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"do it. i dare you."

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The lights were dimmed and the center-stage was filled with nothing but spotlights. The dancing luminescence highlighted the prepossessing patterns that were spread out and beautifully put together, showcasing the ones who would stand upon the silver platform. A rostrum, layers of the alluring flora lined up to form a garden of blossoms to match the crème de la crème audience, was the center of attraction. A neatly arranged drapery of a midnight blue color hugged the sides of the stage, demonstrating how it was exquisitely done just for this event.

The nude and intricate detailing of the walls matched how heavily victorian-inspired the entire setting was. It became royally drafted that only the finest of suits and dresses would deem allowed to roam the great halls. It was a good thing that you took the heed of wearing the item Jumin asked you to wear. The least you can do is to let yourself freely roam the glamorous milieu without succumbing your shine from the others.

You felt proud of yourself. Above all, it was you who worked hard to put everything together. For someone who was only forced to arrange this fundraiser as a starter, you had done well.

“It’s beautiful.” A voice behind you whispered, the small resounding click of something hitting the marbled floor accompanied his foot steps. You turned yourself to see a certain turquoise-haired man with a look that was ever so peaceful and welcoming. “And of course, breathtaking.”

You nodded your head gently as you fondly beamed, the air around you shifting from heavy to light. You couldn’t help but rake your eyes over his appearance, taking in how sophisticated yet low-profiled he looked. From how his crisp tailored suit perfectly complemented the color of his hair and how it blended with his less demanding presence. He looked simple, gentle and regal.

“V.” You acknowledged as you watched how his free hand traveled to your own, the glove he was wearing rough against your bare palm. He tipped his head a bit as a slight blush made its appearance across your cheeks when you felt the softness of his lips touch your skin.

“Don’t mind me. I thought I’d give you a proper greeting suited for this fairy tale like party.” He said with a slight teasing tone, a mischievous glint momentarily flashing across his features - but it was quick to be replaced with a hearty smile. “And, of course, a proper thank you for how great you’ve worked for the RFA.”

You’ve seen him the first time the day he visited inside Jumin’s apartment. The next was when he attended the first RFA party you hosted. How long has it been since then? Though, he didn’t age a day. Just that, the troubled and bothered look he had that very night when he talked to Jumin was not present. For once and for the very first time, you’ve seen him quite relax his presence. It was somehow a mystery to you how nostalgic and longing he looked, as if he was replaying a distant memory inside his head.

“Really, no need to act like a noble man.” You softly chortled whilst shaking your head, the string of words leaving your mouth without hesitation. “After all, this isn’t a fairy tale, right? I’m not a princess and this is a fundraiser party above else.”

“Yes, you may be right.” He added softly, a rumble of a low and velvety chuckle escaping his throat. “Still, believe me, I’d truly like to match the occasion.”

Smooth, you thought. He had an air of guaranteed peace that would then extend with whoever he was talking to. He was far from how heavy and intense Jumin felt like. V had a presence that typically contrasted Jumin but somehow greatly complemented the other. Still, your heart lingered more at the very man in question. Your body longing for the familiar feel of his arms around you, claiming each part of your body as his. A presence that always guaranteed you a safe haven everywhere you go.

Where is he?

“I can read your mind.” V commented, a small smile flashing on his lips. Yet contrary to what he showed, his voice trembled a bit. Indeed, you have been looking around and waiting for a certain raven-haired man to arrive for quite a while now. But the way the words escaped his mouth were a bit on the disappointed side. “Don’t worry. He’ll come for you, as always.”

You bit your lip as you shyly nodded your head, a pink tinge coloring your countenance. You remembered that he was supposed to arrive an hour ago but the party had already begun and is in full swing yet Jumin was still nowhere to be found.

“And a distressed look doesn’t suit you, either.” The quiet distance that became evident on V’s voice as he spoke these words made an unsettling tug at your chest, making you a tad bit uncomfortable under his presence. You frowned at the thought of why all of a sudden, you felt very conscious with him. Like, somehow, you didn’t suit to be standing beside him.

“Smile, alright?” He encouraged, yet the smile he gave felt a bit off. “Your frown doesn’t suit all these dancing lights.”

Even the way he smiled felt sad and you couldn’t help but wonder why. You’re not very sure yet something whispered inside you about what it was. You just didn’t want to dwell on it. You were well-aware of what happened to him, of what his life had become. The cane he was holding served its purpose as a constant reminder of things he had already lost and continued on losing thus far.

“O-oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to look... distressed, if you’d like to put it that way.” You stuttered, unsure for yourself the reason why. It became a bit overbearing that you didn’t know how to act around him.

“Uhm, did you … come with him?” Hesitation was evident on your inquiry. You didn’t know how to place yourself around him anymore. A tiny comment had made its sole impact of tipping over the edge the tight balance you had with him earlier.

“Yes. We came in together.” He chided as he reached for your hand to lightly squeeze. You had let him hold you under the pretense of comfort he was ready to give. “You should trust him more. After all, you’re all he’s ever about these days.”

Yes, you should. But why do you feel like that’s not the case? You had this uneasy feeling with you ever since the start of the party. You had a gut wrenching feeling that something might happen and that has bothered you throughout the evening. You didn’t like the bile that played up and down your throat, waiting to be expelled.

“Thank you.” You whispered accompanied by a halfhearted smile. You stilled the moment you felt his touch went to the side of your face as he tucked a lose strand of hair to the back of your ear. Your heart pounded crazily against your chest as V smiled gently at you, his touch lingering on the side of your bearing, sending goosebumps all over your body.

He was acting severely unusual … or was he already like this from the start? You were in no position to judge. You, of course, didn’t know him quite well to be able to tell. There are lots of things you still didn’t know about V after all and everything you have in you were just what was on the surface. No depth. No valid details that could have ran deeper.

All of a sudden, a group of reporters came in your direction, distracting you from the waves of thoughts that crashed your mind. With furrowed brows, you tried to recall ever having the media on the guest list. Though, clearly, you didn’t invite them yourself. Now, where did they come from?

You looked a bit lost and the man beside you was no better. He suddenly stilled, a forced smile coming across his lips. You felt his hand travel on the small of your back as you saw how he tightened his grip on the cane he held. You turned to face the reporters who are now being unbelievably rude by invading the personal space you just had earlier.

Strings of questions were thrown around and you were unsure how to answer them. There were extremely private and unbelievably impolite ones. You mentally noted to ask Jaehee about the mess up that happened right now. The guest list was not taken care properly, and if anything else, was leaked.

A rattled laughter that escaped V’s mouth jerked you away from your thoughts as he patiently answered the questions one by one, giving slight to none exclusive details that might pique any interest from the lot. His answers were almost vague, clearly not intending to humor whatever it was that the press wanted to hear. You fixated on your position when you felt how he tightly wrapped his arm around your waist, pulling you closer. You had no time to react properly, causing him to take over. Your eyes watched at how gentle and welcoming the expression he pulled upfront as he answered some more.

“Who is she? Is she your new girl, Photographer V!?” 

You swear you made a loud, inaudible choking noise the moment this was thrown off the table. What in the world, now?

Surprise washed over you, your eyes blinking rapidly. From his extremely tensed stance earlier, he was able to relax a bit, since he pulled you close to him. You swallowed hard as you felt your mouth run dry, your heart pounding from the anticipation of V’s answer.

“I’m not supposed to comment on that.” He began, his voice a soft unfolding melody. A small, pleasant laughter followed suit. Even the media took their sweet time listening to how polite he unbelievably sounded right now. It was very much unlike the tone he used upon answering the earlier questions. “But, I don’t see any reasons why that would be a very bad idea.”

A moment of silence passed over and you can feel your heart roll down your sleeves. And then, flashes of cameras were made without any follow-up comments. You gaped, and you couldn’t explain how surprised you are upon his utterly suggestive comment. Yet, V remained composed in front of the press. You felt how he tightened his hold on you, clearly indicating that any moment now, he might just roll back and lose it.

The resounding flashes of cameras stopped in tune with the moment your body lit up in response to a presence you are very accustomed of. The very bile that threatened to rake your throat finally making itself known as you stilled on the spot. It was like you were caught doing something you were not supposed to do. And you can’t help but feel like it was because you were enveloped with V’s touch that you felt like you’re doing an unforgivable act. Slowly turning your head only added more flare to the burning sensation you felt growing inside your system, draining all the colors that might have given life and justice to your physiognomy.

“Just a worst one, at that, I believe.” His deep, familiar baritone invaded your ears, sending icy shivers down your spine. Your gaze were glued to him, his eyes dark, and his expression unreadable as he fixed the gloves he seemed to have only worn by then. He looked, per usual, extremely gorgeous and breathtaking that it was almost illegal.

“Ju-” But before you can even continue, a creamy voice already interrupted you, beating you to it. Beating you to mentioning the name of this someone you’ve been expecting since earlier.

“Jumin.” V said, not a hint of amusement nor hesitation evident. “Fashionably late doesn’t become you.”
The sheer lack of mirth on his statement only added fuel to the blinding exuberant palpitation of your emotions.

“I’d like to incline myself to thinking that you only said that to humor the guests, V.” Jumin answered, his tone rising that of a challenging one. He took a few strides towards you, his movements that of unspoken elegance. Your gaze locked itself with his, his eyes held nothing else but guard and tolerance.

Even the media remained quiet at the unbelievably large tension enveloping each of you. It was like a fight was ready to break out soon, and if only you didn’t know any of them better, it would be a bad brawl. But, it was a good thing they were not the kind of men who fancies violence over a friendly banter.

“Humor is not the exact word to describe one’s telling of the truth, Jumin.” And he dared yet suggestively tease once more. You swore you could have smacked yourself just to make sure this was truly unfolding before you. The impending doom you felt earlier slowly becoming evident and you felt something drop on the pits of your stomach.

“Jumin! Oh, uhm! We were just, uh-” You interjected, no matter how rude it was, just to prove a point. You swallowed hard as you tried to pry yourself away from V who now had fairly loosened his grip on your waist. You were very free to move away, but something in Jumin’s expression told you to stop.

“Let’s wait for him to calm down before explaining, okay?” The turquoise-haired man said, his voice reduced to a low hush that only you can hear. You might have not noticed but he bent down to reach you, the position posing to be very intimate, almost seemingly a kissing act yet hardly even one. You slightly nodded as you tried desperately to swallow whatever lump it was that formed on your throat. Desperately trying to sway away the flabbergasting feeling that wrenched your heart.

But that very moment, a pair of strong hands already pulled you away from V, the tightness of his hold making you yelp. You found yourself proprietorially pushed against the broadness of his hard chest, your arm laid mid-air as he held it, his free arm wrapped around your waist. What a very awkward and embarrassing position to be involved in, truly. Yet, you still managed to feel the fast beating of your heart.

Dug. Dug. Dug. Dug.
Your heart beat, almost a scream, yet barely a whisper. You wondered if Jumin can hear its every notion? Instead, being pressed against his chest allowed you to hear a low growl from him, making you the only recipient who can hear every beating of his heart.

“Do it, I dare you.” His voice, a low hiss, warned. You let yourself be filled with his unbelievably intoxicating musk, drowning your senses in a dazed spell. The jealous streak of accusation residing in his voice was carefully directed at the other.

And only a light chuckle was heard from V as an answer.