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Worlds Apart

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“Sir… Mr Kim… could I?...”

“Ask away, Stefan.”

By now, Taehyung was used to the questions coming from his PA, he would either wait until the end of the day and catch him before he went home or he would appear in his office before the day started, always choosing to separate his personal questions from the business side, which the CEO very much approved of.

It was early in the morning, Taehyung had been in the office since 6am after an email that required his attention had arrived. His mind was still full of the evening with Jungkook and how different things had been compared to the other times they’d met. He was pleasantly surprised when Jungkook had invited him to the theme park, if he was honest he hadn’t considered when or how they would meet again so this took that problem away from him at least.

Stefan walked to Taehyung’s desk, he wasn’t due to start work officially yet so he felt comfortable using this as ‘personal time’ because then he could go and make the tea and return in time for their morning meeting to discuss the day and week ahead.

His smile was big, his hair looked curlier than usual as golden ringlets hung around his eyes “Mr Kim, Sir, are you seeing him again?”

Taehyung frowned “That is your first question?”

“Well, yes... “ he felt this to be the logical place to start.

“Yes, he invited me to attend a day at Neverland with him on Saturday.”

“Oh… what went wrong?” concern was suddenly etched on his face.

“With what?” Taehyung was confused.

“Technically you have only met up again due to the dates not going well so I’m presuming that last night didn’t go so well and you have rescheduled.”

Taehyung smiled “I believe that last night went well.”

“This is a big step forwards then! How exciting! Are you going with him on Saturday?”

“I am, I offered to drive, he wanted to get the bus but that was not a realistic option.”

“What’s wrong with the bus?”

“It is full of people, Stefan. I am not someone who belongs on public transport.”

Stefan chose to ignore the insinuation “Did you kiss him? What did you do? Did he cook? What is his place like?”

“Why would I kiss him?” more confusion.

“Because that’s what two people who like each other do.”

“I am yet to ascertain whether he likes me at all, Stefan.”

“He definitely likes you. I don’t understand how anyone would think otherwise? He has now invited you out on a proper date after having you in his home for the evening… he definitely likes you, Mr Kim.”

“Saturday isn’t a date. He has free tickets and his roommate is busy, I’m merely standing in due to his options being limited.”

“Is that what he said?” Stefan eyes his boss curiously.

“That it isn’t a date?”

“Yes and that you are only invited because he doesn’t have anyone else to ask.”

Taehyung looked to the right, replaying the conversation from the previous evening “Well, no, he said that his roommate was working and he wondered if I would like to go with him.”

“Sir, that was an excuse. I could be completely wrong but I would suggest that his roommate may well be working but that was never the plan. I think he was testing the water, perhaps he thought you may not agree to go, so said that as a way of starting the conversation. Either way, he wants to see you again and not just see you, he wants to spend the day with you. Do you invite people to spend the day with you if you don’t like them?”

Stefan was feeling a little exasperated by his boss, he couldn’t understand how a man like Taehyung could be so naive. He’d seen him at work, in full swing in a business meeting, he’d seen him fire people and tear strips off someone who hadn’t done their job properly, heard him on the phone when dealing with companies and he could be ruthless when he needed to be. Yet, here he was, completely oblivious to something so very obvious and Stefan was realising how very un-streetsmart his boss actually was.

“There is a lot to process there.” Taehyung had taken Jungkook's invitation at face value and now there was a different point of view to consider.

“I can only guess what the man’s intentions are towards you so let’s focus on you, Mr Kim, Sir. Why did you accept his invitation to Neverland?”

“It would have been incredibly rude to have declined given that he’d just cooked me dinner and been very hospitable.”

Stefan sighed “Sir, do you like him? I mean… like him?”

“You mean in a romantic sense?”

“Yes, romantically. Unless you are saying that you are putting in all this effort because you want him as a friend?"

Tae blinked.

He blinked a lot.

He looked at the man standing by his desk who was looking straight at him with a look of complete disbelief on his face.

"To be completely honest with you, Stefan, I'm not entirely sure I know the answer to that question because it simply is not that simple."

"It is simple, Mr Kim, Sir. Either you like him romantically or you don't. I think you know the answer but you are allowing it to be complicated by bringing other factors into it."

"It's those factors that could mean that the situation is a non-starter though." the CEO felt their worlds were so far apart sometimes that they were in different universes.

Stefan smiled sweetly "The situation has already started, Sir and I think you've just answered my question. If you weren't interested in him romantically, there would not be anything to consider. My advice is to enjoy your time with him, I do believe he is interested in you and you both obviously have a chemistry between you so enjoy getting to know him. You need a solid foundation for any relationship to work and then everything else will fall into place."

Stefan smiled again and turned to leave the office, he was very conscious of the time and it was time to make tea and start his work day. He suspected that his boss had a lot to consider and he was pleased that they were able to speak the way they did nowadays, even if he still was a little unsure of how frankly he could speak at times.

"Stefan?"

"Yes, Mr Kim." He said with a hand on the door.

"If you were me, what course of action would you take between now and Saturday?"

Stefan scratched his head "If I were you, I would be texting the man to think him for a lovely evening. I would probably maintain conversation leading up to Saturday because I wouldn't want things to be awkward when I picked him up and they would be slightly difficult if there were days without speaking. If I were you, I would want to start building that foundation."

"I will bear all of that in mind as the day goes on, your opinion is appreciated, thank you."

As the door to his office closed, Tae released a heavy sigh and leaned back in his chair, registering the beep that alerted him to new emails but wondering what to do as he looked at the phone on his desk. Stefan was right, it would be awkward if he didn’t have any communication with Jungkook between now and picking him up on Saturday so he picked up the phone and started a new message. He had ten minutes before a short meeting with the web design team which was long enough to send off a message to the busker and thank Stefan for the tea that he would be back with very soon, in the purple metallic travel cup that he always used.

But what to say to Jungkook?

He acknowledged that there was an element of overthinking as he went for basic and decided that it was a start at least.

KTH
Good morning, I would like to thank you for dinner last night. Wishing you luck with your assignment. KTH.

Last night while talking about the remaining days of the week, Jungkook told Tae that he had a lengthy assignment to hand in before he could put every effort into practising for the big show. Tae was glad that he didn't have to take time out of his studies and could get his education out of the way, he thought it was impressive that Jungkook kept going back even though he'd had to take breaks due to financial complications (not that he ever actually said that, it was merely glossed over and an assumption on Taehyung's part).

When Stefan appeared with the tea, Taehyung was shrugging his shoulders into the light grey Saint Laurent suit jacket. He thanked him for the tea, as he always did and picked up the blue folder, he heard his phone vibrate on his desk but he didn't have time to look right now, there was a team of people sitting around a large table waiting for him to discuss the website of a new client.

The walk down to the floor that housed the web design team was short, One stop in the elevator and a few corridors. He passed a few people who all wished him a good morning and he acknowledged them in return, even if he didn't have the faintest clue as to who they were. As he walked into the meeting room, the eight people sitting around, stood up and muttered greetings. He nodded in return and walked around to the front where he placed his cup and folder down before turning his attention to the people shuffling around taking their places once more.

"Good morning everyone. Firstly, I appreciate I am putting you on the spot but I would like an update on the Moonchild website redevelopment. Are we close to completion?"

Eight pairs of eyes looked at Taehyung who had a hand in one pocket of his grey trousers, his hair was parted to one side today, his eyebrows were raised as he waited for someone to respond.

"Well? The objective of asking a question is to get an answer so I expect an answer."

A man got to his feet, Tae recognised him as being one of the department managers but he had no idea of anything else.

"I would say that we are approximately a month from completing the test website, Sir."

"A month? We are not waiting another month. That test website needs to be operational in ten days so that adjustments can be made and the final product completed by the end of the month. If you need to stay beyond your usual hours to do it, then that is what I expect. You are all aware that you will be paid for your time but deadlines must be met, that is the priority."

"Yes Sir, of course, I will see to it."

The man took a deep breath and sat down as Taehyung took a sip from his cup and continued.

“Secondly, I need a team of three for the new Seesaw deal. They are a well established company and have noticed a big dip in sales so they have tasked us with their next advertising campaign. A big part of that is to give their website a complete overhaul because they get very little traffic and they want to start offering an online service. The website needs to be eye catching, it needs to have music because if people like being there, they will shop for longer. This is a mammoth contract, they effectively want a complete image revamp so the website has to reflect this. I expect the team of three in my office this time next week with ideas and examples.”

A young man with bright red hair raised his hand and spoke “How would you like the ideas presented, Sir? A powerpoint? Or sketches?”

“I will leave that to you to decide, as long as I get what I need, the delivery is down to you. 9am next Wednesday, in my office. No excuses, no lacklustre presentation. I want to be able to make a decision on what the next step is on that day. As always, there will be a bonus for you on completion of a successful campaign. I expect enthusiasm and if you do not have enthusiasm, then I would recommend looking for another career. Are there any questions?”

The eight people shook their heads.

“Should you think of any questions or have any problems between now and next week, you can email me or speak to my PA about an appointment. Now, get Moonchild finished, there are enough of you and you have ten days. If your team is struggling, I need to know, I cannot fix a problem if I am not aware of it so I will demand results as things are. Moonchild isn't just about the website, we have the advert to put together and film, plus I am expecting a magazine spread should our campaign be as successful as I anticipate.”

“Yes Sir” one lady said.

Taehyung paused, then picked up his cup and folder, nodding to the table as he walked through the door being held open for him, leaving the people around the table to exhale. He was a fair boss but people knew that he didn’t take any prisoners, he had expectations and if they weren’t met, he would terminate your contract. He often reminded the staff at Purple Aura that the separate departments represented the company as a whole and if he felt someone was letting the company down, he didn't want them working for him. He ran a tight ship, his staff knew what was expected of them and they knew what would happen if they didn’t live up to that.

“Stefan, can you order a new coffee machine for the staff room on the Web design level? I have just been past there and people were complaining about it, apparently it has been broken for weeks. I reminded the people who were complaining that if I am not aware, I cannot do anything about it. I’ve taken their names and will be watching them because I’m not satisfied that they will learn from this and I want their work rate monitored. People who are quick to complain and bad mouth the company without acting on it, are usually lazy.”

“Yes of course, Mr Kim, Sir. I will do that right away.”

“Here’s the list of four names. I want their line managers in my office after lunch and if they, themselves are managers, I want to know about it. I am aware that a few teams had a change of leadership recently so if one of them has a managerial role, I will be stepping in and making the necessary changes. If they are quick to speak negatively about my company over a coffee machine then it begs the question as to what else they have been saying.”

“I will get right on it, Sir. I am just replying to a few emails that require immediate answers and there have been some changes to your schedule for next week but I will email you the alterations once I have finished.”

Taehyung nodded and walked into his office, heading for his desk once he’d hung up his jacket and removed his shoes because he didn’t see the point of having a plush carpet if he was just going to wear shoes all day. It was the type of pile that was so thick that there were footprints left behind as you walked, Taehyung liked to go one step further and go barefooted if he was alone in the evenings, he liked wiggling his toes deep into it.

He sat at his desk and scanned the extensive list of emails, opening all those with a red exclamation mark beside it and rolling his eyes as he saw what some people viewed as 'high importance.' While taking a sip of his tea he looked at the message on his phone, finding it slightly strange how a smile naturally appeared when he saw Jungkook’s name on the screen.

JK
Dinner was no problem. Thank you for that final head shot 😉

Taehyung couldn't stop the way his lips pulled into a bigger smile as he read the last part and saw the emoji.

KTH
It was my duty to rescue you from absolute certain death after you'd been so hospitable.

When his phone buzzed straight away he was impressed and then saw it was Jin.

Jin
I fly out tomorrow evening for 2 days. Brunch before I go?

KTH
Meeting at 10 downtown so could do early lunch at 12?

Jin
Where downtown?

KTH
At the Cliffs.

Jin
I'll phone Blueside and make a lunch res. I'm not eating downtown.

KTH
Perfect.

No sooner had he replied to Jin but another message from Jungkook appeared.

JK
My hospitality is renowned. Being rescued from absolute certain death as opposed to just death is always a good thing.

KTH
I must mix in the wrong circles because news of your exemplary hospitality hasn't reached me. Did you finish your assignment?

JK
Very nearly. I will be handing it in within the hour. You sound like my Father.

KTH
Being Daddy isn't really my thing but who knows? 😉

Taehyung liked this flirty banter, he didn't think it would have been possible a couple of weeks ago when all they appeared to do was irritate one another. He wished he could see Jungkook’s face when he read the message, he wondered if it was flustered like he was when he appeared behind him in the kitchen or maybe flirty comments didn't bother him at all? The CEO got the impression that Jungkook liked to be in control in the bedroom, little things he'd said and the way he held his hands over the controller while they played the games made him believe this but he couldn't be sure. There was also the fact that he quickly pushed away the thoughts because that was a slippery slope to having feelings and wanting more… he wasn't ready for that. He needed to be in control of his senses and emotions at all times, he didn't like being controlled by his heart, it was his head that showed him the right way, his heart would just get him into trouble but it was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore it completely.

JK
I'm not looking for a Daddy so you're safe. I must get this assignment finished, have a good day 🙂

The CEO smiled, he felt justified in his assumption that Jungkook liked to be in control between the sheets…. Not that he had given it any thought at all.

****

It was late when Taehyung finally got home, he'd had Stefan pick up his dinner before he went home and that was three hours before Tae himself finally left the office. He grabbed a glass of wine and settled in the bath, immersing himself in the warm water with its lavender bath oil. He was tired and as he lay his head back against the tiled wall, he switched on the jets to turn the bath into a whirlpool, the gentle streams of water causing bubbles to multiply. The big jacuzzi style corner bath was as stylish as the rest of the monochrome master bathroom with all of the chrome fixings and the wall that the sink was against was made entirely of mirrored glass. There was a large shower, a rectangular shape made of glass that had the bottom half frosted. It housed a shower with two heads that hit you from the east and west when you stood in the middle. There were spotlights on the ceiling but dotted around them were many tiny lights that looked like stars when they were switched on as the only source of light. Taehyung loved to stargaze but living in the city with all the light pollution it wasn't always possible so he brought it to his bathroom, complete with constellations. His bedroom has an ensuite bathroom that was actually a shower room with its large shower, sink and toilet, decorated to the same luxurious standard as the other rooms but when he wants to relax he does so in the master bathroom.

He sipped on his wine and wriggled his toes under the water. The tiny bubbles dancing over his skin and disappearing, only to be followed by more. His thoughts were of Jungkook and wondering what he was doing. Was he at the diner or playing a game at home? He'd wanted to message him earlier to ask if he'd handed in his assignment and to ask him if he'd had a good day but talked himself out if it, even though he now couldn't remember why he hadn’t so he picked up his phone.

Was 10pm too late to send a text? He thought it was on the cusp of being too late, therefore he would send one.

KTH
Good evening. Did you manage to achieve your aim of handing in your assignment?

He sent the message then scrolled through some emails, he’d been so caught up with the posters for the second series of a drama and designing the set for the Moonchild advert after receiving an outline from Namjoon, that he hadn’t read the emails from Stefan. He was pleased to see that he would be meeting with one line manager tomorrow, the four guys complaining about the coffee machine were all in the same department so that made it a little easier to handle at least. It wasn’t how he liked to start his day but he could get that matter sorted before his meeting downtown and lunch with Jin.

JK
Yes I did, thank you. Have you had a good day?

Jungkook’s message surprised Tae a little, it occurred to him that no one ever really asked him how his day had been… he liked it… he liked that Jungkook wanted to know such a small detail.

KTH
My day has been consistently busy. Apologies if my late message disturbed you.

JK
Ash would say I’m already disturbed 🤪 You didn’t disturb me, I was just running through something before bed.

KTH
I don’t know you well enough to collude with Ash but I will make a note of that 😉 What is it that you are running through?

JK
I’m going through a section of choreo we got today. You don’t ever want to collude with Ash, even when you know me better.

KTH
I will make a note of that, also. You seem to inspire me to write lists 😉

JK
I think you just like writing lists, it has nothing to do with me but I’m pleased that I am a cause of inspiration.

KTH
I will add ‘modest’ to the other list, if that hasn’t been added already.

JK
Perhaps I should start a list of words to describe you, then we are even.

KTH
I don’t believe you like being equal to someone, I think you prefer coming out on top.

JK
That last part is the most accurate thing you’ve said, you can add that to your list.

Taehyung sat up in the water, the warmth sloshing around as it was disturbed by the sudden movement. He was now one hundred percent convinced that Jungkook was a man who controlled bedroom activity, he was assertive and forceful at times, he got the impression that he knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to command authority… and now Taehyung knew that he was a top too… unless his mind was in the gutter and he was reading more into Jungkook’s words than he intended.

KTH
I’ve added ‘top’ to the list but moved it into poll position, there are some words that take priority.

JK
It’s a good job that I wasn’t talking about one of the other words in that message.

KTH
Isn’t it just 😉

JK
Do you have a busy day tomorrow?

KTH
I do but I’m meeting a friend for an early lunch so it isn’t all bad. Are you at school tomorrow?

JK
No, I have a day shift at the diner then I might do some busking. I will practice more choreo in between.

KTH
A busy day for you then. I will leave you to your choreo. Goodnight, Jungkook.

JK
Don’t work too hard. Goodnight, Taehyung.

Tae put his phone down after reading through all the messages again, the conversation did cause a warmth inside him and that had nothing to do with the temperature of the bath. This change of direction he was experiencing with Jungkook was one he welcomed but it also worried him when he thought about the differences between them… he still believed they were worlds apart and he didn’t even know if they were on the same page. It was complicated but for now, he would live in the moment and tonight he very much enjoyed the conversation between them.