Jongkook had taken Ivy to a bar not far away from the arcade he had won the Pancake Kitty from. It was very fancy inside with the lights dimmed down and smooth jazz playing lightly over the speakers. The booths were filled with couples whispering to each other, business men discussing plans quietly, and women gossiping about their day. For being a bar it was ridiculously quiet, to the extent that it made Ivy nervous. Did Jongkook really not realize how loud Ivy was naturally? He led her to a booth despite whether or not he knew and Ivy sat down placing her stuffed animal on top of her purse as Jongkook took a seat across from her.
“Welcome, what can I get for you tonight?” A waiter in a nicely pressed uniform asked as he placed a couple of coasters down in front of the two.
“I'll take a tonic water with lime please,” Jongkook said before looking over to Ivy.
“I guess I'll have a glass of pinot noir,” With their orders taken the waiter headed back to the bar to put in their order leaving the two alone.
“I heard really good things about this place from Kwangsoo. He said it was a great date spot if you're not trying to be recognized too,” Jongkook took at look at Ivy's nervous expression and quickly tried to repair what he had said. “Not that I'd have a problem if people recognized me and saw me with you. I just wanted to make sure that we weren't interrupted on our date.”
“Oh no I figured that much. It's just really quiet in here,” Ivy said looking around the bar.
“I thought that would make it easier for us to talk,” Jongkook said looking down at his hands, a light blush dusting his cheeks.
“I know, I'm just-” Ivy cut her sentence short as the waiter returned with their drinks. She nodded at the waiter and lifted her glass and lightly tapping it to Jongkook's before taking a large sip of the wine.
“Are you okay? You look uncomfortable,” He said as he set his drink down.
“The quiet makes me nervous,” Ivy said with a loud sigh as she set her glass down on the table as quietly as possible. “I don't know if you've noticed but I'm a very loud person naturally so it just unnerves me.”
“Ah. I didn't really think about that,” Jongkook looked around the bar before quickly picking up his glass and downing the contents hastily, Ivy following his lead, before standing up, placing a few bills on the table and holding his hand out to Ivy. She looked at him a bit skeptically before gathering her things and placing her hand in his as she stood from the booth.
Before she could really comprehend what was happening, Jongkook was running out of the bar and onto the street. He didn't stop there though, they ran for the next three blocks, laughter bubbling out of the two like they were a pair of high schoolers who had just run out of the bar without paying instead of two fully grown adults that had more than settled their tab. Jongkook finally stopped their running when they reached a cart bar that was almost packed and as noisy as could be. The two stood outside of the plastic enclosure still laughing and catching their breath for a moment before Ivy finally spoke.
“Why were we running again?” As soon as the question left her lips the giggles came back.
“Honestly? I'm not sure, you just make me do strange things,” Jongkook took notice of how her smile scrunched up her face and her eyes were sparkling with tears from the laughter. He couldn't help but think that he could look at her face forever.
“I'm pretty sure you just do strange things of your own accord ajusshi,” Ivy said as she pat his shoulder lightly.
“Ajusshi? Jinja? Ajusshi?” Jongkook said as he grabbed the wrist of hand on his shoulder and pulled her into himself, wrapping an arm around her waist. “I like it much better when you call me oppa.”
“I'm sure you do, ajusshi, but I'm pretty sure that you just made me run three blocks for no reason down a busy street,” Ivy replied with a smirk as she playfully pulled away.
“Then should this ajusshi have just left you uncomfortable in a bar? I mean we can always go back there,” Jongkook pulled her back into him some more lightly tapping their noses together before looking around at where they were. “I'm pretty sure there are some other ajusshi's that would take you off my hands if you'd prefer that.”
Ivy lightly smacked Jongkook's arm before turning to face the cart bar. She entered and headed towards a small table near where the ahjumma was making food. They took a seat and Jongkook caught the ahjumma's attention ordering some snack and two bottles of soju. The fact that he ordered two bottles perplexed Ivy a bit though and her face must have shown it because when he looked at her Jongkook chuckled.
“You look like a child trying their first pickled radish,” Jongkook said with a light chuckle.
“Well, I guess I just don't get why you're getting two bottles. I think I'll probably get a pretty good buzz off of one and I've been told that two will make it difficult for me to locate my own feet, so yeah. I don't get it,” Ivy cocked her head to the side a bit making the mass of a man across from her chuckle once more before patting her head.
“One bottle is for me,” His response made Ivy dramatically cover her mouth with her hand while her eyes went wide in exaggerated shock.
“Omo! Isn't drinking unhealthy ajusshi? Besides didn't you just have a tonic water and lime back at the bar?” Ivy giggled behind her hand as Jongkook scoffed at her calling him ajusshi again.
“Ya! I'm not an ajusshi! And yeah, drinking isn't good for you if you do it too much but I haven't drank in a very long time so it'll be fine,” Ivy raised both her hands up in a surrendering motion at his response before giggling a bit more. “Besides I'm not sure this place has anything but soju.”
“Okay, yeah, that's a solid point. Pretty sure that no one comes here looking for anything else either,” Ivy and Jongkook laughed together again as the ahjumma came and placed a plate of what looked like squid and tteokbokki in front of them along with the bottles of soju and two shot glasses.
“So,” Jongkook started as he opened a bottle of soju and poured out two shot glasses worth for the two of them. “Is there anything about you that you think I should know?”
“Wow, straight to the point huh?” Ivy said with a little chuckle before downing her shot. “I don't know. I mean for the most part I'm just your average geeky girl. I read, watch anime, listen to Kpop, and do the whole YouTube thing. My life just seems interesting because I film it.”
“I know how that feels honestly. Outside of Running Man and the tours that I do, my life is pretty bland too. I wake up and go to the gym and then do filming or studio work. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm recognized on the street it'd be pretty mundane,” Jongkook replied as he slowly drank the drink before him. The look on his face was thoughtful but Ivy could see the bit of sadness that it held. The celebrity life wasn't as easy as it seemed, it was glamorous but it was very lonely and repetitive. Ivy could relate on a much smaller scale.
“I know you have to have a hard time with it. It must be almost impossible to maintain any kind of intimate relationship when everyone seems to know your business,” Ivy said as she reached across the table to place her hand on Jongkook's, lightly rubbing circles with her thumb.
“Yeah it's a bit rough but if I wasn't doing this then I never would have met you would I?” Jongkook flipped his hand over to hold Ivy's and smiled at how small her hands seemed in his. “If I had to do it all again, I would just so I could meet you.”
Ivy blushed as Jongkook looked up at her with gentle eyes. She couldn't think of any words that could possibly compete with what he just said so she simply nodded and poured out another drink for the two of them before downing her own.
The two drank and talked a bit more lightly for what felt like only a few minutes but had turned into hours. Before they realized, it was three in the morning and they were the last ones left in the cart bar. They got up, Jongkook paid the ahjumma, and began their walk back to Ivy's hotel. Jongkook reached out and grabbed Ivy's hand as they walked and gently squeezed it, simply trying to convey to her how much this night had meant to him.
The quiet walk back hadn't been nearly as uncomfortable as the bar had been and, if she was being honest, Ivy thought it was probably the most comfortable she had been with a person in a very long time. Her mind tried to focus back onto the decision she was having to make but she quelled her thoughts and set her focus back to the man who was holding her hand and gently smiling at her when he thought she wasn't looking. There was just something so sweet about Jongkook and she just couldn't imagine ever hurting him. He may put on a very tough front and act so capable in front of the camera but now Ivy could say that she really did understand how he could sing such sweet and soulful ballads.
His heart was much bigger and brighter than anyone she had ever met but Ivy also got the feeling it was the most broken too. Worn down from the years of having to be alone for his image, the women who couldn't accept him for who he is, and the pain of not being able to find the peace that he wanted in his own life. If anything it made Ivy want to protect him with everything she was.
“I know that you're torn between me and Yoongi-ah. I know that you need to think about it and follow what will make you happy, but I can't even tell you how much the fact that you're considering me means to me. You have become someone I care deeply about in such a short period of time, I just want you to know that I support you. No matter what your decision is. Even if I'm not your choice, always know that I'm your friend and you can confide in me anytime you need me,” Jongkook said, breaking the silence when they had reached her hotel room. Ivy looked up at the man and nodded simply, not trusting that her voice wouldn't crack from the emotions boiling inside of her. “Have a good night Ivy.”
Jongkook moved to release her hand but Ivy simply pulled him closer and planted her lips on his. The kiss caught him by surprise but he welcomed it quickly, moving his free hand to Ivy's waist as she moved hers to his cheek. It was shorter than he would have liked but it was breathtaking, as though she was trying to tell him her every thought with that one kiss. He couldn't help the sigh that escaped him as a smile stretched his lips, he was genuinely happy for the first time in a long time. Without another word he gave Ivy a kiss to the forehead and turned to go back to the elevator and make his way home. He only looked back once to make sure Ivy got into her room but the smile she sent him would be ingrained in his memory forever.