Bear with Me | PJM | 03: Bear Fruit
pairings: jimin x reader
rating: 18+ / Mature
c/w, themes, & more info: fic page | masterpost
special thank you: @helenazbmrskai for your art!
author’s note: Desperately tried to get this out to you all before Mother’s Day, but ended up being late. Hoping this is a nice little gift! 💜
chapter 03 preview:
His eyes find yours again, and you’re left wondering if holding eye contact with your best friend ever resulted in you losing your breath like this in the past.
You grin. “Yes?” you whisper.
“Uh…” Jimin starts to turn a little pink, his eyes narrowing as he smiles bashfully. “Aw, no, it’s stupid!”
“Yeeeesss?” you tease, tantalized at there being something more, especially something stupid.
“And I… I…”
Jimin covers his face.
“You… you filmed your tissue?” you ask, confused.
You reach over for Jimin’s hands and pry them away from his face as he giggles. But when you uncover him, he gazes at you adoringly. Like he always has. Like he never has. Like you want him to from now on.
And he says, slowly, and gently, “I feel like I might miss you.”
03: Bear Fruit
Jimin turns to you and takes you in. How many times has he seen you like this, fresh from a night of passion, smirking like you always do? But instead of raccoon eyes, or clown lips, he sees you.
The everyday, real you.
You as you usually are. But it’s the you that appears just a bit later in the morning, past the hacking cough and iced coffee. The you that had changed back into your clothes, oftentimes his clothes, and would confidently drape herself over the couch during the official roomie debrief, a naughty glimmer in your eye to preface the naughty story hanging on your lips.
It’s disorienting, seeing things, you, out of order.
And it doesn’t occur to him that maybe he’s not exactly in his usual spot when you’re like this, either. He’s usually in the living room with you, not still lying in his bed. But he likes the way you’re lying there with him, both of you truly blissful, relaxed, and content. Bare bodies, bare souls, bare faces. He maybe likes this better, getting to see the freckles on your face that, if you connect them just right, form the Big Dipper.
He wipes the corner of his mouth with his thumb, which is chased by his tongue as he drags it over his lips.
Does anyone else know that? he wonders. Does anyone else know the constellations that stretch across your body? Does anyone else know the depth, range, and beauty of your universe?
“Jimin!” you laugh.
“Huh?” he asks, still lost within you.
“You didn’t hear me?” you ask, a bit concerned.
“Uh… no, sorry,” he admits, embarrassed and grinning sheepishly.
“You’re so spacey today,” you comment, missing Jimin eyeing the path of the Big Dipper on you over and over again, drawing it forwards and backwards, making his heart feel restless.
“Still waking up, I guess,” he mumbles happily, lying on his back and pulling you closer into him.
You nuzzle up to him and sigh. “Understandable. I mean…”
Shared smirks and bitten lips, you can barely hold eye contact for a second or two without giggling. After a night like that, filled with so many new moments, so many unbelievably good moments, you acknowledge that it’s a wonder that either of you are forming any coherent words.
“Anyway, what were you saying?” Jimin asks, letting his head rest against yours, both of your bodies drifting on the raft that is his mattress, the clouds that are his pillows and sheets.
“That you probably need to get going,” you yawn, closing your eyes and stretching your legs as you roll into him, your knee resting between his.
He yawns too, holding your knee between his thighs before groaning. “Shit. What time is it?”
You turn your head to look for Jimin’s phone. At some point, during one of your rare breaks, he had grabbed it out of his pants pocket to show you some proofs. But where had it ended up? It’s not on the nightstand. Surely not on the floor --- another crack on that screen, and the phone will be useless.
Jimin moans happily as you feel around for the phone, your body climbing on top of his, hands flat and gliding against the sheets around his frame.
He kisses your neck, making you laugh.
You pull his phone out from under his pillow and smile as your eyes land on the last photo proof that he showed you. He’s only wearing a simple denim jacket and jeans. But he’s got a dreamy look on his face as he runs his hand through his hair, and his raised jacket gives you a peek at his toned figure, as well as the waistband of one of your favorite pairs of his boxer-briefs.
That photo took you right out of the break and into round… Nine? Ten?
“It’s 8:42, and I can’t look at this for very long, or else we’ll have to fuck again,” you tease, showing Jimin his picture.
He laughs and takes his phone from you without paying attention, merely moving it to the nightstand. With that phone and its necessary tether to time out of the way, he can wrap his arms around you and close his eyes, focusing only on getting his lungs to match your breaths, comfortable bodies and hazy minds threatening to fall asleep again.
Jimin barely moves his lips when he talks. “Wait, 8:42?”
“Seriously? I just handed the phone to you.”
“At night?” A grunt. “Did I miss my restaurant shift?”
“It’s the morning,” you laugh, opening your eyes to stare at him, amazed at how he’s missed the sunlight streaming everywhere.
Jimin sighs freely. “Oh, good. I thought we might’ve slept through the entire day. Feels like we did.”
You’re glad he feels so good. Sounds so rested. It’s such a compliment to you, the way he’s lost track of time.
But losing track of time isn’t always a positive.
You stretch again before placing your fingers on Jimin’s eyes. You gently open his eyelids. “You’re going to be late for your shoot,” you repeat, even though you don’t move off of him.
“It doesn’t start until 10,” he complains, shaking your hands off of his face and choosing to bury himself in the spill of your hair instead. “Let’s lie here a bit more. Just cuddle.”
You swing your hair to your other shoulder and place your fingers on his eyes again. “You need to get ready,” you insist, prying them open again.
Jimin frowns, the disapproving face he makes triggers more of your laugh. He takes both of your wrists in his hands and smiles up at you. “Fine then. Wanna tag along?”
Your eyes sparkle, and suddenly, Jimin finds himself wondering how many constellations can truly live inside of a person.
“Really?” you ask.
“Really,” Jimin answers, chuckling.
“You really wanna hang out?” you ask eagerly.
Jimin can’t help but find you cute like this. So excited for something so mundane. “I mean, what have we been doing for the past decade?”
His eyes question what this invitation could have possibly triggered within you, but it’s just as simple as the fact that it’s been a while since you’ve been able to spend a full morning together. Plus, though you’ve seen him model in shows, you’ve never been to one of Jimin’s shoots. You’ve definitely been invited, but you’ve turned almost every invitation down. You’re not exactly sure why --- probably a mix of work or life being crazy, but also your not wanting to distract or get in the way, and not feeling like you fit into that world. Now, the prospect of getting more than just the glimpse you’ve had to see that glamorous side of him suddenly has your mouth watering.
You smile and run a hand through Jimin’s hair at his temple. “Wow. I finally get to see The Park Jimin work his magic.”
“I have to warn you, though,” he replies. “It’s not going to be as cool as you might think it is.”
You roll onto your side, and Jimin faces you, propping his elbow up on his pillow, and resting his temple in his palm.
“There’s just a bunch of standing around and waiting,” he explains.
The makeup and wardrobe teams, cameras and crew, and trendy music and mood-makers that you’d conjured in your imagination start to poof! away, one-by-one, disappearing from the scene you’d built in your mind.
“You’re really selling this,” you say sarcastically, momentarily preferring to let Jimin run off to work while you climb back into your bed to sleep more.
“Well, I’m saying that to balance your expectations. The reason I’m inviting you is less showy and more… selfish.” His eyes fall from yours and start to zig-zag along more of your freckle-bound shapes. “It’d be nice for someone to keep me company,” he admits. “Keep me entertained or something.” He shrugs. “These solo shoots get pretty boring without someone else there, and I think it’s starting to show in my work.”
His eyes find yours again, and you’re left wondering if holding eye contact with your best friend ever resulted in you losing your breath like this in the past.
You grin. “Yes?” you whisper.
“Uh…” Jimin starts to turn a little pink, his eyes narrowing as he smiles bashfully. “Aw, no, it’s stupid!”
“Yeeeesss?” you tease, tantalized at there being something more, especially something stupid.
“And I… I…”
Jimin covers his face.
“You… you filmed your tissue?” you ask, confused.
You reach over for Jimin’s hands and pry them away from his face as he giggles. But when you uncover him, he gazes at you adoringly. Like he always has. Like he never has. Like you want him to from now on.
And he says, slowly, and gently, “I feel like I might miss you.”
You cackle, poking and tickling him. “We live together!” Your stomach twinges from laughing. “You can’t go a day without me?” you tease, delighting in the way Jimin is whining and trying to avoid your attacks while also trying to hug you closer.
He scoops you up, and you lie next to him, both of your heads resting on one pillow now, noses almost touching.
“This is different,” Jimin says, placing that eager thumb of his on the brightest star on your cheek. “You know it is, Red. I’m just not ready to let the day take you from me just yet.”
You wouldn’t have thought there’d be much of a difference, but watching Jimin in his makeup chair at home is vastly different than watching Jimin in his makeup chair on location.
Here, Jimin seems to be a sort of shell of himself, focusing on getting in the right mindspace and letting the professionals swarming him do their job. The tools are tiny, the work meticulous. Small, softened pencils to cover a slight blemish. Miniscule tweezers to set his mane delicately, or take care of a stray. They work stealthily, and Jimin emerges like a glorious, perfect butterfly, ready and armed to take on the challenge of turning inspiration into invention.
You haven’t said anything to Jimin about it, but you’re a little afraid of this world.
The farther he travels into it, the farther he feels from you. Big things are on the horizon for him, which you can tell by the sheer size of the team working on him now. You remember dropping him off backstage to get ready for one of his first fashion shows, and back then, it was just him and your borrowed, old compact.
That wasn’t that long ago.
How long until he leaves you for this world?
You notice that Jimin’s eyes are suddenly on yours in the mirror, and you smile back. You smile softly from the short, leather couch that you’re sitting in at the back of the small room.
“Everything looks great!”
“No,” Jimin says. He turns to you and rests his arm on the cloth of the back of the chair, his team simply adjusting to the new angles and going on about their work. “I mean with you. Everything OK?”
You raise your eyebrows.
“You just look, like, worried, or something?” Jimin replies.
“Not worried, just excited.”
Jimin shakes his head. “Can’t fool me, Red. Excited looks like this.” He makes an exact copy of your face with his, but he turns the corners of his lips up with his fingers. “But you look like this.” He lets go, and the slight frown appears. “That’s worried.”
You laugh at how much he looks like you, unable to deny how accurate he is.
A stylist marks where he’s touched his face with a tiny, soft, flesh-colored pencil.
“Are you feeling uncomfortable?” he asks gently.
“No! No,” you say quickly, out of fear that he won’t bring you to a shoot ever again. “This is fascinating.” You smile genuinely, knowing that he’ll pick it up if you don’t. “Thanks for inviting me.”
Satisfied with your genuine smile, Jimin blows you a kiss.
Sejin walks into the room. “Alright, Jimin, they’re ready for you outside.”
The makeup team clears the chair, and Jimin takes another look in the mirror. One person on the team fixes the fold of the lapel of the luxurious, perfectly tailored, summer storm silvery blue suit that he’s showing off, and Jimin smiles and thanks the team.
He turns back to you and gestures for you to join him, reaching his hand out to you, fingers wiggling.
You smile, stand, join him, and place your hand in his.
Sejin smiles at you. “Hi, Red.”
The three of you walk down the hallway, and you wonder if the bitter note in Sejin’s smile has anything to do with what Jimin pegged you as worried about. He’s in the loop about the plans for the baby, and you know he expects you two to become warring factions.
“How are things with you two?” he asks.
“Good,” Jimin says resolutely, gripping your hand even tighter. “Very good.”
You’re not necessarily sure about the warring, though. If an opportunity presents itself, should your baby really keep Jimin from it? Even if Jimin does want to be present and involved, you’ve always been fully prepared to raise this baby alone.
“This look is amazing,” you reply, eyes scanning over Jimin’s form. “Never thought Jimin would be modeling pieces like these. Hopefully this exposes Jimin’s talent to even more designers.”
“I’m glad you said that.” Sejin’s smile comes off a little more warmly now. “There’s a really famous fashion house called Florilège---”
“Jeez, Sejin, Red’s not in the industry, but she’s not a total shut-in,” Jimin mutters.
“---and if the current projects go well,” Sejin continues, “Jimin could join their lineup.”
“Really?” you ask, in awe.
“There’s talk,” Sejin tells you.
“There’s buzz,” Jimin clarifies. “But buzz can also just be noise.”
“Well, I think that’s great!” you exclaim. “This is everything you’ve been working toward!”
“Glad you feel that way,” Sejin remarks, grinning.
Jimin smiles sheepishly. “Been working toward other things, too, though.”
“Doesn’t matter as much as this,” you point out. “Florilège. Wow.” You look over to Sejin. “We grew up watching their annual show.” And then you turn back to Jimin. “Remember watching it at the house, with the twins and Tae?”
“All of us nestled together on our couch. Popcorn, pizza, and champagne,” Jimin remembers fondly.
“To see you in it would be…” You try not to cry. “That would just be…”
Jimin slows as he sees you catching your breath.
“I’m just proud,” you say, tears squeaking out of your eyes. You place a hand on your heart. “Oh, Jimin. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m---”
He giggles lightly and pulls you into him, hugging you and running a hand through your hair. “Like I said. It’s just buzz, Red. But thank you.”
At the sight of your warm celebration, Sejin’s grin dims just a little.
“Through here,” he replies, gesturing for you and Jimin to enter a loud and bustling room.
Jimin makes sure you’re settled in one of the two chairs set out for you and Sejin before he takes his place in front of the ballet slipper-lit wall, the blue of Jimin’s suit popping even more. Your gaze follows as the photographer places a matching cherry blossom boutonniere in Jimin’s front pocket, but your eyes detour and start following the line of Jimin’s suit jacket, onto his crisp, white tuxedo shirt, the top three buttons of which remain unbuttoned. You bite your lip, catching a glimpse of his collarbone, thinking about how just last night, you were pressing kisses onto him there.
“A great talent,” Sejin comments from beside you.
Jimin feels your eyes on him, and before they start, he winks back at you.
You grin. “Absolutely.”
“He’s just so captivating.”
You laugh fondly. “He’s always been like that,” you observe. “When he has the floor, you can’t rip your eyes away from him.”
Shutter clicks and light flashes surround you. Jimin hits pose after pose, his body language seemingly disinterested, but his fixed stare suggesting something more potent underneath.
“Well, if things keep going the way they’re going, he’s about to get a grand stage. The entire world’s eyes will be on him.”
You turn to Sejin.
“I know,” you say, keen on Sejin’s insistence. “And I know you worry about my plans with him. But I never wanted to interfere with his career in the first place. That certainly hasn’t changed.”
Sejin nods, but he seems unconvinced.
“Glad to know we’re on the same page for now,” he replies. “But as things pick up, you might want to start reexamining your expectations.”
You turn back to Jimin, who’s delicately slipping his hands into his pockets, bending forward, and looking into the camera at an angle.
“Can you give me a bit more?” the photographer asks. “I know the lighting and colors are quite soft, but I want a little more danger in your eyes. Wanna do a bit of juxtaposition. Stella’s wanting to convey just a suggestion of sultry with this next line.”
Jimin pauses, feeling unsure. “Danger.” He nods. “Sultry.”
He looks at you and smiles nervously.
“One sec,” the photographer replies. “I wanna get more broad light at this angle.”
“You won’t be able to lean on him the way you would any other partner when starting a family,” Sejin continues. “Just something to think about.”
Jimin looks at you and Sejin, more nervous at the fact that your worried face has returned.
“Red, come here,” Jimin calls to you.
You look back at Sejin before climbing out of your chair and walking over to him.
“Seriously, is everything OK?” Jimin asks.
“I’m fine, but what are you feeling?” you ask, searching his face, finding it hard to read him under all that makeup, no matter how natural it looks. “What was all that with the photographer just now?”
“Oh, just notes,” Jimin replies. “They need me to be more sultry.” He smirks. “Just need to get into it a bit. Still warming up.”
You smile brightly. “Well, I’ll tell you what I find sultry,” you reply, your voice low. Heated. “These buttons.”
You glance down at Jimin’s chest, hooking your finger above the first buttoned button, which sits between the bottom of the curve of his pecs, and the top curve of his belly button.
You sigh heavily.
“This little glimpse of skin has me thinking about last night.”
“Yeah?” Jimin asks, flattered and shining.
You nod. “Maybe you could think about it too.”
Jimin wants to grab you. Kiss you. Take you right here, in front of everyone, even this older woman who’s adding a bit of setting powder and quickly dusting the fallout landing on the precious boutonniere.
But instead, he has to bite his lip and watch you saunter confidently back to your chair.
“You’re right,” you tell Sejin, “but one thing about me and Jimin…”
“Ready for another go?” the photographer asks.
Jimin nods. “Yeah. Let’s do it.”
He gets into the same position, turning at the same angle, but now, he slips one of his hands into his shirt while looking sideways, just out of frame, as if something is approaching that he can’t control himself about.
“Ooh, I like that,” the photographer comments.
A flurry of eager shutter clicks and light flashes underscore the feedback.
Jimin smirks and looks into the camera, bringing his thumb to his lip while straightening and broadening his chest.
“Ooh, Jimin! That’s great! Yes!”
More shutter clicks. Even more light flashes.
“We lean on each other,” you say, smiling proudly.
And then Jimin just… looks at you. His head tilted. One hand is tucked into his pocket, the other just dangling by his side. His tux shirt has opened wider with his movements and playing. But that look. You don’t know what exactly is playing through his mind. And Jimin isn’t sure how he would even describe it. But if you could open up his brain, you would see visions of you twisted in his sheets, whimpering as he moves inside of you, saying his name over and over again in a trance, lips flush, temples pouring sweat, breasts and chest slick and glistening, legs intertwined and locked together, forearms grasping each other and holding each other together as your bodies break down, shivering and laughing in ecstasy.
That look. Equal parts soft and sensual, conveying that he could kill you, but that he wants nothing more than to die for you.
“Oof. Mr. Jimin. That’s definitely going in the final proofs,” the photographer replies, nodding encouragingly. “I think we’ve got this one, and in record time, no less! So let’s do the next suit. Set up for the green one. I want golden yellow lights in back. And Jimin?”
“Yeah?” he responds.
“More of whatever the hell that was.”
Jimin’s swarmed by his makeup team and ushered back into the dressing room, his candescent eyes still paired with yours.
You know Sejin is looking at you, but Sejin’s eyes can’t compete.
You smile with satisfaction.
“Just something to think about,” you say.
When you regale the twins of recent events, you can’t help but revel in their shared, jealous look.
“Can’t believe you went on set without us!” Eun-jung exclaims, flipping through your phone at the blue suit, and the green suit, and the purple, orange, and black ones after that. “Fuck, he looks amazing!”
“You should go next time he invites you,” you say, leaning back in your chair.
“What?” Eun-kyung asks. “He invites people?”
“Yeah,” you say, smiling. “I mean, other than for closed sets.” Your eyes widen. “Or, at least, he’s invited me before. I’ve just never had a chance to go.” You furrow your brow. “Has he never invited you?”
Eun-kyung and Eun-jung shake their heads in unison. “We’ve been dying to go,” Eun-kyung replies, “but Jimin always says he gets distracted when people are there.”
Eun-jung smiles knowingly at you. “Well, Red here’s a little different.”
“I mean, I guess it’s just one of the best friend things,” you say, but a certain feeling is bubbling up in your gut. A feeling that it isn’t just one of the best friend things that are saved for you and him. A feeling that it’s something more.
You try to tamp it down with a drink of your water, or a bite of your salad, or more of your pasta in this cozy restaurant that the three of you are having lunch in. Eun-jung takes another bite of her sandwich and stares at your phone, while Eun-kyung twirls her straw in her iced tea.
“Tell us more about this Sejin douche,” she says, taking a sip.
“He’s not a douche,” you say, though you suspect he might be. “He’s got to look out for Jimin’s career. I understand where he’s coming from.”
“But decisions are not up to him,” Eun-kyung replies. “Where or how much Jimin works is up to Jimin.”
“Of course, and he’s respectful of that. But I understand his concern. I mean, this baby is fucking with his money. People get crazy when people fuck with their money.”
“You haven’t even gotten pregnant yet, and you’re already worrying about whose money your baby’s fucking with?” Eun-jung points out. “I say we stop talking about Sejin and focus more on how you’re feeling. How things are going.”
“I say we stop talking about me altogether,” you laugh. “Every time we talk, it’s Jimin-this, baby-that. What’s new with you two?”
Eun-jung and Eun-kyung smile, yet another sentence that you’ve shared to highlight that this lunch, your get-togethers, your calls --- they’re just as much about them as they are about you.
“I mean, I guess things are good?” Eun-kyung asks, turning to Eun-jung, who smiles and nods.
“Work’s been really good,” Eun-jung replies. “I’m up for a promotion soon. Didn’t know I’d enjoy working in HR so much. Most of the time, it’s still a bunch of diagrams and workflows and just double- or triple-checking stuff. But it’s nice, getting to support people. Make them feel heard.”
“Aw, ‘Jung,” Eun-kyung gushes. “I’m proud of you.”
Eun-jung beams. “Thanks. I’m…” She laughs a little to herself. “I’m proud of me, too.”
Eun-jung has always been good at that --- looking out for others, and generally connecting on something deeper than you might have originally thought to talk about with her. You’ve missed her warm, kind, sweet heart, and the fulfilled look on her face brings a smile to yours.
“What about you, ‘Kyung,” Eun-jung goes on. “Catch Red up.”
Eun-kyung is a little more outrageous and outspoken than her sister, but Chul has brought out a softer side in her. A side that comes out less like pure aggression, and more about protection. Protecting her loved ones. And you feel so lucky that you get to be part of that list.
“Oh, well, y’know. Chul’s been great,” Eun-kyung offers. “He’s been a little stressed and busy, but I admire how he doesn’t take all that home with him. And yes, I tease him a lot. But he makes me very happy.”
She laughs quietly, eyes brightening.
“We, uh… we actually had sex right before we got here.”
You and Eun-jung gasp and giggle, and Eun-kyung sighs happily.
“Are we doing a debrief?!” you exclaim, and suddenly, you’re 20 again.
“Well,” Eun-kyung says, leaning forward and folding her hands on the table, “we haven’t been sleeping together as often as we did before, but every time we do, it’s incredible. So… natural?”
“Sex is natural,” Eun-jung replies.
“Of course.” Eun-kyung thinks for a moment. “Maybe I mean more… intuitive?”
“Say more,” you smirk.
“Like… we have our tastes, and we’re open to exploring,” Eun-kyung continues, “but because I’ve known him so much longer… and because we have this long-term commitment… we’ve developed a language of our own. We tell each other what we like, praise each other, tease each other… but it’s been a long time since I’ve had to ask him to stop doing something, or let him know I didn’t like something.” She grins. “He just knows me. I’ve never had someone know me like that before.”
Eun-jung sighs dreamily. “That sounds so romantic.”
“It’s impressive, actually,” Eun-kyung says bluntly, blinking with realization. “Usually I have to tell him to do everything else.”
You all laugh, and then you notice that Eun-jung and Eun-kyung are looking at you expectantly.
“Go on,” you laugh.
“Oh,” Eun-kyung says, she and Eun-jung suddenly looking away. “Sorry. I just had the thought that--- Well, no, it’s dumb---”
“No, I had the same thought,” Eun-jung defends.
“Right?” Eun-kyung asks.
“I mean, it’d make sense.”
“And the thought is?” you ask, laughing.
“I wondered if you’d ever felt that with Jimin,” Eun-kyung replies.
“Because you’ve known each other for so long,” Eun-jung adds. “And you know each other so well.”
You roll your eyes. How they continue to manage bringing the conversation back to you, you aren’t sure. “I told you about all the weird times we’d had making the baby, right?”
But then they look relieved, even delighted when you smile, especially given the way you’re smiling.
“It’s not like that anymore.”
The twins laugh and egg you on, but you stand.
“Let me run to the bathroom first,” you chuckle.
You weave through the restaurant, the ambient noise fading in and out as you walk through the dimly lit hallway into the women’s restroom. You find it empty and choose the last stall. And then you hear two other women enter the restroom. Co-workers, if you had to guess.
“He’s being such a dick about the presentation,” one says. You hear her use the sink to wash her face and cool down.
“Yeah. It’s like he doesn’t understand that you’re the lead on this. I don’t know why he has to keep pushing,” the other says, walking over to the paper towel dispenser and pulling the lever.
“I don’t--- oh, thanks.” You recognize the crinkle of brown, rough paper. “I just don’t know if I can make it through the rest of this stupid lunch, let alone this entire project timeline.”
“OK, so the presentation is when?”
“Alright, and today’s the 10th. Mark down the calendar dates as you go, and give yourself a little treat each day for making it through.”
“Like an adventure calendar?”
“A… a what?”
“An adventure calendar? Like at Christmas?”
“You mean an advent calendar?”
“Isn’t that… what… it’s… short… for --- oh my god am I stupid?”
“Advent is, like, a designated time, or something, in the church calendar. Why did you think it was short for ‘adventure’?”
“Like, each new day brought you a new chocolate… so it’s like a little adventure?”
You bite your lip, holding in your fond laughter.
“Oh my god! That’s so adorable!”
“No, I love it! That’s so precious!! Fuck, I’m making an adventure for you for this project.”
The two women laugh and leave the restroom, and though that hilarious and adorable explanation is still ringing off the tiles, something else they’ve said has stuck.
Today is the 10th.
You pull out your phone to double-check.
And then you look down at your perfectly clean underwear.
You rush home, setting your purchases on the coffee table, running around with some additional food that you bought at lunch before saying goodbye to the twins.
You pull two wine glasses and a bottle of red and set those down as well.
And when Jimin returns from work, he finds you sitting on the couch, with dinner prepared, wine goblets full, and a single, unlit candle stuck in a slice of chocolate-cherry cake.
“Ooh, what’s all this?” Jimin cooes excitedly, kicking off his shoes and hurrying to join you.
“Today is the 10th,” you say, grinning.
“And?” Jimin laughs. Suddenly, he looks terrified. “Wait, what celebration have I forgotten? It’s not either of our birthdays. And it’s not our friendiversary---”
You smile excitedly and take his hands in yours.
“I’m a week late.”
Jimin’s eyes widen. “You… you are?”
You nod. “I wasn’t even tracking it. I just---” You start laughing. “I didn’t even realize until I had lunch with the twins today.”
You reach down for a pregnancy test. Just one.
“I haven’t taken it yet, but---”
“Well, let’s go upstairs!!” Jimin exclaims, jumping to his feet and making you laugh. He looks down at the table you’ve prepared. “Unless you want to eat first? Wait, why the spread if you haven’t taken it yet?”
“I told myself that if the test comes back negative, we take this candle out of the cake, and we eat and drink out of remorse. But if the test comes back positive…”
“I don’t know. Maybe we have a little celebration.” You click your tongue. “And you get to drink my wine. Damn.”
Jimin softens at your excited face. How badly he wants that test to be positive. He would give up his life to make that happen. And not just for your serving of wine.
“OK then,” Jimin says.
He holds out his hand, and you take it in yours as you stand.
His free hand reaches down for the chocolate-cherry cake, and your free hand clutches the pregnancy test.
You follow him upstairs to the bathroom, a room that means something so different, so much more to you both now.
Jimin sets the cake down on the hallway table as you take the test, and after you’ve washed up, you sit in your usual spots, eyes happily settled on each other. This wait feels so much better than the others. Not a worry has crossed your mind.
But when your phone timer goes off, your heart pounds uncontrollably.
Almost every time you’ve taken and checked a pregnancy test, the outcome has always been the opposite of what you wanted.
“Well?” Jimin asks, confused when you don’t immediately check the test.
“C-could you look at it?” you ask nervously. “I… I just… I dunno. I’d like you to check it.”
“Are you sure?” Jimin’s eyes scrunch up a bit. “Don’t you want to be the first to… y’know? Know?”
“I guess I just feel like --- and I feel silly for even thinking this,” you explain, blood pressure rising, “but I feel really good, and I feel like if I check the test, I’ll jinx it.”
Jimin crawls over to you and pecks you on the cheek.
“I’ll check the test if that’s what you really want. But you’re no jinx. You’re an angel.”
You sigh and smile at him. “Well, thanks. But I still want you to check it.”
He stands, but he keeps his eyes on you.
“Ready?” he asks.
Jimin turns and reads the test. And then, he looks back down at you with a neutral expression.
“Well?” you squeak.
Jimin disappears into the hallway to get the cake.
When he comes back, there are tears in his eyes, two forks in his hand.
And the candle is lit.
“Oh,” you sigh softly, your eyes glistening.
Jimin sits on the floor next to you instead of in his usual spot across from you.
“You did it, Red.”
“We did it,” you correct him.
He holds the cake out for you, and you blow the candle out.
Suddenly, you shriek and laugh. “Oh my god, we really did it??”
Jimin hands you the cake before pulling the pregnancy test down from the sink. He shows it to you, the word PREGNANT bold and striking.
He switches the cake for the pregnancy test, and you hold it in your hands as if it is your baby.
“Jimin,” you cry, “Jimin. Thank you.”
“Thank you,” he says softly. He leans forward and kisses your lips. “Thank you for letting me be a part of it.”
“I didn’t know if it would be possible,” you say. “Last time was so…”
You try to catch your breath, and Jimin tries to lighten things again by cutting a piece of cake and feeding it to you, little bits of chocolate and cherry flying out of your mouths as you sloppily eat together, laughing and squealing about your baby.
And then Jimin gets that same look on his face. The one that’s currently on newsstands and online, wherever Stella’s new line is being promoted or sold. The look that is equally soft and sultry, fueled by the wonder that is you.
He leans forward, and you share a chocolate-cherry kiss sweeter and fuller than you’ve ever had.
Jimin pulls away quickly, concerned. “Is it… um… would it be OK if we---”
“It’ll be fine,” you purr, reaching for his shirt and pulling him into you again, “it’s safe.”
Jimin nods. “A-and you want to?”
You smile. “There’s nothing else I want to do right now than be with you.”
He wipes tears away from your eyes and kisses you again. Then again. Hungrier. More forceful.
“C’mon,” he says, grinning and getting on his knees.
The two of you stand, and you kiss each other as you navigate through the bathroom, Jimin’s insistent tugging distracting you from watching where you’re going as you accidentally step on the cake and laugh, tracking bits of cake down the hall and into your bedroom.
Suddenly, you’re in his arms, and he’s placing you on your bed.
“Amazing,” he whispers, both of you throwing your clothes off and latching back to each other. “This is amazing. Red, you’re amazing.”
He nestles into your neck and grunts happily with each kiss that he places on your skin.
“No. Jimin, you’re amazing. So patient with me. So willing to give.”
He sits up and looks into your eyes. “You feel this?”
He places your hand on his heart, going a million miles a minute.
He places his hand on yours and grins. “It’s crazy, right? This feeling?”
You sigh. “Insane.”
And then he sinks into you, his perfect lips drawing yours together into pout after pout, whines coming out of you as he imbues each pout with more meaning, more affection.
His hands take yours and slide them above your head. “Don’t move,” he tells you. “Don’t do a thing. Just relax and enjoy this. Let me worship you.”
You smile, feeling ridiculous at these words, and just about to question them, when Jimin places his tongue between your breasts, licking the dip there in your chest before circling around each areola, and taking in each nipple for a taste.
Moaning, you battle your eyelids to stay open, wanting to see how Jimin licks down your center, dipping into your belly button, and sliding down to your pussy. He tastes your flesh as he places his hands on the backs of your thighs. He lifts your legs straight up into the air, and he giggles at the sight of cake between your toes.
“That’s your fault!” you defend.
Jimin smirks. “Well, arguably, all of this is my fault.”
You bite your lip, and Jimin travels up your thigh, circles your knee, caresses your calf, and cleans your toes with his tongue. “Mmm,” he moans, before turning to you and opening his eyes, his eyebrows shooting up just once to accentuate that playful grin.
You want to make a joke about how he should take that look to work with him any time he needs to appear sultry. But you stop yourself, knowing that this look is for you, and only you.
He crawls back down to your mound and arranges your thighs to swing over his shoulders, your now clean feet resting on the swells of his muscular ass.
Pushing forward, Jimin presses his tongue into you, the hot, needy center of you, pulsing with new energy and new life. “So wet,” Jimin moans. “Like always. Good thing, too. I was getting thirsty after that cake.”
You laugh, and he hums into your folds, the buzzing and licking making your hips start to move slowly. Jimin follows you, never leaving you, following the pace you set, and bumping it up when he feels you’re ready for it. When your clit makes itself known, hungry for attention, tightening painfully, he starts to suck, loud smacks of his tongue and your clit quickly separating from his lips or the roof of his mouth under all the pressure he’s building for you, your body shaking throughout.
“You’re shivering,” Jimin notices.
“Just keep going,” you whine, fisting his hair.
He does, and he does more, his fingers thrusting in and out of your entrance. You had already started widening for him during all that foreplay; Jimin’s already three fingers deep into you, their pads stroking the top wall, pressing deep into the ridged spot that lies there.
A particularly good suck and stroke, and you’re sent flying, your heels unexpectedly digging into the dimples above Jimin’s ass and knocking his hips down, a grunt of pain shooting out of him.
“Fuck, I’m sorry!” you exclaim, out of breath, still mid-orgasm, and riding another building on top of this one, given how Jimin is still rubbing your pussy.
“It’s OK,” Jimin says. “I’m just so hard already, and when you did that, my cock---”
You come again, voice shaking now, legs splaying to keep from hurting Jimin again.
He pins both of your knees to the mattress, keeping you wide open as he returns for another course, slurping you up and moving his jaw up and down, shaking his head back and forth, looking up at you with eyebrows raised to make sure you’re enjoying yourself, his proficient tongue the only think latching you to reality.
“God, that was so fucking good, but your cock,” you whine, once you’re able to come down a little.
“I’m fine,” Jimin tells you.
“No,” you say, “I want it inside me.”
Jimin laughs. He kisses your pussy farewell, but only for a moment, given the way he’s dragging the tip of his already milky cock up your sheets and toward your entrance.
“We did it, Red,” Jimin reminds you, “so maybe for tonight… this one can be just for us.”
Your heart does a flip at the sound of that.
Nodding, smile growing bigger the deeper that phrase settles into your bones, you echo, “For us.”
Jimin slides into you, and you’re so slick and prepped that you’re able to take him with one, slightly strained stroke, your body just needing a few more seconds to adjust around him. He pants once he’s inside you, and you’re squeezing his forearms as the burn plays out. As soon as he feels the slightest drop in strength of your grip, he starts to pump into you, slowly.
A couple of strokes in, you whine, and Jimin knows you want more.
He starts to pump faster, watching you, studying you to make sure the corners of your mouth stay up.
When you start to smile, really smile, he knows you’re close.
“Can you hold on for me?” Jimin asks, kissing your shoulder. “I’m almost there.”
“Yes,” you moan, “together.”
You clench, and Jimin lets out a groan, stopping for a moment and letting his head hang forward, his sweat-drenched hair falling and sprinkling your chest.
You start to move your hips, but Jimin lends down and kisses your breasts. “Don’t move. Wanna take care of you.”
Staying tight for him, you watch as he fucks you, his body creating incredibly beautiful lines as he stretches and turns to hit you just right, taking extra care to make sure each movement is so fluid, every single one of his muscles on display as it works to coordinate each pump, each stroke, each slam of his hips into yours as he disappears inside.
“Coming,” you whine, your voice high.
“God,” Jimin whispers, “me too, come for me, so good, so hard.”
Your body shakes uncontrollably, something about the quick succession of all the orgasms Jimin has been giving you, piling up and intensifying as a result, the whole release more than the mere sum of its succulent parts.
And Jimin spills into you, crying out in response to your moans, staying inside you, wanting to burrow even deeper into you, collapsing on top of you and sighing happily, kissing you and growling as you both lie together, climbing down from that high.
“What are you thinking about?” he asks, looking up at you from his place on your pillowy breasts.
You think about what Eun-kyung said about Chul reading her mind. And you remember what you told them at lunch. That the last few times you and Jimin have been together have been more than just intuitive. They’ve been revelatory. All this time jumping from bars to frat houses, and the best sex you’d ever have was with in your room your best friend.
“Why?” you ask, after sharing the thought with Jimin. “What are you thinking?”
“That we should’ve fucked in college,” Jimin says desperately. “We should have been fucking the entire time.”
He looks at your stomach. “You hear that, baby? You must be enjoying yourself in there. It’s perfect, isn’t it?”
You cackle, smacking Jimin on the arm and falling into each other with laughter.
Just before you both drift off to sleep, Jimin crawls up to kiss you, sweet and happy.
“But I’m also thinking about how proud I am of you. How thrilled I am. And how much I love you.”
“Love you too,” you whisper, eyes closing, lips curling up into a smile.
“Maybe orange?” you ask.
Jimin smiles and nods, as you walk down the paint aisle of the hardware store. “Orange.”
“Still fits the gender neutral thing we’re going for, right? And I like that orange is a little different.”
Grabbing a light, faint orange swatch and holding it up to you, Jimin repeats, “Orange.”
You nod approvingly, adding the swatch to your collection.
You turn around, and your surprised eyes land on someone who’s a little more clean-cut than when you saw him last, hair cut short and in a respectable, casual suit. But that youthful face still has that charming smile, his eyes wide at the happy coincidence.
He strides over to you and laughs. “Wow, I--- Oh, hey, Jimin! This is--- I---”
Jungkook isn’t sure what to address first. How much time has passed. That both of you are here, together. Or that your more than noticeable round baby bump is protruding toward him.
“Hi,” you say warmly.
You feel Jimin stiffen, but he eases when you wrap an arm around his waist and nestle into him.
“Good to see you,” you add, resting your head on Jimin’s shoulder.
“Yeah,” Jimin says, relaxing, “been a long time.”
“Right?” Jungkook makes more sputtering noises as he takes in the sight of you two. “So are you… is this…”
Jungkook shrugs and just decides to go for it.
“Are you two having a baby?”
You smile excitedly. “Yeah. It’s kind of a long story, but, well…” You and Jimin share a warm, loving look. “Yes, we are.”
“I’ve gotta hear this story.” Jungkook licks his lips. “I saw that there was a smoothie place next door,” he says quickly. “Can you spare half an hour? Catch me up?”
“Sure,” Jimin says, as you look at him to confirm. “It’s our day off. Just browsing while running some errands.”
“Perfect!” Jungkook exclaims. “I was just here for--- Just popped in for---” He holds up a small sewing kit. “Let me go pay and we can walk over?”
You and Jimin wait outside and watch him through the storefront window.
“God. Look at him.”
Jungkook pulls loose change out of his pockets, dropping some coins, and then bending down to pick them up.
You tilt your head to take in that perfect ass, still glorious after all this time.
“Really?” Jimin laughs softly.
“What?” you laugh.
He rolls his eyes. “I’ll just… I’ll never understand it.”
Jungkook joins you outside, and the three of you get a small table on the patio.
“I’ll get our drinks,” Jungkook replies. “Have you been to this place before? I really like their chocolate-banana, but the mixed berry smoothie and the peanut butter cookie smoothie are good, too.”
“I’ve been to one of these,” you say. “Can I get a chocolate-banana with almonds thrown in?”
“Sure thing,” Jungkook says excitedly. “Two of those, one with almonds. Jimin?”
“Peanut butter cookie,” Jimin answers. He turns to you. “That was second on your list, wasn’t it?”
“Coming right up,” Jungkook says, grinning.
He falls into the short line at the window, and you nestle into Jimin’s embrace.
“Careful now,” Jimin comments, “more of this lovey-dovey shit and he’s gonna think you’re taken.”
“Oh, I’m taken,” you say, rubbing your belly, “by this little critter right here.”
You enjoy being off your feet for a little bit and take in the scene around you. The two of you drove out here on a whim, but the suburbs don’t seem so bad to you, anymore. It’s charming to see all the families around, kids biking, parents chatting. Even the hardware store you visited is picturesque, the family who owns it seeming to be a stalwart of the neighborhood. You like how everyone just seems to belong.
Everyone except Jungkook, who returns in his flashy, tailored suit.
He sets the smoothies down, and you start to catch up.
“What are you doing in town?” you ask. “A game?”
“I’m actually just passing through,” Jungkook says, making the coincidence all the more surprising. “Wanted to see my old coaches and check out the new gym on campus. And on my drive back to the airport, I noticed this thread.” He holds up his sleeve. “Didn’t want to rip it, so I just pulled over to find a drugstore or something. Saw this hardware store and found a small sewing kit with scissors.”
“It’s an expensive suit,” Jimin comments. “Gorgeous, too. The button style makes me think it’s a Cecilia piece?”
“Oh, god, no, this is just a knock-off,” Jungkook laughs. “I’m not a model like you. I don’t have that much money.”
Jimin blushes, and you lean forward, excited that Jungkook is in the know.
“So you’ve seen Jimin’s ads??” you ask eagerly.
“Red,” Jimin warns.
“Yeah!” Jungkook exclaims excitedly. “Seen ‘em on buses, in airports, on TV. Really awesome work!”
“Well, thanks, but it’s not like I can afford Cecilia either,” Jimin says. “I just model the clothes. I don’t buy them.”
“Do you still work at that restaurant downtown?” Jungkook asks. “The dean took us there last night. I saw Kim Taehyung.”
“Yep,” Jimin replies. “He doesn’t live at the house anymore, but we see each other almost every day.”
“Tae mentioned the twins, too. Seems like you all stayed pretty close,” Jungkook remarks.
As you chat more, you remark that Jungkook and his team have been doing an amazing job getting more of a spotlight on professional lacrosse, and Jungkook shares that he also works as a project manager in the off season to keep a steady flow of income. Jimin talks about his upcoming trip to Paris for a show, yet another stepping stone to Florilège. And you hug your stomach happily as you explain what happened since you last saw Jungkook all those years ago.
“The morning after, when Jimin picked me up from your place,” you explain. “The reason I was so sick was because I was pregnant.”
“Ohh,” Jungkook replies. “Morning sickness? Yeah, you were pretty nauseated. And I don’t remember you drinking much?” He giggles. “So this is your second baby? Third?”
“Well,” you say, Jimin squeezing your hand as you share, “that first pregnancy didn’t work out. I ended up losing the baby. But that’s why I, uh…” You glance at Jimin. “Why I was so skittish at the convenience store, when we ran into each other. I had just found out I was pregnant.”
Jungkook immediately breaks open, huge tears threatening to fall from his empathic eyes.
“It’s OK. It happens,” you say, looking at Jimin fondly, echoing his words. “Couldn’t have avoided it. And, to be honest, it probably worked out for the best.” You smile. “Because I realized I wanted this.” You turn to Jimin. “And I wanted it with him.”
Though he sounds thrilled, you still catch a wistful note of regret in Jungkook’s voice. “Well, that’s just amazing. I’m so happy for you! I kind of always guessed you two had a deeper connection.” He smiles at Jimin. “You took such good care of her that morning. And you both seem so comfortable with each other. Like, you just are. You being married now makes so much sense.”
“Oh, we’re not married,” you say. “And we’re not in a relationship.”
“Just having a baby,” Jimin laughs, pulling a face.
Jungkook looks at you quizzically. “Wait, so… you aren’t together?”
You and Jimin exchange glances. “No,” you say, when Jimin doesn’t say it.
“So I can still hope for that phone call?” Jungkook asks, grinning at you.
You laugh, and sigh, and roll your eyes. “Jeon Jungkook has better things to do than hit on a pregnant woman.”
“Pregnant or not, I’ll always have a soft spot for you,” Jungkook says with a wink. He devours the rest of his smoothie and sits upright. “Well, I should go.”
“We didn’t make you late for your flight, did we?” you ask.
“No, I’ve still got a few hours. But I’m traveling with teammates. Wanna make sure everyone’s OK.”
“Thanks for the smoothies,” Jimin replies.
“Thanks for catching up,” Jungkook says. “My number’s the same. Keep in touch. Send me some baby photos!”
He stands and shakes Jimin’s hand, but he pulls you into a hug.
“Wow. You even smell the same,” he tells you, giving you a peck on the cheek. And then he looks at you to make sure it’s OK for him to place a hand on your belly.
“Go ahead,” you say warmly.
He does so, and he beams. “Hi---” He looks at you. “What’s the name?”
“No name yet,” Jimin says, sharing a knowing glance with you. All those playful fights. All the lists that only get deleted. But you’re both confident that when the time comes, the perfect name will surface.
“Well, hi baby,” Jungkook replies, his hand nestling into your bump. “I’m an old friend of your mom and dad’s. And let me tell you. You don’t have to worry about a thing.”
You and Jimin exchange fond looks, and, with his arm now around your waist, Jimin gives your thigh a soft grab.
“Travel safely!” you tell Jungkook, as he waves goodbye and hops into his car.
And like the vision he always was, Jeon Jungkook follows the night, ephemeral but meaningful and memorable, all the same.
You and Jimin head home, too, sipping on your smoothies on the drive home.
You can no longer help unpack everything from the car, but you do your best to bring smaller items into the kitchen. And when everything’s inside, you help by sorting the groceries while seated at the table, as Jimin puts everything away.
“Those smoothies were good.”
“Yeah. There’s a location by Eun-jung’s office, and we’ve gone there before for lunch or whatever. The strawberry-kiwi one is good too.”
“Not good enough to make Jeon Jungkook’s list, though.”
You smile at Jimin’s competitive streak.
“So, what did he mean?” Jimin asks, trying his best to be nonchalant. “Something, I dunno, about some kind of phone call, or something?”
“Or something?” you tease, making Jimin frown. “It wasn’t anything. We ran into each other a little while after I found out I was pregnant, and I think he was wanting to ask me on a date,” you say, a little starry-eyed.
Jimin seems to be a little jealous, as he is whenever anybody steals the spotlight that you tend to shine only on him, but he can’t help gushing at how cute you look when talking about Jungkook.
“You’re head-over-heels for that guy. Why didn’t you take him up on it?” Jimin asks.
“I was still sorting my emotions out,” you say. “And I wasn’t head-over-heels. I was into him, but not in any particular way.”
“I also didn’t want to start something with someone if I decided to be a parent.”
Jimin nods. “So… you’re kind of against relationships right now, then?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. It seems like you aren’t particularly interested in dating at the moment?”
“I’m not not wanting to date. But I have a lot on my plate right now,” you say, poking at your belly and making Jimin laugh. “And who wants to date a pregnant woman?”
Jimin rolls his eyes. “That Jungkook said he’s got a soft spot for you regardless.”
“Ah, well, the only soft spot I’m concerned about at the moment is the one that’s going to be in our baby’s head.”
You look up at Jimin softly.
“Besides… This is nice, right?”
Jimin smiles happily. “Yes. This is really, really nice.”
You share a smile.
But then, Jimin seems like he wants to say something.
You want to give him an out, just in case he’s feeling uncomfortable.
“And,” you say quickly, “when this part is over, and we’re able to have personal lives again, who knows? Maybe I’ll reach out to Jungkook then. Or whoever else.”
This is the most that either of you have talked about dating as of late, a vast change from the weekly, sometimes daily debriefs that you used to do with him and the rest of your old gang. And though the topic of dating doesn’t seem to be a big deal, it’s interestingly always awkward to discuss with Jimin now. You’re thankful that planning the baby’s room and casually murdering each other over the baby’s name are entertainment enough for you both.
Jimin nods. “When this part is over.” He takes a breath. “All things in due time.”
“Hah! Due time,” you chuckle, shaking your head. “Good one.”
Jimin smiles, his lips thin. “Alright. Well. I’m a little tuckered out.” He raises his eyebrows. “Do you need anything? Massage? Your left leg’s been bothering you again. I can tell by how you’ve been walking and leaning on me.”
“Oh, I’m OK,” you say, heart warming at Jimin’s thoughtfulness, though that wasn’t necessarily the only reason you were leaning on him. “Go rest. Don’t let me keep you.”
“You sure you’re gonna be OK while I’m gone?” Jimin asks.
“I can handle an evening on my own.”
“No, Red,” Jimin sighs. “I leave for Paris this weekend. Remember? You were just bragging about it to Jungkook. My flight’s tomorrow at the ass crack of dawn.”
“Right!” you exclaim. “I’m sorry. Pregnancy brain. I keep thinking a week behind. Of course.”
Jimin looks at you gently. “Say the word and I can pull out.”
“Well. If you had done that, we wouldn’t be here.”
Jimin rolls his eyes and groans loudly. “I’m being serious!”
“Me too,” you say, chuckling. “I’m gonna be fine. Like I said. The twins are gonna check in on me. Tae’s a phone call away, and if he’s still OK with driving you to and picking you up from the airport, then everything’s good.”
Jimin’s eyes linger, but you’re not really sure why.
“Hey.” You stand and walk over to him. “Is it the show? Is that what you’re worried about?”
Jimin raises his eyebrows. “Well, yes, but I---”
“Because you know you’re going to be amazing, right?” you ask. “You know that you’re going to blow them all away, and you’re going to get the Florilège gig the minute they see what you can do.”
He grins and pulls you into him. “Wow. That was nice. Say more nice things about me.”
You laugh. “And you’re smoking hot, absolutely unique, terrifyingly gorgeous, everything always looks perfect on you, you can pull off any color or style, uh, you never had bad morning breath somehow, and your hands are never clammy when I reach for you, and---”
“Ventured out of professional territory, but it’s appreciated all the same,” Jimin laughs.
“Did it help?” you ask.
Jimin shrugs and kisses your forehead. “I was going to say that I think I’m more nervous about being away from you when you’re so close to popping.”
“Don’t say popping,” you say, frowning, holding reverence for the precise delivery room procedure. “It takes a whole team, and tools, and---”
“I’m sorry. You know what I mean.”
“And that part I’m not worried about,” you say. You want to reassure him. You want him not to worry about you while he’s gone. “We’ll manage, however it happens. And I’ll be just fine even if you’re not here.” You grin. “I just want you to be good.”
Jimin nods slowly. “Good. Yes. I’m good.”
“Ooh,” you say, all this talk of the trip, and dating, and wanting Jimin to relax, sparking an idea. “What if you meet some super hot French model? You know. A Brigitte Bardot type.” You smile. “You’ll get to fuck someone who isn’t the size of one of Jungkook’s teammates.”
Jimin just laughs. But then his eyes fall to the ground, and all you can do is smile uncomfortably in the silence that follows.
“Alright. Well, if that’s all.”
Jimin detaches from you and heads to his room.
You grab a few snacks and head upstairs, but that night doesn’t quite settle for you. Sometimes, you sleep wonderfully. But sometimes, you get cramps, or your feet ache, or your back hurts, or you have a hard time finding a comfortable sleeping position. And the only thing that helps you is having Jimin next to you. He’s been so giving of his time, his mind, his effort, and his body. You want him to be able to rest properly before this huge show, not wanting to disrupt his sleep, especially given the international travel, and even more so if you can’t proactively figure out what you might need from him to soothe you.
Hours later, you find yourself creeping down the steps and knocking at his door.
“Jimin?” you ask.
His voice is clear and strong, with no trace of sleep.
“Can I come in?”
You walk inside and find Jimin sitting upright in bed, scrolling through his phone.
“What’s up? Everything OK?” he asks.
Jimin motions to the light switch by the door, and you flip off the lights before climbing into bed with him. He sets his cracked phone down on the nightstand, and you curl into each others’ arms.
You both finally seem to relax once your bodies are intertwined.
“You couldn’t sleep either?” you ask, closing your eyes.
“No,” Jimin says, closing his eyes, too.
“You said you were tuckered out.”
“Just had a bit of a busy mind, is all.”
You take a breath, your body starting to feel warm and heavy.
“I wanted to say one more thing. Before you go. You should know.”
“Our baby,” you whisper. “Our baby kicks like crazy whenever I even think about your trip.”
You reach for Jimin’s hand and place it on your belly. It doesn’t happen when you imagine Paris, with its cultural landmarks or fashionable reputation. But when you think about how you’ll feel with Jimin so far away, how alone and scary the world will be while you’re like this and without him there, your heart fills with dread. You don’t know what pregnancy looks like without Jimin right by your side.
And then, your baby starts to breakdance like crazy inside of you.
“Whoa,” Jimin gasps, his hand pressing more firmly on your stomach in response. “Aw. Shh. Baby. It’s OK. I’ll be home before you know it.”
“I think our baby is just so excited and proud of you,” you tell Jimin, your voice starting to soften.
“Well, baby, I’m excited and proud too,” Jimin replies softly.
“Gonna miss you,” you mumble. “So much.”
“Aw, I’ll miss you too, baby,” Jimin whispers.
“No,” you say, consciousness fading. “Me. I will.”
You’re barely awake, so you don’t notice, but Jimin goes rigid. And then he turns into you, carefully sliding his hand up your belly, up your arm, and to your chin. You feel his fingers trace your cheek.
“Oh, Red,” he whispers, moreso to himself, knowing that you’re dozing off. “You don’t even know.”
You aren’t sure why charting is making you cry, but given how your week without Jimin has unfolded so far, you aren’t surprised.
As she rounds the corner and passes the nurse’s station, Marielle notices your sniffling, and she immediately sets down her supplies.
“Hey, Mama, is everything OK?”
“Just hormones,” you say, shaking your head, though it helps a little to hear Marielle’s voice. “Been swinging like crazy lately.” You hold up the chart that you were checking. “This chart didn’t have AM or PM stated for the last dose. It’s a chart from the day shift, so I know they meant AM. But I just…” You whine. “I just lost it?”
Marielle nods. “The first one is a little tougher because you don’t know what to expect. When I was pregnant with my first, I once cried because my fridge light came on a millisecond too late.”
“Well, I feel stupid,” you mutter to yourself, wiping your eyes. “Why did I even decide to--- How did I---” You bury your head in your arms on your desk. “I can’t do this---”
Marielle leans on the counter and peers down at you. “Of course you can.”
You look back up at Marielle, fresh tears streaming down your cheeks. “What I meant was… I can’t do this without him.”
Marielle looks around and sits down next to you.
“Are you still, y’know? Sticking to your arrangement?”
You nod. “Everything’s been going so well, but I hadn’t anticipated how hard it was going to be, doing this alone.” You shrug. “I know if I had just done it myself, I would be used to it by now. But without Jimin here, I feel like losing my mind.”
“It’s a hard thing to do even with an entire family around you,” Marielle empathizes.
She pulls a couple of tissues from the box beside you and hands them to you. You look at her gratefully before wiping your tears.
“You’re doing great, Mama,” Marielle replies, patting your shoulder. “When you’re in the middle of an emotional outburst like this, be kind to yourself. And remind yourself that this is just part of it.”
“This is just part of it,” you repeat. You think back to Jimin. How he once told you that things were just things that happened. That they didn’t mean nearly as much about you as you might’ve thought they did. That you’re not doing anything wrong. Things just happen.
Marielle smiles when you mull over her words and look just a little lighter.
“Didn’t think you’d have to coach me in life as well as in work,” you laugh sheepishly.
Marielle grins and arches an eyebrow as she stands, going back to what she was doing before this supportive little pit stop.
“Ah, but that’s mentorship enlightenment,” she replies, picking her supplies back up. “The best lessons are ones that apply to both.”
Marielle takes her leave, and you return to your work.
When the unit hits its midnight lull, your phone rings.
You had been dozing off a little, eyes blurry from the paperwork you were checking, but when you see that it’s Jimin calling, you pick up immediately, placing your earbuds in and uselessly checking your hair and face in the preview window before accepting his video chat.
“Hey,” you say, smiling into the camera. “Shit. You look amazing. Uh, sorry, I’m a little---” You gesture to the messy bun and messier visage. “I’m at work.”
Jimin beams back at you, propping his head up against what looks like the headboard in his glitzy hotel room. “You look beautiful, Red. And I’m so, so glad to see you.”
You know he’s just making you feel better. It’s hard to have any confidence in that department, especially with his look from the day still painted on. Strong blue liner with a tiny, matching gem pasted just under his eye. Hair perfectly styled and tousled.
When you frown out of… Jealousy? Self-consciousness? Missing him? You don’t know why you frown, but when you do, he does too.
“Busy shift?” he asks. “What can I do?”
“I’m OK.” You force a smile. “Anyway, it’s quiet now. How was your day?”
“Had a great rehearsal,” he tells you excitedly.
“Did that one director make a scene again?” you say protectively, furrowing your brow.
“No,” Jimin laughs. “God, Red, that was really cute.”
You smile genuinely now.
“It was all a misunderstanding, anyway. Sejin didn’t have the most updated information for the concept, and I was able to work it out on the fly. But by the end of the day today, everyone seemed happy and, well…”
“I’m officially on the list for Florilège.”
You have to remind yourself that you’re at work before you squeal.
“Jimin!” you whisper, the phone shaking in your excited grasp. “Florilège!!”
He laughs. “I know!”
“You did it,” you say proudly.
“I couldn’t have done it without you,” he tells you. “Remember the Stella shoot? Um, what you, uh… told me to think about?”
A mischievous grin pops up on your face.
Jimin mirrors it. “That’s the standout piece that really clinched it.”
“You haven’t even walked in the show you’re there for yet, and you’ve already booked Florilège,” you sigh. “There’s no stopping you.”
You feel a weight press onto your back when you say it.
Jimin’s expression tells you he might be feeling the same way.
“Yeah, well… Onto more important things,” he says. “How are you?”
You smile warmly. “Baby’s great. Healthy movement. Feeling good.”
“I’m glad the baby’s feeling good. But Red, notice that I asked how you are,” Jimin repeats, bringing the phone closer to him and making it feel like he’s leaning into you when he calls you out.
You chuckle. “I’m fine.” You raise your eyebrows, unable to hide everything. “Well, y’know… things have been a little taxing. But fine. Happy.”
Jimin smiles. “Not to worry. I’m on my way home to you soo---”
“But tell me more about Paris,” you insist, not wanting to trouble him. “What else have you---”
A flurry of voices interrupt your conversation, and you realize he’s in the lobby rather than his room.
“Jimin!” a woman calls out. “Are you coming or not?”
“Be right there!” Jimin calls back.
“Don’t take too long!” another woman chimes in.
“Car’s pulling up in a few minutes!” a third woman adds.
More voices overlap, turning into a monstrous laugh.
Jimin laughs along and looks back at you. “OK, gotta go! A group of us are getting a drink or two to celebrate and unwind, and then---” He smiles off-screen at someone. “I said I’d be there in a second!!” His eyes linger on them for a moment as he finishes his response to you. “And then we’re heading back here early to sleep and prep for tomorrow.”
He smiles even bigger and brings the phone closer to him again, to where all you see are his eyes and nose.
“You’re gonna watch the show, right?” He blinks. “You got the livestream link I sent?”
“Took the next three days off to make sure I could watch it, and to be home when you get back here,” you say, grinning. “Tae and the twins are even coming over to watch, like in college.”
“Sad I’ll have to miss that,” Jimin chuckles.
“Well, I mean, you’re going to be in the show. And it seems like you’re having plenty of fun,” you remark, a little dejectedly.
“I know, but---”
“Jimin!” someone else calls, and Jimin jumps to his feet.
“OK, gotta go, but I’ll call you later, mwah!” he exclaims quickly, sending you a kiss before the screen goes dark.
As the call ends, and his profile picture returns, you smile sadly at the face that you selfishly, almost, almost wish had stayed home.
Buying things shouldn’t be this hard. The list is short and simple. The store’s not far. And to be fair, Tae and the twins have insisted that they will bring everything that you need.
But you want to contribute and participate, too. You just didn’t account for the fact that your ankles are particularly swollen today, and you’re too self-conscious to nab the motorized cart to drive instead. So, here you are, straining with each step, attempting to shift some of your weight onto your cart but finding it hard to do so with your baby in the way.
“Almost home,” you sigh, rubbing your stomach. “Just cooperate with me. Please.”
Your baby has been dancing on your bladder. You don’t care if you leak. You’re wearing a diaper and two sets of underwear under your leggings anyway. You just wish it would stop.
And your mind can’t stop wondering about what Jimin’s doing to get ready. Did he get too drunk last night? And if he did, who helped him this morning? Sejin? Or was it one of the millions of models that went to get drinks with him?
More importantly, how is he feeling? Is he nervous? Scared? He shouldn’t be. He’s about to rocket into fame, but he has the talent, and he’s paid his dues. Does he know that? Of course he knows that, but does he need reminding? Should you text him? But if you text him, will you be bothering him?
You finally find the popcorn --- why you nearly started crying when you didn’t find it and the champagne in the frozen pizza section, you chalk up to a mix of hormones and pregnancy brain --- and you race as fast as you feel comfortable racing to the checkout line.
When you get there, the cashier gives you a friendly smile and starts to scan all your things.
“How are we doing today, Mom?” they ask.
“Doing well,” you say, hoping that keeping the talking to a minimum will speed everything up so that you can go home.
“You look well. Got that pregnancy glow,” they comment.
You know they mean well, but all you feel is pregnancy blows to your body.
The cashier finally takes the hint, but they can’t help quizzically holding up the champagne bottles and looking at you.
“Not for me,” you sigh. “For guests.”
The cashier nods and finishes bagging your things up.
Soon enough, you’re home, your second diaper threatening to leak, and you have just enough time to change before Taehyung comes in.
“Hey, Mommy!” he calls happily through the front door. “It’s Taehyung, by the way! I, uh, used my key because I---”
You waddle down the last few steps, and over to the door.
“Hi, baby!” Taehyung cooes, hugging your stomach before pressing a kiss to your cheek. “I hope it’s OK that I opened the door, I figured you might have your hands full or---”
“Perfect,” you say, a little out of breath. “I was upstairs changing, so that worked out well.”
“I, uh, brought the guys, if that’s OK?” Taehyung asks. “I texted you before we left the restaurant from our breakfast shift, and---”
“Everything’s great,” you say, grinning. “I bought more treats once I got your text. Hey, guys!”
“You went to the store?” Taehyung asks, as Yoongi, Jin, and Hobi join you at the door, carrying trays of food with them.
“Aww,” you say, your eyes glistening as you see them all standing on your porch. “You… the food is…”
“It’s more of that one dish we were experimenting with,” Jin explains, holding up his tray. “The one Jimin said you liked?”
Your chin quivers.
“You OK?” Yoongi asks quietly, as Jin and Hobi look on, horrified. “Sorry, we didn’t mean to---”
“No,” you cry helplessly, “it’s partially the hormones, but honestly? I’m so touched.” You sniffle. “I haven’t hosted people in a while, and I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough food, and I’ve just kind of been puttering around by myself, so…”
“Well, we’re not Jimin, but we’ll do our best to help,” Hobi says confidently, as Taehyung welcomes them all in and wraps an arm around your shoulders.
You follow them into the living room, and the guys shift between marveling at the spread you’ve already set up, as well as chiding you for working so hard.
“Really, Mommy?” Taehyung asks. “Decorations?”
He whips around to look at you in fear.
“Did you go shopping? We said we’d take care of the food, and Jimin said not to let you walk around because your ankles have been swelling so badly!”
“Drinks, too?” Hobi asks, staring at the champagne bottles and plastic glasses. “You really went all out.”
“Worked out well though, right?” you ask, wiping your tears.
“Like his ad,” Yoongi compliments, as you both take in the celebration you’ve planned, all the colors matching the ones in Jimin’s now-famous Stella photo.
Yoongi looks down at his tray. “So, where do you want all this?”
“Anywhere’s great, thank you,” you say gratefully. “And make yourselves comfortable! It’s a little messy, but---”
You catch a pair of Jimin’s boxers on the couch, no longer able to fit you, but that you kind of just keep lying around, like a safety blanket. “Sorry, I’ll---”
“Come sit, Mommy,” Taehyung replies, taking the boxers from you. “I’ll go put these in Jimin’s room.”
“Hello?” you hear Eun-jung call through the open door.
“In the living room!” Taehyung calls back, and for a moment, as you take your seat, you close your eyes and pretend it’s a decade earlier. Your roommates are coming home. The weekend is officially starting.
Smiling warmly, you welcome the twins and Chul from your spot on the couch, and everyone settles in to prepare for the show.
“He said he has three looks, but he kept warning me that he’d only be on screen for like, two seconds at a time,” you explain. “And that he isn’t totally sure about the camera angles, because part of that is done a little on the fly, but each model gets at least one good close-up.”
“Did you see his billboard on the drive over?” Hobi asks excitedly, pouring the champagne for everyone.
“Yes!” Eun-kyung exclaims. “They just put it up, maybe even last night, I think!” She turns to Chul. “We didn’t see it there on our way to visit your mom, did we?”
“No, that was new,” Chul agrees. “He looks great. Made me wanna buy one of those suits.”
“So is this also a Stella show?” Eun-jung asks.
“It’s supposed to be a showcase of a bunch of different designers, variations on three themes,” you say. You look up at the TV screen as music starts to play on the livestream welcome screen. “I wonder if he’s nervous. I’m so nervous for him.”
Taehyung smiles warmly at your expression. “I think he’s feeling just fine, knowing you’re here supporting him.”
“I mean, we all are, right?” you ask, your eyes glued to the screen.
Taehyung exchanges looks with everyone, smiling at Eun-jung next to him.
“Yeah. Of course. He totally cares that we’re all here.”
You aren’t sure why Eun-jung snort-laughs softly, but with the show starting, her laugh floats in one ear, and out the other.
The show starts with a musical performance from some French rapper you haven’t heard of before, but whose music you really like, filled with great bass lines and electronic accents.
And then models start to walk.
This first round seems funky and fashion-forward, with all sorts of props and bright colors dotting the stage.
You nearly fall out of your seat when Jimin appears.
“Oh my god, there he is!” Eun-kyung exclaims.
You all watch with wide, excited eyes as Jimin struts fiercely down a catwalk, his now-blonde hair sticking up all over the place, wearing a bright yellow poncho with black and gold squares peppered in, sitting over gold-outlined but transparent shorts, which are over a pair of yellow boxer-briefs, the poncho covering anything to scintillating for public viewing.
“He’s blonde now?!” Hobi exclaims.
“He wasn’t yesterday!” you say.
“How is he pulling that poncho-thing off?” Eun-jung sighs.
“If I wore that, I’d look like Big Bird,” Jin agrees. “It’s so yellow.”
“Do you see the inspiration, though?” Yoongi, ever the sophisticate, asks. “Klimt’s The Kiss, maybe?”
“That makes sense,” Eun-kyung replies. “The model before him had all those balloon lips stuck to her.”
“And the couple of models before them had on all those bold lipsticks,” Hobi says, as Yoongi nods wisely.
There’s another musical performance from a different artist, who you recognize, and whose music is a little more subdued, like an R&B bossa nova.
The next round of models look a little more glamorous, long gowns brushing the catwalk, everything screaming elegance and sophistication.
“Ooh, that’s more like it,” Eun-kyung says, leaning forward and getting more popcorn to shovel into her mouth.
“Great,” Chul sighs playfully, “what are you gonna make me buy for you now?”
“As if,” Eun-kyung cackles, popcorn bits flying. “These pieces are so expensive that they have their own insurance plans, pal.”
“Pal?” Chul asks, pulling a face for the rest of you and making you chuckle.
“I’d be so nervous handling something like that,” Taehyung admits, curling his fists next to his cheek. “I mean, I’ve already spilled popcorn butter all over my pants.”
“You’d probably do better than you think,” Eun-jung compliments, making Taehyung smile.
“I think I see him coming,” Jin points out. “I think he has a hat on!”
You look up, and Jimin is now dressed in a pinstriped black fedora and a beige trench coat clipped together at the collar with a gold chain. His sleeves hang off of him, and his slicked back hair makes him look so powerful. Mysterious, even.
When he reaches the end of the catwalk, he shifts his weight back onto his right leg, does some quick snap with his hand at his neck, and in one beautiful, flowing movement, much like a bullfighter’s cape, swings the trench coat around him and drapes it over his back, holding it in place with his finger, revealing a luxurious, black, silk, pinstriped suit, and black, leather mules. The lining of the trench coat is a glimmering silver, and it brilliantly catches the light as he turns it over, a genius move to show off the piece.
Interestingly, and unlike all the other models in suits, Jimin isn’t wearing a tux shirt underneath. You think of the Stella shoot. You ogle his chest once more, and your baby starts to kick.
“Goddamn,” Chul breathes.
“No kidding,” Hobi replies.
“He looks like a sexy detective,” Eun-jung laughs, sliding her head from side to side. “He just woke up in the middle of his slumber, and now he’s got a murder to solve!”
“Also, it’s somehow 1930, and he wears pajamas that look like his street clothes?” Jin adds, making everyone laugh.
Though it’s not a close-up, Jimin removes his hat, a curl of hair dangling by his eye, bows down a little, and then throws a wink and smirk to the camera before he twirls and heads back up the catwalk.
You all shriek like banshees at the wink, and Yoongi jumps up, holding his stomach and doubling over.
“Oh my god, that fucking tease,” he laughs, collecting some of the empty plates and bowls that have piled up and taking them into the kitchen.
“Yoongi, you don’t have to do that!” you call out.
“It’s no problem.” Yoongi wiggles his butt as he walks and then turns to the group, shooting you all a wink, making you all cackle again.
A third musical performance takes place now, and the song oozes sensuality. The lighting changes to something a little more suggestive, soft and deep gem tones. And the song, which is also being sung in French, starts to turn into more of a collection of smutty whispers, moans, and grunts set to computer bleeps and blorps.
“What is this?” Yoongi asks, grimacing.
“Dunno,” Jin says, eyes wide with interest as he holds up his phone to record the song and add it to his library.
Taehyung leans over to read the title.
“Not my kind of thing,” Eun-jung shrugs, frowning.
Taehyung leans back, looking away. “Totally. Me neither.”
Models start to walk, and they’re wearing more experimental gear now. Leather. Straps. Silver buckles and studs. This theme is playing more with the human form. You’re starting to see more and more skin as time goes on, and you have the absurd thought that Jimin, who might be last, might end up being completely totally naked, if things keep escalating at this rate.
Not that you’re complaining.
“Oh god, what world are we about to enter?” Eun-kyung wonders under her breath.
“Very BDSM-y,” Chul says.
Eun-kyung’s eyes brighten with surprise as she turns to Chul. “Oh yeah? And what do you know about BDSM?”
Chul just smiles, and Eun-kyung chuckles pleasantly as she nestles into him. “Maybe that’s what I’ll get you to buy next,” she teases.
“They all look like gorgeous warriors,” Hobi remarks, unblinking. “Those girls. Those guys. Fuck. I bet Jimin’s buried under all sorts of juicy c---”
Taehyung elbows him hard in the gut.
“We’re not in the kitchen right now, Hobi,” Jin says through grit teeth.
“He probably is though,” you agree, somewhat sadly. “Buried under all sorts of juicy whatevers. I’d be surprised if he came home at all.”
“Well, he is coming home,” Taehyung says strongly. Dutifully. “And I’m picking him up bright and early and bringing him straight to you.”
You smile at Taehyung, feeling so comforted and reassured.
“Is that what you’re bringing home, then?” Jin asks, eyes enormous.
You all look back at the screen, and Jimin is wearing nothing on top but a harness.
A black, leather harness, two straps that circle his arms, and one strap that clips across his bare chest, silver buckles gleaming under the lights. He’s also in tight, black pants that, at first, don’t seem all that different from the ones Taehyung has just spilled butter on. But when the crowd is plunged into darkness, splashes of neon start floating around, disorienting everybody other than the dedicated models who work to keep the illusion going.
When the lights turn back on, Jimin is standing at the front of the catwalk, and he moves to place his thumb on his lip, like you’ve seen him do so many times. But when he actually drags it down, he doesn’t touch his lip at all. He travels just under his lip, onto his chin, and down onto his chest, and even further down, tracing the line down his abs, everyone knows they’ve just seen him do something uniquely phenomenal.
“Holy shit!” Eun-kyung cries, nearly tearing out her hair as everybody explodes into squeals, screams, and laughter.
Jimin smiles cheekily as if he can hear you, his close-up easily the best one of the night.
“That was incredible!” Hobi screams at the screen, clapping his hands so loud that they boom like thunder. “I can’t--- I’m--- I’m speechless!!”
“What the actual fuck?” Jin cackles. “We had a world-class supermodel waiting tables at our stupid restaurant this entire time!” He guffaws. “Some kid spit up on him last week! And now he’s doing this shit?!”
“Always knew he could do it, though,” Yoongi replies, smirking.
“He’s such a natural,” Chul replies.
“It’s just in his blood,” Eun-jung agrees.
“I mean, can you see him doing literally anything else?” Eun-kyung asks.
With proud, happy, and terrified tears in your eyes, and the continued mind-blown whoops and hollers of your dearest friends blanketing you, you realize that you can’t.
You can’t see him doing literally anything else.
Definitely not cleaning up spit-up from a harness, or a suit that has its own insurance plan.
You don’t remember falling asleep. You remember Yoongi, Hobi, and Jin helping clean up for you. You remember Taehyung putting your laptop and cables upstairs before spending the night and driving to the airport. You remember Eun-kyung and Eun-jung asking if you wanted company as you waited for Taehyung and Jimin to get home. And you remember Chul asking if you wanted him to drive you and the twins to the airport behind Taehyung’s car so that you could see Jimin as soon as he landed.
But you ended up falling asleep on the couch, the house clean, the beds made, and the dishes done.
Feet propped up on the pillows to drain the liquid from your swollen ankles.
Clothes draped over your tired, scarred body.
This is what your new life will look like. Jimin will be globetrotting, barely home, if he continues to call this place home at all. Given how successful his show was, and how much crazier Florilège will be, you’re preparing for the first time in your life that Jimin’s best case scenario equals your worst.
Every now and then, you wake up. But you lie still. And you talk to yourself when you feel the baby starting to kick.
You feel dumb for not talking yourself through this before the day he’d arrive, but you need to prepare.
There’s no reason to cry. And you hold no anger in your heart. You’re going to wish him well. You’re going to thank him for everything he’s done for you. Because, truth be told, it was everything you really needed from him. There was never a guarantee that he’d stick around long enough to live out that daydream you keep having, taking pictures on the shore. Hell, there was never a guarantee that he’d stick around long enough to actually paint the baby’s room orange.
It’s better this way.
You both get to live out your dream.
You hear the door open gently, and you stir in your sleep so much that you wake.
“Don’t get up.”
You turn and see Jimin standing there, wearing the same clothes he did when he left, just a pair of jeans and some white t-shirt. But he looks completely different. For one, he’s blonde, with some streaks of temporary color in his hair, purples and pinks. And second, he’s a famous celebrity that’s just returned from one of the fashion capitals of the world.
How or why he’s standing in your living room, you don’t know.
“Hey,” you whisper, starting to move.
“Just stay there.”
He smiles happily.
“God, it’s so, so good to see you.”
Even though you’d already made the plan not to in your head, and even though you’ve been through this with your baby over and over again in your little two-minute chats, you start to cry.
“Whoa, whoa,” Jimin says, “why---”
“I’m sorry! I’m just so… I’m so proud of you!”
Jimin laughs. “Aw, well---”
“And, if I’m being honest, I just… You looked so immaculate and perfect, and you’ve been working so hard, and ugh, I wish I could jump up and hug you, but I’m so tired, and in pain, and I-I can’t s-stop---” sniff! “---crying! And my ankles won’t go down, and I can’t rest on the cart at the grocery store, a-and I have s-stretch marks all over m-my stupid---” sniff, sniff! “---body!” you whine, tears as plump as your midsection rolling down the chubbiest cheeks you’ve ever had.
Jimin just smiles.
He gently pads toward you, setting his bag down on the floor and helping you sit up on the couch, before he kneels at your feet. He kisses them as you take big, heaving sobs.
As he runs his hands under the hem of your sweater, you let out tiny whimpers, breaths still jagged, eyes blurring and clearing as you blink the tears out of them. His delicate fingers slide up the slope of your belly, taking the fabric of your sweater with them, his lips chasing quickly after.
“I dunno about stupid,” Jimin says thoughtfully. He smiles, and he almost looks proud. “I think they look like lightning bolts,” he says admiringly, tracing them. “It’s like, wow, the power you carry.”
When you hear him, see this, and feel his touch, you fall silent, unspeakably unable to look anywhere else.
“Hi baby,” he mumbles to your belly, happily, eyes bright.
You start to smile, and you take your first even breath in hours.
He presses his cheek against the left side of your stomach, and then moves to press his other cheek against the right, making a kissy noise at each soft touch.
“See that?” he asks excitedly, returning to his original position, his lips grazing your skin with each vowel. “How I’ve just greeted you? Well, there’s a story there. I was away for work. In France. It’s far. You’ll learn.”
The baby kicks, and Jimin feels it on his nose, making you both laugh.
“But, y’know what? I missed you so much. Too much.”
“The show seemed to go well, I think. I really couldn’t tell you, but lots of people were talking about it afterwards. And the week before it was nice. Sejin told me that we went to the Louvre at some point. I have a picture of me standing next to the Mona Lisa. And one of me at the palace at Versailles. Apparently, we ate dinner at the Eiffel Tower.”
You pay rapt attention as Jimin’s smirking eyes rise to meet yours.
“But honestly, I remember none of that.”
You raise your eyebrows. His words are soulful, and meaningful, but your heart is also aching. How could you, Blubbery, Irrational, Temperamental, Constipated, Haggard You so cruelly distract him from this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience?
“All I remember is having coffee before the show, Sejin yammering on about something, and looking up at this photographer and stylist doing that, pressing their cheeks and kissing the air.”
He giggles as he pokes his cheek, and then pokes the side of your belly.
“It looked weird, but also… I dunno… Kinda cool? Like, chic?”
You giggle too, sending your precious, plump baby bump thumping into his chin. And when it does, he presses a sweet kiss to you.
“When I saw that, I asked Sejin about it, and he told me that they do that there. They call it, well, it’s the French word for ‘kiss’.”
His lips form a prime Park Jimin™ pout.
“Bisou-bisou,” you whisper softly to yourself, completely enchanted.
Jimin’s eyes glimmer at the sound of your voice. He bites his lower lip, and in that moment, you feel so incredibly adored.
“I couldn’t wait to come home and show you,” he says, talking to you now.
A soft breath, and then a smile, and suddenly, the weight, not just on your chest, but in your back, and your legs, and your arms, and your neck, down to your cracked bones, just… lifts.
Jimin stands, and then bends down over you, meeting your lips with his own, kissing you sweetly and happily. As his hands run up your arms, the kiss starts to shift into something else. It’s hungrier, maybe even a little impatient. His fingers twist into your hair, thumbs cradling your cheekbones, palms sliding behind your head and supporting you as you melt into his hold. He grunts softly as you run your hands up his stomach and chest, and you realize that you’re reaching for him so frantically that your nails are nearly digging new troughs in addition to the ones that already exist on his chiseled landscape, the ones he had dared to touch in front of millions of people, but only you can touch now.
“Red!” he squeaks and laughs, pulling away from you with surprised eyes.
It’s jarring, hearing your name.
“What?” Jimin asks, surprise turning into concern as he tries to understand why your brows are raised, your eyes are giant, and your lips are domed into a frown.
“It’s been a while since…” You raise your brows higher, the realization hitting you hard. Your hands hug your stomach, running over your precious bump. “I mean, whenever I go anywhere now, or see anyone, people just call me ‘Mom’ or ‘Mama’ or ‘Mommy’, or…”
It was something you hadn’t anticipated. You’ve been so busy thinking about your new identity as a mother. You hadn’t realized you might’ve had to process, and maybe even mourn, the loss of the things that made you you.
Jimin rests his head on your belly.
“Red,” you chuckle. “Who even is that anymore?”
“Do you need reminding?” Jimin asks.
You really shouldn’t have said anything. “Nah, I---”
“Because I can do that,” he says with a smirk. “If you’ll let me.”
Rolling your eyes, you hoist yourself up with your elbows and rest the small of your back against the back of the couch. “Whatever, Jimin.”
“I mean it.” He stands, and as his plan comes together, his lips blossom into an eager smile. “Let’s go get some sleep, and then tonight, let’s go get some dinner.” He smiles. “A fancy one. Find something naughty to wear. Something you’d wear to one of those parties we used to go to back in college.”
“Uh, hello,” you say, pointing to your stomach. “Nothing fits me.”
“Then go naked. We’ll have a fancy dinner all the same.”
He holds his hand out to you. Too tired to argue, and too excited at the prospect of sleep, you follow him as he leads you into his bedroom.
He laughs when he sees his boxer on the end of his bed.
“Did Taehyung put these away for me?”
“Whenever he did the laundry, he always used to set the folded clothes right in this spot,” Jimin says, reaching for the boxers to put them in his dresser.
“Wait,” you say softly, reaching for them.
Jimin laughs as you crumple them and hug them to your chest.
“I don’t know,” you pre-empt, “it just makes me feel better.”
Jimin shrugs. “OK.”
You climb into bed with Jimin, and you finally fall fast and fully asleep.
There’s an echo of an R on the bottom right corner of Jimin’s windshield. No matter how hard he, or you, or anyone has scrubbed, nothing has gotten it to shift. But you kind of like that it’s so seemingly permanent. It’s a symbol of different times. A tribute to when you had it good. You still have it good, but back then was better in some ways. You felt more reckless, but more confident. More you. That R asks you to remember.
“I look like shit,” you complain as you stare at it.
“No, you don’t.”
“Please. I know you better than that.” You sigh, looking up at him from the passenger seat, unwilling to step out of the car and follow Jimn inside. “You never hesitate to tell me when I look like shit.”
“So don’t you think I’d say so now?”
“Liar. I look foul.”
“Let’s go look at Taehyung. It’ll make you feel better,” Jimin laughs, making you chuckle as he tugs on your hand.
“Can we go somewhere else?” you ask. “Somewhere where the entire staff doesn’t know me?”
“C’mon. I can’t afford anywhere else.”
“You’re a supermodel now,” you tease. “You can.”
“A myth.” He grimaces. “You’ll find that out once the next car payment’s due.”
“Jimin, I’m really not up for a night out.”
“Yes, you are, or you wouldn’t have put on that dress and spent 20 minutes on perfecting your cat eye.”
You did do a good job on the cat eye, even though you’re rusty. And you actually really like the dress that Jimin arranged for Eun-jung and Eun-kyung to pick out for you and bring to the house. The soft, red fabric wraps around you delicately, and you’re actually quite comfortable, even as it shows off your now gigantic breasts. But it also reveals every single dip, hill, and fold that’s grown on you in the past 8 months. You feel so exposed. And you hate the label that professes its size.
Jimin, however, looks like he’s ready for a night out at all times. His new look is otherworldly voguish. He could wear a garbage bag to this restaurant, and everybody else would feel silly and stupid for not doing the same.
“You look beautiful,” he tells you. “You are beautiful. In every size and shape. And I want to take you in this particular size and shape out for a fancy dinner, so let’s go.” He tugs on your arm again, the valet staring at you quizzically. “Up and at ‘em.”
“Why a fancy dinner, though?” you protest. “Why now?” Though sleeping the entire day in Jimin’s embrace has made you feel much better, you still feel slightly embarrassed for carrying on the way you did when he arrived. Especially after your friends had gone through so much trouble to ensure Jimin wouldn’t return to a mess.
“I thought about what you said,” Jimin admits. “About this part being over soon.”
“It’s special. I want to commemorate it.”
You remember hearing from someone, maybe an old friend, or a talk show host, or maybe a show or something that you used to watch, that they wish they knew they were in the good old days before they ended.
You grin a little at the faded R sticker. At the memory of when this would be Jimin picking you up from a fun date instead of taking you on a pity one.
“Great.” Jimin grins and tugs at your arm. “You’ve been sitting here whining for fifteen minutes, and I don’t know if I can pay for more than two hours in that shitty hole they call a garage.”
You follow Jimin inside to see Taehyung wearing a clean uniform, his bellhop hat just slightly askew. He looks a little tired when you see him staring at the reservations, but when he sees you and Jimin entering, he straightens, and brightens.
“You worked back-to-back shifts?” you ask, raising your eyebrows.
“Yeah, but I was able to rest after I picked Jiminie up from---”
Jimin clears his throat and glares at Taehyung.
Taehyung looks scared at first, but then he seems to realize something. He softens, smiles happily at you, and then looks serious. Almost snotty.
“Good evening and welcome. Do you have a reservation?”
“Oh, it’s under Park Jimin,” Jimin replies, also looking aloof.
You look back and forth between Jimin and Taehyung. “Uh, guys?”
“I don’t see it listed here,” Taehyung replies. “Could it be under a different name?”
Jimin furrows his brow and looks at Taehyung. “It shouldn’t be.”
“You’re welcome to have a look,” Taehyung says, turning the computer screen around to show him.
There’s only one reservation, for Miss Red and Mr. BDSM Big Bird, Private Eye, Esquire.
You start laughing, and Jimin stomps his foot. “Tae!”
“Right this way, sir,” Taehyung replies, leading an annoyed Jimin and a heaving, cackling you toward a table right in the center of the room, the best seat in the house.
You look around at the new decorations. Exposed brick where ornate wallpaper was once set. New flowers, though those changed every time. Softer, more intimate lighting. And as Taehyung pulls your chair out for you, you notice the new chairs. Nice, padded seating, which you’re thankful for.
“Thanks, Tae-Tae,” you whisper, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek before sitting down.
He blushes, and you sit and wiggle your toes in your red flip flops, the only non-nursing shoes that fit you right now.
Taehyung hands you your menus. “Please peruse, and I’ll be back to take your orders.”
You look around and smile at other people dining. Families. Couples. Some singles, one of them reading, and the other on a call as he eats a steak with his mouth open.
You’d missed this. Regular life.
“What are we getting?” Jimin asks, calling your attention back to your menu.
“Uh, I dunno, whatever,” you say.
“C’mon, Red. Take a look.”
You shrug and look down at the menu. Most of the dishes are the same, but you notice one new addition. The dish that Jin and Yoongi were playing around with. IOr, at least, its description seems to fit. A mix of noodles, vegetables, and meat, in a citrus, soy sauce base, a side to a medium rare 8 or 10 oz. filet and your choice of chef’s salad or tomato soup.
Red’s Delight, it’s called.
You look up at Jimin, gobstopped.
“They named it after me?” you whisper.
Jimin smiles coyly, not looking up at you, and staring at the menu instead. “You’ll have to ask the chefs,” he says simply.
You struggle not to cry. The cat eyes took you so long.
“May I get you some drinks?” Taehyung asks, when he returns.
“Just water, for both of us,” Jimin replies.
“Are you sure?” Taehyung asks. “If you order our special, Red’s Delight, it pairs really nicely with vodka Red Bulls.”
Taehyung winks at you, and you giggle.
“I think just water for both of us, and whatever special you have for the sushi, and the chef’s recommendations for the steak,” Jimin says. “We’ve had the Red’s Delight, and it’s delicious, but we’re here for a special occasion.” He looks at you and smiles. “Want anything else?”
“No, that sounds perfect,” you say, sighing.
Taehyung whisks away your menus, and Jimin reaches for your hand on the table.
“What is all this?” you laugh, excited.
“Just a bit of fun.” Jimin looks at you softly. “I know it’s been hard. And I know my week away was tough.”
The words that have been sitting in your chest are aching to burst out of you.
“It was hard,” you say. “Harder than I… well, harder than I thought.”
“Why didn’t you say so?”
“I didn’t want to distract you, or make you worry.”
“I’m always going to be worried about you,” Jimin says. “Might as well be honest about it so that I don’t also worry about how hard you’re fighting it.”
You laugh. “Damn. You really do know when to tell me I look like shit, don’t you?”
“But we’ve been talking about me and the baby all day,” you reply. “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Well, for starters, why didn’t you stay in Paris longer?” you ask. “The show was just yesterday. You must’ve left the moment it was over?”
Jimin shrugs. “I wanted to come home. The week wore me out.”
“You didn’t enjoy the sightseeing?”
“It was OK. But I missed you.”
You scoff. “You missed looking at this sobbing mess when you could’ve been buried under juicy cocks and cunts in the middle of a fashion show in Paris?”
Jimin laughs, a little spit coming out of his mouth at how off-guard you’ve caught him. He wipes the side of his mouth and shakes his head. “That sounds like Hobi.”
You smile and nod.
Jimin’s smile fades a little. “I’d hope you’d think more of me than that.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it,” you’re quick to say. “I just mean… well, that night… when you went to get drinks with that group…”
“First of all, I’m not interested in any of those people, other than perhaps getting to know them professionally,” Jimin replies. “And second of all, the only thing that I could talk about that entire night was you and our baby. And we spent the entire time that we were out for drinks talking about names.”
“Baby names,” Jimin says.
You sigh and lean your head back, staring at the new chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
You close your eyes.
“Stop making me cry.”
Jimin laughs, and Taehyung returns with glasses of water.
“Your sushi chef should be out here soon to deliver your first plate,” Taehyung informs you, disappearing before you can ask more questions.
Your eyes land on Jimin, and he just smirks.
“I can’t believe you all,” you laugh, admittedly getting excited by what’s going to happen next.
Jin comes out, also in uniform, a short chef’s hat perched on his head, and a new apron tied at his waist. He looks like a model in his own right, as he coolly sets a platter of different kinds of luxurious bites in front of you.
“Fatty tuna, sea urchin, and yellowtail selections, plus our spicy dragon roll with avocado and salmon roe, and some fresh, blue point oysters, complete with wasabi and ginger,” he says.
The plating is beautiful, the fresh, decorative blue and purple orchid flowers popping against the ice cold, ivory slab for a plate.
“Jin,” you say, smiling. “This looks amazing.”
“Glad you like it, ma’am---”
He turns to you, and his eyes explode at the sight of your cleavage.
You scrunch up your face, trying not to laugh, and trying not to feel too flattered at Jimin frowning.
“Jin!” Jimin whispers.
Jin swallows thickly.
“Uh, sorry, I have to go,” Jin replies, turning away, “I have a, um, sushi emergency.”
You grab his hand and pull him over to you, forcing him to lean down.
You plant a sweet kiss on his cheek, and Jin’s ears turn bright red.
“Thank you,” you say meaningfully.
Jin finally warms, grinning like he was in your living room just the day before. He wipes your lipstick from his cheek and blushes even more.
“Enjoy it, Red. You deserve it.”
He scampers back to the kitchen while avoiding Jimin’s angry glare, and you dig into your food.
“So good,” you say, eyes lighting up.
“Yeah, Jin’s really found his calling,” Jimin replies, nodding along with you.
As you finish the platter, Hobi joins you, skipping a little too eagerly to your table, his eyes landing on your chest a little too quickly.
“Hey, how’s it goin’?” he asks, more to your breasts than to your face.
Jimin covers his eyes, embarrassed.
“Going well,” you laugh. “Everything is delicious.” You scoot your chair back a bit. “Look at how much I’ve eaten already.” You pat your belly in jest, and Hobi laughs softly.
“Well, it looks good on you,” Hobi says, his voice with a little too much of an edge. “Seriously, Red, I wanted to tell you yesterday, but, y’know, with all the crying--- Anyway, you’ve always been so gorgeous, but the way you look now, with all that m---”
“Can you just take the plates and go?” Jimin complains.
Hobi frowns. “But Jin and Taehyung got kisses.”
“Aw, I was going to give you a kiss, too!” you cheer.
Hobi excitedly kneels by your chair, and you give him a loud smack on his cheek, making him squeal and dance in his spot.
“Glad you’re enjoying your meal, Miss Red,” Hobi says, not bothering to wipe your lipstick off his cheek, proudly bringing his trophy, along with your plates, back to the kitchen.
“I’m so sorry,” Jimin whispers.
“Don’t be,” you say. “I’m having lots of fun.”
“Really?” Jimin points his thumb back to the swinging doors to the kitchen. “With these fucking idiots?”
“Yeah!” you exclaim. “I love those idiots.” And you smile again. “And I love you for planning this. Thank you.”
Soon, Yoongi joins you at your table, twin cuts of filet mignon cooked to perfection and decorated with asparagus, mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts, and yukon mashed potatoes.
“Your steaks,” Yoongi says simply, his chef’s hat bobbling just a bit as he sets your plates down.
“Aw, thank you, Yoongi.”
You pucker your lips, tugging on his hand to bend down.
“No need,” he says, maintaining an air of professionalism.
“The other boys all got one,” you say in sing-song.
“Your empty plate will be complimentary enough.”
“If you say so.”
You send him a playful wink, just like the one he mimicked the previous day, and when you blow him a kiss instead, you make sure to give him a good peek at your bosom.
Yoongi tightens, his entire face smiling, eyes squinched, nose bunched, lips adorably mashed, the apples of his cheeks shining, his shoulders nearly to his ears.
“Thank you, ma’am,” he says quickly, before rushing off to the kitchen.
“You really shouldn’t encourage them like that,” Jimin replies.
“Why not?” you ask, taking a stalk of asparagus and shoving it into your mouth. “I thought this was to commemorate this part being over? Our baby’s about to suck these bags dry.”
Jimin chuckles and mutters, “Not if I get in there first.”
“Oh my god!”
You share playful, giddy smiles with each other, and you dig into your main meal.
“What you said, though. About this being over soon.”
You nod. “Mmhmm?”
“Does it…” Jimin clears his throat. “Does it need to be over soon?”
“Well, in about a month, it will be.”
“Yeah, but… what if we continued this arrangement for longer?”
You aren’t exactly sure what he means. “If you aren’t ready to move out, I totally understand,” you say, eyes wide. “God, I didn’t mean to rush you.”
Jimin sets his fork and knife down. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Take all the time you need.”
“To move out?”
“Yeah. Y’know. You shrug. “I mean… aren’t you going to move into the city, or something? Or abroad? For work? Y’know… models live in lofts or whatever, right? Four or five crammed in a studio apartment, not really finding it worth it to pay rent if they’re jetsetting from hotel room to hotel room?”
The crinkle above Jimin’s nose relaxes once he realizes where your mind has gone. Maybe out of relief. Maybe he’s happy that he doesn’t have to be the one to say it.
“I don’t want to be the reason why you pass on a job, or can’t fly away at a moment’s notice,” you say, whipping your potatoes into peaks with your fork. “It’s probably best if you… if we…”
Jimin watches you, chewing silently, jaw clenching from more than just mashing up his food.
“If we tweak our plan a bit.”
Jimin says nothing else, and you finish eating in silence.
Taehyung returns, and he smiles at the two of you.
“Are we ready for dessert?”
“No dessert,” Jimin answers.
Taehyung looks confused. This clearly wasn’t part of whatever plan they had cooked up.
“Uh, Jimin, we already started---”
“Give it to someone else. Or eat it yourselves, after your shift,” he replies. He looks over at Taehyung. “Still my treat. We just don’t want it.”
“I might want it,” you say, pouting.
“Uh, shall I call the obnoxious bus boy to clear your plates?” Taehyung asks.
“Yes. We’re done. We’re going. Now.”
You look from Jimin to Taehyung, and, worried, you try to smooth things over with, “Thank you for this. And thank the rest of the guys for me. It really was the perfect night out. I’m just a bit tired.”
Taehyung nods. “Enjoy your night. It was a pleasure.” He smiles at you. “I’ll swing by to check in tomorrow, Mommy.”
You smile fondly at Taehyung.
When he leaves, you find Jimin still staring at you.
He helps you out of your chair, but he still seems upset.
You waddle to the front of the restaurant, heave yourself into the car that the valet has brought around, and ride in more silence as Jimin drives you home.
“I’m gonna get ready for bed.”
Jimin places a hand on your shoulder before you head up the stairs. “Come to the kitchen first.”
You follow him, and he pulls out a chair for you at the table.
The silence engulfs you again, save for the sound of the fridge door opening, the champagne bottle turning upside down, and the sound of plastic champagne cups hitting wood.
Jimin sits down next to you.
“Cheers,” he says.
“Cheers.” You laugh at the tiny pour he’s given you, and the enormous one he’s given himself. “To what?”
“To you, you mean.”
“No, to us. We did amazing things together. So, cheers to us.”
Jimin holds his glass out to you, and you clink --- well, pat! --- your plastic cups together, taking your sip, and Jimin downing his in one go.
You both set your empty glasses down, and Jimin looks at you softly.
“You really do look beautiful, Red.”
“Never as beautiful as you.”
Jimin shakes his head and laughs.
“Dessert kinda sounded nice,” you joke.
“It was going to be.”
“What was it?”
“Lavender crème brûlée. The guys whipped it up just for you.”
“We’ll have it another time.”
“Another time isn’t now!”
It kills you to think about that perfect, silky, sweet custard, just sitting in a fridge. The guys eating it like savages at the end of the shift.
Jimin laughs at your expression. Though you’re silent, he can practically hear your whine.
“Were you mad?” you ask. “At the restaurant? When we left, I got the sense that you might be.”
“No. Not mad. Just determined to get you home.”
You furrow your brow. “Why? I was having a good time, I swear!”
“I know, and I’m happy. I just wanted to talk to you about something important.”
You brace. Here’s where all the plans are crafted. So, here’s where the unveiling of the tweaked plan takes place.
“I’m OK with it. Really. Sejin’s right. You need to focus on your career. The showcase yesterday? That was just the beginning, and you were divine in it.”
It pains you to say it, the day dream of those family pictures with Jimin starting to fade, not unlike the R on Jimin’s windshield. It’s a shame that you never got to actually live those days before they left you.
“I don’t want to be in the way. This plan was never meant to be in the way of your talent and career. And I’m so thankful that even in the midst of all that, you’ve sacrificed this much just to leave me with this parting gift of sorts.”
Jimin just blinks.
“Red, where are you getting all of this?”
“All of what?”
“These… these model myths?” Jimin says, pushing his empty champagne glass with his tiny pinky. He looks back at you. “I have no intention of moving out. Unless you want me gone.”
“I don’t,” you say. “But… really? You want to stay? Even with everything that’s happening for you?”
“Yes. And I know we were commemorating this time together, but I have every intention of sticking around for the next phase. For all the phases.”
You gawk at him. This wasn’t what you had expected. If you were sitting in his seat, you wouldn’t be saying these words right now.
Jimin takes your hands in his.
“I’m in this, with you, for the long haul,” he tells you. “That’s the last time that I want to say it, but I’ll say it over and over again for as long as it takes for you to hear it.”
You frown. “But…”
You stand suddenly, shaking Jimin’s hands from yours and picking up the empty champagne glasses.
You take them to the sink to rinse them out, and Jimin follows.
“What?” he asks. “Why can’t you believe me?”
“It’s not that.”
“Yes, it is. I see it in your eyes. It’s like you just won’t believe me.”
“Did Sejin say something to you?”
You think back, to months ago, when you visited Jimin on set.
“In so many words,” you admit. “But he’s right.”
Jimin grunts. “Ignore him. There’s no right and wrong. There’s only a list of choices. A list that you and I said that we’d make together. And, if you ever actually bothered to check in with me, I’d tell you that my main priority is to be your---” He pauses. “To be a good father to this baby.”
“You will be,” you say softly.
“And that includes getting to watch you be an incredible, wonderful, perfect mother to this baby, too,” he says. “I want to be here. I will be here.”
You smile sadly. He’s so adamant. You know he believes it.
But you still don’t.
“I don’t understand,” Jimin says, reading the look on your face. “Have I hurt you? Have I gone back on my word?”
“Then what can I do?” Jimin asks. “What will it take to convince you?”
“I don’t know if it’s a matter of convincing me,” you explain. “I think it’s a matter of convincing you. That you’re this astounding new talent. Everyone’s gonna want a piece of you, and rightly so.”
“But I love you,” Jimin says.
“And I love you, too,” you say, “but sometimes there are things that are bigger.”
“Nothing is bigger than what we share.”
“Maybe not now, but that’s only because your world was smaller until a week ago,” you point out.
“You are my world,” Jimin says. “Let me show you.”
He presses into you, your ass bumping against the counter, just in front of the sink. And then he kisses you.
It’s been a while since he’s kissed you. The last few months have been rife with almost-starts and nearly-theres, helping hands housing each other out in times of desperate need, the two of you choosing to lean on each other rather than outsiders because of the situation that you’re in. Besides, there’s a familiarity there, like the one Eun-kyung and Eun-jung were pointing out.
At first, you think that that familiarity saves time. It gets you there faster, not having to explain every little thing that you like, or want, or need. It’s efficient to just know. And maybe the knowing feels different, too. It’s not just knowing what, or how, or when. It’s also knowing why.
It’s not just that Jimin knows that you’ll be moaning for him in seconds by kissing you and placing his knee in front of you, just slightly grazing your already wet pussy. It’s also that he knows the reason why that gets you going is because your flesh is so much more responsive as of late, your body swollen and hungry for more.
It’s not just that Jimin knows to massage your breasts rather than claw at your nipples like you usually like, even with how sensitive you are. It’s also that he knows that you want to be as gentle as possible with them for now, in anticipation of your baby breastfeeding and gumming them raw over the next few months.
And it’s not just that Jimin knows that the sink will work this time because of all of that oversensitivity and hunger. It’s also that he knows that the sink will work this time because you have a place to rest your heavy belly as he pounds into you, his cock slipping through your crevice, his eyes drinking in the way the red fabric of your skirt outlines your shapely ass, your matching red panties pushed to the side but might as well come off and go straight into the trash with how ruined they are.
“God,” you moan as you lean forward, “I’ve missed it so much. Fuck, Jimin, keep going.”
He slaps your ass as you slap the counter, both echoing throughout the room, making you laugh and groan even loader.
You come so quickly now, your triggers as inflated as the rest of your body. You almost lament it, wishing it could last a little longer for you.
But the strength, the sheer force with which you come.
That, you wouldn’t trade for anything.
You nearly collapse, thankful the counter is there to catch you as your wrists buckle, and still shaking, you try to put your palms up to keep yourself steady.
“Fuck, another one is---”
You come again almost immediately, your body lunging forward, head threatening to hit your kitchen backsplash.
Tears flow out of you as you whine, shuddering and struggling to stay in position.
“Wanna move?” Jimin whispers, easing his strokes as you float down.
“No,” you gasp, “if I move, I fall.”
Jimin slows to a stop, but you reach back for him.
“I don’t want that either,” you whisper. “Come for me.”
“You might be tired,” Jimin says, “and that’s OK, we can just---”
You start rocking forward, and Jimin groans, his thoughts disappearing.
“Even tighter than before,” he mutters, taking in gulps of air to keep himself from losing it completely.
You clench, and Jimin wobbles a little.
“Shit, Red, a little warning!”
You laugh, and you take over, bouncing back onto him as he revels in the waves sloshing across his body, ebbing and flowing with greater intensity, each push threatening to undo him.
“This,” Jimin pants, placing his hands on your shoulders as you bend farther down, the blood rushing to your head, “all I want is this.”
You bite your lip as Jimin retakes control, moving faster, his voice climbing, whining, nearly howling.
And suddenly, he’s spilling into you, chuckling with each spurt, moaning as you both feel everything trickling down your skin.
You turn back to Jimin and smile, and he wipes the sweat from your forehead.
He kisses you softly, one hand wrapped around your waist, the other reaching blindly for the paper towels that you bought yesterday.
You hear perforation ripping, and the faucet turning on. And then you feel warm, wet, but wrung-out sheets wipe your thighs. He pulls out of you, and he crouches down to catch the rest of your shared arousal and release, before standing and cleaning himself.
You smile at the sight of his pants still on. How flattering it is that he couldn’t wait to dive into you.
He pulls your skirt down and spins you around, kissing you again before turning and tossing the used paper towels into the trash.
“Wasn’t too rough, was it?”
“No, I bought the quilted kind.”
Jimin throws his head back and laughs. “I mean the sex.”
“Oh, god, no, that was exactly what I needed.” You smile. “This whole night was.” You smile even bigger. “You are.”
Jimin beams at you.
“Then did I make up for nixing the crème brûlée?” he whispers, placing another kiss on your cheek.
“Hmm?” Jimin asks sleepily, rolling into you and hugging you closer.
You open your eyes and see your red dress on the ground. So then what are you wearing? Nothing, probably. Soiled panties… those went in the trash, right? So then what will you wear to the hospital?
“We gotta go.”
You sit up and hold your stomach.
“Jimin, I mean it,” you say. “I think my water broke. And I think I’m having contractions.”
Jimin bolts upright, staring at you.
“But you’re still a month out.”
“I know. It could be Braxton-Hicks, but it might be something else, and---”
Something’s not right. The back of your neck feels unnaturally tense. You feel too tight, like someone is squeezing you.
“OK, we need to go,” you say pointedly. “Now.”
Jimin knows where everything is. The hospital bag has been packed and resting in the hallway closet for your use. Keys are where they were when you got home, on the kitchen table. He grabs some sweats from the laundry room, and then he grabs a pillow for you to sit on in the car.
But he doesn’t know where you are.
He runs back into his room and finds you leaning over his bed, still naked, and somewhat in pain.
Jimin wordlessly grabs a hoodie from his closet and helps you into it.
And then he takes the pair of boxers that you’d been holding onto, which only kind of fit, as they stop under your belly, and helps you step into them, the hoodie long and large enough to cover everything anyway.
“Purse,” you remind him, as he’s shouldering your hospital bag.
He grabs your purse, which also hangs in the hallway closet, and he helps you down the porch steps and into his car in the driveway.
You hate that every trip to the hospital with Jimin so far has been so tense.
“Was it the champagne?” Jimin asks, his voice buckling under the guilt.
“No, it really wasn’t. I promise.”
“Was it the---”
He glances at you. “When we---”
“It wasn’t that either,” you reassure him. “This is something else.”
Jimin chews on his lip as you swing into the hospital parking lot.
This is where everything becomes a blur.
A cold wheelchair.
An unfamiliar doctor. You don’t catch his name.
Some terms float to your mind.
“PPROM?” you ask.
Jimin frowns. “Huh?”
You grasp his hand to let him know everything’s OK.
“I don’t have any of the risk factors, though,” you say.
The doctor checks your chart. “Did contractions come first?”
“Can’t say,” you reply. “We were asleep. Thought the contractions I was feeling might be Braxton-Hicks. I’m only 36 weeks.”
“It’s hard to tell, but with your elevated blood pressure, I’m concerned either way. We’ll most likely have to induce.”
The doctor, a kind, older gentleman, looks into your eyes and smiles.
“Everything’s gonna be fine. Seems like your baby’s been stable, and 36 weeks isn’t too far off.”
You take a breath. You know that premature babies run in your family. You were actually three weeks premature.
Things blur together again.
Jimin sends the message in the designated group chat.
He makes sure your parents get to the hospital safely. And Tae, the twins, and Chul join them, setting up camp in the waiting room. Even Yoongi, Jin, and Hobi show up, bringing a tray of Red’s Delight to feed the crew.
And then Jimin standing next to you, clutching your hand, kissing your temple and whispering, “Breathe. You can do this. Another push.”
It’s all over.
There’s a moment where everyone clears out, when you and Jimin are sitting together, staring at your baby, identified by the doctor as a girl, but gratefully just healthy, and happy, and so, so lovely.
You and Jimin are weeping, just staring at her.
“You were amazing, Red,” he sighs. “So calm throughout. So strong.”
“I barely remember anything about it,” you admit. “I thought it’d be more vivid somehow. But it all just kind of melded together.”
It’s been hours, but to you, it feels like you were just at home, buried with Jimin under the covers.
“We still don’t have a name,” you chuckle softly.
“I had an idea,” Jimin whispers. “I thought about it in Paris. When they were doing my hair. When I was thinking of you.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Mujigae,” he says. “Rainbow. Kinda like my hair. But for the rainbow baby that she is.”
A fresh crop of tears spill out of your eyes.
“You remembered?” you whisper, looking up at him.
The term you’d introduced him to. The word for the dream you hoped for since losing the last.
“Of course,” he says. “How could I forget something like that?”
You cry for the baby you lost. You cry for the baby you’re holding in your arms now.
“Mujigae,” you whisper to her, as she stirs in your arms.
Bear with Me masterpost
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A Palette of Emotions - Artist!Taehyung x Teacher!Reader - Chapter 30 - His Last Day and Her Last Chance
Synopsis: Taehyung dreams of being a professional and famous artist one day, but finds that the sea of creativity can be lurking with blood hungry sharks, as well as bland, motionless starfish. Swimming through the sea of opportunities somehow washed him up onto the shore of Bright Star Preschool, as an art teacher. This wasn’t where he expected to be 4 years into his career, but anything to get his big break though, right?
Feat. BTS, TXT, ITZY, Jisoo (BlackPink), Taeyong (NCT)
Genre: Romance, Slow Burn, Love Triangle, Drama, School Setting, Working!AU
Length: approx. 7.4k words
Chapter 30 - His Last Day and Her Last Chance
“Pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Kim. We will see you in the fall.”
“Thank you, Mr. Oh, I appreciate all the help you’ve given me.”
“Of course. I hope you’re ready for this new chapter in your life.”
“I am, Sir.”
Taehyung kept replaying that conversation over and over as he stood in Seokjin’s office. He watched as the man typed away on his computer, silent for a while. Taehyung glanced down at him, hands at his sides as he waited quietly for his boss to say anything. Seokjin glanced up, sighing as he crossed his arms. His lips tugged together in a slight, thin line. Taehyung shifted in his seat, and before he knew it, the older man’s eyes were pointed directly at him.
“So, what you’re telling me is I have to start looking around for a rehire?” He asked. A groan escaped his lips. “You brat. Why did you have to be even more talented than I thought you were when I hired you? I was shooting for having you around at least another 3 or 4 years.” Taehyung laughed a bit.
“Sorry, Mr. Kim. But I won’t be able to handle the travel that I’d have to do to keep both and-.” Seokjin was quick to raise a hand and stop Taehyung before he began rambling senselessly.
“I’m only kidding. You’ve been given quite an opportunity, what kind of boss would I be if I penalized you for taking it?”
“…A bad one?” Taehyung grinned, and both men laughed. “I’ll finish cleaning out my stuff at the end of the day, but I’ll leave up all of the posters and charts and stuff, in case any future art teacher decides they need it.” With a bow of his head, Taehyung turned on his head and exited the room. As he closed the door, a sound of children giggling and cheering entered the hallway. Taehyung turned to see the children making their way inside, with you leading them. A smile was on your face as you walked backward, an art you had mastered long agotoo watch the students easily. As you approached Seokjin’s office, you spun back around when one of the kids shouted: “Mr. Kim is back!”
Immediately, the kids began poking their heads out of line in hopes to see the man. Taehyung smiled, waving to the sea of children as they eagerly began to cheer and greet him.
“You were missed.” You said simply, a small smile forming on your face. “Welcome back, Mr. Kim.”
“Happy to be back.” He said sweetly, his eyes casting right towards you as you smooth ut your skirt. “I missed you…” A moment of silence fell over the hallway, and Taehyung watched your ears tint a bit red, eyes darting towards the wall, the ceiling, basically anywhere that Taehyung was not. “…Guys. You guys…” Taehyung gasped, his ears not far behind as they too felt extremely hot. “I missed you guys.” Quickly, you turned to Hoseok, who was standing behind the line with his arms crossed, watching with what you could only tell was a forced smile.
“Mr. Hobi, can you take the kids inside? I need to ask Mr. Kim a question.”
“Right.” Hoseok quickly hurried towards the front of the line, motioning the children to hurry along. Though they protested, wanting to stay and see Mr. Kim for a few moments longer, one stern look from Hoseok and the students were silent, walking into the classroom without another word from them. With them gone, you quickly turned to Taehyung, who was rubbing his neck shyly.
“…Are you going to tell them when your last day is, or should I?”
“I’ll tell them today.” He spoke. “But I might need you in there to make sure I explain it right…and to take care of any crying kids.” A laugh escaped your lips, and you nodded in agreement. “…I really did miss you.” He said softly. You glanced up at him. “It’ll be a sad day when I have to leave.”
“I know.” You spoke. “…When is that again?” Taehyung chuckled a bit. “Just checking.”
“The middle of next week. My aunt lives within driving distance, so she’s going to help me find an apartment before classes start. That way I’m there and I can settle into the area, maybe find a job, all that fun stuff.”
“Why?” Suddenly, you squinted your eyes just a bit, looking the confused Taehyung up and down. You pursed your lips together, and it only made Taehyung laugh a bit more. “What?”
“Don’t worry about it…” you said slyly. Taehyung couldn’t help but continue to laugh.
“You look ridiculous.” He said, watching as you headed down the hallway. “What? No response? Is it because I’m right?” Quickly, before entering the room, you turned back to Taehyung and smiled sweetly.
“Just don’t worry about it.” You repeated. Without any further explanation, you slipped behind the door and into your classroom.
You knew from the moment you woke up that morning that it would be a long day. However, it felt even longer once Taehyung told the students his plans to leave, and his inability to be there for the rest of their time in preschool. Of course, kids began asking frantic questions, some began tearing up at the thought, others just full-out started crying. The three of you did virtually no art during that period, but you didn’t expect to, talking to and calming down handfuls of sobbing children. Before all of you knew it, time for art was done, and you had barely gotten the kids to draw on paper. There ended up being more tears on the papers than color.
As you were lining the students up, wiping the final set of eyes, and soothing the final child, Taehyung was watching by his desk. He looked down at Yuna, who was sniffling.
“Guys, I’m not leaving today.” He repeated once again. “I have so many fun activities for us the next few days.”
“You can’t leave, Mr. Kim. We can’t art if you leave!” Yuna sniffled, only to be met by Hoseok, who handed her a tissue to wipe her red and puffy face. Taehyung smiled, patting the girl’s head. When he looked up, he saw you knelt, talking with Lia, who was clutching a paper in her hand. She was one of the few who hadn’t been crying, though Taehyung could tell how badly she wanted to. After a moment, Lia turned toward Taehyung, her little feet carrying her down the line. Taehyung knelt for the girl, who handed him the picture. When he took it, he saw him and Lia in a scribbled field, the sky a mix of blue and white patches, and Taehyung wearing all gray.
“I made it,” Lia said. Taehyung smiled at her as she pointed to her name, and showed him what she wrote for him.
“Thank you, Lia.” He said gently. The small girl grinned a bit, before being escorted out by Hoseok, holding his hand tightly. Taehyung looked down at the picture once again, smiling a bit as he stood up, slipping it into his bag to bring home with him. “My first souvenir from here, hm?” he hummed to himself.
The remainder of Taehyung’s time at the preschool was a bit awkward, specifically between the two of you. Each time you passed one another or saw one another, you knew exactly what you wanted to tell him, and he knew exactly what he wanted to ask you. However, every time, you chickened out, figuring that the next day would pose yet another opportunity for you to tell him all of the words that were burning in your chest each day. However, the vicious cycle never ended, and before you knew it, you were hanging streamers and balloons up in the classroom. The kids had made cards, parents brought in treats and gifts, all for Taehyung. It was his last day, spending the remainder of the week packing up to get to the train in a few days. As you finished up the decorations, you looked around, sighing to yourself.
“You think it’s too much?” you asked, rubbing your hands together as you looked at the final product.
“Of course, it is,” Hoseok replied. “But that’s what makes it so fun, don’t you think?” Checking the time, Hoseok turned back to you. “Let’s head outside and wait for the kids.” Nodding your head, you quickly followed Hoseok out the door. As you entered the hallway, you quickly looked towards the door that led into Taehyung’s room. He hadn’t arrived yet, as per Seokjin’s request so you and Hoseok had more than enough time to prepare the room without him knowing of your little plot. Hoseok noticed your eyes wander, and was quick to take your hand. “You have to tell him.”
“I don’t know if I can.” You admitted, the words slipping out of your mouth quicker than you had thought they would, and with a lot more vulnerability. Hoseok smiled, squeezing your hand, before silently leading you out the door to wait for the arriving students.
When Taehyung arrived, late as requested by Seokjin, who sent him a gift card to buy a late breakfast, he arrived with a full belly and an aching heart. If someone had told him on his first day that the idea of leaving this job would cause him any kind of pain, he would have never believed them. However, as he stepped into the school, he had to swallow a lump of sadness trying to force its way up to his throat. He didn’t want to cry, at least, didn’t think he did, but it sure as hell felt that way. Upon entering the hallway, Seokjin stood outside the door, typing away on his phone. Occasionally, his eyes would look up, towards the door, as if he was waiting for Taehyung to arrive. As soon as he saw Taehyung, he grinned and approached him, throwing an arm over his shoulder.
“Taehyung! How are you doing?!” He asked curiously. “Was breakfast good?” Taehyung nodded, smiling softly.
“Good. C’mere, I need to show you something.” Without any further explanation, Seokjin practically dragged Taehyung towards your room. “Now, close your eyes, okay?” Taehyung sighed, smiling as he followed his boss’s orders, amusement on his face. He had a feeling he knew what was going on here. Seokjin led him forward, and when the door closed behind them, Seokjin said. “Open them.”
When Taehyung opened his eyes, his ears were flooded with a group of children shouting “SURPRISE!!!!” A grin broke out on Taehyung’s face, and he looked around. You and Hoseok were standing by the front of the room, looking at something on the computer, while Yoongi was standing by the table of food, arms crossed as he watched the kids sit eagerly in their seats.
“Wow, this is crazy, guys. It all looks amazing! Did you do this?” The kids nodded in excitement. As Taehyung walked farther into the room, he admired the decorations. When he turned to you, he smiled sweetly. “This is all really sweet. Thanks, guys.”
Hoseok put his hands on Taehyung’s shoulders, a smile beaming on his face. “Of course, Taehyung. We can’t send you off without a proper goodbye!” Quickly, he motioned to one of the tables against the wall, which was filled with snacks. “All of the parents brought snacks and stuff. Today is a party day.”
“Party day!” A few kids shrieked, the idea of a day full of treats and fun filling them with so much excitement, it was as if they had already downed tons of sugar. Taehyung smiled a bit, his chest bubbling with a sense of excitement he hadn’t felt in a long time.
“I’m always down for a party day.” He agreed, grinning at you and Hoseok. “Let’s go.”
The party day was very nice, and incredibly well needed. You played music, allowed the kids time to eat, and brought them outside for some free time due to the nice weather. Yoongi had grabbed the equipment, and the children ran their energy off with Taehyung, scattered throughout every corner of the field. Hoseok was sitting on the floor, rolling a ball around with some of the kids, who Yoongi was showing a few other kids how to shoot baskets in a small net that had been set up on the field. You were using chalk with Yuna and another small girl, doodling hearts and colorful flowers. As the girls complimented each other’s little doodles, you turned towards Taehyung. The man was eagerly rushing through the field; boys such as Yeonjun, Kai, and Beomgyu chased after him, he grinned, only running faster. The boys screamed as they watched the older man flee, trying to follow him as fast as their little legs could carry them. Kai finally managed to grab Taehyung by the leg, screaming “TAG!” And the other kids roaring in laughter. Taehyung dramatically, as he does, fell to the ground, only to be tackled by several children, all of them screaming and cheering in delight. A smile formed on your face as even more kids hurried to the scene, excited about what was going on, Yuna being one of them.
“Be careful!” You called out. Taehyung sat up, shaking out his hair. When you called his name, he turned towards you a grinned, lifting a hand to signal that your request was heard and would be carried out. Without missing a beat, he scattered the kids out once again. As Yuna scurried back to you, sitting down and grasping a pink piece of chalk, you watched Taehyung get dragged by Yeonjun and Kai towards Yoongi, who was still helping students shoot some baskets. Yoongi tossed the other teacher a ball upon watching him, and both of them began shooting, but at a net that was much higher up, and meant for adults or any passing by teenagers who used the lot after hours. Seokjin had it installed a few years back specifically for that reason.
As each moment passed, you knew it inched close and closer to the end of the day. You kept replaying one sentence in your head over and over, mentally rehearsing it for the moment a part of you was dreading. Well, it was several sentences, rephrased in hopes that one would spark some kind of inspiration deep within your belly. So far, nothing and this had been happening almost all day.
I don’t want this to be the reason you stay, but you deserve to know that I love you. Too passive.
As much as I want you to stay, you should go chase your dreams. But just know, I love you. Too wordy.
I love you, but I don’t want to hold you back from your dreams.
“Perfect.” You mumbled under your breath.
“What’s perfect, Teacher?” Yuna asked, looking up at you. You glanced at the girl, who had stopped her coloring on the sidewalk to glance at you, eyebrow cocked in confusion. A smile graced your lips, pointing to her scribbled rainbow.
“Your picture, Yuna! It’s perfect! I just wished it was on paper so I could hang it up! Can I hang up the piece of sidewalk in our classroom?” Yuna and the other little girl laughed, shaking their heads. As the girls returned to their coloring, you glanced back to Taehyung, you had just shot a free shot into the basket, hearing screams and shouts from the students, and claps from Yoongi. “Yeah, it’s perfect.” You repeated. Now, all you had to do was actually speak up and say it.
“Bye, Mr. Kim.” A sniffling Yeji called hand in hand with her mother. A majority of kids who had failed to bring presents that morning dropped them off at pick up, Yeji included. The little girl wiped her eyes as she waved from the back of her car, her mother wishing Taehyung well wishes as the duo pulled out and down the street. With the last student gone, Taehyung finally let out a sigh of relief.
“Man, these kids.” Bending down, he scooped up some of his presents, slipping them onto his arms like shopping bags and carrying some under his arms.
“Let me-.” Hoseok began but quickly stopped himself. He glanced at you, watching as you smooth out your skirt, eyes to the floor. “Go clean the room.” He nudged you, and when your attention was on him, he motioned to the remainder of the gifts on the floor.
When you noticed, you quickly knelt to grab the rest. “I’ll help you.” You smiled up at Taehyung. He smiled a bit, and the three of you headed inside, Hoseok breaking away as you passed the messy classroom. As he watched you two head into the art room, he closed the door behind him, pursing his lips together as he looked around the now empty room.
“You made out like a bandit.” You said to Taehyung, setting the presents down on the table. He laughed at the metaphor, nodding his head.
“I did, didn’t I? I’m pretty lucky.” He glanced over at you, watching as you examined the colorful gift bags. “Thank you for everything.” When you turned to him, you watched him slowly approach you.
“No, thank you.” You responded. “I appreciate everything. Even early on.” A chuckle escaped his boxy grin. “It’ll be different without you around.”
“I told Hyung when he hires someone before the new year, I’ll come back in and show them the ropes for the day if my schedule allows it. So, this won’t be the end of me, trust that much.” You nodded. Taehyung shifted a bit, glancing up at the door, which you had been sure to close behind you on the way in. “Jimin told me Namjoon invited you to that company party they’re having.”
“Yeah. I was hesitant at first, but I thought it would be something fun other than sitting home drinking wine.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fun.” You nodded. Taehyung took a moment to examine your features, and it took you only a moment to notice. A shy smirk graced your lips. “What are you looking at?” you asked curiously.
“…I’m sorry.” He said softly. You blinked, the smirk quickly fading away, and confusion taking its place. “You just looked…really sad today. It might be bold of me to assume it’s because I’m leaving, but…every time you looked at me today, you looked really sad. So, I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.”
“Heh. Does the Korean University of Arts provide a class for facial features?” you asked curiously.
“No.” Taehyung smiled. “You just have really pretty features, so I’ve been studying them.” Immediately, you felt your heart speed up, and your eyes widened just a bit. Taehyung smiled a bit. “When I came back from setting up everything and said I missed you guys, I think I missed you the most.”
“Taehyung-.” You sighed softly. “I appreciate that…” Clasping your hands together, you looked down at the floor, then quickly back up to him. “There’s something I want to tell you, but I don’t know how you’re going to take it.” Taehyung was now the one to frown, rubbing his arm.
“You don’t have to say it, if you don’t want to…” he admitted. What? You thought, looking up at him. “You look like you’re about to pass out. It’s okay…don’t worry...” When you looked at Taehyung, you could see the pain in his eyes as he rubbed the back of his neck, licking his bottom lip shyly. Why didn’t he want you to say it? Was he worried what hearing the words aloud would make him think?
It was just like you thought. You could see the pain in his eyes, and it made your heart hurt. You didn’t want him to leave here with anything but joy in his eyes, smiling even after he had long left this place, with only good memories of his final moments as the school art teacher. When his eyes fell back to you, you shivered. “It was a pleasure getting to know you. In every sense of the word.”
“Taehyung-.” You repeated. The taller man was quick to put his hand on your cheek, which stunned you, but you had no intention of stopping him. You instead tilted your cheek into it a bit. “I want to tell you…”
“No, you don’t. You’re worried about what telling me will do. Just know, I appreciate it. I appreciate everything. I’ll let you know when I come back into town, so all of us can get together, okay?” he asked. “Just promise you’ll be really happy and keep working hard. I’ll do the same for you too, okay?”
This isn’t what I wanted to happen. You thought to yourself. You still have time; you need to say it before he leaves. Despite the internal cheer squad in your mind, your lips remained tightly sealed, as if someone or something inside your mouth was holding your lips together with all of its might. Taehyung smiled, stepping back and turning to all of his presents. Scooping them up, he slipped them on his arms once again, sliding a few others in his backpack and slinging that onto his back. You watched silently as he nodded his head to you, heading out the door.
“Would it make a difference?” you asked, turning to him. Taehyung stopped, turning his head to face you. “I’m not saying what I feel is meant to keep you from your dreams, but if I said it out loud, would it make a difference on if you left or not?” Taehyung’s eyes dropped from your gaze the moment he saw tears bubble up into your eyes. The corner of his eye gave him a quick glimpse of your hand raising to wipe them away. “Would it?” you repeated. Taehyung quickly walked up to you, stopped right in front of you, and making you immediately stare up at him.
“…No. I don’t think so.” He said softly. You blinked, feeling your hands drop to your sides. Taehyung gently leaned forward, placing a soft peck right onto your forward. When he pulled back, he offered you a sad smile. “But at the same time…I don’t think I’ll be able to handle myself if I hear you say it out loud.” With that, Taehyung turned back around and headed out the door. You blinked, running a hand through your hair as you looked around the room, feeling a lump form in your throat.
Hoseok saw Taehyung practically sprint out of the hallway. Before Hoseok could get out to see him and say goodbye once again, Taehyung was already out the door. Hoseok stood in the hallway for a moment, confused as to what made him run out so quickly. Then, it hit him. “Oh, no.” Spinning on his heel, Hoseok hurried to the art room. When he entered, he saw you still standing in the same spot, rubbing your cheeks in a desperate attempt to calm yourself. “What happened?” he asked curiously.
“I couldn’t tell him directly.” You said, voice shaky and unsure. “But he said it was ok. Right before he left, I asked if it would even make a difference, you know if he would even stay if I said anything and-.” Hoseok simply walked up to you, pulling you into a tight hug. “He said no, so…maybe I was too late like I thought.” Saying that out loud, you felt your eyes water up to more, and you sniffled into his chest. Hoseok rested his chin on your head, gently rubbing your back as you sobbed into his chest. “I messed up so bad, Hobi…”
“No…no, you didn’t…” he said gently, smiling gently at you. “Everything happens for a reason. It’s okay.” For a moment, the two of you stood in silence, Hoseok gently rubbing your back as he waited for you to calm down. As he watched your body slowly stop crying, he took you by the hands. “Wanna come to my house tonight for dinner so you’re not home alone?” You sighed, nodding your head. “Okay. Let’s go get our stuff.”
Meanwhile, outside, Taehyung was on the train headed home. He had been sitting in silence thus far, hands gripping the gifts that piled on his lap. When the silence became too unbearable, even within a crowded train car, he called Jimin. He was quick to answer.
“Hey! How was your last day?”
“She asked me if her decision would be enough to make me stay here.” Jimin went silent for a moment.
“…What did you say?”
“I told her not to say it out loud. I didn’t want to hear it…I don’t think I want to hear it.” He heard Jimin exhale right as the train began to pull up to Taehyung’s station. Neither one of them spoke for a moment as Taehyung exited onto the platform until Taehyung clarified: “I don’t think I can.”
“Let me see what you’re wearing tonight,” Bong-Cha asked, leaning forward on her chair. You had been in the bathroom for over an hour preparing, and she was growing impatient. “Come on! The party will be over and done with at this rate.”
“Shut t, Bong-Cha. Don’t rush me.” Sighing, Bong-Cha got up and walked to the bathroom, knocking quickly. “Namjoon will be here any minute and I don’t want to look like I just rolled out of bed.”
“Then you’ll need more than just an hour.” She huffed. Finally, Bong-Cha’s banging was stopped as the doorbell rang through the house. “I’ll get it!” She cheered, hurrying up to the door and flinging it open. You poked your head out of the bathroom door, watching as your sister flung the front door open. “Kim Namjoon?” she asked.
“Yes. You must be Bong-Cha.” Namjoon hummed. “Your sister has told me a lot about you.” Bong-Cha giggled, letting Namjoon in and closing the door behind him. “I’m a bit early. The babysitter came right from school so I figured I’d just head right over.”
“No worries. She’s almost done.” Bong-Cha turned around and saw you slowly step out of the bathroom, closing the door behind you. You were in a simple pair of coral dress pants that hugged your hips, and a tucked-in top that had a fun cream and white pattern on it. Your hair was tugged up in a ponytail, exposing a set of stud earrings. As you lifted your hand to fix your hair, a few silver bracelets jingled together on your wrist.
“Hey.” You smiled. Namjoon stared at you for a moment, silent as he watched you gather your belongings. When you looked back up at him, he coughed into his hand.
“You look nice.” He said gently. A polite smile formed on your lips. “Ready?”
“Yea.” You smiled. Bong-Cha waved the both of you out the door, promising to lock up and leave after gathering up her belongings. Both you and Namjoon headed downstairs, slid into his car, and drove off.
The party was held at a nearby BBQ grill place across from the building. The CEO rented the entire place out to allow for some space and more opportunities to socialize. People gathered to eat, drink, chat, and enjoy the music that was pounding overhead through a set of speakers. As you and Namjoon entered, you immediately felt a chill run down your spine. As you rubbed your arms, Namjoon gently guided you down the hall. “Jimin is here.” He pointed out. “I think he told me he would be near the food most of the night. Let’s go say hi.” As you ventured into the building, you quickly caught sight of Jimin. He was by the food, a drink in his hand as he chatted with a few of his coworkers. He was laughing, grinning, amused by the other people’s jokes and comments. “Jimin!” Namjoon called, and Jimin turned with a grin. Excusing himself from his friends, he hurried over to you. He bowed quickly to his boss, but his attention was on you.
“Hey! Namjoon-Hyung told me you were coming, I’m so happy to see you again!” Jimin grinned. “You look so nice.”
“You too. How are you?” Jimin was quick to engage you in conversation, practically forgetting Namjoon was there after his polite greeting. The man watched in amusement, fixing his glasses as the two of you got comfortable. Slowly, he put a hand on the small of your back, alerting your attention.
“I’m going to get something to drink and find my boss. Do you want anything?”
“Uhm water please.” You smiled sweetly. Namjoon nodded, before heading into a crowd of people, being sure to shake hands and introduce himself to whoever he came across. With you alone with Jimin, he gently took your hands.
“How are you doing?” he asked again, gentler this time. You smiled. “I can tell you’re not your happiest.”
“I should be saying that to you. Your best friend and the only client as a manager is leaving.” Jimin smiled, nodding his head.
“Yeah, that’s true. But he doesn’t have a crush on me. At least, that I’m aware of.” You couldn’t help but laugh, even though hearing Jimin says that sent butterflies through your stomach and into your throat, pressing against the walls as if wanting to come out.
“I don’t think our final meeting went at all the way either of us wanted to.” You admitted. “He said he wouldn’t stay even if I said anything, and that he didn’t think he could even handle hearing it.” Jimin nodded.
“I know. He and I were talking a lot on the drive to the station.” Hearing Jimin says that caused you to bite your lip. “...What?”
“I forgot that today was the day he was leaving.” You said softly. “A part of me wanted to go see him before he left one more time but…I didn’t want to make anything worse.” Jimin smiled.
“He might’ve liked that, though,” Jimin assured. “I don’t think it would’ve made anything worse.” You could only shrug your shoulders in response. Jimin looked over his shoulder, then back to you. “Want something to eat before Namjoon-Hyung comes back with your water?”
“…Okay, yeah.” You smiled softly, following Jimin towards the food table, which was now unoccupied. You both put a few snacks on your plates. As Jimin watched you eat, he thought back to only hours earlier, when he had dropped Taehyung off at the station.
“Let me know when you’re on the train,” Jimin said.
“I’ll try. The service won’t be that great, but I’ll text you when I get to my aunts for sure.” The duo shared a hug in the car, and Taehyung glanced out towards the entrance to the train station. He sat silently in the passenger’s seat, before turning to Jimin. “You’re going to see her at that party tonight, right?”
“Yeah,” Jimin said.
“Make sure Namjoon just…takes care of her, okay? I don’t want to have to come back just to throw some punches at the guy right when we found common ground.” Jimin frowned a bit.
“You don’t have to worry, Taehyung.” He said. “That won’t happen.”
“I know but-.”
“It won’t,” Jimin repeated. Taehyung blinked, licking his lips quickly and running a hand through his hair. “I think you should call her, Taehyung. Let her say what she has to.”
“I don’t want to,” Taehyung admitted. “She’s going to a party with Namjoon, she is obviously uncomfortable talking to me about it. She looked like she was going to cry when I saw her. I didn’t want her to cry…” Taehyung finally opened the door. “It is what it is, I just want her to be happy.” Jimin watched as Taehyung got out of the car. “As I said, I’ll text you later. Have fun tonight.” The familiar boxy grin showed on Taehyung’s face, but Jimin could only see pain. Fixing his mask over his nose, his friend closed the door and disappeared into the train station. After a moment of sitting there, the sound of a car horn honking behind him encouraged Jimin to drive off.
Jimin watched as you put some of the snacks into your mouth, smiling at him. “This is really good. Your boss went all out, hm?”
“Heh, yeah, he’s pretty good with that,” Jimin admitted. As you continued to eat, Jimin looked at you. He knew any minute Namjoon would be back and would whisk your attention away. Despite attending the party as friends, with Taehyung leaving, Namjoon had the opportunity to try and win you over. Would that be a bad thing? No. Would it be what you truly wanted? Also, no. Jimin looked around, catching a glimpse of Namjoon chatting with a few of the higher-ups, laughing as they shared a round of drinks. Quickly, he turned to you. “Are you sure you’re okay with Taehyung just leaving?”
“What?” you asked curiously. “Well….no…but he made up his mind and-.”
“What did you tell him?” Jimin asked. You frowned. “Hm?”
“Nothing. He said he didn’t want me to say it out loud because he didn’t want to hear it. I already said that…So, even if I did tell him, I loved him, he still would have left. I just didn’t want to be selfish. But maybe a part of me should have been…” Jimin sighed. “Maybe I should have fought harder to keep him around. Tell him anyway, or go see him like I wanted to.”
“Maybe so.” Jimin began. You glanced at him. “I have a feeling Taehyung’s thought and your confession got miscommunicated. I have a feeling Taehyung thinks you were about to reject him over Hyung.” You blinked.
“…What?” you asked again.
“He told me when we went on that weekend trip to the school that he didn’t expect something would be here that would have made it hard for him to leave. I think a part of him really wanted to stay here with you, despite everything that’s been happening.”
You were silent, stunned even. “You really believe he thinks I was rejecting him?”
“You told him about the party with Hyung tonight, and he said you looked terrified to talk to him ever since he got the notice about this scholarship. He probably didn’t want to hear it because he wanted to have a bit more time to think he had a chance with you.”
“No. That’s not what I wanted to happen. Oh God, I knew I messed up.” You ran a hand through your hair, pupils darting in every direction. Jimin set his plate on the table, and quickly took your hand, hoping it would calm you down and allow you a moment to think. “…I need to call him.” Right as you pulled out your phone, dialing Taehyung’s number, it went to voicemail. “Wh-?”
“The service isn’t that great, he said we might not hear from him until he gets to his aunt’s house in Seoul.”
“I can’t have him leave thinking that I can’t. I need to tell him.” You looked at Jimin. “What station did you take him to? Do you know what train he’s supposed to be getting on?” Jimin nodded, quick to take out his phone and send you the direction to the station, along with the train number and departure time. “Can I even manage to get a taxi?”
“A taxi?” Both you and Jimin looked up to see Namjoon approach, smiling playfully as he handed you your water. “Are you thinking of ditching me?” Despite his playful chuckle, when you took the water in your hands, he immediately noticed them trembling violently. Glancing back up at you, he could see how red your eyes were from holding back a load of tears. “Hey what’s wrong?”
“I need to get to Taehyung.” You said. “I need to talk to him and he doesn’t have service and I need to before he leaves, I-.” Namjoon glanced at Jimin, who was biting his lower lip, still gripping your hand that didn’t have the water bottle in it.
“I can drive you.” He offered quickly. You looked at him, absolutely shocked. “We can’t have him leave with such a heavy burden on his shoulders. It could affect his inspirational juices while he’s away at school.” Namjoon dug in his pocket, pulling out his keys. “Besides, we just started getting along, I can’t have him dislike me again already.” Gently, he took your hand, leading you out towards his parked car. “Jimin, if the CEO asks, say it was my son, okay? I’ll never hear the end of it if he thinks I took a girl home.” You couldn’t help but stifle a laugh as Namjoon quickly led you out the door of the establishment. Once in the car with the directions in place, he sped off down the street.
The first half of the ride was silent until you turned to Namjoon. Running a hand through your hair, you finally spoke up: “You didn’t have to do this. I could’ve hailed a taxi or…had Hoseok pick me up or something.”
“Nonsense. That would have taken way too long and you’re on a time crunch.” Namjoon offered you a smile. “I’m just sorry if I in any way led to this miscommunication.”
“No.” you gasped. “Of course not. I should have made sure I said it then to avoid this. Maybe things would be different if I had...”
“Better late than never, right?” he chuckled. “I’m sure if you tell him, it’ll just make both of you feel better. Even if he still leaves for school, both of you will have that stress, and any of those negative feelings or thoughts of ‘what if’ lifted off your shoulders. It’ll do you both good.”
“That’s true.” You said softly. Namjoon smiled, reaching out and patting your hand gently, hoping the gesture would send just a little bit of support your way. You smiled. “Thank you, Namjoon,” you said softly. Namjoon nodded.
The both of you continued your drive, silent other than the sounds of the moving car around you. All you could do was stare at the time, wondering how much time you had left. Would the train come early? Would it be late? Should you take out your bus card now so you wouldn’t have to waste time fumbling inside? Could you even find Taehyung in time, much less tell him what you wanted to say? What would his reaction be? What-?
“We’re here,” Namjoon said. You looked up at the entrance to the train station as Namjoon stopped his car. “Want me to come with you?”
“No. Thank you.” You said. “I’ll be back.” Namjoon watched as you practically flew out of the car, hurrying into the station. Namjoon watched until you disappeared, before leaning back in his seat and covering his eyes.
You raced down a few hallways, being stopped by a worker in the station. When they asked what you were doing, you could only ask where you could find the train that Jimin told you Taehyung was expecting to take. Assuming you were a frantic woman late for her ride, they simply pointed you in the right direction. With a nod and a bow, you hurried down as quickly as your legs could carry you. You were hoping, praying for Taehyung to still be on the platform, waiting for his train.
As you were running, Taehyung was sitting on one of the bench chairs, his music playing through his earphones. Every few seconds, when the platform rumbled, he would glance up only to see a train pull up, and individuals shuffle in and out of the train. Taehyung glanced around, before finding comfort in his phone again. He was scrolling through pictures that Hoseok had sent him from their days at the preschool. Some of Taehyung with the students, working on arts and crafts, hanging stuff up in the hallways. As he continued to look through, he came across a collection of photos towards the end of the slideshow. It was from the day the teachers put on a play for the students of “The Moon and the Sun”. Seokjin had been snapping pictures of the performance before his scenes. As he continued to scroll, a video came up. He saw the thumbnail of you before the show beginning, fixing the bun he had put in your hair. He remembered specifically taking Hoseok’s phone to record, with his being in the art room. He was quick to hit play.
“Ready for your acting debut?” Taehyung asked, off-screen. You rolled your eyes.
“When I win an award for my winning performance, I’ll be sure to thank everyone except for you.” Taehyung was heard laughing in the background.
“Awww, really? Come on now, that’s not fair.”
“I’ll be sure to thank you, Taehyungie,” Hoseok said, in that high-pitched voice that Taehyung remembered had every kid hysterical when he used. Both you and Taehyung laughed at the man as he fixed his braided wig, tossing it effortlessly over his shoulder.
“I hate you both. Now turn that off and get in costume before the kids come in.” was your demand, the video was quick to end. A smile formed on Taehyung’s face, and he closed his phone just as another rumble ran through the station. Looking up, he saw his train arrive. People were already gathering to get on, hoping to find a good seat for the trip to Seoul. Taehyung slipped his earbuds out, grabbing the one duffle bag he had brought with him as he waited for some room to safely get on the train. He fixed his mask and started off the platform and towards the train.
You hurried down a flight of stairs just in time to see that the train was arriving any moment if it hadn’t already. Turning the corner, you saw a flood of individuals come out into the main part of the station, right in the direction Taehyung’s train was expected to be. Feeling your heart drop, you hurried as quick as you could pass the people, a string of frantic apologies and excuses falling from your mouth. Just as you managed to make your way through, you saw the train. However, you couldn’t see Taehyung. You knew time was ticking, and you had to make sure he could see you, or at least hear you. Taking a deep breath, you grasped your hands together:
“KIM TAEHYUNG!” You shouted at the top of your lungs.
Just as Taehyung was arriving on the train, the sound of his name hit his ears. His head spun around, eyes scanning for the source of the noise. He couldn’t make it out right away, but that was when he heard: “TAEHYUNG?!” Once more. Being able to isolate the noise, his eyes fell to a circle that had formed towards the bench he was sitting at. People staring at this one person who was screaming throughout the station. His eyes widened just as you and he made eye contact, and he could see how red your eyes were.
“What the-?” Taehyung’s first instinct was to step out onto the platform again, to rush towards you and see what was wrong. However, the train doors closed, blocking his path and trapping him in the train. He stood by the window, watching as you stood there, trying to hurry to the train door. “What’s wrong?” he tried to call through the glass windows.
“I’m sorry!” you shouted. “I love you!” Taehyung raised an eyebrow, unable to hear properly due to all of the noise. Before he could ask for clarification, he was alerted when the train announcement came onto the speakers:
Train departing. Please step back from the platform to ensure your safety. Thank you.
“I love you…” You tried to say again. Just as Taehyung felt the wheels of the train roll away, he saw Namjoon hurry up behind you, quickly pulling you back from the train station. You turned to him visibly shocked, and trying to pull away from him. “Wait, I don’t think he heard me. I don’t want him to leave before he heard me.”
“You need to step back, it isn’t safe.” Taehyung watched as Namjoon practically yanked you back, for your safety, as the train began to fully head out of the station. His eyes remained on you, however, even hurrying past other individuals farther down the train in hopes to see you for just a moment longer. He ignored every shout from passengers he squeezed past.
When the train entered its first tunnel, all sight of you was cut short, and Taehyung was left in absolute darkness.
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