#taekookau where Taehyung is counting on the passage of time, to help him fix things with his ex boyfriend
"It's been seven years. There's a chance he's willing to... You know, try again. "
Jimin merely stares at him.
"Tae, you cheated on him. " He whispers. " He hates you."
Or 8 years ago, Chaebol heirs, Jungkook and Taehyung had the biggest, messiest break up that Seoul's High Society had ever seen. Infidelity, drugs, assault, you name it, their story had it.
But now, both Kim Corp and Jeon Inc. Have announced their impending nuptials.
The question is, how on earth did Jeon Jungkook agree?
Heavy Angst/ Arranged Marriage.
Fashion Designer Tae/ Professional Gamer Jungkook.
Enemies to lovers?
Morally Ambiguous Characters
Finally a jk you guys may not loveHappy Ending.
"A professional gamer. " Jeon Jaehwan gave his brother an unimpressed look. " You want to play video games while I sit here, watching the walls of our father's empire crash and burn around us. "
Jungkook lit the cigarette tucked between his lips with a small grin.
"Don't look at me like that, " He shrugged, " I made more money last month than dad's business made the entire fiscal year. "
Jaehwan rolled his eyes.
"It's not about the money Jungkook. It's about the Jeon family name. You have an equal responsibility in upholding it. "
Jungkook scoffed at that. He had never been a fan of his father's exclusive upscale bars. And he wasn't at all surprised that the whole thing had failed quite spectacularly over the years. In a world that was all about inclusion, exclusivity didn't sell much , in his opinion.
But he wasn't an asshole. At least not entirely. He knew that his brother wasn't responsible for the way things turned out. No that honor went to his father. Exclusively. He liked his hyung. He didn't want to make his life difficult.
"I want to help, hyung. " He said honestly.
"But, I built my name in the gaming community with a lot of hard work and it's just starting to pay off. I intend to make a lot of money, fuck a lot of women and then retire before my balls start sagging. " He smiled. " So I'm not going behind a desk. "
He took a long drag off his cig.
"Anything else you need me to do, I'll do. " He shrugged.
Jaehwan gave him a calculative look.
"As long as it's reasonable. " He said carefully, " And doesn't interfere with my personal life in any way. "
"Marriage." He said simply.
Jungkook's brows rose.
"Excuse me? "
"The Kims are willing to invest in our company and they're also willing to include our bars in their high end luxury hotels and resorts. On the condition that you marry their son. "
"The whore? " Jungkook said casually. " Hard pass. " He blew out the cigarette smoke watching it dissolve in the air conditioned air of hia brother's corner office, on the 101st floor of Jeon Enterprises. " I don't want to catch whatever he's carrying around."
Jaehwan laughed at that.
"Is this the same Jungkook who used to worship the ground Kim Taehyung used to walk on. "
"I think you mean slither on. " Jungkook said casually. " And no, sorry, the old Jungkook can't come to the phone right now. Cos he's dead. " He smiled.
Jaehwan sighed, shaking his head.
"They're good people. " He said quietly. " They value traditions a lot and you know they really want this thing to work out between you and Taehyung. His father's been hounding me and I'm desperate. Help me out here, Jungkook. "
Jungkook gave his brother a thoughtful smile. He had had an inkling that this was what his brother was going to suggest. And well, he already knew he was going to say yes. But still, better safe than sorry.
"How desperate? " He asked casually.
"What do you mean? "
"How desperate are you to make this work hyung? Desperate enough to say... Convince Taehyung that I... Want to give our relationship another chance? " He grinned.
Jaehwan frowned deeply.
"What does that mean.. " He shook his head. " Jungkook... What are you planning? "
Jungkook shook his head.
"I'm not telling you all that hyung. Plausible deniability and all that. "He waved his hand a little, "But yeah, I'll do this, on the condition that you meet him first and tell him that I never stopped loving him. That I want this to be a real marriage."
Jaehwan stared at him.
"Jungkook." he said quietly. " You're not seventeen anymore. I know things went wrong back then but I don't think you should-"
"not desperate enough , I see." Jungkook smiled dropping the cigarette on the carpet and stubbing it out with his shoe. " Bye."
"For the love of... Wait. Jungkook...fuck ..." he groaned. " How on earth am I going to make him believe that?"
"I'm not doing all the work for you hyung. You need to earn that investment you're gagging for. " he grinned. " So go on, get creative."
Jaehwan watched as his brother turned on his heel, stalking out of his office without another word. As the younger son, Jungkook had always caught the short end of the stick with their dad. The only person he had ever loved and trusted was Taehyung.
He sighed shaking his head.
He had a feeling Jungkook was going to regret this.
Taehyung leaned over the table carefully marking the length of the sleeve and the curve of it, before reaching for his trusty scissors. He cut the rich fabric along the mark, smiling as he saw the dress in his head come along perfectly, just like he envisioned.
This was his favorite thing in the whole world. To conjure up something breathtaking in his head and then bring it to life under his fingertips.
It was so rewarding.
"Taehyung oppa, someone's here to see you. " His assistant said brightly and he startled.
"See me? " Who? "
He glanced over his shoulder, and his eyes widened when he realized who it was.
"Jae hyung?" He exclaimed, smiling wide despite himself. He almost rushed to wrap him in a hug when his mind finally caught up to who he actually was.
His smile froze.
He scratched the back of his head nervously.
"Hey ..." he said hesitantly. " What brings you here hyung... its a long drive from Gangnam." he chuckled awkwardly.
Jeon Jaehwan merely stared at him.
"How have you been Tae?" he whispered.
Taehyung blinked a little, taken aback by the question.
When was the last time someone had asked him that? When was the last time someone had cared enough to?
He shook his head.
"Still here." he chuckled,
although most days I don't want to be, his mind said helpfully.
"Did your parents talk about the... proposal with us?"
"I'm sorry about that, hyung. They're unbelievable. I know Jungkook has every right to be furious about them even suggesting it. I apologize on their behalf." he whispered.
Jaehwan cleared his throat.
"About that..." he swallowed, looking nervous. " Taehyung, uh...I don't know how to say this but Jungkook asked me to do this so I'm just going to ..." he took a deep breath, " My brother still has feelings for you. He.. wants to marry you."
Taehyung felt a sharp instinctive flash of disbelief. A vivid flash of his intuition going, ' he's lying' . But he was too shocked by the words to pay much attention to it.
"I..what?" his mouth was dry.
"Jungkook said if you want to give the relationship
another chance, he would be willing to work with you..On this marriage. Which would be a real one." Jaehwan looked away, not meeting his eyes.
"Oh." Taehyung stared down at the fabric in his hands, not quite able to process what he was hearing. His mind was numb.
He wasn't ready to meet Jungkook yet. No.
He needed a little more time.
He didn't want to meet Jungkook without proving his innocence. He had promised himself that years ago. He wouldn't ever approach the other until the day he had concrete proof that he had never cheated on him.
And while he was still far from having the proof he needed , he knew he would find it soon. Taehyung wasn't a cheater. He would never betray Jungkook like that. But someone had set him up , had faked a video of him having sex with some stranger and sent it to Jungkook.
Eighteen year old Taehyung had no way of defending himself back then. Jungkook had watched the video, deleted it right after and promptly broken up with him. Taehyung had no way of proving his innocence. But things were different now. If only he could get his hands on that video.
"Taehyung?" Jaehwan cleared his throat.
"Oh.." Taehyung bit his lips. " That's..." he shook his head.
"Its alright. You can take your time. If you do want to give him another chance, here's his card. It has his personal number on it. You should call him."
Tae took the card.
He couldn't believe it.
Had Jungkook really forgiven him.
Was it true, Jungkook had also missed him deeply over the years? Taehyung knew Jungkook had no other relationship after him. Was this why?
Did he really love him?
He felt his heart leap at that.
"It's been seven years. Apparently he's willing to... You know, try again."
Jimin merely stared at him
"Tae, you cheated on him. " He whispered. " He hates you."
Tae played with his food. He hadn't told Jimin the truth. Mostly because he was terrified he wouldn't believe him.
Jimin merely assumed he'd gotten drunk and had sex with someone. Taehyung had let the misunderstanding stay.
"We loved each other a lot, Jimin. " He said quietly. " And Jungkook always was the most sweet and tender person. I'm just grateful hes giving me a chance."
Jimin shook his head.
"Taehyung, this still seems a bit too... " He sighed. " Are you sure he isn't planning to get back at you or something? "
"Shut up, Jungkookie would never do something like that. " He snapped. " You don't know him like I do. "
Jimin exhaled, shaking his head.
"So what, you're going to marry him? " He asked quietly. " Just like that? "
Taehyung took a deep breath and then nodded.
"Yeah." He said with a smile, nodding some more. " Yeah, I am. "
Jungkook stood in front of the mirror, carefully fixing his tie into a perfect little dress knot, his hair slightly disheveled and the rest of him immaculately put together.
Today was the day. Everything had to be perfect.
"When are you meeting him, again? "
The woman on the bed was dressed in his t shirt and nothing less. She had a tattoo on her neck, and bright red lips from clubbing the previous night. While Jungkook liked hooking up with different people, Jihyo was sort of a friend. Someone he had known for years.
He grunted, reaching for the blow dryer and the styling gel.
"And you're gonna just marry him after? " She rolled her eyes, " Seems quite unlike you, to be settling down like that. "
"Who said anything about settling down. This is just for a few months. "
He grabbed his cologne dabbing it into his skin.
"So what, after a few months you're just going to dump him? " She looked curious.
"No." Jungkook shook his head. " No, he's going to dump me. " He smiled.
"You're cruel. "
"I know. "
Taehyung sat at the corner table of the posh restaurant, playing with his fingers as ge stared at the polished glass table, catching the look of apprehension in his own face. He wasn't sure what to say, what to do. Jungkook would be here in a few minutes. And he was nervous.
Seven years was a long time. And he wasn't sure how those years had shaped Jungkook. Seventeen year old Jungkook had been so very sweet and adorable. He knew that Jungkook looked very fierce these days, with his lean muscled body and tattooed arms. But that was just physical.
Taehyung was more concerned about the kind of man Jungkook was now. Was he lindor ruthless? Stoic or open? Witty and outgoing or brooding and quiet?
Did he still like the same things?
Did he really forgive Taehyung?
He closed his eyes. While it was true he hadn't cheated,
There were still a number of things Taehyung was sorry about.
He had been a terrible boyfriend back then, a fact that he could accept and acknowledge now. It hadn't been a healthy relationship, and Jungkook had definitely suffered the most from it.
This was going to be his chance to make amends, he promised himself. This was so much more than he deserved and he would accept it with the gratefulness that was due. He had to make it up to Jungkook for the years.
He had to.
"Hyung? " Jungkook's low voice made him jump.
Taehyung blinked up at the younger, his head spinning a little because Jungkook was taller. A lot taller. And broader. And handsome.
So handsome his voice deserted him and all he could do was stare at him in shock.
Jungkook was smiling slightly.
"Been a while, huh? "
Taehyung watched as the younger settled into the seat opposite his, relaxed and at ease as he flagged down a waiter.
"Can i have a.. " Taehyung could only stare as Jungkook rattled off the year and name of a wine before turning to him. "Is that ok? "
He could only nod.
He felt like he was watching a stranger. Something about Jungkook felt off. Too casual, too confident. Or was he being paranoid because of his own guilt?
Once the waiter left, Jungkook turned to him and smiled.
"How have you been, hyung? "
Taehyung licked his lips.
There was a levity and sweetness in jungkook's voice that didn't really reach his eyes. And Jungkook's eyes had always been the most expressive part of him. Open and honest no matter what he was feeling. Taehyung stared at them, feeling oddly wary.
This felt like a stranger.
He cleared his throat.
"I've been well. " He said quietly. He felt uneasy under Jungkook's gaze.
"I'm glad to hear that hyung. " Jungkook said quietly and there was a ring of truth to the words that made him look up. "I missed you a lot, Tae. " He whispered.
Taehyung stared at him, not quite trusting himself to respond.
Jungkook however, didn't seem burdened by reluctance or worry. He looked so certain that Taehyung couldn't find any dishonesty there.
"I know what you're thinking.. " Jungkook whispered.
"You're thinking about the last time we met and how things ended. " He sighed deeply. " But hyung, I'm just here to tell you that I want to put all that behind me. Because the truth is, you were my first love and I...want to give us another chance. " He said sincerely.
"Jungkook, " Taehyung said quietly, " I'm so-"
"Please don't apologize hyung. " Jungkook said quietly. " We were really young back then, you and I. Hell I wasn't even eighteen. " He chuckled, "and well, I'm not that young, impulsive kid anymore. " He smiled. " I want you back."
Tae held his gaze even as Jungkook reached across the table holding his hand out. Taehyung stared at the tattooed fingers and looked back up at the younger.
"Let's start over, hyung. " Jungkook said softly. " For the sake of our younger selves. We owe them that much, right?"
Taehyung owed seventeen years old Jungkook a lot. And if this is what he wanted, who was he to deny it, really? He smiled softly, biting his lower lip before carefully placing his hand in Jungkook's own.
"Okay." He whispered. " I... I would like that a lot, Jungkookie."
Jungkook hung back near the waiting area, watching as Taehyung stood in front of the large full length mirrors, the shopgirl fussing over his waistcoat as she fitted him for his wedding suit.
Jungkook was already done with his. He really needed a smoke.
Jimin's soft voice made him glance up. He gave the other a small nod. After the break up, their friend group had sort of split apart. And while everyone had taken Jungkook's side, Jimin had stood by Taehyung. Loyal to a fault, Jungkook thought with a grimace.
"Hi, Jimin hyung. " Jungkook said brightly, his smile on point and his tone as cheerful as a newly engaged man would be. Jimin was watching him carefully.
"You look good. " Jimin said casually. " Not that scrawny kid I used to know. "
"Well, time flies."
Jimin hummed, tilting his head thoughtfully.
"How much can time change a person though? " He said casually. " Five years, ten years.. Can it really change the essence of who someone is? Do you really believe that Jungkook? "
"What doesn't that mean? "
"The Jungkook I remember was very kind and gentle, but also smart. Has any of that changed over the years? I wonder.. " He said quietly.
Jungkook stiffened at that.
"Of course not. " He snapped. " I'm still me. Of course I am. "
"And yet you think Taehyung has changed? " He asked casually. " That he's no longer the unfaithful, selfish person you once dated? " He shook his head. "Tell me Jungkook, are you really that naive, or are you just so much smarter than everyone in this room? "
Jungkook kept his expression even.
"I'm neither naive nor smart. " He said casually. " People forgive the people they love. That's neither impossible nor wrong. "
"Yes. Forgiving someone who cheated on you is, commendable. But marrying them? " He shook his head.
"What exactly are you upto, Jeon Jungkook? "
Jungkook stared at the older man for a few seconds, eyes flashing with disdain. Jimin didn't miss the fury there, and filed it away in his mind, even as Jungkook fixed his features into a smile, a soft chuckle leaving him.
" Hyung do you really have to be this paranoid? "
Jungkook shook his head thoughtfully.
"Why not just be happy for him? " He said softly, turning his gaze on Taehyung who was smiling and exchanging small talk with the assistant.
Jimin glanced back at his best friend and then turned back to Jungkook.
"Don't hurt him".
His voice was low and even, not a warning or threat but not really a pleasure either. It was a matter of fact statement. A suggestion. An advice. Almost.
Jungkook held his gaze for a few seconds.
"We're all responsible for our own hurt, Jimin hyung. That's the truth. "
Jimin looked ready to respond but a loud, " Jimin ah! " Came from behind them making the older turn away. Taehyung was calling for him and Jimin smiled before turning back to Jungkook and meeting his eyes.
"And we're all responsible for our own actions too, jungkook ah. "
There was a press conference. A public announcement as well. A Betrothal party on the rooftop restaurant overlooking the Han river and another formal engagement party a few weeks later with their friends and family.
Taehyung found himself whisked back and forth.
Between appointments and decorations and what not, he didn't get much of a chance to talk or spend time with Jungkook the way he wanted to. Which is why, when the younger asked to pick him up for dinner , Taehyung rushed to agree.
"It's a beautiful night. "
Taehyung said softly, leaning against the railing of the balcony, looking out into the gardens surrounding the private hotel. Jungkook stood right behind him, and a second later his arms came to hold the railing on either side of his body, caging Taehyung in. His pulse raced.
"Yes, it is hyung. " Jungkook said softly, his voice low and breath hot against the bare skin for Taehyung's neck. " Tell me hyung, did you miss me too, all these years? "
Taehyung felt his gut churn at the memories.
"So much that I wanted to die from it. " He whispered.
Jungkook chuckled softly.
" That's a very satisfying answer. " He said quietly and the cryptic response made Taehyung blink a little in confusion. When he turned around, ready to ask him what he meant by that, Jungkook pushed in catching his lips in a kiss.
Taehyung's back hit the railing, hands coming up to grip the other's shoulders in surprise. He blinked rapidly, eyes falling on a number of people behind them, some of them taking pictures of the kiss. He felt his face flame as he gently pushed at Jungkook's chest.
Jungkook drew back, just enough to put a little space between them.
"What's wrong? " He asked briskly, a small smidgen of annoyance in his tone as he frowned at him. Taehyung felt uneasy, pointing at the people behind them, who were turning away now.
"Oh." Jungkook smirked.
He turned around smiling wide.
"I know what you're thinking. " He said loudly. " Why is this idiot marrying the guy who cheated on him, right? "
Taehyung flinched as Jungkook drew him closer.
"The answer to that is, because I want to. Because we both want to. Right hyung? "
Taehyung felt something coil in the pit of his stomach. Something thick and slimy and heavy and unsettling. Jungkook was looking at him in a way that made him feel naked and vulnerable. Like a sitting duck just waiting for the Hunter's bullet to pierce right through its heart.
But then the younger was laughing and drawing him close, missing him on the forehead and hugging him tight.
"Let's not dwell on the past hyung. " He said quietly. " What matters is that you're here now. With me. Right? "
Tae clung to him, a little disoriented by his words.
Let's not dwell on the past, Jungkook had said.
And yet, he was the one who had brought it up in front of everyone.
Taehyung felt cold and confused.
On their drive home that night, Taehyung stayed very quiet. The truth was, he wanted to clear things up. He wanted Jungkook to know that he hadn't cheated on him. But the problem was, he had no proof.
"Jungkook.. " He said softly, as the younger pulled in front of his home.
Jungkook looked right ahead, seemingly lost in thought.
"Jungkook... " He said firmly, a bit louder. The younger turned to him then, a blank look on his face. He then smiled, slow and careful.
"Yes, hyung? " He reached out, cupping his face. " What's wrong? "
Taehyung closed his eyes as Jungkook ran a thumb over his lower lip, soft and gentle.
"Do you.. " He gasped as Jungkook leaned in, kissing him again. This time it was a lot harder, with more intent. Taehyung felt heat lick up his spine as Jungkook pressed into him.
"Can I come up, hyung? " The younger whispered. " Please? I missed you so fucking much hyung. Miss having you under me.. Miss touching you.. Seeing you come undone in my arms.. " He whispered between kisses and Taehyung felt like he was free falling off a cliff.
( Cw : implied underage sex in the past jk is 17 t is 18.)
A part of him wanted to ask Jungkook to wait, but there was a part of him that had missed this so badly. Jungkook was the only one he'd ever been with. His first and his only. He missed intimacy. He missed Jungkook.
And before he could get his thoughts in order, Jungkook was reaching across his lap, and undoing his seat belt, before grabbing his waist and tugging him closer.
He loves you, a voice whispered, that's why he wants you so badly. Don't say no now. Don't fuck things up again.
In the end, Taehyung's desperate wish to make things better won over. As Jungkook pressed kisses to the side of his jaw, asking for the key to his apartment, he slipped a hand into his pocket and handed it over to the younger.
"Jungkook.. " Taehyung said quietly, staring at the younger as he sat up against the headboard, scrolling through his phone, texting someone.
The clock on the wall read 2.00AM. If Taehyung wasn't so nervous, he may have wondered who Jungkook was talking to that late.
The younger didn't respond, smiling into his phone and occasionally chuckling.
Taehyung cleared his throat.
"Jungkookie.. " He tried again and Jungkook stiffened.
"Don't call me that. " He snapped.
Taehyung recoiled, surprised by the vehemence in his tone.
Jungkook grimaced, running a hand over his face and swearing.
"Sorry hyung. " He said stiffly. " Just.. It makes me feel like a kid. " He chuckled forcibly. " Sorry. Didn't mean to snap at you. "
"I'm sorry. " He said quietly. " It's just.. Can we talk?"
"Talk? About what? " He asked casually.
"About what happened between us? "
Jungkook smiled a little.
"Right now? The sex? " He laughed. "Sure.. Let's talk... "
Taehyung smiled hesitantly although he wasn't entirely sure what he was smiling at.
"Jungkook... That's not.. " He cleared his throat. " I meant before. You know when we were younger. "
The smile on Jungkook's face faded very rapidly.
"Hyung, I told you I don't want to-"
"Do you still have that video? " He asked urgently. " I just... I wanted to ask you that. "
Jungkook stared at him.
"The video of you getting fucked by another guy? " He asked softly. " Do you think I would still have that? Why would I have that? " He demanded.
Taehyung stared down at his hands.
"Fuck.. " Jungkook swore, moving to gently hold his hand. " Hyung, don't bring that up. I told you I wanted to let things go. I told you I want to move on. I don't want to relive it all. You were drunk. Shit happened. Fine. Let's move on. "
I didn't sleep with anyone, Tae wanted to say. But he held his tongue. Because Jungkook looked furious and somehow Tae had the feeling it would only make him madder, if he told him he never cheated on him. He couldn't tell him. Not yet.
He had to find that video. By himself.
"I don't want to start this thing, dwelling on whatever unpleasantness is there in our past." Jungkook said softly, linking their fingers together. " I want to start a new hyung. Don't you want that? "
Taehyung nodded, squeezing back and smiling weakly.
The next day Tae called Park Seojoon. Seojoon was a friend he had made during an exchange program in college.The older man specialized in cyber security and was an ethical hacker, one of the best in his field.
"If someone sent him the video, there's a chance I can find it."
"What do I have to do? " He asked softly.
"Nothing for now, Taehyungah... If he's really wanting to move forward, why don't you focus on that? On building your relationship again? If he's willing to try again despite being hurt, he must really love you a lot. "
"I'll be back in Seoul in a couple of months. " He said briskly. " Once I get there, I can get better access to all the resources I'll be needing to find out if the video was edited in some way. Digital footprints are hard to erase. We'll get the guy who did this. "
After their little tiff, Taehyung didn't bring up the video or their past again. The wedding was sneaking up on them and there was a ton of stuff to be done every single day. His parents and Jungkook's parents were of course overjoyed.
Jungkook himself was the perfect fiance.
They had dinner dates almost every other day and Taehyung had pretty much moved into the younger's apartment. Jungkook was different from how he remembered him but every now and then, when it was just the two of them, he caught glimpses of the old Jungkook and it warmed him.
He stopped obsessing over proving his innocence, because Jungkook truly seemed to have forgiven him.
Every night as he lay curled up against the younger's cheat, Taehyung felt his own hurt slowly start to fade away.
Maybe this was okay. Maybe he could be happy after all.
Taehyung met all of Jungkook's friends, and Jimin soon hit it off with one of Jungkook's best man , a producer named Min Yoongi. Taehyung felt himself blooming under Jungkook's attention and affection and soon the past felt like nothing more than a bad dream, almost forgotten.
Although the wedding itself was a private affair, there were enough news outlets at the venue to make him nervous. Jungkook held his hand in the car as they reached the place early that morning. They would be getting ready in the large suites on the top floor.
"I can't wait to see you at the altar. " Taehyung whispered, cupping Jungkook's face and kissing him sweetly. " Thank you for this Jungkook. You've been so wonderful to me. Your love is so precious..I just.. I promise I'll spend the rest of my life being worthy of it. "
Jungkook smiled at him, holding him tight.
"Let's do this then. " The younger said softly. " Let's get married hyung. "
As Taehyung stepped into the suite, he jumped, eyes going wide as he saw who was sitting on the couch there.
"Seojoon hyung! " He said excitedly, wrapping both his arms around him and hugging him tight.
"Tae! " The other laughed lifting him up and spinning him around.
"How are you doing? " Seojoon asked gently, " You're glowing Taehyung. "
Tae laughed aloud at that.
"Of course I am. " He grinned. " It's the happiest day of my life. But hyung, I thought you were going to only be back by the end of the month. What are you doing here? "
Seojoon smiled wide.
"I pulled a few strings. I wanted to give you your wedding present in person. " He held up a small pendrive. " Guess what I have here?"
Taehyung felt his eyes go wide.
"Not just the video. But evidence that it was digitally manipulated."
Taehyung smiled softly at that.
To his own surprise he didn't feel the kind of relief heay have felt a year or two years ago. He was already at his happiest.
"Hyung.. " He said softly. " Why don't you hold onto that. " He whispered. " I don't.. Want it right now. "
Seojoon looked surprised.
"Tae.. What are you saying? Don't you want to show this to Jungkook?! "
Tae bit his lips before shaking his head.
"Not today hyung. If he sees this, he'll feel guilty for doubting me all these years. I don't want him to feel bad on our special day."
Seojoon stared at him, a worried look on his face.
"Taehyung are you sure? The reason I bought this today was I wanted you guys to start your marriage without any misunderstanding between each other. "
Tae shook his head.
"I'll show it to him. " He said softly. " But later."
( to be continued) are you guys liking it so far
Jaehwan leaned back against his chair, watching the wedding proceedings. His eyes stayed on his brother, dressed like a prince and with the good looks to match. Jungkook really did look like every fairytale come true, and Tae clearly thought he had finally got his happy ending.
The older man sighed deeply, a sick feeling of apprehension and worry inside him. He wasn't entirely sure what Jungkook was up to, and for the past couple months, watching Jungkook with Taehyung, he had actually wondered if maybe Jungkook had changed his mind about getting even.
But this morning, Jungkook had come into his study in the early hours of the day, to confirm if Taehyung's father had signed the deal on the investment.
"This whole charade would be a waste if we don't get the money hyung. " He had said casually and Jaehwan had felt cold.
Could someone really fake a relationship to this point? He didn't think. So. He was pretty certain Jungkook still had feelings for Taehyung. It was just that, they weren't strong enough to mask the hurt Jungkook had gone through, with Taehyung.
He stared down at his feet.
At times, Jaehwan couldn't help but feel guilty about what had happened back then. Taehyung had been young and reckless, rebellious and struggling with his mental health. He had been popular and smart, the quintessential golden boy, with a hundred admirers.
Jungkook had been a naive 16yr old, sweet and wide eyed. Jungkook had taken one look at Taehyung and had been instantly smitten. And while Taehyung had adored Jungkook a lot, it was clear that the two were poles apart in terms of what they wanted.
He should have intervened.
But it was hard to blame anyone. Kids were kids. And it didn't help that the tabloids had been on Taehyung's case with a vengeance. The moment Taehyung had turned eighteen they had pretty much hounded him wherever he went. With a rich father and a super famous mother,
The poor boy had always been under scrutiny, never allowed to be the child that he actually was. And maybe that was why things had gone the way they had.
As the priest called for the two to step forward, the congregation stood. Jaehwan did as well.
He watched as Jungkook and Taehyung exchanged vows. He watched as they said their I dos.
Watched as they kissed to cheers and applause.
But he didn't applaud.
Jeon Jaehwan stood with his hands in his pockets and when he brother turned around to look at him, he shook his head.
Jungkook merely smiled and it was nothing like the kid Jaehwan had grown up with. It was the smile of someone cruel. Someone hurt.
That one act of betrayal had destroyed Jungkook's faith and trust, not just on Taehyung but on love itself.
And there was nothing he could do.
"So.." Jihyo said casually, taking a small sip of her coffee. " The video we recorded. When do you want me to post it? "
Jungkook, who was staring at the light show on the waterfront, eyes reflecting the Han River's rolling waves, gave her a non-committal hum.
Jihyo nodded, not saying anything else. Jungkook was different. There had always been an arrogance to his demeanor, a certain devil may care attitude, an insolence if you will. It was attractive in bed, insufferable out of it. But she put up with it. Because she loved him.
Not romantically. But well, loved him nonetheless.
"You haven't been meeting the rest of the gang? And you turned down another tournament. Your rank's going down. The others are worried. "
"I'm still streaming. And playing. And making money. "
He turned to her.
"Have you ever cheated on anyone? " He asked casually.
Jihyo blinked a few times.
"That guy you were dating two years ago. Daniel? Was that his name? You cheated on him didn't you? "
Jihyo rolled her eyes.
"Why are you bringing that up? "
Jungkook leaned in.
"Why did you do it? " He asked softly.
Jihyo stared at him, frowning.
"It just happened. " She shrugged. " I didn't think about it too much. "
Jungkook stared at her.
"You didn't care that you were hurting him? That it? "
"What is this really about? " She demanded. " Yeah it was a terrible thing to do and yeah I wish I hadn't done it but it's not something I think about. It happened and I moved on. "
"Of course you did. You fucked his life up and you moved on. "
Jungkook.. " She said softly, eyes wide.
"You know what? " He shook his head. " It doesn't matter. You didn't care about him. So you moved on. Makes sense. But what about him? Do you even care about what you did to him? Or is that too much of an inconvenience for you? "
"Guys probably still out there wondering why he isn't enough. Wondering what the fuck he did wrong for you to do that to him? But who cares right? He should just move on. Never mind that it makes him question his very worth... " He whispered, eyes glinting a little.
Jihyo held his gaze for a second. There was a moment of understanding as she took in the hurt shining there.
"You still love him. " She said softly, the realization sinking like a pebble in a clear pond. So obvious now that she knew what she was looking at.
Jungkook didn't deny it.
Instead he shook his head, leaning back and closing his eyes.
But Jihyo couldn't let it go.
"Is that why you've been putting it off? It's been a month since you got married. The deal is done. But you don't want to release that fucking video-"
"Call him. " Jungkook said quietly, standing up and reaching for his wallet. Jihyo watched as he took out enough cash to cover their bill placing it on the table. " Call Daniel and fucking apologize, Ji. " His voice shook a little. " It's the least you can do. "
"How did you get the video, though? " Taehyung asked curiously, leaning closer and peering into Seojoons screen. " He told me he didn't have it anymore. "
"It was just a gamble. Even when people get rid of certain videos, copies still remain in the cloud. Look. "
Taehyung stared at the rows upon rows of media files. Most of them,pictures. His heart clenched because most of them were pictures of him from seven years ago.
"He kept them all. " Seojoon said softly. " And I think he looked at them often. "
"And the video? "
Seojoon hummed scrolling through the files again.
"I want to talk to him tonight. " Taehyung said softly. " I want to tell him the truth about everything. "
"I think it's this one. " He clicked on the large icon.
"Hey guys. " Jungkook's voice
Filled the speakers. " I know I haven't been very active after my wedding but there's some stuff that I want to talk about. "
Seojoon froze. And so did Taehyung.
"Wait.. What is that? " Taehyung whispered staring as Seojoon maximized the screen.
It was Jungkook.
He was sitting in his gaming chair, hair a little disheveled. Taehyung recognized the room. It was the apartment he currently shared with his husband.
"What is this.. " He whispered again.
"There's a lot of speculation about my wedding so I want to clear things up. "
Taehyung felt his skin grow cold as Jungkook sighed leaning forward and looking down at his hands.
"I think most of you know that our parents were close and intended to have us married to each other. I was fifteen when my mom first told me that, and as a naive teenager,
I thought it was really sweet and romantic because Kim Taehyung back then and even now, was easily the most beautiful guy I'd ever met. " He paused. " But then, beauty doesn't always mean a good heart. " He chuckled. " Sometimes beauty is just a distraction. It keeps
You from seeing whatever rotten thing is hiding inside. " Jungkook muttered. " The most venomous snakes have the prettiest skin."
Seojoon inhaled sharply.
"Taehyung , let's not watch this..."
Taehyung grabbed his hand quickly.
"No." He said shakily. " I.. I want to watch."
" I met Taehyung when I was barely 16 and fell in love with him like the naive little fool that I was. Or maybe it wasn't really love you know.. Maybe it was just Fascination. He was hot, rich, and attractive. Come to think of it, he wasn't that interesting. Still isn't. "
Jungkook chuckled lightly shaking his head.
" I wanted him to like me. I wanted him to love me. And I think that's where I went wrong guys. You can't make someone love you. Especially when that person is so selfish and just incapable of loving anyone except themselves. "
Jungkook leaned closer.
"You ever feel like, in your relationship, you're the one who has more at stake? Like you're the one who will lose more if things go wrong? " He sighed. "He cheated on me. " He said quietly. " With some guy at a club. And I lost everything. "
"I couldn't eat or sleep and to be honest all I wanted was an explanation. A reason. One fucking reason for breaking my heart. Know what I got though? " He smiled. " Radio silence. And I realized he was everything to me and I wasn't even worth one measly apology to him. "
Jungkook shook his head. " I spent the last seven years, reliving those eleven months I spent with him as his boyfriend. I keep thinking what did I do wrong? Why was I not enough? What was so terrible about me that he didn't give a single fuck about my feelings? "
He gave a small bitter smile. " The saddest part about this whole thing? If he had apologized, I probably would have forgiven him. Fuck I forgave him anyway. But you know what I can't forgive? " He paused, " He made me believe I wasn't enough. That I wasn't worth even an apology"
"So why did I marry him? " He smiled softly. " Honestly? For his money. " He shrugged. " His parents agreed to invest in our company if I married him and my brother needed the cash. He owes me a lot and I'm just collecting the debt owed."
"Anyway, if this video is out. It means marriage is ending. It means I finally plucked up the courage to say what Ive wanted to say for years. And if you're watching, Taehyung. " He leaned forward. " Now, we're even. "
( last update tomorrow? To be honest its not even half as angsty as I originally planned it to be... I kind of felt bad for them both. )
The sound of the door bell ringing woke Jimin up. He groaned, shifting on the soft sheets before grabbing his phone and peering into the screen.
It was two in the morning.
Who on earth was here at this hour?
Jimin ran a hand through his hair before slowly getting up off
the bed and moving to the door. He peered through the peephole, eyes going wide when he recognized the figure.
Opening the door quickly, he found himself staring at an ashen faced Taehyung with a pair of suitcases by his feet.
"Tae, what are you-?"
"Can I stay here, for tonight?"
Jimin nodded, quickly stepping aside and also reaching for one of the suitcases.
"What happened? Where's Jungkook?"
Taehyung didn't respond right away.
Jimin watched as he moved to sit on the couch, staring at the opposite wall with a haunted look on his face.
"Tae?" he tried.
Taehyung turned to him , and there was a hunted look on his face.
"Did you know that Jungkook hated me?" he whispered.
Jimin felt his eyes widen a bit at that.
"Taehyung what... Did he say that?" He demanded, confused and just a little furious.
Taehyung didn't reply.
Instead he held his phone out to him.
Curious , Jimin took the device staring at the video that was paused.
Ten minutes later, Jimin sat next to his friend, who hadn't said a word.
"Was I a fool for thinking he really forgave me?" Taehyung whispered.
"That depends." he said softly, " On whether you can say, in good conscience that you earned his forgiveness."
Taehyung licked his lips at that.
"I was going to tell him the truth..." he said hesitantly.
"When?" Jimin said quietly. " I knew you never cheated on him Tae.
"And I waited for you to tell me yourself. I waited for you to make an effort to salvage that relationship. You didn't do a thing. Don't get me wrong .." He held the phone up, " This is pretty fucked up. But , I don't understand how you can be surprised? Running away has always
been your go to solution to every problem. Isn't that why you're here right now? Sneaking out of your house in the middle of the night , without confronting him?"
Taehyung blinked at him.
"He hates me. I don't want to confront him and have him say it to my face." he said shakily.
"Why not?" Jimin said sharply. And then he sighed.
"Why did you marry him Tae?"
Tae clenched his fists.
"Because I love him." he muttered.
"Do you?" Jimin asked quietly. " Or do you just love the idea of fixing the biggest mistake of your life without having to do a thing."
Taehyung rounded on him, furious.
"That is not true... Don't you fucking dare insinuate that. I've been trying to apologize to him. To talk to him about what happened between us, and he keeps telling me he doesn't want to talk about it.."
"And you didn't think why?"
Taehyung looked away.
"Tae." Jimin said softly. "I've been your friend for more than a decade. I know you like the back of my hand. And this isn't me blaming you for what happened. I know exactly why you did what you did. I know your parents did a number on you
and i know that you never meant to hurt him." he sighed, before tapping the phone again. " But this here... this is a very hurt guy. Sometimes we don't think our actions could harm someone, but they do. Its just how life is. And I know you care for him. He deserved the truth."
"I did love him." he said shakily. " I... I loved him Jimin , he was the most important thing in my life."
"i know you did. I was there remember? Tae..." He leaned forward. " It would be a good idea for you guys to talk to someone."
"What?" Taehyung blinked up at him. " What do you mean?"
"Back then... I used to wonder why you never spoke up . Why didn't you just fight for your relationship. And then i realized... You didn't really want to did you?"
Tae clenched his fists.
"I don't know what you mean."
"You did it with other people too." Jimin said quietly. " Seojoon. Bogum. Hyunsik. You just distanced yourself and let the relationship fizzle out without ever actually ending things. Seojoon hyung was the one who told me about it. I didn't think it was a big deal, but now.
I think its something you need to work on." he said quietly. " You can't just run when things get a little difficult Tae. That's.. not fair to the other person you know. And Jungkook..he loved you a lot." Jimin sighed, " He's never dated anyone else, Tae. He sleeps around but.."
Taehyung stared down at his hands.
"Don't run." Jimin said quietly. " Tell him the truth and talk to him."
"What if he tells me he hates me?" Taehyung whispered. " That he never wants to see me again?"
"Then you leave him alone." Jimin shrugged." You accept that its over."
"Also, Tae.." he holds the phone up." He owes you an explanation too. Some of the shit in here, is downright vindictive. So, while I don't want to be presumptuous about his feelings and call it hate, I do think that he's probably not in love with you." he paused. "anymore."
Taehyung licks his lips.
"He made me believe that he was." he said shakily. " Its why I didn't push too much to talk about our past. I was afraid he would change his mind."
Jimin sighed deeply at that.
"I don't think it was ever truly the past , Tae. What happened 7 yrs ago,
its the driving force behind all of his actions today. So calling it the past is foolish? He never forgot about it. He never moved on. So it may have been the past for you but it clearly wasn't for Jungkook. He didn't want to talk about it because the wound is still very raw."
"Nobody likes picking at a wound that's still bleeding. "
Heavy Angst/ Arranged Marriage.
Fashion Designer Tae/ Professional Gamer Jungkook.
Enemies to lovers?
Morally Ambiguous Characters
Finally a jk you guys may not loveHappy Ending.
Tae is 25, Jungkook is 24.
Taehyung sat at his work desk, his phone propped up on a small tripod stand, right in front of him, the entire contraption attached to the surface of the desk. He was watching the video on loop. Something he had been doing for a couple days now.
He hadn't gone home.
Jungkook had called him, a couple of times, and he had told him a vague little lie about being busy with a sudden deadline and having to stay at his design studio for a few days. The younger didn't question him, merely telling him they had a family dinner together that weekend.
Listening to Jungkook's voice on the phone had been difficult. The voice, the tone, everything felt like a mockery, because he kept replaying all the terrible things Jungkook had said in that video. And it was hard but also essential, in his opinion. He had to numb himself to it.
But as he listened to the video, over and over and over again, his own response to it, slowly changed. When he started out, he had felt hurt, immensely so, and angry and upset and wronged.
Only one phrase ran through him over and over.
"How could he make me seem so awul?"
But as time passed, he kept replaying it. Listening actually,and not just dwelling on the parts that were hurtful, he found himself changing the way he looked at it.
Because now, the question in his mind was this:
"Did I truly make Jeon Jungkook feel, this awful about himself?"
And the honest truth was, he wasn't quite ready to face the answer to that question.
He smoothed his hand over the delicate tulle fabric, lightly tracing the places where the pearl beading would go. He was always careful with fabrics, but careless with people's hearts.
He licked his lips a little, and then closed his eyes. A lot of what Jimin had said, had hit home and left him feeling bitter. Jimin's candor had hurt him. A lot. But that was only because it came so dangerously close to the truth of how he felt about things.
Because Jimin was right.
Taehyung did feel relief at the thought of avoiding a confrontation.
Parts of him, did believe that the only way to keep himself safe in a relationship, was by ending it before the other person did.
Because they will. Of course they will.
Taehyung ran a palm over his face, before closing his eyes and sighing deeply. He couldn’t run forever. He had to make a choice. It was either go back to Jungkook, and make an attempt to piece together the broken shards of their relationship .
Or give the whole thing up as a hopelessly lost cause, and cut his losses and move on. Because that video… that video told him that Jungkook had no intention of trying any kind of reconciliation.
Taehyung bit his lips, pleating together the edges of the lace fabric and carefully slotting in pins to keep them in place. He glanced at his phone again, paused at the beginning of the video. He pressed play again, before folding his arms on the table and burying his face there.
Everytime he played the video, he noticed something different , something new. There was so much raw honesty there , in Jungkook’s words but it wasn’t there through out the video. There were moments when Jungkook’s tone changed, moments when he held back.
There was a ringing conviction in his voice when he talked about his hurt and his insecurities and his fears. But a distinct hesitance, an uncertainty when he spoke about Taehyung. Like he wasn’t really sure of the things he was saying.
Like he didn’t truly believe any of those things themselves.
And it was that uncertainty that Taehyung found himself hanging onto. Jimin’s words still rang in his head, the very honest “ I don’t think he’s in love with you anymore”. And Taehyung could accept that.
He could live with the fact that Jungkook had fallen out of love with him but it was the idea of being hated by him, of being a bitter memory, a stain on his past, a regret he wanted to forget : that was what he couldn’t live with.
And as tempting as it was to just disappear and let Jungkook deal with the aftermath, he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it.
The video… the more he listened to it, the less it felt like an accusation, like an unfair betrayal. And the more it sounded like a cry for help.
Taehyung stared down at his wedding ring, playing with the metal band and feeling empty. Jungkook was playing a part, he thought miserably. He was quite good at it Too. But as someone who had once known Jungkook, intimately and well,
Taehyung had seen the act for what it was : a curtained veil, translucent to give the appearance of openness, but hiding a lot underneath the surface.
And yes, this was going to be difficult.
Everything about this was going to be painful , and hard and excruciatingly hurtful but, maybe….maybe at the end of all this, he could fix some of the damage that had been done.
Taehyung carefully took the fabric, moving over to his machine and sliding the fabric underneath
the needle and setting about stitching the ends together. The familiar sound of the machine grounded him for a second as he continued to stare at the video. After he was done, he reached for his phone and shot Jungkook a quick text, “ I’ll be home for dinner. We need to talk.”
Jungkook stared down at his phone, a small frown marring his features as he read the text Taehyung had sent him. Across the table, his brother placed his drink down and cleared his throat.
“Everything alright?” He asked carefully and Jungkook shrugged.
“I think so. Taehyung.” He shook his head before placing the phone down and reaching for his drink.
“You’re not going to talk to him?”
Jungkook smiled a little at that.
“It was a text. And even if I didn’t , what do you care?” He raised a brow,” You have his money.”
Jaehwan stared at him, a displeased look on his face.
“You don’t have to put on that front with me Jungkook. You’re having second thoughts about all of this. I can tell.”
Jungkook scoffed a little at that.
“Second thoughts about what hyung?” He rolled his eyes. “ I’m just doing my filial duty. Dad squandered all our money and left you sitting in a cesspool of debt and devastation and I took one for the team and now you have enough money to save the company and your career.
I did something nice for the brother I love. That’s all there is to it.”
“And the video?”
Jungkook went comepletely still.
“What video?” He demanded.
“You know exactly what video. The video you made about Taehyung…”
“How the fuck…”
“Jihyo came to see me.” He said curtly. “ She gave me a copy of the video.”
Jungkook glared at him.
“What about it?”
“Are you going to put that out?”
Jungkook laughed, shaking his head.
“Since when do I answer to you hyung?” He turned back to his food and Jaehwan hummed.
“So the answer is no. No, you’re not going to put it out there. Because if you were, you wouldn’t be so sensitive about it.”
Jungkook gripped his fork tighter.
“There’s no shame in admitting you still care about him.” Jaehwan said softly and
Jungkook placed the fork down, closing his eyes and letting out a shaky, furious breath.
“See this is it… “ He said quietly. “ You’ve known me for twenty four years but you still don’t know anything at all about me.”
The younger stood up, face clouded and hands shaking a little as he reached for his wallet.
“Do you have any idea what it feels like? To spend every second of every day, wondering what it was about you that made you so hard to love?” He muttered shakily,
“ Have you wondered why the people around you get into relationships, find love and support just by being themselves, while you have to fight and beg and try and earn every little scrap of affection that you can?
Have you ever spent night after night trying to relive the same things over and over again trying to understand what you had done to deserve all the hurt ? Do you have any idea what that does to you? I haven’t been on a date in years. I can’t bring myself to trust anyone.
Because look at what happened the last time I did. ”
Jaehwan could only stare.
“I made that video , for me.” Jungkook said quietly. “ I made it because I had to get all of that bitterness out of me before it destroyed me and the people around me.
I made that video and it made me feel better.” He placed his card on the table. “ Your problem hyung is that you think I’m doing all of this because of Kim Taehyung. That its some kind of twisted vendetta against him.
But the honest truth is, I’m doing it for myself. I’m doing it because I have to prove to myself, that Taehyung doesn’t have any hold on me anymore. And you know what?” he smiled, “ He never will. Ever again.”
Jungkook turned on his heel and left.
Taehyung sat on the leather couch in the living room, hands folded on top of his lap, fingers twisting together nervously as he kept his gaze on the clock that hung over the hallway, the seconds ticking steadily , the small hand edging closer and closer to the number twelve.
His nerves were frayed, the dinner on the table had long gone cold and there was this loud, jarring voice in his head that kept screaming at him to let it go. He had told Jungkook that he wanted to have dinner with him. That he wanted to talk.
And Jungkook had responded by not turning up at all. What did that mean? Did it not mean that he didn’t want to talk ? Shouldn’t Taehyung be respecting his wishes? Leaving him alone?
He groaned, exhausted. He had spent over ten hours in his tailoring studio,
perfecting outfits for his showcase that was coming up next month. His eyes burned from going over the tiny, minute detailing on the fabric and his fingers were chafed and sore from pin pricks and friction. He wanted to eat, shower and sleep for a week. But he couldn’t.
He had promised himself he wouldn’t run. He would do this.
The sound of the door opening made him freeze and he sat up quickly. He saw the doorknob turn as Jungkook used his key to let himself in and quickly leapt to his feet, eyes wide as he rushed over,
only to stop short when he realized it wasn’t Jungkook.
“Hey…” Jaehwan looked apologetic, “ Sorry… i… I should have rung the bell. Jungkook told me you were going to be staying at your studio for a couple of days. I didn’t know you would be here. ” He stopped short.
“ Uh.. Jungkook gave me a key for emergencies and I …uh…there’s a document that I need to get from his office.”
“Oh.” Taehyung looked around. “ He locks his office.”
“Oh, that’s fine. I have the passcode.” Jaehwan hesitated. “ Are you alright?”
“Oh, yeah. Of course. Um.. Any idea where Jungkook is?” He asked hesitantly.
“Jungkook? I think he has a tournament of some kind tomorrow? In Busan? He's probably there already.”
“He's in Busan?” Taehyung swallowed.
“You didn’t know?”
Taehyung closed his eyes, groaning a little.
“No .. No.. I.. I think he mentioned it. I must’ve forgotten. Let it slip my mind.” He laughed shakily. “ Sorry”.
"You sure you're alright? If you need anything..."
"No, thank you. I'm fine."
Jaehwan stared at him for a few seconds.
"Its alright if you're not." He said hesitantly. " I know..." he paused, " that Jungkook's been a bit ... well, he's different to how you must remember him. It must be hard to come to terms with that."
Taehyung didn't respond.
"Well, I'll just get my stuff and be out of your hair in no time."
Taehyung watched him go into the office and grabbed his phone. He dialed Jungkook's number and it rang . Jungkook didn't pick up the call. He glanced at the time, sighing. It was late.
"When's the last train?"
He said quietly, once Jaehwan came out with an envelope in his hand.
Jungkook's brother looked surprised.
"Oh... Where to?"
"Busan." Taehyung said quietly.
"Its probably already left." Jaehwan said carefully. "10.30 if I'm not mistaken."
"Do you need me to arrange a car?"
Taehyung stared at him for a few seconds. What was he doing really? Jungkook wasn't gone for pleasure. He knew the younger took his gaming career really seriously. And this was an important tournament.
But a part of him wanted to be a part of it. To take peek into his world.
"If it's not too much trouble." He said finally.
Jaehwan looked a little hesitant.
"I'm very grateful to you, Taehyung. I know... that it probably wasn't an easy decision, to uh...."
"Do the same thing a second time and then expect a different result?" Tae smiled.
"Something like that." Jaehwan sighed. " I think he would be glad to have you there. He gets too serious with his gamer friends sometimes. They're a bit of a ...messy crowd though. So keep yourself safe."
"Well, they're not like us. Most of them aren't you know..."
"Classy." he sighed. " They can be a bit too much, is what I'm saying but Jungkook will make sure you're okay."
Tae managed a weak smile.
"Alright. I'll get ready then. Can we leave in an hour?"
"Sure. I'll send you the details of the driver. He'll pick you up."
They entered Busan's city limits sometime around four thirty in the morning, with the sky just starting to lighten. Taehyung was exhausted, because he hadn't slept a wink, talking to the driver so he wouldn't accidentally fall asleep on the wheel.
"Its one of the biggest tournaments," the man was saying now, " has a prize pool of nearly 20 million dollars. Your husband leads the south Korean team and they've won for the past two consecutive years. It's a really big deal."
"Is this the final match?"
"No, semi final I think"
"i don't really know much about these things, " he said hesitantly. " Where are they held? Like..is it online or...?"
"It's usually held in a large stadium arena. Players have to be there on location and then connect to the servers. Bigger teams stay there."
"So Jungkook's possibly staying in the arena?" Taehyung swallowed nervously. He didn't really do well with crowds.
"Yes, Mr. <Kim. I'll be dropping you off at the arena and driving back to Seoul."
"Oh." Taehyung blinked. " um... "
"You've asked Mr. Jeon to pick you up, right?"
He stared down at his phone.
Jungkook hadn't picked his calls or called him back. Taehyung played with his wedding ring.
"I'm sure I can find my way around." he said with a small laugh.
"Good. You don't want to get lost in one of those things. It can be crazy."
Taehyung felt cold panic pool in the pit of his belly at the words.
He closed his eyes. And there it was, the nagging feeling telling him to ask the man to drive them back to Seoul. He couldnt-
No. He was not going to run. He had promised Jimin he wouldn't. He had to do this.
Jaehwan's driver dropped him off at the entrance to the arena and Taehyung felt his heart take a steep dive as he took in the sheer size of the stadium, the countless posters all around, the garish neon lighting and most of all, the loud and noisy crowd.
He gripped his small travel bag and stared down at his clothes, feeling out of place and alone as he tried to look for an information desk or something that coul help him out. He stumbled, getting pushed along with the crowd of loud, happy people.
His eyes finally caught sight of a number of counters and kiosks on the the far end of the wall to the side, and he pushed his way to the side, heart racing in his chest as he reached the place.
"Sorry, registrations for gamers is closed." The woman said softly.
He winced as someone pushed him from the behind, his knees hitting the counter painfully hard.
"No, I .. I actually am looking for someone."
The girl frowned before staring pointedly at the massive crowd.
"have you tried calling them, sir?"
"He's not picking up...please.. His name is Jeon Jungkook."
"Jeon Jungkook. The Jeon Jungkook?"
"Um...yeah..he's one of the top players."
"You're looking for JK?" She grinned. " Are you serious?"
"Yes... i need to meet him at once."
"Of course you do."
"Taehyung... Kim Taehyung."
"Mr. Kim, um, JK is a very busy man and well, to be honest he is also very private and doesn't really meet fans... So.."
"I'm not a fan... I... I'm his husband."
"Of course you are, honey. You know what, after the first two sessions in the morning, there's usually a meet and greet with some of the popular gamers and I could give you a ticket for one of those..."
"Meet and..." Taehyung groaned. " I've met him."
" I live with him." He gritted out. " Could you please just contact him and..."
"Mr. Kim i have strict instructions about these things. All the volunteers and members of the team have them. Mr Jeon is a very sought after man and you're like the tenth person asking for him, today"
She leaned in.
"Also, take it from someone who's been there, these fantasies don't play out the way you want them to, okay? He's not gonna take you back to his room or anything. He already has that gaming partner of his. Everyone knows they're a thing."
"Yes. Mingyu. They're literally attached at the hip all the damn time. " she sighed. " I know it hurts now but.. just ...move on. These gamers, all of them are just fickle and thrill chasers. You look like a nice guy. You can do better." she smiled.
Taehyung swallowed. His head was starting to throb now and he felt a large, heavy weight settle over his chest pressing down on his lung and making it hard to breathe.
"I... " He closed his eyes, exhausted. " Sorry, I drove down from Seoul, all night.." he rubbed his forehead.
Her eyes went wide at that.
"Oh wow..." she shook her head, " You must like him a lot." she hesitated. " There's a refreshment counter inside.
Hey, listen, these are usually prepaid only but I'm gonna do you a solid. I'm going to give you our all access pass."
"You can't go where the gamers are but you can pretty much anywhere else." She slid the card with a lanyard across the counter. Taehyung reached for it, grateful.
"You should go to our refreshment area and there's a lounge there. It's free if you have the pass. Get some rest?."
Taehyung smiled, nodding.
"Thank you. " He hung the lanyard around his neck, " Thank you for the help."
"Hey wait.." she reached for her bag and pulled out a photo of Jungkook. It had Jungkook's signature on it.
"On the house." she grinned. " Have a good time, Mr. Kim."
Taehyung stared at the picture for a second and cleared his throat. He nodded and carefully slipped it into his pocket.
Well, this was a terrible turn of events , he thought in a daze.
But what else could he do?
Maybe he could go to the lounge and try calling him again.
The lounge wasn't a lounge as much as it was a dingy club like area, partitioned off from the rest of the arena. There were couches and booths , dim lighting and a dance floor and a bar and refreshment counter up front. It was crowded too.
Tae made a beeline for the corner.
He settled into the chair and reached for the phone only for it to ring , loud and jarring against the low mood music.
He flinched as people turned around to stare at himas he fumbled with his phone to answer it.
"Jungkook.." he breathed out in relief.
"Hyung, I'm busy"
Taehyung blinked rapidly .
"Oh...yes.. i know.. the tournament right? In Busan? Jungkook I'm..."
"Hyung what is it?" Jungkook said sharply. "I'm in a meeting . Tell me why you called."
"I'm here." Taehyung said quickly.
"Busan. The arena... Um theres a bar like-"
"Are you fucking kidding me right now?" Jungkook's voice was a growl. " If this is some kind of a sick joke, its not fucking funny hyung."
Taehyung went still.
"Uh... yeah." he said shakily. " I was just kidding. " he hesitated. " I didn't know you were in Busan. Your brother he... He came over to get something important from your home office. I.. I just wanted to tell you that." he swallowed. " Sorry."
Taehyung closed his eyes, immediately hating himself. But he couldn't .
He couldn't possibly handle Jungkook getting angry with him. Not now when he was already tired and terrified and anxious.
"I'll be home soon. i got your text. I'm just really busy now."
Of course. I understand." he said quietly. " I'll be waiting. At home. We can talk later."
Jungkook hung up. Taehyung stared at the phone, heart pounding.
"Hi there. Are you alone?"
Taehyung jumped a little staring up at the man looming over the partition of the booth, holding a beer and smiling softly.
"Oh.. uh.. yes." He laughed nervously. " I came to see-"
Wait, he couldn't let people know he was Jungkook's husband. What if he found out?"
"I came to see the tournament. " He said with a small laugh. " I've never been to one of these before. "
"Oh, in that case you need a guide. " The man said briskly, moving around and entering the booth, holding his hand out.
"Hi, I'm Kang Jihyuk. " He smiled, "can I join you?"
Taehyung hesitated before nodding , reluctantly. It was still really early. And he was here. Maybe he could just watch Jungkook play or see him on the big screen.
"Do you know Jungkook? " He asked carefully.
"That bastard? " He rolled his eyes. " Yeah. "
"You don't like him? "
"Of course not. I'm backing the team that goes up against him. " He said carefully. " He doesn't give anyone else a chance to win, that son of a bitxh. " He shook his head, " I should just have someone run him over one of these days. "
Taehyung gripped the edge of the table.
"Also, I refuse to believe anyone is that good. " Jihyuk continued. " The bastard is probably cheating somehow. You know I have people actually looking into it. I want to find what he's up to have him banned from the games for good. "
Taehyung stood up quickly.
"I'm gonna go. " He said sharply, making to move away but the man frowned, reaching out and grabbing his wrist.
"Hey. What happened? "
Taehyung glared tugging on his hand.
"Let go of me. " He snapped.
"Don't tell me you're a fan? "
The man's eyes narrowed. "Or are you one of his lackeys? "
Taehyung tugged on his hand again but Jihyuk stood up smirking, tugging him closer.
"What? Why are you running? I need some company watching the games...don't be impolite, boy. " He grinned.
Taehyung reached for the glass of beer on the table, tossing it right onto the man's face.
Jihyuk swore, stumbling back, with his eyes shut. Taehyung moved quickly, almost running to the door.
"Come here you little... " The man came after him, only to trip and fall.
He crashed right into Taehyung, who couldn't keep his balance, tipping over onto a large glass table in the center of the lounge. The table broke under his weight, and he threw his hands up to protect his face, flinching when he felt glass shards dig right into his arms.
Wincing he kicked out at the man, staring wide eyed as people started gathering around them, crowding them in and looming over him.
He saw the security guard grab Jihyuk, tugging him up to his feet.
"You keep making trouble Kang. You're getting yourself banned soon. "
Taehyung scrambled back as the guard reached for him.
"Sir.. You're hurt. " The man said hastily staring at his arms. " You need a first aid kit... "
"No." Taehyung said shakily, " I.. I'll be fine. I'm just going to go. " He felt his eyes water from the pain.
Before the man could reach for him, Taehyung stood up, moving towards the door with his heart pounding inside his chest.
When he reached the hallway, he made to go towards the arena but the guard stopped him.
"Your pass sir? "
Taehyung stared down at his chest.
The pass must have fallen when he did. The idea of going back for it was downright abhorrent to him. He would just go get another one from the lady up front. But first he needed to find a place with running water to wash his cuts.
Jungkook heard the commotion on the ground floor and peered over the edge of the railing, frowning.
"What's going on down there." He asked casually.
"Probably some guy drunk and causing a ruckus. Hey, we should go over this one more time.. "
Jungkook moved to peer into the tablet when the speakers overhead buzzed and came to life.
"Mr. Kim Taehyung from Seoul. Please collect your pass from the front desk."
The voice rang through the arena.
Jungkook went still.
What the fuck.
"Wait... Is that... " Mingyu began but Jungkook was already turning on his heel, running in the direction of the elevators.
As soon as he reached the front desk, the girl at the counter stared at him with wide eyes.
"Mr. Jeon, you.. " She recognized him through the mask and he made a shushing gesture.
"Did Mr. Kim Taehyung collect his pass? " He demanded.
"No sir. It's right here. "
"Can you make another announcement? " He asked urgently. "Certainly." The woman announced again and Jungkook stared at the milling crowd. Was it some other Taehyung?
"Do you know him, sir? " She asked carefully.
"He's.. " Jungkook sighed. "Some thing like that. "
"He arrived here about an hour ago. I gave him the pass myself. He told me he was married to you. " She said quietly. " He said he traveled all night from Seoul and wanted to see you. I thought it was a cute story.. "
Jungkook blinked at her.
He held his hand up.
"Was he wearing a ring like this? "
The woman stared at his finger and her eyes went wide as a saucer.
"Oh my... Was he really your...? "
"If he comes here... Tell him to stay right here okay? " He said urgently before rushing back into the crowd.
The woman stared after him.
Well what do you know, she thought.
Maybe fantasies did come true.
Taehyung swore under his breath, wincing as he carefully picked tiny shards of glass from his skin. Tears fell freely, because it stung so much and he was just upset. He had heard the announcement and knew he should go back in.
His phone rang startling him.
He stared at the caller id.
"Hello, " he said nervously. " Jungkook? "
"Hyung, " Jungkook's voice was low and serious.
"Where the fuck are you? "
( a/n tbc)
Taehyung felt his gut clench at the words, a dull feeling of disquiet in his veins as he gripped the phone harder.
"Jungkook... " He said shakily. "What.. What's wrong?"
There was silence.
"For once in your life will you just tell me the truth? " Jungkook whispered.
Taehyung flinched at that. The exhaustion in Jungkook's voice made guilt pool inside him, and he clenched his fist , wincing when it hurt the abrasions on his arm.
"I know you're in the arena. Just tell me where you are."
Taehyung bit his lips.
"I don't know."
"You don't know..? " Jungkook said harshly. " What the fuck does that mean.. How can you not.. "
"There was a hallway... I... I was looking for water because of the blood and I... "
"Blood? What blood?! " Jungkook shouted.
"I... I fell. " Tae said shakily.
Taehyung couldn't quite stop the choked sob that escaped him.
"I'm so sorry.. " He whispered, voice breaking. " I... I shouldn't have come here. I don't know what I was thinking... I just... I'll get a cab back to Seoul, Jungkook. You need to get back to your.. "
"Shut up. "
Because the voice came from right behind him. Jungkook stood in the entrance to a stairwell, staring at him with a blank look on his face.
"Jungkook ah.. " He said shakily.
The speakers crackled overhead, before Jungkook could respond.
"Player 12456A , JK can you please report to the front of the arena, our test rounds are starting shortly. "
Taehyung swallowed as Jungkook glanced at the speaker and then at his phone. He watched as Jungkook called someone.
"Go ahead without me. " He said quietly.
Taehyung heard the loud protests from the other end, but Jungkook merely closed his eyes. " It's just a test game. It's alright... Take Soobin Or Yeonsu... I'm caught up in something, Mingyu, just... Take care of this for me... "
Tae stared at the floor, turning away from him. He felt drained. The lack of sleep, exhaustion and the injury made him feel weary and defeated.
He leaned back against the wall, lowering himself to the ground, before drawing his knees up and burying his head there.
His eyes burned and he half wished he could just sleep and never wake up ever again. Why was everything so tiring and difficult? Why did everything that he did, always end up hurting hum and the people around him? Why couldn't he do anything right?
He felt Jungkook's hand on his arm, his touch gentle and careful.
"Can you walk? " The younger asked quietly. "Are your legs alright? "
Taehyung blinked up at his, eyes a little blurry.
"Where... Where do I have to walk? " He asked shakily. "I'm really tired.. "
Jungkook didn't respond, but reached for him, slipping one arm around his chest and the other under his knees, lifting him up into his arms with ease.
"Wrap your arm around my neck, hyung " Jungkook said quietly.
Tae felt like a lump in his throat, as Jungkook began walking.
"Jungkook.. I'm sor-"
"We'll talk later. " Jungkook said firmly. " Just... Just close your eyes and hold onto me, okay? I have a room upstairs and I'll have a medic look at your hands. "
"Okay" He said finally, letting his eyes flutter shut.
"They're just superficial cuts. None too deep. He doesn't need stitches or anything. But he does need rest and some food."
"After he wakes up?"
" Yes " The medic nodded. "please let him sleep. For a while at least. "
Jungkook nodded. Next to him, his manager looked troubled.
"Are you sure your husband doesn't know Kang? The cctv camera shows them talking pretty intimately. "
"It shows Kang hitting on him and then refusing to back off when he got rejected, " He said calmly. "By the way, tell him I'm pressing charges. "
His manager cleared his throat.
"Jungkook. There are games coming up... We really don't need the bad publicity at this point... "
"I don't care. " Jungkook said lightly. " Assault and battery . I want it done. " He moved to the side of the bed, staring down at Taehyung.
"Missing a test game isn't good. Mingyu is a good player but you know the team needs you to-"
"I'm not a novice, hyung." Jungkook said quietly, not looking away from Taehyung's face. " I know. Just... give me some time. I'll join you guys again in the evening."
The manager stayed for another second before moving towards the door. Jungkook waited till the door closed shut behind him, before slowly sitting down next to him, his weight causing the mattress to dip a little.
Taehyung mumbled something in his sleep before turning away.
Taehyung shifted, almost putting his weight on his injured arm and Jungkook moved quickly, catching his wrist and gently stopping him. He grabbed a pillow and tucked it against his side, so he couldn't do that again. He reached for the small box of wet tissues by the bed.
And then carefully cleaned the corners of his eyes and the rest of his tear streaked face. He rubbed the edge of his fingers against his dry lips, the slightly cracked skin making something inside him squeeze tight. Taehyung looked exhausted.
Sighing, Jungkook reached into his pocket , grabbing the small tube of lip balm he kept there. He leaned over his husband, carefully smoothing it on his lips with small gentle strokes so as to not wake him. Once he was done, he tucked the blanket around him, before standing up.
He moved to the other side of the bed, and climbed under the covers, before turning away from him. He stared at the wall for a few moments, mind racing because what was Taehyung doing there? What did he want to talk about?
And his heart racing for an entirely different reason.
When Taehyung woke up , the room he was in was dark. His heart was racing and there was a dull throb all over his body and in his arm as well. He took a few deep breaths disoriented and confused as to where he was and it took another moment or so for him to remember.
He moved carefully, lifting himself onto a sitting position, and reaching for his phone. It was plugged in and charging and he found the lightswitch.
The room was huge, with a computer set up in the corner, an open closet and a number of bags scattered about.
He turned to the bedside table and found a foil wrapped sandwich, a thermos , and a packet of chips.
There was a small note there as well.
"Eat something. I'll be back by 4 PM.~ Jk"
He glanced at the time. It was already 3.30 PM. He had slept for almost 6 hours.
Then his eyes fell on the all access pass with his name on it. Hesitantly, he took the lanyard running his fingers over it. He hadn't imagined that Jungkook was this famous or this successful. Or how serious it all was. In fact, he didn't know about Jungkook. At all.
As he stared at the lanyard, the door opened, making him jump a little. Jungkook stepped in, head lowered and his gaze on his phone, brows furrowed in concentration as he typed into it. He had his bag slung over his shoulder and Tae watched as he carefully placed it on the table.
He cleared his throat and Jungkook finally looked up, startling a little , as though he's forgotten Taehyung was there. Their eyes met and suddenly Taehyung felt raw and exposed. He remembered the video, all the things Jungkook had said about him.
He didn't mean them, right?
Jungkook stared at him for a few seconds and then his gaze shifted to the table behind him.
"You didn't eat?" He asked quietly, pointing at the sandwich there. Tae hesitated before shaking his head.
"No, I... I just woke up." He explained. Jungkook nodded, before turning away.
It took him a few more seconds to realize Jungkook wasn't going to say anything. Wasn't going to ask him anything. He was moving to the desk, turning on his computer like nothing had happened. Taehyung felt lost and alone, staring down the chasm between them.
"Jungkook..." He said softly, quietly, voice barely over a whisper. Jungkook paused in the middle of typing, staring at the screen for a second.
He was quiet.
"Are you mad at me?" Taehyung whispered.
Jungkook exhaled , long and loud.
"No hyung." he whispered.
"I've stopped being angry at you a long time ago. My anger..." he paused, " it serves no purpose. Its not like you care about how you actions affect me. It's not like my anger is going to affect you or anyone else. The only one who gets hurt by it , is me. So no, I'm not angry."
Tae closed his eyes , clenching his fists.
"I saw that video you made...." He said softly. " Seojoon..."
"I know." Jungkook said casually, easily, turning around and looking him right in the eye. " You think a professional gamer won't realize someone hacked into his cloud?"
Taehyung felt his breath hitch at that.
"Was it true?" he said quietly. " What you said... About marrying me because of the money. Was that the only reason?"
Jungkook stared at him for a second before shaking his head in disbelief.
"Does that make you mad, hyung? What I said?"
Taehyung bit his lips.
"No." he hesitated. " I.. I mean, yes it hurt but.. I understand why. Why you may have said it." He cleared his throat. " If you married me because of that, just tell me. Your brother has the investment, we don't have to live a charade..."
Taehyung felt the words hit him like a dagger to his chest, sharp and ruthless, pressing into his heart and twisting in.
His breath hitched.
"I mean... " Jungkook continued, " Was there ever any other worthwhile reason? Did you ever give me one reason, hyung?"
"Do you remember how often you used to stand me up, how often you used to brush me aside when your friends were around," he laughed bitterly, "I put up with it because I loved you. You made me feel unwanted, but I put up with it, because I wanted you."
the crowd, the fame, why do you think I chased it? I wanted to feel like I was worth something. I was seventeen years old." Jungkook continued, his voice breaking, " And you made me feel worthless. Its been years and I haven't stopped feeling that way ever since... "
"I didn't cheat on you..." Taehyung stuttered out. " I... I know I was a terrible boyfriend but I swear I didn't cheat on you..."
Jungkook stared at him in disbelief shaking his head. He stood up sharply, glaring at him
"Don't you fucking understand?" he demanded.
"It never mattered to me if you did or didn't." Jungkook shouted, " You were already half way out of the door, when that stupid video came out hyung.. You didn't fight it, you didn't defend yourself , you didn't even tell me , No, that isn't fucking me in the video ...Why??!"
Taehyung could only stare at him as Jungkook stepped closer staring right at him.
"Should I tell you why? It was because you were secretly relieved." he whispered. " You were looking for a fucking excuse to leave and that video was exactly what you needed.... Am I right?"
The younger shook his head, eyes brimming with tears.
"I knew you for years. I knew you and I loved you and I thought I meant something to you." He whispered. "I thought you would care enough about me to at least, tell me the fucking truth if you fell out of love."
" I didn't... I didn't fall out of love... Jungkook.."
"Fucking liar." Jungkook snapped. " I was there, alright? I was there and I remember exactly what you said when I told you about the video. No, ' Its not me ' or ' I would never do that to you' .... you know what you said,"
"You said, if you wanna break up, I understand Jungkook ah...." He laughed. " You are such a heartless bastard hyung. That's the truth of it. You're heartless and you're a coward. You would rather walk out than fucking talk to me. Would anyone want that in a partner?"
Jungkook closed his eyes.
"Will you..." he paused. " Will you at least admit it?" he said shakily. " Will you admit that you fell out of love. That you left me because you wanted to leave me. Just... tell me that."
Taehyung shook his head.
"You know I can't".
"Right. " He swallowed. " Why did you drive down here anyway?"
Tae clenched his fists.
"I've made mistakes." He said shakily. ".. you're right. I am a coward. I am so scared of being hurt by someone I care about, I run before giving them a chance to hurt me."
"I thought you deserved better." He whispered, " That's it Jungkook.. I just thought you deserved better than that..."
"I did." Jungkook gritted out. " But it should have been you. You should have done better."
"I know." he said shakily. " I will. I..I want to."
Jungkook stared at him for a few seconds.
"Good." He nodded, breath hitching. "Good that you want to." He stared down at his feet. " I'll talk to the lawyers tomorrow."
Taehyung sat up.
"I just wanted you to realize you hurt me." Jungkook said quietly.
"And now that you did, its over?" Taehyung asked shakily. " Is that it? We're even?"
Jungkook didn't respond.
"You... You didn't have to marry me for that." Taehyung said quietly. " You could have just ..."
"Just what?" Jungkook turned to him." Sent you an email?"
"Why did you marry me?"
"You know why..."
"Right. The investment money." Taehyung stared down at the floor. "Makes sense."
Jungkook stared at him.
"We bring out the worst in each other, hyung." He said quietly. " Its not healthy."
"Did you know..." He asked quietly. " That the video was edited?"
Jungkook stared at him for a few seconds.
"Not until a few weeks ago." He said finally. " Seojoon came to me."
Taehyung stared at him wide eyed.
"He told me you knew on the day we got married."
Taehyung stared at his hands.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Jungkook continued.
"We were getting married and you ... you kept saying you wanted to put it all behind you.. I just thought..." he trailed off.
"You don't have to think for me" Jungkook said quietly.
"That's not your job hyung. I can think for myself. You just had to be honest with me. I can decide for myself , what I should think or feel or do... All I wanted is for you to tell me the truth. Because how else can i possibly trust you?" He shook his head.
"You're still lying to me. " Jungkook said quietly. " I asked you where you were and you said you were in Seoul. " He shook his head.
"I didn't want to impose... " Taehyung said quietly and Jungkook closed his eyes shaking his head.
"How did that work out for you? "
Jungkook groaned and stood up.
"I don't want to feel this way anymore hyung. " He said quietly. " I.. I want to at least be able to look at you without feeling like someone's stabbing me over and over.. And thats not going to happen anytime soon, I think."
"Because everytime you lie and hide things, I can't help but wonder what else you've hidden from me. What else you've lied about. I can't live life like that. It's not fair. And you're right. I deserve better than that. "
"And so do you, hyung" He said quietly. " If you lie to me, it's because you dont trust me. You lie to me because you don't feel safe enough to share your truth with me. And i don't want you to be with someone you can't be honest with. You deserve better than that. "
Taehyung stayed quiet for a long, few moments.
He then took a deep breath, and stared right at the younger.
"Is it really that easy, Jungkook ah? To be honest with the person you care about? " He asked shakily.
"What do you mean? "
"You heard me. "
"Yes. It is. " He said quietly.
"Then you'll be honest with me? Now? Because I know you care about me Jungkook ah... You always did and you always will. "
Jungkook stared at him for a few seconds.
"I'll be honest. " He said.
"If I walk out of this door, and you never see me again, " Taehyung said quietly, " Will you regret asking me to leave? " He hesitated, " Or will you just be glad that you were honest and truthful to the end? "
Jungkook stared at him.
“You’re not putting this one on me, Taehyung.” He said quietly.
“Right. Of course. How could I possibly put any kind of blame on you, when you’ve been perfectly faultless and honest with me all these days, right?”
Taehyung shook his head, laughing without mirth. “ If you’re so fond of righteous honestly, maybe you should have just released that video and cut all ties with me.” He snapped. “ Why go through all this trouble… What did you possibly gain from it?”
“ Closure.” Jungkook said without missing a beat. “ I was sick of spending sleepless nights, wondering where I went wrong and why you hurt me. I wanted to know why.”
“And I suppose you have your answer.”
Jungkook shook his head.
“No, but I realized something else. It doesn’t matter what the answer is. We’ve hurt each other too much or any kind of reconciliation.”
"Reconciliation? Don't joke Jungkook. It was never about reconciliation. It was about revenge. About getting back at me."
Jungkook didn't deny it and Tae felt his heart squeeze tight.
“Right.” He nodded. “ You’re a liar, you know.” He shook his head. “ You never forgave me. I don’t think you’re capable of forgiving anyone, Jungkook.
Because you’re so wrapped up in your hurt, you think you have monopoly over it. You think your hurt is license to dismiss everyone else’s. And that’s not fair.” he bit his lips, " You're right. I cant be so open and honest like you. But at least I don't lie to deliberately hurt."
"I never lied in the bounds of our relationship.... "
"But those bounds aren't there anymore... " Taehyung said quietly, " Right? So it makes it okay. " He shook his head. " I hurt you. I get that. And I'm sorry. " He swallowed. " But you're no saint.."
"Never said I was."
Taehyung stood up quietly, reaching for his bag. Jungkook frowned.
"What are you doing? "
"I'm going home. " He slung the bag over his head. " I shouldn't have come here in the first place. "
"Why did you come here anyway? "
Taehyung gave him a bitter smile.
"It's best if you don't ask me anything anymore, Jungkook. After all, we've established that I'm just a liar who doesn't give a damn about you. "
"That's not what I... "
"It is... " Taehyung said sharply. " It is exactly what you said and exactly what you meant. Just own it, Jungkook. You're not being careful with my feelings now. There are no feelings left for you to Hurt anyway. "
"I don't think there ever were. " Jungkook said quietly and Taehyung went still. He turned around, staring at him in disbelief.
"What is that supposed to mean? " He demanded.
"Nothing " He looked away.
"No." Tae snapped "You don't get to say something like that to me. "
"Are you trying to imply I never had any feelings for you? " He asked shakily. " Is that what you're saying? "
"It certainly felt that way to me."
"Right." Tae nodded. "Of course. And that's all that matters right? How you felt. Who gives a damn how I felt.? "
He laughed in disbelief.
"You know what, maybe you're right. " He said softly. " Maybe I'm just not capable of loving anyone but myself Jungkook. Maybe I'm just one of those people meant to live and die alone. Maybe that's why it's so easy for me to lie and run. "
"No." Tae snapped. " Don't. Just don't... Okay? You've said enough. I'm sorry that you wasted your time and your love on someone so utterly undeserving but I'm going to do you a favor. " He reached for his ring and tugged it off, before tossing it right at him.
"There." He choked out, tears brimming over his lashes and spilling onto his cheeks. " Now, you can go find someone who isn't fucked up and fickle like me. But just one thing Jungkook. " He bit his lips, " I loved you. If I didn't, this wouldn't hurt so fucking much."
Before Jungkook could respond the door opened, and Taehyung turned away, heart pounding as he wiped at his tears.
"Jungkook we have another meet and greet session.. " His manager began only to stop at the sight of Taehyung. " I'm sorry is this a bad time? "
Taehyung said sharply, shaking his head and moving past him. " I was just leaving. "
Jungkook made to move towards him but Taehyung held his hand up.
"Don't." He said sharply. " Just... Don't say anything else. I don't want to hear it. I just want to go home. "
Jungkook stared at him.
"I'll see you in a couple of days. "
Taehyung nodded, not meeting his eyes.
No you won't, he thought bitterly. You won't see me ever again.
"You were right. " Taehyung said very softly, his voice barely more than a whisper. " He doesn't love me anymore."
Jimin paused in the middle of sipping his drink. He sighed and placed the glass down before reaching for his hand.
"I'm sorry Tae. " He bit his lips.
"Don't be. " Taehyung groaned rubbing his palm over his face. " I learned my lesson, Jimin ah. I don't think I'm meant for this whole love thing. " He shook his head. " I just need to come to terms with that. And get a lawyer in the meantime. "
"And your parents? "
Taehyung flinched at the mere mention of them.
"They won't be happy. " He admitted. " But I can't do anything about that. They will just have to live with it. "
"You're going to meet them then? " He asked carefully. " Want me to come with? "
"No." Taehyung played with his finger, tracing the mark of his wedding band, the skin pale and discolored. " No, I'll be fine. "
"Jungkook isn't back yet? "
"I want to move out before he gets back. "
"Is that necessary? Why not just wait for him ? "
"Because I don't want to see him. " Taehyung said simply. " I don't want to see him or listen to him or even be in the same room as him. That's it" He shrugged. " And don't tell me I'm just running. It doesn't matter anyway.. Not anymore. Nothing matters. " He whispered.
There was something about the way he said it, that made Jimin look at him a little more intently.
The younger's shoulders shook a little and Jimin felt his heart clench.
"He told me I never loved him. He had no right to say that. It wasn't fair. "
"You're right. That's hurtful. "
"I went there to talk to him. To see what his world was like. I know I was a bad boyfriend back then Jimin. He's right to be made about that. I understand it. But I can't change the past, can I? What does he want me to do? "
Jimin squeezed his hand.
"It's good that you're ending things. This marriage... It was never real. " He pointes out. "Neither of you were ready for it. A break from each other would do you a lot of good. Both of you.. "
Taehyung stared at the table.
"I want to leave."
Jimin frowned deeply.
"No you don't. " He said casually. " You just came back. You're working on a new line of clothes and I know you're in talks with a number of boutiques here in Seoul. You don't want to leave. You want to escape. Don't even think about it. "
"Shush." Jimin said sharply. " This is it Taehyung. This is your problem. You're so terrified of consequences and confrontations, you've made them out to be so much scarier inside your head than they actually are... You don't have to leave . I won't let you go anywhere."
"Divorce?" Jaehwan stared at him. In disbelief. " Are you serious right now? '
Jungkook had a blank look on his face, eyes fixed on the oak desk between them.
"Don't be surprised. " He said quietly. " It was pretty inevitable, don't you think? It's what I wanted."
Jaehwan frowned, shaking his head.
"You sound like you're trying to convince yourself of that, Jungkook. " He read the papers again, " Irreconcilable differences. " He shook his head again, " Unbelievable. Are you honestly doing this? "
"There's a trial separation. 6 months."
Jaehwan blinked, surprised.
"Whose idea was that? "
"The lawyers advised it. Said the judge involved was old school and that would help." He hesitated. "Taehyung moved out yesterday. He's staying at his studio apparently. It's fine. We've moved on. "
Jaehwan scoffed at that.
"Moved on, yeah right. " He shook his head and pushed the petition away. " Whatever Jungkook. If this is how you want to live your life, I'm not going to waste my breath on you. Just make sure you don't regret this for the rest of your life. "
The door opened and Jaehwan glanced up.
"Oh..Daehwi... What's wrong? "
"The reports, boss. Got them done. " A low , brisk voice said from behind him and Jungkook turned around, curious.
"Hi. Yang Daehwi, I'm the head of marketing. " The man grinned. " Jungkook right? "
"Yes... " Jungkook frowned, surprised by the tone of his voice.
Daehwi gave him a grin.
"Had dinner with your ex husband last night. He told me a bit about you. Sorry it didn't work out between you guys. " Daehwi smiled before turning back to Jaehwan. " Anything else sir? "
"Yes, That'll be all-'
" Dinner? " Jungkook frowned. " What do you mean dinner? You mean like a date? " He demanded.
Daehwi laughed a bit.
"I mean, I wanted it to be but... He left without giving me his number. Didn't eat the sandwich I made either so... Not a good one."
"You should leave now. " Jaehwan said sharply, glaring pointedly at the man who looked a little surprised by the look on his face.
"Are you telling me you slept with my husband? " Jungkook gripped the edge of the chair, face drawn and mouth set in a thin line.
"Ex husband. "
Daehwi held a hand up.
"I'm sorry. Taehyung said you guys haven't been together in months and you're just waiting for a trial separation to end. "
Jungkook opened his mouth ready to protest but his brother beat him to it.
"You're right. They've moved on. Right Jungkook? "
"I'm sorry. Truly. I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. " Daehwi said earnestly. " Mr. Kim... Taehyung... I barely know him. We just met at a bar... And he said he was just looking to have some fun. "
Jaehwan closed his eyes, groaning.
Jungkook stood up, towering over him
"That so? " He whispered, " So how was it Mr. Yang? Did you have fun with him? "
"Okay." Jaehwan stood up, moving to grab his arm, tugging him away from the other man. " That's enough. No need for growl at the man. "
Jungkook didn't respond, merely breathing hard.
"Jungkook are you alright? " He asked quietly.
"A bar? " Jungkook shook his head. " Really? "
Jaehwan held his gaze.
"What the fuck did you tell him, anyway? " He asked quietly. " Must've been pretty harsh if it made him go to a bar and fuck strangers. "
Jungkook clenched his fists.
"He did not. " He snapped. " He wouldn't do that. I don't know what that idiot is talking about but Taehyung would never do that to m-" He stopped. " He would never do that. " He said quietly. "He doesn't enjoy casual sex. I know him. "
Jaehwan rolled his eyes. He watched as daehwi left before rounding on him.
" Right. You know him about as well as you know . Which is to say, you don't know him at all. And if he's having fun good for him. " He patted his back. " Just leave him alone and let him be. "
Jungkook frowned at his brother.
"What? You think what he said was true? You think Taehyung slept with the guy? " He demanded. " That's fucking absurd. "
"Daehwi has no reasons to lie. " He said quietly. " I think he's telling the truth. "
Jungkook ran a hand over his face, shaking his head in frustration.
"I just... its been what, a week since he moved out? I don't think it makes sense that he just.." He paused before shaking his head again.
"Jungkook, you either break clean or you'll never move on."
Jaehwan said quietly. "If he's moving on, you should too."
Jungkook stared at him.
"Moving on.. You think..that's him moving on?" He laughed. "Hyung, just....stop okay. I don't want to talk about this. I came here to give you the papers. Have our lawyers look at it. Or whatever."
"Jungkook, he's an adult and so are you. Stop tying yourself up in knots over him, okay?" Jaehwan said sharply. " You're my brother. You're the only one i have left. It kills me to see you like this."
Jungkook stopped walking and clenched his fists.
"I'll see you soon, Hyung."
Taehyung ran his fingers over the seam of the dress, the tulle fabric snagging on his nail a little as he tried to make sure if the stitch was hidden properly. The dress was for a boutique in itaewon, due in just two days
and he had been planning on working on it all of last night. Except he had done something entirely different.
The phone rang, making him jump a little. The loud volume made him wince, his ears ringing a little and head throbbing. He had gotten so badly drunk last night.
“Hey.” He croaked out , closing his eyes and leaning forward to rest his head on his desk.
“Are you alright? You sound awful.” Jimin’s voice was worried.
“I’m hungover and exhausted.” Taehyung whispered. “ I had a terrible night actually.”
"Hungover? Oh wow." Jimin laughed.
"Yeah.. I went home with some guy too." He grimaced. "I don't think anything happened though. I mean... it doesn't feel like it did."
"Tae...what?"Jimin gasped. " Oh my God, are you serious?"
"He's not a creep or anything. I met him at the night mart. God, that sounds so lame."
"Okay, stop right there... and start from the very beginning. Who is this guy? "
"I have this huge project coming up , as you know and well, I sent Jungkook the divorce papers yesterday."
"I know. It wasnt a real marriage. Its fine."
"I'm not saying that." Jimin said quietly. " It doesn't matter why you got married. You.. things are complicated between the both of you. Its going to be hard. I understand."
"I just wanted to get something to eat. And I went to the mart. I met him there."
i don't remember his name." Taehyung groaned. " I... He was nice. He was sweet." Taehyung bit his lips. " I don't know why he just... he reminded me of Jungkook when we were young you know.. charming... polite. Looked a little like him too. Dark hair, bright eyes."
And you went home with him?"
"No... God, no. Just, we talked. A little. He's divorced." Taehyung bit his lips . " I remember that."
"okay... What else did you talk about?"
"I don't know.. Jimin I was...just upset and he looked good and... there was a bar nearby."
"He offered to buy you a drink?"
"Yes. He said that I looked miserable so, I should have a little fun."
"Okay.. I mean... that's good. As long as you were okay with it."
"I was." Taehyung said quickly. " I liked him. And well, he took me home when I got drunk. Dropped me back home this morning." Taehyung laughed a little, " And well he-"
The door to his workroom opened a crack and someone stuck their head in.
"He's here right now." Tae blinked.
"Hi." The man waved, smiled bright and cheerful , and Taehyung blinked as he held up a small package.
"Jimin , I gotta go. I'll call you back."
He hung up , staring in surprise as the man stepped in , closing the door behind him.
"Hey.." he winced.
"Yang Daehwi." The man said with a grin. " in case you don't remember the name."
Taehyung closed his eyes , mortified.
"I'm so sorry." He said shakily. " Last night is just one big blur and... I'm really sorry for bothering you that much."
"Hey, come on. We had a good time."
"And i hope i didn't make you uncomfortable. You were completely blacked out and I didn't know where else to take you. I figured, home would be safe."
"Cats." Taehyung frowned, remembering. " There were cats.."
"Yes, I have three of those."
"Daehwi ssi..I'm really sorry. Trust me , I am normally not that kind of a person at all. I don't get drunk and impose myself on strangers."
"Taehyung ssi..." Daehwi said gently, moving closer and placing the soup on his desk. " I can tell. You had a bad day. We all have those."
"I guess we do." Taehyung chuckled nervously. "I.. thank you for last night. And the soup." He smiled.
"You work here by yourself. Its a nice place. Cozy." Daehwi looked around. " No assistants?"
"Uh.. not here. This is my personal studio." he smiled.
"how did you get here?"
"I asked my boss actually." Daehwi grinned. " i hope that's okay."
"Your boss?" Tae frowned. "Who-?"
"I work for Jeon Jaehwan." He said carefully. " Your ex husband's brother.."
Taehyung felt his heart take a dive.
"Is that a problem? I mean, if it is I can quit."
"What...?" Taehyung laughed in half shock and half surprise." No... I didn't mean... its just a small world, i guess." He shook his head. " Its fine."
"I just wanted to check in on you and you know... bring you some soup I feel at least partially responsible for the hangover."
Taehyung stared down at the soup and then back at the man.
"Well, thank you, again."
"Well, my lunch break ends in ten minutes, so I need to get back." He smiled. " Would it be too forward to ask for your number..."
Taehyung bit his lips hesitant.
"You know what..." Daehwi reached for his wallet, pulling it out and taking his card. Taehyung watched as he quickly scribbled a number on the back of it, holding it out. " You can have mine instead. That way, it's your call. If you ever want to rant again... let's have dinner."
Taehyung smiled, relaxing a little and taking the card. He stared at the Jeon Inc logo and flinched inwardly.
"Well, I'll keep that in mind. Have a nice day Daehwi ssi."
"You too..." He hesitated. " You're really very beautiful." he stuttered. " I.. I wanted to tell you that."
Taehyung blinked rapidly.
"Oh." He felt blood rush to his face. " I.. Thank you. That's very sweet of you to say."
"Just being honest." He grinned. " I really hope we can see each other again. and You know in case we don't, I just wanted to let you know. You're gorgeous."
He tapped the soup gently. " Drink it while its still hot. I'll see you around , Taehyung ssi?"
Taehyung nodded, watching him leave as quietly as he had come. He felt himself smiling a little as he touched the soup, warm under his fingers.
He felt a little better already.
He was just reaching for the soup when the door slammed open, startling him enough to slosh the hot liquid all over his fingers, yelping in pain.
"What was that guy doing here?" The loud , furious voice echoed off the walls and Taehyung stared in disbelief.
"What are *you* doing here?" He snapped.
Jungkook closed the door behind him.
"Don't try to change the subject. What are you doing Taehyung? Who the fuck is he?"
Taehyung clenched his fists.
"Get out." He snapped. " Now."
Jungkook laughed , shaking his head. " Wow."
"Guess, I pegged you all wrong." He shook his head. " Great to see you moving on so quickly and so well, Taehyung. I'm happy for you truly."
Taehyung closed his eyes.
"Why are you here?" he repeated. " Either tell me or leave. I don't have anything else to tell you."
Jungkook stared at him for a few more seconds. And then he held out the file in his hand.
"I'm filing the papers in court this monday. My lawyer went over it and there's a few things he wants to go over. When are you free to meet ? With your lawyer that is."
"You couldn't ask this over a phone call?" He demanded.
Jungkook didn't respond and Taehyung took the file.
"What's your lawyer's number?" He said quietly.
"So we don't have to see each other like this again. " Taehyung snapped. " It ruins my day."
"Well, you ruined my life, so I'd say we're getting even then." Jungkook said quietly . Taehyung groaned.
"God, just... leave me alone, Jungkook. Is it that hard? You got what you wanted. You made me believe you cared about me and then showed me all the ways I wasn't worth it."
"You helped me understand who I actually am you know? A liar... A coward... Someone completely and entirely undeserving of love... not just yours.... but anyone's really. And you know what, I don't care anymore. I'm not going to chase after you or anyone else either. I'm done."
Taehyung took the file, opening his draw and dropping it in.
"And to answer your question.... That guy ... His name is Daehwi. I met him last night. We went to a bar. Had fun. Got drunk... He took me home. And he came here to check on me. And to ask me out to dinner."
Jungkook's jaw went taut.
"Don't be reckless ,Tae. You're not hurting me like this, you're going to end up hurting yourself."
Tae laughed in disbelief
"Why would I want to hurt you? Do you think I care enough about you, to want to hurt you? I don't. Not everything is about you."
"And you know what... you should be happy." He smiled. " in relationships like this, there's no honesty or loyalty involved. Its just two people having fun with each other. No one gets hurt. No one gets attached. And no ones life gets destroyed either. I've learned my lesson."
"My lawyer will be in touch with yours." He said quietly, voice shaking a little. " You don't have to worry about me. I won't ever cross paths with you again. You can meet someone who's more your type. Infact, I hope you meet someone, really, really honest, Jungkook."
"Because then they'll tell you the real, unvarnished truth : You're a selfish , insensitive, cruel man who thinks his hurt give him some kind of right to do and say whatever he wants. I destroyed your life? You destroyed my heart. So, yeah. We're even. Get out."
✯✯✯Seven Years Ago ✯✯✯
“I told you before. If you get drunk you cannot come into my house. Get out, now." His mother's voice was loud and firm, full of anger but also desperate.
"And who the fuck are you-” his father sounded drunk as always. " This is my fucking house.."
"I don't care, just get-"
The sound of skin hitting skin made Jungkook jump, and he lunged for the door, rattling the doorknob and punching the wood with clenched fists.
But the door was locked from the outside. It was something his mother did, anytime his father came home drunk out of his mind.
Right from the time they were kids. She would push him and his older brother into their room, and lock the door from the outside, with a key. Just so his father couldn’t get to either of them. Jungkook turned around to stare at the empty room.
But his brother wasn’t here anymore. Jaehwan was in college, and while a part of Jungkook felt oddly betrayed that his hyung had left him here like this, to fend for himself, he also knew that Jaehwan was doing it for them.
He was getting a masters in business management, just so he could take over the business soon. Just so they wouldn’t be victims of his father’s drunken whimsies and investment follies.
Once, one of the greatest minds in the business world, Jeon Hanbin was now nothing more than a drunk fool, intent on destroying everything that he had spent decades building. Jungkook punched the door once again and then sagged against it in defeat, closing his eyes.
He was big enough to hit his father back. He wanted to because how dare that man lay a finger on his mother. But his mother had looked him in the eye and told him that it would make him no different from his father.
Only idiots use their fists to win arguments or to make their point, Jungkook, she would tell him. You really want to beat him? Show him how successful and happy you can be without him. Show him how irrelevant he truly is in your life.
As he heard his parents yell and scream down below, Jungkook ached. He hated this. He hated his home and he hated his father. All he wanted was to be able to come home and do his homework, have dinner with his parents, feel loved.
He didn’t want to hide in his own home, fearing a tyrant who didn’t give a damn about anyone but himself.
All he truly wanted, was some semblance of normalcy. Was it really too much to ask for?
As he tried to block out the yelling, his phone rang.
"Hey.... " It was Yugyeom, one of his classmates. " What you upto JK?"
Jungkook was popular in school. Well loved by students and teachers both.
" Nothing, why?"
"You wanna come over and play some video games?"
Jungkook stared at the window.
"Yeah. Be right there."
Taehyung stood in front of the buffet, staring longingly at the cream filled croissant. His stomach rumbled. He hadn't eaten a damn thing all day and it was already seven pm. He glanced at his mother. She was laughing with someone, on the other side of the restaurant.
He swallowed, before grabbing the ornate tongs, picking one croissant up and placing it on his plate. He felt queasy from guilt as he stared at the powdered sugar sprinkled all over it. He could imagine how many calories those were. He clenched his fists.
"Oh... Jimin ah..." Taehyung laughed, nervous. " Sorry... I just... I wanted some ..." He trailed off, closing his eyes and reaching for the tongs again, ready to place the treat back but Jimin grabbed his wrist.
"If you want it , then just eat it." He said quietly.
It wasn't that simple. Tae didn't mind eating it. But it was his mother's reaction that terrified him. He loved food. He enjoyed it. But off late, she had been making comments. About how , if he wanted any kind of future in the fashion industry he had to make the right choices.
Taehyung smiled at him.
"You're right. It's just... It's no big deal." He took a bite, the sugary sweetness exploding on his tongue and making him close his eyes in pleasure.
"This is delicious." He muttered and Jimin laughed.
"I can tell from the look on your face."
"Taehyung ah?" His mother's voice made him freeze. He swallowed hastily, reaching desperately for the serviette on the side table, hastily dabbing at his mouth before pushing the plate into Jimin's hands.
He turned around hastily, only to catch her frowning.
"What are you doing there, child?" She shook her head. " Come here and meet Mr. Hwang. He's one of the most sought after agents here in Seoul." She smiled wide at the man next to her. " Taehyung here has always wanted to be a supermodel. And just look at him. Isn't he gorgeous?"
The man, well in his forties, ran his eyes shamelessly over Taehyung.
"Delectable. " He smiled. " Is he 18?"
"Yes." His mother said hastily. " I know many models have a head start on him but, I hope you can help us with some good opportunities. My husband can be very generous."
"Taehyung, what kind of clothes do you see yourself modeling? Come take a walk with me. " The man held his arm out and his mother gave him a pointed look. Taehyung stared at his arm and then at the man.
"Actually, I have clothes that I've designed myself. "
( sorry about that last tweet my toddler )
The man looked surprised.
"Oh? Clothes that you've designed? "
His mother cut in before he could respond.
"Oh, it's just some drawings he does. Like a silly little hobby you know. Nothing serious. What he's really looking forward to is being a model.. Right, Tae? "
Taehyung didn't respond, looking away into the crowd instead. He wasn't the only rich kid at the party. He recognized a few young girls from his school, standing around laughing. Everyone looked different here, decked out and displayed. Future heirs to conglomerates.
Even as he watched them, he became aware of being watched himself. A heavy, curious gaze somewhere to his right. He turned around, equally curious and his eyes met those of a tall young boy, about the same age as him, leaning against the lounge chairs by the pool.
He looked vaguely familiar. Definitely someone he had seen before and he narrowed his eyes, before turning to his mother.
"I need to use the facilities. May I be excused?" He said politely . She frowned again.
Taehyung nodded, before turning towards the boy.
He smiled, softly , and then started picking his way over to him. The boy looked surprised , and Taehyung let his smile widen into something more alluring.
"Hi, handsome." He said softly. " Have we met before?"
The boy straightened, eyes bright.
"No, I... I'm Jeon Jungkook."
Jungkook. The name rang a bell but he couldn't quite place it.
"I'm Kim Taehyung."
"I know." The boy blurted out.
Taehyung raised his brows.
"I mean... I follow your youtube channel. Where you post your designs. You're very talented."
Taehyung blinked, biting his lips.
He wasn't very sure how he should feel about that. He had about hundred followers on his channel.
"Jeon Jungkook." He frowned. " JeonJK? You... You comment on all my videos."
"You're the only one who does."
"Makes me special."
Taehyung felt heat rise up his face and he blushed. Jungkook was handsome. Really, really handsome. Tall and strapping too. Exactly his type. He could feel the tug of attraction, strong and pretty darn hard to hide.
"You blush so pretty, hyung." Jungkook whispered.
Taehyung smiled despite himself.
"You really like my stuff?" He asked softly. " You're not just saying that because you want to get into my pants?"
And then he laughed.
"Well, can't it be both?" He smiled. Taehyung rolled his eyes, before smacking his chest.
Jungkook smiled and then turned around , grabbing a small dessert plate from behind him. Taehyung stared at the croissant, mouth watering at once. Jungkook made to take a bite but stopped at the look on his face.
"Would you like a bite?" He grinned.
"Taehyung!!" His mother's voice came from behind him and he closed his eyes.
"I have to go.." He muttered, under his breath, making to turn away but Jungkook grabbed his wrist, gently.
"You wanna get out of here hyung? I know a place where we can eat this, without interruptions."
Jungkook held the croissant up , eyes dancing with mischief and Tae felt like he could deep dive into them.
There was magic in the air between them and he was desperate for something magical in his banal life.
"Yeah." He took his hand." Let's get out of here."
End of Flashback✯✯✯
( a/n : bits of their past will be revealed as the story progresses )
"You... what?" Taehyung stared at his mother in disbelief. " You can't do this to me..."
The woman rolled her eyes.
"I can and I will and I already did." She snapped. " I'm not letting you walk out of a marriage that your father and I put so much money into."
"He doesn't want it either." Tae said quietly. " Don't you understand that?"
"i don't care what he wants or doesn't. What I care is how the pair of you think its nothing, making us a laughingstock not once, but twice. " she shook her head. " You told me you loved each other."
Taehyung could only stare at her in despair.
"I thought we did." He muttered. " I thought... I thought we loved each other enough to get over what happened in the past but... We can't. It hurts but its the truth."
"So this is a chance to fix it." She said firmly.
"I don't want to fix it..." He snapped.
"You don't know what you want Taehyung." She snapped. " You're fickle and flighty and you have never been grounded in reality. You don't know who you are or what you want. And I'm done with you fucking up your life.
You should be a model right now and instead, here you are slaving away in a tiny attic, over clothes that wont be there on any fashion event.
You ruined your life enough. I won't have you shaming our name as well. "
"I'm happy." Tae snapped. " Doesn't that count?"
"Are you?" She shook her head. " You aren't happy in any sense of the word and the most telling proof is how you don't want help from anyone who offers. This.." She held the envelope, " is me helping you. Giving you a chance to undo your mistakes with Jungkook."
Taehyung stared at the envelope.
"I don't want to do this and there is no way, he will agree either..."
"If he doesn't, prenup becomes invalid. And we pull out our investment from his brother's company. Trust me, he will agree as soon as he understands that."
“I didn’t think this was going to a family meeting.” Jungkook said quietly, glancing first at Mrs. Kim, then the three lawyers flanking her, his gaze finally landing on Tae. “ I thought only our lawyers would be in touch hereafter. What with you not wanting to ever see me again.”
Taehyung didn’t respond, merely clenching his fists.
His mother however smiled, wide and bright.
“I understand the discomfort, Jungkook ah… You may feel a little outnumbered here, which is why I’ve called your brother .
He’ll be here in a few moments, and we can wait till then if you like.”
“Not at all. I’m just here to get it over with.”
“Yeah well…It’s not a cup of coffee, Jungkook. It’s the end of a marriage. These things take time . And patience. Both of you.”
She glanced back and forth between them , “ Could do with a lot of patience.”
“Mom, just… stop talking.”
“Oh, why do you two have to be so unreasonable. Jungkook… You’ve known my Tae here since he was eighteen. You know how he is.
Running away from his problems is how he lives life. When he told me he wanted to marry you, I assumed he’s finally found someone who he could love more than he loved himself. Someone he could put aside his own selfishness , for.” She glanced at Taehyung again.
“ But I guess I was wrong. He’s still the same fickle child who doesn’t care about anyone but himself.”
“Probably because he’s the only one who does.” Jungkook said quietly. “ care for him that is. Not like you ever did.” He smiled. “ Mrs. Kim.”
She blinked at that.
“Well, I see he’s at least shared his sentiments about me, with you.” She smiled. “ And I’ll be honest, Jungkook. I don’t much care that he feels that way about me or my way of raising him. I did what I could, with what I had.
I tried to make him successful, he chose a path that was far from what he deserved and now he’s lying to himself that he’s happy with his life. When in fact, just the fact that we’re all sitting here , is proof that he is not to be trusted with making the right choices.”
Before Jungkook could respond, the door to the conference opened.
“I hope I didn’t miss the fun.” Jaehwan smiled, moving to sit next to Jungkook, wrapping his arm around him in a half hug first.
“Jaehwan. All grown up. Your father would be very proud of you.” She said with a smile.
“Sure, but I’m not sure the flames of hell are going to be conducive to him feeling anything. I like to think he’s too busy screaming in agony.”
Jaehwan smiled. “ you know paying for all the shit he did on here.”
“Well, I’m sure a lot of his pain came from have children who had no empathy for his troubles.” She shrugged. “ Nevertheless, the reason we’re here is pretty simple.
A divorce is simply not convenient at this time . And I’m hoping you could be amenable to an alternative, Jaehwan.”
“Your husband isn’t here?” Jaehwan looked around.
“Well, he prefers not to involve himself in silly little family disputes.” She smiled, “ We are family, Jae. Business partners yes, people in positions of power, yes. But more than all of that we’re family.
And I think as family, we can be a little more considerate of each other. Do you agree?”
“Are you going to tell us what you want or.. ?” Jungkook glanced at Taehyung. Taehyung met his eyes for just a second before looking away.
Jungkook however didn’t and Taehyung felt the heat of his gaze on his face, heavy and relentless.
“Nothing too terrible. There’s a very important conference coming up in exactly five months. We are having a number of foreign investors coming in and well,
I for one am looking forward to meeting them without the shadow of a scandal hanging over me or my family.” She smiled. “ Now, this particular gathering is extremely exclusive. These men, they don’t just want to meet anyone.
They only want to meet people they can trust and people they can invest in with the assurance that their money wouldn’t be lost. Now, if there’s a falling out between our families, there’s a chance that neither of us will be able to … attract their interest so to speak.
A divorce between two companies, doesn’t really scream trustworthiness or stability." However, if the two of you could co operate a little bit, we can do this with a little less damage to our respective businesses. "She glanced at Tae and then at Jungkook."Please?"
“We’re not staying married.” Jungkook said quietly.
“You don’t have to stay married indefinitely” Mrs. Kim said at once. “ Just till this conference ends. In the meantime, we can perhaps in very small doses of course, hint at there being a little trouble in your marriage.
Very subtle of course . But along with it, we will have to put out the news that you’re both working on your relationship. That you are committed to making this marriage work..”
“And how would we be doing that?” Taehyung spoke up , voice low but his eyes still lowered.
“Simple really. A court ordered mandatory relationship counselling. I would also like you two to move back in together .” She said firmly.
Tae went still at that.
"I don't want to move back.."
"Its not up for negotiation. Once we start this, the media will start hounding you."
Taehyung glanced at Jungkook and stood up abruptly making everyone jump a little.
"Very well." He said simply. " Its pretty obvious that I don't really have a say in whatever is going on here, which, I should really get used to by now." He chuckled. " I have to go now."
"Tae..." Jungkook began softly but Taehyung held his hand up, pointing right at him.
"No." He said firmly. " There's literally nothing you can say to me right now that I would want to hear. We're done. I don't mind playing a charade for a few months, but that's all it will be."
Tae grabbed his bag and slipped his arm through the strap, gripping it tight.
"Just let me know when I can move back in." He muttered, before pushing his chair back and walking out of the conference room.
Jungkook stared for a second, before standing up as well.
Taehyung stood in front of the elevators, watching it climb up to the floor he was in . He sense Jungkook before he came into view, mostly be cause of his cologne.
"Hey." he said quietly and Taehyung gripped the bag tighter.
"I know this isn't ideal but..."
Jungkook didn't respond. Instead he nodded , slipping his hands into his pockets and turning back around. He didn't move away though and Taehyung felt restless. The elevator arrived and when he stepped in , Jungkook followed.
"What are you doing?" he demanded.
Glaring at him, Taehyung turned away, a fierce sort of ache inside him, lungs clogged and breathing difficult.
Jungkook didn't say anything , merely standing there and when the elevator doors opened, he followed Taehyung out.
"Stop it. Leave me alone."
"Its only a few months. It'll be over soon." he said quietly.
Taehyung turned around to stare at him.
"You know what I realized, Jungkook? People tolerate me enough to let me hang around them for a while . But no one really loves me enough to want me back after I leave."
"For the first time in my life, you made me believe that you actually wanted me back. " he licked his lips, " Turns out you were only trying to teach me a lesson. Well, I've learnt my lesson. I'm tired now. I don't want to talk. I don't want anything but to be left alone."
Jungkook stared at him for a few more seconds before stepping back. He nodded.
"Okay." He said quietly.
Taehyung hesitated before bowing his head lightly.
"Thank you." He whispered before clutching his bag tighter. "I'll let you know when I'm ready to move back in."
Taehyung took his time, carefully sorting through his clothes, picking out the ones he liked the most, placing them inside bags and then in his suitcases. His studio was a long way from Jungkook’s apartment and he would probably have to travel a while, everyday,
if he wanted to continue working on his designs. There were deadlines coming up, clients he had to meet. A lot of work to be done, truly. As he carefully sorted through the fabrics, his eyes fell on the card on the side table.
The ornate J in the corner made him pause. Jeon Inc., Daehwi’s place of work. He imagined how much of a scandal it would be if people were to find out that he went home with an employee of his husband’s company. But he also remembered how surreal it had felt, talking to the man.
How…. normal. Easy. He could do with some easy conversation. Jimin was busy and he had no other friends to speak of.
Just as he reached for the card, his phone rang.
He stared at the number and felt the weariness seep in again.
“What is it Jungkook?” He said softly.
“Your room is ready. Can I come pick you up?”
Taehyung bit his lips.
Taehyung stared at the card.
“I have plans.”
“Plans? With who?”
“With a friend.”
“The friend I saw at your studio the other day?”
"Jungkook, what is this?"
“Why are you questioning me?” He demanded.
“You know you can’t go out with him. People are going to notice.” Jungkook said quietly.
Taehyung played with the card, nails scratching the embossed surface.
“Not if I meet him at his place.” He said casually.
Jungkook was quiet.
“Alright then. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He paused. “ Call me when you’re done with dinner. There’s some things I want to talk to you about.”
“Come home and I’ll tell you.”
Before he could respond, Jungkook hung up.
Taehyung stared at the phone and felt frustration build.
He grabbed the card and quickly dialled the number at the back.
Daehwi picked up after a couple of rings.
" Kang Daehwi, who is this?"
"I.. Hi. This is... um.. Kim Taehyung."
✯✯✯ Flash Back ✯✯✯
" Are we even allowed to be up here?" Taehyung whispered, eyes wide and just a little frightened as he wrapped his arms around himself, watching as Jungkook bent over at the waist, trying to wrench open the wrought iron door that led onto the roof. It was a cold night.
Jungkook grunted as he pulled the deadbolt aside, the door creaking something fierce as he started pushing it open.
"Do you only do things that you're allowed to do, Kim Taehyung ssi?" Jungkook whispered, throwing a naughty look at him over his shoulder.
"Well, most of the time, yes." He said softly.
"Then, this will be a novel experience for you." He pushed the door open, fully before stepping out into the terraced roof. He turned and held a hand out for him to take. Tae took it, letting Jungkook pull him in.
This high up, they were cut off from the rest of the world, or so it felt. But Jungkook didn't stop. Instead he tugged him along to the large platform in the middle of the terrace, with a tiny spiraling staircase leading up to a metal railing.
"Jungkook , wait, we can't."
"Hyung." Jungkook said quietly, turning to look him in the eye." Just trust me."
And Taehyung for a fleeting moment , did. He didn't trust people. Not easily and certainly not this quickly. But something about Jungkook's innocent earnestness drew him in, making him take his offered hand, letting him link their fingers together.
Jungkook was his easiest yes.
"Is it safe?" He whispered, climbing ahead, with Jungkook right behind him.
"I'm here hyung, I won't let you fall." The younger whispered . And as he finally, climbed onto the railing, Taehyung felt the breath get knocked out of him.
"Wow." He exhaled, staring at the view.
Jungkook climbed onto the railing next to him, wrapping one arm around him to keep him close, smiling wide as he stared at the Seoul skyline,with the Han winding through the landscape like a silver satin ribbon, reflecting the moon's glow.
"Breathtaking, isn't it? just like you."
Taehyung rolled his eyes.
"Now, you're just making it obvious. You want to get into my pants." he accused.
"Well, not here." Jungkook grinned. " But i wouldn't say no to a kiss." he winked.
"What do I get in return?"
Jungkook reached into his jacket, pulling out a croissant.
Taehyung laughed again, loud an carefree in a way he hadn't felt in so long.
He took the croissant, biting into it with relish, before leaning over and lightly pecking Jungkook's cheek.
"Thank you." He whispered.
Jungkook grinned and leaned back, eyes fluttering shut.
Taehyung watched him absently. Jungkook was so handsome, so charming and so popular. Taehyung was more or less a loner, with no friends except for Jimin. What did Jungkook even see in someone like him?
"It's a lovely night." The younger commented.
The wind picked up and Taehyung sighed.
"Hyung." Jungkook said quietly.
"Will you let me take you out ?"
"Take me out?"
"Like, on a date?"
Jungkook wouldn't look at him.
"if you look me in the eye when you ask, then maybe." he grinned.
Jungkook turned around and did just that, not an ounce of nervousness in his gaze.
"Will you go out with me, Kim Taehyung?" He whispered.
Taehyung felt his pulse pound inside his chest.
"Um.. Yeah." he breathed out. " Okay. Okay I will."
✯✯✯ Three weeks later ✯✯✯
Taehyung was nervous about meeting Jungkook's friends. Very, very nervous. Most of them were younger than him yes, but they were also intimidating : popular, rich and beautiful. They were extroverted, so much more than Taehyung could ever be.
What if they disliked him?
And as he settled into the seat next to his boyfriend, he realized that his fears weren't exactly unfounded
There were six of them, seated around the cafeteria table and he smiled nervously.Not one of them met his eye, all of them staring at each other.
He felt his anxiety peak, hands twisting together on his lap and gaze lowering to the table.
"Hey, babe." Jungkook kissed the corner of his mouth and all of them laughed. Except it didn't seem teasing. It felt mocking more than anything else.
"Guys, this is Taehyung. That's sunbae to you guys." Jungkook said sternly and they chuckled.
"No photoshoots today? Taehyung ssi?" one of them asked.
"you're a model right? That's what your mom keeps telling everyone." the guy laughed.
"I'm not... a model."
"Taehyungie hyung isn't going to be a model. He's going to design clothes." Jungkook said firmly.
They laughed again.
"Really, well that's a waste. What's the use of being pretty, rich and spoiled if you don't use it to be successful."
Taehyung clenched his fists but it was the sound of Jungkook laughing that made his skin turn cold.
"Well, he does make a good point." Jungkook said, turning to him with a grin. " Your face would sell anything, hyung."
Taehyung stared at him in disbelief.
"Excuse me." He said quietly, standing up and pushing his chair back. He turned on his heel making a beeline for the door. He barely reached the hallway, when Jungkook grabbed his arm, tugging him back.
"What are you doing?" He demanded. " Why did you walk out like that."
"Your friends just called me rich and spoiled. You expect me to sit there and listen to that?" He asked shakily.
Jungkook rolled his eyes.
"That was a joke hyung. Stop overreacting. And its not like they're wrong."
"Objectively. you are privileged. Thats what they meant."
"Objectively?" Taehyung whispered. " Right. Is that how you feel too ? That i am a spoiled pretty face and nothing more."
"That's not what I said at all." He said quietly. " They were just joking. They didn't mean any harm."
"You want me to make them apologize? Okay, I will. Just... Come back. Please... They're my friends. I want you to get along with them."
"I... Fine." He sighed. " Okay.. let's go back."
Jungkook looked visibly relieved.
And all Taehyung could think of was how Jungkook seemed more upset at the thought of his friends feeling bad, than he was at the thought of Taehyung being hurt.
He filed that away in his heart, reminding himself just why it was foolish to trust people.
✯✯ End of Flashback ✯✯
Some notes about this flashback. : it's good to have an objective view about what is described. Jungkook is being honest when he says that it was a joke. We've all been seventeen. High school jokes are often cruel. That's just the age. He isn't a bad guy or a bad boyfriend.
Friendships are important. Very much. Especially for a guy like Jungkook who has a terrible family. His friends are his escape. Of course they're very important to him.
Taehyung : insecure because he is frequently dismissed as nothing more than a pretty face. It's a sour point for him. When Jungkook laughs about it, it stings.
"he isn't picking up. " Mrs Kim said sharply. " I told him, explicitly that he is to arrive at the venue before seven and that he has to be here with Jungkook. What is this boy playing at? "
Jungkook stood to the side, dialing Taehyung's number again. Unanswered.
"He probably lost track of time, Mrs. Kim. " He said politely. " He's been busy with work and you did call us at pretty short notice. "
She rolled her eyes.
"It doesn't matter. He knows how important it is to be on time to these things and... "
Jaehwan stepped closer, lightly gripping Jungkook's elbow and squeezing a bit.
"He's here with Daehwi. " He said softly, only for Jungkook's ears. Jungkook went still at that.
"Daehwi? The guy from your office? "
"I think they were on a date." Jaehwan muttered.
Jungkook didn't respond.
"Where is he? " He asked quietly, " Outside? "
"Near the lobby, yes. Jungkook, I think you should just let him come join you-"
Jungkook didn't wait for him to finish and Jaehwan watched as his brother walked across the foyer to the lobby.
Sure enough, Tae stood by the large marble columns, talking to one of the people in charge for the night's event. He looked anxious and rattled, face pale and hair a little in disarray. Jungkook tried not to look at the man standing next to him, making a beeline for him instead.
"Is everything alright? " He asked , voice low as he reached his side.
Tae gave him a flustered look.
"I... I wasn't sure what I was supposed to wear. " He stammered , " Mother didn't tell me whether it was a formal event or.."
"Don't worry you look beautiful, Taehyung ssi."
Jungkook clenched his fists.
Taehyung turned to Daehwi at that.
"Thank you so much for driving me here. And I'm so very sorry for all the trouble today.. "
"It's fine. " He said quickly. " Really, I don't mind at all. "
"You can leave now, though. " Jungkook said firmly.
"Yes." Tae said quickly. " You said you had work to do.I've taken too much of your time today. I apologize. "
"Can I call you later? "
"He'll call you if he wants to talk. And no offence Daehwi ssi, it's not a good look, him arriving here with you. He's married. Please, leave."
Taehyung frowned, turning to Jungkook.
"There's no need to be rude about it. " He said quietly.
"I'm not being rude. Just being honest. I think Daehwi ssi understands that, right? "
Daehwi stared at Jungkook, a calculative look on his face. He smirked a little.
"No need to be so upset, Jungkook ssu" Daehwi said with a grin. " I understand why you would feel threatened but, seriously, we are just friends. I only came because Taehyung asked me to. I was merely helping a friend out. "
Jungkook didn't respond.
Instead he wrapped a hand around Taehyung's elbow tugging him around and away from the other man. Taehyung winced a little at the punishing grip, trying to pull himself free.
"Jungkook let go of me. " He hissed.
"There are reporters. Behave. "
Taehyung swallowed, glancing around in confusion and sure enough, a few men and women stood close to the entrance of the large ballroom where the event was being held. He saw the cameras and immediately stopped struggling.
"I couldn't get a cab. He offered to drive me here. "
Jungkook stopped walking turning to look at him.
"Was he there with you? " He asked.
"Yes." He said finally.
"Did he come by himself or did you call him?"
"Jungkook.. " Tae sighed, tiredly.
"That answers that." He shook his head. " Whatever. It's your life."
Tae bit his lips.
"You're right. It is. It is my life. I don't have to explain myself to you. "
Jungkook turned to him then.
" You're right, you don't. Just be careful. He doesn't seem like a genuine guy. "
"Why? Because he's interested in me?"
Jungkook rolled his eyes.
"Hyung, I think if you call a guy late in the evening and ask him to come over to your place, there's not many men who would say no to that. So really, don't get your hopes up too much. "
Taehyung stopped walking abruptly, his skin going cold.
Jungkook frowned at him.
"What? " He snapped.
Taehyung exhaled, shaking his head. He closed his eyes , lips wobbling a little.
"Nothing." He said after a moment. " Let's just get this over with. "
He made to move away but Jungkook grabbed his arm.
"What? Don't tell me that hurt your feelings, hyung. " He shook his head. " Or maybe deep down you know I'm telling the truth. "
Taehyung turned to him, smiling blankly.
"You're right, Jungkook. He probably thinks I'm easy."
"Who knows.. " He continued with a shrug. " Maybe he's right. Maybe I've always been cheap and easy and I've been fooling myself all these years that I'm not. You didn't have to put much effort either, remember. I came to your bed willingly and eagerly both then and now. "
Jungkook let go of him, as if burned.
"That's not what I meant.. "
"Do you even know what you meant? " Taehyung asked quietly. " I don't think you do. All you know is to find the perfect words to hurt me. It's how it's always been. But don't worry. I've gotten used to it. "
"And just so you know... I never called him home. I wanted someone to talk to so I met him for a cup of coffee. My mother called me in the middle of it and he offered to drive me here. " He whispered. " I know you hate me. Jungkook but please, just stop acting like you know me. "
"Taehyung... " His mother's voice came from behind them, " There you are... Good God, child what on earth are you wearing? And your hair...." She stared at him in disbelief. " You need to go fix that right away."
Taehyung didn't respond, merely nodding and walking away.
Jungkook stared after him, fists clenched and she noticed the strained look on his face and his posture.
"Is everything alright? Why do you look so tense? "
"Nothing... I.. When do we have to go in? "
"Soon.. I'm waiting for a few people. Why don't you go with Taehyung? "
Jungkook stared down the hallway where Taehyung had disappeared and sighed.
"Okay.. I'll go get him. Just give me a call when you want us to come in. " He said firmly, before walking away in that direction.
Taehyung washed his face thoroughly, trying to wrangle his hair into some semblance of order. There wasn't much he could do for his outfit but he fixed it nonetheless. He stared at himself in the mirror, feeling distaste well inside him. He looked terrible. He felt sick.
Fighting nausea he washed his face again before closing his eyes. His head was starting to ache something fierce. He used a little mouthwash to wash away the taste of bile on his tongue, before wiping his hands on the paper towels, drying himself up as best as he could.
Once he was done, he walked out into the hallway, down the narrow corridor which turned out into a small alcove. He was just a few feet away from the alcove when he heard Jungkook laughing. The sound was oddly jarring because it was so familiar and also so foreign.
"Now, you're just exaggerating.." Jungkook was saying." i mean, I do appreciate the compliment. Thank you."
There was a soft , feminine laugh in response.
"Trust me Mr. Jeon, there is no exaggeration or flattery here. you are easily one of the best gamers in the world."
"Well..." Jungkook sounded shy and hesitant, the way he usually did when he was genuinely pleased and the nausea for some reason, returned a hundredfold.
"I feel like I'm the luckiest person on the planet, running into you like this. I have been a huge fan for so long."
"A fan? Come on... you're the mind behind some pretty breathtaking games. If anyone is a fan, its me." Jungkook responded at once. " Your latest release, it sold out before I could even get my hands on it. I had to call in personal favors to get my hands on it."
More laughter from the lady.
"Well, just say the word, I will personally deliver any and all future releases at your doorstep myself." She said brightly. " But seriously, I would love to pick your brain about a few ideas I have... Is there any chance we could meet somewhere?"
"I'd like that..." Jungkook responded laughing a little. " Maybe Tuesday? Is Dinner alright?"
" I mean, no ones going to say no to a dinner with a handsome guy like yourself. I'd have to doll myself up, I think."
Jungkook laughed again and Taehyung scoffed.
what a hypocrite.
But then again, maybe Taehyung was the fool here.
Jungkook was good at this. Good at making people believe he wanted them.
He remembered the time they had slept together a few months ago. How he had made him believe he wanted him, in the car.
Taehyung had let him in so easily.
Jungkook had never truly wanted him back had he? He had made that much clear to him. He had married him for some kind of closure. And the money.
As Taehyung stared at the mirror, he had a sudden dawning realization.
His eyes widened.
He didn't think twice, fumbling for his phone and dialing his lawyer's number frantically.
"Taehyung? " The man asked quietly. " What's wrong? "
"The pre nup.. " Taehyung said shakily. " What does it say about infidelity? "
As the man carefully explained the details of the pre nup, Taehyung felt his veins slowly turn to ice.
It made so much sense.
God, he was an idiot wasnt he?
"Okay. Thank you hyung. " He said quietly, before hanging up.
He stared at the mirror for a few more seconds.
And then he called Daehwi.
"Who paid you? " He asked shakily.
"Don't say anything. Just answer my question. Who paid you to get closer to me? Was it Jungkook or his brother? "
"How did you find out? "
Tae closed his eyes.
"Answer my question. " He said shakily.
"I think you know the answer , Tae. I won't tell you. You probably won't believe me anyway. " The man paused. " For what it's worth, I couldn't afford to say no. I work for them you know. Gotta look out for myself. "
Taehyung hung up.
His fingers started shaking as he rushed back out to the hallway, avoiding the corridor where he had heard Jungkook. It took him a while to find his way to the front lobby, ducking out of sight of familiar faces. He found the reporters by the door and went right for them.
"Mr. Kim... It's so good to see you.. " The camera flashes went off, blinding him momentarily.
But all Taehyung felt was the searing, burning ache of betrayal spreading all over his body.
No matter what he did, he didn't deserve this.
"Mr. Kim... Are you alright? " The woman asked, looking worried. " You look really pale."
"I... " He couldn't think straight. All he wanted, all he really truly wanted was for this to be over. For this horrible sickening pain to end.
And he had the feeling that as long as he stayed tied to Jungkook, he would never be free of it.
"Jungkook and I... " He stuttered, voice breaking. " We.. We're getting a divorce. "
Hushed murmurs as the reporters turned to him.
"What? Mr. Kim could you repeat that
"My husband... He's divorcing me.. " He swallowed. " We're getting divorced. "
"He's divorcing you?... Am I getting that right? Jungkook ssi is divorcing you? "
Taehyung felt miserable. He wanted to tell them the truth but for a long time now, telling the truth had never made a difference in his life.
People believed what they wanted to believe.
Jungkook. His mother. Even Jimin.
No one truly cared what his truth was.
No one cared enough to try and find out either.
So maybe, maybe this was better.
Besides, who knew what kind of evidence Daehwi had. Photos? He had been really drunk that night after all.
This was better.
He had gone through this once before so.. How hard could it be to go through it again?
He had survived the first time hadn't he?
He could survive this too.
"I cheated on him. " He said softly. " I... I broke my marriage vows. That's why. "
Before they could fully process what he had just said, Taehyung turned on his heel, rushing out to the lobby. He didn't stop to see if he was being followed, his every instinct merely screaming to get as far , far away from Jeon Jungkook as possible.
And then, he could cry.
( a/n : what shud jk do)
The knock on the door was loud and jarring, with so much force behind it that the paneled door shook on its hinges, rattling the door frame around it.
"I know you're in there Taehyung, open the damn door. "
Taehyung burrowed deeper under the sheets, eyes squinting shut.
"Go away, " He croaked out, voice barely more than a whisper but that was all he had energy for really. He wanted to sleep for a week. Or a month. And yes that wasn't practical but maybe atleast a hour?? Why wouldn't they leave him alone?
"Taehyung either you open the damned door or, so help me God, I will break it down! "
His groggy brain finally put a name to the face and it only made him feel worse.
"Leave me alone Jungkook!! " He yelled, anger bubbling inside him.
There was silence.
"That doesn't work well for us. " Jungkook shouted. " I'm not leaving till you open the fucking door, hyung. "
Taehyung closed his eyes, fists gripping the fabric of his blanket and wrapping it tighter around him.
The door shook again and he swore.
"Wait." He snapped, throwing the covers off and realizing belatedly that he was wearing his worn out, frayed t shirt that hung off him .
He swore, stumbling to the suitcase, half packed in the corner of the room, digging for something less terrible but before he could pick anything out, the door crashed open, hitting the opposite wall with a deafening sound. Taehyung stared in disbelief.
"You...are you insane?!"
Jungkook stared at him.
"That's rich coming from you. " He snapped. " What the fuck do you think you're doing?? Why on earth would you say that?!"
"Why? Did it happen before you meant for it to happen? Tell me... How long were you going to wait to humiliate me Jungkook? What else were you going to do? Maybe release that video of yours too right? Tell the world what lying, despicable person I am? "
Jungkook blinked at him, face blank and confused.
Taehyung saw the honest look of utter bewilderment on Jungkook's face and felt his head spin a little. Some of his righteous anger faded, replaced by hopeless misery instead. He felt unsteady on his feet as he moved away.
"Go away. " He whispered. " I... I can't trust you. "
Jungkook recoiled a bit at the words, his gaze dropping to the floor as he took a small step back. Taehyung watched as the younger brought his hands up, wrapping them around himself in a protective gesture.
"I... " he paused. " I understand why you may feel that way."
Taehyung felt something come undone inside him again, anger fading some more, replaced with concern that really wasn't earned. Jungkook didn't deserve any sort of empathy. Really, he deserved nothing from him anymore. He had already taken enough.
"Daehwi said you paid him."
"Paid him? For what?" Jungkook frowned. " What are you talking about."
"You really don't know?" Taehyung felt lost. Vulnerable. He was so sick of being fooled by people. So sick of it really.
"I have no fucking clue, Taehyung. Please just tell me what happened."
"He said you paid him to get close to me .So you could use the infidelity clause in our prenup to make sure you can keep the entire money from the investment. if not my parents could take back their investment." Taehyung watched him closely. " Do you swear you didn't know?"
Jungkook shook his head, eyes downcast as he stared at his feet.
"Your brother then. He did it. "
"Hyung wouldn't do that. " Jungkook said at once. " He wouldn't... Do something like that Taehyung. "
Tae shook his head. He was tired. Too tired to fight.
"Okay." He shrugged. " It doesn't matter anyway. Your brother gets his money. You get your divorce and I get what I really want the most. " He bit his lips. " You out of my life for good. "
Jungkook hesitated before nodding.
"Everybody wins then? " He muttered and Taehyung scoffed.
"Wins? " He laughed , derisive. " Who the fuck is winning here Jungkook? Sure as hell isn't me. " He shook his head. " Tell me honestly. When you saw me after all these years,
"Why didn't you just tell me you hated my guts and wished the worst on me? It would have hurt me enough but at least I would have stayed away from you. What did I do to you that deserved all of this?"
Jungkook didn't respond.
"Since you're so fond of honesty, let me be honest."
Taehyung looked him right in the eye.
"When you told me you wanted me back, I jumped at the chance. You know why? It wasn't just because I felt guilty or because I wanted to re do it all. I agreed because I fucking loved you, Jungkook. And you took that love and destroyed it."
He shook his head.
"I hope it was worth it. "
Two Weeks Later
Taehyung frowned at the small envelop in his hand, reaching for the small box cutter he kept in his work desk, carefully sliding it between the crease of the flap. He pulled the sheaf of paper inside, opening it and reading through the contents with increasing anxiety.
( a/n : since someone asked, you can listen to Somewhere only we know, cover by rhianne;
This lyric in particular :
And if you have a minute, why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So, why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?
Taehyung ran his fingers over the words, and briefly considered, how bad it would be if he just tossed the paper in the bin and pretended it didn't exist.
But he couldn't quite do that.
This was one mess he would have to go through to get out of.
There was no way around it.
He grabbed his pen, underlining the name of the clinic where he was supposed to go meet the court assigned therapist for their couple counselling. His lawyer had agreed to speed thing up, by not contesting anything that Jungkook’s side put out,
and his parents had pretty much disowned him. Couple’s counselling wasn’t going to happen. Not in any sense of the word. He reached for his phone, dialing the number carefully.
“ Hello, This is Dr. Kim’s office, can I help you?”
Taehyung sat up straighter.
“Um.. yes. I’m calling to talk about the court mandated counselling session that I was supposed to take with my husband. Well, I need to cancel-“
“I’m sorry, may I know your name, sir?”
“Kim Taehyung .”
“Kim Taehyung…. Hmm… You’re married to Mr. Jeon Jungkook?”
Hearing his name really shouldn’t make him feel so cold and anxious. Taehyung closed his eyes.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“I see. Well, I cannot do that sir. Your husband and you would have to come down here and fill out a form, along with a letter from the judge.”
Taehyung clenched his fists.
“Listen, I can’t … I don’t know how to explain this okay…I ..we’re not looking to work on the marriage anymore. We’re going to get a divorce.”
“I understand sir, but you would have to-“
“I can’t.” Taehyung snapped. “ I’m not going to come there with him. I have no intention of coming there with him for any reason.”
“Very well, would you be comfortable coming over alone?”
“Well, just a small formality. It would only take a few minutes at the most but I would require your signature for it. So, please, anytime you choose.”
Taehyung stood up quickly.
“Okay, I’m on my way.”
He really just wanted to get this over with.
It took him a while to get a cab, feeling just a little nervous as he kept his shoulders hunched, the lower half of his face hidden behind his scarf,over the dark mask that he had on. The past few weeks, his picture had been splashed all over tabloids. He didn't want any trouble.
When he finally stood in front of the clinic he couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed by how unassuming the building was. Painted a muted beige and caramel, with cream awning and a few bright floral decals on the walls. The entrance had a board which read, Dr. Kim Seokjin.
Taehyung wrapped his jacket closer around himself, before picking his way to the large white gates. The security guard offered him a bright smile, opening the doors for him and Taehyung stepped in, making his way to the reception area.
"Mr. Kim Taehyung?" The girl smiled.
"I hope you're doing well?" She asked brightly. Taehyung hadn't been out of his studio in over two weeks. He really didn't want to stay out any longer than absolutely necessary and he certainly didn't want to exchange niceties with a stranger.
"You said i had to sign something?"
"Ah, yes... "
"Mina, did you call the AC guy , i swear to God, it feels like I'm sitting in the Tundra." A loud voice said from the other side of the room and Taehyung glanced up.
A tall, very good looking man stood by a dark door, dressed in a dove grey suit.
Taehyung flinched at once, recoiling a little and bowing awkwardly. He turned back to the receptionist.
"The form? " He prompted again, biting his lips. His feet tapped nervously against the floor as he felt the man in the suit move closer.
"What form is that? "
"Oh, This is Mr. Kim. He was scheduled to meet you with his husband... "
"Oh, yes. " The doctor laughed a little. " I don't generally take up patients on someone else's behest but your mother is... Hard to say no to." He grimaced. " I think that's something you agree with."
Taehyung didn't respond to the remark.
"I'm very sorry for the inconvenience doctor. But well, my husband and I've we've decided to separate at once. "
Dr. Kim gave him a small smile.
"Is that so? " He shrugged. " Well your mother already paid for the sessions so.. "
"It's no big loss to me. " He chuckled, before glancing outside. "Is your husband here as well? "
Taehyung shook his head.
"He's... Well.. We're not on speaking terms. " He cleared his throat. " I was told I need to sign a few forms.. "
"Mina will get that ready. "
"Say, Taehyung ssi... Would you like to wait in my office while she does that for you? It's a little cold but I just made a hot mug of cocoa. I like coffee occasionally but hot cocoa is the ultimate comfort drink don't you agree? " He grinned.
Tae smiled hesitant.
He wasn't very good at refusing people, especially strangers. Feeling oddly cornered, he played with the ends of his belted coat,
"I'm not really sure if... "
"Oh, come now. The drink is already done. You'll love it I promise. I even have a few toasted marshmallows somewhere."
Taehyung followed him reluctantly, stepping into the office and looking around at the space with some surprise. It looked quite unlike what he thought a shrink's place would look like.
It was cozy and eclectic, warm colors and soft fabrics everywhere.
"My husband designed it. "
“You’re married?” Taehyung turned to him, surprised and Seokjin gave him a grin.
“Should I be offended that you see so shocked at the prospect?” He laughed. “ Taehyung ssi, I’m quite a good man, you know.” He moved to a mahogany side bar,
and Taehyung watched as he grabbed a couple of ceramic mugs and spoons.
“No, I… That’s not what I meant. Um..” He glanced back around the room, staring at the walls and the paintings.” What does your husband do?”
“Namjoon? He’s a homicide detective.” Seokjin said casually and Taehyung glanced at him again, completely thrown.
“We met when one of my patients was killed seven years ago. I testified in court for him and he repaid by taking me out to dinner.”
Seokjin mixed the drink with firm but careful movements, before walking over to him and holding it out for him to take.” Here you go.”
Taehyung took a sip. It was delicious.
“What about your husband?” Seokjin asked casually. Taehyung stiffened at once.
His entire body went taut as he glanced away, defensive in every way and Seokjin whistled.
“That bad, huh?” he chuckled. “ I see.”
Taehyung frowned, turning to him.
“What do you see?”
Seokjin took a sip of his drink and shrugged.
“I see why you don’t want to try counselling.”
He licked his lips. “ This could definitely use a little more sugar, I think.”
Taehyung watched him move to the bar and felt his hackles rise.
“What do you mean by that.?” He followed him to the corner.” Its not that I don’t want to…” He closed his eyes.
“ It’s a lot more complicated then that.” Taehyung finished.
“I’m sure it is, Taehyung ssi. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.” He said gently.
“I’m not upset” He whispered, “I.. We hurt each other a lot. And we decided to stop doing that. That’s it.”
“That’s brave of you. It can’t have been easy, making a choice like that. Especially when you have a lot of history.”
Taehyung took another sip of his drink. They stayed silent for a few moments.
“I wasn’t a good partner.” He said softly, without thinking too much of it.
Maybe it was because Seokjin was a complete stranger and he didn’t really fear being judged by him. It wasn’t like he would see him again after today. “I was difficult in many ways I think.”
Seokjin listened to him, a look of rapt attention on his face.
Taehyung swallowed a bit.
“ My friends tell me I tend to run away. A lot.” He laughed a little. “ I guess they’re right. It feels good to run away from things. Safer. Like when people evacuate when there's a hurricane warning you know. Its not because they want to run. They just don’t want to get hurt.”
"Does it work?" He asked casually.
"Running away. Does it make you feel safer? Does it make you happier."
Taehyung bit his lips.
"No." he choked out. " It doesn't. It hurts me a lot. It makes it hard to breathe sometimes. Hard to live." he fought tears.
His vision started blurring a little and he blinked back the moisture. Gentle fingers closed around his elbow, steering him to a comfortable looking couch in the side of the room. He swallowed, settling down on the plush fabric and feeling his pulse quicken.
he laughed a little, dabbing at the tears spilling down his cheeks. " I'm being silly aren't I?" he bit his lips. " I didn't mean to get all weepy on you, Doctor. I... Please just give me the form , I'll get out of your hair right away." He whispered.
Seokjin nodded, moving to the door, and opening it. He peered at the receptionist's desk and frowned.
"Where did she go?" he shook his head. " Oh, wait, its the time she usually takes a little break. We might have to wait a few more minutes. Is that alright?"
"i suppose." He said finally.
Seokjin smiled and moved to sit on the armchair next to the couch.
"We can talk some more if you want to." He said softly.
"I don't really want to." He said. " Not about Jungkook."
"About something else then?"
"Like what?" Taehyung gave him a confused look.
"Anything . How was your day today?"
"My day?" Taehyung hesitated. " The same as yesterday. And the day before. I... i haven't been out of my studio for a while."
"Why is that?" Seokjin asked casually, reaching for the small
remote on the table .
He clicked a button and outside, the LED display on the wall changed to OCCUPIED.
The last thing Jimin expected, when he opened the door that evening, was Jeon Jungkook on his doorstep with a cardboard box in his hand.
"What's this?" He asked by way of greeting and the younger shifted from one foot to the other.
"It's Taehyung's stuff . From our apartment."
Jimin hesitated before reaching for the box, carefully taking it from him. Jungkook peered over his shoulder and Jimin sighed.
"He's not here. " He said quietly. " Do you want to come in? "
Jungkook looked hesitant.
"I won't say I told you so. " Jimin smiled. " Come in."
Jungkook followed him to the living room and Jimin pointed out the couch but Jungkook made a beeline for the wall by the side which had a number of framed photographs of him and Taehyung.
"Would you like something to drink? "
"Just water's fine. " Jungkook sounded subdued.
When Jimin returned, he found Jungkook running his fingers over a familiar polaroid, from when they were twenty.
"Where was this? " He asked softly.
"Milan." Jimin smiled. " Taehyung was walking the ramp and he got tickets to fly me out. "
"He looks happy here. " He said softly. " I forgot how happiness looked on him. Or maybe he just never was happy with me, I don't know. " He chuckled.
* he was only ever happy with you Jungkook. " Jimin said quietly. " Smiling isn't happiness. "
"This picture in particular. " He sighed. " He was trying to save money for fashion school. His parents said they would cut off all support if he quit modeling. He was working twenty hours a day, barely eating or sleeping. " He shook his head. "Happy? It's a miracle he survived."
Jungkook turned to him.
"Why did he leave? " He asked quietly. " He never told me why. "
"Does it matter anymore, Jungkook? It's over. Don't stir things up again. Let it rest and move on, Jungkook. "
The younger considered it.
"I suppose that's right. "
Jungkook finished his drink and placed the glass back on his table.
"You know why it hurt so much hyung?" He whispered softly. " He left without saying goodbye. I only found out he was gone when I went looking for him. " He swallowed. " Do you know why I was looking for him? "
Jimin stared at him shaking his head.
"I was looking for him, so I could tell him my mother was dead. " He whispered.
Jimin felt his eyes widen in shock.
"She killed herself. Because of my dad. There was no one there and I just.. I was terrified and alone. "
Jimin felt the blood drain out of his face.
"I didn't know." He choked out
Jungkook shrugged, hands slipping into his pocket.
"I just couldn't cope with losing two of the most important people in my life on the same fucking day, that's all. But you're right. I should move on."
Before Jimin could respond Jungkook moved to the box, tapping it gently.
"If there's anything else missing you can let me know. The movers wont be here for a while. And hyung will be watching over the apartment for me"
"Movers... What are you talking about... "
"There's a gaming company based in Tokyo. " Jungkook said quietly. " I met the CEO a few weeks ago and she's offered me a job there. Part of the design team. You know I have a degree in visual arts. "
"You're leaving Korea? Does Taehyung know? " He demanded.
"Don't tell him. " Jungkook said firmly. " Knowing him, he'll probably blame himself for it. I don't want that hyung. I just.. I think he needs to find his own happiness without worrying about me. So don't tell him."
Jimin stared at him for a few seconds and then nodded.
"Okay. I won't. When.. " He sighed. " When are you leaving? "
"In three days. " Jungkook smiled. " Come here hyung. " He moved closer wrapping him in a hug. He then leaned down and whispered,
" You were right about the marriage, hyung. I regret all of it. "
Five Weeks Later
Taehyung finished cutting the fabric for his chiffon dress shirt, and moved to mark the sleeves when his phone buzzed.
Taehyung glanced at the caller id and frowned.
"Mr. Kim I'm calling from the Daily Herald, how do you feel about Mr. Jeon moving onto another relationship so soon after the divorce?"
Tae went completely still.
"Also, the young woman in question is one of the richest CEOs in the world. What do you think of that? "
(A/n : see you guys soon)
Tae stayed curled up in the large armchair, hand wrapped around the warm mug of hot cocoa, staring out of the large window that looked out into the sprawling backyard garden in Seokjin's building. The doctor lived upstairs and the backyard looked like something out of a story.
It was landscaped in a way that gave it a rustic, almost otherworldly beauty to it. With a large artificial pond, complete with a little waterfall, flowers and trees. He couldn't get enough of it, and Seokjin let him sit there as long as he wanted when their sessions ended.
"How are you feeling?" Seokjin asked casually, taking the chair next to him and offering him a smile and Taehyung smiled back, taking another sip of his drink.
"This tastes really good." He said softly.
"I'm glad." he smiled, " but that's not what I asked." he said gently.
Taehyung stared into his drink for a few seconds.
"I feel ..." he closed his eyes and thought for a second. " numb." he said finally. " I don't know... I just don't feel much. I supposed I should be angry or upset but , I'm really not. It's ...fine. I don't feel anything."
"Its understandable." he said gently. " He was a large part of your life and well, seeing him move on, it maybe hard to process everything that you feel because of it. Oftentimes when we're overwhelmed, our brain may try to protect us by numbing things down."
"Its something we call emotional numbness. Its a coping mechanism, to help you deal with feelings that when felt completely may be too painful for you to process. A form of dissociation you could even say." he nodded.
"So, it's a good thing?"
"Its a temporary solution. For the moment it will help you move on and carry on with your life as usual, but over time, its going to affect you in many ways. Let me give you an example. Your home is flooding because of a leak in the roof. You can place a bucket to catch the drip,
but overtime the bucket is going to overflow and flood your house again. The bucket is just a temporary fix. The roof.." he tapped his forehead, " that's what really needs to be fixed."
"Did you just call me a leaky roof?" Taehyung stared at him.
Seokjin held a hand up.
"A leaky roof that can be fixed." he corrected him.
"how would you do that..." Taehyung frowned, at a loss and Seokjin grabbed one of the large notebooks he kept around the office, and a marker.
"There's several strategies that we can use to help you with this Taehyung. Now the first step to any therapy, as far as I'm concerned,
is making sure you know exactly what it is and how it works. I want you to be comfortable with it and if you feel at any point that it isn't working for you or if its making you feel worse in any way, you can tell me at once and we'll sort it out, okay?"
"Okay, now, I'm going to give you a few pamphlets about one particular therapy technique that has worked well with former patients of mine. " he held out a few sheafs of paper. " I want you to go through them and then let me know if you would be okay with trying it out."
"But for now," Seokjin continued, " I want you to do something for me." he took another sheet of paper and held it out. " This is a list of things to do everyday with detailed instructions . I want you to keep a record of it too. Just a check mark to say you did it."
Taehyung read through the list, frowning.
"doing the dishes, making my bed , a walk of at least 3o minutes, exercise without music focusing on breathing instead, sketching one outfit.." he glanced up, surprised.
"Things you do anyway, but this time, I want you do it mindfully."
"Mindfully? What does that mean?"
" Without distractions. Don't think of anything else or anyone else. Focus only on what you're doing, do it slowly, thoroughly and carefully. Don't think about your work when your exercising , don't worry about the dishes when you're sketching."
(a/n : this is just stuff my therapist told me. Also this is fiction. Do not consider this to be any kind of medical advice. If you feel like you need help coping with your emotions , reach out to a medical professional. )
Tae stared at the sheet again and then nodded hesitantly.
"I'll try." he said finally.
"Good enough for me." Seokjin smiled. " Anything else you want to talk about?"
Tae ran his finger over the edges of the sheet and then glanced up at him.
"Should I get rid of his things?"
"I have some stuff of his." He hesitated, " Jungkook that is. Some stuff from when we were kids and ... a couple of his clothes. I.. If he's dating someone else... it doesn't seem right to keep it." He bit his lips. " its just something I've been thinking of."
"I see. Do you feel guilty about it? Like you're trying to hold onto him somehow?"
Taehyung bit his lips before nodding.
"And you don't want to anymore?"
"It wouldn't be the right thing to do." He said softly.
"Its okay if you return it. if i remember right, he returned your stuff too, didn't he? Through your friend."
Taehyung had forgotten that.
"Oh." he blinked. " Yes."
"Well, then there you have it."
"Its a personal choice Tae. Plenty of people keep stuff from their older relationships. A few people burn their ex's stuff too. There's no one size fits all solution to this. If you feel like holding onto it isn't something you want to do, you should let go of it."
When Taehyung reached home that evening, the first thing he did was make himself a cup of chamomile tea, the old fashioned way. He set the kettle boiling, picking the choicest, dry flowers, his infuser and crushed ice so the tea would remain fresh while he worked.
Once the tea was strained , he added honey and let it rest, before moving to the small closet near his bed in one corner of the studio apartment. He opened the door and crouched down, carefully grabbing the small carton at the back of the closet and pulling it out.
Taehyung carried the box over to the center of the room , placing it on the floor before opening it. The mug he was looking for was right on the top, wrapped carefully in a few layers of cellophane and bubble wrap. He carefully unpacked it and then stared at it for a moment.
It was plain and white , not a single mark visible. Grinning a little, Tae stood back up, moving to the kitchen counter and grabbing the now cold tea and carefully pouring it into the cup in carefully measures. As the cold liquid filled the cup up, the ceramic began to change.
He watched as the color morphed slowly but steadily, a picture forming on the surface of the mug, a picture he remembered hand picking himself . It was Jungkook and him with their arms wrapped around each other, smiling up into the camera, holding cotton candy in their arms.
Taehyung remembered the fair, the ferris wheel, the rabbits they had fed , the stuffed toys he had won for Jungkook. He glanced at the box where the limp ear of a scuffed bunny plushie, lay draped over the edge of the box. Everything in this box was precious to him.
But they were precious only because they reminded him of Jungkook. Now that he wanted to forget about the younger, it made no sense, keeping all of these things with him. He ran his finger over Jungkook's face. It was funny, how certain he had always been that they would make it.
Although things had gone to hell between them, although they had hurt each other so often and so well, some silly deluded part of him had always, always believed they would find their way back to each other. A love that came once in a lifetime.
He shook his head. He was a fool.
He closed his eyes and tried to let sorry and loss and grief wash over him. He wanted to feel all of it, feel his heart break and shatter beyond repair , feel something concrete, just so this could be real to him. But even as he ran his fingers over all of Jungkook's things,
all he felt was a numbing emptiness, a hollow ache where his pain should be, an echoing nothingness where he should be sobbing in agony.
He clenched his fists, taking deep breaths. Jungkook meeting someone else, didn't hurt him. No, all it did was make him feel stupid.
Stupid because for years now, there had been a space inside his heart with Jungkook's name carved into it and Taehyung had never imagined anyone else there. But Jungkook... he...
Taehyung closed his eyes.
He had looked up the woman he was dating, seen the pictures of them
out at some fancy restaurant, laughing. Jungkook had found someone who shared all the same interests as he did. Someone rich and fun and stable. Someone with a healthy mind and an outgoing personality. Someone who's brain didn't need fixing just to act human.
And he deserved that.
Taehyung would never begrudge him that. Jungkook deserved all the happiness in the world and Taehyung, well, Taehyung may be a bit of a mess but he wasn't bitter. He wouldn't want Jungkook to be miserable.
He was happy for him, truly.
And maybe, this was a good thing, he told himself firmly. Jungkook moving on was good incentive for him to start fixing his own life too. Off late he had been plagued with guilt because of a lot of things, but knowing Jungkook was happy,that would help him forgive himself, right?
Taehyung knew what he had to do. Jungkook had done the right thing, giving him all of his stuff back, cutting ties between them completely before leaving. It was the right thing to do. No matter how much they may have cared for each other, they didn't belong together.
And although that deluded part of him still wasn't convinced of it, at least the rational part of him had accepted that. They were over. For Good. There was nothing left. It was done.
Taehyung finished his tea in silence, eyes closed as he focused on the taste of it.
He remembered how much Jungkook loved chamomile tea, how he would close his eyes and savor the taste as he drank and he felt a small smile form on his face.
Or maybe, he told himself quietly. They didn't have to be over. Maybe Taehyung could keep these little memories.
The taste of cotton candy and chamomile tea, the soft touch of a plushie against his fingers and the scent of bergamot which was Jungkook's cologne.
Maybe that would be enough.
Taehyung finished his drink and moved to the sink, washing the cup and wiping it down.
He carefully rewrapped the mug, with the bubblewrap and placed it back in the box, carefully. He pulled the rabbit out of the box and hugged it tight. It still smelled faintly of Jungkook's cologne. He remembered the way Jungkook had laughed at him when he had told him
how he used Jungkook's cologne on the plushy so his bed would smell like him.
"hyung, you need your bed to smell like me, you just give me a call, okay. The real thing is right here. I'll always be there."
Tae felt his lips wobble. He placed the rabbit back in and closed the box.
Tae took his time,carefully taping the box shut from all sides, making sure it wouldn't accidentally open. He then grabbed the larger carton he had bought on his way home. He placed the box in the carton, sealing it shut. He taped that shut too. Jungkook's address. Where was it?"
He wondered if he should write a note.
Decided against it.
What could he possibly say anyway?
There was nothing left.
Once he finished writing the address down, he got dressed , not rushing in any way.
It took him another half hour to get a cab and drive down to the Post office. It was almost closing time but the lady behind the counter was kind as he explained it was an important package that had to be sent as soon as possible.
Taehyung watched the woman carry it away.
When he walked back out, Taehyung took a deep, deep breath.
This was it, he told himself firmly.
This was him letting go.
There was just one thing he wanted to do.
One last thing to remember Jungkook by.
It would hurt but he would do it.
If only for the sake of his eighteen year old self, who had truly fallen in love, one breezy night , on the terrace of a luxury hotel, skipping a party and breaking the rules with a stranger he had just met.
Taehyung crossed the road to the small patisserie on the other side.
He walked up to the counter and smiled at the guy there.
"I'd like one cream filled croissant please." he whispered.
In the fic Taehyung himself admits that. He was a terrible boyfriend to Jungkook when they were young. The flashback will explore that so you guys can understand why Jungkook held so much anger and bitterness against him
✯✯✯✯ Flashback ✯✯✯✯
Taehyung didn't believe in apologies. People said they were sorry just so they could escape the consequences of their actions. No one apologized because they were genuinely regretful. He knew that and knew that well. Which is why he didn't believe Jungkook when he apologized.
And Jimin was being ridiculous about the whole thing and it only made him madder.
"Taehyung, it's an important day for him. He's auditioning for the lead singing role and you know he's nervous as hell about it. "
"So what? I never told him I'd be there." He looked away.
He looked into the mirror, his face pale and drawn. He wanted to be there, to be very honest. But the people there, they weren't the sort he could stomach. All of Jungkook's friends and his family. Taehyung had this terrifying feeling that Jungkook wouldn't even notice him.
"You're his boyfriend. " Jimin said sharply and Taehyung inhaled, loud and just a little angry.
"Yeah, I am. So what , I'm not allowed to make my own decisions anymore? I'm just supposed to do whatever you guys think I should do? " He wrapped his arms around himself.
Jimin stared at him looking lost.
"Is this about what happened with his friends? I thought Jungkook talked to them. "
Taehyung shook his head. As if that made any difference. They wouldn't change the way they thought about him. He knew that.
"It's whatever. "
"My mom wants me to be there at this audition. " He said quietly. " I... You know I can't say no to that. " He looked away. Jimin didn't respond.
"I'm going to go. Did you at least tell me you couldn't come because you have the audition? "
Tae closed his eyes.
"Why are you so involved in this? Jungkook isn't like you okay? He'll understand. He always does. " He turned away.
"Exactly.he always understands because he believes that you don't do it on purpose. But seeing you like this I'm not sure that you aren't. "
Tae looked away.
"It's between us. " He said finally. " You don't have to concern yourself with it. "
"Taehyung I know you care about him. I just don't want you to fuck this up because you get lost in your own head about stuff. " He muttered " Jungkook deserves better. "
Tae turned around to glare at him.
"That's enough. I need you to leave now. " He said sharply.
Jimin stared at him for a second.
"I'm going to go and I'm going to explain to him why you aren't there. " He said finally.
"I'll see him after the audition."
"You need to break up with him" Minho said sharply, holding onto Jungkook's arm as the latter tried to walk away.
"Stop overreacting. " Jungkook said at once.
"I am not overreacting, Jungkook. He made such a big deal about you practicing with Ara for the audition.
And now he doesn't even turn up for yours? " Minho shook his head in disbelief. " That's just wrong. "
Jungkook glared at him.
"You don't know what his mother's like." Jungkook said quietly. " She probably forced him to be there. I know Taehyung alright? So back off. "
Minho sighed, crossing his arms over his chest.
"When was the last time you hung out with us? You're with him all the time. "
"He's my boyfriend. "
"And we're your friends. It's not like he can't come with you. "
"You guys teased him.. "
"Once. We apologized. "
"Jungkook listen to me okay. We've known each other for a long time. I love you like my own brother. He's not being fair. He wants you all to himself and that's fine. You guys are dating.. Okay. But if he wants that he has to be there for you too. I saw you searching for him. "
"In the audience. This was an important day for you. He should have been there. Or at the least he should have told you why he couldn't make it."
Jungkook looked away.
"Jimin hyung told me it was because of the audition. I understand that. "
Minho shook his head.
"Jungkook, listen to me. This is going to get worse. i don't understand what's going on with Taehyung but whatever it is.. I don't want to see you getting hurt because of it. I just want you to be sure about this."
Jungkook shook his head.
"I know him. I trust him."
Tokyo ~ Present Day
Jungkook stared at the package on his desk, fingers gripping the letter opener but not quite ready to open the box in front of him. He recognized the handwriting on the front, and had a vague idea on what it was, but he wasn't sure if he had the strength to deal with it.
He briefly considered just putting it away somewhere , without opening it at all, but he wasn't sure if there was something else in the box. What if Taehyung had written a note or a letter for him? What if there was something there, he was supposed to see or read?
" Everything alright?" Hira stuck her head out of the kitchen, hair tied up in messy top knot right on top of her head. She had dropped by just a couple of hours ago, wanting to go over a few new ideas for their next project. She had offered to make lunch after.
Hira was the only person he could call a friend here in Tokyo.She had pretty much taken him under her wing after he arrived, helping him with settling in, finding an apartment and even helping him learn the language. She was sweet and funny, almost hilarious infact. He liked her.
Japan wasn't good or bad. It was different. And Jungkook after just a few days, realized it was exactly what he needed. A change of scenery . A change of pace. His old friends in the gaming community had been stunned when he'd announced he was retiring and while he did
miss that a little, his new job was a challenge. A welcome distraction in fact and it kept his mind and his body busy. Busy enough for him to ignore his heart.
"It's just stuff from home." Jungkook responded and she hummed. After a few minutes, she stepped into the living room.
"Home?" She smiled. " From your friends?"
Jungkook hesitated, before looking up at her.
"From Taehyung actually." He said quietly, tapping the box gently.
Hira blinked a little at that.
"Oh, wow." she flinched. " You alright?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
She moved to sit next to him, lightly touching his knee.
"I don't know. You just.. told me he was your ex. Nothing much else. I'm not sure what kind of a break up you guys had... so... I'm just guessing." She smiled hesitantly
"I don't think we ever broke up."
he smiled a little, and traced the crease of the box witht he edge of the cutter, lightly slicing thought the tape holding it together. " i think that was part of the problem to be honest. We never did say or do what we were supposed to. instead we just .. do stuff like this."
Hira looked at the box and then at him.
"Do you want me to leave?" she offered and he smiled.
"That won't be necessary . I already know what's inside here."
"Probably a mug, stuffed toys, a few other stuff from when we were together." he shrugged. " Its not a big deal."
"Are you sure you're okay?" she asked quietly, moving to wrap an arm around his shoulder and he chuckled.
"I mean... for me what's in here..." he tapped the box, " doesn't really hurt as much as what's in here." he pressed his palm to his heart.
He reached for the top of the box, opening it carefully. He stared at the mug on top and nodded.
"See?" He held it up. " We bought this at a fair . Our second date if I remember right. We had a great time but," he swallowed, " we fought at the end of it. a huge fight actually."
He laughed a little.
"It was ridiculous. There was this girl at the counter. She wrote her number on my ticket. I didn't even notice but Tae did and well... He got mad. " Jungkook sighed. "And genius that I was, I refused to get rid of the ticket because why didn't he trust me."
"Seems silly now. " He muttered. "Silly and inconsequential. Most of our arguments were like that. " He shrugged. " We were just young and stupid I guess. " He sighed. " Or maybe I was the stupid one. I don't know. "
Jungkook ran his hand over the mug and placed it back in. He closed the box.
"I wanted to help him. He was hurting and I wanted to be there for him but he didn't want me. " He said quietly. " And you know you can't force people to accept your help."
"For a long time I was mad that he wouldn't talk to me. I would keep asking him what was wrong. Trying to figure out what was bothering him but looking back, that just made him run farther away. Sometimes people don't want you to fix them. You gotta respect that choice".
"It wasn't your job to fix him. " Hira said quietly. " You were seventeen. You couldn't have fixed him even if you wanted to. "
"Even a five year old tries to fix a doll that she loves. It's instinctive to want to help the person you love. " Jungkook shrugged. " I loved him. "
"Do you... Still love him? " She asked softly.
Jungkook took a deep breath and then shook his head.
"Not the way I used to. " He said finally. " I had to stop, after the night he left. Loving him after that... It destroyed me. " He sighed. " I had to stop just to stay alive."
"What do you mean ... That night? What night? "
Jungkook smiled a little.
"You haven't heard of it? It was all over the news. " He said that with a shrug. " Biggest scandal of the year. "
Hira shook her head.
Jungkook took a deep breath.
"Taehyung was going to start modeling professionally and I was going to graduate early and move to college. Our parents wanted to announce our betrothal before he left and.. Well there was a small press conference at a luxury hotel. " Jungkook closed his eyes.
"Someone posted an edited video of Taehyung having sex with someone else. " He closed his eyes. " Of course I didn't know it was edited at the time. "
Hira's eyes widened.
"Didn't Taehyung tell you that? "
"Oh no. " Jungkook chuckled. " He couldn't because he was getting high on coke with some photographer in one of the VIP rooms in the hotel. " He tasted bitterness on his tongue.
" The pair of them got caught by paparazzi and Taehyung's mother took him away. That was the last I saw of him." Jungkook swallowed. " I tried contacting him over the next few weeks but he didn't reply or respond. He did give a statement to the press saying
That the drugs were an error in judgement on his part. Jimin... That's Taehyung's friend, he told me that Taehyung was upset and not in his right mind and that's why he did what he did. " Jungkook shrugged. " I just wanted to hear it from him. But I didn't see him again. "
"I didn't see or hear from him again for the next seven years. " He shrugged.
"And then when he came back, successful and happy and just... seemingly untouched by any of it.. It made me angry. It made me angry and upset that I'd spent so many years of my life agonizing over a man who had probably never given a single fuck about me. "
"I wanted to hurt him. " He said simply. " I wanted him to feel at least a little bit of what I felt but... That didn't make me feel better. " He swallowed. " I just... I wanted him to tell him why he did what he did. Just one fucking reason why he treated me that way. "
"But it doesn't work that way. " He said finally. " Hurting someone who hurt you... Doesn't really make you feel better. All it does is make you realize how much the other person has fucked you up. This vengeful, angry guy who wanted to hurt the person he had loved,
That wasn't me. It didn't make me feel better . It made me hate myself. So I had to get away. " He shrugged. " From him. From everything else. " He swallowed. " I'm not alright. Not even close but at least I'm not angry and hurt all the time. So that's progress right? "
Hira gently pushes the box away and grabs his arm, tugging him around till he's facing her. She wraps both her arms around him, hugging him tight and for a few seconds, Jungkook let's himself take in the warmth of her embrace.
It feels good to be held. Its been so long since anyone did.
She rubs his back with gentle and careful hands.
"Hey, its alright." She said softly. " You do what you've got to do Jungkook. Do what makes you feel better, What gives you joy. To hell with anyone else. Really."
She was right. It was time he did what he had to do for his own peace. Taehyung had never been for him. He had to accept that. He had to let go.
Jungkook stares at the box for a second. He takes a deep breath.
"Can you get rid of that for me?" he whispered.
Taehyung jumped a little, dropping the apple he had been looking over at the fruit stall. He turned around surprised, eyes landing on a familiar figure by the side of the road, watching him with a small smile.
"Seojoon." He exclaimed, surprised. " You're here."
Seojoon stepped closer, shoulders a little slumped.
"You haven't been answering your texts. Or calls." He said carefully. " i was worried."
"Oh." Taehyung blinked. " I'm so sorry, I must've missed it. " he laughed, pulling his phone out and scrolling down.
He paused when his name came on and felt his stomach drop a bit in guilt when he saw the date attached to it.
Three weeks ago.
He swallowed. He remembered thinking, very vaguely that he should call him back.
"Oh. I'm ..sorry." he managed weakly.
"Its what you do right?I've kind of gotten used to it." He chuckled softly. "I was out of the country for a while so I didn't get to catch up with you or Jimin. I'm just glad you're okay. How are things with Jungkook?"
Taehyung stared at him.
"I... What do you mean that's what I do?" He whispered.
Seojoon stared at him.
"I mean.. Sometimes you disappear . Its okay, i get that you're busy. It's no big deal."
Taehyung hesitated before nodding.
"Jungkook and I aren't together anymore."
"Oh?" Seojoon looked surprised. " Really? Wow. That's a cold bastard right there. Well, good for you really. I never thought he deserved you anyway."
Taehyung felt oddly protective of Jungkook, and stiffened.
"That's not.. Its not his fault."
Taehyung turned away, staring at the fruit again. HE felt off kilter, all of a sudden.
"I need to go." He said quietly.
Seojoon hesitated before nodding.
"Sure. If you're free we could get dinner some time?"
Taehyung stared at him.
"Are you...asking me out?"
"I guess I am. Someone as pretty as you shouldn't be single you know." He winked.
Taehyung felt his skin start to crawl as he managed a weak smile in return.
"I'll... let you know." He choked out, before turning away. He felt nauseous as he walked away.
It was something that never stopped. This feeling of bugs crawling all over his body whenever people hit on him or called him pretty. Pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning. Any variation of that just made him want to peel his own flesh off. He turned the corner and stopped.
Taehyung took a few deep, steadying breaths, trying to pace himself for a few minutes. He glanced at his watch. He had an appointment with one of the fashion labels he'd offered to work for, in exactly two hours. He was supposed to run a few chores before then.
But now, all he felt was desperate need to crawl into bed and curl up there and possibly never come back out. He clenched his fists and started walking away, only to stop short when he caught sight of a man in the street, sitting next to a kiosk full of magazines.
His eyes caught the glass case in front of the man, filled to the brim with flashy jewelry that was bright but somehow different. HE stepped closer, eyes going wide as he took in the intricate cuts and engravings.
See, this? This was true beauty.
People were just ugly.
He crouched low in front of the man and smiled at him.
"Did you make these?" he asked softly and the man smiled.
"Yes. Handmade, all of them. Would you like to see them up close?"
Taehyung nodded, watching as the man carefully lifted a few pieces out, holding it out to him.
"I put in a lot of hours to make it look this good. Beauty takes time." He winked. Taehyung stared at the bright blue stone set in bronze gold metal and ran his fingers over it.
"This is beautiful." He said softly. " You're very talented."
The man bowed and Taehyung stood up.
"i'll take this." He said softly, reaching into his wallet , and pulling out a wad of cash. Almost thrice what the man had asked for.
"Sir, this is too much." The man exclaimed and Taehyung smiled.
"For the jewelry and for the hours you put into making it." he whispered.
He slipped the piece into his pocket and closed his eyes, before picking his way into the crowd again. He kept his hand in his pocket, thumb tracing the stone of the neckpiece over and over again, grounding him in a way.
Beautiful? he thought shakily.
He really was anything but.
Seokjin watched as Taehyung walked around the office, running his fingertips over the spine of his books, looking a little lost.
" Did the talk with the fashion label go well?" he asked gently and Tae paused.
"Hmm." he said distractedly. " Can I ask you something?"
"Do people call you beautiful? A lot? They must right? You're very good looking."
"Well, yes." he said simply. " i do get called beautiful quite often. An experience we share, I'm sure."
Taehyung bit his lips.
"I hate it." he said shakily.
Seokjin sat back, tilting his head a little.
"Go on." he prompted, pointing at the chair. Taehyung took a deep breath and moved to sit down there.
"When someone calls me beautiful, I get really upset. I want to scream at them that they don't know me. "
Seokjin hesitated before leaning forward.
"What about smart?" He asked carefully. " Are you alright with being called smart?"
"I'm not smart." Taehyung said swiftly.
"Alright." he hesitated. " Are you a good designer?"
"I try to be."
Seokjin smiled, " Taehyung have you ever heard of the phrase, you are your own worst critic. "
"Now, it's good to have a voice inside you that corrects you or helps you to say and do the right things but when you're being too harshly critical of yourself. Your brain gets the double responsibility of being both the attacker and the victim. It's going to drain you out. "
Seokjin made a note of something inside his book.
"First of all, I want you to understand you're not alone in this. There's a lot of people put there who find it pretty much very hard to accept compliments. " He smiled. " It happens for various reasons, but judging from what
You just told me, it does seem to be a kind of triggering response for you. Being complimented. "
"Why? " He asked.
"Well, that's what we'll have to find out. With your help. " He smiled. " We'll talk about how it all started yes? "
Three weeks later, Taehyung stood in front of a nondescript store, staring into the insides and feeling out of sorts.
"Can I help you sir?" The man inside stepped out, looking a little suspicious and Taehyung stood up straighter.
"I'm looking for a Mr. Lee? "
The man frowned.
"That's me. And you are? "
Taehyung took a deep breath.
"Um.. Mr Kang told me about you? He said I could come to you, to take an apprenticeship to make jewelry? " He bit his lips. " Please, I've been trying to find a good mentor.. For a while now. "
The man hesitated glancing up and down at him.
"Listen kid, you're dressed in all those fancy looking clothes and you look like you've never had to work a day in your life. You need to be good with your hands for this sort of thing. "
"I... " He swallowed. " I am good. With my hands.. I.. " He tugged on his shirt. " I made these. "
The man paused.
"What do you mean you made these? "
"I'm a designer. " He said quickly. " A good one. " He bit his lips. " Please, give me a chance. "
The man stared.
"Well, I'll be damned. All that pretty embroidery work... You did it yourself? "
"Every single stitch, sir. " Taehyung exhaled.
Mr. Lee smiled at him.
"Well, then come on in. Let's see what you can do with a chunk of metal. "
"Jewelry as well? " Jimin exclaimed, watching Taehyung haul the work bench to the corner with the help of two other men, directing them on where to place it in the already crowded studio. "Aren't you taking on too much? "
Taehyung turned to him and Jimin couldn't help but notice the lively flush in Taehyung's cheeks, his face lit up and beaming. He couldn't quite remember the last time Taehyung had looked so excited.
"Of course it's too much. that's what makes it a challenge. " He smiled.
Jimin laughed a little.
"Well anything that puts a smile that big on your face, I'm all for it." he reached out, pulling him into a warm hug. " Have I been too harsh on you, my Taehyungie?" he whispered.
Taehyung hugged him back.
"No." he sighed." You've kept me grounded."
He pulled back to smile at him some more.
"I've been doing some cooking too." He said excitedly.
"Cooking?" Jimin grinned. " Wow."
"Yup. I hate it. But i can make a decent ramen. Stay for dinner, Jimin ah..."
" The Rakuten Fashion Week is an excellent venue for you to showcase your project. It would also give you a solid eight months to work on this. I love this idea, Taehyung and I'll make this happen for you."
Taehyung twisted his fingers together.
"Its in Tokyo." he whispered.
"Is that going to be a problem?" The agent frowned. " We'll fly you in and out and make all the arrangements for your stay there as well. Come on Taehyung. Displaying at a fashion event this big is dream for most designers. I don't know why you're even thinking about this?"
This really was the dream. Taehyung knew most designers went their entire lives not getting an opportunity such as this. More than anything else, he wanted this. Seokjin had helped him understand, how his mother's constant belittling of his dreams,
had made him feel a sense of shame and guilt whenever he tried to pursue his own dreams. And he had to break out of that. It was important that he stopped letting her dictate his actions anymore. He had cut her out of his life for a reason.
"Okay." he said softly. "You're right."
Once he returned back to the studio that evening, Taehyung pulled out his sketchbook and closed his eyes. He was already shelving the project he had been planning on working on. Instead, he knew exactly what he had to do. If in 8 months he was going to run into Jungkook again,
He would make sure he was the best version of himself.
And what better than a man living out his dreams successfully , on one of the biggest fashion stages in the world?"
Eight Months Later
( author's note : This is approximately 18 months after they last saw each other )
Taehyung stood in front of the podium, staring at his work displayed across the sprawling stage. The crowd was just starting to filter in and he could already tell how impressed everyone looked. Even Seokjin had promised to fly in for a day. Jimin was somewhere in the crowd too.
He took a few deep breaths , trying to pace himself. He wasn't very good at talking out in public but this wasn't some pretentious speech. This was everything that he had gone through the past couple of years.
This was proof of his healing, put out for the world to see.
One of the hosts stepped closer to him, lightly touching his shoulder.
"Are you ready, Taehyung ssi? Five more minutes."
Taehyung smiled, nodding briskly.
He watched the crowd, a small, instinctive fear making him skip over anyone who looked remotely familiar.
It wasn't that he was scared per se. it was just that, he wasn't entirely sure if he was ready to put this out in front of him yet. Tae closed his eyes. Okay, Maybe he wasn't fully fixed yet. There were still these tiny trickles in his roof. But no matter. He would get better.
"Taehyung ssi... we're ready..."
Taehyung nodded, taking a deep breath and moving to the side of the stage. He watched Jimin shoulder his way through the crowd, finding his spot in the front row and couldn't help but smile as his best friend gave him a thumbs up.
He bit his lips, listening closely as the host gave his introduction. And when he called for him, Taehyung stepped onto the stage, bowing a bit as people applauded, most of them letting out hushed whispers as they saw him.
"Yes, an artist who outshines his art." the host teased.
Taehyung managed a small smile.
"Thank you. " he bowed against and started off by thanking the hosts and the organizers, making sure that his gaze stayed on the crowd, but never lingering long enough to catch anyone's expression or reaction. It was a trick Seokjin had taught him.
He moved in front of the glass case, which held his finished pieces.
He used the small lever that would bring the first one to the forefront, smiling as the piece was raised gently onto a platform, the screen behind him zoming in on it.
“This is one of the first pieces I designed. it’s called , Aeturnum. which is the Latin word for eternal. The necklace is made of sterling silver, something that has long been associated with magic . The stone used here is a ‘ Cat’s eye foiled cabochon.
It looks like its holds the galaxies in it, doesn’t it? And it also looks so warm and full of love? and i thought, if anything is eternal, it’s the universe we live in. And of course the love that we fill it with…” he smiled, staring at the piece and breathing deep.
Taehyung bowed, nodding at the applause. So far the crowd looked suitably impressed and Taehyung wanted to hold their attention. To tell them everything that he had learned over these past months.
“People talk about recovery often. There are so many books describing how you can build yourself up. But no one talks about the fall. Because no one wants to relive it. “
Taehyung swallowed, taking a small sip of water before placing the glass back
on the table.
“A few years ago, I lost something very.. valuable to me. I spent weeks trying to get it back. I wanted to go back in time and redo everything till I had that... thing again. But funnily, what i never realized was that it had never been mine to lose.” he glanced down,
" Just because you want something doesn't mean you deserve to have it. Sometimes you have to earn it. and if by chance you do manage to get it for yourself you have to work hard to be deserving of it. But then if you aren't meant to have it, well..." he smiled, shrugging.
Taehyung carefully shifted around, pulling the lever that would make the lots fall in place, revealing the extravagant necklace in lapis blue. The colors flashed bright in the dim lighting and Taehyung felt his heart lurch,
as he remembered all the tears he had spilled, the broken syllables of Jungkook's name just stuttering out without his permission as he slaved over that perfect cut. His heart had broken over and over again as he came to terms with what he had lost forever.
But he had made something beautiful out of that heartbreak.
“this one is called fulgur which is latin for lightning. it describes the moment you lay your eyes on that special someone. it’s like you’ve been hit by a flash of lightning, something that has changed you forever. No matter how things work out,
you’re no longer the person you were before you saw him/her. you’re changed , forever. My special someone, even if he isn't here with me. Even if I will never have him by my side again, knowing him changed me. I will never be the same. it’s aquamarine, lapis lazuli and sapphire.”
Tae hesitated before grabbing the second lever.
“This one is called mirage. Which we all know is nothing but an illusion. it’s when you see things that don’t exist. You see meaning in meaningless touches and you convince yourself that what you’re seeing and feeling is real.
"You see the mind can be a tricky little thing. It isn't always trustworthy. Sometimes it tells you and shows you things that aren't real. It makes you believe things about yourself, about the people who love you, about the people you love, things that may not be true."
when in fact it isn’t. it sometimes makes you think you are undeserving of beautiful things, when in fact, you yourself are a thing of beauty. "he felt his lips tremble. " this stone is called the margarita stone. There’s a rhinestone pin set in the center with rose cut diamonds“
Taehyung took another look around the room before composing himself. why was this so damn difficult.
“the third one is called error, which is latin for delusion. it’s when you feed your illusion, so much so that it starts becoming a delusion.
you start letting this delusion dictate your actions, hurting the people who love you, pushing away the ones who want the best for you, even hurting that special person who only wants to love you.
You convince yourself its alright if he leaves, everyone leaves after all.... and you let it happen. You push him away not knowing that when he leaves he’s going to take those parts of you with him and you’re just.. never going to be complete again. “
just get this over with, he thought shakily.
“ And finally… This is called Supernova. This is when all you mistakes come together and explode, destroying all your delusions and leaving behind a black hole of emptiness.
You’ve lost everything that mattered to you, because the only thing that ever mattered was him , and now that he’s gone you can’t function anymore. You realize just what you've done,
You've lost something precious in your pursuit of something that was never real and now you have to live with your choices for the rest of your life. This is just Obsidian Stones. pure black and nothing else. “
Taehyung caught sight of movement out of the corner of his eye and went completely still when he saw the figure at the side entrance, leaning against the ornate door.
And there he was, looking so good that his breath hitched and his jaw went slack.
The stared at him, the lean frame, the broad shoulders. The perfectly styled ash blonde hair and the iridescent complexion. He was staring right at him. Dark eyes heavy as he watched him.
He couldn't tear his eyes away, every other thought leaving him swiftly.
And Taehyung took a second to gather himself. He wasn't nearly as shocked as he should have been. Perhaps because this moment between them almost felt inevitable. Taehyung had poured so much of his love for Jungkook into his art. Maybe it had drawn the other man here after all.
He cleared his throat and tried to look away but couldn't help but glance right back at him. It had always been that way.
With Jungkook once would never be enough.
you couldn’t just look once and ignore someone like that. You had to go back and reassure yourself that yes, he’s real. it’s not a dream after all. He’s real and he's perfect and he’s there.
My Lightning. My illusion. My delusion. My mirage, a voice whispered inside him.
Of course he was here . the moment he had stepped foot into the city, Taehyung had known.
He had known in his heart that he would end up stumbling into him.
Because with Jungkook once would never be enough.
Not even the breaking of his heart.
“The entire collection speaks of the crash. Because while healing is beautiful, heartbreak can be too. the crash and burn of emotions that go uncontrolled. Wild fire that burns down whole forests.
And something beautiful , can come out of something tragic. Like these pieces. i hope you will recognize it for the sentimental value it carries and cherish it accordingly.“ he finished quietly, bowing his head as applause filled the room.
As the exhibit ended and everyone began mingling freely, Taehyung slowly started putting the pieces in place. He knew Jungkook was making his way towards him and he was proud of myself for not turning tail and running.
Jimin stood across the room, eyes wide .
Taehyung gave his friend a reassuring smile before bracing himself for impact.
“Taehyung .” Jungkook said softly and his name… on Jungkoo's tongue was just as sweet as it had always been.
Taehyung smiled as he turned to look at him. His cologne still hit him like a truck and the sight of him, so close and so… reachable. touchable. it did things to him. He wanted to touch. To reach out, unbutton his shirt and press his palm to his chest,
feel the warmth of his skin , the vibrato of his heartbeat and the heat of his muscles, firm beneath his fingers.
it was like being hit by lightning , all over again.
"Hey." He said quietly.
Jungkook stared at him, not saying anything else, eyes boring holes into his skin and making his body heat up.
"Jungkook ah! " A loud voice said from behind them, and Taehyung startled, glancing over his shoulder.
He felt his stomach drop.
Taehyung watched as the woman, a pretty brunette with a svelte figure and warm brown eyes made her way over holding two cups of coffee.
"Where did you run off to? I've been looking all over for you. " She muttered before reaching his side and pressing a kiss to Jungkook's lips.
The touch of her lips seemed to break whatever spell Jungkook had been under. He startled a little, taking a couple of steps back and putting distance between him and Taehyung. Taehyung fought to keep his expression neutral trying not to focus on the lancing pain in his heart.
"Oh." The woman turned to him. Her eyes shifted to the large display behind him bearing his photo and his name. "Kim Taehyung... Wait.. You're.. " She looked back and forth between them. " This is him?! "
Taehyung felt an iron fist around his heart squeezing tight.
But before he could respond, a loud cheerful voice rang from across the room startling all three of them.
"Taehyung ah. " Seokjin's loud boisterous voice made Tae jump a little. "There you are, darling."
Tae stared as Seokjin all but floated over before wrapping him in a hug.
"I'm sorry I missed this. jimin said there will be more shows though? My flight ran a little late. I'm really sorry.... "
Jungkook cleared his throat.
"Oh." Seokjin turned to look at him. " Mr. Jeon? " He held his hand out. " I recognize you from my baby brother's tumblr blog."
Seokjin turned to shake hands with the other woman too.
"You must be Hira Chen. " He smiled wide. " I recognize you from my business news articles. " He grinned. I'm Seokjin. Taehyung's... Friend. " He said with a smile.
"My therapist actually, " Taehyung said softly, not wanting any misunderstandings.
Seokjin looked surprised but also pleased.
"Well, that too. " He smiled. " But first and foremost a friend. " He winked at him, making Taehyung smile.
"Jungkook we have to go. We're running late. " Hira said gently, resting lightly on Jungkook's arm.
Taehyung looked away and Jungkook nodded.
"Yeah.. We should go now. " He glances at Taehyung. " I.. " He trailed off, looking away. " I'm glad you're doing well. "
Taehyung hesitated. There was something he wanted to do but he wasn't sure if it would be appropriate.
But as Jungkook turned and began walking away, he took a deep breath and blurted out.
"Jungkook, can I get your number? "
It was Hira who turned first, and Taehyung didn't miss the fury in her face. He ignored her because this wasn't about her. This was about Jungkook.
"My number? " Jungkook looked surprised. " My phone number? "
"Oh.. Uh.. " He nodded reaching for his wallet.
Taehyung watched as Jungkook pulled out a card and scribbled a number onto the back.
"That's my office number in the front and my personal number on the back. " Jungkook said softly. " You can also call the company and have them connect to me if you like. I work from 9 to 6."
Seokjin coughed, choking a little.
Hira was staring at Jungkook in disbelief and Taehyung bit his lips before taking the card. He smiled a little. He had no intention of doing anything untoward but there was something satisfying about seeing her riled. He didn't know why.
"I'll call you. " He whispered and Jungkook smiled a little.
"Good job by the way. " He pointed at the screen."you did good."
"You saw it? All of it? " He whispered and Jungkook's gaze softened a little.
"I did. " He said softly. "It was.. Beautiful. "
Hira tugged on his arm.
"Baby, we need to go. " She said shortly, looking away. Jungkook cleared his throat.
"Yes. It was nice to meet you Seokjin ssi. " He bowed.
Taehyung watched him walk away with a hollow, empty ache inside him.
"You alright? " Seokjin asked.
"No." Taehyung said softly.
"No, hyung. I'm not alright. "
( now we veer from angst to hurt comfort. First it has to hurt though. So brace yourself for hurt. )
"What was that?" Hira asked quietly, the moment Jungkook finished buckling the seat belt, hands moving to grip the steering wheel.
Jungkook felt guilt churn inside him, already regretting what he had done back in there.
"What was what?" He said quietly, pulling out of the lot.
Hira reached out, hands resting on top of his hand, gently closing over it and squeezing
"Jungkook, don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. You were supposed to be with me. We were going to go see my friend's exhibit and you just disappear. And I find you with him?"
Jungkook glanced at her for a second before linking his fingers with hers, giving her a reassuring squeeze.
"Baby, it's nothing like that." He said softly. " I just... Its been a long time since I saw him. I was just... shocked I guess. It's nothing. You don't have to worry."
"I'm not worried about us." She said morosely. " I'm worried about you. Why would you give him your number? Why would you let him come back into your life after what he did to you?" She sighed. " You've been making such progress. I don't want you to talk to him, Jungkook."
Jungkook sighed, pulling his hand away to grip the steering wheel, shifting lanes and turning the radio on in the car.
"I don't think he'll call me anyway." He said with a shrug. " Like I said it's no big deal."
"Just don't forget what he did to you."
"Its taken you this long to get back on your feet and get some semblance of emotional stability in your life." she sighed. " And just... we're doing okay right?" she asked softly. " You know I love you, Jungkook."
Jungkook swallowed, mouth a little dry.
"I know, babe."
But even as he said it, Jungkook couldn't help but remember the display that Taehyung had put up. It reminded him of when they were dating, how Taehyung would slave over his designs, pouring all of himself into it.
"it has to tell a story, Jungkook." he would always say.
Taehyung's art had always been honest. There was nothing more honest than what he created out of his own hands and no matter what form it took, it always told a story. And it always came straight from Taehyung's heart. And Jungkook, how could he ever ignore, Taehyung's heart?
When for such a long time he had held it inside his own?
And the story he had just heard. It was theirs. He knew that. It was Taehyung's explanation for everything that went wrong between them.
He felt his heart squeeze painfully inside his chest. Somehow the idea that Tae had also suffered was harder to stomach than he had thought.
But Hira was right. Taehyung had left him in shambles and he was just, barely getting back to being himself. He was happy now, relatively. Hira was a lovely person. What they had was healthy and fun and ...pleasant enough. He had to keep his head on straight.
He reached out and brushed the hair off from her face.
"Sorry, Hira." he said softly. " You're right. I'll be careful, i promise."
She smiled and cupped his face, reaching over and lightly pecking his lips.
"I love you." she whispered.
Jungkook merely smiled.
Taehyung was just finishing up for the day, packing away all of his things when he noticed the figure standing by the doorway to the small cubicle he had been given at the center. His eyes caught sight of the flashy clothes and the expensive shoes and he smiled.
"Hi." He said softly, recognizing the man's handsome face but not quite able to place his name. He knew he was one of the designers displaying at the exhibit.
"Hi, there. Kim Taehyung ssi...?" The hangul was a welcome reprieve. Taehyung nodded, reaching out to shake his hand.
"Hello." the man said with a wide smile. " You know when I first saw you I thought you were one of the models."
"please, no need to lie."
"I'm not. You're gorgeous and your exhibit was easily the most mind-blowing one I've seen in my entire life."
Taehyung laughed out loud at that.
"Now I know you're lying." he hesitated. " i hope I don't offend you, but.. your name.."
"Jung Hoseok." he grinned, " I'm a designer."
"Hope on the street." Taehyung exclaimed, " I love that brand."
"Thank you kindly. Can I..buy you a coffee?"
It was a little past eleven in the night when Taehyung finally made his way to the hotel room he shared with Jimin.
The moment he stepped in his best friend was on him, grabbing his arm and almost knocking him flat on his back.
"Where have you been?!! "
Jimin demanded, eyes wide as he grabbed his shoulders and Taehyung laughed, pressing a hand to his chest and pushing him away.
"I met someone. " He said softly and Jimin laughed, clapping his hands excitedly. " I knew it. Who was it? The guy from the Tom Ford booth? "
"No.. " Taehyung frowned. " It was one of the designers. His name is Jung Hoseok. You know the brand, hope on the street. ? He came over to talk and we had a chocolate shake together in the cafeteria and we were talking and well, we ended up having dinner together too. "
Jimin stared at him with his jaw a little slack.
"Are you serious? The guy who owns the brand? You were out with him? He's like one of the richest guys in the country. "
Taehyung shook his head, moving to place his bag down.
"It wasn't like that. " He said softly.
"Wasn't like what?" Jimin teased and Tae moved to plop down on the bed, linking his fingers together on his stomach and staring up at the ceiling.
"How come you aren't talking about Jungkook?" he asked softly.
Jimin hesitated, before walking over settling on the bed next to him.
He reached out and ran his hand through Taehyung's hair.
"I mean..." he sighed. " What's there to ask? He's settled in here. Has a girlfriend. He's pretty much doing well, I guess. He's moved on."
Taehyung closed his eyes, teeth biting into his lips.
"I'm very jealous."
"Hear me out." he said softly. " I'm not jealous that she gets to have him or anything like that. I'm jealous that she can be what he wants, you know. He looks happy. Peaceful. I gave him such a hard time. Why didn't I be more like her?"
"You didn't do it on purpose." Jimin said softly. " It was... You were having a hard time. It doesn't justify what he did to you, Taehyung. He had no business lying to you and treating you like that. You deserve an apology."
"I know." he said with a sigh.
"There's a lot of stuff that has to be cleared up between us." Taehyung said quietly. " Stuff that we never got to talk about. I want to talk to him about all of that. I wrote it all down you know." He laughed a little. " It felt silly at the moment but I think its a good idea."
"Is that why you asked for his number?"
" I wanted to call him today but i guess it can wait." he hesitated. " Do you think I made trouble between them? Him and his girlfriend."
"I hope you did. I don't really like her."
He sighed. " You know , Jungkook knows a lot of things about me. He knows a lot about my family and about my work. He was always very curious about me. He would ask all these questions, he always wanted to know what I was thinking. I never reciprocated that curiosity."
"I never asked him much about his father or his mother or his brother. I ...never even knew he liked video games." He swallowed. " That curiosity, its here... now." he bit his lips. " I want to know everything about him . I want to find out what he likes and what he doesn't."
Jimin squeezed his wrist.
"That's dangerous." He whispered.
"I know." Taehyung shrugged. " Dangerous and no longer something I can want or wish for. I had my chance and i blew it. A pity, but it is what it is."
"Such is life." he said sagely.
Taehyung turned over resting his head on his elbow and staring at Jimin.
"Do you think love can happen twice?" he asked softly. " Can I feel the same things i felt for him, with someone else?"
"Probably not the same things." Jimin said quietly. " Love takes different forms with different people, don't you think? You may not experience the same kind of love as you did with Jungkook but... doesn't mean you won't experience a different kind of love."
"I suppose you're right." he sighed. " I shouldn't be thinking of that anyway. I'm going to be really busy the next few months you know. I got a lot of new clients asking for customized pieces." he grinned. " I'm booked for the next couple years at least."
"You deserve it." Jimin said gently. " You worked hard, Tae."
Taehyung closed his eyes again, settling back against the plush pillows, and letting himself relax completely.
Yes, he had worked hard.
On his art.
And on himself.
Taehyung stood in front of the reception desk, watching as the lady behind it spoke into the phone. He had called ahead to make an appointment at Jungkook's company just to be sure.
"You can go in now, Mr. Kim. " She smiled.
Tae bowed and took a deep breath.
He walked in.
The figure behind the desk straightened and there was no missing the shock.
Taehyung smiled a little and bowed.
"Good evening Ms. Chen " He said quietly. She looked stunned, fumbling with a few files before pointing to the chair in front of her desk.
"Please, come in. "
Taehyung stared around the office. It was tastefully decorated, in gold and bronze with vintage furnishings and windows that let in a lot of natural light.
There was a wall full of accolades . Another full of framed photographs of her with important people.
"Are you looking for Jungkook?" She asked stiffly, the moment he'd settled down into the chair. Taehyung glanced at her, taking a few seconds just to look at her. She was very beautiful, with lush wavy hair that fell around her shoulders, and wide, honest looking eyes.
She looked confident, staring him down from across the desk, and he could sense the protectiveness she clearly had for Jungkook, even then. He swallowed at that, glancing down at his knees. They had never protected each other, him and Jungkook.
"No. I came looking for you."
She blinked at that, clearly surprised.
"Oh." She glanced around for a second before settling down in her chair. " Alright. How can i help you?"
"I don't know if Jungkook ever spoke about me-"
"Yes he did. He told me everything. There are no secrets between us."
Taehyung bit his lips.
"That's good. Honesty is good in a relationship." he muttered.
She sighed deeply, shaking her head.
"Please don't take this the wrong way, but, why are you here? If you're here to tell me you want to talk to him, please don't. Just leave. I'm begging you."
Taehyung gripped the small bag he held in his hand. He felt miserable because there was a time when he had the right to say or talk about Jungkook any way he wanted. But that time was gone. Now, Hira was the one who had it. And he didn't blame her at all.
"He doesn't love you."
It was jarring hearing the words from her. It took him back in time to when Jimin had told him the same thing, when he had seen the video. I don't think Jungkook loves you anymore , Taehyung is what he had said. Funnily enough, Taehyung knew that already.
But it still hurt.
"You're right." He said quietly. " I did some pretty unloveable things." he hesitated. " I'm not here to ask him to love me. I just wanted to talk to him. There are a few things we have to clear out between us."
Hira leaned back, staring at him.
"Do you know why he married you?"
She leaned forward.
"He wanted your money and he wanted to break your heart the way you broke his. Is that something you do to someone you love?" she asked quietly. " Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about his feelings for you? What can you possibly say now?"
She shook her head.
"Listen, I understand why you may feel like you have to apologize or talk about what happened between the pair of you. But I'm here to tell you that Jungkook doesn't want any of that. That box you sent? He asked me to get rid of it. He didn't even open it."
"I love him." she said simply. " I've loved him for a long, long time now and he's only just starting to live his life again, Taehyung. This is probably selfish of me, but for Jungkook, I don't mind being selfish or cruel. Because I want him to be happy. I can make him happy."
"And don't get me wrong. Where's your self respect? Why would you want to come back to a man who treated you the way he did?"she shook her head. "Just let him be, Taehyung.He told me that watching you hurt was the only thing that made him feel a little better after what you did."
Taehyung nodded, standing up right away.
"You're right." he said quietly, " I shouldn't have come here. I'm sorry if I upset you."
She stood up as well.
"He's not here by the way, if you're looking for him. He's out of town on business and won't be back for a couple of weeks."
Taehyung had to pause at that.
"I see. Well, you needn't worry then. I'll be heading back to Seoul by then." he shrugged.
"I'm not worried." she said at once. " I trust him."
"Do you?" he hesitated.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you were doing really well with the whole, he doesn't love you part but , if you really trusted him, you wouldn't have lied about him saying that he felt better by hurting me." he smiled. " i think you said that because you don't really trust him that much."
Hira recoiled , eyes flashing a bit as she leaned forward to argue but Taehyung held a hand up.
"I know him. I may not have loved him right, I may have hurt him without meaning to, but I know the kind of person he is. He would never find pleasure in hurting anyone, not even me."
"He's not capable of that. Yes he hurt me, he may have done it deliberately but the only one who has any right to talk about that to me is Jungkook himself. You shouldn't be speaking for him. And if he did share his feelings with you, you should keep them to yourself."
She crossed her arms over her chest.
"You can leave now ." she said sharply and Taehyung nodded before turning around and walking out.
"Damn, this bitch, I swear to God, Tae you should have taken me along, I would have bashed her head against the table."
Taehyung laughed at that, staring out into the still waters of the tiny pond in front of him. They had come out to explore the city a bit and to talk.
"You know the most horrifying part about the whole thing?" he said quietly.
"What is it?"
Taehyung turned to look at him.
"She reminded me a bit of myself. When I was young. I mean not the lying but the whole, lack of trust. " He sighed. " Jungkook sure knows how to pick them."
"No one's perfect Tae. We all get a little crazy when it comes to the people we love. " he sighed. " Terrible as she is, she seems to love him. As long as she's treating him well, its fine I suppose."
"So he's not in town?"
Jimin shifted a bit to stare at him.
"Maybe that's a good thing." Taehyung said carefully. " I don't know Jimin, maybe this is some kind of a sign that I should ... just let go of him." he looked into the water of the pond, picking up a stone and tossing it in.
He watched the ripples spread out on the surface, moving towards the shore.
"I feel like he's got some kind of stability here. " he said softly. " I don't want to drop something heavy and mess it up, you know? " he sighed. " I don't want to hurt him anymore."
Jimin gave him a small smile.
"That's entirely your choice Tae." he said softly. " But i know this is something you've been wanting to do for a while. You even told me you wrote all of those things down that you wanted to talk to him about."
"Yes, but does he want it too?"
"It was the one thing he always wanted , Tae. For you to talk to him."
Tae bit his lips.
"What if he's changed his mind?" He asked hesitantly.
"There's only one way to find that out." Jimin said quietly. " Call him..."
"I don't want to do it over the phone"
"Taehyung ssi..? "
Taehyung jumped a little, turning around in surprise at the familiar voice. He found Hoseok walking over from a few feet away, " I thought that looked like you! " The older man exclaimed. " How are you doing? "
Taehyung stood up and so did Jimin and Taehyung didn't miss the sly little smile on Jimin's face as he waved cheerfully.
"Hoseok ssi.." he called brightly. " Hi. I'm Jimin, Taehyung's friend. Taehyung's been talking about you so much , I feel like I know you already."
Taehyung jumped a little turning to glare at his friend and feeling his cheeks heat up in embarrassment as he fought the urge to hide behind his own hands.
"I... That's not..."
Hoseok laughed aloud at that.
"Well, that makes me feel great. Any friend of Tae is a friend of mine."
He shook Jimin's hand warmly. " It's nice to meet you Jimin. Wow, you're wearing my brand."
"You have amazing clothes." he said softly.
"Thank you. Taehyung ssi... I feel like i monopolized your time too much the other day so I understand if you're hesitant but.."
"Would you like to have dinner with me tonight? There's something I want to talk about with you..."
"Oh..." Taehyung glanced back at Jimin. in his head, he had been thinking of calling Jungkook. But maybe that could wait.
"Sure. I mean.. I would love that."
Hoseok glanced back to where a group of people were gathered around a large gazebo.
"I'm here scouting locations for our next ad campaign." Hoseok explained, " I try to stay involved in every step of the process. It's like watching my child grow and shine." he grinned.
Taehyung nodded. Talking to Hoseok had shown him how passionate the designer was about his job and his brand. And he was definitely inspired by his work ethic . It wasn't every day that you saw the owner of the brand getting involved in every single step.
As Hoseok walked away, Jimin nudged his shoulders.
"He's seriously super hot. If I didn't have Yoongi, I definitely would have been on that in a second."
Taehyung rolled his eyes.
"Your boyfriend should come back soon from Paris and put a leash on you." he teased .
"Don't remind me of that. Its been so long. i have half a mind to fly down there myself. Why he wanted to do his research a whole continent away from me , I have no idea."
"But you guys made it. That's amazing, that you did."
Taehyung turned away wrapping his arms around himself.
"I thought we would too." he whispered, staring back at the pond. " It feels so ridiculous now that I thought that way but I really did Jimin. And honestly, " he turned to him, " that's why I married him when he asked."
"I thought that was it . You know, my second chance to make things right but.." he closed his eyes. " I didn't know how. I had no idea where to start and how to go about it and it just crashed and burned."
"He was too angry to listen and you were too scared to talk."
"You know, I asked Seokjin to help me understand how Jungkook might have felt after I left." He sighed. " I felt like that was important. And well, it made me realize understand him. Of course, It still hurts that he did that. But I can see why."
"Tae, don't get me wrong. But even Seokjin did try to explain how Jungkook might have felt, I think the only person who can truly tell you how he felt is Jungkook himself. And I think you need to give him a chance to explain himself. I know you still care for him."
"I do." Taehyung said simply. " You told me just now that Hoseok's handsome. I thought so too. But only objectively. I'm not attracted to him, Jimin. Not even a little bit. And I'm not saying its because of Jungkook but... parts of me haven't fully moved on from him."
"And I think that's fine." he continued. " I don't want another relationship at the moment. Its the farthest thing from my mind really. I enjoy my work and I want to do more of it. I want to focus on that for a while." he sighed. "That okay, right?"
"Tae, Of course it is."
Jimin came closer, wrapping him in a back hug.
"I was only teasing." he whispered, " I don't want you to push yourself to do anything you don't want to. You should be having fun now, celebrating what you accomplished. The show was incredible Tae. You should be so proud."
Taehyung leaned back against his chest, grinning a bit at the warmth. He closed his eyes against the late evening sun, gentle on his skin.
"Celebrating sounds good? Should we head back to the hotel and get wasted?"
"And prank call Seokjin hyung on the hotel phone?"
Jungkook glanced around the large warehouse , watching the production staff set up computers and large LCD displays, neon boards flashing bright against his eyes. This wasn't really his scene at all and he wondered why Hira had insisted he agree to this.
He told her as such.
"Jungkook, someday I want you to be the face of the company with me." she said with a small laugh, " I think this is the perfect way to introduce you to the public. Besides, you're absolutely gorgeous, sweetie. i bet the other models are really jealous." she teased.
Jungkook rolled his eyes a bit at that.
"Its ridiculous is what it is. I'm not a model and I have no idea what I'm doing." he muttered.
"Jungkook , hope on the street is easily one of the top brands in the world. Hoseok ssi called me himself and said he wanted you."
"He's not even here." Jungkook muttered, " its almost seven and they're not showing any signs of wrapping up or-" Jungkook paused, watching as a small commotion began somewhere near the door, some of the staff rushing over to greet someone.
"Hira, hang on, let me call you back."
"i know this was quite a bit of a drive from the city but" Hoseok said softly, lightly holding him by the wrist and tugging him into the warehouse. " I'm so glad you agreed to consider this, Tae. I swear I've never been this excited."
Tae laughed at that.
"I can tell."
"Now the original plan was for us to focus only on the fashion part but Taehyung the way you work stories into your art, I knew the moment I saw you that i had to bring you on this project. My staff are going to hate me for doing this but i don't care. I want you, Kim Taehyung."
"Well, I'm here so if you want me you can have me." Taehyung laughed, turning back around only to crash straight into someone.
"Oh my god, I'm so sor-"
He froze, blinking rapidly, certain that his exhausted mind had conjured up the sight in front of him.
"Oh, Jungkook ssi."
"oh , you were here?" Hoseok frowned. " But you weren't supposed to be here till next week? Have you been here all day?"
Taehyung felt like his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth, unable to make a single sound as Jungkook stared at him and then at Hoseok.
"Ah, Taehyung ah..." Hoseok smiled. " This is Jeon Jungkook... He's one of the best professional gamers in the world, and one of the models working with me on this project."
"We know each other." Jungkook said quietly." Hi, Tae."
Taehyung felt his heart pound inside is chest.
He closed his eyes for a second, shaking his head and trying to get his emotions under control, reminding himself of where he was.
"I'm sorry. I.. Did I hurt you? " He babbled. " I should have watched where I was going, I'm.. " He stopped at the look on his face.
He cleared his throat and smiled.
Hoseok looked back and forth between them.
"Okay." He grinned. " Jungkook ssi. You didn't have to be here today at all. Did someone call you? What happened? "
"My girlfriend mentioned that you asked for me."
Taehyung couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes at that.
"Well then, if she said it, that must be the truth " He muttered under his breath.
"Excuse me? "
"Nothing." He said innocently. " Be sure to tell her I'm here. "
"Jungkook ssi, Did you drive down here? Should I ask someone to take you back? " Hoseok asked hesitantly, " I'm so sorry, there was some kind of miscommunication... Here. "
Jungkook shook his head.
"No, I drove here. I'll be fine. " He looked back and forth between them.
"Are you guys going to... Stay here? " He asked hesitantly. " Aren't you staying in the hotel with Jimin? "
Taehyung smiled a little.
"Yes, but I'm a big boy. I'll find my way back."
"It's already pretty late-"
"You don't have to worry about that." Tae said quietly.
"I'll take him back, " Hoseok said brightly. " I just wanted to show him our plans for this particular line of clothing, to be out this summer. " Hoseok turned to Taehyung. " It's geared exclusively towards unconventional sportspersons. And eSports are a huge thing these days. "
"I wasn't at all sure if Jungkook would agree to this but I'm so glad he's here. Jungkook ssi, since you're here already, would you be willing to model a few of the pieces for me and Taehyung, it would only take an hour at the most. I really want Taehyung to get a clear idea."
Taehyung glanced back and forth between them, alarmed.
"No, I.. That's not necessary at all. I can just see the pictures and-"
"Sure. " Jungkook said with a shrug. " Maybe after, I can drive you back to your hotel. "
Taehyung blinked rapidly.
(A/n I'll be back tomorrow with a longer update and yes finally The Talk.
Visuals for Jungkook and Taehyung I love that shirt on tae
"I know this isn't usually the kind of attire you would make jewelry for but if you have any ideas for accessories that could go along with the set, I'm all ears." Hoseok said brightly, smiling at Jungkook who leaned back against the wall in the outfit Hoseok had picked out.
"I think, if you're looking to market to actual athletes , you would have to consider that they wouldn't like accessories that would hinder the actual gaming process." Taehyung said quietly, eyes flitting to Jungkook's hands. " I think thick rings or bracelets are out."
He glanced back at Jungkook.
"I think it would be nice to hear from Jungkook too. I know your brand is all about practical and wearable fashions so... Who better than an actual gamer to offer you insight on that." he muttered. Hoseok nodded.
"That makes a lot of sense."
"Jungkook ssi, come on over here..." Hoseok pulled out a few thick binders, " These are some of the accessories we've launched earlier..."
Taehyung watched as Jungkook walked over before moving to settle on the couch right next to him, close enough for their legs to brush.
He pulled away instinctively, moving closer to the side of the couch and putting more distance between them. If Jungkook noticed he didn't react, instead leaning forward and listening to Hoseok.
As Hoseok explained what he was looking for, Taehyung glanced at Jungkook.
Two years was a long time or so it felt. And he couldn't help but look for changes in his features. And other than his hair being a little longer, there was a softness to Jungkook's air that reminded him of back when they were kids. It made his heart ache in a way.
"I like oversized jackets, graphic Ts too . Pants that are fashionable but also comfortable would be nice." Jungkook was saying and Taehyung watched as Hoseok took notes. He glanced around, his eyes falling on a number of other outfits hung on the racks.
"Can I see those?"
Hoseok nodded cheerfully.
"Please help yourself. Today's just us getting to know each other so, feel comfortable, Taehyung ssi.." he smiled brightly.
Taehyung moved to the rack, carefully thumbing through the outfits and taking his time to examine them.
His own style leaned more towards artistic, muted colors, floral patterns and applique works. He liked playing around with colors and textures too. Hoseok was fond of colors too , but there was somehow a harmony in all that chaos. It was beautiful to watch.
He lost track of time or so it felt, and he was moving onto the next rack of clothes, when he breathed in a familiar scent, Jungkook's cologne cloyingly sweet against his senses , followed by the warmth of his body very close to his back.
"Hey." Jungkook said quietly.
Taehyung took a second to compose himself. It was late in the day, the clock inching towards midnight and it felt like all of his defenses were down to the ground. The day's exhaustion made it hard for him to stay sane and grounded and alert.
and he really should be all of that.
"Hey , yourself." he managed to get out, his voice not shaky as his heart.
Jungkook shifted to the side, but a little more closer, his shoulder brushing Taehyung's back as he came around to look at him.
"You didn't call." He said quietly, hands tucked in his pockets.
Taehyung blinked up at him at that.
"Oh," he laughed a little. " You sound like you were waiting."
Jungkook didn't deny it, merely shrugging his shoulders lightly.
Taehyung exhaled deeply and shook his head.
"You know what I was thinking? " he said softly. " Just now?"
Jungkook smiled at that.
"I've never known what you were thinking. Maybe if I was capable of that, we wouldn't be here. Like this."
Taehyung felt something clog his throat at the words.
How does one move on from someone who makes you feel so much, so deeply, he wondered.
"I was thinking you looked younger somehow." he swallowed. " More like the seventeen year old Jungkook I once knew."
"Yes. And that makes me feel better. Its like you're going back to the time before all those terrible things happened to you. Before I happened to you."
Jungkook stared at him and Tae wrapped his arms around himself.
"I didn't call because, I didn't want to bother you. I .. I won't be here for a long time. I'll be heading back to Seoul. But this is your home now. And its beautiful and I didn't want to take up any space here."
"Does that work for you?" He asked casually.
"What do you mean?"
"Do you get to decide, who takes up space in your ...home, so to speak?"
Taehyung felt his mouth go dry.
"Well, yes. Isn't that how its supposed to be?"
"So, I'm not there anymore?"
Tae stared at him, heart leaping straight to his throat.
Jungkook grinned, shaking his head and stepping back.
"You're right." he said quietly. " I was waiting for you to call me. But you're wrong about me going back to who I was before I met you. i haven't gone back."
"I don't want to either."
"I don't want to pretend that nothing happened between us." Jungkook said quietly. " Because it did. And it changed me. And it made me do terrible things to you and it made me hurt you. How the fuck am I supposed to go back from that?"
"We hurt each other..." Taehyung began weakly.
"But we loved each other too right?" Jungkook whispered. " And one would think, that love should at least make us talk to each other and be honest with each other for once... " He looked stricken.
" I don't mind the pain , Tae, I really don't. I just want it to have been for a purpose. You stood there and said that something beautiful can come out of something tragic so tell me, what beautiful thing came out of our relationship?"
Tae could only stare at him, at a loss for words.
Because no, nothing very beautiful had come out of their relationship at all. Nothing except two very broken people, with bruised souls and tenderly hurting hearts. Two people who would forever ache for a love that was lost.
He stared down at his feet, eyes fluttering shut as he felt the tears brim over.
"I'm sorry." he breathed out, lips wobbling as tears dripped down his cheeks, tracing a path down his jaw and soaking the collar of his shirt.
Jungkook sighed , his voice choked up.
"So am I."
Tae bit his lips, trying to compose himself.
"I go to therapy now." he said quietly. " It... helped me . A lot." he nodded. " If you want to talk about ....anything really... we can."
Jungkook looked hesitant.
"Do you want to talk?" he said warily.
Tae closed his eyes.
Jungkook smiled then, nodding lightly and stepping further back.
"Okay, then. We'll talk."
Taehyung stared at him.
"That easily?" he whispered, shocked.
"Its about time something between us felt easy, don't you think?"
Taehyung managed a watery smile, tears still flowing and Jungkook stepped closer, bringing both of his hands up, and wiping at the tear tracks with the sleeve of his jacket.
Taehyung felt his eyes go wide.
"That's Hobi's unreleased jacket!" he exclaimed , a little horrified.
Jungkook grinned, continuing to swipe at the wetness soaking his face.
"Its okay. Just ask him for a new one. He's already half in love with you." he muttered.
Taehyung punched his arm.
"No he is not. Shut up."
"If you want me you can have me." Jungkook rolled his eyes.
Before Taehyung could reply, Jungkook's phone rang. He jumped a little, clearly startled and reached for his pocket.
Taehyung watched as he took the call.
"Hey, baby. "
His heart took a deep, deep dive, crashing to pieces somewhere in the vicinity of his feet.
Jungkook glanced up at him, and for a split second he stared right at him, and in those few heart beats Taehyung didn't miss the look of guilt on Jungkook's face as he moved back, putting distance between them.
He felt dizzy all of a sudden, crashing back to reality.
Taehyung watched as Jungkook moved away from him, whispering into his phone as he turned away and he had to close his eyes and ground himself.
He watched Jungkook's forehead crease a little in an expression of annoyance and he wondered if he had told his girlfriend about him.
Taehyung turned back around, moving to the cloth rack once again. He took a few deep breaths to ground himself, eyes fluttering shut. He was grateful for the phonecall in a way. It was a sobering reminder that mending things with Jungkook wasn't so they could get back together.
No, he had a feeling they were far past that. Even if you forgive each other, even if you're willing to move past old hurts and mistakes, there was no telling if you could ever look at each other and not remember how much it had hurt.
Jungkook was doing better now.
And Taehyung was too. There really was no reason to throw a wrench in all of this, just because his heart still...
"Sorry about that." Jungkook said quietly, " she gets a little anxious sometimes."
Taehyung smiled vacantly, glancing back at him.
"When did you start dating?"
Jungkook hesitated, looking thoughtful.
"Dating? Probably three months? Maybe four. Not more than that." He looked hesitant. "She's really nice."
"I met her." he said quietly.
"Yes, she mentioned it."
Taehyung had no doubt she had.
"Did she tell you to stay away from me?" he smiled, and Jungkook hesitated before slipping his hands into his pockets and looking to the side.
"She's protective sometimes." he said vaguely. "She can come off abrasive but she means well."
"She's in love with you."
Jungkook didn't respond right away.
"Yeah, that doesn't really mean anything to me." He shrugged. " I don't... I don't really believe in love and all that." he laughed a little. "Love is like this excuse we use to chase things that are never meant for us, you know."
He sighed deeply.
"You know Tae," he said quietly, " I thought about it a lot. Why did it hurt so fucking much when you left me... Why was it that I lost myself so completely when our relationship ended and I realized, it's my fault." he swallowed.
"I had this idealistic , fanciful idea of what being on love was you know... I just imagined us spending the rest of our lives together, raising kids, building a family, building our own home... It was all just.. too much. I made up all these impossible dreams..."
He bit his lips, " and when I realized I wouldn't get any of that, it just,it really hurt." he sighed. " I was pretty selfish back then. I didn't stop much to ask if you wanted the same things. I was probably a very suffocating boyfriend. And well, I don't blame you for running."
"Jungkook..." Taehyung said tiredly, " That's not what-"
"Taehyung ah!" Hoseok's loud voice came over the small partition between them. " I drew a few rough sketches for you based on what Jungkook said, come take a look...!"
"Work calls." he smiled.
Taehyung walked around the partition, making his way over to where Hoseok was leaning over the desk, sketching.
"It's getting late." Taehyung said gently, " I think we should head back now. Can we meet up again tomorrow?"
"Oh." Hoseok blinked. " Of course. Here take this."
Taehyung watched as Hoseok carefully slipped the sketches into a folder and handed it over to him.
"Is Jungkook driving you back?"
"That's right." he smiled glancing back at Jungkook who was watching them.
"Well, drive safe kids. I'm going to sleep here."
" in the ...warehouse?" he frowned. " Are you sure?"
"I need to go over a few details before we start shooting officially. Don't worry about me, sweetheart." he grinned, winking.
Taehyung smiled, before nodding and turning away.
Taehyung turned back, surprised, and Hoseok pulled him into a warm hug.
"Thank you for considering this." He said fervently. " It means so much to me."
Taehyung stood perfectly still, taken aback but couldn't help but hug him back.
"Okay." he laughed after the pulled away.
"Should we go?" Jungkook asked quietly, and Taehyung jumped because his voice was right behind him.
"You move like a cat." he whispered, and Jungkook shrugged, before bowing a little to Hoseok who was grinning wide.
"Drive safe, the pair of you." he waved them off.
Taehyung followed Jungkook out into the parking lot, shivering a little when the late night air hit him. Jungkook led him to his SUV , parked close to the exit and Taehyung climbed into the passenger side, buckling himself in.
He settled into the seat and then went still.
He stared at the rear view mirror and felt his heart leap into his throat. He whirled around, pulse pounding because there in the back window, tucked into a corner was a very familiar looking stuffed bunny.
He turned back around, heart racing and a head ache coming on.
He had to breathe deep, inhaling and exhaling as he watched Jungkook climb in as well. Why was this so difficult? This whole thing felt like he was treading water, close to the shore and just when he thought he was safe, just when he thought he could climb out, a new wave hits.
When Jungkook had buckled himself in, Taehyung couldn't stop himself .
"Why do you still have that?' he demanded, voice high and abrasive.
"The bunny. The... bunny I won at the fair.. I... " he groaned. "I thought you got rid of it."
Jungkook gripped the steering wheel hard.
"Do you want it back?" he asked shakily.
Taehyung shook his head.
"That's not what I asked. You... " he closed his eyes. " Your girlfriend told me you asked her to get rid of all the stuff that I sent you back." he said.
"I changed my mind." he said quietly. " I wanted to get rid of it, yes. I asked her to...but I changed my mind."
"Why?" Taehyung bit his lips. " How can you keep that there, in your car and not think of ..." he shook his head. " Is this your way of punishing yourself?"
Jungkook turned to him.
"What do you think of Taehyung, when you look at it?" He whispered.
"Isn't it obvious?" he demanded. " I think of all the things that went wrong, what we did to each other, all the ways we hurt and-"
"Well, I don't." Jungkook snapped.
"When I look at it, I only remember that day. I only think of how happy you were to be there with me, how much you wanted to win that for me and how for a few hours, it was like I was with someone who actually loved me back!" Jungkook choked out. "That's all I see."
Taehyung stared at him in disbelief.
"Am I supposed to spend the rest of my life hating the first person I ever fell in love with?" he whispered. " is that what you want Taehyung? I can't do that. It doesn't matter if we made it. I won't pretend we never happened."
Jungkook closed his eyes. Taehyung turned back to stare out of the window, at a loss.
"If it bothers you. You can take it back. And you can get rid of it." Jungkook said finally.
"You know that's not what I want." he whispered. " I just... I want us to be okay."
"I want..." Taehyung hesitated. " I want to talk about what happened between us. Back then. And everything that came after. I want to talk. I don't want you to think you were being too much asking to be loved. That's not too much at all. It was the least I could have done."
Jungkook didn't respond right away. Instead he stared out of the windshield, eyes focused on the darkness outside.
"Why didn't you talk to me? I tried reaching out to you, so often and you... just... disappeared on me." He muttered.
Taehyung clenched his fists.
"I was embarrassed." he whispered. " I... that photographer... I shouldn't have... It was a stupid, reckless and terrible thing to do." he shook his head, " The school would have expelled me and my parents were ready to disown me." he grimaced. " I was ashamed of what I did."
Jungkook turned to him.
"Why did you even do it Taehyung?" he asked, genuinely distraught. " Drugs? Really... That's not... That's not who you were. You wouldn't even drink for fuck sake.. I couldn't understand..."
Taehyung took a deep breath.
"I have no excuse." he said softly.
" You know I got into that Fashion school in Paris." Tae muttered, " My mother used my signature wrote to them saying I wasn't interested anymore. I found out, when they sent me an email confirming that they're cancelled my admission." he bit his lips.
Jungkook stared at him.
"Why didn't you tell me that?" he asked after a few moments.
Taehyung wrapped his arms around himself.
"Because it felt like my life was over and nothing mattered anymore." he whispered. " I...It was my dream Jungkook and the only way I could get away from her...and she..."
He took a deep breath.
"Everything that happened afterwards, its just fuzzy.. I felt numb and lost and nothing seemed to make sense to me . I met that guy the night before the press conference and I..." he swallowed, taking a deep breath. " I didn't remember what happened after."
Jungkook pressed his palm to his face.
"You should have come to me." he said quietly. " i was your boyfriend."
Yes, he should have.
"Like I said, I have no excuse." Taehyung whispered. " I just didn't want to drag you into it, Jungkook. I promise that was it."
When Jungkook didn't respond, Taehyung reached out and look his hand, placing it carefully between his own and squeezing gently.
"Back then... I always felt so numb." he whispered. " It was like, no matter how many people were around me I was all alone. I was so terrified of
my own feelings , I just shut everything out you know. Because if I started feeling things for you, If I started feeling emotions, then I would have to feel all of it. All the pain, all the hurt, every single thing I had been avoiding. And I was too scared to do that, Jungkook."
" I felt this overwhelming amount of love for you, you know. Everytime we were together my heart would soar and I would feel so, free and happy but there was always this nagging feeling of despair, right at the back of my mind, telling me it wouldn't last." he swallowed.
"I wanted to love you..." he said softly, " The way you loved me, but I couldn't. I tried so hard but it was like something heavy was just there, right on top of me, weighing me down and making it so difficult to breathe let alone tell you all of this."
tw : depression
"Remember the days when I used to just not show up to our dates?" he whispered and Jungkook hesitated before nodding.
"It was because I was in bed, just not able to get up. I just couldn't move. I just stayed in bed, staring at the ceiling and crying."
"Because I knew I wanted to be with you but I also knew that I couldn't possibly get up from that bed. I just couldn't. And I knew something was so terribly, terribly wrong with me but I had no idea how to fix it, or who to ask for help." he choked out. " And I am so very sorry."
Jungkook linked their fingers together, and Taehyung finally looked at him, tears spilling over. Jungkook pressed his lips to the back of Taehyung's hand.
"I'm sorry you had to go through that alone." he whispered and Tae felt his lips wobble.
"I used to think I was broken."
"Like there was something about me that couldn't be fixed and I was so scared you would find out. And you would realize that all this..." he pointed at his face, " all this so called beauty that everyone went crazy about, it was all just a façade. i was scared that you
would see me for who I truly was . And I was terrified that you would leave me. Because who wants to be with someone like that right?" he laughed without mirth. " I hid myself from you because i was afraid to lose you , Jungkook. Look how that worked out for me."
"You wouldn't have lost me." Jungkook said quietly. " There was nothing you could have said or done to make me walk out on you, Taehyung and I just... I wish I had made that more obvious. " he sighed. " Just.... seven years hyung?" he shook his head," You never came back."
Taehyung bit his lips.
"I couldn't. You know I left the country right? I had to stay out of Korea, until I was independent. My parents had too much influence here and if I came back they would have tied me down again. I had to stay away."
Jungkook shook his head.
"I don't know... " he muttered, " I don't know how to feel about any of this hyung. I... It breaks me to see that you were hurting the whole time and I want to tell you that its okay. That everything's fine but it isn't , you know? Nothing is." he shook his head." I'm not okay."
"You want to what it was like for me? It was just night after night of wondering what I did wrong. Night after night wondering why my boyfriend couldn't look me in the eye. Why even when we were having sex, it didn't feel like I was touching anything more than his body."
"My friends would ask me why I was still with you but I couldn't tell them why you know? Because there really was no reason except that i wanted to. And I would catch these glimpses of love in your eyes, sometimes and it always felt so real and so strong."
"But," he bit his lips, " But after you left I had to tell myself that probably wasn't real either. Maybe I had imagined the whole thing and maybe the entire time,. Kim Taehyung hadn't wanted anything to do with me and I was just the clueless bastard who couldn't take a hint."
"That's not true." Taehyung whispered. " I have never wanted anything in my life, the way I wanted you, Jungkook."
Jungkook stared at him.
"Do you know why I wanted to marry you hyung?" he asked quietly.
Tae licked his lips, before nodding hesitantly.
"The money." he said quietly. " And.. you.. wanted to hurt me."
Jungkook shook his head.
"Not really. I wanted to see if I could hurt you."
Tae blinked up at him, confused.
"What do you mean?"
"I wanted to see..." Jungkook looked away, staring out of the window, as though ashamed of what he was admitting to, " if I could make you feel something for me. If something I did could make you hurt the way I did."
Taehyung breathed out, clenching his fists on his knee.
"I see." he cleared his throat. " It did." he said softly, " Of course it hurt me Jungkook." he reached out and touched his arm." When I saw that video it... it made me feel I'd been stabbed in the chest."
"But you didn't come to me." Jungkook said quietly." You just pretended like you never saw it. Like nothing I said made a single difference to you..."
"It did..." Taehyung said quietly. " It made a lot of difference and I wanted to fix things. I wanted to fix everything,
"Its why I came to Busan, looking for you." he whispered. " I... came because I wanted to be with you, Jungkook."
Jungkook sighed, pressing his palms to his face, groaning into them.
"When I asked you, that's not what you said."
Taehyung closed his eyes.
"I know. And I'm sorry."
"From the moment you left," Jungkook said quietly, till the moment we got that divorce, " if you would have asked me for a second chance, I would have given it to you hyung. I would have hated myself for it. Would have regretted it, would have probably ended up
with my heart broken again, a million times over , but i still would have done it. Because that's how much I wanted you hyung." he shook his head, " We could have made it work if you'd just..." he stopped.
Taehyung waited as he seemed to collect himself.
"Jimin hyung told me i would regret doing that to you.. That I would regret asking you to marry me under false pretenses " he said softly. " And he was right. I regret it. A lot. I feel like, if I hadn't done that, maybe we wouldn't be so fucked up right now." he sighed.
"But I couldn't stay away. I had to see you, be with you somehow and I was too terrified to accept that I still wanted you." he swallowed. " An unhealthy obsession if there ever was one." he shook his head, " One I can't get out of, even now."
Taehyung felt his breath catch.
Jungkook turned to look at him.
"I'm going to tell Hoseok hyung that I can't work on this." he said quietly.
"Just..." he held his hand up," You don't understand, Tae. The power you have over me, its not fair."
Taehyung stared at him as he reached for the keys, turning the car's ignition on.
"When I saw your name on the list of designers," Jungkook said quietly, " I made up a stupid excuse to come to that exhibit with my girlfriend. When we reached there, I didn't even look for her.
I came looking for you. Every word you said that day, its seared into my mind and I stay up nights, thinking maybe I dreamed all of it. And right now, I have someone waiting for me , someone who was there for me in ways you never were, and yet... I don't want this night to end."
"Right now, sitting next to you, my stupid fucking heart is telling me I wouldn't mind leaning over and kissing you. That I should do it, because I want to and who gives a damn about the consequences." he pulled out of the parking lot, eyes on the road, " and that's not right."
Taehyung turned around, staring out of the windshield, knuckles white from how tightly his fists were clenched.
He couldn't trust himself to breathe, let alone speak.
Jungkook stayed quiet for a few more seconds.
"Let's not see each other again, hyung." he whispered.
Taehyung closed his eyes, breathing through the pain.
"If that's what you want. " He said quietly.
Jungkook gripped the steering wheel.
"Isn't that what you want? " He demanded.
Taehyung licked his lips throat dry.
"Isn't that what we should be wanting? "
"After everything we did to each other... We hurt each other... So fucking much, caused so much pain to each other..." Jungkook rambled but Tae cut him off.
"But we also loved each other. " He said quietly. " Isn't that what you said, ? " He hesitated. "I want you in my life."
Jungkook looked stunned, and taehyung felt his heart start to race.
"On your terms, " He said shakily. " Just... I promise I'll do better, Jungkook ah. Just don't tell me i can't see you again. " He whispered. " You mean so much to me Jungkook. I want to prove it to you. "
Jungkook pulled the car to a stop in front of Taehyung's hotel, turning the ignition off and staring straight ahead, hands still gripping the steering wheel.
Jungkook hadn't responded to Tae's words and the rest of the ride had been spent in silence, save for the radio.
Taehyung reached to unbuckle his seat belt, but didn't get down immediately. Instead he turned around to stare at Jungkook, eyes fixed on him until he turned to look at him.
"Hyung.." he said tiredly.
Taehyung licked his lips.
"You don't have to quit working with Hoseok."
"Your photoshoot isn't till next week and I won't be here in Seoul that long." Taehyung assured him. " We won't have to meet each other at all. I promise."
Jungkook looked unsure for a few moments before nodding.
"Can I have your number?" he said finally.
" Oh, of course... " Taehyung took Jungkook's phone, carefully saving his number in before handing it over. Back when they were dating Jungkook's phone screen and his lockscreen were both pictures of Taehyung. But now, they were pictures of Jungkook himself.
"When will you be leaving?" Jungkook asked, taking his phone back and Taehyung told him the date.
"About five days from now." he added.
"Maybe we could meet for dinner on Thursday." Jungkook said after a few seconds. " Just talk."
Tae nodded quickly.
"Of course. Just let me know where and when." he bit his lips, " Thank you, Jungkook."
Jungkook nodded, before reaching for his belt.
"Come, I'll walk you to your room." He said quietly and Tae blinked.
"Oh, that's not -"
But Jungkook was already climbing out.
Tae watched as he got out of the car, locking his door behind him and he closed his eyes for a second, glancing at the time. It was inching to 1.00 AM.
He got down as well, shivering in the night wind. His flimsy floral shirt did nothing for him, really.
"It's late." he said.
Jungkook stood with his eyes closed, savoring the night breeze. Taehyung watched the wind play with Jungkook's hair, the silky strands falling across his handsome face in gentle wisps. The brightly lit hotel lobby made his face glow and he felt a lump in his throat.
Tae took a second to just stare at him. He had never done enough of that, when they were together, he thought miserably. He was always lost inside his own head, always so scared of life going wrong he hadn't lived at all.
What a pity. Jungkook was so beautiful. And he had never told him that. He had never looked at him and told him what a breathtakingly beautiful man he was. How lucky Taehyung had been to have known him. To be loved by him. Regret churned inside his gut.
He wanted to say it now.
But he didn't.
It would only make things more complicated.
Jungkook took a deep breath and turned to him.
"Should we go in?" he asked quietly. Taehyung smiled nodding. He followed Jungkook into the lobby, past the front desk and to the elevators.
His room was on one of the top floors and Taehyung leaned against the walls of the elevator, eyes fluttering shut from exhaustion. When he opened them again, Jungkook was staring at him.
"What ?" he asked without thinking.
Jungkook smiled a little.
"Nothing." he whispered.
The elevator doors opened and Taehyung stepped out, Jungkook right behind him.
"You looked like you wanted to say something. " Taehyung said carefully. " You can tell me. Whatever it is , I won't mind."
"I was thinking you looked beautiful, that's all."
Taehyung blinked at that.
"Oh.. I.." he felt his mouth go dry. " Thank you." he felt his heart clench a little. They were both so different, he thought , with dawning realization. Jungkook didn't hesitated when it came to saying what he felt. But Taehyung struggled with it.
And it had always been that way. From the moment they met.
When they stopped in front of his room, Taehyung took a deep breath.
"I'm working on this thing where I say what I feel." he said quietly. " And I'm not there yet, but I will be , someday. I want you to know that."
Jungkook looked uncertain.
And then he nodded.
"Okay, hyung." he smiled. " That's great." he glanced at the door. " Go in. Sleep well."
Taehyung took a deep breath.
"Can i ask you something? You don't have to answer but I .... I would be happy if you did."
"What is it?"
"Does your girlfriend tell you that you're beautiful?" he blurted out, biting his lips right after and then sighing. " Sorry...that's .. weird.. What I mean is... Does she treat you better than I did?" he finished.
Jungkook seemed to mull the question over for a few seconds.
And then he smiled.
"Is that you're way of telling me I'm beautiful?" He tilted his head, before chuckling, " needs a little work hyung."
Taehyung smiled a bit at the non answer. Jungkook hadn't answered the question at all.
Probably to spare his feelings.
He was grateful.
But he had got his answer nonetheless.
Nodding he reached for his key card from his wallet, moving to open the door. Jungkook stood in the hallway watching.
"Drive safely . " Tae said quietly. " And just text me once you're home."
It felt odd talking about Jungkook's home.
A home he shared with someone else. Taehyung remembered Hira and felt a tug of jealousy again. He couldn't fight it. Parts of him still felt so insanely proprietary when it came to Jungkook. Even though he had no right to feel that way. He stared down at his feet.
Jungkook had made a home for himself, away from him. It was one in the morning and Jungkook was going to go home, to someone else's bed, to someone else's arms to rest. It felt wrong in every way.
And the hotel room he was in felt like a catacomb with the walls closing in on him.
"I'll probably crash at a motel." Jungkook said suddenly, startling him. " Its too long a drive back to my place and I'm honestly exhausted. I don't want to drive like this."
Taehyung stared at him.
"No." Jungkook smiled. " Thank you, hyung . But no."
Taehyung watched as he tucked his hands into his pockets before giving him another small smile and walking away. He watched him step into the elevator, the doors closing behind him, before finally stepping into his room and locking the door.
Too miserable to do anything else. Taehyung made a beeline for the bed and fell face down onto it, merely toeing off his shoes, before curling up on the freshly made sheets.
He wanted to go home too.
Except home was no longer a place.
Taehyung spent the next two days running around from one meeting to the next, meeting new clients, other designers and brands looking to collaborate with him. He had lunch with Hoseok and they worked out a plan so he could work from Seoul. And by Wednesday, he was bone tired.
So when Jimin told him that there was a party organized for everyone who had taken part in the exhibits, his first instinctive reaction was to refuse. But watching Jimin get ready made him want to dress up too, and by nine that night, he was decked up and ready to go.
He tried not to think too much of the fact that Jungkook hadn't texted him. Although the thought kept nagging at the back of his mind. So much so that, two drinks down, he ended up blurting out his displeasure to Jimin.
Jimin merely scoffed.
"It was probably her. "
"What? " He frowned. "What do you mean? "
"His girlfriend. She probably guilt tripped him and made him feel terrible for spending all that time with you and he's overcompensating by avoiding you. Trust me i know how this goes. " He sighed. " Let him go, Tae. "
Taehyung sank back into his seat at that, chastised. Jimin was probably right. He still remembered the guilty look on Jungkook's face when Hira had called him at the warehouse. And he remembered how much she hated him as well.
Maybe Jungkook told her everything.
Maybe Hira had told him to cut off all contact with Taehyung. Almost at once his mood took a deep dive and he felt himself sinking into despair. It happened too often these days, he thought miserably.
Just as he ordered another drink, someone slipped into the next seat.
Taehyung stared in disbelief at the familiar hair and pretty features.
"Jungkook? " He whispered, surprised.
He leaned closer, breathing in deeply and it was Jungkook's cologne, hitting his senses just right making his mouth water and his insides turn to mush. He wanted to reach out and touch, and he did just that, hands moving up to lightly brush his hair.
"Excuse me? "
That was most certainly not Jungkook's voice.
He blinked again.
The man was staring at him now, an amused look on his face. The audacity?
"You're not Jungkook. " He accused. " How dare you pretend to be him, when you're not? " He demanded.
The guy laughed at that.
"Umm.. Sorry? " He said with a small smile, gently tugging Taehyung's hand away from where it was gripping his lapel. " Let me guess... Jungkook is your boyfriend? "
"He's my husband. " Tae snapped. " We got married. " He frowned. " I think. There was a church. I wore a suit."
"Sounds like a wedding to me. " Not Jungkook said softly . " Is he here? Should I ask the bartender to find him for you? You look pretty drunk. " He said softly. Even Jungkook's doppelganger was kind. How unfair when kindness was all Taehyung had searched for all his life.
He sighed, reaching out and taking not Jungkook's hand in his own, entwining their fingers together. He frowned because Jungkook's hands were rough and a little abrasive. This guy had soft manicured hands. He didn't like them at all. He shrugged his hand off, frowning.
"You're a terrible doppelganger. " Taehyung announced, shaking his head in disappointment. "Do you at least dance? My Jungkook dances so well. " He muttered. " He won all those competitions in college. I was so proud of him. " He trailed off. " So proud. " He whispered.
Not Jungkook reached out and gently cupped his face.
"Did Jungkook dump you? Is that why you got wasted? " He asked loudly . Taehyung shook his head.
"No." He muttered. " I dumped him. " He laughed, mirthless. " Funny right? I dumped him even though I loved him. "
Taehyung turned to him, fully, meeting his gaze.
"Do you want to dance? " He asked shakily. " I think I want to dance. "
"Can you dance? You look like you can barely stand and oh! Okay! " The man grunted as Taehyung launched himself into his arms.
It was going to be a fun night.
Taehyung woke up to a massive headache, his head throbbing fiercely as he tried to make sense of his surroundings. He groaned, loud and something soft hit the back of his head.
"You reckless, impulsive, raccoon. " Jimin yelled at him making him blink.
That was new.
"Why are you screaming? " He muttered, blinking against the harsh late morning sun. " My head hurts, ow. What did I do last night? "
"Other than harass numerous strangers? Let me see, you broke an expensive glass fountain and got us permanently banned from that club."
Taehyung groaned. "I was drunk. " He whispered.
"I know. " Jimin groaned. " And the nice guy who helped you, whom you kept referring to as not Jungkook, paid for all of the havoc you wrecked because I didn't have my card on me. " He shook his head. " Why are you like this? "
Taehyung sat up, blinking at the mirror on the opposite wall, eyes going wide at the sight of his missed up hair and wrinkled clothes, his shirt hanging off his shoulder.
His phone buzzed making him jump.
He reached for it, head still throbbing.
"Are we still on for lunch?"
Jungkook's voice made him jump a bit.
"Uh wuh buh. " He muttered.
Taehyung groaned, scrambling to his feet in a hurry, legs caught in the sheets and nearly sending him to the floor.
"I.. Uh... Yes. Jungkook... Lunch. Let's go. Eat. Lunch. " He groaned.
"That's great hyung. I'm about five minutes from your hotel. It's nowhere fancy so you can dress comfortably. I'll wait in the lobby is that okay? "
Oh good God.
Taehyung all but ran to the bathroom. "Yes. Yes five minutes I'll be there. "
Jimin stared at him.
"What? " He asked sharply, tossing his phone aside and reaching for his toothbrush.
"Taehyung, you look like you got dragged through a hedgerow before being tossed into a trash compactor. Five minutes is not going to make you look human again. " He muttered.
Tae glared at him.
"Either help me Or be quiet. I do not want negative nancies in my life. " He snapped.
Jimin rolled his eyes.
"I'm not a negative Nancy. I'm just a telling you that you look like you fought a wild animal last night. " He paused " And lost."
"I'm about to fight an animal right now. " Taehyung warned him, holding his toothbrush up threateningly, " And this time I'll make sure I win. You don't want that do you Jimin? "
"Fine. What are you wearing? "
"This place is really nice. " Taehyung said brightly, glancing around the warmly lit restaurant and smiling, like his head wasn't pounding hard enough to make him sick. " It's beautiful, Jungkook. "
Jungkook had been unusually quiet during the ride and even now.
( a/n I'll be back tomorrow, my husband is yelling for me again)