It was a Friday evening when you received a call from your best friend – the ringing was incessant and you thought for a moment about ignoring it, until you pondered the aftermath of such a decision and decided it would just be better to pick it up after all.
You grabbed the phone and pressed loudspeaker, fighting the urge to roll your eyes when her voice started blaring.
“Y/N?” She yelled in question, clearly fighting to speak over the voices in the background without realizing that none of it affected the call from your end.
“Who else, Erica? You called me, remember?” You held back a giggle, adjusting your black mini dress over your figure.
“Right. Of course!” She kept her voice loud, “You’re coming tonight right? You promised!”
“Getting ready as we speak” You called back, fitting your earrings in “In fact…” You murmured, picking up the phone and turning it off loud-speaker, putting it to your ear “I’m leaving the house now”
“Yay!” You could tell she was smiling through the phone, and even then it was contagious. “Y/N’s coming everyone!”
You heard cheers in the background followed by uproarious laughter by none other than your small group of friends who, without a doubt, had more than two glasses of red in their systems by this point. Erica hung up leaving you to laugh at their antics.
“And It’s only 9 o clock...” You mused to yourself, walking into the bathroom quickly to touch up your lipstick and blow a few kisses into the mirror. Deeming yourself presentable you went out to the front door, and after slipping effortlessly into your heels you were ready for the night.
“Jungkook-ah,” A cheerful voice called affectionately “Or should I say K.J.”
Jungkook turned and looked at the older boy “Tae.” He noted quietly “You don’t need to call me that here” he followed with a soft smile.
“Yeah I know,” Taehyung grinned “Just getting you in the mood for your opening night.” He followed his statement with a small pat on Jungkook’s back.
“This isn’t my first,” He replied matter-of-factly, lips upturning at the corners just a fraction. “And it certainly won’t be my last.”
His cocky attitude earned an ‘Ooh’ from Taehyung.
“Besides,” Jungkook followed up, adjusting his tie in the mirror “Nobody knows it’s my art.”
“I do,” Taehyung giggled “And so do all the boys.”
“Aside from my friends.” sighed Jungkook, eyeing himself in the mirror.
The mood turned a little serious and Taehyung’s expression followed suit “I know it’s been hard, especially after Min-Ji left-“
“I’m over her,” Whispered Jungkook, fixing his fringe, but his fingers paused “I’m just not over the idea of her.”
Taehyung squeezed his friends shoulder in support and nothing more was said after that. The two of them quietly made their way out of the house and over to the driver waiting outside and spoke nothing more during the ride to their destination.
It had just turned 9.30 pm as you struggled to help a few of your friends into the taxi, drunk out of their minds. “Look at the lot of you” You huffed, easing the last of your friends into the vehicle “Drinking like a bunch of old men! You’re all too young for this!” You chastised, pushing the door shut.
They waved out of the window screaming ‘I love you’s as the taxi took off, leaving you alone with your face in your palms out of sheer embarrassment.
You’d come out tonight with the intention of having a classy night with your best friends, drinking wine and looking at beautiful art, but you should have known better. They were your friends after all, and you loved them in all their madness - but you certainly weren’t so pleased at them getting sick and leaving you alone like this.
You closed your eyes and inhaled the night breeze, and with your exhale you let your bubbled annoyance at the matter fade off into nothingness. You were determined to enjoy this gallery opening, alone or otherwise.
You’d heard the artist was nothing short of genius, and his paintings could elicit strong emotions from even the harshest of critics.
Your heels clicked on the pavement as you made your way inside the beautiful modern building; with minimalistic features, high ceilings and marble flooring. If the building itself is this stunning the art it contains must be something else - you thought idly, passing your ticket to the woman in the hallway. You nodded to her in thanks as she scanned your ticket, and made your way into the gallery with utmost resolve to enjoy yourself tonight.
Jungkook and Taehyung arrived at the gallery 20 minutes or so after opening time. Taehyung began to chastise Jungkook as they stepped out of the car for being late to his own art gallery, but Jungkook couldn’t care less and waved his hand dismissively.
Taehyung was about to start fussing again but he was interrupted by shouting.
“Taehyung! Jungkook!” Jimin yelled, running over to the two of them. Hoseok, Jin, Namjoon and Yoongi stood a little further away and waved at the pair.
All of them gathered together and gave brief regards to one-another before Namjoon smacked Jungkook on the back, forcing him into the direction of the building’s entrance.
“Off you go, little bird.” He snickered, knowing how Jungkook liked to be alone at his gallery openings.
Jungkook walked on in, but not before flipping them off sneakily first.
“You all saw that, right?” Whispered Yoongi, earning a hair ruffle from Taehyung.
Jungkook grabbed a complimentary glass of champagne at the entrance and took in his surroundings.
The room was loud with idle chatter and the soft hum of jazzy background music. If it had been up to him it would be loud boisterous rock or something equally as ridiculous, but alas.
He just walked. Looking around at people as they talked with friends, appraising his work. He’d yet to hear anyone condemn it, however.
He was turning down a quieter hallway away from the open space where most people had gathered when he found a woman staring at a piece of his work for an abnormal amount of time.
She had a full glass of champagne in her hand, probably untouched, as she stared up at it. He stepped closer to her, quiet enough as to not break her spell.
She looked rather beautiful from the side, in her little black dress, and he felt a sudden urge to see her from the front, but held back – wanting to watch her oblivious form a little longer.
The spell was broken when she let out a soft sigh, still gazing at the painting. He felt his heartbeat pick up at the sight of her mouth, sighing at his work.
“You don’t like it?” Jungkook spoke out loud, startling the girl a little. But she did well to hide her astonishment.
“I’m not sure…” She trailed off in a whisper, eyes not leaving the painting for a single moment, not even to address the person who’d asked her the question.
He found it endearing, the pull his art had on her, whether positive or otherwise. He found her entrancing, and couldn’t find it in himself to look away. He didn’t speak though, for her mouth was agape as though she had more left to say.
He was right.
“It's titled 'Love' but it's hateful, this painting...” She noted, her head tilting to the side slightly “Hateful even in all its beauty.” It was as if she were thinking aloud.
Jungkook felt his stomach lurch at her words like a wave, and the wave made its rounds at his heart too, shaking it up.
“What makes you think that?” Whispered Jungkook, his tone was low and soft, cautionary. His gaze was unwavering as he looked at her, burning into her profile.
“The painting is so confused... look here...” She reached her finger out and traced around the focal point of the painting, taking gentle care to not actually touch it, “She's smiling but it doesn't reach her eyes, that's why the colours change from being bright to dark, right here.” She paused for a short while.
Her rambling stopped then, and she spun around, slightly embarrassed “Listen to me, rambling on.” She laughed sheepishly “I studied art for two years and here I am pretending I'm a professional. My opinion is entirely subjective, promise.” She smiled, and as Jungkook watched her he noticed that it really did reach her eyes.
He found his own lips curving up into a smile, bewitched somehow by the girl in front of him.
“Not at all.” He shook his head, “I agree with you. Is there any particular reason you were looking at this painting for so long?” He pressed further, feigning interest purely as a fellow observer, but just enough as to not give his identity away.
She licked her lips and looked back up at it momentarily in thought; drinking it in with her eyes before continuing, “The woman in this painting,” she murmured “She must’ve done something awful to the poor bastard. It’s as if he wants to capture her beauty so badly but can’t look past the painful memories enough to do so. It’s so bright and beautiful on one half and then the other half is distorted and miserable. It’s such a wonderful painting but the subject matter it’s…” She fell off at the end, seemingly at a loss for words “It can’t have been pleasant.” She finished.
She brought the champagne glass to her lips and took a drink, before starting up again “Either that, or it’s not even as deep as I thought. And it’s nothing more than a barely there depiction of love being ‘good and bad’” She giggled. “My teacher used to tell me about looking for deeper meaning, so sometimes I go overboard in my delusions.”
Jungkook was rendered speechless. He felt stripped – his work had been so easily read by this complete stranger so pointedly that he felt compelled suddenly to let her in on all his secrets.
“Be my muse.” he whispered softly, so softly she almost didn’t catch it.
“Excuse me?” You questioned, trying to hide the intrigue in your tone, “Your muse?”
You hadn’t really taken enough time to fully appraise the man in front of you – as you’d been too busy mumbling about how this painting had made you feel to a complete stranger.
He was taller than you, wearing a suit that looked to be expensive. His eyes were big and dark and his hair matched the colour of them; it was also perfectly styled with a part in the middle of his fringe.
Your eyes traced his lips and the rest of his perfect features, and it was only when the corners of his mouth turned up in a smile that you realized you’d been staring far longer than necessary.
“Yes.” He stated simply, choosing to ignore the extent of your staring. His tone however, was kind and gentle. “I painted this. I painted everything in this gallery.”
You felt a blush warming your cheeks from the inside. “You mean to tell me you let me blather on like that to the artist of the work? You asshole!” You laughed in embarrassment, but the more you thought about it the funnier it became. “You pompous, self righteous asshole! Do you go around asking everyone their thoughts hiding beneath anonymity?”
The man couldn’t hold back his laughter at your small outburst. For such a devil his laughter and smile were melodious and angelic. “You’re so honest.”
“We’re you hoping for an endless shower of compliments?” You raised your eyebrow at him
“Actually no,” He followed up; remnants of laughter still remaining in his voice “You’re the first person I’ve ever asked. I’ve never cared much about what people thought of my art; but you we’re staring at it for so long I couldn’t stop myself from wondering.” His lips closed into a small smile, and his eyes never left yours.
“Well was I right?” You asked quietly “About the meaning of the painting, that is.” You fidgeted with your hands, waiting for an answer.
“You were spot on.” He sighed “That’s why I feel so taken with you, a little annoyed, but mostly taken.”
The two of you spent a moment in silence, before he broke it. “The truth is, I hate this painting.”
Your eyes widened at his confession; “How could you possibly hate something so beautiful?” You questioned gingerly, watching him.
“It’s exactly as you said before. It’s painful to look at.” His voice went dark, so you decided not to press it further.
“So” You spoke up, changing the subject, “You’re the almighty K.J? Tell me; why on earth would you hide as a ghost painter when you’re so handsome?” Your tone was teasing, but you were being entirely truthful.
You’d heard of stories where people hide in anonymity to release their arts because they’re ashamed of themselves, but all you could see before you was a very well spoken, well put together man with a beautiful face to match.
The man giggled softly “You really are far too honest. I’m Jungkook by the way.” He held out his hand, avoiding the question smoothly.
“Ahh - J.K? K.J?” You put the pieces together quickly “Very inconspicuous” you joked, taking his hand in yours and shaking it gently. “I’m Y/N.”
“Y/N.” He repeated, but it sounded like silk rolling off of his tongue, it didn’t sound half as pretty coming out of your own mouth.
“So Jungkook, back to the point at hand that seems to have been lost entirely to conversation. What do you mean by ‘be your muse’” You concluded, eyes searching his for answers.
“Your unabashed opinion made me feel something. I can’t put the emotion into words but it’s been a very long time since anyone, or anything, has made my heart move. I felt inspired listening to you, and what’s a painter without inspiration?” He caught his lower lip between his teeth “I want to paint you. Or at least have you around me while I do it.”
The way he bit his lip almost put you completely at his disposal.
“Lovely as that sounds, I have a job you know.” You murmured gently. It really did sound nice, though.
“It would only be on weekends, you wouldn’t have to come every weekend if you didn’t want to. I could pay you for your troubles-“
You cut him off with a dismissive wave of your hands “No no, I don’t want your money. I’d be happy to do it; I usually spend my weekends with a book and coffee anyway. This sounds much more interesting!” You smiled up at him.
He returned your smile with a bigger one, one far more gorgeous than your own probably, you thought to yourself.
He dug into his pocket, pulling out a card and handed it to you. “That has my studio address on it, come in tomorrow if you have time. I’ll be there all day so be at your leisure” The smile never left his lips, even as he spoke so animatedly.
You took the card and slipped it into your purse. “I’ll be there.”
He reached his hand out and took yours in it, bringing it up to his lips. He placed a slow, gentle kiss to the top of your hand before returning it to you. “Thank you.” His voice was achingly low
You fought to control the fluttering in your stomach. Who did things like that in the 21st century?
“See you, Jungkook.” You breathed out, turning off down the hallway to find the exit, hoping your rampant heartbeat wasn’t as loud to everyone else as it was to you.
Making it outside you breathed in the refreshing night air, as opposed to the air in there with him, so thick it was almost palpable.
You walked slowly to the edge of the footpath and hailed the nearest taxi, hopping in and letting out the breath you didn’t even realize you’d been holding. You gave the driver your address and fell back into the seat with a soft thud.
As you stared out the window, watching the city scenery go by - your thoughts wandered to Jungkook. He’s beautiful to be sure, and his talent surpasses just about anything you’ve ever seen in regards to art but there is something about him that strikes you as mysterious.
What was he hiding beneath that smile of his?