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2,825 miles

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Taeyong looks at his watch with a glare, huffing out a long sigh when he realizes that it’s now 7:15, and he’s been sitting on his front porch with his suitcase and backpack since 6:30, waiting for his mysterious ride to show up, looking positively idiotic. Taeyong takes his phone out of his coat pocket to send yet another text to his little brother, each new text getting slightly more passive aggressive.

To: Markie

6:28 am: Mysterious driver should be here in a few! You’re lucky I love Hyuck, or I would’ve killed you for this before you got to say I do! I’ll text u when we get on the road! xx
6:35 am: yo I’m looking for an old blue jeep right?
6:35 am: or did I make that up?
6:36 am: bc … no blue jeep in sight…
6:40 am: I’m still sitting outside waiting….no sign of mystery driver
6:43 am: Are you sure that you gave them the right address??
6:50 am: Starting to worry. they are 20 mins late?!??
6:50 am: Are you SURE you gave them the right address????
6:54 am: Mark this is getting ridiculous
7:00 am: mark…
7:00 am: markiepoooooooooo
7:00 am: MARKIE
7:00 am: MARKLE SPARKLE
7:00 am: MARKLES
7:01 am: MARK LEE!!!! If you gave them the wrong address or date or time im going to kill you!!
7:05 am: Respond to my fucking texts you imbecile
7:10 am: Mark I don’t think they’re coming
7:10 am: mark im honestly getting worried….
7:10 am: they are FORTY minutes late
7:11 am: Oh god. Fuck.
7:11 am: WHAT IF THEY GOT IN A CRASH ON THE WAY HERE
7:12 am: !!!!!!!!!
7:15 am: Okay fuck this, I’m going back inside. Just know that you’re dead to me.

After pressing send on the last one, Taeyong notices the “delivered” turn into a “read at 7:15 am.” Mark was such a little fuck.

7:15 am: I CAN SEE U READING THESE U LITTLE SHIT.

Taeyong watches as the cursed three little dots appear and disappear for two minutes, indicating that Mark has been typing and deleting his texts continuously. But of, course, no texts roll through. Looking back at his wrist he watches as the time turns to 7:18, starting to feel borderline homicidal.

Taeyong was being ghosted. This felt a lot like when he went on a date with that guy with disgustingly cute dimples and a perfect body who said he’d call back and never did. Taeyong stayed in bed religiously next to his phone waiting for a call. A text even? Nope. Disappeared like a thief in the night.

With a dramatic clap of his hands that no one was even awake to hear, Taeyong decides that he is no longer a patient man, and that whoever Mr. mysterious driver man is can burn in hell. He is either dead on the side of the road or has changed his mind about the whole road trip with a stranger thing. Which, to be fair, Taeyong can't even blame him, literally who would want to go on a five-day road trip with a complete stranger? Certainly not him, but here we are.

As he begins to drag his suitcase back up the stairs to his apartment in the most aggressive way possible, he thinks about how the fuck he even got to this point, sitting on his front porch waiting for someone to pick him up that he knows absolutely nothing about other than what car he drives.

He is taken back to the previous night’s phone call with his brother. Taeyong knew something was wrong the second he was woken up by a shrill noise he quickly recognized as his phone ringing, but was even more worried when he saw it was Mark that was calling him in the middle of the night. The last time Mark had called him was when their childhood dog Ruby had run away. Taeyong took a deep breath and swiped to connect the phone call.

Mark What’s wrong? Are you okay? Did Hyuck call off the wedding?

Did Hyuck what now? What even? No! Why does something have to be wrong? Can’t I call to chat with my dear older brother, who I love dearly. He paused, voice clearly nervous. Did I mention I’m super lucky to have such an awesome brother who I love so much and am super lucky to have…..

If Taeyong had thought something was wrong before, now he knew something was definitely up. Mark was a great younger brother, but by no means was affectionate. He felt his blood pressure spike in anticipation.

Mark you do realize what time it is right... not to mention you only call when someone’s dead or somethings on fire….. so, no, you can’t just call to ‘chat.’ Seriously, c’mon. Tell me what’s wrong and we’ll figure it out, ‘kay?

Mark took a deep breath before continuing.

I may have forgottentobookyouaplaneticketforthewedding…..

Mark spoke so fast, Taeyong only caught the words “forgot” and “plane ticket,” but even that was enough to make his stomach drop to the floor.

Mark please tell me that you did NOT just say that you forgot to book me a plane ticket…

Taeyong’s voice was positively murderous, and in response, Mark’s was surprisingly sheepish for a 23 year old.

…Uhhh…. Well.. yeah.. that may be what happened…

Mark Lee. Mark, Mark, Mark. Fucking hell I’m going to kill you. Need I remind you that the wedding is in eight FUCKING DAYS? Ohmygod, you’re so dead. You told me YOU HAD THE TRAVEL COVERED. There are going to be zero flights at this time of year, Mark. I don’t even have a car. How the fuck am I supposed to get from New York to California in less than a week? Hitchhike? Walk? Bust out my razor scooter?

I’m gonna fix this, T, I promise.

Mark at least had the forethought to sound regretful.

You better fix this Mark. Taeyong felt his words get a little softer, sadder. I want to be there for you. As your best man, Markie. Right by your side, like the proud big brother I am. Not through facetime.

I know T, I promise I’ll figure it out. I’ll find someone who’s driving, Hyuck will help, I promise. I’m so sorry, so so so sorry, don’t be too mad okay? I’ll fix this.

I’m counting on that.

I won’t let you down, I promise. I’ll fix it. Just give me a few hours. I’m sorry.

I know, Mark. Taeyong groaned, rubbing a hand over his face. Even though I really hate you right now, you know that I love you, right?

Mark sighed, clearly relieved. Course, Love you too, Yong.

Taeyong looks at the alarm clock, running a hand through his hair.

Oh, and Mark?

Yeah?

Never fucking call me at one am again unless someone is dead or dying, got it?

Yes. Understood. Got it. Okay bye, sorry again!

At that, Mark had hung up, leaving Taeyong to stir restlessly in his bed.

True to his word, at 3 am, when Taeyong had finally gone back to sleep, a text from Mark chimed in:

From: Markie
3:07 am: Look for a really old baby blue jeep tomorrow around 6:30. Hyuck found someone driving that agreed to take you!!!!!
3:08 am: Sorry again about the flight…. thanks for understanding...
3:08 am: Love you, night. xx

Taeyong, hand already on the doorknob ready to go back inside, is thrown from his thoughts when he hears an obnoxiously loud honk from behind him, jolting him back to the present.

Sure enough, when he turns around, a light blue jeep is parked in front of his apartment. He hears the driver’s side door open and slam shut and moves to pick back up his discarded luggage and trot back down the front steps of apartment 127. Well, apparently he didn't get ghosted after all.

Taeyong nearly trips and falls down the stairs, however, when he hears Mr. Mysterious Driver speak up.

“Need some help there, Taemin?” The voice asks, loud and arrogant, disgustingly pleased with himself for blatantly using the wrong name. Taeyong knows that voice. Taeyong could never forget that voice.

Taeyong absolutely refuses to look up in fear of what he knows he’ll see when he looks up. Fuck, Mark would warn him, surely, if he was the driver, right? Right?

Apparently not, because when Taeyong forces himself to look up from his feet and continue walking down the stairs to his inevitable doom, sure enough, leaning against the car with his arms crossed over his chest, a smug smile tugging at his lips at Taeyong’s obvious surprise with the arrangement, black hair tussled in a way that should be saved for the bedroom, stands the one man Taeyong would rather burn himself alive than spend more than five minutes alone with.

“It’s Taeyong, but I think you know that,” Taeyong spits back as he reaches the car, taking a deep breath and reigning in his anger, before meeting his eyes. “I wish I could say it’s good to see you again, but that would be a lie, wouldn’t it Johnny?” His smile probably looks unhinged. 

Loading his bags into the car, Taeyong sends one last text to Mark before slamming the door as hard as he can and pretending that literally anyone else in the world is sitting right next to him.

To: Markie
7:25 am: omg Markie! you’ll never guess who just came to get me (an hour late!!) Johnny Suh!!!! The man I hate more than my next door neighbor who lets his dog shit on my doorstep!
7:26 am: You're so dead, Mark Lee.