“Enjoy the book!” Taehyung says, sliding over the filled plastic bag to the girl at the counter, who blushes slightly as she accidentally brushes her fingers against his. Taehyung grins.
“Come back soon, ‘kay?” he laughs, throwing a wink at the same time. ‘Girls are so easy to read’ he thinks as the girl, obviously flustered and blushing like mad, grabs the bag and hurriedly leaves the line, running into the guy behind her and almost dropping the contents of her bag.
Hey, ya okay?” the guy asks, catching the books just in time to return them to the poor girl. He peers into her face and can’t conceal a smirk when he catches the look - pink cheeks, wide eyes, and completely head-over-heels - he’s seen too much lately, basically every time he comes to this bookstore. Her hands almost slip again as she mumbles a barely audible ‘thank you’ before bending over to keep the rest of her purchase from falling out again and shuffling away to the door.
“Jeeeeez Jimin, your face is scaring my customers away,” groans Taehyung as he waves Jimin away.
Jimin rolls his eyes. “Pft, what customers.. you close in like 2 minutes.. and why the hell are you always picking on those poor girls?”
Taehyung’s eyes widen in mock surprise. “Picking on? Girls? Me?”
Jimin rolls his eyes again and shoves past Taehyung, making his way behind the counter.
“Shut up and give me some ramen.”
“I’m not your damn refrigerator. The convenience store is right across the street,” Taehyung frowns, turning to face him. Jimin ignores him, instead plopping down onto Taehyung’s chair and propping his feet up on the counter as if he owns the place, and Taehyung finds himself fighting the urge to squeeze onto the chair next to him, resorting to perching on the chair arm and shooting him an annoyed glance.
“I mean, you probably make bank after swindling so much money out of all those innocent girls, right?” Jimin laughs, raising his arms to no avail as Taehyung swats at him mercilessly.
“See, you can’t deny it though, can you?” Jimin says, reaching his hand under the counter, evading Taehyung’s second barrage of hits and grabbing an instant ramen from the haphazardly stacked stash only they know about. Jimin springs up, shimmying away from Taehyung’s hands and heading toward the back of the store to boil water, throwing a sarcastic smirk at Taehyung before dodging the book that Taehyung half-heartedly throws at him.
Taehyung heaves a sigh and lifts himself off the chair, now unsteady without Jimin’s weight in it and shuffles over to pick up the book he knows Jimin will probably trip over coming back. He shakes his head slightly, and chuckles softly, ‘the extent to which I go for that idiot..”
“Doesn’t it tire ya out? Flirting all the time?” Jimin’s voice carries to Taehyung, who absentmindedly returns to the counter, beginning to rearrange the ramen cups. ‘Tiring..’ Taehyung contemplates the word briefly before turning away to hide his grimace when he sees Jimin returning, bowl to his lips and ramen half gone.
“What the hell happened to being on a diet?” Taehyung snorts, overwriting the ‘you’re the one wearing me out’ that threatens to slip from his lips.
“You’re the one who told me to eat more” Jimin retorts, lifting the bowl higher as if that and his snappy remark could hide his flushed cheeks.
“Hahh.. don’t blush Jiminnie, you’re not cute enough to do that,” Taehyung smirks, leaning over the counter and resting his chin on his hand. Jimin, ever redder, whirls around, almost spilling his ramen, to meet Taehyung’s amused gaze.
“I’m not blushing, stupid! The ramen is.. hot” Jimin grumbles, knocked off his momentum by the way Taehyung is grinning straight at him.
Jimin is suddenly all too aware of how badly his lips are burning, and he hastily decides that the ramen really was too spicy for his liking. It’s definitely not because of the way Taehyung’s eyes drift down his face to the lips he realizes he has been biting. He sucks in a sharp breath, breaking the breath he's unconsciously been holding, trying to snap out of it all. Jimin, flustered, sets the ramen cup none too gently on the counter, sending a small splatter of soup into the air.
“Christ, Jimin, it was a joke!” Taehyung says, rolling his eyes to hide the building tension. Somehow he knows the tension has little to do with his joke and all to do with the way he can't stop looking at Jimin and how the boy, for a second too long, had returned his gaze, as if he was looking at Taehyung for the first time. The atmosphere is heavy and suffocating.
“I-I’m leaving,” Jimin coughs, half-choking on his words as if he finds it hard to breathe too. And Taehyung finds his heart tightening because Jiminnie is so clueless as he is sensitive and for the second time in the few minutes that Jiminnie has been here, he wonders if there is anything as tiring as being in the same room as Park Jimin.
Taehyung knows he can’t leave Jimin feeling awkward and confused because why send signals the boy will never understand?
Jimin turns away, and Taehyung acts on reflex, repeating what he's read in all the manga he's read in his free time, reenacting how he deals with nervous girls and their confessions.
“Park Jimin, wait.” Taehyung’s hand reaches over the counter and roughly grabs Jimin’s wrist and jerks him toward the counter. Leaning over, Taehyung swiftly presses his forehead to Jimin’s. The air stills for a slow, heavy second before Jimin jerks back, taking a few wobbling steps backwards.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” Jimin cries, startled by the sudden movement but even more unnerved by the way his heart had jumped a mile into the air at Taehyung’s touch.
“Just making sure you don’t have a fever,” Taehyung smirks, cocking his head to one side and not once unlocking his gaze from Jimin’s eyes, mischievous humor masking the crushing disappointment he hides in his heart.
“Ugh, don’t ing give me that look. Save it for your photoshoots and fangirls,” grumbles Jimin, turning to leave and breaking eye contact. The strain in his voice is gone though, and Taehyung silently sighs in relief. It worked after all.
“Bye,” Taehyung chuckles as Jimin makes a face at him and slams the door closed in response.
Taehyung makes his way to the door to flip the sign Closed and simultaneously drops Jimin’s unfinished ramen into the bin. The first drops of rain run down the glass panes, reflecting the rush of people running under bus stops and suitcases and Taehyung knows Jimin wouldn’t care about how wet he was getting, sauntering through the rain, meeting Jungkook for a movie and dragging the impassive maknae to eat seafood pancakes because ‘when it’s raining you have to eat them!’
And Taehyung groans and sits down in front of the door, leaning back and ending up sprawling on the cool floor. He finds that he doesn’t particularly like the idea of them doing all that together.
But while Taehyung is staring up at the ceiling in the now dim bookstore, Jimin is calling Jungkook and apologizing and he isn’t heading to the movies or sauntering through the rain to his favorite seafood pancake place because right now he isn’t thinking of the action film he had been waiting to watch for over a month or the particularly bad seafood pancake craving he had had last night because despite the fact that the sprinkling rain has quickly turned into a downpour, his lips won’t stop burning and his cheeks stay flushed because for the first time he thinks he read Taehyung's signal loud and clear and what he’s thinking about is.. what he's thinking about is? what the hell is he even thinking about?!
And Park Jimin swears that he will never eat Kim Taehyung’s ramen again as he groans into his hands, dropping into a squat in the middle of the sidewalk - drenched, confused, and tired to the bone.