“No, no, you need to listen to this. Want to know how he broke up with me?” He fiddled with the ping pong ball in one hand and talked to the camera, every look Jeongguk sent his way went unnoticed. “It was Valentine´s day, can you fucking believe that? And he -”, there was a slight tremble to his voice. “He told me he was going to spend the day with a girl he had just met. Over Tinder. And then he blamed me for taking it the wrong way. Well, what was I supposed to think? I was able to fucking take a hint when I was being broken up with. We had been in a relationship for three years, exactly three years, and his bisexual ass tells me on Valentines Day and our anniversary that he is going to spend a day, which is supposed to be special to us, with a girl he met on a dating site. So ex-fucking-cuse me for not letting him leave to go on his cute little date without a fight.”
Jeongguk´s been pushing a cup back and forth, spilling some of its content onto the plate. “Taehyung, don´t turn this into an argument again.” Said man just laughed, but his eyes didn´t crinkle. “You hear that? Again. Jeongguk tell me, which was the reaction you were hoping for?”
Jeongguk shook his head. “We can talk about this later.”
“No”, Taehyung insisted. “I want to hear it now.”
Jeongguk let go of the red cup with one last swing, his fingertips sticky with the liquid. “Why now? It´s been months in which you didn´t want to hear a word coming from my mouth. The ´fight´ you were talking about was a pretty one-sided one, Tae.”
Taehyung hadn´t once met the other´s gaze since they started filming, and even now he threw the ball, not commenting any further. The ball missed. It was Jeongguk´s turn again.
It landed in a cup without a dare under it, and Jeongguk took notice of his opponent´s shaking hand, with which he brought the cup to his mouth. Whereas Taehyung couldn´t bear the look at Jeongguk, the latter hadn´t seemed to have taken his eyes off Taehyung even once. So far Taehyung had downed four cups and the next words he spoke came out a little slurred – he had never been able to hold his liquor well. Heck, he had never even liked drinking. Jeongguk still can´t believe Taehyung suggested they´d do this. But if this was the only chance to speak to him again, then Jeongguk would be a fool to not have taken on the request.
The next ball Taehyung threw hit the edge of a cup before settling on top of the liquid it held, resulting in it being a hit.
Jeongguk read the next dare aloud. “Undress your opponent to their underwear with only your teeth.”
He took a look at the other. He only shrugged, and Jeongguk frowned. “If you don´t want me to do this then I won´t do the dare.”
But Taehyung was already on his way in front of the table-tennis table, the spot where Jeongguk was supposed to undress him. “Okay, I guess if that´s cool with you, then...”
A few seconds later on the camera screen, but a thousand heartbeats later for Jeongguk, he was on his knees, teeth in the hem of his ex-lover´s shirt. While he stood up, shirt still clenched in between his teeth, Taehyung didn´t move an inch, and Jeongguk worried if this had been too much for him.
It´s the first time in months that they´re this close to each other, and, if Jeongguk´s hopes were justified, not only physically.
He freed the shirt from in between his teeth, and let it fall down again, covering Taehyung´s stomach.
Again on his knees, he looked up at Taehyung. “You need to help me a little here.”
The reply came almost immediately. “It´s your dare.” The tone of his voice let a shiver run down Jeongguk´s spine. “If you can´t do it then you lost the dare.”
I don´t think that´s how it works, love.
Oh, how he misses calling him that.
He whined. “Taehyungie-hyung, come on.”
Without another word being exchanged, Jeongguk went for the shirt again.
And this time, Taehyung complied, lowering his own body, as Jeongguk´s went up, even lifting his arms without another fight.
It was when Jeongguk was on his knees again that he should have gone for the zip of his pants, yet his nose lightly brushed against Taehyung´s hipbone, whose stomach tensed instantly. And Jeongguk, he was overwhelmed. There was the wistful smell of the person he loved, and with it a lingering warmth at the tip of his nose. His next move would be to drag his nose from the hipbone to the other´s bellybutton, and furthermore, to start blowing raspberries onto the soft tummy he adored to put a hand onto when he got to be the big spoon once in a while.
It could have been his next move, but instead the soft tummy has ebbed away under the pressure of being tense. He didn´t know how long he had been like that, and wouldn´t ever want to know, would not even want to look at the most likely cut down version in the edited video.
Finally, he successfully removed the pants, and the both players moved back to their original spots.
They did one more dare each – Jeongguk would most likely still feel the stickiness and wetness of the eggs in between his legs even after countless of showers, and Taehyung would definitely not be happy about the puppy and the heart drawn on his face with a black marker.
It didn´t take the red haired long to notice how Taehyung would slightly shiver. Even though he didn´t know if that was acceptable with the rules, he interrupted Taehyung during a retelling of their first date, and went to the left side of the table to remove his long, black coat in order to cover the blonde with it. Taehyung faltered, but caught himself right away. Jeongguk listened to the end of Taehyung talking about how Jeongguk was scared to go onto the Ferris wheel, while looking at the black coat that had been a gift of the very person wearing it in that exact moment.
Only two coups on each side could be seen on the screen of the recording camera, and if one were to take a closer look they would see that there´s only one more dare under one of the cups on the right side of the net.
Taehyung had to down another red cup after he and Jeongguk had both missed the two rounds before that. Unlike Jeongguk´s thoughts minutes ago, Taehyung didn´t seem affected by the alcohol at all anymore. Thus, his next ball was a hit, and the chosen cup would be the only one with a dare left in this game. Jeongguk fished the ball out of the cup and wiped the ball and his fingers on the towel on the table next to him.
The dare read “look your opponent in the eyes and tell them five of their worst qualities, before revealing which one of those could have made you break up with them in the long run”.
So they found themselves in front of the table tennis once again, in the center of the camera screen.
Jeongguk could have just downed the content of the cup like it was nothing, yet he was going to do this. Even after he had seen the wishful look in Taehyung´s eyes for him to pass the dare as Jeongguk was reading it out loud. It could have maybe gotten him to give in, if only the look had been directed to his eyes, and not to his hands holding the dare.
The guy behind the camera instructed them to hold hands while looking into each other´s eyes.
However, Taehyung´s gaze was still downcast, nowhere near Jeongguk´s dark eyes. After some more pursuing from the staff, their eyes finally found each other. A sudden urge came over Jeongguk. His hands wanted to clamp up, wanted to hold onto the familiar ones, just like it was his plan months ago, right before he had planned to propose.
“The first bad quality of yours is...”, he took a deep breath. “That you don´t let another person change your mind once you´re convinced of something.”
“However, the last and worst quality is that you tore my future apart the second you threw me out of your apartment.”
He finally let go of the hands he could still feel caressing his hair, a habit the other had picked up on even before they had started dating.
He wiped his hands on his pants. Still, the uncomfortable warm and sweaty feeling wouldn´t vanish.
His ear picked up someone´s mumbling. “What did you say?”, he asked without thinking.
The clearing of a throat, before a voice interrupted the short silence. “It couldn´t have been that dramatic, I bet you were already able to see a future with Tinder girl.”
He was still hurting, after all these months. But so was Jeongguk.
“You´re right. I could already see that.” In an uneven way, Taehyung´s bare chest was raised before he emitted a chuckle. “Wow. I can´t believe this.”
The first genuine laugh could be heard in the studio. “Trust me, neither could I when I had found her.”
Taehyung wrapped the coat closer to his body. “How´s your relationship going, by the way?”
Jeongguk´s lips grazed a small smile. “Pretty good, if I´m going to be honest.”
“This is all about honesty. Continue.”
“Alright.” Jeongguk turned to the camera for a slight moment, but forced himself to face the other again, who he was surprised to see already staring at him. “She´s amazing. Sometimes she comes over to make me breakfast and drag my ass out of bed in the mornings, since morning classes are non-existent in my schedule.”
“We never were morning people.”
Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at the mention of ´we´, but decided to continue.
“She even does grocery shopping for me. She studied nutritional sciences and apparently I do not have a balanced nutrition. You remember when we were so sure we would die early due to our excessive consume of ramen?”
He was talking to Taehyung directly now, even took a tiny step forward. He, however, did not look for a reaction in the other´s features.
“But the best thing about her is probably her girlfriend, but don´t tell her that I said that. Don´t want my sister to feel under appreciated by her little brother, you feel me?”
There were still four red cups on the table. Two on the left, two on the right. One person on the left, the other torn in the middle.
Quietness took over.
Jeongguk´s own breathing was too loud in his ears, and he hoped microphones were not able to pick up any of it. He felt ready to pass out. An enormous weight had been lifted off of him – he did not know how to stand upright without it anymore.
“What did you just say?” There was no hostility in his voice, no malice. He was just genuinely confused.
And it happened just like that. Jeongguk slumped and whereas weight was lifted off of him, there was a tight feeling in his stomach. It felt weirdly comfortable, standing in front of Taehyung. Talking to Taehyung. Trusting Taehyung with his torn open, bloody heart, which, unlike the other, never stopped.
It was as if things had gone back to normal, as if they were in Taehyung´s apartment, and Jeongguk was telling him about something that bothered him that day. And Taehyung would envelop him in his arms.
However, nothing about this situation was normal.
Taehyung, still only wrapped in Jeongguk´s coat.
It was Jeongguk that shivered.
Jeongguk strangely figured that this is what it must feel like talking to your mother after one had been away for college for the first time. You would fall right back into the comfort of the presence of your mother, the person that raised you and was there from the very first moment.
Jeongguk never thought he would get to feel an emotion that was only meant for sons.
He had never been a son, only an orphan.
Yet that was how he felt as his eyes teared up to the point of not being able to look at the person that made him feel like that anymore. He enjoyed the warm and familiar feeling of home washing over him, before glancing at Taehyung again, tilting his head; a watery smile grazed his features.
“I´ve got a sister, Taehyungie. A sister.”
The cameras pointed at them, the staff looking at them – it all was forgotten in his mind, but not in the other´s, it seemed.
Before he knew it, slender fingers were wrapped around his wrist, and a following sensation would be a tugging in his right shoulder.
The wind made its way in between Taehyung´s bare skin and the coat, causing Jeongguk to grab the black fabric with a little more force than needed. Even his own bare arms froze, in contrast to the constantly moving air around them. One button was closed after another, the last one being the first one from the top, one, that was dangerously close to Taehyung´s exposed collarbones.
It was a danger, yet his fingertips danced over to his neck, back to the throat and its adam´s apple, over to the chin and mouth, lastly settling on a light pink colored cheek in between the black lines of the heart Jeongguk had left on there minutes earlier.
“You´ve got a lot of explaining to do.”