𝐎𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝.
Pair: Na Jaemin x female reader
Genre: Fluff, smut, slow burn, college au, sports au (basketball), strangers to friends to lovers, angst (very minor)
Synopsis: A public, handsy encounter with your schools’ star shooting guard sparks a string of run-ins on campus that can’t simply be downplayed as coincidences. After acknowledging the sudden spike in brushes, a connection blossoms between the two of you.
Warnings: Mature language, alcohol consumption, sexual content, protected sex
Sports games are the quintessential experience of college, especially Friday night games. Everyone comes together to root for their school, everyone is on the same side. Food, drinks, and smiles are in abundance as everyone–both players and fans–has their eye on the prize: the win.
Basketball is no exception, and given that your school’s team is notoriously good, game nights are especially important. It doesn’t help the volume that this sport is played indoors, but it only gets those in attendance even more excited for the night ahead.
The crowds are fun at first when the excitement is fresh; when everyone files into their seats with their friends and they take turns hyping the crowd up in preparation for their team to take the court. But when the crowds’ excitement takes a break, it’s momentarily just hordes of sweaty bodies that ooze the scent of beer and body odor.
“I’m gonna go grab a drink,” you yell to your friend Kim over the distant failed attempt at a crowd chant.
“Bring me back a water! Fucking parched.”
You flash a thumbs up before maneuvering your way through the row of seats and into the aisle, and there you can easily slip away into the lobby where the food stands are. Vending machines are closer, but the concession stands always sell goods cheaper than the machines. That, and the walk is a nice way to breathe some fresh air to get you through the rest of the game. Or rather, help you deal with the stench and loud slurred words around you.
“Two waters, please,” you tell one of the girls running the stand and you exchange the money and bottles with smiles. The lobby isn’t too far from the gym as you can still clearly hear the cheers and shouts of disappointment at the poor officiating, but you take your time on the way back.
History floods the lobby with walls lined with years and years of plaques and famous names, and cases filled with trophies and jerseys of old players. Your school’s sports department didn’t have tens across the board, but the sports your school did excel in, they excelled. The women’s soccer team won a title seemingly every other year. The football team rarely made it to the championship game, but they always ended with at least a winning record and a strong foundation to build on for the next year.
The men’s basketball team, the school’s pride and joy, always makes it to March Madness: the college basketball championship tournament. Whether they make it to Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, or the championship game itself. They are always in the championship series, and they always play hard and lay it all on the court. Being a journalism major with possible aspirations of pursuing the lively world of sports, of course, you’d follow attentively. That, and you simply like the game.
The loud cheers from inside the gym immediately erupt into the near-silence of the lobby as you open the door and return to the stuffy air. It’s the middle of the third quarter, the Bulls are up by ten and haven’t lost their lead throughout the game so far, and you’re confident they won’t. The team is the healthiest they’ve ever been–they have all of their starters on the floor and whoever’s left on the bench is checked in and ready to rotate in if need be. March Madness is coming. The fans can feel it. The players can feel it, and these guys have their priorities and goals in order.
You pause at the corner of the gym, focused on the plays, the technique, and the trick shots. You sigh in contentment. This is your school's team. This is what you could be gifted to work with under your journalism major, and it’s exciting.
Your eye catches on your friend in the crowd, waving in your direction, motioning with her hand for you to come back to her. You nod, moving towards the bleachers, though you don’t make it far.
A wall slams into your side with unchecked force, pinning you into the railing at the end of the bleachers. A hot, sweaty wall. Though, it isn’t a wall. It’s a body, a stomach, a chest. A guy. Jaemin Na, to be specific.
“I am so sorry,” he expresses, breathing heavily. Your eyes are wide, unsure of what just happened in the literal two seconds you looked away from the court. You couldn’t respond, say it was okay. You couldn’t even remember where you were.
“Um.” You’re sure you have whiplash.
“Are you okay?” he asks, brain seemingly moving fast as yours is stuck in time.
“I, uh,” you stammer. “Am I?” you question, very sincere, though he chuckles.
“I don’t know, I kind of–”
“Na, come on!” his teammate calls, and it’s only then you’re made aware of his hand on your waist as his fingers tickle the covered skin in their release.
“Again, I’m sorry!” he calls with a smile, jogging backward a few steps until he fully turns around and resumes to an unfortunate turnover resulting from his very unsuccessful attempt at saving the ball. You’re left in shock, slowly catching up to the present moment and coming to realize what was going on and where you were.
Water. Friend. Right.
Your legs bring you up the bleachers and to your friend, who looks at you with an all-knowing grin. “Well, that was intimate.”
“Huh?” you utter, passing her a bottle before twisting the cap off of yours.
“Jaemin plowing into you? Hello?” She waves a hand in front of your face, and you swat her away. “Do you know him?”
“Of him. Why? What even happened?”
“I don’t know. The ball was bouncing in your direction, he ran after it, flung it back toward the court, then boom.”
You take a sip of your water, cooling down as you piece together the moment prior. He was saving the ball from going out of bounds. Makes sense. “Oh. Okay.” You take another sip.
“He was pretty handsy,” she nudges your arm, and you choke mid-swallow. She giggles evilly.
You watch the rest of the game in silence, your head jumbled from getting rocked. Such a brief encounter shouldn’t have you distracted. It shouldn’t have you thinking about the way he pinned you, but it did. Jaemin doesn’t know you. You only know of him from watching and following the basketball team’s games. And yet, here you are, thinking about the heat from his chest amidst the unwanted heat from the crowd.
The game ends, and your prediction was right. They never lost their lead and smoked the other team. Cheers from the crowd die down and bodies bleed from the stands, meeting up with their friends to see where the victory party is or filing outside to hurry home. Among those hurrying to their cars is you, alone, as your friend fell behind at some point. Your hand slides over the door handle but halts at the sound of a voice behind you.
“Hey!” the voice calls. You turn, surprised to see Jaemin stopping before you in a large black sweatshirt, his basketball shorts, and a gym bag slung over his shoulder.
A beat passes until Jaemin finally speaks. “Uh, I’m sorry–again. About earlier. Reckless on my part.”
You chuckle, finally able to provide a real answer as opposed to the stammering mess you were before. “It’s fine. It’s what the game can do to you, I guess.”
He cocks his head to the side, amused with your response. Noting that you don’t plan on adding anything, he continues. “I don’t think you remember, but we had that art history course together last semester.”
You cross your arms over your chest in thought and lean back against your car, mind tracing back to the course. Ah, yes. The class was meticulous, detailed, specific to the professor’s style, but it wasn’t hard if you followed correctly, which you did. Therefore, you didn’t feel a need to mingle in that class. “Oh, yeah. Honestly, I don’t remember anyone that was in that class. She never had us do any group work,” you say, and he nods as he realizes you’re right. “What were you doing in an art history course, though?”
He rocks onto his heels. “Well, aside from basketball, I am an art history major, so I think the course would benefit me. Just a tad,” he holds up his pinched fingers, and you roll your eyes with a smile.
“Okay, okay. Fair enough. That’s interesting though. Big shot shooting guard Jaemin Na is an art major? Would have never guessed.”
“Never judge a book by its cover,” he winks.
You throw your arms up in surrender as you push off of your car. “Well, Jaemin, it’s been nice chatting with you, lovely getting assaulted by you, but I’m sure you’re tired so I will get out of your hair.”
He shakes his head with an innocent laugh and a bright smile. “And I’ll let you get going as well. It was nice talking to you…” he trails expectantly, and you take the hint.
“Y/N,” you provide, and he repeats assuredly. “It was nice talking to you too, Jaemin.”
“Hope to see you around.”
It’s ridiculous how such a minor, insubstantial conversation put such a dorky smile on your face for the duration of the ride home and then some. It’s ridiculous that your roommate was even able to point it out and question it, and it’s extra ridiculous that you lied and said “it’s nothing.” What an odd night, what a peculiar guy. Though you’re sure given how you pretty much have never run into him on campus before, that won’t change now. Oh, well.
· · ─────── · ·
The weekend passed like any other with studying, papers, friends, and booze. Same faces, same drinks of choice, same ripping your hair out over the courses you wish were over and done. The weekdays littered with classes and cafe stops rolled around as usual, except for one minor difference: you saw Jaemin everywhere.
Of course, it isn’t weird to see fellow students on campus. You cross paths with nearly one hundred people daily. However, despite this semester being only a couple of weeks in, everyone’s schedules are pretty fixed at this point. If anything, you’d be seeing less people, as the only option now is to drop. You see the same faces on your way to and from classes, in the parking lot, at the cafe between or before classes. Yet now, after your brief interaction, Jaemin has been thrown into the mix of people. Though maybe, you were never really looking, to begin with.
The first time was on Monday. You spotted him across the courtyard talking with a friend, and if you’re being honest, yeah–you stared. Just a little. Mostly because you never see him outside of his games, and even then, your eyes simply brushed over him on the court, too busy focusing on the game itself.
He caught you. Of course he did. And after meeting your eyes, he smiled. A warm, welcoming, friendly smile. So you returned with the same expression and went on your way.
That was only the beginning. The next day you ran into him again, and he flashed that same smile, and you returned the same way. The day after that he spotted you in the coffee shop across from campus grabbing your morning coffee before your first class. This time, he actually greeted you, and you in turn. But a simple “hey, Y/N” was all he managed before one of his basketball bros pulled him away in the same breath, snipping away any potential for a conversation to blossom.
Until Thursday came along. You had just gotten out of your one class for the day and were ready to head home and dive into the weekend. You enter the empty elevator, phone in your hand, pulling up Kim’s contact to call her until a person slips in right before the doors close.
“Hey, you,” the person says cheerfully, and your eyes land on none other than Jaemin. It should’ve been expected at this point.
“Fancy seeing you here,” you smile.
He leans to press the button to the ground floor until he sees you already have, to which he shoves his hands in his pockets. “Heading home?”
Silence sweeps in, and shockingly, your mind leans towards speaking up to continue talking to him, though you don’t know what to say, or why exactly you feel inclined to spark up a conversation with him during such a short elevator ride. Luckily, he fills the silence and halts the ramblings and confusions taking place in your brain.
“Hey, listen. Would you want to get coffee sometime?” He grips the strap of his bag a little tighter, and why you notice the minuscule action, you couldn’t say.
“Very direct,” you state. “I’m always down for coffee.” His grip loosens, knuckles regaining some color, and you find yourself grinning. “On you, though. I think you owe me after nearly concussing me,” you say, teasing.
He attempts to hold back a giggle, failing. You never had a clear picture of Jaemin and what he’s like. Probably because until now, you’ve only regarded him as your school’s starting shooting guard. The silent star on the court, the laid-back student on campus. Of course, you hear about him outside of sports, along with a handful of others on the team. A good portion of them are in a frat, and though Jaemin isn’t officially a part of it, he’s treated as a member due to his connection and his basketball status. Girls fawn over him. Guys look up to him. You’ve never heard anyone speak of him as a heartbreaker or player of sorts, but he’s the team heartthrob: everyone wants a piece.
Well. It seems that you’ve been paying more attention to him than you initially thought. As opposed to your perception of him as a skillful leader, now, you find him peculiar and a bit dorky. “Fair enough,” he nods, continuing after a beat. “Are you free now?”
“Yeah, actually. You don’t have practice?”
He shrugs passively. “I do. It’s later though, I have time.”
The elevator door opens and he gestures for you to exit first. Fortunately, you both were in the building located closest to the cafe across the street from the campus, so the walk was close to nothing and you were there in no time. With the short distance, however, you didn't have time to decide what you were going to order. Should you be modest and order a regular coffee? Or should you just go for it and buy the most expensive, extravagant drink they have to pull his arm? You weren’t that evil.
“Medium latte, please,” you order, then step to the side so he can move forward and order his own.
“Regular coffee, please.” Jaemin glances over, face looking expectant as he waits a moment before returning his attention to the girl behind the register. “That’ll be all.” He shoots one last glance, and you realize he’s waiting for you to order something else. You wave him off, and he finishes paying for your drinks. Well, he insisted. Should have ordered the fancy drink.
Even with pulling away from the fancy beverages, you still had to wait for yours to be made, while Jaemin received his immediately upon paying. You moved down the counter as Jaemin went to the table against the wall to fix up his drink. He turns to join you, but as he returns, you receive your drink and he follows you back to the table to spice up your own order. Not that it’s awkward already, but you’ve obtained your drinks as planned, and suddenly you’re searching for the next move or the next word.
“What time do you have practice?” you ask, laying out a timeline in your brain.
He checks his watch as if it had the answer and it wasn’t something he should already know. “Five. We can sit if you want?”
It’s nearly two in the afternoon now, and even though you have some work to get done along with his dawning practice, you agree with a nod, and the two of you start in the direction of a table for two against the back wall. Though, given the lack of space in this coffee shop, it isn’t that far away from the entrance and all of the other happenings.
Jaemin’s hands cup tight around his coffee, his elbows digging into the table, his shoulders raised just the slightest towards his ears. He’s cute, eyeing his hot coffee as if he can magically transport its warmth to span over his skin. It is chilly in here, though. You’d think given that it’s the middle of winter, heat would be a default.
“So, Mr. Star Shooting Guard. What made you major in art history?”
He grins sheepishly. “Well, I’ve always had a knack for art. Not necessarily producing art–like I can’t draw or paint for the life of me. I just like studying it.” There is a spark behind Jaemin’s eyes. Yet another feature that catches your eye. “Learning the meanings behind pieces, the creative process of the artist, how it fits into a certain era. It’s just all so fascinating.”
Not that you ever undermined his intelligence just because he’s a basketball player, but his passion for something other than what he’s known for is intriguing. On the court, you know the face of determination and drive well. You know what passion performed successfully looks like, so you know Jaemin loves his sport. But this new side of Jaemin–the art history major who’s interested in how pieces of art came to be–there’s a passion hinted in his eyes that pulls your interest and demands your respect. It makes you want to hear more.
Before you can pry into his choice of studies, a guy approaches the table with a bright smile in the short few steps from the front entrance. “Hey, man. How’s it going?” the guy asks in greeting, sparing you the tiniest of glances before returning his attention back to Jaemin, and Jaemin extends his hand with a simple nod.
“Hey. See you at practice later?” Jaemin asks, and as opposed to any question he’s asked you, there’s a speck of dismissal in his dry tone. Nothing to read into.
“Yeah,” the guy nods, mildly suspecting, and retreats toward the counter.
“Teammate?” you ask.
“Yeah, sophomore. Doesn’t get much playing time unless some of the starting five are out.”
You want to continue dissecting his art history interest, but he cuts off your thoughts by asking questions of his own. “Enough about me. What about you? What are you studying?”
The corner of your mouth pulls before you drop your head, your eyes burning holes into your cup. “Journalism is my major.”
He waits for you to continue, but after realizing you don’t plan on it, he pokes around. “Journalism? Anything specific?”
You exhale a stale chuckle. “Nope. You’d think with it being my senior year I’d have it figured out, but I don’t. I just know that I want to write and report.”
It’s not that you haven’t delved deeper into the major. Of course, you’re aware of all the possibilities it entails, but with an abundant number of possibilities comes heavy indecision on your part. One of the most intriguing fields of journalism for you so far has been sports, because, for starters, it interests you. You’d never lose your drive when reporting on teams and players that you already watch so frequently and that you know a decent amount about. Also, because it’d simply be easy for you.
“I like sports, too. Not playing, but watching–following every play. So maybe something with that.”
Jaemin’s eyes light up, his body perks. “You like sports? Like what?”
“Basketball and football for the most part. I know them, I like them, so I think something in that field of interest would come easy. I don’t know, though,” you sigh, dismissing your own train of thought. Your eyes run in slow circles along the rim of your cup, cascading down the side and land on where your hands grip.
Jaemin’s foot nudges yours under the table, prompting you to look up at him. “Well you don’t need to have it all figured out, even if you’re out of here soon.”
“Easy for you to say.” Harsh. You didn’t intend for it to come out so sharp, and your tone makes you recoil in your seat. He didn’t deserve that. “I’m sorry.”
A soft smile spreads on his face. “It’s okay.”
With a glance up at the clock hanging above the door, you decide it’s best if you head back home and get a headstart on your studies and leave him to get ready for practice. “I think it’s time I head home. Have an exam coming up that I am not prepared for in the slightest.”
“What class?” He grabs his bag.
You chuckle at the coincidence. “History of Art 104, actually.”
He throws his arms up after slinging his bag on his shoulder. “What?! Who’s your professor?”
“Same woman we had for 103 last semester. DeLaurentis.”
“Alright, you’re kidding. I have her for the same class.” He grabs his coffee from the table and begins toward the door. “As much as I love art history, this class feels nearly impossible compared to the previous courses with her.”
“It’s crazy hard,” you add. “Hey, would you want to study together? Maybe you can provide some crucial insight and I’ll somehow be able to manage this exam.”
“Yeah, of course. Maybe talking about it with another person will help cement this stuff into my brain,” he smiles, and you both stop on the sidewalk. “I have an away game tomorrow, but what about Sunday? I have a light practice in the morning but I’m free for the rest of the day.”
“Sunday is great. Library? Is two okay?”
“Perfect.” He smiles, conversation seemingly concluded before his eyes go wide for a flash of a moment. “Oh, hey, wait. Take my number down in case something comes up.”
You pull your contacts and insert his number as he lists off the digits, then stuff your phone back in your jacket pocket. “Alright. I’ll see you Sunday, then.”
“See you, Y/N.”
You cross the street toward the parking lot where you had parked, but once at the other side, the urge to turn around for one last interaction spins you at your feet. “Hey, Jaemin!” He turns, shoulders straight and body perked up at the sound of your voice. “Kick some ass tomorrow!”
Jaemin laughs at the volume of your spirit in such a public setting and flashes a thumbs up.
· · ─────── · ·
It’s not a close game in any way you look at it. The other team is not at the same skill level, does not have the same weapons that the Bulls have. Jaemin went into this game knowing that, though. He knew it would be an easy win, but that doesn’t mean he takes it easy.
Jaemin still leaves his all on the court, just as he would any other game. This is opportune practice, and he’s grateful that his teammates approach this game with the same mindset as him. Why put the bare minimum of effort in and win by twenty when you can challenge yourself and win by forty?
There are three minutes left in the game and in the current thirty-two-point lead they have, Jaemin has twenty-seven points on the board and counting. The other team even had home-court advantage, yet the Bulls still ended up toying with them in front of their own fans.
Jaemin has his other passions and other things he loves. He majors in art history and he doesn’t view it as an easy major to fill his pastime while he isn’t playing basketball. Though as much as he finds it interesting, basketball is his true number one. That is the career he wants to pursue, that’s the path he wants to follow.
When interacting with Jaemin, you’d never be able to see the adrenaline-hungry menace inside of him. On the court, Jaemin has his eye on the prize. He’s entirely focused on getting his team the win, more so than racking up his own points. In doing so, he’s become one of the feared faces of the Bulls–a face other schools know well.
His strength lies in three-pointers, creating open shots for himself in impossible situations, and making it look effortless. He has an eye for the opponent's next move, and he knows when he can shoot successfully and when he needs to pass. More often than not, even in times when he should pass, he knows he can give himself an open slot to shoot and score. It’s not ego–it’s confidence and knowledge. It’s him knowing what the best move to make is, and his teammates trusting him to do so.
Part of his success has Renjun Huang to thank for it; being the best point guard for miles, assisting the perfect shots by creating open slots, and giving him sufficient time to find his rhythm and shoot. They’re a dangerous tag team to other schools, but a necessary powerhouse for their team. Their agility combined has created such skilled, tricky plays that would otherwise be impossible to pull off.
As the clock winds down to two minutes, they’re all smiles on the court as they’re purely having fun now. Jaemin shows off his handles and his stepback, Renjun shows off his speed and swiftness, and Jeno Lee, the starting small forward, debuts his windmill dunk.
It’s unusual for a team to keep their starters in the game with such a large lead, but they begged to stay in. It’s frowned upon to risk an unnecessary injury, especially with such a team certain to make a playoff run, but they had their break during the third quarter. They want to finish this with a bang. This is a team that’s determined with their minds set on one thing: the championship title.
One minute left and now they’re running the clock down. Jaemin has to give the opposing team props, though. They put up a fight where other teams would have given up long ago. All they can think about now is showering, changing, and going home to their beds. Though for Jaemin, on top of being greedy for his bed and thinking about how warm and comfortable he’ll soon be, he thinks about your study date this weekend and smiles. He’s so distracted by the thought he’s caught with a travel violation and the ball is overturned. Not that it matters at this point, but it’s still inconvenient.
The buzzer sounds and the game is over, and Jeno jogs up to Jaemin and slaps him on the back with a curious gaze and a playful grin. “What was that about at the end?”
“What was what about?”
“You just traveled. That’s, like, unheard of with you.”
“There were thirty seconds left, it’s not like it matters,” Jaemin says, nodding up at the scoreboard. Jeno grins and nods in agreement and begins to jog toward the locker room.
It doesn’t matter, Jaemin repeats in his head.
· · ─────── · ·
Sunday has come suddenly, and to say you weren’t looking forward to today since parting two days ago would be a blatant lie. Jaemin is peculiar; you’ve thought that since the moment he caught you in the parking lot after that fateful game. From the coincidental encounters on campus to learning of his silent passion for art history, he continues to pique your interest.
You wait outside of the building that holds the library, sitting on the worn bench with your bag placed next to you and your phone in hand, fiddling with the case as you wait for his arrival. The sky is a light gray, but in the distance, you can spot the darker clouds rolling in from behind the treeline. Despite how much you like the rain, you curse yourself for forgetting an umbrella and hope Jaemin had checked the forecast and brought one.
Jaemin saunters down the path leading straight toward the main doors, eyes catching your form sitting on the bench, gaze glued to your fingers playing with your case. “Hey,” he calls out.
You peer up, smiling at the new company. The campus is fairly empty today, with the exception of a few stragglers entering and exiting the building you’re currently in front of. The library and the university shop are the only things open on Sundays, so it’s to be expected that campus would be eerily quiet compared to the usual life it contained. “You wouldn’t happen to have an umbrella.”
“No, was I supposed to bring one?” He pats his pocket where his phone is placed, clearly thinking that maybe you had sent a text asking for one and he hadn’t received it.
“No, it’s fine, we’ll just deal with the rain later. Ready?”
“As I’ll ever be,” he responds.
The two of you make your way into the building and walk down the hall to the entrance doors of the library. It comes as no surprise that the library is as vacant as the campus is, save the one girl at a computer and the woman behind the desk. Jaemin holds the door open for you to enter and follows behind you, gesturing for you to choose where they sit.
When in the library, you always opt for the lower level where the large windows stretch from the floor to the ceiling of the very top floor. Couches sit in one corner below the stately staircase cascading into the lounge area, then some more on the opposite side of the area with a long table in between. “Table or couches?” you ask.
“I’m sure I’d be a little more productive at a table, but would you mind if we sat at the couches? ‘Light practice’ today was a little rougher than anticipated.”
You comply with a nod and a smile before heading down the stairs to the couches placed in the corner, tucked away and sandwiched between the wall of the stairs and the endless windows with an unobstructed view of the dawning rainstorm. He plops onto the cushions with a drained sigh, taking a moment before pulling his textbook, notebook, and pen out of his bag. You’re sure he’s tired, but you can’t help but appreciate him coming here. You fall into the spot beside him.
“Hey, I just want to apologize again. You know, for ramming into you at the game.” He taps his pen against the cover page of the textbook, meeting your gaze for only a second. “I got a taste of it this morning, maybe in the world’s twisted way of avenging you,” he giggles, “but it did not feel too great.”
The sudden memory of that flash encounter floods your thoughts, and you’re unsure what to say. It wasn’t too big a deal to you, and honestly, it was only shocking because of how quickly it had happened. Nothing against Jaemin, you were serious when you told him it’s what the game can do to you. Still, his dwelling on the moment catches you off guard. “Oh, don’t worry, really. It’s, um… It felt fine.”
It felt fine? What does that even mean? Not that he hurt you–he definitely didn’t, though you swore at that moment you would develop whiplash–but it felt fine?
It’s clear he catches onto those three words, though as opposed to confusion, a mischievous shadow casts over his eyes–the first glimpse of teasing making its way to the surface of his demeanor. “Oh? Fine, you say?”
You push his arm and he chuckles wholesomely, the sound shooting straight to your heart and your lips, involuntarily tugging up into a smile. He rocks back to nudge into your side, and you shake your head, pulling out your own necessities before beginning your quest to understand the history of Japanese art.
For the most part, studying is silent–with occasional sessions of quizzing each other on which piece of art is from what year and the characteristics attached to each era and style. The library remains fairly empty with so much as a couple of people in and out. At this point you’ve both completely melted into the couch, your feet tucked under you and his propped up on the coffee table. The rain started soon after you settled into your corner and hasn’t let up since, pouring in ferocious waves, with the accompaniment of a few bolts of lightning and roaring thunder. That wasn’t in the forecast.
You sit distracted, eyes drawn to the weather just outside of the window, listening to the rain pelt the ceiling angrily and the wind whistle and whip through the trees as if it has a vendetta against the world. The sky grows darker, but the bolts of lightning continue to flash on cue, brightening the area in quick flashes.
“Hey,” Jaemin calls, his elbow nudging you, shocking you a bit out of your daydream. For a moment you forgot you weren’t alone, forgot what you were doing, too lost in the storm carrying outside. As mild as your reaction, he still catches it. “Scared of storms?”
“No, just got distracted.” Your gaze switches from him back to the chaos ensuing beyond the window, and he follows. The storm is worse than you had anticipated, and you’re dreading the walk to your car. “I really don’t want to walk in that,” you mutter.
“We could just stay here and wait it out,” he offers, his eyes earnest but he immediately pulls back. “Unless you have somewhere to be. Then we can just make a run for it.”
“Nope, nowhere to be. Though, I am getting a little tired of staring at this textbook.”
He chuckles, nodding in agreement. “And I’m a little hungry, you?”
You sigh. “Yes.”
Jaemin closes his pen and his notebook into his textbook and sets it on the table. “Take a walk with me to the vending machines?”
You nod, setting your own things onto the table beside his and stuffing your phone into your pocket before getting up to follow him out of the library and down the hall. If it were any other day, you wouldn’t leave your stuff unattended and out in the open like this. But given that there’s not a soul in the library with you now, you don’t stress about someone coming in to steal your notes.
As you both approach the vending machines, you scour the contents inside and pick a single thing that will hold you over until you get home and can begin dinner: a bag of chips.
“What are you looking at?” he asks.
“Not sure. I don’t know if I want chocolate or something sour and fruity.” His eyes are squinted as he thinks deeply about what mood he’s in.
You point at the row of chocolate bars. “I think chocolate is perfect for a rainy day, but it’s your call.”
He looks at you as he takes in your words, teetering back and forth before landing on his final decision. “Chocolate it is.”
· · ─────── · ·
College is not college without frats, parties, and frat parties. There’s a spectrum for students: on one end are those who attend these parties ritually, and on the other are those who sit back and tease the behaviors of the demographic at these parties. You find yourself directly in the middle, avoiding those who are invested in frats and poking jokes but still gravitating to the party scene.
This brings you here, at the house of your schools’ star quarterback. Though the football team’s season wasn’t necessarily a losing one, it was far from stellar with strong flaws both offensively and defensively, so what exactly the team is celebrating tonight is lost. They didn’t even make it to a bowl game. But your friend was dying to come, and you yourself needed a night out.
Though it’s not quite a frat party, the hosts' frat is in attendance as well as the sorority and a handful of people from other sports teams. One of those teams is the basketball team, which comes as a shocker because unlike the football team, they are having a flawless season so far, so why they’re currently at this party when they have a reputation and a streak to maintain is odd. Reckless, even.
“Oh, I see Jen! I’m gonna go say hi,” Kim states loudly over the music.
“Alright, I’m gonna see what they have to drink. Want something?”
“Of course I want something. Surprise me.”
You wink before nodding her over in the direction of her friend from class, then start in the opposite direction to the kitchen. It’s a direct path, no one in your way, yet your vision goes blurry the moment you approach the archway leading to the area.
A hand is on your arm, pulling and spinning you away from the kitchen until you’re standing still in front of none other than Jaemin. “Hey!” he greets happily, pulling you into a hug. The pace is as shocking as that first encounter, and it takes you a second to register his greeting and his arms around you, but you finally settle and giggle, wrapping your arms around him.
“You’re here. I didn’t think I’d see you tonight.”
“I didn’t think I’d see you either”–you eye his cup–“Jaemin, what is the basketball team doing here?”
He chuckles and drops his head. “Ah, don’t worry. Renjun and I have the team on a strict two-drink limit. Plus, I’m not a huge drinker, to begin with.”
Like your deal with Jaemin before he rammed into you, you know Renjun only by name from following the team and their games. Renjun is the team's point guard, aka the leader. You don’t know him as a person, but given his position, it’s only fitting that he’s the one to monitor the players on such an occasion. He’s insanely smart on the court from what you’ve seen of him. He knows the right plays to call, he passes at crucial moments that could make or break the game (almost always make), and he’s quick, slipping through the other teams' players with ease and mischief.
“No drink yet?”
You squint your eyes. “Well, I was about to get one but someone pulled me away.”
He feigns distaste. “How dare they. Come on, let’s get you a cup.”
With a roll of your eyes, you follow him into the kitchen where he leads you to a countertop covered end to end in liquor bottles. The budget of these parties is one thing that always baffles you, seeming near impossible for these college students to afford, but you never question free booze. “So what will it be?”
You scan over the plethora of different bottles until your eyes land on an unopened bottle of your preferred tequila. “Would love a shot, but my friend is locked in conversation over there.”
“I’ll take a shot with you.”
“No, you will not.”
He’s already reaching for the bottle and two plastic shot cups. “I’ve only had one drink. Still have one left, this can be considered my second.” He sets the cups down and to his surprise, he turns to find you looking at him with worried eyes. “It’s fine, Y/N. I can’t let you take a shot alone.”
With a sigh you concede, unable to hide the smile growing on your face. “Well, then, let’s do this.”
He pours the shots and hands you your cup, and the two of you link your arms before downing the contents. You shiver at the burning in your throat but recover quickly, ready for your next drink. As you check the counter for a possible concoction you could make, a guy in a Bulls Football cutoff tee approaches Jaemin with his hand extended. “Na, what’s up?”
Jaemin takes his hand with a faint smile and nods, they bro-hug, and he quickly returns his attention to you. “So, what drink next?”
You stare up at him for a moment, the guy still in your peripheral vision, bemused by Jaemin’s dismissal of him to talk to you. “Uh,” you start, and there you are again, left momentarily speechless by Jaemin. “Vodka. Vodka sprite is good for now.”
He smiles before making the drink for you, brushing off the guy almost as a nuisance. Maybe there’s some unspoken bad blood there that you don’t know about, but the guy seemed fairly friendly when approaching Jaemin. Not that Jaemin was rude to him, he just wasn’t particularly interested and didn’t feel the need to force conversation.
Upon handing you your drink, you take a sip, and Jaemin eyes you expectantly. You peer up at him. “Damn, okay. You’re a bartender too, now?” You tease and he laughs wholly. “This is dangerously good, Jaemin.”
“Come on, let’s go play pong.” He starts in the direction of the dining area where the fancy dining table has been moved aside to fit the cheap folding table topped with red plastic cups. He reaches his hand behind him and you grab hold, squeezing through groups and keeping up with him as much as you can. It’s not that packed, but there are a decent amount of people, so it was a nice gesture from Jaemin.
The sleeve of his gray team sweatshirt falls over his hand a tiny bit, caught between your hands, and your eyes follow the fabric up his arm and to his upper back, then the rest of his body. The sweatshirt is big but it fits him perfectly. Oversized yet not drowning him in the garment. He wears black jeans on the bottom, seemingly unripped from the angle you’re currently inspecting him. Why you’re inspecting his outfit is lost and you quickly catch yourself, bringing your eyes back up to follow where he’s guiding you. Though, in your poor attempt at looking away from him, you notice the gold chain hanging around his neck, peeking out from underneath the collar of his sweatshirt. What is it about gold chains?
You make it to the table as the current game is about to end, with Renjun and their teammate Jeno on one team and two guys from the football team on the other, who are currently getting crushed. “We’ve got next,” Jaemin calls, and Renjun nods in his direction before sinking the last cup.
“Well, come step in. These guys couldn’t keep up–very similar to their football season.”
The other guys throw their arms up, and Renjun and Jeno laugh at their dismay. Shuffling into the spot left empty at the end of the table, Jaemin places his hand at the small of your back for a brief moment. “Y/N, this is Renjun and this is Jeno, my teammates.”
Jeno looks from you to Jaemin with squinted eyes, then back at you with a warm smile. “Pleasure to meet you.”
“I hope you’re any good at pong because while Jaemin may be a menace on the court, his pong game is nonexistent,” Renjun teases.
“Oh, is that so?” you ask, looking up at the boy beside you.
Jaemin shakes his head, his glare shooting daggers across the table at the one critiquing his beer pong abilities. “Not at all. Let’s kick some ass,” he mimics your words from the week prior, and you giggle.
Jaemin and Renjun grab a ball each and square off, holding each other's stare while counting down to make their shots, and Jaemin sinks it, where Renjun’s ball is off rolling through the feet of the crowd. You two are up first.
The game moves pretty quickly, but there is never a substantial lead on either side. It’s neck-and-neck, and with at least one cup gone from each side in every round, you wonder where the fun and the ease is in playing a game in which you’re required to put a ball in the hole (pong ball in a circular solo cup) with three of the starting basketball players. Obviously, being skilled at this game is second nature to them.
There are four cups left on either side and thus far, the opposing team has been fairly vocal about how easily they’ll crush you and Jaemin, despite how close the game has been. They’ve talked the talk, and surely they’ve walked the walk, but it’s still anyone’s game.
The boys had reached their drink limit before the game started, so part of what’s custom in this game–taking a swig of your drink every time the opposing team makes a shot–isn’t taking place. It isn’t much of a downer, however, as it’s easily overshadowed by the very present competitive tension. Beer pong is a fun, silly game, but boy can these guys immerse themselves into the game.
Jaemin isn’t too outspoken. Not like the two on the end of the table, who are having a blast tossing insults that are meant to distract you and Jaemin, but are immediately shut down by you two sinking successive shots. Two cups left now, they still have four.
Jaemin brings his hand to your lower back as he did before, but this time, it lingers. He moves in close, his lips at your ear. “Let’s win this thing, partner.”
Your eyes flash up to him and you catch a handsome, devilish grin presented proudly on his face. He gleams down at you, and at this moment, you see that same fire in his eyes that you see when he’s on the court. Except this time, it’s directed at you, his new teammate, and he’s trusting in you and your alliance to shut out the other team. Well, he said it. Let’s win this thing.
To say the ending of this game was dramatic and heavily climactic would be an exaggeration because promptly after deciding to end it, you simply did. Jaemin draped his arm over your shoulders and pulled you loosely into his side, executed his shot, made it, then you shot and also made it. Renjun and Jeno had an opportunity at redemption, of course, and they could have had a chance after Renjun’s bank shot, but Jeno fumbled his by overshooting, resulting in your win.
You and Jaemin turn to each other simultaneously and instinctively high five with your free hands, bright smiles on both of your faces. “Quite a team we make,” he says.
He winks, and your smile falters just a bit. He’s winked at you once before, but given the proximity, it has a power–and as corny as the action is, he pulls it off well. Effortless. It’s almost attractive.
“Rematch! That was pure luck!” Renjun argues jokingly, though you’re almost sure he’s actually really upset with losing.
“Sorry boys, but I’m gonna go take a lap and look for my friend, make sure she’s alright. Maybe later?” you offer, genuinely interested in another game with these guys.
Renjun nods. “We’ll be here. Jaemin, can I steal her from you? You can have Jeno.”
“No thanks, I’m fairly happy with my partner.” Jaemin squeezes your shoulder and shoots you one last smile, to which you return the expression before slipping away and patting his arm. You head back toward the kitchen first.
There are more people here than when you first arrived, but making your way around is still possible without getting pushed and shoved. There’s a decent amount of people in the kitchen either pouring themselves drinks or raiding the fridge. You’re not one to snitch, though, and honestly, it’s understandable. Drinking makes you hungry. Next party the host throws, he’ll learn to put a padlock on the fridge. Maybe chain it up.
As plentiful as the people in the kitchen, your friend isn’t one of them, but you remember you told her you’d grab her a drink a good while ago, so for an attempt at forgiveness should she be irritated, you make her a quick vodka sprite.
You continue your trek from the kitchen into the hallway, standing on your tip-toes to look down the length of the area, but she isn’t there. Heading into the living room, you stop in front of the crowd of people, preparing yourself for the impenetrable huddle of people. Just as you take your first step, your eye catches on Kim still talking to her friend on the other side of the living room, and you fall into relief at not having to cower through these people.
Walking around the group, you finally make it to your friend who catches you out of the corner of her eye and immediately puts her hands on her hips. She waves her friend off, and upon seeing you, meets you halfway. “Where were you?!”
“Playing pong. I’m sorry,” you flash an awkward, apologetic smile. “Drink?”
“Uh, yeah. You said you’d get one for me, like, two hours ago!”
You roll your eyes and laugh. “We have not been here that long, Kim.”
She takes the drink from your hands and chugs a good amount, clearly wanting to rid herself of her current sobriety. “Who were you even playing pong with? I’m your forever pong partner.”
“Jaemin?!” she yells, and your eyes go wide at the volume. “Him again? What, did he body slam you into the table by accident and offer a game of pong with him as his way of making it up to you?”
You know she’s speaking nonsense out of shock, and why she’s shocked is a mystery to you, as there’s nothing to be shocked about. But you can’t suppress the laughter at both the image of Jaemin body slamming you into a folding table and her reaction. “No, Kim. We’re friends and he wanted to play pong.”
“If you hadn’t gotten me a drink, I’d be mad at you for giving your first pong game of the night to him.”
“Do you want to go play a round? Renjun and Jeno are expecting me back at some point tonight.”
She throws her hands up in disbelief, her drink splashing over the side of the cup a bit. “Them, too? Y/N, you’ve basically infiltrated the basketball team.” You laugh again. She really is your comedic relief in this life without even trying. “But no, not now. Right now, I want to dance with my best friend.”
Kim grabs your hand and pulls you into the crowd, already dancing before she settles you two into a spot. People aren’t really dancing, no one ever really does at parties of the sort, but that has never stopped Kim, and it’s never stopped you from standing right there with her, dancing as ridiculously as possible. You always questioned why people would come to parties, why they’d put so much effort into the playlist, only to stand there and not enjoy the music.
You dance for what seems like hours–enough to count as a workout and definitely enough to sober you up faster than normal. But drunk or sober, you two enjoy the music all the same, and even if the song isn’t quite to your tastes, you turn to each other and find it in the other to dance through it together.
You move and grind and shuffle until you’re sure your feet are wearing away. You’re definitely sweating, but you like to think of it as your skin glistening, glowing. When you and your friend lose yourself to the music, you lose sight of anyone but your friend, and the same goes for her. It’s just the two of you enjoying this moment, forgetting everything outside going on, good or bad. But you whip your head to the side and as opposed to continuing on, your eye catches on Jaemin in the dining area near the pong table, standing with a few boys from the basketball team. He’s looking at you, and though the smile on his face is almost completely indiscernible, his gaze is soft. It’s warm. It pulls you in, pins you down, captures your attention–and suddenly you’re not dancing anymore.
“Hey, why’d you stop?!” Kim yells.
You jerk your head to turn toward her and quickly snap out of the trance, standing completely still now. “I’m gonna go make another drink. Come with?”
She nods enthusiastically, beaming the brightest smile, and you grab her hand and lead her to the kitchen. Thank god you’re leading the way, facing away from her. Otherwise, she’d point out the permanent, faint smile brushing your lips and pester you until you told her where it came from. It came from Jaemin, you think. Why it came from him is something you’re unsure of.
“So what was that you said earlier about a pong game you’re expected to participate in?” Kim asks once in the kitchen.
“Jaemin and I beat Renjun and Jeno, so they want a rematch. I don’t know if they’re still over there, though. Might have to wait until later.”
She reaches for the tequila and two shot cups. “Alright. Well I want a formal introduction to your new best friend Jaemin, as well as a shot with you, since we haven’t taken one yet.”
“Sounds good to me.”
As she pours the shots, you scan the dining room where Jaemin just stood moments prior, but he’s nowhere to be found now. He couldn’t have left yet. You only just walked into the kitchen to pour shots. There’s no way he gathered Renjun and Jeno and scurried out of the house in the five seconds it took you to walk from the living room to the kitchen without being stopped and blocked by people. You’re proven right as fingers tickle the small of your back. That seems to be a habit of his. “Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” you smile up at him. Before you’re given a moment to think back on the sensations brought upon by him that you felt prior, Kim clears her throat. “Oh–Jaemin, this is Kim. Kim, this is Jaemin.”
They exchange greetings and Jaemin is his usual charming, welcoming self. He doesn’t linger on the introduction, however, and Kim isn’t one for small talk–she simply wanted a proper greeting.
Jaemin leans down toward your ear. “Renjun’s waiting for his rematch,” he relays. He has a deep, rough voice–one that carries in rich vibrations through your body to the tips of your fingers and toes. It is its own genre of intoxication; it makes you feel alive.
“Well, then, let’s do this.” You nod to Kim, link your arms and quickly down the shots. You both shake away the burning sensation, giggling in unison at your reactions.
Whether from the shot you just downed or from the energy he sends rushing through you, you suddenly reach for his hand as he did prior, only this time you intertwine your fingers to lead the way to the pong table. You don’t look to see his reaction, but his fingers locking into place and his hand squeezing yours is enough to let you know that this is alright.
· · ─────── · ·
You can officially say that you and Jaemin are friends. He isn’t someone you know of that if you ran into him while out and about you’d simply say hi; he’s someone you go with when you’re going out and about, and you can’t pinpoint the moment your friendship made that jump, but it’s nice nonetheless.
You text him more than you’ve texted anyone, for no particular reason other than that his conversation captivates you. Not that you speak about deep topics and theorize how to save the planet from further climate damage, but he engages in conversation and before you know it, it’s three in the morning. Not great for either of you, but neither of you makes an effort to put the phone down.
It goes outside of the phone, as well. If you’re done with work or you’re out near the school, and you know he has practice, you’ll swing by afterward and surprise him.
“I was out, figured I’d catch you before you left,” you say, “I come bearing goodies.” You wiggle the bag and he exaggerates shock.
“All for me?!” he asks.
“Hell no. But I did snag some candy for you,” you say as you reach into the bag, pulling out a box of Nerds.
Jaemin takes the box and grins down at it. “So thoughtful,” he coos, throwing his arm around your shoulders and pulling you into him before starting toward the lobby doors. You wrap your arm around his waist almost mechanically, as if it’s something so natural for you to do with him. Entirely natural, not quite yet, but it’s definitely comfortable. “Thanks, Y/N.”
“Of course. I expect to be compensated, though,” you say jokingly, holding out your free hand as you emerge from the lobby out into the winter night.
He spares one glance at you before pulling you down, his free hand coming to your head to ruffle your hair, and laughter booms into the deserted parking lot. “Okay, okay!” you choke out, and he immediately eases up. You shake your head at his antics and look up at him, and what you see prevents any more teasing from taking place.
His smile is so wide, so devoid of any stress practice may have dumped on him and stress the dawning game may be causing him. It transfers right to your lips, and you’re a bundle of happiness walking side-by-side with him.
Unknown to you, Jaemin knows he’s head over heels, because with every little thing you do his heart only twists more, his skin flares, his lips curl. But this wasn’t the first moment of realization.
He first saw the signs after a home game last week. It was the middle of the week against a subpar team, so attendance was fairly low–consisting of parents of guys on the team and girlfriends and boyfriends alike, or alumni who have nothing better to do than dwell on their college days.
But there in the middle row was you and your friend Kim, the one you danced with and had brought back to the pong table to play with them. You sit and watch the game attentively, and despite it being the total opposite of a monumental game, he finds it amazing how he can see the delight burn bright in your eyes all the way from the court.
It’s when Jeno passes him the ball but overthrows just an inch, and Jaemin has to hurl his body to save the ball from going out of bounds. It’s saved and Jeno retrieves the ball, but it takes Jaemin a few hard steps to get his footing before turning and heading back onto the court. As he turns back to the court, though, he looks up at you and jokingly gestures for you to come down, followed by mimicking a pushing motion, clearly drawing your minds back to the game where he threw his body into you.
You laugh. A hearty, full laugh that he can hear from his spot at the edge of the court, and it pulls his mouth into the widest smile, one traced with pride, though he isn’t quite sure where the pride came from. But that smile ignited something within him, something his teammates were able to point out before he even noticed.
He had one of the top performances of his college basketball career that night, and to any passing eye, they would say it’s because he played against a poor team. To his teammates and friends, though, they know better. Especially Jeno.
The buzzer rings and the defeated opponents gather their stuff off of their chairs and head into the locker room, while Jaemin’s teammates celebrate the easy win. Jeno approaches Jaemin after the excitement dies down, clutching a towel around his neck. “You better keep her around if she’s doing this to you,” he states bluntly, which catches Jaemin off guard. Before he can shut the statement down or question what he means by that, Jeno is jogging into the locker room, and Jaemin is left to ponder the comment. Is this really because of you or is it because it was an easy team?
And suddenly, he remembered what he told himself during his sophomore year. He was just starting to get more playing time and his coaches began watching him more closely, and he was performing great. He had the promise of making the starting lineup and being a star that major league teams would have their eye on, but soon after getting into a relationship with his then-girlfriend, his game began to plummet and his focus ran rampant. The relationship was not a healthy one and was ultimately forced, with both of them crumbling under the pressures of college life and peer expectations. After the mutual breakup on the note of poor communication and a negative impact on both of them, he removed himself from the dating field, unofficially swearing all of his energy into the game and making it into the national league. Maybe it was rash for him to swear off dating so completely after one short, failed attempt, but his game has shown that it wasn’t for nothing.
Jaemin’s mind delves into both possibilities behind his stellar game as he bags up his stuff in the locker room and heads back out into the gym, where he finds you standing alone near the lobby doors. At the sight of him, you wave and flash a bright smile. One that matches his excitement for the win, one that says you’re proud of him.
That was the moment he knew that his performance wasn’t because he had it easy. It was because of you, and that was the moment he knew he was screwed.
· · ─────── · ·
These days, encounters with your roommate are sparse with passing greetings and short-lived conversations to keep you going. Aside from that, you don’t know much of what’s going on in her life and vice versa. Despite living together, you two rarely see one another, as she spends a good amount of time at her sister's new place deeper in the city. So the fact that you’re both in for the night is both shocking and a blessing. You have time to catch up and spend some time together.
The Bulls had a game tonight. You haven’t missed a home game yet this season and despite the fact that they played at home tonight, you still pulled out for tonight to both get some work done and catch up with your roommate. It doesn’t quite matter, though, as it’s almost guaranteed they win. With their perfect season so far, there’s no way they’d lose such a meaningless game as such.
Well. You were sure they’d win until a text pings your phone.
(9:26 PM) Jaemin: We lost.
(9:27 PM) You: What?! How!!
He responds by hitting the call button, his name and face filling your screen. You get up from your spot on the couch and enter the kitchen. “Jaemin?”
He sighs. “We lost.” He sounds dejected, crushed. His voice is low but there’s no background noise. You assume he’s in his car.
“I know, Jaem. You said that. Are you okay?”
“I just can’t believe it,” he mumbles. You lean over the counter, digging your elbows into the surface.
“I’m sorry. I wish I was there.”
He exhales the breath of a chuckle; so faint you’re unsure if you made it up. It’s the “yeah” that he mumbles within the same breath that lets you know you heard correctly, and with that realization you’re unsure if he’s upset with you or just upset in general. Maybe he just wanted his friend there.
“Are you heading home now?” you ask.
“Yeah. Still at the school but I’m leaving in a few.”
You look in the direction of where the living room is and where your roommate is bundled up on the couch as she watches the documentary you both chose. This is the first night in a while you two have had time to spend together–one that isn’t full of studying silently at the same table. It fills you with guilt how much your heart is leaning toward Jaemin tonight, but by the sounds of it, he’s pretty distraught over their first–and hopefully only–loss of the season.
“Could I come over?”
“Wha– Tonight?” he chokes out.
“Yeah. Unless it’s too late.”
He clears his throat. “No, it’s not too late. I should be home in five so just give me like twenty.”
You smile. “Alright. I’ll see you soon.”
After your farewells, you pad back into the living room to rejoin your friend momentarily to give her the rundown. “So, I’ve gotta go for a little.”
“Why? Is everything alright?” she asks, concern stitched in her features as she leans forward.
“Everything’s fine! That was Jaemin–”
“Oh,” she sings, “booty call, huh?”
You shake your head in shock as your eyes shoot wide open. “I’m sorry?”
She smiles, eyes squinted, and nods as if she knows all. “It’s alright, I totally understand. He’s hot.”
“It is not like that. The Bulls lost their first game tonight, he’s a little upset.”
“And he called you for comfort?”
“Well, yeah. We’re friends. Wouldn’t you call your friend up if you were upset?”
She nods some more, eyes squinted once again, but the smile has pressed tight into a line. “Yeah,” is all she manages to say.
“Okay, well I’m gonna get changed then I’m gonna head out.”
“Alright. Be safe,” she says with a wink as her smile makes a return. You dismiss the weird undertones of her words before heading to your room to change out of your pajamas and into something still comfortable, but a bit more presentable.
It takes a little under ten minutes to get to Jaemin’s place so you take your time before heading out. You rummage through your freezer for any ice cream to bring. Lucky for you he isn’t too picky or specific when it comes to flavors, so you grab the new tub of vanilla and stash it into a bag before checking in with your roommate and waving yourself off.
By the time you get to his place it’s roughly ten at night, as you went ahead and gave him ten extra minutes after getting home. You stand at his front door, bag in hand, shivering in hopes at least one of them won’t keep you waiting there too long.
Jaemin lives in a house near the school with Renjun and Jeno. Upon forming a friendship after making the team, the trio decided to rent a house together after junior year and have lived here since the start of the fall semester. You’ve never been here, so the nerves of entering a new environment are kicking in right about now, but you’re familiar and comfortable with these guys, so the nerves are almost entirely overshadowed.
Renjun opens the door. “Hey, Y/N.”
“Hey, Renjun. How are you doing?” You speak to them as if they lost their family pet, because you know for them, the pain is real and very much present. When you’re part of a stellar team that’s expected to win games–and has won every game so far–it takes a toll once you bomb that expectation. It feels disappointing.
“Disappointed, but what’s done is done,” he shrugs, stepping aside to make room for you. It’s not funny. You know they’re upset, but the degree of dejection in their demeanor makes you want to laugh. You suppress the urges.
“I know, I’m sorry. Where’s Jaemin?”
He nods his head off in some direction behind him. “Kitchen.”
“Hey, Y/N,” Jaemin says from behind Renjun. Saves you from the awkward search for the kitchen being that you don’t know where it is.
“Hey, Jaem. You okay?” Softness coats your voice to a degree almost too much for you to handle. Can you handle another round of mushy consolation? Hopefully Jeno doesn’t walk in, round three is impossible. This is the extent of your sappy emotional support.
“I’m fine, just bummed.”
“I know, but I come bearing ice cream, so let’s not think about the loss and instead dig in.”
The corner of Jaemin’s mouth curls and if he’s trying to suppress a smile, he’s failing miserably. Whether it’s the ice cream itself or the feature of bringing it as consolation, his mood does a quick 180 as he grabs the bag and heads for the kitchen. “Thanks, Y/N. Are you sticking around?” Renjun asks, guiding you two toward the kitchen.
“Possibly, if you guys would like the company.”
And they would. They insisted that you stay and hang out with them for a bit, which has led you here: the four of you lounging on their couch watching Transformers as it nears midnight. The ice cream is long gone as they devoured it immediately with motives of taking their mind off the loss with sugary goodness. Since arriving two hours ago, you did a good job at keeping their thoughts preoccupied. Until now, as their sadness has turned into confused debate.
“I just can’t pinpoint the moment they got the one-up on us,” Jeno states.
“We started with a near ten-point lead, it should’ve stayed that way,” Renjun chimes.
Jaemin sits closest to you, legs crossed and perched on the coffee table with his arms folded in front of him as he watches Jeno and Renjun discuss the moment they slipped up. “I don’t know, but why a sophomore would feel comfortable enough to make such a critical shot as two guys are on him makes no sense to me. None. Nada,” Jeno says as his eyes are on the screen, but you’re sure the only thing his mind is seeing is the mental replay of said moment where their younger teammate took an impossible shot instead of passing the ball. You know sports, but this is a sore subject, so you let the boys talk it out and figure it out themselves.
“Yeah, he screwed up, but obviously there were other issues present if we had a double-digit lead then lost it,” Jaemin pipes up.
“Not to be a douche here, dude, but this was your worst game this season,” Jeno comments, and you clutch your pillow tighter, both because you’re unsure if an argument is about to ensue over that comment, and because you simply figured Jaemin wasn’t part of the problem. It’s a rash assumption to make–no one’s perfect. But not once did you consider performance, so the thought of Jaemin struggling has you curious and a bit saddened.
Jaemin flashes a brief look over at you, and in the seconds his eyes linger on you, there’s a glimmer in his eye that doesn’t shine positively. His eyebrows are knit with sadness, mouth in the faintest frown, before he looks back to the screen and his face flushes of any emotion. “I know,” is all he responds with. He doesn’t rebut, he doesn’t put up a fight. He simply agrees. But the look he gave you makes you curious. It almost makes you sad, because you can read enough into it. There’s a reason Jaemin didn’t perform well tonight–a reason he isn’t verbalizing.
“Jeno, you were no star, yourself,” Renjun throws without caution. If Jeno’s comment didn’t start an argument, you were sure that one would. Time to step in.
“Why don’t you guys take some time at practice tomorrow to discuss the issues rather than bicker about it? I’m sure there were problems both offensively and defensively on everyone's part, and not just three people. Games are a team effort,” you chime in, to which all three boys look at you attentively. You know you’re right, it’s just a matter of how these boys will take the advice.
Jaemin smiles suddenly, a stark contrast to the sadness tainting his features mere moments ago. His smile is so beautiful, you don’t dare pry into what upset him and scratch the memory from your mind.
Jeno and Renjun giggle in sync with one another, and you shoot a confused look their way. “What’s funny?!”
“Nothing. It’s just the fact that you’re completely right is making me laugh, for some reason,” Renjun says.
“And the fact that you totally just had an inspirational Optimus Prime moment,” Jeno contributes.
Renjun eyes him with a smirk at his analogy before continuing. “But the point stands. You’re right–winning is a team effort as much as losing is a team loss. I wasn’t great myself tonight, either.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jeno mumbles, to which Renjun slaps his arm.
You laugh, then look at Jaemin, who still wears the same content smile. It’s amazing how significantly his mood has changed from that initial look your way to now. His face is void of any gloom, to the point you question if you even saw it, in the first place.
But being able to lighten the spirits of these guys in one shot makes you feel content yourself. You understand how disheartening it must have been to lose for the first time this season, and even though it’s only one loss, it opens the door for more.
“You have to be there for the next game, though, Y/N. In case we need more words of encouragement,” Jeno says.
“I’ll be there.” And you will. Despite whatever schoolwork you have to do, you always manage to make time for the games. Tonight was under different circumstances for your roommate, though you ended up ditching her, anyway.
Jeno and Renjun turn their attention back to the movie, but Jaemin’s eyes linger on the space between you two. “You’ll really be there next time?” Jaemin whispers, eyes lifting to meet yours.
“Good. I missed you tonight.”
The way that admission pulls at your heartstrings should send alarm bells ringing in your head, but in some odd turn of events, it stills you into the moment; into his presence. It propels your gaze onto his lap and you take in how much space is really between you, making you suddenly crave to inch closer and cuddle up to him. For comfort purposes.
· · ─────── · ·
If Jaemin is to be honest, it’s a bit embarrassing attending a party after a fresh loss. He knows fellow athletes will ask him what went wrong, why they slipped up, and what it means for the rest of the season. Jaemin doesn’t want to think about any of that, however. Despite the initial embarrassment, Jaemin came here to take his mind off of the loss. That, and he was hoping he’d run into you again. Maybe Kim had pulled you along to yet another party.
Since the loss and finding solace in your company the night of, Jaemin’s prior notions about his stellar performance during the one home game have been confirmed by his poor performance during the game you didn’t attend. When he looked into the stands and didn’t see you, his stomach twisted, his eyebrows furrowed, and he found himself searching for a bit longer than he’d like to admit. He even let his eyes linger in the away teams fan section. He thought maybe seats were limited, but he knew that wasn’t the case. You simply weren’t there, and that was unheard of.
Your words of inspiration for the boys as you all sat on their couch stuck with all three of them, but even as positively as they resonated with Jaemin, he still found himself distraught by how deep this must be for you to affect his game because you weren’t there. When he came to that realization, his brain almost exploded.
Renjun offered to drive the three of them to this party tonight, stating that he can have fun without alcohol. Jaemin felt bad, but he needs a drink badly, even if he’s not crazy about alcohol. Tonight he just needs to scratch his indifference, go for it, despite the two-drink limit. Just means he has to make them strong.
Jaemin doesn’t need to let loose because of the current control you have over his heart. That doesn’t scare him, it doesn’t make him upset, nor does it make him feel any negative way. It’s the loss that’s putting a damper on his mood. You’d think to lighten the blow he’d get right in the gym and start working on what went wrong during the game, which in almost all cases, is what he’d do. He isn’t sure why, but tonight he just wants to hang out with his friends and relax.
His eyes scan over the plethora of liquor bottles, gears spinning in his brain as he thinks of what drink he should make himself.
“What are you thinking? Vodka sprite?” you ask beside him. He turns, startled, but eases upon seeing you.
“Ah, you’re here,” he says, throwing his arm around your shoulders as you slip your arm around his waist. Comfort, he thinks. Happy.
“In the flesh. But seriously, what are you thinking? Because I’ll take whatever you’re having.”
His eyes continue to scan and his thoughts ponder over the slew of quick and easy drinks he can make. “I don’t know, I can’t seem to make up my mind. Did you have an idea?”
You bring your free hand to your chin, pretend to think hard. “Rum and… do they have cherry coke?”
“Yeah, over there. That’s good?”
“Oh, Jaemin, prepare yourself for a new addiction.”
You slip out of his hold for a moment to grab the contents and make the drinks for you both. Jaemin watches you longingly as you prepare your drinks, like a child who has lost their balloon into the blue sky. It’s amazing how much he craves your physical touch; how much he wants to sling his arm around you and never let you leave his side. Yeah, a party is a great way to let loose, but your presence is the best comfort.
“Here,” you turn around, both drinks in hand as you hold one out for him. “Try it.” While you both lean against the counter, you gaze at him expectantly with bright, sparkling eyes, and boy does his heart melt at the sight.
“Alright,” he chuckles before taking a sip, and you’re right. It’s his new addiction. Seems he has two, now.
Jaemin has no idea where Renjun and Jeno went off to, or if they’re even still together. He hung back in the kitchen too long for them to stay with him, but he doesn’t mind. It left him here to be found by you. “Where’s Kim?” he asks.
“Somewhere. She had to make her rounds first,” you say, taking a glance around before returning your attention to Jaemin. “How are you feeling?”
Jaemin exhaled a stale laugh. “You know, it’s funny. I’ve been dreading getting asked that since I got here, but having you ask me that makes me feel a bit nice.”
“Yeah? How so?”
“It doesn’t feel like you’re asking indirectly. Like, you’re asking how I’m feeling but what you actually mean is why I played terribly. It doesn’t feel like that,” he shakes his head. “It’s like you’re asking because you genuinely want to know how I’m feeling,” he says, gaze falling into the cup.
“Well, because I do want to know, Jaem.”
He smiles, eyes never lifting, because he doesn’t have to read your facial expression to know that you’re being honest. He can hear it in your tone, and he knows you’d never feign concern.
“I feel okay now. Relaxed.” And he does. He came here with his two best friends, he has a drink in his hand, and now he’s here, in the kitchen with you.
Before anything else can be said, a guy approaches Jaemin. Normally, he’s open to people coming up to him and talking game. He likes getting technical, and he likes when people ask about the season, because usually, all he has to say are great things.
Tonight, he doesn’t want anyone to come up to him and talk about the season, nor does he want anyone to interrupt your conversation, either. Yet people seem to love doing that, especially when he’s with you.
“Yo, Jaemin,” the guy says as he extends his hand out for Jaemin to take. They bro-shake, and Jaemin doesn’t say a word. “Sorry about the loss last night, man. But jeez, what happened out there?”
And there it is. Distaste creeps over Jaemin’s tongue as he concocts an answer. He never gets angry, never steps out of line, and surely never starts arguments. That isn’t going to start now, but if Jaemin had his way, he’d simply walk away with you in tow without even entertaining the guy's annoying question. But that’s not the kind of guy he is.
“We just slipped up,” Jaemin says dryly. He can feel his body jittering, yearning to get out of the kitchen.
“I guess you did. It’s crazy, you guys never just slip up.”
Jaemin’s eyes squint for the quickest second. He’s well aware that they never just slip up, just as much as he’s aware that he has a hardworking team who puts their all into every game and practice. He doesn’t need this guy who has no relation to basketball to tell him.
As if you could read his mind, Jaemin feels your arm snake around his waist once again, squeeze his side once, before speaking up. “They’re well aware of what went wrong and have since tackled the issues–just watch the next game,” you say to the guy, then turn your head to look at Jaemin as he habitually throws his arm securely around your shoulders. “Let’s go find Kim, she’s probably lost by now.”
Jaemin doesn’t need a savior. He’s level-headed, calm, and can approach almost any situation life hands him with ease. But having you swoop in and pull him away from this guy–who you probably don’t know and Jaemin surely doesn’t know the name of–has relieved him beyond measure. He feels himself sigh, unknowingly holding in a breath. “Sounds good.” He waves the guy off, and you two head out of the kitchen.
“Thank you,” Jaemin says upon exit, tightening his hold around you just a bit more.
“Don’t mention it. I know you don’t want to linger on the loss unless it’s productively at practice, so I made myself useful and saved your ass. No big deal,” you shrug, to which Jaemin rolls his eyes. His eye roll is a sham, though. He knows he’d have been dragging himself through that conversation if you hadn’t been by his side and stepped in. He never expected it of you, but he’s thankful for you being his rock without you even knowing.
· · ─────── · ·
Studying is your best frenemy in college. It’s your helping hand, your guiding light. Though sometimes, no matter how many times you read over your notes and quiz yourself on a topic, you just can’t seem to understand.
Like tonight, you and Jaemin have been hard at work studying since the moment he arrived after his practice ended, tackling every course you guys are in. Starting with your partly shared art history course, you’ve since moved on from art history to your other courses that need attention as well. Maybe the inability to retain information is due to not having Jaemin to bounce topics and concepts off of, maybe it’s having to sit there and focus while Jaemin writes little notes on ripped pieces of paper and passes them to you, then feigns ignorance when you question him. Notes reading oh hey, fancy seeing you here :-) or what is math? how does one math, and the final one reading so hungry it’s impairing my vision. can’t read.
“Jaem?” you call from your bed to the boy sitting at your desk, head in hands.
“Yeah?” He turns in the chair to face you.
“Let’s go make dinner. We’ve been at this long enough, I think.”
He bolts out of the chair with alarming speed, reaching over the bed to grab your hand and pulls you off to trail behind him, leading the way into your kitchen. You’re fascinated by how comfortable he already is at your place; it makes you feel comfortable yourself. It surges warmth through your skin as well as the warmth from his sweatshirt he threw at you earlier, telling you to wear it because he could tell you were cold. You were–cold, that is–but you have a plethora of sweatshirts and sweaters of your own to choose from. Something about not wanting to get up, or something about the idea of wearing his sweatshirt; the guy flying up your list of favorite people. It’d save a trip to your closet and you know how good Jaemin smells, so you threw it on without a fuss.
He takes a look around the kitchen, familiarizing himself with the layout, and you lean against the counter as you watch. “So what’s for dinner, chef?”
He turns to you. “Ah, see, you joke–but you’ve never had my cooking.”
You tuck your hands into the sleeves of your–his–sleeves and cross your arms. “So you’re telling me you cook? And your food is good?”
“Well, what are you waiting for? Raid my kitchen for whatever you need.”
He glances around one last time in thought, hand stroking his chin. “Do you have ramen?”
“I’m sorry–ramen?” you repeat, now unsure if he was serious about the good cooking bit. You push off the counter and open the cupboard behind you, pulling out the bag of ramen packets. He smiles, and now you’re sure he was teasing you about his fine cuisine skills.
To your surprise, as he boils the water in a pot you handed him, he searches your refrigerator for contents to add. “The trick to a good bowl of ramen is how you execute it,” he says into the cold products lining the shelves.
He turns to shoot you an annoyed glare, to which you laugh, and he continues pulling items out. “You don’t have everything I use, but I can make do.”
Jaemin lines everything on the counter just as the water begins to boil. He grabs the noodles and places them in carefully so as not to splash, but snags the flavor packets too. He explains that you put the noodles and the seasoning into the water together so that the noodles absorb the flavor rather than float bland within the flavored water. It’s a smart tip, and if the assortment of additions on the counter didn’t tell you he was serious about being a good cook, that tip was.
He proceeds to crack a few eggs into the water, which is a new trick you hadn’t tried. He plays around with them in the pot, dispersing the yolk into the water and cooking the egg white through. Once he deems it finished, he takes the pot over to the sink and drains most of the water, leaving only a bit at the bottom.
“Here’s where my secret flavor comes in,” he turns to you and winks.
You watch him grab the milk carton and pour it into the noodles, careful so as not to add too much. His eye is focused on the noodles. He knows the right color the broth is supposed to turn. It’s the same focus you see on the court, the same focus you saw during the pong game. You’re beginning to realize you love it when his determination comes to the surface. When a flame sparks in his eyes, and you can pinpoint the exact moment it takes over and drives him forward.
Jaemin grabs a spoon, sets it into the pot to fill with the milky broth and brings it to your lips. You blow on it warily, then bring your mouth around the spoon and taste. He’s watching you–you can feel that fire in his eyes burning into you. It’s intimate, and despite how warm and tasty his cooking has proven to be, you can’t help but get caught up in the proximity once again. You can’t help but get caught up in the fact that he just cooked a meticulously simple meal–and the fact that you want him to cook you meals like this for the rest of your life. It makes your stomach twist and flutter. Your eyes meet his and he can tell right away that you like it. You smile at the warm contents, he grins at your reaction.
He separates the noodles into two bowls and adds equal amounts of milky broth to the contents, then grabs the bag of shredded cheese to top it off. He sprinkles carefully, just as he had poured the milk, and he speaks up. You almost miss it over your intrigue in him completing this fairly easy dish. “You can’t add too much cheese, otherwise it will completely dominate the noodles and the flavor.”
Once he has added the cheese, he reaches for the scallions. You had no idea they were even in your fridge–probably your roommates.
It’s as he reaches for the vegetable that it hits you: the line between a new friend and a potential love interest is blurring. How such a regular motion has opened the Pandora's box of emotions, you don’t know–but it flows rapidly and suddenly every look, every comment, every notion in your friendship is tinged with romantic undertones. It’s such a fresh realization you don’t have time to consider whether this thought; this feeling is reciprocated. All you can do is stand there, blindsided as you watch him complete your dinner, and relish this new feeling. However, you’re not given another second to think on this warmth in the pit of your tummy as he speaks again.
“You can add this as a garnish, but you don’t have to–why are you smiling like that?”
You bring your fingers to your lips, feeling the sneaky smile that had crept onto your lips. “What? No, nothing–just… I don’t need scallions on mine, it looks great as it is.” You shove your hands back into the sleeves, momentarily embarrassed. For the first time, you’re feeling embarrassed in front of Jaemin, and it’s all because of him.
He smiles warmly as his hand that holds the green vegetable drops to the counter. “If you say so.”
Rather than cutting some up and garnishing his dish, he grabs the milk and heads to the fridge, stuffing the items away. His back is nice–wide plane, firm with soft tinges, inviting. You want to smush your face into it. And when he turns, the light casts over it, showcasing the hills and valleys from his neck down to his as–
“Y/N, what?” he chuckles, though genuinely a bit concerned this time.
You shake your head. “What?”
“These faces you keep making. You’re licking your lips now.”
Licking your lips? Alright. Reel it in. “Just excited to eat. Come on, let’s go back.”
To say you have a lot to think about is an understatement, and to say your progress in studying came to an abrupt halt after realizing your feelings is not an exaggeration. You sit back at your spot on your bed, he returns to his spot at your desk, and you eat over conversation about what you’re both working on and Jaemin’s upcoming games.
· · ─────── · ·
Saturday mornings are slow and easy. They begin by waking up and easing into the morning light, shuffling out of bed and into the kitchen with tired greetings if your roommate is around, making a mug of coffee, and enjoying said coffee at the island in a moment of peace and quiet before getting ready.
This Saturday morning, however, is more or less the opposite.
Rain is never the issue. Especially on lazy days like Saturdays, you quite love the rain. It’s an added excuse to stay inside and cuddle up, maybe make a movie marathon out of the day or take the time to spend with your roommate if she’s around.
Lately she’s been spending every other weekend over at her sister’s, this weekend included, which means that today is one of those days. You have the place to yourself. The morning is not smooth sailing, however, as you wake with a raging migraine. Migraines aren’t new, but the slew of thoughts pressing in your pounding brain–aiding in the pressure–are.
You like Jaemin. It may not be a new development, but it’s definitely a new recognition. Being that the realization only took place the night prior, as well as finding yourself stuffed in the house with no company and no reason to leave, you quickly decide to take the day to mull over these new feelings you find yourself with.
Your main issue is that up until last night, you loved the way your dynamic was progressing and establishing with Jaemin. You love that your first encounter was as ridiculous as it was, and you love that his persistence in his apology is what kept you tied. He’s a guy you like to pick apart; someone that isn’t just surface-level.
Having feelings is not a bad thing. Having feelings for Jaemin isn’t what’s bad about this. Hell, even as you think about it, you’re not exactly sure what is bad about it and why exactly you need to take time to yourself to understand what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.
You’re not desperately in love. If he doesn’t feel the same, it won’t feel too great, but it won’t crush your heart and send you spiraling–you’ll be able to get over it and stick to your friendship. You’re not afraid of ruining this friendship if he does feel the same, because if he does happen to, then you’d be open to testing the waters.
It’s being blindsided by these feelings, because up until this point, Jaemin has been a great friend and a joy to learn about. It’s being confused by these feelings because you didn’t realize they were planted in your belly, let alone have bloomed into something romantic.
So you realize as you lie down on the couch, after much deliberation throughout the morning that carried well into the afternoon, that your issue isn’t really an issue. It’s the simple fact that you have feelings for Jaemin, and you need to both accept them and tell him about them.
And it’s as if he could read your mind, as the ping of your phone shoots through your raging migraine and into your fists clutching your blanket around you. Your eyes press shut.
You attempt to will the pounding in your head to stop for a quick moment, brief enough for you to at least grab your phone and respond.
(1:54 PM) Jaemin: For some reason, coach is nicer on rainy days. Out of practice early
Attached to his message is a selfie of him in his car, hood over his head, smiling warmly as he holds up a thumbs up. His hair is messy with some pieces pushed back, other pieces fallen back against his forehead. The sight alone sends butterflies fluttering uncontrollably in your belly. Handsome.
(1:57 PM) You: Hell yeah. My head hurts
Attached to your message is a selfie of you, blanket around your head, laid back against the base of the couch, frowning as you hold a thumbs down.
He doesn’t answer, and you’re sure you just missed him, as he probably started his drive home after sending that quick text. That’s one of the things you love about this new friendship with him: random, but heavily appreciated texts throughout the day. Not the random texts that one sends to try and keep a conversation going by changing the subject, but the random texts that one sends to let the other know they’re thinking of them. The random texts rooted in one's subconscious.
You set your phone on the coffee table and snuggle deeper into your blanket, closing your eyes once more to focus on ridding your head of this endless pounding. The sound of the rain against your roof and your window is a good distraction as you focus on the pattering, with the occasional sound of a car driving through puddles.
You didn’t lay on the couch bundled in a comfy blanket and close your eyes with the intention of falling asleep, but you should have known that regardless of intentions, that’s where it would lead. Before you even realize or get to have even a semblance of a dream, you’ve both fallen asleep and have been awoken.
Three raps at your front door startle you awake, and you sit in short-lived shock as you didn’t realize you’d fallen asleep, but also that you weren’t expecting company. If it were your roommate, she obviously wouldn’t have to knock.
You check the time on your phone: 2:24 PM. Pushing yourself off of the couch and shuffling toward the window, you peek out to see who’s there before simply opening the door for a stranger. To your relief, you don’t see the culprit, but you see his car parked right behind yours.
Upon opening the door, you’re met with the sight of Jaemin dressed in his practice wear–his sweatshirt hood soaked and hanging heavily over his head, his shoulders darkened by the rain and crunched up. He has a plastic bag in his hand and a sheepish smile on his face; the dorkiest, most adorable smile.
“I come bearing goodies,” he says. You’re beginning to realize he likes to mimic your phrases and has a damn good memory.
“Oh my God? Jaem, get in here, it’s freezing!” You usher him in, and after you close the door behind him, you rush to the bathroom to grab a towel. The speed at which you move is not helping your migraine in any way, but the impulse to get him dry has momentarily overtaken your brain. Therefore, conquering the brain-pain has been moved to the backburner. “Here, take that off,” you motion to his sweatshirt as you return with a towel in your hands. He raises an eyebrow, grinning like the little devil you’ve learned he can be. You wave him off and he giggles.
You take his sweatshirt and move to throw it over the barstool in the kitchen, and he follows. His t-shirt is pretty wet too against his shoulders, but it’d be too much to ask him to take that off as well. He’d tease and taunt to no extent. You love when he teases, but in your current messed up mental state, you don’t have the wherewithal to handle it.
With the towel in hand, you throw it around his shoulder and grab the other end with your other hand, wrapping it around him. Your eyes watch your hands and the towel, making sure it’s covering the points that need warmth and drying, but his eyes bore into yours, studying your concentrated face as your hands pull the towel and rub over the fabric.
When you look back at his face, that’s when you notice his gaze. It’s the same warm gaze he held back at the party when you noticed him while dancing. The soft eyes, his lips with the shadow of a smile on them. His face rested calmly as he watched with content. The same could be said now, but this time, his face is mere inches from yours. It doesn’t help that he makes no attempt at saving face by looking away. He’s owning it.
Your breath catches in your throat as you realize. His eyes scan over you and his hand comes up to your hand caught gripping the edge of the towel over his chest. His fingers trace over your knuckles, the back of your hand, before grabbing hold and squeezing. “Your hand is so cold,” he mutters.
The way his words send shivers through you feels almost ridiculous; the same way you felt ridiculous thinking about him during your ride home that first night. His thumb caresses your hand, and how his hand feels warm is lost as his body is freezing from the winter rain.
Jaemin is so close, his eyes never averting, and you feel pinned. Your migraine remains on the backburner: still present, still pounding, but not debilitating. You don’t want to move. Part of you wants to stay there, inches apart, holding a towel around him while his hand holds yours. Part of you wants to cut the distance, slowly, and see how he reacts. Would he pull away? Would he meet you halfway?
It’s something you’d like to find out, but then the reminder of your intentions comes crashing in. You told yourself earlier that you’d tell him about your feelings for him. So much for that confidence.
You clear your throat, the mere action sending a thunderous wave through your head, and you take a hesitant step back. He sniffles, letting your hand go and running his hand through his hair. Moment lost. “I, uh–I brought soup. And medicine. I wasn’t sure if you had a cold or what, so I just grabbed a few different things.”
If the moment you just pulled away from wasn’t enough to drive you crazy, that was. Yeah, you like him, and no, there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s driving you crazy is the sudden switch in actions. The possible underlying meaning, the questions, the curiosity in what’s going on inside his head.
The gesture of Jaemin bringing you something is not something to read into. You’ve done it for him, he’s done it for you, and they’re never grand gifts. Just “this made me think of you” gifts. But with your dawning feelings for him, it all becomes too much for you to process in one evening.
“Oh, it’s just a migraine. Got anything for that?”
“I do, actually”–he pulls out a little box, shakes it once–“for migraines.”
You smile, reaching forward to take the box from him. “Great. Awesome.” Great, awesome. You’re acting weird. “Well, I’m gonna make the soup and probably take a nap.”
He rocks back to his heels, awkwardness evidently striking. “Alright. Do you want me to stick around? Make the soup for you?”
“No,” you answer a bit too abruptly. His lips press to a line, his feet flatten to the ground. “I’m sorry. No, it’s okay. I’m just going to take a nap as soon as I finish the soup anyway.”
He nods. “Okay, then I’ll head out. Leave you to your soup and your nap.” So much talk of soup, when this is very much not about soup. “Text or call me if you need me, Y/N. Seriously,” he says, unwrapping the towel from his shoulders and reaching for his sweatshirt. “With as much as you help me, I’d like to help you too.”
“I will be fine, Jaem. It’s just a migraine. Get ‘em all the time.”
He looks at you for a brief moment after shimmying his sweatshirt on, his hood falling back in place over his head. He looks so comfy despite his sweatshirt not fully dried. So warm and so inviting like a new blanket, freshly washed and straight from the dryer. If only there wasn’t a battle taking place in your head–you against, well… yourself–you’d invite him to stay. Put a movie on. Share a blanket thrown over your legs, maybe let your head fall onto his shoulder. Maybe he’d throw his arm around your shoulders, rest his head atop yours.
“You’re sure you don’t want me to stay?”
And then you realize you’re giving him the same longing gaze that’s painted upon his face, and you know he doesn’t want to leave, and you know you don’t want him to leave.
“I’m sure. It’s okay, really.”
He sighs, lips pressed into a line. “Okay.”
After a good moment of no movement being made on either of your ends, Jaemin sends a smile your way, you smile back, and he steps toward the door. As he opens the front door, the sound of the rain roars in, and it hasn’t let up. Oh, how you’d love to pull him back in from that wretched weather, let him stay with you for the night or at least until it calms.
“Please text me when you get home,” you call to him.
· · ─────── · ·
This is the longest you’ve gone so far without talking to Jaemin, and to say it’s felt empty would be a severe understatement. You went from talking every day, seeing each other every other day, to realizing you like him as more than simply a friend, to not talking to him in too short a time period for you to get a grapple on.
It’s been a few days, and it’s not that it’s awkward, but you don’t know how to begin or carry on a conversation without the bothersome nudge of your feelings and their desire to be known. So, therefore, you haven’t texted him out of the blue the way you would have. But then again, he hasn’t texted you either. The last text being his confirmation that he made it home safely.
With this time apart from him, however, you’ve had plenty of time to think about your feelings for him and understand what they mean and what you have to do. You like him, that’s a fact, and there’s no changing that fact. You need to tell him out of the moral obligation of being honest with him. Part of you wants to tell him out of curiosity, though, as there are moments where he does or says things and you’re left pondering what it means for him. But the point stands that you haven’t spoken for days, and you can’t find it in you to simply start up a conversation with “hey, I like you.”
It’s a Thursday night, and though it is a weekday and these games usually lack a fan section, the gym is packed with your school's students and rival students alike. Tonight, your school plays their biggest basketball rivals, and the hatred that runs deep is interchangeable within the players and students. To put it simply, you hate this rival school, and they very much hate you guys.
The rivalry goes back too deep in history for current students to really grasp what it was that made you rivals, in the first place. Over time, the rivalry over the game turned into blind hatred, and in turn, birthed violent play tactics and penalties all around.
This game is the most attended regular-season game every year, so despite whatever awkwardness has been left untouched between you and Jaemin, there was no way you were sitting this one out. Fortunately, as always, you have your best friend by your side.
The first three quarters of the game went by fairly leveled with the lead juggled between the two. That's usually how this game goes. Yes, they’re rivals through history, but they’re also rivals through talent. It’s a huge ego boost for whichever team that comes out of this game on top, and a detrimental downer for whoever comes up short.
Tensions are high, players are shoved, getting in each other's faces any moment they see fit, requiring the refs to step in and ease the hostility before ejections are thrown.
It’s near the end of the third quarter, and even with the lead going back and forth, your team is playing great both offensively and defensively. It’s clear their heads are in the game and they know what they need to do. Jaemin and Renjun are especially playing great, as they currently lead the team in points, Jaemin in rebounds.
The bulls are currently on defense, the opposing players tossing the ball between one another, working to create an open shot. But there’s a moment between a pass where Jaemin can slip his hand between the two, and he takes possession of the ball and books it down the court. His skill is impressive, and in all honesty, gets you hot. Focus, Y/N.
Jaemin isn’t going for a simple layup, that’d be too easy. And in all honesty, he’d be stupid not to dunk on his rival's team in front of their fans. Embarrass them a little. It’s not typical of him to go to the net for a shot being the designated outside shooter, but in cases as such, he can switch it up. There’s no one in his way as he runs to the net, only one defender following him. To anyone watching, sports fan or not, this is pure beauty. Pure basketball.
He jumps, ball in both hands, and sinks it in. His hands grip the rim and he hangs for a fleeting second, basking in the crowd’s cheer. They go so crazy for him that by the sounds of it, you’d think he was already in the league. But what he doesn’t see, the rest of you quickly do. A play that began as clean, beautiful basketball is quickly turned into a dirty play as the defender jumps under Jaemin, arms tucked to his sides and he throws his body shoulder-first into him as he hangs from the rim, knocking him sideways on his fall from the rim. Before his hands even leave the rim, before his body hits the court, the crowd knows it will be bad. Hands shoot to the sides of peoples heads simultaneously in shock and gasps take the place of cheers.
As Jaemin’s hands slip from the rim, unable to grip tight enough to keep himself from falling. His body turns mid-air in an attempt to catch himself, but it all happens too fast for him to avoid damage and lands on his left knee.
The crowd could see what was coming before Jaemin could prepare himself, but the sound of his knee hitting the hardwood is a sound that sends everyone, rival or fan, cringing in horror. It’s a sound so loud that without a second to think or look, you know it’s bad.
The sound replays in your head over and over again as you watch him curl his body in agony and clutch his leg, pain stitched into his features. Renjun rushes to his side while the rest of his teammates confront the defender and his teammates, and Renjun is too focused on Jaemin to stop anything from ensuing. It’s pure chaos on the court, none of which is helping Jaemin, and all you want to do is run from the stands and help Renjun get him out of here.
Luckily his coach runs onto the court and the bench players tend to the arguments and work to diffuse the situation, while Renjun and their coach help Jaemin to the locker room with the medical trainers right behind them.
With Jaemin safely removed from the disorder in the gym, the refs and bench players sort out the fighting players as derogatory remarks are thrown back and forth without mercy. The volume lightens, the ref blows his whistle, and as you’d hoped and everyone expected, a flagrant 2 foul is called against the defender, resulting in his rightful ejection from the game. Their coach can’t even argue the ref on his decision, as he himself yells relentlessly at his player for such a nasty move. The defender acted in malice with intentions to harm. He knows his player is in the wrong.
After the court is cleared of players and tensions have seemingly calmed, the game resumes after Renjun and their coach run back out to continue, but Jaemin isn’t with them. You don’t expect him to return, nor do you want him to even if his knee is physically alright. Any risk to further cause damage would send your stress through the roof, and you don’t want a season-ending injury on Jaemin’s plate if it can be avoided.
You find yourself debating whether you want to stay for the rest of the game. It isn’t that you come to these games just to see Jaemin. You’ve been coming to these games long before he was even a starter. But now you know Jaemin. You’re friends with him. With the addition of your friendship, his presence brings an extra element of enjoyment. But without Jaemin, with the unknowing of whether he’s okay or not, you can’t watch the game unfolding in front of you, even if it is the rival game.
Not even a minute goes by at the beginning of the fourth quarter before you decide you don’t want to be there anymore.
You place your hand on your friend's thigh. “I’m gonna head out.”
“What?! It’s the fourth quarter of the rival game!”
“I know, but honestly, I’m not really interested anymore.”
She looks at you all-knowingly, understands that it’s not only that you’re not interested in the game, but that you’re worried sick over Jaemin and you can’t think of anything but him. “Okay. I’ll let you know how it ends.”
You smile and hug her before getting up and exiting the gym, pausing in the lobby. You pull out your phone.
(8:52 PM) You: I know you probably don’t want to talk right now, but I just want to know that you’re okay.
Part of you doesn’t want to read a response yet if he provides one. You don’t expect one, though. That part of you is scared for him; scared that he’s just had his dream yanked from him by a careless fool. Getting a serious injury during your senior year is probably at the top of the list of things no college basketball player wants.
You make it all the way home without getting a response, and the worry over the outcome of his injury is soon replaced by the worry of how bad it is with every minute he doesn’t answer you. You know that if it’s as bad as it sounded, he wouldn’t want to talk to anyone. That would be a big change for him–a significantly damaging one. You can’t blame him for needing some space.
Your friend texts you that fortunately, they’ve won the game yet the fighting isn’t over. That’s to be expected, as there are always words spoken after the game from the bitter side. Still, no text from Jaemin, and your heart is racing with concern and fret.
A bit later in the kitchen, heavy pacing occurs for longer than you’d like to admit as you try to decide what to do to distract yourself from the potential significance of his injury and the horrifying sound until three knocks at your front door pull your attention. You know it’s him.
You open the door to find him dressed as he was that first night: black hoodie thrown on, uniform shorts, unchanged from the game. “Hey,” he mumbles, smiling shyly.
At the sight of no crutches, no visible aid helping him stand–just a simple knee brace, tears pool at the bottom of your lids. For whatever reason, Jaemin standing in your doorway after the night that just took place sends your emotions into a frenzy, and you feel the first tear fall.
“Y/N, hey, it’s okay,” he assures, limping forward with his arms outstretched. He wraps you up in a tight hug, only eliciting deeper emotions to spill. You move to grip the bits of sweatshirt hanging at his waist, allowing your relief to unfurl in the moment. You’re not even sure what the injury has amounted to, but it’s clearly nothing requiring surgery or any crutch of sorts. Just a brace, and that’s good enough for you.
As you cry into his chest, you learn just how invested you’ve become in not only his game and his dream, but him and his safety; his health. After the toll his potential injury took on you and your ability to focus, you realize just how deep you’re in this; just how much you like him.
“I was really worried, Jaem. That scared me.”
“I know, Y/N. It scared me too, but look–I’m okay.” He brings his hands to your shoulders and pulls away to show you the soft smile tugging his full lips, his eyes sparkling with consolation, his brows resting calmly. He’s breathing. He’s standing on his own. That’s enough to put your worried mind at ease.
You frown at the sight in front of you: the guy who plays his heart out, whose strength carries him and pushes him through uphill battles. The guy who you’ve grown to know and like, the guy you want by your side for as long as time will allow, and under twisted circumstances, is the one comforting you. You frown not because you’re sad or because he has upset you, but because you’ve become so fond of him.
And with your frown and unspoken urges, you propel your body forth and plant your lips on his, kissing away your own worry. You don’t give yourself a moment to tell him how you’ve been feeling first–you simply succumb to the moment's overhang of emotions, the care you want to shower him with, and the reassurance he wants to provide you. You allow yourself the feeling, the vulnerability on either end.
After the transient shock of your sudden action, he kisses you back. You’d be lying if you said you weren’t expecting it. Not that you knew for a fact he felt the same, but a tiny part of your brain caught on to his behavioral nuances that indicated he felt at least something.
Your lips remain still in a chaste kiss until his hands on your shoulders slide up to your neck and he kisses you again. This time a bit deeper, and your grip on his sweatshirt tightens in tandem with the movement of his lips. You’re pulling the fabric and his body along with it to press into you, the feeling of him so greatly desired.
You’re both still in the doorway, and the cold winter wind blows against your faces, sending shivers through you, urging you inside. You step back, pulling him with you and he follows compliantly; eagerly. However, too much eagerness in his steps brings to light his very evident limp, and you pull away. He may be physically okay, but his injury is still fresh.
In contradiction to your initial plan of being upfront with him, you find yourself searching for something to redirect yourself from the overwhelm his lips have caused. “How about we watch a movie?” you offer coolly, mentally working hard to calm down. You need a moment before talking about what had just transpired. “You can rest your leg on my lap.”
“I’d like that, but I’ll rest my leg on the coffee table instead. I want to cuddle.” Melts. Jaemin throws his arm around your shoulders, and the weight he puts on you makes your heart ache at the idea of him needing to use you as a crutch to simply get to the couch.
“Jaem, you’re not playing for a while, right?”
“I’ll probably sit out next game, but physically I’m healthy, so I should be good to go by the game after next.” You pause, looking up at him with fear tinting your eyes. You can even feel now, as you’re standing in the middle of the living room, that his weight is primarily on his right leg and he’s leaning significantly against you. “Y/N, seriously. It was just a faulty landing. The x-rays came back fine and there’s no muscle damage. I’m okay. You don’t have to worry.”
That’s the thing. You are worrying, and it’s more than simply worrying about your friend. It’s worrying because you want so badly for Jaemin to achieve his goal and live out his dreams, worrying that the boy who means so much to you almost had that stripped and it could very well happen again. You decide against bringing that up, however, as you want to take both of your minds off of the incident. “Okay. Just please be careful.”
His arm pulls you in and he plants a comforting kiss on your head. “Of course.” At that moment, in that kiss, you understand just how scared he was. Just how much it wasn’t anything to take lightly, and your heart longs to comfort him, but you refrain.
Approaching the couch, you place your hand on Jaemin’s back and his stomach to help him sit, and as expected, he rolls his eyes in a silent swear that he doesn’t need help. Too bad.
You grab a pillow from the end of the couch and place it under his foot. “How does that feel?”
“Good. Now get over here,” he says as his hand reaches for yours and pulls you down onto the couch beside him. He wraps his arm around you and pulls you snug into his side before you can even reach for the remote. For a moment, it’s just you and Jaemin wrapped up on the couch, sitting in silence. His cheek rubs against your head and you allow yourself the pleasure of snuggling closer into him.
· · ─────── · ·
“I told myself I wouldn’t date until I made it into the league,” Jaemin states suddenly. You look away from the tv screen and peer up at him in question, prompting him to continue. “I had a girlfriend during sophomore year. We were in the same circle, saw each other all the time. We got along but you know, when it comes to relationships, simply getting along isn’t going to cut it. I’m not even sure why or how we dated–we just did, and it was terrible for both of us. A pointless waste of time, honestly.”
You’re unsure where this is coming from, but in the way he speaks, you know there’s meaning beneath his words, so you want him to say whatever it is he needs to say to get to his point. “Why?”
He drops his head to look at you briefly, then back at the tv screen. “Well, at the time, I wasn’t a starter, but the coaching staff was starting to watch me, and they liked what they saw. Upon learning that, I began to devote more and more of my time to hone in on my skill and building on it. Obviously, that took away from my time for a relationship. I knew at that point in my life and my basketball career that I couldn’t juggle both basketball and a relationship, especially with someone I wasn’t all for. I really felt bad because she was a nice girl. She deserved someone who had time for her, and I was never going to be that, so we mutually called it quits.”
It’s not a jaw-dropping story, but it is shocking. Not that you knew much of anything about Jaemin’s love-life prior to your lives intersecting, but you had assumed he was a relationship guy, whether casual or serious. He’s the heartthrob. Of course he would get attention, and you had just assumed he would entertain at least a pinch of that attention. Learning that he never actually did, though, comes as a shock. But as much as it’s shocking, a bit of it hurts, and the painful bit, you’re about to pry into. “And then what?”
He exhales a chuckle. “Then I sort of unofficially swore off dating. Just took myself out of that game and inserted myself fully into the real game, and here I am.”
Your eyes are glued to the tv, movie playing on but none of it registering. You wonder why he waited until now to tell you this, but it’s not like you ever conversed about past relationships. You had a couple of your own, but you didn’t swear off dating because they didn’t work out.
At his confession, you don’t know what to say. Is he telling you this because of your kiss earlier? Did he kiss you back out of pity? Is this whole night out of pity? His version of letting you down easy? The deeper down the rabbit hole your mind falls, the colder his hold feels around you. “And here you are. Now what?” you ask, traces of ice in your tone. You’ve already set yourself up for a letdown.
“Now I don’t know what to do, because I find myself a bit crazy about you.”
If this moment were part of a movie, the camera would cut to your face in your sharp glance up at him and a record scratch would sound. Crazy about you. Out of all possibilities your mind concocted, that was not one of them, and you mentally smack yourself in the head at how quickly your thoughts turned doubtful. Scratch that, not even turned doubtful, but began that way. “What?” is all you can manage to say.
“My biggest worry that arose from that relationship was the fact that as soon as we started dating, my game took a hit. My mind wasn’t there, I was stressing over how bad it was turning out to be, and overall my coaches began to doubt their initial interest in me. That scared the shit out of me; that I’d already lost my shot at proving my talent,” he begins. “Since then, I never entertained the idea of dating again until after a game a couple of weeks back. You might not remember it, it was a weekday game and the school wasn’t much competition. You were there, though, with your friend Kim.”
There’s a shadow of a smile hinting at his lips, and out of unforeseen confidence, you reach for his hand and intertwine your fingers. “That game was one of my best performances, and at first, I chalked the reason up to poor opponents. That is until Jeno came up to me after the game. He looked up at you in the stands and said ‘you better keep your girl around if she’s doing this to you.’ I remember it word-for-word because on one hand I was caught off guard by him calling you my girl. On the other, I was caught off guard at him claiming my performance was thanks to you. Then I left the locker room to find you waiting for me in the gym, and after that, I didn’t need more than five seconds to think about it–I knew he was right, and I knew my dating plan was screwed.”
In an unexpected turn of events, the confession of feelings has transferred from your responsibility to Jaemin’s sudden emotional spill. His hand squeezed yours as he spoke, indicating his nerves while telling you all of this, but for some reason, you were just as nervous. You would have been nervous either way, you presumed, but now you’re on the receiving end when you had anticipated being on the giving end, which brings you back to your question, though you have an idea–a positive one this time–what is he getting at?
“Jaem?” you call softly, and he glances down at you. He smiles, his eyebrows stitched nervously.
“I’m rambling, I know.”
“I don’t mind. I like hearing you talk–and I like what you’re saying.”
He exhales a deep sigh, releasing all of his tensions as if he’d been holding his breath since the first word of this conversation. “I really like you, and though this time it feels different from my last relationship, it still scares me.” He speaks vulnerably, but his body feels easier against you; feels warmer. “I’m in a different place than I was in my last relationship. I got the starting spot, it’s secure, and I’m no longer fighting to prove that I’m good enough: they all know. What scares me is that I won’t be able to give you all that you deserve. But I’m speaking out of turn, I haven’t even given you a second to talk.”
You’re sure you look like an idiot at how wide your smile is–maybe even the Joker. He is so oblivious to how far you’ve already fallen, so exposed in this light that’s different from how he usually is. “Do you want to know why I was so scared tonight?” you ask, and his brows knit together, eyes darting back and forth between your own. “I was so scared because the moment your knee hit the court and sounded through the gym, I thought your dream had just been taken from you. I thought that was the end of your season, and my heart broke at the idea of you not getting to skate your way into the championship game and land yourself a spot in the league.”
His lips turn into a faint frown, similar to the one you wore earlier. “I had already known about my feelings for you. I already knew I liked you, but until tonight, I didn’t realize how invested I was in you and in your game–in your success. A relationship goes both ways, and as much as I deserve proper investment, you also deserve understanding. You deserve just as much, Jaemin, and I want to be the one to help you realize that.”
Though his features are those of sadness, you know they come from a place of shock and fondness. His eyes fall to your lips, he pulls you in by his arm wrapped around your shoulders, and kisses you–a deep, tender kiss, relaying all of his admiration and appreciation for all that you are and everything you’re saying.
His kiss is passionate, his hand releasing yours and moving up to your face, fingers sliding back into your hair, and there is no aspect of this kiss that’s lazy. He kisses you with devotion, you kiss him with reassurance.
You hadn’t realized how much this would mean to him nor how deep it goes for him if the feelings were reciprocal. Now that they are, now that he has to face this concept he once dismissed, he has the optimal partner to do so with, and he knows that. He’s grateful for that.
Grabbing hold of his sweatshirt, you fall back a bit, his body following suit, lips never leaving your own. Before you can lay your back against the cushion, Jaemin pulls away, sucks in through his teeth out of pain. “Shit, I’m sorry,” you say.
“It’s okay. Worth it.”
You grin, but you don’t want to further make him uncomfortable or hurt his knee, so you place a quick kiss before pushing you both back upright. “That can wait until you’re fully mobile.”
“Bummer,” he sighs, to which you nudge his chest.
You settle back into your spot on the couch, snuggled together closer than ever. He’s so warm, so whole, you wonder how or why the stars aligned for your paths to cross that night. If he never ran off the court to save the ball, he’d have never crashed into you, and your days since wouldn’t have been full of him.
“Can I sleep over?”
“Yeah, sure. Something up?”
He nestles his head atop yours. “Just don’t want to leave you yet. I’m really loving this night, even more than the first one.”
As are you, and the fact that you took no part in initiating a confession still is not registering. You came into these new feelings more or less prepared to face them and tell him, regardless of how he felt in return. To not only have him feel the same way about you as you do him, but come clean first, is definitely a turn of events, but the fact that it’s out there on both of your ends is a major weight lifted.
· · ─────── · ·
February is nearing its end, and after tonight’s win, the Bulls have secured their spot in the tournament with a near-perfect season so far consisting of only two losses. The second loss happened two games after their first loss, but the boys weren’t too distraught by it, as they knew you’d treat them to ice cream again. There are two more games left in the regular season, and even though the schools don’t rank, there still is no room to think of them as an easy opponent, because when your brain begins to harbor that mindset, that’s when they’ll pull the rug out from under you.
Jaemin finds you leaning against the end of the stands when he exits the locker room. The gym emptied about ten minutes ago with a handful of players and parents hanging around. When his eyes find you he perks, and despite knowing you’d be there as you always are, it’s under different circumstances this time. Though, regardless of your relationship status, you never fail to excite him.
“You look good in my sweatshirt,” he comments. His hands reach for your waist, pulling you flush into his front. It’s almost alarming how naturally your bodies meld together. How comfortable it is.
“You look good in that uniform”–you throw your arms over his shoulders, securing your proximity–“but I bet you look better out of it.”
His eyes go wide, eyebrows raised, and you giggle. “Oh yeah?” he taunts. “Your place or mine?”
“My place. Roommate isn’t home.” You let your arms fall from his shoulders, hands falling into place entwined with his. “You did amazing tonight, Jaem.”
His eyes fall shut, a smile creeps onto his lips and his head falls forward, appearing bashful at your praise. Jaemin receives compliments on his game all the time from coaches, students, friends, and the like. He’s used to it at this point, and though he hates being glamorized, he knows he’s good.
He has never doubted his skillset and his talents. He’s known he was good since he first picked up a basketball and made his first layup, and since has worked his ass off to prove that. In the end, it led him here: starting on a number one seed team with a secure spot in the playoff tournament.
It’s when you compliment him, signaling that you’re watching him that close to even be able to point out his performance–and it isn’t a blind compliment–that makes him suddenly shy.
He’s had people all throughout his college career that he wanted to please. Coaches, scouts, teammates. There are people he’s desired approval from and has worked hard to get it, feeling success in reception. But with your praise, he feels vulnerable, because it isn’t a figure of authority telling him he has crystallized his skill to the highest degree of perfection. It’s someone he genuinely cares about. It’s you, who passes the critique of his skill and heads straight for his passion and his drive, complimenting the fire in his heart and understanding that he isn’t just madly good at this game: he loves this game, and when you of all people recognize that, that is the confirmation he never knew he needed. That’s when he feels as if he’s finally made it.
Jaemin follows you back to your place in his own car, lugs his bag as he gets out, and meets you at the door. “Can I take a quick shower?”
You set your keys on the side table upon entering your place. “Please do, you smell,” you tease. He does a little bit, but it’s understandable.
He drops his gym bag at the side table, sending you a curious look. “Oh, I do?” After a second of silence passes and your anticipation settles, Jaemin charges at you, engulfing you in a bear hug, crushing your face into his chest. “I smell, huh?”
“Jaemin!” you yell into his chest, and he only holds you tighter.
Jaemin lets out the heartiest laugh, one void of any stress or exhaustion, and it sends your heart beating at a million beats per minute. He gets your heart racing just by doing the simplest things.
“Alright, I’m gonna hit the shower,” he pulls away in laughter, and you find yourself missing his smelly self, but you reluctantly wave him off as you head to your bedroom to change.
Fifteen-some minutes pass before he’s finished with his shower and you’re changed into sweatpants, but you leave his sweatshirt on, loving both its comfort and the fact that it’s Jaemin’s. You linger in your bedroom, scrolling through your phone and responding to Kim, who’s currently on a late night date with a boy from her history class.
Jaemin comes into your room in an old pair of black basketball shorts and a black t-shirt, his wet hair a mess on his head, unbrushed. How he isn’t cold, you’re not sure, but he looks damn good in such basic, minimal clothing that you won't verbally disapprove. “What, like what you see?”
Once again, he has caught you staring. This time, you don’t cover it with a lie. “Yeah, I do.”
He laughs before approaching you, and with his proximity closing in, you set your phone aside, devoting your attention all to him. As he stands in front of you, he leans down, not wasting another moment before placing his lips on yours, kissing you the way he’s wanted to all night.
As your relationship is still new, you’re still playing around and testing things out. You’ve only gotten a brief taste of his playful side in situations suggesting more, but for the most part, it’s meaningful. His lips relay words of adoration, sensations of fondness, promises of genuine intentions.
And that isn’t different now, as he crawls over your body inching back further onto your bed. Once he’s settled and stable with his body and arms caging you in, he dips his tongue into your mouth, cautious but full of intent–melting into the taste of you.
There is meaning traced in every movement he makes. With every kiss, his subconscious speaks affirmations. One kiss, “I’m scared, but I’m happy it’s you.” Another kiss, “I’m in this completely.”
His hand pressed into the mattress comes to the hem of your–his–sweatshirt, tracing up your side until his hand’s atop your ribs, fingers splayed over the skin. His grip is delicate and warm in its place. Jaemin pulls away for a moment, eyes boring into yours. His breathing is heavy but he looks content. “I want this to be special.”
He takes you by mild surprise with his comment, and you’re leaning for him to continue, to which he does. “I want you to understand that I’m taking this seriously. Taking you seriously.”
You smile at his honest words, and within them and this moment–if you didn’t know before–you know now just how much this means to him. But his interjection still has you a bit puzzled. “I know you are, Jaem. But it’s not my first time.”
His face screws up for an instant before he cracks, a grin shining through. “And it’s not mine, but that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that it’s different; this.” His eyes fall to your lips, his grin turns nervous, his lips pressed together. “You’re really fuckin’ special to me, Y/N.”
You bring your hand up to his face, thumb caressing his cheek before pushing your fingers back into his hair. “And you’re special to me–this is special to me. Don’t ever think you’re in this alone, Jaemin. I’m right here with you.”
And you are. Body and mind, you’re side-by-side, navigating the newness of this together. You know his preconceptions of relationships have changed drastically in a fairly short period of time, and you know it’s going to take time for him to get used to that. You’ve been out of the dating game for a while as well, so this is fresh in all aspects for both of you.
With not another word spoken, he dips his head, brings his lips to yours, and the fire is revived. He grinds his pelvis into you in a shallow thrust, just enough to feel his growing erection through his shorts.
You reach to grab the hem of his t-shirt, lazily lifting in a poor attempt to rid his body of it. He quickly comes to the rescue, yanking the shirt off. As a give-and-take situation, his fingers move to trace over the hem of your sweatpants, hesitant to hook over the fabric as he traces his fingers over the band. You nod a quick nod, letting him know this is okay, and he begins to pull slowly, taking his time in removing the item before throwing it to where his shirt went. He attempts to return to your lips, but your hand to his chest halts him from proceeding. Your hand drags to his shoulder and you push him down onto the bed, replacing his spot on top.
Jaemin’s hands come to rest at your panties adorning your hips as you straddle him, working yourself out of his big sweatshirt and the tank top underneath, tossing both onto your pile. He revels in this new side of you: naked, exposed for him. This may be deeper and more emotional for him than he could’ve ever anticipated, but he’s still equally sexually driven. He still craves the feeling of your body and is eager to learn all of the things that make you feel good. You turned him on even with your clothes still on, so your almost-completely-naked self is doing a number on him.
“You’re beautiful,” he hums. “I never told you that, but I’ve always thought so.”
There’s something about the dynamic between you and Jaemin. It’s full of vulnerability, and where it comes from, you’re unsure. But compliments are never taken lightly and never given loosely. Just as your attention to Jaemin’s game makes him shy, his compliments on your appearance make you shy.
It’s different from if you and Kim were getting ready to go out, and she passes a comment that you look pretty. When Kim compliments you, you take it with a wink and move on. When Jaemin compliments you, it’s as if he’s looking deeper than your appearance, telling you your soul–your heart is beautiful. Telling you that you, in all of your glory–in every way, shape, and form–are beautiful. It strikes deeper than any compliment from anyone else ever could.
As if he senses the effect his words have on you, he runs his hands up your sides, fingers ghosting at your ribs, and pulls himself to sit upright, meeting you face-to-face. “Really, truly beautiful,” he whispers. His gaze is comforting, reassuring, and he plants a single lasting kiss before pushing you back onto the bed and returning to your initial position.
“How is your knee feeling?” you ask out of the blue.
Jaemin halts his movements, shock gracing his features. He searches your face to figure out if you’re serious or if that was out of nerves, and upon realizing you’re serious, he drops his head into your neck and laughs. His breath tickles the skin and elicits a giggle from you, but you really want to know if his knee is still bothering him or if it’s actually getting better–and yes, you want to know right now.
“It’s fine. What are you, my personal trainer?” he jokes, still knocked sideways by the sudden question.
You hit his arm. “No, I’m your girlfriend, and I care.”
He stops himself from further teasing and peers into your eyes. “My girlfriend,” he repeats, voice thick with sentiment. If someone were to tell him at the beginning of the season that he’d find his person in the middle of his most important year, or that someone would change his mind about dating before he’d even made it to the playoffs, he’d laugh in their face.
But here you are, laid beneath him, peering up at him in anticipation. He doesn’t deem you a body to conquer, but a soul to worship. He’s eager to regard your body with reverence, keen on learning your every hill and valley.
Jaemin pulls a condom out of his shorts before sliding them off. You slip your panties off, and for a moment, it’s as if you’re back to being friends. You both pause, momentarily unbelieving of how you’re here; how you’ve landed on such intimacy with such an unsuspecting partner. You giggle, he grins, and it’s then you realize this is real. It’s really happening, and it’s happening with your friend, Jaemin. Your boyfriend.
You wrap your arms around his neck, hands splayed loosely over the expanse of his upper back, and he rolls the condom on before resting at your core. He takes a second for you both to get your bearings before pushing himself into you. You gasp, eyes falling shut.
He pushes himself to the hilt and stops there, his hand coming to brush your hair. “You okay?”
“Yes.” And you are. His size is nice, and isn't overwhelming. It’s comfortable. Pleasurable. Perfect for you.
Jaemin leans to kiss your forehead, then your nose, then your lips, before he pulls out and pushes back in slowly. His beginning thrusts are slow and purposeful. It’s nothing extravagant, but it’s intimate. It’s everything, because it’s him, and because it’s you.
He leans on his elbow beside you, and your hands once hung lazily over his upper back are now scratching, clawing, gripping at nothing out of pure bliss. Jaemin works in and out of you in his quest to take you both to euphoria, quickening his pace more and more as your mingled breaths become labored.
Your hand drags over his shoulder and finds purchase at his pec, your other arm tight around his upper body, keeping him close to you. You pull him so close to you that his gold necklace–that same one you noticed from the party, the one that sexily peaked out of his hoodie collar, drew your attention to his neck–drags against your neck, your chest. It’s cool against your skin, sending chills through you in conjunction with the chills his body sends pulsing through you. His eyebrows are knit together in concentration and in such a strained moment, you find peace in his presence. As your moans fuse and disperse into your bedroom, you find yourself content in the security of his company and his heart. Neither of you saw it at the start, but this is your life now–this is your relationship, and it is damn exciting.
When Jaemin’s hand at your waist tightens, pushes your frame into the bed, you know he’s close. Your hand tight around his body moves up the nape of his neck, combs into his hair, and you grip, bringing his face closer to yours.
You kiss him tenderly, lazily. Intentions of uniformity that are lost to blind passion. You drag your lips to his cheek, then to his ear, nipping at his lobe, and he hisses.
Your relationship is full of playful give-and-take. As you’re learning tonight, that doesn’t come up short in intimate situations. In response to your frisky attention to his earlobe, his hand releases your side and reaches down, ghosting over your stomach, landing at your clit.
The first sensation of his fingers' attention to the sensitive spot sends your mouth agape, your head pressing back into your pillow, and he exhales a devilish chuckle. The union of his thrusts and his fingers working at your clit has you nearly screaming from the pleasure.
As he grunts your name and you moan his, you fall victim to the overwhelm of sensations and crumble under his embrace, body euphoric and mind blown at how sex can feel so good without any aiding factors or foreplay of any sort.
After a handful of hasty thrusts, Jaemin follows and falls to your side. His arms pull you in without a moment misspent, his sweaty body that somehow still smells of body wash pressed snug into you.
It’s quiet in your room, the only sound emanating being your heavy breathing until his words cut through the thick atmosphere. “I know it’s early days, but I know I could love you. I know I will.”
The tone in which he speaks, the volume, makes you think he was possibly talking to himself or talking aimlessly. But in those words, Jaemin’s confidence pours out like a faucet. His assuredness in you and your relationship is cemented in spoken words, whether he meant for you to hear or not, and your heart races in elation.
You lean over him, pushing his body back into the ruffled sheets and place your hand on his chest, a kiss to his cheek, and trace your finger over his skin. “Thirsty?”
“Come on,” you lean up, throw your legs off the bed, and move to grab your–Jaemin’s–sweatshirt, throwing the garment on followed by your panties.
Jaemin slips his shorts on and disregards his shirt as he catches up to you at the door. Before you can slip out of the room, however, he reaches for your hand, pulls you back and presses you into the edge of the doorway. The feeling reminds you of that first night on the court. Jaemin’s sweaty body pressing into you, only this time, he’s not sweaty because of the work he put in on the court. He’s sweaty because of the work he put in on you.
He dips his head and kisses the cliff of your shoulder, works his way up until he gets to your earlobe, and nips at it. “I liked that, by the way,” he hums, carrying roughly into your ear. “Sexy.”
· · ─────── · ·
Jaemin rests his body against the island opposite from where you sit on top of the counter. He takes a sip from his glass, and in his unsuspecting demeanor, you study his post-sex self. Ruffled hair, messier than it is after he gets out of practice. His beautiful hands that in moments prior worked eagerly–sinfully–to aid in your orgasm. You stop yourself from thinking any further, or else round two will ensue right here in this kitchen before you’ve rehydrated. After rehydration, though, that’s a different story.
“I was serious earlier, Jaem,” you say, hands gripping the counter cutting into the backs of your knees. “How is your knee?”
He grins, a giggle bubbling in his throat before he understands your concern. “It’s okay. Really. Sore sometimes, but physically it’s okay.”
You eye the purple and yellow, visible with the length of his gym shorts. It looks a lot better than it did the morning after–that sight made you worry. The pain was so bad that you had to help him out of bed. Thankfully he isn't so stubborn as to swat your assistance away and actually embraces it and is thankful for it. That morning you were sure that maybe the trainers and doctors missed something, or maybe they dismissed it a bit too quickly, just so that he could be cleared to play. Even the sight of it now sends shivers through you. You’re sure it still hurts a great deal, more than he’s letting on, but you know him and you know he won’t baby it. “Okay. But if it continues to hurt, please don’t keep quiet about it.”
He laughs. “You should’ve studied to be a medical trainer instead of journalism. Interned with our trainers,” he jokes, pushing himself off of the counter and starts in the direction toward you, landing between your thighs.
“Oh yeah? Then you’d be unstoppable. I can picture the headlines now: National League star Jaemin Na’s girlfriend doubles as his medical trainer,” you say, animated hands stretching wide in front of you. “You’d never have a poorly managed injury because I’d be on your ass about it.” His eyes go wide, eyebrows raised as he nods, and you continue. “But no, no medical profession for me.”
“That’s right. Instead of being my trainer, you’ll be reporting on my games–showing off your smarts and deeper knowledge of the game,” his hands placed on either side of you at the counter come up to your hips, running up and down your thighs. “That’s hot.”
It’s a fun thought. Jaemin in the league, you doing your dream job, and the two coexisting in one arena. Fun, definitely–but unlike Jaemin, you’re still unsure if that’s the route you want to take upon graduation, and being that your time in college is coming to an end in a few months, anxiety fills your nerves at the thought of being thrown into the world before you’ve even landed on the career that has you written all over it. Jaemin is right–you do have what it takes to report on games. Maybe even being a writer behind the scenes, but that’s where your anxiety forms: in the various fields under your journalism major.
However, as Jaemin’s comforting hands tickle the skin of your thighs, you dip your toe into this fantastical world of yours. “And when you win your games, I’d be right there in the gym, waiting to congratulate you and ask you post-game questions.”
“What would you ask me?”
“I’d start off by complimenting your game. Then, I’d ask: Jaemin, what was going through your mind in the middle of the fourth quarter when you’d lost the lead?”
“Starting with the hard-hitting questions, nice. What else?” He peers into your eyes with curiosity, always keen on getting into your head, learning more.
“I’d ask you: how do you feel out your opponent’s next move so successfully?”
“Getting into the technical part of the game and complimenting my skill. Love it. And?”
“Finally, I’d ask: do you wanna get out of here?”
Jaemin throws his head back in a sudden, wholesome laugh. “And I’d respond with hell yeah.”
The thought makes you giggle. It’s fun to dream and paint a pretty picture of what your future could be. It’s romantic, even, to share this daydream. But it still gets you nervous. It’s nerve-wracking, the idea of pursuing a career only to learn too late in the game that it’s not making you as happy as you once thought it would.
“Yeah, well, we’ll see what happens with that,” you utter, dismissing the pretend scenario you both concocted.
“Well, that’s something I know you can do, Y/N. You’d shine doing that job. If it’s a matter of doubting yourself, then I’m here to tell you that there’s no reason for you to,” he brings a hand up to your cheek, caresses your cheek in tender swipes. “And I’ll tell you that everyday until we’re standing on that court together after a game, me in a uniform and you with a microphone.”
Up until this point, you’d been working your butt off toward finishing the semester and at the end, obtaining your degree. It felt as if you never had time to sit down and figure out what you really wanted. When you chose journalism as your major, that was the only factor you were certain of. From there, the focus was on passing your classes and getting your degree. Not once did you take a moment to plan life after college. You’d toyed with a few ideas and a few fields, the sports industry one of the more attractive areas, but never did you give yourself the time to select a single field and dive into it.
It wasn’t that you doubted yourself succeeding in whatever field you did choose. You know how to report on matters. You know the key points to hit, the questions to ask, and the answers people are looking for. You’d be able to conform to any field and subject you decide to enter. It’s a matter of achieving happiness as well as stability.
So sitting here with Jaemin, who’s telling you you’re fully capable of accomplishing a successful career in the sports side of the world of journalism, telling you that you’d shine, is a nice push into doing research regarding the steps you’d have to take. It isn’t the driving force, as you’d had this on your mind since entering college. You have loved sports since you could remember. But having his support is a reassurance you didn’t realize you craved.
“All of this coming from the guy who’s about to play in the college championship tournament. Who here needs the pep talk?” you taunt, easing back out of the deep, contemplative turn your thoughts have taken.
Jaemin’s aura washes over in confidence. “You support me, I support you. We’re in this together.”
“Together,” you hum in agreement, pulling him in for a long, sweet kiss.
Together is a nice word. Together is a nice concept. Together is what you guys are, and the word rolls off your tongue with ease and confidence.
As his hands squeeze the sides of your thighs, his lips move against yours with words of love relayed, you pull away to look in his eyes, relay your exact emotions in this moment. Your eyes that teeter between his tell him I will love you too. Because if you don’t already, you know you will soon. You’re certain of it–you’re certain of him.
· · ─────── · ·
Taglist: @yixing-jaehyun @jakeshuneybby @koalakookie @nctsworld @milkyway-vxm @rynshyuckies @rbf-aceu @ahgastayzen @greentealatte97 @jkjkseo @dreyiesstuff (couldn't tag) @stealercore @dojun00
all mine. (m)
pairing: enemiestolovers!jaemin x reader
summary: a ridiculous dare has you pushed back into the company of na jaemin, the true bane of your existence.
warnings: public public sex, squirting, degradation, creampies, multiple orgasms
“No. Absolutely not.”
Renjun whines after you, fingers grabbing at your shirt childishly. “Come on, help me out here! If we don’t all show up with a date, our entire frat gets shamed! Shamed!”
“Boo fucking hoo,” you mutter, rolling your eyes. You set your books down on a nearby bench, ignoring the odd looks thrown your way at the sight of your best friend clinging to you desperately.
Renjun’s fraternity has had this weird rivalry with another house since before you even entered university. The result of this ended up in petty fights such as defacing each other’s front lawns, streaking through campus just to prove something, and most recently, daring each other to have every single member show up with a date to the next frat party. It wasn’t difficult for Renjun’s house to find their own dates since most of them were easy on the eyes. Their only problem, however, was Na Jaemin.
The bane of your existence — Na Jaemin has this notorious track record on campus for sleeping with most of the human population and ignoring them as soon as he’s done. As a result, he’s run out of options for dates to the upcoming party.
“Renjun,” you hiss loudly, pushing him away from you. “I will never go out with Na Jaemin again. Don’t even think about asking me twice.”
He glares at you before stomping his foot like a toddler. “You don’t even have to hang out with him! Just show up on his arm for like five seconds so we can win.”
“Just ask Ningning to go with him!” You hiss, fed up with the conversation. “It’s not my fault he’s made this reputation for himself.”
It was your freshman year when you were deceived by Na Jaemin. He was the sweetest boy you had ever met, eyes sparkling as he poured you your first ever college drink. You two talked for hours that night, ignoring the commotion of the party around you and focusing on yourselves. He took you out for a few dates after that before you finally gave in, allowing him to fuck you in Mark’s bedroom that he mistakenly thought was his.
It wasn’t until the next day when you overheard from Yeji that Jaemin did the same exact thing to her the week before. You declared war on Na Jaemin from that day forward, regardless if he was friends with Renjun or not.
“Fine. You know, I didn’t want to do this, but decisions need to be made,” Renjun huffs, and you roll your eyes at his dramatics. “Lee Seojeong.”
Your head almost does a 360 at the name. Your eyes narrow, sizing up your best friend.
“Oh, I would.”
You both glare at each other for a good five minutes before you scream, caving in to his demands. He exclaims loudly in victory, not noticing that the rest of campus has scurried away in fear from the two of you.
“Here’s how this is going to go. We’ll show up cordially, join arms to keep appearances for five minutes, win the stupid fight you have with the other frat, and then you’re going to keep your filthy paws off me for the rest of the night.”
Jaemin coughs awkwardly, shifting in his seat. “That sounds okay. Is there a reason we’re in the middle of the soccer field for this?”
You roll your eyes. “It’s like you’re not even listening to me. I told you I needed you in a remote location to discuss this in case the conversation led to me wanting to murder you.”
Jaemin blinks at you, his eyes filled with both fear and curiosity. He admits that he was genuinely surprised when Renjun revealed you agreed to go with him to the next frat party. He knows you hate him for what he did in freshman year, especially since you made low hissing noises whenever you passed by him on campus. Renjun specifically told him to do as you say in fear of your warpath.
“How were you planning on murdering me?”
You tap your chin, pondering his question. “Maybe fire? I honestly hadn’t thought that far ahead, I figured I would know when I was in the moment.”
“Okay,” he murmurs slowly, picking up his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder. He stands from his seat, a plastic chair you brought out to the field so that he would understand if this was going to work, he would have to submit to you. “I mean, thanks for coming with me, murder aside. I didn’t think it would be this rough to find myself someone to be with for the night.”
You scoff. “Oh, yes, because the perfect Na Jaemin is incapable of getting any man or woman to succumb to him. How the mighty have fallen if your last resort is me.”
“You would never be my last resort,” Jaemin responds genuinely, ignoring the glare he receives in return. “I know I was shitty to you, but you’re a fucking showstopper. Any one of my brothers would be lucky to have you on their arm.”
You had no idea what type of game he was playing, but you were not going to entertain him regardless of your heart beating like it was going to come out of your chest. You step closer to him until you’re almost chest to chest, and his eyes widen slightly at the proximity. He still smells the same as freshman year, and you remember how the scent used to calm you. Now, it just makes you angrier.
“You listen to me, Na Jaemin. You’re right, I’m a fucking showstopper. That also means I can take your frail little ego and smash it into a million pieces. Don’t even think about breathing near me until the party. If I hear another fucking half-assed compliment from you, I’ll shove my hand so far up-“
“Woah woah woah,” you hear someone say, stepping in between the two of you. Lee Jeno frowns at you, hearing the tail end of your threats. “What’s going on?”
Jaemin notices how you immediately retreat when Jeno arrives, smiling genuinely and taking a step back. Jaemin doesn’t like how starry eyed you suddenly turn for his best friend.
“Jeno, hi!” You beam. “I was just joking with Jaemin. I’m going with him to your party this weekend.”
“Really?” Jeno questions in surprise. “Oh shit, I didn’t know. I was actually coming over to ask you if you wanted to go with me.”
Puzzle pieces start clicking together in Jaemin’s head, and his eyes trail from your giggly form to Jeno’s wide smile. His eyes narrow, and a pool of jealousy stirs at the bottom of his stomach. He quickly moves past Jeno to swing an arm around your shoulder.
“Too bad then. Guess I beat you to the punch,” Jaemin says confidently, ignoring your silent daggers at his touch. “We were just talking about what we were going to wear together.”
“Ah,” Jeno shuffles awkwardly. “So Jaemin told you it’s a matching couples event?”
“Of course I did!”
Your simultaneous response causes Jeno’s eyebrow to raise.
Jaemin laughs. “I was just getting around to telling her that. As you can see, there are still a handful of things we need to discuss.”
“Right,” Jeno hums, not convinced in the slightest. “I’ll get out of your hair then. I guess I’ll ask Seojeong if she wants to go with me.”
“No!” You suddenly yell in protest, alarming the two frat brothers. You quickly clear your throat and swallow your embarrassment. “I mean, no. I heard she’s going to be out of town this weekend.”
“And where did you hear that from?” Jaemin asks amusedly. You elbow his side and shrug his arm off of you.
“Just around. I think Minjeong would want to go with you if you asked her.”
“Minjeong’s dating Donghyuck, remember? He’ll kill me if I ask her, he already has some elaborate proposal all set up,” Jeno reminds you.
You smile so sweetly that Jaemin thinks you’re trying to blind his best friend. “Doesn’t that just make it more fun?”
Jeno’s confused expression turns into a smirk at the challenge.
“Shit, you’re a genius. I’m going to find her before Donghyuck does. Bye, guys!”
Jaemin watches Jeno jog off the field, and also notices the way your eyes trail after him. Once he’s gone, you shift back into murder mode.
“Don’t ever touch me like that again,” you hiss, pushing him away from you. You brush your shoulders in an attempt to get Jaemin’s germs off of you.
He rolls his eyes. You were definitely as dramatic as Renjun. “So you like Jeno, huh?”
Your head turns so fast that he’s sure you get whiplash.
“What? What are you talking about?” You laugh it off, scratching the back of your head and failing to meet his stare.
“Hm,” he hums, enjoying you squirm underneath his questioning. “Interesting. Guess I’ll have to keep him far away from you.”
You glare at him. “Don’t even try it. I don’t like Jeno and it’s none of your business in the first place! I can still reign fire if need be.”
Jaemin suddenly remembers another warning Renjun gave him earlier — never take your threats seriously. His grin stretches wider, and it makes your heart thump in a way you don’t appreciate.
“I’m sure you can, beautiful. Either way, remember that I’m the one who's taking you to that party this weekend.”
You roll your eyes. “Whatever, Na Jaemin.” You start walking away, throwing up two middle fingers as your way of saying goodbye.
Jaemin smiles to himself as he watches your figure grow smaller and smaller in the distance.
“You look good. Like, really fucking good.”
Your eyes narrow at the sight of Jaemin in the mirror. You turn around to face him, prepared to utilize the pocket knife Renjun got you a few years ago.
“How did you get into my room?”
You try to cover yourself with one of your hoodies you left on the floor, but Jaemin’s eyes have already locked in on you, like a predator meeting its prey. You’re trying on the dress you want to wear to the frat party this weekend — a baby pink slip that just barely covers your ass with a low neckline that makes your breasts look amazing. You figured that if you had to show up with Na Jaemin, you could at least look good while doing it.
“Your roommate let me in,” he murmurs, eyes still devouring you hungrily. “I’m glad she did because this really made my day.”
You roll your eyes. “You know, I’m not afraid to skin you alive in the middle of my apartment.”
“As much as I love you talking about ways to murder me, I came over because we’re supposed to be matching for the party, remember?”
“Yes, and I told you I would be wearing pink,” you huff. “Is there a reason you needed in-person confirmation?”
“You know there are like a hundred different shades of pink? I was borrowing one of Donghyuck’s shirts when he pointed it out.”
You sigh at his lame excuses. “You could’ve just asked me for a photo.”
“I think if I got any evidence of this dress, I’d only imagine what you look like underneath it.”
You swallow at the pool of wetness leaking in your panties. You inch closer to your nightstand, where your pocket knife is located. “You have five seconds to leave, Na Jaemin. Final warning.”
He smirks. “Alright, I’ll head out. Can’t wait for this weekend, princess.”
You watch him carefully as he exits your room, and you hear the shut of the front door a little after. You throw down your hoodie on the floor before stomping into the living room. Ningning is innocently eating a bowl of ramen on the couch, paying no mind to the havoc that Jaemin just brought in.
“Why did you let him in here?” You demand, crossing your arms to show your frustration.
She shrugs. “Because he’s cute and wanted to see you. I thought we always had a cute boy policy.”
You roll your eyes. “Jaemin is not cute. He’s the devil reincarnated.”
She giggles. “Renjun’s right. You’re down bad.”
Your mouth drops open. “I am not! I want Jaemin to burn in the pits of hell!” You nearly scream, fists balling at the thought of sweet vengeance. “You know I like Jeno.”
“Please,” she scoffs. “You and Jeno have been flirting with each other for years now and nothing’s come out of it! Not to mention Seojeong-“
“Don’t say her name,” you warn, throwing your hand up to stop her.
Ningning, like most of your other friends, is used to your dramatics by now. “Whatever. All I’m saying is that Jeno and you have made no progress for years. Jaemin, however, looks like he wanted to devour you the moment he saw you in that dress.”
“That’s because he’s a horny frat boy. He’ll like me in whatever I’m wearing.”
“Listen, did Jaemin fuck you good last time?”
You grow embarrassed by the question, remembering that longing feeling in your chest when you realized no one would fuck you half as good as Jaemin did.
She rolls her eyes. “Then have some fun! Yes, Jaemin fucks anything with two walking legs but he does it right! I’m sure Jeno won’t find out anyways.”
You fail to come up with a reply and return to your room, scanning yourself in the mirror once again. You do a little turn to see how well the dress compliments your body.
A one night stand couldn’t hurt, right?
“You look amazing. Holy shit.”
You giggle under Jeno’s gaze, smoothing out the wrinkles in your dress. He’s the first one to greet you outside the frat house, waiting for his date.
“So you got Minjeong to go with you?” You smile, appreciating how his eyes are glued to you.
“Yeah, Donghyuck almost shoved me into the campus fountain,” he chuckles. “Worth it. He asked Seojeong instead.”
“O-Oh,” you laugh awkwardly. “That’s nice for her.”
“Am I missing something?” Jaemin says, approaching you two. He’s wearing a pink button up and slacks, his hair gelled up to make him look even more mouthwatering. “Thought you were my date for the night.”
“Unfortunately,” you dismiss. You smile again at Jeno before wishing him goodbye, allowing Jaemin to lead you into the frat house.
When Jaemin’s hand drifts to your lower back, you swat him away.
“Did you already forget the rules?”
He taps his chin. “From what I remember, I’m allowed to touch you for the sake of appearances until we win. Isn’t that right?”
You know you’ve lost this round, so you keep your mouth shut and cross your arms. Your stomach flutters when you feel Jaemin playing with the spaghetti straps of your dress, fingers dancing around your shoulders. His breath causes goosebumps to rise, fingers steadily working to remove one of your straps-
“You made it!”
A body crashes into yours and you groan, pushing Renjun away from you.
“I hate you. This is your fault.”
He rolls his eyes. “Whatever, grumpy pants. I’m just glad you haven’t killed Jaemin yet!”
“Me too,” Jaemin smirks next to you, and you elbow his side as hard as you can.
“Everyone welcome!” You hear someone shout from above you. You all look up to see Taeyong, the frat’s leader, standing upstairs. He addresses the crowd of people, and you recognize most of Renjun’s frat brothers and the rival frat. “For those of you who aren’t aware, we were recently challenged to have every frat member bring a date to the next party. As you can see, we’ve lived up to expectations.”
The statement is overtaken by a roar from his brothers, including Renjun and Jaemin, who are crushing your eardrums by their yelling. It’s easy to tell that all members of the frat have come with a date because of the matching dress code.
“So I’d like everyone to enjoy the party and drink their hearts out! All drinks and food are covered by our fellow neighbors,” Taeyong says with a victorious smirk, taking a sip out of his cup.
“Part of the dare,” Renjun mutters to you, filling you in. “They have to pay for all the food and drinks tonight.”
You raise your eyebrows in surprise. “Let’s fucking eat then!”
You’re about to drag Renjun away to consume some of the desserts, but Jaemin holds you back.
“And where are you going?”
You frown, trying to wiggle out of his grip on your arm. “Getting food, dumbass. You won, bet’s over. No touching.”
You gasp when Jaemin takes a step forward, wrapping an arm around your waist and pulling you close. He leans in to whisper in your ear.
“But I didn’t even get to see what’s underneath this pretty dress of yours.”
You place your hands on his chest, trying to push him away gently.
“It’s-“ you swallow, thighs rubbing together. “It’s none of your business.”
You quickly try to look for help, but silently curse Renjun when you realize he’s left you. Jaemin’s hand starts drifting lower and lower until it grabs at the flesh of your ass, pressing his body harder against yours. You squeak in surprise when you feel yourself being pressed up against a wall.
“I think it is. You’re my date after all, aren’t you?” He questions, tongue darting out to lick at the shell of your ear.
You grow even warmer at the sudden physical contact.
“Jaemin,” you gasp, feeling his hard length press into your stomach. “N-Not here. P-Please.”
“Why not?” He laughs sinisterly. “You would do it for Jeno, wouldn’t you?”
The sound of someone calling your name interrupts you and you look over Jaemin to thank your savior. Your heart drops when you see Lee Seojeong standing there, eyes narrowed.
“Na Jaemin, what do you think you’re doing? You’re in a public place and you’re harassing my friend.”
Even though a part of you would love to escape this situation with Jaemin and crawl into a nearby hole, talking to Seojeong in any capacity is at the bottom of your list of favorite things to do.
“W-We’re fine, Seojeong. I’m okay,” you reassure, hoping she’ll drift away. The rest of the party seems to have done just that, ignoring the fact that Jaemin is caging you against the wall and is seconds away from ripping your dress off.
“Yeah, why don’t you run back to Donghyuck?” Jaemin says mindlessly, fingers still gripping you roughly. “Mind your own business for once.”
Her mouth drops at his behavior before you offer her a pleading look to go away. Her shoulders slump at your rejection and she finally leaves the two of you alone.
“You don’t like her, do you?” Jaemin hums once she’s out of eyesight, mouth ghosting over your neck.
You struggle to think. “I don’t not like her.”
He laughs. “Is it because of that rumor she spread around about Jeno?”
Your eyes widen. “Y-You know s-she was the one who did that?”
He gives you a look. “Of course. I’m his best friend. Jeno can learn to forgive and forget, but I know I would be fucking pissed if some girl was running around telling other people my dick was small. She didn’t even fucking sleep with him.”
You swallow, feeling guilt rise in your stomach. Shortly after you were dejected by Jaemin’s actions in freshman year, you started to develop a crush on his best friend. Jeno was your partner in one of your classes and you two really warmed up to one another. You quickly learned that one of your friends, Seojeong, also harbored a small crush on him. Because you tend to get crazy jealous and super impulsive, you lied to Seojeong and told her Jeno’s dick was below average to deter her advances.
You didn’t expect her to spread it around campus the way she did. Jeno forgave her after correcting the rumor, with multiple girls coming forward to confirm that it was completely false. Luckily, Seojeong never told him that it was actually you who started the rumor in the first place. You’ve done your best to avoid all interaction with Seojeong from that day forward in case she ever spilled the beans.
“She didn’t really need to sleep with him,” you whisper, ignoring Jaemin’s hand sliding up your inner thigh. “I was the one who told her.”
He completely freezes, eyes glancing up to lock with yours. A mischievous grin spreads over his face slowly, and it makes you nervous.
“Oh? So the pretty doll who’s been crushing on Jeno for years told everyone he doesn’t know how to fuck a girl?”
“I didn’t say that,” you scowl. “I just said he was a little below average. Size doesn’t matter.”
He rolls his eyes. “Baby, size always matters.” He presses even further against you and you gasp. “Feel that? You remember what it was like when I pushed all the way inside you?”
And you do remember, despite all your attempts to forget. You remember how loudly you screamed when Jaemin slid inside of you, allowing you to take him inch by inch. Your body almost gave out when he bottomed out, chest heaving in exhaustion. His hands were all over you that night, fingers desperate to hold every part of you. You remember struggling to walk properly the next day, and how shameful you felt walking out of the frat with his cum running down your thighs.
“Why don’t we talk about this in your room?” You timidly ask, becoming more and more aware of how many eyes can see the two of you.
“I like it out here,” he shrugs, fingers inching closer and closer to your cunt. “Everyone can see who you belong to.”
“I don’t belong to you!” You huff, even though it sounds like bullshit in your ears.
He chuckles. “You do. Ever since the first night I claimed you.”
“You didn’t claim me,” you protest, dignity slipping away the higher his fingers climb.
“You don’t remember? I gave you so much of my cum, baby. So much that you were leaking when you left here,” he says in pride. “That made you all mine.”
You whimper when his thumb hooks to your panties, pulling them aside. You quickly look around, checking to see if anyone notices your bare pussy out in this frat party. Some people glance over, whispering to one another.
“Jaemin, people can see us!”
“Then let’s give them a show.”
You throw your head back against the wall when he pushes two fingers inside of you. The squelch of your wetness is unmistakable, and if you were coherent, you would be mortified by the sound.
Jaemin surprises you by kissing you, tongue pushing through your lips roughly. He nearly swallows you whole, fingers curling and scissoring your cunt desperately.
He parts from you only to mutter the dirtiest words you’ll ever hear.
“Look at how you’re fucking dripping for me. You like that everyone can see you like this? You’re making a mess on the floor, baby.” You glance down only to see that he was right, your juices have made a small puddle below you. Your embarrassment multiplies tenfold, squeezing your eyes shut in an attempt to escape it. Jaemin will have none of it, his other hand moving to grip your face so tightly that you open your eyes. “Keep your fucking eyes open and watch everyone talk about how wet your pussy is. I want them to see you fall apart for me.”
You’re certain you hear the whispers getting louder and even see the flash of a camera, but Jaemin makes sure to keep you focused on him.
“Do it, baby. I know you can. I know you just want my fat cock to slide into your little cunt. I’ll give it all to you.”
You shudder at the thought of him stretching you out again, a thought that’s been fueling your late night desires for years. You moan loudly as you squirt around his fingers, wetness covering his lower half and dripping onto the floor.
The frantic flashes of cameras overwhelm you as you come down from your high. You blink blearily, trying to adjust to your blurry vision.
Jaemin smirks before pulling your dress back down, eagerly licking his fingers. He hears a few hollers from his frat brothers, but he ignores them and grabs your hand, guiding you through the crowd and into his bedroom. You barely have any time to comprehend what you had just done, only hearing the click of the lock in Jaemin’s bedroom before you’re being thrown onto his bed.
“God, you’re so fucking pretty,” he clicks his tongue, staring down at you. Your eyes are cloudy from your orgasm, thighs still shaking by the intensity. “Do you think Jeno saw you being a little whore for me? Look at what you did.”
He gestures to his lower half, his slacks completely covered in your juices.
“You’re just a pretty little hole for me to use,” he chuckles, thumb brushing away the tears leaking out the corner of your eyes. “Just as I remember you — tight, wet, and the perfect fit for me. You still want to murder me by fire?”
You hum, not really registering what he was saying. You haven’t orgasmed that hard since the last time you slept with Jaemin, and it makes you feel a little dizzy.
You hear him laugh again. “God, it’s so easy to fuck you dumb. I wonder how many people took videos of you tonight, looking all helpless around my fingers.”
The clinking of his belt fills the room and your body reacts faster than your mind does, hips pushing up in the air to search for some relief on his cock.
“Silly girl. You want my cock so badly, don’t you?”
You nod, giggling and reaching for him. He smiles, taking his clothes off until he’s bare, hovering over you.
You unabashedly moan at the sight of his cock, red tip prodding at your entrance. You would never admit this to him, but no amount of toys could ever satisfy you like Jaemin’s cock has.
“Wanna feel the stretch again?” He teases, slowly pushing in.
It feels just as it did all those years ago, with your cunt struggling to stretch for him and your wetness dripping onto the sheets. He enjoys watching you take him, face contorting at both the pain and the pleasure. When he’s half inside you, he unexpectedly slams into you, taking your breath away.
“Fuck, Jaemin,” you whine breathily.
His fingers find hold on your hips, angling himself before pounding into you. Your head nearly touches the headboard at the force of his thrusts, cock driving you absolutely insane. The sound of his balls slapping against your cunt fills the room, and Jaemin has no doubt a few of his frat brothers are listening outside the door.
He flips you on your stomach before you even realize it, practically mounting you as he slides back in. You swear you can feel every ridge and vein of his cock with how deep he’s hitting inside you. Your heartbeat is in your throat, body quivering at the unforgiving way he’s fucking you.
You’re sobbing at this point, dignity flown out the window as you beg and plead for him.
“Please, Jaemin- Want you so badly, baby. Want all your cum for me, just for me. Please, please, please-“
You cry when his hand suddenly finds your clit, twisting and pinching the nub roughly. You feel Jaemin’s hand tangle into your hair before he’s pushing your face down into his pillow, muffling your cries.
“You’re so fucking loud. I bet everyone at the party is creaming at the thought of me pounding you like this,” he laughs. “You used to hiss at me in the hallways whenever you saw me and now look at you. Back to where you started.”
Your eyes roll to the back of your head as you feel another strong orgasm building in your stomach. The coil grows tighter and tighter until it snaps, and you scream at the intensity of your second orgasm. You hear the squelching grow louder and you realize you squirted again, making everything even messier.
“That’s a good little doll. Ready to be filled up again? Show everyone who’s claimed you?”
You can barely form a single word, only being able to reciprocate in actions. You slowly twist your hips back to meet his thrusts and he chuckles.
“Such a good girl. So trained, so compliant. So easy to use.”
He rams his cock inside your weeping cunt before he spurts, ribbons of his cum coating your insides. He pushes inside a few more times before pulling out, collapsing next to you. Your body is still trembling, his cum trailing down your folds.
You whimper when you finally come to, burying your face in your hands.
“I can’t believe we just did that! I let you finger me in front of everyone! People recorded it!”
He brushes it off. “Yuta and Jaehyun have done a lot worse, trust me.”
You frown, feeling that deep instinct to murder. “You’re a fucking asshole, Na Jaemin. I’m going home.”
Before you can move off the bed, however, you squeak when Jaemin rolls over, completely trapping you underneath him.
“You’re not going anywhere,” he growls. “I haven’t gotten to taste this sweet cunt in years and you’re not ruining my chance now.”
“You don’t even like me,” you hiss, glaring at him.
He laughs. “Baby, I just fucked you into the next century. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t like you. Don’t worry, I’ll take my share of this pretty little pussy and then you can go back out there and tell Jeno all about it. He always loves my sloppy seconds anyways.”
You’re about to yell at him even further but stop when you see him moving downwards to your cunt, tongue licking a stripe up your slit.
“All mine now, silly girl.”