Taehyung was dying.
Well okay he wasn‘t dying. He was just in dire need of a certain book for a class that was starting in about an hour and he’d neglected to buy it until this very moment.
For some reason when he went out to buy the book, all bookstores seemed to magically disappear and he was frantic in his search. After running around for a while he finally spotted something that looked like a bookstore across the street. Peering his eyes he tried to see the writing on the sign but it was too small.
He jogged to the next crossing, impatiently pressing the button for the light to turn. If he pressed it repeatedly he was sure it would turn green sooner. Finally he could cross and he almost ran an old lady down as he sprinted over the street “sorry!” he shouted over his shoulder, sure she grumbled some curses in return.
Finally he could see the sign. It was small and black, hanging over a window, and in neat white letters it said “A book to remember” and Taehyung would have scoffed at the cheesy name if he had time. Unfortunately he was in a hurry so no sarcastic retorts about the name of the store were made that day.
The shop was at a cellar level and the steps leading down to it were broken at a few places and on the outside it looked a little ruined. It was probably supposed to add to the charm of it Taehyung thought.
The inside was quite cozy, shelves full of books and there seemed to be nothing but books in the store. At the back was a large mahogany desk, filled with files and papers and books, a laptop and an old fashioned desk phone. The desk was manned by a guy dressed in all black, top to toes, with black hair and he looked to be sleeping, head lulling downwards so Taehyung couldn’t see his face.
Taehyung decided that this was no time to be polite and let the man sleep, he was in a crisis. He marched towards the desk and knocked on the desk loudly. Unfortunately that did nothing to wake the man. Taehyung knocked again, smashed a book against the desk, shook his shoulder but nothing happened. He was starting to think the man was dead and panic was rising in his chest.
He ran a hand through his hair and sighed loudly and suddenly the man stirred “what?!” he shouted loudly, looking around disoriented and for a minute Taehyung could only bite his lip because damn, he was really good looking. If anything he was the most handsome guy Taehyung had ever laid his eyes on.
He snapped out of it when the guy looked at him with a furrowed brow “what do you want?”
He wasn’t making a very good first impression but Taehyung guessed waking up so suddenly could make anyone grumpy “do you have Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway? I need it for my afternoon class and I don’t have any time” he asked the man who regarded him still with peered eyes and a frown.
The frown only deepened “why don’t you look for it yourself?” he said, eyeing the book pile on his desk but Taehyung didn’t notice
“I really don’t have time, I have a half an hour to get back to class and it takes fifteen minutes to walk there” the other man cocked an eyebrow at him “well, get to it then!” he said, leaning back in his chair, arms crossed.
Taehyung stared around the store “you have like a million books in here”
“yeah probably” the other man was starting to get on his nerves the way he just sat there, a smirk plastered on his face
“are they organized in any way?” the desperation in his voice just made the other man seem even more entertained and Taehyung wished it didn’t make him look so much more attractive than before.
The man at the desk shook his head “I just put them where there’s room to be honest” he said with a nonchalant shrug and opened his laptop “but may I recommend to you this one instead? It’s a good read” he said and handed Taehyung a book from the top of the pile on his desk.
Taehyung stared in awe at him and glanced at the book “you have got to be kidding me” he was gaping and looked positively seething “I can’t bring just any book, I have no interest in reading Hemingway for pleasure I need it for my literature class”
The man’s shoulders were shaking a little by now “Hemingway has nothing on Jane Austen” he managed, a twinkle in his eye and that awful smirk still there and Taehyung wanted to smack him “please, can’t you at least help me find it?” he cried out and finally the black haired man snorted from laughter.
Taehyung regarded him with anger and bewilderment “what’s so funny?” he asked, knowing he was probably getting red in the face from annoyance.
Another book was handed to him “you’re really easy to wind up aren’t you? Here you go” He’d handed him Old Man and the Sea, which had been sitting in the middle of the pile on his desk all the time “are you fucking kidding me?” Taehyung was clutching the books in his hands so hard his knuckles turned white.
Still seething he paid the man a surprisingly small amount for the book. Just as he handed him the money his phone rang and he answered it quickly “hi! Yeah I’m on my way I just bought the book I-“ but he didn’t get further because the phone was snatched from his hands and the other man hung up and put the phone in his own pockets.
This was beginning to get so bizarre Taehyung was sure he was dreaming
“Okay what is with you?” he asked but the other man just pointed at a sign behind him on the wall. It was a large black blackboard that had “Rules!” scribbled neatly at the top
“Do you not know how to read signs? No phones” now Taehyung was genuinely gobsmacked.
- No talking on phones – don’t be rude!
- No selfies – stop being so self-centred
- No annoyances – if you are a nuisance you will be kicked out
Thank you very much
Taehyung read the rules, turned back to the shop keeper and stuck his hand out “okay whatever I’ll take it outside give it back” but no phone was placed in his hand.
Instead the other man just stared at him with that infuriating glint in his eyes “well if you need it so bad you can get it at the end of the day. I teach my rule breakers a lesson you know” he said, hands still in his trouser pockets with no intent of giving the phone back. Taehyung sighed dramatically in exasperation and looked at the clock on the wall and yelped when he realized he only had ten minutes “fuck it you win this time. I have to run!” he grumbled.
As he said it the other man’s grin just widened “see you tonight” he called and he even had the gall to wink at him. Taehyung sprinted out the shop and to the university, the whole time his brain just full of angry thoughts about that awfully hot shopkeeper.
“Hyung you don’t understand, I really want to kick his ass” Taehyung whispered to Hoseok who had spent their whole lecture listening to Taehyung ranting about his woes “Taehyung, it’s not that big of a deal really. So what if he teased you? Maybe he just has shit social skills and that’s his way of flirting” Taehyung rolled his eyes “shit social skills, yes. Flirting? No.” then he gave the hundredth sigh since he’d arrived, five minutes late, to his lecture.
Hoseok gave him a small eyebrow wiggle “but he was hot?”
“very hot, which is even more infuriating as I wanna kick his ass but I also kind of want to punch him in the mouth with my mouth” The teacher gave them a small glare over the room, they looked down embarrassed but continued in hushed tones again
“well…that’s one way of putting it, but Taehyung it’s not that big of a deal he said it himself, he doesn’t like people who break the rules of his shop maybe this is his way of making sure it doesn’t happen again” Taehyung could only shrug, still pissed off that he couldn’t even check his phone for the rest of the day but he didn’t want to complain too much to Hoseok so he dropped it. For now.
Finally classes for the day had ended and Taehyung was on his way to the damned bookshop again. This time he wasn’t running but more grudgingly stomping towards the shop.
Thankfully the lights were on when he arrived and the door wasn’t locked even though it was after hours according to the small note taped in the window of the door. He stepped inside and looked for the spawn of the devil but he was nowhere in sight.
He looked around the small store and finally noticed a door behind the desk, or well, a doorway covered with hanging beads that rustled with the slightest movement. He decided that despite the uncomfortable feeling in his gut he needed his phone, he could not survive another day without it. He’d rather confront the spawn of the devil and endure his extremely bad social skills than go another day in immense boredom.
He pushed the beads out of his way, making an uncomfortable amount of noise as he made his way to where he heard the faint sound of a TV. He could also hear really cute giggling, which pissed him off even more.
The hallway he was in only had three doors in it, one was half opened and seemed to be where the noise was coming from. He knocked lightly on it “fucking finally, did you bring burgers?” Taehyung cleared his throat at that “uh excuse me…I’m here to get my phone back. Which you stole” He tried to make his glare as angry as he felt.
The shopkeeper stared in bewilderment for a moment which quickly melted into a teasing grin “oh right, rule breaker” he gestured to the sofa “well? Sit down at least” Taehyung’s eyebrows rose and his cheeks became slightly pinker “what? No! Give me my phone!”
He couldn’t believe this guy had the guts to steal his phone and then act all friendly about it. Just then the desk phone rang, quite loudly, and the man on the sofa grunted in annoyance “unbelievable, what possesses a person to call at this ungodly hour?” he shouted as he marched through the hallway, pushing passed Taehyung “it’s 6 pm” but the other one was already stomping through the curtain of beads.
Determined not to let the thief get away Taehyung followed, only sparing a short glance into the room they’d just been in, noting the extremely tacky interior. The walls had old, yellowing wallpaper decorated with some extremely art deco designs, the sofa was plain enough but splayed over it was a multi coloured knitted blanket that was so huge it could be a tent to a whole family. The TV, which sat on a small table, seemed to be the only modern thing in the room. What was this guy anyway, other than rude and tacky? He was starting to feel strong grandpa vibes from this place.
The black haired man sat by the desk, head resting on his table “yes? What do you want? We’re closed” he mumbled into the phone, annoyance clear on his face “Taxes? Oh yeah sure I have the books right here just a minute!” he reached into the drawer of the desk, pulled out a pair of scissors and promptly cut the cord of the phone.
Taehyung stood there and gaped “well that’s dealt with, what did you want again?” Taehyung couldn’t find his words in time so the man just continued “what’s your name anyway?”
“Tae uh Taehyung, Kim Taehyung my pho-“ The other one extended a hand and instead of waiting just grabbed Taehyung’s hand that hung by his side and shook it firmly “I’m Jeon Jungkook, owner of A Book To Remember, nice meeting you Kim Taehyung” he smiled and Taehyung was almost fooled by adorable impression he was making on him.
But almost wasn’t enough “Jeon Jungkook I need my phone back and you should know that cutting the cord of your phone isn’t gonna make you taxes magically disappear” Jungkook shrugged and walked back through the doorway of beads “it’s in here come on!” he called over his shoulder.
Taehyung followed, hoping he wasn’t imagining the change in character. Instead of going back into the tacky TV room he was instead lead into a slightly less tacky bedroom. The walls were a soft shade of peach and the furniture was all dark wood, not mahogany but very similar. Jungkook made his way to a dresser where Taehyung’s phone rested in a basket on top of it “here, you need to learn to put your phone on silence man. Or tell your friends to stop relentlessly texting you” he complained.
Taehyung thanked him and put his phone in his pocket and exited the room. He wasn’t that excited about hanging out with Jungkook in a small pink bedroom.
Jungkook seemed to be a lot nicer when he hadn’t just woke up. He invited Taehyung to hang out and eat burgers with the neighbour shopkeeper who was out getting McDonalds for them but Taehyung wasn’t ready to forgive him for confiscating his phone just yet, even though burgers was a tempting offer.
When he told Jungkook goodbye the other man stared at him for a minute before replying “come again, you’re not that bothersome” he said before turning the volume on ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ up louder. Taehyung wasn’t sure what that meant but he guessed it was a compliment.