“Shut the door, Jimin,” you groused, “it’s really fucking cold.”
“Y/N, it’s like 62 degrees out,” Jimin replied as he threw his carryon and big puffer jacket in your back seat. “That’s practically balmy.”
“You’re letting all the heat out, you ass.”
Your childhood friend threw you his best shit-eating grin as he slid into the front seat and buckled his seat belt. He closed the door.
“Just because you’re coming back from Chicago where it sounds like Hell froze over doesn’t mean you’re allowed to act superior as if you know what real cold is,” you retorted as you exited Oakland International Airport. “I see one term at Kellogg has you acting like the typical MBA douche.”
“Hey, that’s not fair! You have an MBA, too!”
“And thus, I should know.”
Jimin collapsed all over you and the middle console from his seat in a fit of giggles and did his best to tease a smile back onto your face. “Thanks for picking me up so early on a Saturday morning, Y/N. You’re the best friend a guy could ever have.”
Even after all these years, you couldn’t control the dip of disappointment at his words. It wasn’t that you didn’t love being Jimin’s best friend. It was more that you knew you would never be anything more.
You grunted in acknowledgment and pushed the sadness down, burying it under years of practice and half truths.
You would be content with what you had. You would be satisfied with the love Jimin was willing and able to give. You were not entitled to anything more.
It was enough.
It was enough.
It was never enough.
“I see the radio selection is abysmal as ever,” Jimin commented as he scanned through all your presets.
“Driver gets to choose the music, Jimin! You know this and yet still flout the rules!”
“Surely, you could not possibly be happy listening to yet another repeat of ‘Watermelon Sugar,’” he protested. “It’s the third time we’ve heard it and it’s only been 10 minutes!”
“Do not malign Harry Styles, Jimin. Do not.”
“I didn’t realize you had such a thing for him.”
“I don’t,” you corrected, “but have you seen the video?” You sighed, breathless. “The man can sure eat a watermelon.”
Jimin chuckled. “Like that’s hard or something.”
“Spoken like a man.”
“I’ve never had any complaints,” he returned, “and I’ve had a sizable sample size.”
“Save it for your conquests, Jimin,” you said. “You forget. I’ve known you since we were five years old. I know everything there is to know about you.”
“Except, apparently, how well I can eat watermelon,” he muttered under his breath as he glared out the window.
You quirked a brow, puzzled by his reaction. “Taehyung and Jungkook are joining us for lunch,” you said instead.
“And how are the lovebirds?”
“Disgusting as always.” You shuddered dramatically. “They’ve only gotten worse since you’ve left.”
“How is that even physically possible?”
“A mystery,” you observed lightly. “It’s not even the PDA. I mean, that’s gross because they’re them — but on a purely aesthetic level, nothing wrong with seeing two hot men have at it in front of you.”
“It’s their endless terms of endearments. They call each other ‘lover’ and ‘dearest one’ and ‘light of my life’ and constantly make moon eyes at one another. It’s enough to put me off my feed.”
“You? Let something get in the way of eating?” Jimin was failing at suppressing a grin. “Impossible.”
“Hmmmm, true. Why should two of the most annoying people on Earth prevent me from enjoying myself to the fullest?”
“Did Ohgane lift your ban or do we have to go somewhere else because someone is uncivilized and eats so much meat that they had to institute a cap just for you?”
“Don’t mock my AYCE KBBQ strategy, Park,” you growled. “Only amateurs let anything deter them from getting as much meat as possible for their money.”
“But you don’t even eat it properly!”
“I will not fill my stomach with roughage, Jimin — I am not a ruminant. I eat ruminants.”
“But the banchan is there for a reason! And the lettuce leaves! And literally everything else!”
“Banchan is a trap! I can get banchan anytime. I cannot get all you can eat meat anytime. One must have a proper respect for KBBQ strategery!”
He laughed a beautiful, clear sound you missed hearing in person. “Anyone else coming along?”
“Oh, I didn’t invite anyone else. I figured we would see them at the gift exchange Wednesday night.” You chewed on your lower lip. “Do you want me to call them?”
“Nah, it’s fine. It’ll be nice to be with the OG crew a bit first.” Jimin stifled a yawn.
“We still have about 20 minutes before we get home if you want to nap. You don’t need to feel obligated to make conversation.”
“I am a bit hungover,” he admitted.
“Can’t keep up with the younger students, Park?” you teased. “That’s why the rest of us go to B-school when our livers are fresh and idealistic.”
“No one goes to business school because they’re idealistic, Y/N. We go to network and eventually make a shit ton of money,” Jimin said drily.
“That’s me,” you said cheerfully, “I sold my soul and now make the big bucks selling CRM software! Glad you could finally join us.”
“Hmmm, then you can pay for lunch since I’m just a broke grad student now.”
You made a great show of hmphing and Jimin’s countenance noticeably brightened at the prospect of free food. You let the radio and its repetitive top 40 hits fill the space between you as Jimin closed his eyes and you resolved to concentrate on the road.
“Thanks for bringing Jimin home, Y/N! I knew I could count on you to be the responsible one,” said Jimin’s mother while he dropped his things off in his old room. You joined her on the couch watching the latest K-drama with her.
“Ah, you’re welcome, imo,” you responded. “My mother says hi, by the way. She says you had lunch together last week.”
“Yes, she took me to that dim sum place we used to go to. You know — the one that has the mango pudding you like.”
“Oooooh, good choice. How have you been?”
“The same as always,” Mrs. Park replied. “That’s the best we can expect at my age. I haven’t seen you in so long, Y/N. You just get prettier and prettier.”
“I swear I raised my son right, but he can be very stupid — just like his father,” she said conspiratorily. “He’ll figure out you’re perfect for each other eventually. He just better hope it’s not too late.”
“Eomma!” cried Jimin as you desperately wished the floor would open up and swallow you whole. “Please stop trying to pawn me off on Y/N. You’re never getting rid of me.” He kissed his mother on the cheek and then tugged mischievously on your hair like he used to as a kid. “Besides, who says she wants me? We all know Y/N’s the heartbreaker, eomma. She never takes any of us seriously.”
“I would take you seriously if any of you were ever serious,” you scoffed and waved your hand dismissively. “We should get going, Jimin. I haven’t eaten since yesterday in preparation and I wore my stretchy pants.”
“Where does it all go?” Jimin stared at you in wonder.
“I work out with Kookie. A lot,” you replied. “Some people eat to live, I live to eat. Speaking of which, let’s goooooooooooooo…” You heaved yourself off the couch and hugged Mrs. Park goodbye.
You spent the car ride to lunch in comfortable silence. There was little to catch up on. After all, the two of you constantly texted — whether privately or in the various group chats.
“You really don’t think I’m serious?” Jimin asked out of the blue.
“What?” You checked your blind spots and changed lanes.
“Do you think I don’t take things seriously?”
“Um, I mean, kinda?” you replied. You glanced over guiltily. “You seem offended.”
“Cuz I am offended!” He huffed. “I am in business school, you know. That’s serious shit.”
“Oh, come on. B-school is not that serious. You’re basically paying money to network and drink at happy hours.” You flitted your eyes over again, not wanting to set off Jimin’s infamous temper. “I’m not saying you don’t have to work hard — but you don’t have to be serious to work hard.”
“Not everyone’s like you, you know.”
“I have no idea what that even means, Jimin.”
Jimin just glared out the window in silence. So much for not setting off his temper. “Not everyone has all their shit together all the time like you do, Y/N. Have some pity on us mere mortals.”
“Please, spare me your wounded humanity,” you replied acidly. “People who look like you, who move like you do, and who have your personality cannot be counted as a mere mortal.”
“As if you’re not also these things.”
You sighed loudly. “I didn’t say I wasn’t. I was pointing out the ridiculousness of your statement.”
“Well, I can be serious,” Jimin pouted.
You wisely held your tongue. Besides, Jimin had misunderstood your statement and you were not about to explain. You weren’t talking about being serious in life — you didn’t care about that. You were serious enough for two people — perhaps three.
You were referring to your friends being incorrigible flirts and using their charm and good looks to con you into agreeing with them 9 times out of 10. After being on the receiving end of every weapon in their arsenals, you were practically immune. Probably because you knew none of them actually meant it — particularly Jimin.
You had been his dress rehearsal for so many of his moves — he’d even practiced french kissing with you — that you were almost inured to the pain of watching him with women he was actually interested in. Over twenty years with a person would knock all romantic dreams out of even the most hopeful. You were tenacious but not delusional.
By the time you finally found a parking spot and arrived at Ohgane, Jimin’s mood had soured even further. When Jungkook and Taehyung shot concerned looks at you, you’d shrugged and mimed drinking and holding your head. They nodded in understanding.
Lunch did not improve matters. Taehyung gamely tried to draw out Jimin — after all, he’d known Jimin almost as long as you had. The three of you became friends in junior high and were inseparable until college. He knew all the tricks to cheering Jimin up, but Jimin wasn’t having it. Eventually, Taehyung got annoyed, too.
“For fuck’s sake, Park,” Taehyung said, “what is your malfunction? I know it’s been a long time since you got your dick wet but don’t take it out on us, okay? It’s not our fault none of us are interested in it.”
Jimin had the grace to flush. “Sorry, guys,” he muttered. “I don’t know why I’m in such a bad mood. I really wanted to see you all and I’m ruining it.”
“S’ok,” mumbled Jungkook. “Are you stressed about school?” he asked between mouthfuls of bulgogi and pork belly.
“No, school’s fine. I really like my cohort and I’m learning a lot.” Jimin dragged in a slow breath and took a sip of soju. “Just ignore me. I’ll snap out of it. Sorry again.”
All of you grunted and continued stuffing your faces with food. You were frustrated that the little time you and Jimin had together seemed to be rife with misunderstandings and missteps. You didn’t recall this much awkwardness when you had gone to your separate colleges after high school. Every time you’d reconvened during breaks, things had snapped back into a familiar pattern — slightly different to accommodate your growths and new friends, but in general, you’d all made the transition without incident.
If your friendship had survived those really shitty years when Jimin had a serious girlfriend and you were balancing work and the MBA executive program at Cal, you figured you’d survive this bump in the friendship, too. That didn’t mean it was pleasant.
After a few moments of silence, Jimin asked, “Do you guys think I’m a serious person? Because Y/N doesn’t and I think she’s completely wrong. I can be an adult. I’m adulting. I’m not just a fucking bum, coasting on my charm and good looks.”
You groaned and palmed your face. Jungkook and Taehyung exchanged curious glances and sensing danger, did not speak.
“I have literally never said any of these things to you. Why are you so hung up on this, Jimin?”
“Because you treat me like a child!”
“Maybe if you stopped acting like a brat, I would stop treating you like one!” you growled.
“See? There you go, acting all superior again. As if everyone should be boring like you with your grown up job and 401(k) and mortgage and car payments.”
“Where is this coming from? I’m not the only person at the table with a grown up job and a 401(k) and mortgage and car payments. Go yell at Taehyung and Jungkook if you want to yell at someone.” You dug into your purse for your wallet, scrounged a stack of twenties, and threw them on the table. “I did not wake up at 6 am on a fucking Saturday to pick you up from the airport, take you home, chat up your mother, and treat you to lunch to be yelled at for being responsible — as if that’s a fucking crime.”
You pushed away from your seat and grabbed your jacket. “Catch a ride back with Tae. I’m done. Call me when you’re ready to apologize because this is bullshit.”
“Y/N, he didn’t mean it,” placated Taehyung. “You know how he gets sometimes.”
You shook your head. “Oh, he meant it. Didn’t you, Jimin?”
Jimin flicked his gaze to the floor. He wouldn’t look at you.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ll just take my boring ass home, then.” You stormed out of Ohgane and barely made it to the car before you broke down sobbing. It briefly occurred to you that it was possible Jimin would chase after you to apologize and you didn’t want him to catch you crying, but he never came out. You know because you sat there in your car for another 30 minutes.
You were not in a good mood. But skipping Seokjin’s annual white elephant gift exchange was an unforgivable sin so you showered, took out the new dress you’d bought for the occasion during the Black Friday sales, put on your most glam face, sparkliest accessories, and located your spikiest heels — not that anyone would see you in them. After all, only savages wore their outside shoes inside. But for the two minutes you stood in Seokjin’s doorway, you would have the full support of expensive and uncomfortable shoes.
You made the quick drive to Seokjin’s house and told yourself that you would be the bigger person and act as if nothing was wrong with Jimin. As if he hadn’t avoided you the last few days in the group chat. As if he hadn’t not called to apologize. As if he weren’t being a royal prick.
You’d had decades to practice treating him as a friend when you were feeling anything but; you were a pro.
“Thanks for coming, Y/N! You look gorgeous as always,” greeted Seokjin at the door.
“Where should I put this monstrosity?” you asked, referring to the gigantic box in your hands.
Seokjin burst into peals of bright, barking sounds that passed for his laughter. “You outdo yourself, Y/N.”
You winked at his flushed face. “You have no idea.”
“Is it a trick or treat this year, Y/N?” he queried.
“I guess you’ll find out like everyone else, Jinnie,” you grinned. You were notorious for randomly alternating between a present that everyone tried to steal or a present everyone prayed they wouldn’t end up with. You liked to keep things interesting. How dare Jimin call you boring. “I brought a few bottles of wine, too. It’s in the bag.”
Seokjin hurried to take your present and put it under the 8 foot Christmas tree in his living room as you slipped off your heels and set the wine in the kitchen. You sauntered over to the food immediately and grabbed a plate. Jin always went all out on the food every year and refused to accept money so you tried to repay him by eating as much as possible in order to show your utter appreciation.
Of course, you also brought excellent libations and helped clean up after. And maybe you hid twenties in his coat pockets. Rules were rules.
“Hey, Y/N,” a low voice greeted and plopped next to you.
“Hey, Yoongi,” you replied without looking up from your eating. You swallowed another bite of prime rib and moaned happily. “I love meat,” you hummed while dancing in your seat.
“Don’t even think about offering your own meat and ruining this moment for me, Yoongi Min,” you warned.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he drawled. “Besides, you know the offer’s always on the table if you ever change your mind.”
You paused your determined chewing, swallowed, and carefully sipped the Merlot. You’d met Yoongi through an ex and though the ex was no longer part of your friend group, Yoongi’d somehow stayed. At some point, he brought Seokjin into the fold and now you couldn’t imagine your life without them.
“Is it always on the table?”
“You’re joking, right?” Yoongi asked incredulously. His dark eyes narrowed. “I don’t make empty promises.”
“You offer all the girls or am I just lucky?”
Yoongi leaned into you, his eyes never leaving yours. “Both.”
Your eyes lit in amusement. “At least you’re honest.”
“I go after what I want,” he explained. “Right now, you and I are a statistical probability. We run in the same circles, like each other well enough, and find each other reasonably attractive.”
“I never said you were attractive, reasonable or otherwise.”
A predatory smile unfurled across his face. “Let’s not be coy, Y/N. We were communicating so well.”
You sucked in a breath.
“There’s a spark between us — and we can either fan that into life and see where that goes, or we let it bank. Perhaps that spark will keep until a better moment, or perhaps it will flicker out,” he explained. “Either way is fine with me, but I always shoot my shot, Y/N. You never know when a yes will keep leading to more yeses.”
“In your experience, if a woman says ‘yes’ to you once, does it usually lead to more yeses?”
“At least for the course of the evening’s activities.”
Your lip quirked involuntarily. “I’ll keep that in mind should I ever find an evening bereft of activities.”
“You do that, Y/N. You do that.”
“What are you two assholes discussing so seriously?” Jimin said as he sat across from you.
Yoongi smirked. “Sparks, yeses, and evening activities,” he replied, eyes still locked with yours.
The moment shimmered between you two, the air fraught with tension. You broke away first only to see a look of fury flit across Jimin’s face. You blinked and his face was back to his usual friendly disposition.
“Hello, Jimin,” you said, voice neutral.
“You look amazing, Y/N,” Jimin replied. “The dress suits you.”
“Why, does the dress have a 401(k) and mortgage, too?” Okay, so you weren’t going to be the bigger person tonight.
Jimin winced. “I’m sorry I was such an asshole last weekend.”
“You’re so sorry you waited almost an entire week to apologize in person instead of via text immediately? How thoughtful.”
Yoongi’s eyes widened slightly at the acerbic exchange and his mouth twitched.
“Do you mind?” Jimin glared at Yoongi.
Yoongi waved his hand casually. “Not at all. Please do continue. This is extremely edifying.”
Jimin intensified his glare. Yoongi did not move and looked bored.
“I’m sorry I called you boring and accused you of having a stick up your ass — even though you have to admit you sometimes do — ”
“Wow, this apology is really something,” you interrupted. “No, really. My ego is going to careen out of control.” You clasped your hands over your heart. “Stop buttering me up to find out which present is mine, Jimin. You can find out like everyone else.” You picked up your plate and walked away from Jimin for the second time in a week.
“Nicely done,” you heard Yoongi remark. “Did you practice that all week?”
You stalked to the kitchen, chugged your wine and then re-filled it with a very generous pour, and loaded up on the garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, and roasted brussel sprouts and beets. You resisted the temptation to eat the remaining prime rib out of love for Seokjin and a misplaced sense of party propriety.
You started at Yoongi’s concern, almost spilling the wine all over yourself. “I’m fine,” you replied curtly.
“I know we’re not the kind of friends to confide deeply into one another,” said Yoongi, “but if you ever need a sympathetic ear, I’m here.”
“Thanks,” you said.
“Come on,” he said as he looped an arm across your shoulders, leading you to the living room. “Let’s go take full advantage of Jin’s hospitality and size up the gifts.”
The white elephant gift exchange was in full, drunken swing. You’d have to call a Lyft home and come back tomorrow to pick up your car because there was no way you were in any condition to drive.
“Ah, ah, ah!! Stop cheating, Yoongi,” Hoseok cried. “You touched the big box wrapped in fancy paper. You know the rules,” he continued, oblivious to the mischievous glance Seokjin tossed your way.
Yoongi, however, noticed. “I lost my balance,” complained Yoongi. “I would have knocked over the tree!”
“He’s lying,” you chimed in. “He just doesn’t want to open my gift.”
He raised an eyebrow in your direction and said, “So that’s how it’s gonna be, huh?”
“I think you’ll like it.” You tried valiantly to tamp down any sign of gloating but failed miserably.
“You know the rules!” bellowed Hoseok.
The others, sensing blood in the water, added to the chorus of voices insisting Yoongi open your present.
Yoongi plastered on a poker face and resigned himself to opening the monstrous box. After opening it, he was confronted with another wrapped box nested inside and groaned. “How many fake outs did you wrap, Y/N?”
You merely sipped on your wine and preened.
He went through another 3 boxes before he finally got to a discreet box with no sign of what was inside. Yoongi sighed, opened it and drew out a thick, curved, pink-tinted glass object covered in whorls and bumps.
Everyone just stared in silence. And then Jungkook and Taehyung exploded with hysterical cackling.
“You didn’t!” cried Jungkook.
“That’s over the $25 allotted budget,” Taehyung squeaked out.
“How did I know you of all people would know how much it costs?” you laughed. “I bought it during the Black Friday sale,” you justified.
“I’m so mad it’s already been my turn so I can’t steal it,” Jungkook said morosely.
Taehyung hugged Jungkook and kissed him sloppily on the lips. “I’ll get it for Valentine’s Day, my heart.”
Someone threw a pillow at them.
“What is it?” asked Yoongi. “Is it art or something?”
Namjoon stared at it a bit longer. “Is that a glass tentacle dildo?” he finally choked out.
You grinned. “Yup!” you said, popping that “p.” “You’re welcome!”
Yoongi paused as if debating on the wisdom of his next few words. “You want to come over sometime and try it out?”
“Only if I can use it on you, Yoongi,” you sassed back. “I already know how it feels — I have one at home.”
The room erupted and you were inordinately pleased with yourself. You wouldn’t let Jimin — who looked as if he wanted to commit murder — rob you of your victory.
The rest of the gift exchange proceeded with the usual amount of bickering and trash talk, and eventually, it was time to clean up and go home. Unfortunately, all the wine you’d imbibed had finally caught up with you.
“You need a ride home, Y/N?” offered Yoongi, his voice thick and raspy.
“No need, Yoongi,” interjected Jimin. “I’ve got her.”
The two men stared at each other in some unspoken contest of wills as you swayed slightly while trying to put on your heels. “I don’t fucking care who takes me home, but it better be soon because I’m sleepy,” you grumbled.
“Careful, you drunk baby,” Jimin said as he rushed to your side to hold you up. He took your coat and purse from Hoseok and escorted you to his car. “Let’s get you home.”
“Don’t think I’m not still mad at you, Jimin,” you slurred as he buckled you in. “You’ve been awful to me and I don’t deserve it. I’m literally the best thing in your stupid life, you irritating motherfucker. You’re lucky I love you and am both magnanimous and beautiful.”
“I know, Y/N,” whispered Jimin. “I don’t deserve you at all.”
“You’re damn right you don’t.”
“Forgive me?” he asked quietly.
“I will when you say sorry right and acknowledge my superior vocabulary even when inebriated.”
“Consider it done.”
But you didn’t hear him. You had fallen asleep against the passenger side window.
You woke up in your bed with your tongue three sizes too large and a queasy stomach. Also, your head was pounding. Also, also, it was too hot. For some reason, there was a heavy arm flung over your torso but you would figure that out later. First things first: you had to take care of your bladder.
Your stomach lurched even more as you attempted to reach the bathroom to pee. You debated which would be a more logical course of action: pee first, then barf or barf first, then pee.
You decided you couldn’t risk accidentally peeing while casting up your accounts, so you relieved yourself, flushed (because one cannot risk the backsplash of urine in the face from overzealous vomiting), found a hair tie, and then proceeded to empty your stomach.
“You okay?” Jimin’s voice pierced through your hangover induced fog. At least that explained the arm.
“Nope,” you rasped out, spitting the remnants of yesterday’s overindulgence into the toilet. You wiped the tears off your face with as much dignity as you could muster (which was none), closed the lid and flushed. You staggered to the sink and brushed your teeth only to wince at your reflection. All your carefully applied makeup was smeared across your face, your eyes resembling raccoons, with dark streaks down your cheeks from the tears.
“Thanks for getting me home, Jimin,” you said.
“That’s what friends are for,” he said sadly.
You flinched. You blamed it on the recent barfing for not properly having your defenses up. “Yeah,” you grated out.
Jimin cleared his throat. “We’re still friends, right? Even though I was a complete dick?”
“Is that your entire apology?”
You mustered as much attitude as one could after a person was just seen bowing to the porcelain throne. “That’s right. Continue.”
“I’m sorry, Y/N. I’ve been awful to you since the moment you picked me up from the airport. All I wanted was to spend time with you and I ruined it.”
“Well, I suppose your break isn’t over yet,” you begrudgingly acknowledged. “Apology accepted.” You rubbed a palm over your face and got off the floor. “I’m gonna shower. I look like death. I probably smell like it, too.”
Jimin wrinkled his nose. “Is it too soon to agree with you?”
“As if you look that great,” you said. You lied, of course. He looked amazing with his dark hair all floofy, his body sleek and fine in his undershirt and boxers. If you squinted hard enough, you could allow yourself to imagine all his mornings belonging to you. But you were only so masochistic. “Feel free to use the guest bathroom. You know where everything is.”
He nodded and left you to your ablutions.
“You gonna tell me what’s really bothering you?” you asked casually while chopping up scallions into a fine garnish for the bastardized congee you had started in the Instant Pot.
You carefully cut a salted duck egg in half and scooped the contents out of the shells into a rice bowl. You proceeded to peel and chop 3 thousand year old eggs and put those in another bowl.
“What do you mean?”
You went to the fridge and fished out a few more condiments like your favorite spicy bamboo shoots and the pickled cucumbers. You even took out kimchi as a nod to Jimin’s people. “Do we have to do this song and dance? Can we pretend that I’ve known you over 20 years already and just tell me what’s going on?”
“Are you and Yoongi fucking?”
Jimin seemed unusually nervous. “Are you and Yoongi a thing?”
“You’re not a thing or you’re not sure you’re not a thing?”
“I don’t have enough functioning brain cells this morning to decipher that quagmire of a question.”
“Did you and Yoongi start something after I left?”
“I haven’t even seen him since Namjoon’s birthday. So, no. We are not a thing. We have not started something.”
Jimin chewed on his bottom lip and fiddled with the rings on his fingers. “Do you want there to be something?”
A prickle of irritation coursed through your body. “What’s with all the Yoongi questions, Jimin? What’s it to you who I am with?”
“Please, just tell me.”
You sighed. “I don’t know,” you finally admitted. “He’s not unattractive and I enjoy his company. My parents will like the fact that he’s a lawyer,” you mused.
Jimin’s face darkened.
“I suppose it could work if either of us cared to pursue it,” you concluded. Not that you particularly wanted to, but you were so sick of being alone. Perhaps it wasn’t a bad idea to pursue in the new year.
“You in the business of telling me what to do now, Park?”
“I can’t have opinions about the people you date?”
“What’s wrong with Yoongi?” you asked. “He’s a great guy and is excellent on paper.”
Jimin’s face pulled into a grimace of sorts. “I missed you, Y/N,” he said. “In Chicago, I mean. I missed you a lot.”
Your mouth went dry and you tamped down any residual longing. “Well, of course you did, you idiot. But you survived me going to UCSD; you’ll survive being at Kellogg.” You busied yourself with washing the knife and cutting board. “Two years will be over before you know it and you’ll be back to seeing me all the damn time.”
“I love you, Y/N.”
“I already said I forgave you. See? I’m making us the traditional breakfast of my people!”
Jimin rounded the counter and tipped a finger under your chin to direct you to look him in the eyes.
“I love you, Y/N.”
This was too much. “Yeah, yeah. I love you, too, Jimin,” you said as you tore yourself from him.
Jimin ran his hands through his hair in frustration. “Y/N, stop. I’m trying to tell you why I’ve been such an ass lately. You never take what I say seriously. Even when I’m declaring that I love you and I want to be with you.”
“That’s why you’ve been such a jackass this entire trip? Because you had this loneliness induced epiphany of love for me?” You threw your hands into the air. “And what? You took some panicked thing I blurted out when your mother put me on the spot and you got mad that I agreed with you because I don’t take any of our ridiculously flirty friends seriously?”
“I am being serious. I love you, Y/N. I think I have for a long time — I just needed to be away from you to realize it!”
No. He was going to ruin everything. “You love me,” you repeated. “You want to be with me.”
You put the knife away. “Because you’ve been lonely in Chicago?”
“Yes. I mean — no — ”
“I think you should leave.” You hated how your voice trembled. You hated him so much right now.
“You’re lonely, Jimin. And you miss me and your life in the Bay Area,” you stated woodenly. “What happens when you stop being lonely in Chicago, Jimin? What happens to me when you realize you’ve conflated loneliness with romantic love?”
“That’s — that’s not what this is, Y/N,” he defended angrily. “If you don’t love me back in a romantic way, just say so and we’ll move on. But at least do me the courtesy of trusting that I know my own mind.”
“For now, anyway,” you said caustically.
“Other than with Mina, have you even been with anyone longer than a few months?”
“You’re one to talk — if anyone should be concerned, it’s me! Every guy you date we have a running countdown. No one ever makes it past the 3 month mark.”
“Well, you don’t have to worry since you’ll never get the chance.” You were shaking. “Get out.”
“Y/N, I don’t want to fight,” Jimin pleaded.
You shut your eyes, angry that tears were spilling down your face. “Rule number one of being an adult, Jimin: we don’t always get what we want.” You wiped your face on the back of your sleeve. “Please, leave.”
“But your car’s still at Jin’s.”
“How is that relevant?” You shook your head. “I’ll figure it out. I can’t talk to you right now, Jimin. I can’t even look at your face.” You shuddered a shaky breath. “Please,” you whispered.
You couldn’t even watch him leave and when you finally heard the front door shut, you sank to the floor and sobbed for the second time in a week over your best friend, Jimin Park.