A lot of things ran in your family. High cholesterol, that one toe that never looked quite right, the pancake-sized areolas.
For the longest time, you tried denying the fact that above all else, one thing you’ve inherited from your mother and your ancestors, the one trait you will be passing down to posterity is not just the potential receding hairline. No, it was the fact that you were blessed upon your birth with being a sensitive bitch .
And by all accounts, a stupid bitch as well.
As a kid, you grow up thinking that adults were hot shit. Sometimes you defined an adult as the 17 year old babysitter you saw give her boyfriend a sloppy rim job while an episode of Winx Club played on your living room’s TV. (You really just wanted to watch Sharkboy and Lavagirl ). Sometimes you define it as your parents, or your teacher. When you’re a kid, it’s instinctual to look up to these people.
You used to obsessively flip through your parents’ photo albums they kept around the house. Something to distract yourself from the screams, and threats, and occasional knife throwing. You’d always wondered why God, or Rihanna didn’t bless you like they did your parents. They were hot, popular, cool when they were your age.
And even now, when they were old and decaying day-by-day, they still were the type of people to command a room. The type of parents teachers stared at for a beat too long during conferences, and it wasn’t just the strong smell of tequila that emanated off your mother.
You’d always been a quiet kid. Never spoke up much, never made any waves. Your home didn’t exactly scream the self-esteem building environment that other kids in your preppy private school were gifted with. Especially after your dad, and subsequently his income, held up a middle finger and said deuces to you and your mom.
When it came to you, she never did quite get you , but she still tried her best to make the most out of everything. Even if you were convinced it was more out of pity than actual love. She was the type to do the things moms do, you know, tell you that you were the prettiest girl in the world . Off of her tongue, it never sounded completely natural. Especially not when you could see her almost imperceptible wince when she tried covering up your cystic acne with the Loreal foundation she borrowed from Target. Accompanied with her signature bottles of whiskey, of course.
You thought by the time you got to college, by the time you got a chance to figure you out away from your trainwreck of a family that it was going to be good vibes from here on out.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. You’d signed up for the astrological sign evaluations, lit a vanilla scented candle, bought a bath bomb. After so many years of picking up the pieces that were your mom, you thought that the universe had carved out a time in place for you to pick yourself up, too.
Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. Sometimes, life is just a big fucking slutbag.
Taehyung tried deciphering the babbles in between sniffles and occasional screaming, but it was no use.
“Do you always call the phone sex line when you’re going through a life crisis?” He asks in between bites of his grilled cheese sandwich.
Your crying quiets for just a second. “Can you tell me what you’re eating? And can you, like, chew a little louder?”
He takes a long sip from his (shitty) milk tea with an oat milk substitute (his poohole clenches at the thought of the onslaught drinking real dairy brings). “And why, the fuck, would I do that?”
“It could be…” Hiccup . “...like a phone sex ASMR/Mukbang.” You squeeze out. The slightest bit pathetic.
He’d been doing phone sex for as long as he’d been in college. During club rush week the first few days of school, he remembered a booth giving out free cupcakes promising good hours and good pay working at the university call center.
The cupcakes were as dry as expired coochie.
That didn’t stop him, though.
He applied and went through the rounds of interviews until he had to go face-to-face with the head bitch in charge. The small, small, man had set up the program his first year of college.
By day, employees tried soliciting donations for the university from rich alumni who, once upon a time, were on their campus wasting their intergenerational wealth on laced drugs and lube that smelled like pina colada.
By night, however, Taehyung was trained to be a certified stud . The kind of guy you see on the cover of your mom’s romance novels, with long extensions fluttering in the wind, and a white shirt that moves with the breeze to expose his nips.
At least, that’s what he imagined himself looking like. It was better than the reality of his dirty hoodie that smelled like Redbull and genital psoriasis.
Yoongi had stuck Taehyung’s photo up on their website, and he couldn’t help it if he was exactly their audience’s type. Only those willing to stay for the night shift were given the golden opportunity to let frustrated housewives with a cucumber live out all their 50 Shades of Escaping The Reality of Wanting to Divorce my Husband and his Below Average Cock dreams.
You sniffle for the umpteenth time that night. “ And then -”
“So let me get this straight,” he cuts you off without thinking. “You were so sad that you went and lost your virginity for a pair of Post Malone tickets 20 minutes ago?”
“...Yeah?” You try hesitantly.
“ Post Malone , bitch? Really?” He pinches his nose bridge. “And then the guy bit your air mattress because he didn’t like the way you fingered his butt?”
“He told me to eat it, lick it, suck it. I did what I could do!” You insist, pointing your finger indignantly to exactly no one in your empty, empty apartment.
Taehyung takes another bite out of the greasy bread he slathered and fried in butter to mask the fact it expired two months prior. “So this breakdown you’re having. It all started when you walked in on your boyfriend cheating on you during winter break?”
You were an...unusual client. Most clients don’t request Taehyung in between tears and with no intention of talking, hell even mentioning him ramming something in some hole in the first place. You’d immediately dove into all your trauma and every little fucked up thing that had gone in what Taehyung gathered, the last month.
He let you ramble for a while. After all, it was your money you were wasting. He was getting that paycheck at the end of the day.
The second he heard you turn on “Normal Girl” by SZA, he knew something was seriously wrong.
He’s amused the longer you avoid his questions and instead launch into a tirade about why it didn’t make sense to not design real-life cars like bumper cars. “You didn’t answer my first question, ma’am,” he interrupts and he almost laughs when he hears the briefest huff. “What brings you to Bangtan Call Center’s services?”
You pause for what felt like a millennia. He almost feels bad, and is about to ask another question until he hears you clear your throat. “I just, kind of, needed someone to talk to.” Your voice seems to grow even quieter. “And, you know, the people on the suicide hotline are just so mean sometimes.”
He laughs and leans closer to his cracked phone’s microphone. “You know, one time I called and they told me, just change your perspective! And to just live, laugh, love .” Taehyung rolls his eyes as he sloppily takes another sip from his drink, and doesn’t acknowledge the stain he’s created on his sweatpants when the cup sloshes in his hold. “Sometimes you get someone whose brain is built like a can of baked beans, like Summer Walker, giving you advice on the other end. Shit happens.”
You snort. “Helpful.” He guesses you’re wearing Airpods. He’s had to phone-fuck enough rich housewives to be able to tell. Only your voice filters through. Sometimes, though, when it grows quiet, he hears the insistent tapping of your nails.
You sounded cute. Like a little sister you let tag along with your friends and take a sip of your Peach Soju when your parents weren’t looking kind of cute.
“I don’t really have anyone in my life anymore,” your brow creases when you crush up another polaroid. It was of you and your group of friends.
Ex-friends you think with finality.
Your friends had been your everything growing up. While you were the type to grow up a sensitive bitch, the type to cry when a customer service representative at Macy’s was mean to you over the phone, your friends had been the confident, exuberant types of people you’d only dream you could become. They were the group you found a family in. Your boyfriend of what was going to be six years, was your best friend since you’d been in middle school. You guys had dated for all of high school, and some of college, too.
Once upon a time, you’d be able to call up any of your friends and they’d drop everything and a baby to be on your side. But, by the time you returned after your first semester in college a few states away, something just didn’t feel right. You’d grown up the one no one really had an allegiance to, the type of friend who was just kind of there . Invited to group chats, football games, prom groups out of politeness. Not the prettiest, not the loudest, not the smartest. At one point in time, you were maybe content with having the experience of just being there with them.
When your boyfriend had dumped your flat ass after cheating on you with one of your mutual friends, you’d woken up to a dozen lost Instagram followers. They had been petty enough to block you on not only their finstas but also off their Spotify playlists, too.
Those bitches .
It was like what you imagined the nipples on someone doing the Ice Bucket Challenge must have felt like.
You’d been cut off, shunned by everyone you’d known and loved, so abruptly, it gave you whiplash. To make matters worse, you had stayed so firmly in the past for so long that despite going to a university miles away from your sleepy hometown, you hadn’t bothered to keep up with the people there.
“You know, someone said they were only friends with me because I had a Costco card?” You sniffle into Chungha’s lap. “When they got rid of the polish hot dogs, that’s when everyone decided to turn on me.”
After neglecting life for about a year, you finally called back your old roommates Chungha and Sana. You remembered craving the type of female friendship where your uteruses synced up like Bluetooth, but like your ex said, you thought you wouldn’t have fit in with them anyways. So you never gave their multiple attempts at friendship a try.
“Like mayonnaise man Mr. John Mayer said, your body is a wonderland,” Chungha was not having any of it. After a month of letting you mope, she put on a Chloe Ting video and was determined to wipe the sadness from your face.
You look down at the hot Cheetos stuck in your crotch. “A real temple,” you snort.
You (begrudgingly) did the two week ab challenge, even if you sometimes clenched too hard and let out accidental farts that had your friends’ eyes watering.
For a long time, when it was just the three of you, you felt okay . You signed up for therapy, you were working out semi-regularly, journaling with those fancy Mildliner highlighters and washi tape instead of texting someone your every thought. You even found a cool-toned contour shade to replace your overly orange bronzer that made you look like an oompa loompa’s tit.
While self-care Instagram made getting over heartbreak seem easy, it didn’t prepare you for the reality of the persistent butterflies you still got at every photo of your ex. Or stumbling on old bonfire pictures of your entire friend group that made you launch into a breakdown. More often than not, you were left feeling like you just barely stumbled over the start line in the self-love race, and then some days, you’d all but set yourself a few feet backwards.
For the past week, after your ex found your secret account made to just stalk him and promptly blocked you, your girls have been worriedly texting you over and over to try to get you out the house to their sorority’s mixer. You found yourself not having the heart to respond. You liked them too much. You just couldn’t mess up another relationship in your life.
“My leaked nudes didn’t even phase me! I think the fact that he told everyone that my pussy smelled like earring backings hurt more.”
Taehyung lets out a laugh that even surprises himself. “That’s your fault for going through his finsta.”
You blow a stray hair out your face. “Is it really my fault, though? He shouldn’t have let a fake Selena Gomez stan account follow it in the first place.”
“You’re being a bird.”
You gasp. “How dare you!”
“A whole pterodactyl.” He flicks some dirt from underneath his fingernails, getting up to pace around the empty office. “Tell me, did you really love him? Did you love your old friends? Or are you scared?”
“What do you mean?” You didn’t want to admit his questions were hurting your feelings so bad, you wanted to call Dr. Phil.
Taehyung shrugs, acting as though you could see him. “Are you scared of moving on?”
It halts you in your tracks. You were trying to patch up the wall you pathetically punched earlier, Adam Driver, Marriage Story style. And you almost let the putty knife fall out of your hands.
You consider it for a second. It felt weird just pouring out your feelings to him. Guys like Taehyung were far too hot for the likes of you.
No . You think to yourself. Stop thinking like a bum bitch . Self-care 2020 is all about not immediately turning to adderall and instead loving yourself, big forehead and all.
“I don’t think I’m scared.” You bite your thumb nail. “It’s more like...I don’t know. When the fuck am I ever going to be enough, you know?” You opt for chewing on your lip when your nails start crying out in pain. “My dad found a new replacement family. My boyfriend found a replacement girlfriend. My friends found a replacement bird to talk shit about. And I’m just here .”
You throw yourself face first in your bed. “I’m just me .” You say, muffled by your sheets you’ve neglected to wash. “Is that ever going to be enough?”
When Taehyung opens his mouth to reassure you, the words die on his tongue. He’d been a loner for most of his life. He’d never been caught up with the friend drama or who-unfollowed-who situations. He’d been the kid to have to fill out his younger brother and sister’s school paperwork, drive them around to soccer practice, cook them whatever he could muster from the recipes Newt, that one Asian cooking guy on Twitter does. That never left time for friends or fun, not until college anyways. Even then, he was still working on the weekends to send money back home.
“Let’s brainstorm, yeah?” He tries, finding a pen and a pad of sticky notes he immediately stains with his greasy fingers. “What do you have that your ex’s new womans doesn’t?”
“Severe menstrual depression?”
“This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” He pauses for a moment. “Here, if I sing to you will it make you feel any better?”
You huff out a breath. “Why not?”
He clears his throat, the sound loud and almost deafening from your end. “ Shorty a lil’ saddie...she need serotonin. ”
You suck in a deep breath. “This is not helping.”
“ And shorty got the fatty,” he ignores you completely to belt the lyric out in the deepest voice he could muster. “ Shorty got the fatty …” he repeats in a high pitched tone, managing to echo out the last note.
You fail to hold back your laugh, instead letting it erupt your whole body warm.
“Thanks for that. Unfortunately, life still kind of sucks.” You sigh, and fold your clothes a ferocity that was completely uncalled for. What did that Walmart kid section bra ever do to you, bitch?
“Amen!” He hollers, the intense sound ringing in your ears. It doesn’t bother you too much, not when he starts laughing. “If it makes you feel any better, if we knew each other in real life, I’d definitely pull a Carrie Underwood on your ex’s car for you. Louisville Slugger to both headlights that bitch.”
“Thanks.” He thinks he hears your smile through the phone.
“Tell me you at least slashed his tires?”
“Nah,” you curled up in bed, on the brink of sleep. “I smacked him so fucking hard he almost attended a live Michael Jackson concert.
“ Almost heard the hehe loud and clear and everything.” It was one of the few things you were proud of yourself for doing, even if you’d only recently turned off the alerts you got every time your ex tweeted.
“I’m proud of you,” his cheeks flush red when you laugh. He coughs awkwardly.
“Why don’t you tell me something about yourself?” You ask, excited. You peeped the minutes bleeding into hours and you could feel your wallet wince.
He chewed his last bite extra loud into his phone, just for you. “Woah there! We ain’t never did that before.”
You roll your eyes. “I can afford exactly 20 more minutes of your time.” You throw your blanket over your head and bury yourself inside its hold, as though you were a little kid reading a book in secret. “No more Vine references.” You pray for just a bit of courage. “Can I ask you three questions?”
“Shoot.” He says with ease.
“Tell me a random fact about yourself.”
“I’d name my kid Rubella if it wasn’t a disease.”
You put a hand up to your mouth to quell the laughter. “Why a phone sex operator?”
“The guy who bought my feet pics got arrested for tax fraud. Next!”
“Do you like Post Malone?”
He pauses, lips pursed. “ Nope ,” he teases, popping the ‘p’ for extra emphasis.
“That’s too bad,” you nod. “I just so happen to have an extra ticket. I guess I have to go...alone. Sad, and alone ,” you emphasize loudly. “Unless?” You let the question linger in the air.
He was going to make you work for it, though. “I don’t know...I’m a busy guy! I have my phone sex, my Call of Duty…” He heard movement from your side. “You good?”
“Yeah, but when you said Call of Duty my fight or flight instinct was activated. I queefed. Let me guess, you have a light up keyboard too?”
His lips quirk up without his permission. “ No, I don’t .” He says while cleaning said keyboard.
“Whatever,” you sing-song. “So about that extra ticket...I have someone in mind.”
“Yeah?” He smiles.
“You’re taking Saturday off?” Yoongi nearly shrieks. “Where the fuck do you think you’re going, bitch? I’m your only friend!”
He already packed a few clothes for the drive Google Maps was predicting was going to be a long fucking time . “Heard Post Malone is performing the next state over.”
“Ew. Post Malone ?”
“Yeah.” Taehyung shrugs. “ Ew .”