Come on, Jennie, cheer up. For me?’ Jungkook makes puppy eyes hoping the girl would finally stop staring blankly outside the car window. 'Look at me. Come on, come on.’ The boy starts poking at Jennie’s side to make her move, but the girl doesn’t do as much as blink. With a sigh, Jungkook shifts his gaze back to the road.
There’s a familiar song playing on the radio, an instrumental version of one of Jungkook’s favourite songs of all times, gentle flute, and catchy beat humming in the background. It’s an old song, from around 2017 if he remembers correctly, belonging to his grandad’s favourite boy group at that time.
'Could you turn it off, please?’ Jennie asks silently without looking at Jungkook, her skinny hands pressing harder together in her lap. It’s not much, but at least Jungkook knows she’s conscious. He’s been worrying for the entire ride if his friend has had an emotional crisis to the point where she lost the contact with the reality. Without a word, Jungkook shuts the radio down, hands coming back to the wheel.
They continue the rest of the trip like this, full 4 hours of thick silence with only two stops for toilets and one coffee stop for Jungkook.
If he didn’t know any better, he would have just taken Jennie’s hand and told her everything would be okay soon. But it’s Jennie, and it was never this simple with her. She didn’t need a banal hug or a plain word of comfort. All she needed was some space and silence.
But when she came to him two days ago looking like her entire world shattered right in front of her eyes, Jungkook didn’t know how to help her, how to ease her pain. Maybe they’re only 20, but they’re capable of love and that day Jennie looked like her heart had been ripped out of her chest in the slowest, most agonizing way.
'We’re almost there.’ Jungkook’s lips curve into a small smile against his will when they pass a sign 'Welcome to Busan’. From the corner of his eye, he can see Jennie stealing a curious glance as well before she quickly turns back to the window. Under other circumstances, he would have been teasing her, calling her 'Gangnam Princess’ since she’s never been to Busan before. Now, though, all he can do is hope that spending a few weeks in his hometown would do something, anything to help forget. Well, not his hometown per se, more of his mother’s but he spent half of his life here so it could as well be his hometown.
Driving further and further into the city, passing by the all familiar houses and shops, Jungkook can’t help but feel nostalgic. He didn’t visit last year, something he deeply regrets, but knows that none of his grandparents will be mad at him. His their first and only grandchild after all and he’s been spoiled by them all his life.
The fuel reserve light turns on catching Jungkook’s attention, so he drives for a few more minutes before stopping at the last gas station before his grandparents’ house.
Jennie still doesn’t move even when Jungkook makes funny faces at her from the other side of the window, so he just refuels and goes to pay. Fumbling with his wallet, he doesn’t notice a person walking towards him resulting in bumping into them with a groan. Before he can apologize, a big, triangular smile appears in front of his eyes and then the rest of the face, and without much thinking, Jungkook throws himself at the man.
'Kookie! Told you to call me Tae! God, I swear, you’re getting taller every year.’
'You say so every year!’
'Well, not last year.’ Uncle Tae shoves at Jungkook’s shoulder making Jungkook almost fall over. 'You’re so handsome, I wonder after who. Surely not after your grandfather.’ The man shakes his head rubbing at his jaw in a fake deep thought.
'You know, I always have another-.’
'Oh my,’ Taehyung whistles 'and who would that be?’ Jungkook furrows his eyebrows following his uncle’s line of sight until he locks eyes with a curious looking Jennie. 'Is that your girlfriend?’ Taehyung waves at her and to Jungkook’s genuine shock, Jennie waves back with a shy smile.
'No, just a good friend from college. She’s- Her boyfriend broke up with her, and I just thought she would like to see Busan. You know, maybe have some fun? You get it.’ Taehyung scoffs.
'Of course. I might be old, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know stuff. See, when I was young-.’
'Uncle.’ Jungkook puts a hand on top of Taehyung’s shoulder. 'Why don’t you come over later? We’ve been kinda driving for a few hours, and I’m sure Jennie would appreciate some shower and rest.’ He gives his uncle an apologetic look to which he receives a curse, but as it turns out, he’s not the one being cursed at.
'Shit, you’re right. I’m a fool. Go. And tell this old prick I’m expecting my martini to be nice and cold when I stop by sometime during the week.’ He adds louder as Jungkook walks over to the car.
'Of course! See you!’
'Who was that?’ Jennie waves again at Taehyung and Jungkook might be seeing wrong, but he swears the top of her uncovered ear turned slightly pink.
'Uncle Tae, he’s a good friend of my grandparents.’ The best, he thinks.
'Wow, so how old is he?’ Jennie turns in her seat, and Jungkook bites his lip to prevent himself from smiling wide. Better safe than sorry.
'Hmm, if I’m correct he’s my grandad’s age so it would be 64-.’
'64?!’ Jennie’s eyes widen comically. 'He looks no older than a little over 40!’
'Time has been merciful for him, I agree.’
'And he’s so handsome! Like, you know, this manly kind of handsome that comes with age.’
'Guess I’m not manly.’ Jungkook shrugs his shoulders.
'Maybe a bit? But he’s on the entirely different level, so you kinda suck next to him.’
'Nasty.’ Jungkook laughs and lets out a small breath of relief when Jennie giggles as well for the first time in two days.
'Wow.’ Jennie looks around her as Jungkook starts pulling their suitcases out from the trunk. 'It’s so nice.’
Jungkook stops to look over the house, white elevation with wooden elements here and there, big front yard with different kinds of shrubs and nicely shaped hedges lining the fence, so the whole place feels cozy and safe. Nothing changed since two years ago. He nods slowly.
'Yeah, it’s nice.’
'Kook?’ A slightly deep yet silky like honey voice calls out making both Jennie and Jungkook turn to the source of it.
A man, dressed in the comfy looking pants and an oversized blouse, looking like he walked straight from one of these 'mature sexy men magazine’ appears on the stone path leading to the main entrance. He’s holding a huge flowerpot with different, colorful flowers in it, his glove-covered hands are dirty from the soil, and the bronze skin of his face is grazed with pink. He sets the pot on the ground then pulls off the gloves with a smack.
'Hey, grandpa.’ Jungkook smiles slightly before jogging over to the man and straight into his wide open arms.
'My baby Kook.’ The man coos before he starts tightening the grip around Jungkook. 'You didn’t say you were going to visit you fuckin. Little. Shit.’
'Sorry.’ Jungkook manages to gasp out before the grip loosens and his grandad pats his shoulder blades.
'Seriously, you even brought a girlfriend. I didn’t clean up the house!’
'She’s not my girlfriend. Don’t worry; she won’t mind-.’
’I mind. What is she going to think of your grandparents, huh?’
'Seriously, don’t worry about it.’
'Um.’ They snap their heads towards Jennie who managed to walk over without being noticed. Jungkook’s grandad quickly composes himself running a hand through his surprisingly thick and blonde hair. 'Hello. My name is Jennie, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.’ She bows slightly before the man sends her a charming smile and takes her hand to plant a kiss on top.
'It’s indeed a pleasure, such a beautiful lady with such good manners. If I wasn’t taken already-.’
'But you are.’ Jungkook peeps in, but Jennie just smiles shyly admiring the handsome man in front of her. There’s something youthful about his eyes and the way he talks that almost draws her in like a moth to a flame.
'A dog in the manger. Alright, since my lovely grandson didn’t bother to mention you were going to come, we’ll need to organize something.’ The older man spins around with a wink and starts walking towards the house completely ignoring the pot. Jennie looks briefly at Jungkook.
'Oh, maybe we should just go to the motel? I wouldn’t want to intrude-.’
'What?’ The man stops in his tracks before storming back to Jennie. 'Sweetheart, you’re not intruding. I just need to change bed sheets and maybe clean the bathroom a little, but I believe Jungkook will take care of you for an hour, right?’ He smiles sweetly, little crinkles appearing in the corners of his eyes and Jennie finds herself nodding fervently.
'Pops…’ Jungkook groans then jumps to the side to avoid being hit.
'Please, make yourself home.’ He squeezes Jennie’s arm gently before leaving.
As they both watch the man entering the house in a hurry, Jennie turns to look at Jungkook questioningly.
'My childhood nickname for him. I like to tease him.’
'Are all old people here so handsome?’ Jennie furrows her eyebrows.
'What can I say. You’re not the only Gangnam Princess.’
'Alright then, princess. Let’s unpack. I could die for a cup of tea, also?’ Jungkook salutes.
'Got it, milady.’
Jungkook closes the door to Jennie’s room quietly before joining his grandfather on the couch downstairs. Reaching for the empty glass he lets the older man fill it with dry red wine.
'She’s very nice. But she seemed kinda sad?’ As usual, his grandad is pretty much observant and pretty much straightforward. Jungkook leans against the backrest.
'Her boyfriend of four years dumped her for someone else. After cheating on her multiple times. She didn’t know until two days ago.’
'That’s awful.’ His grandad nods rising a glass to his lips.
'She was devastated. Usually, she can take care of herself, but it was different this time. I could just sit and watch her becoming an empty shell.’ Jungkook rubs at his forehead out of a silent frustration. The older man doesn’t say anything for a while before humming into the wine with a smile.
'That’s why you brought her here.’
'This place can heal everything.’ Jungkook answers but not without a hint of affection. 'I missed you.’ He’s immediately crushed between two strong arms.
'We missed you too Bunny Boo.’
It’s been four days since their arrival, and even though Jennie looked relatively fine, Jungkook knew it’s not true. She met Taehyung properly, on the second day, laughing all the time at the old’s man antics. But she’s been looking at her phone every few minutes, and sometimes her eyes would glaze over, and she would excuse herself to the bathroom every time they did. Jungkook was to say at least, frustrated.
'Kook?’ He lifts his head to look at his grandfather.
'Could you prepare the fireplace? Taehyung’s coming over, and I thought we could grill some sausages? I’ve got marshmallows?’ He wiggles his eyebrow making Jungkook snort.
'Maybe I could help with Jennie?’ Jungkook turns his head around to glance over his grandad.
'I don’t know.’ The man shrugs. 'She’s too beautiful to be this sad.’
'I know.’ Jungkook sighs throwing thin pieces of wood into a plastic box. 'She’s hurting so much because of some stupid asshole. I wish someone just beat the shit out of him.’
'You really care about her, huh?’ Jungkook stops for a second then continues with searching for the wood.
'She’s not an ordinary girl, and she helped me a lot in college. She’s kind but stands for herself. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like this.’
’Nobody deserves that.’ His grandad pats his shoulder before walking away whistling quietly.
'No. You got it wrong. It was completely different from what you just said.’
'Taehyung, I swear, it was you who jumped from the scaffolding-.’
'You old fool, I would have remembered something like this-.’
'Then maybe it’s time to check your memory you goddamn prick-.’
'Woah, woah, woah.’ Jungkook walks over to the fireplace. 'I’m leaving you for a minute, and you’re almost fighting.’
'Who’s fighting you little shit?’
'Right! You’re just a bug to us so shut up.’ His grandad fist bumps Taehyung before they start cackling together.
'You’re awful.’ He whines with a frown. 'Here you go.’ Jungkook wraps a soft dark blue blanket around Jennie before plopping down next to her on top of the bean chair wrapped in his own dark pled.
'Thanks.’ She mutters softly through a mouthful of marshmallows. She seems cozy and definitely warmer with the blanket but for some reason, her eyes are getting dangerously glossy again, so before she could untangle herself and run away, Jungkook instinctively pulls her closer. She looks up at him, but he just presses a finger to his lips to shush her.
'Is it a storytime?’ Taehyung runs both hands through his thick brown hair.
'Of course.’ Jungkook’s grandad shakes his head like it’s the most obvious thing in the world and to be honest, it kinda is. Jungkook has always loved storytime with his grandparents; they either made him fall asleep in minutes or kept him awake for the entire night. To this day he believes there was magic behind these stories, the kind of magic that even his wonderful parents couldn’t create.
'How about it, Jennie? Do you wanna listen to his old man’s story?’ Taehyung gets more comfortable in his rocking chair. 'I promise, they are only the best quality.’
'I don’t doubt it.’ Jennie smiles and nods her head. 'I will gladly listen to your story.’ Absentmindedly she snuggles more into Jungkook’s side creating an extra dose of warmth between them. Not that Jungkook complains.
'Let’s see. Hmm. Okay, what about Jungkook’s favorite story?’ The old man gives him a questioning look as well as excited Taheyung and curious Jennie.
'I haven’t heard it in years.’ Taehyung nods appreciatively then makes puppy eyes at Jungkook. And damn, is it working.
'Yeah, I wanna hear that.’ Jennie agrees. 'Since it’s his favorite, it must be good.’ Jungkook locks his eyes with his grandfather’s. Actually, he heard it only twice and only when he became an adult.
'Yes. Yes, it is.’
'What is it about?’ Jennie reaches for her cup of tea. Jungkook’s grandad smile to himself.
'I hope you don’t mind a little- spice.’
At first sight, I could recognize you
As if we were calling for each other
The DNA in my-
'Um, excuse me?’ Jimin quickly pulls at his earphones to look at the stranger hovering over him. 'Is this seat taken? It’s full everywhere.’ Jimin glances at the seat where his bag sits then back at the stranger. It’s hard to tell his features because the sun is directly behind him, but Jimin supposes he doesn’t look like a freak. So quietly, he puts his bag between his legs motioning at the now empty seat.
'Thank you.’ The man bows and sits down in front of busy putting an earphone back in Jimin.
None of this is a coincidence
Because we’re the two who found our destiny-
Jimin ignores him for the good thirty seconds before curiosity gets the best of him and before he can stop himself, he’s looking up from his phone. Everything would have been fine, Jimin would have taken a quick look then hid back behind his screen where he’s safe. But what he didn’t predict was that the stranger could be already staring at him as well. And oh, boy. He does have some nice features to look at.
His hair is fiery orange, slightly wavy and parted in the middle. He’s dressed nicely but not overdressed, with nice pants and loose longsleeved shirt. Suddenly Jimin feels half-conscious about his plain black jeans and the hoodie. They both avert their gazes at the same time pretending to like the scenery outside the window more than the person in front of them.
The train is moving at the speed of 300km/h, but Jimin swears his heart is beating faster. He’s not sure why. No, he has some fair idea why, but he’s better than that. He’s better than judging someone by the looks.
The boy doesn’t look at him for the next few minutes until they reach the next station and the speakers above the door to their section announce that there’s an over hour-long delay due to some reparations on the tracks.
Jimin slumps in his seat, stuffing both hands in the pocket of his hoodie. The sky is getting pinky orange now, so before he reaches home, it’s going to be plain dark outside. Great.
'Guess we’re stuck here for a while.’ The stranger’s voice makes Jimin flinch, but if the said stranger noticed, he does a good job of pretending he didn’t. He shrugs.
'I can just leave you alone and shut up if you mind me talking.’
'I don’t. It’s okay.’
'Okay. But stop me if I’m too much. Sometimes I forget not everyone is like me.’ Jimin raises an eyebrow.
'Overly excited.’ The other eyebrow follows the first one.
'About what?’ Jimin asks unsurely. The stranger smiles mischievously.
Jung Hoseok wasn’t lying that day in the train. He was overly hyped and continuously made Jimin want to shove his fist down his throat whenever he started to talk at the speed of light about things that weren’t interesting to Jimin. But most of the time Jimin didn’t shove his fist down Hoseok’s throat. Actually, he never did. However…
'Fuck.’ Jimin’s fingers are so tightly curled in Hoseok’s hair that he thinks he would literally pull every one of them out if he did it any harder. 'Fuck. I- fuck.’ He doesn’t know what to say. He doesn’t even know why he feels like he has to say something at all.
It’s just that it doesn’t feel right when there is silence between them. Well, maybe except for the moans and filthy sounds of slurping but silence beside that. With Hoseok’s constant talking he can think. Without it, he’s a mess like this.
He thrust and thrusts, and for a moment he becomes scared that he’s going too fast, too hard. But then Hoseok lifts his teary eyes and smirks around him, and he looks like he’s in his favorite spot in the world right now doing what he likes the most and Jimin doesn’t have the heart to take it from him. So he simply gives in.
And Jung Hoseok wasn’t lying that day in the train. He’s overly excited about everything.
'That was- intense.’
'No shit.’ Hoseok pants out trying to wipe the sweat away from his face. 'I feel like my soul left my body.’
'Same.’ Jimin agrees, quick, sharp breaths leaving his chapped lips. 'Any particular reason behind it?’
'Just a choreography for this boy group. Sorry if I went too hard.’
'No!’ Jimin flinches when Hoseok turns his head to look at him questioningly. 'I mean, it was fine.’
'Someone likes it more on the rough side, hm?’ He’s teasing, Jimin knows, but he still turns bright red at the indication. Hoseok raises an eyebrow. 'You really do.’
'I guess? Never really knew until today.’
'Did I wake up a best in you?’ God, yes.
'What was that?’ Jimin frowns. 'That was cheesy at so many levels.
'Not on your level shortie.’ Hoseok winks rolling around across the bed to run from the potential hit. He grabs his underwear and skinny black jeans, jumping to get them up his legs.
'Look, who’s talking. President of the 'want to be tall’ club.’ Jimin throws a pillow at him squeaking as Hoseok dodges it to steal a kiss from him. The mattress squeaks as well when Hoseok presses his palms on both sides of Jimin’s head.
'Whatever shortie. I gotta go home. Call me when you have time.’ He gives Jimin one last kiss, a little longer, maybe a bit lingering before he throws a shirt on and like this, he’s out.
'So you’re fuckbuddies with some Hoseok dude from the train.’
'And it’s been four months?’
'But you checked if he’s clean?’
'Is he good?’
'So it’s strictly physical relationship.’
'But you talk beside that.’
'And you want it to be more.’
'Come on, teach me.’ Jimin laughs as they kiss in the middle of his apartment.
'You’re not even a dancer.’ Hoseok raises an amused eyebrow, then adds. 'Ballerina, maybe.’
'Just a few steps. And then I’ll suck you off, nice and clean.’ Jimin pulls at the rim of Hoseok’s shirt. Hoseok clicks his tongue.
'Alright. Let’s see if you can keep up with me.’
'So we start with a jump-.’
'You’re a shitty person. You know that?’
They’re sticky and sweaty and too warm to be laying this close to each other, but somehow none of them moves an inch.
'It was you who said I’m not a dancer.’ Jimin giggles, wiping fresh strikes of cum on his stomach with wet tissues. He’s worn out, slightly sore and his throat is getting lightly red from the earlier ministrations on it.
'Cuz you never told me?’ Hoseok takes one of the tissues to wipe at his face. Jimin bites a lip at that but doesn’t stop wiping at his skin as he speaks.
'Cuz I didn’t know you would like to know.’ He only lifts his gaze when a hand wrap around his wrist and another one takes the almost dry paper away. He looks into Hoseok’s dark eyes and he stops breathing.
'Would you like me to?’ Jimin shrugs his shoulders, unsure.
'I’m just gonna remind you that I’m overly excited about everything.’ Hoseok searches for something on Jimin’s face, in Jimin’s shining eyes, thick lips. They curve into a smile under his gaze before moving softly.
'Pass the coke?’ Jimin wipes sweat away from his face with the back of his hand.
'Coke is bad for your gorgeous body.’ Hoseok hands him a glass of water, dropping a kiss on the side of Jimin’s head. 'And you’ve got something here.’ He points at Jimin’s forehead, white stripe of paint contrasting sharply with the gold undertones of his skin. Jimin touches it with his fingers then looks at the back of his hand.
'Here too.’ Hoseok points at something at his face again, and Jimin rushes to check it. When he furrows his eyebrows in confusion when nothing comes off on his finger and opens his mouth to ask, Hoseok’s already pressing a dirty brush against his nose. 'Right here.’
'Hoseok!’ The older laughs loudly before Jimin paints his cheek, chin and the side of his neck laughing as well.
'You did not.’ Hoseok dips his hands in the bucket with paint before dirtying any area on Jimin’s clothes and body he can reach. The paint splatters around the paper-covered floor as well as across the unfinished wall, but none of them seems to care, too caught in their own world. Hoseok catches Jimin’s midsection from behind spinning them around with Jimin’s legs dangling in the air. He trips over the paint roller, though, and soon they’re both kissing on the dirty floor, painted hands wandering everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
'I love you.’ Hoseok breathes into Jimin’s neck when they curl up together on the only mattress in their still empty apartment. It’s cold and pretty much dark, but it’s just the beginning, and they don’t have much energy to get up and go to Hoseok’s house to sleep.
Despite the temperature, Jimin feels like he’s burning on the inside, even underneath the thin worn out blanket. He puts his chin over Hoseok’s head sliding his fingers into his boyfriend’s hair. He inhales the faint mixture of paint and some random shampoo, not an unpleasant scent, and exhales.
'I love you, too.’
It was an agreement. It was a mutual decision and an easy solution.
Hoseok was leaving for America and Jimin- Jimin wasn’t.
Hoseok had a chance to become a big choreographer, and he craved some different. Something not-Korea.
Jimin was opening his academy in Seoul, and he loved his country, and despite loving Hoseok like crazy, he knew he would never be happy away from home. He was 23, they got to spend amazing three years together, but they just weren’t meant to be. Simple as that.
He didn’t cry at the airport, not when they kissed one last time, not when Hoseok whispered 'You’re my whole world,’ not when he whispered it back and not when the plane finally took off.
He knew that that day at the airport they were both lying, but for once, Hoseok wasn’t overly excited about something.
'Thank you for today. I had a great time.’
Seulgi was a beautiful girl, with fiery hair and soft eyes and Jimin shook his head as if to convince himself it’s just the coincidence. He asked her out because she was kind but brave, she was funny and she made Jimin blush more than once since he met her. She was just one of his employees in the academy; a modern dance teacher that only added to Jimin’s admiration for her.
He hasn’t heard from Hoseok for a few months now; another point in their agreement. He was going to move on and it was the only way. Sometimes he caught himself following him on Instagram or Twitter anyway but the day he saw a pic of Hoseok’s new partner, he just stopped for all.
'Yeah, I had a great time too.’
Thanks to Hoseok, he was all knew to dating stuff. It came naturally to them after everything they’ve done earlier. But this situation right now is so much different, with a person he wants to impress, with a person who is a girl and a person who is not Hoseok.
He kisses Seulgi slowly and carefully, feeling something nice warming up all of his body. He deepens the kiss, a bit, and hums when Seulgi responds boldly to it. He likes her so much and really hopes they would work out. He deserves happiness and in this moment he’s sure everything will turn out just fine.
He opens his eyes, slightly, catching a sliver of fiery hair and closes them immediately letting the kiss take over him.
Jimin smiles widely at everybody at the table pulling Seulgi closer to himself.
She was amazing, really. He loved her so much. He even told her about Hoseok. She was nothing but understanding, and he loved her even more for that.
Now, though, surrounded by their mutual friends and under the shimmering stars in the backyard of Seulgi’s house, he swears he feels like on cloud nine.
Seulgi is showing off the ring proudly, Irene and two other of her friends cooing and giggling and congratulating her in every possible way. Her hair is blonde now, something Jimin is quietly grateful for, but somehow, it disappoints him whenever he runs his fingers through it. Jimin’s friends, Namjoon and Seokjin, keep patting his shoulders, congratulating every time they open their mouths. Seokjin is more excited about it. He didn’t get to meet Hoseok but Namjoon was their mutual friend since the beginning, and while he is all smiles and kind words, Jimin can feel him being slightly less happy about it than his boyfriend.
He laughs at something one of the dancers from his academy says clapping his hands and covering his mouth with a sleeve. He feels lightheaded, from alcohol, from overwhelming emotions, from love for his fiance. He excuses himself to the bathroom, planting a lingering kiss on Seulgi’s wine-stained lips on the way before he disappears inside the house.
His phone vibrates in his pants as he’s making his way back. He steps in front of the glass door leading to the backyard, watching his friends having a good time. He can’t hear them through the glass but just by the looks on their faces he can proudly say they are happy for him.
He pulls the phone out, skipping through the notifications on his Instagram, comments, and likes underneath the pic of him proposing to Seulgi on top of one of the Seoul’s skyscrapers. He couldn’t thank Kai enough for taking it for them.
His phone vibrates in his hand again, an unknown number appearing on the screen. He opens the message and immediately sits down on the closest chair.
Congratulations :) H.
Jimin deletes the text quickly joining the rest at the table. He laughs for the rest of the night, drinks with everybody, kisses Seulgi whenever he feels like it and later in the night makes passionate love to her.
But that day he was lying to himself thinking that that one message didn’t stir something deep inside of him.
He plays with the sharp edges of the creamy paper card, moving it around and flipping it back and forth, eyes fixed on the elegant letters. It’s a plain invitation, classy with small embossed patterns around the edges. There’s not many of them, Seulgi wanted to invite only the closest family and a few friends.
The wedding’s in three weeks. He should be jumping in happiness and not be able to wait this long. But the longer he looks at the invitation, the more he feels- tired about everything.
The wedding rings, tuxedo fitting, shoes, decorations, cake, constant meetings with the consultant. He thanks God Seulgi has her friends to help her with a dress.
And then there’s this feeling, the voice at the back of his head which appeared the day of his proposal and stayed with him since then. It fills him with thoughts he doesn’t want, leaves him distracted most of the time that sometimes he’s unable to hide it even from Seulgi.
And she noticed. Of course, she did. She could say something is off about Jimin, but she didn’t say anything. She was loving and caring and left him when he visibly needed space.
Jimin couldn’t be happier to have someone like her in his life.
He reads over the invitation once again before slipping it into an envelope with 'Jung Hoseok’ at the top and the address he got from Namjoon underneath. He pushes it through the slit of the mailbox quietly hoping it’s not a correct address.
As he starts the engine and takes off, he swears the painful feeling behind his sternum is just the anticipation.
joyfully invite you to share
in their happiness
as they unite in marriage
Saturday the 16th August 2023 at 4 pm
PARK HYATT SEOUL
606, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea, 06174
She looks beautiful. She looks so beautiful walking down the aisle Jimin needs to blink for w few times. She dyed her hair back, fiery orange underneath the thin lacy veil and she looks like a Gangnam Princess with her dark red full lips and delicate eyes. Her simple, elegant dress flows down to the floor, like cascades of white gold and she looks so damn flawless Jimin knows the whole world is probably jealous of him.
Right, the whole world would probably kill to be him, to have such a beautiful wife, so kind and so damn loving. Every person on this planet can only wish to be in his boots right now. Jimin’s got the whole world in front of him yet there’s another person with even more fiery hair that catches his attention, in the furthest point of the church, right next to the main entrance.
He chokes on his breath, feeling sweat gather between his shoulder blades. He sees Seulgi, smiling, but there’s worry in her eyes, the one he knows so well. He sees his friends, Seulgi’s friends looking happy for him, for her. But his eyes wander to that damn spot next to the door, and he feels his chest contracting because if it’s possible.
Hoseok looks better than he remembers, in a navy suit and rich red bowtie and somehow, Seulgi, his wife-to-be, looks almost bland next to him. Everything rushes back to him, every kiss, touch, word. He’s 20 again and so utterly in love.
He bites his lip though when he takes smiling Seulgi’s hand, smiling at her as well through teary eyes because the love of his life is right here and right now but not the one whose hand he’s holding now. He swallows down the sob, feeling pathetic because this woman gave him his life and his love and Jimin loves her so much it hurts him sometimes.
But she’ll never be the love of his life, and it’s something that he’ll remember forever.
He’s the first to say 'I do.’ and he does say it, smiling wide with heart beating wildly in his chest. It was all in this past and he’s finally stepping into the future.
'Oh God.’ Jennie wipes at her eyes, her tear-stained cheeks glistening in the light of the crackling fire. 'Wow, you’re such a good storyteller. I literally couldn’t stop crying.’ Jennie giggles a bit when Jungkook presses her even closer against his side. He started stroking at her arm some time ago but she doesn’t seem to notice at all.
'The best.’ Taehyung agrees, lifting a glass of martini to his lips. There’s a delicate smile on his lips pressed against the rim of the glass.
'I feel sorry for Seulgi though. Kind of? I hope Jimin just finally forgot about Hoseok and loved her to the end. I think Hoseok just left after the ceremony and, I mean, they weren’t meant to be anyway? Though I thought you were going to bring them back together somehow, I really loved their story.’ Jennie continued with Jungkook still stroking her side.
'Well…’ Jungkook starts popping one of the marshmallows inside his mouth.
'What? Am I wrong?’ Jennie looks up confused then back at Taehyung and Jungkook’s grandfather, both of them looking at each other with a smile. Jungkook’s grand father laughs quietly and there’s something nostalgic about it. Jennie watches him suspiciously.
'Oh God, they are real, right?’ She points an accusing finger towards the older men with wide eyes. 'You know them.’
'Of course.’ Taehyung laughs happily and Jungkook’s grandfather nods in agreement. Jennie turns to Jungkook but the boy just smiles with his eyes almost closed.
'Oh, my. So what’s the end of the story? What happened? You can’t leave me hanging like that.’ Jennie whines hitting Jungkook continuously.
'Pops, please. She’s going to kill me.’ Jungkook cackles trying to catch Jennie’s abusive fists.
'Mickey!’ Taehyung exclaims making everybody turn to the small puppy running towards them, barking happily until it jumps onto the man’s lap. Jennie watches curiously how the dog licks furiously at Taehyung’s face but then catches sight of Jungkook’s grandpa. He watches the dog with adoration on his unbelievably young-looking face, the wrinkles around his eyes showing up. Then from the darkness emerges a person Jennie sees for the first time, the silhouette moving closer until they stand right behind Jungkook’s grandfather. Two slender hands, just a bit wrinkled make their way onto his shoulders and then the rest of the person comes to a sight. Jennie gasps in Jungkook’s embrace.
'Welcome home, Hoseok.’ Jungkook’s grandfather says softly, head turning to the side to snuggle into one of the open palms. There’s no mistake with the fiery orange hair and handsome face.
'It was you.’ Jennie breathes out and Jungkook’s father- Jimin it turns out, smiles at her brightly.
'I guess.’ He shrugs his shoulders and Jennie opens her mouth in awe.
'And who would be that beautiful lady?’ The other man, Hoseok, asks already walking towards her and Jungkook. She’s so shocked she forgets to stand up but Hoseok just kneels on one knee taking her skinny hand in his planting a kiss just like Jimin did on the first day.
'I’m so sorry, my name is Jennie and I’m Jungkook’s friend.’ She rushes to move but he presses a palm onto her shoulder.
'Nice to meet you. I’m Hoseok, and this little shit right here is my grandson.’ He ruffles Jungkook’s hair playfully. If I knew you were going to visit, I would visit Yoongi some other time you brat.’
'Sorry grampy.’ Jungkook smiles cutely, his bunny teeth showing and soon both Jimin and Hoseok are cooing and calling him Bunny Boo which Jennie finds enormously endearing.
'Wait!’ She interrupts their little reunion, instantly going red when they turn to look at her. 'I’m sorry, oh my god, so it was you all this time but how? I thought you said yes?’ Jennie presses further not really getting what’s going on. 'What about Seulgi?’ Hoseok sits down next to Jimin with a smile on his face, immediately joining their fingers together and planting a soft kiss against his blonde hair. Like this, they really look like teenagers they once were, in love and so content. Jimin closes his eyes laughing.
'She said no, obviously.’
'Jungkook?’ Jennie calls out as she watches from the window of her bedroom Jungkook’s grandparents cuddle on the wooden swing in the light of candles hanging from the branches of the huge chestnut tree.
'Your mother, how did they-.’
'They adopted her when she was 6. She quickly got pregnant with me but my father is the best man in the world and they were the happiest when I was born.’ He answers softly, thinking about his parents and promising himself to visit them as soon as possible. He looks at Jennie hugging herself in front of the window. He sits down on her bed.
'You know,’ he starts, 'when grandpa Hoseok left, grandpa Jimin told me he felt like his life was taken out of him that day. He thought it would be easy to move on, that it was just a puppy love. He didn’t cry that day but cried every next one until he met auntie Seulgi.’
'Auntie?’ Jennie turns around.
'Yeah, they’re still in contact. She’s great. And really beautiful. She got married and has a big family. She’s happy even though she was really heartbroken then. But she was also too kind and understanding.’ Jennie sits down next to him, leaning her head against his shoulder. 'My point is, not everything is the end of the world. Grandpa Jimin said he never knew he wasn’t really happy until he had grandpa Hoseok in his arms again. And now I am telling you, that someday everything will be fine. You’ll be happy again, Jennie.’ Jungkook takes her hand and squeezes.
'I know.’ Jennie squeezes back leaning more into Jungkook. 'Of course, I will.’ She closes her eyes letting Jungkook embrace her fully. They sit like this for some time, enjoying the warmth between them. Outside, Serendipity, another Jungkook’s favorite old song, plays from the small speaker installed in the swing and he doesn’t need to see to know that his grandparents are dancing slowly in the fading light of the candles, whispering and sharing warmth as well. He hears grandpa Jimin giggle softly and knows that grandpa Hoseok said either something stupid or nasty. He’ll never know.
He strokes Jennie’s arm.
'Let’s say I would like to take you out for a date. What do you say?’ He asks casually and Jennie snorts into his hoodie.
'I would say yes.’ Jungkook smiles in the darkness.
'So you think I am manly handsome.’
'I guess.’ She shrugs her shoulders and they both laugh hugging each other for the rest of the night.
'And you, Seulgi, do you take Park Jimin, to be your husband? Do you pledge to share your life openly with him and to speak the truth to him in love?’ The priest turns to Seulgi, gentle smile on his wrinkled face as he waits for her to answer. Jimin squeezes her hands, pushing Hoseok to the back of his head as he looks in the eyes of his fiance. She opens her mouth, smiling through the tears and her lips are finally moving, but Jimin doesn’t hear anymore. He hears gasps, feels himself gasping as well and watches Seulgi dumbly. Time stopped for him.
'W-what?’ He croaks out, stuttering as she presses her lips together. She remains silent for a moment then clears her throat before speaking loudly and clearly. One of her soft hands come up to cup Jimin’s cheek, stroking the skin lovingly.
'I love you, Jimin. And I know you love me, too. So much. I wish I could be your wife and have your children and that we could be happy together. Forever.’
'But you and I know that sometimes love isn’t enough. You love me, but I’ll always be just someone you love, not someone who is your life.’ A few more tears slide down her cheeks, but she doesn’t move to wipe them away.
'What are you saying?’ Jimin frowns but in the back of his head, the nagging voice nods furiously, absorbing every word and engraving into his body.
'I’ll never be the love of your life. I’ll never be him.’ She presses her forehead against Jimin’s temple as she turns his head to the side. He can barely see through the tears but the bright spot, that fiery spot is still there and as he blinks to get his vision clear, he notices Hoseok’s wet cheeks and pleading eyes.
'I’ll take care of everyone.’ She whispers into his ear, like a snake, like she tries to persuade him to sin. 'I love you, Jimin. But you would make the biggest mistake of your life marrying me.’
'Stop, we can fix this.’ Jimin tries to face her, but she keeps his head in place. 'How can you even know what I feel?’
'I don’t have to.’ She shakes her head. 'Knowing what he feels is enough. You looking at him after all these years is enough. I’m not stupid.’ She giggles but it’s low and raspy and Jimin sobs as she pushes him gently down the aisle.
'Go away, Jimin.’ She smiles waving her bouquet at him before throwing it almost hitting him in the face. 'Go to him and never let him go again. Promise me.’
Jimin keeps looking at her stubbornly but hesitates. Everybody watches him, his every move. Nobody says a thing. Women are standing with hands pressed together; men are keeping their breaths in. Seulgi suddenly lifts her eyes and nods at someone. Jimin spins around to face Hoseok who’s mouthing 'thank you’.
His head starts to hurt; everything becomes too much for him to bear but then Hoseok is catching him by the hand, and nothing around them matters anymore.
'You’re my whole world, Jimin.’ His voice is exactly the same, his lips are exactly the same, and everything is so familiar about him- 'Nothing changed. I’m sorry for leaving, for leaving you, for not trying to find a better solution. I let you go, and only today I fully realized I could completely lose you. And I can’t afford that.’ Jimin feels the tears on his cheeks as he stares into Hoseok’s eyes as if there were answers to all the questions in them as if there were galaxies or the key to immortality. But there’s only pure love in them and galaxies can go fuck yourself as long as Jimin can have that love forever. 'I love you.’
'I love you too.’ Jimin breathes out immediately surprising even himself.
He turns one last time, to his parents, to his friends, and finally, to Seulgi. She’s doing a great job of keeping her tears at bay, and she’s smiling this lovely smile, the one that cured every one of Jimin’s worries and he thanks her, soundlessly, before he leaves with Hoseok’s hand in his.
He can hear people talking, asking Seulgi if everything’s okay when clearly, nothing is. He feels terrible. He always will.
'Hoseok.’ He stops at the side of an empty road, feeling like everything is going to crash upon him any moment now. He reaches with a shaky hand to shove at his shoulder. 'Hoseok you shitty-.’ But he never gets to finish, never gets to yell at him, never gets to do anything except for kissing, no, drinking his soul back from Hoseok’s lips. After all these years, he finally understood the difference between his love for Seulgi and for Hoseok.
She was warmth. She was lazy flicks of flames on his skin in the morning while Hoseok was a raging fire in the middle of the night, taking over him in seconds and leaving him in ashes before he could even react.
'It’ll be a good story one day, you know?’ Hoseok pulls away, breathing harder than before and looking more alive than through the whole ceremony. He holds Jimin’s wrists in his hands like he could just run away if he didn’t. Jimin waits for his own breathing to calm down, counting from ten to one before crashing against Hoseok’s chest with a sob.
'Let’s go somewhere. Please.’ He asks with face pressed into the crook of Hoseok’s neck, inhaling deeply. He needs to think about everything, needs to fix some things and he certainly needs Hoseok to help him right now.
In the rear mirror of Hoseok’s car, he sees Seulgi getting into a taxi and taking off in the opposite direction.
'Jimin?’ He watches the window silently but lets Hoseok intertwine their fingers together.
'Everything will be fine.’ And the way he says it makes Jimin smile. He shrugs turning to Hoseok. He places a long kiss on his neck, staying there and inhaling him.
'I guess. You’re here now.’