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"Why isn't he here yet?" Jimin whines, stretching dramatically over the floured table in front of him to grip the other side, pressing his cheek against the cool stainless steel. "He always comes in for afternoon coffee on Fridays. I never see him on weekends. If he doesn't come today I won't see him until Monday. Do you know how much of a problem that will be for me, hyung? Do you know?"

"I think it's probably more of a problem for me if I'll have to listen to this all weekend," Seokjin says from where he's perched on a stool not far from where Jimin is dramatically flailing, using a blue rubber spatula to spoon fluffy pink buttercream into a clear pastry bag. A huge double rack of champagne cupcakes are laid out on a rack in front of him, cooled and ready to be frosted. "Maybe he's at work. Or, you know, maybe he got tired of the weird omega from his local cafe and bakery who stares at him like an owl between the racks of bread while he's trying to eat a donut in peace. It's a toss up, really."

"Jin hyung," Jimin says with a huff, turning his nose inward toward the table until it's pressed completely into the pile of flour. Maybe if he's lucky it will suffocate him. That would be better than not being able to see his cute alpha regular today. "I don't stare at him. We talk. Sometimes."

"Sorry, making strangled noises from behind me while I take his order doesn't really count as talking," Seokjin says, plucking a cupcake from the rack. "But you try your best and that's what counts."

Jimin jerks his head up with a puff of flour to glare daggers at Seokjin when he's distracted by the familiar tinkle of the bell signaling the arrival of a new customer. He instantly spins around, nearly stumbling when his apron string gets caught on the table. His mouth is already open, prepared to greet him, when he realizes it's just some old lady who comes in sometimes and orders stupid black coffee.

He sighs, crossing his arms over his chest and turning back around.

"Jimin, you can't just glare at your customers because you don't want to fuck them," Seokjin hisses, twisting the end of the pastry bag and sliding off the barstool, circling the cooler to head toward the front counter so he can take the woman's order. "Make yourself useful and start frosting."

"This is my bakery," Jimin grumbles quietly enough that he hopes Seokjin can't actually hear him. It may be his bakery but to be honest he's kind of afraid of Seokjin so he calls all the shots. He obediently sinks into the vacated stool and plucks the pastry bag from the table, getting to work at swirling soft pink roses onto the tops of the cupcakes.

It's not that he doesn't appreciate his regulars. He loves everyone who frequents his business they're his livelihood, after all. He just so happens to prefer some regulars over others. Sue him.

She actually gets a blueberry tart along with her black coffee today, but within minutes she's back out the door and Seokjin is pulling another stool over and filling a second pastry bag so they can frost together. The shop is always dead in the late afternoon when everyone is still at work and most people aren't drinking coffee, which gives them plenty of time to get tomorrow's baking done so they don't have to come in quite so early the next morning.

"Did you find a date to that wedding yet?" Seokjin asks conversationally.

"No. I don't think I'm gonna take anyone after all." Jimin pokes his tongue in his cheek as he swirls another perfect rose atop the cupcake in his hand, pulling it back to admire his handiwork. Seokjin sprinkles a pinch of pink rock salt on the top and then takes it from him to place on the cooler-ready racks on his left. "It's not like I need a date. I can just leave after the cake gets cut. Honestly, I could just send one of the part-timers to go for me, I don't know why I have to be there personally."

"Weddings are a great way to advertise our business, though," Seokjin replies. "Once they get a taste of your buttercream they'll all want to flock here for their own wedding cakes. It's worth suffering through it for one evening."

"I guess so." Jimin wishes Seokjin would just go in his place but he absolutely hates weddings, plus wedding cakes are more of Jimin's jurisdiction. Seokjin specialized in French pastries in school while Jimin has always been more focused on cake decorating. It makes for a nice variation of baked goods for their business, so he can't complain.

This particular cake is a monster, six tiers consisting of three different flavors with hand-crafted white chocolate lace. Honestly, he should have started baking off the layers and assembling them, like, yesterday, but he was never very good at getting things done on time.

"What happening to asking Jeongguk?" Seokjin teases, earning himself a glare. "What? Isn't that what you wanted to do? Just tell him about the open bar and free cake and he'll be there. We already know he likes the taste of your buttercream."

"Shut up," Jimin huffs, angrily passing Seokjin another cupcake to salt and rack. "I can't just ask him to go to a wedding with me. I can hardly even ask him what his favorite color is without sounding like an idiot."

Seokjin doesn't rack the cupcake, instead unwraps it and brings it up to his lips to take a big bite that smears pink frosting all over his lips. "Yeah, okay, true," he says around a mouthful.

Jimin giggles, pulling a rag from where it's tucked in his apron string and tossing it against Seokjin's chest. "Clean yourself up. What if a customer comes in?"

"Then maybe you'll actually have to take an order for once in your life." Seokjin swipes some of the frosting from his own lips and darts forward, smearing it all over the tip of Jimin's nose.

Jimin squeals and nearly falls backwards, trying (and failing) to shield his face from attack. He crosses his eyes to look down at it, trying (and failing again) to lick the frosting from the tip of his nose.

"You're trying to make me look like a mess."

"Jimin, you just spent half an hour wallowing into a pile of flour and you've been here since four in the morning baking two hundred cupcakes. I could drown in your dark circles without hope of every crawling out. You already look like a mess."

Ring!

Jimin nearly falls off the stool in surprise when he hears the bell jingle, whirling around to check who entered.

When he sees him, his heart drops into his gut like a rock.

"Oh my god," Jimin whispers, eyes following Jeongguk as he waves his hand in greeting and starts crossing the shop, letting the door fall shut behind him. His chestnut hair falls in loose waves over the tops of his aviator sunglasses. It's been getting longer recently and something about it drives Jimin absolutely wild, almost as much as the inky black tattoos that snake up his forearm and disappear into the sleeve of his black t-shirt.

Jimin's mouth fills with saliva.

"Do I really look like that much of a mess?" Jimin whispers to Seokjin, practically a plea.

"Jimin, I could literally punch you in the face right now and break your nose and you'd still be more attractive than ninety-nine percent of the population." Seokjin nudges him off the stool with a hand on the small of his back and Jimin stumbles to his feet as if on autopilot. "Talk to him. Go."

Jimin nods, swallowing down his nerves. He doesn't know what it is about Jeongguk he's always considered himself a bit of a natural flirt, letting his charm do all the talking for him. It's never been an issue to have any alpha he wants wrapped around his finger, and yet when it comes to Jeongguk the most eloquent sentence that's ever come out of his mouth was please let me take your order.

It's pathetic. He kinda hates himself for it.

"Your usual?" Jimin asks when he approaches the counter, voice at least two pitches higher than usual. He can feel Seokjin's amused smile like he has eyes on the back of his head.

"Iced caramel mocha, room at the top for extra cream," Jeongguk says with a bright smile, reciting it as if he hasn't been ordering the same exact drink for the entire two months he's been frequenting Jimin's cafe. He trails off, eyes wandering to the glass pastry display between them. "Do you have any blueberry muffins today?"

"No, sorry," Jimin says regretfully. "I could bake some for you!" he adds hastily. "I can make them right now. It'll only take twenty minutes."

Jeongguk raises his eyebrows, pushing his sunglasses up onto the top of his head. Now that Jimin can see his eyes he somehow gets even more nervous, shifting his gaze away to the cash register to avoid looking into them. "No, no, that won't be necessary. You already have a ton of work to do." He nods at where Seokjin is still diligently frosting cupcakes behind Jimin's left shoulder. "Thanks for offering, though. Anything strawberry?"

"Oh, actually!" Jimin, pleased at being able to fulfill this request, spins on his heel and floats over to where Seokjin is frosting the cupcakes, reaching into the rack to pull one free. "We're getting these ready for tomorrow. Strawberry champagne with rock salt. Do you want one?"

"I'll take two, actually," Jeongguk says. "That sounds great, thank you."

Jimin narrows his eyes when Jeongguk says two, wondering who the second one might be for. He's done a careful inspection of his neck whenever he's come into the shop and he hasn't noticed a mating bite, but it's still possible he has an omega partner at home he hasn't mated with yet. He knows it's stupid to be jealous of someone he's 0.00% romantically involved with but he can't help it.

Seokjin follows Jimin back to the front and starts working on Jeongguk's drink order while Jimin boxes up the cupcakes, taking extra time to make sure they're packed well and tying the ribbon nicely on top. 

"Two strawberry champagne cupcakes and an iced caramel mocha with room for cream," Jimin recites, pushing the box across the counter. "Here you are."

"Perfect." Jeongguk reaches for his wallet but Jimin instantly waves him off.

"Don't worry about it, they're on the house today. For being such a loyal regular."

Jeongguk's eyebrows knit together in the middle. "Are you sure? I really don't mind paying. I know I come here a lot but you don't have to give me free stuff I like supporting local businesses."

"It would really be my pleasure, Jeongguk-ssi," Jimin says, cocking his head with a polite smile. "Just this once?"

Jeongguk hesitates, tongue darting out to swipe his lips. Jimin's gaze lingers on the little freckle below his bottom one before quickly snapping back up to attention when he starts speaking again. "Fine. But next time I'm paying whether you like it or not."

It occurs to him that he's finally doing it. He's finally flirting with Jeongguk, and he might just be imagining things, but it seems like Jeongguk might actually be flirting with him, too. Spurred on by the warm feeling in his chest, he leans forward onto the counter, propping himself up with an elbow and gently toying with the ends of his hair. The espresso machine cuts and the telltale sign of Seokjin puttering around looking for the caramel and mocha powder sounds from behind him. He only has another minute or two with Jeongguk before his drink is done and he'll have to leave.

Jeongguk, maybe instinctively or not, leans forward into Jimin's space, too, locking their eyes. 

Almost instantly Jeongguk's scent floods his nose and Jimin tenses. They're not usually this close together, so Jimin never smells him this strongly before, and wow.

His senses instantly cloud a little bit and he hesitates, momentarily losing every ounce of momentum he'd managed to gather in the conversation.

"I, um." Jimin clears his throat, giving his head a little shake to try to cleanse his mind. Jeongguk smells like musky leather and dark chocolate, something deep and rich and intense. Jimin hasn't ever smelled an alpha like him before and it's a little too much for him to deal with. His omega is purring, wanting nothing more than to climb into the delicious smelling alpha's arms and let him scent him, wanting that scent to be soaked into his skin. "Yeah."

"Is everything okay?" Jeongguk kinda sounds like he's underwater.

"Jimin is just tired," Seokjin cuts in, setting Jeongguk's drink on the table. "He had to come in early to bake all those cupcakes. We hope you enjoy them."

"Ah, that makes sense," Jeongguk says, nodding. "I always like all the baked goods here, so I'm sure I will. You two always do a great job."

"Thank you so much," Jimin says. "You're doing great, too. You always... smell so good."

Jeongguk laughs, drumming his fingers on the the glass case. Seokjin's eyes dart between the two of them, like he's trying to decide if he should intervene or not. "Oh yeah? What do I smell like, Jimin-ssi?"

"So good." Jimin nods. "Like new car. Leather." He pauses, inhaling deeply. "And chocolate."

Jeongguk smiles, taking a long sip of his drink. "I've heard it's more like espresso, but I like the chocolate interpretation better. I hate chocolate, though."

Jimin nods absently. "I hate it too."

Jeongguk pauses with his lips wrapped around the straw and then breaks out laughing. "I was just kidding. It was a joke, beacause" he points to his drink. Right. His regular drink mocha. Chocolate. "You know."

Jimin swallows hard around the lump in his throat. He can tell he's making a fool of himself right now but he feels like he just knocked back six shots of vodka and the words are spilling out his mouth no holds barred. "Yeah, uh. I was joking too. I like chocolate. Love it. The smell, the taste. Really great. So good. Not only do you smell amazing, I'm sure you tast"

"Okay!" Seokjin says, clapping his hands together. "I think it's time to close up shop for today.”

Jeongguk is standing so still he looks a little bit like a statue. Seokjin wraps a gentle hand around Jimin's elbow and tugs him away, and being a little bit further away from Jeongguk makes him come back to his senses. Kinda. Jeongguk's straw is still resting against his lips and his eyes are widened slightly. Probably in fear. Jimin doesn't blame him.

"Yeah," he says, coming back to himself. He pulls his drink away from his lips and clears his throat. In an ideal world Jeongguk will pretend this never happened. Actually, in an even more ideal world Jeongguk will just never come back to the shop again. Once again, Jimin wouldn't blame him for that either. "I need to head back to work anyway. Thanks for the cupcakes. I'll let you two know next time how they are."

Jimin nods. "Thanks for coming in."

Jeongguk hesitates for a second, but then right as it seems like he's going to turn to leave he swallows and leans forward again, taking Jimin by surprise when he lifts his hand up to Jimin's face and swipes it over his nose, finger coming back pink.

"You had a little something..." he trails off, showing Jimin the little blob of frosting that Seokjin had dotted onto his nose earlier. "And, uh. I think you smell good, too."

Jimin blinks at him in shock. "Thanks," he says, a little breathlessly.

Then Jeongguk turns and leaves for real this time, disappearing with the bright jingle of the welcome bell and a gust of fresh spring air that washes over the room before the door slams shut.

"Smooth," Seokjin says, reaching behind himself to tug his apron string loose and rounding the counter to walk through the little half swing-door leading out to the seating area. "Absolute unmatched flirting prowess."

"Shut up," Jimin whines, taking his own apron off and throwing it angrily onto the countertop. He watches as Seokjin locks the doors even though it's twenty minutes before closing. He's probably afraid Jeongguk will come back and Jimin will straight up drop to his knees in the middle of the kitchen. "I don't know what it is about him but I'm a mess every time he's around. I hate it so much."

"It's the alpha pheromones," Seokjin says, nodding. "Alphas get you all scrambled up in the head. They do some weird... scent voodoo and turn you into a blabbering idiot. For the first year Namjoon and I dated I'm pretty sure I said, like, a hundred words. Total."

"Okay, well, how do I repel the alpha voodoo?"

Seokjin shrugs. "You don't. You just pretend like it doesn't affect you while you're actually dying inside. It's like trying to do astrophysics while stoned. Good luck."

"Maybe I need someone to give me advice. Like a dating coach or something."

"Or a therapist."

Jimin glares at him. Seokjin doesn't even flinch.

"Now that you mention it, though, I remember a friend of mine mentioning she got some dating advice from an app a while back because she was having a hard time putting herself out there. I guess it worked because she's happily mated now with two pups. It's worth a shot." He re-enters the kitchen and starts pulling out the big zip tarps they use to throw over the racks of baked goods to stop them from drying out in the walk-in. Jimin wants to help him close but he's still feeling a little foggy and this information is very valuable to him so instead he slides into a booth seat nearby, pulling out his phone.

"Isn't it pathetic to use an app for advice on how to talk to someone?" Jimin wrinkles his nose, sinking into the bench seat so he can set his chin onto the table. "I've never had a problem with flirting before. Isn't it enough to just be cute?"

"I mean, yeah. I'm pretty sure all you have to do is ask Jeongguk if he wants to go on a date with you and he'd throw himself to your feet but the problem seems to be that you're physically incapable of speaking around him, much less saying those words in that order."

Jimin contemplates for approximately half a second. "Okay, you have a point. What's the app called?"

"If I tell you are you going to get distracted and not help me close?"

"I probably wasn't going to help anyway."

Seokjin sighs. "Match up."

Delighted, Jimin swipes to the app store and taps the app store to search for it. Within seconds the hot pink loading screen pops up, gold lettering that says Match Up! Find the mate of your dreams! surrounded by a glittering gold heart and cupid's arrow.

Create your profile!

"Am I really doing this right now?" Jimin says out loud, mostly to himself. Still, he taps the box and types in his name, choosing to go for a shortened JM to keep his anonymity. "This is a new low."

Seokjin flutters past, armed with a bucket of sanitizing solution and a clean rag to start wiping down the tables. Jimin has a flash of guilt about making Seokjin do all the work but that goes away quickly when he gets distracted by the little questionnaire he needs to fill out, asking him questions about what he's looking for and his situation so he doesn't have to waste time in his ten minute free session hashing out the details.

"Maybe the dating coach will fall for you and you can skip this whole process."

Jimin rolls his eyes. "I don't want the dating coach. I want Jeongguk."

There's a several minute wait before one of the coaches becomes available so Jimin watches Seokjin breeze around the room, sanitizing all the tables and booth seats, everything but the small little area Jimin is sitting in. When Seokjin gives him a look, pointedly asking him to move, Jimin pretends not to notice.

"Oh, I'm in! Come here, come watch,"

Seokjin climbs into the seat next to Jimin, leaning against his shoulder. Jimin takes a deep breath, savoring his friend's subtle, clean honey-sweet scent, like pear and fresh water. It instantly calms him down Seokjin's scent has had that effect on him ever since he used to scent him during his random mental breakdowns in culinary school. Making pastries is surprisingly brutal.

Welcome! You've been matched up with dating coach JK! You have ten minutes remaining before your free first session is over.

JK
okay let's see
so you work in a... flower shop? and you need help trying to ask out one of your regulars

JM
yes
but every time i try to talk to him i word vomit and embarrass myself
my coworker said it's alpha voodoo
what's your take on that

JK
i'm an alpha myself so i can't really say

"Ugh," Seokjin and Jimin both say at once.

"An alpha trying to give me dating advice? What a joke," Jimin says.

"Just keep talking to him so we can make fun of what he says at least."

JK
let me get this straight
you have a regular who comes into a flower shop? every single day?
who needs that many flowers?
i think based off that alone he must like you

"Why did you say you have a regular customer at a flower shop?" Seokjin asks. "This doesn't even make sense."

"Internet security, hyung. I can't give out where I work."

"You couldn't have said, I don't know... Starbucks?"

Jimin pauses, wetting his lip. "Oh. Actually that makes a lot more sense."

JM
listen, i don't know, he really likes flowers
he uses them to make art or something it doesn't matter
what matters is he comes in a lot and i want to talk to him but i can't

JK
what are his interests?

JM
i don't know

JK
you've known him for three months and you don't even know his basic interests?

JM
listen here
am i paying you to give me advice or to judge me?

JK
you aren't paying me anything this is a free consultation

JM
well you know that then maybe you should sass me less
so i want to come back and actually pay you
how about that

JK
fine
alright, JM, i think you need to start easy and slow. next time he comes in just ask him what he likes to do for fun and try to work out a common interest. it'll be easier for you to talk to him if it's something you're familiar with, so then you're focused on getting to know him and not just flirting
for example if he likes video games you can tell him about your favorite game and see if he wants to add you and play together

JM
wait
that's actual great advice

JK
thanks, it's literally my job

JM
i'll try this and let you know if it works
actually wait
if it works i won't be back because then i won't need you anymore
hold on...
how do i know these services aren't a huge scam
what if you give bad advice so we keep coming back for more advice because none of it works?

Your time with [JK] has run out! Buy more time?

"Very suspicious," Jimin says out loud, locking and pocketing his phone.

"Jimin, how is that suspicious at all? He gave you the most basic advice in the world. It's not even possible for it to be bad."

"We'll see," Jimin says, reluctantly taking the sanitizing rag from Jin and rising from the booth to help clean up. He has a lot to think about.

Coming up with a common interest. That's easy. He can do that.


Jeongguk likes hiking.

Jimin remembers overhearing a conversation once when he was talking to Seokjin about the trails in the area truthfully, Jimin knows nothing about hiking, but he would be open to trying it. if nothing else it would give him an excuse to be alone with Jeongguk while he's wearing little shorts that show off his ass, and if that isn't a surefire way to get an alpha to fall for him he doesn't know what is.

It's early Monday morning when he comes up with his battle plan, the busiest day of the week. T-minus six days until the wedding. He'll flirt with Jeongguk for the next couple of days and then casually drop into conversation that he needs a +1 to an open bar event with cake. It's perfect. Foolproof, flawless plan.

But the morning goes by so quickly he doesn't really have time to think about what he's going to say, which is why he's shocked when he spins around to hand a blueberry muffin to a customer and finds himself face-to-face with the man of the hour himself.

Jeongguk looks even better than usual if it's even possible, his hair falling over his eyes in damp waves and the sleeves of his t-shirt rolled up to show off the tattoos high up on his shoulders that Jimin has never seen before. His pulse instantly quickens he hadn't been prepared to deal with this so early, but he doesn't have time to flounder. He needs to act now.

"Hey, you have blueberry muffins today," Jeongguk says with a smile. "I was praying."

"Hiking is cool, right?" Jimin says.

Strike one. Jimin is already crashing and burning. He takes a deep breath, prepared to pretend like he didn't hear Jeongguk properly, but he's surprised when Jeongguk doesn't miss a beat.

"Yeah, actually, I just came off a trail. How'd you know? Did the sweat give it away?" He holds a piece of his hair up and cringes at it. Now that he said something, his scent does seem stronger than usual Jimin can smell him even from this distance over all the other people in his shop. He takes one step back, determined to not let it cloud his thoughts like last time. "I didn't know you were into hiking too. What's your favorite trail? I usually go up to Dobongsan, especially around this time of year because the flowers that bloom up there are really beautiful."

Jimin opens his mouth.

Closes it.

Right. He doesn't know anything about hiking. It never occurred to him that this is something he would need to actually research. The fact that it's more than putting on athleisure clothing and walking up a hill seems to be a huge gap in his knowledge that he never anticipated. For a second he contemplates what other things he knows nothing about.

"I think Seokjin is calling me from the walk-in," Jimin says, spinning on his heel and walking straight past Seokjin who is currently passing chocolate-filled croissants to an elderly couple two feet away from where they're talking, beelining for the freezer.

The second he's locked safely in the cooler he immediately pulls out his phone and frantically googles hiking trails in the Seoul area, hands shaking from the cold. In hindsight the dating coach probably meant for him to ask Jeongguk about his interests and not just pretend to like the ones he already knows he's into based off the conversations he's overheard (read: listened in on) through the bread loaves. Unfortunately it's too late for that now.

"I swear it's those fucking alpha pheromones," Jimin says to himself, breath coming out in a pale puff.

Once he's spent about five minutes too long researching hiking trails in Seoul, making sure to skim the reviews to make sure he knows exactly what he's talking about (thanks, hiking trails dot com), he re-emerges into bright chatter and whirling blenders of the shop, fully expecting Jeongguk to have given up on waiting and left a long time ago.

But to his surprise he's still standing in the same exact spot Jimin had left him in, but now he has his telltale iced caramel mocha wrapped in one hand and a blueberry muffin with a bite taken out of it on the counter in front of him.

"Hey, did you and Seokjin-ssi have a nice time in the walk-in?" Jeongguk asks, eyes flashing for just a moment to Seokjin and then back to Jimin.

"False alarm," Jimin grumbles, heat flooding to his cheeks. "I misheard. Anyways, as I was saying, my favorite trail is Suraksan Peak. The view at the top of the mountain is one of the prettiest in the area, I think. I was just there a few weeks ago and it takes my breath away every time," he rehearses, nearly word for word from a review he'd read online. There's a tense moment where Jeongguk doesn't say anything.

"I agree with you," he says finally, and Jimin feels his shoulders relax instantly. "He takes a drink of his coffee, and when he pulls it away he leaves the straw still resting against his lip. "Or at least I did agree. That used to be my favorite trail, back before the avalanche warnings made it unhikeable. It's such a shame, no one's been able to go up there for at least six months. I miss it."

Jimin blinks at him. Jeongguk smiles back, eyes flashing.

"Oh."

"I need to get back to work, Jimin-ssi," Jeongguk says, draining the rest of his iced coffee and bracing a palm on the countertop to shoot it into the wastebasket near the wall at Jimin's back. "But I'll see you tomorrow, yeah?"

Jimin doesn't move or say a single word. It doesn't seem like Jeongguk expects him to he plucks his muffin off the counter and turns to leave.

"You know, I really hope you and Jeongguk don't work out any time soon," Seokjin says, bending over to slide the glass case open and plucking a slice of cheesecake from a spot near Jimin's knee. "My days will be a lot less entertaining if this stops."


Later that evening, armed with a bottle of wine in one hand (no glass needed) and his phone in the other, Jimin sits down on his bed in a huff and navigates back to the coaching app.

Welcome to Match Up!

"Yeah, shut up," Jimin says, tapping the screen over and over to try to skip the loading screen.

Your one time free session with a coach has already been used. Each session going forward will cost $1.99 per minute. Please enter payment method to proceed.

Jimin can't believe he's really going to pay for this but he's drunk and annoyed and to be honest he doesn't even want advice anymore he just wants to vent his frustrations to whoever will listen at this point. He'd call Seokjin and Namjoon but they're probably busy mowing the lawn or whatever married couples do on Monday nights.

He's happy to see that there's an option to match with the same coach as last time, and even happier when he realizes JK is available tonight, too. At least whoever created this hellscape of an app has a tiny bit of sense.

JK
good evening, welcome to match up
what would you like advice on tonight?

JM
don't "good evening" me
your advice didn't help at all

JK
i'm so sorry
have we spoken before?
i get a lot of clients and can't always keep track of each case. feel free to refresh my memory

JM
i'm the florist you spoke to yesterday
the one who wanted help on how to ask out my regular

JK
right, sorry about that
it didn't go well? what happened when you asked about his interests?

JM
well
about that
i didn't really ask him about his interests

JK
let me get this straight
so you didn't follow my advice at all and now you're coming back to tell me me it didn't work?

JM
why are you sassing me? i'm paying you good money for this

JK
once again, your first session was free and so far tonight you've paid $1.17

JM
as i was saying
i asked him about the stuff i know he likes to do but i forgot i don't know anything about it and i made myself look stupid and it's all your fault
can't i just wear lip gloss to work and put things near my mouth until he gets the hint
what do alphas like?

JK
that would probably work to be honest

JM
i was JOking
aren't you a professional?

JK
no
this isn't even my real job i do this for fun

JM
oh.
well you know what it doesn't matter
i need more advice and my mated friends are no help, they're probably having sex with the lights off in the missionary position as we speak
i want to invite this alpha to a wedding this weekend but i don't know how to do it
i don't know anyone there so i don't want to go alone

JK
sorry, why are you going to a wedding where you don't know anyone?

JM
i baked the cake
i mean I MADE THE BOUQUET*
autocorrect

JK
okay here's what i think
inviting him to a wedding when you two hardly know each other might be a little bold
why don't you plan an impromptu date? bring an extra treat into the shop and take your break when he comes in and offer him the extra
like a milk tea or a pastry you know he likes
that way it's casual without the commitment of having to spend a ton of time with him because that might make you too nervous

JM
wait that's genius
ok i'm leaving fast before i get charged another dollar
i won't be needing your services anymore after today goodbye

JK
something tells me that just isn't true


"So, what's the seduction plan on the docket today?" Seokjin asks, setting a clipboard down on the counter and tugging at the sleeves of his big puffy coat to strip it off. The bakery is slow today it's Wednesday at midday, so Seokjin took advantage of the slow trickle to take inventory in the walk-in while Jimin had stared wistfully at the door waiting for Jeongguk to enter instead of getting any work done. "He usually come in around this time."

"The dating coach told me to take my break at the same time he usually comes in so I have an excuse to sit down and talk to him," Jimin says.

Seokjin clicks his tongue. "I get where he's coming from, and I think that's great advice in theory, but... Jimin, you don't get breaks. You own this shop."

Jimin pauses.

"Oh," he says. "But Jeongguk doesn't know that, does he?"

"Yes. Yes, he does know that."

"Oh," Jimin parrots. "I swear to god I am going to get that dating coach fired for giving me stupid ideas."

"Something tells me the coach isn't the problem here"

Ring!

The second Jimin sees the first flash of Jeonguk through the glass front doors he panics, throwing himself to the ground behind the counter so hard his palms hit the tile with a loud smack.

"Jimin, what the fuck are you good afternoon, Jeongguk-ssi!" Seokjin calls cheerfully, stepping carefully over Jimin's body and up to the counter. It's only now that Jimin realizes with a torrent of white-hot panic that he's trying to hide behind fucking glass cases, and if Jeongguk glances down at the pastries even once he's going to see Jimin literally laying down on the floor for absolutely no reason.

He tries to think of an excuse for why he would be down on the floor for so long without saying anything, but every excuse he comes up with slips away the more time passes. His best bet is to just stay very still and hope Jeongguk just came in for his coffee and doesn't have a sweet tooth today.

"Hey. Caramel mocha. Iced today. It's hot outside for early spring." His voice grows closer as he approaches the counter. Jimin spares a little peek up through the glass to watch Jimin push his sunglasses up on his head, peering around the store. "Is Jimin-ssi not here today?"

"Oh, he's taking a little break right now," Seokjin says without missing a beat. "I can go grab him for you if you want?"

Jimin's eyes widen and he whips his head up, hoping Seokjin can feel his pure nervous panic.

"No, don't worry about it. Let him rest. You two are always so busy."

Seokjin nods, glancing down at Jimin. He has to step away to make the coffee, but the second he moves Jeongguk will definitely notice he's down here.

Jimin catches Seokjin's eye and jerks his head in the direction of the swinging wooden half-door at the side of the counter that they use to enter and exit the seating area. If Jeongguk is distracted for long enough Jimin can sneak back and push through it and then loop around the side of the seating area and pretend like he just came in from outside.

It's a flawless plan. Foolproof, really.

Thankfully Seokjin manages to pick up on it. "Why don't you come over here and check out our selection of filled croissants?" He says, gesturing for Jeongguk to walk with him down to the far side of the counter where their more delicate pastries are located. "I made the dough fresh and Jimin filled them all this morning. There's chocolate, raspberry, strawberry"

The second Jeongguk turns his back Jimin pulls himself to his feet and slips through the swing door as quickly as he can, cringing when it squeaks the slightest bit. But thankfully Jeongguk doesn't flinch or turn around, so with adrenaline spiking through his veins he tiptoes across the tile floor, beelining for the front door. A quick glance over his shoulder tells him that Seokjin and Jeongguk are still deep in conversation and he hasn't been discovered yet, so he takes a second to check himself out in his front-facing camera to make sure he doesn't have flour or frosting on his face today. The details are important.

He pulls the door open until the bell jingles, spinning around and posing himself like he just walked in right as Jeongguk glances over his shoulder.

"Oh, Jimin, you're back!" Seokjin calls, waving. "How was your walk? Did the fresh air help clear your head?"

Jimin loves Seokjin so much. He is the only man who exists in this world. He's going to close the entire shop tonight and let him go home early to spend time with his pups. He is the only man he will ever trust for the rest of his life.

Jeongguk's eyes light up and he smiles, waving shyly at Jimin. It makes his heart beat a little faster in his chest is he imagining it or does Jeongguk seem happy to see him?

"Jimin-ssi," he says, accepting his coffee from Seokjin over the counter but not tearing his eyes away from Jimin. "I was wondering when you were gonna join us."

"Can you make me one, too?" Jimin says to Seokjin before turning his attention back to Jeongguk. "I just needed to get some exercise. Stretch my legs a little bit, you know? Sometimes it's tiring always standing still in one place here." He tries his best to play it casual, cocking a hip against the counter and brushing his hair off his face. "I was actually about to grab a booth to get some paperwork done until the shop closes. If you have time, do you want to sit with me for a little while?"

He doesn't actually have any paperwork to do but Jeongguk doesn't need to know that. He leans over the counter and grabs the inventory clipboard Seokjin had been writing on earlier, tucking the pen behind his ear. Smooth. Absolutely stone cold smooth. Today is the day Jeongguk finally falls for his charms and never looks back. He feels like Harry Potter after he took the Felix Felicis potion.

Jeongguk glances down at his phone, presumably to check the time. He pokes his tongue in his cheek like he's contemplating but then he nods, sweeping his arm in the direction of one of the many booths just as Seokjin hands him the iced coffee over the till. The only other table is occupied by an older couple which Jimin prays didn't notice his earlier antics. At this rate he's going to scare away every single one of his loyal customers and he won't be able to blame anyone but himself.

He lets Jeongguk lead him over to the booth and slides in, crossing his legs under the table and leaning over the surface, setting his chin on his fist and letting his hair fall in his eyes in a way that he hopes looks coy.

Jeongguk slides into the seat across from him and Jimin finds himself taking an involuntary breath. His scent is sharper today, the chocolate more bitter and the leather sharper; it makes chills wash all over Jimin's skin, his omega longing to curl right up in Jeongguk's lap.

"Did you go hiking this weekend?" Jeongguk says, eyes glittering.

"Ha." Jimin says dryly. "No, I didn't. I spent the whole weekend making huge intricate white chocolate lace designs for a wedding cake I have to put together this weekend."

He sips at his coffee, pulling the pen from behind his ear and idly doodling on the inventory sheet.

Order more blueberries, he writes down. Blueberry muffins will be a permanent menu item from now on, he's decided.

"That's too bad," Jeongguk says. He leans back in his seat, drumming his fingers on the table. Jimin has noticed he always seems a little antsy. "I thought maybe your muscles were sore and that's why you were laying on the kitchen floor when I came in."

The next few seconds happen in slow motion.

Jimin is mid-swallow when he gasps in surprise, choking on the coffee halfway down his throat. It shocks him so much he flails his arm out, knocking not only his own coffee over but Jeongguk's as well, splattering the entire table and both of their laps in milky, sticky caramel mocha.

He sputters, hitting his own chest with his fist until he coughs the coffee up out of his throat. Jeongguk jumps to his feet and circles the booth, splattering more coffee all over the floor in the process. There's coffee everywhere, ice halfway across the floor the old couple in the booth vacate the cafe with annoyed grumbles but Jimin can't focus on anything but the fact that he's literally fucking choking to death.

Jeongguk rubs soothing circles on Jimin's back, helping him cough up the liquid he's murmuring something like oh my god, I'm so sorry, I didn't realize—

Once everything has calmed down and Jimin doesn't feel like he's going to die anymore he grips the edge of the table, trying to ignore the pure white-hot embarrassment flooding into his veins at an alarming rate.

Coffee drips from his chin down onto his chest, soaking his shirt and apron. For some reason the only thing he's able to focus on is that he needs to get out of this shirt and soak it immediately so it doesn't get stained it's his favorite, a white v-neck with a little cupcake motif stitched into the breast pocket.

"Well," Jimin says, pulling a rag from his back pocket. Jeongguk steps back to give him room to rise out of the booth seat, careful to not step on any ice. He grabs the coffee soaked clipboard with him, realizing with an internal sigh that he's going to have to redo inventory now. "I'll be going now."

Jeongguk nods, accepting the rag from Jimin.

"Okay," he says.

When he reaches the kitchen Seokjin is sitting at the table piping some of the lace detailing for Jimin's cake. All it does is remind him that he needs to start working on it really soon in order for it to get done in time.

The second he hears Jimin enter the kitchen he spins around on the stool, opening his mouth (presumably to ask how the impromptu date went) but freezes when he takes one look at Jimin, soaked head to toe with coffee.

"I don't want to talk about it. Do you have a clean shirt?"


JM
hi

JK
oh hey you're back
shocker

JM
your advice really isn't working
i'm going to report you to this app and get you fired

JK
first of all, i already told you this isn't even my actual job
second of all, i'm gonna go out on a limb and say you didn't follow my advice at all
but you're still gonna blame me for it

JM
ugh
i did follow it!! i really did this time
i invited him for coffee but he said something that embarrassed me
i ended up spilling the coffee everywhere and running away leaving him to clean it up
in my own shop
i'm an embarrassment

Jeongguk blinks down at his phone.

It has to be a coincidence, right?

There's absolutely no way.

JK: you spilled the coffee on him?
JK: is he okay? was it hot coffee?

JM:
no it was cold thank god
but still he was soaked, and i may have ruined my favorite cupcake shirt
i'm seriously doomed i'm not gonna be able to recover from this one
time to get rid of my shop and sell flowers on the side of the road so i never have to see him again

"Hey, hyung?" Jeongguk calls to Taehyung across the room, setting his phone down on the table. "I have a weird question."

Taehyung glances at him over the top of his Switch. "Can it wait? I'm trying to plant an orchard in Animal Crossing and it requires a lot of my concentration."

Jeongguk pokes his tongue in his cheek. "It's important."

With all of the dramatic reluctance he can muster, Taehyung sets his switch down on his lap. "If this is about that omega from the bakery again I swear to god Jeongguk I'm going to lose my cool. I'm pretty sure he's literally out of his mind and if you try to bring him over to our apartment I'm gonna have to move out."

"Well... it is about him."

"That's it. Don't speak to me again unless you can bring me cherries. It's the only fruit I'm missing." He picks his game back up.

"Hyung," Jeongguk whines.

Taehyung sighs deeply. "You have three and a half minutes until I return to my utopian animal island where all of the villagers fall to their feet before me and you don't exist. Go."

"What would you say if I told you I think the guy I'm giving dating advice to on that dumb app I use for extra cash is actually Jimin asking for advice on how to ask me out?"

"I'd say you need to stop watching anime. Soulmates aren't real and things like that don't exist in real life. What's the next question, go."

"I'm being serious. Everything he's said to me so far matches up to things that have happened in real life. I don't think it's a coincidence anymore."

"So you're trying to tell me you told him to crawl on the floor and spit coffee all over you?"

Jeongguk opens his mouth and pauses. "I mean, I didn't say he's good at following my advice. But it's cute. It's part of his charm."

”I’m done with this conversation.”

"Okay, it doesn't matter if you believe me or not. Can you please just tell me how can I figure out for sure if I'm right?"

JM
hello?
you realize i'm paying for this by the minute right
i will literally sue you

JK
sorry, something came up
i'll credit you back the dollar
listen. i know the perfect thing that will 100% score you a date with this guy
are you ready?

JM
give me one good reason why i should listen to you

JK
without me you have to figure this out on your own

JM
excellent point, i'm listening

"Just tell him to do something specific that will one hundred percent tip you off that it's him. If he does it, then boom. Your love story begins. And our lease ends, remember that part."

Jeongguk pokes his tongue in his cheek, staring down at the text. He can't help the smile that spreads over his lips when he thinks about how it might be Jimin on the other side of the chat doing the exact same thing. He wonders where he is; maybe he's sitting at home, flour still brushed over his cheeks and apron slung over the back of his kitchen chair. Or maybe he's having a late night at the bakery, taking a break from piping intricate chocolate designs to take out his frustrations on his anonymous internet dating coach.

"I can tell by the look on your face that you're thinking about him," Taehyung sighs. "Please, god, just end me."

JK
you get nervous when you talk to him right?
so do something for him instead
a gesture
make him a customized flower arrangement
something you know he likes
or maybe write him a letter
anything that removes talking from the equation and shows him how you feel

JM
isn't that a little bold?
i don't want to scare him off...

JK
trust me, i have a feeling this guy has it bad for you
if he hasn't been scared off by now there's not much that'll do it

JM
seriously where is the report function on this app
what do you even do for your real job? you should get fired from there too for bullying clients

JK
i'm a tattoo artist
also, i already waived the fee for this session so you're not paying a penny

JM
i see
well
thank you
i'm going to listen to your advice one last time
whether it works or not you'll never know because i'm not coming back
goodbye

JM has disconnected.

Jeongguk stares down at the screen for a few seconds after JM has disconnected, eyes lingering on the initials, and he nearly bursts out laughing when he realizes JM. Jimin.


"Jimin?"

"Go away," Jimin mumbles, curling further into himself. He's having such a good sleep, such a calm, peaceful sleep. It's not time to go to work yet. Actually, even if it is he doesn't care. Seokjin can open today. They can close for all he cares. All he has to do is keep his eyes shut and he'll drift back off

"Park Jimin."

"Mmh." Jimin turns his head into his elbow. "G'away."

"We have to open in forty-five minutes, nothing is done, and you're sleeping in a bowl of cake batter." A warm hand wraps around his shoulder, pulling him upright. Jimin's hands fly to his face to rub the sleep from his eyes, furrowing his eyebrows when he feels a sticky wetness against his cheek.

"Oh, fuck," he says, clarity slowly flooding back to him. He blinks blearily down at the table in front of him, at the big bowl of brown cake batter and the plastic tray of homemade caramel sauce he'd spent way too long trying to perfect earlier that morning. "I fell asleep."

"Seems like it, yeah." Seokjin swipes his finger through the batter on Jimin's cheek and pops it into his mouth. "Espresso? And... chocolate? I thought you came in early to work on the wedding cake."

"No." Jimin shakes his head, wiping the rest of the batter off his face. "I was trying to make something for Jeongguk."

Clarity washes over Seokjin's features. "Ah. Caramel mocha cupcakes."

Jimin nods. "I was up half the night trying to work out a recipe and I guess I'm still really" Jimin cuts himself off with a deep yawn, stretching his arms over his head. "tired."

Seokjin crosses his arms over his chest, glancing around the kitchen. Jimin shrinks back with guilt nothing has been done, he hadn't even started opening yet when he fell asleep. Beans still need to be ground, ovens still need to be scraped and heated, racks of pastries still need to be pulled from the cooler and displayed in the glass cases.

"Finish the cupcakes," Seokjin says, pulling his apron over his head and tying it behind himself. "i'll open shop."

"Hyung"

Seokjin raises his finger to shush him and Jimin instantly snaps his mouth shut. "You owe me. You're closing up shop every single night this week and I'm leaving early."

Jimin nods. "I have to stay late tonight anyway, I need to finish the wedding cake."

"Perfect. We only have" he glances at the clock. "Thirty minutes now, so let's hurry."

The morning flies by. Jimin finishes his cupcakes and even has enough time to drink an extra strong coffee to wake himself up enough for the early rush. Seokjin manages to open in record time, reminding Jimin for the hundredth time that week that he would literally die without him.

He's just swirling the last of the mocha frosting on top of the cupcakes and drizzling them with caramel when Seokjin crosses the shop to unlock the doors and flip the closed sign to open.

Fridays are always busy, full of people taking extra-long breaks in hopes of killing all the time they can before their weekend finally starts. They get caught up in the rush, slinging coffees and baked goods until the smell of espresso is sunken so deep in Jimin's skin he can't even smell his own scent.

It's only after business slows down and the last customers from the afternoon rush are trickling out the door that Jimin feels like he can breathe again. He and Seokjin open the windows and prop the front door open to let the cool spring breeze roll in to wash away some of the day's stress.

It's relaxing enough that Jimin almost, almost, almost forgets about the pair of caramel mocha cupcakes tucked away under the counter, wrapped immaculately in a ribbon-tied box.

With the door propped open Jimin forgets that he won't be alerted to Jeongguk's arrival by the telltale ring of the bell above the door, which is why he nearly jumps out of his skin when Jeongguk's voice sounds from right behind him as he's wiping down the tables in the kitchen, back turned to the front door.

"Good afternoon, Jimin-ssi," he says sweetly. He seems to be in a really, really good mood today.

"Oh, good afternoon," Jimin replied, whirling around and tugging on the end of his apron to gather himself. "How's your Friday going so far?"

"Ah, it's been alright." Jeongguk waves his hand. "I've been really busy so this is the first chance I've been able to step out. I only have about five minutes before another client is coming in but I really wanted my caramel fix today."

Jimin blushes, thinking about his own caramel scent he know that's not what Jeongguk is referring to but he can't help but make the connection.

It occurs to him that he actually has no idea what Jeongguk even does for a living. He's spent all this time trying to come up with how to talk to him when he hasn't even bothered to ask the simplest of questions. He really is helpless, he decides.

"The usual?"

"Always." Jeongguk leans against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. Jimin putters around the drink station, grabbing all the ingredients he needs, but he can't help but feel like Jeongguk is watching every move he makes.

Something feels weird about today. Different. He can't really put his finger on it, but he can feel the change in the way they're talking to each other, in the way the spring winds roll over his skin as he swirls caramel into the plastic cup. They should really switch to paper. Better for the environment.

Spring brings change, he thinks.

It's that thought that gives him the courage, along with a deep breath and his heart beating against his chest, to reach below the counter and retrieve the box of cupcakes, setting them gently down on the counter beside Jeongguk's drink.

He watches as Jeongguk's lips pop open as he stares down at them, eyebrows raising just slightly.

"What's this?" he asks after a few seconds.

"Well." Jimin swallows. "I made them for you."

"Oh." Jeongguk's fingers twitch like he wants to reach for them but then he pauses, glancing up at Jimin like he's asking permission.

Jimin giggles. "Go ahead," he says. "They're for you. I wanna see if you like them."

Jeongguk nods, plucking at the ribbon and pulling the box open. The tension in the air is so thick it's actually uncomfortable, feeling something like a weight resting directly on Jimin's chest. He shifts awkwardly from one foot to the other and then crosses his arm over his stomach to wrap his hand around his waist, using the other hand to trace his lips as he waits for Jeongguk to figure out what it is.

Jeongguk leans down, eyelashes laying against his cheeks as he takes a deep breath. "Coffee? And... chocolate?"

"Caramel mocha cupcakes," Jimin says with a smile. "I got the feeling you're a fan."

look crosses Jeongguk's face. He glances uncertainly up at Jimin and then back down at the box, eyebrows pinched together in the middle. For a split second Jimin worries that maybe he'd really overstepped and Jeongguk doesn't likes his gift. His omega deflates, feeling rejected.

But then a soft smile just barely curls the corners of Jeongguk's lips and suddenly he's glowing. His scent changes to something much sweeter than usual, rolling off of him in perfumed waves. "Can I try it?"

"Of course you can try it. I already said they're just for you. I didn't stay up all night perfecting the recipe for my health."

Jeongguk is already mid-bite when he freezes at Jimin's words, eyes widening comically large.

"You were up all night doing this?" he asks around a mouthful of cupcake, covering his mouth with his hand. "Oh my god, this is so good."

"I was. I really, uh... I wanted to say sorry. You come to our shop a lot and you've been supporting us for so long, but I'm always saying and doing weird things and inconveniencing you. I'm not really good with words so this is my way of showing it."

It's true that Jimin had initially decided to make the gift as another seduce Jeongguk plan, but the more he was alone with his own thoughts he realized he actually did owe Jeongguk an apology. He's inconvenienced him with his antics a few too many times to be comfortable with it.

"Unnecessary apology accepted. And I tbink you’re better with words than you think,” Jeongguk says. "But really, these are incredible. And you didn't have to do it. Thank you so much."

"I wanted to. Take them back to work and enjoy them. You have a client, right?"

"Oh, shit." Jeongguk's eyes widen with panic and he fumbles for his phone, sliding it out of his pocket to check the time. "Yeah, three minutes ago."

"Go, hurry, I didn't mean to take up so much of your time," Jimin says, pushing his coffee closer and shooing him. "I'll see you on Monday?"

"Right." Jeongguk grabs his coffee and turns to go, taking the box of cupcakes with him.

"Wait!" Jimin calls just as Jeongguk is about to exit. He turns around, raising his eyebrows. "Where do you work?"

"I'm a tattoo artist," Jeongguk says, gesturing to his sleeve. "You didn't know?"

A tattoo artist. Something about it strikes him as odd, but he can't place exactly why. Jeongguk actually laughs at Jimin's reaction which makes Jimin take pause it feels a bit like he's being left out of an inside joke.

"I didn't, but it makes sense now that I think about it." Jimin leans over the counter. "See you on Monday?"

"Of course," Jeongguk says as he slips out the door. "How else will I get my caramel fix?"

The second Jeongguk is out the door Jimin sinks to the floor, stretching his arms dramatically over the counter.

"Just so you know, that was actually really good for once," Seokjin calls from deeper in the kitchen. "I was on standby waiting to step in the second you started word vomiting but it never happened. Excellent character development."

Jimin watches as Seokjin peels off his apron. "I take it you're going home?"

"Yeah. I take it you'll be here all night working on the wedding cake?"

Jimin cringes. The thought of pulling a second all nighter in a row makes him feel sick to his stomach but he really has no choice. "Mhm. And I don't even get to take Jeongguk to the wedding tomorrow either. It was supposed to be the start to our grand love story."

"I think the start of your grand love story was the first day he ever stepped foot in this shop and you fell over and hit your head on the counter. I almost had to call 911."

"No matter how many times you tell that story I don't remember it at all. I'm convinced you made it up, but okay."

"No Jimin, you don't remember it because you literally passed out."

Jimin thinks back. To be honest he can't really recall anything from that entire week, so Seokjin is probably telling the truth. "Yeah, I probably should have gone to the hospital."

"I baked off the last few cake rounds while you were talking to Jeongguk and wrapped them up. They're in the walk-in cooling off," Seokjin says as he crosses the room. "You're welcome."

"Thank you!" Jimin calls as the front door shuts behind him. Seokjin locks the doors from the outside and then he disappears down the sidewalk.


"So then I told him as the dating coach to prepare a surprise for the guy he has a crush on, thinking maybe he'd slip an extra espresso shot into my coffee or something but instead he stayed up all night handcrafting cupcake in the flavor of my regular drink order." Jeongguk pauses, pulling back to wipe at the ink on Yoongi's forearm before leaning back in and pressing the tattoo needle back to his skin. "I wanted to ask him out right then and there but it didn't feel right. The timing never feels right. I don't know when to do it."

Yoongi's patience is probably really being tested with this story, especially considering how he's basically being held hostage via tattoo needle, but Jeongguk can't help it. Jimin is sitting at the forefront of his mind, a presence he can't shake no matter how much he tries. He can't help but think back to how Jimin had told him on the dating app that he'd wanted to ask his regular out to that wedding tomorrow but he hadn't done it. Is he going alone, then? Something about it doesn't sit right with Jeongguk. He wants to go.

"Well, I can tell you one thing," Yoongi says. "You two are both really dumb."

Jeongguk has to pull the needle away to laugh, not wanting to mess up his linework. "Yeah," he agrees. "I know."

"I just don't get why you two keep" he waves his free arm in the air. "Dancing around each other. It doesn't have to be that complicated. Go to the bakery. Tell him how you feel. Ask him on a date. Mate. Get married. Have ten pups. Boom. Life is only as complicated as you make it."

Jeongguk nods along as he listens, lip caught between his teeth as he continues working on the tattoo. It's a custom one he'd drawn just for Yoongi, the centerpiece of his sleeve a big snake that curls around his forearm, the head resting over the back of his hand. It's the most intricate piece he's done for a client in a while which means he and Yoongi have spent tons of time together and have gotten pretty close.

"You give good advice," Jeongguk says. "You should be a coach on that stupid dating app."

"No thanks, I actually have a life."

Jeongguk glares at him. "Thanks for that. But speaking of the app won't he think it's weird that I've been his dating coach all along? What if he hates me for not telling him the second I found out?"

"Yoongi shrugs. "I guess the only way to know that is to ask him," he says, nodding at Jeongguk's phone.

"But your tattoo"

"Take a break. I don't care."

Jeongguk contemplates for a second but then he's pulling back, switching off the needle and grabbing for his phone, handing Yoongi a cloth to press to his arm.

Welcome to Match Up!

Thankfully there's a place to open a free chat with someone you've worked with before; it only takes him a few seconds to find JM and navigate to his chat.

JK
hey

A long time passes. Too long.

He considers just saying fuck it and making the trek down the street to Jimin's bakery, but he's too nervous to do it. What if he's wrong somehow? What if it's all a huge coincidence? If he shows up at Jimin's shop after hours spewing nonsense about being his dating coach Jimin would probably call the cops. It's not a good look.

Just as he's about to give up, his phone vibrates.

JM
what
how are you able to message me?
wait am i the dating coach now
is this what happens when you become an expert in the dating game like i did earlier today?

JK
did you now?
i take it things went well then
my advice finally worked?

JM
yes!
but i think it was more of my idea than anything else you can't just take full credit like that
i actually didn't have to run away in embarrassment this time so i think i'm doing pretty well

JK
that sounds like great progress
so i take it he liked the cupcakes?

JM
he did
i'm so happy
you should have seen the look on his face
i wanted to cry
god he smells so good
i'll make him cupcakes every day for the rest of his life i'll do it

JK
i have a feeling he wouldn't say no to that

JM
wait.

Jeongguk laughs, leaning back in his chair. Here it comes.

JM
did you just say cupcakes
wait
i never said cupcakes
how did you know thhat?
oh my god
is this zepeto all over again
are you spying on me?
tell me how you knew about the cupcakes right now
SPEAK
oh my god oh my god what else have you been watching me do

JK
hold on
jimin no one is spying on you

JM
DID YOU JUST SAY MY NAME?
THAT'S IT I'M UNINTSALING AND YOU WILL BE RECEIVING A 1 STAR REIVEW ON THE APP STORE

JK
wait
don't go anywhere

Jeongguk exits the app, fumbling with his phone in his haste to grab the box of cupcakes off the nearby bench. Not even bothering to take off his gloves, he plucks the remaining cupcake from the box and brings it to his lips, snapping a photo just as his teeth sink into it.

When he returns to the app Jimin is still spamming but he doesn't bother reading it, just drops the picture in the chat

The spam goes silent.

Jeongguk waits for Jimin to respond.

And then he waits.

And waits.

Just as he's about to ask if he's okay, a message finally appears

JM
please excuse me

JM has disconnected.

Jeongguk blinks down at the app before turning his attention to Yoongi.

"So? How'd it go."

"I think he panicked and left the chat."

Yoongi nods. "Based off what you've told me about him so far I think that seems about right."

Jeongguk bites at the inside of his cheek, drumming his fingers on the back of his phone. After a few seconds he tries to message Jimin again, only to get a message that says this user cannot be found.

"...I think he also uninstalled the app."

Yoongi is already climbing off the table. "Guess that means you need to go see him."

"Wait." Jeongguk tosses his phone onto the bench. "Our session has another hour left still."

Yoongi's shaking his head and already pulling on his coat. "Just give me an extra hour next session. No worries."

Jeongguk glances out the window. It's already dark outside. The bakery isn't even still open, but he knows Jimin is probably staying late working on the wedding cake. He's definitely still there.

"Isn't that kinda dramatic? To go all the way there after hours?"

Yoongi gives him a look. "Really? After all that, this is where you draw the line at too dramatic?"

He has a good point.

"Right," Jeongguk says, grabbing his coat and keys. "Once again, you're right."


Jimin is never making another wedding cake ever again.

To be fair, it’s his fault. It’s completely, absolutely, one-hundred perfect his fault that he’s still sitting in the dark, empty bakery at nine o’clock at night frosting and chilling oversized discs of stupid boring vanilla cake when he could be at home getting drunk and watching other people frost cakes on the food network instead, yet here he is. He has no idea how he’s managed to run a successful business thus far with how much he procrastinates, yet here he is. He has no idea why he ever went into culinary school and pursued this stupid profession to begin with, yet here he is.

He’d say with the amount of espresso shots he’s consumed over the past three hours his blood consists of at least seventy percent caffeine, manifesting as a shaky leg that he can’t seem to calm no matter how much he tries.

“Okay, Jimin, you can get through this,” he says to the slab of cake on his work table, menacingly waving an offset spatula at it. “You can stay awake. You can frost this cake. You can build those tiers. You’ve been training your entire life for this moment.”

Moments later, he finds that the offset spatula is actually perfect for using as a fake microphone instead as he twirls around the kitchen with Taylor Swift’s Lover (the Shawn Mendes ft. version, sue him) blaring through the speakers, belting his heart out into the chorus while the crumb-coated cake sits abandoned on the table.

Hir performance is massively successful— just as he’s finished bowing to his fans (the pastries in the glass cases in front of the shop) for supporting his long and grueling path to stardom, he snaps his head up only to meet eyes with a figure standing in front of the pink-tinted glass doors at the front of the shop.

His first instinct is a molten wave of fear washing all down his body from his head to his toes, because, oh god, of course the one night he stays late is the night when his shop is literally going to be robbed, and of course he had to choose a glass door of all things which he’s only realizing now isn’t secure at all and the robber can literally just punch it and get inside, and—

“Jimin-ssi,” a familiar voice calls, leaning forward to cup the glass and peer through it. “Can you let me in?”

Jeongguk.

He stands, dumbfounded, assessing the situation for several moments. Jeongguk had just witnessed him not only singing a Taylor Swift song to an audience of cupcakes for at least the past five (read: fifteen) minutes— of course it was after he was so proud of himself for not panicking around him and acting normal for once. Of course.

He thinks back to the part where he sang Taylor Swift and then Shawn Mendes’ parts in a higher and then lower voice. He suddenly has the urge to lock himself into the walk-in and go to sleep.

He decides he would prefer the robber. At least even if the robber took all of his money and cupcakes he would still maintain the final shred of his dignity.

“Jimin-ssi,” Jeongguk repeats, practically a whine. “It’s cold out here.”

“God fucking damn it,” Jimin mumbles to himself, already crossing the room. “If he’d stop being cute for five seconds maybe I'd be able to focus for once in my life. That’s all I ask.”

“You know I can hear you? The windows are open,” Jeongguk replies.

Jimin unlocks the door and rips it open, immediately crossing his arms over his chest. “Do you live to torment me? Is that it?”

Jeongguk has the biggest, brightest smile on his face Jimin has ever seen. He actually finds himself forcing back his own smile because of how contagious it is, the way his lips curl so much at the corners it’s almost cartoon-like, eyes glittering under the low lights of the bakery. Lover still plays softly from the kitchen, on repeat from Jimin’s impromptu concert.

Jeongguk steps forward, close enough that they aren’t touching but Jimin can still feel Jeongguk’s body heat against his skin, close enough that the smell of leather and dark chocolate floods his senses and makes his heart beat a little faster.

“Can I kiss you?” Jeongguk whispers.

Jimin’s lips part around a silent oh.

“You want to kiss me?” Jimin blinks. “Even after all the times I embarrassed myself? Even after I spit coffee on you and ran away instead of helping you clean it up?”

“Even after all the times I caught you staring at me through the loaves of bread while I was eating my lunch.”

“Fuck,” Jimin breathes. “I didn’t know you noticed me doing that.”

Jeongguk laughs, taking one more step forward until his thighs press against Jimin’s own, raising a gentle hand to cup Jimin’s jaw, the pads of his fingers lingering over his cheekbone. Jimin tilts his head up to let him, neither of them breaking eye contact.

"All those things honestly just make me want to kiss you more," Jeongguk says, already leaning in.

Jeongguk tastes like dark chocolate and sea salt; the breath that rolls over Jimin’s lips when he breathes into the kiss, like relief and giddiness, feels like the spring breeze rolling in through the windows. As Jeongguk moves his lips against him, soft, hydrated from the ghost of lip balm he’d probably applied earlier that day, Jimin thinks back to what he thought earlier about spring bringing change.

He pulls up on his tiptoes to wind his arms around Jeongguk’s neck, shivering when warm hands find his waist. The kiss is soft, slow, the barely-there tease of tongue against lips and smiles between the tilt of their heads, both of them pulling away before either of them are ready.

“I have a confession to make,” Jeongguk says, nudging his nose against the side of Jimin’s.

“Thought you just made one.”

“Another one.” Jeongguk dips down to peck Jimin’s lower lip. “I wasn’t just coming here every day for the caramel mochas."

“Oh yeah? What were you coming here for, Jeongguk-ssi?”

Jeongguk pauses, contemplating for a second. “The blueberry muffins.”

Jimin huffs, punching him lightly in the side of the arm. “Shut up.”

Jeongguk laughs, sliding his hands to Jimin's lower back and toying with the hanging bow of his apron string. “Okay, and maybe the cute baker behind the counter. But also the blueberry muffins— you should make those more often. They’re my favorite.”

“I know,” Jimin says with a giggle, pushing up on his tiptoes to slot their lips together again.

Finishing up the wedding cake with Jeongguk makes things easier and more difficult at the same time: he's a good helper, diligently crumb coating the layers and then plastic wrapping them in a neat little stack in the walk-in to prepare for Jimin to assemble the cake. And, well— if they take a few breaks to make out against the cooler door, Jimin just considers it a much-needed morale boost.


“God, this wedding is boring,” Jimin whines, plucking two flutes of champagne from a tray as a server breezes past them, handing one over to Jeongguk and bringing the other one to his lips. There’s a graveyard of empty champagne flutes and strawberry stems already lined up behind them, their only source of joy in the trainwreck that is this reception. “I’m never making a wedding cake ever, ever again.”

“Agreed,” Jeongguk says, draining his flute. “How much longer until this is over?”

“We’ve been here for fifteen minutes.”

Jeongguk groans, leaning forward against the table. “I hate it here.”

Jimin laughs. Jeongguk hears the scrape of his chair as he moves a little closer, and then Jimin’s hand is on his back near his shoulder, rubbing soothing circles into his stiff suit jacket. “We can leave as soon as the cake is cut and served. I just have to be here to remove the dowels and make sure the whole thing doesn’t collapse. Sorry I dragged you along.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Jeongguk says, sitting back up in his chair and turning toward Jimin, who’s looking at him with a little concerned frown, eyebrows knitted together in the middle. “It’s not your fault these people have no idea what fun is.”

“It is my fault,” Jimin sighs, draining his champagne flute and adding the glass to the other empties behind him. “I had this idea stuck in my head that this wedding was the perfect excuse for me to ask you out and this would be the night you realize you like me too.” He clears his throat, a soft pink blush sprinkling over his cheeks. “God, how embarrassing.”

“I think it’s cute, not embarrassing,” Jeongguk says, glancing around to make sure no one is watching them before sliding his hand to Jimin’s knee, leaning into his space for just enough time to press a quick, kiss to his lips before pulling away, hand still wrapped around his knee.

“It really bodes well for me that you think it’s cute when I embarrass myself. In fact, if you didn’t, I have reason to doubt you’d even be sitting here right now.”

“We need to find a way to make this wedding more interesting so we don’t go crazy.” Jeongguk says. “I’m about two seconds away from cutting the cake so we can go make out in my car instead.”

“Oh? So that’s what you’d rather be doing right now?” Jimin leans forward, curling his hand around Jeongguk’s elbow. He smells extra sweet today, his cloying caramel scent almost suffocating. He starts craving a caramel mocha like a Pavlovian reaction. “Maybe we can arrange that afterward, yeah?”

Jeongguk bites the inside of his cheek and glances around, earning him a punch in the arm from Jimin.

“Why are you always punching me?” Jeongguk whines, rubbing his arm.

“Because you deserve it.” Jimin huffs, plucking the strawberry from the rim of his glass and sinking his teeth into it. Jeongguk’s eyes follow a trail of strawberry juice trickle down his chin, wanting nothing more than to lick it away for him. “We’re not going to make out in the middle of this stranger’s wedding.”

“What about hand stuff under the table?”

Jimin punches him again.

“Okay, okay,” Jeongguk says, shielding himself with his hands. “I deserved that one.”

He and Jimin only confessed to each other last night but Jeongguk is already so head over heels for him it isn’t even funny; how can he not be when Jimin is so Jimin, fiery and beautiful and unabashedly him.

“You’re staring at me.” Jimin flicks the top of the strawberry into his glass. “What are you thinking about?”

What’s interesting is that ever since they’ve confessed it seems like their roles have somehow reversed; Jimin is always teasing him now with a confidence he didn't have before. He can’t help but feel a little flustered. Jimin seems to enjoy their little change in dynamic. Maybe too much.

“How happy I am that we finally got our shit together and we’re here together even if it’s the most boring event I've ever been to.”

Jimin’s features soften and be bites his lip, leaning further into Jeongguk’s space. There’s a second where he hesitates— but then he wraps his hand around Jeongguk’s shoulder to whisper in his ear.

“Be patient and maybe i’ll make tonight worth your while,” Jimin whispers. His lips barely brush Jeongguk’s lobe, hot breath rolling over his neck and making him shiver for more than one reason.

Suddenly this wedding is the most exciting thing he’s ever been to in his life.

“You two are so enthralled in each other over here I could have mistaken you for the grooms.”

Jimin and Jeongguk are snapped out of their little bubble by a man who joins them at their table a few seats away from them. He’s handsome, with an elegant swoop of golden blonde hair and a bright, red-cheeked smile. A quick glance at his name card says his name is Hoseok.

“Sorry,” Jimin says, flushing a deep red. A few other people trail over to the table, then, sliding into seats and chatting amongst themselves, most holding flutes of champagne or rocks glasses of liquor.

“Don’t be sorry.” Hoseok has a kind voice. “It’s nice to see a couple so into each other. My mate couldn’t come with me tonight so i’m flying solo. How long have you been together?”

Jimin is about to open his mouth to respond when Jeongguk is struck with a brilliant idea.

“Nine years."

Jimin side-eyes him, eyebrows raised in question, but he doesn’t correct him. Jeongguk shoots back a look, doing his best to convey a message: just play along. Let’s have a little fun.

“Nine years?” A woman from across the table says. “But you two are so young? How old are you?”

“We met when I was twelve,” Jeongguk says. “Right, babe?”

“Right,” Jimin agrees, a little wavy with uncertainty. He takes a deep breath. “It was during recess at school. I’m older than Jeongguk so i’d never seen him before— but one day we were playing on the swing set and I fell down and broke my arm.”

“I heard him crying and went straight for him to comfort him while the teachers called his parents and the doctor. I stayed with him the whole time. After it healed I went to visit his house and told him that I was gonna take care of him for the rest of my life.”

“He kept his promise even after all these years” Jimin says, sliding his hand to Jeongguk’s wrist and turning to look him in the eyes. To the outsiders it must look like they’re sharing an intimate moment but Jeongguk can see the mirth glittering in Jimin’s eyes, the way the corners of his mouth are twitching with the force of trying not to break out in laughter.

It doesn’t take long for half the wedding guests to be wrapped around their finger.

“He rented out an entire island to propose to me,” Jimin is saying half an hour later, waving his hands enthusiastically. He’s halfway to champagne drunk, eyes glazed and a pink dusting high on his cheeks. “I rode a boat blindfolded for three hours and when I docked on the shore there was a path of lights leading me to where he was waiting.”

“I waited in a clearing covered with seven hundred tiger flowers and marigolds, our birth flowers,” Jeongguk adds. “I had them shipped to the island three days in advance while a team of people arranged the entire surprise.”

“There was an orchestra hiding up in the trees so I couldn’t see them, I only heard the music,” Jimin says, nodding resolutely. “The reason I’m not wearing my ring is because it’s so big I can’t actually wear it in public, it makes my arm sore to have all that weight on my finger.”

“What do you do for a living to be able to afford all that?” One woman asks incredulously. She’s had her martini glass paused halfway to her lips for three and a half minutes.

“I’m a janitor,” Jeongguk deadpans.

The best man taps on the mic from the front of the room, clearing his throat nervously and glancing in the direction of the crowd that has formed around Jeongguk and Jimin’s table to inform them that it’s time to cut the cake.

It's a boring process Jeongguk stands off to the side while Jimin cuts into it and makes sure the whole thing doesn't collapse (which it doesn't, even though he's kind of rooting for it to. At least it would make things a little bit more interesting around here). The second the reception is served and Jimin is free, Jimin is already prepared to go.

"We can leave now?" Jeongguk says before Jimin is even back. He's already drained two more flutes of champagne in the time it's taken for Jimin to cut the cake and he's feeling a little floaty and giggly and champagne drunk and he really, really wants to be alone with Jimin right now. It's the weekend which means they have the whole day tomorrow to spend together and he can't wait.

"Yeah, baby, we can go," Jimin says absently, twisting their hands together, not noticing the way Jeongguk's heart beats a little faster at the nickname. "Lemme just grab my coat."


"It's raining," Jimin huffs the second they step outside. "We don't have an umbrella and your car is all the way across the lot."

"At least we have coats," Jeongguk says. "Wanna make a run for it?"

Jimin giggles, tightening his grip on Jeongguk's hand. "I had, like, six flutes of champagne. I'm gonna fall on my ass."

"I won't let you fall," Jeongguk promises, already tugging Jimin out from beneath the scaffolding in the direction of his car. "Ready?"

"I'm gonna get all wet," Jimin says around giggles, but he's already letting Jeongguk drag him out into the torrent.

They laugh the whole way, eyes blurry from water and fingers slippery from where they're joined together. Jimin steps into a puddle that soaks his jeans and makes him whine, which only makes Jeongguk stop and let him climb on his back to carry him the rest of the way, which Jimin very much prefers.

By the time they make it to Jeongguk's car they're soaking wet and breathless, still dissolving into champagne-induced giggles and adrenaline rushing through their veins. Jeongguk drops Jimin onto the pavement with a wet slap, and without thinking too hard about what he's doing he presses him up against the car and slides their lips together.

Their mouths are hot in comparison to the cold rain and wind hammering down on them, drenching them straight through their clothes and to the bone but neither of them care in just that moment when their tongues slide hot together and Jeongguk slots his knee between Jimin's legs, swallowing down the little gasp that spills from his throat.

"Jeongguk we're in a parking lot," Jimin gaps in the small space between them when they pull apart, nails digging into his soaked peacoat. "Shouldn't we"

"You're right," Jeongguk says. "We should at least get in the car first."

He expects Jimin to punch him again but instead his cheeks flush a pretty pink and his eyes narrow a little bit, grip on Jeongguk's shoulders tightening he pushes up on his tiptoes and slots their lips together again, laced with more intent than before.

The next few minutes are a blur of hands roaming wet clothes and awkward fumbling into the car at some point Jeongguk unlocks it, or maybe Jimin doesn't he doesn't know, but before he knows it he's sitting in the driver's seat with the seat pushed as far away from the wheel as it'll go, Jimin straddling his lap with two hands curled into the front of his shirt as he licks hotly into his mouth.

"Jimin," Jeongguk gasps, pushing his palms up his soaked dress pants and cupping his ass, groaning when Jimin grinds down on his quickly hardening cock. "God, you're so"

"I'm so?" Jimin teases, sticking his tongue through his teeth as he rolls his hips down against Jeongguk's, filthy and slow. It draws a moan from deep in his chest, hands digging into the swell of his ass just above his thighs.

"Perfect," Jeongguk gasps, tangling his hands in the back of Jimin's hair and pressing their lips back together. "Beautiful. Funny, cute"

"Are we gonna have sex or renew our vows?" Jimin mumbles against Jeongguk's lips, scraping his teeth over Jeongguk's lips before sucking it into his bottom lip. His heart feels like it's gonna beat out of his chest, hammering in tandem with the raindrops on the roof of the car. He groans, pushing his hips up to meet Jimin's own, grinding them filthily together as they work their lips together, the window at their right already starting to glaze over with fog.

"Well we did get married tonight," Jeongguk points out, sliding his fingers to Jimin's zipper and popping his button open, wasting no time in pulling his cock out of his slacks and wrapping his fingers around the head, jerking him off in a few short, quick strokes. He's already hard and worked up, precum smeared messily over the head. "I was just supposed to give advice on how to date me but I've always been an overachiever."

Jimin clamps his hips around Jeongguk's knees and whines, digging his fingertips deeper into Jeongguk's shoulders. His lips are kiss-swollen and bitten red, the same color as the thick head of his cock. Jeongguk is tempted to press his chest down and wrap his lips around it but that's a thought for another night when they have more time to get lost in each other and not when they're not just trying to get off quick and dirty in a car.

"Condom?" Jimin gasps, lifting his hips up so Jeongguk can pull his pants down to his knees and already going to work at popping Jeongguk's zipper. His breaths are heavy, laboredhe looks so pretty like this, when he's all worked up and desperate, his body so hot and pink against the cold blue backdrop of the grey, rain-soaked night sky.

Jeongguk gaps when Jimin pulls his cock free and wraps his hand around the base, holding it there he jerks his hips forward, craving friction, huffing in annoyance when Jimin just whispers for him to be patient with a peck to his lower lip. There's a few minutes of awkward rearranging when Jeongguk grabs the condom from the glove compartment, ripping the rubber open with his teeth and letting Jimin roll it onto his cock while he presses his fingers against Jimin's rim, already wet with slick.

The noises that spill from Jimin's lips are just as pretty as he is, the way he presses his hands to the headrest on either side of Jeongguk's head and arches his back as Jeongguk fingers him open, grinding his hips down on his fingers and pressing wet, open-mouthed kisses that dissolve into moans every time Jeongguk brushes his prostate. Before long he's wrapping a hand around Jeongguk's wrist to pull his fingers out, already wrapping his hand around the base of Jeongguk's cock to line it up at his entrance.

Jimin rides him fast and dirty, the car quickly filling with their mixed scents and the sloppy, frantic sound of Jimin fucking himself down on Jeongguk's cock, slick dripping messily all over Jeongguk's thighs and down his cock onto the seat between his legs. Jimin gets so wet and Jeongguk loves it, slides his palms through it and then runs his hands over Jimin's ass, smearing it into his skin as Jimin bounces on his cock, whining mixed swears and gasps of Jeongguk's name.

"'M gonna come," Jimin mumbles hazily into Jeongguk's neck. "F-fuck, gonna come, Jeongguk"

The way Jimin's hole clenches around Jeongguk's cock when he gets close has Jeongguk whining, thrusting up to meet every roll of Jimin's hips. Jimin sucks a line of bruises up and down his neck, whimpering and whining and scraping his teeth over the skin.

When he comes he's loud, crying out into the empty car as he slams his hips down one more time and trembles, sinking his teeth into the spot about Jeongguk's collarbone. Slick gushes from his hole, squirting messily all over Jeongguk's cock and it's enough to send him over the edge, too, holding Jimin's hips still as he thrusts upward one, two, three times, coming hot inside of him to the sound of Jimin's oversensitive mewling.

"Fuck," Jimin gasps when they're coming down from it, tangling his hands in Jeongguk's hair and pressing their lips together in a soft, chaste kiss, chests heaving against each other. "That was the best sex I've ever had and it was in a fucking car. God, I can't wait for you to fuck me for real later."

He does.


"Do you like it?" Jeongguk asks nervously, pulling the needle away and setting it on his work table. Jimin cracks one eye open from where they've been screwed shut in pain for the past two hours, glancing nervously down at his hand.

"You're finally done?" Jimin asks. "The torture is over?"

"It's not that bad. The finger isn't even that painful of a spot."

That has Jimin riled up right away. "What? Not that painful? Not that painful? He pulls himself into a sitting position. "I'll show you painful and then you'll see."

"Just look at it and tell me if you like it," Jeongguk whines impatiently, wrapping a hand around Jimin's wrist and forcing his hand up to eye level. "I wanna make sure you don't regret it."

Jimin rolls his eyes. "As if I would hate it after I just sat through the most horrible and traumatizing two hours of my life for it," he says, ripping his hand away from Jeongguk's grip and holding it out to admire Jeongguk's handiwork.

His expression instantly softens when he looks at it, a tender smile curling the corners of his lips. The new addition to his ring finger is a little tiger flower tattoo with JK printed neatly below it, still red around the edges from how fresh it is.

"So?" Jeongguk asks. He twists the rings on Jimin's free hand nervously, a habit he'd picked up a couple of years ago when Jimin finally got sick of him always drumming his fingers on everything. "You like it, right?"

"I love it," Jimin says sincerely, shifting onto his hip to wrap his hand around the back of Jeongguk's neck to slide their lips together. "And I love you."

He laces their fingers together, admiring his own tattoo next to Jeongguk's a marigold with JM printed below it in the same spot. He'd nervously surprised Jimin with it on their three year anniversary, not expecting Jimin to instantly declare that he wanted to get a matching one on his own finger.


Later that night, Jimin's phone vibrates from across the room. He's surprised when he checks it and it's from the Match Up app, something he hasn't even thought of in three years; in fact, he was almost positive he'd uninstalled it after he and Jeongguk had gotten together.

JK
come outside

He sighs, tossing his phone on the bed and throwing a t-shirt on before padding across the house. Jeongguk is probably playing some dumb prank on him again and he wants to get it over with because he has to open the bakery in the morning and he already doesn't get enough sleep as it is with how insatiable Jeongguk is nearly every single night.

But the second he steps outside he realizes this is different.

Jeongguk is standing in the middle of the clearing in their backyard, the trees around the patio strung with fairy lights. On the grass all around him is a mess of marigolds and tiger flowers, the lights casting a pretty warm glow on the starburst oranges and pinks.

As if on cue, music plays at first just a violin, but then it blooms quickly into a full orchestra. Jimin glances upward and notices with a giggle that there are speakers set up in the trees.

Jeongguk gets down on one knee and Jimin's heart leaps up into his throat.

"Sorry I couldn't book an island on such short notice," he says. "But I hope this is good enough."