Marriage of Inconvenience ~ (mpreg)
Jeon Jungkook had known Kim taehyung forever. And he loved him-strictly as a friend. But all that changed the day Taehyung asked him to be the father of his as-yet-unconceived child! Jeon agreed on one condition: they marry.
“I’m so stupid,” Taehyung wailed, tossing the crumpled tissue over his shoulder. Jungkook who was sitting across the kitchen table from him, held out a fresh one. “I trusted Seojoon, and he’s nothing more than a…jerk.” He yanked the tissue from Jungkook’s hand and ingloriously
blew his nose. That tissue took the same path as the previous one. “I feel like the biggest fool who ever lived.”
“It’s Seojoon who’s the fool.” Jungkook sighed.
“Oh, right. Then why am I the one sitting here crying my eyes out?” Tae really didn’t expect him to answer.
Calling Jungkook at an ungodly hour, sobbing out his tale of woe wasn’t the most considerate thing he’d ever done, but he had to talk to someone and jungkook was the first person who’d come to mind. He was the kind of friend tae felt comfortable calling in the middle of the night
The kind of friend who’d immediately drive over if tae needed sympathy or consolation. They’d been close ever since they’d worked together on their yearbook in high school. Although they didn’t see each other often, Tae had always felt their relationship was special.
“At least crying’s better than getting drunk, which is what I did when I found out Eunwoo was cheating on me,” JK admitted with a wry twist of his mouth. He got up and poured them each another cup of coffee.
“You haven’t seen him since, have you?” Tae asked meekly.
“Sure, I have. I wouldn’t want him to think I was jealous.”
Despite everything, Tae laughed. “You’re still dating him? Even after you learned he was seeing another guy behind your back?”
JK shrugged carelessly, as though the entire situation was of little consequence
Although he’d been devastated, he’d worn a nonchalant facade. He might’ve fooled everyone else, but not Tae. His flippant attitude couldn’t camouflage the pain. “I took him to a movie a couple of times,” Jk continued. “I played it cool. But as far as I’m concerned..
it was over the minute I heard about that other guy.”“It’s over with me and Seojoon , too,” Tae murmured. Just saying the words produced a painful tightening in his chest. he was truly in love with Seojoon and had been for nearly a year.
They’d often talked about getting married and raising a family together. Tae wanted children so badly. The weekend before, they’d gone shopping for engagement rings. Tae’s mother, who was crazy about seojoon, had been thrilled. Since Tae was over thirty his mom tended to worry
about his marriage prospects, but even she said that waiting for a man like Park seojoon had been time well spent. Sharing the bad news with his widowed mother had been almost as upsetting as learning about the betrayal itself.
“You’re sure the other woman’s baby is his?” JK asked, reaching for Tae’s hand. “She could be stirring up trouble.”
“Seojoon didn’t bother to deny it.” In the beginning, Tae had hoped the woman was lying. he’d searched Seojoon’s face, praying it was all some malicious joke.
His beautiful dark eyes had turned defensive, but gradually the regret, the doubt, had shown, and he’d slid his gaze away from tae’s. It had been a mistake, he’d told tae , a momentary slip in judgment. A one-night fling that meant nothing. He felt terrible about it and promised
nothing like this would ever happen again.
Seojoon was cheating on tae before they were even married, and Tae didn’t need a crystal ball to know that pattern would almost certainly continue. “This isn’t the first time,” tae admitted, biting his lower lip to control the trembling
“Margie, in New Accounts, mentioned seeing Seojoon with a blonde a month or so ago. He’d told me he was out of town and I … I was sure it was just a case of mistaken identity. I should’ve known then.” “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Jungkook said, bending to brush a wisp of dark
brown hair from his temple. “There were plenty of signs that Eunwoo was playing me for a fool, too, but I was so taken with his—”
“Round ass.. Which was always your primary interest.” Tae chuckled.
“That’s probably why I never dated you,” JK countered, grinning.
Tae smiled. The joke was an old one between them. When they’d first been assigned to work together on the yearbook, Jungkook had been a popular football player and he’d been a nondescript bookworm. They’d clashed constantly. One day, after a particularly nasty confrontation,
Tae had shouted that if he had a bigger asa, JK might actually listen to him. Jungkook had gone speechless, then he’d started to laugh. The laughter had broken the ice between them and they’d been friends ever since. The best of friends.
“I hear there’s help in the form of surgery,” jk teased, leveling his gaze at tae’s ass.
“Oh, honestly.” His ass wasn’t that small, but it was comfortable and easy to fall into their old banter. Focusing on something other than what a mistake Seojoon had turned out to be
provided him with a good—if momentary—distraction. he’d wasted an entire year of his life on him. An entire year! Jungkook reached for his coffee, then leaned back in the chair and sighed. “I’m beginning to wonder if anyone’s faithful anymore.”
“I’m the last person you should be asking that,” tae said, taking a sip of his coffee. Tae didn’t blame jk for having doubts. Relationships all around him seemed to be failing. Friends, whose marriages had appeared strong and secure, were divorcing. At work affairs were rampant.
Casual sex. Tae was sick of it all.
“When Mark Brooks cheated on my sister Aera,she took that teaching position in another state,” Jk went on to say. “You know, I never much liked Mark. From the first I felt there was something off about him. I wish I’d spoken to Taylor about it”
“I felt so bad for her.” Tae sighed
“The whole family was worried. Then she moved to the backwoods of Montana and a few months later, she married jackson wang. Everyone was sure she’d made a terrible mistake, marrying a cowpoke on the rebound, but I’ve never seen her happier.
Standing, JK carried his mug to the kitchen sink. “Are you going to be able to sleep now?”
Tae nodded, although he wasn’t convinced. However, he’d taken enough of Jk’s time for one night and didn’t want to keep him any longer.
“Liar,” jungkook whispered softly.
Tae smiled and got up, too. Jungkook slipped his arms around tae and tae laid his cheek against his shoulder. It felt good to be held. Jungkook’s comfort was that of a loving friend, someone who truly cared about tae without the complications of romance or awkwardness.
“You’re going to get through this.” Jk hummed while drawing patterns on tae’s arm.
“I know,” tae whispered. But he hadn’t been confident of that until she’d talked to Jungkook. How fortunate he was to have jungkook as his friend. “We both will,” he added.
A sigh rumbled through Jk’s chest. “Don’t you wish life could be as simple now as it was in high school?”
That remark gave Tae pause. “No,” he finally said, then laughed. “I was so shy back then.”
“Shy?” Jk argued, releasing him enough to cast him a challenging look.
“You were a lot of things, Kim Taehyung, but shy wasn’t one of them.”
“Maybe not with you.”
“I wish you had been, then you might’ve done things my way without so much arguing.” Jk smirked.
“You’re still upset that I didn’t use your picture on the sports page, right? Tae laughed.
Jungkook chuckled. “I could be upset, but I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” Tae led him to the door of his condo. “Seriously, though, I really am grateful you came.”
“Call if you need me?” Jungkook said while looking straight into Tae’s eyes.
Tae nodded. The worst of it was over. He would pick up the pieces of his life and start again, a little less trusting and a whole lot more wary. He was eternally grateful for jungkook’s presence in his life though. His one forever.
hey readers, stopping for today, please keep engaging with the story.. I’ll be back in a few hours. #taekookforever
Two months later, Jungkook was sitting in his office at Boeing when the image of kim taehyung’s tear-streaked face drifted into his mind. It was as if their conversation had taken place just the night before—even though he’d talked to him two or three times over the holidays, and
he’d sounded good. Cheerful, in fact. Certainly in better spirits than he’d been himself.
Tae hadn’t made any attempt to fool him. Seojoon had hurt him badly. From what he’d said, he’d made several attempts to resume their engagement, but tae had rejected the idea in no uncertain
terms. It was plain to jungkook that park seojoon didn’t really know kim Taehyung . The man was stubborn enough to impress a mule. Once he made up his mind, that was it. Oh, he appeared docile and easygoing, but jk had collided with that stubborn streak of his a time or two and
come away battered and bruised.
It bothered jungkook that taehyung had never married. He’d always loved children, and he’d fully expected hum to have a passel of kids by now. But he will never truly understand why was tae still struggling to find his Prince Charming.
According to Jungkook, any man would kill to be by Tae’s side. Then what was stopping them from committing to Tae wholeheartedly?
Jungkook never known a more giving man than tae. What he’d said about being shy was true, even though he’d denied it.
Yet he had spunk and he had spirit. Enough to stand up to him, which was no easy thing.
Pushing against the edge of his desk, jungkook rolled back his chair and stood up. He headed down the hallway with determination.
“Jin,”he said, striding purposefully into his friend’s office
“Got a minute?”
Jungkook had never played the role of matchmaker before, and he wasn’t sure where to start. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Oh.” Jin didn’t look too enthusiastic.
“A friend of mine.”
“Single, Widowed or divorced?”
Jin’s brows arched toward his hairline. “Must be choosy then.”
Jungkook wasn’t comfortable thinking of Tae as choosy, but this wasn’t the time to argue. “We went to high school together.”
“High school? Exactly how old is he?”
“Thirty-one.” His birthday wasn’t until April. Their birthdays were both in April, and tae loved to point out that he was a whole week older. “he’s never been married?” Jin asked, his voice rising suspiciously. “What’s the matter with him?”
“Nothing. He’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”
Jin reached for his In basket and took out a file, flipping it open. “I can’t tell you how many times friends—” he paused and glanced up “—good friends, have set me up. They always claim the boy’s one of the nicest people
I’ll ever meet. No thanks, Kook.”
“No thanks? You haven’t heard anything about him.”
“I’ve heard enough.”
“What’s the matter with you?” It was hard to keep the irritation out of his voice. Jin was thirty-five himself. Then Why was he being so judgmental towards tae?
Frankly, jungkook didn’t think his friend had any right to be so damn judgmental.
“Nothing’s wrong with me.”
“I thought you wanted to marry someone.”
“I do. Someday, when I find the right person.”
“You might well be passing him over this minute,” jungkook said.
“Why don’t you ask him out yourself, then?”
The question took jungkook by surprise. “Well, because…because it would be like dating one of my brothers.”
Jin released an impatient sigh. “Why haven’t you said anything about him before?”
“He was involved with someone else.”
Jin shook his head emphatically. “Forget it. You’re a good friend and all that, but I’ve been set up too many times in the past few years. Frankly, your friend’s everything I want to avoid in a man. He’s over thirty . It doesn’t help that he’s
just out of a relationship, either. I’m sorry, jungkook, I really am, but I’m not interested.”
Jungkook found jin’s attitude downright insulting. Before he could stop himself, before he could analyze his actions, he reached for his wallet.
“What are you doing?” Jin wanted to know when jungkook pulled out two tickets.
“These are for the Seahawks play-off game against Green Bay. The scalpers are getting three hundred bucks each for these. If you agree to call tae for a date, they’re yours.” His older brother would
have his hide for this, but jungkook would deal with jimin later.
Jin’s eyes rounded incredulously. “You mean you’re willing to give me two tickets to the Seahawks play-off game if I go out with your friend?”
Even then jin hesitated. “One date?”
“One date.” But once his fellow engineer got to know tae, he’d realize how special he was. In a few weeks, jin would be looking for ways to repay him for this. Jungkook would keep that thought in mind when he told jimin he’d given away their
“Someplace nice, too. No pizza in a bowling alley, understand?”
Jin’s hand closed over the tickets. “Dinner at the Space Needle followed by an evening at the ballet.”
“Good. Just don’t ever let tae know about this.”
Jin laughed. “Do I look that stupid?”
Jk didn’t reply, but in his opinion, any man who’d turn down the opportunity to meet kim Taehyung wasn’t exactly a candidate for Mensa.
“Here’s his phone number,” jk said, writing it on a slip of paper. “I’ll give him a call, clear the way, but the rest is up to you.”
“No problem,” jin said, pocketing the tickets.
Jungkook felt downright noble as he returned to his own office. Tae was one hell of a man and it was about time someone figured that out. Kim seokjin wasn’t nearly good enough for her, but he was an amiable guy.
Without too much trouble jungkook could picture jin and tae a few years down the road, raising two or three kids.
He felt good about that, better than he’d felt about anything in quite a while.
That evening, jungkook went to jimin’s apartment on his way home and
was relieved to find his brother was out. That meant he could delay telling him what had become of the play-off tickets. It was definitely something he had to do in person, he told himself. After killing an hour or two at his own apartment, jungkook decided to drive over to tae’s
He rang his bell and waited. It hadn’t occurred to him that he might not be home. He was ready to turn away when he heard activity on the other side.
“Who is it?” Tae called.
“The big bad wolf.”
The sound of tae’s laugh was followed by the click of the lock. He opened the door and jk saw that he must have gotten tae out of the tub. He’d hastily donned a white terrycloth robe that clung to his damp skin. “Kook,” he said, surprise elevating his voice
“what are you doing here?” As he spoke, he finished knotting the belt around his waist.
The robe fell open below that, revealing a glimpse of thigh. Jungkook was having trouble taking his eyes off it and didn’t answer right away.
His gaze followed a natural progression downward, and he was momentarily astounded to see what long shapely legs tae had. Funny, he’d never noticed them before. He grinned, thinking jin was in for a very pleasant shock.
“Go ahead and finish your bath,” he said casually, walking into tae’s kitchen. “I’ll make myself at home while I wait.”
“I’m almost done.” Tae said.
“Take your time,” jk called out. He stuck his head inside the refrigerator and helped himself to an apple.
He’d just taken his last bite when tae returned. As best he could tell, he’d run a brush through his hair and put on slippers. But that was it. The robe rode over his slender hips like a second skin.
“Do you have any plans tonight?” Generally he went out on Fridays
but there wasn’t anything he particularly felt like doing that evening.
“Got anything in mind?”
“A movie. I’ll even let you choose.”
“I suppose you’re going to make me pay my own way?”
“I might.” He grinned, pleased with himself for coming up with the idea.
The suggestion that they attend a movie had been as much of a surprise to him as it obviously was to tae. As much of a surprise as offering jin the play-off tickets…Actually, it was a damn good idea. This way he could lead naturally, casually, into the subject of jin.
The last thing he wanted tae to think was that he’d arranged anything.
The movie was indeed a stroke of genius, jungkook decided as they drove to the theater. He’d always enjoyed tae’s company and never more so than now.
An evening with tae was an escape from the games and pretenses involved in taking out someone new—and it was exactly what he needed to settle his nerves. He didn’t like to say much, particularly to his family, but eunwoo had hurt him badly.
He no longer trusted his judgment when it came to partners. Oh, he dated. Often. But he was tired of all the games. Eunwoo hadn’t just broken his heart; the damage he’d inflicted went deeper than that. he’d caused him to doubt himself.
Jungkook pulled into a movie complex in the Seattle suburbs, close to tae’s condominium. He bought their tickets, but tae insisted on buying the popcorn and the chocolate-covered raisins.
He was just thinking how nice it was to be with a man who wasn’t constantly worrying about
his weight when he leaned over and whispered, “You ate more than your share of the raisins.”
“Do you want me to buy more?”
“No. Just remember you owe me.”
It took him several minutes to realize he had no reason to be grinning the way he was, especially since the film was actually quite serious.
“We don’t do this often enough,” jungkook said as they left the cinema two hours later. He meant it, too.
He’d been at loose ends for a couple of months but hadn’t thought about contacting tae. Now he wondered why.
“No, we don’t,” he agreed, buttoning his coat. He wore jeans and a pale pink sweater. The color looked good on him.
Jungkook was about to say as much when he remembered the reason for his impromptu visit.
“How about a cup of coffee?” Jungkook suggested, linking his arm with tae’s. There was a coffee shop in the same complex as the theater, and he steered them in that direction.
He waited until they were seated and looking over their menus before he brought up the subject of jin. “There’s someone at work I’d like you to meet.”
Tae didn’t raise his eyes from the menu. “Who?”
“Kim seokjin. You’ll like him.”
“Is he tall, dark and handsome?”
“Yes. No and yes.
“Sounds like my kind of man,” he joked, setting aside the menu. The waitress filled their mugs with coffee and tae stirred in a liberal measure of cream. “From everything I’ve heard, it’s best to avoid the handsome ones.”
“Oh?” He could guess what was coming. He wasn’t conceited, but jungkook knew he was easy on the eyes—a fact that hadn’t gone unnoticed from the time he was in his early teens. Jungkook had never lacked for female or male attention, some he’d sought and some he hadn’t.
“Yes,” tae said. “The handsome ones can’t be trusted.” With a Glint of mischief in his eyes. A trail of goosebumps rose over jungkook’s neck while he tried to comprehend why there was a different shine in tae’s eyes tonight.
Hey lovelies, i hope you are liking the story this far. Help me choose the next plot of our storyline.
“Who says?” Jungkook demanded, feigning outrage.
“Everyone,” Taehyung returned without a pause. “They’re too impressed with themselves. Or so I hear.”
Jungkook chuckled and, motioning for the waitress, ordered a chef’s salad.
He felt like having a decent meal for the first time in weeks. The waitress purposely bend over a little more than required, which dint go unnoticed by tae. He suddenly felt a bit possessive over his friend- yeah just a friend.
But jungkook was clearly not interested in her cleavage on display, he was rather trying his best to figure out the brown eyed beauty sitting across him. Suddenly Taehyung’s hand went over directly towards jungkook’s plate as if he was trying
to convey to the waitress ‘back off these olives and the hottie are not available’ tae munched on the olives while glaring at the waitress.
While jungkook didn’t even complain when tae stole his olives, claiming it was the least he could do for hogging the chocolate-covered nuts
The night ended with both squabbling over old memories, the topic of Jin wasn’t brought up again by either. As if they never needed any other distraction between them. They both were enough.. as friends ofcourse!!
Tuesday morning, Jin marched into jungkook’s office, pulled out a chair and plunked himself down. His face was creased with a heavy frown. “It didn’t work.”
Jk tried to figure out which project jin was referring to and came up blank.
They were both part of an engineering team working on a Boeing defense contract. JK had volunteered for this job, knowing it would entail plenty of overtime hours. The challenge was something he needed at this point in his career—and his life.
“What do you mean?” he asked Jin. “He turned me down flat.”
Jin couldn’t possibly be talking about tae. He’d paved the way for him! He’d managed to casually drop his name into the conversation at least two times.
Enough to pique his curiosity, but not so often that he’d suspect he was setting them up. Obviously that was the only reason, he wasn’t Distracted by that new glint of something in Tae’s eyes when they talked about their past. The way his hand brushed by his own while fighting
over who got the last of olives.
“He turned you down?” Jungkook echoed, still unable to believe it. “Obviously you didn’t try all that hard.”
“If I’d tried any harder, I would’ve been arrested,” Jin muttered.
“What the hell did you say to him?”
“Nothing. I called him Saturday
afternoon, just like you suggested. I mentioned your name right off and told him we worked together and have for several years. I wanted him to feel comfortable talking to me.” He hesitated as though he was still trying to understand what had gone wrong.
“Then what happened?” Jk could feel himself losing patience. He’d risked his brother’s wrath by giving up those tickets and he wasn’t about to let jin off so easily.
“That’s just it. Nothing happened. We must’ve talked for ten or fifteen minutes and you’re right—he sounds nice.
The more we talked, the more I realized I wouldn’t mind getting to know him. He said you two were on the yearbook staff together…. He even told me a few insider secrets about your glorious football days.”
“What the hell were you doing talking about me?” Jk demanded.
It was like the dinner night all over again. It seems like Tae never really got tired of reminiscing their past. A third person would mistake this bond for something more if they dint knew better. Maybe this was the reason they both never really had a long time relationship bfore
No no no, jungkook had to do something about this. He cant let Tae be without a partner anymore. That angel deserved his ‘lived happily forever..’
“I was establishing common ground.” Jin said snapping jungkook out of his inner thoughts.
Jungkook brought one hand to his mouth in an effort to hide his irritation. “Go on.”
“There’s not much more to tell. After several minutes of chitchat, I asked him out to dinner. Honestly , kook, I was beginning to look forward to meeting him. I couldn’t have been more shocked
When he turned me down.”
“What did he say?”
“Not much,” jin admitted, his frown deepening. “Just that he’d given up dating and although he was sure I was a perfectly fine guy, he wasn’t interested.”
“You didn’t take that sitting down, did you?”
“Hell, no. I sent him a dozen roses Monday morning, hoping that would convince him. Red roses, expensive ones. I didn’t get them in any grocery store, either. These were flower shop roses, top quality.” Jin squealed.
“That didn’t do it, either. He phoned and thanked me, but said he still wasn’t interested. Said he felt bad that I’d gone to the expense of sending him flowers, though.” Jin said with disappointment evident in his tone.
Jk somehow felt bad for jin. Jin was a good guy afterall.
Jungkook knew from experience that once tae had made up his mind, nothing was going to change it. Not flowers, not arguments, nothing.
Jin sighed unhappily. “You aren’t going to make me return the Seahawks tickets, are you?” he asked.
Tae was sitting at his kitchen table, reading the application from the adoption agency, when the doorbell rang. A long blast was immediately followed by three short, impatient ones. By the time he’d stood and walked to the door, whoever was on the other side was knocking loudly.
He checked the peephole. Jungkook. And from the look of him, he was furious. Unbolting the lock, he opened the door.
Without a word, jk marched into the center of tae’s living room, hands deep in the pockets of his full-length winter coat.
Damn, but the man was attractive, tae noted, not for the first time. Much too handsome for his own good. His black doe eyes were flashing, which only added to his appeal—even if they were flashing with annoyance, not laughter or warmth.
“You turned down jin’s dinner invitation and I want to know why,” he said without preamble.
Tae sighed. He should’ve realized jungkook would be upset about that. He’d obviously gone to a lot of trouble to arrange the date and even more trying to conceal it from him.
The seemingly impromptu visit Friday night, the movie and coffee afterward, had all led up to his singing jin’s praises. Jk was not being subtle about setting him up. To be fair, he’d enjoyed talking to Bill. He’d seemed cordial enough, and he had sent him the roses, which really
were lovely. But he hadn’t said or done anything to change his mind. It did seem rather harsh to turn him down sight unseen, but tae was saving them both future heartbreak and disappointment. Jin accepted his decision with good grace, but that clearly wasn’t the case with kook.
“Well?” Jk demanded. He walked around his couch, as though standing still was impossible, but if he didn’t stop circling it soon, he was going to make tae dizzy.
“He sounds very nice.”
“The guy’s perfect for you,” jk argued, gesturing toward him.
“I match the two of you up and then you turn him down. I can’t believe you refused to even meet him!”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
“One date,” he cried, waving his index finger at tae. “What possible harm could there be in one lousy dinner date?”
“None, I’m sure,” tae said calmly. “Listen, do you intend to stay long enough to take off your coat, or are you just dropping in to argue with me on your way to someplace else?”
“Are you going to let seojoon do this to you?” he challenged, disregarding tae’s question.
He plowed his fingers through his hair, something he’d done often today if the grooves along the side of his head were any indication.
“Seojoon has very little to do with this.” Rather than discuss the man who’d wounded him so deeply, tae moved into the kitchen and poured them
glasses of iced tea, which gave him a few minutes to compose his thoughts.
“Obviously seojoon has everything to do with this, otherwise you wouldn’t have told jin you’d given up dating. Which, by the way, is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Jk said while shrugging off
His coat and drapinng it over the back of a kitchen chair.
“Really?” Leaning against the kitchen counter, tae added sugar and ice to his glass, stirred, then sipped from his tea while noticing Jungkook’s toned muscles. His biceps, that chest.. ‘was he always this buff??’
‘Why have i never noticed this before?’ tae had to physically shrug off that thought before coming back to their conversation.
Jk ignored the glass he’d poured him.
“It’s not true, is it?”
He glared at tae as though he expected him to deny everything.
But tae couldn’t see any reason to lie. “As a matter of fact it is.” He said.
Jk’s jaw sagged open. “Why?”
“You really need to ask?” Tae said with a light laugh.
“How can you deny that seojoon’s responsible for this?” Now jk was close to losing it.
Tae lifted his shoulders in a shrug. “In part he is, but this decision isn’t solely due to what happened with him. It’s just one more disappointment. If anything, I’m grateful I found out what kind of man seojoon is before we were married.”
The timer on his oven dinged.
Setting aside his tea, tae reached for a pot holder and took out a bubbling chicken potpie. The recipe was one he’d come across in a women’s magazine and it had looked delicious. True, the meal was large enough to feed a family of four, but he intended to freeze half of it.
“Have you had dinner? Would you like to join me?” Tae extended the invitation casually as he set the steaming pie on top of the stove to cool.
“No,” jk answered starkly. “I’m not hungry.”
“It seems to me you’ve lost weight. Have you?” Tae smirked.
“I’m not here to discuss my weight,” jk barked, “which hasn’t changed since high school, I might add.” Jk was almost frustrated at the way Tae was trying to dodge the elephant in the room.
His attitude was slightly defensive, but tae decided to ignore it. He had lost weight; he’d noticed it soon after he’d broken off the relationship with eunwoo. Tae had never met the other man and it was all he could do to think civilly of him.
‘If anyone was ever a fool, it was kook’s former boyfriend. Who in their right mind would cheat on this greek god personified?? Jungkook was extremely handsome with a heart of gold. Anyone would be really a fool to not fall hopelessly in love with this man!’ Tae thought.
If anything, tae should be finding a good match for his friend. Junkook deserved a chance at true love.
“You didn’t answer my question,” jk snapped tae out of his thoughts. His voice had lowered and he seemed less persistent now. Tae suspected he’d spent the day seething over
his decision not to date his friend.
“Which question didn’t I answer?” Tae asked, putting the pot holder back in the top drawer.
“What made you decide to give up dating?” Jk asked, poking his inner cheek with his tongue- an old habbit of his.
“Oh.” Tae pulled out a chair and sat down. Eyes focused on Jk’s locked jaw now.
Jk sad down too.
“Well, it wasn’t something I did lightly, trust me. It was a gradual decision made over the past few months. I honestly feel it’s the right one for me. I feel better than I have in
Years..! Tae tried to reassure him with a warm smile. He was frowning at tae as though he wanted to argue. Jk had always been passionate when it came to people he cared about. “I’m nearly thirty-two years old,” tae added.
A little visual of them both in this au.
“So?” Jk defended.
“So,” tae said with a laugh, “there aren’t many eligible men left for me.”
“What about jin? He’s eligible.”jk asked
Jk wasn’t going to like tae’s answer, but tae wouldn’t be less than honest. “I’ve dated plenty of men over the years. My experience may not be
like anyone else’s, but I’ve discovered that there aren’t many men left who seek a long relationship, it is as if they are too scared to commit. And if there is one who sticks for long, they accidentally cheat on me” tae shrugs as if its something he has accepted now as his fate
No jungkook wouldn’t let tae think as if it was his own fault that his previous relationships dint work. Tae was an angel who deserved a chance at true love. A happy marriage with kids.
“That’s ridiculous! And furthermore, it’s not fair on you tae” jk pleaded.
“I’m sure there are exceptions. I just haven’t found any.” Tae said. He somehow felt calm in the moment, while discussing his vulnerability with his closest Friend. A friend who would never judge him, someone to provide tae a shoulder to lean on to.
“In short you wont date anyone with the fear of being cheated on?” Jk asked.
“Not…exactly. It’s more than that. I don’t want to date anyone right now- cheater or not!” Tae sighed.
“You’re only thirty-one, for heaven’s sake. There are lots of single men out there who’d give
anything to meet a man like you tae. Please give love a chance, I thought between us you were the hopeless romantic one who would never give up on finding his one true love” jk said.
“Why are you being a quitter now?”
Tae had to swallow a sarcastic reply. If there were as many eligible single men as jk seemed to think, he certainly hadn’t met them. “Obviously I haven’t had much luck with that group of men to find my prince charming kook!” tae said.
“I hate to burst your bubble here, but single men aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. If a man’s in his thirties and not married, there’s usually a reason for it. Besides, single men over thirty are so set in their ways, they have problems adjusting to the natural give-and-take
of a healthy relationship.” Tae added.
Jungkook now thought that tae was trying to convince himself rather than the other that there was not a single ray of hope for him in the dating world. Jungkook felt like marching over the chair tae was sitting on and hugging this thought
Out of him with all his might. How dare tae think that there is no one made for him? He was the epitome of those cringy romantic novels with happy endings. Jungkook had to do something to snap Tae out of his miseries.
“That’s downright insulting.” Jk said, “you are technically talking about me aa well here. Your general idea about single men in their thirties include me too tae, you think i dont deserve someone like you?”
This sudden question made tae’s mind go blank.
“I am not talking about you kook, you are different, you are you, my bestie! My hero!” Tae stood up to get two plates trying hard to ignore that giddy feeling in his stomach right now. “So my hero, You’re having dinner with me, right?” Tae asked.
Jk sighed but nodded anyway. Tae was not in the mood to understand Jk right now. Jk opened the silverware drawer and took out two knives and forks. Without glancing at the adoption papers, he placed them to one side and had the table set by the time tae brought over their plates.
Tae couldn’t help being pleased that kook had agreed to join him for dinner.
“My biggest, and probably most significant realization,” he said while smoothing the napkin across his lap, “was that I like my life the way it is. I don’t need a man to feel complete.”
Several minutes passed before jungkook spoke. “That sounds healthy, but to lock the door on any chance of a relationship—”
“I’m not locking the door,” tae interrupted, eager to correct that impression. “I’m just not looking for one. I’ve wasted years trying to fulfill my dream of
being married and raising children.”
Jk took a bite of the chicken potpie and raised his eyebrows. “Hey, this is great.”
“Thank you.” Tae tried it himself and was satisfied with his culinary efforts. Taking the time to cook real meals instead of throwing together a sandwich or
resorting to frozen entrées had been another decision he’d reached. It might seem silly, but cooking gave him a feeling of permanence and purpose. He was doing something healthy for himself , and he felt good about it.
“Everything you’ve said makes sense,” jungkook admitted reluctantly.
“Don’t sound so shocked.”
“It’s just that I’ve always pictured you with kids.…”
“I’ve got that covered,” tae said enthusiastically, removing the top sheet of the papers jk had stacked on the other side.
“I intend to adopt.” Tae smiled.
‘WTF?’ Jungkook tried to calm himself. This wasn’t happening, his friend is clearly not thinking straight, jungkook had to talk sense into tae but gradually.. yes.
“I know they let single people adopt children now,” jk said, “but..
two-parent families are better for kids tae, i am not against adoption but why dont you find someone to raise the child with?”
“Ideally, yes,” tae agreed. “But sometimes there’s no alternative kook”
Jungkook noticed a glimpse of sadness in those ‘always full of life eyes’ he felt hollow in his chest. How desperately he wanted to let tae know that there is a man made for him, his perfect prince who would bring the world to tae’s feet.
“Anyway, from what I’ve read..
I don’t think it’s going to be easy or anytime soon, especially if I want a newborn.”
“Which you do?” Jk asked.
Tae nodded. He always wanted a baby, wanted to feel close to that child during every step of its life.
Tae wanted as much of the experience as he could have, including midnight feedings, teething and changing diapers. “I have an appointment with a counselor at an adoption agency tomorrow afternoon. I haven’t been this excited about anything in years.”
‘This isnt right, you should be happy every minute of the day tae’ jungkook thought to himself. He has to convince tae that this decision was made of haste.
“I’ll bet you haven’t told your mother.” Jk hoped tae’s mother would be of any help.
Tae rolled his eyes at the thought.
“It’s better if I don’t say anything, at least for now. Mom’s wonderful, but she’d never understand this.”
Jungkook chuckled, but as the laughter drained from his features, his eyes took on a faraway look. “You know what?”
“What?” Tae asked softly.
“I’ve basically come to the same conclusion about dating. I’m sick to death of the games and men whose only interest is getting me in the sack. I never knew people could be so aggressive.” ~Reverse psychology~ yes that is the only way to get tae out of this, jungkook thought.
Intrigued, tae could only nod. He would never have believed kook was experiencing the same difficulties he had. For years he’d been expecting him to marry, but he’d never felt comfortable enough to ask why he hadn’t.
“I’ve spent ten years looking for someone who believes love
lasts longer than an hour,” he added grimly. “As for commitment and honesty, I don’t think they exist anymore. Or if they do, then I can’t seem to find anyone who believes in them. After eunwoo cheated on me I realized I’m a self-reliant adult—and if I never married,
it wouldn’t make my life any less worthwhile.”
‘What? No! Jungkook is far from what i am! He deserves someone worthy enough of his love. This cant be happening..’ tae thought.
“That’s how I feel,” tae said. “I just never thought that—”
“I did, too,” jk finished for tae.
“ or maybe you are confused after listening to my thoughts on this whole thing kook.. lets not rush into any decision here ok?” Tae tried his best to look nonchalant.
But inside him was a storm- a sudden outburst of all these new emotions!
Tae felt as though he was deprived of oxygen. Everything in the kitchen seemed to fade from view. Everything except jungkook. If anything, his good looks came into sharper focus.
As he had a thousand times before, tae acknowledged how very handsome jeon jungkook was. But there was much more there, more than he’d ever noticed. This was a man of character and strength. A man of substance. He looked older; the years had marked their passage.
There were wrinkles on his forehead and shadows beneath his eyes. The well-defined angles of his cheeks as well as the lines bracketing his mouth only made his face more masculine, more appealing.
The silence between them stretched to embarrassing lengths. It was tae who pulled his eyes away first. With a weak smile, he picked up his fork and managed to swallow a bite of his dinner.
“This turned out well, didn’t it?” Tae said in a casual voice.
“Excellent.” Jk seemed equally intent on putting their conversation back on an even keel. He attacked his dinner as though he’d entered a speed-eating competition.
They chatted for several more minutes, teased each other, exchanged the banter that was so familiar to them.
Hard though he tried over the next few days, jungkook couldn’t forget the look he’d shared with tae at his kitchen table on Tuesday evening. He’d tried to define it, decipher its meaning. It was the kind of look longtime lovers exchanged. as though they didn’t need words to say
what was in their hearts. But he and tae had never been lovers. To the best of his knowledge, they’d never even kissed. Really kissed. A peck on the cheek now and then. A friendly hug, perhaps. That was it. Their relationship had always been strictly platonic.
It was the way they’d both wanted it. Anything else would have destroyed the special closeness they shared. Jk shook his head in an effort to banish the disturbing thoughts that had taken up residence there. Until Tuesday, he’d seen tae as ordinary. Not anymore.
There was this sudden thirst in his heart to be a knight in shining armour for tae! He also noticed that after that night Tae’s eyes had been different. To think he’d once believed his eyes were an average shade of brown. He’d never seen eyes the precise color of tae’s.
They were a blend of green and brown; some would call it hazel, he supposed. That night they’d been more green, reminiscent of the mist rising off a moss-covered forest floor.…
But it wasn’t his eyes that had intrigued him. It was something more profound than that.
Something more baffling, too. His musing was interrupted by the phone. Jk grabbed the television remote and muted the volume. He didn’t know why he’d bothered to turn it on—from habit, he guessed.
hey lovelies, taking a break here.. will be back super soon!! Please let me know how you are liking the story so far
For the past hour he hadn’t heard a single word of the local or national news. He’d been too busy analyzing what had happened between him and tae.
“Hello,” he answered briskly. Eunwoo sometimes phoned him, and he braced himself in case it was him.
“Hi,” came the soft honey voice he recognized immediately as tae’s .
“Hi, yourself.” He felt a bit ill at ease, which he’d never experienced with tae. It was as though they hadn’t found their stride with each other yet, which made no sense. Perhaps he was taking his cue from tae.
He didn’t sound quite like himself ; he sounded tense, as if it had taken some courage to call him.
“I was just thinking about you.” He probably shouldn’t have admitted that, but it had slipped out.
“Yeah, I was going to give you a call later and find out how the
appointment with the adoption agency went.”
He paused, and he heard tae take a deep breath. “Actually, that’s the reason I’m calling you. Are you busy?” Tae asked
“Not really. What do you have in mind?”
“Would it be all right if I came by for a few minutes?
There’s something I need to talk over with you.” Tae said softly.
“Sure, you’re welcome anytime.” He glanced around the apartment to see what kind of shape it was in. Not bad. Not especially good, either, but he’d have time to pick up the newspapers and straighten the cushions.
As it turned out, he had time to wipe down the kitchen counter, as well, and stick his dirty dishes in the dishwasher. The best meal he’d had in weeks had been the chicken potpie at tae’s place. He didn’t remember tae being such an accomplished cook.
Tae certainly seemed full of surprises lately.
Tae arrived about ten minutes after his phone call. He wore jeans and the same pink sweater he had on the night they went to the movies. Jk was about to tell tae how nice he looked, but stopped himself.
Curiously, his heart stopped, too. Just a little.
“That didn’t take long,” he said instead.
“No… But we only live four or five miles from each other.”
“Yeah.” He led the way to the sofa and sat down, resting one ankle on the opposite knee and draping his arm along the back.
“So, what’s up?” Jk asked trying to sound as casual as possible.
Tae sat down, too, but he noticed that tae sat on the very edge of the cushion and rubbed his hands nervously down his arms. He wondered if tae was cold.
That prompted him to say, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
“Please,” tae said eagerly.
Jk couldn’t shake the impression that he was interested in the coffee more as a delaying tactic than out of any real desire for something to warm him.
He made a pot of coffee, and a few minutes later, brought two steaming mugs into the living room.
He had to look around for coasters, but once he found them, he sat down on the recliner across from tae and resumed his relaxed pose.
“How’d the appointment with the adoption agency go?” he asked, when tae didn’t immediately launch into his reason for the visit.
His hands cradled the mug and he stared into its depths. “Not very well, I’m afraid. Naturally, the agency prefers to place newborns with established families. Besides, the waiting list is years long, and I don’t feel I have all that time to wait.”
“I’m sorry to hear it.” Jk could feel tae’s disappointment. But somewhere inside his heart he was relieved that tae now had time to think his decision through.
“If I’m going to have a child, I want to be young enough to enjoy her.”
“Her?” Jk asked with a quirked eyebrow
“Or him,” tae said quickly, glancing his way.
“So what’s next?”
For a long time tae didn’t say anything. Jk might have grown impatient with anyone else, but he found himself more tolerant with tae. He watched the emotions move across his face and tried to read his thoughts.
It was impossible to know what tae had on his mind, but whatever it was seemed to burden him.
“You’re going to think I’m a candidate for intensive counseling when I tell you this.”
“Try me.” Jk said moving forward on hi seat, hands on his knees. Seemingly more interested now.
“I … I’ve made an appointment with my gynecologist. I want to discuss the possibility of being artificially inseminated.”
Jungkook was relieved that his mouth wasn’t full of coffee, otherwise he would’ve choked to death. “You’re going to do what?”
Tae stood abruptly and walked
around the back of Jk’s recliner. He braced his hands against the sides as he stood behind him. “I know it sounds crazy, but I plan to have a child, and if I can’t adopt, this was the best idea I could come up with.”
“What about checking with another adoption agency?” Jk asked
Now he wasn’t sure what was happening around him. Tae wanted to get pregnant, without a lover, by artificial insemination. As if now he was trying his best to avoid any possibility of intimacy - mental and physical! As if he had decided to push away every man from his life.
“I did. Five others, and the story’s the same. If I want an infant, it’ll mean years on a waiting list. Two of the agencies wouldn’t even talk to me. The others tried to persuade me to become a foster parent with the hope of adopting at some point in the distant future.
I want a baby. Is that so wrong kook? Tae asked defeated.
Jk couldn’t look into those vulnerable eyes anymore. He briefly closed his eyes for two seconds to calm his beating heart. He had to take this calmly with tae. This was a delicate topic
“No,” jk assured tae gently. “There is nothing wrong with you wanting a baby of your own tae”
“I’m nearly thirty-two years old, and my biological clock is ticking. Not so loud it keeps me awake nights, but loud enough. If I’m going to do this, it’s got to be soon.”
Tae’s eyes filled with tears, but he was too proud and too stubborn to let them fall. His gaze met with jk without wavering. Did he regret being honest because it forced him to reveal his deepest secrets?
“What about the father?” Jk mumured.
“I … I’m not sure. I’ve read everything I could find on the subject, which isn’t all that much. I understand there’s a sperm bank in our area. I don’t know what else to tell you, since I haven’t been to the doctor yet. I’ll have more answers once I’ve had a chance to talk
it over with him.” Tae whispered the last part.
“I see.” Jk could hardly believe they were even having this discussion. “You’re positive you want to go through with this?” The minute he asked, he knew he’d made a mistake.
Steely determination shone from tae’s eyes.
“I’m going to do this, kook, so don’t try to talk me out of it.”
His warning wasn’t necessary; jk was well aware that any attempt to dissuade him would be pointless. “Are you worried about what people might say?” he asked. “Is that what’s bothering you?”
Tae shrugged “A little”
The biggest hurdle will be my mother, but I’m not too worried. It’s my life. Besides, she’s been after me to have children for years. Of course, she’d prefer it if I were married, but I’ve decided against that.” His eyes met with jk again. Tae seemed nervous, edgy.
Jk couldn’t remember tae being either. Until tonight.
“Something’s troubling you.”
Tae closed his eyes and nodded. “You’re just about the best friend I have.”
“I’m honored.” Jk smiled through the anxious feeling in his heart.
“I have several close friends. But when I found out about seojoon, it was you I turned to. You’re the one I felt I could wake up in the middle of the night.”
“I feel the same way about you.” Jk said with a shaky breath.
Tae’s smile was genuine, if a little shaky.
That pleases me more than you know. We’re good friends.” Tae said
“Good friends,” jk echoed. Good enough for him to hand over two fifty-yard-line play-off tickets on the off-chance tae might find happiness with kim seokjin. He’d done it without pause, too.
“I’d do just about anything for you,” tae said, eyeing him closely.
Jk didn’t know why he felt that was a leading statement. The door was wide open for him to echo the sentiment. “You’re special to me, too. Do you mind telling me exactly where this conversation is heading?”
Tae came around the chair and sat on the sofa again. He leaned forward and rubbed his palms together, as though he was outside in below-freezing temperatures. He seemed more sure of himself now.
“You’re such a handsome guy.”
Jk frowned. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“You come from a wonderful family.”
That was true enough. “So?”
“You’re tall. What I wouldn’t give for an extra two inches.”
“Tae, what the hell are you talking about?”
Tae stood up, still rubbing his palms.
He crouched infront of Jk and hesitantly held his hands firmly as he said, “I … I was having dinner when it dawned on me exactly what I’d decided to undertake. I want a child and because I do, I’m willing to be subjected to heaven knows what kinds of medical procedures.
I don’t care. It’s a small sacrifice, and I’m amenable to whatever it takes. The only aspect of this entire scenario that disturbs me is giving birth to a stranger’s child. A man I’ve never met, never even seen. Then it came to me.
There’s one person, a man I admire and trust above all others. It didn’t make sense to go through all this and have a stranger’s baby when…when there’s already someone in my life who’s tall and handsome. Someone with excellent chromosomes who might be willing to contribute..”
“What are you saying?” Maybe tae didn’t mean what he thought he meant. Maybe this was all a dream and he’d wake in the morning and have a good laugh. Maybe tae wasn’t wrong about the counseling. There seemed to be a hundred maybes in this.
Jungkook however didn’t like the answer to a single one of them.
Tae looked into his eyes and smiled, the softest, sweetest smile he’d ever seen. “I’m asking you to be the sperm donor for my baby.”
Jk couldn’t move, not even his eyes. He sat there trying to process what he just
Heard from the mouth of his gorgeous best friend. His hands went cold in tae’s grip. He forgot how to breathe, how to utter a single word. In this moment he knew that ‘Tae is going to be the end of him!’
“Naturally, I don’t expect you to make a decision tonight,” tae added, walking around the recliner and sitting down again. He leaned back and crossed his legs, striking a relaxed pose.
Jk frowned. Tae sounded so casual, so comfortable with the idea.
Mentioning it had obviously demanded courage, but now that his baby plan was out in the open, he seemed completely at ease. But jungkook wasn’t. His thoughts were in chaos.
“I …don’t know…what to say,” he stammered.
“I’m sure the whole thing comes as a shock,” tae said.
“I wish there was some way I could’ve led up to it with a little more tact, but I couldn’t think how to say it other than flat out. I didn’t want there to be any room for misunderstanding between us.”
Jk was standing now, although he couldn’t remember getting to his feet.
“No…this is the best way.” He paced back and forth in front of the coffee table. “A baby,” he muttered, needing to hear himself say it aloud. He was trying to assimilate exactly what it was tae had suggested. He paused, waiting to be overwhelmed by objections, but apparently
he was too numb to think clearly. Not a single protest occurred to him. Not one. Questions. There were plenty of those. A few doubts and a whole lot of shock, but no real opposition. Although he’d thought there would be. Should be.
“Our baby,” tae said, his smile serene—
as if he was already pregnant and counting the days before their child’s birth. His attitude, the calm way he was watching him, unnerved jk more than anything. He stalked into the kitchen, emptied his coffee mug and then refilled it.
When he returned, he saw that tae was studying him closely.
“Say something.” His confidence seemed to be shaken, and for his own peace of mind, jk was relieved to see it. He’d been taking this in stride a little too easily.
“I don’t know what to say,” jk admitted bluntly.
“It sounds preposterous to you, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” he nearly shouted. Preposterous was putting it mildly. Tae was talking about creating a new life, one that would link them forever.
“Why?” He couldn’t believe he’d even ask such a thing.
“You want me to father your child. A baby—any baby—is a huge responsibility and—”
“But that responsibility would be mine,” tae said quickly, interrupting him. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t ask for any support, financially or emotionally.”
That didn’t sit well with jungkook , either.
He put down his coffee, sank into the chair again and leaned forward, pressing his elbows to his knees. He needed to think but couldn’t seem to form a single coherent thought. “Let me see if I understand this correctly,” he said after a moment. “You don’t want anything from me
other than a…biological contribution. I’d father your child, and that’s all.”
“For this to work, you’d—we’d both need to separate ourselves emotionally from the procedure. The baby would technically be yours, but only because of his or her genetic makeup.
For all intents and purposes, the pregnancy and the child shouldn’t be any different than if I’d gone to a sperm bank”
Jk couldn’t believe his ears, “In other words all you really want from me is my genes.” He asked.
“Yes,” tae said, nodding emphatically.
Tae’s eyes briefly met his, and he appeared to have immediate second thoughts. “I know I’m making it all seem so callous, but that’s not my intention. There’s no one I trust more than you, no one else I feel comfortable approaching with this idea. If the doctor were to line up
ten guys—ten strangers—and ask me to choose one of them to father my baby, I’d pick you instead. Knowing you and trusting you means so much to me. We’ve been friends since high school and that adds a whole other dimension to this.”
“I don’t know.…” jk said, a tug at his heart.
“I … I considered seducing you.” Tae said with mischief.
This time, jk was unfortunate enough to be in the process of swallowing a mouthful of coffee. It stuck halfway down his windpipe and completed its course only after a bout of violent coughing.
“Are you all right?”
“You honestly considered seducing me?” That idea was even more ludicrous than the first one he’d had.
“Briefly,” tae admitted. “But sex between us would upset everything, don’t you think? Your friendship’s far too valuable to me to ruin it over something physical.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” So tae had considered luring jk into his bed. Kim Taehyung was certainly full of surprises this evening. “I’m…not sure I could’ve done it,” tae said as he lowered his gaze to his hands, which were tightly clenched in his lap. “I mean…well, you know
What i mean..” tae said.
Jk wasn’t convinced he did, but he pretended otherwise and simply nodded. ‘Why did tae look so shy?’
Tae reached for his coffee and took one tentative sip. “Do you have any questions? I mean, I’m sure you do, and I want to reassure you in any way I can.”
“Not yet.” He couldn’t seem to think clearly, let alone form sensible questions. “You say you’re not looking for emotional or financial support?”
“So I’m not supposed to feel anything toward this child?”
Tae’s eyes widened. “I …don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it.
If it would make things easier for you, I could move out of the area after the baby’s born, or…before. Whichever you prefer.”
He didn’t like that strategy at all. “What about our parents?”
“What about them?” Tae seemed puzzled.
Jk couldn’t speak for tae’s mother, but he knew
his own, and she’d give him an earful the minute she heard about this craziness. “You don’t expect our parents to accept this sitting down, do you?”
“I don’t plan to tell them.”
He gaped at tae. “What do you intend to do? Run off and have the baby and then go home and present
our parents with a surprise grandchild?”
“My mother, yes, but not yours. I don’t intend to tell anyone you’re the baby’s father. That’ll be between you and me. No one else needs to know. As far as my mother’s concerned, all I’m going to say is that I was artificially inseminated
but not by whom. That would only complicate matters, don’t you think?”
This didn’t work any better for jungkook than tae’s other ideas, especially the one about moving away. He rubbed his face, hoping that would help him sort out his thoughts. It didn’t.
“I suppose you’ll want a few days to think this over?” Tae eyed him speculatively. It was apparent he’d like his answer as quickly as possible, but that was just too bad. This was too important a decision to be made quickly. He needed to weigh all the concerns carefully,
think through the pros and cons.
He found the whole situation unsettling. Sure he’d like to be a father, but he’d prefer that it happened in the traditional way. His first instinct was to reject tae’s suggestion outright, but tae was staring at him with those big, round eyes
of his, obviously doing his best not to sway him. To his regret, jk discovered that he couldn’t turn down tae’s request without at least considering it. Their friendship was worth that much.
“Give me a week,” he said after a strained minute or two.
“A week,” tae repeated slowly.
“Should I call you or will you call me?”
“I’ll call you.”
Tae nodded and stood up to leave, pausing at the front door. “Before I go, there’s one more thing I’d like to say.”
“I … I truly believe we’d have a beautiful child, but if it isn’t meant to be, then I can accept
your decision. I’m going to have a baby. I’d just rather it was yours than some stranger’s.” With that, he was out the door.
After he’d left, jk resumed pacing, unable to stand still. His thoughts were a tangle of confused reactions, and part of him was laughing at the absurdity
of tae’s proposition.
Their baby! Their baby?
They’d never even kissed, and tae was proposing they create a child together.
he’d told him he expected nothing from him, other than the pregnancy.
Although he was sure tae hadn’t meant to sound so cold and calculating,
that was exactly what jk felt. he’d made it seem so…impersonal. Even that parting shot about having a beautiful child got to him. With those hazel-green eyes of his and his height… He forcefully pushed the idea from his head. Although he’d asked for time to make his decision,
Jk already knew what his answer would be.
He wanted no part of this craziness.
Tae made a genuine effort not to think about jk for the next few days. he’d stated his case, explained what needed to be explained without resorting to emotions.
His mind was muddled with regrets. Jk was a good friend. Too good to risk ruining their relationship because he was determined to have a child.
he’d insulted him. he’d known, from his stunned look, that his immediate instinct had been to say no. Good grief, who wouldn’t?
It was only because of their friendship that he’d been courteous enough to consider his proposal.
If only he’d approached him differently.
If only he’d told him how much his child would mean to him, how he’d love that child his whole life. If only he’d assured him what a good
Parent he was going to be.
Six days had passed, and if jk didn’t call him soon, tae was convinced he’d have a nervous breakdown. Every time the phone rang, his heart shot to his throat and he started to tremble like an October leaf.
Jk had made a point of saying he’d be the one to call tae, and he’d promised to do so within a week’s time. Nevertheless, the wait was killing him, and each day that passed seemed to increase his anxiety.
He’d just put a casserole in the oven when the doorbell chimed.
Tae’s gaze flew apprehensively toward the door. Even before he answered it, he knew it was jungkook.
Inhaling a deep breath, he walked unsteadily across the carpet and opened the door.
Jk’s eyes refused to meet tae’s , and his stomach twisted into
A tight knot as jk entered his home. He removed his coat and hung it in the closet as though he intended to stay for a while. Tae didn’t know whether he should take encouragement from that or not.
“Dinner’s in the oven. Will you join me?”
He nodded, although tae suspected he
hadn’t heard what he’d said.
“It’s a new recipe…. I seem to be in a cooking mode lately. Tamale pie—I found the recipe on the back of a cornmeal box. I’ve always liked Mexican food.”
“Would you care for some coffee?”
He followed tae into the kitchen
“I suppose you’re wondering what I’ve decided,” he said when tae brought him his coffee.
It was all he could do not to demand he tell him right then and there. Waiting even one more minute seemed too long. Tae pulled out the chair across from him and sat down. He was so anxious,
His hands were trembling and he clasped them in his lap, not wanting to give himself away. “I’ve done a lot of thinking since the last time we spoke,” he began. If the lines around his eyes and mouth were any indication, his thoughts had been serious indeed.
It didn’t look as though he’d slept much in the past week. For that matter, neither had tae.
“I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy decision.”
“No, it hasn’t,” he said pointedly. “Before I say anything else, there are a few things I’d like to get straight.
Once I do, you may change your mind.”
“I’m not going to do that,” tae said confidently.
His eyes held tae’s . “Don’t be so sure. First and foremost, I want full parental privileges. This child will be as much a part of me as he or she is of you.” He spoke forcefully,
“What…what exactly do you mean by parental privileges?”
“I want a say in how the child will be raised, as much of a say as you. That means when it comes time to choose a preschool, I’ll expect you to confer with me. I don’t want you moving out of the area, either.
At least not without me being informed and in full agreement, but I can tell you right now, I won’t agree.”
“Okay,” tae said. The only reason he’d even brought up the subject of moving was to simplify the situation for him. It wasn’t what he wanted at all. “Anything else?”
“I’m just getting started. If we go ahead with this, I want visitation rights.”
“Of course. I have no intention of hiding the child from you.”
“That’s not what I understood earlier,” he said, frowning.
“I …know. I should have thought this through more carefully before I
approached you. I’d come up with the idea of you being the baby’s father the same night I talked to you. When I showed up at your place, the idea was only half formed.”
Jk seemed cold and distant. It was almost as if they were negotiating something highly controversial and there
was no room for friendliness. No room for personal feelings.
“Does that mean you’ve changed your mind?” he asked.
“No…no, just that I hadn’t worked everything out as extensively as I should have before I came to you. It hadn’t dawned on me that you’d care one way or the other
about the child. I realize now how insensitive that was of me. I apologize for that, kook, I really do.”
“Of course I’d care about the child!”
“I know. If you want full visitation rights, and a say in how the child’s brought up, then that’s only fair. I have no objections”
“I’m also going to insist you accept child support.”
“But, kook, that really isn’t necessary. I make a decent wage and—” tae stopped abruptly at the way his eyes hardened.
“Then the deal’s off.”
Tae took a moment to compose himself . “Since that’s clearly an important issue
to you,” he said carefully. “I’ll be willing to accept whatever monetary support you deem necessary.”
“Emotional support, as well. I don’t want you walking the floors at night with a colicky baby.”
“What do you expect me to do?”
He was making everything so much more complicated than it needed to be. “You don’t expect me to call you over every little thing, do you?”
“Yes,” he said. “I want all the arrangements between us clear as glass before the blessed event. We’ll share the responsibilities.”
Is anyone reading right now? Should i take a break and come back later?
When tae didn’t respond, he asked, “Having second thoughts yet?”
“Not…really. Is this everything?”
“It isn’t.” He stood and opened the oven, checking the casserole that was baking inside. He let the door close slowly.
“You mean there’s more?”
“One small item.”
“One small item,” tae repeated, assuming he wouldn’t have any more trouble with this than his other demands.
“If we do decide to go ahead and have a child together…”
“And I think we should,” tae said, smiling over at him.
“Fine. Great. Wonderful. If you’re sure.”
“Good. In that case, I insist we get married.”
Tae was too confused to think clearly. Surely jk didn’t mean what he’d just said. It made no sense. “Married…but…you can’t be serious.”
“I’ve rarely been more serious in my life,” jk answered, stalking to the far side.
He removed two dinner plates from his cupboard and set them on the table. “Naturally, this wouldn’t be a conventional marriage.”
“Naturally,” tae echoed, still too bewildered to understand his reasoning. “Then…why are you insisting on a wedding?”
“I want the child to have my name. I don’t care if that no longer matters to most people. It matters to me.”
“We’ll continue to maintain our separate residences. For all intents and purposes, nothing will change, at least not outwardly.
Except that we’ll be sharing the care and custody of a child.”
Tae stood in front of the silverware drawer and closed his eyes, trying to force his heart to stop pounding so hard. Jk had made it plain this wasn’t any love match—not that he’d ever suspected it would be.
Nevertheless, his heart had reacted fiercely to his insistence on a wedding. Because he couldn’t help associating marriage with love, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary.
“What about the pregnancy? I mean…how do you think I should get pregnant?”
By the time the question was complete, his voice had dwindled to a whisper.
“You could always seduce me.” Jk winked at tae.
Furious, tae whirled around and glared at jk. He could feel the hot blush warming his cheeks, “I should never have admitted that.
You’re going to throw it in my face at every opportunity, aren’t you?”
“No,” he denied, but his eyes were sparkling with the blue light of laughter. “I agree with you. Sex between us would ruin everything. I don’t want to risk our friendship any more than you do.”
The tension eased from between tae’s shoulder blades.
“We’ll need to keep the marriage a secret.”
“For how long?” If their child was to have his name, they’d eventually have to tell their families. Tae wasn’t keen on facing his mother with a surprise marriage and pregnancy.
His mother wouldn’t take kindly to being cheated out of a wedding any more than Jk’s mother would.
“We’d only stay married until the baby’s born,” jungkook explained, revealing no hint of indecision, and certainly no doubts. He apparently had the whole situation worked out to his
own satisfaction. Unfortunately, he’d completely unsettled tae. He had everything organized and none of his plans included marriage, even a marriage of convenience. The questions were popping up faster than he could ask them.
“What are we going to say after the baby’s born?” He demanded.
“That we’re getting a divorce.”
Tae felt the sudden need to sit down again. “That we’re getting a divorce?” He repeated. Already he could imagine his mother’s shock and dismay. Not only would tae have married without telling her, but he’d be obtaining a divorce.
“It makes sense once you think about it,” jungkook continued with matchless confidence. Maybe it did to him, but tae felt as though he were wandering through the dark, lost and confused, bumping into walls he didn’t know were there. It had all seemed so simple the night
he’d approached jungkook.
He pulled out a chair and placed his foot on the seat, resting his right elbow on his knee.
“We’ll get married at the courthouse as quietly as possible. There’s no reason for anyone to know.”
“That much I understand…. I’m just not convinced it’s necessary.”
“I am,” he said adamantly.
“All right, all right,” tae muttered, swiping one hand through his hair. What had seemed such an uncomplicated idea had suddenly taken on more twists and turns than a country road.
“You’ll agree to the wedding?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Don’t sound so enthusiastic.”
“I’m not.” Tae sighed loudly.
“As soon as the ink’s dry on the marriage certificate, we can make an appointment with the gynecologist….”
“Good grief, what are we going to tell him?” Tae didn’t relish that task. If jungkook wanted to explain why two healthy, normal, married adults who wanted a baby would choose such an unconventional method, then more power to him.
“We won’t tell him anything. He’s a professional—he isn’t going to ask a lot of questions. It’s none of his business, anyway.”
“Jk… I don’t know about this.”
“If you have doubts, then I suggest you spill them now.”
“I’m not sure getting married is the right thing. We don’t have to go through a wedding ceremony for the baby to have your name. Couldn’t you legally adopt him or her after the birth?”
“Why complicate everything?”
“And marriage isn’t going to do that?” Tae cried.
“Marriage will accomplish the same thing now without the legal hassles of adoption later. As I said, it’ll be in name only.”
“Yes, I know, but…” he hesitated, trying to shape his objections in the form of a reasonable argument. When he spoke, his eyes met Jk’s .
“You’re going to think I’m terribly old-fashioned.”
“The man who asked me to be a sperm donor? Hardly!”
Tae had the feeling it would take a long time to live that down. “Yes,” he said vehemently, “I suppose it has to do with my upbringing, but
I’ve always considered marriage sacred. Somehow, it just doesn’t feel right to sneak off and get married and…and then arrange for a divorce nine months later.”
Jungkook was quiet for a moment. “I agree,” he finally said, “but this isn’t a normal marriage.”
“What marriage is?” Tae asked, thinking of all the friends he’d known over the years who’d married. Each relationship was different from the others.
he’d stood by and observed how some couples had grown closer in their love and commitment.
Others had drifted further and further apart until it was too late.
“Nothing’s going to change, at least not outwardly,” jungkook tried to reassure him once again.
“We’re doing this for the child’s sake. And for yours.”
Jungkook’s eyes narrowed slightly, and when he spoke his voice was cold. “I won’t allow your reputation to be damaged by an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.”
That was all well and good, but it was his reputation and if he had no objections, then he needn’t be concerned. “But kookie—”
“Furthermore,” he said, interrupting tae. “I refuse to allow my son or daughter to be born a bastard.” He raised his hand.
“Before you argue with me, I feel the same way about this as I do about the baby having my name. I don’t care if it’s important to anyone else. It is to me. Besides, why make a kid’s life any harder than it has to be?”
“You’ve got a point,” tae whispered.
“Still, I can understand your hesitation.”
Tae lowered his eyes. “It’s just that I expect you’ll want to marry someday. Sooner or later a person is going to come into your life and this marriage is going to complicate everything for you. What are you going to tell them about me—
and the child?”
“It’s not going to happen. If I believed I was eventually going to marry, I wouldn’t have agreed to this.”
Any doubts tae entertained were wiped out with the certainty of his smile.
“So you’ll marry me?” he asked.
Tae nodded. He still wasn’t convinced it was the right thing to do, but jk had insisted on it so he felt he had no choice.
“One last thing,” jungkook said, placing his foot back on the floor.
There was more? Tae’s head was still reeling from his last announcement. “Now what?”
“You’re important to me. Our friendship’s important. For the sake of that friendship, I think we should have everything drawn up legally. I don’t want any misunderstandings later on.”
This seemed logical to tae. “Okay, but most of the lawyers I know through work handle
real estate and wills and business mergers. This isn’t their kind of contract.”
“I know an attorney who’ll do it. One I trust.”
“Kim Namjoon .. Aera’s ex boyfriend!”
Sitting in the plushly decorated waiting room next to a five-foot potted philodendron brought back an abundance of memories. The plant was on one side of him, with a fidgeting tae on the other.
He glanced at him.
Tae was flipping through the pages of a magazine so fast he’d created a draft. He was on his third issue of Good Housekeeping and they hadn’t been seated for more than five minutes.
Tae remained ambivalent about the idea of marriage, but he wanted the child enough to agree
to Jk’s terms.
Unlike tae, jungkook felt comfortable with the plan, for all the reasons he’d given tae. He wasn’t sure what anyone else would think, especially his family—if they ever found out—but frankly that was their problem. He was doing his best friend a favor.
Jungkook had the almost overwhelming urge to laugh. Never had he thought he’d agree to anything like this. According to jimin (his brother), women and men gravitated naturally toward him. In some ways that was true, but they were usually the wrong people.
What he wouldn’t give to have fallen in love with a man as genuine and compassionate as Taehyung. The need to touch tae, to reassure him, even in the smallest of ways, was as strong as the urge to laugh had been a few minutes earlier.
He reached for his hand, entwining his fingers with his own.
Tae looked up at him. “I’m sorry.”
“I … I can’t seem to sit still.”
“We aren’t at the courthouse, you know. This is a meeting with Namjoon. He’s a decent guy, and a darn good attorney”
“I know…. It’s just that…” tae let the rest of the sentence fade.
“I’m nervous,” he said. “I don’t understand why, exactly, but my stomach’s in knots and I can’t seem to read, and I keep thinking of everything that could go wrong.”
“Like what?” Jk asked.
Tae turned from him and stared down at the open magazine in his lap. “I … You wouldn’t understand.”
“Marriage shouldn’t be taken lightly. I know I’ve said that before, but I can’t seem to explain it in a way that you’ll understand. Something happens to a couple
when they marry—even when it’s only a marriage of convenience Something…spiritual. I know you don’t agree with me, but we’re both going to be affected by this. I can’t shake the feeling that deep down we’ll regret it.”
“We aren’t going to have a physical relationship.” Jk stated
“I know all that,” tae said, ignoring the blush that crept up on his ears.
“but it doesn’t change what I feel.”
His hand was trembling in his, and Jungkook could tell from the way tae’s voice quavered
that he was close to tears. “Do you want to call it off?” Jk would accede to tae’s wishes, but he hoped tae wouldn’t back out now.
“That’s the crazy part,” tae said, his expression even more anguished than before. “I want this marriage and our child more than I’ve ever wanted
anything in my life.”
“So do I,” jungkook admitted, realizing how true it was. “So do I.”
In that moment both got lost in eachothers eyes. Struggling to understand why were they feeling at ease in the middle of this storm??
“Jk,” namjoon greeted him as he came into
the waiting room. Jk stood and they exchanged handshakes. “It was a pleasant surprise to find your name on my appointment calendar this morning.” The attorney looked from jk to tae, and he smiled warmly.
“This is Kim Taehyung ,” jk said.
“We met briefly…a while back,”
Tae said, suddenly biting off his words. He cast an embarrassed glance at jk, as though he’d made a dreadful blunder. Fortunately namjoon didn’t react at all. It wasn’t until they were inside namjoon’s office that jungkook remembered the two of them had been introduced at
Namjoon and Aera’s Anniversary party!
“So,” namjoon said, reaching for his pen and a yellow pad, “what can I do for you?”
Jk leaned back in his chair. “Tae and I would like you to draft a prenuptial agreement.”
The attorney’s gaze flew to jungkook’s .
“Congratulations! I’m delighted to hear it. I didn’t know you were engaged.”
“We aren’t…exactly,” tae said hurriedly. When namjoon focused his attention on tae, he shifted in his chair and gestured at jungkook . “You’d better explain…everything.”
“This will be a marriage of convenience,” he announced.
“A marriage of convenience,” Namjoon echoed, as though he wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly. “There are…extenuating circumstances.”
“We’re going to have a baby,” tae inserted, then as he realized what he’d implied,
His eyes grew wide. “I’m not pregnant, at least not yet, but if everything goes according to schedule, I will be in the next couple of months.”
Namjoon lowered his pen. “This doesn’t sound like a marriage of convenience to me.”
“We aren’t going to destroy a perfectly wonderful
friendship by having sex,” tae declared vehemently, slicing the air with his hands. “We agreed on that first thing.”
The pen was carefully placed on the polished mahogany desk. Namjoon frowned at jungkook , then cleared his throat. “Let me see if I understand this…
You plan for tae to become pregnant, but there isn’t going to be any sex?”
“Before we go any further, I want the details of the divorce clearly spelled out,” tAe added, sliding to the edge of his cushioned seat. He slipped his hands under his thighs, but continued to fidget,
crossing and un-crossing his ankles. “They should be as explicitly drawn up as the particulars of the marriage. And by the way, we won’t be living together. But that shouldn’t matter, right ?”
“You’re planning the divorce now?” This time, namjoon made a few notations on the pad.
“You don’t expect us to stay married after the baby’s born, do you?”
“Jk?” Namjoon gave him a stern look. “Would you kindly explain what’s going on here?”
“We’re getting married, having a baby and getting a divorce. A, B, C. Points one, two, three.
It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds.” Jk found he was enjoying this. Namjoon , however, obviously wasn’t.
“A prenuptial agreement—okay, fine. We have several forms already drawn up that you can read over. The two of you can decide which one suits you best, but—-
“But what about the baby and the divorce?” Tae asked nervously. Turning to jk, he added, “I don’t think namjoon understands what we’re planning.”
“You’re right about that. The marriage I understand—at least I think I do. Unfortunately it’s everything else that’s got me confused.”
“There’s a logical explanation for all this,” jk assured him.
“No, there isn’t,” tae said sharply. “Kookie insists we marry and I don’t feel it’s necessary, but nothing I say will convince him. If I didn’t want a baby so much, I’d never agree to this.”
“Kookie?” Once again
Namjoon looked at him, clearly more baffled than ever.
“It’s not as confusing as it seems,” jk told him a second time. “A bit unconventional, perhaps, but not confusing.” He spent the next ten minutes explaining their plans and answering a long series of questions from namjoon
“So you’ll write up an agreement for us?” Jk asked.
“I’ll have one drawn up within a week.”
“Good.” Jk took tae’s hand. They both stood, and he tucked the long strap of his purse over his shoulder. “Then we’ll go off to the courthouse now and apply for the wedding license.”
Tae was quiet on the way to the parking lot. For that matter, so was he. Although Namjoon hadn’t explicitly stated his misgivings, they were all too apparent—from the questions he’d asked and the hesitation Jk had heard in his voice.
Jungkook unlocked the passenger door and held it open for Taehyung . He waited until tae was inside, his hand on the frame. “Do you want to take some time to think this over?”
“No,” she said instantly. “Do you?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Their eyes met and held until they were both smiling broadly.
Jungkook woke early Tuesday morning, before the alarm went off. He turned on the shower and stepped under the plummeting spray, enjoying the feel of it against his skin.
He quickly finished showering, reached for a towel and headed directly from the bathroom to the phone at his bedside. He punched out the number from memory and waited impatiently for tae to answer.
“Good morning,” he said enthusiastically.
“Good morning,” came his groggy reply.
“You know what today is, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. It isn’t every day a man gets married.”
“Third and fourth if you want the truth, but now that I’ve had a chance to think it over, I’m more certain than ever.”
“Good.” He’d grown anxious in the shower,
convinced tae would change his mind at the last minute. He had to be assured one final time, although they’d talked of little else in the past week.
Tae knew the ceremony itself wouldn’t last more than a few minutes; he’d taken comfort in that.
They’d be in and out of the judge’s chambers in five minutes, ten at the most.
They stood before judge Lee, their backs stiff and straight. The judge attempted to reassure them with a smile.
Tae needed to be reassured. His knees were shaking, his hands trembled and he wasn’t
sure he’d be able to go through with this.
When it came time to repeat his vows, he hesitated and raised his eyes to jungkook. How could he promise to love him and honor him for the rest of their lives, knowing full well their marriage wouldn’t last the year?
Jk must have read his confusion and his fears. When his hold on tae’s hand tightened, tae was grateful. He felt the need to be close to him. He didn’t know why, any more than he understood the reason he’d agreed to go through with this wedding ceremony.
They exchanged rings, his hand holding tae’s as he slipped the delicate diamond that had belonged to his grandmother onto tae’s finger. He revealed no hesitation. Once the ring was secure, his gaze slowly traveled up to his face. Tae stopped at his eyes, so determined and clear.
The judge pronounced them husbands, and with a naturalness, jk drew him into his embrace. Tae’s hands gripped his shoulders as jk lowered his mouth to him. To the best of Tae’s memory, this was the first time they’d kissed, really kissed.
Jk made it worth the wait.
Jungkook’s mouth slid possessively over tae’s , coaxing open his lips. His own were warm and moist, gentle and teasing, giving and demanding.
Tae was overwhelmed by the variety of sensations he evoked. Tae felt light-headed and giddy. Appreciated and adored.
It seemed that his entire world had been inadvertently turned upside down and he was groping to find his balance. Tae shouldn’t feel this way, he told himself . He shouldn’t be feeling any of these sensations. Jk didn’t love him—not like this. Nothing like this.
One kiss, and he made tae feel as though he’d never been kissed before, as though he’d never experienced love before.
Maybe tae hadn’t. Maybe this was all in his imagination, his mind creating a warm romantic fantasy in order to appease his conscience.
The sound of jungkook’s older brother clearing his throat brought Tae back to reality. Jungkook—his husband—his kookie..reluctantly let him go and just as reluctantly turned his attention to Judge Lee. The two men exchanged handshakes.
“Thank you so much for being my witness,”
Tae said to Judge lee’s secretary. He never did catch the woman’s name. “I was pleased to do it,” the secretary told tae. She stepped forward and gave tae an impulsive hug. “The judge marries a number of couples every year, but I have a good feeling about you and your young man.
I think you two are going to be just fine.”
Tae didn’t know what to say. He felt like the biggest phony who’d ever lived. It was happening already—the very thing he’d tried to warn jk about. The feeling of connection. Tae felt it a little too much.
He’d sensed it during the ceremony and even more so with his kiss. But their marriage wasn’t supposed to be about any kind of spiritual or emotional connection. It was supposed to be a convenience, a legal shortcut to giving Taehyung what he wanted—a child.
They were making a mockery of everything marriage was meant to be. Tae had never felt more like crying in his life. He’d tried to convince himself they were doing the right thing. Jk was so confident, so certain, and he believed him because…because he’d always believed him.
But if they were doing what was right, why was his stomach in knots? Why did he feel as though he was going to burst into tears? And why, oh why, had jungkook kissed him the way a husband kisses his husband—the most cherished husband in the world?
“Congratulations,” jimin said, moving toward tae.
He tried to smile, but his mouth started quivering and tears fell from the corners of his eyes, running down the sides of his face.
“Tae?” Jimin asked, giving him a hug. “Are you okay?”
“No.” And he burst into tears.
Tae didn’t know how jimin managed it, but within minutes they were out of Judge lee’s chambers and jungkook was at his side, Jk’s arm around his middle.
“All right,” he said gently, guiding him down the hall, “why the tears?”
Tae rubbed his hand across his cheeks, suspecting
he’d smeared mascara over his face in the process.
he’d dressed so carefully in his new pale pink suit. Like a romantic fool, he’d had his hair styled and nails manicured—and for what? So he could stand before God and man and say vows they’d never be able to keep.
“You honestly want to know what’s wrong?” Tae wailed, snapping open his purse and rummaging around for a tissue. He found one, tucked his handbag under his arm and noisily blew his nose. “You mean you haven’t guessed?”
“No.” Jk shrugged.
“I … I feel dreadful.” Tae sniffled.
“Why?” Jk looked completely bewildered.
“Because I just lied.”
“So did you!”
“Me?” He sounded even more confused.
“How can you justify what we did? We stood before judge lee and said vows. Vows! We made promises to each other, promises neither one of us intends to keep.”
“I can’t speak for you, but I certainly intend to honor my vows.” Jk said while wiping those tear smeared bread cheeks. Oh he loved these cheeks. Tae was blessed with the cutest cheeks on earth- or so jk thought! Platonically ofcourse!
“Oh, right,” tae muttered sarcastically,
rubbing his hand beneath his nose. “You’re going to love me in…in sickness and health and everything else you said.” Tae pouted with the last words.
JK’s eyes were now focused on those pouted lips. Pink and innocent , he wanted to wipe that pout off tae’s face so bad!!
“Yes.” Jungkook didn’t so much as blink. His whole concentration was on those lips right now.
“How…can you?” Tae hiccuped.
“True, this might not be a traditional marriage. Nevertheless, it is a marriage. And like I said, I fully intend to honor every promise I made to you”
“You do?” He asked on the tail end of a sniffle.
“You mean you don’t?”
“I … I suppose so. It’s just that I hadn’t thought about it like that. I do love you, you know…as a friend.”
As jk walked tae toward the elevator, his hands were clasped behind his back and his head was bent
Ever diplomatic, jimin remained a few steps behind them. “The problem,” jk said, “is that we’ve each put years of effort into finding the perfect mate. We’ve spent years looking for that special person—someone we’d be willing to commit the rest of our lives to—but neither of us
found what we were looking for. So when we stood before the Judge…” He hesitated as though he’d lost his train of thought. “What we were pledging…the seriousness of our decision hit us hard,” tae finished for him.
“Exactly !” Jk agreed, nodding.
“Then you felt it, too?” Tae stopped walking and turned to face jungkook, his heart in his throat. Jungkook had experienced the same reaction he had while they were repeating their vows. He, too, had felt the solemnness of it all.
“I did…very much,” he whispered.
“A wedding ceremony is a sobering affair. If you didn’t understand it before, I want to make it clear now. I’m committed to you, kim Taehyung. That commitment will be the same for the baby once he’s born.”
“Or she,” tae murmured, gnawing on his lower lip.
“Yes, our baby” jk said while trying his best not to stare at those lips stuck between Tae’s teeth. Swollen, pink, waiting to be devoured. Jk had to mentally stop himself from having all these thoughts. These thoughts that have crowded his all senses since he kissed his husband!
They continued walking side by side, toward the elevator, which was at the far end of the corridor. Jk matched his stride to tae’s . He was several inches taller than tae, and every once in a while, his shoulder would brush against tae. His touch felt intimate and special.
Taehyung was sure jk didn’t intend or expect him to feel anything at his touch, but he did. He couldn’t help himself. “It’s going to be all right, isn’t it?” Tae asked when they stopped to wait for the elevator.
“Not if our parents find out, it won’t be,” jimin answered for jk.
“They won’t anytime soon unless you tell them.” There was a clear warning in jungkook’s words.
“Hey,” jimin said, raising his right hand. “I’ve already promised not to say a word—to anyone. Mom and Dad would have to torture it out of me.”
jk chuckled and slowly shook his head.
“All Mom would need to do is offer you homemade bread fresh from the oven.”
“Maybe so. But be aware that the fur’s gonna fly once she learns she missed out on another one of her kids’ weddings.”
“She’ll adjust,” jk said, looping his arm over tae’s shoulder.
“Are you as full as I am?” Jk asked, leaning back against the upholstered circular booth. His hands rested on his flat stomach and he breathed in deeply.
“I couldn’t eat another bite if I tried.”
Jk had made reservations for their wedding dinner at the restaurant on
top of the world-famous Space Needle. He’d planned every aspect of their wedding-day celebration, from the matinee tickets he’d purchased for a musical at the Fifth Avenue Theater, to a special dinner. “What did jimin mean when he said you kidnapped him?” Tae asked.
Not that it really mattered, he thought, basking in the pleasures of the most memorable day of his life.
Jk reached for the wine bottle and replenished both their glasses. “To be honest, I did kidnap him. Why…is another story” jk smiled.
“When I first told him about you and me
he was thrilled. He said he’s always admired you and felt I couldn’t have made a better choice.”
“He said that?” Tae couldn’t help feeling a little incredulous. He barely knew Jk’s older brother. Oh, they’d met on several occasions, but the longest conversation they’d ever had
was at Aera’s anniversary party, and that couldn’t have lasted more than five minutes. Actually, tae had spent more time that night talking to Jason than he had to jk. His now-husband had escorted some blonde to the elegant affair, and the woman had stayed glued to his side.
A surge of irritation flashed through tae. he’d never been keen on Jk’s choice of partners. He swore jk could spot a bimbo a mile away.
Jk attracted them—and he attracted him too.
That was a brand-new perception, a brand-new awareness. Until he’d kissed tae in the judge’s office,
Tae had never thought of jk in a physical way. He’d always been attractive, too handsome for his own good. But what he’d experienced earlier that afternoon had nothing to do with his looks. Instead, it had a whole lot to do with sensuality. Jk made him feel vulnerable. Exposed.
Powerless. And yet…powerful, too. Everything, all the emotion, all the sensations, had come rushing toward him at once.
Afterward, he’d been so concerned. So understanding. Allaying tae’s fears, answering his doubts. He’d dried tae’s tears and made him laugh.
He’d turned this into the most special day of tae’s life.
What he’d said about how they’d each searched for someone to love was true. Tae had wanted to be married for so many years. he’d hungered for that special relationship and all that went with it, only to be disappointed
time after time. Their dinner check arrived, and while jk dealt with that, tae finished his wine. As he raised the glass to his lips, his gaze fell on the diamond ring on his left hand. It was a simple design, a small diamond set in the center of an antique gold rose.
When jungkook had first mentioned it, he hadn’t felt right about wearing it, but the fit was perfect, and now that it was on his finger he wished he didn’t have to take it off.
“I suppose I should drive you home.” Jk said while trying to read tae’s mind.
Tae’s heart soared at the reluctance he heard in jungkook’s voice. He wasn’t any more eager for this day to end than jk was.
“I suppose,” tae said with an equal lack of enthusiasm.
“You have to work tomorrow?”
Tae nodded. “You?”
He nodded, too.
They stood, and jk helped tae on with his coat. His hands lingered on tae’s shoulders, and he drew him back against himself and breathed in deeply. “Thank you.”
“For what?” Tae twisted around, and the restaurant noises that surrounded them—
the laughter and conversation, the clinking of silverware on china—seemed to fade away. “For marrying me,” he whispered. “For agreeing to bear my child.”
His lips remained near tae’s ears for a second longer. Then he pulled back and saw a new shine in tae’s eyes.
Jungkook had dropped tae off at his condo, and although he’d suggested he come in for coffee, jk refused. He didn’t even know why he’d turned tae down. Coffee had sounded good.
“Be honest,” jk said aloud. It wasn’t the coffee that had enticed him, it was tae.
Jungkook rolled onto his back, tucked his hands beneath his head and stared up at the dark ceiling. It hadn’t felt right to leave tae. With real disappointment, he’d turned around and walked to his parked car. He’d paused halfway down the steps, resisting the urge to rush back
and tell tae he’d changed his mind, he’d take that coffee, after all.
Instead he’d returned to an apartment that had never seemed emptier and a bed that had never felt so cold.
The phone on jungkook’s desk rang, and he automatically reached for it. “Engineering.”
He didn’t take his eyes from the drawings he was reviewing.
“Hi,” came the soft reply.
Jk gasped. “Tae? You’re back from the doctor’s already?” He checked his watch and was surprised to discover it was nearly four.
“I just got back.”
“And?” He couldn’t hold back his eagerness.
They’d already had one appointment to see Dr. Min.
Jk had gone in with tae for the initial visit. They’d sat next to each other in Dr. Min’s private office and held hands while the gynecologist explained the procedure in detail.
“And,” tae said quietly, confidently,
“we’re going to try for this month.”
“This month,” jk repeated. “In case you didn’t know, I’ve always been fond of March. March is one of my favorite months.”
“Don’t get too excited. It…it might not take, it generally doesn’t with the first try.” Tae smiled at Jk’s excitement
“April, then. April’s a good month. Another one of my all-time favorites.”
“It could easily be three or four months,” tae said with a laugh.
“June, July, August. Who can argue with summer?” Jk found himself smiling, too. He was calculating what month the baby would be due if
Tae got pregnant in March.
“December,” she said, apparently interpreting his silence. “How would you feel about a December baby?”
“Jubilant. How about you?”
“It could be January or February.” Tae sounded hesitant,
as though he was afraid to put too much stock in everything going so smoothly.
“It’ll happen when it happens.”
“That was profound!” Tae said. “The doctor gave me a chart. Every morning, I’m supposed to take my temperature. It’ll be slightly elevated when I ovulate.
As soon as that happens, I’m to contact his office.”
“I’m going with you.” Jk said.
“Kook, that really isn’t necessary. It’s very sweet of you, but—”
“I thought you knew better than to argue with me.” Jk held the phone closer.
“I should,” tae said with mock exasperation.
“We’ve been married nearly a month and I don’t think I’ve won a single argument.”
“No wonder married life agrees with me.” He kept his voice low, wanting to be sure no one in the vicinity could overhear him. Only jimin knew he was married and he wanted to keep it that way as long
as possible. “Call me in the morning,” he said.
“Because,” he said, leaning back in his chair, “I want to keep my own chart.”
The following morning, jungkook was in the shower when his phone rang. He turned off the faucet, grabbed a towel and raced across the bedroom.
“Ninety-eight point six.”
He pulled open the drawer on his nightstand and searched blindly for a pen. Water was raining down from his hair, dripping onto the bed. “Got it.”
“Talk to you later.”
Wednesday morning, jungkook waited in bed until he heard from tae.
“Ninety-eight point six.” Tae sounded discouraged.
“Hey, nothing says it has to happen right away.”
“I keep trying to visualize it.”
“What is this? Think yourself pregnant?”
Tae laughed. “Something like that.”
“Call me tomorrow.” He reached for his chart and made the notation.
Thursday showed no difference, but Friday, jk knew from the tone of tae’s voice that something was up, and he hoped it was his temperature.
“Ninety-eight point seven… I think. Darn, these thermometers are hard to read. But it’s definitely higher.”
Jungkook could envision tae sitting on the edge of his bed, squinting, trying to read the tiny lines that marked the thermometer. He made a mental note to buy him a digital one.
“Kookie, I’m not even sure it’s elevated. It could be wishful thinking on my part.”
“Call him anyway.”
“If you insist.”
“I do.” He hung up the phone and headed toward the shower, whistling.
It wasn’t until later that afternoon that the idea of taking tae out to dinner occurred to him. Although they’d been married a month, they didn’t see each other often.
It had been a conscious decision on jungkook’s part following their wedding day. In light of how he’d felt when he kissed tae, it seemed the safest thing to do. He’d taken him to a movie the weekend after their wedding, and they’d both been ill at ease.
Foolish as it seemed, it was almost as if they were afraid of each other. Not once during the entire movie had they touched. Tae didn’t invite him in for coffee afterward. Even now he wasn’t sure what he would’ve done had tae offered. Still, they talked every day.
Only last weekend he’d changed the oil in tae’s car while he sewed a couple of loose buttons on Jk’s shirts. It was a fair exchange and afterward they’d gone out for hamburgers. Nothing fancy. The tension between them didn’t seem to be as great as when they’d gone to the movie.
It was time to try again. There could well be a reason to celebrate, and a night on the town appealed to him. Someplace special. It wasn’t every day his husbands temperature was elevated by one tenth of one percent.
Tae was on his lunch break, and jk didn’t leave a message.
He’d call tae later.
When he did, tae was tied up with a customer. The next time he tried, the bank was closed, so he left a message for tae at home.
“This is Prince Charming requesting your presence for dinner. Don’t eat until you talk to me. I’m on my way home now. Call me!
Jungkook expected a message from tae to be waiting for him when he arrived at his apartment. There wasn’t.
He tried tae again at six, six-fifteen, six-thirty and six-forty-five, leaving a message all four times.
By seven o’clock, he was worried.
A thousand possibilities crowded his mind, none of them pleasant. He paced the living room in an effort to convince himself he was overreacting, then dialed tae’s number one last time. He listened to his recording yet again, and seethed anxiously during the long beep.
“Taehyung , where the hell are you?” he demanded.
Tae checked his watch, keeping his wrist below the table, hoping he wasn’t being obvious. Eight-thirty! he’d been trapped listening to the endless details of Floyd Bacon’s divorce for three solid hours.
“Don’t you agree?” he asked, looking over at tae.
Tae nodded, although he had no idea what he was agreeing to. A yawn came and he attempted to swallow it, didn’t succeed and so pressed his fingers to his lips. Floyd was a nice man and tae was trying hard to disguise his boredom.
“My goodness, look at the time,” Floyd said.
It had all started so innocently.
Tae had dated Floyd about five years ago. He was a regular customer at the bank and they’d seen each other off and on for a six-month period. Nothing serious, nothing even close to serious.
Then he’d met Carolyn and the two of them had fallen in love and married. Tae had attended their wedding. He remembered what he bought them for a wedding gift—a set of stainless steel flatware with rosebuds on the handles. He and Carolyn had bought a house a few months later.
Tae had handled the loan application for them, but when they’d moved, they’d switched their account to a branch closer to where they lived. In the past three years, Carolyn had quit work to stay home with their two young children. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am the marriage
didn’t work out,” tae said. “I’m sorry, too,” Floyd said. Floyd had arrived just before closing time, lingered until he was the last customer in the bank and then asked tae to join him for a drink. He’d hesitated, but he’d looked so downtrodden and miserable that tae had gone
against his better judgment. A drink soon turned into two and then Floyd suggested they have something to eat. At the time, it had seemed reasonable, but that was an hour and a half ago.
“I really should be going home,” tae said, reaching for his purse. It was Friday night and the work week had seemed extra-long and he was tired. Keeping track of his temperature and charting it was draining his emotional energy.
No, he decided, talking to jk every morning was
responsible for that.
Speaking to him first thing, discussing the intimate details of his reproductive system, hearing his enthusiasm…talking about their child. Nothing had prepared tae for the effect all this was having. He lived for those brief two-minute calls.
It was almost as if jk were in bed beside tae…almost as if he were holding tae in his arms. This closeness tae felt toward jk frightened him. The magnitude of what they’d done, of what they were planning, the child they’d conceive together, had brought subtle and not-so-subtle
changes to their relationship.
“I’ll follow you home,” Floyd said, breaking into tae’s thoughts. He tossed some money on the table for the waitress.
It would be too late to call jk now. Tomorrow was his Saturday morning to work, but he could call him then and ask him over for
dinner on either Saturday or Sunday. Friday nights were probably busy for him, so it wasn’t likely he would’ve been home anyway.
“I’m sorry. My mind was a million miles away. There’s no need for you to see me home, Floyd.”
“I know, but I’d feel better if I knew you got there safely.”
Tae nodded. Floyd really was a nice man, and he did feel sorry for him. If lending an ear had helped him, he shouldn’t complain. The time would come soon enough when he’d need a shoulder to cry on himself.
Once the baby was born, he’d be filing for divorce. The thought was a cheerless one.
Tae lived less than fifteen minutes from the bank and it was on Floyd’s way to his new apartment, so he didn’t object strongly when he insisted on following him. When tae pulled into his assigned
parking space, he waited until he was out of her car. Tae waved to let him know he was safe and sound. Floyd lowered his car window and said, “I appreciate being able to talk to you, tae. You’re a good friend to both Carolyn and me.”
“I’m happy if I was any help.”
The sadness returned to Floyd’s eyes. “I really love her, you know.”
“Are you sure you really want this divorce?” Tae asked impulsively. Surely if two people deeply loved each other, they could work something out, couldn’t they?
He shook his head. “I never did want a divorce.
Carolyn’s the one who…well, you know.” His shoulders rose in a deep sigh.
“You’re sure about that?”
Floyd hesitated. “I’m pretty sure. When I told her I was moving out, she didn’t say a word to stop me. The way I figure it, if she really loved me, she would’ve asked me to stay”
“What if she assumed that if you really loved her, you’d never want to move?”
Floyd stared at tae. “You think that’s what she might’ve thought?”
“I don’t know, but it’s worth asking, don’t you think?”
“Yeah… I do,” Floyd said, his voice revealing enthusiasm
He raised his car window, then quickly lowered it again. “Tae?”
“Yes?” Tae was halfway toward the outside stairs that led to his second-floor condominium. “Would you mind if I used your phone? My cell’s dead, and I’d like to give Carolyn a call to see if she wants to talk.”
“Sure.” Smiling, tae opened his purse and took out his key. If he’d mentioned this earlier he thought wryly, he might’ve been home two hours ago.
Floyd parked his car, then hurried up the stairs with tae. He resembled a young boy, he was so eager. Tae unlocked the door and
flipped on the light switch. Floyd immediately headed for the phone.
Tae made himself scarce for a couple of minutes, going into his bedroom to remove his shoes. He hung up his jacket and eased his gray blouse from his waistband.
Before leaving her bedroom, tae slipped his feet
into his fuzzy open-toed slippers. Then he went into the kitchen and put the kettle on the burner. As soon as Floyd was gone, tae planned to relax with a cup of herbal tea. “Carolyn agrees we should talk,” Floyd announced triumphantly as he replaced the telephone receiver.
Tae nodded. “I hope this works out for you.”
“Me, too. I’ll be heading out now,” Floyd said. “She’s getting a sitter for the kids and she’s going to meet me for a cup of coffee.”
The doorbell chimed then, in long impatient bursts. Floyd’s gaze swung to tae.
He couldn’t imagine who’d be arriving this late. Tae walked past Floyd and opened the door. No sooner had he turned the lock than jungkook raced in as though he was there to put out a fire.
“Where the hell have you been?” he demanded.
“I’ve been half out of my—” He stopped midstep and midsentence when he caught sight of Floyd and the color drained from his face. His eyes widened with shock, disbelief and…could it be pain? Slowly he turned toward tae.
“Floyd, this is jeon jungkook,” tae said, gesturing from
one to the other. “Jungkook , Floyd Bacon.”
Floyd held out his hand, and for a moment, tae feared jk wasn’t going to take it. He did so, but with ill grace. “I take it tae didn’t mention me,” he said sarcastically.
“Ah…no,” Floyd said, rubbing his palms together.
He eyed the front door. “Listen, I was just leaving.”“No need to rush,” jk said, sitting down on the sofa and crossing his long legs. He stretched his arm against the back of the cushions, giving the impression that he had plenty of time to sit and chat.
“I’m interested in hearing how the two of you spent the evening.” His smile lacked warmth or welcome.
“Kook,” tae said, stepping forward. he’d never seen him like this, so sarcastic and ill-mannered.
One look from him cut tae to the quick. Rarely had anyone looked at him with such…disdain. He studied tae, from his slippers to the blouse he’d pulled free from his trousers , and his eyes narrowed, damning tae.
“Tae’s an old friend,” Floyd explained.
“I was in the bank this afternoon and…well, you see, my wife and I have separated, and tae—”
“So you’re married, too.”
“Too?” Frowning, Floyd turned to tae for an explanation.
“Yes,” jungkook said in a deceptively calm voice. “Tae and I’ve been married…what is it now, darling,
“Jungkook,” tae warned him under his breath. Jk might be his legal husband, a man he’d known and respected for more than a decade, but seeing him behave like this, talk like this, he seemed like a total stranger.
“Tae. My goodness,” Floyd said, sounding astonished.
“You didn’t say a word about being married. Congratulations! I wish you’d said something earlier.”
“So do I,” jk added caustically.
Once again Floyd glanced at the door. “I’d like to stay and chat, but I really should leave. My wife and I are going to meet and talk…
Tae was the one who suggested it. Well, actually, I came up with the idea of calling Carolyn, but tae helped me see that it was the right thing to do.” He spoke rapidly, the words coming out so fast they tumbled over one another. “I’ll see you later.”
Tae held the door for him. “Thanks for dinner,” he said as graciously as the circumstances allowed.
“Thanks for dinner,” jk mimicked derisively as Floyd went out the door.
Tae felt a storm threatening. One of anger and frustration. The thundercloud was sitting directly behind him
After taking a moment to compose himself, tae turned around. “Is something bothering you, kook?” Tae asked in a level voice.
Jk leapt off the sofa as though he’d been sitting on a giant spring. “Is something bothering me?” Jk repeated coldly.
“What do you think you’re doing, dating that joker?”
“It wasn’t a date.”
“I heard you thank him for dinner.” He spat out the words as though to have to say them was a detestable task. “At least you could’ve returned my phone calls.”
“I …haven’t checked my messages. Good grief,
I didn’t get home until five minutes ago.” Moving across the room, tae went to his phone to listen. Six messages, all from jungkook , played back, each sounding progressively less patient and increasingly anxious. The last one had been to demand to know “where the hell” he was.
“When I couldn’t stand waiting for you to call, I drove over here to wait for you. Lo and behold, your car was in your parking space and you were here—with Floyd.”
“I can understand your concern,”tae said calmly, willing to grant him that much.
“You’re my husband, dammit! How am I supposed to feel when you turn up missing?” He raked his fingers through his hair and stalked to the opposite side of the room.
Tae drew in a long, soothing breath, determined not to let this escalate into a full-fledged argument.
“I was never missing. I’m sorry I worried you, kook, but you’re overreacting, and frankly, it’s beginning to annoy me.”
“Annoy you? I’ve been pacing the floor for the past three hours….”
“I would have phoned.
“You brought a man home with you!”
He made it sound as though that was grounds for divorce.
“Floyd’s an old friend.” Tae responded.
The kettle whistled, and tae hurried into the kitchen and turned off the burner, all thought of tea forgotten. The boiling water bubbled from the spout, nearly scalding him.
Jk had followed, stalking into the room behind tae.
“Apparently you don’t have a problem letting old friends take you out to dinner,” he accused tae, his words inflamed with impatience.
Tae gritted his teeth, biting back an angry retort. “He needed someone to talk to, someone
who’d listen to his problems. You’re making it sound as though I did something underhanded. I was just being a friend.”
“You’re a married man,” jungkook bellowed. He slammed his fist on the counter. “My husband . How do you think it makes me feel, knowing you chose to go out to
dinner with another man instead of your own husband?”
“I didn’t choose Floyd over you! Oh god, how was I supposed to know you wanted to take me to dinner? I’m not a mind reader.”
“If you’d come home after work the way you’re supposed to, you would have heard my six messages.”
“That’s ridiculous! I can’t run my life according to your whims.” Tae had managed to keep his temper intact,but he didn’t know how much longer his precarious hold would last.
“I thought you were different.” A spark of pain flashed in jungkook’s eyes.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I would’ve trusted you with my life,but you’re like every other man I’ve ever known. The minute my back’s turned, you think nothing of seeing someone else.”
The emptiness in his voice cut at tae’s heart. “That’s so unfair.”
“We’re married, and even that didn’t make a difference”
Jungkook’s eyes accused tae of—what? Being unfaithful? That was completely irrational!
“This isn’t a real marriage and you know it,” tae said heatedly. His voice was shaking with the effort to keep from shouting. “You’re the one who insisted on the ceremony,
but it was for convenience.”
“We’re married!” Jk tried to keep his voice low.
“Maybe, but you have no right to storm into my home and insult my guests.” Tae said.
“And you have no right to bring a man home with you.” Jk couldn’t hold back any longer.
“That’s ridiculous.” Tae couldn’t believe they were having this conversation. “Our marriage is in name only for…for obvious reasons.”
“We said our vows.”
“Don’t remind me.” The promises they’d made to each other continued to haunt tae.
“Clearly someone has to.” Jk smirked.
“Oh-h-h,” tae seethed. Tightening his fists at his sides, he exhaled sharply and resisted the urge to bang his cupboard doors to vent his frustration.
“Temper, temper.” Jk taunted
“I think you’d better leave before we say something we’ll regret.” Tae said with finality.
“Not on your life.” Jk retorted.
“This is my home,” tae cried, quickly losing his grip on his rage. he’d never known jk could be so unreasonable, so rude, so…impossible.
“You’re just like every other man I’ve ever known,” jungkook repeated in unflattering tones.
“And you’re just like every other man, so wrapped up in your own ego that it’d take a whack on the head with a two-by-four to see what’s right in front of your nose.”
“It wasn’t me who went out behind your back,” he shouted. He leaned against the kitchen counter
and crossed his arms.
“Why do you care if I had dinner with a dozen men?” Tae demanded. “It never bothered you before!”
“We weren’t married before.”
“I’m not your possession,” tae said.
“You have no right, husband or not, to tell me who I can see and who I can’t.”
“The hell I don’t.” Jk now got offended.
Tae squeezed his eyes shut. “I knew this wasn’t going to work… I told you it wouldn’t, but would you listen? Oh, no, you knew so much better.”
“I still do.” Jk said.
Tae couldn’t help it, he stamped his foot. He hadn’t done anything so childish since junior high. “Look at us,” he cried, his voice shaking with anger. “I’m… I’m not even pregnant yet and already we’re fighting. We’re going to ruin everything fighting
over something so…stupid.”
“It isn’t stupid to me.”
“Floyd is just a friend. For heaven’s sake, he’s married!”
“So are you.”
“Why are you doing this?” Tae cried.
“All I’m asking is that you keep your part of the bargain and I’ll keep mine. That shouldn’t be so difficult.”
“Oh, right,” tae said, walking around the table and leaning on the back of a chair. “There’s a lot more involved in this arrangement than I ever knew about or agreed to”
“Like…like your caveman attitude toward me.”
“Caveman? Because I don’t want my husband dating another man—another married man?” He glared across the room at tae. “Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember a phrase or two in the wedding vows that state—”
“Don’t you dare.” Tae pointed an accusing finger at his chest. “Don’t you dare,” he repeated. “I never wanted to go through with the wedding, and you knew it. Using it against me now is the height of unfairness.”
“We’re married, tae, whether you like it or not.”
“I don’t like it, I hate it. I hate everything about it—this is the biggest mistake of my life.” Unable to bear any more arguing, tae whirled around and covered his face with his hands. If there was any decency left in him, Jungkook would go. He’d leave tae alone.
Tae’s nerves were raw, and the hair at the nape of his neck bristled as he heard jk walk toward him. The clipped pace of his steps did nothing to reassure him.
“Did he kiss you?”
“No!” Tae shouted, furious that he’d ask such an outrageous question.
“Good, because I’m going to.”
His hands moved over tae’s shoulders, clasping them, holding him in place.
“No.” Tae made one weak protest, but he didn’t know who he was talking to, jungkook or herself. Jungkook had kissed him once, the day of their wedding, and it had obsessed him ever since.
Tae couldn’t allow jungkook to destroy his equilibrium again, destroy his peace of mind.
Although tae resisted, jungkook turned him around to face him. Tae was on fire, and jk had barely touched him.
Jungkook took hold of his chin, his fingers firm, yet oddly gentle.
Without another word, he bent down and covered tae’s mouth with his own. Taehyung knew he shouldn’t let him do this. Not in the heat of anger. Not when they were fighting. Not when his kiss would only create a need for more. He tasted so good, so wonderful. It wasn’t fair.
Nothing about this so-called marriage was fair.
Jungkook moved his mouth over tae’s , shaping his lips with his own until tae moaned. It seemed to be what he was waiting for. The instant his lips parted, Jungkook’s tongue swept inside.
Shock waves vibrated through tae at the
small, ruthless movements of his tongue. Tae could feel himself melting against jk. The need continued to build within him, licking at his senses, growing hotter and stronger and fiercer….
Not satisfied with his lips alone, jungkook kissed his eyes, his throat, until tae felt as if he was about to ignite.
A frightening excitement exploded inside tae, going beyond mere pleasure and quickly advancing to a demand so intense there would be no turning back for them.
“Jungkook …no.” Tae braced his hands against Jk’s chest, wanting to use that leverage to break away.
“Yes,” jk countered with a groan. His arms circled tae’s waist, and he lifted him effortlessly from the floor, adjusting his hips against his own so he was aware of
what he was doing to him—of the need he’d created in him. Tae slipped his arms around Jk’s neck, inclined his head and kissed him back. He felt sensual, wanton…and a little scared.
A low, rough sound rumbled from deep within his throat.
“Jungkook …please, oh, please, we’ve got to stop.” Tae’s heart was reeling with excitement but he was terrified of where this might lead. Terrified that, after tonight, he’d never be able to live with a marriage that wasn’t a marriage.
“Not yet.”He pressed his lips to tae’s neck
running the tip of his tongue across the smooth skin of his throat and up the underside of his jaw. Tae threw back his head. A ribbon of warm pleasure braided its way down his spine.
Tae buried his fingers in jungkook’s hair and sighed, feeling breathless and hot.
So breathless he could barely gulp in enough air. So hot. Hotter than he’d ever been.
Jungkook lifted tae higher, leaning him against the kitchen counter. His hands worked the buttons of his blouse, sliding it from his shoulders.
“Tell me what you want,” he whispered, caressing
His thighs. stroking them as he spread delicate, moist kisses across tae’s neck.
“I …don’t know.” Tae replied, now dizzy.
“Funny, I do,” he countered with a lazy, sexy laugh. “You want me.”
Tae couldn’t disagree. He could barely speak as a coil of need tightened within him.
“Deny it.” His tongue moistened a trail from the hollow at the base of tae’s throat to his trembling chin.
“Me, neither.” He swept tae from the counter, shifting his weight until he was completely in his arms. He carried tae as if he weighed nothing at all and headed
out of the kitchen. He paused to turn off the light.
“Jungkook .” Tae had to say something before it was too late. “We’ll regret this in the morning.” Even as he spoke, he wound his arms around jungkook’s neck.
“Maybe.” He didn’t bother to deny it, but it didn’t stop him, either
Taehyung’s bedroom was dark. Moonlight splashed through the open drapes, and jungkook slowly lowered tae onto the bed.
There was no turning back now.
They were silent afterward, their breathing labored, their chests heaving. Jungkook wished tae would say something. Anything.
Tae didn’t, and slowly reality returned, inexplicably linked with the glory of what they’d shared.
Jungkook kissed tae softly, gently, with none of the urgency he’d felt earlier. He slid his fingers into the silky length of his hair and sighed with satisfaction.
He kissed tae again, reveling in his warm, sweet taste. Jungkook longed for tae to tell him he experienced no remorse over their lovemaking. He’d been so angry, such a jealous idiot, and one thing had led to another. Before he could stop it, they were making love.
Tae had warned him, claimed they’d be left with regrets, but he felt none. Only a powerful sense of honesty. Jk realized his weight was too much for tae, but when he tried to move, tae resisted, tightening his hold on him, hooking his ankles over jungkook’s .
“Don’t leave me,” tae whispered.
“No.” He had no intention of doing so. “But I’m too heavy for you.”
“Stay with me like this. Please.” Tae stroked his back, his touch featherlight. He would stay like this because tae asked, but only for a little while. They both needed sleep and
the thought of waking up beside tae thrilled jungkook almost as much as the memory of everything they’d done together in the last hour. The silvery moonlight illuminated tae’s face. He noticed that his eyes were languorous, his face flushed with pleasure.
His lips were turned up slightly in a secret smile. A serene, smile. Just watching him, loving him, brought jungkook peace. Because he did love tae, and he was astonished that he hadn’t recognized it earlier. Astonished at his own lack of perception.
The love he felt for tae burned within his chest, literally burned. The depth of emotion he felt had everything to do with this man, and the profound pleasure he’d experienced was only part of that. Tae’s skin felt like silk beneath his hands as he brushed his fingertips down the
side of his face. Tae sighed, and his breath caught in his throat.
Rarely had jungkook experienced such contentment. The magnitude of it left him feeling weak and humble. Tucking his arms securely around tae’s waist, he rolled onto his back, taking tae with him.
hello lovelies, I’ll continue this in the morning.. hope you all are liking the new arc to our story. Keep reading
Good morning i am here for a small update! Please give your love
Tae made a small sound of surprise, then smiled peacefully, nestled his head on jungkook’s chest and closed his eyes. Within minutes, tae was asleep.
Slumber didn’t claim jk as quickly. He remained in awe of the emotions crowding his heart.
For years he’d been blind and deaf when it came to his feelings for Taehyung . Others had seen it. Namjoon had immediately recognized the love jk felt for tae and said as much. Jk had been quick to laugh and deny what was obvious to everyone but himself.
It had taken an argument
to push him over the edge, push them both past the point of no return. If he had any regrets, it was that this discovery had come so late—and on the heels of a heated exchange.
He sighed and watched tae in the moonlight.
He slept, utterly tranquil, and his heart swelled with a love so strong it was all he could do not to wake him and tell him what he was feeling. He wanted to, but it would be selfish not to let him sleep. He kissed his temple and closed his eyes, content to keep his
husband secure in his arms. Sometime toward dawn, jungkook woke. Taehyung was sleeping on his side and jk was cuddling him, their bodies pressed intimately together. He smiled, a smile that came from his heart. They were like a long-married couple, completely comfortable with
each other, as though they’d been sleeping together for years. This was exactly what jungkook intended, to continue sleeping with tae night after night for the rest of their lives. They’d grow old that way, gracefully, together. God willing, they’d raise several children,
who’d be sheltered by the love their parents shared. Jungkook stirred once more a little after six. Yawning, he stretched his arms. He’d been working a lot of extra hours on a contract Boeing had with the government and he needed to get to work soon, despite the weekend.
He slipped out of bed and gazed down on tae, then leaned over and gently kissed his forehead. Hurrying to the shower, he whistled a cheerful tune.
In a joyous mood, jungkook sang at the top of his lungs. He expected tae to be awake when he returned to the bedroom,
but was disappointed to discover he was still asleep. He dressed and went out the door. He’d phone tae later, as soon as he had a chance. He tended to get involved in his work and forget about the time, but he’d try not to let that happen. They had to talk.
Taehyung woke at eight. Although he was sleeping on his side, facing the wall, he sensed almost immediately that jungkook had gone.
He’d left without a word. Abandoned tae to deal with the emptiness of the morning. Alone. Closing his eyes, tae bit his lower lip.
The feeling of betrayal, of total isolation, was unlike anything he’d ever experienced.
Their argument played back in tae’s mind, over and over. Every ugly word they’d said, the accusations, the hurt, echoed in his mind, taunting him again and again.
Jungkook’s reaction the night before made perfect sense in the bright light of morning. It must’ve been more than his pride could take to find tae with Floyd. Something inside jungkook had cracked. His evening with Floyd, no matter how innocent, must’ve been too much for jungkook
He’d reacted in anger and pain, not because he cared. The reason for his outburst was directly related to his male ego. What had started out as an argument had eventually progressed to a physical exchange.
Jungkook had kissed tae. First in anger. Then in need.
A need fed by frustration and jealousy. He might not want a real marriage, but his pride demanded at least the pretense.
The image of his husband standing in his kitchen was unforgettable. He’d been furious with tae. Although he’d had his back to him at the time,
tae knew he’d outraged him when he’d said that their marriage was the biggest mistake of his life. A terrible tension had followed, so impenetrable that Taehyung doubted he could’ve said or done anything to relieve it. Sitting up in bed, tae pushed his tangled hair away from face
Jungkook hadn’t kissed tae for any of the right reasons. He’d done it because he hadn’t believed tae. He assumed Floyd had kissed him, and he couldn’t tolerate another person cheating on him—even if it was only in his imagination. During all the years of their friendship,
tae had seen jungkook as distinct from the other men he’d known. That had been the first of several mistakes. Jungkook was exactly like them, competitive and territorial.
All these thoughts crowded Taehyung’s mind because he refused to believe another person will love him truly
A few weeks earlier, jungkook attempted to set him up with his engineering friend, jin whatever-his-name-was. Now jungkook couldn’t stand him speaking to another man, even someone as blameless as Floyd Bacon. Good grief, Floyd was married! Did jungkook honestly think he’d stoop
to that level? Apparently he did, which didn’t say much for his opinion of tae.
Tae had never seen jungkook act more irrational. He’d refused to listen to his explanation, had been rude and arrogant in the extreme. And for what reason? None! At least none tae could understand.
What he’d said about their being married was true enough—on paper. But their relationship wasn’t any different now than it had been before the ceremony.
Except that it was. Everything tae had feared was coming to pass.
They’d been married a month, and look what had happened.
It wouldn’t depress tae quite as much if jungkook hadn’t left him to face the morning alone. The questions tormented him, eroding his pride and self-confidence.
If only he’d said something afterward.
If only tae had said something.
It had all been so beautiful. Their lovemaking had captured his heart, his soul.
Tae had longed to tell him everything he was feeling, but he’d been afraid. Afraid jungkook hadn’t experienced the same wonder. Afraid he’d be embarrassed.
Afraid he had regrets. Tae couldn’t have borne knowing that, not when everything had been so perfect for him. Evidently he’d had second thoughts, otherwise he wouldn’t have abandoned tae, slipping away like a thief in the night.
Reluctantly, tae climbed out of bed and into the shower. The pulsating spray struck his skin like dull needles. The need to release his anguish in the form of tears left his throat aching and raw, but he refused to cry. Tae didn’t have the time. It was his turn to work the
Saturday morning shift at the bank. He was already behind schedule. Wrapping a towel around himself , tae went back into his bedroom—and came to a sudden stop. He covered his cheeks with his hands, mortified to find his carelessly discarded clothes from one end of the room to the
Other. The memory of how eager they’d been for each other added to his shame and humiliation. Tae dressed quickly, then hung last night’s clothes in the farthest reaches of his closet and hurried out the door, not bothering with more than a cup of instant coffee.
Jungkook tried phoning tae at quarter to ten. Surely he’d be up and about by then. The phone rang three times before he was invited to “leave a message.” He hung up. Later, he promised himself. He’d try later.
It was noon before he had a chance to call again.
When tae still didn’t answer, he became irritated and set the receiver down harder than he’d intended. He couldn’t stop thinking about tae, the man had crowded his mind. Every second every minute he was reminded of how good it felt to finally touch his husband
But why was Taehyung avoiding him? Did he not feel the same? Was he regretting his actions? Terrible thoughts started scaring jungkook. He slumped on his chair, his head down.. anxious eyes.
“Problems?” Jin asked, walking into Jk’s office.
Jungkook did his best to appear nonchalant.
“Don’t try to kid me,” jin said, sitting on the corner of Jk’s desk, his left foot dangling. “I know the look when I see it—I’ve worn it often enough myself. You’ve got love problems.”
It wouldn’t do any good to deny it, so he said nothing.
“Not this time.”
Jin’s eyebrows shot upward. “Someone else? You’ve been lying low lately. I didn’t know you were seeing anyone.”
“I’m not…exactly.” It was a half-truth, which also made it a half lie.
He wasn’t seeing anyone. He was a married man, only jin didn’t know that and jk wasn’t in any mood to announce it now. Not when he didn’t know what was going on between him and tae.
Last night had been good for them. Every time he remembered their lovemaking, his head spun and