Too Good To Be True - Ch. 43 | kth(m)
Summary: Kim Taehyung is a world famous idol in the hit K-pop group, BTS, and you are his personal stylist. Per your contract with Big Hit, he is absolutely, 100% off-limits, and yet, you are completely and hopelessly in love with him. You’ve spent years trying to shove your feelings down, but it’s getting harder and harder to ignore and hide them, especially considering the way Tae always treats you. He’s affectionate and protective and sometimes outright flirtatious, but that’s how he is with everyone, right? Confused, frustrated, and lovesick, you find yourself wondering if it might finally be worth risking your career and your heart to find out.
pairing: Taehyung x reader
genre: Idol! au, fluff, angst, eventual smut, friends to lovers, slow burn
word count: 4.1k
warnings: cursing, implied smut, possible infidelity
Chapter 43: Slipped My Mind
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The new ‘rules’ you established that Sunday night were much more vague than the ones that were initially agreed upon. They focused more on what Tae and Jisoo shouldn’t do, rather than what they should do, which left a frighteningly large gray area for you all to navigate through. You hated their ambiguous nature, hated how they made you acutely aware of your lack of control in this whole situation, but you were, begrudgingly, the one to suggest they be designed this way. The unavoidable truth was that having a strict and limited set of predefined ways for Tae and Jisoo to interact was what made things seem forced and awkward in the first place. If they wanted their relationship to be believable, their interactions needed to be less calculated and more natural. They needed to be able to react organically to the situations they found themselves in and that meant not always knowing ahead of time what they were going to do.
Things like kissing on the lips or touching in a way that was overtly sexual were obviously not OK, but other than that nothing was really set in stone. You gave Tae permission to be more physically affectionate and to do more cute coupley things, however, you couldn’t bring yourself to explicitly outline specific things he should do. Ultimately, you ended up telling him to just use his judgement and do whatever he thought necessary and appropriate to make it look real. Your only stipulation was that he be the one to dictate any interactions that were more intimate in nature. If he initiated something, Jisoo could then go along with it, otherwise she was supposed to abide by the original rules. Despite Tae’s trust in her altruistic intentions, you still had your doubts. The last thing you wanted was her thinking she now had the freedom to do whatever she wanted with your boyfriend.
Tae asked if you wanted him to check with you before he did anything with her to which you honestly replied ‘No’. The idea of him spending time contemplating what to do somehow seemed more painful than him simply doing things spur of the moment when he saw an opportunity to put on a show. When it came to explaining what they had done together after the fact, Tae did not ask if that’s what you wanted, he told you that’s what he would do. He said there couldn’t be any secrets between you two and, although you knew it would hurt you both to talk through their interactions, you agreed it was the right thing to do. And, finally, he made you promise that if he ever did anything that you felt crossed the line that you would tell him right away.
Throughout your entire conversation, you could just feel the guilt and torment radiating off of him. It was then that you truly recognized and acknowledged the heartbreak he was suffering as a result of all this. It was different from what you were enduring, but it was no less severe. He was being forced to hurt you, the woman he loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and the deep wounds this left him with were ones you began to fear might never heal. With each passing second, you felt your resolve to be strong for him deepening; you could not bear to cause him even more pain.
After you and Tae talked through everything and decided what you wanted to do moving forward, he called Jisoo to let her know. Initially, he stayed with you in the bedroom, holding your hand and gently stroking your thumb as he spoke with her, but eventually he excused himself and left the room. You felt the tiniest twinge of anxiety watching him leave, wondering why he needed to talk to her in private, but you pushed it from your mind. You trusted that he had a good reason and that he would tell you what you needed to know afterwards. He was on the phone with her for a long time, though, so long that you eventually climbed into bed to wait for him.
You were half asleep when he finally came back into the room, sighing deeply as he closed the door behind him. A few minutes later he crawled into bed beside you. He wrapped his arms around you like always and pulled you against his chest, enveloping you in his warm, comforting embrace. One of his hands soon found yours, his fingers carefully lacing with your own as he peppered your shoulder with little kisses.
“I love you, Jagi,” he whispered after a moment. “I love you so much. More than anything in the whole world.”
“I meant it when I gave you this,” he went on as he gently twirled the couple’s ring around your finger with his thumb. “I will always love you.”
“Please don’t ever forget that,” he then said, the slightest tremble and hint of fearfulness in his voice. “No matter what.”
“Baby, I won’t,” you assured him. “I promise.”
Bringing his hand to your lips, you sealed that promise with a tender kiss to the finger on which he wore his matching couple’s ring.
“I love you and I love us and that’s never going to change,” you added softly.
“We’re going to get through this,” you said finally, trying your best to be brave for him. “Everything is going to be OK.”
The following morning, phase two of the plan to keep your secret, stay together, and save your relationship began. Tae sent out a text to the other guys letting them know what was going on so they wouldn’t be surprised when they saw him and Jisoo acting differently. Unsurprisingly, Namjoon called Tae immediately after receiving the text. From what you could gather from the half of the conversation you heard, the older man was a bit wary of this change of plans, but agreed you couldn’t risk backing off now if Bang PD was legitimately suspicious. As you sat there in the kitchen listening to Tae explain things, you got a much needed bit of assurance knowing your guardian angel was onboard with everything.
Tae ‘upped their game’ little by little so as to lessen the blow and give you time to adjust to their new dynamic which you greatly appreciated. Despite the fact that they were doing more together than they had been before, you actually felt your level of anxiety decrease slightly. The fact that you and him were regularly talking about what they were doing was helping significantly in terms of quelling your fears. You still weren’t divulging all of your deep seeded insecurities, but you were being more candid than you had been during the first three weeks of this ordeal. However, no matter what Tae did or said in the evenings to assure you of his love and commitment, you did still have moments when you were unable to combat the little doubts that infiltrated your mind.
On Monday, Tae fed Jisoo part of his meal while they had lunch down in the café. Eunji happened to be there at the time and had sneakily taken a photo and then sent it to you. As you sat there by yourself in the studio staring down at the photo, you couldn’t help but be overcome with bitterness. You and Tae would never get to do something like that. Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to take you or Jisoo out to an actual restaurant without being swamped by fans and media. But, inside of the Big Hit building, he did have the freedom and protection to openly be with his partner...so long as that partner was Jisoo and not you.
On Tuesday, they took a bunch of selfies together. They spent several minutes throwing out different poses, giggling the entire time and clearly having fun. They took one while doing Tae’s signature ‘V’ over the eye pose. Another showed them making silly faces with their tongues sticking out. In the last one they took, Jisoo gave Tae a kiss on the cheek while he scrunched his face up all cutely. Jisoo actually made that one the background of her phone, but thankfully Tae kept the photo of Tannie as the background of his. For that, you were extremely grateful; you didn’t think you could handle it if you saw her face every time he turned on his phone.
On Wednesday, he wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and pulled her to his chest while hanging out in the studio. She slowly slid her hands down his arms and then carefully intertwined their fingers. Off to the side, you watched them through the mirror, noting how frustratingly perfect they looked together. They were both so beautiful, so captivating and alluring. You couldn't help but worry what people would say when it was time to publicly reveal your relationship years from now. Surely they would be surprised, and maybe even disappointed, to see Tae with someone as plain as you.
On Thursday, he kissed her on the forehead. Out of everything he had done, this was by far the most painful to witness. Although she had given him kisses to the cheek almost daily for the last month, this was the first time he had ever touched her with his lips. The gesture somehow seemed more intimate than if he had kissed her on the mouth. A kiss to the lips could be mistaken for nothing more than lust, but a kiss to the forehead meant so much more. It signified adoration and affection, emotions that were only supposed to be reserved for you. The worst part wasn’t just that he did it, but that he did it with a tenderest of smiles on his face.
By the time Friday rolled around, you were emotionally exhausted, significantly more so than you had been at the end of any of the previous three grueling weeks. Nothing Tae did had crossed the line, all of their interactions had been relatively tame and innocent, but the way he had done things had been hard to stomach.
It just looked so real.
It was both impressive and unsettling how quickly he seemed to have flipped the switch. Just last week it looked awkward and forced every time he touched her or spoke to her, but now it seemed like everything came naturally to him. You knew the ease with which he slipped into the character of her doting boyfriend was a reflection of his acting skills, but nonetheless, it was at times hard to watch. There had been a handful of instances throughout the week where you had, for just a split second, forgotten he was pretending.
To say you were ready for the weekend was a massive understatement and thankfully the day had gone by quickly and without incident. Due to his hectic rehearsal schedule, you actually hadn’t seen Tae once all day since leaving the apartment. Normally, that would have bummed you out, but not seeing Tae meant not seeing Jisoo and you weren’t about to complain about that. However, your hopes of having a completely Jisoo-free day were dashed just as you were getting ready to head home.
After attending a meeting with the other stylist’s regarding the upcoming Big Hit family photoshoot, you entered the studio to find Jisoo perched on Tae’s chair. By now, you were accustomed to this sight. She waited here for him almost every day so they could walk out to the parking garage together. Seeing them leave hand-in-hand was an unpleasant way to end each work day, but you were comforted knowing that the moment he said goodbye to her, he was once again unequivocally yours. As she drove away back to whatever sad life awaited her, he drove home to you and your life together.
Over the course of the last month, Jisoo had interacted with you only sparingly, something which you found surprising and also slightly unnerving. You had expected her to be constantly giving you dirty looks or throwing out little jabs, anything to use the precarious situation against you, but she had contained whatever resentment you were convinced she still held towards you. When she was with you and Tae in the studio, she had mostly ignored your existence, instead focusing all her attention on Tae. Your most notable exchange had occurred early on when she informed you that your close relationship with Tae might be viewed as inappropriate, but since then you hadn’t spoken more than a few pleasantries to one another.
This week, though, there had been a noticeable change in her demeanor towards you. Before, she seemed to have genuinely tried to tone things down when you were around, but now she appeared to have no qualms about flaunting her ‘relationship’ right in front of you. While she did refrain from initiating anything more intimate, she immediately went all in on whatever Tae did, taking a mile when he gave her an inch with absolutely no regard for your feelings whatsoever. She wore a sweet, innocent smile the majority of the time, but every now and then she dropped the façade and flashed you a smug, satisfied smirk. She was clearly loving the new rules, absolutely eating up all the attention and affection Tae gave her, and she wanted you to know. It was infuriating to stand by and watch her, to know she had gotten exactly what she wanted, but you had no choice but to grin and bear it.
As you walked over to your station to pack up your bag, you kept your eyes glued to your phone in an attempt to deter Jisoo from attempting to speak to you. Initially, your plan was successful; for ten whole minutes she pretended not to have noticed that you entered the vicinity. However, her shrill voice eventually cut through the peaceful silence.
“I must say, I’m surprised you’re OK with all this,” she said, her tone annoyingly light. “I’m not sure I would be able to sit back and watch my boyfriend be all over another woman.”
“You must really trust him,” she went on casually.
At last, the claws have come out.
“I do,” you replied evenly. “I know he’s only doing it because he loves me and wants to protect our relationship.”
“Still, doesn’t it bother you when you see us together here at work?” she asked, her voice dripping with obviously fake concern. “When you watch him hold me or kiss me?”
No, it doesn’t bother me. It fucking kills me.
“Not one bit,” you said nonchalantly, refusing to give her the satisfaction of knowing her words had gotten under her skin. “I know it doesn’t mean anything.”
“He still comes home to me every night,” you continued, a hint of smugness now in your voice as your courage surged. “He cooks me dinner, cuddles with me on the couch, makes love to me in our bed, and then falls asleep with me in his arms.”
“So, no, it doesn’t bother me when I see him playing pretend with you,” you stated triumphantly.
She seemed genuinely surprised by the boldness of your statement and you relished the stunned expression she momentarily wore. However, in an instant it was gone and she was back sporting her usual smirk.
“Well, I’m glad to know you’re OK with everything,” she went on in a sickly sweet voice.
“I was worried you might be upset that he and I spent yesterday afternoon alone in my recording studio,” she then added, barely able to contain the glee in her voice as she spoke.
Upon hearing her words, you felt the rush of confidence you’d just experienced begin slowly draining out of you. Like every other day this week, last night you and Tae had talked through his day and he’d let you know everything that had happened between him and Jisoo. He had mentioned the forehead kiss and a couple other small interactions like hugs and holding hands, but he hadn’t mentioned anything about being alone with her in her recording studio. Finding yourself completely caught off guard, you simply stood there in silence, trying to gather your thoughts
“Oh, he didn’t tell you?” she asked, feigning surprise when you didn’t respond.
“It must have just slipped his mind,” she continued innocently. “He was really tired when he left yesterday.”
The clear insinuation of her words had you snapping back to reality, but before you could say anything Tae walked into the studio, his big, boxy smile shining brightly. He came over and gave Jisoo a hug, but shot you a quick wink behind her back. Under normal circumstances that little secret gesture would have made you giddy, but right now, after the conversation you and Jisoo had just had, it made your insides churn as an awful thought popped into your head.
What if he does things behind my back too?
You hated yourself for even thinking that, but you couldn’t deny that Jisoo’s words had shaken you. It was clear that you and Tae needed to talk, but you knew you couldn’t afford to get into it right now so you gave him a small smile in return and hoped he wouldn’t notice that it didn’t reach your eyes.
“We need to get going,” Jisoo then said, breaking away from his hug and instead linking her arm with his. “We have dinner reservations at 6:00, remember?”
“Oh, uh, right,” he said, clearing his throat as he grabbed his jacket off of his chair.
“Bye, Y/N,” he then added casually as she began tugging him towards the door. “I’ll see you on Monday.”
As you watched them leave, you began replaying your conversation with Jisoo, trying to stay calm and not let your mind wander to dark places. Not a minute after they were gone, though, your phone buzzed in your pocket.
[Taehyung 4:34 PM]
‘See you on Monday’
[Taehyung 4:34 PM]
As if I could actually go two whole days without you.
[Taehyung 4:35 PM]
I would die of cuddle and kiss withdrawal.
[Taehyung 4:35 PM]
I’ll see you at home soon, sweetheart 💜
As you reread his messages, swooning at the new nickname, you felt yourself relax as you let out the breath you had been holding. Surely there was an explanation for what Jisoo said, the most likely of which being that she straight up lied to you. She had clearly been trying to rile you up, but after you shut down her initial attacks she got desperate and started spewing nonsense. Once you talked to Tae, he would confirm this and everything would be fine. Shaking off the rest of your negative thoughts, you finished packing up and headed home.
When you got there, you were only further convinced that Jisoo was full of crap. After quietly entering the apartment, you crept towards the kitchen and heard Tae starting to make dinner while talking to who you could only assume was Tannie.
I know you missed Mommy today. I missed her too. I snuck down to the studio during one of our rehearsal breaks just so I could peek through the door and see her. She was working on my outfit for the Big Hit family photoshoot and she pouted so adorably when the sewing machine got jammed. I wanted so badly to walk in there and kiss her pouty lips, but obviously I couldn’t do that. You know the rules: no kissing Mommy at work. She’s going to be home soon, though, and then we’ll get to see her all weekend and get all the kisses and all the cuddles too.
Those simply could not be the words of someone who was hiding things from you.
Not wanting to spoil the absolutely lovely mood he’d set with that cute soliloquy, you decided to wait until after dinner to bring up your conversation with Jisoo. Of course, immediately after dinner was over you two had not one but two servings of dessert, the first one hot and messy right there on the dining room table and the second slow and passionate between the satin sheets of your bed.
It wasn’t until later on, after you’d showered, together of course, and gotten into bed that you finally had the chance to ask him about what Jisoo had said. You were fairly certain she had lied, or that she had misrepresented the situation somehow so as to give you the wrong impression, but you just wanted to get clarity from Tae so you could stop worrying.
“Tae?” you began to get his attention.
He hummed in reply as he snuggled you closer and burrowed his face in your hair.
“Where were you yesterday afternoon?” you asked casually.
The few seconds during which he hesitated to answer you were cause enough for slight concern, but it was the way his body tensed up that had you instantly on edge. All at once, the calm, happy cocoon he’d had you wrapped in all evening began unraveling. It was a simple question, one which shouldn’t have elicited this kind of guarded response from him.
“I was actually with Jisoo in her recording studio,” he replied, an unmistakable hint of guilt in his voice. “I’m sorry I forgot to tell you.”
You forgot or you purposefully didn’t tell me?
You couldn’t help but ask yourself this question. Although Tae could be forgetful at times, this was a pretty important thing to have forgotten, especially when it happened only hours before you talked. An uncomfortable silence then settled over the two of you when he didn’t elaborate on his admission or explain the situation further.
“What were you guys doing in there?” you eventually questioned as nonchalantly as possible so as not to convey your growing unease.
Again, there was the briefest of pauses before he responded which caused your stomach to drop.
“She said she needed to stop by and pick something up after lunch,” he answered tentatively. “But then she started playing some songs from her upcoming album and I got stuck in there for a while.”
“I’m sorry again that I didn’t mention it yesterday,” he went on quickly as he hugged you to him a little more tightly. “It just slipped my mind.”
“It’s OK,” you said quietly. “Thanks for telling me now.”
As you laid there, for the first time feeling a bit suffocated by his warm embrace rather than comforted by it, you debated what more you should say. The idea of Jisoo dragging him in there for one thing only to force him to listen to her songs was believable; she was always trying to show off for him in one way or another. If he had told you about this upfront yesterday, you wouldn’t have been nearly as upset as you were right now. While you didn’t love the idea of them being alone together behind a closed door, you trusted him in that situation. At least, you thought you did.
You wanted desperately to believe that he had truly just forgotten to tell you, but the sinking feeling in your stomach had you doubting that theory. Assuming he had purposefully kept this information to himself, the best case scenario was that he was afraid he had accidentally crossed the line by being in there alone with her and didn’t want to upset you. It would still have been wrong of him not to tell you, but at least he would have had good intentions. The worst case scenario, though, was legitimately too painful to contemplate: that he had knowingly and intentionally crossed the line while in there but didn’t want you to know.
With all your might, you tried to force that last heartbreaking thought from your mind. Tae loved you. He was only spending time with her because he loved you and wanted to keep you safe. He wanted to marry you and have a family with you and spend the rest of his life with you.
He would never cheat on you.
Not sure if there were any words that could express the jumbled mess of thoughts and emotions you were currently dealing with, you ultimately ended up saying nothing more. Whether Tae didn’t realize you were actually not OK at the moment, or he noticed but didn’t want to address it, you weren’t sure, but a few minutes later he reached over and turned off the lamp on the bedside table.
“Goodnight, Jagi,” he whispered. “I hope you have sweet dreams.”
“Night, Tae,” you called back softly, knowing with absolute certainty that any dreams you had, assuming you slept at all, would be anything but sweet.
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