The plane was late.
Jungkook checked his watch again, as if the laws of time had somehow changed since he'd last looked at it. It was still eleven-fifteen. Jimin's plane had been due at eleven sharp.
Leaning against the GMC, Jungkook scanned the tarmac with a practiced eye. Being in a wide-open space like this made him uneasy, but in truth, this was one of the safest places he could be. Security at Gimpo International Airport was high. Any attackers approaching on the tarmac of the general aviation terminal would be visible long before they came within firing range. There was always the possibility of a sniper, but the threat of assassination was low where Park Jimin was concerned. It was abduction Jungkook had to worry about.
That, and the fact that the plane was now twenty fucking minutes late.
Jungkook tapped on the driver's side window. Seijin rolled it down – just a crack, to minimize compromising the security of the bulletproof glass.
"I'm going to give them another five minutes before I go back to the terminal to see what's up," he said.
Seijin nodded and closed the window. Jungkook returned to watching the skies, hoping that one of the many planes descending to the runways was Jimin's. Park Mi-jeong had personally pulled him off her estate security team to promote him to this assignment. It would look pretty bad if he lost control of it before he'd ever even met the kid.
Just as he decided to head into the terminal, a jet swung off the nearest runway and taxied in their direction. Jungkook narrowed his eyes until he could make out the distinctive stripes of the Hawker 800 XP . He allowed himself a sigh of relief and straightened up.
The landing crew hurried forward to meet the aircraft, guiding it into place and setting orange cones around the engines and wingtips. Jungkook watched them carefully. He didn't have any true concerns about the airport's employees, but you never knew.
A mobile staircase was dragged to the bulkhead door. It swung open a minute later, and an athletic woman with short brown hair stepped out, her gaze immediately falling on Jungkook. He recognized her from her picture as Ahn Hye-jin, Jimin's security team leader. Former team leader, now.
She clearly recognized him, as well. He gave her the all clear signal and she nodded, turning back to the plane and gesturing before descending the stairs. A lithe Asian woman followed, and then Jimin emerged from the plane.
Jungkook sucked in a breath. He knew what Park Jimin looked like, of course. He'd worked on the estate for more than two years, and there were pictures of the boy all over it; the dossier Jungkook had studied upon receiving the assignment had also contained photographs. He knew, for instance, that Jimin had gotten the best of both parents – mother's sharp cheekbones and narrow nose, the sensual lips and sensual eyes from his father.
But a photograph couldn't capture the full effect of the sunlight gleaming off his black hair and setting his ivory skin aglow, the sultry, confident roll of his hips, the way his cashmere sweater and black corduroys clung to his long, slim body. Jimin moved with a grace that was at once seductive and predatory.
He is a predator, Jungkook reminded himself. He'd been skeptical that one nineteen-year-old boy could be responsible for everything his mother claimed, but seeing Jimin in the flesh, he was revising that opinion.
Behind Jimin came two more people, a redheaded woman and one of the ugliest men Jungkook had ever seen. As the group made its way across the tarmac, the bodyguards fell into a classic four-man box around Jimin. Jungkook observed their form with approval.
The lead woman extended her hand when they reached him. " Ahn Hye-jin."
"Jeon Jungkook," he said as he shook her hand. "What was the delay?"
"Too much air traffic. They put us in a holding pattern."
Jimin's eyes swept Jungkook from head to toe as a slow smile spread over his face. "You're joking, right?" he said to Hye-jin.
She clenched her jaw, not bothering to respond. It was obvious why she was quitting. Every aspect of her body language screamed distaste for the young man standing beside her.
Jungkook offered his hand to Jimin next. "Mr.Park, a pleasure to meet you."
"You're my new babysitter, I take it?"
Jimin's voice wasn't deep, but it had a low, throaty quality that was enticing even though Jungkook was certain it was contrived.
"I'm the new team leader of your close protection detail."
"I feel safer already."
In his peripheral vision, Jungkook saw Hye-jin rolling her eyes. He gently extricated his hand from Jimin's grip, which had tightened. "I think we can save the rest of the introductions for a time when we're less exposed," he said to the others.
The two women nodded and turned to help the landing crew load the luggage into the second car. As the redhead passed Jimins, she tugged his hair playfully and said, "Behave."
At least one of the kid's bodyguards didn't hate him.
"Do you need further assistance?" Hye-jin asked.
"We've got it from here, but thanks."
Something in her posture loosened. "Good luck," she said, and started for the terminal without a word of farewell for her erstwhile charge. The ugly man followed her, shooting Jimin a poisonous glare. Jimin blew him a kiss.
Wanting to get the kid home as quickly as possible, Jungkook opened the car's rear door. Jimin took in the black GMC Yukon XL with raised eyebrows.
"Nice car," he said. "Where are you taking me, a frat party?"
Jungkook could think of several responses to that, none of which were appropriate. He settled on, "It'll keep you safe."
Jimin hopped into the backseat, but he reached out and caught the door before Jungkook could close it. "Will you sit in the back with me? Please."
Custom dictated that the team leader ride in the front seat so that the principal could have privacy in the back, but Jungkook had no grounds to deny Jimin's request – even though he saw it for the manipulation it was. He'd been warned about this.
"All right." Jungkook shut the door and rounded the car, letting himself into the backseat. Seijin engaged the locks as soon as they were both inside. "Mr. Park, this is Kim Seijin. He'll be your regular driver."
Seijin looked in the rearview mirror and touched the brim of his cap. Jimin gave him a dazzling smile. "Hi."
Jungkook was shocked to see a slight flush grace the impassive man's cheeks. "We're a go," he said pointedly.
The car engine was already running. Seijin touched the speakerphone button on the car's navigation screen, which was integrated with his Bluetooth. "Ready to move."
"Ready to move," confirmed the driver of the car transporting the other bodyguards and the luggage.
Seijin stepped on the accelerator. Jungkook turned to ensure that Jimin was wearing his seatbelt only to find the boy staring at him intently. His eyelashes were ridiculously long.
"I'd rather you called me by my first name."
Jimin leaned forward. Jungkook couldn't help cataloguing other details he hadn't noticed before: the dark blue collar and cuffs of the shirt Jimin wore beneath his cream sweater, the square-cut diamond sparkling in his left earlobe, the faint spicy hint of cologne.
Jimin put a hand on Jungkook's knee, smiled, and said, "Do you want to fuck me?"
Jungkook's expression was priceless. It took a great deal of effort for Jimin to contain his glee.
What was his mother thinking? She was the one who'd insisted on all his bodyguards being either female or heinous trolls like Charlie, but here she was offering up Captain America on a silver platter.
Jimin couldn't have chosen better if he'd picked Jungkook himself. From his strong, chiseled jaw and rugged complexion to his tall, well-muscled frame, Jungkook practically dripped testosterone – just the way Jimin liked his men. It made them so much easier to manipulate. Jimin estimated that he would have this one eating out of the palm of his hand in a matter of days, if not hours.
Then Jungkook said, "No, thank you."
Jimin drew back, startled. Jungkook had spoken as mildly as if declining a bottle of water. So it was going to be like that, then?
Intrigued by the challenge, he asked, "Are you married?" He'd already noted the absence of a ring on Jungkook's left hand, but that didn't mean anything.
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"You're afraid my mother will find out and fire you."
Something strange passed across Jungkook's face. Jimin would have called it amusement in a different context.
"No." Jungkook held up a hand to forestall further questions. "Mr. Park – Jimin – I'm not in the habit of sleeping with my employers. It's extremely unprofessional."
The way he said it sounded rehearsed. Jimin's eyes narrowed. "My mother told you why I got kicked out of school, didn't she?"
"This one and the last two."
"I like being fucked. I'm not going to apologize for that."
A choking sound from the driver made Jimin smile, glad that somebody was reacting the way they were supposed to.
"You don't have to apologize for or explain anything. I'm here to protect you, not judge you. Your sex life is none of my business."
Jungkook seemed completely sincere. If he was running some kind of game, Jimin didn't know what it was. He decided to change tacks.
"Do you have a gun?"
Jungkook lifted an eyebrow, but he unbuttoned his suit jacket without comment and pulled one panel aside to show Jimin his shoulder holster. Jimin couldn't have cared less about the gun; he only had eyes for the breadth of Jungkook's shoulders and the thickness of his chest. Some of it came from the ballistic vest Jimin could see beneath Jungkook's white shirt, but notmuch. His need to have Jungkook under his control tripled in intensity.
"I bet you'll never even need that." Jimin leaned in again, placing the palm of his hand against Jungkook's chest. "You're so strong. And here I am, all weak and defenseless…"
"Really?" Jungkook frowned. "We'll have to get you some hand-to-hand training, then. And you should learn how to use a firearm, just in case."
Jimin stared at him a moment, unblinking, before withdrawing his hand and sitting back in his own seat. He'd been able to feel Jungkook's heart beating, slow and steady. His breathing was normal. His pupils weren't dilated.
Jungkook was unaffected by him.
Having never encountered that particular obstacle, Jimin was at a loss. Right on the heels of his confusion came a hot, unexpected rush of shame. He'd always enjoyed playing the helpless act, but the way Jungkook had taken it at face value stung his pride.
"I know how to handle a gun," he muttered, turning to look out the window.
They sped down the highway that would take them to Bethesda. Jimin watched Jungkook from the corner of his eye, irritated by the fact that all the man's attention was focused on the cars sharing the road with them. He was ignoring Jimin.
Ignoring him. Even noticing that Seijin kept staring at him in the rearview mirror didn't make him feel better. His foot started up an anxious tapping. Jimin pressed down on his knee with the heel of his palm to stop it, but he could still feel the muscles jumping beneath his hand.
A soft chime from his cell phone signaled a text message. Jimin pulled the phone from his pocket and flipped it open, surprised to see the name Glauser on the Caller ID.
I miss u already.
Jimin hated net speak, but the text still brought a smile to his face. His thumb hovered over the reply button. Another sideways glance at Jungkook decided him.
You're not supposed to contact me, you naughty b oy.
Can't help it. I can't stop thinking ab out u. It's driving me crazy.
Jimin's smile widened.
What are you thinking ab out?
The way ur hot little body looks naked and b ent over my desk.
I'm naked right now.
Yeah? R u hard?
So hard it hurts. I wish there was a sexy teacher here to ease my ache.
I wish I was there 2. I'd pound ur tight hole just the way u like it.
Jimin took a deep breath as his cock really did start to swell. Jungkook gave him a curious look. Oh, so now Jimin had his attention, did he?
Pretending not to know Jungkook was watching, Jimin typed, Would you b e rough? You know how b ad I've b een.
I like when ur b ad. Gives me a reason to spank u.
You're not mad at me, then?
Not anymore. U know how much I love u, gorgeous. I can't stay mad u.
A warm wave of satisfaction washed over Jimin, relaxing his tense muscles. Do you still want me?
I can call you tomorrow night. It'll b e really late where you are.
Call me anytime. I don't care how late it is. I just want to hear ur voice.
Pleased, Jimin snapped the phone shut and returned it to his pocket. His foot remained still. He met Jungkook's gaze calmly, certain now that he had overreacted. So Jungkook wasn't into the aggressive thing – a lot of men weren't. Jimin had simply miscalculated.
Time for some damage control. "Have you worked for my mother long?" he asked, keeping his voice friendly.
"Just about two years."
"Do you like being a bodyguard?"
"The hours are rough, but the pay is excellent."
"I'm sure." Jimin dropped his head against the seat and stretched his back, making sure the move wasn't too overtly sexy.
"I'm starving. Can we stop somewhere for dinner? Or lunch, I guess. I'm still on Switzerland time."
Jungkook shook his head. "Your mother was very clear that we should bring you straight home. I'm sure Sun-ja will have something ready for you."
"Sun-ja?" Jimin sat up straight. "She still works there?"
"Yes. How long has it been since the last time you were home?"
Jimin shrugged, as if he didn't know the answer down to the hour. "I was twelve."
He hadn't expected Jungkook to understand the significance of that, but it was clear from the sudden pity on his face that he did. Jimin's leg starting jiggling again. He dug his fist into his thigh.
Trying to break the tension that had fallen over the car, Jimin said, "I never thought Mother would let me back into the Seoul."
"She was advised not to, but she didn't really have a choice."
Though Jungkook's tone was non-judgmental, Jimins felt like he'd been slapped. He had to hold both his thighs in an iron grip to keep them quiet while his traitorous mind supplied him with the words Jungkook hadn't said.
No other school would take you.
In Europe, Jimin had thought of his protective team as little more than ornamental. They'd never had to defend him against anything because he'd never been attacked. That was why his mother had sent him away in the first place. But here in South Korea, he might as well be wearing a bull's-eye.
The reality of his situation hadn't hit him until that moment.
It no longer mattered that his hands were holding his legs still, because his fingers started drumming on his thighs.
Jimin stared at them, frustrated. He wanted to stop but knew it was pointless – his body would only find another outlet.
Then Jungkook's hand settled on top of his, giving Jimin a strange sense of déjà vu. "Hey," Jungkook said quietly. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you."
Jimin looked at the large, calloused hand that dwarfed his own. His hands and legs fell slack, peaceful. He lifted his gaze to eyes that were as black as the night sky and said, "I believe you."