Quarter Life Crisis
pairing: jungkook x reader
genre/warning: slow burn friends to lovers!au, friend zoning, being dense AF, swearing & sarcastic bantering, a smidge of angst, explicit implications of smut
word count: 25k
A/N: guys. i’ve never written something this long and in depth before and i honestly don’t know how to feel about it. but i do know i have a newfound respect for fic writers. i poured so much time and effort into this, and can only imagine what other writers go through so please remember to show your fave writers love for all their hard work!
In the movies, the recently graduated, mid-twenties protagonist sets off on the journey of life and seems to immediately land a fantastic job, find a stellar unit in an even more luxurious apartment complex, gets a fancy car with a name that’s impossible to pronounce, is in a long term relationship from college and is going to receive a proposal within the next few months (but doesn’t know it yet), and basically, has life all figured out. If movies are going to portray young adult life like that, then that’s ideally what your twenties should be like, right? Being young, educated, ready to take on the world, further discovering yourself and finding true love.
This, however, is not what you imagined your mid-twenties to be like.
Sitting in a comfy pair of capri leggings and an oversized college t-shirt, you sink into your sofa and suck in a labored breath. You really shouldn’t have finished that last bit of Shanghai fried noodles. T’was a mistake, a horrible mistake. Rolling down the waistband of your leggings, your belly pops out, set free, and you finally feel like you can breathe again.
“Wow, you’re really packin’ heat there, huh Pillsbury?” A low voice calls mockingly from across the room.
“Shut up, I’m proud of my life achievements okay.” You immediately retaliate, not even bothering to look at the other potato potato-ing at the opposite end of the sofa.
You hear him snort incredulously. “Ah yes, because ‘he who achieves the pudge, achieves in life.’ Definitely heard Yoda say that one somewhere.”
Letting your head lull to the side, you can’t stop yourself from snickering at the sight of Jungkook sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce, hands held up in OK signs, eyes shut and head bobbing from side to side ridiculously in what you deem to be an extremely inaccurate impersonation of Yoda. Why you continue to hang out with this dweeb and allow him to put his nasty feet up on your coffee table right after hitting the gym for two hours is beyond you. Must be because it’s Friday night, affectionately known as Fat Friday, and he’s always the one who brings take out, like it’s a peace offering of some sort. That’s why.
At this age you would’ve never imagined that life would consist of a weekly Fat Friday “take out and a movie” routine with your best friend from college. As a young adult, you know you’re fortunate to have a stable 8-5 job that you don’t hate, a clean and cozy apartment unit in the city (with in unit laundry machines, bless up) and a small group of friends that stand by you through thick and thin. But after spending so many days and years like this, you can’t help but question it all.
According to those damn rom-coms, you should be out going on adventures, mingling with new people, sipping on over-priced drinks, showing up to the club with your posse and, maybe if you’re lucky, waltzing out with a newly acquired friend for the night. But here you are instead, having a chopsticks war with Jungkook over the last crab rangoon Kung-fu Panda style, even though you’re so full, the delicious fried appetizer might just have to sit in your throat for a while until your digestive system can make room for it. Living in your twenties is wild, just absolutely wild.
“God, please don’t tell me you do this when you go on dates.” Jungkook looks at you in both disgust and awe as you pop the last crab rangoon in your mouth, chewing noisily on purpose to rub it in his face while simultaneously enjoying the crunch.
“What, eat?” A speck of crab escapes and lands on your chin. Now Jungkook definitely looks more grossed out than amazed as he reaches out to thumb at your chin, removing the bit of artificial seafood and making a face as he wipes it on a nearby napkin.
“No, this isn’t eating. This is straight up a clip from the Discovery Channel about predators swallowing their prey.” He deadpans. “It’s like you’re training to be a food fighter, or something.”
You suddenly look up, eyes beaming with enlightenment, “That’s it, a food fighter, of course! That’s what I should be pursuing in life! Jeon, for once, you and your one brain cell have managed to come up with a brilliant idea.”
Jungkook doesn’t even seem phased by your insult and just moves to make himself comfortable, kicking his feet up on the coffee table as per usual. “You know, I actually think you could do it. With the way you eat- no, inhale food, you could show the world your one and only talent – gluttony.” He grins victoriously only to have to whip his neck from side to side in order to avoid the used chopsticks you spear at him, the wooden sticks clattering onto the linoleum floor. You scowl openly from having missed, settling back onto the sofa with your arms crossed over your chest.
“I could start my own muk-bang stream.” You think aloud, seriously considering the occupation for a moment. “Look cute, eat ten packets of ramen, answer questions about my life from the millions of die-hard fans watching – I could totally live that life.”
Jungkook chuckles at the mental imagery he gets, “Yeah, and then majestically throw up for your two whole precious fans to witness. Real cute.” His lip quirks upwards, “Those two poor fans, scarred for life, never able to heal from the trauma.”
You glare at him. “Just wait until my boyfriend hears of this, he won’t stand for this kind of abuse you give me. Is this even friendship? Where’s the love? The support?” You clutch at your chest dramatically, “Where’s the camaraderie, best friend? Where’s the-” You’re so rudely cut off by a pillow to the face, thrown by none other than your so-called best friend.
“Puh-lease, Park SeoJoon is way out of your league. I said it. Sniff sniff, cry cry, get over it, babe.”
You frown, shaking a closed fist at him. “One day, Jeon, you’ll see. One day.” With a defeated sigh, you flop onto your back and throw your feet up onto Jungkook’s lap, ignoring the “ugh your feet smell” comment he makes and instead, focusing on the dreary white ceiling of your unit.
The both of you know it’s just harmless joking when you refer to Park SeoJoon as your boyfriend and whenever Jungkook makes fun of your eating habits and pudgy food babies. To strangers, the way you two interact may seem a bit harsh and pretty immature, but for the two of you, the playful insults and level of savagery are just right. It’s a relief that you can bicker and banter with him and know there are no hard feelings, that you two know each other well enough to know where the lines that should not be crossed are. But it hasn’t always been this way.
When you first met Jungkook freshman year of college, he was ridiculously shy, probably one of the most soft spoken and just plain awkward people you’d ever met. So much so that, being the decent, civilized human being you were, you felt completely obligated to be nice back, mostly because you were afraid he might cry if you accidentally looked him in the eye or something. He seemed so delicate, perpetually wide eyed and fearful, and for that reason, you felt a little more distant from him and closer with the other guys. You were able to freely throw around insults and make all the snarky jabs you wanted around them. Jungkook was just too quiet, and thus you were too nice to him. That is, until one day, your mutual friend Taehyung proposed the idea of having a Mario Kart tournament out of boredom, and somehow it ended up being just you and Jungkook in the final race. Spoiler alert – you beat Jungkook. Blue shelled him right at the finish line and cackled like a disney villain as you cut right in front and took first place. You’ll never forget that moment – it was the first time he ever swore at you. Actually, that was the first time you ever heard Jungkook swear period – ears red at the tips, cheating accusations and demands for a rematch flying around chaotically. But ever since then, that weird wall between you two came crashing down, and that is how your beautiful meme of a friendship came to be.
In the comfortable silence, some random Marvel movie on in the background, you glance over at your best friend, lips involuntarily curling up into a smile. You’re more than glad that those walls came down that day, that you were able to spend majority of your college days attached at the hip, that now, as annoying as he may be, Jungkook is still by your side to this day, eating greasy take-out with you and spending what should be a lively night out, at home instead, vegging out and pigging out. A very nice Friday evening in, with a blubbery food baby. And Park SeoJoon as your imaginary boyfriend. You suddenly groan at the thought and shove your face into the pillow Jungkook just threw at you. It’s been approximately three years since your last relationship, but for some reason it feels like it’s been so much longer than that. That relationship with your then college boyfriend ended shortly after graduation and you can’t believe that was truly the last time you dated someone. You remember spending two weeks ruining Jungkook’s shirts one by one with your snot and tears while hugging tubs of melting ice cream to your chest. Three. Whole. Years. Ago.
You let out another groan and it’s louder this time, even with the pillow muffling your mouth. You’re unable to control your train of thought as it travels to a more stressful place, ruining your once zen state of mind on this lovely Fat Friday evening. What are you even doing with your life? Or to put more accurately, what are you doing wrong with your life? Are you doing something wrong? It just feels like at this point, you should you be doing something more, chasing after your goals and dreams, or at least have some more adult characteristics to your life. While it’s very true that you already have so much to be thankful for, for some reason it just feels like you’re doing something wrong – or something’s just missing. Everyone else seems to have it all together, so why do you still feel like you’re ten steps behind?
You must’ve groaned a couple times more without even realizing it because moments later, the pillow is abruptly snatched away from your face, revealing a very puzzled Jungkook.
“What are you moaning and groaning about?” He asks, raising a brow before giving you a look of utter disbelief. “Is it because of what I said about Park SeoJoon? Woman, for the last time, you just gotta accept the fact that it’s not gonna happen and move on with your li-”
“Jungkook,” You interject, voice quieter than normal. “Am- am I just doing this all wrong?”
Jungkook abruptly comes to a halt, his mouth still hanging open silently from when you cut him off. A slew of jokes and insults remains lodged in his throat as his chocolate eyes closely study your face. You can tell he’s internally debating on how seriously he should be taking your words. Like is this a “reply with another joke” kind of situation, or a “sit down, tell me what’s wrong” kind of conversation that’s about to happen? It feels like this is always how conversations are between the two of you, they can switch from childish insults to pondering the meaning of life in the blink of an eye. Luckily, Jungkook’s used to it by now – having sudden and unexpectedly deep conversations with you doesn’t terrify him anymore like it used to in the past.
“What do you mean by that?” Jungkook inquires, deciding it’d be best to tread carefully. He uncrosses his legs and places his feet on the floor, elbows resting on his knees in a much more serious posture.
Over time, he’s gotten so good at feeling you out and directing the conversation as needed, even though he used to have internal melt downs every time you would open up to him. He’s gotten so much better at having conversations period – he handles them like champ now.
“What are we doing Jeon?” The words come out as a deflated sigh, an accurate description of how you feel at the moment. “It’s Friday night and while people our age are spending way too much money getting drunk and having fun taking over the city, we’re upholding a Friday tradition that consists of eating pure oil and poking at our food babies.” Jungkook immediately glances down at his own stomach before meeting your eyes again.
“Uh, I don’t have a food baby so you’re kind of alone on that one.” Jungkook corrects you, rubbing his hand up and down against his flat stomach. You shoot him the deadliest glare you can conjure up. It’s not your fault your body was made to cling to blubber in order to have babies and produce life in this world.
“What, you wanna just go out then?” Jungkook suggests, ignoring the daggers you send his way. “We always have the option to go out and get drunk, you know. If that’s what you wanna do, let’s just call some people up and go then.” Giving the glare a rest, you shake your head, arms and legs splayed out like a starfish as you stare up at nothing, another sigh heavy on your chest.
“That’s not it, Jeon. I just- ugh, I don’t know.” You twist around and smack your fists and feet against the sofa cushion, like a child throwing a mini tantrum. “All I know is that I’m young, I’m single, with all the time in the world and yet here I am, living life like a retired grandma.”
“Hey, what’s wrong with being a retired grandma? That’s like the ultimate goal in life.” Jungkook tuts, leaning forward to grab his bazillionth fried egg roll of the night. That boy is an intergalactic blackhole when it comes to food, yet he never has a food baby, damn damn damn.
“When I was 18, I remember wanting to hurry up and grow up and be in my twenties already.” You reminisce, still focusing on the popcorn pattern decorating the ceiling, “I figured by the time I was 26, I’d have discovered my true passions while exploring my twenties, that I’d be married, settled down after having fully lived out my younger years, maybe on the way with a little one or two, I don’t know.” You bemoan. “I guess adulthood just isn’t what I expected it to be.”
“So what you’re saying is you want to get pregnant.” Jungkook’s smiles mischievously as he leans towards you, flashing you a wink, “That can be easily arranged.”
“Pervert,” You jokingly shove him away, and he just chuckles. “You know that’s not what I meant. Plus I’m not ready to have kids, could you even imagine it?” Your eyes widen comically in horror, “I can barely take care of myself – God knows if I’d be able to keep a tiny, fragile human being alive.”
“True, those succulents you got for your birthday last year barely lasted two weeks,” Jungkook raises his cup to his lips, coughing under his breath before taking a sip, “even though they’re like the easiest plants to raise.”
“Please, rub more salt on my wound Jeon, I insist!”
Jungkook gives you a satisfied smirk before his demeanor morphs into something more serious, fingers rubbing at his chin thoughtfully. “I mean, I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong,” He muses, eyes flicking upwards to meet yours as he gives you one of his gentle, heartwarming smiles – the rare kind that comes out when he’s done joking and ready to comfort you.
“Think about it, you’ve pretty much met majority of the societal standards there are for being a young adult in this day and age. You’re educated, you have a job with a steady pay, got your own place, and you lead a pretty stable lifestyle.” He absentmindedly plays with the cup in his hands. “But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with still not knowing exactly what it is you want to do, or what next steps you want to take. Like so what if you’re single, lots of people are.” Jungkook shrugs. “Who even says that has to be the next step you take? I think it’s still okay that you are,” he looks down at his hands, expression soft, “that we are, still trying to figure things out, one day at a time, you know?”
You hum in agreement, Jungkook’s words bringing immediate comfort to your restless mind. He’s right. It’s not like you’ve made any grave mistakes or have some monumental life-or death issue to face. It’s not a sin to just do your own thing and not follow the “standard” steps of life people usually take. It’s just that the concept of it all, the topic itself, makes you feel like a baby – a very lost, disappointed, overgrown cry-baby because you don’t really feel put together or like you know what you’re doing. But like Jungkook said, that’s okay. It’s alright that you’re still trying to figure it all out, at your own pace – you’re slowly creating your own path.
“Since when did you get so wise, huh Jeon?” You smile, spirits lifted and already feeling a lot better than just a few minutes ago. Jungkook just always seems to know what to say to make you feel better.
He just shrugs with a jokingly cocky pout of his lips, “I’m the quarter life crisis guru, come to me with all your first world problems and you shall find enlightenment.” His words automatically make you punch him in the arm lightly and all you can afford is a weak insult muttered under your breath with a small smile on your lips.
If you were to have this conversation with anyone else besides Jungkook, you would probably die before admitting such embarrassingly trivial, quarter-life-crisis complaints. It hurts your pride, being an adult and having to admit you don’t really know what you’re doing with life. But because this is Jungkook, the insecurities of your heart come out so easily. No matter how much you joke around or annoy each other, he’s your closest and most trusted confidant. He’s actually a great listener – so honest yet gentle with his words (when he’s being serious, of course), and with him, figuring out life’s problems isn’t as daunting of a task. With him, conversations flow, anxiety is immediately blanketed over with a comforting peace, solutions are developed more smoothly, plans get put into action more proactively. He may still be salty every time he sees a blue shell and still gives you hell for it to this day, but if he was really that annoyed by you, he wouldn’t be sitting on your couch, listening to you complain and trying to help you figure out your life. That’s Jungkook for you – good old reliable Jungkook.
“Did someone say quarter life crisis?” You both whip your heads toward the door at the familiar voice that suddenly calls out of nowhere. “If it’s ___ we’re talking about, then she just needs to get laid. Problem solved.” That same voice lets out a yelp when a bunny slipper comes flying at his head.
“We have intruders.” You mutter as you look down at your one bare foot, the moment completely ruined. “I knew I shouldn’t have given you guys a spare key.”
“But you did, and it comes in handy in times like these.” Another voice, lighter and higher pitched than the first, pipes up. You allow your eyes to close, as if trying to take in the last bits of comfort from your conversation with Jungkook as jackets and bags are rustled around, the sound of footsteps growing louder and closer to you.
“How long have you guys been standing there?” Jungkook questions the newly arrived guests.
“Long enough to know that ___ needs to get some.” The first voice replies teasingly. Eyes still closed, the couch quickly sinks down next you, and an arm is thrown around your shoulders, “So, the well’s a bit dry this season, huh?”
“Oh my god shut up, Tae.”
“It’s drought season and the crops are in need of a good ol’ watering, ayy?”
“I’m seriously going to punch your face in.”
“Moses parted the Red Sea and then just left it parted, huh? Tsk tsk, the cruel man.”
Back in college, once those barriers between you and Jungkook came down, they seemed to come down with everyone else as well. As you and the others really started to get to know Jungkook, you quickly learned that he was the complete opposite of how he initially presented himself. He wasn’t shy at all, or timid in the least – the boy loved to joke around and once he was comfortable, would shoot playful insults left and right and make all the sassy comments just as much as you did, if not more. Because of that, he could be a real pain, since he seemed to thrive off of messing with you and seeing your reactions. But if you thought Jungkook was a pain in the ass, then Taehyung proved himself to be a real thirty-six-foot flagpole up your ass. No one ever guessed that timid little Jungkook would click so well with Taehyung and that together as a team of evil, they would cause you so much misery. It was to the point that everyone knew better than to leave the three of you alone together for longer than five minutes – for the sake of world peace. Though after growing up a little and leaving college, Taehyung stopped mucking around as much, and he seemed to calm down even more once he and Hari got together. But the little shit-head spirit still lives on inside of him to this day – it’s a light that no one can snuff out. Bless Hari’s heart for continuing to keep tight reins on him and love his sorry ass.
Before you can show him the fullness of your wrath, Taehyung gives you a shit-eating grin and quickly bounces over to the other section of the couch where his girlfriend, aka your closest gal pal and college roommate Hari has taken a seat, pulling his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around her shoulders.
“She’s being awfully scary today, what’d you do Kook?”
Jungkook lets out an offended huff, and he’s right back to his normal, sarcastic self. “The hell did I do, I brought her highness take out on my way back from the gym and we’re watching her favorite Iron Man again for the umpteenth time.” He crosses his arms over his chest, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
“You love Iron Man as much as I do, bitch. Don’t even try me with that shit.”
“See? Major case of the grumps.”
Hari peels Taehyung’s arms off and gives him a scolding look when he whines before making her way to your side. She places a comforting hand on your back, peering down at your distraught face. “You alright, ___? What’s up?”
“Ugh, it’s nothing, really.” You hide your face in your hands, “It’s literally not a big deal, I’m just a little irked, I guess.” Though it hurts your pride, you decide to be a little more honest, since they’ve already heard bits of your conversation with Jungkook. “Just debating whether I’m living my 26-year-old life right or not, that’s all.”
Hari raises her eyebrows, as if she can’t believe what her ears are hearing. “You’ve got a grown ass man who brings you take out all the time and willingly gives you free reign over his Netflix account. Looks to me you’re living the life, bub.”
“I think that was supposed to make me feel appreciated, but it just made me sound whipped as hell.”
Hari waves a hand dismissively at Jungkook, who scowls and starts reconsidering his life choices. “So what, you wanna go out and do something then? Something to make you feel better? Or in general, how can we,” She gestures to the three of them in a circular motion, “help convince you that you’re doing life just fine?”
“I’m telling ya, she just needs to get boned.” Taehyung mumbles while happily chewing on a fortune cookie. “See, even my fortune cookie agrees with me – thou must get the D in order to succeed.” You abruptly stand to your feet, turning to him with poisonous daggers shooting from your eyes.
“That’s it, get your punk ass over here, you little-“
“A boyfriend!” Hari suddenly clasps her hands together, an imaginary light bulb flickering over her head, “___ needs more than just a one-night stand, babe – we need to get her a mans.” You halt in your forward lunge towards Taehyung, who’s curled up in fetal position with his hands covering his head, and turn to her, your eyebrows knitting together in disbelief.
“You really think getting a boyfriend’s going to make me feel better?”
She nods eagerly, looking utterly convinced. “Let’s consider the facts for a moment, shall we? You’ve been out of school and working for a couple of years now, you’ve got this pad in the city all to yourself and nothing to do but eat junk and re-watch old superhero movies,” Your mouth falls open to protest, but Hari puts a finger to your lips, shushing you effectively. “And you’re having all these quarter-life-crisis symptoms. Maybe the issue is that it’s time for you to move on to the next chapter of your life, which in this case could be—”
“—finding a bae.” Taehyung finishes for her, his eyes wide as saucers as he uncurls from his fetal position to sit up on the couch. “Makes sense to me! HyukJae was what, three years ago? And you’ve been single ever since. Now that you’re an established, independent woman, there’s nothing holding you back from finding someone to do life with.” He wiggles his eyebrows at you.
There’s a beat of silence, but you wonder if the others can hear the gears turning in your head as you contemplate this proposal. It literally goes against everything Jungkook just said, finding a boyfriend just because it’s the proper “next step” you should be taking. Plus it’s not like you need a man to make your life complete – you’re already happily successful in sustaining yourself and your relationships with what you’ve got right now. But, you have to admit, a special someone could help spice things up a little, make life a little more fun and a little less drab. Maybe this person could help push you out of your comfort zone to go explore the city, find some new hobbies, get out of the apartment and try something new period. Maybe this significant other could help pave this new path for you and your life, because if lazy people were an army, then you would be the head chief in command, so God knows you need the help. So maybe, maybe you just need a little outside push to get you going.
The more you think about it, the more convinced you are that it’s at least worth a shot, and the determination slowly begins to grow inside of you. You know what Jungkook said but you figure taking this step is better than doing nothing at all. You suddenly stand up and pump your fist in the air like it’s a declaration of war, and you end up startling the others with your abrupt actions.
“Okay, let’s do it.” You announce, finding a new sense of motivation within you. “Let’s go and find me a mans! HUZZAH!”
Hari jumps up and squeals, immediately grabbing your phone off the coffee table and gushing about helping you make a dating profile and about which apps would be best for you to use. In the midst of all the commotion, Jungkook remains silent, his eyes trained on the floor, expression hard to read. But the excitement is too dizzying for you to notice. You just can’t help but have a good feeling about this next step in your life.
- - - - -
“Okay, bread, check. Rice… check. Veggies, strawberries, bananas, check check check.”
“Don’t forget my Lucky Charms.”
Looking up from your phone, you cock your head at the man with the messy wavy hair casually leaning on the shopping cart rail, a look of disbelief painted on your face. “I still don’t get why I have to include your favorite cereal on my grocery list, Jeon.” Jungkook makes a funny face at you, one that makes him look dramatically offended, the cart coming to an abrupt stop.
“Um, first of all, Lucky Charms should be everyone’s favorite cereal, including yours. And second, I need to keep a box at your place for when we do delivery ‘cause I need something to eat right after working out or else I feel like I’m gonna die – literally.”
You roll your eyes and ignore the way Jungkook shoots a grin your way as he continues to push the cart. “You’re a grown ass man who makes his own money, get your own sugary cereal.”
“Do you want your best friend to starve to death? Is that the kind of love we’ve got here?”
“And you call me dramatic.”
Pausing at the cereal section, you internally groan after seeing that some jerk just had to put all the boxes of Lucky Charms up on the top shelf. You need to have a word with the grocery store manager about discriminating so openly against short people like this.
“So speaking of bananas, how’s the dating app thing going?” Jungkook asks casually, whistling along to the song they’re playing at the store. This time you groan externally, lowering your head down to rest it on the other available half of the shopping cart handle.
“You did not just use bananas as a segway into this conversation.”
Jungkook hums in indifference, pushing the cart along and smiling to himself when you continue to walk with him, still face down and leaning on the shopping cart. He suddenly comes to a stop which results in you hitting your head against the metal bars where infants are supposed to sit, and you mutter a curse at him, rubbing the sore spot as you meet his eyes with a glare. He just arches a brow innocently and points up at the shelf, looking all too smug for your liking. “Found the Lucky Charms.”
You let out a huff before nudging Jungkook out of the way. “I mean, it’s only been three days, but it’s going alright, I guess.” You inform him, making your way towards the shelves. “I’ve only talked to like two guys so far, but honestly it’s just, kinda weird? I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel natural at all, so that’s been rough.”
It’s only been a few days since your little eureka moment about seizing the day and giving your adult life a re-vamping. It’s been strange, having small talk conversation with potential dates with only having a few pictures and some witty captions and quotes on their “About Me” pages to go off of. Technology has certainly reinvented the way people date nowadays, but you can’t help but miss meeting people naturally through mutual friends or at a social event or something. Nevertheless, Hari’s been harping on you every day about any new matches you’ve made and keeping close tabs on your conversations with your matches, but it surprises you that Jungkook’s suddenly taking interest in this whole spiel. He’s seemed so uninterested in this from the start, which was a bit disappointing if you’re being honest. You had hoped you’d be able to talk to him more about it and get his opinions on your matches and who seemed good and who seemed like a left-swipe, only to get less than enthusiastic input from him. So for him to suddenly bring it up on his own volition is certainly an unexpected surprise.
“Mmm, I see.” You don’t even notice the way Jungkook’s voice dumbs down a notch from behind, too busy staring up at the colorful rainbow box above your head as determination settles in your stomach. If you just believe in yourself, you can do it – you will reach that goddamn box of cereal for your goddamned best friend and his childish taste palate, even if it kills you. This isn’t for Jungkook – this is for all the other shorties in the world.
You make your first attempt to reach the cereal. You’re up on your toes and then come straight back down, your fingers not even coming close to reaching the stupid box when Jungkook finally speaks up again. “What- what do you even look for in a guy, anyways?”
You pause for a moment, stopping yourself from jumping up for your second attempt to turn and face Jungkook. Even though the two of you are best friends, you realize you don’t really talk about this kind of stuff with him. Hari is always your go-to friend for these types of conversations, and it dawns on you that not only does Jungkook not know what your ideal type is, but you also have no idea what his is either. You’re surprised to discover something you don’t know about your best friend.
“Well, for starters, I’d appreciate it if he wasn’t a serial killer.” You muse, tapping your index finger on your chin thoughtfully. “I also feel like I like guys who are tall, have nice hair, who keep themselves fit and know how to dress well. You know, a guy who knows how to be a basic human being.”
“Oh, so basically me.” Jungkook quips, “I’m flattered, babe, really. Didn’t know you were so into this.” He sticks his tongue out when you smack his arm in response.
“Someone who wears anything besides hoodies and basketball shorts.” You emphasize jokingly, sticking your tongue out right back at him.
Jungkook raises his brows. “So wearing nothing? I could dig the nudist life, sounds chill.”
You snort, “Please, Jeon, spare us all.” Turning back to the shelves, you continue to think aloud. “I don’t know, I just want someone who’s easy to talk to, like a friend, someone who likes to joke around, but can be serious when needed. Someone who’s passionate about his ambitions in life and is a real go-getter, unlike myself. Someone who will be romantic and loyal – not like all the cheese you see in the movies, but in his own special way. You know,” you shrug, coming up onto your toes as you take another unsuccessful swipe at the box of cereal, your fingertips grazing the edge of it, “someone who will just love me right, I guess.” With a little hop, you accidentally push the cereal box an inch backwards and it pulls a frustrated noise out of you. But you are determined to stay here all night if it means you’ll be able to get this cereal box down yourself. Fucking Jungkook and his cereal needs.
“What about you, Jeon?” You grunt out, this time reaching up with your other arm, as if it’ll make a difference. “What’s your type?” A rush of excitement comes over you when you manage to sneak the box back to its original spot, and now you can almost get two fingers around it.
“I…don’t really know.” You hear Jungkook say softly behind you, but you’re too zoned in on those damn Lucky Charms to notice the change in his demeanor. “I agree with a lot of the traits you named off, I guess.”
“What, you want someone tall, athletic, and well-dressed too?” You can most definitely hear Jungkook roll his eyes at that comment, and it makes you smile, even as you continue to struggle to make contact with the flimsy cardboard box, muttering incoherent complaints under your breath.
“I mean if he isn’t Park SeoJoon, then I’m not interested.”
Still facing the shelves, you can’t help but laugh at his mocking tone, even though you know he’s mimicking you. “Okay seriously though, I just realized I don’t know really this stuff about you. And come to think of it, I haven’t seen you date someone in like years.”
There’s a short pause in the conversation when suddenly you feel something warm press up against your back, and it startles you. You crane your neck upwards at a diagonal to see what it is and nearly let out a yelp. Jungkook’s face is merely inches away from yours, his eyes fixed on the box of Lucky Charms above. The scent of light soap and clean laundry detergent mixed with something slightly musky overwhelms your senses as he leans forward and presses himself against your back even more, the sensation causing a breath to become lodged in your throat. Without even having to rise onto his toes, he easily grabs the dumb box of Lucky Charms, finally ending your misery in more ways than just one, and before your body can even experience a full-on proper reaction, he’s already moving, a sudden chill replacing the warmth on your back as he moves to toss the cereal into the cart.
“Yeah, last time I dated was Ji Soo my sophomore year. Damn, that was a long time ago.” Jungkook recalls, leaning on the cart and continuing to push it down the aisle, not having any clue what he just did. He has no clue that your heart is suddenly thumping wildly in your chest, and that a heat is starting to spread across your cheeks, and you have to physically pinch yourself to snap out of it before Jungkook can notice something’s off.
Whenever Jungkook is physical with you, it’s almost always tied in with a joke or is just a part of the platonic comfort you two share with one another. Ruffling your hair, having his head or feet in your lap, pinching his cheeks – none of that is out of the ordinary. But feeling his back against you, his body so close and radiating heat onto your skin, breath puffing over your cheeks – this is all uncharted territory for you. And as his best friend, you’re not quite sure how to process the physiological effects you’re experiencing from it. You’re still in a bit of a daze, and you end up trailing a few steps behind him, close enough to keep up with the conversation but far enough to allow your body calm down. It’s sad how worked up you got just from your male best friend pressing himself up against you so suddenly. Maybe Taehyung is right and you’re just in desperate need for some physical intimacy or something.
“Ground ginger’s next on the list.” You mumble timidly, following Jungkook as he rounds the corner and into the next aisle. “B-but yeah, Ji Soo – feels like that whole month-long shebang happened eons ago.” You almost curse out loud when you see rows on rows of all kinds of spices littering the bottom shelves, and the one spice you need up on the damn top shelf once again. Starting next week, you will wear heels to the grocery store. Or stilts – whatever it takes.
“Yeah,” Jungkook chuckles to himself, “I still can’t believe she liked me so much that I just decided to go with it. Young dumb Jungkook definitely learned early on that that’s not how relationships work.”
“Cocky bastard.” You scoff, shaking your head. But he just shrugs, as if to say “it is what it is.”
“So how come you haven’t dated anyone since then?” You inquire, hoping Jungkook hasn’t noticed where the ground ginger is located because this time, you are hell bent on just snatching it up and calling it good already. You’ve had enough strange, foreign bodily reactions for the day.
“I…I don’t know.” Jungkook admits as you sneakily side step towards the shelf, standing up on your tiptoes while he’s busy staring off into the distance. His expression is reflective, and almost a little solemn as well. He really seems to be contemplating and taking this whole conversation quite seriously, even though it wasn’t intended to be that way. Maybe he still misses Ji Soo or something, the poor boy.
“I guess… I’ve just been waiting for the right person to come along.” Jungkook finally states after another few moments of silence, which you unceremoniously break after landing on your feet too loudly in a sad attempt to quietly jump and grab the bottle of ginger, which obviously didn’t happen quietly or at all, period.
A long list of all the expletives you know in multiple languages runs through your mind as you feel the warm plane of Jungkook’s chest press against your shoulder blades again. This time his fingers brush against yours along the way, and it almost feels like he lingers there for a second, but it’s probably just your imagination because before you know it, he’s already backing away and tossing the ground ginger into the cart, just like before. You really must be on something today – your raging hormones and galloping heart need to get their shit together and calm down already.
“I-I’m sure you’ll find her soon, one day.” You manage to stutter out, an awkward smile on your lips, “Someone who will accept you, even though you have the taste buds of a five-year-old.” You joke in hopes of lightening the mood that has somehow changed drastically in the last few minutes. Whether it’s because of how pensive Jungkook’s suddenly become or because of your inability to control your bodily functions at the moment, the air definitely feels different compared to five minutes ago, and it’s not very comfortable – at all. Fortunately, the joke seems to do the trick because a smile slowly spreads across Jungkook’s face, and all the seriousness and weird angst seems to vanish almost immediately.
“Least I don’t still dip my oreos in my milk when I eat them. Heck, I don’t even eat oreos anymore.” Jungkook scoffs teasingly, eyeing the blue package of cookies in the cart, “Seriously what are you, a child?”
“See? You’ve got such shit taste buds, Jeon.” You shake your head pitifully at him. “Just watch, you’re gonna end up dating a huge foodie or a professional food blogger who will properly roast you for having such awful taste, and I’d pay just to watch it all go down.” The imagery itself makes you laugh, and you take advantage of the newly livened mood to snag the cart from Jungkook and head towards the cash registers. “Let me know if you’re ever interested and I’ll help you hunt one down, yeah?”
You pause to flash a cheeky grin towards Jungkook, and the way he chuckles in disbelief is satisfying enough of a reaction for you to turn back around and make your way towards the self-check out area. But you miss the way Jungkook’s laughter quickly dwindles, transitioning into a soft sigh as he watches your figure walk farther and farther away.
“Yeah, I’ll definitely let you know, someday.”
- - - - -
“Welp, that’s number six in the books. Check. Done-zo. Fin. Es todo. Hip hop’s dead, y’all – it’s dead!”
“Uh, I take it the date went well?” Jungkook peeks his head out from the kitchen, a spoon hanging from his mouth and a jar of peanut butter in his hand (the super smooth, liquidy kind, like the weirdo he is. Who eats anything but chunky?) as you trudge your way inside his shared apartment with Yoongi and Namjoon, your old college friends who are also part of the same producer team as Jungkook, and throw yourself onto the sofa face first. You grumble something inaudibly into the cushion, but Jungkook doesn’t need to ask to know you’re probably saying some not so positive words under your breath. He holds his snack to his chest and walks over to lift your feet up, placing them on his lap and making himself comfortable.
“So, what went wrong this time?”
“He wath jmmf brrrurng.”
“Sorry, I don’t speak cave man.”
You lift your head up from the sofa and crane your neck back to glare at Jungkook, long messy curls covering half of your face and killing your intimidating factor. “I said, he was just boring.”
Jungkook makes a noise of understanding, unscrewing the lid and digging his spoon into the jar. He brings the rich cream to his mouth, smacking his lips with an obnoxious pop. “I mean, at least he wasn’t a creepy 58-year-old who lied about everything in his dating profile. Compared to that, ‘boring’ doesn’t sound half as bad.”
Giving up, you re-smush your face back into the couch cushion, mumbling some more incoherent words and phrases your parents would be shocked to hear you say.
It’s been about a month since you embarked on this journey of exploring the world of dating apps. Hari said so herself that she personally knew of four happy couples that met through dating apps and insisted that it’d be a breeze for you to find someone. So maybe it’s just you, maybe you have rotten luck, or maybe you’re just not a dating app kind of person, because Date #1 could not stop talking about himself – the only question he asked was if you were going to finish the rest of your dinner or not. Date #2 ended up being a sugar daddy type of deal, and although the figures were tempting, it just wasn’t what you were looking for. You nearly filed a restraining order against Date #3 for being way too inappropriately touchy and creepy throughout the entire date. You even had to text Jungkook to come rescue you from that whole mess and he nearly knocked that creep’s lights out for being such a sleaze bag. Date #4 was the 58-year-old who lied about his dating profile and said he was 28 when in reality, he had a daughter your age. YOUR. AGE. Date #5 was such a turn off with how rudely he treated the waiters and pretty much all the other restaurant staff – an automatic swipe left. And now Date #6.
You roll over onto your back, curls fanning out around your head. You probably look like Medusa’s ugly sister right now. “He just didn’t... talk. He was the total opposite of Date #1 who couldn’t shut up long enough to let me excuse myself to the restroom. This guy barely said anything and honestly, I don’t know what’s worse.” You mutter a quick apology to Jungkook who squeaks after you accidentally dig your heel into his thigh while ranting, hitting a spot that’s a wee bit too close to a very sensitive area for him. “I kept asking questions to try to get to know the guy, only to get one-word answers from him every time.” You indignantly point at the clock on the wall. “That’s why I’m back so early, it took like forty-five minutes tops for me to run out of patience and questions to ask.”
“Mmm, sucks.” Jungkook mumbles half-heartedly, seemingly more interested in licking the spoon completely clean. “So you basically ate tacos and talked to a wall for forty-five minutes.”
“Exactly! And the tacos weren’t even that good!” You sit up, waving around exaggerated gestures before falling back onto the couch, draping an arm over your face. “You know what, that’s it. It’s obvious these are all signs that I’m supposed to be a nun. This must be my fate, my inevitable future, and I see now that I can no longer avoid the path that has been so clearly paved for me.”
“My god woman, you are dramatic. Has anyone ever told you that?” Jungkook pokes you in the stomach with the heel of his spoon, and you to flinch from the ticklish sensation.
You peek out from under your arm, “Should’ve gone into acting, huh? Seriously, damn all my life choices, damn them all!”
Jungkook chuckles, clearly amused by your theatrics. “Maybe you should take a break from the dating apps, give the potential dating pool some time to refresh and replenish a bit or something. Or, you could actually take my advice for once and stop putting so much pressure on yourself to find a boyfriend and just roll with the punches as they come.” The look he gives you is jokingly stern, though there’s some seriousness in his tone, and it makes you sigh. Maybe Jungkook’s actually onto something, as proven by your current not-so-hot track record. The past month has been more draining than fun, and so far it’s all been for nothing. Maybe you just need to give it all a break, and give yourself a break, really. Or seriously start considering entering the convent – either one, really.
As you continue to contemplate your life choices, you watch as Jungkook brings another spoonful of PB to his lips, only to dribble a straight line of it down his precious white t-shirt. He mutters an expletive under his breath and sets the jar and spoon down on the coffee table, rubbing away at the stain with his fingers. His efforts prove to be futile when the ugly brown smudge remains and without warning, he stands up and pulls the shirt off over his head, revealing the perfectly chiseled muscles of his back and shoulders. You involuntarily gulp at the sight of his sunkissed skin and the way his muscles ripple as he moves to throw the shirt into the laundry bin.
“Yeah, maybe...you’re right…” Your breath comes out in a quiet whoosh.
It’s not like you haven’t seen Jungkook shirtless before. There was that one time you went hot tubbing on the ski trip you and your friends took in college, or the few times you had to barge into his dorm room and drag his half-naked ass out of bed so he wouldn’t be late to lecture. But Jungkook’s always been a lot more conservative than not, and he didn’t exactly have the greatest confidence back then either. He used to be absolutely mortified in those moments and would hurriedly grab at anything nearby to cover up his body. Even though so many people agreed he was one of the most handsome and sought after guys on campus, he was still so self-conscious of himself. But as he went through college, he started to become interested in exercising and eventually made the commitment to hit the gym to change not only his body, but his confidence and perception of himself as well. The Jungkook now, with his sculpted physique, lean muscles, and much larger, more dominating stature, is totally different from the skinny, insecure boy you knew back in college. With the way he built himself up over the last few years physically, mentally, and emotionally, he just oozes confidence with now, which is great, but also not so great – for you, at least.
You chastise yourself every single time, but you can’t help but ogle openly during these rare moments his sweet glory is revealed to you. It’s so wrong to look at your best friend like this, you know it is – he’s just very comfortable around you and knows it’s no big deal to walk around like the half-naked god he is because it’s just you. But it’s kind of impossible to not gawk, not when his body is practically screaming to be worshipped (and is 100% worthy of it). It’s times like these that you’re reminded he is not just the jokester and bunny boy you call your best friend – he’s a fully grown man, and just so happens to be a very physically attractive one. And with the way the sight of his mouth-watering build makes your lower stomach feel, you realize once again that you’re a grown ass woman as well – a woman who has needs.
“Hey, eyes up here, perv.” He says with his back still turned to you as he grabs a hoodie hanging on one of the kitchen chairs. “And you might wanna wipe off the drool while you’re at it.” That snaps you out of your reverie as you quickly avert your eyes and sit up clumsily on the couch, making sure to scoff loud enough for him to hear.
“For your information, the world doesn’t revolve around you and your penchant for indecency, you cocky bastard. And jokes on you, there isn’t anything worth looking at, son!” Out of the corner of your eye you see him pull on the hoodie and turn back towards you, a knowing smirk tugging on his lips.
“That’s pretty much what you say every time I catch you staring. But hey, I don’t mind having an audience.” He squeezes himself next to you, draping an arm over the back of the couch and his eyes are twinkling. “But you should either fess up that you think I’m hot or come up with some new excuses, ‘cause yours are starting to get real old, babe.”
You wrinkle your nose, ignoring the way the pet name weirdly makes your heart stutter for a second. “Don’t call me babe, you baby.”
“Baby?” He leans in, his nose just a couple of dangerous inches away from yours. “I’m only like eight months younger than you, babe.”
“Whatever, you’re still a baby to me.” You grunt, folding your arms in an attempt to maintain the very little space left between your bodies. His gaze is dark and challenging, and it alone makes the heat pooling in your lower abdomen grow. “Don’t make me bring out pictures from college, Jeon. Sit down, be humble.”
“But I’m already sitting, babe.” Jungkook remarks, his tone sarcastic.
“You know, I bet Soobin wouldn’t be happy to hear her boyfriend calls other women a name that should be reserved solely for her.” You click your tongue in disapproval, secretly relieved with being able to change the subject as you quickly brush away the lustful thoughts in your head. “How are you guys even doing, by the way? Will I ever get to meet this mystery woman? Like, she’s really not just some imaginary girlfriend you made up?”
Something flashes across Jungkook’s eyes, but it’s gone before you can determine what is, and you forget all about it when he makes a face and pushes your forehead back with his index finger, “No, I’m not you, Miss ‘I’m Park SeoJoon’s wife.’ And it’s only been like less than a month, okay, chill. I just want to make sure she fully prepared to meet the freak-shows I call my friends.”
Jungkook must’ve been inspired by your new mission to find a boyfriend or something because once you started going on dates, the man apparently decided to make his own dating profile as well, surprising pretty much everyone by his sudden jump into the game. No one even knew he was interested, and he didn’t tell anyone, not even you, that he was on the apps. But that’s how he found Soobin, this mystery girl he’s apparently been seeing for the past few weeks. She’s actually a total mystery though because he hasn’t said a peep about her and how it’s been going. He’s oddly secretive about it all, which is strange because normally he tells you everything. But not this time, even though you pry and pry and pry. For some reason he just won’t budge.
“Jeon, if she can’t handle us right now, she won’t be able to handle us period, so you might as well introduce her already.” You shrug nonchalantly. “We gotta deem her worthy or weed her out.” As his best friend, you feel the need to meet this girl and see what she’s like for yourself to make sure she’s good enough for Jungkook. It’s not your fault that you want to meet her so bad – you’re just looking out for your best friend’s well-being.
There’s a brief moment of silence as you catch Jungkook chewing on his lower lip – a habit of his when he’s feeling nervous or unsure about something – and you immediately begin to feel concerned. Maybe you pushed too much. Seeing him like that makes you feel a little guilty for prying so much without even considering that maybe something is up.
“Hang on, is something the matter?” Worry laces your voice, a hand coming to rest on his knee, “Is there a reason why you’re not saying anything?” You search his eyes for answers, but he just shakes his head vigorously, lips tightly pursed together. “Then why won’t you tell me?”
“Yeah seriously, none of us even know what this chick looks like. Why’re you keeping her such a secret from all of us?”
You hang your head backwards over the back of the couch and see Namjoon padding into the living, carrying what you assume to be an empty coffee mug in his hand. Namjoon’s always been someone Jungkook has greatly admired. He was the one who really encouraged the younger to pursue music and follow his dreams, rather than go into business like his parents wanted him to. If there’s anyone he’ll listen to, it’s Namjoon, though you continuously pray Jungkook won’t ever adopt the older man’s horrible sleeping habits. The dark shadows under his eyes and hoarseness of his voice indicate just how tired and in need of caffeine he is from most likely another all-nighter in the studio. But then again, the big producer man always looks like he runs on nothing but caffeine and no sleep. What a life.
Still hanging upside down, you give him a small wave and a “hi-yo” to which he copies your greeting adorably, his droopy eyes lighting up slightly.
“Hyung, not you too.” Jungkook whines defeatedly, running a hand down his face, “Look, she’s no secret, okay. I just, I don’t know, I just—”
“—don’t want to scare her off, yeah I get it.” Namjoon calls over his shoulder as he scuffs his slipper-clad heels towards the coffee machine in the kitchen. “It’s a new relationship, you’re still testing the waters, and we can be a lot to handle, so I get it. And by we, I really mean ___.”
“Hey!” You protest as Namjoon starts the machine before he comes out of the kitchen and strolls towards you, affectionately ruffling your already mussed hair.
“I say that with all the love in my heart, you Tasmanian devil.”
You scowl at him. “I hope your coffee is just as bitter as I am right now.”
“Anyways,” He turns to Jungkook, ignoring your griping. “Yoongi and I just got word that Slow Rabbit’s throwing some sort of PR event this weekend. He told us to invite the whole gang and any other friends, help boost our publicity a little.” Namjoon gives the younger man a pointed look. “Basically, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce bae, if you want to, that is.”
“Oh, this is perfect!” You jump up and clasp your hands together excitedly. “We’ll finally expose Jeon for making up some fake ass imaginary girlfriend, and maybe I’ll finally be able to mingle with some normal guys for once.” You pause, turning to Namjoon, “Your producer friends are decent guys, right?”
Namjoon gives you a wary look and a half-hearted shrug, “Uhh, sure, I guess?”
“Awesome!” You chirp, “I trust you Joonie, it’s always been you and only y-” You let out a yelp when a pair of arms grabs your waist and spins you around so that you’re falling face first onto the sofa. The hands holding you hostage begin to mercilessly poke into your sides, forcing what sounds like a combination of choked laughter and cries for help out of you.
“Fake ass imaginary girlfriend, huh?” Jungkook growls, digging his fingers deeper into your love-handles, and you immediately howl in surrender. “I’m gonna make you throw up your tacos, you wench.”
From the sideline, Namjoon just sighs at the noisy commotion playing out in front of him, shaking his head as he watches Jungkook flip you onto your back and dive for your stomach, lips curling upwards mischievously. The wide grin on your face and ringing laughter in between yelps for mercy prevent Namjoon from feeling like he actually needs to intervene and save you. He does, however, feel disappointed (but not surprised) that you both can’t even see what’s happening here. He decides to just leave you two to duke it out, quietly sighing and shuffling into the kitchen to grab his coffee.
Maybe one day.
- - - - -
It’s the following Friday night and guess where you are?
Not at home in your pajamas watching Black Panther while eating Thai take-out that Jungkook brought, that’s for sure. The thought alone makes you so incredibly sad. Because instead, in cruel reality, you’re sitting at a table inside a very dimly lit club called the Sound Bar, which is surprisingly clean and roomy, waiting for this PR event to start already. You know this is how all the hip young adults live out their lives in the movies, but now you’re seriously beginning to regret all that complaining about wanting to go out.
A few people have arrived, and you recognize them as some of Yoongi’s friends that you don’t know too well yourself. They linger around the bar in a huddled group, sipping on beers and chatting away with the man himself, who also looks like he doesn’t particularly want to be here either. That’s because you and Yoongi know what’s up – comfort is king and living under a rock is the only way to go. The thought pulls a sigh from your lungs as you turn to scan the venue. Besides them, it looks like you and your closer group of friends make up majority of the crowd currently, but people are really starting to file in now, steadily filling up the spacious area with body heat, boisterous conversation, and a lot of different smells. It makes your nose twitch.
Strangely enough, you don’t see Jungkook and Soobin yet, and you keep craning your neck to watch the door like a hawk for their entrance. While you were getting ready with Hari hours prior, you made Jungkook double pinky swear to not bail and to actually bring Soobin so you could meet her and confirm that she’s real. (“If you don’t come, I’m actually going to spread the rumor that you have an imaginary girlfriend.” “You’re the actual spawn of Satan, I swear.”) You know he’ll come regardless – he wouldn’t just leave you hanging like this. It’s finally time to figure out why he’s keeping this girl on the hush hush, and what exactly is going on with him.
“Whoa.” A baritone voice brings you out of your thoughts. Swiveling around, you see Taehyung gaping openly at you, a hand covering his mouth. “Seriously, like whoaaa.”
You scrunch your nose. “Tae, don’t even start – you’re literally so embarrassing.”
“Hey, if Hari is your number one hype woman, then I’m your number one hype man, okay, just let me be!” He stretches his arms out towards you as if he’s showing off an award, holding up jazz hands and everything. “Just look at you, queen! My baby Hari did such a great job, you look like a total hoochie mama!”
Your cheeks burn a scarlet red. “Oh good, because it was totally my goal to look like a hoochie mama. Thanks Tae.” Now you also regret letting Hari squeeze you into this skimpy black two-piece set. It was a bad idea from the start, but Taehyung’s reaction just confirms it. The short noodle strap crop top tightly hugs your bust and shows off more of your midriff than you would ever prefer. You keep wanting to cover it up with your arms out of reflex. But luckily the shorts are comfortable, though a bit short for your liking. Your hair flows down in beachy waves and a deep burgundy tints your lips, and the silver dollar-coin sized hoops hanging off your ear lobes are over the top in your opinion, but Hari threatened you to wear them out, insisting the outfit wouldn’t be complete without them. If anything, it’s Hari’s fault you apparently look like a hoochie mama.
“No problem!” Taehyung grins, wrapping an arm around your shoulders. He catches whiff of your unhappy demeanor and nudges you playfully, his expression softening. “Aw, c’mon __, lighten up a little! You look hot, seriously.” He pulls away to examine the state you’re in. “Do you need a drink? Actually yeah, you definitely do. I’m going to get you one.” Taehyung spins around on the stool to head to the bar, only for a hand to clamp down on his shoulder, stopping him mid-spin. Your eyes drift to the side and you’re surprised to see Jungkook giving his friend a silent but very clear warning, tilting his head intimidatingly. “No, I’ll go get it. God knows how many types of alcohol you’ll ask Hoseok hyung to mix into her drink. Then you’ll be responsible for dealing with the mess afterwards.”
Glaring at Taehyung’s sheepish smile, Jungkook’s slate eyes land on you and immediately widen, his jaw going slack when he sees the little (emphasis on little) black number you’re wearing. It’s probably because he’s so used to you wearing only leggings and oversized shirts and hoodies all the time that seeing you like this is a shock. That’s certainly how you felt looking at your reflection in the mirror at home. But you can’t help but shift uncomfortably in your seat, suddenly feeling the need to cross a leg over the other and place your purse strategically over your midriff from his gaze alone. Seconds, minutes, hours could be passing by but his glare doesn’t falter one bit. It’s almost seems like he’s angry or something but it’s also not quite that – you can’t seem to put your finger on it. Fortunately, the lights are dimmed low, and you just hope it’s dark enough to hide the blush that’s suddenly crawling up your neck from the way Jungkook keeps staring. At this rate he’s going to end up burning a hole straight through you.
“Doesn’t she look smoking?” Taehyung whistles low, giving his friend a nudge to the ribs. He barely moves and just continues keep his eyes glued on you.
“Hari did this?” Jungkook ignores him, finally speaking up after a few tense moments. His voice sounds much deeper than normal.
“Yeah,” You squeak awkwardly, looking away from his heavy gaze. What’s his deal? “So uh, where’s Soobin?” You try to change the subject, clearing your throat slightly and pretending to look around for this girl you don’t even know. You think it works, but then Jungkook catches you off guard by suddenly shrugging off his jean jacket and reaching around to drape it over your shoulders, the denim fabric engulfing your figure. It automatically feels a lot stuffier and ten degrees warmer, but you’re not sure if it’s because of the jacket or because of Jungkook’s unrelenting glower. You suddenly feel jittery.
“Dude, I could use this later when I’m drunk and cold and waiting for an Uber, not when it’s like a bajillion degrees inside.” You joke as you jump down from the stool and move to take the jacket off, only for his hands to keep it firmly in place on your shoulders. You look up at the man towering over you and have to consciously keep yourself from physically cowering away. Jungkook looks pissed. But for what reason, you have no clue. He just looks annoyed beyond reason, and not like when you normally mess with him and call him a fatty or something. It’s different, and it’s intimidating enough to make you swallow your pride and obey his next words.
“Keep it on.”
He lingers for a moment longer before dropping his arms and stalking off, disappearing among the crowd that has grown significantly in the last ten minutes, probably to go find Soobin. What’s disturbing is how your chest rises and falls rapidly, your heart hammering against your rib cage like a trapped bird that wants to be let out. You have no idea what the hell just happened here. It’s not like Jungkook to ever despise your outfits, let alone even care about what you wear in general. Maybe he fought with Soobin on the way here and is in a bad mood? Or worse, maybe you did something to upset him without realizing it. You shake your head as if to brush aside all the conflicting thoughts, and pinch the bridge of your nose. Yeah, you do need a drink, pronto.
At the bar you order a vodka-cran and send a weak smile to the bartender Hoseok, who’s a friend of Namjoon’s and an acquaintance of yours, requesting for him to make the drink a bit stronger than normal. He smiles back and doesn’t question your request, immediately whisking away to make your order. You would hug the man if you could, God knows how much you need a nice strong drink right now.
“___!” You hear Hari giggle and she plops down on the stool next to yours, looking very giddy and flushed in the face – a tell-tale sign that she’s had a few drinks already. At least someone’s having a good time. “Where’d you get the jacket? I kind of like the addition, it’s a bit grungy but in like a sexy, hipster way, you know?”
Remembering what happened with Jungkook, the jacket suddenly feels twenty pounds heavier as you shift it around awkwardly on your shoulders. “Uhh yeah, Jungkook gave it to me ‘cause, uh, I was cold.” Yeah, that’s why he acted the way he did. He was just angry because you might be cold…because that totally makes sense. You sigh inwardly.
“I don’t know about cold, it feels like a hundred degrees in here.” A voice chimes in, making you and Hari turn your heads simultaneously to the right. Dressed casually in a white button-down shirt that’s rolled up loosely at the elbows, a man sits on the bar stool to your right, sporting short jet-black hair, thick but neatly groomed eyebrows, a small, polite smile, and these beautiful obsidian eyes that are currently locked in on yours. Even though he’s sitting, you can tell he’s literally the definition of tall, dark and handsome, enough so to make you wonder why the hell he’s talking to you.
“Oh yeah, it’s like a god-awful sauna in here. In fact, let me go tell Joon, maybe he can get someone to crank up the AC or something.” Hari hurriedly blurts out, jumping from her stool with a knowing twinkle in her eye. She gives your arm a quick squeeze, a silent “good luck!” before taking off, making sure to look back at you every other step of the way. Very subtle.
Just before an awkward silence can ensue, Hoseok comes by to deliver your drink, which you immediately grab and begin to chug hastily, all the while silently praying this guy won’t end up being dud #7. Even if he does, you’re still going to need all the alcohol you can get to survive the rest of the night, what with Jungkook acting all weird, not having even met Soobin yet, or not having mingled with other people yet. The glass still at your lips, the thought causes you to wave your hand in a haphazard signal to Hoseok for another vodka-cran.
“Bit thirsty, aren’t we now?” Damn. Tipping back the last bits, you set the glass down and take in a deep breath, alcohol steadily dissolving in your blood as you ready yourself for whatever is to come. “Ha-ha, yeah,” You croak awkwardly, fidgeting with the glass, “just needed to cool down, ‘cause you know, it’s so hot.”
“Didn’t you just say you were cold?”
You glance down at the light acid wash jacket and momentarily shut your eyes in regret. If it was humanly possibly, you’d kick yourself in the shin for sounding so stupid right off the bat.
“This,” You open your eyes after re-composing yourself and put on a one-hundred-watt smile, “is merely a fashion statement. I was going for the grungy, sexy, hipster look, that’s all.”
“Ah, right, like your friend just said.”
You bite your lip. Okay, it’s official – you fucked up. You should just get up and walk away right now. Save some face and talk to someone else before this gets any more humiliating than it already is. You decide that this can’t go for much longer or else you’ll literally die and wither away from embarrassment. A goodbye is already on your lips and your legs itch to make a run for it when the guy suddenly starts to laugh, his shoulders shaking, while wearing a grin that undoubtedly looks really good on him.
“Wow, alright then.” Looking positively amused, he stretches a hand out to you. “Hi, I’m YoungHo.”
“And you think I’m totally bizarre.” You mumble back, wanting nothing more than to crawl under a rock and die. But YoungHo shakes his head, letting go of his drink to wave his hands at you as well.
“No I don’t, really.”
You raise an eyebrow at him, causing him to cock his head to the side, a lopsided smile on his face.
“I just think you’re kinda… quirky?”
“Oh God, you might as well tell me to go join the Ripley’s Believe It or Not crew.” You groan, propping your elbows on the bar and burying your face into your hands. He’s just being nice and trying to make light conversation and here you are looking like a total buffoon with half a brain cell left. There’s just no way he doesn’t think you’re at least a little insane. Your cheeks feel like burning pieces of coal, the heat effectively setting the rest of your face ablaze along with them.
He laughs again, the sound so deep and rich and honestly quite pleasant to listen to. But sensing your mortification, he quickly begins to cough, clearing his throat to rid of the laughter.
“You know,” He continues, seemingly more composed now, but a smile still twinkles in his eyes, “I used to not be able to understand why people would go see shows like that. They just didn’t seem all that appealing to me. But then I watched The Greatest Showman and man, it totally changed my views. Now I’m dying to go see a show.”
Your ears perk up after hearing the name of one of your favorite movies and you lift your head from your hands, the embarrassment slowly starting to fade away. “Isn’t that movie just amazing? And I totally get what you mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of stuff like that before but now I’m just waiting for something like Ripley’s to come to town so I can snag tickets and reminisce.”
He hums in agreement, “It also hands down has the best soundtrack out there. I think it’s definitely up there with the Lion King and Hamilton.”
You rest your chin on the palm of your hand, your muscles starting to relax a little bit now. “Hamilton tickets are seriously impossible to get. You’ll never guess how many email accounts I made just to try and win lottery tickets.”
“Get out of here.”
Before you know it, more drinks are being poured and the conversation is taking off with its new set of wings, all embarrassment now left in the dust of the past. You two continue to chat about movies, which leads to talking about hobbies, favorite places in the city, the best pizza parlor in town (it might just be the alcohol or you’re just really that passionate about your pizza opinions because you two even end up getting into a very heated debate about thin crust versus deep dish). You’re honestly surprised by how natural it feels. Time flies through bouts of laughter and light conversation, and it all ends up being so much easier than you originally thought it’d be. And, this guy has yet to prove himself to be a dud yet. He’s actually very nice – attentive, funny, finds you funny. No joke, the man seems to really enjoy laughing at you. But he assures you that he’s not laughing at you – he’s just laughing at your antics, the peculiar things you say, the never-ending sass tank you’ve got fully loaded and on hand at all times.
At one point when you slam your fist down and insist that deep dish pizza is the only way to go, he tells you to prove it, smoothly asking you out on a pizza date so you two can compare thin crust and deep dish. You almost can’t believe it when he hands your phone back to you, “YoungHo :)” and a phone number illuminating on the bright screen. Things actually seem to be working out for once – you might’ve actually found a normal match!
Two hours of drinks and conversation breezes by before YoungHo tells you he needs to run to the restroom. “Watch my drink?” He smiles, a hand gently resting on the small of your upper back. You nod more furiously than you anticipated, but he doesn’t seem to notice and thanks you, turning to squeeze his way through the crowd.
It feels great to know that things seem to finally be looking up, you would cry if it wasn’t for the fear of ruining Hari’s wonderfully done make up. You do figuratively pat yourself on the back, though. You really did your drunk, 26-year-old self some good by putting yourself out there like this.
YoungHo seems like a decent guy, really. But in the short time you spent getting to know him, you still made sure Hoseok just kept the drinks coming, because no matter how nice of a conversation it was, you were still a little nervous the entire time. With your luck and current track record, things could go wrong at any time, so you needed the help of your good friend alcohol to get you to loosen you up a bit. But it’s only now that you’ve let your guard down a little that the effects of the drinks seem to really be kicking in full force. Only now is the room is starting to spin, your head feeling a lot fuller and fuzzier than before. You swirl Youngho’s whisky glass absentmindedly, sleepily observing the ice spin round and round at the bottom, the motion soothing, almost hypnotizing. If you keep doing this you might actually be able to put yourself to slee-
“You hanging in there alright?”
You startle from your drowsy haze, eyes uncoordinatedly searching for a bit before finally landing on a familiar figure to your right. It’s not YoungHo – this time, it’s a much more familiar person.
“Jeon-bun!” You excitedly coo, cupping your chin with your hands and leaning forward on your elbows to get closer to your best friend, who plops down on the seat next to you. You blink lethargically several times, a dopey grin hanging on your lips. “Why isn’t it my favorite boy, my baby, my love child, my little tulip.”
Jungkook whips his head toward you, the once stoic look on his face now morphed into one of bewilderment. “Tulip? Love child? What the actual- how many drinks have you had?”
“Psh,” You wave a hand carelessly at him, “Like, Monday.”
“Shit, this is bad.” Jungkook groans, carding a hand through his hair. “Monday’s not a number, stupid.”
“Oh, I meant seven, seeeevvveeeen, hehehehehe.”
You’d argue you can handle your alcohol pretty well, with six or seven drinks being your limit. But then again, it’s not like you remember much after having that many drinks, so you can’t really say for sure. According to Jungkook who’s witnessed and endured majority of your drunk episodes with you, that is definitely not the case, but what does he know?
You watch as he squeezes his eyes shut, as if pained about something, and the sight makes you frown. You don’t like seeing your Jungkookie sad, mad, upset or frustrated about anything. Not on your watch.
“HEY!” You shout, startling some people nearby as you press your index fingers onto the corners of his lips, pushing them up until they form a constipated looking smile. “No frowning allowed, nuh uh. My love child is not allowed to be sad. You’re ugly when you’re sad.”
“Oh gee thanks, real confidence booster.”
You let go and pinch his cheeks before letting your arms drop, swaying your head as you hum along to the music that’s playing. You recognize it to be one of Namjoon’s original songs from one of his mixtapes, and it also happens to be one of your favorites, the tune upbeat and catchy. It just serves to lift your drunk spirits even higher.
“YoungHo’s great, did I tell you that?” You suddenly announce. Eyes closed, you continue to hum as you wait for Jungkook to respond. It feels like it takes longer than usual for him to respond to you, but that could just be you and your impaired sense of time. But he eventually answers, his voice low and even.
“The guy you’ve been talking to all night, his name’s YoungHo, huh.”
You bob your head up and down, “Yeah, he likes pizza. And I think he likes me. Actually I don’t know yet, we’re gonna go get pizza next week so I’ll find out then.” You giggle, turning from side to side on the bar stool. Sighing happily, you suddenly swivel around to face Jungkook, knees bumping up against his. He flinches at the sudden contact.
“I’m so happy.” You sigh again, staring off into space with a dreamy look on your face, not noticing the way Jungkook tenses up, gripping the beer bottle in his hand.
“That so? How come?” He says calmly, though his body reacts in the complete opposite manner. He nervously taps his fingers along the glass of the bottle and bites down on his lower lip, worrying the flesh between his teeth. But you don’t pay attention to it, his actions cloaked by the drunken spell that’s been casted over you.
“Because,” You tilt your head to the side, giving him an even more wistful smile, “pizza exists, Fat Fridays are the best, I finally met a guy who isn’t 58 or a total creep, I have the most amazing friends, and an even more incredible best friend and I love you, Jungkook.” A hiccup mixed with a chuckle escapes you. “I love you, best friend. You know I wouldn’t be able to do life with you, right?”
On a regular night out, drunk you includes the following: increases in smiling frequency, steadily rising volume of laughter, increasing amounts of shouting and passionate declarations, ensuing of blabbering nonsense, and finally, sleepy sappiness to end the night. Basically alcohol brings out your normal personality and amplifies it a few thousand times. Normally, Jungkook’s used to experiencing all your drunk symptoms and isn’t even phased by all the cheesy sap or ridiculousness that tends to spew from your lips. But this time your words hit differently – they strike his bones from an angle he wasn’t prepared to take a blow from. It causes him to swallow past a lump in his throat, and he quickly takes a swig of his beer to help force it down.
“Thought you said you were tired of Fat Fridays, said they made you feel like a retired grandma.” He manages to get out, eyes flitting around nervously.
You place a hand to your chest in feigned offense, “Who, me? I would never say such a thing, Fat Fridays are a blessing from above.” Reaching over, you give Jungkook’s hand a friendly squeeze, his eyes focused on where your hand lies. “I’m just saying that things are perfect the way they are right now, okay. YoungHo and I are getting married, you and I will keep the Fat Friday tradition alive, and everything will be happy and wonderful for the rest of our lives.”
“Married?!” Jungkook nearly spits out the sip of beer he had just taken and chokes back on a cough. “I think you need to take like eighty-six steps back and stop jumping to conclusions for a second, ___.” He scoffs in disbelief, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “You barely even know the guy.”
“I know enough about him, trust me.” You drunkenly wave his judgment away. “Anyways, where’s Soobin? You did bring her, right? I want to meet her already, you asshole!”
Jungkook sighs and fights the urge to roll his eyes, even as you give his arm a spiteful pinch. “Calm down, she’s using the restroom. I’ll introduce her once she gets ba-”
“I’m here, babe.”
At the sound of the unfamiliar voice, your eyes shoot open. You immediately spin around and hop off the bar stool, steadying yourself on the seat cushion once your feet hit the ground because apparently alcohol has the power to turn your legs into jelly. You squint a little in an attempt to get your vision to focus. Through the drunken fog, you’re able to make out a set of cat-like eyes, pink thinly pursed lips, a cascade of perfect ringlets of caramel curls, and a tight blue body-con dress hugging a slim, petite figure. This must be her, this must be-
“Soobin!” You squeal elatedly, taking the girl’s hands into yours, proceeding to shake them up and down furiously. “It’s soooo nice to finally meet you.” You let go of one hand to jerk a thumb at Jungkook. “This asshat’s been keeping us in the dark for so long when it comes to you, so I’m so happy to finally be able to meet you!”
You look back and forth between Jungkook and Soobin like an overly excited puppy that needs to pee. But you can’t help it, you’re finally meeting the girl that Jungkook has deemed worthy of his affections, so of course it’s a huge moment for you, for all of you. Best friend meets girlfriend, girlfriend meets best friend. It does makes you feel a little weird though, seeing the person who is apparently his girlfriend stand by his side. Whatever this feeling is, it’s definitely…foreign. But you’re too caught up in the excitement to really care – you just hope it’s a moment you won’t forget because of your frenemy Mr. Vodka-Cran. Screw him.
“Um, hi, it’s nice to meet you too.” The girl says uneasily, leaning a bit closer to Jungkook. “You must be ___.”
Your jaw drops open unattractively as you jab a finger at your own chest. “You know who I am?!”
“Jungkook talks about you a lot.” Soobin states matter-of-factly, her demeanor cool and calm – almost too cool and calm. You feel the need to introduce her to Mr. Vodka-Cran.
“Aw, does he really now?” You affectionately pat Jungkook on the cheek, who rolls his eyes when you coo at him. “I’m his best friend – actually, the best friend he could ever ask for – so I’m not surprised. But still happy to hear it.” You focus your attention back on Soobin, your eyes sparkling. “So, tell me about yourself! How did you and Jungkook meet? Oh wait, silly me, I already know you met on Tinder, duh! What I meant to say is, how’s it going? Are you guys happy together?” You suddenly gasp, “Are you guys going to get married?! Oh my gosh, congratulations! I can’t wait to tell the others-”
The rest of your words come out as a muffled, unintelligible mess from behind Jungkook’s hand. He knows better than to let the “blabbing nonsense” stage get any worse. It takes you an extra long second to register what’s happening but when you finally do, you give him a repulsed look before licking his palm in revenge, causing him to draw his hand back reflexively.
“O-kay, I think that’s enough ‘getting to know each other’ time.” He cringes, wiping the spit off on his dark denim jeans. “Uh, so yeah, ___ this is Soobin, Soobin this is ___.” He turns to Soobin, looking apologetic, “Sorry you have to meet ___ when she’s butt-drunk like this. Normally she’s a little off her rocker but I swear she’s not this crazy all the time.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Well that’s kind of a bummer to hear.”
Cheeks flushed, you whirl around and are greeted by another one of YoungHo’s amused smiles and he leisurely strides over to where you guys are standing. It feels like he’s been gone for forever; you nearly forgot about him for a second there. You wonder if he was really in the bathroom for that long or if alcohol just slows time down that much.
“YoungHo,” You beam, raising a hand up in salutation, before directing it towards the couple beside you, “this is my best friend and pet bunny, Jungkook. And this,” you gesture towards Soobin, “is his girlfriend Soobin! Aren’t they just precious?”
YoungHo bites his lips to hold back a bout of laughter, obviously having not expected your level of inebriety to increase this much in the few minutes he was gone. But he lets his manners go ahead of him, extending a hand out to Jungkook. “Pleasure’s mine, I’m YoungHo, a… new friend of ___’s.”
Jungkook stares at the man’s hand like it’s his first time seeing a hand and he doesn’t quite know what to do with it. He stills, the booming music and surrounding chattering conversations blurring together messily in the background. You may be far from sober, but even you can feel the palpable awkwardness, and you frantically wonder why he’s just letting this stretch of silence pass on by without saying anything. It’s so awkward, YoungHo’s expression starts to shift into an uncomfortable one, his outstretched hand wavering slightly. Your eyes quickly flicker to Soobin, who looks just as puzzled as you feel, and out of anxious discomfort you inwardly start to chant you shake it, you dimwit, shake it!
After a few more excruciating moments of tension, the man seems to finally figure out how to operate his own hand and takes YoungHo’s into his, the handshake looking really firm – almost painfully firm. But at least he finally shook his damn hand and put all of you out of your collective awkward misery.
From beneath slightly narrowed eyes, Jungkook makes silent eye contact with YoungHo before he mutters a greeting and briskly lets go, shoving his hand into his pocket. You remind yourself to give Jungkook a lesson on basic manners after this night is finally over with.
“Allllllrighty then!” You chirp, clapping your hands together to break up the strange atmosphere. “Friends, girlfriends, tulips – everyone’s been introduced. This calls for celebration! And more alcohol!” In your trek back towards the bar, you somehow manage to trip over your own foot, gravity pulling your body forward in a sudden jerk that has you falling towards the gleaming wood surface. But luckily a hand, no, two hands grab your arms and quickly hoist you up, your eyes rolling around dizzily in your head from all the movement. Blinking in a daze, you turn to your left and right and see Jungkook and YoungHo holding onto you, wearing similarly concerned expressions on their faces.
“Well thank god I have the two of you to save me from banging up my face, haha!” A hiccup leaves your lips, but soon turns into a giddy giggle, followed by more hiccups. At this point, you don’t have enough sober left in you to even think about feeling embarrassed. You just grin stupidly, happy as can be.
“Okay, no more drinks for you. I think it’s time to go home.” Jungkook enforces sternly, pulling you away from the bar and consequently out of YoungHo’s grip as well. The event must really be taking off now because it’s much more difficult to hear his voice over the pulsating bass and rowdy cheering than before. In the distance you see a circle of people cheering on a group of break dancers who are spinning around on the floor and showing off their fancy, intricate dance moves. More and more people are squeezed onto the dance floor now, swaying their bodies to the music in one massive clump of body heat and sweat, the beat and blanket of intoxication fully taking control of the atmosphere. There’s just no way you’re can leave now, not when the party’s just getting started.
“No.” Jungkook says scoldingly, reading your mind before you can even think of protesting. “I already know what you’re thinking. Trust me, you’re gonna thank me tomorrow when you get a full night’s sleep and your hangover is ten times better than it would’ve been.”
“But Jeonnie,” You whine unapologetically, giving him an annoyed pout. “Just because you want to go home doesn’t mean I want to go home yet. Some of us just want to live our lives, you party pooper!” You swing your hand at his chest but completely miss, stumbling forward when you hit nothing but air. This time YoungHo is quicker to react and his hands are on your waist before you even realize you’re falling, his grip steadying you on your feet.
“Actually, I think that might be a good idea, ___.” YoungHo agrees gently, trying hard not to smile at your sulky frown that just grows larger and cuter by the second. “Might be a good time to call it a night, gotta keep you from breaking an arm or something. Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.” In your drunk stupor, you still get startled when Jungkook suddenly steps forward, wearing an expression you don’t think you’ve ever seen on him before.
“No it’s all good, I’ll take her home.” Though he stands tall, his words come out in a nervous rush. The nervousness in his voice sounds so unlike him, so uncharacteristic of him. He must realize how hasty he sounded because he’s suddenly scratching the back of his neck, eyes flitting around awkwardly. “I mean, I’ve taken care of her drunk self plenty of times in the past, so I’m used to it. She can just be a real beast to deal with once the alcohol fully hits.”
Your face twists in offense, “Uh, excuse you Mr. Jeon-balaya-”
“No really, it’s fine,” YoungHo cuts in, stepping forward as well to match Jungkook’s stance. “I don’t mind at all. I’m completely sobered up and my car’s parked right up front. Besides,” he eyes Soobin who’s been standing there all along, quiet as a mouse, before shifting back to Jungkook, “you should take care of your girlfriend, no?”
Maybe it’s just your eyes playing tricks on you, but you swear you see Jungkook’s hands ball up into fists at his side. He looks ticked, again, just like earlier when he first saw your outfit. But at the same time, your best friend, whom you can usually read like a book, faces the other man completely stone-faced, blank of any real emotion, and truthfully it comes across as a bit scary. This night just gets stranger and stranger by the minute.
You think the unbearable awkward tension is back, but this time you can’t really tell for sure. They continue to stare at each other like there’s some sort of show down to be had, and it soon becomes too much for your inebriated brain to comprehend. All you know for sure is that just as Jungkook predicted, the alcohol is really starting to hit you now. You know you’re standing still but it feels like the world is tipping sideways on its axis just to throw you off balance. The strong bass hammers in your ear and shakes you from the inside out in a way that makes your stomach churn uneasily, like Mr. Vodka-Cran is about to take his revenge on you. For the first time that night, you agree with the both of them – maybe it is time to go home.
“Jungkook,” Soobin suddenly speaks up after not having said a single word in the last ten minutes, “just let the man take her home. You were planning on staying at my place tonight anyway, no?” You bring a hand to your head as if it’ll help alleviate the headache that’s starting to pound away at your skull. Why does Soobin sound upset too? Did you do something wrong? What the hell is going on? Where are your goddamn pajamas ‘cause you really need to pass the fuck out ASAP.
Sensing your growing discomfort, YoungHo reaches for your purse on the bar stool and slings it over your shoulder, looking down at you worriedly. “___ really doesn’t look too good, I think we should head out. I’ll let her friend know we’re leaving, and I’ll be sure to get her home safe. It was nice meeting you both.” With a hand on the small of your back, he leads you away from a shell-shocked Jungkook and an equally upset-looking Soobin, moving forward through the hordes of people, not letting you turn back to look even once. You just hope all of this, whatever this was, will be cleared up by morning.
- - - - -
Things aren’t the same after that night at the Sound Bar.
Thankfully, you wake up the next day alone and in your own bed, the other half of it empty and fortunately unoccupied. You end up nursing a nasty hangover for the next two days after that night, your recovery weekend filled with lots of pedialyte, tylenol, and soup to keep your poor stomach at bay. It’s frustrating because no matter how hard you try to remember, that night is just one big drunken blur in your memory. Luckily Hari, who had been nearby at the time and witnessed it all go down, helps fill you in on everything that happened. You immediately spam Jungkook’s phone afterwards with apology texts, asking him to deliver your sincerest apologies to Soobin as well for being so rude and insane that night (you swear to never talk to Mr. Vodka-Cran ever again, that bastard). But strangely, there’s no reply. You vaguely remember him saying he was going to spend the night at Soobin’s place, so you figure he’s just busy spending his weekend with her. It’s no big deal, he’ll get back to you in a few days and things will soon be all settled and forgiven.
He eventually texts back to tell you it’s fine, but that he’s got a busy week ahead of him. The deadline for his demos are coming up, and apparently he’s super far behind and has a ton of shit to catch up on. You were hoping he’d be free so you’d be able to at least apologize to him one more time, in person. But you don’t get to see him, and Fat Friday doesn’t happen that week. Again, not the end of the world. He’s an adult, he’s got adult responsibilities to take care of, and it’s totally normal to not see your friend’s face for a week. Well, not normal for you, but you figure it’s normal in general.
The following week, Jungkook says he’s still swamped with work. You tell him you’ll go to his place to keep him some company in his misery, promising not to distract him too much and even offering to bring take-out, which happens maybe once in a blue moon. But he declines your offer (he says no to take-out!) and insists he really needs to be alone and concentrate. Though his rejection leaves a slight sting, his reasons are understandable – the producer life isn’t an easy one and knowing how much of a perfectionist Jungkook is, that life is probably just that much more difficult for him. It’s a very reasonable excuse.
Before you know it, two weeks go by, and it’s onto week three. His text replies are becoming sparse and each successive one sounds less and less like him. His apologies are half-hearted at best and he repeatedly blames it on the stress he was dealing with. But he says the demos are finally in, and that he’s free for the next few weeks before he starts up on another project. You ignore the fact that he’s been acting off, your desire to see your best friend trumping his unusual behavior, and text him to get his “fat ass ready for wings and some Thor action, cuz it’s Fat Friday baby!” hoping deep down inside that he won’t turn you down again this week. But to your utter shock, he does, this time with the excuse of needing to tend to his very neglected girlfriend. Another slap of rejection. But it makes sense that if he didn’t have any time for his own girlfriend, then he definitely didn’t have time for you. Of course he’d want to spend quality time with her to make up for the time he was gone. Of course.
So in those three rather empty weeks, you fill your time in other ways. The day after meeting at the Sound Bar, YoungHo texts you to set up your pizza date. Instead of lounging around at home like you normally do with some superhero movie on Netflix and Jungkook hogging up majority of the sofa with his body, you spend the evening going to two different pizza places with YoungHo. It ends up being a nice first date, one which concludes with you reluctantly admitting that thin crust is actually pretty bomb too (but you still pledge your loyalty to deep dish forever). The conversation still flows nicely with him as you both continue to get to know more about one another. Turns out, YoungHo’s a friend of a friend of Namjoon’s and works as some fancy business manager for some even fancier big-shot business company in the city. Strangely enough, this new tidbit of information makes you instantly think of Jungkook, who in his college days, once passionately declared he’d rather die than be stuck at a boring office job for the rest of his life. He sure is a man of his word, seeing how he kept to it and now is doing what he truly loves to do – producing and making music.
The second week, YoungHo surprises you by taking you to see Hamilton, the musical. Apparently, his company offers discount prices on certain events like musicals, and he managed to get seats in the orchestra pit for dirt cheap. He was worried it’d be too fancy and serious for the third date, but you’re just thrilled that you finally get to see the musical in real life, rather than just listening to the soundtrack on Spotify on repeat and creating an imaginary musical inside your head. The show ends up being even more amazing than you could ever describe with words. The songs, the dialogue, the characters – it’s a night that will be forever embedded in your memories. You know you just have to take Jungkook to see it the next time the Hamilton crew is back in town – you know he would love it just as much as you did.
The third week you offer to make YoungHo dinner at your apartment for date five, to change things up a little. He’s been so generous and proactive with planning all the previous dates, you feel like it’s the least you can do to show some effort on your part. So you invite him over and prepare a fancy steak and roasted vegetable dinner that you copped off a Tasty recipe. After dinner, you turn on the Hamilton soundtrack as YoungHo pours out two glasses of wine and continues the conversation about favorite childhood memories. He sits up properly on the sofa, one leg crossed over the other as he animatedly reminisces about the time he accidentally called the fire department thinking he was calling his mom. You smile and nod at his story and make sure to laugh at the right times, but for some reason, you can’t help but think about how he’s sitting. It’s an odd thought to have, but it bothers you throughout the night – it just looks too proper, too upright. If Jungkook were here, you think, he’d be sprawled out all over your couch, legs and arms hanging over the edges and you’d have to shove him off or prop his feet up on your lap just so you could sit. Then you’d make a comment about his feet smelling like a dead animal and he’d pounce on you and tickle you until you’re breathless and admitting surrender. But that’s if Jungkook were here. He hasn’t been here in weeks.
The days, hours, and minutes, crawl by at a snail pace until it’s finally week four since you’ve seen Jungkook. Now, there’s just – nothing. No legit or even half-assed excuses to explain for his prolonged absence. It seems like he’s even given up replying to your texts, seeing as though you were left on read three days ago.
You start to think that maybe this is just what it feels like to grow up. That adult friendships are just starkly different from younger ones, where you have all the care-free time in the world to hang out and talk and do nothing together. Maybe this is how adult friends end up becoming more distant from each other. Life starts to demand too much, significant others are put at the higher end of the priority list, and something has to suffer for the new change in the hierarchy. If that’s the case and that’s what this is, then you conclude that being an adult sucks, and you want no part of it anymore.
You don’t even realize you’re lost in your own thoughts until YoungHo says your name, snapping you out of it and back to reality. He was in the middle of explaining what was going on in the baseball game you two were watching at his place when you started to space out, traveling down the sad, dark rabbit hole you hate to admit you’ve kind of been living in for the past month. Now that your head is out of the clouds, you wince at the sight of the baseball game on the TV. Jungkook loves baseball. You wonder if he’s out there somewhere watching this game too.
The TV suddenly goes black. Youngho’s hand lowers the remote control onto the coffee table before he turns to you, one leg crossed over the only, polite and proper as usual. You can already tell by the look on his face that he has a question on his lips, ready to fire away.
“What’s been going on with you lately, ___?”
You blink a couple of times, not liking where this conversation is going. “What do you mean? Nothing’s up.” Even you don’t think your words sound convincing to your own ears.
YoungHo sighs. “These past few dates, I’ve caught you staring off into space multiple times, looking so sad and out of it.” He furrows his brows in concern. “Do you not even realize it yourself?”
You bite your lower lip. You know you’ve been feeling a bit gloomy and really out of it these last few weeks, you just didn’t realize you were blanking out that often – especially in front of YoungHo. And even if you were, you thought you were at least hiding it well. Guess not.
“Alright,” He shifts to sit closer to you, folding his hands in his lap, “Tell me what’s really going on.”
You almost laugh at that because frankly, you don’t know what’s going on yourself. Work’s been the same, you’ve been sleeping alright – not as soundly as normal but getting enough to function – and maybe your diet has been a little cleaner now that you haven’t had any greasy take-out food for the last month, but honestly that’s the biggest recent change you can think of – Jungkook’s absence. Just the thought of him makes your heart twinge. You miss Jungkook’s stupid face so much, the thought of him and his stupid voice and his stupid comments and his stupid presence have had you tossing and turning at night for the past few weeks. Every time your phone rings, every time you crave take-out or come home from work and just want to pass out on the sofa with a movie, you automatically think of him and wonder how he’s doing, if he’s doing okay, if he got enough sleep while pulling his hair out over deadlines – you wonder if he even remembers you exist anymore.
You shake your head, squeezing your eyes shut momentarily to block out the pain. “I- I really don’t know, honest.” You admit the half of the truth, because you really aren’ts sure what to make of these thoughts and feelings you have for your best friend yourself. But it’s like YoungHo can read your mind, or maybe, you’re just that easy to read.
“It’s Jungkook, isn’t it?”
Shocked, you look up at him, lips parted to match your expression. “W-what?”
“___, you can’t fool me.” YoungHo sighs again, looking obviously frustrated, but he somehow manages to maintain a level tone, and his eyes look gentle as ever. “Ever since our first date, you haven’t been able to stop talking about him. Jungkook this, Jungkook that – it was never ending. I know you two are best friends and all, but honestly I was shocked when all you would do is talk about your male best friend ninety-five percent of the time even while on a date with another man.” He pauses for a moment, his gaze softening. “Not to mention you just look so down nowadays, I figured it must have something to do with him.”
Your eyes are still saucer-wide as YoungHo searches them carefully, his expression sullen. The way he does it is scarily similar to how Jungkook does it. Maybe this whole time you were wrong and Jungkook was actually the one who could always read you like a book, and not the other way around. But like your best friend, YoungHo seems to find whatever answer he needs as he inhales, the sound a bit shaky, as if to compose himself for what he’s about to say next.
“You love him, don’t you?”
It’s more of a statement than it is a question. In fact, the way he says it makes it sound like it’s so obvious, like hey the sky is blue, dogs are cute, you love Jungkook. It rolls off the tip of his tongue like a cold, hard fact rather than just a mere hypothesis that needs further testing. It shakes you at your core and makes your head spin, and the confusion is simply overwhelming.
It is an obvious fact that you love Jungkook – he’s your best friend, the one who’s been by your side for so many years now and knows you better than anyone else, even more than Hari or your own parents. He knows what makes you tick, and then he knows what really makes you tick and goes the extra length to make sure no one ever gets to that point with you, including himself. He always knows just the words to say to comfort you, or just the joke to crack to lighten up the mood and make you smile. Without fail he’s like your giant Care Bear, just maybe less fuzzy wuzzy up front. He’s dealt with drunk you, post-break-up-crying-over-ice-cream-you, low self confidence you, lost in life you, all the parts of you that you didn’t even want to bother with – Jungkook embraced them all. He’s been the most stable constant in your life. Yet in the past, you never really considered him in a romantic way, mostly due to the awkward start you two had and how long it took to get over that hill. And even after you did, then you started dating your college boyfriend. There was no time to even think about looking at him in that way – so you never did.
But YoungHo’s words ring unmistakably loud and clear in your ears, and suddenly there’s so much pulling and pushing of your emotions happening all at once. It’s like the boulder of sorrow weighing on your heart lightens up only to hang down even heavier now after hearing his words, like a fog has lifted to unveil your true feelings while your heart still runs around in circles, frantically lost, so confused and caught off guard. His words are a real sucker punch to the gut that you didn’t see coming, one that leaves you breathless, because never did you imagine that this would be the issue you would have with Jungkook. Arguing over what to get for take-out? Of course. Bickering over who the better looking person is? All the time. Cussing one another out in Mario Kart? A regular occurrence. But falling in love with your best friend? Never in your dreams.
You clench your hands into fists on top of your thighs. It almost feels like you’re going to cry for some reason, maybe from just feeling overwhelmed by it all. But whether they’d be tears of joy or frustration, you have no clue. It just doesn’t make sense. You can’t just wake up one morning and suddenly love your best friend in a completely different way, it doesn’t work like that. But the more you think about it, the more you realize it didn’t happen overnight – none of this did. No, all those times he let you cry on his shoulder, whether it was because of your college boyfriend or because of a bad grade, all those moments he paused his video games just to talk with you about life, about nothing, til the wee hours of the morning, all those times he fought with you for the last crab rangoon like his life depended on it, only to give in and let you have it in the end – it’s in all these little moments that you didn’t realize you were slowly falling for the boy with the doe eyes, the smart mouth, and a heart of pure gold.
YoungHo is right – you are completely and undeniably in love with Jungkook.
These last four weeks have been hell, missing Jungkook so much more than you ever thought you would. The feeling is ten times worse than that one time junior year, when he went to a music camp for two weeks in the mountains with no phone service or wifi signal. You koala-ed him for nearly a week after he came back and demanded he never lose contact with you for that long ever again. This time is definitely much worse. This time, his absence had been constantly gnawing at you – a bitter, lonely, slow spreading infection eating away at your insides bit by bit, eventually leaving a gaping hole that wouldn’t be easy to patch up. It’s strange because the more time passed without his presence and the more you saw YoungHo’s face instead, the more often Jungkook’s would pop up in your head, as if to torture you even more in your misery. But now it all makes sense why that was happening.
Even in this very moment, you still miss those big, brown, doe eyes of his with all your heart, and the way his nose wrinkles adorably when he laughs or smiles, along with that brilliant smile itself– seriously, when was the last time you even saw the light? You miss the sight of his big hoodie clad figure splayed out on your couch and being able to banter with him and make him snort with the ridiculousness that spews from your mouth, you miss calling him names and immediately getting insulted back. You miss having his head or even his feet on your lap with Hulk playing in the background. You miss him so much, it hurts.
So much that you finally decide that enough is enough.
“YoungHo,” You begin after who knows how long, your voice sounding more stable now. “I think I- I need to go.” Too busy filtering through the complicated web of thoughts and emotions, you didn’t even notice the way YoungHo’s expression completely changed since the start of the night until now. His expression is soft but there’s a sense of solemn acknowledgment in his eyes, and you can just feel his disappointment, the weight of reality sinking down on his shoulders. But his lips pull up into a somber smile as he stands up from the sofa and watches you follow his motion, your head hung low in shame.
“I’m so sorry, I’m a horrible person,” You blubber, feeling genuinely guilty, “I’m sorry I’ve wasted so much of your time and efforts and that I’m dumb as fuck and didn’t realize this sooner to avoid all this unnecessary misery. But I just want you to know that I had an amazing time hanging out with you. You’re an awesome guy, YoungHo, and I mean no bullshit when I say that I hope we can stay friends.” You find the courage to look up and directly into his eyes, eyes glistening with remorse. “I really mean that with all of my heart.”
He offers you a smile and it’s small, but to your relief, it’s genuine, and that helps to ease the guilt a little. “Whenever you’re craving thin crust, I’m always just a call away.” He cocks his head towards the door, “Now get out of here and stop being miserable already. Go, before I change my mind.”
You stand on your tiptoes to leave a light peck to his cheek, giving his arm a squeeze before you’re out the door, rushing towards the elevators while fumbling around with your phone to call an uber.
Jungkook may be busy and have more important people and things to tend to, but that doesn’t change the fact that that bastard neglected you and your friendship for an entire month now, that just the thought of him still makes your stomach churn with something miserable and painfully empty, though it feels different in the light of these new feelings you’ve discovered. But at this point, your feelings don’t even matter. And screw all of this “normal progression of adult friendships” crap. All you know is that no matter how you feel, no matter how he feels about you, in the end, you just want your best friend back – you need Jungkook back in your life.
- - - - -
[7:34PM] You: joon
[7:34PM] You: where the hell has jeon been lately?
[7:35PM] You: bugger won’t reply to my texts and i rly need to talk to him
[7:36PM] Joonie: uhh, lately?
[7:36PM] Joonie: at home
[7:37PM] Joonie: playing overwatch
[7:39PM] You: ……
[7:40PM] You: what
[7:40PM] You: the actual
[7:40PM] You: fuck
[7:42PM] Joonie: what?
[7:44PM] You: for the last 4 weeks
[7:44PM] You: i thought he was busy dying over his demos and hanging out w/ soobin
[7:44PM] You: but he’s been ditching me for OVERWATCH?
[7:46PM] Joonie: well he was dying
[7:47PM] Joonie: he just turned in his demos not too long ago
[7:48PM] You: i’m gonna kick his sorry ass
[7:50PM] Joonie: wait
[7:52PM] You: what
[7:53PM] Joonie: you mean you don’t know?
[7:54PM] Joonie: jungkook didn’t tell you?
[7:55PM] You: ugh what now
[7:56PM] Joonie: dude
[7:58PM] Joonie: jungkook and soobin broke up like a month ago
- - - - -
“Jungkook!” A breathless shout leaves your lips as you barge through your best friend’s bedroom door, flailing it open and simultaneously scaring the living daylights out of the owner of said bedroom. His hunched figure at the desk jumps up and whirls around at the sound of your voice as his headphones slide off one ear haphazardly.
“Holy Widowmaker, yes hi, hello, shit you scared me.” He exhales all in one breath, eyes still enlarged and mouth hanging slightly ajar. Judging by the look of surprise bordering sheer terror on his face, he definitely wasn’t expecting you. But then again, he doesn’t look like he was expecting anyone, really. He’s wearing a black hoodie that’s one size too big for him and matching colored basketball shorts, the oversized hood pulled up over mussed chestnut hair, and it honestly looks like he hasn’t moved to shower, change, or just move at all. But he still somehow looks so good like that, bits of his wavy hair falling into those warm hazelnut eyes, plump lips parted slightly – so unfairly and effortlessly handsome. It’s a mystery how you faced this man for so many years and somehow remained immune to his gorgeous looks alone (well, as long as he was fully clothed).
“Wow,” You manage to get out between rapid breaths from quite literally running straight to Jungkook’s apartment from YoungHo’s place. You glance at his computer monitor before focusing back on him. “You really are playing Overwatch.”
He tilts his head in confusion. “Uh, why yes, I am?”
The urge to smack him for giving such a lame and frustratingly obvious answer is strong, but since he doesn’t understand the context from which you state this, you decide to spare him from your wrath for the time being, putting away the fists of fury for now as you march over to where he’s sitting in his fancy black and red, almost half cocoon-shaped gaming chair.
“How are you Jungkook? How’ve you been lately?” The questions roll off your tongue icily, eyes narrowing into slits that are meant to be intimidating, but it doesn’t look like it does all that much to Jungkook. From the way his eyes are still bulging out comically, it seems he still hasn’t fully gotten over the shock from your grand entrance as he mumbles a dazed “uh alright, how ‘bout you?” under his breath.
“Oh good, I’m glad, just so glad.” Sarcasm drips from your voice, and it’s hard to keep it from shaking. “And me? Oh well I’m just peachy – feeling fan-fucking-tastic.”
“You sure ‘bout that?” He queries, crinkling his nose in disagreement and looking too cute for his own good, “‘cause you sure as hell don’t sound or look like it.”
“Oh no, really, I’m just dandy!” Hands on your hips, you raise a brow at him and click your tongue once, “I’m just thrilled to see my best friend again after he avoided me for four weeks straight without any solid explanation as to why. It’s nice to see you’re still alive and kicking virtual ass, that’s all.” Slowly slipping his headphones off and setting them besides his mouse on the desk, Jungkook hesitantly rises to his feet, looking guilty, apologetic, but also slightly frustrated as he approaches you. He chooses to stand a few feet away, hands slipping into his pockets as he shifts his gaze to the floor. You can just feel this new barrier separating the two of you, and that realization hurts, especially since you still have no idea why he’s been acting so damn weird around you lately.
His lower lip is caught between his teeth, his eyes flitting around nervously as he contemplates what to say, how to explain the mess that was the last four weeks in order for it to make sense to you. But you’ll wait as long as it takes to hear him out and to resolve this issue. You’ve already waited four weeks, what’s another couple of seconds, minutes, or hours more? What else do you have left to lose?
You decide to help him out, though. You’re not sure it’s the best move to make, but you know it’ll get the job done and get the ball rolling for sure. So you bite the bullet and go for it, your voice much quieter and timid than before.
“How- how have you and Soobin been doing?”
It goes completely silent in the room safe for the almost inaudible sound of breathing and your heart beat pounding against your ear drums; besides that, it’s so quiet you would probably be able to hear a pin drop if one did. A thick tension begins to cloud the air that lies between you two as you wait for him to answer, for him to finally admit that he’s been lying, for him to stop with the bullshit and tell you what’s really going on with him. And after a few more excruciating moments, you begin to see him come around. It starts with how he squeezes his eyes shut and bites down on his lower lip even harder, staying like that for a few moments, the regret so evident in his expression. He knows he’s been caught red handed – that there’s no more escaping this conversation.
“Who told you?” Jungkook finally grits out, a low murmur under his breath as he trains his sights on the floor boards.
“Well, not you, that’s for sure.” You answer, the soft tone of your voice contrasting the sting that accompanies that comment. “Since you weren’t replying to my texts, I asked Namjoon about where the hell you’ve been lately, and he just suddenly dropped the bomb on me.” When all he does is continue to stare at the floor some more, you sigh, trying to cover up the way your lip quivers. You hate this weird awkwardness between you, and you want nothing more than for things to be okay again between you two – it’s driving you absolutely insane.
“What’s been going on these past few weeks, Jungkook?” You push on, silently begging for him to just give in already.
“___, I,” Jungkook stutters, raking a hand through his hair, the movement pushing his hoodie off his head to fully reveal his face. When the dim light from the lamp hits his face, only then do you realize just how haggard he looks. It’s almost like he hasn’t been getting very good sleep, much like yourself this past month. “I’ve just been… really busy.”
“Wrong answer, try again.” You refuse to lose to his stubbornness, not when you’ve come this far, not when things have escalated this much, not when your friendship feels like its dangling on its last fraying thread. He’s stubborn, but you’re a Taurus, and you are hell-bent on getting answers out of him, even if it means just standing there staring at him all night. You need to break down this new all he’s built up against you – it’s all you can think to do to get your best friend back.
Jungkook must sense your unwillingness to back down because he suddenly runs a hand down his face, a heavy sigh resonating from his chest. He knows this is all unavoidable – that now’s the time to lay it all out on the table. So he does, and nothing can prepare you for what he’s about to say.
“I was scared.”
Not expecting that answer at all, your brows furrow together in concern, and you feel your hands itching to just reach out and hold Jungkook, who can’t seem to lift his head and for once just looks so small. “Scared? Of what?”
“I, I thought I had more time,” He peeks out from under his eyelashes, lips forming a grim line, “more time left with you.”
Confusion fills your expression. “You make it sound like I’m dying and only have a few days left to live or something. What do you mean you thought you had more time?”
Jungkook clenches his jaw. It’s obvious that bringing all of his thoughts and feelings to the surface is proving to be a lot harder than it may seem. His hands keep curling into fists and unfurling over and over, the movement full of anxiety and tension. But then to your relief he finally speaks, breaking the silence with his quiet confession.
“For so many years, it’s just been me and you, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He starts off, voice soft and hesitant. “Even after college, we still somehow made it a routine to see each other at least what, twice a week? And then somehow Fat Fridays became a thing, our thing, and just having you by my side became enough for me. That’s all I ever needed.” His expression twists into one of distress, his brows knitting together, “Then all of a sudden, Hari and Tae convince you to start searching for a boyfriend to help with your quarter life crisis, and before I can even blink, you’re off on your first blind date who ends up being some dude that doesn’t know how to shut up to save his life.” You cringe inwardly at the thought of Date #1, doing your best to not let it show on your face for fear of interrupting Jungkook’s flow. Luckily he doesn’t seem to notice it and continues on, taking a cautious step towards you
“So what choice did I have left? I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I somehow ended up downloading a couple of those dating apps you were using and made my own profile. And as you know, that’s how I met Soobin.” Jungkook smiles sadly, scoffing quietly to himself. “I – I had to fill the void somehow. And she seemed cool, liked anime, and she was pretty so I figured, why not give it a shot? If you were out there giving all those losers a chance, I might as well do the same.”
“Wait,” You interrupt him, pinching the bridge of your nose in confusion, “so you only dated Soobin because I was dating other guys?” He nods solemnly, shame filling his expression. “But why? Just because you thought I wouldn’t have time for you anymore?” Heart clenching inside your chest, you reach out to take a hold of his hand, “Jeon, you should’ve talked to me about this instead of avoiding me like the plague. You need to know that no matter what, I will always have time for you. You’re my best friend, and there’s no one else I can do Fat Fridays with – there is always time for you in my life.”
“No, that’s not it.” Jungkook interjects quietly, shoulders sagging like the energy is being sapped out of him. The sadness etched in his eyes make your heart sink even further – it makes you afraid to hear the rest of what he has to say.
He inhales deeply, involuntarily tightening his grip on your hand. “I was always afraid it’d happen one day, losing you to another guy. But honestly, I thought I still had time. When your first few online dates flopped, I was so relieved because it still meant I had time left with you. But then,” He exhales, his expression hardening slightly, “this YoungHo guy comes out of nowhere and sweeps you off your feet, makes you laugh and looks at you like he’s hit the jackpot and it just made me feel sick to the stomach. Then he offers to take you home,” Jungkook lets out a short laugh, the sound incredulous and wounded at the edges, “and that was the cherry on top. In that moment, I didn’t care if Soobin was there, I didn’t even care that she was my girlfriend at the time, as horrible as that may sound – all I knew was that some other guy was taking you home, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
“It felt like all of my worst nightmares were coming true. You looked like you were so into him, and he looked just as smitten with you, and when he left with you that night, I thought ‘wow, this is it.’” Jungkook closes his eyes briefly in anguish, as if just saying the words themselves is painful for him. “I thought ‘this is how I lose her – this is how I officially run out of time with the one girl I need in my life. I’m such a coward for not saying something sooner, for not taking the risk and just going for it. This – this is it.’”
Jungkook slowly looks up to meet your eyes, watching as tears gather at the corners of your eyes, threatening to spill over at any second. All this time, your best friend was fighting in a silent battle against his fears and insecurities, and the worst part is that those fears and insecurities involved you. You were so dumb and blind and really had no idea this is what was happening to him this whole time. But it’s all starting to make sense now. Why he was so upset that night at the Sound Bar. Why he was making up excuses to avoid you. Why he’s been hiding for the last month – it was to avoid having this very conversation. He thinks this is the last night he’ll ever have with you.
“That night, I went back to Soobin’s place and man, she let me have it.” Jungkook chuckles, the sound not happy in the least bit. “She was pissed, and rightly so. She told me she didn’t get why I was even dating her in the first place when it was obvious that all I cared about was you.” Giving your hand a gentle squeeze, Jungkook steps closer so that now, finally, his toes line up with yours, his body towering over you and dark eyes searching yours intently, as you take in his scent that smells like home, and it helps to ease the sharp sting in your heart a little. His other hand finds yours so that he’s holding them both, so gently within his palms, thumbs tracing your knuckles gently, affectionately.
“If you don’t get it by now, even after all I’ve said, then you’re a real idiot.” Jungkook jokes lightly, but his muscles are tense and shoulders hang heavily in stark contrast to his words. “But you’re also a moron for not realizing that I’ve been in love with you ever since you kicked my ass in Mario Kart freshman year of college.”
It took you all these years, a quarter-life-crisis, several horrible blind dates, and even a potential boyfriend to get your eyes to finally open and truly see what Jungkook has just confirmed for you. It’s just that when someone is by your side that often, that regularly, it becomes natural to have them there, to have their presence nearby almost at all times and it’s so nice not having to question it. It’s so easy to get comfortable and not consider any other ideas or feelings because why do that when what you’ve got is already so good? Why venture into dangerous territory when life is great in the safe zone? But that’s exactly what Jungkook did. He embraced those very ideas and feelings and kept them bottled up and neatly tucked away all these years, knowing what you two had was so good, knowing it wasn’t worth risking the friendship you two had built up and nurtured over time. He never pushed his feelings onto you, or held you back from anything just because he felt a certain way about you. All he did was stay by your side the entire time, protecting you, silently loving you and figuring out life with you every step of the way. It’s always been Jungkook – it’s always been him.
“You know, you’re gonna need to thank YoungHo after this.” You mutter after a brief and tense silence, a tear escaping to trickle down your cheek.
Jungkook, who still has worry and stress scribbled all over his face, visibly recoils at the sound of the name of the man who was once after your heart as well. “And why would I ever need to do that?”
Not letting another moment go to waste, you suddenly perch up onto the tips of your toes, letting go of Jungkook’s hands to cup his cheeks and press your lips against his. Hands snaking through soft, wavy locks, you press yourself further into his plush petal lips, moving your mouth gently against his as he remains frozen in place. It takes him a few seconds to react, and in those few moments you can imagine what he must look like – shell-shocked doe eyes, eyebrows raised in astonishment because is his best friend really kissing him right now? But then slowly he begins to melt into your touch, brushing against your flesh hesitantly, as if he can’t believe this is all happening, his hands finding the small of your back to pull you flush against his chest. You capture his top lip between the two of yours and gently suckle on it for a moment as if to reassure him that this is real and that it’s all okay now. He seems to take the hint because then he’s suddenly sliding a hand up your sides to cradle your head, lips fervently chasing after yours, tongue swiping at your bottom lip, begging to be let in. With a small moan, you allow him to lick into your mouth, the wet muscle hurriedly fighting for dominance with yours in a way that makes heat pool in your lower abdomen.
You never knew it would feel so right to kiss Jungkook like this, to feel him moan against your skin and graze his warm hands all along the curves of your body. The more accustomed you become to his touch, the more you want him – the more you crave him. But before it can get any more heated, he slows his movements before pulling away, slightly breathless, more strands of hair scattered messily on his forehead to frame his gorgeous face, the stupid stupid face you’ve missed with your entire being.
“Please say it.” Jungkook breathes out, chest rising and falling as he tries to catch his breath, his eyes dark and dripping with want. “Before we move on, before anything else happens I just- I need to hear you say it.” Feeling his hot breaths fan against your skin, onyx eyes fixated on yours, it’s in this moment that you realize you would do anything for this man. That even though he gazes at you like you’ve got galaxies in your eyes, he’s the one who owns every inch of your stubborn and stupidly blind heart. You don’t blame him for wanting, no, needing, solid affirmation after everything he’s been through, after everything the both of you have endured. And you yourself don’t want to hold back any longer either. But despite how overwhelmed you are with emotion, a playful grin twitches at the corners of your lips. Because this is still Jungkook you’re dealing with here – and you plan on dealing with him the way you would any other day.
“I…” You stutter, watching Jungkook’s eyes widen with anticipation as you utter the words he’s been waiting for years to hear.
“I love Park SeoJoon.”
You make the declaration playfully, unable to contain the wide smile that fully spreads across your face. There’s just no other way you could ever imagine this moment playing out. And to your delight, Jungkook growls at this and presses your body tightly against him, causing a laugh to slip past your lips. It feels so euphoric to finally be able to actually laugh and joke like this after spending these past few dismal weeks without your best friend – without the love of your life.
“Don’t make me make you say it.” His threat is empty, and it shows in the way he leans his forehead against yours, eyes crinkled at the corners and twinkling brightly even in the dimly lit room. And the way he looks at you has the words falling from your lips before you can even think to say them.
“I love you, Jeon Jungkook, more than just a friend. I love you so much more than just that.” Your cheeks feel like they’re going to split from how much you’re smiling. “And I’m sorry it took me a whole ninety-eight light years to realize it. I’m the village idiot.”
Jungkook turns his head to snort and you expect him to say something sassy back like he usually does, but instead he just beams with a radiant glow you don’t think you’ve ever seen on him before, or on anyone else, for that matter. He gazes at you like a man who, after endlessly searching far and wide for miles and years on end, has finally met the end of his sufferings and is being rewarded for his hardship – like a man who has finally returned to his home.
Completely satisfied with your answer, Jungkook pulls you back into his embrace, the shape of his lips immediately molding to fit yours. He tastes sweet with a hint of bitter saltiness from the one or two tears that escape as you close your eyes to meet his kiss with your own, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. These are tears of relief and joy – a sign that everything is going to be okay from now on.
Suddenly you jump up and hook your legs around his waist, and he lets out a small grunt from your unexpected attack, but he reacts quickly and catches you with no effort required, his hands immediately finding and supporting your bottom as he leans back in to kiss you, caressing your lips with his own like he just can’t get enough of you.
“Are- are you okay with this?” Jungkook murmurs between kisses, giving your ass a tentative squeeze, to which you just sigh into his lips, giving him a small nod before you reclaim his mouth. With a kiss to match every step he takes, Jungkook carries you to his bed before gingerly laying you back, his lips still attached to yours, only parting to trail kisses along your jaw and up the column of your neck until he finds a sweet spot right behind your ear. The feeling of his lips gently nipping at the sensitive area there has you arching up into his chest, your fingers finding their way under his shirt to stroke up and down the skin of his back in a light, feathery motion.
“You really, really have no idea how long I’ve wanted this,” Jungkook whispers against your skin, catching your earlobe between his teeth, “How long I’ve wanted you.”
“Jungkook,” His name comes out in an airy breath, your eyes fluttering shut at the feeling of his hands exploring your body, gently skimming down your sides and eventually lifting the hem of your shirt.
“Mmm, babe.” His hands slip beneath the fabric to caress the skin of your torso just beneath the swell of your breasts, head lifting from the crook of your neck to meet your eyes, a teasing lilt in his voice. “I am allowed to call you that now without getting beaten up, right?”
“Jeon, if you don’t hurry up and strip and get the show on the road already, I’m gonna do more than just beat you up, baby.” You snap jokingly, but it’s impossible to ignore the need and impatience clearly embedded in your voice, your dark pupils blown out and full of lust. You hold back a giggle at how Jungkook’s eyes go saucer wide, a visible confirmation for how he interpreted your words as a flush quickly creeps up his cheeks as well, making him look so cute, it’s almost unbearable. But he immediately shuts down all those thoughts as he rises up to his knees to pull off his hoodie, tight abdominal and pectoral muscles greeting you as he stares down at you, his gaze potent and heavy.
“Holy cheezits.” You exhale, eyes hungrily raking over the honey-glazed skin and the intricate lines that make up the map of his toned body. This time, you have no shame in openly gawking at all the hard work and dedication that has obviously paid off for him as you admire the lean muscles of his shoulders and arms and the way two particular crevices at his hip bones create a sharply defined “V” shape, the lines narrowing and then disappearing beneath the waistband of his shorts. He seems to notice your lack of shame too and chuckles darkly at the sight of your wide eyes drinking him in.
“What, are you hungry or something?” He laughs, and the sound is like music to your ears after not having heard the beautiful sound for so long. “Like, do you really have to bring up food right before I’m about to make you forget everything but my name?”
You suck in a breath and just hold it there at his bold words, words you never thought you’d ever hear him say, especially to you. “Is that a threat or a promise?”
He smiles before bending forward to leave a gentle kiss on your lips. “It’s whatever you want it to be, baby.”
That night, it felt like all hell broke loose, and the truth was finally brought to light. That life changing, very over-delayed night, Jungkook made sure to take his time with you. After several weeks apart and countless years of stuffing his emotions down his own throat, instead of rushing and letting it all end up as one big blur in his memory, he made sure to etch every kiss, every fluttering touch against your warm skin, every breathy moan and call of his name deep into his memory, to fully indulge in your warmth and the weight of your body against his. He teased you slowly with his touch, his mouth, the press of his body, while embedding the feeling of your smooth skin into his finger tips to remember forever, even though he knew he’d have many more opportunities to do so. He let himself come unraveled in front of you as you teased him right back, drawing your name from his lips in sweet low moans as you pleasured him and made his deepest, darkest fantasies come to life. You brought each other to your highs over and over again, kissing, caressing and exploring every single inch of skin available. Countless I love yous were pulled from your lips as he rocked into you, slowing down and then speeding up his pace, bringing you to the edge of your high only to bring you back down, whispering even sweeter confessions and promises against your skin as you came for him, satiated him, and loved him with your entire existence.
At the wee hours of the morning, the two of you finally spent and tangled up in one another’s arms, breaths and heart beats matching and slowing to a sleepier pace, you pressed light kisses to his bare chest as he tucked your head under his chin, pulling you even closer against him, the feeling so indescribably perfect, like that’s where you have belonged the entire time. And in the few moments of consciousness before sleep took you captive for the night, Jungkook lightly stroking his fingers against your naked back, it dawned on you in that moment that what you’ve been missing the entire time was never an exciting, wild nightlife or having new hobbies to try out all the time. It wasn’t even going on dates or just having any old boyfriend and living life as the other young adults do. You realized that Jungkook’s always been the so called “missing piece” you felt you needed, even though he was always right there in front of your eyes all this time. He was just a piece of your puzzle of life that’s been sitting in the wrong spot – until now. It was him that you needed, and not just his friendship, not just his company, but his everything, Jungkook’s entire being – you just needed Jungkook.
With this in mind, sleep finally claimed you prisoner as you felt one more I love you whispered against your skin, a smile left on your lips as you slowly faded away into unconsciousness.
Being an adult wasn’t turning out to be so bad, not when you have everything you could ever need in your arms – not when you have Jungkook, your everything.
- - - - -
[Loser’s club group chat]
Hari: ___ where are you?
Hari: why you won’t pick up
Hari: your apartments empty
Hari: AND WE’RE LATE FOR BRUNCHHH
Hari: srsly anyone know where she at?
Tae: let her be bruh, maybe she just got laid or something
Hari: why are you texting me i’m standing right next to you
Hari: and omg wait, could it be?
Yoongs: i can’t believe i had to sleep in the studio last night because of them
Joon: yall know i normally sleep like the dead but not last night holy shit
Tae: omg IT FINALLY HAPPENED
Tae: THE RED SEAAA
Hari: um excuse me
Hari: WHOS THEM???
Joon: PSA – jeon’s a very verbal lover
Joon: and a moaner
Joon: like a LOUD moaner
Hari: LIKE ___ AND JEON??!!?
Hari: OR IS THAT JUST YOUNGHO’S NEW NICKNAME OR SOMETHING??
Hari: IT FINALLY HAPPENED??? WHAT THE FUCK????
Yoongs: seriously took em long enough
Yoongs: been eye fuckin each other for years now
Tae: HALLELUJAH FELIZ NAVIDAD YALL
Joon: so all it took was ___ going on a couple of blind dates huh
Joon: should’ve done this ages ago then
You: good morning everyone
You: i honestly
You: don’t even know what to say
JK: what can i say folks
JK: i tend to leave em speechless ;)
Hari: TAE AND I ARE COMING OVER LEAVE THE DOOR UNLOCKED
Hari: YOU HAVE A SHITTON OF EXPLAINING TO DO MISSY
Tae: don’t worry guys ill stall her
Tae: so you can get dressed and shit
Tae: or don’t. your choice ;)
JK: its all good
JK: ___ still has a lot of explaining to do for me as well
JK: we’re all waiting babe
Hari: omg i could cry i never thought i’d live to see this day come
You: it’s gonna be a long day
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