What do you do at a stop sign? It’s obvious isn’t it? You halt, wait for those who stopped before you to go and then when it’s your turn, you make your way in the direction of your choosing. It was a fairly simple concept to grasp. Taehyung, on the other hand, was one of the few who unintentionally ignored the rules. He didn’t stop. He went head first, racing past the sign, not stopping for the oncoming traffic. What happened? He crashed. Bruised himself from head to toe - and it was all your fault.
Now why would someone, who was cognizant of the rules, decide to ignore them that time? Because even though he knew the consequences, he figured maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t hurt that bad if he broke them. Perhaps he could slide by with only a few scratches. But it was more complicated than that - if he crossed the line, there wouldn’t only be a few dents here and there, it would be a cascade of events, a domino effect if you will, one bad move leading to the next.
Taehyung didn’t know when he had met you. The two of them were always together, but at some point you walked into his best friend’s life and Taehyung didn’t see it coming. In a normal situation, this wouldn’t seem anything out of the ordinary, but when you appeared in the picture, Taehyung knew - he wasn’t walking away without a few pieces of him being damaged for good.
Everyone categorizes those they meet, depending on the relationship they have with that person. Taehyung labelled you as “off limits” - why? Because you were his best friend’s girl. And Taehyung? He hated this fact more than anything else in the goddamn world.
It started with a few glimpses here and there, when Jimin wasn’t looking. Usually Taehyung was busy enough as it is trying to get his own shit together, and working on things independently when he had the time. But whenever you came around, he found excuses to stick around too.
He thought he could get away with it. He thought Jimin would be oblivious enough not to notice. You didn’t know about Jimin but you had noticed - the way Taehyung traced your footsteps from room to room, the small cuts and bruises on your hands because you worked overtime, the way you licked your lips casually during conversation or pushed your hair away from your face when it fell over your eyes.
You became perceptive of his gaze, even when your back was to him, but you kept your mouth shut. Any rule book could tell you that you don’t get in between best friends, and here you were, grounded in a spot where you shouldn’t be.
When it came to Jimin’s awareness, he realized how naive his senses had been. At first he was obstinate, trying to keep the thought of you taking a liking to his best friend as just a misunderstanding. But that one night at dinner, it had hit Jimin hard when he realized you had barely touched your food because your gaze kept drifting to the person sitting opposite you at the table. Taehyung.
Normally, Jimin would have ignored this, but when the table had been cleared and everyone drifted off into their own world, he pulled Taehyung into a separate room and nailed him against the wall, a firm hand pressured against the base of his best friends throat.
“If I see your eyes on her again, I won’t hesitate to beat the shit out of you. Do you understand me?” His voice was low, but hostile.
Taehyung, who was focusing on Jimin’s grip on him, rather slowly comprehended his words before he let out a response, “Maybe you should tell her that. She doesn’t want you.” He was astonished at his own words towards his closest friend. How had he let himself be so pulled in by you?
Without a response Jimin jerked Taehyung to the side and left the room. The lone boy stood massaging his neck, bringing the feeling back into his body, trying to regain control of his thoughts. He knew Jimin would go after you now after his confrontation, and he decided that he needed to get to you first.
You had left the house after dinner to get some fresh air - you didn’t tell your boyfriend which direction you would be heading in. Only when you received a text from Taehyung asking where you were, did you realize how far you had wondered and observed your surroundings more closely before sending a reply to the other boy.
When Taehyung traced you down, you stood under a lamppost on an empty street as the boy approached you, a mix of worry and excitement lurking in his eyes. His strides were large and quick, and he was looking down on you in no time. It was relatively dark outside by that time, and if you hadn’t been standing beneath the luminescent street light, perhaps you wouldn’t have noticed the beginnings of a bruise forming just above Taehyung’s collarbones.
You reached out to run your fingers over the newly forming bruised skin, but Taehyung stopped you, his hand enveloping yours. “Are you serious about Jimin?”, he inquired softly.
“Yes.” It was a simple response, no hesitation, no darting glances.
“Then why do you keep looking my way?” There was a sense of urgency to his words, as if they would be caught any second.
You focused your eyes on him, “Because, you think that if you stare at me long enough, observe my every move, that somehow I’ll fall for you in return,” you reached up with your free hand to finally run your hand over the base of his throat, barely grazing your fingers over his skin. “That’s not love, Taehyung.”
When you reached the edge of his t-shirt collar he caught your other hand as well, you were completely trapped now. Gazes locked, the two of you stood in the centre of a vacant street in silence before the boy gave his final response.
“Speak for yourself.”
The stark truth was terrifying. A blankness of some sort.
Taehyung? In love? It wasn’t possible. Once, you had stood under the lamp post and now the roles had reversed and the stars encompassed Taehyung’s body instead of your own as you left him alone in the dark.
While you walked back home, instead of focusing on Taehyung’s words, you recalled the look in his eyes from moments ago. There was a sort of helplessness depicted in them, and as you had done while the two of you were face-to-face, you didn’t allow yourself to feel guilty.
You so readily rejected the feeling in the pit of your stomach that it surprised you to what extent you had travelled. The truth was that you did feel something for Taehyung. Every last drop of blood in your body knew it was wrong. Hell, every last mundane creature could tell you it was wrong. So, you continued walking, with each step harder than the last, whispering to yourself, ‘Taehyung means nothing. This is nothing.’
When you returned home, Jimin was sprawled in the armchair, eyes on the TV, while the light from the set illuminated his face. You were actually surprised to see the calamity in his demeanour.
There was a notepad and pen placed on the table in the foyer, and you bent over slightly to scribble something on it before ripping the note off as stealthily as possible and tucking it into the back pocket of your jeans before moving to return your attention back on Jimin.
You took a moment to observe him, noticing the way his arm was draped over his stomach holding the remote while the other was up and tucked behind his head, giving him some leverage, as a pillow would. When your mental notes had been completed you stepped out from the shadows, moving closer to him before you finally stood at his side, whispering a ‘hey’, before you climbed on to lay yourself on his chest, facing your head towards the door in case Taehyung decided to creep back in.
Jimin had warmly accepted your body curled around him as he lifted his draped arm for you to fix your position before lightly placing it around you, holding you to him. There was no doubt in your mind that you cared for this boy. Perhaps that was the only thing you really were sure of.
Jimin was silent for the time being, so you decided to speak up first, “Taehyung confronted me about my feelings for you.”
“I knew he would. What did you say?”, his voice was so soft, you wondered if he was faded.
“What do you think?”, you countered rhetorically.
“Are you sure you’re not just fooling yourself?” he replied.
“I think I know myself well enough to decide when I am,” you lied in the faintest manner.
After that Jimin released a sigh and tightened his grip around you, resting his head against yours. The only sounds were coming from the TV and you realized that if it wasn’t on, the silence would be too loud for you to bear. At least right now.
“You shouldn’t have hurt him like that.” You stated after a moment of quiet.
“He bruises like a baby,” he muttered, but when you slightly tilted your head up he gave you a straight answer, “Don’t get mad at me for what I did, it’s a normal response, no matter who it is.”
You settled your gaze back on the television, “It’s Taehyung,” you responded as though the fact was engrained in your mind.
Jimin knew he shouldn’t have hurt the other boy, he was hurting enough as it is. But that wasn’t something he was able control, no matter how much he wished he could.
“I think you looking at him was what set me off.” Jimin admitted.
“I was testing the waters. I’m sorry.” Another lie.
“I don’t think that test was enough. I still believe you’re not sure.” Jimin’s voice was steady as he spoke.
As you thought of a response, you heard the click of the front door, and a pair of footsteps wade their way across the hall. Taehyung emerged past the entrance way, shuffling his feet across the hardwood floors in his socks, when Jimin called him out.
“Come here.” He beckoned his friend towards the two of you who still hadn’t moved from your spots.
Taehyung turned his body to walk into the same room as you and you noticed his appearance. His hair looked like he had run his hands through it one too many times and his light grey hoodie was left unzipped as one sleeve hung off his shoulder, exposing his white t-shirt from underneath. It looked like the clothes on his back were made from stars pulled from the sky, and he was carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders. It was alluring just to watch him move closer in your direction.
He came to stand before you and Jimin as the two of you had adjusted yourselves into a standing position.
“Y/N, said she was testing the waters with you earlier tonight, and I don’t think she’s made up her mind yet, so I want you to kiss her.” Jimin stated ever so bluntly.
Your head and the other boy’s both snapped up to gape at Jimin. Taehyung spoke first, “You want me to kiss your girlfriend?”, he looked just as dumbfounded as you.
“Yeah.” Jimin stated as if it was the easiest thing coming from his mouth. “Kiss her, and if she says afterwards that she has feelings for you, then she’s all yours.”
Now it was your turn to gawk at your boyfriend, “You’d give me over, just like that?”, you asked in confusion.
Jimin placed his eyes on you, and he shoulder’s softened, coming down from their stiff position. “I love you. I just need to know for sure who you love.”
“But, this is not the only way, Jimin -”, you let out before he stopped you. He came up behind you and brought you to stand in front of the taller boy.
He leaned down to whisper in your ear, “I won’t get mad if you say yes, I promise.” He encouraged, giving you a slight nudge towards Taehyung.
Now you stood standing face to face with the the one person that made oceans move in your head, and a sense of dizziness began to seep through. It felt as though Jimin wanted you to admit what you were avoiding, guess he just didn’t know how well you could repress what you didn’t want to let out.
“Well?”, you asked him, finally finding your voice.
Taehyung, whose eyes had become focused on you the second Jimin had placed you in front of him formed an ‘o’ with his mouth before finally understanding that you were prompting him to do what Jimin had asked. His feet felt heavier than usual as he positioned himself in arm’s reach of you.
Taehyung’s mind was screaming in a million different ways and he wasn’t sure how to shut his brain up, so he ignored the lingering consequences of his actions and pulled you into him. His lips pressed firmly onto yours, and you experienced a ridiculous amount of opposite feelings all at once. It felt like you were being set on fire and drowning all at once, and as much as you wanted to push him away in this moment, you wanted to pull him closer even more.
Taehyung knew Jimin’s eyes were on the two of you so he kept it light, savouring the last touch before finally letting go, but not before you had the chance to slip the piece of folded paper into the front pocket of his jeans.
As you stepped back from the boy you noticed the flush in his face as he averted his eyes.
“So?” Jimin questioned, and both boys looked at you waiting for you to respond. Everything depended on your answer so you decided to give the smart one.
“Nothing.” You stated with a solemn face.
Jimin nodded and Taehyung’s face fell, and that was the end of that.
Later that night as Taehyung was laying in bed he had slipped his hand into his jeans pocket looking for something when the rough edges of the note you left came in contact with his fingers. Curiously, he pulled it out, at first trying to remember whether he had put it there.
He couldn’t recall where it had come from until he pulled it open and saw the scribbles on it. There was no name left on it, but he recognized your writing instantly.
Taehyung wasn’t angry at your decision, he was upset because he was damn well sure you lied. But when he had cooled down and thought about what happened with a cold heart he realized what you did was right, no matter how much it tore him shreds to admit it. Jimin was his best friend, and you, unfortunately, was his best friends girl. It was better to live through a silent war than a thunderous one.
He read the words you had written in his head, ‘I thought I was going to lose you, but the simple truth was, you were never mine to lose.’
And the truth really was terrifying. It was a bullet to the chest, not straight through the heart, but through the softer tissue. It would still kill you, just slower.