Hoseok tried to be professional when the man walked into his dance studio.
They had spoken on the phone, but Hoseok wasn’t prepared for—this. He was racking his brain trying to figure out if the tall, broad, gorgeous man in front of him was actually a celebrity. Maybe from one of the dramas he watched with his sister and pretended to hate.
He had to give himself a mental peptalk to be cool and to not act like a complete idiot. He didn’t make it too far before his first mistake.
After the normal pleasantries and the “call me Seokjin-hyung,” Hoseok asked,
“So, where’s the bride? Is she running late?”
“Bride?” Seokjin asked.
“You said you need to learn how to dance for a wedding?”
“Yes,” Seokjin replied slowly.
“Usually couples do this,” Hoseok replied, genuinely confused. “I know it seems romantic in movies for the groom to take lessons as a surprise, but ballroom dancing is really dependent on the partner.”
Seokjin was shaking his head.
“There is no bride.”
“Um—other groom then?” Hoseok asked, then winced, hoping he didn’t offend a client and the most beautiful human he had ever seen in his life. It wasn’t as if two men could get married anyway.
“No groom either—oh, oh no no. I’m not getting married. My brother is,” Seokjin laughed. “I guess I didn’t make that clear when we spoke.”
That explained it—well, partly.
“So, if you don’t mind my asking, why do you need to know how to dance if it’s not your wedding?”
Seokjin scratched the back of his neck like he was embarrassed.
“Um, it’s a really big wedding. You know how parents get. Well, mine kind of invited like 300 people and the bride’s parents invited another 300 people, so it’s kind of—”
“Big.” Hoseok was trying to school his features. This guy and his family must be loaded. Some of the richest families in Seoul really were like celebrities. Hoseok had just never paid much attention.
“Yes, and my mom doesn’t want me to embarrass myself. Because it’s going to end up on social media. and ‘I won’t have you make a mockery of this family like you did at your cousin Sanghoon’s wedding.’”
“What happened at cousin Sanghoon’s wedding?”
“I got caught making out with one of the waiters during dinner.”
“During dinner?” Hoseok choked out.
“It wasn’t a very good dinner. The waitstaff, though,” Seokjin finished the statement with a wink.
Hoseok tried to pretend that it didn’t affect him, because his imagination quickly filled himself in the waiter’s place, but he was pretty sure Seokjin noticed him blushing.
“Well, I guess we should get started then.”
“Right, yes. Teach me your ways.”
The need for dance lessons was apparent pretty quickly. Kim Seokjin was really not a very good dancer. Hoseok had three sessions to get him to not look like an awkward llama, and it was going to take all three. He decided they would build up to partner work—maybe he could convince Seokjin to bring his mom for the last lesson.
By the end of the hour and a half he had finally gotten Seokjin to understand three-four time and how to not get his legs tangled together.
Even more remarkable was that Hoseok was far less overwhelmed by Seokjin’s handsomeness. For someone who looked like a model, Seokjin was really down-to-earth. He took Hoseok’s instructions seriously and was trying very hard for someone whose mother was forcing him--a grown man—to take dance lessons. But he joked around with Hoseok the whole time, including plenty of jokes at his own expense, and it was probably the most fun Hoseok had ever had giving a dance lesson.
And if Seokjin didn’t look like a supermodel, Hoseok would have thought it was flirting.
And it didn’t seem like he was in any hurry to leave Hoseok’s dance studio when the lesson was over.
“What about wedding dances?” Seokjin asked as he drank the water Hoseok offered him. “Can you teach me those next time?”
“You know—to cheesy pop songs. My mom said waltz, but that’s only, like one song. Like, how am I supposed to dance without slut dropping?”
And then Seokjin was suddenly getting low—really low—and pushing his ass out as he stood up. Right there. In front of Hoseok’s salad.
“That’s—you’re flexible,” Hoseok said, coughing.
“I do yoga.”
“So why can’t you dance?” Hoseok blurted out. “I mean, that’s not what I—”
Seokjin laughed it off.
“I dance at clubs to get laid. I don’t dance to appease my mother and her insanely large family and extensive friend circle at weddings.”
God, the man was shameless. Hoseok was maybe just a little bit in love.
“I’ll probably have to learn some wedding dances, but sure. We can do that.”
“You don’t already know the chicken dance?”
Seokjin started singing a melody and flapping his arms like a chicken.
He was doing a ridiculous spin when he stopped, catching sight of Hoseok’s shelf of trophies.
“Are these all yours?”
“Do you still do a lot of dance competitions?”
Seokjin went over toward the shelf and picked up one of the bigger trophies.
“This says street dance?”
“I thought you were a ballroom dancer.”
“I actually learned how to do ballroom because I have to make a living, but it’s not my usual style.”
“What does street dancing entail?”
“Popping and locking, animation, gliding.”
Hoseok did a basic fresno and then a couple isolations to demonstrate. Seokjin’s jaw dropped a little, but he seemed to recover quickly.
“So no slut dropping?” he asked, clearing his throat.
“No, but I can do a mean death drop.”
“Ah, I don’t just death drop on command.”
“Tell you what, I have a competition this weekend. If you come to it, I’ll do the death drop just for you.”
He didn’t know why he said it. Seokjin was a client, but a short-term one. Gorgeous and totally out of Hoseok’s league, but he had been flirting. At least, Hoseok thought it was flirting. And it wasn’t like he’d show up to the competition anyway.
“Just tell me when and where,” Seokjin said cheerfully.
“I might not be a good dancer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.”
“Okay, yeah, here’s the flier,” Hoseok said, un-pinning one from the bulletin board.
“I’ll see you there, teacher,” Seokjin replied with another ridiculous wink before heading out of Hoseok’s studio.
When Hoseok got home to the apartment he shared with his sister, he tried to talk to her about Seokjin. He needed someone else’s opinion on whether or not the other man had in fact been flirting with him.
But she proved remarkably unhelpful after Hoseok let Seokjin’s name slip.
“Uh, you know him?”
“Oh my god, Hoseokie. He is so far out of your league. His family are the shipping industry Kims.”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“It means his family has more money than God.”
“I refuse to believe that God is a capitalist.”
“Let this one go. At best you’d be this guy’s play thing. A one-night stand. Rich kid going slumming.”
“But you weren’t there. He was nice. He wasn’t a smarmy shipping industry executive.”
His sister raised a skeptical eyebrow at him. The winking was a little smarmy. So was the slut drop.
“Maybe I want a one-night stand. He was really hot,” Hoseok said defensively.
“You can’t do one-night stands and you know it.”
“You could not. Plus, you don’t even know if he’s interested.”
“He was flirting! I think.”
“I mean, there has been a lot of speculation that he’s gay because he’s never ever been seen on a date with a woman.”
“Why are you making it sound like this is a bad thing?”
“Even if he’s interested in you for more than a fuck, you couldn’t ever really date. The media hounds the Kims.”
It wasn’t at all what he wanted to hear, so he gave up on his sister and showed up on Namjoon and Yoongi’s doorstep.
They were also totally not helpful.
“So what did he say exactly?” Namjoon asked.
“I told him to put his arms in second position and he said ‘just how many positions do you know?’”
“That doesn’t sound like flirting,” Namjoon said. “It could be a legitimate dance question.”
“But he also winked!”
“But you said he also winked about the waiter?” Yoongi asked. “He might just be an over-winker.”
“That’s not a thing! People don’t wink without purpose! A wink is a communication tool.”
“It just seems like a stretch,” Yoongi said.
“He said he’d come to my dance competition this weekend. He took a flier. What about that?”
“He likes dance?” Namjoon offered.
“He was probably just taking it to be polite. I do it all the time when people hand me fliers,” Yoongi added.
“I just don’t want you to get your hopes up,” Yoongi cut him off gently.
“You guys are literally high school sweethearts. You don’t know what it’s like out here,” Hoseok whined, planting his face in their couch cushion. “You’ve never dated.”
“We broke up all the time in college,” Namjoon said.
Hoseok remembered. It was twice, for a total of maybe three weeks. Maybe.
“I went out with, um, what was that guy’s name?” Yoongi offered.
“And I took out a girl from my philosophy class once.”
“To a lecture,” Hoseok said. “Because I wouldn’t go with you and it happened during those four days that you and Yoongi weren’t speaking.”
“And he recorded it for me because he knew I’d enjoy it,” Yoongi said.
He and Namjoon exchanged one of their obnoxious googly-eyed looks because even though they had been together for eight years, they were still annoyingly happily in love with each other.
“I hate you both so much,” Hoseok groaned.
The competition wasn’t a major one, set up as a single elimination tournament in a series of battles, but there was prize money. And Hoseok had a pretty good shot at winning.
It was just taking place in a small venue in Itaewon sometimes used as a club. Hoseok doubted it was Seokjin’s kind of place, especially after what his sister told him. And after he made the horrible mistake of doing an Internet search for Kim Seokjin after he got home from Namjoon and Yoongi’s. Sure enough, he was a minor celebrity.
And he seemed like more of a Jongno 3-ga person than a Homo Hill person, so Hoseok was not expecting Seokjin to come anywhere near the dance competition.
But there was still a tiny part of him that was hoping everyone else was wrong. It wasn’t like Seokjin had made a promise, but he did say he’d come. And Hoseok wasn’t really very good at bracing himself for disappointment. The worst part was thinking about how to react to him at the next lesson. He’d have to pretend like he never asked Seokjin to come watch him dance, act casual about it, pretend that he didn’t care.
Hoseok warmed up in the tiny, cramped back room. Most of the other competitors were people Hoseok knew. He had been facing off against Jimin in battles for years, and Jimin was one of the sweetest people he knew, so they had gotten pretty close. Jimin had started bringing his friend Jungkook around the previous year, and Hoseok had also befriended the kid, even letting him use his studio when he needed refuge.
“You look nervous, hyung,” Jungkook said. “You’re never like this. It’s making me nervous.”
“I’m fine,” Hoseok replied. “It’s just been awhile that’s all. I’m antsy.”
The truth was, Hoseok was nervous. Just not about the competition.
He won his first two battles easy. It was supposedly a random draw, but Hoseok knew the organizers and they were keeping him, Jimin, and this amazing kid from Thailand who called himself Ten in separate brackets.
He didn’t see Seokjin until he finished his semi-final round, narrowly beating Taeyong, who had been studying in Japan for the last year. Whoever he had been dancing with was good. Taeyong was always better at choreo than free-styling, but he gave Hoseok a run for his money. Hoseok was in the middle of catching up with Taeyong when he saw Seokjin out of the corner of his eye.
And Kim Seokjin of the shipping industry Kims didn’t look out of place in a seedy dance club in Itaewon at all. And he was talking to Namjoon. He was talking to Namjoon like they were old friends, and Namjoon was gesturing animatedly the way he did when was explaining something philosophical and Seokjin was nodding along like he was interested.
Hoseok could put it out of his mind, though. He had to. Dancing was the one thing that took everything else away. Even Seokjin and his graceful neck and his broad shoulders and his loud, squeaky laugh.
Hoseok was up against Jimin in the final round, he beat Ten in his semi-final but it was really a draw—they were both pretty mesmerizing to watch. But Hoseok knew Jimin better, which made it fun. They were both really competitive and wouldn’t go easy on each other.
When Jimin ripped his shirt off, Hoseok almost called him out on it. Jimin was small but he could pack on muscles in a way that Hoseok just never could on his slight frame.
What he did instead was dance his ass off. There was a pulsing beat and Hoseok was in that zone where he just trusted the commands he was giving his body. He knew he won even before the result was given.
“It’s been a long time since you’ve been so on,” Jimin said, smiling genuinely afterward. “I can’t even be mad.”
Hoseok grinned, biting back the “I was trying to impress a boy,” that was on the tip of his tongue.
He was officially announced the winner and was handed a small trophy. He could hear Seokjin’s voice among the cheers, but he didn’t see him. Anyway, he was still dripping in sweat, gulping down water, trying to recover. So he went to the back to change into a dry shirt.
He heard Seokjin before he saw him, saying “excuse me” and “no, it’s okay, I’m supposed to be back here.”
It was like he was parting the sea.
Hoseok didn’t even have time to panic because three seconds after recognizing his voice, there was Seokjin, standing in front him, staring at him with his jaw hanging open.
Hoseok smiled back, his cocky smile he kept on reserve. Apparently he had impressed the boy.
“So that’s a death drop,” Seokjin finally said.
“That’s a death drop.”
“I’m not teaching you that.”
“I would clearly hurt myself and you’d be a really bad teacher if you thought I could even remotely handle doing that.”
“I wasn’t sure you’d show,” Hoseok blurted out.
“Are you kidding me?” Seokjin asked, very seriously.
“No?” Hoseok was confused.
“Are you immune to the wink?”
“I was flirting with you the entire dance lesson. I didn’t think I was being subtle.”
“Some people are just—like that,” Hoseok said. “You told me you make out with waiters at weddings.”
“At wedding dinners. One wedding dinner. A bad dinner. And I only told you that to see your reaction.”
“And my reaction was?”
“Ah,” Hoseok said in understanding.
“So are you going to let me take you out or—”
“Do you really pick up people like this?”
Everything else aside, Hoseok almost wanted to turn him down because he was just so annoyingly self-confident.
“No, I pick up people like this,” Seokjin said.
Before Hoseok could say anything else, Seokjin was wrapping his arms around Hoseok’s waist and lifting him off the ground. He spun him around once before setting Hoseok down.
By that time Hoseok was laughing in spite of himself. When Seokjin did set him down, he tried to regain a little bit of his dwindling composure. He had been so sure he had the upper hand on his own territory, but Seokjin’s magnetism was something else.
“But—” Hoseok started.
“What is it—oh no, you looked me up didn’t you.”
“If it helps, I’m the black sheep of the family. And that includes my cousin who got a prostitute pregnant and the one who was arrested for drug smuggling.”
“What have you done that’s worse?”
“I threatened to turn in my uncle for insider trading. That didn’t go over well.”
Hoseok was pretty sure Seokjin wasn’t kidding.
“And then there was the time I may have tipped off the Ministry of Employment and Labor about some pretty egregious safety violations. No one knows for sure it was me because they have a lot of disgruntled employees, but they suspect it.”
“And they’re right?”
“My family does all kind of shady shit, and I don’t like it. They’re criminals and they get away with it because they’re rich.”
It was kind of noble really, but yikes. Hoseok was shaking his head in disbelief trying to think of how to respond to something so far out of his element.
“But the reason they hate me is mostly the gay thing,” Seokjin added.
“Ah,” Hoseok said. “That one I can relate to.”
“They try to pretend like I don’t exist, but my grandmother loves me and she’s kind of the matriarch. Joke’ll be on them when they all wind up in prison.”
“They pretend you don’t exist?”
“There’s literally a line in the company budget to pay off media outlets not to report about me.”
“Oh my god.”
“They say it’s so they don’t catch me sucking off some dude in an alley, but they’d be way more pissed off if I just came out publicly.”
“That’s kind of fucked up,” Hoseok said, though he got it. Having sex with men could be more easily explained away to people than someone saying the words, “I’m gay.”
“Look,” Seokjin said. “My family mostly sucks, but I like you, and you move like sin. Let me take you out to dinner at least. Wherever you want.”
“Well now I kind of want you to suck me off in an alley,” Hoseok said with a smirk.
“That could possibly be arranged, but you have to let me feed you first—dinner, a snack, a slurpee at 7-11?”
“I’m free for dinner.”
“Perfect,” Seokjin said, his smile blinding.
Hoseok grinned back before narrowing his eyes.
“This won’t get you out of your last two dance lessons.”
“Oh don’t worry. I’m showing up early for those. Do you have any idea how many times this week I’ve thought about you fucking me in front of those mirrors?”
“You get the waltz down, and then we’ll talk.”
Seokjin’s eyes went wide before he winked at Hoseok again.
“You’re going to be fun, aren’t you?” Seokjin asked.
Hoseok grinned back.
“I guess you’ll just have to find out.”