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Screwed Up and Brilliant

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For the tail end of October, it was unseasonably warm in Seoul. The sun was at just the right angle for endless light to pour into the boardroom where a dozen people were seated around a large table in swivel chairs, all turned to face the projection screen filled with data.

On the left side closest to the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows, fourth chair from the front, Park Jimin set his heels onto the ground, toes pointed up, and wiggled his chair back and forth, chewing a piece of gum that was starting to harden. He stuck the gum between his teeth with his lips apart, and that was the moment when someone nudged the arm of his chair. Jimin tucked the gum back into his mouth and glared in his peripheral vision at Jung Hoseok, the digital marketing specialist for S9K, who was just as distracted in the meeting but also trying to play nice.

“…Chances of truly acquiring APEX seem probable to almost certain,” the man in a crisp suit up front was saying. He was the CEO, and Jimin couldn’t remember his name for all the money in the world. He supposed that as the company’s prized marketing research analyst, he should pay more mind to things like names, but he was tired, and S9K had been in talks for acquiring APEX since April. It was old news, but they all had to be in the meeting regardless. This could be it, after all.

“Well, we’ve certainly expanded to a building that can accommodate a second batch of employees,” Choi Sunghoon, S9K’s marketing director, said from the front, tapping a pen against his lips. “If we’ve truly worked out the logistics, then I would say that a merger is something we should begin to celebrate, not continually discuss.”

“I agree,” the CEO said, and Jimin let out a long sigh of relief. Yes, ending the biweekly merger discussion meetings on Friday afternoons would be ideal. He had work to do, more specifically an up-and-coming boutique real estate company called Scheme that he was trying to work with to help break the market. He and Hoseok were tag-teaming the social media aspect of it, and they were doing a beautiful job. Scheme was climbing the ranks thanks to SEO and a damn good website remodel, and that was all thanks to S9K, mostly Jimin. He had spent twelve-hour days working the system, starting with his SWOT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the company), and then determining if the digital marketing strategy they were using was S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based). It had not been, and Scheme had been a mess as a result. Not anymore. Jimin had spent hours analyzing the target audience and building a buyer persona, and now Scheme was ready to hand over as much money as needed to make sure Jimin was their guy, and that S9K was always on their side.

The meeting adjourned, and Hoseok was the first one out the glass door, throwing his head back with a sigh as he walked down the hallway back towards their offices. Hoseok shared an office space with three other digital marketing specialists. Jimin got his own corner office with a great view. Came with being sought after, he figured.

“This merger can’t happen fast enough,” he complained. “Seriously. Also, when are we going to talk about getting rid of that damn food truck that’s dragging us down?”
“I thought we ditched them,” Jimin said.

“We made them a great website. We revamped the look of their social media pages. We rebranded them. Do they want us to run the business now? I don’t have time for a side hustle,” Hoseok said, shaking his head as Jimin snickered.

“You sure? I feel like you could squeeze in selling fishcakes and tteokbokki on the side,” Jimin argued, and Hoseok side-eyed him before dipping back into his office to finish up the day, shouting something ridiculous in greeting to the remaining three workers, all first-year employees, nothing compared to Hoseok’s four years in the company.

“Jimin-ah! Make sure you drop the final results of that survey for Scheme on my desk. I need the hard copy,” Kang Seokwon, the marketing communications manager, requested as he breezed by, rolling up his sleeves.

“Yeah, of course! Do you want a foot massage with it, too?” Jimin called after him, and he heard Seokwon let out a bark of laughter before Jimin disappeared into his own office, rubbing his forehead tiredly. He collapsed into his leather swivel chair and stared at the two monitors and the small laptop on his desk, and then rolled his head over to his massive wall full of information, as well as the whiteboard where he threw last-minute ideas. He had the final results for the survey, but he wasn’t sure he felt like walking them down the hall to Seokwon’s office.

“Okay, listen.”

Hoseok burst into Jimin’s office no more than five minutes later as Jimin was reluctantly printing out the results of the survey for Seokwon. Jimin had a couch on the left side of his cushy office, and Hoseok collapsed onto it, right leg hanging off the edge, right arm slung over his forehead.

“Tell me again what’s wrong with a digital marketing specialist sharing an office with the marketing research analyst,” Hoseok complained, and then he tilted his head back and reached his right arm up, catching the stress ball that Jimin had thrown at him with a little noise beforehand. “It’s not like we’re different breeds of animals. We’re not rivaling K-pop idols. We can cohabitate.”

“Think the point is for you to mentor the little fledglings,” Jimin said. “You wanna run an errand for me?”

“Not on your fucking life. I never asked to be a mentor.” Hoseok answered both the statement and the question as Jimin snickered, pushing his chair over to the printer to grab the survey. He pushed back to his desk, stapled it together, and then kicked his feet up onto his desk, fanning himself unnecessarily with the papers.

“C’mon. Take this to Seokwon-ssi’s office for me,” Jimin coaxed. “He’ll be eternally grateful to you and he’ll have ammo to take me down at his discretion. It’s a win for both of you.”

“You drive a hard bargain,” Hoseok said sarcastically, tossing the stress ball up to the ceiling with a flick of his wrist and catching it with a hollow thwack in his palm. He threw it again and added, “I think he has a crush on you.”

“I don’t think he swings that way,” Jimin said with a short laugh, dropping his feet onto the floor and shaking his mouse so his screensaver disappeared.

“You haven’t seen him at parties,” Hoseok said, and Jimin could hear the grin on his face. “He’s a filthy little shit. Tells you loud and proud that he fucks women, but he’s always got his ass in some other guy’s hands when the lights are off.”

“You’re such a poet,” Jimin teased, standing up. “Fine. I’ll take this to Seokwon-ssi myself. If he has a crush on me, I’m sure he’ll be happy to see me.”

“For the love of—give it to me.” Hoseok got off the couch and snatched the stapled packet out of Jimin’s hands. His bright eyes scanned it quickly, and then he looked up and grinned.

“Final survey, huh? This’ll score me some points.”

“Yeah, except he knows that I’m the one who did it,” Jimin sighed victoriously. Hoseok marched out of the office with his middle finger up to Jimin.

 

***

 

Jimin had expected that maybe he’d spend his weekend going to Cobra, the new club that just opened in Gangnam to rave reviews. Instead, he spent his Saturday on the phone at all hours with Kim Namjoon, one of his closest friends from university, helping him organize something of a guest list. Namjoon was getting “married” late next year, though it wouldn’t really be official on paper in South Korea. It was more the principle of the matter, and Namjoon was a man of formalities. He was also a man of incessant questions and reasoning, and Jimin listened patiently (while tugging at his hair) as Namjoon went through the whole story regarding why he couldn’t invite his maternal cousin if his fiancé’s aunt was invited.
He thought maybe he would get his Saturday night free to go out and enjoy a few drinks, but then the skies split open in a horrific thunderstorm with torrential rain that caused a power outage, so Jimin resorted to lying on his couch using his phone’s data to catch up on his favorite drama while eating ramyeon that he had just barely cooked using steaming hot sink water. He wasn’t thirty yet, so he could still get away with the excuse of being a single guy without power thanks to a storm. Instead, he just ate his cold noodles and wondered why he didn’t have anyone to cuddle him during the storm. His roommate used to. Not anymore.

The email came on Monday afternoon:

To our valued S9K employees:

We sincerely congratulate you all on your hard work over the years. You are valued and important to us. We ask that you please continue to grow our company and share our talents with the world.

S9K Corporate is pleased to announce our merge with APEX, a thriving and successful marketing company in Itaewon. APEX joins us with seven years of experience working with a diverse clientele in the greater Seoul area, and we are thrilled to have acquired such a promising company and its dedicated employees. We trust that all S9K employees will welcome APEX into our home with open arms.

We look forward to applauding the merger with a celebration gathering this Saturday. Please find attached a PDF flyer announcing the celebration, including the address and time of arrival. We invite you and strongly urge you to bring a companion to the celebration in order to both add to the merriment and to increase awareness of our merger. Dress is smart casual. Food and drink will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you and a plus-one this Saturday!

Regards…

Jimin read the final paragraph of the email at least seven times. He read the closing line an extra five times to make sure that he wasn’t hallucinating. He balked at the signatures. Was his company genuinely suggesting (though it didn’t seem like much of a suggestion to him) that they forgo showing up alone? Where the fuck was Jimin supposed to find a date for a merger celebration party by Saturday? Were these stuffy corporate men and women really just morons without an understanding of how relationships worked?

Jimin’s office door was open, so it only took about five minutes for an outburst of chatter to happen as people began to laugh and jokingly ask each other on dates before calling out the name of the person they’d be taking. There was a lot of laughter about how the first and only goal was to impress their dates with all that S9K does for the country, and how surely the goal was not to get laid, not at all. Jimin closed his email with a heavy feeling in his chest and shuffled out of his office, because it was lunchtime.

“Yah, Jimin-ssi!”

“What?” Jimin pivoted with his hands in his pockets and faced two second-year employees with one eyebrow raised. He couldn’t remember their names for the life of him, but they were on the bottom of the metaphorical totem pole, both still relatively fresh out of university since they hung their diplomas by their cubicles to show off to anyone who passed.

“Tell us about your date,” the taller one said, arms crossed as he leaned against the wall of one cubicle with a grin.

“I already called dibs on Jiyoung,” the shorter one said, like women were objects for him to claim. Tall Guy nudged Short Guy with a small laugh.

“He doesn’t date girls,” Tall Guy hissed as a reminder to Short Guy, and now both of them were grinning. Jimin knew for a fucking fact that Short Guy was bisexual (at parties and socials), but apparently it didn’t matter. Short Guy turned on Jimin.

“Yeah, good luck with that, Single and Lonely,” Short Guy teased, and then they both walked past Jimin, laughing and on their way to eat lunch. Jimin stood rooted to the spot as he took a deep breath, and then he pinched the bridge of his nose as he exhaled. He was used to it, the teasing and jeers. A lot of the guys at S9K were still turned off by any mention of boys liking boys, when in reality, most of them were closeted and Jimin knew it. He and Hoseok could practically smell it on some of them. They had what they called a gaypool, where they placed senseless bets on which employee would turn at the next social outing. Surely the merger celebration would be another time for the both of them to win.

Jimin ate his lunch in his office with his feet on his desk, sitting sideways as he stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows and watched the world go by beneath him. It couldn’t be that hard to find a date to a party. There were many times in the past where he’d had to find a date to a function, so why was this any different? He had plenty of friends. Did it matter if they weren’t single? They loved him enough to come to a party, didn’t they?

Around six o’clock, there was a shout that a few of the older employees were going out for drinks. Two, then three, then four different people stopped by to ask if Jimin was going, almost like they were making sure that he would. They tended to use him as their spark of energy at any social gathering, mostly because Jimin was a man of the people. He thrived in social environments where he felt wanted, as long as he was confident. On the fifth person, Jimin finally sighed that he would tag along.

He was surprised when he popped into Hoseok’s office and Hoseok wasn’t there, his desk all clean and ready for the next day of work. He fired off a quick text to let his friend know the bar that they were headed to, hoping that maybe he’d already gone ahead or that he was planning to be there after heading home or something. Then Jimin grabbed a taxi with Junseo and Beomseok, two marketing consultants that he liked well enough to drink with. He knew he’d have to take a taxi to work tomorrow by leaving his car in the employee parking garage, but he didn’t much care. If ever there was a time to have a few drinks, it was now.

JIMIN [06:49:12PM]
We’re going to 360 for drinks, are you coming?

JIMIN [07:25:39PM]
Never mind, I’ll beat your ass later. How dare you abandon me now HOW DARE

JIMIN [07:49:28PM]
Am I really just talking to myself, are we kidding

JIMIN [08:02:18PM]
You’re reading my texts and not replying, love that for us

JIMIN [08:03:20PM]
I’m texting your boyfriend and telling him to blue ball the shit out of you

JIMIN [08:04:02PM]
Have fun with that, let me know how your dick feels afterwards

JIMIN [08:05:44PM]
Hobi hyung ditched me after work, don’t let him fuck you next time he has the chance

Jimin was okay after four weak drinks, but then he had a fifth and tried to play darts with some of the guys. When he realized that he couldn’t quite focus on the bull’s-eye, he checked his watch. Just after nine o’clock. Fuck it all to hell. He had just spent two plus hours listening to a bunch of pricks from the office talk about the merger celebration and their dates (it turned sexual very quickly), pulling up news articles on Naver and laughing over the stock market change since the announcement. He needed out.

“You sure you’re leaving?” Beomseok asked, biting his tongue between his teeth and tossing another dart that missed the center of the board.

“Yeah, I’m fucked,” Jimin sighed. “Dead tired. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

“You need a ride?” Junseo asked like he could provide one. Jimin snickered.

“I’m good, Junnie. See you tomorrow.”

Jimin pocketed his phone and made sure he had his keys, and then he ran his fingers through his black hair, letting it fall back into place as he pushed past a few people to exit the bar. It was starting to get crowded, so he was glad to gulp in the fresh October air. He marched right to the curb and peered right and left until he saw a taxi turn the corner and head his way.

The taxi slowed down at the sight of Jimin’s lifted hand, or perhaps because he had stepped into the street to grab the driver’s attention. Just as the crosswalk flooded with people, Jimin ran his fingers through his hair again and threw open the back passenger side door of the taxi.

“Hi, I’m going to—”

But he couldn’t even hear himself say his address, because another voice rattled off an address overtop of him. Jimin had had a few drinks, but not enough to lack appreciation for the fact that someone else had jumped into his cab.

“Do you mind? Apologies, I need to be quick. I’ll pay the entire fare. Yes, yes, I’m still here. Go on, sweetheart.” The man addressed Jimin first, and then he pulled the taxi door shut and settled in, pressing his phone back to his ear as the driver took off, blissfully unconcerned with the conflict between passengers. Jimin stared at the side profile of the man, but he didn’t get much—the man turned to look out the window for a moment, still talking.

“Yes, of course. I appreciated every moment of it,” the man said in a much different dialect than Jimin was used to hearing around Seoul. “I hope you did, too. Mm… I did, thank you. You really know how to spoil me.” It was a bit more aggressive, sounded like Busan satoori. Jimin’s jaw was still clenched in irritation at this stranger sharing his cab without asking first, but then the man hung up from his phone call and shifted in his seat to face Jimin.

“You’re in my taxi,” Jimin said, but then his next jab caught in his throat and died quickly. This man was, for lack of any more eloquent words in his vocabulary, the most beautiful man he had ever seen in his twenty-seven years of life. His black hair was in effortless waves and hanging in his eyes, though he made a casual attempt to move it with a long finger. His eyes were brown with a certain shine to them that Jimin couldn’t quite explain, but they were his most defining feature, full of stories. His jaw was chiseled, and his mouth was slightly open as he surveyed Jimin.

“Thanks for sharing it,” the man replied, the Busan dialect suddenly gone. “I assume you’re just headed home after a few drinks with some work friends. I won’t be in your cab for long.”

“How’d you—? It doesn’t matter,” Jimin interrupted himself, shaking his head and turning to stare at the passenger side headrest.

“Forgive me for noticing, but you seem irritated,” the man said. “And not just because a stranger stole your taxi cab.”

“Sorry, does this cab come with a free psychological evaluation?” Jimin asked curtly, clenching his jaw again as he looked to his left. The man’s eyes were sparkling with amusement as he smirked.

“You’re funny. I like you.” He extended a hand. “Jeon Jeongguk.”

“Yeah. Pleasure,” Jimin said shortly, and he considered not shaking Jeon Jeongguk’s hand, but he thought the better of it and reluctantly reached across himself. Jeongguk’s grip was firm, and his hand was so large that they swallowed Jimin’s hand whole. “Park Jimin. Not irritated, thank you. What’s with the nice suit?”

“Business,” Jeongguk replied vaguely, pulling at the opening of his jacket with one hand. It was, by far, the nicest and probably most expensive suit Jimin had seen on another man. “I see you’ve gone for a more corporate casual approach. You must be in marketing. You look like an S9K kind of guy.”

“How’d you—? I’m sorry, have I met you before?” Jimin asked, because that was the second time Jeongguk had correctly assumed something about him. “Are you getting this shit from someone else?”

“Lucky guesses,” Jeongguk replied calmly, though he looked rather smug at being correct. “You read like an open book.”

“And who are you? The CEO of a company?” Jimin asked childishly. Jeongguk’s lips twitched in another small smirk.

“Something like that,” he replied. “I’m the man in charge. S9K just bought out APEX. Big merger. Cause for celebration, I’d assume.”

“I see you can read.”

“I dabble in it,” Jeongguk answered smoothly, ignoring Jimin’s snarky responses to everything that came out of his mouth. “Could this perhaps be the reason you seem so irritated?”

“For the last goddamn time, I’m not irritated,” Jimin snapped, but his tone immediately betrayed his words, so he sighed. Jeongguk ran his right hand over his mouth contemplatively, thumb and pointer finger pinching his bottom lip together before he dropped the hand altogether, tongue pressing into one cheek for a moment.

“I have at least three more minutes left of my portion of the ride,” he noted. “And I’m a good listener. Could be therapeutic to vent to a stranger. It’s been known to relieve stress.”

Jimin hummed, and then he snorted as the taxi took a sharp right turn. “Yeah, okay. You find me a willing man in this city who would want to spend an evening at a merger celebration and I’ll pay for the goddamn fare myself.”

“Mm. No interested men at the workplace?” Jeongguk asked evenly. “No friends who could fill in for you?”

“Plenty of men at the workplace and plenty of friends,” Jimin retorted. “But none to… you know. I don’t need to be telling you this shit.”

“Oh, come on.” Jeongguk, who had been staring at the headrest of the driver’s seat while listening, finally rolled his head to the right slowly to look at Jimin. “A young man sitting in a taxi after a few drinks looking the way you do? You can’t find a date to a little party? I find that hard to believe. Perhaps you’re just not trying hard enough.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“On the contrary.” Jeongguk licks his bottom lip slowly, subconsciously. “When I said ‘looking the way do you,’ I was implying exactly the opposite of what you’re assuming. Oh, here’s my stop.”

Confused, Jimin watched as Jeongguk reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out an expensive wallet, and handed over 50,000 won, far more than was needed for the total fare, even for two people and two different drop-off locations.

“Bring him where he needs to go, and keep the change only if you’re quick,” Jeongguk instructed the driver, and then he leaned back, grabbed a bag Jimin hadn’t seen before, and threw open the taxi door. Before he got out, though, he reached into another pocket and pulled out a business card. Black, sleek, shiny, silver lettering, sharp and modern design. He held it between his pointer and middle fingers and extended it to Jimin. “Here’s my card. Call me when you need me. I’m sure you will.”

He slammed the door shut and jogged to the sidewalk behind the taxi. The driver pulled away before Jimin could even attempt to turn his head and see where this man was headed. The taxi flew around the corner, and his view of Jeon Jeongguk was no more. Bewildered and still slightly buzzed, Jimin looked down at the business card in his hand:

JEON JEONGGUK
PROFESSIONAL ESCORT SERVICES

Jimin stared and stared at the front of the card with rounded edges, and then he slowly flipped it over. It was white on the back with black lettering in Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, and English, but it all said the same thing: “A companion who cares,” followed by a phone number. No e-mail address. No physical address. Just a phone number.

An escort. He was dressed like a young rich CEO with a smug smile with a business card that probably cost more than the taxi fare, and he was a fucking escort. Jimin almost crushed the card in his hand, but he exhaled slowly as the taxi took the last turn towards his apartment building.

“That was fast. Thank you,” Jimin said politely, knowing that the fare was covered. He grabbed his bag, threw open the door, and slammed it shut. His feet barely hit the curb before the taxi was gone to hunt for the next customer, and Jimin slowly tilted his head to the sky and took another deep breath. He was doing a lot of that today, deep breathing. When he straightened his head, he glanced down again at the business card. Simple. Mysterious. Unexpected. A bit like the man who had made them.

“Fucking ridiculous,” Jimin muttered to himself, and then he shoved the card into his jacket pocket and fumbled for his key fob to get into the building. He rode the elevator to the top floor, where there were only a handful of apartments. Being a favorite at S9K at such a young age made him a relatively impressive twenty-seven-year-old with a penthouse apartment, if that was what he felt like calling it. It was only two bedrooms, but it had a magnificent view and a spacious kitchen. He and his best friend had shared the apartment until a few months ago—

“What the hell?” Jimin said with a laugh, peeking into what was supposed to be the spare bedroom. He leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms as the massive duvet rustled.

“…What time is it?” Kim Taehyung asked in a groggy voice, his ashy blonde hair sticking up in all directions, squinting as he rubbed his eyes.

“Almost ten o’clock,” Jimin replied as Taehyung flopped back onto the pillows. “Don’t you have somewhere else to live?”

“Still have a key.” Taehyung’s arm flew up in the air, and Jimin saw the key on a pink plastic spiral bracelet. “Is it really almost ten o’clock?”

“Yup.”

Taehyung shot upright again.

“Morning or night?” he demanded, because the curtains were closed and blocked out much of the light that normally came into the room.

“Morning,” Jimin lied, and Taehyung immediately rocketed out of bed and started to grab for clothes. The moment he did, Jimin burst out laughing and walked into the bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed. Taehyung stopped dead in his tracks with just his black jeans on, gripping the shirt he’d left on the floor.

“Are you fucking with me?” he asked tiredly.

“Hobi hyung didn’t show up for drinks after work,” Jimin said conversationally, so Taehyung immediately lunged and smacked Jimin on the side of the head before collapsing onto the bed again with a groan.

“Yeah, he was supposed to do something for his sister tonight,” Taehyung sighed. “I could kill you right now.”

“Was ten o’clock in the morning a bad thing?”

“I have a sunrise photoshoot tomorrow with product placement,” Taehyung replied. “And they’re paying me like a king.”

Taehyung had gone to a university for the arts, and he had graduated early and gone straight into professional photography. With Jimin’s help (for free, though Jimin never used it against him), Taehyung marketed himself so perfectly that he shot to near infamy in Seoul and all the surrounding cities within a matter of three months. He was even sought after in Japan and Thailand now. He was Jimin and Hoseok’s first guinea pig while they worked at S9K, and he was also their only free client to this day. For Jimin, it was because Taehyung was his best friend. For Hoseok, it was because he was whipped.

“So why are you sleeping here?” Jimin asked. Taehyung had moved out to live with Hoseok a few months ago after Hoseok had spent murderous weeks badgering Jimin at work over whether or not it was a good idea. He tended to be a nervous talker, so of course, he always had a pro and then seven or eight cons each morning when he came into the office. And Jimin, the very person who had set Hoseok up with his childhood best friend, had patiently (while inwardly screaming) listened to every what-if scenario. And then he had finally shouted at Hoseok that he was “in love, damn it, just fucking ask him to move in with you and leave me alone! Stop trying to pop the question like a marriage proposal!”
Hoseok had just asked Taehyung over text after that outburst.

“It was closer than our place,” Taehyung reasoned, and he wasn’t wrong depending on where he had been earlier. “I didn’t think I could make it. I was falling asleep behind the wheel.”

“Oh, you drove?”

“I was out in Gimpo for a shoot today. And don’t tell me that’s not a far drive. It is when you’re dead tired.”

“Wasn’t gonna say anything,” Jimin replied, holding his hands up innocently and then ruffling his soft black hair.

“You seem off.” Taehyung sat up again, ever observant. He and Jimin and been best friends since childhood, always attached at the hip. They had developed a gauge for each other’s emotional capacity years ago. “What’s wrong? Drinks didn’t go well? Did you have to punch someone?”

“No,” Jimin said with a short laugh, and then he hesitated for a moment. This was Taehyung, he didn’t need to withhold anything. “Some asshole stole my cab outside of the bar.”
“Ouch.”

“Well, he didn’t exactly steal. We got in at the same time, so we shared the cab. But I hailed it,” Jimin pointed out childishly, realizing how inwardly irritated he still was at Jeon Jeongguk. Perhaps it was because he couldn’t quite put his finger on the reason why Jeongguk was still consuming his thoughts even a half hour after their brief and probably one-time encounter.

“Was he annoying? Did he make you drive around Seoul for seven hours?” Taehyung asked, half-joking.

“No, he was just—I don’t know. Weird. He guessed all these things about me, and—it was just weird. You wanna game for a little, or are you going back to Hobi hyung?”

“I was gonna go back to hyung, but if you want me to stay and game for a little, I will,” Taehyung said, which was just his way of offering companionship. Jimin wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he tended to need more of it these days with a whole apartment to himself. He missed his best friend. Most outsiders would judge their friendship, but to the two of them, everything they did was normal. They used to sleep in the same bed and cuddle, shower together, walk around the apartment naked without asking permission first. Now Jimin had to hug a pillow, shower alone, and keep his dirty jokes to himself.

“I’m good. I’m sure he’ll want to see you,” Jimin said.

“Yeah, well, I’ve taken a good nap and a long shower, so I’m ready for action,” Taehyung said, and it was ambiguous, but Jimin groaned jokingly with a chuckle and opened up the fridge in search of water.

“Yeah?” Jimin cracked open the water bottle. “Opened yourself up nice for him?”

“Don’t be a creep. I talked to him earlier. You know he swears that the night of the merger party, he’ll bottom in celebration,” Taehyung said, and Jimin snorted with laughter. Jung Hoseok was anything but a bottom when it came to sex, so Jimin would believe it when he heard it.

“Yeah, you let me know how he takes it when you top. I’d like to hear about it. I need new ammunition to tease him at the office.”

“I’ll take notes afterwards,” Taehyung promised.

“Don’t think he’d like that.”