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Thanks, You Too

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If he’s being honest, the life of a waiter at one of Los Angeles’s high-end up and coming restaurants isn’t the most eventful. Every day, customers pour in, order their expensive food, receive their minuscule portions, ask for the check, and leave a less than five percent tip. 

 

Seokjin wouldn’t mind all too much, though. The upsetting thing is that it would be okay if his customers left a small tip, if only they didn’t linger at the dining tables for too long. In the time that his customers converse and draw out the day, Seokjin could serve other patrons and receive tips from them as well. Instead, he has to wait on the couple who only shared a plate of one of the cheapest salads on the menu and left him a three dollar tip.

 

In the meantime, one of his coworkers, a waitress who has been here for two months, has managed to serve three other tables, minimally earning a five-dollar tip from each. Instead, here is Seokjin, gritting his teeth into a fine line as the couple agrees on ordering the five hundred dollar salad.

 

“Why does the salad cost so much?” The woman asks, voice dangering a whine, as her date hands back the menus to Seokjin. “And it’s your cheapest one as well. How are middle-class people supposed to afford your food if this is the cheapest option you offer,” she pouts, blond curls encompassing her in a golden angelic halo Seokjin admits is ironic.

 

“Well, ma’am,” Seokjin begins, putting his notepad into the front pocket of his apron. “It’s not so much the concept of a salad that’s expensive. It’s a matter of what ingredients we use. If you had taken a look at the description of the salad you have chosen, you’ll see that it consists of truffle, beluga caviar, gold leaves, and many other ingredients that don’t so much as cater to the middle class. That’s why it may not be as affordable to you, if that’s what you were inquiring.” Seokjin gives the woman a sickly sweet smile and she visibly calms down from the argument she was sure to ensue. No fuming customer is immune to Seokjin’s charms

 

“Sounds reasonable,” the man across from her says, nodding at Seokjin and ushering him off with a wave of his hand. Seokjin tries not to be offended, but he hates it when customers order him around, which is ironic considering he’s a waiter. He’d once complained to his manager about how the customers treated him, beckoning for him when he was clearly busy, sending him off with a wave of their hand when he was already taking his leave, and using vulgar language to insult him about things that were not in his control. His manager had reminded him about his paying job being just enough to cover the bills, which had shut him up real quick.

 

Seokjin has expenses that have to be paid, like the electricity bill, water bill, paying rent, and putting food on the table (That’s more Yoongi’s job these days but they make sure to trade off every once in a while).

 

At around an hour and a half before closing time, Seokjin heaves a sigh as he guides a family of four to one of the only tables left in the dining room. He’s glad the kids they lug around are a little older than the ones he usually deals with at the restaurant on a daily basis, and to top it off they don’t look like the reckless type of children Seokjin despises. He hopes they don’t cause a ruckus, but he’s instantly discouraged as he sees one of the children whine that they’re sleepy and the other child complain about the menu. 

 

He supposes it must be close to their bedtime, considering it’s around nine in the evening and they’re quite cranky. One of the women, who he assumes is at least one of the mothers, turns to her daughter and shushes her softly. She manages to successfully quite down the girl and Seokjin, impressed, wishes that this woman could teach some of the parents that come in with their terrible children a lesson about calming down a child.

 

Honestly, Seokjin doesn’t comprehend why parents decide to bring their children to this restaurant, considering it’s not targeted as a family-friendly establishment. For fuck’s sake, they don’t carry chicken nuggets and he’s tired of parents asking if they could whip something simple that won’t scare away the children. He wouldn’t bring his own child here even if it was his only option. 

 

Seokjin really wants to quit. 

 

“How may I start you off this evening?” Seokjin asks, positioning his hand on the pad of paper so that he can jot down their order.

 

~*~

 

“I want to ban children,” Seokjin moans, leaning against the doorframe that leads into the kitchen, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting as he tries to locate Yoongi, his childhood friend who also doubles as the head chef.

 

“Hyung, children aren’t that bad,” Yoongi says, not even looking up from his task at hand. “Jeongguk isn’t that bad.”

 

“Jeongguk is an angel amongst devils,” Seokjin counters, puffing out his cheeks. “So that doesn’t count.

 

“My sister has a kid, and let me tell you he gives me bad vibes,” Laura, says, setting down her flame torch and knife to look at Seokjin. “I complain to my mother about him since I’m not allowed to say shit in front of my sister.” Seokjin likes Laura, she’d won over him when a tipsy customer had begun to flirt with her aggressively and she’d said, “The ‘l’ in ‘Laura’ stands for lesbian,” and walked away.

 

“I love your mom,” Seokjin says, pouting. “Her food is so good, and may my own mother not hear me say this, but your mom’s food is the best I’ve ever had. Besides, if I talked shit about my cousin’s kids, my mom would hit me.”

 

“Oh, my mom would too, but I complain to her in English. She doesn’t understand too much, so it’s great. It’s a win-win situation,” Laura says, smiling as she places chopped vegetables into the pot on the stove. “I’m like, ‘ Ama, Cynthia’s fucking son just gave me the middle finger I hate that son of a bitch’ and she’ll say ‘ Gracias mija’ and it honestly makes me laugh.”

 

“You’re so chaotic,” Yoongi mutters as he continues to chop vegetables. 

 

“It brings me a few laughs, I welcome it.”

 

“Hyung, don’t you need to go wait tables? Isn’t that literally your job?” Yoongi asks, looking up to quiz the older man.

 

“Relax. He’s waiting on me to finish plating the pasta,” Laura says. “And I’m procrastinating doing that because I genuinely enjoy his company more than yours, Yoongi.”

 

Said man scowls at Laura and snatches the empty plate from in front of her, serving a spoonful of pasta and drizzling the sauce on top of it. “There, problem solved, no go do your job, hyung,” Yoongi says, shoving the plate onto Seokjin’s tray

 

“Careful!” Seokjin cries, nearly losing his balance and almost dropping the plate in the process. He scoffs when Yoongi gives him the finger and exits the kitchen through the double doors leading into the dining room. “Sorry for the wait,” he says, plastering an overly sweet smile on his face. “Here’s your pasta,” he says, placing the dish in front of the man.

 

Seokjin has to admit, he’s kind of cute. He’s wearing a white button-up and he’s clad in black slacks, a boring style by Seokjin’s standards, but he fits into them nicely. His hair isn’t what Seokjin considers to be styled, opting more for a natural yet tamed mess, and he’s wearing a dangling silver earring, just one. He looks straight out of a magazine, if it were titled “Hot Boring Men Monthly”.

 

And, God, his face. It’s flushed a bright red, a dimpled smile taking up the attention of his equally as beautiful face, clear skin, cute nose. Seokjin is whipped. “Enjoy your food,” Seokjin says, bowing slightly and straightening up once the man makes eye contact with him. He catches his eye, peering into the man’s glorious eyes and his heart skips a beat. Maybe even two, or three. 

 

Seokjin is a professional and is aware that he is in a work environment, but he’d let this man bend him over the table if he so much as breathed in his direction. He’s dated many men in the past, never anything long term, especially in more recent years. He rarely goes on dates and instead has to settle for Yoongi dragging him out to dinner once a month for the sake of salvaging their fragile home situation.

 

The most action he’s gotten in the last few years are from one night stands (never at his apartment) and now more than ever his right hand. He wouldn’t dare admit it to anyone. 

 

Seokjin, of course, lusts after men, and working as a waiter in a high-end restaurant proves to be a marketplace of eligible bachelors. He peers down at the man he’s infatuated with and sees that he doesn’t have a ring, meaning Seokjin is free to flirt with him as he pleases. 

 

So, as he sets the food down on the table, he gives his sweetest and most genuine smile, making eye contact and going as far as to wink at him. “Hope you enjoy the desert as well,” he adds, just to fuck around with the man. As he leans down, he looks at his lips, a little chapped, but perfect for kissing. Seokjin is desperate.

 

“Thanks, you too,” the man says, eyes widening as he realizes his mistake, flush on his face becoming just as red as the sauce Yoongi had drizzled on the pasta. His sudden slip up snaps Seokjin out of whatever thirsty mindstate he’d put himself in.

 

“Of course,” he says and Seokjin giggles, a blush of his own crawling onto his cheeks. He sends a genuine smile his way, turning to the man seated in front of the handsome one, currently fighting a laughing fit. “I’ll be back with your vegetable stew in just a bit,” he says, taking his leave and heading back to the kitchen, butterflies in his stomach and a slight desire building up in his lower abdomen. 

 

He spares one more glance at the handsome man and smiles stupidly, smitten by him. He’s fucking whipped for this stranger who’d told him to enjoy his food as well. He’s having a crisis. A very gay one.

 

“Yoongi!” Seokjin whines as he dramatically makes his entrance through the double doors of the kitchen.

 

Yoongi flinches, in the middle of finishing off a desert. 

 

“Can you stop doing that? I’m literally holding a knife and a flame torch,” Laura says, setting the knife down and making her way over to the waiter. “Surprise me again and I’ll burn off your eyebrows,” she says, turning on the torch, creating a small yet intimidating flame. She may be small, but Laura makes up for it in her bold attitude. 

 

“What’s got you barging into the kitchen like that anyway?” Another chef, Luci, asks, setting down his knife on the cutting board. “Seokjin I swear, if I ever get a heart attack from your boisterous entrances, I’m going to send you the bill. I know damn well you can’t afford it either.”

 

“I swear every chef here hates me,” Seokjin laments with a pout, approaching Yoongi. “Besides, I’m not talking to any of you, I’m talking to my beloved Yoongichi, father of my child,” he moans, approaching Yoongi and draping himself over the shorter.

 

Yoongi rolls his eyes and shoves Seokjin off, continuing to plate the dessert, careful of the fragile caramel dome. “What did I tell you about bringing home related stuff into the workplace?” Yoongi mutters, drizzling chocolate syrup onto the plate, careful to make sure it spells out the initials of the restaurant name; BH. 

 

“I met the love of my life,” Jin cries, sliding down to the kitchen floor and bringing his knees to his chest. “And he was hot, so hot, the most handsome man I’ve ever met—other than me of course,” he moans, resting his head on his knees. 

 

“You can’t fall in love with customers,” Yoongi reminds him, not sparing even a glance in his direction. “Remember Laura and that one girl?”

 

“Hey!” Laura exclaims, shoving Yoongi. “I’ll have you know Anita and I were in a healthy relationship for the duration of a one night stand.”

 

“I thought we agreed that talking about our sex lives was off the table,” Luci complains. “Also, I thought that Anna turned out to be a fucking stalker or something and now you have a restraining order,” he says, cocking his head to look at a flushed Laura.

 

“Those were some dark days…”

 

“And a dark night, ‘cause you had sex with her,” Hoseok chimes in, the other chef in the quartet of annoying ass cooks the restaurant employs. Seokjin admits that although they’re all secretly praying on his downfall, more chefs should be hired to lessen the workload for the four that always work overtime.

 

Seokjin sometimes waits hours after his shift is done, deciding to wait for Yoongi to clock out so that he can drive them both home instead of having Yoongi rely on public transportation. By the time they both get home, Yoongi is passed out in the passenger's seat and it’s way past midnight. Seokjin usually takes pity on him and carries him the two flights of stairs to their apartment in order to send Jimin home for the night. He’s lucky that Yoongi’s built smaller than him and doesn’t weigh too much in order to carry him all the way to their apartment.

 

Each time he comes home to the quiet flat, however, his chest aches with guilt.

 

“We have a whiteboard with our kitchen rules for a reason!” Yoongi exclaims, snapping Seokjin out of his melancholic musings. He slams the plate onto the counter, surprising everyone. The petite chef aggressively points to the back of the kitchen, where a whiteboard hangs up.

 

Kitchen Rules. The Ten Kitchen Commandments

 

  • Seokjin is not allowed in without anyone invoking him. He’s not some fucking demon. SHUT UP YOONGI
  • No talking about our sex lives, we don’t want a repeat of Luci throwing up into the vegetable stew because of Laura’s very graphic retelling of her birthday party.
  • No dancing in the kitchen. This is slander on my name. No one is calling you out Hoseok
  • Don’t let Yoongi hold a knife if Seokjin wanders into the kitchen. Again.
  • If a Karen walks in attempting to invoke the manager (This restaurant is way out of Karen’s budget just kick her back into her minivan) kindly direct her to any chef that’s willing to fuck around a bit.
  • Don’t let Seokjin fall in love with customers. Again.
  • We will not insult each other in our native languages.
  • Don’t call Luci by his full name or he will stab you.
  • Don’t mention Yoongi and Seokjin’s secret lovechild.
  • Don’t bother Yoongi.

 

 

“I hope you realize we broke over half of these today,” Hoseok says, reading through the kitchen rules. “We broke like six.”

 

“Seven,” Laura corrects. “Don’t think I didn’t see you pop and lock earlier today.”

 

“We can’t let Seokjin fall in love with customers, that’ll just create even more chaos,” Luci whines. 

 

“And Seokjin and I don’t have a secret love child,” Yoongi mutters, rubbing his temples. “You guys are going to make me go back to anger management class,” he mutters under his breath.

 

“Yeah, he is not a secret, he’s a very out in the open child,” Seokjin pouts, standing up. “Besides, you can’t stop me from falling in love with this beautiful man and his dazzling dimples.”

 

“Dimples?” Laura inquires, interest piqued.

 

“Dimples,” Seokjin confirms, nodding his head to further affirm what he’s said.

 

“Hyung, you can’t fall in love with customers,” Yoongi mutters. “Chances are you’re never going to see them again and then it just leaves you heartbroken. You can’t keep doing that to yourself, it’s slowly eating away at you.” Contrary to Yoongi’s usual venom laced words, he tells Seokjin this with the utmost of fondness he can muster at the moment.

 

“But he’s handsome,” Seokjin murmurs, protecting himself from the glances of the other chefs. “And he’s cute and socially awkward and I really want to go see him again,” he whines, slowly raising his head to look up at Yoongi. “He’s a very pretty man.”

 

“You say that about every customer that comes in,” Yoongi reminds him, frowning. 

 

“But this time it’s true! He’s so pretty, his hair is pretty, his nose, eyes, lips, everything about this man is beautiful. I love him, Yoongi. He’s the love of my life,” he mutters, pouting up at Yoongi. “He’s so polite too, and he’s socially awkward, I can just tell.”

 

“How can you tell if someone is socially awkward?” Yoongi inquires, peering down at Seokjin as he checks up on the stew. “It’s almost ready, I’d give or take five minutes, so wrap this up so you can take it out to the customers.

 

“Well, this is the story about how I, Kim Seokjin, managed to make this beautiful man turn into a bashful mess. So you know the pasta?”

 

“Seokjin we literally cook pasta every day you’re going to have to be more specific and skip the boring details,” Laura says, leaning against the counter next to one of the stoves. 

 

“Well, anyway, I served him the pasta, right? And I had already noticed how handsome he was and he seemed like he was nervous too, so I smiled at him and told him to enjoy his food.” Seokjin tries to fight back a small smile at the memory of the flustered man. “Then I winked at him and he politely said to me, ‘Thanks, you too’.”

 

“Oh my god, that’s literally one of the most embarrassing things you can say to your waiter,” Hoseok says, trying to hide his laughter behind his mouth.

 

“Wash your hands before you touch the food again,” Yoongi reminds him, biting back a gummy smile he only uses when they’re safe in the confines of their apartment. “You fell for a guy who told you to enjoy your food when you served him dinner?”

 

“Hey! Don’t come for him,” Seokjin whines. “He was very sweet, besides, it means his default setting is being polite, so if you ask me that seems like a win-win. He’s handsome and polite and can afford to eat at a restaurant like this. This, my friends, is the big catch,” he says, quickly standing up and smiling, straightening his posture and making sure he blinds his coworkers with his dazzling smile. 

 

“How do you even know he’s into you?” Luci asks, pointing out a flaw in Seokjin’s plan. “Just because he’s polite and handsome doesn’t mean he’s interested in you, let alone, gay. What if you try to hit on a straight man?”

 

“I forgot straight people existed,” Hoseok exclaims in disbelief, gasping at the mere thought of the straights. “You hang out with your gay friends all the time and you just forget the heteros exist.” He looks up at the rest of the group with eyes wide and mouth slightly agape. “Wow.”

 

“Hoseok, aren’t you straight?” Yoongi asks, raising an eyebrow at the younger’s words.

 

“I don’t know,” Hoseok replies, biting his lip in thought. “Sexuality is weird. I don’t necessarily have a preference, but when I see someone pretty, I just know I wanna either get fucked or fuck them,” he explains, nodding. “Yeah, seems about right.”

 

“Did you just have your sexual awakening or something? While I’m literally suffering the consequences of my actions?” Seokjin demands, pouting and whining. 

 

“Come on hyung, get up,” Yoongi says, offering his hand out for Seokjin to take. Seokjin takes the offered hand and heaves himself up, groaning as he feels his bones crack. 

 

“I’m getting old, my children,” he says, stretching his arms over his head and sighing into the pleasure of his bones cracking and releasing tension. “I’ve got to settle down, find a nice man, and marry, have children to carry on my family name, grow old, then die.”

 

“Why don’t you skip to the last part?” Seokjin hears Yoongi mumble under his breath, yet he chooses to ignore it.

 

“The stew is ready, Seokjin,” Laura calls from the other side of the kitchen, going back to the task she had set aside when Seokjin had come in. 

 

“Another opportunity for me to bag the man of my dreams,” he dramatically sighs, sauntering off to get his tray and place the bowl of vegetable stew on it, seeing as he has to serve it to his dream man’s table. 

 

Calls of “good luck”s follow his departure from the kitchen as he zigzags through the maze of tables on the dining room floor, most of them becoming empty as closing time nears, almost midnight. 

 

He makes his way to the table and glances at the man, who’s barely touched his plate of pasta since the last time Seokjin had seen him. His face is still red and he’s avoiding eye contact with Seokjin, what a pity.

 

“Here’s your stew, sorry for the wait,” Seokjin says to the guy across from the man he’s currently lusting after.

 

“It’s no problem… Sock Gin ?” Seokjin manages to keep his smile on his face as the man completely butchers his name. Most of the customers don’t even try to pronounce his name, much less even pay attention to the little nameplate he has pinned onto his button-up.

 

“It’s pronounced Seokjin, actually, ” the handsome man says before Seokjin can even react. He turns to look at him and smiles, dimples on display. “It’s Korean, right?”

 

“Y-Yes,” Seokjin stutters, blushing and averting eye contact, surprised he’s suddenly the flustered one. “How did you know?” He whispers, looking down at his black dress shoes.

 

“Hmm?” The handsome man asks. “Can you repeat that? I didn’t quite hear what you said.”

 

“O-Oh, it was nothing, don’t worry about it,” Seokjin chuckles, snapping back to his usual customer service self. “I hope you two enjoy the rest of your meal, if there’s anything I can do for you please do not hesitate to call for me.” He turns to the handsome man and says, “Enjoy your food,” before walking away to tend to a couple of other tables.

 

He doesn’t expect to be called over to the table so soon, but he’s beckoned by the man Seokjin is starting to despise. 

 

“Yes?” Seokjin inquires, standing with his arms at his side, a little awkward under the gaze of the man. “How may I help you?”

 

“Bring me a bottle of your finest red wine,” the man says, turning to look at the dimpled guy. Seokjin’s getting tired of repeating “handsome man” in his head, so instead he opts for calling him Dimples, enamored by his smile.

 

“Of course, excuse me for a minute,” he mumbles, in search for a bottle of wine to appease the man. When he returns he places the bottle onto the table along with two wine glasses. He carefully opens the bottle and pours the red wine into the glasses, smiling at the pair. “Celebrating a special occasion?” Seokjin questions, hoping that this is just a casual dinner between friends, or even better, coworkers.

 

“No,” Dimples says, taking the glass of wine from Seokjin and sipping from it. “It’s just a date.”

 

Seokjin finds it comical the way the date’s eyes seem to sadden at Dimples’ words. 

 

“Oh, that’s cute! Where did you two meet?” Seokjin asks, handing the second glass to the date. He knows he’s being diabolic by asking questions he shouldn’t be asking, especially inquiring things to people he doesn’t know. It’s a triple karma threat when he’s doing it with the intention of ruining this date.

 

“Tinder,” Dimples replies again, taking another sip from his wine glass, unaware to the tense atmosphere he’s creating with his words. Seokjin is enjoying this.

 

“So you two didn’t know each other before, then? Hmm, I don’t trust dating apps if I’m being honest. I’d rather go outside and meet people face to face, you know?” Seokjin asks, directing his gaze in the direction of Dimples. 

 

He can feel eyes on his back, meant to be a menacing glare courtesy of the man who has just become Seokjin’s competition.

 

“I can see where you’re coming from,” Dimples shyly admits, nodding his head. “If it hadn’t been for my friend, I wouldn’t have even gone on this date, much less download the app.”

 

“What?” Dimples seems to realize that he and Seokjin aren’t alone in the conversation, and he quickly hangs his head in embarrassment as his date fumes. “You know, Namjoon, if you didn’t want to go on this date then you could have declined, or not even have bothered to message me back.” Then the man turns to look at Seokjin, “And you! Are you seriously flirting with my date right in front of me? A waiter has the audacity to treat customers this way? I want to speak to the manager!” He says with the slam of his fist, attracting attention from the other people currently present in the dining room, but all Seokjin can think about is Dimples.

 

Dimples, or as he’s now been dubbed, Namjoon, looks a little bit frightened. His name bounces around Seokjin’s head as he repeats it over and over mentally, liking the way the name sounds. It’s such a pretty name for such a pretty man. Thoughts of Namjoon are almost enough to cloud his brain completely until he’s dragged back into reality by the shout of the angry man.

 

“Yes, sir, I’ll be right back with the manager,” Seokjin mutters, excusing himself and heading into the kitchen and praying one of the chefs can help save his ass. “We have a Karen situation,” Seokjin says as he swings the double doors open, butterflies in his stomach as he tries to search for Yoongi. 

 

“Another Karen?” Yoongi calls out to him, leaning against the wall across from Seokjin, taking a little break from his kitchen duties. “What set this Karen off?”

 

“Okay,” Seokjin coyly says, fidgeting with the straps of his apron. “Before you blame me, he accused me of flirting with Namjoon, which I probably was, but Yoongi! How could I not flirt with the love of my life?” Seokjin whines, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting like a child. “How could I not shoot my shot with the man of my dreams?”

 

“Oh my fucking—look, this is why you’re not allowed to fall in love with customers. It’s because you do stupid shit like this and then we have to suffer the consequences of your actions,” Yoongi tells him, pushing off the wall and making his way towards Seokjin. “Now come on, let’s go try to save your job,” he says, looking at Seokjin with a mix of pity and interest. 

 

Seokjin nods and lets Yoongi reach for his hand, squeeze it, and release it before dragging him out into the dining room. Seokjin’s heart nearly stops when he sees that the actual manager, who’s rarely ever even present in the restaurant, speaking with Namjoon and the other man. Seokjin’s entire being fills with dread, anxiety flowing through his veins. The manager despises him and has been tempted to fire Seokjin on numerous occasions. He thinks this is the last straw.

 

“I demand that you fire him,” the man exclaims, face red with anger. He’s pointing a finger into the manager’s face as Namjoon watches the scene with a panic. The man seems to glimpse at Seokjin’s figure off to the side and starts his rant all over. “The behavior he has displayed this whole evening has been inappropriate, he’s been too friendly with my date,” he claims, body tense and eyebrows pulled into what Seokjin can only describe as anger.

 

The manager seems annoyed, turning to look at Seokjin. “Is that true?” He asks, nearly sneering at Seokjin. He gulps, thinking back to his first day on the job when he had accidentally dropped a few wine glasses and angered the manager. Ever since then, he’s had it out for him.

 

“In a way, I can see why this man may have thought that, but I’m just a friendly waiter,” Seokjin claims, putting on an innocent facade because he knows he’s in the wrong, but he can’t afford to lose this job. “I’m friendly to each patron, it’s a key point in providing excellent customer service,” Seokjin explains, smiling sweetly. 

 

He still has Yoongi at his side, looking at the scene that promises to only end in catastrophe. 

 

“This man claims you were flirting with his date,” the manager insists, glaring at Seokjin with soulless eyes. 

 

“I’m sorry for providing impeccable customer service, but my intention was not to exploit this man’s insecurities surrounding his date,” Seokjin says with just a hint of venom. He’s bordering frustration because not only is the man trying to get him fired, his manager is most likely going to follow through just because he hates Seokjin.

 

“There he goes again!” The man exclaims, pointing a manicured finger at Seokjin, who only rolls his eyes and crosses his arms over his chest. “He’s taking a jab at me, I demand you fire this man!”

 

The manager seems to contemplate this, humming in thought while off to the side Yoongi clasps Seokjin’s hand and squeezes it in reassurance. 

 

“He’s going to fire me,” Seokjin whispers, just loud enough for Yoongi to hear. 

 

“I’ll quit if he does, I can always find another job,” Yoongi softly replies, looking at Seokjin akin with something he can’t quite decide what emotions it invokes. 

 

“You can’t Yoongi,” Seokjin mutters, caressing his thumb over Yoongi’s smaller fingers. “At least one of us needs a stable job, I can always go apply to other jobs, anyway. But Yoongi you bring in the most money between the two of us. I need you to stay here. Besides, you don’t need me here. You have your chef quartet there in the kitchen who’d be lost without you,” Seokjin whispers, giving him a small smile. Yoongi, in turn, offers a small smile but Seokjin has known him for years, and he sees fear and distress in his eyes. “Hey, it’s going to be okay,” he smiles and he hopes Yoongi believes him as he mumbles words of reassurance.

 

“Seokjin I want you out of here in ten minutes,” the manager says to him, narrowing his eyes as he tries to placate the smirk that’s settled onto his face. 

 

Seokjin grimaces as Yoongi’s body tenses beside him. “I understand,” he says, nodding and letting go of Yoongi’s hand. His stomach starts to hurt with anger and anxiety, but as a reassurance, he reminds himself that at least Yoongi still has a job with a good stable income. 

 

“Why are you firing him?”A voice sharply calls out, and Seokjin freezes as he recognizes it to be  Namjoon. “He’s done nothing wrong, this is just an overreaction on his part,” Namjoon claims as he points to his date.

 

“Don’t listen to him,” the man counters. “If you don’t fire that waiter over there, I’ll make sure the whole city of Los Angeles knows not to eat here. I’m a food critic, I can make or end your career.”

 

“Well,” the manager begins, “I guess I have no real choice.” Seokjin knows he does. He’s just finding any reason to fire Seokjin at this point. “Seokjin, you’re fired,” he says, barely able to conceal his glee.

 

“Oh come on, you’re clearly abusing your power, the both of you,” Namjoon complains, narrowing his eyes at his date. “You’re threatening people over something so stupid as a date. Just because things don’t go your way doesn’t mean you can wave your authority in people’s faces. Instead of blaming other people for my disinterest in you and this date, you should reevaluate yourself and find out what makes you so unlikeable.” With that, Namjoon grabs his coat and storms out of the restaurant, leaving the man fuming as the manager looks on with curiosity.

 

“Disregard what he’s said, I still want your waiter gone,” the man says, now even more furious than before after Namjoon's outburst.

 

“I wasn’t planning on letting him stay after this embarrassing debacle,” the manager says, gesturing to the rest of the guests looking at the spectacle.

 

Seokjin goes numb, a mix of emotions flooding him, but he just nods his head and offers a grim smile. 

 

“I suppose there’s not much I can do to change the outcome of this,” he sighs, shrugging his shoulders and putting on a bright smile. Yoongi looks over at Seokjin and can tell he’s about to break any minute now. “I’ll go get my stuff,” he says, excusing himself with the slightest bow of his head.

 

Yoongi follows him to the employee lounge and watches as Seokjin goes to his cubby. He grabs his bag, chewing on his lip as Yoongi takes his hand and demands for his attention. 

 

“Let me drive you home,” Yoongi says, turning Seokjin around so that they’re face to face. “You’re obviously not okay, Jinnie,” he murmurs, looking into his eyes but quickly averting them. “I don’t want you to take the long bus ride home as you cry.”

 

“I’m not going to cry,” he says, looking down at his feet. “I’ll take the bus, don’t worry,” Seokjin murmurs, yanking his hand back from Yoongi. “Keep the car, I don’t want you taking public transportation at midnight and walking these streets in the dark. It’s dangerous and right now I’d like the only adult with a job to be safe, so take the car and I’ll take the bus,” Seokjin asserts.

 

“Why don’t you just let me take you home?” Yoongi sighs, rubbing his temples. “Stop being fucking stubborn and let me drop you off Jin!” Yoongi exclaims, frustration tainting his tone.

 

“I don’t want you to just leave in the middle of work, the manager hates me and by extent hates you so I can’t have you risking your job. We need the money, Yoongi, I need you to understand that, so stay here. I’ll take the bus and see you at home, okay?” Seokjin asks, taking the car keys out of his pocket and shoving them into Yoongi’s hand.

 

“Fine,” Yoongi says, taking the keys and throwing them into his own cubby in the corner. “I’ll see you at home then.”

 

“See you at home.”

 

~*~

 

“I’m home,” Seokjin mutters as he walks through the front door, living room light still on. It’s not midnight yet, he and Yoongi usually end up coming home at around that time or even later, but tonight Seokjin is early. 

 

He’d argued with Yoongi, telling him he’d leave the car in the lot and instead he’d take the bus back to their apartment. He didn’t want to wait for him at the restaurant, seeing as what had happened. But because of their stupid and petty argument, his mood drastically becomes even shittier than before.

 

He locks the door behind him and sighs, letting a few tears run down his cheeks. He chews on his lip in an attempt to stop the tears but they’re already creating wet tracks in their wake. Seokjin had told Yoongi he was fine, held his hand and squeezed his shoulder in the parking lot, assuring him that it was fine, that he was okay. He’s a liar. 

 

He just wants to go to bed, change into his soft pajamas and burrow deep under the covers, maybe even cuddle a pillow to his chest. Yoongi will arrive later than midnight and quietly shuffle into the room, changing into an old t-shirt and gym shorts, and then cuddle Seokjin to his chest and whisper reassurances into his ear as he drifts off into sleep. He feels more tears make their way down his cheeks, not bothering to wipe them off until—

 

“Appa?” Seokjin refocuses his eyes to see a tiny figure standing in the hallway leading into the bedrooms, clutching a small stuffed bunny in one hand and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He’s wearing a bunny onesie, light pink and almost swallowing him whole. 

 

“Kookie?” Seokjin hears Jimin call out from the living room, rushing to the foyer to see Seokjin in his work clothes, clutching a small backpack in one hand as with the other he rushes to wipe the tears away, not wanting Jeongguk to see him cry. “Oh! Hyung, you’re back early?” Jimin observes, offering an angelic smile in contrast to Seokjin’s shitty mood. “Where’s Yoongi-hyung?” Jimin then asks, picking Jeongguk up and peering behind him.

 

“He’s still at work,” Seokjin manages to say after a while, surprised that his throat isn’t hoarse and his voice doesn’t waver. “Goodnight, Jimin,” he says, approaching Jimin and holding his arms out to take Jeongguk back. 

 

Jimin gives him a skeptical look, yet nonetheless, bids Seokjin goodnight and exits the apartment. When he’s gone, Seokjin glances down at the small boy clutching onto his upper half, arms wrapped around his neck and legs wrapped around his chest. 

 

“Appa,” Jeongguk repeats, voice heavy with sleep. “Are you okay?” Jeongguk is bright and observant for a six-year-old, always managing to read the mood and adjusting his attitude. Seokjin and Yoongi absolutely adore him.

 

“Yeah baby,” he murmurs, nuzzling his nose against Jeongguk’s cheek. “I’m just tired, I worked hard today. Wanna go to bed?” Jeongguk doesn’t respond, instead, he looks up at Seokjin and frowns.

 

“You’re lying,” Jeongguk states, unwrapping his arms from Seokjin’s neck only to cross him in front of his chest. “Daddy says you’re not allowed to lie ‘cause it’s bad,” he tells him, frown growing as Seokjin giggles. 

 

“I’m not lying, Koo,” Seokjin murmurs softly, pecking Jeongguk’s cheek softly. “Why would I lie to you? You’re my baby. My job is to keep you safe and lying is very dangerous,” Seokjin tells him, feeling more at ease and in control of his emotions as he converses with the little boy.

 

“I saw you crying when you came in,” Jeongguk claims, looking up at Seokjin as tears start to fill his eyes. “Why are you lying to me?” He mutters, tears beginning to spill as he pesters Seokjin with questions. 

 

“I’m not lying, baby,” Seokjin says, bouncing Jeongguk up and down in his arms to calm him down. It used to work when he was younger, but now he’s just a tad bit older and it’s an even harder task to calm him down at this age. 

 

“You are!” Jeongguk wails, burying his face into the crook of Seokjin’s neck. “You said you were okay but I saw you crying!” He continues to sob and Seokjin’s does everything in his power to calm his baby down. 

 

“I wasn’t crying, honey! I was just tired and yawning because I worked so hard today,” he assures him, rubbing soothing circles into the young one’s back. 

 

“Where’s Daddy?” Jeongguk asks, mid-cry. “Why isn’t he with you?” Seokjin’s silence seems to be the trigger that makes Jeongguk full out sob, wrapping his arms around Seokjin tighter than before. “Where is he?” He cries, and no amount of effort Seokjin puts in to make him stop crying and relax seems to be enough. 

 

He sighs and decides to head into his and Yoongi’s shared bedroom, pushing the door open with his hip as he makes his way towards the bed. Seokjin carefully lays on the bed, still clutching onto the crying six-year-old. 

 

“He’s still at work honey,” Seokjin murmurs into Jeongguk’s hair. He rakes one hand through the boy’s hair as the other softly rubs his back. “He’s working extra hard tonight, but he’ll be home soon, baby. I promise.” Jeongguk seems to relax at Seokjin’s words and he looks up from Seokjin’s chest, shirt soaked with tears.

 

“Promise?” Jeongguk asks, holding out his pinky. Seokjin stifles a laugh but he nods, reaching out with his own pinky finger, much bigger in comparison to the boy’s.

 

“Promise,” Seokjin confirms, wrapping his pinky around his son’s own and shaking it, making a pinky promise. “Daddy will be home soon, so why don’t you settle for Appa in the meantime, hmm?”

 

Jeongguk nods and rests his head back onto Seokjin’s chest, slowly drifting off to sleep. Seokjin feels bad as he feels himself start to drift off minutes later, still wearing his work clothes. Jeongguk is fast asleep by the time Seokjin suddenly jolts awake, panic rising in his chest as he remembers that he’s just been fired, that he has a son and won’t be able to provide for him.

 

He’s lucky he managed to talk Yoongi out of quitting, reminding him about the obligation they had to Jeongguk. Even with two sources of income, they were just comfortably getting by. Of course, Yoongi earned more, being a head chef and all, but Seokjin managed to contribute a decent amount of money. Now, with his job gone, it was going to put a dent into their household.

 

He’s not going to tell Jeongguk. No fucking way is he going to worry his son by telling him that he no longer had a job. Which is why he needs to go out looking for jobs as soon as possible. 

 

Seokjin sometimes wishes he hadn’t dropped out of college in his third year, but he knows he would have never been able to afford to take care of Jeongguk without a full-time job. He was dealing with too much at the time, the sudden death of his older brother and wife in a car crash. Seokjin had been left devastated by the accident, and his mother even more so. 

 

Seokjin had lost his father to a heart attack when he was just fifteen and his mother had been the most affected by it. Seokjin and his older brother had vowed they’d take care of their mother, for they were all she had left. His older brother graduated, got a good-paying job, and sent money home every once in a while. The downside was that he’d left home, moved upstate, met a pretty girl, and got married. 

 

Although Seokjin’s mother seemed happy for her eldest son, he knew that deep down, she was wishing that her husband had been there to see it all. Seokjin had various part-time jobs as he was finishing high school. That, combined with the money his brother sent all the way from Silicon Valley helped their mother live a comfortable life. Although his mother had a job as a nurse, her hours were limited due to her depressive episodes. They weren’t drowning in money, but they also weren’t lacking in it.

 

They didn’t have to worry about paying rent, seeing as she had managed to pay the mortgage before her husband had passed away, but it still pained Seokjin that he didn’t have enough money to pamper his mother. He didn’t want to leave her, at this point he was all she had, so he worked his ass off to get into a university close to home. He applied to as many as possible that were still within distance from his mother’s home, and when he received the acceptance letter from UCLA, he was beyond relieved. 

 

He’d given his mother the letter when she’d gotten back from her shift at the hospital, he’d watched her eyes well up with tears, and then she’d crushed him into a tight hug, telling him how proud she was.

 

But it had gone down the train when he’d received the call from the hospital. It hadn’t even been a month since his nephew had been born, and all of a sudden he couldn’t stop thinking about Jeongguk. What had happened to him? Where was he? Who was he with? What would happen to him next?

 

Seokjin was just twenty at the time, yet he had gone through so much already.

 

His mother had wanted to give up the boy for adoption. She couldn’t take care of a newborn, not when the death of her eldest son was still feeling like a fresh wound. Seokjin hadn’t been sure about what to do. On one hand, he knew he couldn’t take care of a kid. He was still in college, living with Yoongi who also doubled as his roommate, even back then. But he also didn’t want to see Jeongguk get thrown into the foster system, and he’d regret it for the rest of his life if he let him go.

 

He’s glad he’d taken Jeongguk in, but his life would only get complicated from then on out. Seokjin had plans of attending culinary school after college with Yoongi, but now he had a mouth to feed besides his own. Jeongguk couldn’t survive on ramen like he and Yoongi did. Taking care of a newborn was a full-time job, and as much as he regretted it, he had to drop out, right in the middle of the year. 

 

He’s glad for Yoongi, Seokjin really just is. Instead of moving out and getting a new roommate, one with no annoying little parasite who cried at two in the morning, he decided to stay with Seokjin and help him. He really owes Yoongi. Without him he’d be lost, broke, maybe he would have even lost Jeongguk. For fuck’s sake, Yoongi even managed to snag him a job at the restaurant he worked in. Yoongi even decided he wanted to be a part of Jeongguk’s life, raising him as his own son as well, doting on him every once in a while. Together, he and Seokjin raised the boy as their own, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He couldn’t imagine his life without either of the two.

 

He’ll never stop paying Yoongi back.

 

Seokjin stretches his legs and sighs, deciding he won’t be able to sleep well if he doesn’t change out of his work clothes and into some warm pajamas. He carefully sets Jeongguk down on the spot beside him, right in the middle of the mattress. He stretches his arms over his head and stands up, heading to his dresser in search of some soft pajamas. He quickly changes, determined to get into bed and fall asleep, but as he peers down at Jeongguk, he sees he’s missing his stuffed pink rabbit. He must have dropped it in the hallway.

 

Seokjin smiles softly and walks out the door, turning on the hallway light and searching for the bunny. It’s not hard to spot. It’s pink, a drastic contrast to the brown carpet. Seokjin spots the bunny on the floor just in front of the front door. He’s about to reach for it when he hears the sound of keys slotting into the keyhole and the sound of the door being pushed open. 

 

Yoongi looks exhausted, still wearing his uniform as he trudges in sluggishly. 

 

“Welcome home,” Seokjin says softly, picking up the stuffed rabbit and hugging it to his chest, feeling a new wave of tears spill, seeing Yoongi causing him to remember the events of the night. Immediately, Yoongi’s at his side, brushing away the tears and tugging Seokjin into a tight hug as the elder chokes on his sobs, trying to quiet himself down. “Kookie is sleeping,” he sobs out, burying his face into the crook of Yoongi’s neck.

 

“Why don’t we go to bed, hmm?” Yoongi suggests, helping Seokjin to their bedroom. “Go lay down next to Kookie,” he tells him, helping him sit down on his side of the bed.

 

“He asked for you when I got home,” Seokjin tells him as Yoongi changes into an old t-shirt and a pair of old gym shorts. “He cried today,” he mumbles. “He cried for you because he saw me crying.”

 

“It’s perfectly normal to cry,” Yoongi says to him, rounding the other side of the bed and laying down, scooting over closer to Seokjin so that Jeongguk is snug in the middle of them. He tucks Jeongguk into his chest and reaches an arm over to Seokjin, beckoning him to come closer.

 

“I don’t like it when I cry,” Seokjin admits shyly. “My face gets all puffy and my eyes get so red and I always feel so bad afterward,” he murmurs, laying his head on his pillow and staring at Yoongi. “I look ugly when I cry.”

 

“Appa’s lying again,” comes a small little whine, and Jeongguk shifts in Yoongi’s arms.

 

“Go back to sleep, buddy,” Yoongi tells him, pressing a kiss to the top of Jeongguk’s head. “It’s late, and it’s way past your bedtime. You’re going to be too tired for school tomorrow.”

 

“Daddy, you’re back,” Jeongguk sleepily marvels, turning around so that he can see Yoongi’s face.

 

“Yeah honey, I just came back a few minutes ago. That’s how you know it’s too late for you to be awake.”

 

“Jeongguk, do what Daddy tells you,” Seokjin chides, pressing a kiss to Jeongguk’s forehead as he pouts. “Goodnight baby,” he whispers as Jeongguk begins to slowly close his eyes.

 

“Goodnight honey,” Yoongi follows, tightening his hold on Jeongguk just a bit. The boy murmurs a soft “goodnight” before he’s silent and Seokjin can see he’s breathing in a steady rhythm.

 

“Goodnight Yoongi,” Seokjin murmurs, resting his head on the pillow and closing his eyes.

 

“Goodnight, Jin,” Yoongi whispers as he unwraps his arms from Jeongguk and instead brings Seokjin into an embrace. “I love you,” he says as Seokjin begins to drift off, feeling safe in the arms of Yoongi.

 

~*~

 

Yoongi leaves at around seven in the morning to head to work, and for once, Seokjin gets to sleep in with his son clutching onto him while he still lays in slumber. Yoongi had been an angel and set an alarm for 7:30 AM, allowing Seokjin at least one more hour of sleep than his normal routine would allow. He’s not even in much of a hurry that morning. School starts at nine for Jeongguk and he’s usually not one to put up a fuss in the mornings. 

 

“Hey honey, time to wake up,” Seokjin whispers, softly shaking Jeongguk. 

 

“I’m too tired,” the boy slurs, burying his face into Yoongi’s pillow. “I’m sleepy, Appa.”

 

Seokjin laughs but continues to shake Jeongguk. “Come on honey, wake up, I wanted to stop by the bakery on our way to school.”

 

Jeongguk snaps awake at that. “You’re walking me to school today?” He asks, eyes lighting up as he offers Seokjin one of his biggest smiles, showing off his missing two front teeth. Seokjin feels a little sad, knowing that he’s been missing out on a part of Jeongguk’s morning routine, if not his life. He and Yoongi rarely walk Jeongguk to school, usually getting Jimin to take him and pick him up after school.

 

Seokjin feels like such a terrible dad.

 

Jeongguk doesn’t put up a fight after that. He dresses up in the clothes Seokjin picks out for him, a light blue surfing t-shirt and a pair of dark blue jeans. He even manages to brush his hair on his own, although the result isn’t all that good. Seokjin manages to brush the boy’s  hair into a more acceptable hairstyle, nothing sticking out

 

“Can I wear a barrette today?” Jeongguk inquires as he inspects himself in the mirror. “I want a purple flower clip!” He exclaims getting all excited.

 

Seokjin chuckles and nods, rummaging around the box they keep for accessories, making sure to pick out a purple flower hair clip. He clips it into Jeongguk’s hair, making sure it’s secure enough so it won’t fall out throughout the day.

 

“Can you manage to brush your teeth while I go get my stuff ready?” Seokjin asks, setting the boy down on the floor. Jeongguk nods, and reaches for the little step stool to allow him to get his toothbrush. Seokjin let’s him be and walks to the kitchen, fixing himself a cup of tea. He’ll make sure to buy some hot chocolate or milk for Jeongguk at the bakery along with the pastries he had promised.

 

“Are you going to make breakfast?” Jeongguk asks as he walks into the kitchen where Seokjin clutches onto his cup of green tea.

 

“No, not today. Remember, we’re going to the bakery,” he tells him. “Ready to go?” 

 

“Yup!” Jeongguk says, grabbing his backpack and putting it on. Seokjin makes sure he has his wallet, phone, and keys as he locks the door and sets down the stairs with Jeongguk tightly holding onto his hand.

 

The bakery is just down the street, on the way to the elementary school. Seokjin likes that it’s within walking distance, seeing as they only have one car and it’s always in use. It’s also a chance to reduce his carbon footprint. 

 

The bakery is buzzing with people, and suddenly Jeongguk gets anxious, tugging onto Seokjin’s hand to get his attention. “Want me to pick you up?” Seokjin asks as they wait in line and the boy nods, making grabby hands at him until the older laughs and picks him up into his arms. “What do you want to order today, Koo?” Seokjin asks.

 

“Donut,” the boy says.

 

“Hmm… how about a croissant instead?” Seokjin asks, hoping to stray Jeongguk away from unnecessarily sweet treats.

 

“Cronut?” The boy asks, looking up at Seokjin with hopeful eyes.

 

“Where did you even learn that from?” Seokjin asks, laughing as they near the front of the line.

 

“YouTube,” Jeongguk admits, wrapping his arms around his father’s neck. “Jimin-hyung said they tasted good, and now I want a cronut.”

 

“Maybe when you’re older and can handle all of that sugar. How does that sound?”

 

“How old?”

 

“How about my age?”

 

“I’m going to have to wait until I’m sixty to have a cronut?” Jeongguk asks, scandalized. 

 

Seokjin frowns at the boy’s words. “Sixty? Koo, I’m twenty-six.”

 

“That’s even older!” The boy cries, frowning at Seokjin.

 

“I really hope school is teaching you how to count correctly,” Seokjin says as the cashier calls him over. He orders two plain croissants and one chocolate croissant for Jeongguk, to appease his little sweet tooth. 

 

As they’re nearing the door of the bakery, Seokjin hears his name being called out. He turns to the direction of the voice and sees the dimpled man from last night, Namjoon. “Seokjin!” He calls out again, and this time he sprints up to him, looking a little flushed.

 

“Namjoon?” Seokjin asks, feeling Jeongguk shy away into the crook of his neck. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Oh, I was just stopping by on my way to work. Coincidence seeing you here,” he says, and his attention turns to Jeongguk. “Oh? And who’s this little guy?” Namjoon asks, bending down slightly just to peer over at Jeongguk.

 

“This is my son, Jeongguk. Koo, say ‘hi’,” Seokjin chides, trying to get Jeongguk to stop hiding. Jeongguk doesn’t budge and Seokjin sighs, saying, “Sorry, he’s a shy little bean.”

 

“It’s okay,” Namjoon says. “I didn’t know you were married,” he then says, peering at Seokjin’s ring finger. 

 

“I’m not,” Seokjin quickly tells him, embarrassed about how desperate he must sound to Namjoon. “It’s a little… complicated,” he admits, laughing nervously. 

 

“Oh. Well, I wanted to apologize for yesterday,” Namjoon says, about to continue with his apology when Seokjin stops him.

 

“How about we talk about it later over a cup of coffee?” Seokjin blurts out, halting Namjoon from outing him out in front of his son. 

 

“Sure,” Namjoon quickly agrees, blushing profoundly. “What time works for you?”

 

“How about in a few minutes? I just have to drop off this little guy at school and I’m free for the rest of the day,” Seokjin explains. “It’s just about a block away, I won’t be long.”

 

“How about I walk with you, I have to get going to work soon either way,” Namjoon insists, blush still coating his face.

 

“Yeah, that sounds great,” Seokjin says, heading for the door. Namjoon steps in front of him and holds the door open for him, seeing as both of his hands are full with the bag of pastries and Jeongguk. “Hey honey, do you think you can help Appa just a bit by walking?” Seokjin asks. Jeongguk lifts his head from where he’d been hiding and slowly nods as Seokjin puts him down and reaches for his hand. 

 

Jeongguk stays on Seokjin’s right side as Namjoon walks beside Seokjin’s left, trying to hide from the other man.

 

“Appa,” he mumbles, tugging on Seokjin’s sleeve. “Who is that?”

 

“That’s Namjoon, baby. He’s a friend of mine,” Seokjin tells him, smiling down at the confused boy.

 

“Friend?”

 

“Yeah, just like you and TaeTae are friends,” he clarifies for the boy. It seems that all shyness is forgotten at the mention of Taehyung.

 

When they near the school, Namjoon tells Seokjin he’ll wait outside for him on a bench just under the shade of some trees. Seokjin agrees and goes inside the building, walking Jeongguk to his class. 

 

Since Seokjin and Yoongi rarely bring Jeongguk to school, on the rare mornings they do, Jeongguk says goodbye with tears running down his cheek and crushing either of his dads in tight hugs, not wanting to let go.

 

That morning is no different.

 

By the time Seokjin manages to wrangle his son off of him and into the classroom, it’s nearing nine in the morning. He makes his way outside to the bench Namjoon is seated on, waving at him.

 

“Finally got Koo to stay in the classroom,” Seokjin says, sitting next to Namjoon. “Sorry about cutting you off at the bakery by the way,” he mumbles, looking down at the gravel. “I haven’t broken to news to Kookie yet, I don’t want him to worry about it.”

 

“It’s fine, I’m actually sorry about that. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that you didn’t want your son to know about your job. I’m also sorry about it, I feel at fault for getting you fired,” Namjoon solemnly admits.

 

“It’s fine, the manager overreacted in my opinion. He’d had it out for me since I started there. Besides, Jeongguk’s other dad still works there, so at least we can rely on him until I find another job.”

 

“Again, I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s fine Namjoon, I think I was at fault for making your date feel insecure about himself. After all, who wouldn’t be intimidated by my good looks and charms? Of course he would think I was flirting with you,” Seokjin giggles, turning to look at a flushing Namjoon. 

 

“Y-Yeah… flirting,” he mumbles, looking down at his black dress shoes. “Flirting,“ he repeats.

 

“Yeah, I used my best flirting skills last night, after all, it’s not every night a gorgeous customer comes waltzing in.”

 

Namjoon chokes on his saliva.

 

“Are you okay?” Seokjin asks, worried, turning to pat Namjoon’s back. “Raise your arms above your head, that usually helps.”

 

“S-Sorry,” Namjoon breaths, calming himself down. “I guess I misheard you. I thought you said you were flirting with me last night.”

 

“Oh no, you heard right. I was flirting with you,” Seokjin smiles at Namjoon. “You’re quite pretty.”

 

“Oh,” Namjoon mumbles, goofy smile on his face. “I’m very flattered, I’m glad you were flirting with me,” he says. “I think you’re very pretty too.” Suddenly, Namjoon’s phone starts ringing, startling both men. He accepts the call and frowns, muttering an “okay” before hanging up. “That was my editor, I need to head to work now,” Namjoon says, offering a small smile as an apology. 

 

“No worries,” Seokjin giggles. “Here, let me borrow this,” he says as he takes Namjoon’s phone from him, typing in something. He hands back the phone and grins, “Now you have my number, so don’t hesitate to call me.” 

 

Both men stand up and head to the gate, walking out onto the sidewalk, turning to each other before they part ways. “See you around, Namjoon, have a nice day,” Seokjin calls behind his shoulder, waving goodbye to Namjoon as he begins to walk back to his apartment.

 

“Thanks, you too,” Namjoon calls back, a smile on his face as he calls himself a Lyft to work.