’t you do?”
“Ha-ha,” Jeongguk mocks, sounding petulant.
Jimin speaks slowly as he speaks up again, “You should go back to work.”
“I should.” Jeongguk’s voice has turned low now, slower as if trying to drag the end of the phone call out.
“See you on Saturday,” Jimin whispers, smile on his lip that just won’t go away
“Bye.” Jimin waits for a moment and adds when Jeongguk doesn’t hang up. “We’re not going to be the couple that says ‘you first’. So bye.”
Jeongguk laughs but agrees. “Okay. Bye.”
Jimin ends the call afterwards, thinking of what he wants to cook on Saturday.
“How did the business deal from the other day go?” Jimin asks, popping some rice into his mouth.
After preparing dinner almost took three hours because they still had to buy groceries which Jeongguk forgot to do and because of their playfulness, Jimin and Jeongguk have finally managed to sit down and eat. Jeongguk, who skipped lunch, is stuffing his cheeks full again. Neither in the supermarket nor during cooking had Jeongguk been able to get his hands off Jimin, always touching the boy in one way or another.
For the date, Jeongguk wore black jeans and a white button up shirt, clearly going for the casual formal date look. Jimin wonders how long it took Jeongguk to put this together, whether he tried multiple outfits on just like him. Jimin wore a sweater.
“The one when you visited me? We don’t know the results yet. We’ll get them by tomorrow or the day after. It kind of got slowed down because I lost the file. I know I put it on my desk but then took out all the other files. Then the incident with the paparazzi happened and I was told not to go to the office the next days which is why I ordered the files to be sent home but it wasn’t here. I don’t know where I put it.”
Jimin feels awful for having made Jeongguk’s important deal so much harder. “Was the file very important?”
“It was fine since we had copies from the majority of the information. Only some of the notes we took during the newest meeting on that day got lost. Thankfully Namjoon remembered most of it but there are some details that we never got back, that we could have used to our benefit.”
“Would it change something if you were to find the file now?”
“Sadly not. We have made our proposal and sent it over already but I’m confident that we will get the client.”
“I’m sure you will,” Jimin says, reassuring not only Jeongguk but also himself. He’s glad that he never gave the file to Junghwan. “Do you have tough competition?”
“You know there’s always tough competition in business. I just wish hyung weren’t one of them. I sometimes wish he’d win because it would make him happy but I can’t lose this client.”
Jeongguk trails of at the end, playing with his glass of water.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. He’ll get his chances.”
Jeongguk smiles and nods, changing the topic to Jimin’s practice. By the time they finish dinner it’s awfully late to be still at Jeongguk’s house but Jimin doesn’t want to leave, deciding to help Jeongguk clean up. It’s a good excuse since there is a bit of a mess.
“Don’t,” Jimin reprimands when Jeongguk blows some bubbles in his direction, after they’ve finished the majority of it.
Jeongguk remains still for a moment, washing the plates obediently, but splashes some water on Jimin as soon as Jimin is distracted. Jimin gasps and this time doesn’t let Jeongguk off so easily. He splashes Jeongguk right back, causing a water fight. At the end of it, they’re both wet from head to toe and in a desperate need of changing clothes.
Thankfully his hair hasn’t gotten wet so Jimin only has to change his clothes. When Jeongguk gives Jimin his sweatpants and a shirt, he gets reminded of the ones he has back home from the last Jimin has been here.
He lets out a small squeak when Jeongguk takes off his shirt without a warning. Jeongguk faces him, amusement written all over his face.
“Aww, am I making you shy, hyung?” Jeongguk asks, tone teasing like the majority of the time since he has been here.
“No,” Jimin retorts, and to prove his point, pulls off his shirt.
“Are you sure?”
Jeongguk walks close to him, invading his private space as he leans down to Jimin’s eyelevel. Jimin gulps, holding Jeongguk’s gaze stubbornly.
Jeongguk pus his arms around Jimin’s naked torso, Jimin’s skin burning where it’s touching Jeongguk’s. Jimin pushes Jeongguk onto the bed, Jeongguk dragging Jimin with him. He pushes Jimin on his back and then hovers above him with a smirk. Jimin is embarrassed but he likes how Jeongguk is warm and soft and firm so he doesn’t push him away again. Their pants are still wet at some places but neither one cares.
“You’re awfully touchy today,” Jimin comments, trying to go for a nonchalant tone.
“Well, I’ve been waiting to do this since years. Can you blame me?”
“Years?” Jimin repeats, not quite believing his ears.
Jeongguk smiles and puts his nose against Jimin’s cheek. “Is this fine?”
Jimin tells his racing heart to calm down and nods. Jeongguk nuzzles Jimin cheeks, lips softly moving against his skin as he speaks and making Jimin shiver. “I saw you at your recital with your high school dance group. You were so beautiful, hyung. I thought I had seen an angel. My friend dragged me there because he really wanted to see you dance. Even back then you had quite the reputation. I couldn’t stop thinking about you afterwards. Every now and then you would pop up in my thoughts, and I would wonder what you were doing.”
Jeongguk’s nose moves to Jimin’s temple where Jeongguk presses a small kiss to Jimin’s skin. “Then I saw you again. Four years later, at the age of twenty-two and you had only gotten better and more beautiful. My dancer friend went to your university to look around and see if he wanted to apply. You performed with your group for the future students. I would have sold my soul to be able to apply to the dance department just so I could be your dongsaeng.”
Jimin feels Jeongguk smile against his temple, hears it in the breath that leaves his lungs, and he closes his eyes. He doubts he can handle much more of the man but he needs to. He needs to know everything as he clings to Jeongguk.
Jeongguk shudders. He moves his lips from Jimin’s temple to his throat, Jimin tightening his hold on the man when he’s first kissed. Jeongguk sucks in the sensitive skin and leaves behind a wet patch. Inhaling deeply, Jeongguk pulls Jimin closer and buries his face further into Jimin’s neck. Jimin has to roughly pull at Jeongguk’s hair and ask him to go on with his story to stop him. Jeongguk merely smiles when he looks up. He brushes Jimin’s hair aside, fingers dancing along his features.
“I wanted to talk to you,” Jeongguk continues, eyes cast down as if he is coy. “You were handing out flyers after your performance and I approached you and took one. You smiled at me so brightly I almost melted. I wanted to talk to you so bad but I wasn’t worthy enough.” Jimin gulps, breathing suddenly becoming impossible. He doesn’t remember meeting Jeongguk at all. “You had come so far, hyung. You had built up so much of your life for yourself and I was just a boy who had recently gotten back from the military service to stand awkwardly in an office that was too big for him. I wanted to become something first before I talked to you, wanted to prove myself.”
Jimin inhales shakily. He pushes Jeongguk to the side who easily follows, confusion written on his face. Jimin gets to his knees and pushes his back against the headboard, straddling his hips and encircling his neck with his arms. He’s unable to look Jeongguk in his face and not touch him. Jeongguk sighs relieved and wraps his arms around Jimin’s middle, nuzzling Jimin’s collarbone.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk breathes, nipping on Jimin’s skin.
“And then?” Jimin urges. He wants to hear the rest, wants to know how Jeongguk knows him now that he’s finally talking.
“I started working even harder than I intended to. Besides wanting to make my dad’s dreams for the company true, I now also had another goal in my life. Two years later where I always made my friend update me on you, I thought this is it. I don’t want to wait any longer. But then I didn’t know how to approach you. So I asked my mom to arrange a blind date with the help of your mom.” Jeongguk hides his face in Jimin’s chest, Jimin almost not getting the next part. “I was so scared on our first date. Thought I’d make a complete fool out of myself. You were so beautiful. Seeing you that close again was very overwhelming.”
Jeongguk finally looks up, pressing his palms flatly against Jimin’s back and stroking up and down. Jimin’s gut clenches with want, and he wants to lean forward and connect their foreheads but they’re not done yet.
“I was so scared, hyung,” Jeongguk breathes, expression changing from coy to guarded. “I didn’t know how to get close to you, how to make you open up to me. I don’t know how to befriend people, and there were moments where I thought I had lost you before I even got to call you mine. It made sleeping, eating, breathing unbearable. How could I like you so much without even knowing you? I felt like a psychopath. But then you slowly let me in, very slowly but you still did, and I knew that you’re worth every drop of love.” Jeongguk smiles. “I could never regret it.”
Jimin gasps. He hides his face in Jeongguk’s neck, pressing his upper body against Jeongguk’s to fill the gaping hole that is eating him up inside. Guilt is mixing with lust and affection and want. And Jimin wants wants wants. Jeongguk tightens his grip around Jimin’s middle, no doubt feeling the intensity of Jimin’s emotions even if he can’t identify them properly. He attaches his lips to Jimin’s neck again and sucks the skin into his mouth, Jimin loosening his hold around Jeongguk’s neck to give the man more room to explore.
Jeongguk lets out a grunt, his actions turning more desperate as his mouth travels to the other side of Jimin’s throat. He nibbles on Jimin’s skin, teeth grazing over Jimin’s collarbone and biting, not hard enough to leave behind marks but still stinging. Jeongguk goes lower, Jimin buries his hands in Jeongguk’s hair. He mewls when Jeongguk attaches his lips to his nipples and sucks, arches into the touch and presses Jeongguk’s head closer.
Jimin’s cock is straining against his pants at this point, Jeongguk mercilessly laving on the pert bud and sucking on it. He almost bursts into tears when Jeongguk’s hand comes up and pinches his other nipple, the pain shooting straight to his cock.
Jimin pushes Jeongguk away and stumbles out of his lap, almost landing on the floor. He takes gasping breaths, his wet nipples sensitive against the cold air. His body instantly misses Jeongguk’s, his heart and mind screaming at him to go back, but he only wraps his arms around his stomach to weaken the yearning inside a little.
Jimin closes his eyes upon hearing the voice, lowering his head.
“Are you okay? I got ahead of myself again. I’m sorry. I swear I wouldn’t have done more than that.”
Jimin chuckles. Jeongguk sounds so innocent when he says that, and he feels himself fill with affection for the man.
He shakes his head in response, breath shuddering, and smiles at the Jeongguk. “I’m fine, Guk. Don’t worry. I can handle a little petting.”
Smirking, Jeongguk hums, “Not so innocent as I thought, huh?”
Jimin laughs out loud. “Yeah. You’re the innocent one between the two of us.”
Jeongguk pouts. “Not true. I did some… stuff.”
“Your kindergarten first kiss doesn’t count,” Jimin mocks.
“Hey,” Jeongguk protests, sitting next to Jimin. “I did more than that. I’ll have you know, I blew my senior officer at my last day in the military.”
Jimin breaks out laughing, a hand swatting Jeongguk’s arm. “So kinky. But I can relate. I had this super-hot senior too but he wouldn’t let me touch.”
“Glad he didn’t.”
Jimin gapes. “What? You’re allowed to blow your senior officer and I’m not?”
“You are,” Jeongguk says, squirming on the bed, “You can do whatever you want to but I don’t have to like it, do I?”
“Of course, you’re the innocent and jealous one in the relationship.”
Surprisingly Jeongguk doesn’t comment on that. Instead he stares at Jimin with glinting eyes.
“What?” Jimin asks, feeling a little insecure at being exposed to an expression like that.
Jeongguk chuckles, shakes his head. “It sounded nice when you said ‘relationship’.”
Oh. It’s new to Jimin but he doesn’t mind hearing it. It seems pleasant. Not something firm yet but a promise.
“It’s late,” Jeongguk says after an embarrassed silence. “I’ll drive you home.”
Jimin shakes his head, not wanting to leave yet. “Can I stay?”
Jeongguk’s mouth falls open, disbelief audible in his voice when he asks, “Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Is that alright?”
“Of course,… Will you,” Jeongguk starts and then stops. Starts again, “Will you sleep with me? I promise I won’t do anything.”
Jimin doubts this is a good idea. He can’t control himself around Jeongguk, wants the man too much, and while it wouldn’t be a problem in other circumstances, currently he is laden with guilt. He feels like the file in his backpack will burn through the material. But Jimin is selfish and Jeongguk looks so hopeful. He can’t bring it over himself to hurt the man again or deny him anything anymore. So he nods.
“Really?” Jeongguk beams, careful smile on his lips.
Jeongguk looks like he wants to tackle Jimin and hug him but keeps himself from doing so last second.
“We should get ready for bed then.”
Jimin smiles at the excitement in Jeongguk’s voice. It’s like a small child who’s having a sleepover for the first time. They get ready for bed, brushing their teeth together, Jeongguk smiling at him in the mirror, Jimin changing clothes in the bathroom, guilt gnawing on him the whole time. It only quietens down when he goes under the covers with Jeongguk, both facing each other.
“Good night, hyung,” Jeongguk whispers. It’s dark but Jimin can still faintly see his smile.
“Good night, Gukie.”
Jimin is surprised that Jeongguk doesn’t try to talk to him or touch him. He thought the man would take at least take some time to quiet down, choosing to chat a little more. In the end, it’s Jimin that can’t bear it anymore and tells Jeongguk to turn around.
“Why?” Jeongguk asks.
“Just turn around.”
Jeongguk does as told the second time and turns around, back to Jimin. Jimin crawls closer to him, puts his head on Jeongguk’s pillow and wraps an arm around Jeongguk’s waist, burying his nose in Jeongguk’s neck. There is a second where Jimin thinks Jeongguk is going to push him away but Jeongguk only puts his hand on top of Jimin, letting it rest there.
Jimin wakes up in Jeongguk’s arms, firmly pressed against the man’s chest. He blinks sluggishly, registers that he is in Jeongguk’s arms, but he can’t process the thought. Opting for closing his eyes again, Jimin tries to fall back asleep but can’t. He has slept too much already, usually awake by now if he were at his own apartment.
Turning around in Jeongguk’s arm, slowly so he doesn’t wake the man up, he wonders when their positions changed so drastically. He liked holding the man when they were about to fall asleep but this is nice too. Jimin suppresses a giggle when he sees Jeongguk’s open mouth who looks so much different with relaxed facial features.
He thinks of Jeongguk’s words from last night, how Jeongguk started liking him and for how long already. Jimin can’t even comprehend how it must be to live with the thought of someone. Judging by Jeongguk’s words, Jimin has been one of Jeongguk’s motivation. Now it also makes so much sense that Jimin’s mother approached his mother for a blind date.
With that story comes another thought. Jeongguk was honest with him and now it’s Jimin’s turn to be honest with Jeongguk.
Jimin raises one hand and slides it along the sharp line of Jeongguk’s jaw. When the man doesn’t move, Jimin does it again. He moves his hand to Jeongguk chin and pushes it upwards, careful not to wake Jeongguk. His mouth closes, Jimin pressing a little too hard and making Jeongguk pout. Jimin hides his giggle behind his hand when Jeongguk mouth falls open again as soon as Jimin lets go.
His eyes fall on the mole under Jeongguk’s lower and he caresses it with his finger. He thinks about leaning down kissing the mole and then kissing Jeongguk awake since has to go soon but they’re not close enough for that yet, are they? What does Jeongguk think they are after the events from the night before? Does he think they’re boyfriends now? Does Jimin think so?
He remembers the file in his backpack and how he doesn’t know what to do with it. Jeongguk thinks he lost it. Putting it back in Jeongguk’s apartment now would be too suspicious, especially since Jimin has no clue where to put it, where it would look normal. Then there’s also the fact that putting it back is useless. Jeongguk has no use for it anymore. The best solution is to simply get rid of it, burn it or shred it.
Jimin’s attention is brought back to Jeongguk when he stirs, pulling his arm from around Jimin’s middle away and facing the other way. Jimin feels slightly offended by it but forgets about his offence fast when he sees the moles on Jeongguk’s back. Jimin pulls the blanket off, exposing the rest of Jeongguk’s back and moles. There is one directly in the dimple of Jeongguk’s lower back, and it makes Jimin’s heart jump.
This time, Jimin can’t resist. He brings one finger up to touch the mole on Jeongguk’s lower back and glides it up to the other mole. Jeongguk squirms, wiggles his ass as he most probably is tickled by Jimin’s light touch. Jimin stops, pouting that he can’t go on and almost cooing how cute Jeongguk’s ass wiggling looks. Instead he follows the lines with his eyes, tries to count them, and starts again when he gets confused.
The mole on the junction where Jeongguk’s nape meets his shoulder has a tiny dip that makes it look like a heart. It renders Jimin weak, his affection for the man intensifying and before he knows what he’s doing, he leans forward, puts a hand on Jeongguk’s hip, and presses his lips against the small heart. His lips linger, unwilling to let go of the man as his heart soars. Jimin breathes in deeply, smelling a mix of Jeongguk’s sweat and a perfume that he uses.
Jimin’s eyes fly open in horror when Jeongguk moves, lips detaching on his own, and he has barely enough time to put his head on the pillow and close his eyes before Jeongguk is facing him. Jimin tries to control his breathing, loosen his tense muscles so Jeongguk doesn’t suspect anything. He almost curses out loud at the way his cheeks are burning, most probably giving him away once Jeongguk looks at him.
Jeongguk huffs, breath fanning over Jimin’s face, but remains quiet otherwise. Jimin can feel him waking up though. His breathing isn’t as regular anymore and his thumb rubs circles into Jimin’s skin where Jeongguk’s hand is laying on Jimin’s hip now, where his shirt has ridden up. Jimin is about to open his eyes to check whether he’s misinterpreting the situation but then Jeongguk shifts until his face is right in front of Jimin’s.
Jeongguk readjusts the blanket over them to protect their bare upper bodies from the chilly morning air and hesitantly slips an arm around Jimin’s waist, careful not to jostle him. Jimin keeps acting as if he’s asleep and doesn’t notice anything. It’s silent for a while where Jimin only follows Jeongguk’s breathing, unintendedly matches his own breathing with Jeongguk’s. Although Jimin feels Jeongguk move his hand, he’s still surprised when a finger connects with his cheek, poking into the soft flesh until Jeongguk snorts quietly.
Jimin is horrified. Jeongguk is seeing him all ugly, puffy face and lips, and maybe even dried up drool strains on his cheek. He can’t let that happen. So when the next time Jeongguk touches him – this time he boops Jimin’s nose – Jimin stirs, huffing out a breath as he scrunches his nose. When he opens his eyes after stretching and faking a yawn, Jeongguk is the one now acting asleep. Smiling, Jimin remains silent and waits for Jeongguk to open his eyes so he can catch him red-handed. It doesn’t take Jeongguk long to peek one eye open hesitantly, shutting it tight again when he sees Jimin looking at him. Jimin laughs out loud at the ridiculousness of the situation and pushes Jeongguk’s shoulder lightly.
“I know you’re awake.”
With red ears and lowered eyes, Jeongguk gives up and sucks his lower lip into his mouth when Jimin laughs again.
“I didn’t you know you were they type to watch other people sleep,” Jimin comments and turns his head the other way to keep Jeongguk from seeing him.
“Good morning, hyung.”
Jimin smiles, happy that Jeongguk can’t see how smitten he is already. “Good morning.”
“How did you sleep?”
“Good. I like your bed. The sheets are so soft.”
Jimin closes his eyes, realizing belatedly the connotation his sentence has. He’s praying to god to be merciful and for Jeongguk not to comment on it but, apparently, it’s not his day.
“You’re welcome any time, hyung,” Jeongguk muses, smirk apparent in his voice.
Jimin wishes he has something smart and witty to respond with but that’s not the case. Instead of replying, Jimin moves to get out of bed to which Jeongguk protests and immediately pulls him back by his waist. Jimin squeaks as Jeongguk’s chest connects with his back, feeling the muscles in Jeongguk’s arms flex as he holds Jimin tightly.
“Where are you going?” Jeongguk whines petulantly, mouth close to Jimin’s ear.
“Freshen up,” Jimin chokes out, hands trying to loosen Jeongguk’s hold on him.
“What for? You said you don’t have classes until later. Stay.”
Jimin’s resolve crumbles, attempts at getting free weaken. He should get out, get away from Jeongguk who makes him so weak, makes him feel so much but he doesn’t really want to.
“Who knows when we’ll see each other again. Please, Jiminie.”
Groaning defeatedly, Jimin agrees and goes limp in Jeongguk’s arm as Jeongguk cheers.
“I’m spoiling you too much already,” Jimin notes as Jeongguk buries his nose in Jimin’s shoulder and breathes in deeply.
“I have been pining after you for years. I have to make up for all of that.”
“And how do you want to do that?”
Jeongguk detaches himself from Jimin and pushes him onto his back so he’s forced to look Jeongguk in his face. Jeongguk puts one arm next to Jimin’s head, supports his weight with it, and puts the other next to Jimin’s side, trapping him onto the bed for good. “By keeping you close to me at all times.”
Jimin stares at him with wide eyes, taken aback by Jeongguk’s forwardness. He blinks up at Jeongguk owlishly as his heartrate picks up and watches the smile disappear on Jeongguk’s face. The playful atmosphere is gone, replaced by tension that gets thicker and thicker the more Jeongguk stares down at Jimin. Jimin tells himself to make a joke and change the atmosphere back but he can’t move, he doesn’t know why he should do it.
Instead he turns his face away, still embarrassed about how he looks in the morning. He can feel the tips of his ears burning.
“Why won’t you look at me?”
Jimin covers his face with the back of his hand and closes his eyes. “Because I need to freshen up still. So can I go now”
It would have been far too easy if Jeongguk had let him go just like that. Something like this isn’t in Jeongguk’s nature. Jeongguk puts his hand in Jimin, intertwines their fingers, and removes Jimin’s hand from his face. He pins Jimin’s hand to the pillow, right in Jimin’s sight. Jimin almost groans when he sees their hands.
Jeongguk’s other hand slips into Jimin’s hair, causing Jimin to turn his head towards Jeongguk and a shiver to run down Jimin’s spine. Jimin inhales shakily, one hand coming up to hold onto Jeongguk’s bicep. He gulps when Jeongguk lowers himself down on him and doesn’t stop him.
“Hyung, can I kiss you?”
Jimin shouldn’t say yes. He hasn’t talked to Jeongguk about the arranged marriage yet, about what they are, and he still has the file in his backpack. Starting this with a lie isn’t the proper way but Jimin is weak.
As soon as Jimin nods, Jeongguk doesn’t waste another second and connects their lips. It’s bittersweet, Jimin still reminded of his fuck ups but they get pushed to the back of his mind as Jeongguk kisses him again and again, and coaxes his lips to part. Jimin gasps when Jeongguk flicks his tongue over Jimin’s lower lip and sucks it into his mouth, nibbling on the soft flesh lightly and kissing Jimin again.
The loud smack that resonates in the quiet morning when their lips part is something that Jimin tries to remember and cherish. He doesn’t let Jeongguk pull back far and pulls him in for another kiss, his hands cupping Jeongguk’s cheeks. Jimin can’t get enough air into his lungs, feeling lightheaded and dizzy but he doesn’t heed that.
He uses his hand to open Jeongguk’s mouth, pressing his thumb against his lip, and pushes his tongue into Jeongguk’s mouth. Jeongguk’s eyes widen, body freezes as he stays there motionless for a while. Jimin goes on unbothered and licks the roof of Jeongguk’s mouth and slides his tongue over Jeongguk’s.
“Jeongguk-ah,” he moans and opens his mouth for Jeongguk.
Jeongguk curses loudly, eyes zeroed in on Jimin’s mouth, and repositions himself. Then he immediately attaches their lips and pushes his tongue into Jimin’s impatient mouth. Pleased, Jimin hums and sucks on Jeongguk’s tongue, savouring the sweet taste and feeling of it. This time when Jeongguk pulls back, Jimin doesn’t stop.
Their breathings are erratic, loud and angry in the silence. Their chests touch with each inhale, hard-ons throbbing painfully.
Jimin pulls Jeongguk in one last time to peck the mole under his lower lip and then pushes Jeongguk out of the bed, urging him to shower because he’s hungry. Jeongguk obeys with a smile, steals one last peck, and disappears in the bathroom, Jimin staring at the ceiling and smiling to himself. Even the pain from his hard-on doesn’t ruin his mood.
Jimin is startled out of his daydream when Jeongguk’s phone goes off, an incoming call from Namjoon and ringing for a long while before it stops. Not even five seconds later, the phone goes off again so Jimin gets up to knock on the bathroom door.
“Jeongguk, it’s Namjoon. Seems like it’s important.”
The water is shut off, Jeongguk appearing ten seconds later with only a towel draped around his hips and dripping wet. He presses a kiss to Jimin’s forehead and makes him blush even more.
“Here,” Jeongguk offers Jimin a shirt and a pair of shorts. “Towels are in the bathroom.”
Before Jeongguk can steal another kiss from Jimin, his phone goes off again and Jimin disappears in the bathroom. Jimin showers fast. He only has an hour before he has to leave for his apartment to change, and he doesn’t want to waste that time in the shower. This time Jimin relishes in the fact that he’s wearing Jeongguk’s clothes, looking at how his frame drowns in them. He dries his hair with the towel, brushes his teeth, and hops out of the bathroom.
Jeongguk has his back towards Jimin, now dressed and leaning against the dresser. Jimin smiles and wraps his arms around Jeongguk’s waist, kisses between his shoulder blades and leans his head against his back.
“Want to go and make breakfast? I’m starving,” Jimin asks, inhaling Jeongguk’s scent as he noses along his back.
He blinks in confusion when Jeongguk removes his arms and turns around with tears in his eyes, Jimin’s heart sinking to the floor. He cups Jeongguk’s cheeks, eyebrows furrowed.
“I lost the client?” Jeongguk chokes out, biting his shaking lower lip at the end.
Jimin huffs, feeling awful at Jeongguk’s loss. He knows how important the client was for Jeongguk.
“Oh, Jeonggukie, I am so sorry,” he coos. “You still have other clients. You can-”
“Hyung won,” Jeongguk interrupts Jimin.
Jimin is stunned into silence for a second, unsure about how to react. Jeongguk said he was conflicted about who to be happy for, and so is Jimin now.
“That’s good, I guess,” Jimin says uncertain.
Jeongguk huffs, does a mix between laughing and crying, and then blinks multiple times as if he’s fighting off tears. He swallows hard before he raises his hand, Jimin’s phone held tightly in it. “Why is hyung calling you?”
Jimin’s pulls his hands back as if they were burned, fearing the worst as he looks at Junghwan’s number on the screen. He had called Jimin while he was showering. Did Jeongguk think Jimin had anything to do with his loss?
“H-he met me a few days ago and asked for my number,” Jimin answers, hoping this will be enough for an answer.
His heart is hammering against his chest, head feeling cold and light, and Jeongguk’s teary, disappointed eyes on him don’t make it any better.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asks.
“I didn’t know it was important.”
Jeongguk closes his eyes and rolls his neck. Jimin touches Jeongguk’s arm but Jeongguk flinches away from it, tearing Jimin’s heart out with it. Jimin is shaking by now, crosses his arms over his chest, and prays. Just prays.
“I’m only going to ask once, hyung,” Jeongguk says, inhaling deeply. “Did you have anything to do with my loss and hyung’s win?”
Jimin tries to blink the tears away but they still fall. He shakes his head no.
Jeongguk chuckles humourlessly, looking pained as he does so.
“Then why are you crying?”
Jimin sniffles and licks lips. “Because I am guilty but not of helping your hyung.” Jimin gets louder towards the end, Jeongguk moving away from him and sniffling.
“I didn’t help him, Jeongguk,” Jimin continues, getting desperate as he starts to panic slowly. “He approached me and asked me to steal the file for him, and I did. That day when I came to your office but I didn’t give it to him.”
“How else did he win then? His numbers were just a bit higher than ours. Just a tiny bit as if he was mocking us,” Jeongguk questions and turns back around to him with a pained look on his face.
Jimin sobs at the sight, lowering his head. “I don’t know, Jeongguk. I swear I didn’t help him. I still have the file.”
“WHY-” Jimin flinches at the Jeongguk’s volume, Jeongguk immediately stopping to calm down. “Why did you even take it when you had no intentions of giving it to him?”
Jimin is full on crying by now, feeling pathetic for it but he can’t help it. He breathes in deeply and responds, “I wanted t-to at first but I swear I didn’t. I ev-even have the file with me right now because I wanted to put it ba-ck but then you said you didn’t need it anymore, and…”
“And you didn’t want to risk getting caught,” Jeongguk finishes for him. Jimin lowers his head, unable to look at the hurt in Jeongguk’s face. “Why, hyung? Why?”
“Because I didn’t want to marry you.”
“I wasn’t allowed to study dance. My parents wanted me to take over the company and I tried. After coming back from the military, I tried for a year and then couldn’t anymore. I broke down in front of them and begged them to let me study dance. I didn’t eat and drink and barely slept for days only to return to the spot in front of my dad’s home office and kneel there in front of him. They only allowed it because Jihyun volunteered to take over the company and with the promise that I’d do everything they wanted me to if they let me study dance. And then, in my last semester, they tell me I have to marry one of the biggest heirs in South Korea, who I don’t even know or love.”
Jimin stops to allow himself to breathe. Jeongguk looks at him wide-eyed and shocked. Then he continues, “I couldn’t say no. I was afraid they’d stop paying for my university and apartment. Then not only me but also Taehyung would have landed on the streets and our careers would have been ruined. Everything would have been for naught. I tried to make you say no but no matter how shitty or mean I was, you didn’t say no. You just continued inviting me to dates.”
“Why didn’t you talk to me?” Jeongguk asks, getting loud again.
“I didn’t know if I could trust you. There was no reason why your mother would suggest an arranged marriage between us. I didn’t know whether you cared or not that I didn’t want to marry you or that I could land on the streets.”
“This wasn’t an arranged marriage, Jimin,” Jeongguk exclaims, exasperated.
“Maybe not for you but for me it was. I was supposed to make you fall in love with me and marry you.”
“And just because of that you thought you had the right to ruin my father’s company, ruin my future? This was my first impression on the executive committee. Are you aware of that? Are you aware that I could lose the position of the future CEO if the executive committee sees me unfit for the position? Then hyung will become temporary chairman because my step-dad cannot do it any longer than the end of the year, and once hyung is on that chair, I have lost it for good.”
Jimin rubs his face with his hands and sighs, breaking out into tears again. “I didn’t know,” he sobs. “But I didn’t help your brother, Jeongguk.”
“How can I believe you, hyung? Who else did if not you? You had the file. Did last night even mean anything to you? Did the kiss mean anything to you?”
“It did, Jeongguk. It-” Jimin chokes up at the end, no longer being able to control it and breaks out into tears, not trying to stop it anymore.
Jeongguk shakes his head and turns the other way. It adds fuel to Jimin’s burning heart, and he puts a hand on Jeongguk’s arm to turn him back around but Jeongguk shakes the hand off.
“Jeongguk, p-please. You have to trust me. If- if I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t be here right now, would I? I’d be at home, ignoring you like at the be-beginning, and-”
“Please, please go,” Jeongguk chokes out, Jimin only now seeing his shaking shoulders.
Jeongguk is crying. Because of him. The realization punches all air out of Jimin’s lungs, rendering him useless.
Jeongguk storms out of the room and disappears into another room in his apartment. All Jimin can do is gather the clothes he wore the day before and leave, crying and leaving behind a crying Jeongguk.
Jimin closes his eyes, breathing in deeply to calm his racing heart. In his hands he’s holding the samples Jeongguk wanted them to distribute at the festival. True to his words, Jeongguk sponsored their performance that they still have to go on stage for.
After Jeongguk told Jimin to leave, Jimin cried for the whole day at the apartment and then again when his mother came to tell him that Jeongguk called off the marriage. His mother had only wanted to chew Jimin out, make him apologize to Jeongguk and make everything right, but had stopped once Jimin broke down in front of her after hearing the information. She held him as he cried to his heart’s content and told her in broken sentences how much he likes Jeongguk but messed everything up. She didn’t say anything after that, took Jimin and Taehyung to their house, and let him cry for the rest of the week in peace.
Jimin pulled himself together on Monday for the sake of Hoseok and went back to his schedule. The majority of his time he spent staring at his phone, awaiting Jeongguk’s call or a message. Neither came. In a moment of weakness Jimin had texted Jeongguk how much he missed him but hadn’t gotten a response. Jimin started training himself to no longer stare at his phone after that.
It has been two weeks since that message, three since the day in Jeongguk’s apartment, and Jimin is still hurting. He’s only standing because of Hoseok’s performance. And his own but he isn’t too worried about it.
Jimin wakes from his memories, seeing the worried look on Hoseok’s face before he even opens his eyes.
“You can go and rest. We’ll do that.”
Jimin shakes his head and goes back to distributing the samples, rattling down facts about it they learned from the brochures. He’s happy when it’s his time to perform, usually anxious and anticipating it but today he wants to be done with it and just go home. Taehyung is waving at him from the front row as soon as Jimin goes on stage, almost hitting the person next to him with his flapping hand.
He’s happy he’s dancing the contemporary piece first. It forces him to loosen his body and listen to the music intently. He concentrates on making his body look weightless, arms and legs coming onto the ground gracefully and picking himself up as if he’s nothing. There is a type of aggression in this piece. Without being too energetic or harsh with his moves, the execution speaks of anger and frustration. Maybe it’s just Jimin.
It gets faster and faster towards the end, until Jimin is sitting along the other dancers on the ground, breathing heavily and staring into the dark audience. He hears the thunderous applause, something he associated with accomplishment and now makes his heart heavier.
Jimin has barely enough time to go backstage and change into his other outfit for the second performance. This one is faster, merciless in its beat and rhythm as it urges the dancers to dance with power. Some parts are softer, allowing Jimin’s tense limbs a small break before he has to go all out.
At the end of it, he’s breathless, dizzy, and barely standing on his feet. His eyes look for Jeongguk in the crowd, remembering his promise of at least trying to make it, but doesn’t see anything other than darkness after the first two rows. He meets Taehyung’s eyes who knows who he’s looking for, and almost breaks down in tears when Taehyung shakes his head in apology.
It would have been too good.
As soon as the dancers are backstage, congratulating each other for their successful performances, and freshening up, they’re approached by sponsors or family members and friends. Hoseok gets swept away by four people, Jimin’s chest swelling in pride, and he himself is approached by a woman and a man. He indulges them in a conversation, answers their questions and meets their praises with gratitude. Just as it feels like they’ll never leave, they give Jimin their cards and exit the backstage area, allowing them a private moment. Taehyung jumps into Jimin’s arms, Jimin’s mother handing him a bouquet and Hoseok too. Jimin smiles.
Ultimately friends and family are also ushered out so the dancers can change into their clothes and then leave. Jimin is going through his phone, not doing anything particular but just waiting for the other to finish. He’s holding an open water bottle in his hand, still thirsty after the engrossing performances.
Jimin blinks confused one second, the other his head whips up, recognizing the voice. He wonders if Jeongguk really is standing in front of him, the bottle in his hand falling to the ground and his phone clatters next to it. Jeongguk walks over, moves the bouquet from his right hand to his left and picks the items up. When he stands up, he looks directly at Jimin.
Jimin gasps for breath, his chest constricting as he turns away from Jeongguk. This can’t be it. Jeongguk is here and he’s having a mental breakdown, breathing becoming hard.
Jimin turns to Hoseok who shakes him slightly and looks at him with a worried frown. Seems like it will be etched there forever because of Jimin.
“Are you okay?”
Jimin takes some minutes to breathe properly and then nods although he still feels lightheaded.
“How about we go outside for some fresh air?”
When Jimin turns around to Jeongguk again, he isn’t any more prepared than before, the sight still knocking him off his feet. He looks good. As good as always. Round cheeks, cute nose, forehead covered by his hair that gives him a cuter appearance. He’s formally dressed but not in his suit, just enough to not attract too much attention.
Hoseok’s grip on Jimin’s shoulder tightens in question but Jimin only nods. Hoseok greets Jeongguk and then leaves, Jimin following Jeongguk out. They look for a quiet part of the university grounds where they can sit on a bench undisturbed. Even though it’s fairly warm and the sun is shining down on them, Jimin is shaking.
“You were good,” Jeongguk speaks up. “Really good.”
“I-is this for me?” Jimin asks, referring to the bouquet. He wouldn’t be able to handle a no but recently Jimin has developed a knack for torturing himself.
Jeongguk simply holds the flowers out to Jimin, who takes them carefully into his hands as if they’re a new-born.
“Thank you,” Jimin breathes, and then, “You look good.”
“You look awful.”
“I feel awful.”
Jimin closes his eyes, tears springing into them. He wants to object and profess the horrible things he deserves but he doesn’t have the energy for it. He simply opens his eyes again, and wishes he were closer to Jeongguk, to feel him in some way.
“How have you been, hyung?”
“Okay. Going on with my life.” Jimin hesitates for a moment in which he wonders whether he’s worth asking Jeongguk about him. He decides to be selfish while he can. “How are you? And the office?”
“The office is great. We found the culprit.”
Jimin dares a look at Jeongguk, sees the man already watching him. “Culprit?”
“The one who gave hyung the info. And we also got the client back. Hyung won the deal but he didn’t have enough to fulfil his side of the agreement so the client dropped him and accepted a new offer from us.”
Jimin doesn’t know what to do. He’s happy Jeongguk got the client back and Junghwan got what he deserved. But then again, Jeongguk isn’t happy about his brother’s loss.
“Does that mean you can take over in a few months?”
“That’s great.” A small knot loosens in Jimin’s chest, making breathing easier. “Congratulations.”
Silence falls over them, Jimin busying himself with the bouquet as he wonders when Jeongguk will leave. He bites his lower lip to hold back the tears. He has no right to shed them
“I’m sorry, Jiminie.”
Jimin looks up, heart hammering against his chest faster. He’s a little lost and doesn’t know how to ask Jeongguk what he means but he also doesn’t have to.
“I acted rashly back then. I was emotional, felt betrayed, and thus didn’t listen to your reasonings.”
Jimin shakes his head, averts his eyes. “You had every right to, Jeongguk-ah. You acted correctly.”
“Between finding out you almost betrayed me, losing the deal, and almost hitting hyung, telling you to leave was the biggest mistake I did on that day. Breaking off what we had over phone with your parents was cowardly.”
Jimin swallows thickly, the ache in his chest back. He tries not to crush the flowers in his grip. “You had every right to tell me to go.”
“I don’t know about that but I do know that I didn’t want you to leave.”
“Stop,” Jimin begs, choking on the lump in his throat. “Why are you doing this?”
Jeongguk takes the bouquet out of Jimin’s hands, sets it aside, and cups Jimin’s cheeks, wiping the tears away. Jimin puts his own hands on top of Jeongguk’s and nuzzles into them, feeling lighter.
How cruel it would be of Jeongguk to pull back now. How deserving Jimin would be of it.
“Come back, hyung,” Jeongguk whispers. “I don’t know whether I deserve you or not but I want you.”
“I don’t deserve you,” Jimin protests, tears only flowing faster.
“Then earn me,” Jeongguk pleads. “And let me earn you. And let’s do this the right way this time and just be honest with each other, okay?”
Jimin sniffles and nods.
Jeongguk smiles, eyes teary too. “Do you want a hug?”
Jimin breaks out into sobs, nodding eagerly. He situates himself into Jeongguk’s lap, wraps his arms around Jeongguk’s neck, and buries his face there.
Jimin cries to his heart’s content. Jeongguk holds him.
Jeongguk follows Jimin around every step he takes, even though he is tired.
“I’m just saying it feels weird,” Jimin says as he cleans a spot on the mirror.
“Doesn’t every dance studio have sponsors?” Jeongguk asks, wrapping his arms around Jimin’s waist and putting his chin on Jimin’s shoulders, watching Jimin frown in the mirror.
“Yeah but they’re not their husbands.”
“You accept Seokjin hyung’s money.”
“He’s not my husband,” Jimin huffs. “Everyone keeps saying weird stuff.”
Jeongguk turns Jimin around in his arms and forces him to look up at him. “You give children from poor families the chance to follow their dreams and learn dancing. Is it that bad that I want to help?”
Jimin looks down, feeling guilty. He shakes his head and looks up at Jeongguk again. “It’s not bad. I’m grateful you’re helping. The kids and their parents are grateful, but people aren’t taking my kids seriously. They have to train and dance harder than anyone else because other dance studios mock them for being poor and being a charity case of the grand CEO Jeon Jeongguk because of his husband. I don’t want them to deal with such pressure.”
“Jimin you’re only a part time worker here. Most of the money you invest in here is from your earnings, your dancing, anyway,” Jeongguk reminds Jimin and presses a kiss to his husband’s forehead, hating how distressed he looks.
“I know but that is only possible because I live off of your money.”
“You don’t live off of my money. I spoil you with our money. I like spoiling you. It makes me happy.”
Jimin smiles when he hears how petulant Jeongguk sounds and pecks his lips.
“We’ll find another way, okay?” Jeongguk assures, rubbing Jimin’s arms.
Jimin smiles and nods. “Now get back,” he orders, pushing Jeongguk away lightly, “I have work to do.”
Jimin turns to the mirror and starts cleaning it with the rag again although there is not a single dirty spot on it. Instead of being an obedient husband, Jeongguk wraps his arms around Jimin’s waist again and starts nipping on Jimin’s shoulder. He puts his hand flat on Jimin’s lower abdomen, caressing it and making Jimin shudder.
“Tell me, Jiminie,” Jeongguk breathes, teeth moving to Jimin’s ear. “Why haven’t I ever fucked you in front of these mirrors?”
Jimin gasps, eyes widening and body falling forward to steady himself against the mirrors. Jeongguk bodily traps him against it.
“I-I work here,” Jimin responds shakily.
“I also work in my office but I’ve fucked you there so often I can’t get rid of the smell of sex.”
Jimin whimpers, closing his eyes and subconsciously pushing his ass against Jeongguk’s crotch. “Hoseok hyung would know,” Jimin answers next.
“Hoseok hyung has surely fucked people in here too,” Jeongguk reasons and moves his hand slowly down to Jimin’s crotch, Jimin’s hips bucking into it.
“I-I…the kids,” Jimin whimpers but gives up in favour of bringing Jeongguk’s hand against himself with more pressure.
Jeongguk sucks on the back of Jimin’s neck and traps Jimin’s left hand against his lower back. “The kids are gone,” he breathes into Jimin’s ears and licks the shell.
Jimin gasps and his head falls forward, forehead resting against the mirror. Jeongguk ruts against Jimin’s ass, exhaling shakily when his cock gets some friction.
“Tell me, Jiminie,” Jeongguk urges in a taunting tone, “Will you let me fuck you in front of these mirrors?”
“I’m your hyung,” Jimin responds weakly, still rutting against Jeongguk’s hand and huffing when he doesn’t find any relief. He cries out when Jeongguk tightens his grip on his cock.
“Hyungs,” Jeongguk lewdly moans into Jimin’s ear. “Don’t get fucked by their dongsaengs.”
Jeongguk lets go of Jimin and detaches himself from him. Jimin gasps and stumbles but catches himself in the last moment, turning around to face Jeongguk. His eyes are watery and his face is flushed, looking disoriented. He scoffs and moves to walk past Jeongguk with a glare but Jeongguk pins him against the mirror, hitches one of Jimin’s legs up his hips and ruts against Jimin’s crotch. Jimin moans loudly, head falling against Jeongguk’s shoulder and hands gripping Jeongguk’s jacket to steady himself.
“Say it, hyung. Tell me to fuck you.”
“Y-you brat,” Jimin responds shakily, body rigid as he tries to resist rutting against Jeongguk but betraying himself as he subconsciously bucks into Jeongguk a little.
Jeongguk tsks and shakes his head. He massages Jimin’s sweatpants covered ass with his free hand and revels in the breathy moan that Jimin lets out. “Try again, hyung.”
Jimin raises his head and smirks at Jeongguk as properly as he can. Jeongguk whistles and drops Jimin’s leg to the floor. He turns him around, pressing Jimin’s palms flatly against the mirrors, bending Jimin so his ass sticks out. Then he pulls Jimin’s sweatpants and boxers down in one move, pooling them around his ankles.
Jeongguk pushes Jimin’s legs apart and almost moans aloud when he sees Jimin’s hole fluttering, closing around air and opening again. He rubs his thumb over the ring of muscles, feels and sees it twitch, and hears Jimin moan, body jerking forward. Jimin’s breathing has become irregular, whole upper body moving when he breathes. Jimin wants to beg Jeongguk to eat him out but he knows Jeongguk won’t make it that easy for him, and he’s also not ready to lose to Jeongguk yet.
Behind Jimin, Jeongguk gets to his feet and circles Jimin’s rim with his thumb, his left hand massaging Jimin’s lower back. Jimin inhales deeply, trying to get his breathing under control but it’s futile.
“Why are you trying to resist it. We know you’re desperate for it,” Jeongguk muses.
“Fuck you,” Jimin huffs, resting his forehead against the mirror, the coolness doing wonders for his heated body.
“Aww, that would be no fun. Would you really want me to do that, hyung? Leave you here and fuck myself?”
Upon not receiving any reaction from Jimin besides a small cock-twitch, Jeongguk slightly slips his thumb into Jimin’s hole. Jimin moans, pushing back automatically.
“See? So desperate. Tell me, hyung, do you want me to go raw? Would you like that?”
Jimin sobs when Jeongguk slips the tip of his thumb out and pushes back to get it back inside him. He sighs in relief when he hears Jeongguk unbuckle his belt, waiting for Jeongguk to fuck him. That’s why he’s even more confused when he doesn’t feel Jeongguk on him anymore at all. Jimin turns his upper body around and groans when he sees Jeongguk stroke himself, cock hard and angrily red. If Jimin wouldn’t feel so empty then he would instantly fall to his knees and beg Jeongguk to fuck his mouth.
Jeongguk watches himself jerk off before he looks at Jimin, devious smile intact.
“Jeongguk,” Jimin growls warningly. The younger man knows he hates being teased.
“What?” Jeongguk acts innocent. “I thought you didn’t want to get fucked here.”
Jimin turns around and grabs Jeongguk’s collar. He would have turned Jeongguk’s back against the mirrors and slammed him into them but his pants around his ankles won’t allow hasty movements like that. That’s why he pulls Jeongguk against himself, seeing his husband’s eyes widen momentarily.
“Fuck me,” Jimin growls.
Jeongguk’s eyes flicker over Jimin’s face, settling on his eyes, and smirks. He wraps his arms around Jimin’s thighs and picks him up. “As you wish.”
Jimin kicks off his pants and boxers, wraps his arms around Jeongguk’s shoulders and his legs around Jeongguk’s hips. Jeongguk instantly connects their lips and ravishes Jimin.
“I hate you so much,” Jimin pants into Jeongguk’s mouth. He cups Jeongguk’s cheeks and deepens their kisses, tangling their tongues.
Jeongguk licks the roof of Jimin’s mouth, his teeth, and tongue. He groans when Jimin sucks on his tongue, his body pulsing with need the longer it takes for him to fuck his husband. He doesn’t ever get enough of the man. Even as he’s holding Jimin, he wants more and more. So much more Yoongi once said it makes them too reckless. Jeongguk just loves. That’s all it is, all he feels with or without Jimin.
“Gonna fuck you so good, Jiminie,” Jeongguk pants, loves the way Jimin’s moan echoes in the empty practice room.
Jeongguk gasps when Jimin ruts against his stomach and their cocks brush. Trapped between their upper bodies, it’s not the best feeling but it’s still relief. He catches himself in the mirror, sees the way Jimin and him look entangled with each other, and wants more. Jimin sobs when Jeongguk puts him on his feet and clings to him, eyes wet and desperate. Jeongguk kisses him once to reassure him and to calm the need in his gut. The he turns Jimin around so he’s facing the mirror.
“Want you to watch me fuck you,” Jeongguk groans into Jimin’s ear and licks the shell. Jimin huffs and lets his head fall back against Jeongguk’s shoulder as Jeongguk sucks on his lobe. He plays with Jimin’s earring and then lets go when Jimin’s breathing fastens up too much. Jimin’s lobe has always been his weakness.
As soon as Jeongguk stops, Jimin pushes his hands away and puts his hand on the mirror. He spreads his legs, bends over for Jeongguk and presents his ass to Jeongguk like that. “Get on with it, will you?” Jimin growls, glaring at Jeongguk over his shoulder.
Jeongguk groans pathetically. He grabs Jimin’s hips and bends down to kiss Jimin’s ass cheek. Jimin huffs, pushing his ass back against Jeongguk. He sucks on the firm flesh and bites down on it, wishing he could get more of it into his mouth. Jeongguk wants to eat Jimin in mouthfuls, sate his hunger after the man that is threatening to consume him. He sucks and nibbles on Jimin’s other ass cheek too, leaving behind beautiful marks, and then gets to his feet.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk moans.
He wraps his arms around Jimin’s middle and presses his crotch against Jimin’s ass. It causes him to hiss and bury his nose in Jimin’s hair, breathe him in deeply. Jimin’s eyes roll into the back of his head and he pushes back against Jeongguk.
“Fuck me. Now, Gukkie,” he commands.
Jeongguk moans and fumbles for the lube in his pockets. “I will,” he promises.
“Use little lube,” Jimin says when Jeongguk pops the lid open.
Jeongguk looks at Jimin in the mirror, making sure Jimin is looking at him, and pours only the minimum of lube that he’ll need. Jimin moans as Jeongguk pushes one finger in and pumps it in and out. He adds another finger only one second after, Jimin’s hole loose enough to take in two.
Jimin closes his eyes, bites his lower, and pushes back against Jeongguk’s fingers as a response. It’s a little harder to get three fingers in. Jeongguk goes slow so he doesn’t hurt Jimin but Jimin still scrunches his eyebrows and nose at the stretch.
“I’m ready,” Jimin pants after some seconds, shaking his head to get loose strands out of his eyes.
Jeongguk nods and aligns his cock with Jimin’s entrance. His gut coils in anticipation and he moans when he pushes in slowly. Jimin holds his breath, forcing himself not to push back to get more of Jeongguk’s cock inside him. The more it hurts when he the stretch gets too painful and he has to tell Jeongguk to stop. Jeongguk groans but obliges immediately. Giving himself some seconds, Jeongguk composes himself and then caresses Jimin’s sides with his hands.
“Hyung, are you okay?”
Jimin’s face is scrunched up, Jeongguk sees in the mirror, and he’s biting his lower lip. He opens his eyes when he speaks. “I’m fine. May-maybe some lube would be good.”
Jeongguk nods and takes the lube out of his pocket again, pouring some onto his cock and Jimin’s hole. He makes sure they’re both covered in it well before he pulls out a little and then back in. Jimin groans, head falling against the mirror, the slide much easier now. Jeongguk sighs when he bottoms out, his hands tightly gripping Jimin’s hips.
He gyrates his hips and revels in the mewl Jimin lets out. After that, Jeongguk doesn’t waste any more time. He pulls back and then forward, groaning as he does so. The first few thrusts are slow, deliberate but Jeongguk loses that precision soon as his gut coils more with want. The urge to go faster takes over, driven by Jimin’s moans.
“Look at me,” Jeongguk pants when he notices that Jimin is resting his cheek against the mirror. That’s not why he’s fucking Jimin in front of those.
Jimin looks up slowly, body shaking with every thrust. Jeongguk makes sure Jimin is looking at him and then rams inside him, the slap of skin and their groans resounding in the practice room.
“Fuck, hyung, you look so good,” Jeongguk huffs, watching Jimin’s sweaty hair move against his forehead. “Gonna fuck you so good. Do you want that? Huh?”
Jimin nods eagerly. He feels great. His toes curl with pleasure and his skin is on fire but he wants so much more than that. “Fuck me harder, Jeongguk.”
“I will,” Jeongguk nods.
Jimin whines when Jeongguk stops moving and turns his head around to see why the man stopped. Jeongguk pulls Jimin up by his shoulders and presses Jimin’s back against his chest. Wrapping his left arm around Jimin’s hips, Jeongguk puts his right arm under Jimin’s knee and pulls his leg up, opening Jimin’s hole a little more.
“Look at you, hyung,” Jeongguk whispers into Jimin’s ear, eyes set on Jimin in the mirror. “What a slut you are.”
Jimin moans, hands scrambling to get a hold of something. One hand clutches Jeongguk’s arm around his hips and the other tangles in Jeongguk’s locks. Jimin cranes his neck, facing Jeongguk and whining for a kiss. Jeongguk instantly attaches their lips and starts thrusting again. Jimin pants into his mouth, cute little sounds leaving him with every thrust. His pupils are dilated and he looks out of it but Jeongguk knows he’s fine. If not then Jimin would have said something.
“Look at yourself,” Jeongguk commands, eyes set on Jimin’s crotch. “Look at your cute little cock. It’s so excited.”
Jimin gasps and throws his head back against Jeongguk’s shoulder. Jeongguk fastens his pace so Jimin’s cock starts slapping against his stomach harder. With Jimin’s hand still clutching to his, Jeongguk pushes Jimin’s shirt further up so it reveals his tiny waist and toned stomach. Jeongguk loves the contrast between the white skin and Jimin’s red cock. It makes his skin tingle.
“Right there,” Jimin mewls, body shaking in Jeongguk’s hold as Jeongguk hits his prostrate.
Jeongguk hikes Jimin’s leg further up his arm and rams into Jimin, hitting that one spot. Jimin’s hand flies to his cock, stroking it in time with Jeongguk’s thrusts. His desperate pants slowly turn louder and louder, his grip on Jeongguk’s hair tightens, hole clenching down harder on Jeongguk’s cock. The tight knot in his stomach loosens, sending tingles of pleasure through his body as his cock spurts cum onto his stomach, his shirt, and Jeongguk’s hand.
Jeongguk curses, hips slowing down from exhaustion, but then Jimin cums, choking on his breath as his body stills and hole clenches even more around Jeongguk. Jeongguk only thrusts once, twice, and then he’s cumming too, releasing his seed inside Jimin, and white exploding behind his eyes. His knees give out under him and he has to drop Jimin’s leg to catch himself against the mirror as he holds Jimin’s tightly in his left arm.
Jimin is mostly limp in his arms, breathing heavily and still shaking. Jeongguk waits enough for his heart to calm down a little and then he slowly lays Jimin on the ground and lays down next to him.
“Gukkie,” Jimin whispers and holds his hand out to Jeongguk.
Jeongguk lets Jimin cup his cheek and lower his face so they can kiss. He wraps his arms around Jimin, hand trailing Jimin’s body unbothered of the cum. When they get too little air, Jeongguk pulls back and puts his head on Jimin’s shoulder, hands always remaining on each other. They take a while to come down, breath evening, and then some more to move again.
Jeongguk pulls back to give Jimin one lingering kiss and then pulls his boxer and pants that were pooling around his ankles back up. Then he helps Jimin put on his sweatpants, leaving the boxers since they’ll be showering anyway.
Jimin looks at the dirty spots their hands and heads caused on the mirror he had just cleaned, looks at Jeongguk’s smile, and then at the rag on the floor. He throws the rag at Jeongguk and motions to the mirrors. “Clean this.”
“What?” Jeongguk gasps, hair still messy. “Hyuuung.”
“They’re dirty because of you so you will also clean them.”
Jimin leaves Jeongguk behind with a gaping mouth and heads to the showers. He smiles when he cleans Jeongguk’s cum, traces the parts where Jeongguk’s hands played with on his stomach. Bones still cottony from his orgasm, Jimin takes his time. Satiety fill his body like so often after he spends time with Jeongguk, and he wishes they were home so he could snuggle under his blanket and fall asleep after the hard day.
He turns the water off and is about to walk out of the cabin when Jeongguk pushes the door open and walks in, locking it behind him. He’s visibly pouting, hands immediately finding Jimin’s hips.
“That was mean,” he complains.
“Boo-hoo,” Jimin mocks and pushes his hands away. He attempts to walks past Jeongguk without touching his sweaty body but Jeongguk stops him with an arm.
“Where are you going?”
“I already showered.”
“But I haven’t.”
“I don’t care,” Jimin says. “Now don’t touch me or you’ll make me dirty again.”
Jeongguk turns Jimin around so his back is against Jeongguk’s chest and traps him in his embrace. Jimin protests loudly but doesn’t make any hectic moves because of the wet floor.
“Oh no,” Jeongguk muses, “Now you have to shower again.”
Jimin groans but doesn’t try to resist anymore. Instead he stays still against Jeongguk’s sticky body as Jeongguk turns the water on and stands with Jimin underneath it.
“Wash me,” Jeongguk murmurs into Jimin’s ear.
Jimin scoffs but obliges nonetheless. He takes the soap bar and starts cleaning Jeongguk’s back as Jeongguk washes his hair. Jimin traces the moles on Jeongguk’s back with his fingers, wishing he could just kiss each of them but Jeongguk’s back is covered with lather. When Jimin is done with his back, Jeongguk turns around with an expectant look. Jimin merely glares at Jeongguk but washes his chest too. As soon as Jeongguk is done, Jimin goes under water jet one last time and then turns the water off.
“Where are you going, hyung?” Jeongguk asks and blocks Jimin’s way when he’s about to walk out. “You didn’t even cuddle me.”
“This isn’t the place for cuddling, Jeongguk. We need to go.”
Jeongguk pouts like a petulant child and wraps his arms around Jimin’s torso, hugging Jimin close to himself. “I want my cuddles.”
“Stooop,” Jimin giggles and pushes against Jeongguk’s chest lightly.
Jeongguk merely smirks, indulges Jimin in his half-hearted attempt at getting away before he hugs Jimin tightly and buries his face in Jimin’s neck. Jimin’s heart stutters and his breath hitches.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk moans, nuzzling Jimin’s neck.
Jeongguk gets like that sometimes, when he feels like the love he feels for his husband will swallow him whole. A certain desperation clings to him that in the beginning scared Jimin but now he feels it too, clings to Jeongguk just as much as Jeongguk does to him.
Jimin tangles his fingers with Jeongguk’s locks and presses a kiss against his temple, trying to calm his husband down. His own gut is coiling with want but he suppresses it. One of them has to remain sane.
When Jeongguk stops shaking, he pulls back and smiles apologetically at Jimin. Jimin smiles back and kisses Jeongguk.
“I love you, hyung,” Jeongguk speaks against his lips.
“I love you too, Gukkie.”