Jaebum slid to the floor as the phone in his hand went to voicemail for the sixth time. He knew he had fucked up, but he had never intended for it to get this far. He muffled a scream into his hands. This isn’t what he had had in mind six months ago.
There had been rumors of a producer getting promoted at the studio for weeks. Everyone expected it to go to one of the senior producers, so when Jaebum was the one called in to speak to his boss, he was surprised. They had felt like his material wan exceptional since he joined the company, and since he has had multiple melon charting songs in the past year, they decided to promote him to head producer. The former head producer decided that the position was too demanding for his growing family and gladly stepped down. Jaebum’s new position came with a significant raise, as well as a personal studio all to himself. He now reported directly to the companies VP/head of album production.
Having a stable job and a significantly increased income made Jaebum excited for the future. He now has the option of choosing his own hours and is able to produce that kind of music that he wants to.
The idea comes to him about a month after his promotion, he happened to be on a call with his brother when it hit him.
“So you are almost four months away from finishing your degree, are you sure you don’t want all of us to fly out for your graduation?”
Youngjae just sighs, “no Hyung, flying out to LA is a lot of time and money. I don’t think any of you guys can afford to miss that much work... I’ll be back a few weeks after it, so you won’t have to miss me too much!”
“Why can’t you come home right away? Graduation isn’t normally that late in August, why are they keeping you so long?” Jaebum was pouting at this point.
“I didn’t want to graduate early without taking my certification exam, but since I’m an international student my results have to get sent back to SU in order to make sure they match up with the Korean certification requirements. International students have a later graduation date.*” Youngjae gets distracted by someone speaking to him in the background, he replies to them before turning back to his conversation, “ And I have to pack up my apartment and ship it all back to Seoul. Is it still cool with Jackson that I crash at your place until I find an apartment?”
Jaebum smiles, “yes, of course it is! Jackson and I wouldn’t have you staying anywhere else!”
As Youngjae begins to speak again a lightbulb goes off in Jaebum’s brain, “Youngjae, I’m sorry to interrupt but something has come up, I’ll need to call you back” and with that, he hangs up.
Immediately after hanging up he shoots Mark a text asking to meet up for lunch that afternoon.
April in Seoul is cold, and today it happened to also be wet. Mark and Jaebum had decided to meet at a little cafe that was the halfway point between their jobs. Jackson also seemed to have heard about their lunch meeting, as they were both already seated when Jaebum arrived.
Mark was quick to wave him over, and allowed him to take his seat before asking, “so what was so important that you needed to speak to me about it in person?” He paused before also asking, “does this have anything to do with what you asked a few months ago?”
Jackson looked between the two of them, he had no idea they had spoken in private a few months ago.
“Yes and no, I still plan on proposing,” Jackson let out the loudest gasp known to mankind, “but I have something else I wanted your opinion on.” Jaebum paused to give Jackson some time to react.
“You’re going to PROPOSE?!!” His shout had almost the entire cafe looking in their direction.
“Jackson! Will you be quiet for a minute, I need to know what Jaebum needs my help with.” Mark chastised.
Jaebum cleared his throat, a large blush spreading across his face from the attention of the room, “ well? I had been thinking about the future lately, and Youngjae just gave me the idea, why if I get a house built for the two of us? We’ve spoken about everything we want in a house, and I’m sure that I could make it perfect...” Jaebum trailed off at the look on Mark and Jackson’s faces.
They both had unreadable expressions, before Jackson’s face broke into a grin “ that sounds absolutely AMAZING!! Gosh, you are seriously romantic!” He turns to Mark, “isn’t that the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard?”
Mark sighs, also starting to smile, “yes Gaga, it is absolutely romantic, but Jaebum,” Jaebum raises his gaze from where he was inspecting the table, “are you sure you’re both ready for this step?”
Jaebum nods determined “I’ve never been more ready in my life, I just wanted to talk to you,” He looks at Jackson,” both of you because this is something that affects everyone. I figured once we move out the two of you can pick an apartment and Youngjae can take over the other.”
“Youngjae?” Mark sounded confused.
“Yeah,” Jackson looked sheepish, “did I forget to tell you? Youngjae is coming back into town around Jinyoung’s birthday. Hey! Why don’t you time it all perfectly so that when Youngjae gets in just in time for Jinyoung’s birthday, you can give both him and the house to Jinyoung as a present! And then when you take Jinyoung to the house for the first time you can pop the question!!!!”
“Gaga that-“ Mark cuts himself off “that’s actually a really good idea...”
“Aw, thanks, Markiepooh- Hey! Wait a minute! What do you mean actually? I have great ideas all the time!” Jackson is starting to work himself into a rant, but Jaebum is quick to stop him before he really starts.
“That doesn’t sound half bad Jackson, but I’ll need to discuss this with Youngjae so that we can time it perfectly.” Jaebum glances at his watch, “ I have to get back to work, but I’ll call you and let you know when I have more planned out. I’ll also need to contact a real estate agent before we can make any other plans.”
He stands and makes his way around the table, bidding both of his friends goodbye.
By the time three months post promotion had rolled around construction on the new house was underway and the plan was going smoothly, well mostly. Jinyoung was still oblivious to the plan, and he had no idea that Jaebum was able to pick his own hours now. Jaebum felt guilty for leaving his boyfriend in the dark, but he didn’t want to ruin the surprise. As it was, he’s had an engagement ring sitting in Jackson’s bedside table for almost four months now. It’s a wonder how Jackson hadn’t found it before the cafe meeting.
He had to get creative with his excuses, making sure to go check on the house and construction only when Jinyoung thought he was working. Keeping this a secret along with working full time with idols on their latest albums was starting to take a toll on Jaebum, but he knew he couldn’t stop now. He resigned himself to short dates with Jinyoung, spending afternoons or nights with the man he loved before rushing to make sure everything else is going smoothly.
By five months post promotion Jaebum was exhausted. There had been some minor complications with the house that he had to take more spare time to smooth out, and he had to set up a plan with Youngjae for his flight home. They decided to have him fly in the day of Jinyoung’s birthday in order to keep Jinyoung from finding out about the plan. He seems to have gotten more suspicious, and the excuses Jaebum was using are wearing thin. He can’t wait for all of this to be over.
The week of Jinyoung’s birthday was hectic. Jaebum had spent days making sure that the house was perfect, moving in all of his personal items and furniture, but still leaving room for Jinyoung’s things. In the meantime, the things Youngjae sent ahead were situated in Jaebum’s old apartment very nicely. He just has to avoid any guests until after Jinyoung’s party, so they don’t notice anything wrong.
The actual day of Jinyoung’s birthday was stressful to begin with. Jackson was supposed to bring Jaebum the ring so that he could put it in the new house, but he had forgotten it on the count because he was running late. Then, the production team meeting that he was required to go to for a new group that was debuting ending up running late, so he was running late to head to the airport. Finally, even though he was running late, it didn’t matter because Youngjae’s flight had been delayed. At first it was only an hour, but by the time an hour had gone by it had been delayed another and another and another until he had been stuck at the airport for hours waiting on Youngjae’s flight, only to be told that it would arrive first thing tomorrow morning and that he should leave and come back. So frustrated with the day, Jaebum ended up driving back to his house in silence before calling Jinyoung to wish him a Happy Birthday.
The phone rings twice before Jinyoung picks up, “hello?”
Jaebum is silent for a minute before answering, ”Happy Birthday Jinyoung”
“Jaebum” Jinyoung sounded worn out. Jaebum felt even more guilty that he did before.
“I’m sorry I didn’t make it tonight... things have been crazy at the studio. They just hired another producer and I couldn’t leave a stranger alone to work in my space... I had to supervise.” Jaebum starts to explain.
He could hear Jinyoung sigh on the other end of the line, “I understand how much this means to you, but I’ll make it up to you I swear-“ Jinyoung cute him off.
“I’m sorry too”
Jaebum makes a confused noise, trying to figure out what on Earth Jinyoung could be sorry for.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can keep doing this anymore.”
Jaebum tried to interject “Jinyoung I-“
Jinyoung just continues “I’m sorry but I don’t think I can handle being the only one who puts effort into our relationship. This isn’t the first date you’ve missed, and maybe if it was just a date I wouldn’t have been upset. I think we need to take a step back and reevaluate what we want out of this relationship. Maybe you’re not ready for commitment.”
Jaebum is quick to argue “Jinyoung, do you even know what you’re saying? I haven’t missed that many events, why are you overreacting so much?”
“Overreacting? Jaebum we haven't been on an actual date in almost two months and we haven’t spent more than an hour in each other’s presence in twice that!”
“And for the record, you’ve canceled about 4 dates and stood me up on just as many, so don’t say I’m overreacting.”
Jaebum is silent.
“Happy Anniversary” Jinyoung hangs up.
Jaebum slid to the floor as the phone in his hand went to voicemail for the sixth time. He knew he had fucked up, but he had never intended for it to get this far. He muffled a scream into his hands as tears began to stream down his face.