Actions

Work Header

The Summer of Ferris Wheels [Namkook]

Chapter Text

Jungkook

The hot sun hits my face as I step outside of my parents’ house for the first time today. Yesterday I arrived home from college and today I start my summer job at the new Jamba Juice on the pier. It’s weird that they’ve added a new shop because this town is in love with its old buildings and mom and pop shops. I’m just glad I didn’t draw janitorial duties like I did last year.

Since high school I’ve worked at the Jameson Pier every summer. They ask you to put in applications and the most qualified get the best jobs and people like me usually get stuck with low end jobs. I just finished my sophomore year of college and while I have some skills, they aren’t ones that can be translated to working here. Unless they let me perform but that would never happen. As I begin the hot ten minute walk from my house to the pier I think about what I want to do this summer.

I want to spend time with my best friends that I haven’t seen this year very much. I chose to attend a prestigious arts school three thousand miles away from home while my friends stayed together close to home. I will admit this has put strain on our friendship, but we’ve known each other for so long I don’t think we could ever stop being friends. I want to have a summer of fun with no worries. A summer where I find love and happiness. But if I didn’t find love in this town in the first 20 years of my life why would I find it this summer? Wow that was a little corny. I’m getting on my own nerves.

The pier looks just as I remember pastel colored shops and carnival games scattered between hundreds of people sweating in the hot sun hoping to ride one of the various metal contraptions I’m glad I’m not doing maintenance for. The purple metal of the Ferris Wheel is gleaming, and I can’t wait to ride it during sunset.

For as long as I can remember I’ve ridden the Ferris Wheel every clear day that I could. It’s a tradition that once I get off work, I’d go straight over there where I ride it once. Anyone who works at the Jameson Pier rides for free all summer and I definitely take advantage of that. A lot of my summer nights are spent riding the same rides with my friends and seeing how many prizes we can win for random children visiting our hometown.

“Jungkookie?” I hear being called in front of me and look around until I look eyes with my best friend, Taehyung Kim.

His black hair is pushed off his forehead, a look I previously haven’t seen on him. Not going to lie he looks really hot. Jin must have been making him workout more as well because he looks a lot more muscular than the last time I saw him. He looks so happy and I’m glad to be home with my friends.

“Tae!” I run forward as I yell his name throwing my arms around his shoulders. “I’ve missed you so much.”

We hug for a little longer than appropriate, but hey that’s our relationship. Inappropriate. When we were in high school, we decided to date and that relationship lasted for a full two years before we decided to just be friends. Since we broke up nearly three years ago, we’ve had the occasionally hook up with each other and, yes, we know it’s not healthy. I can’t help myself he’s pretty and knows how to use what he has. Sometimes I think Taehyung wishes we could be a couple again, but I don’t want that with him. His friendship is worth more to me than our relationship ever was. He isn’t my soulmate at least not that kind of soulmate.

I turn to my other friends Seokjin Kim, or as we called him Jin, and Jimin Park and they hug me at the same time ruffling my hair as they tell me they’ve missed me. I’ve missed these boys so much and I can’t wait for the mischief we are surely going to cause this summer.

“Where are you working this year?” Jin asks leading us towards a shaded area so he doesn’t burn his precious skin. His skin already looks darker than the last time I saw him during spring break. He must have spent time in the sun last week while I was finishing my finals. Everyone else has been home for nearly a week already but my stupid music school had finals a week after literally every other college in the country. In my colleges defense we did start later than everyone as well.

“The new Jamba Juice. I never expected that they would put a big company like that on the pier it’s so weird.” I say sitting under the tree Jin has led us towards. “What are you guys doing?”

“Tae worked all year so he could have an easy summer and my parents are funding my adventures this summer since I made Dean’s List all year.” Jimin says sweeping a hand through his soft black hair. I’m glad he decided to let his hair grow out again, it was getting so unhealthy from his constant changes. Smarty pants Jimin getting straight A’s while I’m out here not knowing if I even managed to pass my music composition class.

“I’m working security for the performers.” Jin says excitement easily noticeable in his tone. The pier will have mildly successful artist perform here because that’s all they can afford usually. A few that we are fans of have performed here and it’s always really cool to have a beach view concert. It’s helped a few people get more widely know since we do have a ton of tourists here.
We banter for a few more minutes before I have to head into work. All I want to do right now is sit with my friends and talk about all the stuff I’ve missed since I last saw them, but I can’t. I have to make money, so I won’t starve next year. Half of each my paychecks is going into a savings account. I may have a full scholarship but living out there is extremely expensive.

I walk through the glass door of the building I will be working in for the next few months and the sound of a bell chimes through the air. Everything about this place is weird and doesn’t fit in with the theme of the pier. It’s not a booth like everything else. This is a proper building with like air conditioning and all the works. I don’t see any employees or customers and I’m suddenly wondering if I was given the wrong building number. I hear footsteps coming from the back and someone says,

“Hi you must be my co-worker I’m-“ He stops when he sees my face and the bright smile that was there a moment ago fades, “I’m Namjoon Kim.”

“I know who you are.” I say bitterly, walking to the back to find the apron and nametag for me.

Namjoon Kim and I have gone to school together our entire lives until he graduated high school. He’s a year my senior and is incredibly smart, talented and unfairly handsome. He got into three ivy league schools and every other school he applied too. We’ve always seemed to have it out for each other, but something that happened the summer before my freshman year made it worse. To add to that I guess I find it annoying how he always strives to be so perfect and well put together. He used to rap when we were younger and that made me mad because music is my thing and he’s better at it than me. Namjoon isn’t even pursuing it, he’s a freaking political science and history double major. What kind of fucking nerd do you have to be to choose those? Of all the people from my high school that I don’t like why did I have to be paired with him? Why don’t they have him leading a tour about historical monuments or crabs or something?

“I’ve already been here for a week, so our manager asked me to train you.” He says not meeting my eyes and talking with a lot less emotion than I’ve heard in his voice before. His stupid perfect hair is a light pink and it makes me mad that this color can look so good on someone. I’d probably look like a drugged-out barbie doll if I tried that but here is looking like an angel, when I know that he’s not. Disgusting.

Over the next hour he shows me how to use all the machines while talking to me as little as humanly possible. I’m really interested in why he’s treating me this way when I’ve never seen or heard him to talk to anyone else like this. Everyone I’ve ever complained to about Namjoon Kim tells me how kind, respectful and understanding he is. Maybe he is just throwing back the vibes I’m giving to him. I don’t like him and I don’t think he’s a good person.

We open the store soon after he deems my training is complete and I roll my eyes. I assumed this store wouldn’t get a lot of foot traffic because it isn’t like most of the shops here, but people seem to love it. We are busy for about an hour before things slow down and my friend Jimin shows up.

“Jimin!” Namjoon says brightly smiling widely to show off his stupid perfect teeth. I didn’t know Jimin was friends with him. When did this happen? Why wasn’t I informed? They know how I feel about him. Then again Jimin does have a weakness for tall pretty boys. He used to have a crush on me for some reason, I think he got over it when they finally realized me and Taehyung were dating. “What can I get you?”

Jimin orders a drink and Namjoon sends me off to make it while he talks to my best friend. Namjoon leans his elbow on the counter resting his chin in his hand as he looks in Jimin’s eyes. They are talking about school. Jimin is fascinated with the idea of an Ivy League school. If he’d spent a little less time screwing around with me and Tae, and Jin in high school he may have been accepted, but he wanted to have a good time with his friends. I think he has a similar mentality now, after all he did choose to go to a state school with the boys over a few better options. I don’t really think it matters where someone goes to college but it’s something people talk about so much here.

“Kook, Hoseok is having a bonfire later and he invited us. Do you want to go?” Jimin asks me once I’ve handed him his smoothie. I can already tell if I don’t say yes, he is going to use his pout face on me and lord knows no one can say no to that. Really, I’m not sure how I ended up with friends who are such good manipulators. I stand no chance against any of them. Maybe it’s just my gay panic. They are unfairly pretty. I’m not sure why a bisexual ass mess like myself would have made friends with them. I’m surprised I can even speak to them. Maybe it’s because I met them before I realized I also like boys.

“It depends how tired I am after my shift. I’ll probably go home for a bit then come back down and check it out.” I say and he gives me his cutest smile, one where he crinkles his face up. He looks like a cherub.

“Joonie are you coming? Hobi said you sounded like you didn’t want to.” I turn away from their conversation and start cleaning the blender that I just used to make his smoothie. I don’t really want to go if he is going to be there. It’s bad enough standing next to him for hours on end. 

Hoseok’s bonfires do tend to have a lot of people so it might be bearable. I know Taehyung will drag me out if try to say no. They haven’t seen me in months, and they love nothing more than ‘getting baby Kook’ drunk. Apparently, I’m really funny or something. I do want to spend time with my best friends. I miss them more than anything and it’s hard to feel included all the time when I’m 3,000 miles away. Today on how many times can Jungkook think about how much he missed his best friends.

“I’ll come get you at ten if you aren’t already back on the pier.” Jimin says several minutes later before he walks out leaving Namjoon and I alone in silence again. I scroll through twitter on my phone trying to find something interesting instead of another beach picture of my best friend. I tweet about how boring work is and how my ‘annoying’ co-worker isn’t speaking to me.

My shift ends without any mishaps and then I’m bolting out of the door towards the Ferris wheel so I can ride it as the sun sets. Taehyung is standing at the bottom waiting for me and my heart feels a little constricted as I remember how many times he’s waited like this for me. Every summer night that we dated he would wait right here to ride with me at sunset. We’d snuggle in the seat and kiss at the top, we were truly disgusting. I’m glad my first love is still my best friend.

Tae starts telling me about his day as I show Beomgyu, the operator of the ride, my worker’s pass. He nods his head and we settle into our seat. Beomgyu makes sure we are properly strapped in before he steps away. I start complaining about Namjoon and Taehyung rolls his eyes like he does every time I mention him. He is under the impression that just because I happen to think Namjoon is attractive that I must be in love with him. I think this stems from Tae wanting to have a more tangible than we are just better as friends. I don’t think he’d say no if I asked him to kiss me right now. He knows what happened. Everyone knows what happened and no one thinks its as weird as I do.

“Joon is really not that bad. It’s not a big deal, we’ve been over this. Beside I think it’s mostly jealously on both ends.” I smack his shoulder when he finishes his sentence. I knew this bitch was dumb, but not this dumb. Namjoon has nothing to be jealous of he’s mister perfect. Perfect face, college, family, friends and life. I ignore what he’s just said looking out on the horizon as we reach the peak of the wheel. I take a few photos for Instagram and post one to my snapchat story with some text that says: Missed you JP!

“Are you going to get drunk with me tonight, TaeTae?” I whisper leaning closer to his ear to see if I can get some kind of reaction out of him, after I’ve put my phone away. He starts in surprise and I giggle. I only have this kind of confidence with Taehyung. I’m so comfortable with him that I can say anything. He might judge me but we don’t get embarrassed around each other often anymore.

“Of course, I bought our favorite in preparation for your first party back.” He says showing me his boxy smile. I’m so lucky to have friends like Taehyung. We’ve done things best friends should never do yet we can sit here and tease each other like nothing ever happened. “Are you going to sing for us again?”

He asks this because during our spring break adventures I was a lot not sober and started singing them a song I wrote apparently. They took a video of it, and I had never heard the song before. I used it for my final, so hopefully I pass. You know I’m not creative enough when I have to use a song I made up when I was intoxicated for my half way final. I can’t believe I’m already half done with college. It’s a little insane that I’ll be a junior in just a few months.

Taehyung drags me around to ride ever ride we are allowed on then we sit down for chili dogs. I stare at him for a moment as he shoves a too big bite in his mouth and almost starts choking. He really needs to learn to take things like that better. Honestly, he is baby. He needs a daddy and not even in the kinky way. I’m surprised he’s survived this long.

“I can’t believe all of you are still single.” I say after I’m sure he’s not going to die on me. “Don’t people usually find the love of their life in college or some shit?”

“I don’t think you have any room to talk, Kook.” He says with an evil smile on his face. I mean he’s not wrong. I am just as single as they are. “Jimin was seeing someone for a little while, but it didn’t pan out well. I think he likes Yoongi Min, that kid that was a year above us from the school across town. I think he raps.”

Namjoon’s best friend. Why is the universe trying to cross our paths? It’s bad enough we work together and go to school on the same side of the country. I try to push the thought out of my mind but all I can think about is his stupid pink hair. The shaved sides that I wish I could pull off so desperately. His stupid plump lips that stretch into his kind smile as he greets customers. I wonder what else those lips could do…

“I need to get drunk like right now.” I mutter looking down at my hands that are folded on the table. Taehyung looks at me like a confused puppy and I sigh. “Let’s go to my house so I can change.”

We clean up the area where we were eating and start walking back to my house. Taehyung starts animatedly telling me this story about how he finished a paper after partying all night and how he was sure he was going to fail. To be honest he has a lot of stories like this. He’s not the best at time management. He will go to the ends of the earth to procrastinate. One time in high school he knitted me socks instead of studying for our history final. I’m not sure how he passed that test to be honest, but I wish I could do that and not fail.

“I’ll meet you back here in like ten minutes.” Tae says when we get to the door. He swoops in to peck his lips to my check and I give him a dirty look as he runs towards his house.

“We agreed not to do that!” I yell with no purpose. He never listens to me and it’s fucking annoying, but he’s my best friend. I don’t really mind that he does it, but I know he still has feelings for me even if it’s been years. He told me on spring break that he’d wait a thousand years to have a second chance with me. We were drunk I told him to stop being so dumb. That’s not what I want. I know it hurts him and that’s the last thing I want, but I have to look out for myself.

I walk inside and my mother asks me how my day was. I tell her that it was okay and that I’m heading to the beach to hang out with my friends. She tells me to be safe and with a kiss of my forehead she lets me go to my room. If I’m successful in school and somewhat successful in the rest of my life my parents tend not to intervene much. I am a grown ass man now I suppose so it makes sense.

My room is a mess so finding anything decent to wear might be a challenge. I haven’t unpacked my bags yet and am definitely not looking forward to having to do that. I say something decent like I don’t primarily wear plain black or white shirts and jeans constantly. I find a pair of jeans in my suitcase that don’t smell too dirty and quickly change into them. I opt for an oversized hoodie from my college and suddenly I’m bonfire ready. I make sure I have everything I need before rushing out the door. The last thing I need is for my parents to stop me from going. This is a rare time that they might because I haven’t been home in months and they might want ‘family time.’

Jimin is waiting on my front steps with Jin and Taehyung and they look ready to go. Jin is holding a blanket for us to sit on and I’m sure Tae has our drinks in his backpack poured into our water bottles. When we were in high school, we bought engraved water bottles with our names on them so we wouldn’t lose them when we filled them with alcohol at parties. It’s tradition even if we don’t really need to hide anymore.

“Let’s get it!” I say jumping on Jin’s back. He lets me hang there for a moment before he throws me off. Everyone laughs and we start walking towards the beach. It’s fortunate that we live in the same neighborhood not very far from the beach. We never have to worry about a designated driver. Though, it was harder to lie to our parents when we were in high school.

“So…Jimin told us that you are working with Namjoon Kim?” Jin says with a weird kind of smile on his face. “Didn’t you used to call him your ‘worst enemy’?”

“Why do you guys hate me so much?” I ask crossing my arms a puffing my cheeks into a pout. 

“He and I have never gotten along. You know what I think and yet you keep bringing this up.”

“Seriously, it’s been years give it up-“ Jin slaps Taehyung across the head and I wonder what else he was going to say. Probably the same old shit about how it wasn’t Namjoon’s fault, there was nothing he could have done and that he’s so nice and kind.

It’s about ten by the time we arrive at the bonfire and not a lot of people are here yet. Other than us there is probably five people, which is very unlike Hoseok’s normal bonfires. It is still early. Taehyung hands each of us our water bottles and I walk away as I take a swig. I walk to the other side of the fire were Hobi is sitting next to Yoongi. Namjoon is sitting nearby his features illuminated by his phone.

“Hoseok! I haven’t seen you in ages. How are you?” I say sitting near him with my back to the fire. My friends quickly join us forming a lopsided circle.

There is lots of catching up and slowly more people start coming and Jin takes over DJ duties. There are tons of people here now mostly people who we went to high school with that are home for the summer. I’ve drunken almost my whole water bottle of tequila and I am more than a little drunk. Jimin is sitting beside me on the blanket that Jin brought, but he’s talking to Yoongi Min. I poke him in the side and looks over to me.

“Kook are you okay?” He asks putting a hand on my shoulder. He scans my face with his pretty eyes before determining that I’m okay. He turns back to talk to Yoongi and I cross my arms and pout. Not even Taehyung is paying attention to me. Why did they ask me to come if they were just going to leave me? Rude ass bitches I should-

“A-are you okay? You look upset.” Someone says from behind me and crane my neck back to see the eyes of an angel looking at me cautiously like I might explode at any moment.

“Why do you care Mr. Perfect ass everything Namjoon Kim?” I say throwing my arm up to point at him. I fall on to my back and a giggle bubbles from his lips. Even his laugh is cute. This is some bullshit. Why are the cute ones always bad?

“I’d rather not have one of Hobi’s friends puking everywhere even if we are on the beach.” He says kneeling beside. I think this has to be the most words he’s ever said to me that didn’t involve work or school. The sound of his voice is clear but soft and gentle at the same time. He’s wearing a black baseball cap, a hoodie from his college, skinny jeans and a long coat over it all. Namjoon is dressed like it’s not still sixty degrees outside.

“I’m the strongest baby boy out here. I don’t need you to worry about me.” I say sweeping my hair out of my eyes as I finally sit up. Namjoon sits down and laughs loudly drawing some attention towards him. I scoot away from him looking up at him with a mean face.

“Did you just call yourself baby boy?” Namjoon asks with an expression that is somewhere between ‘wow this guy is a real idiot’ and ‘he’s an adorable idiot.’

“I’m baby.” I say puffing my cheeks out as I pout my lips. A song I don’t know starts playing so I get up shakily and start dancing with the nearest person that isn’t Namjoon or Jimin. I don’t recognize them, and my drunk ass doesn’t care. If I do something stupid that I don’t remember that’s future Jungkook’s problem not mine.

 

Chapter Text

Jungkook

My body feels extremely dehydrated when I open my eyes in the morning to find that I am not I my own bedroom. Jin must have taken us back to his place because I'm currently snuggled against Jimin Park's back. His parents moved to a different city shortly after Jin graduated but decided to keep the house here in case they ever wanted to come back. They let Jin use it for whatever he wants so long as he doesn't get into any trouble. I'm thankful that my friends didn't let me go home with some random guy. I was definitely drunk enough to have done something like that even knowing my parents were home.

I groan stretching my muscles as I roll out of bed in search of something to make my head stop throbbing. I almost trip over Taehyung, who sleeping on the floor for some reason despite the multiple other beds in this house he could have slept on, on my way to the bathroom. After raiding the medicine cabinet for some Tylenol, I shuffle into the kitchen.

Jin is being daddy and making us omelets even though one of us most definitely wrecked his guest bathroom last night. Hangover breakfasts are another tradition of ours. In high school, we would always stay at Jin's after going to parties we weren't supposed to be at. In the morning he would make everyone breakfast and suck up to his parents so they wouldn't ground him for underage drinking. His parents are pretty cool about that kind of stuff. As long as Jin had good grades, was safe and never got caught they were okay with it. The rest of our parents were another story.

"Good morning." I say accompanied by a big yawn.

I feel like I need to drink ten gallons of water. I hadn't been that wasted in quite some time. Kids at my school are more into weed and kickbacks than ragers. I'm cool with that most of the time but occasionally I wish I would have stayed home with my boys and went to state school. It's a stupid thing to wish when I'm in one of the most prestigious music programs in the country, but sometimes its too much. Everyone needs a break sometimes.

"Morning Kook." Jin says without looking over at me. "Can you help finish this up?"

I help him for ten minutes before the food is ready and we wake the rest of the boys. They are groggy and don't want to be awake, but always want free food. We eat in silence for a few minutes before Jimin looks down at his plate like he's confused then looks up at me.

"Was I really wasted or did you willingly talk to Namjoon Kim last night?"

"He was worried about me." I say sarcasm heavy in my tone. "Where does he get off thinking he can just-"

"Oh my god Jungkook shut up! Just say you want to hate fuck him and go." Taehyung says with a look that is best described as jealousy on his face. The boys think this is really funny and I just want to kick the shit out of them.

I don't know why Taehyung says these kinds of things when all it does is make him upset.

"Why would I want to fuck him?" I say trying to sound disgusted.

"Eat your breakfast. Stop harassing Kook." Jin says to my surprise.

He is usually the one that starts this shit. He loves fucking with us and teasing us. He's like an annoying little brother sometimes. I often wonder how he is so successful while constantly interfering in his friend's lives.

Jimin's phone chimes from the countertop and he quickly lunges for it but is too slow. Tae beats him too it and holds the phone above his little head. He stares at the screen for a moment before he laughs.

"You're on a gay hookup app? I thought you were in love with Yoongi. Since when do you have casual sex? You have the lowest body count of all of us! This guy's username is literally YOURCOCKSUCKER in all caps."

"He seems like a nice guy." Jimin says jumping to reach his phone. Taehyung hands him his phone and Jimin quickly unlocks it. "Maybe a little desperate but he has a cute butt."

"What did college do to pure baby Jimin?" I ask trying to look over his shoulder at the freaky shit Mr. Cock Sucker is sending him. He dances away from me obviously not wanting me to know that he's a freak.

"This is a private conversation Mr. Jungkook unless you want to see my ass pics." He has a cutesy smile on his face as he wiggles his butt away from me.

"At this point I'll take any action I can get." I say and Jimin comes back towards me to punch my arm.

"We made an agreement on spring break that you aren't allowed to sleep with any of us ever again." Jin reminds us after shoveling a piece of food into his mouth.

I roll my eyes thinking back to when they caught me and Taehyung together. I'm pretty sure they were disappointed but not surprised. Like I've said before we like good sex and if we can get it easily why not just do it. It's only when it becomes emotionally difficult that I think we need to stop. He wants a relationship with me and I want to be his best friend. That means we can't fuck because he's emotionally attached. I'll admit it brings up old feelings every time we are together, but I am much better at handling them. It's not a bad thing that Taehyung is very open with his feelings, it's one of the things I admire about him. I wish I could be as open and honest as he is.

Tae walks out of the room with a somber look on his face. He really doesn't like it when we bring this stuff up. It's understandable that he doesn't really want to talk about it. We've had discussions about a lot of this, but it's still upsetting because he still wants what we used to have. I hope that someday soon things will be how they were before we dated. I doubt things will ever be 100% the same, but I can hope for a return to normalcy.

"You shouldn't say things like that in front of him. You know how he feels still." I say before walking out of the room to gather my things. I see Taehyung in the hall, but he ducks into a room to avoid talking to me. Not this again, I thought we were past this.

After a quick goodbye to the boys I walk towards my house. The sun is burning my eyes as I trudge my way to my house to take a shower before work. I thank god that I have an afternoon shift today. Once at home I shower then lie in my room writing lyrics until I leave for work. On my walk to work I wonder if my grades have been posted yet but forget to check when a seagull tries attacks me.

Sprinting away I finally reach my work to find someone that is not Namjoon. Yay a coworker that I don't despise. This person is my manager and he tells me Namjoon will be here soon. Then I'm questioning why the fuck I had to get this job. Of all the jobs I could have gotten on the pier. It's not a bad job but being coworkers with a person that caused such a bad thing to happen does not send.

"Jungkook can you stop glaring at me? I think you are scaring the customers." The actual spawn of Satan says twenty minutes after he arrived.

"Why are you so full of yourself? I wasn't glaring at you I was glaring at t-the bananas." My stutter gives away the fact that I have indeed been glaring at him. I need to get a grip. This is a getting a little out of control. I have to be professional and work with Satan. There is no way I can afford to quit.

"What did the bananas do to deserve that, Jungkook?" He says softly and my heart skips as he takes a step closer to me.

The way he says my name is making my head spin. My eyes widen as I take a step backwards bumping into the counter. I feel like a stupid girl in one of those dramas Jimin makes me watch with him. I don't even remotely like him why is my body reacting like this. Get your shit together.

"How about you don't talk to me unless it's 100 percent necessary?" I request and his eyebrows furrow together.

"Whatever makes you happy, strongest baby boy." He is smirking at what's he's just said and if he wasn't like seven feet tall, I'd fight him.

"You are literally the most annoying person I've ever met in my whole life." I say under my breath and immediately feel regret when I realize I said it loud enough for him to hear.

"That was unnecessarily rude." I can hear a little bit of hurt in his tone.

After that conversation he respects my wishes and only talks to me when he absolutely needs to. He's not so despicable when he isn't talking to me. It's funny seeing how flustered he gets when someone flirts with him. It seems like only girls are hitting on him and he doesn't know quite how to handle it. After it happens for the fifth time, I can't help but make a joke.

"I think you need a pin on your apron to let people know you are strictly dickly."

"That's not a bad idea. While the attention is flattering, I don't know how to deal with it." We laugh and the rest of our shift is a little less tense. Namjoon tells me he'll lock up and lets me leave early.

After I ride the Ferris wheel, Jimin meets me at our favorite hotdog stand for dinner. We sit at a table facing the ocean and my heart is full as I look out. It's like something you would see on a postcard. So much beauty in this world and I get to live in it. How lucky am I?

"Did you get Yoongi's number yesterday?" I ask biting into the delicious hotdog.

I've missed the garbage food that this pier serves. Where I go to school may be a short ride from food everyone raves about, but nothing hits the spot quite like a Jamison hotdog. I haven't had time to miss school yet, but I have a feeling I won't be missing it so much. This place will always be my home.

"Of course I did." Jimin says with a confident smile that is borderline cocky. "But I'm keeping my options open."

"You've been trying to get his number for a long time and have had said you think he is your soulmate at least a thousand times. Why would you keep your options open?" Sometimes I really wish I could read his mind because I swear, he is crazy. I love him to death but he has interesting tactics when it comes to romance.

"Can't let him know I'm too interested. It might scare him away." Jimin sighs like I should know this already. "You say that like this hasn't been my way of doing things since freshman year."

"I haven't really seen much of this Jimin. Whenever we are together it seems like you are seriously talking to someone. Tae has told me stories but I'm a little left out being across the country most of the year." I say not trying to make him feel bad but seeing that it hurts his feelings a little.

They don't like when I mention that I feel left out. I understand why they feel that way. I'm the one who choose to go to school all the way over there, but they could call a little more often. Life gets busy and sometimes it's hard to remember to call loved ones, I get it. That doesn't mean it hurts any less.

"Most of it's not even worth remembering or mentioning to be honest with you. Tae thinks that I'm still the lowest body count but really, I've fucked more people than him. He wants us to believe his slut narrative, but he's still too gone for that." Jimin has a sad look on his face and I quickly change the topic. The last thing I want is to dwell about Taehyung.

"Have you talked to Hoseok today? He wanted to hang out with us, and I didn't really get to talk to him that much last night."

We text Hoseok as we finish eating our dinner and properly dispose of our trash. Jimin and I walk around for a little while before we run into Hoseok near the rollercoaster Jin once vomited on. I don't know why he thought it was a good idea to ride it right after three chili dogs. We still tease him about that occasionally.

I start to greet Hoseok before I see Namjoon turn around and I roll my eyes. Of course, he brought him. All my friend's think that I'm a little ridiculous for having so much hatred for him like they don't know what happened. They don't understand my point of view and at this point I don't think I will ever be able to make them. Usually I don't condone grudges like this, but this is a special circumstance.

Thoughts start running through my head about how I could escape right now. I want to spend time with Hoseok though. It's been awhile since we've had real time to see each other. He's not as close to me as the other boys but there is never a dull moment with him. Namjoon and Jimin have always like each other and are always talking about the most random things.

"Kook are you paying attention?" Jimin asks leaning over to touch my arm. "Hobi asked if you want to go surfing?"

"Now?" I say worry evident in my tone as I look over to Namjoon who is looking at his phone.

"No no that's dangerous. Tomorrow morning if you aren't busy. I know sometimes you get caught up making music." Hoseok says smiling wide and I can't say no to him.

"That sounds like a good time! I haven't been surfing in a long time." The word music reminds me to check my grades. "Oh!"

I unlock my phone and log into my student account. After a few taps of my screen I see that I passed every one of my classes. There is note from my professor about the song I turned in. He says that he loves it and can't wait to hear more of my work. He notes how different it was from the rest of the song turned in and that it scored the best.

"What is it?" Jimin asks trying to look over my shoulder but falls into the sand instead.

"I passed all my classes with A's and my song scored the best. I produced that song I sang to the guys when I was drunk." I say and I can't contain my smile even though the song is not the happiest piece I've ever written.

I know that I'm a good musician but having the validation of my professor makes me feel so good. Being away from my friends and family can be hard and music is my solace. I hope that it's easy for people to see how much I care about the music I put into the world. I want people to be able to relate from and feel inspiration when they listen to my music.

"Can we hear the song?" Namjoon asks finally looking away from his phone.

"Yes! Please?" Hobi begs clasping his hands together and pouting his lips.

"Hobi that's not fair you can't make that face. My gay panic. I don't know if that's the best idea, it's about a kind of sensitive topic." They laugh at me and then continue to beg until I look for the song. I'm not sure Jimin remembers the song because I really don't think this is the best situation to play this song.

I pull up the recording on my phone and turn the volume to full. I hate watching people listen to my music for the first time because it gives me anxiety. I'm safe here with my friends. Other than Namjoon, but I don't think he'll say anything rude. He usually stays silent rather than being rude.

The song relates to the reason why I can't let myself be friends with Namjoon. I don't know if they will interpret the lyrics that way or not. There is a lot of things people would think this is about if they didn't know what happened to my friend. The last few notes ring through the air and I look at the sand around us rather than in eyes of the boys sitting around me.

"Is that about Soobin?" Hoseok asks with a sad look.

After nodding my head, I stand up dusting the sand off my jeans. Namjoon looks like he's on the verge of tears and I can tell he just wants to blurt out whatever he's thinking. I should leave before he starts spouting his bullshit again. The last thing I need is for him to ruin my good mood.

"Are you ever going to listen to what I have to say or are you just going to keep hating me for no reason?" Namjoon bursts anger underlying in his tone.

Through the darkness I think I see a tear slide down his cheek. I don't understand why he is so upset that I don't want to be his friend. He was responsible for one on my friends getting hurt. Namjoon always says I don't listen to him and that there is more to the story. I've heard what happened and for that reason I don't want to associate with him.

"Joon stop." Jimin says turning to give him a stern look.

Our friends want our feud to stop but even if he wasn't involved, I wouldn't like him. He is good at everything and that annoys the fuck out of me. A world where the two of us are ever friends is not something I find even remotely imaginable.

"I think I'm going to go home." I say and Jimin tries to stop me.

"You don't have to go." His voice resonates caution, like he thinks I might flip out on him if he says the wrong thing. That's not me. He should be looking at Namjoon.

"I think it's pretty clear that I shouldn't have played my song. I don't want to be around him anyways so I'm just going to go home and play overwatch. No big deal, don't worry, Chim."

I start to walk away only to turn back and look at Namjoon again. I think about saying something, but he has his face buried in his hands. Jimin is rubbing his back and I scoff. I turn around and walk home slowly dragging my feet against the pavement. I don't really want to go play video games by myself. Usually I would text Taehyung to come watch a movie and cuddle, but I can't do that to him.

When I get home, I go straight to my room not wanting to socialize with my family right now. It's getting late anyways; they will go to bed soon. I think about playing Overwatch, but I don't feel like doing that right now. I want to be watching a movie cuddled up next to someone. Most of the time I'm fine not being in a relationship, but it's been so long since I've had something serious. It's also been far too long since I've gotten laid.

I download the anonymous hookup/dating app that I saw Jimin using this morning thinking maybe I'll be able to find someone. I have to come up with a username so naturally I put: BisexualYeehaw69. Who wouldn't want to fuck someone with that username? I crop my face out of a beach picture where I'm just wearing blue board shorts. The ones that show off my thighs that I work so hard for. Along with another ab picture and one where I'm pulling on the waistband of my sweats, I put a picture of the music studio at my University. I struggle with my bio for a minute before deciding that being funny is my strong suit. I enter 'I'm grown but not grown grown like I can ride dick like a champ, but I still don't know shit about taxes' into the bio box.

I add a few of my hobbies and interest's underneath that and start swiping through potential people. Most of the pictures are like mine but with a lot more dicks. I know that with a site like this there is a lot of room for catfishes. Honestly, I don't care that much about what they look like as long as they don't murder me or try to sell me on the dark web. Bios are what I end up mostly judging the guys by and how dumb their username is in comparison to mine. After half an hour I find a boy who has one shirtless picture, an outfit picture, one of his dog, and one of a music studio. His username is KoalifiedCutie148 and his bio reads 'You know what I'm here for, but friends would be okay too.' After that he lists a few of his hobbies. He likes surfing, exploring, movies and reading in his free time. He sounds so cute and his pictures are nice. He is also close enough that he must live in or be in the same neighborhood as me. I swipe right and am a little bothered that we didn't match.

After that, I decide to put the phone down before I get too arrogant and caught up in this stupid app. Maybe it's a little late for that because I've already had several failed conversations. Why are people so gross and bad at having a normal conversation? Like yeah, I want to fuck too but that doesn't mean I want to sext you the second we match. Let me get to know you a little bud. What's your favorite color? Do you prefer the lights on or off? Are you out because I don't fuck with people in the closet? I've learned the hard way that it's way too complicated.

I go to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. When I get back to my room, I check my phone again and see that I've matched with KoalifiedCutie148 and he's sent me a message.

KoalifiedCutie148: BisexualYeehaw69? Creative. Do you work in that studio? It looks sick!

BisexualYeehaw69: KoalifiedCutie148 is much more creative and seems quite fitting for you . I wish I 😉worked in a studio like that. I'm just a music student. What about you? You have a studio in your profile too.

I close the app thinking he probably won't respond anytime soon because it's almost eleven and long on to twitter. My friends are posting pictures of the ocean and tweeting about they wish they were in good relationships. After a few minutes a notification pops up from KoalifiedCutie148.

KoalifiedCutie148: Thank you 😊I used to do the music thing, but my parents weren't supportive. I rap, write and produce music in my free time, which isn't plentiful most of the time. I've been doing it basically my whole life

BisexualYeehaw69: Oh, that's cool I'm more about singing, writing and dancing, but my rapping is okay. My friend's at school help me produce the songs usually. Making a listenable song is a lot more challenging than I ever thought.

We keep chatting about music until midnight when he says that he needs his beauty sleep. I laugh out loud when I read his message and tell him to 'rest up so you can keep your koalifiedcutie148 status.' He's so nice and we have so much to talk about. We talked about music for basically a whole hour. I hope this isn't a one-off conversation because I really enjoyed it. For a moment I forgot about the loneliness aching in my chest.

I sleep thinking of the photos of this mystery man I've seen.

Chapter Text

Jungkook

The sun has barely risen when I get up to go surfing with Hoseok. I meet him on the beach with the board I haven’t used in quite some time. Surfing has never really been my big thing. In high school I went to a lot of dance and singing competitions until Soobin’s accident. After that happened, I couldn’t let myself be away from home so often. If I’d been there…I shouldn’t think about this. Hoseok doesn’t want to deal with a sad ass Kook.

“How long has it been since you surfed?” Hobi asks as we start paddling out.

“It’s been like three years, I think. I did a rookie competition to win some cash and haven’t really been out since then.” I say sitting up on board. “It’s never really been my thing.”

“It’s a load of fun though, right?” He says splashing me and I lunge at him.

The bright sun is beating down on my bare back and I have a sense of pure euphoria as I look out at the ocean. Living right here my whole life has really made me not realize how lucky I am. The ocean is right next to my house and I get to spend every spare minute I have chilling with my friends right here. The ocean is the same on the east coast.

We surf and swim for a while before we get tired and decide to lie out on the beach. I think about asking why Jimin didn’t join us before remembering that he hates surfing with a fiery passion. He will do anything else in the water, but he will not surf. We used to spend a lot more time being idiots on the beach. I miss when we would go to the pier every day after school then swim in the ocean until we went back to someone’s house for dinner. We all have lives and responsibilities now. Sometimes I wish I was fourteen again.

I pick up my phone and check my socials before I wonder if I should send that KoalafiedCuite148 guy a message. After checking the message thread, I see that I was the last one to say something so it’s his turn.

“I texted Tae and Jimin they should be here soon. Do you have to work today?” Hoseok asks after we had been sitting in silence tanning for a good twenty minutes.

“I have to work from 12:30 to 4:30 then Taehyung and I are supposed to watch a movie.” I look over to see his reaction as I speak, and I’m not surprised.

“Alone? You two are a mess. Leave his poor heart alone.” He tells me like it is and doesn’t hide the disappointment in his voice. I’m grateful my friends are real with me and speak their minds, but sometimes I wish they didn’t.

“It’s just two bros going to a movie. What’s so bad about that? Why don’t you and Jimin come with us, then?” I say lying face down on my towel.

These lectures are becoming a daily thing. I understand how Taehyung feels and why the boys are so concerned but it’s almost like I can’t be a normal friend anymore and that’s fucking annoying. Friendship is all want. The kind that we used have. It’s going to take one of us having a really serious relationship for this to stop and I know that. A relationship is not something I see happening in my near future and he seems so in love with I know he’s not going too. Again, things were simpler when we were just kids hanging out and getting in trouble.

“I’ll think about it but maybe we could just have a kickback tonight.” He’s quiet for a moment before he speaks again. “I’ll ask Jin if we can have a barbecue at his place. Just the boys all together. The seven of us.”

“Funny you say seven I only have five friends, and Yoongi is more of an acquaintance still.” I heave a sigh and rest my head against my arms.

“Just be civil. It really won’t kill you. He’s not a bad guy. You don’t have to talk to him, but try not to make him feel like shit or play songs about his paralyzed friend alright?” He says and I shoot up turning to look at him.

What the fuck did he just say? Why would he say something like? So casual, like this is something we talk about all the time. We avoid this topic like the plague why would he say that? I know he wasn’t close to Soobin which is why he shouldn’t be telling me not to play my song. I wrote a song about my friend and I will play it wherever the fuck I want too. Not all music is supposed to make you shake your ass. Sometimes music is supposed to make you feel things so deep you don’t know what to call it.

“What the fuck Hoseok? He’s my friend too and he’s not paralyzed anymore. You’d know that if Namjoon talked to him more often.” I speak as I start gathering my things preparing to leave because I don’t want to deal with shit right now. Surfing was a great way to start the day and I don’t want this to sour my mood.

“Kook, I know he’s your friend too. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Well you said it anyways so I should get going.” I say studying the light sandy beach while I put one foot in front of the other.

Salty ocean air enters my lungs as I walk away, and he doesn’t try to stop me. The walk to my house seems to take a million years. I text Soobin while I’m thinking about him. Our friendship has been complicated especially since he moved so far away. His family thought it was best because he wasn’t getting the best treatment he possibly could here. For a long time, he didn’t talk to Namjoon, partly because he didn’t want to and partly because his parents still blame him. I don’t understand why Soobin would even want to talk to him after what happened, but if this is part of his healing then I’m okay with it. I can’t get on the same ship though. Soobin says Namjoon rarely calls or texts him these days. It upsets him and I wish I could take even an ounce of his pain away. He’s such a good strong, person who doesn’t deserve what’s happened to him.

When he doesn’t answer me, I assume he must be in physical therapy or at an appointment. After eating breakfast and showering I spend some time with my mother. We watch a movie together before I have to get ready for work. Working is not something I want to do when I could be doing anything else. I like having money but it’s really inconvenient when my friends aren’t working at the same times as me.

“I’m probably going to stay at Jin’s tonight. The boys want to have a barbecue.” I tell my mom as I’m about to leave for work.

Even though I live under her roof, she is pretty relaxed when I say I’m going to do something. As long as I don’t die or get arrested, I think she’s fine with it. My mother can’t object when I’m getting straight A’s. My family has a lot of trust and respect for each other.

“Okay. Have fun and be safe.” She says wrapping an arm around me and standing on her toes to kiss my cheek.

“Moooom.” I whine overdramatically while playfully pushing her away. “I’ll be safe, promise.”

With that said I sling my backpack over my shoulder and walk out of the house. It’s unbearably hot outside for me to not be swimming in the ocean. When I arrive at the shop, I’m greeted with a note that says I’ll be alone this shift. This day is finally looking up I won’t have to spend the next couple hours dealing with him.

Somewhere around my second hour Soobin texts back apologizing for the late response. He was at PT like I thought. We chat back and forth for a little while before things start to pick up in the shop. I’m glad to be alone until a lot of people start coming into the shop. Handling twelve orders by myself is the furthest thing from easy. I’m suddenly cursing Namjoon for calling out. I could really use his help right now.

Ten minutes before I close Taehyung walks into the shop asking for a strawberry banana smoothie. He starts talking to me as I make his drink. He’s dressed in a cute button up shirt and shorts. The shirt really compliments his eyes and it’s interesting how much his fashion has changed over the last few years. College turned him into a well dressed gay.

“So, after we ride the Ferris Wheel, we are going to the store to buy food for the barbecue. Jin has put us in charge of vegetables and drinks. I’m excited. I miss when we used to do this all time. Thursday night Korean barbecue, because you were always travelling on Fridays for competitions. Do you ever miss that?”

“What?” I say looking up from where I was pouring his smoothie. I put a lid on his cup and hand it to him over the counter.

“Do you miss competing in dance and vocal competitions?” he says sticking a straw into his drink and taking a sip.

“Of course, I do. Performing is my favorite thing in the whole world. I hope I can sing and dance professionally one day, but I know that’s a long shot.” I start cleaning the blender as I speak.

“Jungkook, you are the most talented person I know. If anyone is going to get big it’s you. You’ve sang me originals and written songs that make me want to shake my ass, fall in love and bawl my eyes out.”

I look up from the counter and the softness in his eyes tell me he isn’t just trying to stroke my ego. Taehyung means what he is says to me and genuinely believes what he says. I’m so lucky to have such supportive friends. I’ve written songs about him that he hasn’t heard, and I wonder how he’d react if he listened to them. I wonder if he’d finally understand that there is not a chance we will ever be together romantically again. We can’t let it happen again. I have to draw the line before I lose my best friend.

After I close the store Taehyung and I walk to the Ferris Wheel. We squeeze into the seat together and I’m wondering how to bring up the thought of showing him my songs about him. He might take it the wrong way and turn it into something it’s not. Tae is my best friend he will understand that this is my process.

“You know how I said I wanted to release an EP this summer with the songs I produced at school this year?”

We are almost at the top the rest of the pier in front of us framed by a beautiful blue ocean. Waves are crashing against the shore and I can hear kids squealing in the distance.

“Yes!” he says excitedly, “The songs you’ve showed me are so good.”

I decide to bite the bullet and just say something about it. This is my best friend and if he doesn’t understand or like the songs; I don’t think he really deserves the title.
“There are a few songs that you haven’t heard…” I take a breath while he stares intently. “because they are about you. I’m a little nervous about how you will react because they are not the prettiest. They are pretty raw, but I think they are good. There is one that is happy from before that I sort of remastered. I wouldn’t feel right putting them on the EP without you hearing it first.”

“Send them to me and I’ll listen to them tomorrow. I know you hate watching people react to your music. I don’t care how honest they are. I’m sure I will love them. You are too talented for me to hate anything you do.”

“Stop sucking my dick.” I say then giggle and take a snap video of the view in front of me including Taehyung’s pretty eyes.

“Wow I hate you.” He says as we exit the Ferris Wheel and start walking towards his car.

“That could not be further from the truth and you know it, Taehyungie.”

He laughs but it’s not his real one, its halfhearted and dry. Opps. We climb into Tae’s car after he turns it on and runs the AC for a few minutes. Next stop groceries. When we used to date, we did stuff like this all the time. We would try and fail to make meals for each other then we’d order take out.

“Jin gave me a list and made it very clear that if I forget anything, he will murder me.” Taehyung says as we enter the store.

I look over his shoulder and see Jin has sent him a list of vegetables and beer. He grabs a hand basket and ventures into the store. I follow him closely occasionally flicking the back of his head and messing with the collar of his shirt.

“Tae! Did I tell you that Soobin stood by himself today? He still has a long way to go but it’s such progress.”

“Really? That’s so great! I’ll have to text him later. I miss him I wish he’d come home.” He puts broccoli in a plastic bag as he talks, and I can see a light in his eyes.

He’s happy that I’m happy. Soobin and Taehyung were never as close as me and Soobin. Everyone needs a friend who just wants you to be happy even if they have to suffer for a little while. I feel for him, but this is what is best in the long run.

I send him the links to the songs about him, so that I don’t forgot. I know he is going to read the titles out loud and start to form judgement already. He always does that but won’t tell me what he thinks based off titles.

“Euphoria, Not That Way, and To the Unforgotten. Sounds interesting, Kookie. Can’t wait to listen. Imagine having enough of impact on someone’s life to have three songs written about you. I’m special.” He gives me his boxy smile and looks back at the list Jin sent him.

“You sure are, Taehyungie. But also full of it.” I roll my eyes ruffling his hair before running off to the beer before he can retaliate.

I pick up the beers that Jin wanted and carry them to check out. I’ll meet Tae at the car, he should be done soon anyways. I have to wait in the line for ten minutes before they finally ring up my excessive amount of alcohol. I’m thankful the cashier doesn’t try talking to me other than the standard greeting.

Outside I have to wait for Taehyung because I don’t have the keys and the car is locked. Another ten minutes later he finds me sitting on the ground with the beer in my lap. He laughs at me and I get up quickly glad I don’t have to be in the heat a minute longer.

On the drive back to Jin’s house I ask Taehyung a question.

“After you listen to the songs, can we have a serious conversation?”

“I’m sure there will be things I want to say and things you will want to tell me. Of course, we can. But for now, time for fun!” We pull into the driveway of Jin’s house as says the last sentence.

I grab the beer from the backseat and Taehyung grabs everything else. We don’t bother to knock just walking into Jin’s house like it’s our own. He’s basically our brother so might as well be our house. We spend a lot of time here.

“Seokjinnie we brought alcohol and vegetables for you!” I yell once I’ve stepped inside the house and taken my shoes off.

“We’re in the kitchen!” He calls back and I wonder who is already here. Probably everyone. They are most definitely just waiting on us.

We walk into the kitchen and are greeted by Jin, Hoseok, Yoongi and Jimin. I remember what Hoseok said this morning and try not to be mad, but it just irks me. Why am I like this? I’m so sensitive. I hug Jimin, after putting the alcohol on the counter, instead of saying anything.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asks me holding the back of my neck so I won’t try to escape.

“I’m good, Chim. Don’t worry.” He pats my neck once then lets go of me making a beeline for the counter I set the beer on.

“Jimin wait for Namjoon.” Yoongi says playfully slapping his hand away from the rack of beer. “He’ll be here in ten minutes.”

“Fine.” He whines crossing his arms looking away from Yoongi.

Yoongi can’t contain the fondness in his expression and my heart sings a little. They are going to be so cute when they get their heads out of their asses and finally get together. Seeing my best friends be happy is one of the best feelings in the world. It makes me very upset when something is wrong in their lives and there is nothing I can do.

Jin and Yoongi go outside to start cooking dinner on the grill and Hobi follows to light the fire pit. I release the tension I didn’t know I was holding in my shoulders and that is a give away to Jimin.

“You are obviously not as fine as you say you are? Is this about yesterday?” Jimin asks me and Taehyung gives us a confused look.

“What happened yesterday?” Taehyung asks looking like he might be a little peeved that he wasn’t included in our hangout yesterday.

“It’s not about that Hobi just said something that irked me this morning. It’s really not that big of a deal I don’t know why it’s bothering me so much.”

Jimin and Tae lead me to the sofa and force me to spill my feelings. We tell Taehyung about yesterday then I tell them about today. They sit quietly and wait for me to completely finish before saying anything.

“You are feelings are valid, Kook.” Jimin says rubbing my back. “I can’t really think of any advice to give you because you know what we think about this. We are always here for you.”

The three of us sit inside until Jin calls us outside. The temperature has dropped drastically. It’s still warm but the fire will be a nice touch while we eat. We gather around the fire after making plates and grabbing something to drink.

Namjoon’s pink hair is messy and starting to fade. He looks frazzled and he’s wearing something very unlike his normal style. I wonder if he’s had a stressful day before remembering he left me alone at work. Asshole. Why would I care?

“Jin this is so good!” Jimin exclaims taking another bite of pork.

“I have to agree.” I say and can see a smug smile forming on his face.

“I made it of course it’s delicious.”

Everyone laughs while Jin pouts like he was serious. I love being around my friends but there is certain amount of tension when someone you hate is sitting six feet away from you. Namjoon isn’t saying much right now. Jin starts telling a story about something that happened to him earlier at the store. An old white lady was trying to tell him the best way to cook with the ingredients he was buying. Obviously, she didn’t know what she was talking about. He’s so animated talking about this.

Jimin is slowly moving his chair closer to Yoongi’s and is being outwardly flirty. Didn’t he say he was playing the field yesterday? I can understand feelings are confusing. Yoongi is Jimin’s type, at least I think so. I bet Jimin would argue that but he’s the type of guy Jimin talks about wanting, but never stays with. He’s insecure. We are working on it.

“Kook do you have any new songs?” Jin asks after we have finished our meals.

I take a drink from my third beer and think about the question for a moment before answering.

“I’ve been writing. Hoping to release an EP soon. I’m having someone approve songs before I add them to the list.” I glance at Taehyung and he giggles.

“It me.” Everyone looks a little confused when I say Taehyung is approving songs.

“Three songs that I want to add are about him, but I haven’t let him listen to them. I feel like he should have a say because it is about him. I don’t want to blindside him at all.”

Their faces turn soft and I wonder if I’ve been to honest. Tae is still my best friend I don’t want to hurt him. I love him too much to write a mean song about him. I have no ill feelings.

“Man, I wish I had that kind of relationship with my exes still.” Yoongi says and I can’t help but notice that Jimin’s chair is mysteriously pressed against his now. “I’ve written diss tracks about one of my exes, BUT they really deserved it. They were hell.”

“Haven’t all musicians written diss tracks/songs in the heat of the moment?” Namjoon says running a hand through his hair. “In middle school I won a rap competition for a track I wrote about because this boy didn’t like me back. I don’t know why I expected him to just know.”

“Oh my god I remember that. I was so angry that you beat me.” Yoongi looks up fondly. “I swore that it was the best track every made in the history of the world. I listen to it a few weeks ago and I couldn’t contain my cringing. It was horrendous.”

“That’s how feel about anything I wrote before my senior year of high school. There is a small few gems from before then but mostly a bunch of whiney shit about me not knowing I like boys. All of us are somewhat gay. We must really attract other gays.”

They laugh at me and I finish my beer looking at Taehyung to get up and get me one.

“I am not getting you another beer. Stop being lazy Jungkook Jeon.” I cross my arms pouting.

“I’ll get you one.” Hobi says from across the circle and I give him my cutest smile.

“Thank you, Hobi. You’re my new favorite.”
He giggles as he hands me a beer. It’s cold against my hand as I search for the bottle opener that was just on the table. After a few moments, Tae hands it to me. Why was he hiding it? Jerk.
I quickly open my bottle and take another drink. Refreshing.

“Where do draw inspiration from? I find I really hard sometimes.” Yoongi inquires closing both of his hands around his glass of whiskey. Apparently, our beer wasn’t enough for him. I don’t blame him. I’ve been thinking about raiding Jin’s liquor cabinet for the last ten minutes.

“It’s most relationships I’m in or those of people close to me. I’ve written a few songs about home as well. I write about my struggles my problems. Listening to new music really inspires me. Have you heard-“

At this point Yoongi and I get into a deep discussion about music. When I start talking about dancing Hoseok pops in. I love nothing more than talking about my favorite things with people who share my passion. Taehyung seems to be entertaining Namjoon and Jimin for the moment, but they are on their phones.

I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket and I hear the noise that app I started using yesterday makes. I ignore it assuming it’s some guy that’s going to ruin the conversation in a couple messages.

“I’d love to exchange songs tomorrow if you have time. I’ve heard of your stuff but it sounds like we have really similar taste.” Yoongi says and I think I’m making a new friend.

“Sounds great! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to pee, then raid Jin’s special cabinet.” I say in what I think is a quiet voice so Jin won’t yell at me.

The journey to the bathroom is bumpy and I’m surprised I didn’t break anything. When I half done peeing, I realize that I could have just peed outside. I’m so fucking stupid. Whatever I need some tequila anyway. Carefully I trek back to the kitchen where I take a shot of tequila then make myself a drink.

“Jungkook if you drink anymore of that I might have to fight you.” Jin calls from the patio.

“I’ll venmo you tomorrow, Seokjinnie.” I say as I walk back outside.

My friends have shifted, and the only available seat is next to Namjoon. Begrudgingly I take the seat and take a sip of my drink. I move as far away from Namjoon as I can and take out my phone. I have a new message from KoalifiedCutie148! I quickly open my phone wanting to see what he’s sent me.

KoalifiedCutie148: I had a lot of fun talking to you yesterday. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. It was a busy day, or I would have messaged you sooner. My phone is on silent so I might not respond quickly. I’m with my friends.

BisexualYeehaw69: I had fun talking to you too. Don’t worry about it. Have fun with your friends!

Thinking he won’t respond for awhile I turn to my friends and Namjoon. I hold up my drink and announce.

“You are going to play never have I ever with me because tonight is a blackout or back out for me.”

“Really Kook?” Jin asks raising his eyebrow.

“Come on like the good old days. Please.” I open my eyes wide and push out my lower lip knowing that they shouldn’t be able to resist this.

“Alright fine…just stop making that face please.” Jin says glancing around to make sure everyone has a full drink. “You are starting because this was your idea. Try to be general and not target.”

“Of course, kind sir. Never have I ever…” I think for a moment. What haven’t I done? “Won a rap competition.”

I clap feeling proud of myself as I watch Namjoon and Yoongi take a drink. The pink haired boy next to me looks thoughtful. I wonder if he will be able to think of something good. Doubtful.

“Never have I ever won a dance competition.” Namjoon says with a smirk giving me a side glance.

Hobi, Jimin and I take large gulps of our drinks and high five about being good dancers. The fire is dying down so we come closer together. It’s Jimin’s turn next and he has an evil look on his face. Oh no he’s going to target someone.

“Never have I ever had sex with a female identifying person.”

“Am I really the only one that has had sex with a girl?” I ask looking around before I see Namjoon sheepishly raise a bottle to his mouth.

“Joon?!” Hoseok says shock evident in his tone. “Care to explain? This whole time I thought you were a gold star gay.”

He takes a deep pull of his drink then tells us his not so gay story.

“Remember that girl that sat behind me in Biology sophomore year?” He looks around at us as he speaks. His lips are so plump, and my hazy brain is wondering what they might taste like. Probably beer you pervert. “Well I was trying to prove to myself that I was straight, so we went on a date. We went back to her place and her parents weren’t home. It was my first time so it only lasted a few minutes but it was actual sex, so I suppose that counts.”

“I’ve never done coke.” Yoongi says suddenly and suddenly I’m wondering if I should be truthful until I see Tae take a drink.

“Taehyung!” Jin yells and I quickly take a drink while they are focused on him. My cover is blown by Hoseok.

“You too, Kook?” He looks between the two of us trying to figure it out.

“We didn’t do it together. I did it at an after concert party my freshman year of college. We went to a club and things got a little out of control.”

I fondly remember getting fucked in a bathroom stall after one of my best performances. My dick starts twitching and I cross my legs trying to hide it before they can tease me.

Images of that night won’t leave my mind. Cutting lines, snorting them off my phone with a dollar bill, getting fucked until I can’t remember my name. So many of my college nights so far have been spent that way. I wish they wouldn’t have said anything. It’s easy to not be feening when no one says anything about it. That night was the first time, but it definitely wasn’t the last.

“I did it on spring break this year.” Taehyung says and we all gasp

“You could have died!” Jimin says slapping his shoulder. Taehyung shrugs like it’s no big deal.

“Anyways…I’ve never had sex in a state on the east coast.”

“What about that time we went to Disney world?” I say as images of that time rush into my head.

Taehyung can be absolutely filthy and these images are not helping my little problem. But it’s taken my mind to something not as dangerous and I’m grateful for that.

“Did you really just call him out on that? Your balls massive.” Yoongi says taking a sip of his drink.

“It’s in my top ten best. I can’t not call him on that.” I say and immediately take a drink because I really shouldn’t have said that.

I’m thinking about all the things we did in that hotel and tried to do in that park because we are disgusting. Why am I such a pervert? I’m almost half hard and how no one has noticed my squirming I’m not sure.

“Fine I’ll revise I’ve never had sex in a north eastern state.” Taehyung says and his face is red as a tomato.

From the alcohol or embarrassment, I’m not so sure but I am sure that I’m going to need another drink after this. Namjoon and I drink for the question. I finish my drink and am about to stand when I realize that’s not a good idea.

“Hey Jungkook.” Namjoon says and I look over at his pretty eyes. He has taken off his over sized sweater and is trying to hand it to me.

“I don’t want your-“ He makes a pointed glance at my crotch and I flush with embarrassment. “Thank you.”

Namjoon’s sweater smells campfire and the sea mixed with a sweet scent I can’t quite put my finger on. I quickly put the sweater on, and it goes all the way to my thighs. I smile at Namjoon before getting up to make another drink. His sweater is soft and warm around my body as I walk to the liquor cabinet. I take the whole bottle with me and grab another glass for anyone else who might want some.

“Well keeping on the sex theme.” Hoseok says when I’ve returned to my seat with a bottle clutched under my arm. “I’ve never had sex in public and if you have to ask me to define public just drink.”

Jimin, Taehyung, Jin and I drink. We talk about this kind of stuff fairly often, so no one seems surprised or they aren’t speaking up if they are.

“Never have I ever had sex with someone I wasn’t dating.” Jin says and we all groan.

Everyone drinks who isn’t Kim Seokjin. I can’t even call this targeting because we all drank. Jin is a good boy who likes to follow old timey rules and bullshit. More power to him for being able to keep his dick in his pants. Can’t relate. I put the hood of Namjoon’s hoodie over my head.

The game continues like this for quite some time. It’s nearly three a.m. when the last of my pussy best friends decides they should go to sleep leaving me alone with a Namjoon who hasn’t been drinking for several rounds.

“I’ve learned quite a lot about you today, Jungkook.” Namjoon says in a quiet voice.

My chair has somehow ended up almost pressed against his chair. I slouch down in my chair sipping something Jimin handed me ten minutes ago. I suspect its water but at this point everything tastes like water.

“Why weren’t you at work?” I blurt out not thinking about the fact that sober Jungkook would never start or entertain this conversation.

“I’ll tell you the real answer because there is no way you’ll remember this tomorrow.” He smiles at me like the way Yoongi looks at Jimin. After a moment he scratches the back of his neck and his smile drops. “A family emergency. One of my family members was in a car accident. They weren’t doing well for most of the day and my mother needed someone to be with her. They are doing better now and should make a full recovery in a few weeks.”

“Oh, now I feel bad for calling you an asshole earlier.” I say letting the longs sleeves of the sweater cover my hands. Namjoon is a giant.

“You never called me an asshole.” He looks confused as he speaks but also a little amused.

“I did in my head.” I tap my temple as I speak my eyes closing. “I think I need another drink.”

“Finish the one in your hand. After that, I think we should go to bed. You have music stuff to do tomorrow with Yoonie and I have to work.”

I chug the rest of my drink. It doesn’t burn at all must be water. Wow Jiminie what a dick move.

“You can go to bed. I’ll be fine.” I say flapping the sleeves around hitting myself in the face.

“I want to make sure you get to bed safe, Kook.” Namjoon says looking down on me with concern.

As I stand, I fall over and Namjoon catches me pulling me back to my feet. I look into his eyes and my dick is doing the thinking as I start to lean forward. He puts a finger to my lips and holds me at arm’s length.

“As much as I’d love to do that, you are very intoxicated, and I want you to remember our first kiss.”
His eyes are shining like a tiny galaxy as he looks down at me. I slump against his chest and he leans down. The next thing I know I’m in the air being carried by Kim Namjoon. He carries me inside and the next thing I know I’m lying on a bed in one of Jin’s spare rooms. I’m under the blankets with no shoes on but the rest of me is still clothed.

“Joonie?” I say quietly not wanting anyone to hear me if I just hallucinated what happened.

“I’m right here.” He says from the foot of the bed. He looks over his shoulder at me with a small smile playing on his lips. I wonder what his lips would look like wrapped around my- “I’m going to go sleep on the couch, so no one gets the wrong idea.”

“But I want you to stay.” I say leaning back against the soft pillow. Silk pillowcases are so boujee but so worth it.

“Sober Jungkook hates me and I don’t want to give him anymore reasons to dislike me.” Namjoon says coming around to the side of the bed I’m lying on.

“Okay. Sweet dreams, Joonie.” His hand cards through my hair as I fall asleep and I think I will definitely remember this tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Jungkook

Sunlight burns my eyes and intensifies my god-awful hangover when I open my eyes in the morning. Why do I constantly do this to myself? I roll onto my back and throw my arm over my eyes as I try to remember last night. I’m distracted by the fact that the sweater I’m wearing doesn’t smell like the laundry soap I use. A further look reveals I’m wearing a sweater that is not mine. I think for a moment and my cheeks flush as I remember my little problem last night and how Namjoon helped me out. What is playing at? Jerk. Nothing after that is clear and I pray that I didn’t do anything to damaging.

After a quick trip to the bathroom I take off Namjoon’s sweater and walk into the living room. Everyone else is awake, but I don’t see Namjoon sitting at the dark colored breakfast bar with the rest of the boys. I set the sweater on the back of one of the sofas and join the boys.

“Good morning Mr. Blackout or back out. How much do you remember?” Jin asks setting a plate in front of me as I sit down.

“Thank you.” I take a bite of scrambled eggs. “The last thing I remember is Namjoon giving me his sweater for some reason.”

“You must have looked cold. He’s really a nice guy.” Jimin says trying to flatten his ruffled hair.

I roll my eyes at his statement. It’s completely beyond me why they still try to make me like Namjoon. They know how and why I feel the way I do about him. They see a different Namjoon that I don’t. That’s okay, but they shouldn’t try to make me do the same. He’s annoying.

“So, you don’t remember calling Taehyung out for having top ten sex on your Disney world trip?” Yoongi asks with a wicked smile creeping onto his face.

I choke on the egg I had just taken a bite of and Hoseok hits my back. After a moment the coughing stops, and I look between Yoongi and Taehyung. Everyone is laughing at me again and my face is feeling hot. I really hate them sometimes, but this is my fault. I’m the one that apparently brought up the mind-blowing sex.

The boys start talking about something I’m not interested in, so I check my phone. There is a message from that dating app. I quickly open it wanting to know what the mystery man has to say.

KoalifiedCutie148: Hi cutie, I hope you have good day! I’ll be at work until six but feel free to message me. I get bored easily.

BisexualYeehaw69: Hey, I’m severely hungover and have plans today so not looking so bright so far. You make it a little brighter. I hope you had fun with your friends last night!

“Who are messaging, Jungkookie?” Taehyung asks looking over my shoulder.

“Boundaries.” I remind him locking my phone so I can finish my breakfast.

If any of the other guys asked it would have been fine and I would have answered the question. With Taehyung it’s different and we’ve had to establish these boundaries so that no one gets jealous or tries to sabotage each other. At first, we both did it to each other without even realizing what we were doing half the time. When I realized I wasn’t getting dick because of him we had a chat.

“Sorry. I listened to the songs before I got up. Do you want to go for a walk when you are finished eating?”

“Sounds like a plan.” I say turning back to my breakfast.

Taehyung leaves the room and the boys immediately bombard me with questions.

“What is going on?” Yoongi asks.

“What are you going to talk about?” Hoseok asks.

“What kind of songs did you write for him?” Jimin asks.

I cut them off before they can ask any more questions.

“I’m going to talk to Taehyung about songs I wrote for him and what they mean to me and how he feels about them. One is a song I wrote before we broke up and the other two are post breakup. I’m trying to make him realize there is no chance left.” I scoop the last bit of eggs into my mouth after I speak.

“Be gentle with him.” Jimin says with soft eyes and worried brows.

“Of course, the last thing I want to do is hurt him.”

Jin takes my plate and I walk back to the room I slept in to find my shoes and the extra clothes I brought with me. I used to have clothes stashed somewhere in this house but knowing Jin he probably threw them out. I slip on my trainers and chug some water before there is a soft knock on the door.

“Kookie, are you ready to go?” Taehyung’s sweet baritone cuts through the door.

Mentally preparing myself for a difficult conversation and lots of talk about feelings, I open the door. He’s standing in front of me in a cotton tank top and cute shorts that cut off right about mid-thigh.

“Yeah let’s go.” I say patting my pocket to make sure I have my wallet, phone and keys.

His eyes look a little red and I’m not sure if it’s from crying or something else. I think if I were in his position the songs would have made me cry. That sounds a little narcissistic, but my songs are raw and powerful. I hope that they are interpreted the way I want them to be. That doesn’t always happen. I’m aware that songs can be taken hundreds of ways. Taehyung knows me better than most people, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t take away from it what I meant.

We don’t talk for awhile as we walk towards the beach. When we have almost reached the sandy beach, he looks over a million emotions playing in his brown eyes.

“The songs are amazing and of course I don’t mind if you use them. No matter how many mixed emotions those songs gave me it’d be unfair to not let the world hear them.” He has a soft smile on his face as we walk along the sand.

“Thank you. I couldn’t let myself use them without you hearing it. You’re still my best friend it wouldn’t be fair to you.” I run my hand along the side of neck not knowing what else I should say. These moments are delicate. So easily broken and screwed up.

“You really felt that way? How you sang about in Euphoria.” Taehyung says looking at his feet.

I knew he would ask that. I hope he didn’t focus most of his attention on the song I wrote before we broke up. Of course, I felt that way, but that was a long time ago. Young and naïve Jungkook wrote that song. It’s one of the best songs that I’ve ever written but nothing about it is very true anymore. The idea of love and having thought I found the one that makes bells go off in my head was clouding my judgement.

“You are still the one I want to turn to when everything is wrong, but I can’t do that right now. The romantic feelings you still have for me cloud your judgement. You can say that you are over me all you want but everyone knows that’s not the case. I want my best friend with no weirdness back. I know this is hard, but we aren’t each other’s romantic soulmates. I hope my songs got that across. I’m talking too much please say something.”

Taehyung chuckles and I look over at him slowing my pace to match his stride. The suns seems to make his skin glow and I wonder how he hasn’t found his real soulmate. I want him to be happy above all else.

“Until I listened to Not That Way and To the Unforgotten, I thought maybe I still had a slight chance. Maybe, somewhere years in the future when we’ve graduated and gotten jobs that we would really reconnect. Not just a hookup that leaves both of feeling emotionally distressed, a real adult relationship.” He pauses scuffing his foot against the sand then looking out onto the glistening water. “You are real a genius when it comes to writing and producing. I understand everything. You will always love me but it’s different now like it was before we dated. It’s not easy for me to accept and I cried for awhile this morning before everyone got up.”

I can see his eyes starting to tear up again and I stop him. Pulling him into my arms, holding his head against my chest. He cries into my shirt clinging to sides with his hands.

“It’s going to be okay, Taehyungie. It’s okay to let all of your feelings out. You can tell me anything no matter how awkward or dramatic it might be.”

“It hurts so much to see you flirting with other people and for all of you guys to tip toe around me like I’m a fragile piece of china.” He backs away wiping his eyes as he begins to speak. “Yesterday you were so drunk you were basically flirting with Namjoon and I don’t even know why I’m telling you that because it’s not my place to be upset about it.”

“Tae you can’t help that you still feel this way. I don’t hold it against you and we only tip toe because we don’t want to hurt you. The amount of heart ache I’ve caused you is unacceptable and I’m so sorry for that. But it’s been a long time since we were really together as a couple. Now that you realize it can’t and won’t happen again, I hope that it will be easier for you to move on. I’m sorry that I’ve been wishy washy and might have led you on. I was lonely and confused. I need you to be my best friend, not my boyfriend or even my ex. Just best friends.”

“I think it will be easier now. You stomped on any hope that I had. Best friends sounds good.” After he’s said the last word, I pull him into my arms.

It’s a few moments before he pulls away with a smile on his face that reaches his eyes. All I want is for my friends to be happy and cared for. The last few years have been difficult seeing Taehyung so hurt. I’m glad we’ve had this conversation and hopefully we can finally move past this.

As we start walking back to my house Taehyung starts gossiping.

“I saw Yoongi come out of the same room Jimin sleeps in this morning.” His voice is excited, and it makes me laugh.

“You think they finally fucked?”

“Jimin seems different with Yoongi. I don’t think he would just do that while all of us were in the house. They probably just kissed and cuddled or something. I’m going to ask him about it later.”

For the most part we don’t have boundaries. Nothing is off limits to ask and usually we answer questions truthfully. Jimin is most open with Tae. He won’t lie about what happened. I agree with Tae that Jimin seems different with Yoongi. Like it might be the real deal.

I walk into my house alone planning on taking a shower before I text Yoongi about music stuff. When I unlock my phone to turn on music, I see a message from Mystery Man.

KoalifiedCutie148: I had an interesting night to say the least. Drink lots of water and don’t take it so hard next time, bub.

I don’t answer him instead turning on my shower playlist and getting ready to take a long shower. Half an hour later I’m lying on my bed with a towel covering my bottom half. I’m trying to think of something to keep the conversation going with that guy. If I get to real, I might scare him off and I’ve liked the conversations we’ve had so far. I decide to risk it and be a little too real.

BisexualYeehaw69: What was so interesting about it? If you don’t mind me asking. I don’t know how to take it easy. Partying is fun and a great way to forget things.

While I’m getting dressed, I hear a notification and am surprised when I see he’s messaged back so quickly.

KoalifiedCutie148: Okay mood, but it was interesting because I talked to someone who won’t usually speak to me.

I send another message to mystery man then decide it’s time to find Yoongi. I ask the group chat that consists of Jimin, Taehyung, Jin, Hoseok, Yoongi, Namjoon and I where Yoongi is. Usually this is a much faster way to find whoever we are looking for.

After a few minutes Jimin tells me they are still at Jin’s so I make my way over there. I have my music saved online so I can show it to him no matter what computer I’m using. The door swings open as soon as I push on it and I call out to see who is still here and what they might be doing.

No one answers me so I begin to walk down the hall noticing the sweater of Namjoon’s I wore is still slung across the back of the sofa in the living room. Maybe I should bring that back to him but knowing my friends we will probably all be hanging out here again tonight. Whatever find Yoongi. Music time.

“Yoongi Min? Jimin Park?” I yell glancing into the bedrooms as I pass.

“We’re in the office.” I hear Jimin call and that makes sense to me.

Jin has a desktop in his office and it’s by far the quietest and most controlled room. No one will bother us here and we can listen and discuss music in peace. Well peace with the added Jimin. He used to be a lot more involved in the arts but he’s taken a bit of a different path since he started college. He’s still an amazing dancer and singer but he doesn’t train anymore.

I spend the next few hours shut away in Jin’s office with Yoongi and Jimin talking about all different kinds of art. We listen to my songs and they seem blown away. I feel myself growing closer to Yoongi. I’m glad I’m getting to know him he seems like such a genuine nice person. Jimin holds Yoongi’s hand after we have been in here a few hours and I don’t point it out.

“I’m hungry want to go get burgers on the pier?” Jimin says around five.

“Sounds like a good idea.” I say walking out of the office. The hallway is dimly lit, and I can smell the ocean air coming through the backdoor we’ve left open. Namjoon’s sweater is still on the couch and I decide I should take it back to him. “I’ll catch up with you guys in a little bit. I have to do something first.”

They give me strange looks but don’t question me as they walk out of Jin’s house. In the room where I slept in last night, I shove Namjoon’s sweater into my bag. I sling it over my shoulder and begin walking towards the smoothie shop I know he should still be working at. I take a longer roundabout way, so I don’t run into Yoongi and Jimin.

There isn’t a customer in sight as I walk into the shop. Namjoon is looking down at his phone but looks up when he hears the bell attached to the door ring. He begins to greet me before he stops giving me a confused look. He runs a hand through his fading pink hair and I’m still jealous I can’t pull of colors like that.

“What are you doing here? It’s your day off.” He asks sliding his phone into his apron pocket.

“Am I not allowed to come get a smoothie on my day off?” Sass drips from my tone and I hope I don’t sound stupid.

“No, it just doesn’t seem like something you would usually do. You try to avoid me at all costs.”

I take my backpack off and unzip it pulling out his sweater. I step forward holding his sweater at arm’s length like it might be diseased. His face just becomes more confused before it softens. He takes the sweater out of my hand setting it on the counter.

“You didn’t have to come all the way over here to give me this. I’m going to hang out with Jin after work.” His voice is soft and still a little confused. “Do you remember anything about last night?”

“Not after you handed me your sweater.” I say then as an afterthought add, “Taehyung said I was flirting with you.”

He laughs clutching his stomach and scrunching his nose. I don’t know why he finds this funny. Someone must have drugged me if I was flirting with Namjoon Kim. How lonely and horny I must have been to do that? How annoying can one person be? How is he so attractive, yet so infuriating?

“I think that’s an exaggeration.” He studies my face for a moment before he continues. “You were just a little more friendly than usual because you were drunk.”

I give him an awkward thumbs up before turning on my heel and leaving the shop before he can say another word. I know how rude that is, but I really couldn’t care less. Jimin and Yoongi are waiting at a table for me having already gotten our food. My hand reaches for the red chair pulling it out before I sit.

“What were you doing?” Jimin asks raising an eyebrow at me.

“It’s nothing doesn’t matter.” I say not wanting to explain to anyone why I did something even vaguely nice for Namjoon Kim.

I already did it and I’m really not even sure what my motivation behind it was. He literally could have gotten his sweater from Jin’s when he got off work if he really wanted it. Who the fuck am I suddenly decided that Namjoon Kim suddenly deserves rights? I pull a water bottle filled with vodka out of my bag. I take a big drink then start eating. Life’s better when I don’t remember it.

I message KoalifiedCutie148. We’ve been texting a lot lately. I feel like we are getting really close even though I don’t know what his face looks like or even what his name is. He talks to me like someone I’ve know for years, and he truly seems to appreciate me and doesn’t just want to fuck my brains out. Not that I’d be opposed to that. It’s been so long since I had good dick.

“I’m going to ride the Ferris Wheel, then I think I’m going to go home and watch a movie.” I say standing once I’ve finished eating.

“Don’t drink too much.” Jimin says when he pulls me in for a hug.

“I can make no promises, Chim.” We laugh but I can tell he is genuinely worried.

I don’t think he needs to be worried. There is complete control in this situation. When I’m not working, I don’t have a lot going for me other than hanging out with my friends. Drinking is a way to make life a little more interesting. At college I experimented with drugs for a little while to help my creative process. After one of my friends overdosed, I stopped. The thought of my mother getting a call at three in the morning about me overdosing wasn’t worth the thrill the drugs gave me. It wasn’t easy to kick it and I had to get a whole new group of friends, but I’m better now.

My hometown friends don’t know about my drug problems. Hell, my mom doesn’t even know, and she doesn’t need to. It’s easier to stay clean here because the only drugs I’ve ever done here are weed and alcohol. I know drinking means I’m not completely clean but it’s better than the other shit. It’s not something I think about a lot unless it’s talked about. Since I’ve got home, I’ve been debating whether I should tell them or not. It will probably make them walk on eggshells, but it would stop them for doing anything thing that might make me relapse. I think I’m strong enough, but if someone sat a line or a few pills in front of me I’m really not sure what I’d do. It’s been months since I was around that kind of stuff.

I ride the Ferris Wheel wondering what I’d be doing right now if Jackson hadn’t died. He threw the sickest parties and had all the hookups. Anything you could dream of he knew a place to get it. He was one of my best friends in the whole world. He knew me better than my hometown friends. I didn’t hide any part of myself from him. He knew every gory detail.

By the time I get home it’s barely seven and I’ve drained my water bottle. I lock myself in my room to watch Finding Nemo. I drink every time ‘Nemo’ is said. Well I try too I don’t always remember to. I message KoalifiedCutie148 thinking maybe I should ask him if he wants to meet up tonight.

BisexualYeehaw69: I realized we’ve been talking so much, and I don’t even have a name to call you.

KoalifiedCutie148: You can call me N, I’m sorry I’m still a little uncomfortable with this whole app. My friends are insane, they are crying over Toy Story 3.

BisexualYeehaw69: Its okay, no worries. I guess you can call me J then.

I’m pretty lit by this point and honestly don’t know how I’m typing so well. N and I continue to talk while I watch another movie. I drink a cup of water or two to balance out my alcohol, but man am I lit. I should be out doing something. When I hear my mother go to bed, I fill my backpack with essentials and walk to the beach.

I suggest a meet up with N and he agrees to meet me near where Hoseok usually has his bonfires. Sitting on the sand in the dark is a great feeling, but I wish N would show up already. I don’t look at my phone just soaking in the sound of the ocean and the rides shutting down for the night.

Footsteps approach me and I look up to see Namjoon Kim. What the fuck is he doing here? He ruins everything. N will be here any minute. I glare at him until he’s close enough to make out who I am.

“Why the fuck are you here?” I say my speech a little slower than normal.

“Am I not allowed to be on the beach at night?”

I want to say something about how the last time he was with someone at night they almost died, but I can’t find it in my heart to do that right now. Maybe I am too harsh on him sometimes.

“I’m supposed to be meeting someone here, leave.” I say and his eyes widen, and my drunk brain can’t make the connection.

“Are you drunk?” He asks softly cautiously stepping closer to me.

“Of course, I am.” I say digging in my bag for my water bottle. “Want some?”

“I’m good.” He chuckles softly his eyes shining in the dim lighting. “Thanks for the offer though, Kook.”

“More for me.” I start to open the bottle and Namjoon steps closer swiftly taking the bottle from me.

“On second thought…” He takes a drink after he speaks and makes a face. “Mango?”

“Isn’t it yummy?” I lean back on my hands letting my head relax back.

Namjoon takes a seat beside me and I study him. He’s wearing the hoodie he let me borrow last night with dark colored chino shorts. He takes his phone out and does something before turning his attention back to me. His hair is neatly styled and for a moment I wonder what he is doing down here.

“Thank you for bringing my hoodie earlier. It was unexpected but very kind of you. Were you already drunk?” He is serious when he says that and I’m almost offended.

“Wow, I must be a really shitty person if you only think I can be nice to you when I’m under the influence.” I heave a sigh studying the way his hands are combing through the sand. “I didn’t start drinking until I got dinner with Yoongi and Jimin after I saw you.”

“I don’t think you are a shitty person; you just want to hold a grudge. Eventually, you will realize I’m not who you think I am. I’ll give you as much time as you need.” He pauses seeing how I’ve moved so I’m leaning against a log. He matches my posture. “Have you been drinking since you ate dinner?”

“Yes. Was I really only being friendly with you last night? Taehyung usually doesn’t exaggerate about things like that.”

For a moment he is silent looking out at the ocean like it might help him answer me. The waves are beautiful and calming but they can’t solve problems. I’ve tried to solve my problems spending time in the ocean, and it didn’t work. He ruffles his hair ruining the styling that I’m sure he spent at least fifteen minutes on.

“I don’t expect you to remember this tomorrow either. You tried to kiss me, but I stopped you.”

My mind races to remember that but it can’t because of the copious amounts of alcohol I had and have consumed. I can totally see myself doing something that stupid when blacked out. I’m horny usually drugs and alcohol just make it much more prevalent. He has very nice lips and a soft kind face.

“Drunk Jungkook is a whole different person. He can’t contain his thirst for Namjoon Kim. Namjoon Kim is too pretty and perfect for drunk Kook to not want to get his brains fucked out by him then snuggle while he raps him to sleep.”

Namjoon had been taking a drink of the mango vodka when I started speaking and when he hears what have to say he chokes. He spews liquor on his legs, and I pat his back trying to help him out. He starts laughing loudly as he coughs. He wipes his legs with the sleeve of his sweater.

“You want me, the guy you’ve hated for so long, to do that to you?” His voice is low and he almost sounds concerned. “Actually, don’t answer that.”

“I’m sorry that might have been too crude but it’s easier to hold you responsible than to know that if I hadn’t been at a dance competition it wouldn’t have happened.”

Concern is all over his face mixed with a certain sadness that I’m sure I can understand. I never thought at this age I would have been through so much shit. I’m not a bad person. Nothing makes me happier than helping and inspiring people, but it’s hard when dark shit happens to you.

“You were doing what you love. He doesn’t blame you because you had nothing to do with it. You were away every weekend; it would have been weird if you were there. You shouldn’t blame yourself. It’s been years. He’s getting better and it sounds like he’s coming home soon.”

I lean into Namjoon’s arm and he wraps it around me pulling my head to his strong chest. His hand hangs over my shoulder and I reach up to play with his fingers and he gasps like I’ve scared him. I pull my hand away thinking he must not want me doing that.

“I’m sorry.” I mutter trying to scoot away from him before I embarrass myself more.

“No, come back. I’m sorry you just took me off guard.” He takes my hand and brings it back to where it was before.

“Soobin didn’t tell me he was planning on coming back. He’d mentioned that he wanted to but not with sure plans.” I say a little upset that he told Namjoon of all people before me.

“He didn’t tell me. His parents told me. They want to take me to dinner, so I’ll forgive them for how they have treated me. Soobin is moving back on his own. He’ll be living with his cousins. I think he was going to surprise you.”

“I’m excited that I’ll be able to see him whenever I want.” I speak softly and Joon takes his hand away so he can run it through my hair.

“I wish you liked me this much when you were sober…” Namjoon mutters regretfully.

“No one realizes it but I’m balancing a lot of things right. If I fuck up one aspect my life is ruined. As much as I want to be in a relationship right now, I don’t think I should be.”

Again, I don’t know why I am being so open with Namjoon. Drunk Kook trusts him it seems like. Drunk Kook doesn’t like to hold grudges and wants to be a friend of the world. He isn’t that bad. Joon is handsome and he is kind to me despite the fact that I’ve been an asshole to him for too many years. When my brain is muddled with the good stuff, I think I see him for who he really is. Joon is a shy nerd who loves going on adventures and just wants to make people happy.

“I understand that. If you ever need a unjudgmental ear I’m here for you. Drunk or sober, I won’t tell anyone.”

He pulls away still with a hand in my hair so he can look into my eyes. I really want to kiss him right now, but that isn’t going to help anything. My heart is beating loudly in my chest and my belly is warm. Also, I really need to pee. Abruptly, I stand announcing I have to pee before stumbling off to a nearby bush.

“Your hair is such a nice color. I wish I could pull that off. I’d look like a coked-up Barbie doll.” I say once I’ve returned from emptying my bladder.

“Didn’t you dye your hair pink spring term of last year?” He asks and I wonder how he knows that. He must follow me on some form of social media. Probably my snapchat or something I accept everyone because I’m an attention whore who needs those views.

“My point exactly.” I was a coked-up Barbie doll trying to finish my end of year finals and keep my financial aid without aggressively trying to kill myself. I guess drug use could be classified as aggressive but in my mind, it was more passive. Like, I don’t want this codeine to kill me but if it does that’s aight. I don’t think that way anymore. That’s not healthy and I want to live my life to the fullest that I possibly can. I want to get married and have kids. It’s a dream of mine to tour the world with my family.

That reminds me that it’s been a minute since I posted to my story. I flip the camera of my phone and snap a picture of my feet and the sand in front of me and add it to my story with a ‘late night vibes’ caption. I cuddle up under Namjoon’s arm and take another picture that I save just for me.

“Sober Kook is going to wonder what the fuck he was doing.” Namjoon says pulling me so I’m sitting between his legs leaning back against his chest. He wraps his arms around me and against all instincts I feel safe. Namjoon drinks the rest of the water bottle and puts it back in my bag.

“You’re probably right, but hopefully I’ll remember that you were here for me when my stupid internet boy didn’t show up.”

Namjoon directs the subject elsewhere and we sit on the beach staring at the waves and talking until nearly one in the morning. We’re both drunk now, but he still won’t let me kiss him.

We decide to try and find a bar that is still open, and we are successful. There are only a few people here and apparently, it’s karaoke night. Namjoon promises to buy me drinks if I sing a song for him, so I get up there and sing him some Justin Bieber. Three drinks later we are both feeling heavily intoxicated and sleepy.

Somewhere on the walk home we decided we should go to Jin’s house. Neither of us want to disturb our families and Jin has told us countless times we can come over whenever we want. I don’t think we want to leave each other and as we enter through his back door, I wonder how much of this I will remember.

“Do you think you could show me some of your music?” He whispers as we enter the living room.

“That’s a great idea!” I say pulling him towards Jin’s office.

We fall asleep on the couch listening to tracks I’ve written about the difficulties of love.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

I feels likes every drop of moisture has been sucked from body when I wake up the next morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve been as drunk as I was last night. How I kept control of myself, I am really not sure. Being with him before he has feelings for me would do nothing but hurt me. Maybe, I shouldn’t be around him when he’s drunk. I definitely shouldn’t have stayed last night when I realized he’s the guy I’ve been talking to. Jungkook doesn’t know its me, but I know it’s him.

He’s sleeping soundly beside me, curled up in a ball with his cheek smooshed against the cushion. Jungkook looks so precious and innocent like this. My arm stretches to stroke his hair and for a moment everything is how I wish it could be. He stirs under my hand and I clumsily jump up quickly leaving the room.

After peeing and brushing my teeth the spare toothbrush I keep in the guest bathroom, I enter the kitchen. Before I enter, I can hear Seokjin humming to himself. I wonder if he is going to yell at me. Usually, we speak to each other civilly, but I’ve never really needed to stay at his house before without telling him.

“How many times I have told you not to bring your random sexual conquests back to my house while I’m here?” Jin asks without turning to look at who has entered the kitchen.

He obviously doesn’t know that it’s me because I would never bring someone here for that kind of thing. My friends do not need to know what it sounds like when I’m having sex. The rest of them are a lot more open with each other about those kind of things. I like to keep what happens in the bedroom in the bedroom most of the time. I’m a little shy about that kind of stuff.

“I’m not sure who you think you are talking to, but I would never do that.”

Jin turns around to see me standing there with my arms crossed. His face turns red while he looks me in the eyes, and I try to give him a mean look. I don’t think I do a very good job because he just laughs and turns back to his egg scramble.

“I thought you were Kook.” He says as I walk over to the counter and sit down. “I heard his music late last night and thought he might be trying to woo someone.”

“Last night when I went to meet that guy, I found Jungkook drunk on the beach and it turns out he’s BisexualYeehaw69. Well I think so; it would make sense and the photos do look like him. He said he was waiting for someone. I didn’t tell him and I’m not going to message him anymore.”

“Wow, even when you are trying to get away from how you feel you still end up near him.” Jin says sliding the contents of the pan onto two plates. “That’s good and all but how did you end up sleeping in my office?”

“Kook was drunk when I got there and had a water bottle full of liquor. I didn’t want him to drink more so I drank it. We were pretty drunk and ended up cuddling on the beach and talking for a while. Then we went to a bar and on the way home I convinced him to come here so I knew he was okay. I asked to hear his music because he’d never show it to me sober and we feel asleep on the couch.”

I don’t look him in the eye when I speak because I know he is judging me. Yoongi, Hoseok and Jin know how I feel about Jungkook and they don’t really approve of it. Obviously they love Jungkook, but he hates me. Everyone knows that, apparently, I’m Kook’s sworn enemy because of what happened with Soobin. He has a vendetta against me. I won’t tell him how I feel until I’m sure he understands my side of what happened. I think his grudge is weakening but it might be his concerning alcohol consumption.

“Be careful with him, Joon. He lost a friend a few months ago and he still has a skewed view of what happened.” Jin sighs pushing the second plate towards me. “I don’t want to see either of you hurt. He might be softening to you, but he’s been acting different than when we saw him on spring break. We are all a little worried about him.”

I take a bite of the egg scramble chewing thoroughly before I respond to him. His face is set in a thoughtful look like he’s trying to figure out how this could possibly work. A way to make all his friends happy that doesn’t hurt anymore. I understand why they are skeptical even if he did like me. Kook and Taehyung ended pretty awkwardly, and they don’t want a repeat. I know they are working it out but there is still a massive amount of tension in the room every time we say certain things.

“I know. I know. I’ll try to not be alone with him when either of us are intoxicated. He really wanted to kiss me yesterday and I wouldn’t let him, so I guess I have some semblance of self control.”

Jin looks a little sad when I say that, so I decide to stay quiet and eat my breakfast. I don’t know what I’m going to do today, but I really don’t want to see Jungkook until I know what he remembers about last night. He really cuddled me and took a picture of us together on his own. Sure, I pulled him to sit between my legs, but he gladly sat there. Having my arms around his tiny waist and breathing in the sweet scent of his fabric softener was the best kind of torture I’ve ever experienced.

“Do you want to hang out after you get off work?” Jin asks after we had been eating in silence for a few minutes.

“I think I’m going to go home and chill after work. Probably watch some Netflix or something. I’ll text you if I get lonely.” I stand as I finish talking patting my pockets to make sure I have my wallet and phone.

“Okay. I’ll find out how much Kook remembers and text you later.”

I’m so glad my friend’s brains work like mine. I need to know what he remembers and how awkward it will be the next time all of us are together. Staying true to my new rule of not being alone with him while either of us is under the influence might be difficult to resist, but I have to. I’m hopeful that once Soobin moves back things might get easier between us. I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but it’s hard not to when such a perfect being is around me so often.

It’s noon when I leave Seokjin’s house leaving me an hour before I’m supposed to clock into work. Hopefully Jungkook wakes up soon or he is going to be late. I head home to take a shower and am thankful my parents aren’t home to question where I’ve been all night. My parents can be very strict and traditional. They don’t like the fact that I’m gay or that I would rather be doing music. They like to pretend that I will find the right girl one day and marry her. Being a Political Science and History double major almost kills me every single day. I wish I was making music like Jungkook does. When I was in high school didn’t try to stop me from competing in rap competitions, but they made it very clear that if I pursued music I wasn’t welcomed here anymore. I’m smart enough to have received a full ride scholarship to an Ivy League school, but I still need my parents financial support to live without fear of starving. I do music on the side when I have a rare moment free of homework.

With hot water hitting my back I think about the songs Jungkook played for me last night. I’ve heard him sing and seen him dance but that is a whole different ball game than writing and producing your own songs. He is so god damn talented. I’m so jealous that he gets to live out his dream. He’s so brilliant and the complexity and pure raw emotion behind his songs is awe inspiring. I can’t wait until his EP drops so I can listen to his sweet voice every day.

I arrive at work a few minutes early and Jungkook is already behind the counter making drinks for a customer. There are dark bags under his eyes and I just want to make him go home and rest. I can’t do that though. I’m not the boss. He’s wearing clothes that just don’t look right on him. They aren’t like his usual style. It takes a few minutes, but eventually I realize he’s wearing Jin’s clothes.

We don’t say anything to each other until there isn’t any customers in the shop. He doesn’t seem quite comfortable in Jin’s clothes. He keeps pulling at the collar and tucking and untucking the shirt like it might look different each time he does it. His hair is messy curling against his head in cute little waves.

“I remember everything from yesterday, but I’m sure Jin already told you that.” He says busying himself with cleaning the blender he just used to make a mango peach smoothie.

“I haven’t talked to Jin since I left this morning.” I say not knowing what else I could possibly say in this situation. He thinks he hates me. Obviously, I’m not so sure about that because it seems like all he wants to do when he’s drunk is kiss me. I can’t kiss him until sober Kook asks for it. Like I told him the first time he tried, I don’t want our first kiss to be like that. I don’t want him to be able to call it a stupid mistake. I’m way to infatuated with this boy that hates my guts. Why do I always fall the ones I can’t have?

“Don’t be awkward let’s pretend it didn’t happen.” Jungkook says drying the blender and setting it back in its rightful spot.

“Okay whatever you want.” Is all I say never looking in his eye.

I want to mouth off and tell him what I really think but I don’t think that would be beneficial to our relationship right now. I want to tell him that I’m getting confused because he is supposed to hate me. I don’t hate him, and I never have. I’ve always admired him even my sophomore year of high school when he treated me like I’d murder his best friend. Treating people with kindness is much more constructive then succumbing to their level.

Jungkook is a special guy and with the way things seem to be going maybe I could be his friend by the end of the summer. That’s all I really want. Of course, having more than that would be lovely, but it seems unrealistic right now. Especially because he said he doesn’t think he could handle a relationship right because of the delicate balance of his life. I’m not really sure what he means by that. He lost a friend just a few months ago so that could be why he feels so unbalanced. I want to be able to help him and be a shoulder he can cry on. Why am I so whipped for this boy?

He doesn’t talk to me unless it’s to bitch at me for doing something wrong for the rest of his shift. He gets angry about me not putting enough whipped cream on a drink and I just take a deep breath. There is no reason to be treating me like this. I bet he’s angry about last night even though he was obviously enjoying it. I pull him aside before he can storm out.

“I know you don’t like me-” I start and cuts me off muttering,

“You’ve got that right.”

“But…when we are at work can you please not treat me like I’m garbage. If the customers hear how you are speaking to me, they aren’t going to come back and we will get fired.” I speak softly my voice straining from holding in my frustration.

“O-okay.” He stutters and my heart gets fluttery even though he’s been treating me like shit. I’m a fucking masochist. “I’ll try to be more professional but try harder not to fuck up.”

He turns on his heels and walks out the door swaying his stupid little hips. I really want to fight him right now. Jungkook fucked up at least four more times than I did today, and I didn’t say anything to him. He must be having a bad day. I don’t know what he might be going through. I only see a small portion of his life and what I hear from our mutual friends.

I’ve have an hour left before I closing time. It tends to get a little slow around this time, it’s five o’clock who the fuck wants a smoothie? I check my social media timelines checking for anything interesting. Hobi and Jin doing gymnastics in the sand. Jimin posted a picture of him and Yoongi with three blushy emojis. Jungkook posted a video of the view from the Ferris Wheel. He posts one every single night and he has for as long as I can remember. Maybe I’ll ride it with him one day. Today was a setback and I’m starting to think I may be incredibly pathetic.

As I’m walking out of the shop after cleaning and closing up my phone rings. My mother is calling me and that really confuses me because she usually texts me. I quickly slide my finger across the screen and hold the phone to my ear.

“Joonie?” My mother’s voice is frantic, and my heart races in my chest.

“Mom what’s wrong? Are you okay?” I speak quickly wanting to know what might be wrong as soon as possible.

“Please come to the hospital. It’s your uncle. He’s passed away.” She doesn’t say anything more and hangs up the phone.

I order an uber and wait at home for it to arrive. It takes me to the hospital where I run to the reception desk and say my uncle’s name. A nurse directs me to his room where my mother is standing with my uncle’s wife sobbing. They’ve already taken his body away. I don’t know what to say or do so I wrap and arm around the two women in front of me. They cry into my shoulders and I remember my uncle fondly.

He was the cool uncle that brought us good gifts and was at every family gathering. He never caused drama. Once he took my family to Disney World a few years ago and we rode every ride together. It took a long time, but it was worth it. It was a nice way to bond with my uncle. It’s been harder to keep in touch since I went to college. I wish I would have kept in closer contact over the last few months.

A few hours later I am home making dinner for my family even though no one has an appetite. I make everyone sit at the table and eat. My father recalls a funny memory of my uncle and that starts us all laughing. It’s the gross crying kind, but it was still helpful. We go around the table eating and telling stories of his life.

The rest of my family turns in early at around nine. I head to my room to read for a little while before something reminds me of my uncle and I start crying. My first reaction is to text my friends and tell them what has happened. Jin responds quickly with condolences telling me that most of the boys are already there and to come over immediately.

I change into more comfortable clothes, a pair of grey joggers and a plain shirt, before grabbing the essentials. Keys, wallet, charger, phone and I walk into the kitchen to leave a note for my parents. Usually I wouldn’t do this because I’m a grown ass man, but right now my parents could use the extra effort. They would want me to stay here, but I need my friends to help me through this. I need liquor to course through my body and the affection of my best friends.

By the time I’ve stepped through the front door of Jin’s house and removed my shoes, all the boys (including Jungkook) are waiting for me the living room. Jimin rushes towards me with a glass in hand. I take the glass and down whatever was in the glass. Honestly, I drank it so fast I hardly taste it. I see Jin laugh and get up to make me another. I’m handed a second glass and I follow Jin into the living room. I sit between Jin and Taehyung on the big sofa and we make a toast to my uncle. They’ve all met him, even Jungkook. He was a judge at a dance competition Jungkook won a few years ago. My uncle really did it all. He was a jack of all trades and he will be greatly missed by so many people.

“Can all of you just tell me about your days? As much as remembering him is a good way to honor him I’d like to think about something else for a moment.” I take sip of my drink after speaking and the boys nod in agreement.

“Soobin texted me saying he’s coming home tomorrow!” Jungkook says excitedly and I glance at Jin hoping he’ll understand that I want to know how many beers Kook has had. Seokjin stretches splaying five fingers across his knee with a pointed look.

So, he’ll probably talk to me nicely because he’s already buzzed lovely. The last thing I want to deal with right now is this boy being an asshole. I truly believe that he has a kind heart and doesn’t really mean the rude things he says sometimes. I imagine there is a lot of things he doesn’t tell me or any of his friends. He seems to live a whole different life at school from the posts I’ve seen. I went to one of his recitals this year because I was in town and appreciate art. He seemed like fully different person on stage and when he interacted with his peers. I only saw it for a moment, but something was off.

“Really?” I say excitedly and genuinely happy for the first time since I heard the news my uncle passed. “I’ll have to go see him in a few days after he’s settled in.”

“He’s having a party on Saturday. The day after tomorrow. I think he said he sent you a text. You probably just didn’t see it.” Jimin says looking across the room at Yoongi like he’d rather be sat on his lap.

I pull my phone out of my pocket and see that I have quite a few missed text messages and notifications from various apps. My texts show that Soobin had sent me all the information they just told me. The other texts don’t seem important, so I open the other notifications ending with the dating app. There is a message from BisexualYeehaw69, Jungkook, from three hours ago.

BisexualYeehaw69: I thought we had a cool vibe going, but I guess that was a misinterpretation. It really wasn’t cool to say you’d meet up than leave me there with no message or anything.

I think for a moment before I send a message back. The boys are talking all around me about what they did today and what tea they have to spill. I focus on the message and come up with a genius response.

KoalifiedCutie148: I’m sorry. I know that was really shitty of me. I think I saw you cuddling someone, so I jetted.

I turn the sound off on my phone and can see Jin’s disapproving look at what I’ve just done. I’m sure he wants me to cut off all contact because this is a little fucked up. While I know this isn’t healthy, I want to know what he might say. After tonight I’ll stop this. I finish my second drink and am already feeling a nice buzz. I switch to beer popping the cap off and take a swig of the bitter liquid.

Jungkook is typing away at his phone with a slightly irritated look on his face. When it looks like he’s sent the message he looks up and sighs.

“This boy thinks he can stand me up then just say sorry.” He takes a drink of his seventh beer. I cringe knowing his talking about me but try to keep my composure. “Let me hear it guys. Men ain’t shit!”

After a few moments he has our drunk gay asses screaming Men ain’t shit at the top of our lungs. Jin shushes us after a moment not wanting his neighbors to call the cops or something. Jin’s parents would literally murder him if that happened.

It’s been a few hours and we are proper drunk. Jimin and Yoongi left a little while ago to go back to Yoongi’s apartment and Hoseok leaves shortly after. Jin is still by my side Jungkook sitting in the arm chair a few feet away and Taehyung on the floor for some reason. It’s probably because Jungkook was funneling beer into his mouth a few minutes ago. They are like frat boys I swear.

I stopped counting my drinks awhile ago but I’ve been drinking a glass of water every so often so I should be fine tomorrow. I’m getting bored sitting her talking so I make the boys stand up and turn on some good music. We dance until three in the morning when Taehyung and Jin say they have to go to sleep before they die. They head to separate rooms leaving Jungkook and alone. This is becoming quite a routine. The last two to bed. The strongest.

“Got any secrets to share with me today, Joonie?” he asks sitting beside me on the couch.

He is slouching over a little bit but is keeping his hands to himself. His hair is ruffled from when Taehyung pulled his head back to funnel beer in his mouth about twenty minutes ago. Kookie’s brown eyes are soft and shiny as they look at me. I wonder how he can hold so much resentment during the day and look at me like this during the night. It’s honestly unacceptable. I shouldn’t let myself be treated like this but—oh he’s touching my face. He moves his body closer to mine until I can feel the heat radiating off his smooth skin. A smile crosses my face and he drives his finger into my dimple.

“Kookie! Stop, I have no secrets for you.” He rests his head against my thighs looking up at me with a cute smile.

“Wow, thighs.” He mutters reaching a hand back to squeeze my thigh.

This man is going to ruin my life. How am I supposed to not kiss his stupid lips? How am I not supposed to draw hearts with my finger all over his rosy cheeks? How am I not supposed to brush the hair out of his eyes so I can see his them shine? How I am I not supposed to swoon at his cute bunny smile? I’m so whipped its literally life threatening.

“Wow, everything.” I whisper leaning down thinking I should just say fuck it and finally kiss him.

There is nothing I want to do more right now. Jungkook raises his head his eyes widening in curiosity. He tilts his chin upwards giving me a better angle to kiss his lips that look so soft and sweet. We are inches from kissing when Jin reenters the room and Jungkook jumps away.

“Whoa, what is going on here? I come out here for my phone and you jump away like you were committing a crime.” He grabs his phone off the coffee table. My heart is pounding in my chest and I wonder if he is going to say something else. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

He leaves the room walking towards his bedroom. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do? That’s literally everything. Jin dates people before he kisses them or anything. He obviously means what he says. I shouldn’t be letting Jungkook play with my feelings and I shouldn’t let this kind of thing happen.

“I’m so sorry I was so mean to you earlier. I’m having a hard time right now with some things, that doesn’t excuse what I did. I’ll try to be less of dickhead tomorrow when I’m semi sober.” He sits back against the couch keeping his hands tucked inside the pocket of his hoodie. “I have a lot of anger and resentment and problems that I sometimes take out on you when it’s not your fault. I should go to therapy.”

We both laugh hard even though the words he is saying are probably true. Therapy would probably be good for both of us. I haven’t been in therapy in a long time it might be helpful. My drunk brain is pretty coherent right now. I’m impressed. I should probably go to sleep before either of us tries to make a move again.

“Kook I think we should go to sleep. In separate places because we can’t do anything Jin wouldn’t do.” We laugh again when I finished talking, but he nods his head seemingly agreeing with me.

After I stand, he stretches out on the couch and I cover him up with a throw blanket that was on the back of the couch. He has a pillow already, so I reach down to pat his head and he touches my thigh.

“Goodnight Joonie.”

“Goodnight Kookie.”

I settle into one of the guest bedrooms hoping Jungkook gets a good night’s rest and treats me better in the morning. It might be too much to ask for, but my hope is strong. I’ve hoped every day for years that my friend would walk again and through the miracle of modern medicine he is walking again. It’s unlikely Soobin will ever be 100% again but after years of living in a chair I’m sure he’s glad to have any strength or motion in his body. I can’t wait to see my friend and watch him walk after all these years.

I sleep well knowing at least one part of my life is okay right now.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

I’m the first up in the morning and make breakfast for everyone. After hydrating and eating a plate of food I walk out of the house. I make a quick stop at my family’s home to change and fill my water bottle. My family are still sound asleep, so I replace the note I wrote last night. They will check here before they will check their phones. I know I should stay and be here for my family but I’m not sure I can handle that right now.

This morning I woke up feeling the need to go on a hike and be one with nature. I’ve been seriously slacking on my exercise lately. While I’ve been outside plenty, I haven’t been treating my body well. Close to the beach there is a beautiful trail that takes you to the top of a cliff. People often go on first dates there because it has a remarkable view. Nothing quite beats living right next to the ocean and being able to look at it every day. It’s a two-mile trail with easy inclines and a clear path. Not difficult for most people which is why it’s a hit with locals and tourists alike.

I put my headphones in my ears and turn on some high tempo music. My feet carefully navigate the woodchipped path while I try to plan what I’m going to do with the rest of the day. I might try to see Soobin before the party tomorrow, so we have a chance to talk. Most of time will be spent with my family, likely making arrangements for my uncle’s funeral service.

A notification from another match on that dating app I use reminds me that I never answered Jungkook last night. I should unmatch him and move on. Forgetting this ever happened is probably in the best interest of both of us, but I want to know what he said. After I look, I’ll unmatch him.

BisexualYeehaw69: Oh…I guess that is understandable. You really should have said something to me about it. I don’t even like him…I was drunk, and he was there when you stood me up. I don’t think this is going to work out. I don’t think I should be trying to do this right now. I’m going to ruin my life again.

I don’t reply to his message knowing that it is in my best interest to unmatch him and forget we ever had these conversations. I shove my phone in my pocket, but I can’t shake Jungkook from my mind. My cheeks heat up as I think of how close I was to actually kissing him last night. I really wanted to, but I know I can’t. We need to be sober consenting adults. I want our first kiss to not be a mistake. Jungkook is really confusing. He is so soft and sweet with me when he’s intoxicated and unnecessarily rude when he’s not. It’s only unbearable occasionally. More than half the time he just doesn’t really acknowledge I exist, and that is surely better than when he’s rude. I don’t think he hates me.

My focus shifts to the tall trees and lavish flowers around the trail. Nature will help you right now. I slow my pace wanting to take in every detail and not rush. It takes me quite awhile to reach the summit, but since it’s only ten in the morning there is only one other person here. They are walking their Pomeranian; it looks like the one Taehyung’s parents have.

I settle myself a few feet from the edge of the cliff sipping my water. The ocean is a calm and clear reflecting the sun in a way that reminds me of a post card. I fish my phone out of my pocket to take a photo for my snap story. I take a video and a selfie because I look great despite the amount of alcohol, I consumed last night. Maybe, I should dye my hair again since it’s fading. It’s hard to decide if I want to go pink again or try something new. Blonde sounds like a good idea. I really like that and got a lot of compliments.

For awhile I sit there looking at the view. Hoseok swipes up on my story saying thanks for the invite with an angry emoji. He’s supposed to be teaching a youth dance class right now. I would have invited one of the boys if they weren’t busy or still sleeping when I left this morning. A few of my friends from school swipe up to tell me I look cute. They really boost my confidence. I miss my college friends so much. I’m glad I have hometown friends so I’m not lonely when I’m here.

Two hours later I am home sitting at the kitchen table talking about my uncle’s funeral. They are planning to have the service in two weeks. That gives enough for all our family members and friends to travel. I’m not sure why they are making me come along to all of this, but the last thing I am going to do right now is complain. My family needs a cooperative supportive son who will agree with their ideas and tell them if something might be distasteful.

Though my uncle wasn’t very old he’s had a will written and updated yearly. He’s accumulated a lot of wealth in his years through the many jobs he’s had. Once he got bored of a particular field of work or reached the top, he’d move on to something else. He needed to be challenged. The last time he let me have a glance at his will, most of the family was included. A vacation home in France for my parents. He left me a small house in town along with other various things he’s collected over the years. For the longest time he’s wanted me to inherent his recording studio, but my parents said if he did that, he wouldn’t be allowed to see me anymore.

At three his lawyer arrives at our house. We invite him into our living to see what had actually been left for us. He asks to talk to each of us separately per my uncle’s instructions. I’m the last one they speak to and my mother almost refuses to leave the room. The lawyer calmly reminds her that I am an adult who does not need a parent present.

“Namjoon Kim has been left a Three-bedroom Two-bathroom house on Roseland street, a two bedroom two bathroom condo in the upper east side of New York City, a Beaumont City Bike…” The lawyer list a few more material objects such as signed posters and the furniture already in the house then he says something more surprising, “and lastly to Namjoon Kim he leaves 50% ownership in Kim Jung Records and $20,000. He has noted that ownership of this company will take place only after you have graduated school. He specifically asked to deal with his closest family members inheritances first. You will be able to move into the house in a few weeks if you wish, but the New York estate may take a bit longer to settle. The items I listed will be sent to you at the Roseland street address unless requested otherwise. The money may take as long as three months but judging by the complexity of his will and testament it may take longer. I estimate around five months. He has left you a letter explaining why he chose to leave you each item. You can call me with any questions or concerns you have.”

He hands me a paper and I promptly leave the room to find out why the fuck my uncle has left me ownership of his record company. I flop on to my bed and open the neatly folded paper. The letter is dated January 10th, right around when he revises it each year.

My favorite Nephew (Don’t tell the others),

If you are reading this, it must mean I have passed away. I hope it was in a spectacular way but knowing me it was probably a mundane cold that got out of hand. Anyways, I’m writing this letter to explain why I have left each item to you. I hope you don’t feel like you’ve gotten the short end of the stick in any way. Out of all my nieces and nephew’s I left you the most because you have the most potential to be magnificent.

I left you the house so you will always have your own place to come to in your hometown. I owned a lot of properties in my time and instead of selling them I’d like my family to continue to enjoy them. The Upper Eastside Condo is for when you decide to take over the record company and for when you can’t stand to be on the same side of the country as your parents. I’ve left them fully furnished but I’m sure you’ll sell the furniture and buy some that is more your taste. I’m fine with that don’t feel bad about selling the furniture it held no real value to me.

The posters, decorations and bike are just things I really thought you’d like to have. When you do as many things as I have you pick up some cool things along the way. I feel like you will appreciate and cherish them more than anyone else in my life. The bike was something I used to ride near the ocean in my younger days. I know you love doing the same.

Use the money wisely. I’d like it if you invested into yourself and made an album. I’ve been trying to convince your parents for years that music didn’t make you gay. I know deep in my soul that you are a very talented individual and you are not tapping into that. Don’t listen to what your parents say. Finish your degree to make them happy, but then I want you to go to my, yours now, studio and work with my friends to write and produce the album of your dreams. I believe in you Joon. You are so special and talented. Don’t let any one take that away from you. I’m proud of the person you are and please don’t forget me. Marry the man of your dreams and have a family. Tour the world and live you dream. I love you Joon.

Tears are streaming down my face like a waterfall as I read and reread the letter in my hands. I can’t believe he’s been so generous to me. This has me wondering what he left his own children. That doesn’t matter to me though. All that matters is what he’s given me. The material items and money are nice, but the sense of confidence and strength is priceless. This man gave me HALF of his most successful company. If he hadn’t asked me to finish my degree, I would drop out right now and fly to New York.

I miss him so much and I’m am so unbelievably grateful for the opportunity he has given me. There is nothing I want more in life than to do music. Spending my life inside the walls of a studio sounds like the peak life experience. He thinks I could tour the world and while I don’t know if I’m that good, I’m happy to know he thinks I am. My uncle has worked with huge names that have sold out the biggest stadiums in the world. I wish I could thank him and that thought makes me cry harder. I’ll thank him by living out the life I’ve always wanted. I will become a successful musician and producer.

Its nearly six by the time I leave my room for dinner. My mother has been knocking on my door for hours trying to find out what he left me. She’s so nosy it’s irritating. How I’ve dealt with this for this many years is beyond me. Now I have two houses where I can get away from her if I need to. She doesn’t like seeing me emotional. That is probably why she didn’t push as hard as she normally would have.

Before I sit down at the dinner table I text my friends telling them that I’ve had the craziest day and we need to meet up after dinner. I have to turn my phone on silent to avoid being scolded by my family. During dinner my mother insists I tell her what my uncle has left for me. I tell her the truth leaving out how I will own 50% or Kim Jung Records as soon as I receive my bachelor’s degree. My sister and I are the only ones who are forced to share.

Once we are finished, I help my mother wash up before my aunt pulls me aside. She takes me to the front porch and stands in front of me. It’s been barely a day and she looks so worn already. I hope our healing is quick, but I know that is too much to ask.

“Namjoon, hold out your hands.” She says with a hint of a smile creeping onto her face.

I don’t say a word as I stretch my hands forward. She places a set of keys in my hand tenderly and I pull back to study them. As I’m about to ask what they are for she answers my thoughts.

“It’s for the house. I know they said you could move in a few weeks later, but no one is going to fight about that house. I have a feeling you’d like a private place.”

“Thank you, Aunty. If I tell you something will you promise not to tell my mom?” I say softly just in case my nosy mother has her ear pressed to the door.

“I know what he left you and your secret is safe with me.” She matches my tone then pulls me in for a quick hug. “Live your best life for all of us. Go see your friends and the house while I distract your parents.”

“Okay, thank you, Aunty.”

The boys have replied to my text message with multiple locations we should meet up at, but I decide to send them to my new house. I walk the three block to my new house unlock the door and explore. There is a huge living room and kitchen on the bottom floor along with a bathroom and a small bedroom. Upstairs there is another bathroom and two large bedrooms with walk in closets. I like the furniture the house is decorated with, it’s quite modern compared to the outside. I will probably change the small bedroom downstairs into an office eventually, but for now it can stay. Now we have two houses to hang out at without parental interference. Jin’s house has more beds but with the two sofas in the living room there is just as many spots for us to sleep.

My phone alerts me that I have a new text message and I see a message in the group chat.

Seokjinnie: Why are we at this random house? Where are you? Please help us.

I quickly walk to the front door and let my friends inside. They look around for a moment before settling into the living room. Even Jungkook has shown up and I’m not exactly sure why. I’m not mad about it. He must have been hanging out with one of the boys already. I sit on an armchair and begin telling them all the shit that happened to me today.

“He gave you half the company?” Hoseok question with a bewildered and slightly jealous look on his face.

The company is Kim Jung Records. Kim for my uncle and Jung for Hobi’s uncle. Our uncle’s attended school together when they were young. They’ve been best friends for as long as they can remember. After college they decided music was the first route they wanted to pursue. Hoseok’s uncle has taken care of the company more over the years because my uncle loved to do new things. I hadn’t really thought about that. I’ll be working with his uncle when I graduate.

“I was more surprised than anyone. My parents threatened to never speak to him again if he did that. We are keeping it a secret until I graduate.” My eyes scan the room as I speak looking at the reactions my friends are having.

Jungkook looks mad and I know it’s because he wishes he was in my shoes. He knows so much more than I do about this business. I’m not a music major I’m a freaking politic science history major. I might have to ask him for tips sometime when he isn’t acting like he hates me.

“And we have a place to stay when we want to mob New York.” Jin says eyes shining with excitement.

“After I graduate this spring, we’ll have a boy’s week in the Big Apple.”

I can see plans forming in their heads already. Where will be in a years’ time? Will I be in a relationship? Will the rest of them? I wonder if I will be happier than I am in this moment. Happier than I’ve been about life in general for the last year. We haven’t had a trip as far as New York together before and that’s a little worrying. These are my best friends and I doubt any of their travel habits will annoy me enough to make me not want them at my upper east side apartment. That is so fucking crazy. I have a rich person apartment.

We hang out for a few hours before they leave, and I curl up with a book on the living room couch. I should go back to my parent’s house, but I don’t want to leave this charming house right now. I find beer in the fridge and crack on open to take the edge of this crazy day off. I’m reading a book about the fundamentals of music. He’s left quite a collection of records and books for me and the huge nerd in me has an intellectual boner. Once I finish my beer I decide to sleep here. I have everything I need. Tomorrow I’ll have to go home to change clothes for work but right now I snuggle into the sheets that smell as if they might have been washed yesterday.

My alarm blares at 7:30 in the morning telling me I need to get up if I want to make it to work on time. It takes a few moments, but I get up and walk home to change my clothes. Then I’m off to work for the morning and early afternoon shift so I can fully prepare for Soobin’s welcome home party. Jungkook is working the same shift with me and I’m interested to see how he will treat me. We’ve never worked a shift together this early in the morning so there is bound to be some friction.

Jungkook has already opened the store when I arrive five minutes before my shift starts. He looks up and doesn’t give me a dirty look for the first sober time I can remember. It isn’t a smile but it’s not a look of disgust. It’s sad how I think of that as progress. I put my apron over my head and walk behind the counter checking to make sure we have everything we need for the next few hours. Who the fuck is going to come down here at 8 in the morning for a smoothie? Psychopaths that’s who.

“Did you put a pride pin on your apron to ward off the hets?” He asks after a few minutes of silence had passed.

I look down at the cheap rainbow pin with the word GAY in the middle that I bought off a vendor a few days ago. I’m surprised he noticed because he rarely seems to look at or listen to me. He is the one who suggested I do it and since I’m so unexplainably whipped for him of course I did it.

“I was tired of the wrong people flirting with me, like it’s flattering but ultimately a waste of my time.”

“I want to say that’s relatable but really when people hear I’m bisexual they think I want to put my dick everywhere.” He laughs wiping the counter down. “So, I guess most people waste my time.”

“That’s like double frustrating. Haven’t even found someone at art school yet?” I ask knowing he’s probably going to take his phone out and start ignoring me at any second.

He takes a drink from his metal water then sets it down under the counter. I think his mother must have asked him this because he looks a little irritated.

“The people that go to my school only care about themselves. I understand why. We are all each other’s competition in this world where people do anything to get noticed. A lot of them have training since they could walk and talk and don’t really know how to socialize that well because of it. I had a group of friends that weren’t as bad, but I had to leave because they weren’t being good influences.” He stares into the distance and I think he might say more but he pulls his phone from his pocket.

I decide not to say anything since he obviously is distracted. Jungkook has always done competitions since he figured out how deep his love for music ran. He didn’t end up like the rest of those kids because his parents truly love him and not just his talent. From what I know, he had a very normal childhood other than the competitions. He had three best friends in school, and he’s made closer friends with my two best friends. It makes sense that we ended up friends. The seven of us are the only openly queer young adults in town. Okay maybe not the only. The only male identifying queers.

“Namjoonie!” I hear and look up to find the sweet round face of Jimin Park. Its around ten in the morning now and I still have three and a half hours left. “I want a mango peach smoothie with whip cream for me and a strawberry banana without whip cream for Yoongi.”

“Are you two fucking yet?” Jungkook asks as he begins making Jimin’s smoothie. Jimin inserts his card into the chip reader and gives him a dirty look.

“Why are you so crude? It’s not really like that right now.” I hand him his receipt while he tries to stare Kook to death.

“I know something is going on. When we were in Jin’s studio the other day you two were all cozy.”

“We went for a walk on the beach last night and at the end of the walk he had a picnic waiting for us with candles and lots of cute shit. Then, he asked me to be his boyfriend and I’m so soft.” Jimin is excited and talking at the speed of light.

“Wow wish someone would do that for me, but maybe like that cliff we used to drink at during high school. It’s super pretty up there.”

I’d do that for you if you stopped hating me. Hell, I’ll bring drunk Kook up there because he likes me. Drunk Kook wants to kiss me and all kinds of nasty things. I can’t do that. Sometimes I wonder how possessive and insane I sound. He likes me when he’s not sober which leads me to believe he doesn’t actually hate me. There must be something I can do to make him realize the reason he hates me is bullshit.

“You have to talk to people other than you friends for that to happy, baby boy.”

“Jimin, how many times I have asked you not to call me that?” Jungkook asks as he sets down both of his drink in front of him. “There will be a ten dollar fee for being a jerk.”

He puts five dollars in the tip jar and tells us he will see us at Jin’s later. Apparently, we are pregaming at Jin’s even though I’m sure there will plenty at Soobin’s new place. It’s been quite awhile since I hung out with him. We were both so young when his accident happened. I’m a little afraid that he might not be the same person I remember. The conversations we’ve had over the years usually aren’t very substantial.

“Did you see Soobin yesterday?” I ask while we are cleaning the shop and putting chairs up.

Our boss is letting us close early since no one else was available to take the next shift.

“I had lunch with him at that Hawaiian place he loves so much.” He flips a chair onto the table and glances my way. “He’s using a walker still most of the time, but he can walk a few feet at a time unassisted. Things are going really well. Soobin said he should be using just a cane by next month if he keeps his strict physical therapy schedule.

“Wow, that’s amazing! I can’t wait to see him in person. It’s been a long time.”

I’m surprised he doesn’t make a snarky comment about how I caused it to happen in the first place. Of course, I didn’t cause it, but I was there when it happened. Jungkook hasn’t let it go even though Soobin has said many times that it wasn’t my fault. He might have found more things to be angry at me for who knows at this point.

We walk out of the shop together and go our separate ways. He’s going to ride the Ferris Wheel like he does every day and I’m going to take a shower and read before I go get smashed with my best friends. This is going to be a wild night and I just hope there is no repercussions in the morning.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

After I take a shower, I lock myself in my room to read until Seokjin starts calling me. It’s a music theory book that I’m sure my mother wouldn’t approve of. Every spare moment of my life from now is going to be spent learning all I can about music. Soon I will own half of a record company and I need to know what I’m doing.

Jin doesn’t start calling me until nearly six and when I pick up the phone all he says is ‘Dinner is ready’ before he hangs up. I set my book down on my nightstand and stretch my muscles. My feet touch the soft carpet of my bedroom floor as I gather what I might need tonight. I turn off the light and lock the door so my mother can’t snoop. I tell my family I’m leaving and walk out before they can question me.

I jog over to Jin’s house and walk in without knocking. They aren’t in the living room or kitchen, so I try the back patio. Everyone is here eating burgers and drinking beer. How American. I grab a plate filling it with chips and a burger. I sit next to Jin and everyone greets me, except Jungkook, but that’s expected.

“How are you doing today, Joon?” Jimin asks before shoving an oversized chip into his mouth.

“I’m alright. Still processing a lot of stuff, but I’ll be okay.” I dig into my meal after I say that.

There is music playing from the speakers inside and we are chilling. It’s nice to have the kind of friends you can talk to for hours and not get bored of. It’s nearly ten when Jin starts telling us a story about someone he had to kick out of the venue today.

“So, this lady was obviously a drug addict and she would not listen to us when we said…”

Jungkook gets up without a word and runs inside. I don’t think he’s drunk enough to be nice to me right now, so I stay put. We should be leaving for Soobin’s soon anyway. I’m still worried about him even though he probably just had to pee. Why am I like this? I deserve to be treated better than how he treats me. But for some reason I’m so hopelessly in love with his stupid brown eyes and cute bunny teeth smile.

“Joon?” Hoseok says snapping his fingers in front of my face. “Are you good? We’re going to Soobin’s now.”

I look around to see that Jungkook still hasn’t returned and mental shrug as I follow the rest of the boys through the house. Jin grabs a bottle of rum from his liquor cabinet and then we are walking five blocks to Soobin’s new house.

“Where’s Jungkook?” Taehyung asks when we are already halfway there.

He must have just noticed that he has been with us for the last twenty minutes. I’ve been being to observant when in comes to him. I need to chill. Tonight, I need to have fun with my friend I haven’t seen in a long time. Not thinking about Jungkook for one night might be the healthiest thing I could do for myself.

“That’s a good question. I’ll text him.” Jimin says letting go of Yoongi’s hand to pull his phone out of his pocket.

“You say that like Kookie ever responds to our messages.” Jin says from the front of our pack. He’s holding the bottle of rum against his chest similar to how one might hold an infant.

Jungkook doesn’t answer Jimin in the time it takes to get to Soobin’s place. He’s living in a blue two-story house with a nice sized fenced in backyard that has a pool. There is already music blaring through speakers despite it not even being ten yet. There are quite a few cars on the road and already people making out on the hoods of cars. I thought we left that in high school but apparently not…

The door is open, so we step inside and I scan the room for any sign of the host. I spot him sitting in a recliner talking to Jungkook and a girl I don’t know. We walk towards them and when I see Soobin stand it almost brings me to tears. He takes a step towards me and wraps his arms around me.

“Don’t go soft on me, Joon.” He whispers in my ear then pats my back and steps away to sit back down.

The boys say a brief hello to him before taking off into the backyard. I don’t know what they are planning to do but hopefully no one will call the police on them. Sometimes I comprehend how they haven’t ended up in prison. One time, Yoongi almost got arrested for jumping off the pier during business hours. He ran away before the security could show up.

Jungkook leaves Soobin’s side soon after I arrive muttering something about finding the rest of the boys. I catch up with my old friend for a little while before we walk into the kitchen to get a drink. He’s using his walker because he’s going to get intoxicated and he doesn’t want anyone pitying him if he falls down. He even joked about being ‘the crippled guy’ something he never would have done the last time I was really talking to him. I’m astounded by the progress he’s made and I’m so glad to have my friend back.

“Have you been seeing anyone?” I ask suddenly after seeing two people making out against the flowery wallpaper in the hall.

“You sound like my mom.” He laughs taking a sip of his vodka soda before continuing. “Lately I’ve been thinking about dating again. For the last few years I’ve mostly just thought about being able to walk again. Now that I have that girls are my next goal.”

He smiles wide showing off his dimples that honestly resemble craters. He nods his head towards the back door, and I follow him into the backyard. There is a massive amount of people shoved into this backyard pool area and I wonder how many of these people know him personally.

“I told everyone to invite all their friends, so I’d feel special.” He says leaning towards me so I can hear him over the music.

I take a gulp of my drink and follow him towards the circle where my best friends are sitting. We sit on the grass and Soobin angles his legs, so I have to sit next to Jungkook. It’s okay Jungkook should be drunk enough to like me at this point. I was supposed to be forgetting about him. Sitting here next to him waiting for him to snuggle my shoulder is not how I should spend my night.

“I’m going to go dance inside.” I say downing the rest of my drink and throwing it in the nearby trash bag. Soobin’s smart he’s strategically placed garbage bags around his back yard so you are never more than a few feet from one. The boys laugh because they think I’m a bad dancer, but they are wrong.

Twenty minutes later I’ve eaten three jello shots and have another cup of a mysterious liquor, I think it’s rum but I’m too lit to care. A moment ago I was dancing with a handsome man, but I’m not sure where he went.

“Namjoon?” A voice calls and I turn around to see a guy I had biology with sophomore year. “Let’s play pong!”

He drags me over to the beer pong table and we win four games before I notice my friends have gathered around. It’s because I’m fucking amazing. The best the beer pong king. My nerd college doesn’t have parties like this often, or I’m not invited to them. I’m probably just not invited let’s be real. Everyone thinks I’d rather be home reading, which isn’t false, but sometimes a man needs to get so drunk he doesn’t know if he has a face anymore.

“I’m a little tired of this.” I say and sit down on the sofa behind the table.

I take a drink of whatever is in my cup and that’s when I see someone pull out a bag of white powder. After thoroughly wiping down the beer pong table they start cutting up whatever is in the bag. Obviously, I think its cocaine but why the fuck are they doing it in the living room?

My eyes wander around the room as I shrug my shoulders. I mean if they want to that it’s on them. Jungkook looks uneasy intently staring at what they are doing before he bolts up stairs like he’s seen a bobcat. It takes me a moment to process what my brain is seeing. He’s probably just going to pee or puke or something. I’m sure he’s fine. You aren’t supposed to be worrying about him.

When he doesn’t come back down after ten minutes my brain doesn’t work with my heart and I jet up the stairs. I start opening doors in search of this beautiful boy. I see Jimin, thankfully fully clothed, on top of Yoongi by accident. I apologize profusely before I move on to the last room. The door is ajar, and I listen for a minute before I enter.

“They just had it out of the table like fucking heathens. Like do it in the bathroom like normal people. I froze and every cell in my fucking body wanted me to take the straw out of his hand and snort all his coke.” His voice is rough like he might have been crying.

My clumsy body pushes the open letting more light into the room and he looks up at me with sad eyes that have clearly been crying.

“Hey, I’m safe. Someone showed up that won’t let me hurt myself. I’ll call you tomorrow. Stay safe. Bye.” I step inside the room closing the door behind me. I don’t turn on the light feeling like it’s not the right thing to do. I can hear Green Day playing from downstairs and I wonder who has control of the aux. “How much did you hear?”

“Just the part about how you wanted to snort all their cocaine with every cell in your body part.” I say not being able to comprehend what I’ve just heard.

I think I know Jungkook, but this situation has showed me that I don’t. He obviously has some problem or dependency issue with cocaine. In a million years I wouldn’t have pegged him to be that kind of person, but in a way, it makes sense. He ran away earlier when Jin started talking poorly about a drug addict, he called himself a coked-up Barbie doll the other day and he has literally admitted to us that he did coke at least once.

He takes the drink from my hand and finishes it throwing the cup on the floor before he rests his head back against the pillow.

“Come sit with me.” He says patting the bed beside him.

I do what he asks without question and he grabs my hand. For a moment he just stares at my long fingers running his fingertips along the length of my fingers. I can make out his face in the pale moonlight shining through the window. His eyebrows are knitted together deep in thought like he might be debating himself.

“If you want an explanation, I can understand that, but I haven’t told anyone that doesn’t live in Boston about this. You can’t tell anyone what I’m going to tell you or…I’ll cut off your toes.” He links our pinkies together as he talks then brings our thumbs together.

“Your secret’s safe with me, Koo.”

He continues to hold my hand while he thinks of how to tell me whatever this is. This can’t be something good, but I don’t think there is anything he could tell me that would make me want to run. Every cell in me wants to help him no matter how damaging that might be for me.

“The first time was at that club after my first recital, but it was far from the last time. Over the last two years I’ve done a lot of stupid things that I’m not proud of. Coke is my Achilles’ Heel, but I’ve dabbled in weed, shrooms, acid, molly, xan like the works. The coke was to help me stay awake to finish things and the rest was to ‘open my mind.’ Yeah I know I’m stupid.” He crooks his fingers into air quotes when he says open my mind.

“You aren’t stupid.” I say squeezing his hand between both of mine.

I’m shocked that he has tried all of those drugs and probably more, but it doesn’t make me think any less of him. There is so much of his life that I don’t know about. Sure, I think his life is perfect because he has a supporting family and goes to the school of his dreams, but just because I think he’s happy doesn’t mean he is. He might have started doing it for one reason and continued using for a completely different reason. My uncle has told me stories of friend’s he lost because of their drug habits. He saw people fall from fame because they couldn’t stop no matter how much they wanted to.

“Thank you, but I know it was dumb. I was so reliant on these drugs that I’m surprised that I kept contact with the boys. I don’t know who I was at school because I truly don’t think he was anything like the person all of you know. When I came home for the summer I would stop until I couldn’t anymore, and then I’d make up excuses so I could leave. I lied to my parents who give me everything in the world and do nothing but support me. I didn’t want to that stuff around my best friends or my family, so I went back to Boston and lived on my friend’s couch until school started.”

He slides down the bed, so he is lying across my lap and in my drunken stupor my dick twitches even with the intensity of our conversation. I slide down the bed resting my head against the pillows and let him lie on my chest instead. He rests a hand on my heart as he begins speaking again.

“I don’t know how I passed my classes, because all I was thinking about was getting high and escaping.” He takes a shaky breath like this next part might be harder than the rest. I hold him tight trying to give him the strength to finish his story.

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, Kook. You’ve said plenty.” He looks up at me while I say this and as our eyes meet, I just want to kiss him so bad. This couldn’t be a worse time for me to be having this urge. He is telling me his deepest secret. I should be thinking about that and not how juicy and plump his lips would look wrapped around my—

“No, you need to know why I stopped. Three months ago my best friend died and I’m the one who found him. I’d been gone all night at some guys place and when I came to his house like I do every morning the door was locked. After knocking for ten minutes and calling him at least twenty times, I climbed through the window of his living room. He was in his bedroom lying on the carpet surrounded by vomit. After doing what I had to, I called the police and they dealt with his body.” He pauses and I can feel tears soaking the fabric of my shirt.

I rub his back not saying a word and letting him process how to say this to me at his own pace. At this point I’m not sure I should be listening to his secrets when we are both so very intoxicated. Drunk Jungkook trusts me too much. I did overhear him talking to someone about this which is probably the only reason he feels like he should confess.

“His family came to me asking questions that I couldn’t answer. They wanted to know how this happened. They kept saying Jackson was such a good boy how could he do this? He was a good person who made bad decisions. No one wakes up one day and says ‘oh, I want to be a drug addict.’ No one wants to overdose and make their family cry. Seeing the devastation in the eyes of his family made me realize that I had to stop. It was three days after he died that I stopped completely. For a month I was completely clean then I was invited to a party and had some alcohol and decided it was okay as long as I didn’t do the rest. I’ve been clean just over three months.”

“What did you mean when you said ‘did what I had to?’ You don’t have to tell me but I’m curious.”

I’m taken aback when he laughs pulling away slightly. He looks into my eyes for a moment then looks away his fluffy hair is shining in the moonlight.

“I had to get rid of all the illegal things in his apartment.” He rests his head on my chest again holding onto one of my hands. “Can we not talk about my drug problems anymore?”

“We can talk about anything you want, Kookie.”

Without thinking I lean down and touch my lips to his forehead. He scoots backwards so he can look me in the eyes. I move my arm from underneath him to wipe the tears from his face. There is a special kind of hurt in my heart watching him cry.

“Let’s talk about why you’ll kiss my forehead but refuse to kiss my lips.” His face is taken over by an evil grin as he speaks.

“I’m sure I’ve told you this already.” I sigh cupping his face in my hands so that he can’t try anything stupid. “Once completely sober Jungkook asks me to kiss him I will gladly do so, but until then it’s morally wrong because I’m his enemy for some reason.”

“He’s stupid and you a really cute.” He draws out the word really in a way that makes him sound as intoxicated as he probably is.

“Did you just call yourself stupid?” I laugh letting go of his face and staring into his pretty brown eyes.

“I was referring to less intoxicated, Jungkook.” He says like they might be entirely different people. At this point, that wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Sober Kook will barely talk to me and drunk Kook is telling me his deepest secrets. His brain is really something else.

“We should go back downstairs before someone notices we are gone.” I say stroking his fluffy hair away from his eyes. His soft skin is red and warm from the alcohol he’s consumed.

“Can we stay like this just a minute longer?” He mutters not meeting my eyes.

I don’t answer him continuing to stroke his hair while we can hear Troye Sivan’s Bloom blaring downstairs. He sings the lyrics softly occasionally looking at me but shying away when I look back at him. His voice is beautiful, and I wish I could listen to this on loop for hours, like my own private concert.

“I’m going to go to the bathroom I’ll meet you in the backyard.” He says a few minutes later. Before he can slip away, I pull him close and kiss his forehead again. The sound he makes sounds happy but I’m not quite sure at this point. He doesn’t say another word and leaves the room.

I stand up and almost fall over which makes me laugh at myself. After taking a few moments to steady myself I walk out of the bedroom and back downstairs to join the party. I feel like I’m entering another world. People are still doing drugs in the middle of the living room, so I pull Soobin outside.

“I’m not trying to be a downer but I’m really uncomfortable with people doing drugs out in the open. I think the rest of the boys would agree too. Do you think you could ask them to do that somewhere else? Like in a room or something.”

“I didn’t know you were sensitive to that kind of stuff. I’m so sorry. It is a little out of hand. I’ll go tell them. Jin and Hobi are over there.” He points to the corner of the yard we were sitting at earlier. “I think Taehyung is dancing with one of my cousins. I’ll be right back.”

“Okay, see you in a minute.” I turn around and walk back to Jin and Hobi.

“Where have you been?” Jin asks as soon as I sit down. “Did you see Kook?”

“Hello, to you to Seokjin Kim. I was talking to Jungkook.” I say and I’m impressed by my ability to keep my face straight.

“Your cheeks just turned more red. What did you do?” Hoseok asks looking like he might fight me if I did something to Jungkook even though he was my friend first.

“Wouldn’t you rather hear that I saw Jimin on top of Yoongi? He was fully clothed but—” I’m cut off rather rudely with a hand stuck out trying to silence me.

“No. Why were you talking to him?” Jin says using his authoritative big brother talk on me.

“Am I not allowed to talk to him? He needed a friend and I was there for him. We cuddled for a minute it was wholesome. Nothing happened.” I say not being able to hold back words when I’m this under the influence. “I know there is boundaries I can’t cross like this. I’m rarely the one who initiations things.”

“Okay, just please be careful, Joon. He’s been through a lot in the last few months.”

They have no idea the shit he has been through in the two years let alone the last few months. I find myself wondering why he is hiding this from them. These boys have been his friends for a long time and for the most part they share everything. He must be concerned they will think of him differently or not treat him the same way. I don’t think they will do that, but they might be more cautious about the things they say around him.

“Hey, Kook.” Hobi says and I turn to see Jungkook walking carefully towards us.

He sits fairly close to me and I wish all of him liked me so we could be like Yoon and Jimin right now. They are so cute, and part of my heart is so jealous that I don’t have that right now. That must be a normal feeling most single people have when their friends are being overly cute, right? Am I crazy? Likely.

“Hobi, has anyone ever told you that you have a cute nose? Because it’s so cute.” Jungkook leans across our little circle to boop him on the nose as he speaks.

“Wow, a bitch is drunk drunk.” Jin says holding a hand to his face like he’s whispering.

“What was that Jin? Wanna fight?” Jin recoils scampering away from Jungkook.

It’s well known that Jungkook is very strong and could probably beat all of us up. He likes to pick on Jin specifically. It’s all with good heart most of the time. Boys just playing around with each other.

“Why are you so friendly to your mortal enemy when you are drunk?” Jin asks folding his hands together with a serious look on his face.

“He’s nice and handsome.” Jungkook responds enthusiastically jumping back to thread his arm through mine.

“He’s like that all time. Why do you only like him when you’re drunk?” Hoseok asks and I know that they only have the balls to do this because we are all drunk. There is a fair chance that at least one of us won’t remember this conversation in the morning and I don’t think it will be me.

“Sober Kook is a dummy and believes things that probably aren’t true. He’ll get over that eventually.”

My eyes widen and I pull away from him staring as I try to process if he really said that. This has to be the first time he’s admitted that what he thinks is probably wrong. He’ll get over it eventually. That means I do have a chance. I’m not that stupid or that crazy. Eventually.

He pouts until I take his hand again and I can see our friends judging us. They have every right to considering the circumstances, but life is too short not to enjoy the ride in all it’s messy glory.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

I wake up in one of Jin’s rooms and I’m not really sure how I’ve gotten there. My memory is pretty fuzzy after we sat on the lawn the second time. There is no one in the bed with me and I seem to be fully clothed so I couldn’t have done anything too damaging to my reputation. I throw the blanket back and stretch my muscles. The pounding in my head is anything but comfortable. Why do I do this to myself? Numb the pain of my stupid infatuation.

There is a bottle of water and a bottle of ibuprofen on the bedside table. I take two with some water before venturing to the bathroom to pee and wash my face. I look like I’ve died or maybe just not slept for three days. Honestly, disgusting. I venture into the kitchen and find Jin already making us breakfast. How does he wake up so early after a night of heavy drinking? A fucking legend.

“Good morning.” I say sitting at the counter leaning on my elbows.

“Morning, Joonie. Did you have fun last night?” He asks and there is a weird tone to his voice that I can’t put my finger on.

“I mean, I guess I did. It was great seeing Soobin so happy and thriving. I might have overdone it a little bit. My brain was being dramatic again.” I squish my cheeks as I talk wondering why my face still feels so warm.

Jin will know what I mean when I say my brain was being dramatic. I talk to him a lot and he’s really wise even though he likes to act like a child. He understands that I can make any situation seem worse than it is, and I will do anything to stop thinking about it. Okay I say anything, but I strictly mean legal things. Usually, I lock myself in my room and write songs or read. If it’s particularly hard to stop thinking about I’ll turn to alcohol, but I don’t think that is a good solution. I try not to that, but most of the time my emotional management is subpar. It’s not on the top of list of things I need to work on, but it really should be.

“What’s wrong, Joon?” Jin asks as he flips the egg in the pan glancing at me with concerned eyes.

I think for a moment about whether I should tell him what is eating my mind away. He knows how I feel about Jungkook to some extent, but he doesn’t know how deep stupid deeply misguided feelings for him run. I’d do anything for Jungkook, and I know that he wouldn’t think twice about pushing me off a cliff if it saved his life. Again, my dramatic brain. I don’t think he’s a bad person. He just doesn’t care about me. He might lecture me again about how I need to move on.

“You are just going to tell me the same thing you say anytime I talk about this. I need to move on and find a new boy.”

He freezes like he didn’t expect me to be talking about that. I can understand why he’d think I would be talking about something other than boys considering my favorite uncle just died. I’m such a selfish piece of shit. My uncle is gone and I’m worrying more about a boy that only pays attention me when he’s drunk. I need to take a break from hanging out with any of these boys and avoid Jungkook. That’s particularly hard considering our boss always schedules us together. Maybe if I don’t talk to him, I won’t think about him. Unlikely.

“I don’t think he hates you.” Jin saying he must mean Jungkook is somewhere in the house. “But I can tell he is going through more things then he has told us about, and you are also vulnerable right now.”

He turns the stove off turning to the cabinets to get plates. Jin puts an egg and sausage on a plate and then hands it to me. His face is thoughtful like he might have more to say to me and I just hope it’s nice. I don’t think I can take a lecture right now. I’m a little surprised by how perceptive he is about what Kook is going through. He obviously doesn’t know what’s going on, but he knows something is off. Really, he just got back the Jungkook he hasn’t had for three years.

“Thank you.” I say as I start eating the food he’s prepared.

“You’re welcome. I know being around us helps when you are going through something but being around him so much isn’t helping you. I’m not your mom, I can’t tell you what to do, but if I was in your situation, I would distance myself from him until I didn’t feel the same way. Try to find someone else to be with or focus on yourself.”

It is too early in the morning for this conversation. He’s telling me what I don’t want to hear, but he’s right. Distancing myself for a little while is the best option. This is unhealthy and all I am doing is damaging my self-confidence. Part of my brain has been tying my worth to the fact that he doesn’t like me when he’s sober. I’m better than this. Jin almost looks upset as he speaks but even I ask I doubt he will tell me.

“I think I will try to my best to distance myself from him but that’s pretty hard considering we work together. You’re right.” He takes a bite of egg and he still has an expression of worry or sadness. “Are you okay?”

“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Your problems are much bigger.” Jin deflects the question easily just like I thought he would.

He seems to do this every time we talk about Jungkook. It must upset him that his friends are in a hard place. I’m not trying to help myself and that is probably frustrating as hell for him. He just wants me to be happy and I know he will help me in any way he can. For awhile he tried to get Jungkook to tell him exactly why he hates me, but it seems he doesn’t even know himself. He has never given any of legitimate solid answers other than that he thinks I’m the reason Soobin was paralyzed. Which, for the record, isn’t true at all. I could have called an ambulance a little sooner, but I thought everything would be okay. It was nighttime and I didn’t want to get in trouble. The paramedics and several doctors he saw after the fact said it wouldn’t have made a difference if I’d called earlier.

“You can tell me anything, Seokjinnie. You know that right?” I say making sure he looks into my eyes. “Just because bad things are happening to me doesn’t mean your problems are any less important.”

“I know I can talk to you.” He says and his refusal to verbalize his issues to me makes me want to roll my eyes. Stubborn ass.

Hoseok and Taehyung join us a few minutes later. Taehyung begins recounting how wild his night was. He hooked up with one of Soobin’s cousins, which I don’t really approve of considering how intoxicated he must have been. Taehyung and Soobin’s cousin exchanged snapchats and Tae woke up to a snap from him. He said he had a great time last night and would like to do it again.

“So, we are going on a Korean Barbecue date tonight. I’m nervous I haven’t been on a real date in a long time.” Taehyung says to wrap up the story and looks at us expectantly.

“You know how to date, Tae. Be yourself talk about things you are interested in that aren’t weird.” I say taking a drink of the orange juice Hobi handed me a few minutes ago.

“Can you please classify things that would be weird to talk about?” He asks tilting his head to the side like a confused puppy.

“First off don’t say anything about Jungkook, even if it’s a friend story. He knows Kook is your ex. No one wants to hear about the ex of the person they might pursue.” Hoseok says and we continue to give him advice for a few more minutes.

Taehyung has dated the least amount of people out of our group, but he has experience. He doesn’t need our advice, but it helps him calm down. To be honest, it’s a little weird hearing about him going on a date that he really wants to go on. He’s been so hung up on Jungkook he hasn’t voluntarily went on a date probably since the last time they hooked up.

My blood used to boil around Taehyung because he had what I can’t get. I’m still jealous that he’s gotten to share so many wonderful moments with him. It’s hard to not to hate the boy who stole the affection of the one I’ve been head over heels for way too long. Knowing there is no longer a chance at that according to Jungkook eases my heart just a little. They fall back into old patterns so easily I’m not sure I can trust their words.

I’m so fucking stupid. I must literally love pain because that is all my feelings for Jungkook hasn’t really gotten me thus far. Sure, we’ve cuddled, almost kissed multiple times, and talked about serious things but at the end of those moments I’m left wondering if it will ever happen again. It’s unpredictable and that’s why I need to step away. All these moments a giving me is raised hopes that are always crashed in the morning.

“Namjoon, can you stop spacing off and participate?” Jin asks giving me an over the top white mom who is trying to be polite but is really a cunt smile.

I was so wrapped in my thoughts I didn’t see Jungkook quietly enter the room. He’s wearing an oversized sweater with only boxer shorts and he looks so sleepy. Butterflies erupt in my chest and I lay my head against the counter.

“Yes, I can participate Teacher Jin.” I say with a cheeky smile after raising my head.

He reaches across the counter and shoves my shoulder. I almost fall off the chair but Hobi saves me. Once I regain my balance, I listen to see what Jungkook and Taehyung are talking about.

“So, he gave me molly—”

“You took drugs from a guy you barely know?” Jin asks walking towards Taehyung to slap him with a towel.

He jumps up and starts running around the kitchen and then into the living room. I look at Jungkook his wide doe eyes are greatly contrasted with his sleepy look from a moment ago. The blood has drained from his face and he looks me dead in the eye.

“Namjoon can I speak to you privately?” He gently sets his fork on his plate and stands.

“Um…yeah, okay.” I say and I can see Hoseok’s confused expression out of the corner of my eye.

I follow Jungkook to the office where he stands with his back to me for a moment.

“Close the door.” He says quietly and I listen with out question.

“Jungkook are you okay? What is this about—”

He cuts me off speaking quietly so that even if the boys have their ears pressed against the door, they won’t be able to hear. Jungkook faces me and his face is scared almost helpless.

“I shouldn’t have told you what I did last night, and I stand by what I said. Don’t tell anyone. Forgot I ever told you.” His hands clench in and out of fists as he speaks, and I know this must be causing him a great deal of anxiety.

“I know you don’t trust me, but I promise you I will not tell anyone.”

He must believe the words I say because the scared look leaves his eyes. His cologne wafts in my face as he rushes past hitting my shoulder on his way out of the room. I sit on the sofa and hold my head in my hands wanting to be angry, but knowing I have no right to be. Frustration is running through my body and I just want some kind of relief. I exit the office walk into Jin’s room and put on a pair of his shorts and his tank top. I find a pair of my running shoes tucked in the closet of another room and walk out of the house with no explanation. I start running towards the cliff I hiked to the other day.

Running is a great way to get my frustrations out. The trees and plants are calming as my long legs stride up the trail. I’m thinking about how inconvenient avoiding Jungkook is. We have the same friends so if I really want to not see him other than when I have to at work, I’ll have to cut down time spent with the boys. I guess that could be okay. Focusing on my studies and mental health should be my top priority anyway.

My uncle has died, and I haven’t been spending time processing the fact that I will never see him alive again. I’m sure it will feel more real when I attend his funeral and make a speech. There are very few people that have bad things to say about him and I can’t wait to hear stories of his life I haven’t before. It’s hard to accept when I know he could have done so much more if he just had more time.

There are a few people at the cliff when I reach the top. I’m about to sit down when I see a certain brown-haired boy in an oversized sweater. His back is turned to me and he is sitting a few feet from the edge. The water bottle he almost constantly has with him is in his hand and I wonder what it’s filled with.

I sit on the opposite side a good twenty feet away behind a tree. Worry fills my thoughts as I try to calm myself down. My back rests against the rough bark of the tree and I let out a deep breath. I stare at the swirl of clouds above my head. On the left side of my view a cloud is shaped like a bunny and I wonder how can love be this stressful? Maybe this is just a horrendous infatuation that I’m destined to think about but never be able to act on.

His substance abuse issues are out of hand. I’m proud that he was able to get clean from almost everything, but he is using alcohol as his crutch. I don’t Jungkook will heal if he keeps drinking like this. It will lead to him doing stupid things and relapsing on the harder stuff. I can’t be concerning myself with things like this. It isn’t doing wonders for my mental health. This whole situation makes me feel like shit, but I don’t know how to remove myself from it. He’s not really my friend, he’s not my boyfriend or part of my family so it’s not my place to tell him I’m worried or really for me to concerned at all.

Sometimes I feel like a little bit of affection from him is enough. When he lies across my lap and insists on lacing his fingers through mine, that feels right. It felt right when we sat in Jin’s office and listened to the sweet music that Jungkook had written. When he told me what some of the songs meant to him. Those moments end to quickly, like a glimpse of what could be. A tease from fate saying that I can’t have that. It’s like something is trying to tell me I’m not good enough.

BUT I am good enough. I know that I deserve a love worth fighting for. My problem is I will fight but only for this boy that only wants me when liquor runs through his veins. If I could forget about him for one week I wonder if I’d want to know him again.

I take my phone out of my pocket and take picture of the scenery in front of me for snapchat. After that I take a selfie and post both to my story. Snapchat isn’t something I post on regularly so I’m sure not too many people will see it.

For awhile I stare at the clouds and the ocean. I miss surfing and spending all my time in the ocean. It’s all about work and school these days. At least when I’m at school I have a little bit of a break from constantly thinking about Jungkook. It’s easier to not think about someone when they are miles away. Sure, I still see his social media posts but it’s not a bad as seeing him in person every day.

“Joonie?” A sweet but slurred voice says, and I tilt my head to see Jungkook has finally found me. I wasn’t really hiding, but I thought he’d have left by now. “I saw your snapchat.”

“Are you drunk?” I ask and when he sits beside me, I already know the answer. He reeks of vodka.

“Just a little. Can’t get a hangover if you stay drunk.” He says and pure sadness rushed through my body.

“Jungkook, you aren’t some frat boy at a state school. You go to one of the most prestigious music schools in the country and are so brilliant.”

He tries to cuddle up against me, but I push him away. I can’t keep doing this to myself. Jungkook is making me hurt and I deserve attention only when he’s drunk. If he wants me, it has to be when he’s sober.

“Thank you Joon but, I don’t belong there. Everyone has been training their whole life to get in there and then there is me. Somehow, I got an audition and a scholarship but I never fit in. Why else would I do such stupid destructive things?”

“Everyone who goes to schools like we do feels like that. That isn’t important right now. You need to go to a meeting and call your sponsor and tell them you’ve been drinking.” I take a deep breath not looking into his eyes because I know if I do, I won’t finish what I need to say. “If you don’t want me when you’re sober you can’t have me when you’re drunk.”

“Namjoon, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can work this out.” He says trying to grab my hand and I let him this time. I pull him up and start walking back to Jin’s.

“It needs to be. I like you a lot more than I should. You’re so rude to me sober, but so gentle and kind when you are under the influence. I should just encourage the drinking so I can have what I want. You want to be with me when you are drunk, like I’m some different person. I always treat you the same and until you can appreciate that we can’t do whatever this is.”

I’m still tightly holding his hand, but he is stumbling along the uneven ground. How did he get up there without twisting an ankle? How did he get drunk so fast? Why do I care so much about the fate of this one man?

“I’m doing what I’m scared to do sober. The last two years I’ve rarely been sober long enough to comprehend the reality going on around me. Being sober feels awful and doesn’t feel normal.”

The chemical reactions happening in my body do not match the words I’ve just said to him. My heart is sad, and I want to take his pain away and put it on my heart. It’s hard to stop feeling this way because he is so special. There are very rare moments when he is kind to me when he’s sober. I know he should treat me better.

“That doesn’t excuse how you treat me and how you’ve treated me over the last six years.” I pull into a little nook on the side of trail where the town has put a memorial bench. He sits down and I stand in front of him. “I take responsibility that I was the reason he was night surfing even though he begged me for weeks to go.”

“You weren’t watching him closely. He went out too far when you knew he wasn’t as experienced as you.” Jungkook says for what must be the millionth time in the last six years. One time we got in an actual fight about this. Well…almost our friends pulled us apart before any punches could land. “You didn’t even notice the him wipe out.”

“Jungkook you weren’t there. Soobin and I are the only ones who know what really happened. Yet you still won’t listen to either of us. If I hadn’t been there, he’d be dead.” I say with hope that maybe this will be the time he listens to me. I’m doubtful but a man can dream. “I admit I waited longer than I should have to call 911, but as you know the doctors said it wouldn’t have made a difference. The rocks paralyzed him, but now he’s walking again. Why do you need to hold onto this grudge? Soobin and his family have forgiven me.”

“I’m afraid I’ll get addicted and you’ll leave.” He says so quietly I’m not sure if I’ve heard him right. “I don’t have healthy coping mechanisms. If I convince myself I hate you then you can’t hurt me and won’t love me.

Too late.

“If I had you, I wouldn’t let you go, I promise.” I whisper kneeling down so I can look into his soft brown eyes. “But before that can happen you need to work on you. Once completely sober Kook finds his footing, we can revisit the idea.”

“I just want to feel like a person again.” He says desperately and when tears start to fall, I can’t help but pull him into my arms.

My hand strokes the back of his fluffy hair as he sobs into my shoulder telling me that he wants to be better. He says he wants to be completely sober but it’s so hard. For a moment I allow myself to comfort him before I pull away.

“You need to tell someone else. I’m not the right person to help you, but you need a support system here.” I say wiping the tears out of his eyes. “The boys will not judge you. They have noticed something is off and they just want a well happy Jungkook.”

“Thank you for caring about me.” He says looking down at his shoe and yawning.

“Get on my back. I’m going to take you to Seokjinnie and then go home and shower.” I turn around and he climbs onto my back. He’s heavy but we don’t have that long of a hike. I’ll get enough exercise for a month. “You do what you need to.”

“Okay, Joonie.” He says yawning again.

I take his water bottle from his hand and start walking down the trail again. His grip loosens a few minutes later and I’m amazed this man fell asleep on my back. Jungkook wakes when I set him on a spare bed. I hand him the glass of water I had set on the nightstand.

Without a word I walk towards him and lean over the bed to kiss his forehead. Outside the door Jin is waiting for an explanation, we decide to speak in his office.

“Jungkook is going to tell you something when he’s ready and he is going to need your support more than he’s ever needed it before.” I pause thinking of how to properly say what needs to be said. “I’m distancing myself because he needs his real friends. I won’t be hanging around here as much as normal for a while. You can come see me anytime.”

“You sound so cryptic.” He says but doesn’t question any further.

Chapter Text

Jungkook

The beside clock reads 1:00 PM when I wake up in one of Jin’s spare rooms. It takes me a moment to remember how I got here. Namjoon Kim carried me and made sure that I was in good hands. It’s hard to process my developing feelings for him when so much is going on in our lives. He’s right about everything he said to me. I need to fix myself and get help before I can think about being romantically involved with anyone. Admitting I’m a drug addict to the people closet to me is going to be the second hardest things I’ve done.

My feet touch the ground and I take a deep breath trying to calm my heart that seems to be racing a thousand beats a minute. I push my hair off my forehead and stand walking towards the door. Preparing myself to tell my friends what I’ve been doing for the last two years. It’s honestly feeling a little hard to breathe right now. This feeling makes me itch for a drink or a line or a hit. Anything to stop this feeling.

I walk into the living room after making a trip to the bathroom to throw up and brush my teeth. I won’t miss my occasional vomit sessions. Taehyung is sitting alone on the couch looking at his phone. His face is scrunched in thought as I sit beside him. The door behind me is calling for me to run and not look back, but I can’t do that. I take a deep breath again trying to calm myself. You can do this. You need their help, or you will never get better.

“Taehyung?” I mutter studying the way his dark hair falls into his eyes. Some man is going to be so lucky to have him someday. He looks towards me and I blurt out a sentence before I can back down. “I need to tell you something important, but I really scared because you will look at me differently.”

“Kookie, whatever it is we can figure it out.” He looks deep into my eyes and his hand twitches like he was going to reach out and take my hand and decided against it. I’m glad that he is controlling those urges, but right now I really need a hand or shoulder. “I’m here for you no matter what. Always.”

“I need you guys…so fuck I’m just going to this before I try to run away.” I fill my lungs with air and let it out, “I’m a drug addict and a borderline alcoholic. This isn’t a joke. I really need my friends. I’ve been hiding this from everyone for a long time.”

His jaw drops momentarily then he quickly shuts it and pulls me into a hug. For a moment I sit with his warm arms wrapped around me. I feel like I’m home and I might be able to kick this addiction for good. With my friends by my side I will have the willpower to stop.

“Like I said we can figure this out.” He says once he’s pulled away from keeping a hand on my arm. “Can you give me some details if it’s not too triggering?”

Over the next few hours I tell Taehyung and then the rest of the boys my story. I tell them a lot more details then I shared with Namjoon. They have a lot of questions and I answer them truthfully because they need to know everything. A weight has been lifted off my chest, but at the same time I’m anxious that they will treat me differently. I am fragile, but I don’t want to be treated like a porcelain doll.

“Have you told your family?” Hoseok asks after a few moments of silence.

The rest of the boys look at him like he’s crazy for asking me that. Of course, I haven’t told my family yet. I don’t want them to look down on me. For so long I’ve been the perfect model child. Disappointing my family is the last thing I want to do. One of my biggest fears is my family not being proud of me. My happiness and health are important, but I won’t be happy unless they are proud of me. Admitting that I need help is some sort of brave, I suppose. Right now, I feel pretty pathetic and with the buzz of alcohol leaving my body I’m feeling ever horrible second.

There is a part of me that is also terrified that my family won’t let me go back to school. It wouldn’t be that unrealistic for my mother to say I’m not allowed to go back. I can understand that she wouldn’t want me near the place that made me lose it. For a good month after Jackson died, I thought about dropping out of school and never coming home. I thought about taking a gap year to get my shit together, but after awhile I realized that won’t help me. A year away from school would just make me more depressed and twice as likely to relapse. If she tries to pull that card, I will straight up tell her if she wants me sober, I need to go back to school.

“I don’t want to disappoint them.” I say softly leaning into the shoulder Jimin has offered me.

“They want you to be happy and healthy. You already have over ninety days down. They will proud of you for that.” Yoongi says wiping his teary eyes from the sofa across from me.

Even a few weeks ago I would not have included Hoseok or Yoongi in a conversation like this. Now, they deserve to know what is going on. They have been so kind and accepting of me. I’ve gotten advice from them even if I haven’t listened. Everyone keeps telling me to stay away from Namjoon when I’m drunk. Recently, I’ve been getting drunk as often as possible. I haven’t been thinking critically about what I’m doing. I’m upset I haven’t bonded with them like this years ago. We have all the time in the world now. Even if life is short and unexpected.

It’s obvious that Namjoon has feelings for me and has for some time even though I’m an asshole to him 97% of the time. He sees something in me that I don’t see in myself. It’s beyond me why he wants to be with me. I’m a mess that literally has to be intoxicated before I will address any sort of feelings I may or may not have for him. That is an inner monologue for another time. Before I can realistically think about that I need to tell everyone close to me about the last two years. Finding a sponsor that isn’t 3000 miles away is probably a good idea too.

My stomach rumbles loudly and the boys look at me. We break out into laughter cutting the tension that had settled thickly over the room. Seokjin stands stretching his arms above his head and showing of his little waist. Why are all my friends hot? How did this happen? Is this legal?

“Let’s go get hotdogs on me.” Jin says and everyone jumps at the mention of free food.

Jimin and Taehyung are staying close to my sides like they know I need the physical attention right now. I wrap an arm around each of their waists as the other guys walk in front of us. I think I’d be in the same place as Jackson if I didn’t have these guys. It’s morbid thinking like that, but they’ve already helped so much without knowing it. I have a group of people that I can tell anything to, and they will do anything in their power to help me. My chosen family.

We each order a hot dog a fill it with condiments and toppings before sitting down at a table. I stare at the ocean as I messily stuff my face. A part of me wants to go surfing to avoid talking to my mother. There are a lot of people on the beach, but the waves don’t look that great. Maybe I’ll for a swim later.

I need find a narcotics anonymous meeting and I still need to call my Boston sponsor. My friends can help me with this and make sure I am taking care of myself. Now that they know my full history they will know if something is off with me. There is so many things I need to learn and relearn before I’ll be able to fully function.

“Jungkook?” Jin asks from beside me hours later when we are riding the Ferris Wheel.

“Yeah?”

“Did you tell Namjoon about this?” His eyes look across the horizon as he speaks.

“Last night when those guys started doing lines off the table I panicked and ran away. He noticed and followed me to make sure I was alright. He heard me talking to my sponsor.” I say glancing over at him for a moment before averting my eyes.

“Is that why he told me he won’t be around as much?” Jin says and I can hear resentment in his voice, but I’m not sure what it’s about.

“I think he finally realized he deserves better than I treat him. He’s going to distance himself until I’m fully under control. Didn’t seem like he wants to give up. He needs time to figure things out and so do I.”

Usually I would feel really comfortable talking to Jin about something like this, but something seems different. My mind automatically jumps to the conclusion that this must be because I’m an addict. I don’t see any other reasonable explanation. Unless, he’s mad that Namjoon is distancing himself from me. That doesn’t make any sense either because Namjoon doesn’t want to be around me. Everyone else is fine.

“Does that mean you actually have feelings for him?” He asks carefully like anything might set me off.

“I’m honestly not sure how I feel. There is a lot of things I need to think about, that’s one of them.” I’m not confident with the words I’m saying. So much of my life is unsure right now. “I don’t resent him for what happened to Soobin anymore, but it’s messy.”

“Be careful.” He says firmly.

After I’ve ridden the Ferris Wheel with Jin he heads home. I take a walk on the beach settling into the spot where I met Namjoon a few days ago. The many families that were here earlier are starting to head home for the night or up to the pier for rides and games.

I pull my phone out of my pocket and check my notifications. There is a few from that dating app that I haven’t used that much since that guy stood me up. Another few snapchats from my new friends in Boston and one from my mother asking if I plan on coming home tonight. I reply to my mother telling her I haven’t decided yet. I reply to the snapchats from my friends with beach pictures and I ignore the dating app. I should delete it but then if I get lonely and need a quick conversation to boost my ego, I’ll have to redownload the app.

The sun setting into the ocean is a great Instagram and snapchat story. For awhile I sit with the sand between my fingers trying to figure out how to tell my mom. There isn’t exactly a Hallmark card for this. ‘Surprise it’s a drug addict.’ I think I know how my mother will react, but I can never be positive. This isn’t something that has happened to my family before. No one in our immediate family seems to have this kind of issue.

I check who has seen my stories and am somewhat surprised to see Namjoon’s name in both lists. Usually, I don’t even notice if his name is there or not because I’ve tricked myself into thinking I hate him. Boys are really the last thing I should be thinking about. It’s hard to ignore when he basically said he will wait for me. I don’t know what he sees in me, but I think once I’m steady, I’d like to get to know him better.

Still sitting on the beach, I begin scrolling through Namjoon’s Instagram and I can’t help but smile. There is a lot of pictures of him hiking and in nature with smart inspiring captions. A little further back there is photos of him with awards he’s won at college and groups he’s been a part of. I learn that he was a part of our high school’s debate team and a member of the model UN club. He has second Instagram where he posts raps but it’s been over two years since he’s posted a new one. He is the president of the Queer Alliance at his college and a member of the Korean/Korean American Student Union. It even seems like his sophomore year he tutored international students who were having a hard time understanding the material.

It’s interesting how I can find out all of these things from simply looking at his Instagram profile. It makes me curious to see what he’s learned from mine. He couldn’t have learned that much because I’m terrible at posting actual photos and when I do its mostly scenery or my friends. I wonder if I let him follow my finsta, my second Instagram account where I post incriminating stuff, because he if I did, he definitely knows way too much. I don’t think I let anyone from my high school follow that account. I just left their requests without declining them. There was a lot of drug related content. I switch to my finsta and accept the follow requests from my high school friends and Namjoon. I was the biggest mess. It’s going to worry them but that’s alright. I’m fine now.

I take a selfie and post it on my finsta with a caption about how I’ve been doing lately. It’s still sad like everything else on this account. I still have pictures from when Taehyung and I were together, so I guess it’s not all sad just the last two years of posts. I look through my own account for a minute wondering how bad what my friends will see is. There are more than several videos of me smoking, doing lines and grinding on people I can’t remember the names of. The shock of seeing me do those things is nothing compared to the depth of some of my captions. A lot of it might be misinterpreted, but I was really depressed. There is no denying that I did these drugs to make myself feel better.

Eventually I decide I can’t hide anymore and walk home. I pause at the front door wondering if maybe I should just run now. She can’t be disappointed in me if she doesn’t know. My hand grasps the doorknob and I slowly turn it. I open the door and walk inside my mother is in the living room watching a game show.

“Mom…” I trail off as I sit down beside her. “I need to tell you something.”

She looks at my nervous posture and gasps putting a hand on her heart.

“Did you get a girl pregnant? I swear to god Jungkook Jeon—”

“Mom no I didn’t get anyone pregnant.” I take a deep breath and let it out. “For the last two years I’ve been taking drugs.”

My mother sits there with a shocked look on her face. It takes a lot for her to be speechless, but it isn’t surprising that this word be the thing to make her speechless. I am her ‘perfect’ son after all. She pulls me into a hug, and I’m confused as to why she’s not yelling at me.

“How could you do this?” She starts after pulling back and raising a finger to point at me. “Do you want to ruin the life we made for you? Is that how your friend died? Is that why you obviously lied and have been staying away as much as possible? We thought you didn’t want to be around us.”

My heart sinks when I hear her say they thought I didn’t want to be around them. This addiction has hurt so many people that don’t deserve it. I just want to curl up in my mom’s arms and cry, but I can’t do that. I have to explain to her why I think I did this. She deserves so much better than this.

“It just happened. No one wakes up one morning and thinks ‘I want to become an addict today.’ I’ve been clean for a little over three months. Well clean of everything but alcohol which has become a problem. I’m done with everything.” I pause gather my thoughts for a moment before talking about Jackson. “Yes, he overdosed, and I found him. I wasn’t trying to avoid you guys. I didn’t want to be around my family when I was out of control.”

“Jungkook, why didn’t you tell me? We could have taken you to rehab or been a support system for you.” She says reaching out to take my hand between her two.

“I was afraid you would try to pull me out of school and that you’d be disappointed in me.”

“All I want for my family is happiness and health.” She says pulling me into a tight hug. “You seem to be recovering by yourself or with the help of your friends. My anger won’t help you so it’s pointless. I’m shocked and need time to process this.”

“I just told the boys today, but I have a sponsor in Boston, and I have a group of friends who don’t do that kind of stuff. After Jackson died, I got rid of my friends who did drugs because I couldn’t live with the thought what you would go through if I ended up like him.”

She starts crying then I start crying and we hug. My mother asks me more questions and I answer all of them. We catch each other up on what it is going on and what I planned to do to make sure I’m sober. I’m angry when she suggests I should do a weekly drug test until I go back to school, but I understand where she is coming from, so I don’t fight her.

We watch a movie together before I shower and head to bed. There are several messages in the group chat about my finsta. They were surprised at all the drug videos obviously. ‘Our baby Kook’ was thrown around a few times. Jin sent a message that said: I really didn’t think I’d learn how big your dick is hard today, but I was wrong. Why are there so many pictures of your hard dick in spandex? It’s gross.

His use of the vomit emoji hurts my feelings a little bit. My dick is lovely. I tell him that much and that he shouldn’t be so rude. After that I mute the group chat and set up alarms for my shift tomorrow. I don’t really want to see Namjoon. Maybe I should quit my job. After what I just told my mom I don’t think she will let that happen. Too many confusing thought are running through my mind. It’s a miracle I get any sleep at all.

The generic iphone alarm wakes me up in the morning. I stretch groaning into my pillow desperately wishing I didn’t have to go to work. As I walk to the bathroom to pee, I wonder if my mom has told the rest of the family about my problem. Thankfully they are already at work.

There is a torn piece of newspaper on the fridge with my name written on it in sharpie. As I step closer, I realize it’s a list of Narcotics and Alcohol Anonymous meetings. Whoever put this here has even circled ones that work with my work schedule, which is most of them. I told my mom to tell dad but that doesn’t mean they need to put this shit on the fridge. I take a picture of the schedule and throw away the scrap of paper.

After eating a bagel and a peach I start the walk to work. I would much rather be focusing on myself right now, but work should be a good distraction. I say that but will I really be distracted with him there. I don’t run into anyone who wants to talk on my way to the shop. Namjoon is already inside when I clock in. He doesn’t say anything to me, and I think that’s a good thing.

About halfway through my five hour shift I finally say something to him that isn’t related to our work. I decide to start with something not related to our friend first. I am curious about it.

“Why haven’t you posted on your rap Instagram account in two years?”

He drops the bag of plastic cups he had been organizing and scurries to pick them up before they roll out of the plastic casing. Namjoon’s face turns red and he rubs the back of his neck.

“How did you find that account? I thought for sure I deleted the post about it.” He turns his back to fix he cups as he speaks to me.

“When I saw you viewed my story last night, I looked through your Instagram. Those clips were really good.”

“T-thank you.” He stutters warming my heart. Why do I react like this? “I’ve been focused on school and other things. I still write a lot but composing real songs like I want them to be is hard.”

“I understand that. All my classes are about music theory and composing and performing.”

Obviously, performing arts is mentally and physically exhausting but I can’t imagine taking Ivy League classes. Everyone at my school is competing constantly. Sometimes you think you’ve made a good friend, but they are really using you for something. Even at music college it’s a hard business a lot of the people accepted never see a graduation date because it’s so competitive and hard. Music is easy for me because there is nothing I’d rather be doing. Normal studying is hard, and I really dislike it.

“That sounds like a dream.” He mutters and I’m about to say something else when a customer walks in cutting our conversation short.

We don’t continue our conversation when the customer leaves because he gets caught up looking at his phone. For a minute I wonder what he’s doing before I realize I shouldn’t care. He’s hardly my friend even though he knows my biggest secret and I’ve tried to kiss him several times. I don’t think anyone can argue that boy has nice lips.

“Have a good day, Kook.” Namjoon says as we are walking out of the store at closing time.

“Thanks, you too.”

We walk separate paths me towards the Ferris Wheel and him towards who know where. None of my business. Jimin is waiting to ride with me and I smile. I thought he would be spending less time with us since he has boyfriend now. I know we all say we won’t do it, but we do. Taehyung and I did it. Whenever Jin has a boyfriend he sees us about half as much. It’s understandable but it really should always be bros before hoes.

“Jiminie!” I say as I approach him with outstretched arms.

He hugs me for a second before pulling away and dragging me onto the Ferris Wheel. We take seat and the operator makes sure it’s safe or whatever.

“How are you today?” I ask him and he looks at me like I’m crazy.

“I should be asking you that, Kook.” He gives me his scrunchy eyes smile. “Your finsta was intense. I can’t believe Jin commented on your dick.”

“I’m doing great. Haven’t drunk alcohol in over twenty-four hours.” I pause thinking about the second part of what he said, and I roll my eyes. “Yeah I was obviously going through a lot it’s nothing I’m good now. I was surprise too. Jin doesn’t talk to me like that normally. Especially the vomit emoji I was a little offended. If I wasn’t his friend, he would have been drooling.”

“I really think you are right. I wonder what his problem is. Maybe he has a new love interest.”

Love interest sounds like a weird word to use, but with Jin it’s kind of like a wattpad fanfiction. He’s been in love triangles, saved a boy from falling off a cliff, met a boy at a concert (who unfortunately wasn’t a member of the band), and just a lot of cliched stuff happens to him. He’s romantic and takes them on dates and won’t have sex until they are officially dating and all that shit. Jin isn’t one for short meaningless relationships he loves hard and strong. He does things slow typically. Like he said in that I’ve never game he’s never fucked someone he wasn’t dating. I can’t imagine that I think my penis would have exploded by now if I followed his rules.

“He has been acting a little strange, but he’s been with us so much lately it wouldn’t make sense. Unless, he’s trying to woo Hoseok or Namjoon.”

We laugh at the idea and when the Ferris Wheel comes to a stop at the bottom we decide to go on a few more rides. We enter the swing ride my mind is anywhere but the ride in front of me.

I would think Seokjin knows not to pursue Hobi or Namjoon. Hoseok is more interested in living his life to the fullest right now. Sometimes that includes random make out sessions and hookups but most of the time it doesn’t. How Hobi does things is not how Seokjin does things. And everyone but me until recently, apparently, knows that Namjoon likes me. Neither of those would make sense in my mind. Maybe Chim and I are just completely wrong and something else is going on.

After a few more rides we go to Taehyung’s house to watch a movie. He tells us that his date last night didn’t go very well. Tae says the guy was obviously not sober on their date and he didn’t like that. He says it carefully like he’s trying not to hurt my feelings, but I’m okay right now. I have my two best friends with me and with them I can do anything.

Chapter Text

Jungkook

It’s late when the boys leave and I’m glad I have an afternoon shift so I can get a little rest. Last night with Jimin and Taehyung’s help I decided to attend a meeting at four right after I get off work. I’m nervous because people will know about my problem. Our town isn’t tiny but I’m sure at least one of the people I went to school with has a family member that is attending AA or NA meetings. Word might spread and I don’t want to bring any negative attention to my family. They raised me well and don’t deserve to be gossiped about because I have unhealthy coping mechanisms.

I eat breakfast before deciding to go on a run. Lately, I’ve been treating my body like shit and not working out. No wonder I don’t feel as confident as usual. After stretching in the front yard, I run to the top of the cliff. The one I said I wanted someone to take me on a date because it’s so beautiful up there. It’s been a long time since I’ve went on a real run so I’m very winded when I reach the top. I sit close to the edge cursing myself for not bringing a water bottle. I must be an idiot to not bring something in this heat.

Sitting under a tree trying to cool off I’m approached by someone who is treading lightly like they don’t want me to know they are coming. I turn my head to see Namjoon who was obviously trying to set a water bottle beside me with out me seeing. He smiles sheepishly and hands me the water bottle.

“You look like you could use this more than me right now.” He doesn’t move or say anything for a moment. “I have to get to work.”

He jogs away from me leaving me with his metal water bottle that is cool to the touch. I press it against my face before opening it and taking a drink. A few days ago, I never would have accepted this, but he’s just trying to be nice. I wish I was like him. He is such a positive beacon of light in my life, but I’ve been fooling myself. I’ve been painting him as the devil.

There are stickers from his college and his name spelled in sparkly gold letters on the water bottle. He is so endearing that it hurts my heart. I don’t know why he ran off so fast when our shift doesn’t start for another two hours. I should probably run home and take a shower before work. My heart starts racing when I think about attending a meeting after work.

I stand holding Namjoon’s water bottle tightly in my hand as I look around for a few minutes. I would start running now but I don’t want to catch up with Namjoon. He obviously doesn’t want to be around me even if he did go out of his way to make sure I was hydrated. I think I’m still faster than him, but I can’t be too sure since it took me way longer than usual to get up here. Ten minutes later I start the trek back home. I’m pushing myself harder than I should, and I know its going to hurt tomorrow. At least I’ll be feeling something.

A cold shower makes me feel like I’m not melting. After getting dressed and styling my hair I still have half an hour until I need to leave for work. My computer is calling me to finish the final touches of my EP so I can post it. I sit in front of my laptop and finish the one song I wasn’t so satisfied with.

I leave for work feeling accomplished and vaguely wondering how I made six songs sound so good while I was other worldly high 90% of the time. Only one of those songs was written before I started college, and I don’t think it’s the best one. Maybe I’m biased because it’s about Taehyung and I don’t want to think about that. It’s complicated we had so many happy memories together as a couple, but it’s tainted because things were so weird for a while.

Namjoon’s water bottle is clutched tightly in my hands as I walk through the doors of the shop. I clock in before putting on my apron and handing over the water bottle. He smiles awkwardly showing of his dimples.

“Thank you. I don’t know what I was thinking going for a run without water.”

“No problem.” He says turning his back to busy himself with something I’m sure he doesn’t need to do right now.

He said he wanted space and I should respect that. We shouldn’t talk to each other unless we need to. Healing and sobriety are the most important things right now. Whatever I think or feel about the boy beside me with black roots growing out of his fading pink hair can wait until a later date. Watching him interact with customers is interesting, even when the rude white moms tell him he’s done his job wrong he reminds kind and positive.

Jin comes into the shop when I’m about to leave. Namjoon has another half hour on his shift so he must be here for him. I take off my apron heading to the back to clock out.

“Do you want to get dinner after you get off?” I hear Jin ask and I stay hidden in the back to eavesdrop.

“Yeah sounds great!” Namjoon says enthusiastically. “Are the other guys coming too?”

“I was thinking maybe just us. Everyone else seems busy.” Jin says and I know for a fact that he’s lying.

Yoongi and Jimin might be doing something but Taehyung and Hoseok surely don’t have plans unless they’ve went on a last-minute road trip. They better not have done that because they promised to be waiting for me at the pier for rides and dinner after my meeting. I guess that does mean they are busy but Yoongi and Jimin would drop plans to go to dinner with them. It’s a little strange to me, but I shouldn’t be focusing on whatever Jin might be trying to do. I have a meeting to get to.

“Have a good night if I don’t see you later.” I say as I quickly walk out the door and towards the community building a few blocks away. I’m making myself take deep breaths, so I don’t freak out. This is a meeting full of people like you. They have the same problems you do, or at least one similar one.

I walk into the community building and down the hall to the room labeled ‘Narcotics Anonymous’ and pause outside for a moment. I’m thinking about bailing and telling my mother that I went to the meeting when a voice sounds from behind me.

“It’s okay. We don’t bite.” I turn around to see a small framed woman who looks like she’s in her mid-thirties. “I’m Sage.”

“I’m Jungkook.” I say stepping away from the door and studying this person.

“The meeting should start soon let’s go inside.” She pushes her brown hair off her shoulder as she opens the door and steps inside.

I follow her inside leaving the door open when someone says to. There is folding metal chairs lined in front of a podium. At the back of the room there is snacks and drinks. I shove my hand into my pocket searching for the 90 day chip I got while I was still in Boston. This is far from my first meeting it’s just my first meeting at home.

The back row looks like a place for me to sit. Door lady approaches me again sitting beside me. I look around the room and I am by far the youngest person here. Most of these people look like they are over thirty. Though the drugs may have aged them beyond their years.

“Is this your first meeting?” She asks using a wooden stick to stir her coffee. There is an accent in her voice that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t think she was raised here. Maybe she’s spent a lot of time in the south. “If I’m being overbearing just let me know. I usually welcome the newbies because I’ve been here for a while.”

I open my hand to show her my 90 day chip and she smiles clapping her free hand against her knee.

“I just came back home from college not that long ago. I was going to meetings there. It hasn’t felt necessary since I’ve been home, but it’s getting hard again. I was drinking so I don’t really deserve this chip.” I say holding it between my fingers looking down on it with disgust.

“No, Jungkook. Don’t think like that.” She says resting a hand on my shoulder. Usually situations like this make me uncomfortable but she radiates nice energy. “We all slip up and make poor decisions. You’ve realized you need help and that’s what’s important.”

“Thank you. I think I’m going to sit back and listen today and decide if this is the meeting I want to keep attending.”

She nods her head and walks to the front row of chairs. A few minutes later the meeting starts much like ones I’ve been to in Boston. The leader asks if I’d like to introduce myself, so I stand tall trying not to look like the scared child I am.

“I’m Jungkook.” I say without including why I might be here.

I’m not sure if that will go over well here, but they don’t say anything as I sit down and begin listening to people’s stories of how they got here. Some of them talk about their highs and lows this week and some retell their story of getting here because there is someone new listening. I listen intently to each story comparing their struggles to my own. A few are very similar to my own and that makes me feel a little less like an outsider.

An hour later I’m grabbing a cookie on my way out the door when Sage stops me. She hands me a card with a phone number on it.

“I’m sure you have a sponsor in Boston but in case you ever need someone a little closer to home you can give me a call.”

“Thank you.”

I leave the meeting honestly feeling a little better than I did before I entered. I take my time walking back to the pier texting Taehyung and Hoseok. They reply with pictures of food they have already bought for me. I tell them I’m going to ride the Ferris Wheel then I’ll be right over.

Sometimes this Ferris Wheel is the only stable thing in my life. I take a picture at the top and post it to my snapchat story. I wonder if anyone gets annoyed of these pictures. Well if they do, they can’t fuck off. I take selfie and post that too because the lighting up here is killer.

I exit the Ferris Wheel and walk to the bench where my friends are waiting. I take a snap video of them with food and caption it ‘When your besties buy you food.’ I’m sure Jimin will swipe up saying thanks for the invite or what about me.

“How was the meeting?” Taehyung asks taking a bite of pizza.

“It made me feel better. The people seem nice and I think I’ll go back to that one. It’s a lot like the one I go to in Boston.” I take a bite of pizza and chew before continuing. “I met a nice a girl…well woman might be a better word.”

“A nice women.” Hoseok contemplates leaning back in his chair to study me. “Haven’t heard you say that since senior year.”

“It’s not even like that she looks like she’s thirty five and not my type. She was welcoming and gave me her number in case I need someone.” I say stuffing my mouth full and waiting for them to tease me.

“Sureee,” Taehyung says with a cheeky smile. “When was the last time you even dated a girl? Before me?”

“I think I’d need the word dated defined, but I was kind of seeing a girl last spring. I don’t think we ever made things official but as far as I know neither of us was seeing anyone else.” I say thinking back on how much stuff I actually didn’t tell them because they weren’t with me.

“Why’d it end?” Hoseok asks with wide eyes. I think he’s surprised I was dating a girl in college since I rarely talk about girls.

“She transferred because it was too much for her. It was never super serious, so we decided to just end it. I talk to her occasionally. Less these days because she was involved with my old friends.”

“I feel like I don’t know anything about the last two years of your life other than what I directly experienced.” Taehyung says with a baffled look on his face.

Saying she wasn’t worth mentioning sounds really rude. Honestly, she was a lovely person who was just meant to with me for a little while. We weren’t made to last and that’s okay. The whole thing was a fling that didn’t seem worth mentioning when I came home or when I facetimed any of the boys. It felt like we were living on different planets at that point. With the rest of them together it was easy to not tell them things. I’m sure they haven’t told me things they didn’t think are worth mentioning. These kinds of things come up when I make them play, I’ve never with me.

“I’ll get around to telling you guys everything eventually.”

We finish the meal in silence staring at our surroundings. Taehyung insists we play carnival games since we haven’t in a long time. The three of us are standing at the game where you throw darts at balloons when Hoseok asks me a question.

“When are you going to release your EP? I really want to hear more of you stuff.”

Nothing in the world makes me happier than people appreciating the music I work so hard on.

“I just finished perfecting the last song today. Maybe a week or two. I’m a little nervous I haven’t posted an original song in years.”

“You have nothing to be nervous about, Kook.” Taehyung says as we walk away from the stand. Taehyung won a small white teddy bear with a snowflake on its foot. “Your songs are incredible.”

“I agree. Don’t forget us when you’re famous.” Hoseok says and I lunge at him.

“Hey, I heard something kind of weird earlier and I don’t know if I’m just interpreting it wrong or…” I say after a few minutes trailing off.

Sharing my underdeveloped theory might not be the best idea, but maybe they can ease my mind. Jin and Namjoon are friends and I’ve never noticed any out of the ordinary behavior. Sure, Jin is protective but aren’t we all protective of our friends?

“What was it?” Taehyung asks as we sit on the beach.

“Seokjin asked Namjoon to dinner and when Namjoon asked if anyone else was coming Seokjin said ‘I was thinking just us. Everyone else seems busy.’ Isn’t that weird?” I ask looking over to gauge their reactions. Maybe I’m being crazy.

“Jimin and Yoongi are literally just chilling at Yoongi’s they asked us to come over to watch a movie later. They aren’t busy.” Hoseok says tilting his head to the side and narrowing his eyes.

“That is strange. Usually he invites us all in the group chat.” Taehyung says resting his chin in his hands with furrowed eyebrows.

“Okay, I thought I was going crazy because I recently accepted that I don’t hate Namjoon.”

They gasp when I say this, and I just lean back in the sand and roll my eyes. I knew they would react like this, but I wasn’t prepared for how annoying it would actually be. I steal a glance at Taehyung and his face looks conflicted which is understandable. He’s probably happy I’ve let go of my grudge but not entirely okay with the thought of me moving on.

“I thought I wouldn’t live to see the day.” Taehyung teases shoving my shoulder.

“Neither did I. Life’s weird like that.” For a moment after I speak, they are silent then Hobi breaks it.

“Anyway, back to Namjoon and Seokjin.”

“Even if Jin has feelings for Joon I don’t think Joon would realize it. They are good friends and he’s so fucking oblivious sometimes. I swear someone could confess their love and he’d ask if it was in a friend way.” Taehyung says sending us into a fit of laughter because it’s true.

They know Namjoon better than I do, but from what I’ve seen he has his heart set in one place. He hardly notices when people are trying to come on to him. The thought of them together leaves me feeling some type of way I can’t explain. I desperately wish I could understand my emotions but I’m too unstable for that obviously.

“I agree with that, but it’d be interesting. I don’t think it will really happen. We are probably just making a big deal of nothing. Friends can have dinner alone.” Hoseok says looking down at his phone just as my phone buzzes in my pocket.

There is a message in the group chat from Yoongi Min: Come over for movies and popcorn. Jimin needs more companions.

Jimin: Why do you talk about me like I can’t read these messages?

Me: We’ll be over soon. Please try to stop the lovers quarrel before we arrive.

“Let’s go!” Taehyung says pulling me off the ground with an exaggerated grunt.

We get into Taehyung’s car to drive over to Yoongi’s because it’s a little farther than we want to walk. He parks next to Yoongi’s car and Hoseok informs him we are on our way up. Jimin is waiting with the door open when we arrive.

“How was your meeting?” Jimin asks and I tell him the same thing I told the other boys earlier.

Before we start the movie Hoseok brings up Seokjin to see what these two think. They agree with what we said earlier. Namjoon wouldn’t realize it if it was happening and we wouldn’t know because Seokjin is so secretive until he is sure. Is it weird that I don’t Namjoon to be with someone else? I know he has feelings for me, he’s said it so many times while I was intoxicated. But I don’t have the right to be mad when I’m not sure what my true feelings are. I don’t have the right to be upset when I’m not ready to bring someone else into my life in that way. Another part of me just wants him to be happy and I almost gag at how unselfish I’m thinking. In the past I thought that way about most things but the last few years I’ve been much more worried about how everything affects me.

Yoongi chooses Train to Busan even though we’ve all watched it several times. I’m curled up on the sofa next to Hoseok having a hard time focusing on the plot. So many other things are on my mind and I start feeling insignificant and lonely in a room full of my friends. It’s easy not to watch the movie when I’ve seen it so many times.

When that movie finishes Jimin drags me into the kitchen with him to get snacks. He turns to the cupboard looking for Oreos and he starts talking to me.

“Are you okay? I could tell you weren’t watching the movie but didn’t want to say anything.”

“I’m okay just not feeling normal.” I say leaning against the counter. I’m trying to think of a better way to describe what I’m feeling without sounding like I might relapse. Or that I might need to put in a mental institution. “Maybe we could just hang out and talk for a little while or play a game.”

“That sounds like a good time. We’ll tell you about our crazy state school life and not mention my many conquests.”

We laugh as we walk back into the living room and Jimin tells Yoongi to turn off the TV. He questions why but listens when Jimin gives him a stern look. Wow they are already like a married couple. Jimin has been interested in Yoongi for years. He saw Yoongi rap one time and I think he instantly fell in love. It took him a while to finally have the courage to make a move on him without making a fool of himself.

Jimin starts telling us a story of how he climbed up the side of his building so he wouldn’t have to call an RA because he was drunk, and his roommates weren’t home. I’m surprised he hasn’t died with the stupid shit he’s tried to do. I know I do a lot more questionable things, but everyone expects that from me. Not from cute baby bear Jimin.

They tell stories and though I’ve heard some of them before I feel happy and I’m not distracted by the urge to taint my bloodstream. I tell them some of my tame stories, like my random hookups and almost relationships and failed Tinder dates.

“East coast people are not the same I’m telling you!” I say after describing a horrifically terrible date I went on in February.

“I think there is a certain idealization that comes with places you haven’t been or wish you were. I bet you thought b-people there would be better there then just wished they did things like we do.” Yoongi says and I absolutely feel called out.

“Wow it’s like you read my mind, Yoon.” I lean back against the sofa and look at Hoseok like he might have an opinion on this.

“I like the east coast boys that come to our school better than the ones who grew up around here.” Hoseok says shrugging his shoulders.

We keep talking about boys, girls and all the fucked up shit we’ve done until nearly one in the morning when we decide we should probably go home. Taehyung drives me home and I head inside after saying goodnight.

Once I’m in my boxers tucked under my blanket with the air conditioner on high, I check my socials. Namjoon posted on his snapchat story that he’s bleaching his hair and his selfie is in Seokjin’s master bathroom. He never lets me in there. I wonder if Namjoon is going to dye it another color or keep his hair blonde. I think he would look better with blonde hair than he does with pink. Let’s be real he could probably pull off anything.

I check the rest of my socials and don’t find anything too interesting. I tweet a picture of me, Taehyung and Hoseok despite it being past one in the morning when no one will be awake. Who cares if anyone likes it? This is for me to look back on when I’m sad and miss my friends. I do that a lot when I’m in Boston. I’ll look through my camera roll and my friend’s Instagrams and Twitters. Seeing pictures of them makes my heart not hurt so much. I know I can always reach out to them but at school we are all so busy and I don’t want to bother anyone. They would never tell me if I was bothering them which is why I usually let them reach out to me first. I should probably tell them I feel that way. It might help my anxiety about it. I know it’s a little dumb for me to feel that way considering I’ve known them forever, but anxiety doesn’t discriminate.

I fall asleep listening a playlist of my favorite ballads and for the first time in a long time I have sweet dreams.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

The soft fabric of a sofa is under my cheek when a stream of light wakes me. I open my eyes slowly and it feels like the sun is burning my retinas. I’m in Seokjin’s living room wearing one of his shirts. A groan leaves my body as I sit up. I should cut back on my drinking. It makes me feel like shit in the morning.

Last night we went to dinner then we came back here to watch a movie. Somehow after a glass or two of wine we ended up bleaching my hair. Jin says that he’s an expert at this even though I’ve only seen him with colored hair once when we were in high school. He came home from studying abroad for a year and his hair was purple. His parents were mad for few days but eventually got over it because it is just hair.

Something was a little different yesterday, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Jin was a lot more touchy than usual. All my friends are pretty cuddly people, so I don’t usually even notice, but Jin isn’t like that normally. Maybe he’s just becoming more comfortable around me. That’s alright. I don’t usually initiate hugging or touching unless I have feelings for the person. I’m trying to be more open to it because my friends are those kind of people.

I get off the couch and walk into the kitchen to start making breakfast. Usually Jin is already up making breakfast when I wake up. I’ll try to return the favor. As long as I don’t burn down his house, I think he’ll be appreciative or at least he’ll pretend. I decide to make a simple scramble because that will be harder to fuck up. I start chopping ingredients wondering how I’ve gotten this far in life with my minimal cooking skills.

“Please don’t burn my house down.” A voice says from behind reaching to take over.

“You have no confidence in my skills that really hurts my heart, Seokjinnie.” I say stepping out of his way giving him a smile that shows off my dimples.

“I’ll do a better job and you’re my guest you shouldn’t cook.” He says as I take seat at the breakfast bar. “Your hair looks nice.”

“Thank you.” I mutter as I take my phone out to assess the damage we’ve caused. “It does look nice! You did a good job.”

“You sound surprised.” He says making a faux mad face. “When I was abroad, I dyed my hair a bunch. My host sister helped me we bonded over hair.”

He doesn’t talk about when he lived in Korea for a year a lot. Only in very specific instances like this. I don’t understand that. If I lived in another country for a whole year, I don’t think I’d ever shut up about it. All the things I could learn and experience there.

“Did your parents not get mad when you sent them pictures of what you were doing?”

“I would cover my head even though there wasn’t a lot they could do with me so far away. The only impactful thing they really would have done is stopped sending me so much money.” He says as he fills a pan with ingredients he’d just chopped up.

I look at my phone for a minute and we sit in silence. Taehyung shows up a few moments later and sits beside me waiting for Jin to put a plate in front of him.

“Why are you here?” Jin asks and I lean over to slap his arm.

“That’s rude.” Taehyung says pushing his lower lip out. “Jimin won’t answer my texts and I’m bored.”

“He’s probably getting dicked down.” I say as Jin sets plates of food in front of us.

Taehyung gives me a shocked looked like he can’t believe I’ve just said that. It’s fun to say things I don’t typically just for that kind of reaction. I’m not an innocent virgin child they all know that. We eat in silence for a minute. I scroll through my phone looking through my twitter feed trying to find something interesting. A photo of Jungkook, Hoseok and Taehyung pops up from late last night and my heart does that flippy over thing looking at Kook’s fluffy hair and doe eyes.

“We’re cute, aren’t we?” Taehyung says leaning over to look at my phone.

“Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to read over people’s shoulders?” I say liking the photo before swiping away from it.

“How was your date last night?” Taehyung diverts the conversation and I look at him questioningly.

“I didn’t go on a date. I had dinner with Seokjinnie.” I say trying to find a reason he would call that a date.

Jin is my friend. I have dinner with my friends all the time. Sure, it was little different than our usual dinner with friends, but not a date. He’s an attractive guy and all but my heart is tied up somewhere else. That does plant an idea in my head, but I don’t think I can do that.

“Sure, Joonie.” Taehyung says looking between Jin and I like he knows something that I don’t know.

Jin’s face is red like he’s just had something embarrassing happen to him. Being teased by our friends usually doesn’t make him blush. I wonder what’s up with him. He hasn’t mentioned anything new lately. It’s been awhile since Jin dated anyone maybe I should ask him about that later.

“I’m going to go for a run either of you want to join me?” I say a few minutes after my plate is cleared.

“You think either of us could keep up with you? It seems like you run every day.” Jin says putting our dishes in the dishwasher. “We could hang out here after. I’ll invite the boys over, and we can play games or watch a movie.”

I stand there for a moment not wanting to say anything about Jungkook but knowing that I shouldn’t be around him. My feet shift back and forth as I try to figure out the politest way to say, ‘as long as Jungkook’s not here.’

“Jungkook is hanging out with Soobin today.” Taehyung says softly almost like he doesn’t want anyone to hear him.

“Okay I’ll be back in a few hours then. I’ll bring sushi.”

Warm sun greets me as I decide to go far an easy three miles today. Being left alone with my thoughts is the absolute last thing I want right, but exercise is important. My life has been so chaotic lately I’ve hardly had time to think about everything.

Thankfully, I’ve made good decisions this time. As much as I want certain things, I know it’s best if I don’t have them right now. Of course, I want to start music right now and I want to spend time with the man I’ve been infatuated with for years. Sometimes patience can really bring the greatest reward even if it feels like hell to get there.

While I’m home for the rest of the summer maybe I should listen what my friends have been telling me for the at least the last two years. I need to find a person who shares my affection or at least my attraction. In the past I’ve done the hook up thing and half the time it works and the other times it gets messy. The last time was one of the bad times and since then I’ve not really had much interest in casual stuff. It’s kind of pointless when I could be getting more. Sex is great though. I miss sex.

Even if someone liked me, which isn’t likely in this town, I’d be the last one to know. I don’t understand how I can be so preceptive of other people’s feelings when it doesn’t involve me. As soon as I’m directly involved it’s like my knowledge of human psyche has reverted to when I was an infant. I’m amazed that I’ve ever had a boyfriend. Most of the time I feel like I’m using them. I know that I’m not, but my self confidence issues have led to many of my romantic failure.

My feet beat against the dirt trail I’ve decided to run today as I try to steer myself away from my pathetic love life. There are more important things going on in my life right now. My lack of a love life should be on the back burner. Everyone copes with things differently and I guess if thinking about trivial things like this helps me then maybe it’s okay. This is keeping me from agonizing over my favorite uncle better than almost anything else has. Alcohol is probably the number one to keep him off my mind. Drinking isn’t a healthy coping mechanism and I understand how harmful and unhelpful it is.

I try to keep my thoughts positive for the rest of my run. A much harder feat than it would have been two weeks ago. My run ends at my new house. New house is such a weird thing to say. My uncle gave me a whole fucking house. I moved a suitcase of my things into the house. Soon I’ll start staying here permanently, but right now I don’t want to upset my mother any more than necessary.

A cold shower feels amazing after running under the hot sun. I stay in there much longer than I need letting the water work my tense muscles. Song lyrics are running through my mind as I exit the shower running to my laptop. I don’t bother to get dressed as I write the lyrics down before I forget.

A simple pair of shorts and a plain shirt are my outfit for the day. I call my favorite sushi restaurant and order a platter of the boy’s favorites. Usually I just say it’s Namjoon and they know what to make. We rarely stray from our favorites. They are busy right now and said they can get my order ready within an hour. I’m in no rush so I tell them it’s alright. They will message me when it’s available to pick up.

Downstairs I take a book off the shelf and curl up on the couch. A lot of the books in this house are about music and musicians. The kind of books my mother throws a fit about if she finds them when she’s snooping through my room. She hasn’t done that much since she found a dildo in my room winter break of freshman year. There was a big lecture about how college has made me a bad son and that I’m trying to tear the family apart. No mom just trying to tear my ass open.

I laugh thinking about that lecture and how my auntie was trying to keep it together. She was on the verge of busting a vein in her forehead keeping the laughter in. My aunt and uncle have always been more supportive than my parents about who I really am. I’m a lucky person. My family doesn’t struggle financially, and I’m loved even if my parents don’t approve of some aspects of my ‘lifestyle.’

A text breaks me out of spiraling thoughts. It tells me my sushi is ready and I hop off the couch. Hanging out with my friends makes me happy most of the time. I like being alone and exploring sometimes but sharing adventures with someone special hits different.

On my way to the sushi place I take my time knowing that there is no need to rush. The boys might be hungry, but they can wait. My hometown is pretty. The buildings have an old timey feel even though a lot of them were built or heavily remodeled in the last twenty years. It’s a popular vacation spot because of the beach and the multitude of things you can do here. We have museums, hiking, beaches and a whole amusement park. Depending on the time of year there will be festivals which only makes it more fun. My favorite is the plant festival they have in earlier April. I’ve been a little sad the first week of April for the past few years. It’s not like I can fly across the country and miss class for a week just for a plant festival.

I’m greeted by Yeonjun, the son of the owner. He’s quite a few years younger than me but always slips me an extra roll or two when his father isn’t looking. During breaks I like to sit in this place and read or work on things. As long as I order something every few hours they don’t mind. I think they like having at least one familiar face in the place often. Yeonjun disappears for a moment then comes back with a canvas back in hand that has a box sticking out.

“We’re trying to discourage single use plastics.” He says when I give a confused look about the canvas bag. “Bring it back next time or use it for groceries.”

He hands me the bag and we chat for a few minutes about the bags. I love the idea but am sad when I hear how long it took for him to convince his father. It’s makes sense I guess; plastic is the cheaper option and its hard to let a habit die. While it’s convenient for us it’s not for the animals that get caught and choked by them. Just because some people like being choked doesn’t mean the sea turtles do.

After thanking Yeonjun I walk back into the heat. It takes a few minutes to reach Seokjin’s house where I walk through the door without knocking. I head straight for the kitchen to get a platter to put our food on. The boys are here already sprawled every which way on the couches. Jimin is on Yoongi’s lap and I want to shout for them to get a room, but instead I focus on not dropping the sushi. Jimin would probably make a crude comment anyway and I’m not sure my life can handle that right now.

“Namjoonie hurry up I’m hungry.” Jin whines from the recliner.

I roll my eyes as I set the last sushi roll down. Carefully, I pick up the tray and walk to the living room. Once the tray is safely on the coffee table, I give Jin a dirty look. My glance makes him do his squeaky laugh.

“I can’t understand how you are so impatient.” I say taking a seat beside Taehyung.

I lean forward and claim two of my favorite rolls before these heathens can devour them. Hoseok gets up to bring smaller plates for each of us so we don’t have to lean over each other. After a few minutes of catching up and eating Taehyung suggests we play cards against humanity when we’re finish eating.

“We haven’t played that in a long time sounds fun.” Yoongi says opening his mouth waiting for Jimin to feed him.

Disgusting really, but my hearts aches for my friends to think the same about me with someone. Everyone has those thoughts about their friends and deep down we know it’s jealousy. Most people aren’t alone by choice. It’s because they are scared or broken or a raging an asshole.

“You don’t know what smegma is?” Taehyung blurts at Yoongi confused. “What a lucky man.”

“What is it?” Yoongi asks for the fifth time because we are enjoying his suffering.

“Google it. I’ll bet the images are great.” Jin says hiding his smirk behind his cards.

A few minutes ago, he gave up his beloved recliner to Taehyung so he’s now pressed against my side. There is enough room for him not to be. He must be cold the AC is running pretty well right now.

“Is it a hetero thing? Because if so I don’t think I’m interested in knowing.”

“Jin that’s mean. Don’t let him—” Hoseok’s plead for the innocence of Yoongi’s eyes is cut short.

“WHAT THE FUCK!” Yoongi yells throwing his phone on the ground. “Why did you let me look that up?”

I stand up ducking behind the recliner knowing that Yoongi is about to attack Jin. I’m not wrong after gently pushing Jimin aside he tackles Jin pushing his face in the sofa cushions. He twists his arm behind his back, and everyone is laughing. While except Jin and Yoon.

“How did you make it through high school being friends with Hobi and Joon and not see that?” Jin asks turning his head to the side gasping for air.

“We are nice people and clean boys that’s how.” I say peaking over the back of the recliner from my crouched.

I stand putting my hands on Taehyung’s shoulders before moving a hand to play with his soft hair. Hoseok pulls Yoongi off of Jin and Jimin clears the search on Yoongi’s phone. Jin is laughing at the situation so his arm must not hurt that much.

“I bring you into my house and this is how you treat me. Disrespectful!” Jin waves a finger at him like an old man.

“You made me look at gross penises.” Yoongi says crossing his arms as he pouts. “It’s like you are trying to make me straight.”

The room is filled with laughter at the thought of any of us being in a heterosexual relationship of any kind. It’s a wonder any of us every thought we were straight. We all knew at a young age but most of us repressed it. There is a variety of coming out stories, but thankfully no one was kicked out of their home for more than one night.

It’s nearly nine when I realize I’ve spent practically the whole day sat next to Jin. I stay with him long past when the other guys left to do whatever they needed. Somehow, we’ve ended up at the beach sand between our toes. The lights of the pier are dim down here; I can just make out the shape of Jin’s face. As he takes out his phone to answer a snapchat, I can more clearly see his plump lips and wide eyes.

“Taehyung feels the need to send me pictures of his dog every day, like I don’t go his parents house when he’s not there just to see Tannie.”

“How can you complain about pictures of such a precious angel?” I say sifting sand through my hand and looking onto the horizon.

“Angel might be pushing it a little, Joon.” Jin says locking his phone before returning it to his pocket.

I shrug my shoulders enjoying the comfort of being outdoors. Sure, I can hear the faint noise machines and shrieks of joy, but it makes me feel at home. Nothing comes close to sitting here on this beach with one of my best friends. Or rather nothing I’ve experienced that really counts. Of course, cuddling with Jungkook a few hundred yards from where I’m sitting now made my heart soar a little more, but I can’t think of that.

“Do you miss home a lot when you are away at school?” I ask keeping my eyes trained on the waves crashing at the shoreline.

“Sometimes, but I’m close enough that if it gets bad or I don’t want to do my laundry I just come home.” He pulls me closer laying an arm on my shoulder. “I don’t think I could make it if I was that far away all the time. You’re pretty strong, Joon.”

“You get used to it, but sometimes I see something, and it just reminds me how far away I am. Nothing feels the same and knowing that I’m moving to New York after graduation, is so overwhelming.”

I’m not sure why I’m spilling my feelings right now. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t be bothering Seokjin with my problems. I should figure them out myself and not be a nuisance. On the other hand, I’ve been through a lot and my friends should support me, but they can’t do that if I don’t let them know what’s going on inside my brain. Maybe I’ve earned a little complaining.

“I know we just recently got super close, but we’ve known each other for years. All you’ve ever wanted is to pursue music. Your family wants you to be a lawyer or something equally boring, but that’s not where your heart is. If music doesn’t work out you have a degree to fall back on. But I’ve heard what you can do, and the rest of world needs to know what your friends know. You are a genius. In basically every sense of the word.”

I’ve never heard him speak so passionately about something like this. I’m at a loss for what to say. How do I respond to a compliment like that? Especially when I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing yet. It’s still a year away so I’ve let other more prevalent things take the lead.

“Thank you.” I say leaning into chest as he runs hand through my hair.

“Everything will work itself out, Joon.” He says softly. “We’ll come live with you in New York if we have too.”

“I don’t think you’d like it.” I say wondering why I’m letting my walls down.

The smell of ocean air in my nostrils is enough to make me feel like the world around me isn’t falling apart. My friend’s arms are holding the pieces of my heart together and my mind can’t help but wander. Another pair of arms that would make my heart beat faster.

Jin pulls away clearing his throat like he might have just done something awkward. We were being a little cozier than I usually am. It’s not like we like each other so it can’t really be uncomfortable can it?

“I think getting further away for awhile would be okay if I was close to you.” He says keeping his eyes on my face.

“Why would it be okay if you were close to me? I’m not home. I can’t substitute your pets or your family.”

“Because I like you a lot.” He says his hand nervously scooping and dropping the sand.

“Yeah, I like you too, Jin. You’re really—” he cuts me off and I’m about to tell how rude it was before I hear what he has to say.

“No, Namjoon.” He pauses making me stand with him as he takes my face in his large hands. “I like you.”

“Like as a friend?”

His hands drop to my shoulders and he bangs his head against my chest once. Jin takes my face in his hands again with a big smile on his face.

“No, you fool. I want to kiss you.”

“O-oh.”

My eyes widen at his words and my mouth drops open a little. How can he be this bold with no warning? I’ve never seen him do something like this. Seokjin plays the long-haul wooing game. What if he’s been trying to woo me for awhile and I didn’t know it? He has wanted to hang out alone a lot recently. This is another complicated thing that I don’t need in my life right now, but I haven’t been kissed in so long. He wants to kiss me, and he’s said it so nicely. He didn’t just surge forward without my permission.

I lean forward testing the waters to see if my heart can handle this. It’s threatening to beat out of my chest, but it wants me to press my lips to his lush ones. I grab the back of his neck and his hands drop to my waist as our lips meet.

What has gotten into me? I think as I pull away staring at Jin’s wide eyes. The only man I’ve thought about for weeks is Jungkook now I’m here kissing another guy. This is taking advantage of Jin’s feelings for me I can’t do that.

“I have to go.” I say running off down the beach before he can catch me and try to reason with me. 

 

Chapter Text

Jungkook

Though I had a nice day with Soobin, he left me with a lot to think about. We just sat and talked for quite a while. I explained everything to him. Soobin is a good listener and his accident has made him wise beyond his years. My biggest take away from what he said was that I can’t get clean for anyone but myself. If I feel like I’m doing it for someone else there is more people to disappoint and feel guilty about letting down. Of course, my family and friends are a reason I want to stay clean, but they can’t be the only reason. I won’t stay clean if I don’t want this for myself.

We also talked about Namjoon for a few minutes. Soobin was going on about how great of a guy he is and how when I’m better we would be so good for each other. For the first time I didn’t get outwardly defensive. Part of me can see a future where that is a possibility and the other side of me is thinking about all the petty things. For so long I’ve held a grudge against him and been jealous of his life. In this moment its hard to envy his life. Sure, he got a good inheritance, but his favorite uncle is dead and the boy he likes is a drug addict. Not to mention a lot of things I probably don’t even know about, because despite wanting to know him better I don’t.

“Jungkook I made you a sandwich you should eat before you go to work.” My mother says through the door after lightly rapping her knuckles on the wood.

I stand up stretching my muscles before changing into work clothes. My mother is in the kitchen washing dishes when I finally grab my food. A turkey sandwich with grapes on the side. I thank my mom as I sit at the table. We talk while I eat. She’s asking about my friends and when I’m going to go to a meeting again. Mom wants me to invite the boys around for dinner next week. I think she misses them. We used to hang out here sometimes in high school. Mine and Jin’s parents are good friends and would drink wine together.

“I’m going to dinner with Taehyung and Seokjin after work. I’ll see you later.” I say kissing my mom’s head before walking out the door.

What should we get for dinner tonight? Taehyung is so passive and Jin just wants steak. I don’t know what I’m in the mood for. Maybe we could try the new ramen stand that just opened on the pier yesterday. Yoongi said it was good and he’s eaten at a lot of ramen places. I trust his opinion on the matter. I pull out my phone and text Jin and Taehyung that we are trying the new ramen place and I will hear no objections. After silencing my phone, I put on my apron and take my spot next to Namjoon.

“Good afternoon.” I say and he looks up from the counter he was wiping down shocked.

Is it really that weird for me to be talking to him? I like to think that I wasn’t that mean, but I did say some pretty mean stuff. He looks stressed like something else might have happened on top of everything else that is going on in his life right now.

“Good afternoon to you too.” He says looking up at me briefly before turning to get cups.

Hours later when my shift is about to end a customer comes in and gives me their order. Namjoon stands by letting me take this one since he has the last one. I make the drink the customer asked for and politely smile when I hand him his drink.

“Why is it pink? I asked for an orange-c booster not whatever this is.” He sounds snotty like he’s never been told no in his life.

“Sir, you asked for an aloha pineapple.” I say maintaining my calm customer service voice even though he’s not being nice.

“I most certainly did not. You must have a hearing problem, young man. I’m allergic to pineapple and dairy how dare you!” He says setting the drink down like the outside of the drink might somehow hurt him.

“I’d be happy to make you an Orange-C boost but that also contains dairy, sir.” I speak through a tight smile.

“I get that drink from the shop across town every day and have never had a reaction to it. You must be mistaken and I’m sure that I didn’t order this pineapple garbage. Can’t even make a smoothie and stealing jobs from hard working Americans.”

“I was born in this country.” I snarl not being able to contain my anger anymore.

“Sir, we are going to have to ask you to leave the shop.” Namjoon says stepping in front of me before I can lunge across the counter at this racist motherfucker.

“You too! Lazy employees! I will never spend my hard earn dollars in this establishment ever again. Do you know what would have happened if I had taken a drink of that? I would have died! One star review on yelp watch out for it!” He yells as he walks towards the door almost tripping over a table.

Once the rude man has left Namjoon turns the open sign to close and walks back over to me. He studies my face for a moment with his warm brown eyes.

“Are you okay?” He asks his hand gently touching my bicep.

My heart is jumping wilding in my chest and it takes me a second to form a coherent thought.

“I’m okay. Just another racist asshole. It’s wild that this still happens to me just because I’m not white.”

We share experiences while we clean up and count the till for the day. My brain is stupid but Namjoon standing up for me like that made my heart feel a type of way I haven’t felt in a long time. Since Taehyung to be exact and we all know how serious that was. Do I have a crush on Kim Namjoon? Has my misguided hate been underlying attraction this whole time? I’ve always thought he was attractive, but that used to piss me off.

“Can I join you on the Ferris Wheel?” Namjoon asks looking at the ground.

“Of course, you can.” I say which rightfully seems to shock him. “But that’s not how you keep your distance from someone.”

“Rules are meant to be broken, Koo.” He whispers in my ear before taking off towards the Ferris Wheel.

I watch his tall frame bound away from me and quickly try to catch up. The colorful lights of the pier shining around me like I’m in some romantic comedy. Namjoon is already seated on the Ferris Wheel when I arrive. We squish together in the seat and I feel my palms starting to sweat.

He doesn’t say anything to me so I do what I usually would. I pull my phone out and take snapchats. After a moment I turn my camera to his thoughtful face. He is appreciating the scenery and it’s hard to think of something that has made my heart feel quite like this.

“Did you just take a photo of me?” He asks when he hears another shutter of the camera.

“Just capturing the beauty of the world around me.” I say wondering when I got this smooth.

He opens his mouth to say something then shuts it as his cheeks turn a rosy shade. Namjoon hides his face in his hands and I attempt to pull them away. We look into each other’s eyes our faces inches apart. I’m about to do something really stupid when the Ferris Wheel stops, and the conductor asks us to get off. There is a whole line of people waiting to ride so I run away. I have to get dinner with boys anyway. I’m surprised they aren’t waiting here for me. Usually when we have plans, they meet me at the Ferris Wheel.

Should I have run away from my problems like that? No, but right now I cannot be worrying about feelings I may or may not have. Right now, it’s time to hang out with two of my best friends and eat ramen. Then go back to someone’s house and play video games.

“Jungkook!” I hear Taehyung calls and I look behind my shoulder to see my friends.

“Taehyungie!” I reply walking back to where they are so we can walk to the ramen place together.

“How was your day?” Jin asks.

I launch into a story about how everything was pretty fantastic until that racist pineapple freak came into the shop. They are mad that I had to go through that and want me to describe the man so they can beat him up. Of course, I’m not going to tell them. The last thing I need is for my support system to end up in jail.

“I saw Namjoon get off of the Ferris Wheel with you. What’s going on with that? Isn’t he trying to not be around you more than necessary?” Taehyung asks pushing a strand of hair off his face.

“I don’t really know what that’s about. He asked if he could ride the Ferris Wheel with me and I didn’t say no. That’s basically it.”

My palms are sweating, and I hate that Namjoon is starting to give me these reactions. I’m like a nervous little schoolgirl. Not a cute look for a badass musician. Okay, I know I’m not a badass. I have a lot of problems and if I think of myself as cool it helps me cope with my crippling addictions.

Taehyung raises his eyebrow skeptically but ultimately shrugs it off. Jin pulls out his phone as soon as we are done ordering. He looks tense like something might be wrong. Usually he is easy going and doesn’t show it on his face even when he’s troubled. He sets his phone face down on the table and looks up at us.

“Is something wrong?” I ask him and a glimpse of anger crosses his face so quickly I think I might be hallucinating.

“It’s nothing I’m just overthinking. I’ll be okay.” He says and before I can argue our number is called.

I bring our ramen to the table and we start talking about what Taehyung did today. Mostly video games but he did go to a new art exhibit and went surfing this morning with Hobi. Productive. They ask me about meetings just like my mom did earlier. I want to be annoyed that everyone is asking but I’m actually glad I have people who care enough. They are worried about my wellbeing.

“I wanted to play some video games after this, but I think I should head home and finish the cover art for my ep. It’s almost done, and I want to get it out as soon as I can.”

“Do it at Jin’s we can give you advice about it then we can play zombies.” Taehyung says and I shrug.

Jin has better software on his computer and I have everything saved online so it’s really no problem to just go to his place. The idea for the cover isn’t very original but it looks really dope so far. It’s a picture of me with my hands covering my face and multiple streams of thoughts above my head. Each section has pictures I’ve drawn of different things that control my decisions. Love, sex, drugs, family, music, death and friends. Death wasn’t originally going to be a part of it but after Jackson died, I needed to include it. I wrote a song, well half a song, about how I was worried of what my friends and I were becoming before Jackson died. After I changed the meaning to show what it can do. How it can destroy lives. I’m not sure it really belongs on this album. My songs sound like they are written for a person, but they are all about drugs. Love songs about my addiction.

“Okay, sounds good.”

We finish our ramen playing a few games on the way back. Jin wins cute alpaca with a red scarf that he immediately names RJ for some reason. He hugs it close to chest and it’s adorable how young he looks. Despite the anxious demeanor he’s putting off.

They leave me alone in Seokjin’s office to finish drawing up my cover. I take a quick snapchat telling the people who follow me that I’m dropping my EP in three days. I just decided the date moments ago. If I don’t give myself as deadline, I will never actually publish it. The music I’ve made is good. At least, I think so. I know not everyone will like my sound, but I can’t let that stop me from doing what I love.

An hour later I call the boys in to look at my final copy. I say final but if they give me good enough criticism, I might think about changing it. They seem to be in awe of how good it is. I think I’ve done much better work before, but it’s nice to hear my friends say that I’m talented.

“I wish I was that talented.” Taehyung says and I look at him like he’s dumb before going off on a ten minute rant about how extraordinary he is.

We play a board game before switching to console when I accuse Jin of cheating because he won four times in a row. He must have been cheating there is no way he should have been able to win that many times. Taehyung usually beats everyone at this game.

A random thought jumps into my head as I’m despretely trying not to get eaten by zombies. ‘I want to be your decalcomania I want, I want you.’ This happens frequently. I will randomly get these cool lyrics in my head and sometimes they are accompanied by melodies. I pause the game causing the boys to shout and quickly pull my phone out to write it down before I forget.

“Song lyric?” Taehyung asks falling back into the couch from his previous perched on the edge of the couch position.

“Yes.” I say then turn back to the game without further thought.

They know not to ask me to elaborate because usually I can’t. Sometimes I know where it comes from but most the time it’s random inspiration. My brain is weird maybe its from all the drug use. Then again maybe not. I was pretty weird before I ever tried an illegal substance. Also, this will probably turn out to be a song about Namjoon and I don’t think any of us are ready to accept that yet.

It’s past nine and already dark outside when Jin announces he has to go to a job. He works weird hours. He doesn’t care if we stay, but he says if we do, we have to clean the bedrooms. Taehyung and I follow him out the door waving bye before we head to the beach.

Once we are seated in the sand where I normally sit, Taehyung starts asking me questions.

“What’s going on with you and Namjoon? You didn’t play things as cool as you think you did. It’s obvious something happened.”

Of course, he would notice something was up. It was weird to see Namjoon and I on the Ferris Wheel together and I probably looked shook when they first saw me. I almost kissed my ex mortal enemy. My brain is really out there letting me make these decisions. Not on team Jungkook.

“Well…like I said he stood up for me and then he asked if he could ride the Ferris Wheel with me, so I said yes. He wasn’t really talking to me, so I took pictures like I always do. I took a picture of him and he got shy when I tried to pull his hands away our faces ended up close together. I wanted to kiss him for some reason. What is wrong with me? I should go back to therapy.”

“How many times do I have to tell you that you don’t need to go to therapy because you are experiencing normal human emotions?” He sighs studying my face and there is a hint of sadness in his eyes. “Why didn’t you do it?”

“Well the ride stopped and there was a long line and I was going to be late to dinner.”

Taehyung sifts sand through his hands for a minute staring at the sky like it might give him the answer to whatever he’s pondering.

“You should say no next time.” He finally says, “Joon needs time away from you. There is so much already going on and you still don’t seem to know how you really feel. Jerking him around would be cruel. Once you know exactly how you feel tell him.”

“You’re right. The last thing he needs is more drama.”

We sit there in the sand for a few hours talking about life. Taehyung is trying to find his person, but he’s pretty convinced he’s not going to find him here. He is going to try more serious dating when he goes back to school. It should feel weird to talk about this with him since we were on and off for so long, but it’s not for me. He is just my best friend again and I’m so grateful for that.

“I’m going to head home and think about that lyric I wrote earlier.” I say brushing sand off my shorts as I stand. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay. Remember to sleep.” Taehyung says staying on the sandy grown.

I walk home quickly wanting to work on this piece. I’m constantly working on stuff and that’s the way I like it. Most of the stuff I write will never see the light of day realistically but going through the motions is so fun. Music is so challenging and it’s never the same because no two songs are exactly alike.

Programs on my computer allow me to start making my melody without disturbing my family. I plug my headphones in and work until about two when I decide it’s best if I go to sleep.

I’m working a morning shift tomorrow and Namjoon is working the afternoon. I think he’s requesting not to work with me. It hurts my feelings a little, but I understand. I’m surprised he didn’t quit when we first started. I was mean to him and I should really apologize a thousand times. He’ll probably tell me that it’s okay and accept my apology easily like the perfect man he is. At the moment I’m not sure if I mean that in a snarky way.

I close my eyes and fall asleep soon after lying down. My sleep is comfortable but not long enough, but that’s my fault. I make myself a bagel after heading to the bathroom. Someone has posted more NA meetings on the fridge. I roll my eyes but also feel a twinge in my heart that they care this much.

There is a meeting at one right after I get off work and I decide that I may as well go to that one. I haven’t made any plans with the boys and consistency is key. Some day I won’t need meetings often but for now they are what is going to keep me from dying. It sounds stupid and cliched but admitting that I had a problem was really the hardest step so far.

My shift is boring to say the least. Our manager came in to ask me about the incident that happened yesterday, and I had to give her a full recount. That is the most interesting thing that happens other than being out of strawberries for an hour.

The meeting is a lot like the last one and I still don’t feel comfortable enough to share my whole story. I will get there eventually but for now I’m going to keep that to myself. I talk to a few people about music and they ask to follow me on sound cloud. Most of these people are old enough to be my parents so I’m a little taken back that they want to listen to my music. They must think I’m good because I go to a fancy college all the way across the country. I was in the paper multiple times when I was applying and when I got accepted. It’s hard to get into the program.

I eat dinner with my family and hang out with them for awhile before Jimin texts me. He wants to go on a bike ride. Why is he asking me? I haven’t ridden bikes in a long time. Namjoon is the one that likes biking. Wait. Why do I know that? When did I learn that he likes biking?

Jimin won’t stop texting me so I agree, even though there is a number things I would rather do with him. My bike is in the garage behind a shelf and it takes me a moment to retrieve it. By the time I’m outside with my bike Jimin and Taehyung are already waiting on my doorstep.

“Did I mention Taehyung as joining us?” Jimin asks giving me a cutesy smile that is hard to stay mad at.

“Maybe in one of the thousand texts you sent me.” I complain and he rolls his eyes.

“He sent ten.” Taehyung says swinging his leg over his bike. “I counted.”

Jimin lunges towards Taehyung but he takes off on his bike and we quickly follow him. Taehyung leads us down the back roads of our town for awhile and I feel like we are in middle school again. When we thought all of us liked girls and our biggest problems were zits and vocabulary tests. We used to ride bikes everywhere and get into all kinds of small trouble. The amount of times we’ve almost got caught breaking into the abandoned house on 10th street is way higher than it should be.

We stop at the edge of hill that leads down to the beach and sit. In our younger days this is where we would hang out. Our parents rarely knew where we actually were but if we were in real trouble someone would help us. Most of the people in town like us because we helped a lot. We volunteered for beach clean ups and repainting murals.

“Remember the time I kissed that girl during the fourth of July fireworks up here?” Taehyung asks and we laugh.

He vomited directly afterwards which was definitely due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed. Thankfully, the girl was from out of town and we never had to see her again. While she was running away after the kiss, we did yell sorry while Tae was puking his guts out. How did we even manage to get that as eighth graders? We acted like we were saints, but we were so far from that.

It was simple and fun. Being an adult is hard and while I’m thankful for the freedom sometimes I wish I was still small enough to ride on my dad’s shoulders during concerts. No one grows up aspiring to be what I am. I wish it wasn’t such a big part of my identity right now. I know that I am not just my addiction. I have so many talents, but they are overshadowed by the fact that I’m struggling to get my life together. We are on the right path and if there is ever a movie made about me it will make a great story.

My friends are happy as we look at the ocean and I’m happy.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

It has been a few days since Jin and I kissed. In that time, I’ve tried my best to avoid him. He keeps texting me and after the first day I started responding again. Jin is one of my best friends so I know I can’t avoid this forever. There is an abundance of thoughts and feelings swirling in my head. It’s hard to lock down how to deal with this situation. I like kissing Seokjin but I’m not sure it was because it was him. Kissing anyone may have made me feel the same way.

My heart raced when I almost kissed Jungkook the other day. Of course, that would get huge reaction out of me. I’ve been in love with him for years. Loneliness is a huge part of my everyday life even when I’m surrounded by my friends. The boys help but they can’t give me the sweet romance I crave. One of them wants to but I feel like I would be taking advantage of them if I let it happen.

The ocean looks beautiful from my seat at the edge of the cliff. Jungkook’s voice is flowing through my headphones telling me about his Euphoria. He released his EP yesterday and it’s all I’ve listened to since. I’m trying to figure out what the songs are about. I don’t think they are about love, at least not most of them. It’s easy to tell he wants it to seem like the songs about someone. So far, my best guess is the majority of the songs are about his relationship with drugs. It makes a lot more sense when you know his history. Euphoria, To the Unforgotten and Not That Way seem to be about relationships with actual people. This is all speculation obviously but over the years I’ve learned about Jungkook without him ever knowing. His voice is soothing as I run back home.

It’s my day off and I haven’t made plans. Reading a book curled up in my air conditioned house is where my mind is wandering. Avoiding Jin means I haven’t seen much of my other friends either in the last few days. Maybe I should hang out with them or be an adult and have a conversation with Jin.

After taking a shower I send a message to Jin asking if he still wants to talk to me. Twenty minutes later he asks me to come over. I grab my things and put my shoes on before walking to Jin’s house. I’m a little nervous about this because I want the affection. It just wouldn’t be right for me to do this when my only feelings are sexual.

“Hey.” I say when I see Jin sitting in the living room.

He turns around smiling when he sees my face. Jin stands walking towards me and before I can really register what’s happening, we’re hugging. I return the hug for a moment before leading him into his office. It feels like the right place to have a serious conversation. He sits in the computer chair and I sit on the couch.

“I’m sorry if I made you feel pressured in anyway. That wasn’t cool of me. I’ve had these feelings for a long time, and I know now isn’t a good time, but I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.” Jin says continuing after taking a deep breath. “It was immature of you to avoid me without explanation and completely ghost my messages the day after. I understand a lot is going on and I gave you more to think about, but it still made me feel upset.”

“You didn’t pressure me. I wanted to kiss, but I don’t think it was within the same reasoning you have. I know what I did was childish and I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that and for that I’m sorry.”

“What do you mean by with in the same reasoning?” He asks when I was hoping he wouldn’t.

Nothing honest that I say in this situation is going to make him feel better. Having feelings for Seokjin would be a whole lot easier, but that’s now how the world works. Jin is my friend and he is gorgeous like most of my friends. If there was absolutely no chance, I would ever be with the person I think is my true love and I had to choose one of my friends, it’d be him. That’s not good enough. Jin deserves better than being someone’s second choice.

“I don’t feel the same way. You’re handsome and I’m lonely of course I want to kiss you.” I avoid eye contact looking down at his slipper. I don’t think I can handle the look I know is on his face. “We’ve become such good friends I don’t want to ruin that with something casual that will only leave you hurt.”

“Being with you even a little bit is better than not at all. Don’t worry about me. We can keep it as casual as you want.” Jin says after a few moments.

I look in his eyes that are trying to hide the pain he must already be feeling. Why does he want this if it’s just going to hurt him? I guess I feel the exact same way about Jungkook. I’d rather have a little taste of what could be than nothing. Cuddling and talking to drunk Kook gave me a taste and now I want the real thing more but if I never get it, I think I’ll be okay.

“You deserve better than being my second choice.” I say taking his face between my hands.

“You’re first choice needs time.” He says softly his lips barely moving. “Just stay with me until then.”

What he’s suggesting confuses me. He wants me to stay with him until Jungkook and I are ready to be with each other. Maybe he thinks I’ll fall for him if we are together like he wants. I want to try even if it might hurt Jin, because I’m lonely and selfish. Being able to understand his feelings should steer me away from him but I just want it more. Jin will be happy when we are together. Is a little bit of happiness worth the inevitable pain? Falling for Seokjin doesn’t seem likely, but I’ve been surprised before. I’ve been in love with someone who hasn’t treated me well and I can’t image Jin could do worse.

“Are you sure?” I ask looking into his eyes. It’s as if they are sparkling when I don’t outwardly reject him. “If we were to do something, I’d want it all to happen behind closed doors until I returned your feelings.”

“I’m okay with that. It makes sense.” He says rolling his chair closer so he can lay a gentle hand on my shoulder.

His hand moves from my shoulder towards my face slowly. Jin is watching my reaction like he knows I might stop him at any moment. His fingertips trace the line of my jaw while I think. There is a lot I need to say before I can really agree to this. If I don’t make rules, it’s going to get out of hand. This isn’t something I particularly want the rest of the boys to know about. I’m not ashamed of what I might do with Jin. I just don’t want to throw off the group dynamic. Yoongi and Jimin was different because we hadn’t really become one big group yet when they started flirting.

“We should hang out at my house since you have an open-door policy here.” I say as he sits beside me keeping his hands to himself for the moment. “We can set boundaries as needed, I guess.”

“Okay.” He says holding eye contact with me. “Can I kiss you? And if I do are you going to run away again?”

“I won’t run away.” I say closing the distance between us.

We kiss for a while with no further action until our phones start repeatedly buzzing. I pull away with a sigh and pull my phone out of my pocket. The boys are spamming the group chat asking where I am. They want to hang out with me. Taehyung says, ‘I’m so bored I’m thinking about downloading grindr to talk with some fuck boys.’ That’s when I know I need to go. Taehyung hates talking to people on apps like that.

“Taehyung and Hoseok are bored. I’m going to find them before they do something stupid.” I say debating whether or not I should ask him something. After a moment I decide there is no harm in asking. “Do you want to come over and watch something later?”

“Are you asking me to Netflix and chill, Namjoon Kim?” he has a devious smile on his face.

“We’ll see where the night leads us.” I say with a sly wink and walk out of the office before he can answer me.

“Yes!” I hear him yell and I laugh.

I’ll text him later when I figure out what I want to do. If I don’t chicken out and pretend like I have something to do. Maybe we could hang out on the cliff instead. Not many people go up there at night because they are scared of animals. It’s still public enough that I won’t be tempted to do something I might regret.

In my haste to get to the pier before Taehyung and Hoseok do anything stupid I run into Jungkook. He was standing on Jin’s front porch about to come inside. He might have caught us making out if Taehyung wasn’t so insistently texting me. Yikes.

“Opps, I’m sorry.” I say holding a hand out to help him up.

“It’s okay. Where are you off to so fast?” Jungkook asks accepting my hand and pulling himself up.

He lets go of my hand and I wish he wouldn’t have even though I was kissing one of his best friends literally two minutes ago.

“Tae and Hobi are bored. I’m going to find them before they do something dumb.”

“Okay, see you.” He says turning on his heel and walking into Jin’s house.

Taehyung decides we are going to climb on the rocks near the ocean. I’m distracted with too many emotions jumbling in my mind to stop him. We probably won’t get hurt we used to do this all the time.

It’s been a long time since I was kissed the way Jin kissed me. He is so good at kissing it’s hard not to like it. There was no spark, but there was desire. The kind I usually ignore because one night things and friends with benefits have historically left me feeling worthless. I’m good enough to fuck but not to date, is how I usually feel. In this situation Jin probably feels like I usually do. I’m desperate for attention and he wants to give it to me, but I can’t help but feel like a piece of shit. I wish I could have entered into this not knowing that Jin has legitimate feelings for me.

“Joon are you listening?” Taehyung asks as I stand on top of a rather large rock.

“No.” I say truthfully. “I’ve got a lot on my mind, but I don’t want to talk about it.”

The last part isn’t entirely true. Talking about this with someone might help ease my worries, but then everyone would know, and I don’t want that. It’s easier if something like this stays between me and the person it’s happening with. I’m overthinking this. We haven’t even had sex yet. All we’ve done is have a heated make out session that didn’t even involve touching.

“I asked if you wanted to go to Jin’s for dinner. He’s making barbeque.”

“Who is going to be there?” I ask immediately and regret it.

I want to see Jungkook and I want to be around him, but life is just so damn unfair. Having a picnic with him on the cliff looking over the water sound better than any dinner my friends could make. When we’d finished, he would lean back into my arms and tell me about his hopes and dreams. We’d share a sweet kiss before I dropped him at home.

Wow I’m starting to sound like some old geezer trying to court the girl who has caught my attention.

“Us and Jin. The other boys are having dinner at Jungkook’s house.”

That’s another fantasy I’ve had one too many times. I’m so lame. The times I’ve imagined having dinner with the Jeon’s and Jungkook nervously introducing me as his boyfriend to his family. Taehyung is the only boy he’s brought home to the best of my knowledge. Maybe even the only person and it couldn’t have been that weird because they’ve been friend forever.

A twinge of jealousy runs through my veins, but I quickly contain it. They aren’t together anymore, and the past doesn’t matter. Taehyung and Jungkook had a nice relationship and they taught each other lots of things. One day I may be grateful that Tae taught Jungkook how to love someone. They were young and naïve, but I think their love was real and pure hearted.

“Sounds like a good time.” I say as I start climbing back down the rocks onto the beach.

“Are you okay?” Hoseok asks when we are almost to Jin’s.

They had been holding a pretty steady conversation and I was keeping to myself. With my best friends I’m usually all over whatever they are talking about. Taehyung was talking about a guy he saw yesterday near the zipper. I wasn’t really interested in his story, so I spaced off.

“I’m okay. Doing better the more time I spend with you guys. Alone time is great, but it leaves me alone with my thoughts a little too much.”

“We got you buddy.” Taehyung says and they sandwich me in a hug before I can get away.

We walk into Jin’s house with their arms wrapped around my shoulders. Taehyung takes off to the fridge probably in search of beer and Hoseok settles for jumping over the back of the couch.

“Hi.” I say as I walk into the kitchen where he is preparing meat to put on the barbeque outside.

“Hi, Joonie.” He says smiling over his shoulder then frowning as he looks at Tae, “There is not beer in the fridge. You drank it all the last time you were here.”

“That means I have to go to the store. Be right back. Hobi come with me!” Taehyung says striding over to him and pulling him up.

Hoseok begrudgingly agrees to go and they walk outside. They’ll be back in ten minutes maybe longer if they can’t agree on what brand to buy. Which is quite an issue with them sometimes.

“Why did you suddenly decide to have a barbeque?” I ask taking a seat at the island counter across from where he is cutting meat.

“It’s been a little while. I would have had everyone but some of them are with Kook’s family.” He says focusing on his task for a moment before a smile crosses his face.

“What?” I ask taking a piece of fruit out of the bowl in front of me to play with. Idle hands aren’t good for me.

“I’m not allowed to smile?” He asks cheekily. “What movie do you want to watch?”

“Your smile is welcomed. Whatever you want to watch is fine.” I say putting the piece of fruit back in its rightful place before continuing. “But the boys don’t know how to sleep at a decent time. We may be here awhile.”

“You can say you don’t want to if you’re scared.”

I get up intending to help him but after hearing that I just want to get in his face. Seokjin puts the knife on the counter and back against a counter with nothing on it. I put my hand on the cabinet behind him and look down at his face.

“Why would I be scared to watch a movie with you, Seokjinnie? We’ve done that lots of times.”

I can hear a hitch in his breathing as I move even closer pressing my body against his. I let my free hand run up his arm to trace the line of his jaw.

“What-what’s gotten into you?” he asks in a soft voice that is almost trembling.

“Nothing yet.” I say putting a finger under his chin to lift his head.

His eyes fall shut like he thinks I’m going to kiss him. I walk away returning to my seat. Jin is honestly in his right mind to question me. I can’t remember a time whenever I have ever acted so boldly with someone I’m not dating. It’s an interesting change of pace. Being dominant is more fun than I remember.

“Tease.” He says and I just laugh leaning my elbows on the counter.

Our conversation shifts to normal topics like music and school. Taehyung and Hoseok are back within twenty minutes with two different kinds of beer. They couldn’t decide so they got both and that’s when I knew this night was going to end with all of drunk.

“Do you want one?” Taehyung asks as he moves things aside to make room for the beer rack.

“Sure.” I say walking towards him so he doesn’t attempt to throw it at me.

“Let’s move outside and start grilling.” Jin says picking up the meat and some of the vegetables he had been cutting. “Hobi can you grab the rest of the stuff we need?”

Hoseok is glad to help smiling hard enough for his cute little dimple to show. We follow Jin outside where lights the grill and begins cooking for us. Some man will be lucky to have him some day. Not just because he can cook, but because he’s kind and thoughtful. He doesn’t like bullshit and sometimes that comes across as rude but that’s not how he means it. He’s realistic which is why I can’t really fathom why he wants a relationship with me.

Taehyung fills Jin in on what we did today while the food is cooking. When we sit down Jin starts telling him what he did today leaving out things we obviously don’t want our friends to find out. He went fishing for a few hours while we were climbing on the rocks. Jin didn’t catch anything then decided to go grocery shopping and invite us over.

“Black out or back out.” Taehyung says hours later when we are all thoroughly under the influence. “I’ve never sucked dick in a bathroom.”

“That’s not true.” I hear from behind me and I see Jungkook, Jimin and Yoongi.

Jungkook is wearing a lowcut sweater that shows off his collarbone and shorts that show off his toned thighs. His fluffy hair is shining in the dim light and he’s smiling. Every muscle of my body wants to jump up and wrap my arms around him. That’s not smart though. Even my intoxicated brain knows that.

Jin looks taken aback that they are here so they must have not texted him. That’s pretty typical with our group. We just show up at his house, which is why we can’t do hook up things here unless we want all our friends to know and hear.

“Fine I’ve never sucked dick in a public bathroom.” Taehyung says taking a drink of his beer despite knowing the roles of the game.

Seokjin takes a drink and I give him a surprised look. He winks at me then offers beers to the boys. I’m sitting close enough that I can slap his shoulder.

“Maybe we should cool it with the drinking.” I say looking at Jungkook as he sits next to Taehyung.

“It’s okay, Namjoon. I’ll get some banana milk and join in.” Jungkook gets up and Jimin follows him into the kitchen.

“I’ve never sent a dick pic.” I say looking around because I know at least one of them has.

The other boys return sitting down and I repeat my statement. All of them drink except Yoongi.

“How have you never sent a dick pic? Has no one ever asked that’s tragic, Joonie.” Hoseok blurts moving his shoulders to an imaginary melody.

“Lots of people have asked but I don’t want to put myself at risk for someone other than the intended person to see it. The whole world doesn’t need to see my genitals.”

“That’s kind of smart.” Jimin says taking another drink of the beer Taehyung bought. They have similar tastes.

“Of course, its smart. He’s Namjoon Kim.” Jungkook says and my drunk brain can’t decipher if he’s complementing me or being sarcastic.

“I’ve never played this game without alcohol until now.” Jungkook says causing an uproar of ‘that’s not fair’ and general groans.

Jungkook giggles watching each of us take a drink while he holds his banana milk in his two hands like a cup of cocoa. He’s so endearing that it hurts my heart. How can one human be so precious? All the tragedy, trials and tribulations he’s been through and he still holds his head high. He hasn’t let his demons get the best of him.

“I’ve never went to a Broadway show.” Yoongi says and we continue like this for a few more hours.

It’s nearly two a.m. by the time Yoongi and Jimin crash in one of the guest rooms. Jungkook had left a half hour ago with Taehyung and part of me wonders what they are doing right now. The other part of me wants to take Jin to my house and see where the nights leads.

My eyes fall on Jin to find him sitting with his head tilted back obviously asleep. I pick him up and carefully carry him to his bedroom. I’m not sure how I manage to successfully get him to bed. He stirs as I set him down and pulls me against his chest.

“Namjoonie, stay.” Jin says sitting up kicking of his slippers and struggling with the button of his jeans.

“Whoa.” I stop his hands not wanting to know what he was planning on doing.

“I just want to be comfortable pervert.” He says and I step back looking away as he takes off his pants and shirt.

Jin gets under the blanket and turns the TV on already looking for something to watch. I stand there awkwardly not knowing if I should leave or sit beside him. This is much too hard a decision for drunk Namjoon.

“Are you going to watch a movie with me or am I going to do that alone?” Jin asks settling a drama that I’ve already seen before. He said a movie, but he has chosen a show which usually leads to a much longer stay. Should I get out of here while I still can? Why do I should like I’m being kidnapped?

I remove my slippers and jeans before sliding under the blanket with him. I’m glad I wore cute underwear today and not an older pair. He wraps an arm around my shoulder and presses play. Nothing happens for awhile we sit there watching the show and I’m starting to feel sleepy when Seokjin kisses me.

The kisses get more heated and hands are wandering. I pull away looking him in the eyes for a moment before saying what needs to be said.

“We’re drunk. We should do this another time. I’m going to go home.” I say getting up and quickly putting my pants on. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Is all Jin says and he lets me leave without a fight.

I take the long way to my house hoping the cooling night air might sober me up a bit. All I’m doing is giving myself more to think about and more problems to deal with. This is sober Namjoon’s problem.

When I’m showered and safely in bed I put headphones on and play Jungkook’s EP the sound of his voice puts me to sleep quickly.

Chapter Text

Namjoon

My relationships with Jin and Jungkook get ever more complicated with each day that passes. Seokjin and I have been hooking up, watching movies, and occasionally have dinner alone. It’s hard to limit the time I spend with him when he’s honestly become my best friend. Every part of whatever we are doing is messy and I try my hardest not to think about it and enjoy it while it lasts. We have been very careful despite Jin’s almost constant protests. He thinks no one is going to just walk into his room like our friends don’t come over whenever they want. I think they are suspicious that Jin is seeing someone, particularly Yoongi, but Jin refuses to admit he’s seeing someone. They don’t believe him.

On the other hand, my relationship with Jungkook is starting to thrive. Slowly I’ve started to spend more time with him, in group settings mostly. We talk about normal things like how excited we are to go back to school. He realized my school is only an hour drive from his and we are thinking about visiting each other sometimes. Jungkook is becoming my actual friend and I’m thrilled about it. Of course, I want more. After being his friend for a few weeks now I really think I would be okay like this forever. There is a certain amount of sexual tension that we don’t speak of, but with time I think it could go away if I needed it too.

Jungkook has been attending one or two meeting a week depending on how he feels. He talks to his sponsor in Boston often and he has one here. He’s mentally preparing himself already to go back to school. Even though he’s cut out the toxic people doesn’t mean they will stay away. Being on the same campus he spent so much time with Jackson is challenging for him. He wants to help his old friends get out of it, but he’s not sure he should. He doesn’t want to threaten his sobriety by putting himself in a situation where he’ll be offered what he wants. I hope that I can be there for him if it ever gets too much. We aren’t far from each other, a fact I already knew but wouldn’t say. It makes me sound creepy.

For a few days now I’ve spent a far amount of time trying to figure out how I want to tell Seokjin that we need to end things. There is no way I can do this without ruining the friendship we’ve made. He’s made it clear that he has legitimate feelings for that I don’t return. Last week I thought I might actually have romantic feelings for him. I realized I was clowning myself when I saw Jungkook do a backflip and my heart made the same motion. There is a part of me that is in love with the idea of being in love with Jin. That’s not enough this isn’t some Gatsby bullshit, he deserves someone who loves him more than anything. Someone who will him like hung the stars in the sky. I can’t give him that.

“Ferris Wheel?” Jungkook asks as we are finishing our shift.

It’s the Fourth of July and there is lots of tourists milling around. We had to stay open a little later than usual. Hoseok planned a bonfire with lots of food and alcohol that starts in about an hour. I’m excited to spend time with my friends. A lot of our old school mates will be there. Every year there is an unofficial reunion bonfire on the beach. Not just for our class, but many of the ones before us. People love coming home for the holidays.

“Of course, Kook.” I say wiping the counter down one last time.

He gives me a smile that shows of his cute bunny teeth. Jungkook has been spending a lot of time outside lately and it’s done good things for his complexion. Obviously, I’d argue he always looks good, but this tan makes him seem like he is glowing. The other day he helped me make a homemade face mask. I’m not sure where he got that idea from, but my skin has never felt better.

Jungkook leads me to the Ferris Wheel with wide eyes and a beautiful smile. There is a lot of people around us and the pier has been decorated in red, white and blue. So American it hurts. There are still a few hours of sunlight left. We squeeze into a seat together and he leans against my shoulder taking out his phone. I do the same and we take a few cute snaps before we get off.

There is a lot of people surrounding the fire Hobi has already made. They are roasting hotdogs and cooking burgers over it. Later they will add more, and it will be a real bonfire. Jungkook stays close to my side as I make my way towards Taehyung and Jimin. I sit in the sand beside them as they ask about our day. We tell them about our mostly boring day.

“Some dude pulled vodka out of his bag and poured it straight into his smoothie at like 10 in the morning. I couldn’t even judge him because we’ve all been there.” Jungkook says sending the boys into a fit of laughter.

The fire is crackling, the music is loud, and people are chatting. There is a calmness in the chaos as I watch the waves the hit the shore. I almost want to leave and find a place to be alone for a minute, but I know everywhere will have people. The cliff I often frequent will be swarmed with people trying to get the best spot for fireworks already. There are still hours until the show starts but people will already be there.

“Are you okay, Namu?” Jungkook whispers in my ear leaning towards me.

My heart flutters at the use of that nickname. It’s still a little weird to have him not always calling me Namjoon Kim. He’s the only one that calls me Namu and I want to keep it that way. A cute little nickname just for him to use. I want us to have little things that are just our own. Sometimes it feels hard when we have so many friends around us all the time. I love them all to death, but a moment alone with Jungkook when I’m not working would be heavenly.

“Perfect. Just appreciating.” I say with a smile.

My life has gotten easier in some respects over the last few weeks. After my uncle’s wake it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The inheritance I will be receiving upon graduation is still a mystery to my mom and I’m studying hard every day. Music has always come naturally to me, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t study it. Music is ever changing and difficult even to someone like me. That’s another reason my admiration of Jungkook never ceases. He can write, produce and sing these amazing songs he’s written. I can’t wait for the day we work on a track together.

“Jungkook I love your EP. I know its been out for a minute, but I don’t think we’ve talked about it.” Jimin says and I’m wondering how they haven’t talked about it.

I try to keep my mouth shut when it comes to his music. My mind is constantly raving about it. He would find me even more creepy if he knew the level of admiration, I have for him. I don’t he really thinks I’m creepy. Sometimes I just feel that way.

“Thank you, Jimin. I worked really hard on it. What was your favorite?” His cheeks turn pink as he speaks, and I know he’s going to take every word to heart.

He is extremely hard on himself. Every mistake he makes plagues him for weeks afterwards. I’m not sure he understands how annoyingly talented he is, and I will do everything I can to sign him to my company. Once I get my ownership obviously. I know he has talents he hasn’t even tapped yet. I want to help him grow to his fullest potential.

“Euphoria. There is such a pure wonder to it that I can’t describe. If you don’t sing it at my wedding, I’m not getting married.” Jimin scrunches his face into a smile when he’s done speaking and we laugh.

“Of course, I’ll sing at yours and Yoongi’s wedding.” He says cheekily and Jimin blushes hiding his face is Taehyung’s shoulder.

“Where is he by the way?” I ask after Jimin has recovered.

“He is having dinner with his family. He’ll be here when the fireworks start.” Jimin says and I can tell he wishes Yoongi was here already.

They have a strong relationship, it seems. Yoongi doesn’t spend enough time with Hoseok and I alone, but I can understand. We hang out as a group enough that it makes up for it. Yoongi didn’t really bring people he was seeing around us until he was sure about them. Which has made it interesting to finally see this side of him. He would talk to me about boy problems but seeing loving boyfriend Yoon makes my heart warm.

“Are you hooking up with someone?” Taehyung pointedly asks me a few hours later when the fireworks are about to start.

He is a few drinks deep, so I’m not surprised. I’ve heard them talking when they thought I wasn’t listening. They are sure Jin is seeing someone, but they aren’t sure if I’m just reading. I almost shrug but think I should give a more solid answer.

“What gives you that idea?”

“You look happier, you don’t seem as stressed and you turn your location off for periods of time.” Yoongi jumps in giving me a look like he knows something I don’t want him too.

Everyone is sitting in the sand with us now. The fireworks should be starting at any moment. Jin steals a glance at me and this is not the moment I will let this be exposed. I want to end it and I don’t want Jungkook to know. Eventually he will know but in a controlled way that doesn’t surprise him.

“Sometimes I just want you to leave me alone. Is that a sin?” I say and continue feigning offence hoping to make him feel bad. “You think I need to be fucking someone to make me happier and less stressed?”

Yoongi starts to defend himself but is distracted by the first burst of red in the sky. After years of watching the fireworks it’s not as wonderful and awe inspiring as when I was a kid. I still enjoy being surrounded by my friends and having an excuse to celebrate.

I study Jin’s face and he looks upset. He has honored my requests and been very sweet about out arrangement, but I can tell he wishes it was different. The longer I let this go on the more I’m hurting my friend. There have been a few drunken moments where Jin has asked if we could be more than friends with benefits. I always give him the same answer that he doesn’t want. I don’t think we ever will be. He wants to be my boyfriend. He wants to take me out on dates and be an annoying couple like Jimin and Yoongi, but I don’t want that with him.

“Namu…” Jungkook leans close to while the fireworks keep booming above our heads. “Will you take a walk with me? I’m getting overwhelmed.”

“Jungkook and I going to go for a walk. We’ll be back soon text us if you move somewhere else.”

Yoongi and Hoseok each raise an eyebrow and I don’t need to read minds to know what they are thinking.

I lead Jungkook away from the noise towards the cliff I love to sit at. We stop at a bench a little ways up the trail that is covered by branches. You can’t see it from the trail, so no one is sitting here. He’s kept quiet the whole walk here. We sit close to each other despite a good amount of room on the bench.

“I’m sorry to take you away from the fireworks. Being around so many drunk and high people is messing with me a little bit. I’ll be okay for the rest of the night. I just need to take breaks to gather myself. Life isn’t going to just stop because I need it too. Especially in the industry I’m going into. I have to get used to this, without partaking.” He’s staring at the ocean through the gaps in the trees as he speaks

You can’t see a lot right because it’s so dark. Jungkook touches my thigh searching for my hand. I give him my hand and he laces his fingers through mine. Boundaries between us have been getting a little blurry lately. I’m really surprised he hasn’t tried to kiss me again. I’m going to wait for him to ask for it. I don’t want to ruin or misinterpret anything. He is important and special to me and I can’t do something that will make him hate me again.

“It’s okay. They do basically the same show every year.” I say squeezing his hand. “Your safety and wellbeing are more important.”

“Thank you for caring, Namu.” Jungkook says his face bright and it’s hard to imagine such a light face having such a dark past. “Does it make you mad when they ask if you are hooking up with someone?”

“It doesn’t make me mad exactly. I find it annoying.” My heart is racing as we talk because if he straightly asks me, I will not lie.

He squeezes my hand and doesn’t say anything for a moment. We listen to the sound of people walking up and down the trail. The sound of the ocean and the fireworks exploding above our heads. I run my thumb across the back of his hand. He makes me a feel a way that I could write endless songs about and still it wouldn’t be enough.

We end up staying here awhile talking about random things until our phones buzz at the same time. Probably a message from the group chat. Jungkook opens the message first and I just wait for him to tell me what they said.

“They are moving the party to Jin’s, but just the boys and some of our old school mates.” Jungkook says releasing my hand.

I doubt the party will stay as small as Jin wants it to, but he can try. Everyone is going to invite their friend and their friends and soon Jin’s house will be filled with strangers. He better lock his doors.

“Let’s go then.”

He leads the way down and when we are about block from Jin’s house I pull him to a stop. He gives me a funny look and I lay a hand on his shoulder.

“If you get overwhelmed again find me and we can go somewhere else.”

“You don’t have to do that.” He says shyly and there is a gleam in his eye that I can’t explain.

“I know. Just want to make sure my Kookie is okay.” I move my hand to his cheek as I’m saying this.

He is an arm’s length away from me, but I’m still so tempted to pull him towards me. Jungkook surprises me throwing his arms around my waist. I gasp then wrap my arms around his shoulders. We stand like that in the middle of the street for a moment.

“Thank you, Namu.” He says when he lets go running off towards Jin’s house.

I catch up to him quickly he’s out of breath and giggling. So precious. Every time I see a moment like this, I want to take a picture to capture it forever. He walks inside where music is blaring. A quick look around tells me that I don’t know most of the people here. Just like I thought.

“Where’d you guys go?” Jin asks pulling me into the back patio where there isn’t quite as many people.

His tone is jealous, and I really don’t want to go through this right now. I think about getting a drink but decide against it in case Jungkook needs me. I don’t need to drink to have fun. Jin has been friends with Jungkook much longer than me. He should be able to tell when Kook is unsettled, but I’m not so sure anyone was paying attention.

“He was overwhelmed with all the drunk people and the joints being passed around. He needed a moment away from that. He wanted some comfort and support.” I say keeping an even tone even though he’s pissing me off.

“Why did he go to you? You two have only been friends for a few weeks.” Jin says distorted his face so he looks annoyed.

I walk away from him taking a drink out of Taehyung’s hand and downing it. It won’t hurt to have just one. Tae whines in protest but joins me as I sit on the edge of the patio with my back to the festivities.

“What was that?”

“Nothing Jin’s being annoying.” I say pulling up the grass near my feet.

“Is Jungkook okay?”

Finally, someone who cares about what really matters. Jungkook isn’t the kind of person who leaves without telling you what he’s doing. Especially after he went to college. When you are involved with things like he was you have to let your friends know what’s up in case you don’t come back. I’m thankful that he seems to actually care unlike Seokjin’s jealous ass. The boy can fuck good but is overbearing. If we were dating, which we aren’t, I could understand, but he’s just my fuck buddy. He is my actual friend too but that doesn’t mean he needs to know what I’m doing all the time.

“He got overwhelmed. He’s okay now.” I say looking through the crowd for him.

I spot him sitting with Jimin and Yoongi near the hot tub. He’s laughing with his head thrown back and he looks relaxed. I wish he could always feel at ease and not worry. Life isn’t fair. He deserves the best and I don’t know if I’m that, but I’ll try to be.

Several hours later I’ve had a few more drinks because Jungkook won’t leave Jimin’s side. Everyone has left the house or gone to sleep except for Jin and I. I’m sitting on the patio wondering if he’s going to say something or continue to sit here in silence.

“We aren’t very good at talking to each other I guess.” Jin says his speech slow and careful.

“It’s better when we don’t talk.” I say as I begin taking my clothes off.

The temperature has dropped so I decide to get into the hot tub. I pull my underwear to my ankles and remove the cover. I sit down wondering if Jin is going to join me or not. I know where this is going to lead and it’s risky. Anyone could walk out at any time. Our friends are asleep inside the house.

Jin slowly removes his clothes almost like he’s putting on a show for me. It’s like he’s teasing me. Eventually he joins me straddling my legs. He kisses me long and hard. One thing leads to another and before I know it, I’m having sex in a hot tub.

He sucks at my neck as he bounces on my cock filthy words leaving his plump lips and that’s when I hear a glass break. I look over to see Jungkook with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. His expression is a mixture of shock and horror. I push Jin off of me back into the water. Jungkook surges forward to retrieve something off the table before running back into the house.

I cover myself as I stand yelling his name, “Jungkook! Wait.”

There is a towel shelf near the hot tub where I get a towel to dry off. I quickly put on my shorts not bothering with anything else before I try to run after him. Jin catches my arm pulling me back to him.

“Joon come on don’t follow him. He’ll be okay. We’ve been having so much fun that has to mean something. I love you. Why can’t you just choose me?”

I don’t have time for this right now. Jungkook is the only thing on my mind. He doesn’t have good coping methods. What if this sends him into a spiral? I know I’m probably not that important to him, but if I am, I can’t let this happen. I can’t have another accident be on my conscious.

“Jin I don’t love you. I never have it’s always been him. I’ll never be able to forgive myself if something happens to him so I’m leaving.” My voice raises as I speak because I can’t control myself. I need to find Jungkook.

“Whatever we are doing is done if you leave right now.” He says like that might stop me from leaving.

“Good I’ve been trying to find a good way to end this for a while now.” I say and pull my arm away from him and stalk off.

After putting my shoes on at the front door I run to any place I think he might be. It’s the middle of the night so the places he could be are kind of limited. I check the bars and thankfully don’t find him in any of those. Next I check places I know there is drug activity and see a friend of Soobin’s.

“Hey. You’re a friend of Soobin’s yeah?” I ask the hooded figure and he shuffles looking up at me with a menacing look.

“Who’s asking?” He replies and I roll my eyes.

“Namjoon Kim. Have you seen Jungkook Jeon? He saw something he shouldn’t have, and I’m worried about him.” My tone is rushed, and I just want answers out of this drug dealing piece of shit.

“That cutie with fluffy hair? He was wearing a big black shirt?” He asks and I nod my head trying to remember if that’s what he was wearing today. “I ran into him about half an hour ago. Sold him some Xan. He has a big bottle of something.”

I slug him in the face knocking him to the ground. I sit on top of him holding his hands against the cement. This man sold drugs to the love of my life.

“Which way did he go?” I ask as he tries to cover his face.

I hit him again not being able to contain my anger right now.

“Towards the beach.”

“If you ever sell to him again things are going to be a lot worse than this.”

Of course, he would go to the beach. I run to the spot at the beach where he went to meet KoalifiedCutie148 at the beginning of the summer. He spends so much time there and I know he wouldn’t go home right now, especially if he has drugs.

In what feels like record time I am on the beach yelling his name. I see a glint of something in the sand and run towards it. A bottle of Jin’s favorite liquor half empty next to a baggie of pills. There is two left in the bag.

“JUNGKOOK!” I scream at the top of my lungs looking for anything that might lead me to him.

I see something in the waves as I get closer to the shoreline. A lump being thrown around. My heart sinks in my chest and I run into the waves after throwing my phone down. I swim out to where I saw something being thrown around and find Jungkook. Tears are streaming down my face as I pull him to shore.

The flashbacks to when I was in a similar situation years ago is not helping me drag him to shore. As soon as we are away from the shoreline, I dial 911 and begin doing chest compressions.

“911. What’s your emergency?” The operator who I’d put on speaker fun asks.

I tilt his head back and begin doing chest compression how I learned in 10th grade health class too many years ago. I begin describing the situation to the best of my ability. I’m freaking out and I’m not sure how I’m doing anything right now.

“Please help him!” I yell deciding that I should do a rescue breathe.

He coughs when I pull away spiting up water and opening his eyes.

“I didn’t think our first kiss would be like that.”

I laugh feeling like my heart is whole again after it was torn out my chest.

“He’s responsive.” I tell the 911 operator and she tells me that an ambulance will arrive soon for further examination and that I can hang up.

I hang up the phone and pull Jungkook into my arms. Burying my face in his soaking hair and praying to the god I don’t believe in that nothing like this will ever happen again. He pushes himself away to vomit and I begin apologizing even though I know it’s probably the last thing he wants to hear.

“I’m so sorry that you saw that. It was all about sexual attraction. I’m not in love with him. He loves me but I don’t feel the same. There was a gap in my life I needed to fill, and he was so conveniently there. I’ve been trying to end it for a while, but I couldn’t find a way that wouldn’t ruin the friendship I have with him.” I ramble while he continues to puke, and I rub his back. “I love you.”

He wipes his mouth before turning around looking at me with lovesick eyes.

“Just what every man wants to hear when they’ve just almost died and are puking their guts out.” He says but there is a playfulness to the rough sound of his voice. “Thank you for saving me, Namu.”

I hear sirens in the distance and pick him up bridal style. He doesn’t protest too shaken to be able to walk right now. I bring him to the ambulance where they take him to the hospital for further examination. They tell me that he’s lucky I got here so quickly, but one of the EMT’s gives me a strange look when he realizes I’m the same kid who called the ambulance for the kid that got paralyzed. All these years later and the deja vu is rampant.

Chapter Text

Jungkook

After the incident on the Independence Day my mother insists that I go into a program. I had no energy left in me to fight her. She was right and I knew it. I needed a kind of help that I couldn’t achieve on my own surrounded by familiar people. I spent a month in a rehabilitation facility two hours from my home. My contact with the outside world was very limited. My immediate family are the only people I talked to while I was there. I didn’t see Namjoon before I left, and my therapist thought it was better if I didn’t call him.

Today my mother is coming to get me. I can’t wait to be back in my own room and have my phone. I’m sure there will be a lot of notifications wishing me well. My mother told a lot of people what I was doing. I haven’t decided how I feel about that. People I wouldn’t want to know about my problem do now. If someone looks at differently because of this I don’t need them in my life. Every day I work to overcome this addiction and I will not foster anymore negativity.

“Jungkook?” One of the staff calls knocking on my door. “Your mother is here.”

I grab my cardboard box filled with clothes, papers and books. My eyes sweep the bare room and there is a twinge of sadness leaving this place. Going into the real world after staying here for a month is going to be a challenge. For most of my recovery time so far, I didn’t think a place like this was for me. It was exactly what I needed. All the temptation was taken away from me and I learned how to cope when I was faced with temptation in a healthy way.

My relationship with some of my friends have probably shifted. I have a feeling I’m not welcomed in Seokjin’s house anymore. My heart aches thinking of that. Seokjin has been one of my best friends for most of my life and his jealousy is keeping him from being rational. I can’t believe one of my friendships might be ruined over a boy. He is a very special boy but I really thought I would never let that happen.

There is a lot about that night that I still need to ask someone about. I’ll ask Namjoon to explain. For the first week I was angry at Namjoon and Jin. They hid whatever was going on between them from me and possibly the rest of the boys. I wasn’t mad that it was happening. I was mad that they hid it from us. Over the last few weeks I’ve let go of it and accepted that it’s in the past now and I can’t change it.

“Jungkook!” My mother says when I walk into the receptionist’s area.

She has a huge smile on her face, and she runs over to me embracing me tightly. I feel safe wrapped in her arms like maybe the world won’t hurt me today. After a moment she takes the box from my hands so I can sign release papers. Then we head to the car and begin our ride home.

There is a lot I haven’t told her over the phone, so I spend the ride home telling her everything. She tells me what my friends have been up to in my absence. Apparently Namjoon, Tae and Jimin came over for dinner after asking for updates a bunch of times.

“They were really worried about you.” She says as we pull into the driveway of our house.

“Well I’m okay now.” I say getting out of the car and running into the living room where the rest of my family is waiting for me.

After spending a few hours with my family, I take a shower and settle in for a minute to check my phone. I have a lot of texts and messages that say basically the same thing. I open the snapchat camera and take a selfie captioning ‘a bitch is back’ with a tongue out dizzy looking emoji. Maybe not the most appropriate emoji use but who the fuck cares.

Ten minutes later all of the boys have swiped up on my story welcoming me home and asking when I can hang out. I text the group chat that we should hang out on the beach tomorrow. Then ask Namjoon, in our private chat, if he’d like to meet up and talk. He quickly responds asking if his house is an okay place to talk. I text him back telling him that his house is fine, and I’ll be there soon.

“Mom I’m going to go see Namjoon. I’ll be home before 10.” I say once I’m dressed and downstairs.

She nods because we agreed to trust each other kind of. I have to do drug tests until I go back to school and she’s added me on snapchat so she can see where I am. My family wants the best for me. At first, I was mad about my mom adding me, but in this day and age private stories are a thing so I don’t need to worry that much.

I make a detour to the pier for hotdogs before I’m standing on the doorstep of Namjoon’s house. Hotdogs balancing in one hand I pull my phone out to text him I’m here when the door swings open. Our eyes meet and my heart starts beating a mile a minute. I can’t contain the smile that is spreading across my face.

“Hi, Kookie.” He says motioning me inside. “How have you been?”

“I’m doing better.” I say following him into the cozy living room. “I don’t know if you’ve eaten but I remembered you really liked these hotdogs.”

“Thank you.” He says with a sweet smile on his face.

He takes one of the hotdogs and takes a seat on the couch. I follow his movements sitting next to him and I feel nervous. A good kind of nervous like when you are talking to your crush. I’m not sure what to say right now, but there is so much I need to be explained before I can move forward with him.

Our conversation is light as we chow down on our hotdogs. He tells me what I’ve missed since I was gone. Namjoon somehow got everyone, expect Jin, to go surfing with him last week. They had a picnic on the hill where I used to watch fireworks. Jimin and Yoongi’s relationship is strong as ever and Jimin has practically moved in with him. Taehyung started talking to someone, he kind of dated from college and Namjoon says he seems happier. Hoseok entered a dance competition, something he hasn’t done in years, and was approached by a choreographer. The man wants Hobi to star in a music video one of his clients is making.

“I know that’s not what you really came to talk about.” Namjoon says once he’s cleaned up the remnants of our hotdogs.

“I’ve heard every side of what happened on the fourth of July expect the one that really matters.” A bold part of me that I wasn’t sure existed without artificial help keeps eye contact with him as I speak.

“Where do you want me to start?” He asks keeping eye contact as he puts a hand on my arm. “I don’t want there to be any lies or secrets between us.”

“Start when I went inside for the night.”

“Okay. By the time you went inside basically everyone had already left. We waited awhile and I had been drinking. You were clinging to Jimin, so I didn’t think you’d need me.” He pauses like he thinks I might interrupt him. When I don’t, he continues, “Once everyone was gone Jin and I were just sitting there in silence and he commented about how we aren’t good at talking to each other. I said its better when we don’t talk. It was getting cold, so I got in the hot tub.”

“Naked.” I interject bitterly.

“Jungkookie.” He says lifting my chin, so I have to look him in the eyes. “The things I did with him don’t matter to me. Almost as soon as it started, I was trying to find a way to end it that would ruin my friendship with everyone and make things awkward. I never should have done it the first time and definitely not the times after that. I have feelings for one person and that’s not Seokjin.”

My heart flips in my chest as I try to find the words to express how I feel. He is apologizing for something that he doesn’t need too. The feelings I have right now are not justified. Namjoon was not in a relationship with me and free to do who or whatever he wants. Now that I’ve realized the extent of the feelings I have for him it’s hard not to be a little bitter.

“You shouldn’t apologize. Just continue telling me what happened.”

He lets go of my chin and leans back into the couch with a sigh. He folds his hands together looking into the distance and I can tell he doesn’t really want to be telling me this. If it wasn’t crucial to my understanding of how I got pulled out of the ocean by him I wouldn’t have asked him to explain it.

“Well, one thing led to another and you saw us having sex in the hot tub. You dropped the glass and ran off before I could say anything. I understand why you did that and I’m sorry you saw that. We were being stupid and careless.” He puts his head in his hands for a second before continuing. “Jin told me not to follow you and confessed his love for me—”

“He what?!” I ask my mind reeling at the notion.

Seokjin has never mentioned to any of us that he even had the slightest feelings for Namjoon. I can understand how easy it is to fall in love with him, but usually he’s not good at hiding when he’s in love with someone. He wants to show off and mentions them all the time. Jin did start acting strange when Namjoon and I were spending more time together alone, but I would have never in a million years guessed that Jin was pining after Namjoon.

“I was just as surprised as you. I really thought I was clear about what he and I were doing.”

“Hmm.” I say urging him to continue because I don’t know what to say in this situation.

“So, Jin tried to stop me and confessed his love then I told him I don’t feel the same. I told him it’s always been you and I would never forgive myself if something bad happened to you.”

I hide my face in my hands and my heart flutters again despite how fucked up this story is. This man loves me. Of course, I’ve known that for a long time but hearing him verbalize it has a whole new meaning. Namjoon Kim, who is not as perfect as I once thought. He lives with many burdens and is still happy and wants to spread good in the world. He’s not perfect but he might be perfectly imperfect for me.

“He said whatever we were doing was done if I went looking for you and obviously I left. I searched the places I know you go often and bars first. I was relieved not to find you in the bars, but I was still worried. I ran into one of Soobin’s drug dealer friends and asked if he saw you. He told me he sold to you and I hit him. I’m not proud of that and I’m going to find him and apologize.”

“He’ll understand. He’s been so love in love he’d do anything for them.” I say looking up to see his expression.

Namjoon looks happy that I’m acknowledging his love for me. He takes my hand in his weaving our fingers together and a smile finds its way to my face. He continues his story and at this point I’m not sure I want to hear what went on next. I wish it was hard for me to imagine the all encompassing worry he felt, but I know the feeling. When Jackson didn’t answer my phone calls, I just knew something wasn’t right.

“The guy told me he saw you heading towards the beach and I felt stupid for not going there first. To keep with the no secrets things, I need to tell you something else that might make you mad.”

My mind floods with worse case scenarios for a moment before I narrow it down. He’s talking about the spot on the beach where I hang out a lot. Treatment helped me think over and figure out a lot of things that should have been obvious. Constantly trying to fight my addiction on the outside lead to me missing a lot of things.

“KoalifiedCutie148?” I say and he seems taken aback that I know what he’s talking about without even saying anything. “When I was in treatment, I had a lot of time to think. You showed up when I was supposed to meet him and Namjoon and KoalifiedCutie148 use the same texting style. Knowing more about you just made me think I must be right.”

“Okay that was what I was going to tell you.” He squeezes my hand. “Anyways I went to that spot because that’s where we always went together. I saw a bottle of liquor that I know Jin always has in his house and a baggie and I started screaming for you. I was so worried and crying when I finally spotted you in the water. I ran out to recue you immediately called 911 and started doing CPR.”

“And then I woke up and they took me to the hospital. They said I was lucky you found me so quickly. Apparently, there was a lot of water in my lungs. Once I had the okay from the doctors to leave my mom insisted, I go into a treatment program.” I look down at our hands remembering the conversation I had with my mother. “She begged me not to go back to school and to go into a three month program. There is nothing on this earth that can stop me from going back to school. I worked her down to a month program because I didn’t want the rest of my summer to be ruined.”

“They wouldn’t let me see you at the hospital. I think your mom thought this might be my fault and she wasn’t completely wrong.” He speaks softly like he’s ashamed of himself.

“I’m the one who chose to buy those drugs and take them, Namu. This isn’t on you.” I turn towards him as I speak crossing my legs on the couch.

He copies my position taking both of my hands in his. For a moment he thinks his eyes glued on our hands. It’s easier for Namjoon to just take the blame because he’s so used to it. His parents don’t like his sexuality or what he wants to do for a living. He just wants to make everyone happy and it hurts my heart.

“Will you go on a date with me the day after tomorrow?” Namjoon asks suddenly locking eye contact.

“Of course, I will.” I say unable to contain my happiness. “Why the day after tomorrow?”

“I figured you’d want to spend tomorrow with the boys, and I need a little preparation time. I want to surprise you.”

“Jimin wants us to spend the day at the pier and have meals at my favorite places. We’ll all be leaving soon. Just a few weeks and we will be back across the country. He wants to spend as much time with me and you before we leave.”

“Do you ever feel distant because they go to the same school?” Namjoon asks then continues because he’s in the same boat. “Yoongi and Hoseok are a lot closer together but they don’t go to the same schools. Yoongi is not far from here and Hoseok is only an hour or two flight away, but me I’m a five hour flight.”

“I feel the same way. They can hang out whenever they want, but I can’t just randomly hop on a plane and come out here for the weekend. It’s not reasonable.”

Leaving home gets easier every year but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt still. I miss my family massively when I’m at school, but I still want to live there for a while after graduation. Not in Boston there is too many bad memories there. I want to take things day by day and see what happens. Thinking too far ahead a worrying too much will do nothing but hurt me.

“This year you have me as a friend or whatever else. I’m just an hour away.” Namjoon says looking towards a bookcase behind me.

“Someone from home a reasonable distance from me. We can see each other whenever we want."

He smiles not saying anything and I find myself wondering what’s going through that pretty head of his. Having Namjoon so close and not hating him is going to be amazing. Of course, I made a few new friends last year after I had to abandon my old ones, but I wasn’t a good bond. Most of them had already been friends all year and I was kind of the afterthought. Like everyone is going out oh we should invite Jungkook.

Namjoon and I watch a movie snuggled together on the living room couch. It’s a horror film and I don’t know why he’s chosen it when he keeps cowering into my shoulder. Maybe he just wants to be closer to me. I don’t mind at all. It’s ten to five when I jump up realizing if I don’t leave now, I’ll be late.

“Do you want to ride the Ferris wheel before you go home? I think your mom would understand.” Namjoon says as I pull my phone out to text my mother.

A few moments later I’m surprised that she agreed. I said I was with Namjoon and I think she trusts that he wants the best for me. I trust that he wants the best for me. He saved me and continues to look at me like I’m the best thing he’s ever seen. Joon doesn’t look at me like I’m broken down or a mess. He treats me like a person who he loves.

“Let’s go!” I hold my hand out as I speak.

“Are you sure?” He asks looking at my hand.

“Of course.” I say tilting my head to the side in confusion.

He takes my hand and we begin our walk to the Ferris Wheel. A boy like Namjoon comes along once in a lifetime. Who asks are you sure about holding hands in public? Only a man who doesn’t want you to ever feel discomfort. He squeezes my hand and I give him a doe eyed smile.

“Did you write any songs while you were away?” he asks as we walk through the entrance of the pier.

“Yeah there is a few unfinished songs that made their way to paper.” I say remembering how much I wish there was piano or guitar in my room in the treatment center.

“I hope I get to hear them someday.” He says gesturing for me to go ahead towards the Ferris Wheel entrance.

“Jungkook!” The ride operator says making sure we are securely in. “We’ve missed seeing your face every day.”

“I missed it too.”

Namjoon wraps his arm around my shoulder as the Ferris Wheel starts rising. It’s a little dark for pictures but with flash we still take a few. We ride several times just enjoying the smell of ocean air and the shine of the lights below us.

“Can I kiss you?” I ask suddenly when we’ve stopped at the top on our last time around. I can’t find my self control anymore. I need another memory of what it’s like to kiss Namjoon Kim.

“I’d like nothing more.” He says cupping my face in his hands before leaning forward to kiss me.

A spark electrifies my heart and I wonder when I got so sappy. His plump lips are soft against mine and I want to live in this moment forever. The sea breeze in my hair, Namjoon’s hands cupping my face so gently. He pulls away as the Ferris Wheel begins its decent.

“That was much better than the first time.” I say and we laugh until we are clutching our sides.

“I thought so too.” He says taking my hand as we walk towards my house.

It’s so weird to me how I haven’t run out of things to say to him yet. We could talk for hours and I think there would always be something. After ‘hating’ him for so many years I’ve realized what I felt wasn’t hate it was admiration. My stupid peewee teenager brain thought my feelings for him were something completely different.

Of course, I thought I had a reason to hate him, but I knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t really his fault. Sure, if he hadn’t born that probably wouldn’t have happened to Soobin, but Soobin is okay now. Soobin is stronger because of what happened to him.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” I say letting go of his hand when we arrive at the doorstep of my family’s home.

He stands there for a moment like he is debating something then leans forwards to kiss my cheek.

“See you tomorrow, Koo.” He says before jogging off into the distance.

I feel like a school girl. The amount of times Namjoon Kim has made me feel this way is unacceptable. My heart is racing from a peck on the cheek. He’s so pure hearted and really doesn’t want to cause me any discomfort. I will do everything in my power to make sure I don’t fuck this up.

My mother says hello when I walk through the door and I sit with her for a moment and tell her what I’ve been up too. She didn’t demand a full report, but I know it will help her trust. In my room I start setting melodies to the pieces I was working on while in recovery.

I send a snapchat of myself playing a new song to Namjoon with the caption ‘Goodnight Namu’ with a crescent moon emoji and a kissy face emoji. I imagine the dorky smile that will cross his face when he sees the video and wait for his reply tapping out more notes. It’s a few moments later that he replies. In the picture I can see exposed collarbones and shoulders with wet hair and a ‘Goodnight, Kookie’ with a kissy face emoji. He honestly looks so hot I’m not functioning. There is a certain something about a photo like this that just makes me go off.

My next song is about sex. I think it’s the kind of song that makes people want to have slow passionate sex. Someone will see one day. I’d never fuck to my own songs I think that’s a little narcissistic. Focusing on writing about sex is healthier than writing about drugs. Soon I’ll be writing about real love.

Namjoon fills my mind as I drift off to sleep. I don’t know where we are headed or what is going to happen, but with him by my side everything might turn out all right.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

Namjoon

In the morning rhymes are running through my head and I write them down in the note’s app on my phone before I lose them. Lately my compositions have been softer than usual and almost sickly sweet. Being in love and knowing there is a chance he feels the same way has changed the way I write. The sky seems bluer, the glint on the ocean brighter and the sound of his voice like honey being poured over toast.

There are messages waiting for me when I start my daily check of social media. The boys want me to come hang out with them. I usually wake up earlier than eleven, but I’ve been sleeping well lately. Jungkook told the chat he went surfing with Hoseok and it makes me want to surf. It’s been so long since I’ve surfed more than one day in a row. I used to live in the ocean when I wasn’t at school. Surfing last week was fun but not enough.

Jungkook sent me a good morning snap at seven when he woke up. His hair is messy, and his eyes are still droopy with sleep. My heart sings thinking about the possibility of waking up next to that every morning. I know I think far ahead, but it’s hard not to when what you’ve wanted for so long is finally within reach. I reply with a shirtless mirror selfie which is out of character and much too confident for me.

As I’m getting ready to meet the boys on the pier, I hear my phone go off. Taehyung has sent me a snapchat video. My head tilts to the side and I scrunch my eyebrows together opening the snap. Jungkook is sitting in a red chair with his legs pulled to his chest looking at his phone.

“He’s so pretty it’s not fair! Why does he do this to me?” Jungkook whines and I laugh feeling even more confident when he calls me pretty.

I message the group chat saying I’ll be there in ten minutes and grab my shoes before heading into the living room. The house is quiet and that’s not something I think I’ll get used to soon. Living alone is not as glamorous as I thought it would be. I like being alone but it’s nice to know someone is a few meters away if I really need them.

Hot sun beats down on my face as I walk towards the pier wondering what the boys want to do. They didn’t even specify, all they said is ‘come hang out.’ I don’t have anything better to do other than start my reading for the upcoming semester, so of course I came.

Seokjin has texted me once and tried to talk to me in person another time since Jungkook went into recovery. I haven’t wanted to figure out the best way to talk to him, so I’ve avoided him at all costs. Having a bad relationship seem inevitable at this point, but I also think if I man up I can fix this. I don’t want Jungkook and Jin not to be friends because of me. They have been friends their entire lives and I can’t be the thing that ruins such a great friendship. Of course, they need to talk amongst themselves, but I also need to have an adult conversation.

“Namjoon!” Jimin calls when he sees me approaching the area, I recognized it from the snapchat.

“Hi guys.”

Jungkook has regained his cool and smile spreads across his face when he sees me. The gangs all here except for Jin. I distract myself from the guilt I feel by asking Jimin about what courses he’s taking. Most of us are excited to go back to school. Yoongi and Jimin are figuring things out and while it’s difficult they are happier than I’ve ever seen them. I’ve been thinking about dropping out and moving to New York every day, but I know that’s not an option. I’m almost done, I shouldn’t quit now. I’m confident in my music skills but it’s nice to have two degrees to fall back on.

“Chim, remember that time we got boba tea at three in morning. I miss that place we need to go as soon as we get back.” Taehyung says as we sit down for a late lunch a few hours later.

We are at Jimin’s favorite burger stand and I’m not complaining because he paid for everyone. It’s funny how the food in this town tastes so much different than the same things I can get at college. This tastes like my home and childhood. I grew up eating these burgers and spending the days studying on the cliffs or under the pier.

“Namjoon and I are going to take a walk. We’ll catch up with you guys in a little while, okay?” Jungkook says once we’ve finished and I raise an eyebrow.

A few of the boys are mimicking my expression, but I’m not about to say no to a private walk with the love of my life. Jungkook boldly grabs my hand and leads me away from the group. I fall into step with him glancing at his determined look.

“Where are we going, Mr. Jeon?”

“I just wanted a moment alone with you.” He says his teeth showing when the corners of his mouth turn upwards.

My panicked gay heart doesn’t know what to say so I let him lead me under the pier where he leans me against a pole. His leans towards me his body flushed against mine. For a moment, I wonder if he can hear my heart threatening to abandon my chest and jump into his hands.

“You seem nervous. Are you okay?” He pulls away when he says this cupping his hand on my jawline.

“I’m still getting used to you liking me.” I say pulling him against me so I can kiss him.

I feel like a teenager again experiencing first love. My senses are heightened and it’s like I’m looking at the world through rose colored glasses when he’s near me. The feel of his lips against mine can’t be compared to any other kiss I’ve had. No one compares to Jungkook Jeon. It’s cliched but I feel like I know what so many songs are talking about. This is new and who knows if this just a fun young love or something that might last longer. I intend to live every moment like it might be my last and care for this man no matter what happens.

“I’m still getting used to it too.” He says softly staring into my eyes.

“We should get back to the boys before they think we’ve ditched them for other activities.” Jungkook gives me a cheeky smile after he finishes his sentence and my cheeks flush.

I grab his hand leading him away from under the pier. We stay silent for a minute before Jungkook’s phone starts ringing in his pocket. He pulls it out with one hand keeping the other intertwined with mine. He makes a disgruntled sound and declines the call before shoving the phone back in his pocket. I give him a sideways glance not wanting to pry but having an intense curiosity.

“Jin keeps calling me, but when I pick up all he does is tell me how I’m ruining his life. He’s been my friend for so long it makes me really upset he’s acting like this. I didn’t know he liked you because he never told me, and I had bigger concerns.”

“I’m sorry things are working out this way. I’ve been thinking about talking to him. We didn’t leave things very amicably and the last thing I want to do is ruin one of your friendships. He was one of my best friends and I made a shitty choice.”

Jungkook sighs looking forward searching for answers buried in his head. His grip on my hand has tightened and I don’t think he has realized it. He’s not hurting me so it’s okay for now. This situation makes me mad. I want Jungkook to be happy and I want Jin to be happy, but that’s not as easy as it sounds at the moment.

“I’ll talk to him later and let him know how I feel about everything that is happening. He is obviously too focused on himself and that’s not like him. I just want all my friends to be together for my last weeks here before we all leave.”

“Are you nervous about going back?” I ask after a few moments of silence have passed.

“Yes, but I have you an hour away. That really eases my worry.”

My heart flutters at his words and I can’t help but smile. He trusts me finally and is learning I’m here to be his solace when he needs me. I’m happy I can be that for the boy I’ve been in love with for so many years. He’s special and completely out of this world.

“Namkook!” Taehyung calls when he spots us nearing a pretzel booth on the far side of the pier.

“Hoseok just flirted his way into winning this.” Yoongi says with an exaggerated eyeroll.

Hoseok is holding a large violet and baby blue stuffed animal of some sort. It kind of looks like a horse and it’s adorable. He easily could have just tried to win the game but that’s not his style today.

“It was much easier than usual.” Hoseok says hugging the stuffed toy close to his chest.

Jungkook hasn’t said anything and seems to be very deep in thought. Taehyung herds the group off the pier towards the hilltops. I’m beginning to worry something might be wrong with Koo when he finally speaks up.

“Guys, I’m going to bounce for a while. I need to do something.” He pauses to squeeze my hand. He must be leaving to talk to Jin. “We can meet at my house for dinner around six.”

“See you later.” I say leaning down to press a kiss to his cheek.

His cheeks turn red and he shoves me away playfully. The boys are laughing as Jungkook takes off in the opposite direction.

“What is he doing?” Jimin asks when Jungkook is out of earshot.

“I think he’s going to talk to Jin.” I say wondering if I should have spoken at all.

These are our best friends. Whether I tell them or not they will find out and try to help us as much as possible. Everyone misses Jin but its hard when we want to hang out together. Isolation has been his favorite game lately when he’s not calling me and Koo. He’s barely talked to the rest of them and it’s starting to hurt their feelings.

“I hope the three of you can work things out. You and Jungkook are happy I’ve had to deal with that. I know how hard it is too watch but it’s not impossible and gets easier the longer you do it. If Jin understands how happy you are it might help him.”

Taehyung is the only person here who understands exactly what Jin is going through. I watched Jungkook be with Taehyung but it was from further away, so it didn’t affect me quite as bad. Feelings are valid and time away makes sense but ending friendships over boys is stupid.

“I want us to have our friend back.” I say lowering myself to the ground once we reach the top of the hill.

“Don’t beat yourself up, Joonie.” Yoongi says sitting beside me. “In a few weeks, you’ll be across the country and that will give him all the time in the world to move on and forget about you.”

“I’m excited to leave. This summer has been a lot to handle and I can’t wait to be done with school.” I sigh staring at clouds, the smell of ocean air greets my nose.

It’s going to be harder to leave because this summer has brought me closer to these boys. We’ve shared so many memories and they’ve helped me through dark times. Everyday is still a challenge but it’s easier when you have so many people on your side. My uncle was one of my favorite people in the whole world. I think about him often and it hurts my heart when I realize I’ll never see him again. Carrying on his musical legacy is what feels like best use of my time and what he gave me. I’m so blessed that I knew him in his too short life.

“And next summer you’ll be in New York in your fancy apartment making music.” Hoseok says with a bright smile.

I’m so lucky to have friends who genuinely support me. A lot of people would try to use me for the money and connections I have, but they would never do that. I will support them and help them however I can just like they would do for me. I have a feeling Hoseok is going to join me in New York after he graduates if I’m still there. Dancing has always been his passion and we have connections there. Eventually, we’ll come back to the west coast and set up in Los Angeles, but not for at least a few years.

“I want all of you there at least for a few weeks. We can see what kind of trouble we can cause and make more memories.” I say leaning back on my elbows.

We spend hours talking on the hill. Taehyung wants to focus harder on school and make dean’s list at least once this school year. Yoongi wants to start a music club at his university and I think it’s a great idea. Hoseok is going to take more music classes this semester. Jimin has already been doing well at school so he is going to focus on trying to join clubs and make more friends.

“We’ll be there in ten minutes.” I say in the receiver to Jungkook. “See you soon.”

He says bye then hangs up the phone. We stand from the sand we had migrated to an hour ago stretching our muscles. I’m glad Jungkook’s mom has made us dinner and that we can enjoy it together. The boys fall in line beside me as we walk towards Jungkook’s house.

Jungkook looks happy when he answers the door so his conversation with Seokjin couldn’t have gone that badly. They’ve been friends for so long I think it would be extremely difficult to break them up forever. I’ll ask him about it later when there isn’t so many people around us.

There is a proper feast in front of us. Jungkook’s mother has spared no expense even though she was only told about this a few hours ago. Everything looks absolutely delicious and as we dig in his family begins asking everyone how they are.

We sit there for some time eating, chatting and having a good time. It’s nearly ten when the rest of the boys leave and Jungkook takes me to his room. With a strict order from his mother to leave the door open at least three inches.

I sit on the edge of his bed waiting for him to say something. He doesn’t say anything sitting beside me and resting his head on my shoulder. I wrap an arm around him and rub his shoulder. Maybe the conversation was harder than I thought.

“I explained how happy you make me feel.” He says hugging me. “I told him that I don’t want to lose my best friend over a boy, but you are really important to me. You should talk to him soon. He’s willing to work through this but there are things he needs to say to you first. He promised that it’s not rude and will apologize for the mean things he said.”

“I’ll talk to him soon.” I say wondering exactly what he told Seokjin but figuring he’ll tell me when he’s ready. “Thank you for inviting us for dinner. It was fun.”

“It was fun.” He says looking up at me with his sparkly doe eyes. “Can I kiss you?”

I’m always taken aback when he asks, because no one has ever done that for me. He wants me to be comfortable and happy all the time. It’s funny how he’s even better than I ever thought in my mind. I’ve known he’s special but every day I spend with him shows me further how right I am.

“Yes, but you don’t need to ask every time.” I say cupping his soft face in my hands.

He leans forward and presses his lips against mine. We kiss for a few minutes before he pulls back hearing footsteps near the door.

“I think I should go to sleep. I need my beauty sleep I have a date tomorrow.” Jungkook says and I laugh pulling him against my chest.

My lips press against the top of his head and he hugs me tightly. I wish I could stay in moments like this forever. A pure happiness that can’t be described fills me when I’m with him. He’s truly my true love.

“Okay. Sleep well, Koo.”

I kiss him once more before leaving his room. His mother is in the living room and I pop my head in to say goodnight before pulling my phone out to text Seokjin. I start walking towards his house waiting for a response. After a few minutes he tells me he’s available to talk right now.

My knuckles bang against the door and it feels so foreign in this environment. I never knock on the door here, but it just doesn’t feel right to walk in without announcing myself. Jin answers the door quickly and he looks messy. He’s wearing an oversized sweater with baggy sweatpants and his hair looks like it hasn’t been touched in at least five days. His eyes are red like he might have been crying recently and my heart feels like it’s been wrapped in a corset.

“Hi.” He says roughly. “Let’s sit on the couch.”

“Okay.” I say quietly following him into the living room.

We sit down on the couch and I try not to look at him. I don’t know what to say right now. I thought I was prepared but how do I talk about this? He’s in love with me and I don’t feel the same way, but I don’t want to lose my friend. This has to be incredibly hard and heart shattering for him, and we are trying to make him deal with it faster than he wants.

“I want to start with an apology for the mean things I’ve said to you. I know you don’t deserve that. I’ve been in a bad mental place and I said things I don’t mean.”

He doesn’t look away from me the whole time he is speaking, and I can tell he has been rehearsing this in his head.

“Thank you for apologizing. I forgive you.” I say waiting a moment before continuing, “But I want my friend back. I don’t except you to be happy for me and Jungkook right away but I want things to go back to how they were.”

I’m not sure if I’m making sense. I know it will be nearly impossible for things to be like they used to. Seokjin loves me and I love Jungkook and everyone knows that now. I’m aware of the feelings which makes me want to be cautious, so I don’t hurt him anymore.

“I don’t think things will ever be the same. Too much has happened, and I told you more than I should have, but I was desperate and wanted you to stay. I’m sorry I ever asked for you not to follow him. Before Jungkook talked to me I wasn’t so sure about you two. We all know you’ve been in love with him for years, well except him, but the way he talked about you today makes me think he loves you too.”

My heart flutters and my stomach flips. Jungkook talked about me in a way that made Jin think he might love me. He just started liking me how can he already speak so fondly of me? It must tear Jin apart to even say that.

“I love you.” He continues, “but I’m accepting that you don’t feel the same way. It hurts a lot, but I want you to be happy. I can’t make you happy like he can, and it kills me. I’m stupid for letting myself develop these feelings in the first place.”

“You can’t help who you love, Jin, or I would have given up on Kook a long time ago.”

A weak smile finds its way to his face and he stares in front of him. I’m glad to have a moment away from his sad eyes.

“I know, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling a little silly. I know Jungkook can make you happy and that’s what I want. We can hang out as a group, but I don’t think I’ll hang out with either of you one on one until at least Christmas break. I still need more time to process my feelings and move on.”

“That’s reasonable. I’m sorry that you are hurting.”

“I’ll be okay. Treat Jungkook right or I will chop of your testicles.” Jin says this with a wicked smile and I laugh. “That’s all I have to say right now. I might think of something else later, but we’ll be okay.” Jin says standing up looking towards me.

I get up and he hugs me tightly. I return the hug for a moment before backing away.

“Okay. Have a good night. Be easy on your liver.”

There are cans of beer all around the room that haven’t been picked up. I understand the impulse to drink yourself into a stupor when things are bad. As long as he doesn’t do it often, he will be fine. He rolls his eyes at me leading me towards the front door.

“Goodnight, Joon.”

Once I’m home I shower and I’m happy that things went so well. I thought it would be much more difficult than that. I’m happy that Jin has come to his senses and isn’t letting his emotions control his whole life. I check when Jungkook was last active on snapchat before sending him a shirtless picture captioned, I talked to Jin and it well and Goodnight with a kissy face.

He replies a minute later with a cute smiley picture captioned I’m glad it went well and Goodnight with three red faced tongue out emojis. I laugh at his reaction, but it secretly makes me happy that he appreciates my shirtless selfies.

Jin’s words about Jungkook possibly loving me too is what keeps me awake hours after I’ve laid down. Of course, he has feelings for me, but we haven’t really discussed to what extent yet. I don’t want to scare him off. I will take things as slow as he wants because this means something. He knows I love him, and he can do what he wants with that information. The next few months will tell me if he’s really the man of my dreams or something I’ve fabricated in my mind. I don’t believe it’s the latter at all.

It’s nearly two when I fall asleep and I know I’m going to hate myself in the morning. I asked Hobi to help me set up for my date with Jungkook in the morning, so everything is ready by the time I get there in the late afternoon. I have a day of things planned and I want it to be perfect. It’s our first proper date an I want him to remember it forever. Then again, anything where he’s present feels pretty perfect to me.