in all honesty, hoseok doesn’t know why he’s doing this.
he could be spending time blowing off steam in the waters of Maldives, or completing productive tasks like going through the stack of paperwork dumped on his table for approval but instead, he’s stuck in the middle of a queue in a fast-food restaurant.
did that word even exist in his vocabulary beforehand? he doesn’t think so. “lord, save me,” he grimaces, watching an overly expressive couple pick up their meals and is that even beef?
he’s about the ditch the line and run out of the transparent sliding doors when a deep voice beckons him over and oh, the boy standing behind the counter is cute. hoseok tells himself that he desperately wants to follow the plan he’d so carefully formulated in his head and dash out of the place for his life but apparently, his legs disagree, drawing closer and closer to the counter and cute boy at cashier number three.
said cute boy beams widely at him, plump, pink lips thinned into soft lines, pearly whites poised between them and at this point of time, hoseok wants to cry.
“order?” he repeats, and the former vaguely wonders how in the world someone with such a cute face can possess a voice like that. “um,” is all he says for ten startling seconds.
‘um’, seriously, is that the best you can do? the devil in the back of his mind taunts snarkily and hoseok snaps himself out of it. “can I have the, like, healthiest thing you have here?” he asks, unsure of his reply and cute boy frowns.
“but ’s Burger King, there’s nothing actually healthy here,” he murmurs after and hoseok tenses even more.
“I can make you a custom burger though? I do that for jim'nnie all the time.” cute boy proposes, but hoseok stops functioning after ‘jim'nnie’.
“you have a boyfriend?” hoseok hears, and stills when he realizes that he was the owner of that voice. him, jung hoseok, who’d literally seen the boy, for the first time in his life, like two minutes ago, him. embarrassed, he plans to bolt for the exit when cute boy bursts into a hearty laughter, and proceeds to slice a loaf of bread for whom hoseok presumes is, him, that’s right. “I’ll take that as a yes.” cute boy giggles, and hoseok thinks that he’s too busy staring that cute boy could very well be poisoning him and the former would never know.
later, halfway into his takeaway burger, or 'custom burger’ as cute boy calls it, he notices a scribble that reads “you’re cute” and flushes.
“you’re fucked.” jungkook states plainly, and hoseok’s so tempted to just reach over and slap him. “I know?” he wails, raking fingers through his hair before tugging on the auburn locks in frustration. “why the fuck didn’t I get his name? don’t all cashier boys have name tags? do I not know how to read or something? what the fuck!”
at this, jungkook breaks into a fit of laughter that sounds too boisterous to be gentle on his ears (unlike cute boy at cashier number three) and hoseok is genuinely Not Amused.
“that wasn’t why I said it but if you want him that much, just grow some balls and go over to that store on saturday at the very same time, and ask cute boy for his number.” the younger offers, shrugging his shoulders. hoseok narrows his eyes, shooting him a death glare for his helpfulness. “if that was how you won your boyfriend over, I’m not sure if I can trust that he’s not with you for your money.”
jungkook’s reaction is immediate, eyes narrowed, dark and unfeeling, lips pursed in a terse line.
“don’t say that about him,” the boy says, a little later, but hoseok feels more than he hears the threat in jungkook’s voice. “so cute,” he coos and ignores the deep, throaty groan that jungkook lets slip as he ruffles the boy’s hair.
“you’ve got to introduce me sometime, ya'know?” hoseok proceeds to drawl and lightbulbs seemingly go off in jungkook’s head. “ah! that’s right,” he starts, wagging his finger at hoseok in warning. “my birthday celebration’s going to be at the gala hall. jimin will be there,don’t forget.”
on saturday, hoseok finds himself standing, hesitant, on the red stained concrete of the street outside Burger King for very strange and unknown reasons. “for science,” he grimaces, and steps into the open entrance. for some reason though, cute boy isn’t perched over the cashier taking orders with a grin and hoseok slumps in disappointment. he orders a strawberry milk slushie and tries not to retch at the thought of all the coloring he’s consuming.
(“it’s tomorrow, hyung,” jungkook’s voice trills out of the speaker and hoseok rolls his eyes, dipping his feet into the crystal blue waters. “hyung?” the boy probes again from the phone and hoseok groans in annoyance. “I got it, jungkook, why would I forget about your birthday?”
“’m guessing cute boy wasn’t there today?” the younger voices and hoseok stiffens.
the boy continues, “you’ll meet again, hyung. if there’s fate, you will.” and how would you know? he wants to retort, but swallows the urge to.)
the party’s goes well. jungkook’s been surprisingly social tonight, too busy mingling around with everyone else here that he hasn’t even greeted hoseok yet. from this distance though, the latter notices his arm wrapped snugly around the waist of another male. jimin, he muses to himself, but gags when jungkook leans in to nuzzle at jimin’s hair and the shorter boy blushes.
“hoseok?” a voice rasps and the boy spins around in surprise. “oh my god,” the words instantly tumble out of his mouth. “seokjin! hyung, you’re back?” hoseok questions and reaches out to give him a quick hug.
“yep, how’s jungkook been?” the taller male smiles, and hoseok feels like he’s being teleported back to high school. “great, I guess. the boy’s too smitten with jimin to care about us anymore, though,” he jokes, winking and seokjin laughs, clinking their glasses together. “excuse me?” jungkook calls from behind them, faking shock, and seokjin gasps childishly in reply.
“he heard us!”
jimin giggles and jungkook looks over with a dazed smile, like he could stare at the boy forever and hoseok suddenly feels lightheaded because there shouldn’t be anyone he wants to stare at in that manner right now but cute boy’s boxy grin is all he can think of.
“oh, right! before I forget, this is jimin,” jungkook breathes out, a little nervously, before looking over at the aforementioned boy and gesturing at the older males. “and that’s hoseok, jung hoseok, and seokjin.”
just then, a raven-haired boy dressed in a black suit backs up too far from laughing and bumps into jungkook’s side. immediately, the boy turns around, apology on his lips and looking ever so stricken with horror until he sees jungkook’s face. “oh, hey jungkookie! how’s showing jimin around been going?” he questions, beaming and hoseok’s breath hitches.
suddenly everything pieces itself together and hoseok feels very, very small and stupid for not having connected the dots earlier.
he should’ve known, hoseok tells himself, but changes his mind.
actually, he reasons, he wouldn’t have, because there are thousands of people with 'jimin’ as their name in Seoul alone.
there’s his cousin, kim jimin, sung jimin, and the list could go on forever, but that doesn’t change the fact that The Jimin whom very cute cashier boy had mentioned also happens to be jungkook’s jimin, and that both of them are standing right before him. “kim taehyung! can you please, oh my god. this is a formal party for the elite, and jungkook only invited us because, um, he wanted to,” jimin hisses softly, tugging the boy over and cute boy pouts.
“but jim'nnie! the people here are so nice,” cute boy drawls and jimin’s face burns in embarrassment. “you’re just lucky you’re cute,” the shorter murmurs, brushing stray locks of hair out of taehyung’s face and hoseok’s fists clench unconsciously.
jungkook fakes a cough, and jimin smacks his chest. “this is like, taehyung, for god’s sake, jungkook. you’re so, so,” he laments, lowering his voice and jungkook smirks, “possessive.”
even his name is pretty, hoseok thinks and then said boy finally notices him. hoseok’s breath catches in his throat and he swallows, because taehyung’s silver contacts are piercing and he wears everything so well that it makes hoseok feel underdressed. and everyone in the business knows jung hoseok’s the epitome of confidence.
“—ou’re fast food boy,” is all hoseok hears taehyung murmur, as though in wonder, and he forces himself awake.
“yeah,” he finds himself replying, voice a little too pitched, and clears his throat. “and you’re cut—cashier boy, right?”
taehyung nods, seemingly unaffected and hoseok’s a little disappointed at the lack of reaction. the boy’s a little taller than him, with the pinkest of lips, the darkest of eyes and sharp features. it’s too much for hoseok to take in, so he diverts his gaze to the floor and tries to keep it together.
looking for seokjin in search of some help, he pleads for the male to hear his inner cries as he realises that the rest of them had left—jungkook busy pressing jimin into the wall of the balcony, kissing him breathless, and seokjin clinking glasses with a group of men. “so,” taehyung starts and hoseok’s still too entranced with the rich timbre of his voice to comprehend fully. “I’m guessing that—since this is a high class party and all—you’re either someone with a really high social standing, or someone, um, as rich as jungkook?”
he settles with a simple nod, not trusting his voice and taehyung lets out a small 'ooh’.
hoseok chooses to leave out that the last time he’d checked the stocks, he’d been a little more well-off than jungkook, by about a few million maybe? he doesn’t remember.
“how old are you, by the way?” he randomly blurts and prays that he didn’t sound too desperate. taehyung grins, “I’m a month short of being an adult.” hoseok lets himself relax a little, rolling his shoulders back, humming. “so I’m your hyung? I’m a year older.”
taehyung winks and then shoots hoseok a look that makes him all tingly and the older bemoans a little because he knows for a fact that taehyung’s stare is enough to keep him distracted for days.
in the end, hoseok really does end up distracted. very distracted, actually, with the curve of taehyung’s eyes and the plump bow of his lips. he’s getting a little antsy, having given taehyung his number at the end of the party, and tries not to be dampened by the lack of a message or call from the boy.
instead, his mind roams around the need for taehyung to lure him in, kiss him breathless, for taehyung to want him—more than he’s actually considering the countless of proposal ideas that the bottom line of the company had come up with.
it’s only when his secretary comes in to announce his leave that hoseok peers at the clock hanging on his wall, ticking away and snaps himself out of his thoughts.
slapping himself once, hoseok pushes taehyung is really far into the back of his mind. but even as hoseok sorts out the stack of proposals into those which can be put to launch, those that require more editing and those that have been rejected entirely, the boy’s eyes—stained blue from that very day, come back to taunt him and hoseok feels like he’s being stripped bare with every second.
the notification comes four days, two hours and three seconds after the party. hoseok pounces onto his bed, scrambling across the sheets to reach for his nightstand, and grabs his phone with overly eager hands.
unknown number, 10:12 a.m
hey, is this hoseok? I’m taehyung.
hoseok bites back a smile and tries to cease the endless fluttering in his chest, quickly typing back a reply.
a few minutes spin into hours and he ends up spending the whole day texting taehyung, who surprisingly, manages to text back every single time. turns out, they get along really, really well and hoseok learns so much more about taehyung within an hour of texting as compared to the night at jungkook’s party.
hoseok frequents the Burger King store more often than the fancy steak and wine restaurant which he’d used to visit a lot, especially after having been told by jimin that taehyung works every thursday and sunday, but had switched shifts with someone else who needed an emergency leave on the day hoseok had come in.
he still finds the food tasteless, and the beef fake, but somehow it all goes down his throat much easier and if not, taehyung’s shakes are tasked to help solve the problem.
they grow real close in a short period of time, and hoseok comes home from a long day to a message from taehyung, asking him out on what he
hopes thinks is a date. he’s a rack of nerves the next day, repeatedly adjusting his slacks and the white Armani suit jacket he’s got on, making sure to fix his hair every few minutes and his secretary laughs non-stop at the sight.
“you’re just like jungkook, you know that?” he snaps in irritation and his secretary laughs harder. so much for being of help, hoseok thinks. “sorry, God, I just—hoseok-ssi, you’ve never been like this and I couldn’t pass up the chance,” sungmin apologises, but hoseok can still hear the giggle in his tone. true enough, the moment he walks out of the door, hoseok hears a faint, familiar seal-like laughter and uncontrollable clapping and rolls his eyes.
hoseok decides to bring taehyung to the nearby steakhouse in the city, and remembers fondly how the boy had nearly spat out the cocktail he’d been sipping when he’d found out the price of his meal. “you fucking around with me?” taehyung half-shouts, still in denial, then shakes his head in disbelief. “five thousand—what the fuck! hoseok, no, I can't—are you even a-aware that I can’t ever pay you back for this?”
the said boy merely shrugs, nodding, and taehyung erupts into another fit of anxiety.
“it’s nothing much, tae. just relax,” he smiles, adding, “for the account of it, I don’t mean for you to repay me.” taehyung opens his mouth as if to argue, but fights against the urge to and relaxes, mumbling a short 'thanks’ before digging in.
in fact, hoseok would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to see taehyung smile, but he doesn’t tell the boy that.
for hoseok, the dinner goes rather well, taehyung being cute as ever and ogling at the price and decor of literally everything in the restaurant. their conversations aren’t necessarily any different, with taehyung ranting about his boss and switching subjects out of the blue to gush about the adorable toddler from the family staying in the apartment below.
hoseok silently thanks the deities that everything about taehyung screams carefree, because the date doesn’t end up being nearly as awkward as he’d thought it would’ve been.
taehyung, on the other hand, stops taking note of the sheer amount of money everything costs and seems to settle on gawking over the fact that hoseok owns a Lambourghini. the older subconsciously wonders how the boy would react if he were to tell taehyung that he also owned two other Ferraris, a Jaguar, a Bentley he never really uses anymore, three private jets and ten luxury yachts.
halfway through the ride home, taehyung receives a short call from what appears to be a very hoarse-sounding jimin and mutters a relieved ’thank god’ before hanging up.
“I forgot about the ban but thankfully, jimin just called to tell me that I’m free to return now,” he explains, to a very lost-looking hoseok, as though that sentence was supposed to clear things up. “what’s the problem with that?” he says confusedly, and taehyung gives him anare-you-kidding-me look.
“they sexiled me, what do you mean there’s no problem with that? park jimin asked jungkook over the moment I left and then texted me that they were going to have sex! like I ever wanted to know,” he scoffs, offended at hoseok’s lack of understanding towards hisplight.
hoseok nearly stamps on the brake, stupefied. “they tell you about their sex life?” he yells, and taehyung flinches from the volume.
“not really. jim'nnie just gives me a heads-up so I don’t come home to them fucking or something,” the younger answers, rubbing his eye. “the first time he told me not to come home though, I had called back half an hour late out of worry, and park fucking jimin answered my call, while jungkook rimmed him till he cried.”
continuing, taehyung rants about how hoseok would never understand what it feels like to know your best friend bottoms.
“it’s like, when he comes home, you’re looking at the very person that takes dick up his ass. not just any dick, jungkook’s dick! does it look like I ever want to visualize that?” he continues exasperately, sounding both scandalised and stricken. hoseok honestly doesn’t know if he should laugh.
by the time taehyung finishes, hoseok’s Lambourghini’s already parked in front of his home and taehyung bids him goodbye shortly.
when he gets home, hoseok checks his phone, only to find a hundred and sixty-eight messages and two missed calls from jungkook. he lazily scans through the boy’s spam texts but then freezes, and re-reads the entire span of seven messages.
jeon jungcock, 11:51p.m
taehyung’s birthday’s coming up.
it’s this sunday.
jeon jungcock, 11:56p.m
jimin says taehyung wants only a small gathering even though he has thousands of friends everywhere.
I asked him if a yacht stay was good and he gaped at me for two minutes straight.
how cute can he get? oh my god he just asked me if I was going to rent a yacht.
jeon jungcock, 11:59p.m
have you gotten him a present yet? also, jiminnie just said that by small gathering, he meant that taehyung’s only planning on inviting the four of us.
the world around him fades and hoseok replies a shaky no. jungkook positively cackles in reply, and hoseok questions himself for being able to hear the boy’s laugh through a message.
jeon jungcock, 12:03a.m
if it’s just the four of us he’s inviting, I was thinking that we could have his party in one of your yachts and then jimin and I can switch over to sleep in mine while you and taehyung can (ゝω･)ﾉ
jeon jungcock, 12:04a.m
forget it. jimin is staying with me no matter what. we’re going to have sex under the stars ( ˊᵕˋ )♡.°⑅
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 12:04a.m
(≖_≖✿) I heard jimin tells taehyung 'bout your sex life and I don’t need any more information, thank you very much. but yeah I’ll tell the chauffeur to park it at the dock. what about food?
jeon jungcock, 12:06a.m
you’re just jealous that you can’t get laid (づ￣ ³￣)づ
jimin asks if you can bring some chilled wine (I recommend the Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon one that you’ve been hiding from me)!!!! I’ll be calling for a buffet and jimin’s in charge of telling taehyung that he’d rented a yacht for his birthday.
and then you can tell him that you’ve actually planned it all for him (ゝω･)ﾉ
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 12:06a.m
shut up you brat. you don’t deserve that holy drink.
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 12:10a.m
do you think he’ll like it? the party, and wine, I mean.
taehyung, not you. by the way.
jeon jungcock, 12:11a.m
’m not as dense as you (≖_≖✿) and yes he will. please let me finish my paperwork in peace, thank you very much.
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 12:11a.m
like you’d ignore jimin if he were to ask you to come over. #whipped
they play a flurry of games, from spin the bottle to twister to seven minutes in heaven and the hours fly by like minutes. jimin
surprisinglyeven suggests playing strip poker, but jungkook objects immediately, slapping his arm.
“but jungkoooooooookie!” the boy says, hiccuping slightly, lips swollen and red from having been locked inside the cabin with jungkook. “no, hyung. you’re drunk, you don’t know what you’re saying,” the youngest argues, but flushes with jimin’s reply. “I do! I love yooooou, jeon jungkookie,” jimin singsongs. “hehe, see?”
jungkook sighs, shaking his head hopelessly. “it’s getting late, hyung. do you wanna go over to my yacht now?”
“go, jim'nnie! run like the wind!” taehyung giggles, snuggled against hoseok comfortably and jungkook shoots hoseok a helpless look. “jun'googie, quickly take jim'nnie and go! I wanna spend time with hoseokie hyung,” taehyung murmurs, tugging on hoseok’s arm and butterflies explode in the older’s chest.
jungkook leaves them without protest, carrying jimin bridal style and hoseok inwardly groans at jimin’s and taehyung’s low alcohol tolerance.
they’re seated on the wooden planks of the top deck, but the moment jungkook steps off the yacht, taehyung makes to straddle hoseok. the older’s breath hitches at the sudden contact and he swallows, hard, when taehyung grips his waist. “hoseokie,” he drawls, grinning mischievously with lidded eyes, situating hoseok’s hands on his hips. “ya’ look so pretty today, ya'know that?”
his voice sounds like honey and hoseok can’t help but try to catch on the ends of his words, leaning in dangerously close. taehyung’s eyes are bright and filled with an ocean of stars and hoseok feels like he’s drowning in the depth of them.
“kiss,” taehyung whispers, and hoseok can feel his breath dancing across his very own lips. “kiss me, hoseokie.”
and who is hoseok to reject? he throws all restraint away, closing the little distance between their lips and kisses taehyung so fervently that he feels like he’s bursting at the seams.
taehyung—taehyung is intoxicating, with the way he kisses back as strongly as the older does, but obediently lets hoseok in. hoseok can’t get enough.
there are three separate bedrooms in the floor below, with three separate king-sized, newly lined beds, but hoseok finds himself kissing taehyung into the night, till the dock goes dead silent and the streak of stars above them fade into a patch-full of skyfire, as though a child had used a finger to smear at the constellations.
hoseok kisses him till taehyung’s sated and so fucking happy and spends a whole hour, maybe even two, simply watching taehyung sleep away on his chest; focused on his light snores, and the soft breaths that tickle the base of hoseok’s neck, before carrying him into the master bedroom where they spend the night.
and the thought that maybe he’s falling a little too hard, a little too soon—that taehyung may not even like him as much as he
(loves, actually but it’s too early for that) does—hits him like a brick, but it’s too late for hoseok to do anything about it.
he realises that night, that he needs taehyung like he needs water; craves the feel of his skin more than he craves life, and unfortunately, that realization arrives just as late. hoseok tries to drown out the bile in his throat with another shot of alcohol, and it burns so good but he’s still left praying, ever so desperately, for taehyung to remember the night nearly as fondly as he does.
obviously, taehyung doesn’t. hoseok wakes up to a subtle stirring by his side, and dark orbs which stare at him as blankly as a person who’d just woken up from a deep sleep would’ve; disoriented and ultimately, very confused. he clasps hands to the side of his head, groaning at the throbbing ache ebbing away beneath his fingertips and hoseok winces at the sound. “do you,” he hesitates, “I’ve got some painkillers. do you want some?”
the younger nods, licking over his lips and hoseok’s eyes are too drawn to the motion for it to be considered friendly. taehyung pops the pills into his mouth with ease, gulping them down in a flash, but his eyes never leave hoseok’s, beseeching and hoseok can see the questions dangling precariously off the edge of taehyung’s lip.
“did we—” he starts and hoseok blatantly cuts him off. “no.”
taehyung sighs in relief and hoseok’s face falls. he drops his gaze to the floor, and tries to will the tears that burn behind his lids away. “look, taehyung. we didn’t do anything much, okay? nothing that was supposed to mean anything, at least. I-I need to go,” he says, but there’s a scratchy upside to his voice that’s never been there before and his lower lip wobbles. the truth claws up his throat and the silence hurts his ears.
when he finds the courage to look up again, the boy almost looks crestfallen, but hoseok knows much, much better than to delude himself further. “I have some spare bills, y-you should go and grab yourself a taxi—”
this time, he’s the one being cut off and he looks up, to see taehyung glancing at him with what almost feels like disdain, hurt and a threat all at once. hoseok feels as if there are blades lined along the innerside of his throat. on his way out, taehyung’s words resonate painfully in his chest, each echo a reminder that jung hoseok, now, has not only fucked things up but also succeeded in making taehyung pretty upset.
“I don’t need your fucking cash, hoseok, I’m not here for that. I want your time and an explanation, and those are, two things you obviously don’t have in store for me.”
for a while, things are silent—horribly, terrifyingly, silent with taehyung. hoseok feels so terribly empty, like a blank canvas left behind in the dim attic of a house, sitting the way one would’ve left it, waiting to be filled with answers, but only to be brimmed with dust.
for the next week, hoseok feels like the universe is conspiring against him, with hoseok’s father growing more displeased each day with his distractions and lack of productivity, and the increasing drop in the company sales. he’s tugged on his greying locks of hair so many times that week that he’s simply lost count, and he finds himself waking to ink marks accompanied by a worsening ache in his neck more often than not.
he rarely ever checks his phone nowadays, and jungkook gets progressively more and more worried, but hoseok assures him that he’s fine. that is, whoever 'him’ is.
hoseok knows he’s being a coward, choosing to hide behind his identity, and everyone in the office suffers. he’s no longer the same jung hoseok, who runs the business professionally and yet managed to maintain some sort of an amicable relationship with his subordinates—no. he’s ruthless, barking at people to wake up and meet deadlines, tells them with a shout that the office is failing because of their incompetency and by the end of the week, no one dares to meet his eyes anymore.
at night, hoseok keeps a glass of wine under his lamp that he has to refill periodically because he’s so, so weak, and the only thing keeping him from jumping off a cliff is alcohol.
it stings, but it helps keep hoseok together, even if it’s not in the right order. jung hoseok, whoever he may be at the moment, has no tears or regard for anyone, sitting on a trust fund that could support ten people for an entire lifetime and an inheritance that would triple the amount. taehyung’s right, he doesn’t have time for anyone, not anymore. his phone dies off sometime in the middle of the week, and that’s fine, as long as sungmin has his.
hoseok attends countless of meetings that week, with the major shareholders, with the council and with interested sponsors; speaks about dozens of new projects, taking action against the drop of sales and the projected growth of the company. in the midst of chaos, taehyung becomes nothing more than a part of his distractions, pushed into the sea by reality to float there until this period of trouble tides away, or till he fades into something so insignificant—of less worth than a smear of stars.
things finally get better.
hoseok’s lost track of how long it’s been since he’s had a day off like this, a month? maybe two, three, he doesn’t know.
but his hair grows out quite a fair bit and his eyes are weary, tinged red. he almost doesn’t recognise himself when he gets dressed that evening, staring into the mirror and watching as someone else stares back. snapping himself back into his senses, hoseok carefully picks out a striped blue tie and matches it with a pure white button up and Desmond Merrion slacks, opting to leave out the suit jacket.
“oh, hey darling!” his mother chimes, in a high-pitched and too sweet tone, momentarily letting the wrist of the girl’s hand go to give him a hug. hoseok pulls back first, eyeing the girl sitting beside her warily, mouthing an angry who the fuck is she that his mother cheerfully ignores.
“hoseok, sweetheart, this is kim miyoung—daughter of CEO Kim and heir to all his enterprises. have a good dinner, baby, I’m going to go off first. you two,” she pauses, hovering by the doorstep of the private room before strutting away.
have a heart-to-heart talk, alright? her shrill voice calls and hoseok already knows that she’d cameras installed in this room prior to the date. frowning, he seats himself down and starts the course, not even sparing the girl a glance. when he spots another hand reaching out for a dish, his eyes flit up to meet hers, surprised, and she smiles.
“you have no interest or you have a lover? 'cause I’m betting on the latter.” is the first thing that leaves her lips and hoseok gawks, never feeling so exposed in front of a complete stranger. at his expression, miyoung laughs and hoseok finds himself loosening up. “I’m right, then. aren’t I?” she muses and hoseok flushes, dropping his fork on the table.
“I have one too.”
“you what?” he asks, tone light and in slightly disbelief. “have a boyfriend,” she drawls, rolling her eyes. “don’t act so surprised, hoseok. you know I’m here only because my parents forced me to.”
their conversation spins off from there, hoseok talking about everything from taehyung to his parents and his company, and miyoung telling him about her boyfriend.
minutes stretch into hours and hoseok vaguely wonders if this is the longest set-up date he’s been on. he leaves her with his number and a gentle handshake, wishing her goodluck and she laughs, waving her phone in the air and winking at him. miyoung’s a good person to talk to, is what he settles on telling his mother.
at home, his phone pings over fifty times the moment he sets it down and hoseok has a gut feeling that something’s not right.
jeon jungcock, 10:57p.m
somehow, I’m fucked too, what the hell???
jeon jungcock, 11:00p.m
I thought you were fucking gay?!!?!
jung hoseok, listen. this is so fucking serious and I’m not joking.
jimin saw you. leaving the restaurant. with some bitch.
jeon jungcock, 11:01p.m
I think taehyung knows too.
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 11:01p.m
don’t call her a bitch, she’s my friend.
jeon jungcock, 11:01p.m
yeah well, newsflash: I don’t give two fucks, hyung, you know that. my point is, the love of MY life knows that you went out with a friend or whatever and misunderstood and told the love of YOUR life that you went out with a girl.
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 11:02p.m
how cute. jiminnie’s the love of your life, huh? when’s the wedding (ゝω･)ﾉ
jeon jungcock, 11:03p.m
this is not a fucking joke, jung hoseok. stop trying to play it cool all the time, because both you and I know that it will fucking wreck you.
another notification comes in, together with jungkook’s do you not even fucking care about him anymore? to which, he replies with an of course I do, because he does, but he doesn’t know how to tell that to a person who doesn’t love him.
one unread message from taetae ♡♡.
hoseok’s breath catches in his throat and the world suddenly closes in around him because it’s been so long.
taetae ♡♡, 11:04p.m
we need to talk. meet me at the park outside Burger King?
hoseok almost finds this situation ironic. a month (or three) ago, he’d been the one desperate to make things up, but now, he’s so fucking tired and everything’s finally piecing itself back together and taehyung wants to talk?
he arrives there in a casual tee that probably still costs more than two thousand and khakis, to see a boy kicking pebbles into the pond. taehyung’s grown a little bit more, his eyes sharper, hair shaggier and even more pallid. he’s thinner too, but the world in his eyes doesn’t change. for the next few skittering moments, the world around them goes dead silent and hoseok can’t meet his gaze.
suddenly, he wonders if he’d made the right choice to come. “what do you want, taehyung?” he questions, voice teetering on the edge of fatigue and it seems to bother the younger a bit—having changed his stance and clenched his fists. “I just, just wanted to talk about,” taehyung exhales, and his voice trembles, “what happened. the other day, in your yacht.”
before hoseok can start, taehyung continues, in a flurry of hurried words. “I know I was drunk, like completely wasted drunk; jungkook told me. and I think, I remember, um, asking you to kiss me.”
“I’m sorry?” hoseok tries, but the three syllables feel so wrong rolling off his tongue.
“you said,” taehyung murmurs, less sure now, but a little more accusatory and hoseok feels like he’s being baited. “you said that we didn’t do anything that was supposed to mean something, right?”
his throat suddenly comes off parched, and hoseok simply nods. by now, he ponders, if he’d a dollar for each time he’d lied to taehyung, he thinks the pile would come horrifyingly close to the amount in his trust fund. “then why’d you do it?” taehyung blurts, tone harsh and grating and hoseok doesn’t know what to say.
should he say, I like you or I love you, and what would he do next? he doesn’t have time and taehyung doesn’t have the heart to start anything. should he say, I wanted to play around with you, trick you into thinking that I loved you so you would hate me for the rest of my life? because hoseok doesn’t really think he’ll be able to sleep with that. so he does what he feels is logical, and stays silent under taehyung’s gaze.
“hoseok, I need answers.”
that snaps his resolve. “I don’t know, taehyung. why not you figure it out for yourself, like how I’ve been trying to read you? did I ask you for answers? did I tell you I spent nights, thinking about you alone, trying to piece together the broken pieces of a puzzle that would never fit? I don’t think so, I really don’t. what I’m trying to say, is, that we don’t fit. you think I did it as a joke, just 'cause I said it was, but can I really be trusted like that? can I? please tell me, because at this point of time, I don’t even trust myself.”
the younger flinches at his tone and backs away.
“what if I told you I liked, no, love you? would you believe me—because I don’t think so. we’re not meant for each other, taehyung. you think of right and I’ll think of left, that’s how it’s always going to be. even if, by some miracle, you love me too, what would become of it? I’m sitting on an inheiritance and a trust fund that could buy your life over, thirty times, and you? you’re working in Burger King, juggling your studies too. what could become of us, exactly?”
the outburst shocks himself and he’s engulfed with the urge to caress taehyung’s face, whisper apologies—for his words, for taking his stress out on the last person he’d ever want to hurt, tell him he never meant any of it—but the younger’s glare stops him.
“I really don’t know if you intentionally want to make me feel like shit all the time, jung hoseok. yeah, okay, so if I tell you, right at this moment; spit it in your face that yes! I fucking fell for you, with your stupidly charming smile and the lilt in your voice, I should take it that you were fooling around with me. because that’s what you said, right? you’d choose left and I’d always pick right. that’s what you, presumptuous and selfish, jung hoseok, decided was for us in the past two months that we’d lost contact, right?”
hoseok suddenly feels very, very small and yeah, taehyung is right. he’s selfish, he’s so selfish and presumptuous and he’s hurt taehyung because of it.
“taehyung, you know I—”
“I don’t, hoseok. it feels like you’ve become a complete stranger to me at the moment. I don’t recognise you at all. so I work part-time in Burger King, I’m still in high school, you—you asked what could become of us? truthfully, I didn’t know either, but the difference between me and you, was that I was willing to try. to work around your schedule, to find a job that would make you look less bad on your part.”
he’s hiccuping now, and there are tears in his eyes and hoseok wants to shoot himself, “I was hoping you say that the kiss, my kiss, meant more than at least your suit does, and that we could make it work like jungkook and jimin do, but you’re constantly reminding me of the reality that I’ll never be right for you—never be enough. you’re such a jerk, you know that?”
the loud slap across his face stings but taehyung’s words burn most, sizzling on the surface of his skin even after showers, after hours, days and weeks.
hoseok never really moves on. his schedules littered with conventions, galas and special commemorations and he spends each and every one of them avoiding the crowd, hand slung around the waist of some frail girl his mother picks out for him. the first time jimin sees him in a while, hoseok’s delivered a slap which nearly causes the relationship between hoseok’s mother and jungkook to strain. he remembers his mother screaming for security to get rid of jimin, and jungkook warning each and every one of them to back off, until hoseok had stepped in and whisked her away.
he’s a mess for two straight weeks, his mind scattered everywhere, and it’s only then that hoseok decides he needs a break.
he settles on prague and books the first flight there. the trip takes over ten hours and hoseok arrives there, jetlagged and disoriented but feeling so free. he collapses on the hotel bed, flinging his tie in a random direction and catches some sleep, something he hasn’t done in a long time.
hoseok wakes up to the continuous buzzing of his phone and moans, too tired to get up, but also too annoyed to go back to sleep.
jeon jungcock, 2:38p.m (CET—click here to revert feature)
you’re an asshole.
I don’t know why I’m friends with you.
jeon jungcock, 2:39p.m (CET)
I don’t talk to you for a day and you take the first flight to who knows where.
I fucking thought something happened to you, ass.
you’re the worst person alive. I hate you so much. even jimin was worried about you, as much as he denies it now.
smiling, he shakes the sleep out of his eyes and types back a thank you in reply. jungkook’s reply is immediate and hoseok raises an eyebrow.
jeon jungcock, 2:40p.m (CET)
did I say anything to warrant a thanks?
also, I am not concerned, thank you very much.
hoseokie ( ´∀｀)ノ～ ♡, 2:40p.m (CET)
have you seen taehyung recently?
hoseok regrets asking. his fingers itch to somehow delete the message from jungkook’s phone, even though that’s impossible, from ten thousand miles away.
he puts his phone on the nightstand and muffles his ears with a pillow, but somehow, hoseok still picks up on the faint vibration and shuts his eyes even harder. he doesn’t want to know. he doesn’t care what taehyung thinks, no. because he’s a selfish bastard, he doesn’t.
the week passes too fast, and hoseok can’t help but try to keep gripping onto the wings of freedom. back in korea, he focuses full energy into working and then spends all of his free time in a low-class, dirt club.
on the third day of the week, hoseok somehow manages to get himself in check and sits himself down, away from the idea of grinding on random people under the spotlight. he thinks he calls seokjin, hardly remembers doing so, but he must’ve, because sometime during the night, the older comes over and pats his back, soothingly throughout the night—through his one-way bicker with himself and endless complaints and a complimentary ocean of tears. hoseok can’t be more grateful.
((“I fucked up, hyung,” he sobs, voice breaking and uneven, downing his next shot of tequila. “I fucked up so bad. I told—told him that we weren’t meant for each other,” he chokes, breathing ragged and hard, “I deduced that by myself, to help myself cope and it was just so sudden. I couldn’t stop myself and I told him.”
“hoseok, calm down.”
“he said he loved me! he did, seokjin. all those things I dreamed of, of kissing him, of holding him, of caring for him—we could’ve done that but I fucked up, hyung.”
“I never told him, that I prayed, begged so fucking hard that night for him to remember. I didn’t tell him that I craved him like I craved water, didn’t show him that I needed him, wanted him more than I did my life. in the end, all I said was that he worked at Burger King and I was filthy rich, that we could never make it work. it haunted me, that I could lose control like that and you—you didn’t see his face. so I ran away, ran far, far away to give myself a chance to breathe again but I’m still here. still not over him. what a bitch life is.” he finishes, and gulps down the entire shot of vodka. it doesn’t play counter to his thirst, just makes it burn so bad and he’s so wasted at this point, but taehyung still manages to linger in his mind.
“you know, hyung? fuck the magazines that’re labeled 'Real Life’ and tell you that love doesn’t actually give you butterflies in your stomach. because he does, taehyung, he does. I see him and I feel like the world’s suddenly brighter, I don’t see him, and the world’s suddenly so big, too big for a person like me.”
“I’m a sap,” he chuckles, but it’s airy and empty of emotion, just a hollow laugh, “he’s made me a sap, somehow. and I can’t tell him that.”
“hoseok. how much do you want kim taehyung?” seokjin questions, dead serious and the said boy giggles, circling a finger in the pool of condensation under his shotglass. “more than the world,” he replies, sighing and startles when seokjin throws him out of the bar.
“then tell him. I’ll drive.”))
taehyung has never been more confused in his entire life. it’s four a.m in the morning, but his doorbell’s definitely ringing—so he’s not hallucinating, or going crazy. stepping out into the hallway, he sees jimin stir in his bed, but whine as jungkook wraps a forearm around his bare waist and stops him from getting out of bed. his eyes are puffy with sleep and he yawns lightly as he looks into the keyhole and nearly swears in surprise.
hastily tearing the door open, he greets seokjin as cheerfully as he can, only to stop dead in his tracks at the sight. “what the fuck,” he hisses angrily and hoseok smiles, still as dazzling as ever.
“look, taehyung. he’s got a lot of things he hasn’t told you and you—you need to listen because this is the only time he’ll be thick-skinned enough to admit anything you ask him. trust me, I’m doing this for the both of you.” seokjin says, cringing inwardly as taehyung awkwardly props hoseok up.
without a choice, the younger heaves and lugs hoseok in, stripping him of his shoes and tie and jacket. “you’ve always got to be in a suit, huh?” taehyung grimaces and deposits hoseok on the sofa.
he’s about to walk away when hoseok calls, very timidly, for him.
“I’m sorry,” he says, suddenly quite sober and taehyung cocks his head to the right. “and how would I know you mean that?”
“I just,” hoseok starts, chewing on his bottom lip and taehyung raises an eyebrow. “I dunno. I just wanted to tell you that.” the younger merely hums, already turning away when hoseok shouts a desperate wait!
“come here, please taehyungie?” he calls, pouting and eyes half-closed and taehyung exhales deeply through his mouth, going to sit down beside hoseok on the couch. immediately, hoseok wraps arms around his waist, nuzzling into his neck, grinning happily. “’m missed you,” he whispers, almost inaudible and taehyung tenses, stiffening.
“ya'know, taetae. ’m been telling everybody, jungkookie, seokjinnie, everybody, 'bout how much I love you. except you, 'cuz I was scared, I still am, actually.” he mumbles, taking taehyung’s hand and placing it on his chest.
he curses himself for being so defenseless against hoseok’s tactics. “didn’t seem like you did, though,” he says, stoic and hoseok giggles in absurdity.
“but I did,” he replies, after calming down and there are tears rolling down his cheeks now, tracing the tear-stained tracks littered all over his face with new ones. “’m serious. jungkookie told me I was crazy, seokjinnie told me I was hurting myself and jim'nnie, jim'nnie said I didn’t deserve to say that.”
“why did you then?” taehyung hums, running fingers through the knots of his hair. hoseok laughs, breath dancing over the skin of taehyung’s collarbones. “b’cause I wanted to tell you one day, and I wanted it to be perfect.”
“mm,” he noises, and ignores the fact that there are tears in his eyes.
hoseok jerks awake in the middle of the night to a splitting headache and a familiar weight on his chest. then tell him, seokjin’s voice echos in his mind and the realisation rams into him, head-first. but hoseok tells himself he’s not going to run, not anymore, not when he has taehyung encompassed in his arms.
so when he awakes to a jittery taehyung at the asscrack of dawn, he knows exactly where he is, and what he wants to do.
before taehyung starts to rattle and hoseok loses the courage, he braces himself and grasps taehyung’s hand in his. “I love you,” he says, firmly and it’s almost like someone had released all the pressure inside of him. “I love you, kim taehyung. very, very much and I never meant to decide our future for us but I was just so tired and I needed to take you off my mind somehow so I—yeah.”
at the silence, hoseok shuts his eyes, not dating to even peek at taehyung, until the hands in his pull away and come to cup his face. “you’re an idiot,” he feels taehyung whisper, just millimeters away from his lips before the gap between them is closed and it’s everything hoseok’s ever wanted. he’s slightly dizzy with the lack of oxygen, but taehyung licks eagerly into the roof of his mouth and hoseok breaks apart only for seconds, before their mouths tangle together again and the world around them fades to nothing.
“you’re beautiful,” hoseok murmurs somewhere between the corridor and taehyung’s bed, thighs hooked around taehyung’s waist. “I meant that,” he moans again, weaker, watching with lidded eyes as taehyung’s lips leave a path of bruises and bites in its wake, fingers gently tugging off the fabric of his tee. by the end of the day, hoseok’s cheeks are tainted pink, his lips swollen and red and he, buried into the crook of taehyung’s neck, panting.
that’s how jimin finds them in the afternoon, naked and reeking of sex. jungkook bursts out in laughter and hoseok sticks the middle finger in their direction.
(((“I’m scarred,” jimin spits, eyes narrowed into slits and taehyung raises an eyebrow in challenge. “really?”
“oh please, jimin, it’s not like I haven’t heard you and jungkook before, moaning jungkook and haah, please, please and faster,” he shudders for even more effect and the older points an accusatory finger at him. “don’t—”
“hell, I still remember that time I phoned you in the middle of sex and jungkook rimmed you so hard you cried into my ears. oh, and also, I hear from hoseok that you call jungkook daddy—”
jimin yelps and slaps a hand over taehyung’s mouth as jungkook and hoseok walk over. how kinky, taehyung mouths and jimin sticks out his tongue.)))
they still argue, and fight, and hoseok still runs away sometimes, but the both of them try, and they make it work just like that.