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The Mimi

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“Seokjin! A chocolate mousse for table 9! Oh and how’re we doing on the steak and salad for table 4? They’re getting a tad impatient,” Yoongi shouts with his usual urgency as he bursts through the kitchen door. Noisily.

“I’m on it!” assures the chef, too busy chopping up fresh vegetables to spare the waiter a glance. “The faux filet is ready if you want to bring it in!”

Shlunk. Another loud slam of the revolving door.

Honestly, Jimin appreciates his coworkers. He knows how hard they work, putting every effort into making this restaurant successful. He knows how stressful things can get, when you have a room-full of hungry customers all demanding lunch within the half-hour. He does. But sometimes he wishes for a little peace and quiet.

Shlunk. Yoongi’s back in the kitchen again.

“The salmon for table 8 is ready! And the greek salad is coming right up!”

The waiter picks up the plates Seokjin indicated and turns around. Shlunk.

Jimin understands that this is what working in restauration is like. It’s hectic and loud - at least behind the scene - and he was aware of that fact when he agreed to venture into opening a restaurant with his two best friends. No, the problem is that Jimin never gets any peace and quiet. Not at work, not at home. Not anymore. Shlunk.

“Seokjin! I need that steak now! The guy says he’s in a hurry!” urges Yoongi.

“I’m doing my best here but even I can’t cook a steak that fast!” Seokjin answers.

It sounds like today is one of those days that leave them all ambiguously satisfied by the end of it. Happy, because the increasing number of lunchtime customers means the restaurant is gently making a name for itself. Frustrated, because it’s at times like these that they realise that they are cruelly understaffed but can’t really afford to employ anyone else, meaning customers are left waiting more than they should and don’t get the culinary experience they deserve.

“Hyung! Do you need any help?” Jimin calls out. He doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking or waitering, which is why he usually sticks to his accounting, but he’ll tear himself away from his Excel spreadsheets in order to give a hand here and there when it’s necessary.

Seokjin doesn’t reply right away, but Jimin knows he’s heard. It’s just that the chef needs a little time to weigh his options. Jimin isn’t exactly a bad cook, but he requires a lot of supervision, which could make Seokjin even busier instead of lightening his burden.

“It’d be great if you could just watch the stove while I finish the asparagus sauce,” the elder finally declares.

Jimin sighs in relief. That’s a task he can handle, and it’ll give him a break from the numbers he’s been staring at all morning. Jimin does know how to make a meal, no matter how much his colleagues tease him about his cooking skills, but he’ll admit that feeding his five year-old is a pretty different kettle of fish to providing a hurried yet delicious lunch for thirty grown adults.

He’s only let the rice boil over once when Yoongi’s entrance is announced by the customary shlunk, followed by his equally as customary sarcasm.

“Seokjin, are you really desperate enough to let Jimin near the food?”

The chef doesn’t react, but Jimin sticks his tongue out, to which Yoongi answers by making a face.

“Honestly, you two. Sometimes I wonder if you ever grew up. Even Meami is more mature,” Seokjin scolds. Jimin doubts it. His daughter did initiate a pea fight at dinner last weekend, after all. “Now, take that steak in, Yoongi, chop chop.”

Orders slow down after three quarters of an hour, and Seokjin lets Jimin head back into his small office, and they both make a commendable effort at hiding their relief that Jimin’s duties in the kitchen are over.

Time passes quickly when Jimin has numbers to make sense of. Most people would hate his job, either because they think they’re bad at maths and thus practicing it makes them feel inferior and frustrated, or because they find it boring. Jimin can’t deny its repetitiveness, but he likes how predictable and flawlessly logic it is. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s good at it, unlike his hyungs. There are always solutions to be found when the digits don’t add up, which is more than can be said for any of the other aspects of his life. Maybe that’s what he finds relaxing.

Jimin, as his friends well know, is someone who spends a significant amount of his time second-guessing his decisions and doubting himself. Another thing he likes about his job is that it allows him to keep things simple. Did he get that spreadsheet correct? Yes, no. There are only two possible answers and both are kindly provided by the computer, black on white. It gives him a break from the other questions that plague him, questions like whether he’s a good father to Meami, whether taking on the responsibility of opening a restaurant with two of his best friends a few weeks before learning of her conception really was a good idea.

It feels like no time at all has gone by when Seokjin calls out a reminder to go get Meami from kindergarten. Jimin looks down to his watch in surprise, and indeed it indicates that it’s already past 4 o’clock.

“Thanks, hyung! See you tomorrow!” he says as he slips his coat on. If he hurries, he might just have time to get her a treat from that ice-cream parlour she loves, just a few blocks away. It’s January, but that never stopped a child from enjoying a frozen delicacy.

“Say hi to Meami for us,” orders Yoongi from the couch, normally meant for customers, that he’s currently sprawled on. “Tell her Jungkook and I will take her to the cinema next week. I saw they’ve scheduled some Miyazaki films.”

“Sure will,” Jimin says with a warm smile. It always makes him happy to see how supportive his friends are.

 

 

Damn it. Jimin is in front of the school gates, ice-cream-less because the parlour was closed, and with five minutes to spare. Five minutes is a very long time to wait when they’re filled with the chatter of competitive housewives, each trying to convince the others that their own offspring is the best while not-so-discreetly hitting on Jimin. At one point, he worries that an argument over which child’s noodle necklace was the longest might escalate into a fistfight, but thankfully they drop the topic as soon as another mum mentions how hot she finds the new teacher. That, at least, all the women can agree on. Jimin hasn’t met Mr. Lee’s replacement yet, but he pities the poor man for having tickled their fancy. Hopefully this means that Jimin will drop to second place in their lover wish list, and that’ll give him a reprieve from these middle-aged harpies’ aggressive and unwanted attention.

Finally, after enough women have felt Jimin’s biceps up in an ‘affectionate’ gesture that all he wants to do is to collect Meami in his arms and shower off their touch as soon as he gets home, after most of the children have come to greet their parents, finally, Meami walks through the open doors and spots her father. They grin at each other and she makes a beeline for him, jumping into his embrace.

“How was your day, sugarbug?” Jimin asks her, pretending he didn’t hear the obnoxious cooing around him at the pet name.

“Cool! Mr. Kim said my painting was super great and I got to play in the sandpit. Oh! I made a drawing of a tortoise for Jiwoo. Can I go give it to her now?” pleads Meami, adding a pout in for good measure.

Jimin laughs. “Of course, honeybee.”

He watches fondly as she makes her way to the other little girl, wishing he too could go back to the days when his biggest problem was having his best friend in another class. He doesn’t notice the man making his way to him until his presence causes conversation to die down around them. He looks up and is met with wide dark eyes framed by nerdy-looking black glasses.

“Are you Mr. Park?” the handsome stranger enquires in a surprisingly deep voice for someone who looks barely older than Jimin himself. He acquiesces hesitantly. “I’m Mr. Kim, your daughter’s teacher. I wondered if I could have a word about Meami?”

“Now?” asks Jimin, panicking a bit because of how insecure he feels in his role as a father, even after five years of practice. A teacher requesting a private meeting sounds like bad news.

“If you’re free.”

“Uh yes. Just let me get something sorted for Meami.”

Jimin swallows his nervousness. Thankfully, Jiwoo’s mum agrees to take Meami home with her. He presses his lips to his daughter’s hair, telling her to be good and promising that he’ll pick her up before dinner.

“Follow me, please,” the teacher says sternly.

As they walk through the school corridors to Meami’s classroom, Jimin distracts himself by observing the man (well, his backside anyway). He’s wearing a brightly-coloured patterned shirt and loose trousers. It suits him, but Jimin finds himself wondering what the sight in front of him would be if the teacher was wearing tight-fighting trousers.

He’d probably have a great ass.

Wow. That last thought was a far from appropriate one to harbour for one’s daughter’s kindergarten teacher. Jimin makes a mental note to get laid soon and concentrates on the hallway’s yellow walls for the rest of the journey.

Jimin is grateful when they arrive at destination, because the walls are rather boring and the silence rather uncomfortable. But as soon as he remembers what he is here for, butterflies settle in his stomach.

“Is anything the matter with Meami? Has she been causing you trouble?” he asks anxiously. He would be surprised if that was the case, Meami being quite an obedient child, but he knows that she can sometimes be a bit difficult and turbulent. He imagines that her endless supply of energy can’t be easy to handle when one has two dozens other children to look after.

“Not at all. She’s delightful,” Mr. Kim assures him with a small smile. “Actually, I wanted to know why you weren’t here yesterday evening.”

There was a pause while Jimin processed the question.

“I don’t understand. I was here to collect Meami, as usual. Did I miss something?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. I held a small meeting after class to introduce myself to parents since I abruptly took over from Mr. Lee due to his illness.”

Jimin feels guilt spread throughout his body.

“I’m so sorry. I… I didn’t know.”

“It was written on the school website.” Jimin rarely checks it, and he recognises there one of his many shortcomings as a father. “Mr. Park, to be honest with you, that meeting wasn’t very important. It’s only really meant to reassure parents that their children are well taken care of so that they can head to work in the morning free of worries. I wouldn’t normally be bothered by someone’s absence, but I happened to notice that you hadn’t attended Mr. Lee’s meeting at the beginning of the year either.”

“No… I had an obligation that evening,” Jimin explains, wondering where this is going.

“And I understand. But as Meami’s teacher, I just want to make sure that she has all the support she needs, both at school and at home.” He sighs. “I know she’s still very young, but I can assure you that these early years are equally as crucial to her development as the later ones, if not more. It’s now that you should be there for her, and so far I’m a little concerned that you aren’t taking her education seriously enough.”

“I do! It’s just that… I have a busy job and… I do my best, I really do.” Jimin’s had a tiring day and he’s in that emotionally raw mindset where the smallest thing can set him off, however trivial. “Well, I try anyway...” At this point, he’s dangerously close to tears. He can feel them stinging his eyes already, but he doesn’t want to let his emotions get the best of him just as he’s being scolded by Meami’s teacher for being a bad father. That wouldn't look very mature.

“I see. And what about Meami’s mother?” the handsome man asks. It’s a fair question, but one that Jimin never particularly enjoys answering. He doesn’t like being reminded of how the most precious thing in his life was conceived in a club bathroom and thrust upon him at her birth, because her mother wanted to get back to her native country and her high-responsibility job but never considered abortion as an option. Not that Jimin would have chosen that either, but sometimes it infuriated him that she took a decision that changed the course of his life without so much as consulting him.

“We aren’t together, and she lives in Japan. Meami only sees her a couple of times a year.”

“That’s certainly not much,” agrees Mr. Kim pensively. “Look, I understand that your situation is a complicated one but I’d appreciate if you -”

“Do you?” Jimin didn’t even care about how rude his interruption was, that last remark had been the last straw for him. There was only so much humiliation he could take. “Because I don’t think you’d be making those sorts of accusations if you did understand. Being a single dad is a struggle. In every way possible,” he states furiously, walking across the room to where the other man is frozen in place, narrowly avoiding the miniature furniture on his path. “I worry about how bad my cooking is, I worry about making ends meet with just one salary, I worry about picking the right clothes, I worry about not spending enough time with her, about where I’ll find the money to send her to university when the time comes, about whether I’m enough for her or not. You have no idea!”

He’s angry and sad, his face barely twenty centimeters away from the teacher’s. This time, when the tears threaten to fall from his wet eyes, he doesn’t bother suppressing them. Mr. Kim looks stunned by Jimin’s breakdown, his eyes open wide.

Jimin is about to turn around and cut this painful discussion short by exiting the room - once again with absolutely no regard for proper etiquette - when something unexpected happens. Not that Jimin expected anything, but he certainly didn’t think he’d feel large hands pulling him into a warm chest, inviting him to soak the colourful material with his tears and find comfort in the arms that wrap protectively around his shoulders.

It feels a bit surreal, to be crying in the arms of the stranger who just scolded him in the room where his daughter has class everyday, but now that Jimin has started it doesn’t feel like he can stop. He sobs loudly, resting his head on the man’s shoulder, inhaling his floral cologne. Mr. Kim rubs his back apologetically, and Jimin finds it strangely soothing. Maybe it’s the setting, but he suddenly feels like less of a responsible father and more like a lost twenty-seven year old with too much baggage for his young age. And while most of the time that thought would make him panic, sometimes it feels good to let go - though he would normally only do that in a safe and familiar environment.

They stay like that for some time, neither of them talking. As soon as Jimin is able to concentrate less on his sorrows and more on his current situation, he awkwardly steps out of the embrace and collects Meami’s belongings. Mr. Kim crosses his arms over his chest, ignoring the wet patch on his right shoulder, and looks up to the ceiling in a way meant to display deceiving disinterest. Jimin thinks that perhaps he too is having trouble coming to terms with the fact that he just did that.

Jimin mutters a goodbye and leaves, sparing them both further embarrassment.

 

 

The next day, Jimin’s concentration levels are probably inferior to those of Meami. He stares blankly at his computer screen for the better part of the morning, reliving the previous day’s events. He still has difficulty processing the fact that he displayed such weakness in front of a person he should have been striving to earn the respect of, for Meami’s sake if not his own. Even the news of a good critic for the restaurant left on an influential website doesn’t do much to lift his spirits up.

Once the daily lunchtime excitement has died down and only a handful of people are left, quietly enjoying coffee and dessert at their tables, the three owners gather for a shared meal in Jimin’s office. They’re supposed to be discussing the menu changes Seokjin wants to bring in next month, but Jimin can’t for the life of him remember what new dishes they include, much less what’s currently being said.

“Jimin, are you listening to me?” Yoongi accuses, snapping his fingers in front of Jimin’s face, probably to get him to focus on the matter at hand instead of letting his gaze drift to the fly on the wall. Jimin can’t really help it. Flies are really interesting and underrated creatures.

“Yep,” he assures confidently, giving the ‘p’ an extra pop.

“So, tell me, what was the last thing I said?”

“So untrusting, hyung. It’s insulting,” he says with a frown.

“Well?” intervenes Seokjin.

“You asked me if I was listening to you.”

Yoongi sighs and Seokjin chuckles affectionately.

“So what do you think? Should we go for pancakes or crêpes?” the chef asks.

“There’s a difference?” Jimin answers hesitantly. This time, both his hyungs groan and that makes the younger boy laugh.

“Sometimes I think it’s a crime to let you run a restaurant,” Seokjin comments unhelpfully. “But seriously, Chim, is everything okay? You seem… especially distracted today.”

“I’m fine,” he lies, offering a bright smile. If his friends’ dubious expressions are anything to go by, it wasn’t convincing enough. “Mostly,” he amends. “Something came up yesterday at school and I made a fool of myself. It won’t happen again.”

“Jimin,” Yoongi says tentatively, “you know you can talk to us about this sort of stuff, hm? We’re here for you both, always.” Jimin nods. He knows, but in this particular case there isn’t much they can do. “I can go and get her this afternoon, if you want?”

“Thanks, but I think I should go myself. Face it instead of fleeing. But the offer is tempting,” he admits. Honestly, Jimin would have chosen to avoid the teacher forever if that had been a viable option, but since it isn’t he figured halfway during his remarkably unproductive morning that he might as well get it over with as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe he’ll be able to prove to Mr. Kim that he may be a bad father but at least he isn’t a coward.

 

 

This time, Jimin arrives a couple of minutes late. It doesn’t matter, Meami’s class hasn’t been released yet, and it means he avoided her friends’ mothers. Hopefully, he’ll avoid her teacher too.

No such luck. Today, unlike any before, two people make a beeline for Jimin out of the neverending flow of children, and one of them is significantly taller and manlier than Meami.

“Mr. Park, can we talk?” he asks as Jimin kisses Meami’s messy black hair. Jimin had painstakingly tied it into plats while she was busy eating breakfast, but very little is left of his handiwork now.

“Wasn’t yesterday enough?” He can’t seem to look the other man in the eye.

“It’ll be quick. Please, Mr. Park,” the teacher pleads.

“Very well.” Maybe this is for the best. A short talk might be able to clear up some of the tension. He leans down towards Meami, gently prodding her nose with his finger in that way that makes her sweetly giggle. “Baby bear, go play in the playground with your friends while I have a little chat with Mr. Kim. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Mr. Kim doesn’t lead him all the way to the classroom, which Jimin takes as a good sign. Perhaps this will be over faster than he hoped.

They walk into what looks like a small storage room. The teacher closes the door behind them, effectively shutting them both in a space that is barely three meter square. Locked in like this, Jimin can’t help but notice two things about the man standing in front of him: firstly, that he’s unbelievably attractive despite his obvious efforts to hide behind nerdy glasses and baggy clothes, and secondly, that he looks just as nervous as Jimin feels.

“I…,” he starts, then stops. He passes a hand through his brown hair, messing up the neat parting on his forehead, and gulps - a combination that is undeniably sexy. Jimin keeps having to remind himself that this is neither the time nor place to be having such thought, and that salvaging yesterday’s disaster is his top priority right now.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin blurts out just as Mr. Kim pronounces the exact same words.

They look at each other, confusion clear on their faces. Jimin hadn’t expected Meami’s teacher to apologize for his behaviour, but it’s still nice to hear. Mr. Kim seems to be full of surprises.

“No. You have nothing to be sorry for, Mr. Park. I… I was way out of line. I had no right to imply that you aren’t a good father. It’s no excuse, but for what it’s worth I’m new to this school and pretty stressed - I wasn’t genuinely concerned about Meami having a disinterested parent but I got carried away.” He pauses and bows his head in a defeated manner. “I hope you can forgive me.”

Jimin hums non commitally. He would consider himself a pretty forgiving person - a bit of a pushover, really - but he isn’t sure if any father is truly capable of forgetting the offense of having his parenting skills put into question.

“I’m sorry you had to witness my meltdown. I was tired and upset. Can we just agree to put this behind us and move on?” Jimin offers, forcing a smile onto his features as a peace offering. Mr. Kim stares at him for a few seconds - making Jimin wonder if he said something wrong - before breaking into the warmest smile Jimin has ever had the pleasure to witness.

 

 

The following weeks go by uneventfully, if one decides to class how hectic working at a restaurant is as routine. Jimin performs his accountancy duties and occasionally gives Seokjin a hand in the kitchen - whether it’s helpful or not is up for debate. The restaurant seems to be finally taking off, and a third of the profit is enough for Jimin to save a small amount at the end of each month.

Meami is a source of happiness to him everyday. It’s probably just the proud father in him talking, but Jimin thinks she’s like a blossoming flower, and it never ceases to amaze him that he contributed to give life to this little miracle. Jimin’s favourite parts of the day are the ones he gets to spend with her: early mornings and late afternoons, when she’s all sleepy and adorable, when he kisses her goodnight. Lately his daughter seems especially excited about everything going on at school, babbling endlessly about the new things she’s learned, the new friends she’s made, the new animals she’s going to meet at the zoo trip next week. Jimin would be content listening to her incoherent ramblings all day long.

He’s currently in the school’s yellow corridor, Meami’s small hand tucked into his, looking at paint splodges on a piece of paper that has Meami’s name in the right hand side corner. Apparently Mr. Kim had organised some sort of children’s artwork exhibition.

“Sweet pea, what does the painting mean?” Jimin asks carefully, trying to make sense of the colourful shapes without vexing his daughter in case she had intended it to be something immediately recognisable.

“Nothing, Appa! It’s bastract.”

This makes Jimin laugh.

“Abstract, treasure pot. Well, I think it’s beautiful.”

“Taetae said we can take them home after the exhibition is over. Can I give it to Mama?”

“I think she’d love that. You can give it to her when we next see her.” Jimin omits to say that that likely won’t happen until next summer. It warms his heart to see how much Meami loves her mother, even if she doesn’t spend much time with her, but he dreads the day when she’ll finally ask why all of her friends have relationships with both of their parents that go beyond holidays and the occasional phone call. “Who’s Taetae?”

“There he is!” she says enthusiastically, pointing at her teacher who seems to be discreetly putting every effort into getting out of the conversation three mums have him trapped in. Jimin chuckles, knowing the feeling all too well himself. Their eyes meet over Meami’s head and the handsome man exclaims “Ah, Mr. Park!” as if he’d been waiting for Jimin to save him all along. Jimin hears him excuse himself and make his way over to Meami’s painting.

“Mr. Kim,” Jimin greets politely with a small bow of his head. He notes that the teacher looks a bit dishevelled, slightly out of breath, with his hair sticking up at unlikely angles. Speaking to those women will do that to a man. He also notes that he has blue paint smeared onto his left cheekbone. It’s… endearing.

“Mr. Park. Uhmm, please feel free to refuse but... I wondered if, perhaps, by any chance, you might be willing to accompany the class to the zoo next week?”

“Me?” Jimin asks rather stupidly, eyes open wide at the request.

“Well, yes,” Mr. Kim confirms, even though the clarification is superfluous. Suddenly he looks a little shy. “I know we didn’t start off on the best terms, but I was hoping…”

“Which day is the outing planned for?” Seokjin and Yoongi can probably manage without him for an afternoon, and Jimin could do with some time off.

“Wednesday. In the morning.”

“I’ll try to arrange some time off work.”

“Thank you so much,” Mr. Kim says, his tone conveying an amount of relief that far exceeds what one would expect for such a small favour. “Of course if it’s inconvenient for you I can ask someone else…”

“No,” Jimin assures with a laugh. The teacher stares at him unblinkingly for a little to long, making Jimin uneasy. He wonder if there is something stuck in his teeth. “I’m just surprised that you didn’t ask another parent first.”

“Ah.” He quickly scans their surroundings, then leans in and confesses, “I was quite keen to avoid having to spend several hours alone with one of the children’s mothers. They’re… insistent. I’m sure you understand.”

This makes Jimin giggle in a way that he would normally suppress in public, but sometimes he thinks life is too short to be self-conscious about funny things.

“Oh, I know all about that. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get any better!” The teacher lets out a small groan at that. “I need to check with my colleagues, but there’s a fairly good chance I can save you this time.”

“Thanks,” Mr. Kim says with a conspiratorial smile. “Do you mind if I give you my number so that you can keep me updated on that?”

“Not at all,” Jimin agrees, handing his phone over.

“Appa, I’m hungry,” Meami whines, having apparently reached her limit in terms of patience for adult conversations.

“I’ll make some pancakes when we get home, fairy, okay?” he offers while running his fingers through her messy hair. That generally helps to keep her impatience at bay.

“Done!” the teacher announces triumphantly. “I’ll be waiting for your message then. See you tomorrow Meami! Don’t eat too many pancakes,” he warns with a playful grin in her direction. It makes Meami giggle and hide behind Jimin’s leg and it makes her father stare at the teacher’s retreating figure a little longer than may be considered appropriate.

Jimin is looking forward to Wednesday.

 

 

“Hyungs, do you think you can manage without me Wednesday morning?” Jimin asks the next day.

“Honestly, Jimin, you’re not that useful here, you know? I’m not sure we’ll even notice that you’re gone,” Yoongi replies without even looking up from the plate he’s currently trying to arrange.

“Hey!” Jimin answers with mock indignation and a jab to the elder’s shoulder, knowing full well that his friend was only joking.

“What Yoongi means is that though your shining presence and your marvelous cooking skills will be sorely missed, we’ll survive the hardship. So you go do whatever you want on Wednesday,” Seokjin sing-songs, not looking up from his dish either. Sometimes Jimin thinks he could dye his hair bubblegum pink and they wouldn’t notice for at least a week. “Is it for a date?” he teases even though he is fully aware of how unlikely that is.

“Nope, I’m just going to accompany Meami’s class to the zoo.” Jimin leaves out the fact that he kind of wishes it was one. Of course, he intends to keep his relationship with the indecently handsome teacher strictly professional, but he can’t really stop his mind from wandering to the wrong places sometimes. He hasn’t really dated anyone in a few years, despite his friends’ encouragement (and their annoying meddling). It isn’t because he doesn’t want to - no, Jimin is still very much in search of the love of his life. But he realized early on that dating, when one had a child, wasn’t as easy as before. Even when people assured him that they didn’t mind the bagage Jimin came with, at some point or another it made them uncomfortable. Then they’d make up all sorts of excuses to break things up gently with him, but it hurt. It still did.

So Jimin had put his plans of finding eternal love on hold while Meami grew up. It was simpler that way - no neverending string of meaningless men and women in her life, no time wasted meeting up with them, no heartbreak. But Jimin wasn’t completely celibate either: he regularly met up with his friend and neighbour, Jung Hoseok, to… well, have sex. It was an arrangement that suited them both well, an efficient way to scratch the itch without getting involved romantically.

That is, it had been efficient, until Hoseok got into a relationship. Jimin was happy for him, really - even possibly jealous - but it was damn inconvenient.

He sent a quick text to his newest contact, Taehyung, to let him know that he would be there Wednesday. Taehyung. Taetae.

Cute.

The smiley he received barely a minute later was even cuter.

 

 

By the time Wednesday arrived, some of Meami’s enthusiasm concerning the outing had been communicated to Jimin. He hadn’t been to the zoo since the age of twelve and wouldn’t say that he particularly cared for animals generally, but he was really looking forward to seeing the look of pure delight on Meami’s face. She had been before, with his parents, a couple of years ago, and lions, flamingos and monkeys had been all she’d babbled about for several weeks afterwards. Apparently, Mr. Kim had been telling the class about some of the lesser known species too, so now Meami was excited to meet the red panda and the alligator. Jimin didn’t really know how to feel about the latter.

They met the twenty-three other children and their teacher at school and immediately set off. Thankfully, the zoo wasn’t very far, so the twenty-six of them hopped straight onto a bus that took them to the park’s gates. Jimin was grateful that the commute was so easy, because he had been assigned the task of counting the little monsters every ten minutes to ensure than none had gone missing, and them all being locked together inside a vehicle made his job considerably simpler. Meanwhile, Mr. Kim was supposed to make sure they behaved, which was no small feat.

The visit itself went by with no major incidents occurring. The most notable disaster was that one of Meami’s friends got his hand stuck in a cage while trying to stroke the parrot inside (thank god it hadn’t been a dangerous animal), and so Jimin had spent most of his time coaxing it out without causing the crying boy or the cage any irreparable damage. Meami had settled on a new favourite animal, the casoar, because she thought its head ‘looked funny’. Two girls went missing halfway through, sending Jimin in a frenzy, but it turned out that they had just got lost on their way to the toilet, even though Jimin vividly remembered instructing the class to not go anywhere without adult supervision.

By the time they made it back to the school, there were still twenty-four children, and Jimin was proud to report that none of them sported any lasting injury (though one boy had scraped his knee because he tripped while imitating an ostrich). Jimin’s ears were ringing with a chorus of “Taetae!”, each child having competed to get the beautiful man’s attention for the last few hours, and Jimin was as satisfied as he was exhausted. There was no way he was going to work this afternoon.

Mr. Kim (or Taehyung, as he had asked Jimin to call him), on the other hand, looked brighter and happier than Jimin had ever seen him, if not more now that he was surrounded by loud and innocent children instead of scheming adults. There was no doubt as to him having chosen the right voccation: he did a wonderful job at making his pupils feel important and valued, listening to their incoherent opinions with the utmost attention, never letting anyone feel left out. It was clear that the children adored him, and rightly so. Jimin could tell that even he was falling under the teacher’s spell.

He could have decided to fool himself into thinking that what he was feeling was merely satisfaction that his daughter was so well cared for when he wasn’t around, but since their first meeting, Jimin had come to terms with the fact that it was much more personal: he was attracted to Meami’s teacher. And it wasn’t just the casual ‘wow this man is handsome and I’m mildly jealous’ kind of physical attraction anymore. No, if Jimin was being honest, he was now at the stage where he badly wanted to kiss the owner of those pretty lips that made his heart miss a beat or five whenever they stretched into that improbable shape that Jimin had come to think of as his signature smile. He wanted to know if they would feel as soft as they looked, he wanted to know if anyone currently had the privilege of knowing that for a fact, he wanted to know if Taehyung would let him discover.

In fact he wanted to know everything about Taehyung. What his deep voice would sound like if he sang straight into Jimin’s ear, how many siblings he had, if his cooking was any good, his opinion on politics, if he enjoyed reading in his free time, what cologne he wore, what kind of music he wore. Anything.

Everything.

Jimin could feel himself falling for him, and this wasn’t a distraction he could afford right now - not with the restaurant and how much Meami needed him to be available for her (as the teacher had reminded him on that one disastrous occasion). It would only lead to disappointment, like it always did. So he would take a moment to mourn their hypothetical relationship and then put a lid on these unwise emotions.

Jimin was a responsible adult - a father, even. He’d get over his crush soon enough and concentrate on the less futile aspects of his life instead.

 

 

Schlunk. Jimin bursts through the kitchen doors, wearing the waiter’s uniform he’d borrowed from Yoongi.

“A potage for table five and two steaks!” he says urgently.

“How much do they want them cooked?” Seokjin answers in the same tone.

“One medium rare and the other well-done.”

“Take this salad in,” interjects Yoongi. “For table 11.”

With the dish in hand, Jimin goes back to taking orders. Shlunk. Today was a busy day, and after an unfortunate episode last week where Jimin had put so much salt in a sauce that it had been ruined and had considerably slowed the kitchen down, the three of them had come to the conclusion that it was safer to have Yoongi cooking and Jimin taking over from him.

He's on his way to table 11 when someone grabs his arm, effectively stopping him from going any further. He musters up a polite smile, despite his annoyance, and turns around.

“What can I do for- Hoseok?” he exclaims, surprised but happy. His friend, on the other hand, looks anxious.

“Hi Jimin. Hmm, this is pretty weird but basically I’m having lunch here with Namjoon to meet his brother. I’m sorry, I had no idea he’d choose this particular restaurant… Anyway, I just thought I’d let you know,” Hoseok sighs.

“Not a problem. A bit awkward but I promise I won’t do anything to make it even more awkward,” Jimin says with a laugh that is, without a doubt, awkward . He could only imagine how it must feel for Hoseok to be meeting his boyfriend’s family at the restaurant owned by his former friend with benefit. By mutual agreement, they’d always kept that aspect of their relationship private, and avoided mixing business with pleasure. Until now.

Jimin attempts to lighten the mood. “So, which of these handsome men is yours?” he asks, glancing around the room.

Hoseok gestures towards the terrace, where two people are engaged in an animated discussion.

“The one on the right.”

But Jimin knew that already. Because it definitely wasn’t the one on the left, the one he presumed was Namjoon’s brother. Because that was Taehyung.

“His brother is handsome, funny, smart and single, by the way!” Hoseok announces mischievously as he makes his way back to them. The pair are blissfully oblivious to the storms taking place in both Hoseok’s and Jimin’s head. Luckily so far Taehyung is unaware of the latter’s very presence, which is very much the way the temporary waiter would like to keep it. He would normally greet acquaintances that happened by, but the situation with Taehyung is messy enough that if there is any way for Jimin to avoid complicating it further, he will follow it. Besides, his promise to Hoseok means he should probably stay clear of the teacher to prevent any unwanted drama.

And if he’s being completely honest with himself, a small part of him isn’t ready to let go of his chances with the handsome man just yet and would do everything in his power to keep him from discovering that his brother’s new boyfriend is none other than the man who has been catering to Jimin’s sexual desires for the past six months.

Fortunately for him, the three men seem to be too engrossed in their conversation to look around the room or to notice how long it takes for a waiter to attend to them. Not that Jimin has forgotten, but he is waiting for the right opportunity to approach their table without being recognised by Taehyung. For once, he is thankful that his uniform makes him practically invisible to the customer’s eye.

The angels must be smiling upon him today because soon he sees Taehyung excuse himself to go to the restroom. Immediately, he rushes to their table and takes the couple’s orders. As he leaves to communicate them to Seokjin in the kitchen, Hoseok shoots him a grateful smile, and Jimin discreetly waves at him in return.

Jimin is on edge for the whole time their meal lasts, but it ends uneventfully. Namjoon comes up to him to settle the bill while the two others exit the restaurant. The relief he feels when all three have finally left cannot be put into words.

Sadly, the sentiment is short-lived. When he comes back into the room, three plates full of delicious food precariously balanced in his hands, an all-too-familiar and seductive voice addresses him.

“Excuse me, I think I forgot my wal - Mr. Park?”

“Jimin, please,” he admonishes with an embarrassed smile.

“You work here?” the teacher asks, completely ignoring Jimin’s remark.

“Not quite. I actually own this restaurant.”

Taehyung opens his eyes wider than Jimin thought was possible.

“Really?” he questions, making the other man’s pride swell and his cheeks blush.

“With two friends, yes.”

The teacher suddenly chuckles, making Jimin doubt himself. He seems to do a lot of that around Taehyung. Somehow this man makes him question all of his certainties.

“What?” he asks, trying his best to keep the hurt from leaking into his voice.

“Nothing. It’s just that as I walked in I was wondering why the restaurant was called The Mimi, but now it makes a lot of sense.”

“That’s what Meami’s mother calls her. We opened the restaurant just a few weeks after her birth, and it means ‘cute’ in French, which is the language of gastronomy, so it seemed fitting,” he rambles with a tender look on his face, remembering how happy that small sign of support from his friends had made him when they had suggested the name.

“It’s a lovely name. I’m glad you didn’t call it ‘Ladybird’ or ‘Sugarplum’ instead.”

For a second, the comment makes Jimin slightly uneasy, worried that his parenting skills are being mocked once again, before noticing the sparkle of mischief dancing in Taehyung's dark eyes and realises he’s the one that’s being playfully made fun of right now.

“Hey! Most people find it adorable when I call her that,” he answers, adding a pout in the mix for good measure.

“Then most people would be right.” Jimin’s blush deepens. Was he imagining it or did that last comment sound flirty? “Anyway, I’ve got to get back to my brother and his sunny new boyfriend and I’m sure you’ve got other things to do than stand here talking to me so I’ll leave you to it! See you Monday. Oh and congratulations, the food was divine and the company even more so,” Taehyung compliments with a blinding smile thrown Jimin’s way, making his heart stutter and his head wonder if perhaps that last part was meant for him, before ruling that off as wishful thinking.

“See you Monday!”

Taehyung looks back at him, confusion clear on his perfect features.

“No you won’t. It’s school holidays, remember?”

“Oh yes! I’ll see you again in one weeks then,” Jimin says shyly, embarrassed about having forgotten this. It’s not because he doesn’t know his daughter’s schedule, but rather because holidays aren’t something he looks forward too. He usually takes a few days off of work to spend time with Meami, but he can rarely look after her for a full week, which is why she generally goes to spend some time at his parents’. He has come to dread vacations because those are the times when Meami feels her mother’s absence the most, which is why he prefers not to think of it too much until the day they actually start.

“Yes, I suppose,” the teacher answers. “Have a nice holiday!”

This time, Jimin feels a pinch of disappointment when he walks out of the door. However, now that Taehyung’s back is turned, he is finally able to let his eyes roam to his heart’s content, resting longer than would be commonly considered acceptable on his long legs, broad hands and wavy black hair.

Maybe this time there’s another reason why Jimin isn’t looking forward to these holidays.

 

 

“Bye, Jimin,” Yoongi says somewhat sleepily, halfway through putting his coat on.

“Goodnight, hyung!”

“You know those numbers will still be there tomorrow, right?”

Jimin laughs but doesn’t answer. He doesn’t need to, Yoongi knows how determined he gets when he’s working. Tonight, Jimin has decided that he is going to tackle this faulty spreadsheet, and he won’t leave before his task is completed.

“Seriously, don’t go home too late,” Seokjin pipes in. Jimin just smiles, and they all pretend that they have no idea that he won’t listen to a single thing they have just said. Meami is having a sleepover at one of her friend’s, and Jimin intends to take advantage of the fact that he’s not needed at home for once. Most people would choose to go out in this situation, but Jimin being the workaholic that he is would rather catch up with work.

“By the way,” Seokjin goes on, “I found a customer’s wallet while I was clearing up.”

“Any name in it?” enquires Yoongi.

Jimin gets back to work, trying his best to concentrate on the screen in front of him and cut out his friends’ chatter and the shuffling of clothes and paper as they look into the forgotten item. He’s making very slow progress, perhaps because a certain man who must surely have Greek gods amongst his ancestors keeps popping up in his heading.

“Kim Taehyung.” Jimin’s freeze on the keyboard, mid-sentence. “Maybe if we look him up we can find a way to contact him?”

“No need. I have his number saved in my phone,” he declares.

“Oh? Well then you should keep this.”

“Who is he?” Yoongi asks, suspicion clear in his tone, as Seokjin sets the wallet on the desk.

“Meami’s teacher. He’s replacing Mr. Lee.”

“That doesn’t really explain why you have his number.”

“What is this? An interrogation?” Jimin whines. Yoongi gives him a look, and the younger knows better than to be difficult. “Fine. He gave it to me so I could contact him to confirm that I would be accompanying the class to the zoo. Happy now?”

“Jimin?” Seokjin now. Seriously, what crimes had Jimin committed in another life to deserve such overprotective friends? “Why are you blushing?”

“It’s hot in here,” he tries, redirecting his attention to his beloved numerical columns. They don’t ask unwelcome questions.

They give him disbelieving looks, but he’s let off the hook because both of them actually have plans for the night. Another set of goodbyes later, they’re gone. And Jimin is left with a computer, a wallet and a mind that apparently will not let go of the leathery object’s owner.

It’s going to be a long night.

 

 

The next morning, Jimin busies himself preparing Meami’s case before his parents come to pick her up. She’s a bit teary when the time finally comes to say goodbye, even if her father assures her that they’ll only be apart for five days - and on the inside, Jimin isn’t faring any better.

He spends the rest of his saturday morning sorting out his flat, which basically means repatriating all of Meami’s toys to her room. He makes a conscious effort to avoid thinking about the fact that he still hasn’t made his mind up about what to do with Taehyung’s wallet.

It shouldn’t be so complicated. Jimin should just text him, and then they would arrange to meet up. Soon, probably, since Taehyung must be desperate to get his identification papers and other documents back.

The process sounds relatively straightforward. The problem is Jimin feels a bit like he did that one time in high school when he worked up the courage to ask his crush on a date. He suffered his first rejection that day, but the point is, he’s nervous. Maybe because this is probably his one and only opportunity to actually act on his fixation with the dark-haired teacher without anyone or anything else interfering, and he’ll have to waste it because he feels a moral obligation to. It just doesn’t feel right to make a move on someone who is so close to his daughter. What if Taehyung doesn’t return Jimin’s affections? Things would become unbearably awkward.

The jingle of an incoming message interrupts his musings. Thinking it must be about Mimi, Jimin practically jumps onto the sofa to retrieve the phone trapped under a pillow like the deprived father he is. He blinks at the bright screen where the words ‘Hi Jimin :) I think I forgot my wallet at your restaurant :( Have you found it by any chance?’ stare back at him.

Oh no.

Now Jimin will have to say that yes, he’s been in possession of Taehyung’s wallet for a while and Taehyung will think that he didn’t care enough to inform him - in a way, Jimin would rather he thought that than the truth, which is that he hadn’t yet worked up the nerve to tell him because he was too much of a coward with a stupid crush. Jimin would consider simply lying and denying having ever seen the wallet if he wasn’t concerned about the fact that it contains a credit card that the other man will need sooner or later if he wants to avoid starving to death (though Jimin suspects that he could just bat his indecently long eyelashes to just about any waiter and food would automatically appear on his plate).

He starts to type an answer: ‘Hello! Yes I have it right h’ -

Nope, that certainly won’t do. It makes him sound too happy when the situation is a source of worry for Taehyung and currently of embarrassment at his lack of writing skills for the other party involved. Jimin groans, erases his first failed attempt at sounding like a decent human being with no inappropriate thoughts for his daughter’s teacher, takes a deep breath and gives it another go.

‘Good morning. I’m sorry to hear that. We did find a wallet last night, maybe it was yo’ -

Too formal, and Jimin is fairly certain no one would believe him if he claimed not to have opened a forgotten wallet to check the owner’s identity. Deep breath. Again.‘Hi there :) Yes I have your wal’ -

Way too flirty! Another groan.

Thirteen minutes, countless attempts, six groans (and even a few whines) later, Jimin has finally settled on ‘Hi! I have your wallet, was just about to get in touch but you beat me to it :)’. He ignores the butterflies in his stomach and sends it.

Not even a whole minute later, his phone dings with a notification. ‘Oh thank god!! I was pretty worried :( but that’s great news :) can we meet up??’. Meet up? Oh right, to give him the wallet back. Not like a date. Nothing like that.

‘Sure! I’m free all of today - Meami’s at her grandparents. Tell me when and where’ he answers, pressing send before his brain has time to formulate inevitable second thoughts.

‘Perfect! I was planning on going to an exhibition but I can do that on another day! The sooner I get my wallet back the better…’. Another message from the teacher comes up before Jimin has the time to type anything back: ‘I’m sorry to disturb you like that by the way, I forget stuff everywhere all the time :(‘. Jimin answers that it’s really no bother.

A ‘Hey if you really aren’t busy and didn’t just say that to make me feel better about myself why don’t you come with me to the exhibition?’ pops up on his screen, followed almost instantly by a ‘Forget I said that you probably don’t even like modern art right?’.

Honestly, it’s more of a question of him not caring about modern art than disliking it, but Jimin writes back a probably overly enthusiastic ‘That would be really nice! :)’ anyway. He assures Taehyung that yes, he really wants to go - because he knows that he will beat himself up over letting this chance slip if he doesn’t - and they agree on a rendez-vous.

These holidays aren't starting too bad.

 

 

Two hours later, Jimin is waiting for Taehyung at the entrance of the museum, swallowing his nerves. The teacher turns up a few minutes after him, looking as gorgeous as ever in yet another flowery shirt. It takes Jimin’s breath away, but thankfully the other man doesn’t seem to have noticed.

“Ready?” he asks with a sunny smile.

“Yeah,” Jimin eloquently answers.

They spend the afternoon going from painting to painting, Taehyung telling him about each of them, pointing out his favourites. Jimin follows like a lovestruck idiot, hanging to his every word despite not understanding half of the artsy jargon pouring out of his improvised guide’s mouth. And if Taehyung had noticed that Jimin had been looking at him more than at the artwork, he hadn’t said anything about it.

Once they have admired every single canvas, Taehyung offers to buy him coffee to make up for the trouble of bringing him his wallet. Jimin agrees, not because it was any trouble but because he wants to spend as long as he can with the beautiful man.

They go to a cute little coffee shop opposite the museum, and Jimin notes with mild amusement and fond adoration the disgust on Taehyung’s face when Jimin asks him to order him a latte. Apparently he had only meant ‘getting coffee’ in a rhetorical way, but obliges nonetheless and comes back to their table with Jimin’s latte and a steaming hot chocolate for himself.

‘Adorable’ is the word that crosses Jimin’s brain in that moment.

Taehyung asks about his impression of the exhibition and Jimin says with a smile that he loved it - which is the truth, except the artwork had little to do with how much he enjoyed the outing. Conversation between them flows easily. They talk a bit more about what they saw, and then Jimin asks Taehyung where his love for art comes from, and Taehyung tells him about the first museum he had been to with his grandparents when he was nine. They exchange childhood anecdotes, laugh at each other’s stories.

Jimin feels so comfortable talking to Taehyung. They both, consciously or not, avoid the topic of Meami, and while she’s never far from her father’s thoughts, it’s nice to pretend for once that he’s just another guy in his late twenties and that the man sitting opposite from him is his romantic interest and not her teacher.

By the time they leave, the sun has already set.

“Thank you for today. I had a lot of fun,” Jimin says as they’re about to part ways. He catches himself thinking that it feels a bit like the end of a first date gone well, when one wonders if it’s too soon for a kiss or if that would be a welcome gesture. He tries hard not to follow that train of thought.

“Me too. Maybe we could do that again sometime?” Taehyung answers through a boxy smile.

“That would be nice.” Again, he squashes the alarming number of more-than-strictly-friendly thoughts going through his brain. So maybe Taehyung is happy with their relationship progressing past the typical father-teacher interaction and into proper acquaintances, but in no way does that mean that his intentions are anything other than platonic.

Still, a boy can dream, right? And ‘next time’ has a nice ring to it, so Jimin allows his mind to wander on the bus ride home.

 

 

A week later, Meami comes home. Jimin hugs her for five minutes straight, overjoyed, and would have held her for longer if she hadn’t expressed her discontent by kicking him with her weak little legs and asking for cookies (Jimin swears she got her brattiness from her mother, something that unmistakably makes Yoongi and Seokjin snort unattractively everytime they hear him affirm that).

As she starts school again, they settle back into their usual routine. Jimin takes her to class in the morning, and if they get there a few minutes late it’s because her father spent too long picking out her outfit (he worries about what she wears so much because he feels like that small gesture of goodwill will somehow make up for the maternal touch that’s missing in her life, even though he’s aware of how ridiculous that reasoning sounds). Then he spends his day sorting out the restaurant’s chaotic accounts, silently praying that today will be a quiet day that won’t require for him to slip on Yoongi’s waiter outfit and take their customers’ orders, before giving himself a metaphorical kick for not wishing their restaurant all the success it deserves. Around 4 o’clock, he leaves his office to pick up Meami. They spend the rest of the day together, and that’s Jimin’s favourite part.

He’s happy.

No smiley-spoilt text about a ‘next time’ comes through, though. Jimin tells himself that he doesn’t really care, that the only thing that matters is that Taehyung takes good care of his daughter. According to the stories she tells him about her day, Jimin doesn’t have to worry about that.

He’s happy anyway, but a small part of him admits that he could be happier.

 

 

“Oh hi, Taehyung!” Jimin calls out when he spots the teacher standing in the middle of his restaurant, looking very unsure of himself. “Did you come for lunch?”

Jimin is very happy to see him. Taehyung was probably too busy to reach out to him in the past few weeks, but he’s here now.

“Hmm, actually I…,” He looks up to Jimin, who is cocking his head to the side and smiling encouragingly, waiting for him to finish his sentence.

“You?” he prompts.

“Yes. I came for you.”

“Me?” Jimin’s turn to be flustered.

“Yes.” Taehyung pauses, seemingly sorting out his thoughts. “I wanted to tell you that Mr. Lee was feeling much better. He’ll be taking over from me next week.”

Oh.

“Oh. Well, I’m glad that he’s got over his illness. That’s wonderful.” It doesn’t feel very wonderful though, but Jimin’s probably a bad person for thinking that. In a small voice, he enquires “What about you, then?”

“I’ll be covering for another teacher while she’s on maternity leave at a school not very far from here.”

“I hope that goes well.” Jimin feels awkward, everything about this conversation is awkward. “So… You came here to tell me that?”

“Not really. I wanted to tell you, but I guess the school would have notified you anyway. The thing is, I…” he takes a deep breath and Jimin is braced for whatever comes next, but it never does. “Never mind. I wanted to say goodbye.”

Disappointment washes through Jimin’s heart. So this is it, then. He’d known the day would come, but he doesn’t feel ready. And while he’d been very careful not to build up expectations, he had rather hoped that Taehyung liked him enough to meet up sometime in the future, when he wasn’t Meami’s teacher. He does his best to keep the emotion out of his voice as he says goodbye, only to be rudely interrupted by Taehyung.

“No. Don’t say that, listen to what I really want to say first. Then you can say goodbye, if you want,” Jimin opens his eyes wide and watches as Taehyung takes a steadying breath before launching into his monologue. “Maybe I’m reading too much into this, or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I wanted to tell you in person that I’m not Mimi’s teacher anymore because I know we didn’t meet in the nicest circumstances, but I really like you, Park Jimin, and I was under the impression that perhaps you shared those feelings. So now that I’m just a random person with no special role in your life, I was hoping that maybe you felt the same and would agree to…”

Jimin is smiling so hard he thinks his cheeks will be hurting for hours after this. He can see just enough, through the slits of his eyes that aren’t covered by skin due to the unnatural position his face is forced in, to know that Taehyung is staring at the floor, his rambling cutting off hesitantly.

“Agree to what?” he asks cheekily, wanting confirmation.

Taehyung finally dares to look back at him, and his expression mirrors Jimin’s. He looks like he’s bursting with happiness, and Jimin can’t help but think that’s the handsomest he’s ever seen him.

“Would you, Park Jimin, do me the honour of going on a date? With me?” he asks solemnly. “I promise, this time I won’t judge your taste for coffee. And I’m sorry I haven’t contacted you since the exhibition, it’s just that I felt uncomfortable asking you out until I was affected to another school. I’ll make it up to you in flowers, if you’d like that.”

“Irises, then. They’re Meami’s favourites,” Jimin teases.

“Perfect. I need to win her heart if I’m going to be wooing her father,” Taehyung says, making them both laugh.

“I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you, she came back from school yesterday saying you were her ‘favouritest’ teacher ever.” Jimin takes Taehyung big hands in his own little paws, suddenly realising how close they’ve got during the conversation. “Hey, Kim Taehyung, I think I’ve waited long enough. How do you feel about skipping that first date and letting me call you my boyfriend from now on?”

From this close, Jimin can hear the way Taehyung’s breath hitches.

“I think I would very much like that. Since we’re skipping that first date though, do you think it would be okay for me to kiss you right now?”

They’re close enough that Jimin is certain Taehyung can feel the way all the air in his lungs is expulsed at his words and lands gently onto the other’s waiting lips.

“I think that would be very okay,” he manages to say before his mouth is occupied with purposes other than speaking. Their first kiss tastes sweet, like dark chocolate and wild berries, like new beginnings that might not have an end. Jimin wonders what their second kiss will taste like, and the third, and all the others after that.

He can’t wait to find out.

But wait he must, because suddenly the doors to the kitchen open with another loud ‘shlunk’, followed by the sound of his two best friends - though in this very moment he would deny any connection if anyone asked him if he knew them - clapping enthusiastically. Jimin tries to get them to stop, telling his hyungs that they’ll scare Taehyung away if they continue. But then he feels his boyfriend’s unfairly attractive hand slip into his and his thumb stroking him reassuringly. He looks up and Taehyung is staring at him, his face blushing beautifully.

“Introduce me?” he whispers into Jimin’s ear.