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  • jimilter
    20.05.2022 - 5 days ago

    holding you like this (m) | k.th. | one-shot

    Taehyung didn't anticipate seeing you tonight, least of all with a date by your side, but he guesses it'll be okay because it has been over five years since he last saw you and he has moved on. But the air is far from cleared between you both. So when confrontations start to happen, all of the pain from his past he thought he had overcome makes itself known, unwelcome.

    pairing: taehyung x reader rating: m (18+) genre: angst, smut, humor, estranged lovers!au, club owner!taehyung, journalist!reader warnings: swearing + misunderstandings + insecurity + angsty confrontations + heartbreak + allusions to infidelity + fainting due to stress + semi-public sex + explicit sexual situations (breast play, fingering, oral (m), penetrative sex, rough sex, dirty talk, degradation) <3 word count: 18 k

    ↣ for Resolution Revolution, an ny22 collab i co-hosted with my love, @knjsnoona​​​​​​​! <3

    note: this fic was meant to be a light-hearted one to contrast the sad trope i was assigned for the fest, and was to be posted in january –  but then it underwent a world of changes (name and genre) and is now a gut-wrenching mess, being delivered five months late. i am so sorry. :| 

    the biggest thank you goes to my precious soybean @missgeniality​​​ for being my life support when i felt lost and had so many doubts abt this fic, and then also betaing it for me later, like a fairy godmother. this literally would not be here without you!!! ily 😭 also, thank you to my naifey bby @opaljm​​​ for naming the fic outta the payphone lyrics in, like, 5 seconds!!! ily <333

    PS. the past scenes are in italics and written in past tense, but seamlessly blend (without a divider) into the fic’s present narrative, only differentiated by the present tense and non-italicised text, so pay attention to that!

    i hope y'all masochists like the way this hurts~ 💜

    dedicated ⇝ to ridzietta @taegularities​​​ <3 was supposed to be your late b'day present in jan, but guess now it's just an attempted payback for my broken kidneys. i love you, baby (:

    — masterlist | feedback | support me!

    "You've got to be kidding me…"

    Kim Taehyung peers over the balustrade of the ballroom – past the black and white balloons, lights, streamers and huge chandeliers that cast red and white shadows over the entire hall – with a disappointed frown.

    "What?" asks the girl with the letter pad in her hands. "What is it, Mister Kim?"

    An accusatory finger shoots up in the air, arm propped parallel to his shoulder as he points at the pair that just entered the hall.

    "What guest list is she on?"

    The party planner's wide eyes take in the object of his ire, squinting to get a better look, before she quickly turns back to her tab and makes a few successive clicks. 

    "Oh! She – she isn't on one, but—"

    "Ha! Knew it! Why would she even—"

    "—she's actually someone's plus one, Mister Kim."

    Wait, what?

    His scowl dissolves into an expression of shock, mouth forming an 'o' as he gawks at the party planner. "Who – whose plus one?"

    The girl makes some more clicks and nods. "One of Mister Park's guests."

    Of fucking course it'd be his own best friend stirring up a storm in his life. Taehyung should've strangled the idiot when they were ten – when Jimin didn't have so many muscles to one up him.

    The girl next to him suddenly puts a finger to her comms, speaking discreetly, before turning to him with a guilty smile. "I have to take care of something, sir. But please, feel free to call me anytime if there's a problem."

    Taehyung gives her a dismissive nod, eyes still stuck to the figure in the red gown floating through the crowd with an arm holding onto a man. He wills himself to look away before he is caught staring, but he kind of cannot.

    He always used to love to see you dressed in red. 

    Something about the colour has always fit your fiery spirit just so perfectly. Fondness starts to seep into his mind along with recollections. He remembers how wearing red would reflect beautifully on your face, making your eyes sparkle with confidence. And as evident by your form moving about with your shoulders rolled back and head straight, that fact remains unchanged. 

    Taehyung also remembers this gorgeous red lipstick you always wore with this shade that made him lose a bit of his mind.

    How he could never wait to ruin it.

    How he did always ruin it before the end of the night, earning himself your whines of complaints that he would proceed to replace with whines of pleasure.

    → six years ago;

    “Hm, that is a lovely shade of red on you,” Taehyung murmured into your hair, peeking into your reflection in the mirror as you applied your lipstick. 

    “Don’t shake my hand!” You shoved him away, rolling your eyes. “And this colour is literally the same shade as this dress you bought me…”

    "Then my choice is lovely," he cheekily amended, raising his hands up in surrender when you glared at him through the mirror.

    Taehyung stepped away, appreciating the curve of your ass in the fitted knee-length, halter neck dress he had bought for you to wear to the event you two were attending tonight. The naked span of your back called out to him, so he dipped his head to press a wet kiss in the middle of your spinal column, relishing the responding gasp and arch of your back you gave him.

    “My lipstick’s gonna be ruined!”

    Pants suddenly tightening at the unintended innuendo in your words, Taehyung grabbed you by the arm and twirled you around to press your ass into your vanity table, hips digging into your own. Your eyes looked surprised but also a shade darker than their natural disposition, and that was all the go-ahead he needed to capture your half painted lips in a searing kiss.

    Length hardening and forehead breaking out in sweat, Taehyung’s tuxedo was starting to feel too tight, when your eager hands suddenly untucked his shirt to run up his torso. His teeth nipped at your tongue before tangling his own with it, fingers lifting the edge of your dress up to your waist to explore the ruined state of your panties.

    “Tae,” your breathless gasp followed the smack of your detaching lips. “We’re gonna be late…”

    His fingers made slow swirls over your wet panties, gaze stuck to yours as he slowly nodded. “Yes, we are. Do you wanna stop?”

    You were such a sight with his favourite shade of red all over your mouth, but Taehyung would practice absolute control over his raging hormones if that was what you wanted. It wasn’t, though, confirmed by the whimper you let out with a quick shake of your head.

    “Can we be qui–quick?” Your broken words were a result of intense arousal and not shyness, he knew, because you were anything but shy about your sexual desires.

    Pressing a huffing laugh into your shoulder, he shook his head. “You know I can’t be quick, baby. Especially not now, when your ruined lipstick is making me want to see it painted elsewhere…”

    You whined, craning your neck when he sucked on the flesh of your throat beneath your jaw. “Wh–where?”

    “My cock.”

    And without any hesitation, you had stripped off your dress, knelt before him in just your very matching pair of lingerie, and proceeded to let him fuck your throat without complaints, if some quality sounds of pleasure. You’d been an hour late to the event, but neither of you had cared.

    A shiver runs up his spine at the ghost of your sounds suddenly echoing in his head, and Taehyung snaps out of it with a shake of his head.

    All of it is in the past now. Distant past. 

    Taehyung forces his lips down to a straight line, angry at himself for reacting like a lovelorn idiot. You and your relationship is behind him, way behind him, and that's where it should stay. And despite your unexpected presence here tonight, that is where it remains. 

    It does, right?

    Of course, it does. It has to.

    He’d be a pathetic idiot to still swoon over your strapless, form-fitted red gown when you are here with a date that is not him, because you broke up with him, five years ago. And maybe half a decade should normally be enough time to stop resenting someone for an ended relationship, but Taehyung has not been able to trust another person again after the way you broke his heart and walked out of his life. But that doesn't mean he hasn't moved on; because he has. He may not have been able to fully commit, but he sure has had short affairs and flings whenever he has wanted to, which have all helped him get over you. He has stopped thinking about you; stopped caring, stopped missing you, stopped giving a damn. Like any sane person would.

    So he doesn’t swoon over you, despite his initial reaction. Not at all, not even a little bit. 

    Because he shouldn't – he wouldn't, because you chose to walk all over his heart on your way out of his life. He doesn’t even swoon when you flip your waist-length hair over a bare shoulder, not when your sparkling eyes sweep all-over the place and not even when you give a loud laugh with your head thrown back – and that is a huge feat in his books for which he gives himself a mental pat on his back.

    “Ow!” he yelps, startled at how real the pat on the back felt – and how strong?

    “Save any remaining self-respect you have and stop fucking ogling her when she’s here with a date,” comes a reprimanding hiss in a very familiar voice.

    Taehyung turns around to scowl at Jimin. “I wasn’t ogling her.”

    “Sure.” His best friend looks at him unamused, lifting the champagne flute in his hand to Taehyung’s eye-level. “And this isn’t my eighth glass of the night.”

    “Wait—eighth? You okay, bro?” Concerned, he looks Park Jimin up and down, wide eyed. Did the guy recently face some emotional crisis that he hasn’t told Taehyung about? He looks fine on the surface—

    “For fuck’s sake, Tae.” Jimin rolls his eyes with a groan. “Stop looking so worried, I’m fine. I just despise these high-society… things.” He grimaces, gaze making a round of the entire venue. “You already know that.”

    “Well we kinda have to have these things, buddy, because running a club isn’t all about training bartenders,” Taehyung reminds the other man, chuckling when he receives a petulant pout in return. “Chim, you still won’t let Jungwon make you your strawberry daiquiri! It’s, like, the most simplest cocktail ever! Let the kid live!”

    “Hey!” Jimin narrows his eyes in challenge, downing the champagne in a quick gulp – Taehyung covertly winces at the sight – and reminds Taehyung that, “running a club isn’t all about auditioning performers, either! You went through fourteen acts and didn’t like a single one, remember, Mister Genius Entrepreneur?”

    Taehyung would have responded with another remark, maybe brought Jimin’s attention to the fact that his own actions were more justified because he actually went to a performing arts school unlike Jimin who is a business major meddling with mixing drinks and being a perfectionist – but, he is suddenly reminded of the reason why he was ogling-or-not-ogling you. 

    "Hey, who the fuck is that buff-ass guy she's here with, anyway?" he asks the man with a scowl, plucking a champagne flute from a passing-by waiter, swatting at Jimin's hand when he moves to pick one. "And enough with the drinking!"

    Rolling his eyes, Jimin glances over the railing at you, frowning in concentration. "Hm… I don't exactly recognise him? Maybe he's someone from dad's company."

    "Your dad's—" Taehyung cuts himself off to release a strangulated groan. "Jimin. Why do we have people from your dad's company here?"

    The man has the audacity to shrug his shoulders. "You said we needed a crowd to make an impression."

    Taehyung wants to punch a wall but diverts the urge with punching his best friend's bicep – no less firmer than a wall, though – and rakes a flustered hand through his hair, before immediately realising he got it done at a salon today and he just flushed down the toilet the entire two-something hours he had to sit still for this. The wince Jimin gives him confirms his suspicion, and he hangs his head to let his best friend attempt to coif the disturbed strands back in their place.

    “Nope, it’s a bird’s nest now,” Jimin announces after a few seconds’ efforts, kind-hearted as always.

    “Well, it is your fault for calling in people from your dad’s office!”

    “Hey, people from my dad’s office did not ruin your hair, that was all you!”

    Taehyung feels petulant enough to gear up to paw at Jimin’s own head of set hair in revenge, fingers twitching at his side, but he never gets the chance to attack – a jovial ‘hello’ directed at both him and Jimin grabbing his attention.

    Jimin peeks past him and Taehyung looks over his shoulder, an eyebrow raised in intrigue. Only to freeze.

    It’s… you.

    Well, technically, it’s your date, but you’re very much attached to his arm, looking at Taehyung with a blank face and seeming as much at ease as he wishes he was. Because he is not. Hasn’t been since his eyes found you, and truth be told? Hasn’t been ever since you parted ways from him because you have ruined him for another real relationship, but he isn’t ready to have that mental talk yet. 

    Struggling, he works hard to keep his eyes off you and focused on your date, a guy seemingly around his age, if a bit younger. 

    And an absolute high-class jerk by the looks of his Louis Vuitton suit, Dolce Gabbana loafers and freaking sunglasses he’s wearing indoors. Granted, the ballroom is extraordinarily bright with all the golden chandeliers, but come on. How much of this orange pair of sunglasses actually prevents brightness and how much of it is just snobby fashion? Looking closely, Taehyung notices a lip ring on the guy’s bottom lip and a row of small stones running from his earlobe to the upper lobe area. 

    Well, now he's just confused. The LV suit does not match the guy’s street fighter jewellery at all. Just what the hell kind of guys have you been dating?

    “Uhm, hello there!” Jimin loudly greets, extending a hand and elbowing Taehyung none too gently, knocking him out of the contorted expressions of distaste he wears. “Park Jimin, one half of the founders of Dionysus. Welcome to the gala!”

    The rich asshole flashes a surprisingly guileless grin at Taehyung’s best friend. “You don’t need an introduction, Mister Park,” he laughs, voice higher pitched than would suit his burly frame. “Jeon Jungkook, interning as a Data Analyst at your dad’s company.”

    Ugh, yeah right. As if the internship is what has got him all this wealth this guy is showing off. And the most generic post, too – Data Analyst? Taehyung can bet he pulled the name up on the spot.

    “Wow, really? That’s amazing!” 

    Taehyung’s head snaps to look at Jimin in shock at the sincere happiness in the guy’s voice. Why? This is the enemy! 

    Wait. 

    No – that is not what he is supposed to be thinking! What the hell is he doing? Your date is not his competition, because he doesn't even want you. He'd be crazy to, after you left him without giving him the second chance he begged for. He doesn't want it now, it's too late.

    It… is too late, right?

    Maybe? Probably?

    Oh, God, does he still want you? Apparently the answer isn't as much of a clear cut negation as he'd thought it would be.

    His eyes jump back to you, aware he’s scanning your face like a forlorn lover but unable to mask his eyes when he just found out he isn't over you the way he has been thinking he was. You seem to be resolutely not looking his way but he chooses to take advantage of it and save every bit of you to his memory. You blocked him on all of social media the day you broke up with him and he had enough dignity to not stalk your friends and connections. 

    He’s basically seeing you after five whole years.

    Your high cheekbones and round cheeks are rouged with colour just the way he knew they’d be because you tend to get warm in indoors gatherings. The fullness of your lips is painted a gorgeous wine red to complement the brighter shade of your off shoulders silk dress, just as he knew it would be. Your lashes fan up to your strong eyebrows, making you look every bit like the Goddess you are. You’re probably wearing heels because you stand taller than usual, coming up closer to his face – just the perfect height for him to tilt his face and—

    No.

    He gives a harsh blink and snaps his head away from you, tuning back into the conversation happening around them. You aren’t his ex – you’re Jimin’s dad’s employee’s date. He would do well to remember that.

    Taehyung watches as you respond to Jimin's greeting, your smile so awkward, even the guy's giggles cannot cover up the grimace that sets upon his face. You and Jimin used to be close when Taehyung and you were together. His best friend decided to distance himself from you, too, as his way of comforting Taehyung. Which he appreciates a lot.

    “Can I speak to you in private for a moment, Mister Park?” your date requests, garnering Taehyung's gaze on the guy again.

    "Yeah, of course!” Jimin readily nods, probably looking for a way out of this uncomfortable exchange, even though he looks slightly confused just as Taehyung feels. “And please, call me Jimin. Mister Park is my dad.”

    Chuckling, the two of them step away, leaving Taehyung standing with a gaping mouth next to you. Jimin looks over his shoulder with a meaningfully raised eyebrow.

    “You gonna be okay?”

    No. No, he doesn’t think so. He just found out he isn’t as immune to your presence as he thought five years would have made him, and that isn’t okay at all. 

    But he isn’t going to be a baby about it, not when he’s the host of the night. So he rolls his shoulders back and flashes his best friend a reassuring smile. “I’ll be fine.”

    Jimin walks away with your date, leaving Taehyung to awkwardly fidget with his hands. He looks at you from the corner of his eye – to immediately look away when he accidentally meets your gaze. In his peripheral vision, you seem to be fidgeting just as he is, eyes running all across the place to stay away from him.

    God, this is so awkward. And dumb.

    He clears his throat. “Uh… so…”

    His gaze moves to the public on the lower floor to find something to talk about. Oh, there’s a waiter!

    Taehyung looks at you, eyes huge and lower lip tucked into his mouth. “Can I get you something to drink, or…?”

    You don’t look at him, simply leaning around him to pick up a glass from a tray he had no idea was kept next to him. “No, thanks,” you address him for the first time tonight – your first words to him after more than five years, “already got one.”

    Rolling back on his heels, he nods to himself, hands sliding into the pockets of his trousers. What the hell is the 101 for talking to an estranged ex whom he might still have remnant feelings for? Does he make small talk? Ask you how you’ve been? Pretend you’re strangers? Ask you about your date? Tell you about what he’s been doing with his life ever since you parted ways from him? 

    Ask you to take him back?

    Okay, yeah, definitely not that one.

    Ugh. This is terrible.

    Taehyung stares at you, long and hard, trying to come up with something better to say – something to get you to stop being so dismissive with him. But all that he finds filling his head are thoughts of how much you’ve changed over the time you’ve spent away from you. His gaze traces the slight crows feet next to your eyes, the slight sunken feel to your eyes, tightness around your mouth, narrowing of your nose. You’re wearing heavier than usual makeup. But then again, many of your ‘usuals’ ought to have changed now.

    Unwittingly, he catches the sight of your empty wrist and is immediately reminded of the matching charms bracelets you’d bought the two of you. Even though he doesn’t wear it anymore – because, well, he thought he had moved on – he still has it safely kept in a locker, back at home.

    He wonders if you threw yours away. Maybe he should, too. Would help with the indifference he's trying to achieve.

    Clearing his throat when the awkward silence becomes suffocating, Taehyung chooses the safest path and talks about the club.

    “I and Jimin had been planning Dionysus for over a year,” he begins, doing a mental fist pump when your gaze immediately flicks to him. “Feels good to be finally launching it."

    Your gaze seems to soften slightly. Pulling the glass from your lips, you clear your throat and nod as you look away. "Congratulations." You jerk your chin towards the lower floor that is bustling with people. "Seems like a successful launch."

    Instantly bashful at the subtle praise, his hand self-consciously goes to his hair – before he remembers how he has already messed it up. He makes a detour to his neck, cupping his fingers around the back beneath the suddenly too tight collar of his shirt.

    “Well, uh, yeah. Thanks.”

    His lips purse into a smile, yours don’t. 

    Taehyung wonders if you still simmer with the anger you'd unleashed on him when you left him. You look like you do, although he doesn't find it justified. If he was the one that hurt the two of you, you broke his heart too when you walked away. But he is trying his best to be polite, isn't he? What did he do to you worse than what you did to him?

    → five years ago;

    “Why didn’t you come?”

    Your face remained unchanged and Taehyung’s temper shot through the roof.

    “I asked you a fucking question!”

    “I heard you!” you yelled back just as loudly, one hand balled into a tight fist while the other leisurely carried the glass of wine to and fro between your lips and the kitchen island. “And chose to ignore you.”

    “What the—”  Taehyung cut himself off with gritted teeth, raking his fingers through his gelled hair and disrupting the hairdo. He roughly undid his tie and stalked up to you on angry feet. “I texted to ask if you needed me to send you a car, you said you would come by yourself, so why the fuck did you not?”

    You shrugged your shoulders and carelessly let your silk gown slip off one of them, revealing the thin strap of your negligee to him. In a normal situation, the sight would have been enough to make Taehyung forget about all else and tear your clothes off to have you right there, in the middle of the kitchen. He had done it multiple times in the past. But today was different – today he was furious and embarrassed and disappointed. It was the success party of his dream variety show having collected impressive ratings in just the first week of its run, and he had needed you by his side to celebrate it fully. 

    But you didn’t show up at the damn venue.

    And now you were here, back at your shared apartment, drinking freaking wine at 3 am of the night and acting as if it wasn’t a big deal that you skipped one of the most special celebrations of his life over some petty anger.

    Sighing tiredly, Taehyung stepped away from you to shed more of his clothes until he was just in his pants and had his shirt hanging off his frame, unbuttoned. His stripped off garments were piled on the sofa, to be collected later when he finally went upstairs to your shared bedroom

    Then he turned to look at you, only to click his tongue when he found you sitting in your place with a bored expression on your face. Walking up to your figure, he snatched the alcohol from your hand and glared down at your surprised face. This had been going on for months now and needed to stop.

    “What is it? Why are you being like this? What do you want?”

    Your face crumpled with a ton of sadness suddenly puncturing it, and even though you quickened to straighten your expressions into annoyance, Taehyung caught the slip. He could tell you were definitely about to lie to him. He just didn’t get why.

    "I called you to tell you I won't be coming because I have an urgent, early flight to catch," you told him in a tight voice. "And guess what? Your assistant picked up the phone."

    Taehyung threw his head back. Not this again. Your insecurity over his assistant was really uncharacteristic of you – and really stupid, because Somi was just a delusional kid who would someday grow up to realise Taehyung wasn't interested in anyone but you and stop with her meaningless little games she played around him.

    You used to make fun of such women with him, in the past. What had changed? What was suddenly so different about this one person that you acted this way?

    "Well, yeah. As I've told you before, she handles my phone when I'm busy. It's kinda the point of her being my assistant."

    He could see your jaw working, the tight grip you had on the wine glass.

    "Babe? What is going on?"

    "Nothing, Tae," you gritted the words out. "Absolutely nothing's going on. My flight is at five, I need to go pack."

    He frowned when you got up and tried to walk past him, and stopped you with a grasp of your elbow. "Hey, hey – can we talk? Please?"

    You stayed frozen, looking away from him, so he spoke on.

    "Um, where are you going? How long will you be?"

    At that, you shrugged out of his grip. "Vienna. We're interviewing some Korean immigrants our team located last week."

    "Ah, I see. How long will you be gone for?"

    "Any time between three weeks to two months."

    Two months? Taehyung roughly swallowed at the prospect of being away for that long. Things had been decidedly rocky between you both. How damaging could two months' distance be? Given your current state of agitation, he wasn't sure you'd even keep in touch with him.

    Another thought suddenly occurred to him and his blood almost ran cold.

    Was your so-called boss gonna be there with you? He had to know, even if it made him lose his mind.

    "You're – you're going with a team, yeah?"

    You shot him an irritated look. "Hoseok is going, too, he's leading us. That's what you wanna know, right?"

    So he was going. Freaking Hoseok would be there with you, on a foreign land, and you would be there with him and forget about Taehyung completely. The way you always did in the guy's presence.

    "Stop looking at me with so much disgust, he's my boss. I can't tell him not to go."

    Taehyung scoffed as you moved towards the bedroom. "Yeah. As if you'd even want to."

    You whirled around. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

    Taehyung was pretty sure he didn't need to explain that to you. He'd been hinting at it since September – he'd been explicitly saying it since October, since the freaking Halloween party your office had. So he didn't need to say anything anymore.

    "What is this really about, babe? You didn't come to the celebration, you didn't even congratulate me, not once, and now you're leaving for weeks, possible months?"

    You stared at him. "What could this be about, Taehyung?"

    "Are you – are you trying to distance yourself?"

    And there was that sadness suddenly crowding your face again. 

    And then you pushed it away again. 

    "Do you want me to?

    You were talking in circles. "Babe. Please. If you leave when we're like this—"

    "We've been like this for months, Taehyung!" You burst at him. "And nothing's gonna change, as long as you have that leech of an assistant trying to woo her way into your pants or whatever!"

    Taehyung couldn't believe his ears. You were that bothered by that stupid girl? He would have let go of her in a heartbeat if he'd known. He still could – he would. But instead of telling you that, he decided to choose the path of pettiness.

    "Yeah? And what about the way you can't help following wherever your boss leads you?"

    "I can't quit my job, Tae!"

    "And I can't fire my assistant!"

    Silence prevailed after that. You glared at him, and he glared back. Until you just dropped all the aggression and looked at him with a cold stare.

    "You know what? Maybe a little distance away from each other is exactly what we need right now."

    The sucker-punch was delivered with your poker face, one that he was coming to hate with a passion now. Almost gasping for air, he shook his head, bewildered. “Wh–what? Distance?”

    “Yes. We barely see each other. And when we do, we fight. All we do is disappoint each other, Taehyung. What are we doing in this farce of a relationship beyond hurting each other? I think it's better if we took some time off.”

    It wasn’t the words you said that broke him – it was the ease with which you said them to him.

    Taehyung wasn’t faultless, far from it. He forgot special days, skipped dinners, postponed dates. But he was trying to pursue his dream; a dream he had dreamt with you since you both started dating in college. You knew what this was gonna be like, and he felt like he had actually been doing better in the relationship than his expectations. Sure, he had his moments and got irrational sometimes – like he knew he was being about this entire Hoseok debacle – but that was only because he was under a lot of stress all the time. Just some comforting words and an embrace from you always had him back to being his normal self.

    Did you not see it that way?

    He loved you with his entire heart and soul, despite all his shortcomings.

    Did you not care about that?

    “D–don’t call it a farce…”

    “Then let me wave out of it,” you bluntly said to him, raising your chin to let him glimpse into your eyes that held so much frustration, they gave him a physical push away from you. "Clean out the apartment before I'm back. Let's give each other space, yeah?"

    Were you that unhappy with him?

    What the hell was he doing to you?

    “Baby… can – can we talk about this?”

    “When? You don’t have time to talk about this, Tae. To talk about anything.” You shook your head, face blank and jaw gritted. “And let’s be honest, here. We went past the point of talking on your birthday, already.”

    Taehyung groaned aloud, throwing his head back in sheer frustration. “This again?”

    “No. I’m not starting anything, I’m just… trying to end it.”

    And so you did.

    Taehyung has never been the type to give up on people or situations easily, so that wasn’t the last of that conversation you both had. There were multiple attempts he made to get you to tell him what was actually bothering you because he always felt – and still does – that you said less than you wanted to, that day.

    All of it fell on deaf ears, though, because you never came back to the apartment until he'd moved out, and blocked him on every social media platform when he got busy with shootings within the next few weeks.

    He looks at you and sighs. How damn stupid of him is it to feel soft for you because he suspects there was more to your break up than you just throwing in the towel? Because that is what it comes down to – you made big commitments and promises about braving the hardships and supporting him through it all, but gave up because of doubts and frustrations when the two of you needed to stand strong.

    And now he is gazing at you like a miserable fool, expecting you to do God knows what.

    With another awkwardly cleared throat, Taehyung deduces he cannot keep standing here like a damn idiot. He points towards the side of the ballroom downstairs. 

    “Do you, like, wanna sit? Maybe? We – we have sofas and booths here?”

    Wow. Way to go with them communications skills. Taehyung pulls his lips into his mouth, resisting the urge to throw himself off the balustrade in embarrassment.

    You do nothing to ease his dumb fumbling, simple flipping your hair over your shoulder so that they swish over your cleavage to brush your breasts. They’ve gotten so much longer than he remembers. 

    “I will if I want to.”

    For real? Okay, this is no good.

    Your anger very obviously still burns as hot as it did the night you decided to throw him out of your life. He cannot navigate around this the easy way, he needs to change his tactics a bit if he’s going to survive this night without you murdering him. Maybe he should pretend you both are strangers. Treat you like he would any other attendee of the gala.

    The clicking of your tongue brings him back, your irritated frown greeting him when he focuses on your face. “Are you babysitting me? I’ll be fine, you may go take care of whatever you need to.”

    “Well, what I need to take care of is the guests,” Taehyung tells you with a shrug, not letting your cold remark get to him, but the soft feelings your presence had started to induce in him seem to be evaporating as time passes.

    “Technically, I’m Jimin’s guest, not yours. You don’t have to keep hovering around me.”

    “Oh, my God,” he groans, hitting the limit with your attitude. 

    The irritation he was hit with when he spotted you at this gathering is beginning to spike again. He wonders if he actually doesn't have any lingering affection for you at all – if it’s just nostalgia that he misinterpreted. You did break his heart and disregarded all his apologies and begging, he’s got every right to not give a damn about you. 

    And he gets your anger – he got it when you hurled it at him repeatedly, five years ago; and he gets it now – but insulting him in his own celebration isn’t okay. Especially when you could very well not interact with him at all and walk away any time. He notices how you keep trying to send him away but make no moves to leave yourself.

    If this is an ego thing for you – well, he’s got an ego, too.

    He calls your name with a tight voice. “You’re at a party that I am hosting with Jimin. You’re my guest, too, whether you like it or not. So you’ve got to let me be an accommodating host without reacting so rudely to everything I say.”

    Fury beams from your eyes into his, but he braves it with unimpressed, furrowed brows. He remembers this look on your face more than he does your smile, as pitiful as the fact is. And so he knows you’ve reached a point in your fury where you stop arguing anymore. When you two were in a relationship, this used to piss him off like anything. But right now, it is kinda suiting his situation well.

    You give him a terse nod. 

    “Thank you,” he mutters, exhaling in relief. “Now. Your date’s off with Jimin to talk about God knows what, so you can either stare around boredly and regret agreeing to coming here, or you can let me guide you to a comfortable sitting nook where you can have drinks and snacks delivered to you. Until Jeon comes back for you, that is.”

    This time you’re the one that exhales, losing some lines from your face. “I don't want to cause drama or be a bitch. I just… didn’t expect to see you here. This is uncomfortable and disappointing.”

    Ouch? Well. At least he tried to be nice, right?

    “Right, okay… likewise.” Taehyung rolls his eyes, walking around you to step towards the stairwell that leads downstairs. “Come along.”

    Every now and then, he peeks over his shoulder to check if you’re following, feeling more than a little satisfied to find you staring at the back of his head each time. Yes, you aren’t the only one with an attitude.

    On reaching the downstairs landing, he is in the process of moving towards the ballroom when you call out his name. He twists on his heels with raised eyebrows to find you pointing towards a slightly dark hallway behind the stairs, an intrigued and somewhat suspicious look on your face.

    “Does that lead to a secret wing of the house, or something?”

    Taehyung barks a bout of laughter. “No. That’s an indoor connection to the club.”

    Your head whips to look at him with wide eyes. “The club is… here?”

    “I mean, yeah? Kind of.” He points downwards with a finger. “This is Jimin’s place, so he wanted an internal route to—”

    “Wait, this is Jimin’s place?” Your eyes are wider than before.

    Inhaling deeply once, he pushes his tongue into his cheek as he stares at you with narrowed eyes. Did you even know what function your ‘date’ was bringing you to? 

    “I – I mean, it looks like a… well. A castle, to be honest,” you muse in wonder, looking up at the high ceilings.

    Taehyung follows your gaze, nodding slowly. “It is, yeah. It’s also got a museum on one side that has all the ancient stuff from the era of the monarch that used to live here.”

    For the first time tonight, you seem to be actually listening to him. And despite all the bitterness and anger he feels, he cannot hold back the soft smile that breaks out onto his face at the sight of your parted lips.

    “Jimin lives in a museum?”

    This time, Taehyung lets out a full belly laugh. “This is not Jimin’s home! I meant he bought the building. So it’s more like a – a vacation house, I guess. He doesn’t live here but comes around a lot. This castle is why we picked this place for Dionysus. The museum gathers a good amount of tourists. They could all use a drink and a good space to wind down after their excursions.”

    You nod distractedly, still looking towards the hallway as you step down to the floor and off the last stair. Taehyung walks up to stand in front of you, smirking at the fascination on your face. You could be old and ageing, but this look of childlike wonder will always look the same on you. It has remained unchanged in the twelve-something years he has known you for. 

    “Do you wanna see?”

    You blink, leaning away. “See – see what?”

    “The club?”

    You don’t say a word, quietly gulping, and look in the previous direction past his shoulders. Taehyung snorts at the innocence you unwittingly elude, sighing at the fondness that unfurls in his chest despite all the heartache.

    “Come on.”

    He walks ahead and you follow him, the dimly lit hallway echoing with the clack of your heels. Then you hum.

    “This part of the town is somewhat secluded, almost at the city borders. How are you maintaining security here?”

    Taehyung’s lips curve up in a secret, melancholic smile. You always had so many questions about everything. It makes him feel endeared and delivers a pinch to his heart all the same. He misses you – but he also doesn’t, because the you that he misses has been left in the past, beneath all the scowls and brimming disappointment you had come to be full of during the last few months of your relationship.

    He sighs, focussing his thoughts on your question.

    “Well. We have come up with a lot of new tech and Jimin arranged for a top notch security staff. His dad’s friends with this Kim Seok-something guy… he might be here tonight, actually. So, there is only a sure shot way of getting into the club, no stragglers can wander in.”

    At the end of the hallway is a glass door, guarded by two really tall, really buff men. Next to the door, a steel box is mounted to the wall – the most important piece of equipment about Dionysus, coming up with which with their team of engineers took almost as long as constructing the infrastructure.

    “Here!” Taehyung announces, gesturing towards the box with both hands. “This is the machine that will read your entry pass.”

    You blink at him. “I don’t… have an entry pass?”

    He nods, pointing at one of the guards. “Josh, our passes, please?”

    The man gives a small bow to Taehyung and produces a mechanised stamp that looks like a tiny taser, clicking on a button. Taehyung lifts the cuff of his suit jacket and shirt to present the skin of his wrist to the stamp, and Josh leaves a QR code on his skin.

    “Woah!” Your exclamation resounds from behind him. “That’s gonna get people into the club?”

    "Yep." He turns to you with a proud grin. “Move in or out of the club. New tech, right?”

    “Damn,” you mutter, looking impressed as you forward your own wrist to Josh.

    Taehyung shakes his head. “Uh, no, not like this. The stamp needs to stay covered with a piece of clothing or the neon lights inside can spoil it and you won’t be able to leave.”

    Both arms extended in front of you, you look at yourself. “I don’t have a sleeve… or a collar.”

    His own eyes sweep down your form, tongue coming out to wet his lips at the sight of your flared hips and full breasts encased in this fitted cloth in his favourite colour. Clearing his throat at how perverted he is being, he quickly looks away and searches his pockets for a handkerchief, only to come up empty.

    “Well… maybe beneath the neckline?” you question, frowning at the layer of the dress covering your cleavage.

    Josh shrugs a shoulder, eyeing Taehyung. “Could work?”

    Taehyung looks at your neckline which is seriously so low, he isn't sure how something can be placed beneath this without compromising your modesty. He nods, almost in a daze, unable to move his gaze off the curves of the tops of your breasts as he now starts to wonder how this dress is even staying up.

    But when you begin to peel the cloth an inch down the slope of your chest and Josh’s hand moves towards you, Taehyung jumps into action and grips the guard’s wrist. Shooting a really unwarranted glare at the man, he plucks the device off his hands. “Let me.”

    He moves to carefully stand before you, eyes meeting yours in slight panic when it finally registers to him how he got really unnecessarily protective over his ex from years back. What the heck must you think of him? He can’t read much of your opinion in your gaze, your eyes looking mostly awash with shock, staring at him unblinkingly.

    Moving forward with the stamp, he watches your throat move in a rough swallow, body visibly tensing when he steps even closer to you. His keen eyes observe every single movement in your person, scanning the way your eyelids flutter, the way your lips puff out short breaths, the way your chest moves up and down rapidly. He wonders if you are breathless as he is.

    He looks at your supple flesh, inching his hand forward at snail's pace. The smooth texture of your skin, the rounded curve – he is transfixed, aware that if he rolled the dress another two inches down, he would be able to see your nipple. He wonders if it will be hard already due to the air-conditioning, or if it would puff up his stare. Under his touch, maybe? Definitely under his tongue…

    “T—Taehyung?”

    He jolts out of his extremely inappropriate thoughts, gaze snapping up to your face in horror. You hold the same expressions as before, looking even more breathless. 

    But Taehyung remembers himself. 

    Leaning a few inches away from you, he reminds himself of where you both stand in your current lives – you aren't the woman he was in love with, you're one of Jimin's guests at this party, and you have come here with a date. He has no right to be thinking these thoughts and you honestly shouldn’t be entertaining him with these large eyes. Doesn't mean it makes it any less worse of him to be coming onto you.

    You have moved on. And he is supposed to have, too.

    Channelling maturity and practising restraint, both of which he didn't know he possessed, Taehyung grinds his teeth and holds the stamp over your skin. He pushes the button, eyes resolutely looking just at the QR code as it gets printed on your skin.

    "There," he breathes, deflating in relief, and jumps away from you as soon as he's done, as if burned by the proximity.

    Well, he might actually be. He feels pretty singed, if he is being honest.

    Stuffing the stamp back into its holder, he flashes the code on his wrist in front of the scanner on another face of the box. A ping resounds around him and the door unlocks.

    "Did you see?" he asks over his shoulder. "Put the stamp within a foot's distance from the scanner."

    You step up next to the box, the door locking within five seconds of no entry, and angle your chest close to the scanner. Due to the dim lights, Taehyung isn't sure if it's his stupid wishful thinking or if you actually look a bit shaken up. 

    A ping echoes in the hallway, and the door gives. With something akin to sparkle in your eyes, you skip through the doorway with a grin.

    "This is fantastic!"

    Taehyung scans his own stamp and slides in after you.

    "And, we're in!" he announces, falling in step next to you and looks straight ahead to avoid the adorable excitement that is sure to be etched on your face. "Wanna look around?"

    You hum, footsteps falling slightly behind his own as he guides you around the place. 

    Taehyung finds himself entranced everytime he walks through Dionysus. It's still hard to believe that all the plans he and Jimin pored over, sometimes pulling all-nighters to come up with innovative ideas, have finally taken a corporeal form. Every colour, texture and material of everything used in constructing this place has been chosen by him and approved by Jimin, or vice versa. Well, more vice versa because despite his own field of study being far removed from construction, he still has quite a good idea for these things due to his dad's company. 

    Sighing at the reminder of the man that has caused more troubles in his life than he can count, Taehyung clears his throat and looks over you.

    Unwittingly, his mind travels back in time for the third time tonight. You always sported a shorter hairstyle when the two of you were together. And though Taehyung has absolutely adored every hairstyle you have worn – would have loved you without hair, too, he’s certain – there’s something about seeing you in waist-length hair that makes something ache in his chest.

    → eight years ago;

    “Are you never gonna grow your hair out?”

    Your mirthy eyes squinted with laughter as you swooped towards him to kiss his pouty lips. “Long hair requires maintenance that I don’t have the time to spare for, baby, you know it.” You brushed a hand through your shoulder length tresses, raising your eyebrows. “Thought you liked me with short hair?”

    “I do.” Taehyung nodded, fitting his head in your lap. “But… we’ve been out of the college for over a year… don’t you wanna, like, make those high buns and wear gowns on our dates sometimes?”

    You cackled at his words, head leaning away with the force of your giggles. “Do you want me to make buns and wear gowns, Tae?”

    He could feel his cheeks warming up, but said nothing. 

    “Tae baby,” you sighed. “I’m trying to find my footing in the ever-changing world of journalism and work at an NGO. I don't even have time to comb my hair, half the days, now when it's so manageable. How will I do it for long hair?"

    “I can do it for you?” 

    The meek offer was out before Taehyung could pause to even really think what it meant. Your eyes were wide as you bent your head to look at him.

    “Are you serious? You want me to have long hair that bad?”

    Bashful and a little embarrassed, he sat up and shook his head in negation, avoiding your eyes at all costs. “No, of course not. I just… I meant if the only reason is that you can’t take care of it, I can do it for you.” He looked into your eyes then. “I can always take care of everything for you whenever it gets too much for you, you know that right?”

    Eyes misty and smile quivering, you had captured his lips at that and promised him you’d grow your hair out for him whenever life gave you a second to breathe.

    And apparently, your breather came after you ended things with him. Figures.

    Sighing morosely, Taehyung eyes the way your steps are a bit off in your heels, and he very casually points at the seating area to one side, thinking nothing of his words as he suggests, “Have a sit if you need to relax your calves.”

    He doesn’t realise anything is strange until he sees that you’ve stopped walking and are giving him a long look. That is when his eyes widen. 

    You were never fond of wearing heels. At most an hour, and then you would be taking off your footwear and finding some cosy place to sit where Taehyung would find you and give your feet and calves a massage. That often led to the two of you sneaking off to continue the massage in a more private setting.

    Shit.

    He’s about to explain that he didn’t mean it like that when your stare wavers, nostrils flaring as you clear your throat. “No, I’m okay. Does your club have a bar?”

    For a moment, it felt like he had you on the same page as himself. But now you’ve closed the book. 

    “And a bartender,” Taehyung sighs, sliding his hands in his pocket to lead you to the bar.

    “Hyung!” Jungwon grins, waving at him before he spots you and drops into a bow. “Good evening, ma’am! Welcome to Dionysus! Are you having a nice night?”

    Chuckling at the enthusiastic greeting, Taehyung turns to look at you, landing in confusion when he sees you squinting at Jungwon in extreme suspicion. Taehyung calls your name, and you simply tilt your head, examining the boy more closely.

    “How old are you, Jungwon?”

    The kid’s eyes jump as wide as Taehyung’s own. “Uh…”

    “You do not look eighteen, kid.”

    He isn’t. And of course you would realise it.

    “I… I will turn eighteen in March.”

    “Well then you can work the bar in March, kid.” Your glare is sharp and hand stiff when you lift it to point towards the exit. “Out of this establishment before I call child services on your boss.”

    Jungwon gives a panicked glance at Taehyung at which he can only nod because he knows you don’t have to call child services – you are child services. Well, not working with the government but your NGO definitely has good connections and enough prominence to uproot his whole club just because of Jungwon’s part-time hiring. And letting go of Jungwon is you giving Taehyung a warning before taking a serious action. He knows you well enough to know that much.

    The moment the kid has collected his backpack and left through the door, your glare turns to Taehyung. "We talked about this, Taehyung. And you promised you wouldn't bring in any minors in any kind of work before they're done with their education."

    Yeah, he did, but it was in a very different context. Scouting minors for reality shows and hiring them as bartenders has nothing in common and Taehyung is just about to remind you of the same when he suddenly stops.

    Plays your words in his head again.

    And barely contains a gasp.

    Because… did you just address the past? Acknowledge the fact that you are actually more than just Jimin's guest's date here and that you and him have actually met prior to this?

    You did.

    Shit.

    His eyes are wide and lips are parted and now he doesn't know what to say.

    Nearly seven years back, when Taehyung was trying to make a name in the entertainment industry, attempting to surpass existing PDs with his maximal creativity and eccentric ideas, he came up with this concept of a game show with school going kids. But as soon as he started working on it, you had a talk with him, explaining how risky it was for kids' development to be exposed to the world of cameras and reality television so early on. Especially kids that didn't want to get into the entertainment industry after growing up. Taehyung had listened to you, as he often did back then, and scrapped the idea.

    And now he's here again, having hired an underage bartender. He sees the fault in his ways and drops his head.

    "I'm sorry."

    Your sigh sounds extremely tired, just as defeated as your gaze. "You always are, Taehyung."

    That makes him frown, angering him more so when you turn around to walk further into the club.

    "Hey," he calls out, briskly following you. "I've been listening to you being passive aggressive all night, but you've gotta stop, okay? You're the one that came to my party. Stop acting like I forced you to talk to me."

    You swerve in your place so suddenly, Taehyung has to put an effort to stop himself from colliding into you. Your eyes spit fire at him. 

    "Oh, yeah? What the hell is this, then? I didn't come to your party, for the last time, I came to Jimin's. So why won't you let me be his guest and get the hell lost?"

    He sees that you're done holding back. Well. He is, too.

    "I know where this is coming from," he grits out, leaning down to seethe into your face. "Are you angry at your little date for not informing you you’re gonna see me here?”

    You scoff with a humourless laugh. “Are you kidding me? You’re actually jealous of Jungkook? Is this why you won’t leave me alone in the hall?”

    “Okay one – I’m not jealous, I don’t care what you do in your life, let alone your dating life,” Taehyung sneers with derision he doesn’t mean, and the sudden flash of hurt on your face doesn’t give him nearly as much satisfaction as he’d hoped it would. “And two – I didn’t wanna leave you alone because I was trying to be a good host!”

    “Oh?” Your eyes narrow. “Well, how about this – if you really wanna be a good host, just call me a damned cab and let me leave.”

    Taehyung’s face falls at your words, way too quickly before he can contain himself. “L–leave?” And then he stutters, proving himself to be as pathetic as he’s sure you think him to be.

    But you don’t react with the same fiery anger. Instead, your eyes get clouded with confusion and hands unfurl from the angry fists. “Yeah. Coming here was an obvious mistake, I shouldn’t have let Jeon sweet talk me into it…”

    As he’s about to tell you to not leave just yet and make promises of leaving you alone, your words register in his head. “Jeon?”

    Your eyes widen and cheeks flush. “J–Jungkook. I meant Jungkook.”

    “Of course you meant that, but that is not what you said!” 

    Taehyung stalks up to you, crowding you against the bar counter, drinking the way your eyes grow in size and shoulders rise up in your telltale sign of nervousness. He says your name, slowly and deeply, leaning over you to have your breasts brush his chest, the way you give a slight shiver at his enunciation of your name making him shiver too. 

    “Is Jungkook really your date?”

    A pearlescent row of teeth bites into your lush, red painted lower lip. “Yeah, he’s really my date.” Taehyung raises a single eyebrow and you immediately shut your eyes, turning your head slightly to the left with a wince. “But… he’s a friend and asked me to come here with him as a friend.”

    Oh, God.

    Taehyung hates himself for the way relief rushes through his veins and overtakes his entire body at your words, because what the actual fuck? Why is he relieved? Heartbreak, break up, moving on, hello?

    Nope, no one's home.

    He stares into your eyes when you open them again, brain foggy with so many questions he cannot pick which one to put up first. Just the way he can't decipher what this wide-eyed look in your eyes means.

    What wouldn’t he give to be able to glimpse into what you’re thinking right now…

    Stupid Jungkook and his stupid freaking doe eyes that landed you here. And stupid you for not even researching where you were going, so eager to jump the chance to escape the confines of your too empty apartment when you were slapped with a month long break from the news channel you work at. 

    They were afraid you were gonna have a 'burn out' – dumb concept that definitely doesn't mean anything to you, because you need work to keep going. If you're not drafting reports or editing scoops, you're visiting the NGO you joined fifteen years ago and have become the Director of, now. But the traitorous staff there sent you home, too, when they saw how ‘gaunt’ you looked, which – again, means nothing to you because keeping your mind occupied takes a higher prominence for you than maintaining your looks.

    The thing is, you still live in the apartment you have shared with Taehyung for over three years. It’s unhealthy, you’re aware, but you played yourself by trying to act strong, and now you keep looking for excuses to leave your home for as long as you can. Which is why Jungkook’s offer, the first semblance of respite in a little over two weeks, came as a blessing that you were quick to grasp.

    Well, look where it has landed you – pressed up between a bar counter and the very same ex, escaping the ghost of whose presence made you come here.

    Although, looking into Taehyung’s mellow brown eyes, you try to figure out who you are really looking at. Is it the ex you left behind, the man you had to push out of your life because he stopped loving you?

    Is it the one guy that you'd dreamt a future with? The one guy in the entire world you'd given enough power to hurt you? The guy that did break your heart?

    Tears gather on your waterline as images from your past cascade in your mind, and you flutter your eyelids to suck the salty liquid back in. There is no use reminiscing what has been lost. 

    Because this man who stands before you is none of those things. He is just a successful variety show director who has now stepped into the world of business by running a club. The guy who you deemed the love of your life, performing arts Junior Kim Taehyung who was growing into this amazing young man full of so many dreams – who wanted to hold your hand through the process of making them come true – has been left in the past. His feelings, plans and intentions had changed long before you realised he was done caring about you. He had stopped being the guy you fell for, long before you walked away.

    But even as you remind yourself of those things, you cannot help scanning his face with a frenzied gaze as if trying to save up every changed detail of him, the matured lines around his mouth and eyes, the stronger structure of his nose and jaw. 

    Why are you doing this to yourself? And why is he doing this to you? Holding onto your arms so fiercely and looking into your eyes with such blatant distress? And why is your heart beating so loud in response to his proximity?

    "I…" He moves a miniscule bit closer and you stifle a gasp when his familiar breath washes over your face. "I have missed you."

    Oh, God, no.

    No no no no – he can't say stuff like this after everything you've been through. You refuse to accept it. With a vehement scowl, you shove him off you, turning away from the hurt that splashes across his face. 

    "Stop this, Taehyung." You wish your voice came out stronger than a helpless plea, but it ends in a whisper of his name. "Let me just go ho—"

    "Does seeing me here not affect you at all?"

    Your gaze snaps to his in surprise, lips turning downwards when you see the way his eyes are dunked in sorrow. "Taehyung…"

    "Does it not matter to you at all? It's – it's been five years… have you not missed me? At all?"

    His restlessness visibly grows with every sentence and you wring your fingers together, nervous for no reason. "I… There's – there's no point to this conversation, Taehyung, we—"

    "Yes, there is!" 

    He frowns at you furiously, jaw tightened and fists clenched, but stays rooted to his place without moving towards you. Anger never used to be something you saw on Taehyung much. If he could go without it in a situation, he always chose that path. This also meant that the few times when he did get mad, he didn't know how to handle the feeling or how to act. And so, fearing God knows what, he always maintained physical distance from you when he got annoyed. 

    Hence, the way he holds himself tightly away from you confirms that he is extremely angry, right now.

    Your lips turned back into your mouth, you try to nod in a placating manner, letting him say his thing instead of trying to fight and causing him more anguish.

    "You… you just left me," he begins, looking more confused and lost than agitated. "Never talked about us, never let me talk, just… up and exited out of my life. Disappeared from the apartment until I'd cleaned it out, blocked me everywhere you could, even told your building's freaking security guard to not let me in!"

    You duck your head, cheeks heating up in embarrassment, because his accusation is right. You started hiding from him the day after you broke up, scared he would convince you to try again with just one glance. But you were beyond the point trying, already. The two of you were getting bigger and busier in your respective fields and growing more distant from each other. You both forgot about the tenderness of all the promises you made to each other in college and let insecurity, suspicion and toxicity between you.

    "Say something," he brokenly calls out, staring at you with his eyes defeated and shoulders slumped.

    "There's nothing to say, Taehyung," you whisper, unable to maintain eye-contact. 

    "How?" he beseeches, throwing his hands up. "You left me and then avoided me like the plague… You treated me as if I'd cheated on you because you were suspicious!"

    Now you're angry too. "Okay, one – I never treated you like that. And should I remind you I wasn't alone in my suspicions? Somi came into your life because you were insecure about me and my boss!"

    "Did you ever stop to think that maybe there was a reason I was so insecure about you both?"

    "Reason? Taehyung, what the—" You shut your eyes to calm yourself down from screaming. "Are you really going to keep spinning this in circles and not once acknowledge that it was petty and stupid of you to try to make me jealous through Somi?"

    Taehyung's throat bobs in a nervous swallow, his quickly changing demeanour telling you he's been caught by surprise. You give a scoff, rolling your eyes, and walk up to the bar next to you to raise yourself up and sit on one of the stools.

    He follows you with pursed lips, tentatively walking up to stand next to you.

    “There was nothing there, by the way,” he quietly says. “Feel like I should clarify that because I never really have before. Somi was still in college, foolish and a bit disillusioned. And I just didn’t want to destroy the rest of her career because you and I were going through a rough patch.”

    You never really suspected he was having an affair, to begin with, but that didn’t lessen the insult and hurt you felt at the unnecessary means he used in order to slight you. What he just said, though, makes your head hurt.

    “Taehyung. Are you listening to yourself? You really chose to secure a girl’s career instead of saving our relationship! And then you accused me of having my priorities messed up.”

    He responds to your aggression with a dejected hum. “It sounded shitty even as I was saying it. But that was me, then. And I regret not trying hard enough. Although,” he breathes, looking at you with sad eyes as he says your name with a sadder sigh. "Don't say I chose to protect her over us, please don't say that…"

    “That is pretty much how it went down, though.” You blink your tears away and bite on your bottom lip. "Do you remember your twenty-fourth birthday?"

    You can spot the second Taehyung shows those familiar signs of irritation, and you are ready with your scoff. It has been four years, and he's still doing this?

    "Don't give me that look. You don't know how excited—"

    "And you don't know how upset I was!" he speaks over you, looking almost as angry as he did that night when you confronted him.

    → five years ago;

    “What do you mean he’s away?” you barked into the phone, painted nails digging into your palms and furious eyes scanning the people scattered around the living room. “What’s going on, Jimin?”

    The man on the phone sighed. “Kid, I don’t know the exact details of his schedule – I won’t have wasted a week setting things up with you if I did, trust me. It’s just what his assistant told me. They're both away to attend a very important meeting, or some shit. They can't be back until tomorrow morning. Since when does he even have an assistant?”

    You rubbed at your forehead, brain melting into a useless pulp from all the stress, but plastered a smile on your face when one of the guests looked your way. “Since Halloween,” was gritted out of your clenched teeth, lips barely moving.

    “Is everyone there already?”

    “Yes, Jimin. Even his mom arrived fifteen minutes ago,” you informed your boyfriend’s best friend, looking at the woman mentioned, with a distressed sigh. “More than twenty hearts that I set up to break.”

    “Hey, hey, none of that,” Jimin reprimanded you, the sound of his footfalls echoing through the phone due to what you assumed were the empty hallways of Taehyung’s studio where his office was located. “First off, we both decided it would be a good surprise. So we both take the fall of it blowing up in our faces. And secondly, Tae is breaking their hearts, kid. Not us.”

    Your eyes watered despite Jimin’s reassurance, throat tightening at the prospect of all the questions and judgemental stares you would be subjected to on top of the disappointment from your guests. Not to mention Taehyung’s mom who took a flight out of Daegu at your insistence.

    “I’ll be there soon and we’ll tell them together, okay? Just hold on for a while.”

    God bless his precious soul, but Jimin’s presence wasn’t going to make things any easier for you. The reality of the night remained that you’d planned a surprise get-together for your boyfriend’s twenty-fourth birthday, collecting the closest of your friends and his to treat them to a small party at home, hoping to sew up some of the distance that had started to fester between the two of you for the last couple of months.

    And he didn’t show up. Chose to attend a 'very important meeting' instead. And took his assistant along.

    Your heart was shattering with each breath you took, but the night went on. 

    Jimin helped you make up a lie about Taehyung getting caught up in a shooting that ran late which had delayed him from arriving on time. You convinced your guests to not stay back so late and wait for him because 'he would feel guilty,' and bid them farewell with an apology and a homemade cupcake in their hands as a parting gift. Missus Kim stayed back, eyeing you with a narrowed gaze when everyone had filtered out of your apartment.

    “He isn’t just late, is he?”

    You jumped at her words, panicked eyes meeting Jimin's, who froze in the middle of slipping on his boots to take his own leave.

    “Don’t look at him,” the gorgeous woman caught you, chuckling. “He’s just as bad of a liar as you.”

    Jimin stood up with a guilty grimace, bowing his head in apology. “I’m sorry, Mom."

    She waved a hand, dismissing him with pursed lips. "Do you both even know where he is?"

    No, you had no idea.

    "He's… not in Seoul, actually."

    Your gaze snapped to Jimin at his revelation. He hadn't told you that.

    Taehyung… wasn't in the city? Where was he? When did he leave? 

    He had taken his assistant with him. He didn't pick up your calls all night. His assistant picked up his phone, only when Jimin called.

    Was he really away on work, or…?

    No, it had to be work. You refused to jump to conclusions. He would never do this to you; not in this life, or any other that you two found yourselves together in.

    But then… Why did he not tell you he was leaving?

    Why wasn't he returning your calls?

    What was your boyfriend hiding from you?

    Heart crumpling, head pounding and darkness clouding your vision, you fell into a heap on the floor. Two pairs of legs made a frantic dash towards you, their worried voices and calls of your name reaching you through a long, narrow tunnel.

    But your chest burned with humiliation and grief, things falling into themselves until you passed out on your living room floor.

    When the next morning came, you were barely able to relax at the waking up without last night's paranoia in your mind, before the news reports caught up with you – your boyfriend and assistant had been spotted and photographed visiting a k-drama actress' manager in Incheon, last night. Apparently he was preparing for a 'March release' for his variety show and 'trivial things like birthdays' were not going to make him falter in his determination of working hard.

    You had sat stunned at the kitchen table for hours, coffee forgotten and eyes swollen, until Taehyung arrived sometime in the late morning.

    “You missed your party yesterday.”

    “Ah, I know. Mom called. She was mad.”

    Taehyung didn’t even look your way, simply laid down on the couch and decided to nap.

    You scoffed, walking up to him with a frown. “Taehyung. It was insulting and very hurtful that you decided to just leave town without telling me.”

    “Somi told Jimin, didn't he tell you?" he mumbled from beneath the arm he had over his face.

    You bristled at the casual way he said his assistant's name. "Oh, yeah, he did. He also told me Somi picked up your phone. The same phone which I called on at least fifty times and got no response.

    He gave a click of his tongue, still lying motionless. "What's the big deal with her handling my phone? She had it because I was talking to an important person."

    "The big deal is that your phone is supposed to be private. You have a girlfriend that might send you private messages that no one but you should be privy to." You rolled your shoulders back. "On that note… maybe you should remind your assistant of the fact that you have a girlfriend."

    “I have, multiple times. But... I don't think she's really all that wrong to not believe me when my ‘girlfriend’ had never even visited me at work, not once.”

    “That's not fair, Tae. You've never visited my newsroom either, but I don't complain!”

    “I haven't visited because you haven't invited me! And why would you? Wouldn't want Hoseok to know you have a boyfriend, right?”

    You groaned, massaging your forehead as your irritation peaked. “Really? This again? Taehyung, for fuck’s sake, he's my boss.”

    “He asked you to go to the Halloween Ball with him—”

    “As colleagues!”

    “That's what you think. Or maybe that's what you want me to think. But I'm not stupid.”

    “No, you're not,” you gritted out, stare menacing and full of hatred. “You're an absolute dumbass. So you humiliated me in front of all our guests and let your mother question how weak our relationship has been because you won't trust me about Hoseok? Is that what this is? Did you go there with Somi as some dumb ploy to make me jealous?”

    “What does it matter, anyway? Not like you're gonna feel anything, you never have. You don't care where I am or who I am with.”

    “Where – where the fuck is this coming from? I don't feel stupidly jealous because I am secure in our relationship! I trust you and know that no matter what anyone tries, you're never gonna betray me!”

    “Oh? And I'm insecure for not liking the fact that your boss asked you to go to a party with him? When he knew you have a boyfriend?”

    “Yes! Yes, you're insecure! Which doesn't make any sense, because look at you, Tae! Have you seen yourself? A successful PD that artists run after to get him to take them into his variety shows. Idols flirt with you! Anyone would feel like the luckiest person in the world to be with you!”

    “Do you?”

    “What?”

    “Do you feel lucky to be with me?”

    What the heck was he trying to get on? "Of course, I feel lucky to have you, Tae. What sort of a question is that?"

    For a moment, something soft and familiar entered his face. But the next second, it was back to harsh lines and twisted anger that you did not recognise, at all.

    "Well, you sure don't act like it."

    Stunned, you just stared at him for a while. When it became apparent that he was waiting for you to say something to defend his baseless blame, you scoffed.

    "I have a busy job and an NGO to take care of. I'm sorry I can't be a doting girlfriend all the time that worships the floor you walk on!" You shook your head. "But it's nothing you didn't already know when we started dating, Tae."

    He didn't look towards you, instead staring at his hands. "You had time for the Halloween gala. You made time for the Christmas gala. You just… It's not about time. You've just stopped prioritising me." With a quick glance tossed at you, he allowed you to peak at all the heartbreak he contained in him. But then he gave a wry chuckle. "Or maybe, something about your office events makes you want to distance yourself from me?"

    His indication was, clear as day, Hoseok again. 

    You ground your teeth in pain coloured irritation. "You're talking out of your ass, Kim Taehyung. For the last time, he's my boss and—"

    "I'm done with this conversation." He made to step away with a roll of his eyes but you stopped him.

    "No, you're not. Stop being an insecure asshole and apologise for last night," you beseeched, looking into his eyes with a defeated sigh and slumped shoulders. "That was all I wanted, to begin with."

    "Maybe sometime later, I'm too agitated to apologise right now."

    And he shoved your hand off his arm and stalked towards the bathroom.

    As you went about cleaning the scatter of supplies you'd left in the kitchen after last night, your need for an apology from him went down and the need for a breather away from him started to surface.

    The decision you finally made after four months had started to cement that morning, on the last day of the year and the first day of the defeat you felt for the two of you.

    Blinking away tears, you look at Taehyung's face and wonder if he remembers as much as you do. Or if his own annoyance over the situation still clouds his sense of what he did wrong that day. 

    "Upset?"

    "Yeah, upset. More often than not, I felt like this airheaded guy next to you because our works were so vastly different. You were dealing with real people, real problems – and I was creating dumb shows to entertain people with these simulations of made up problems." He looks at you with pained eyes. "And then you had someone like Hoseok wanting to take you to events with him."

    "What do you mean by someone like Hoseok?" you ask with a small groan, hating the memories of all the fights you both had because of the unsuspecting guy. 

    "Someone smart, someone fun. Someone who understood your work. Someone you could confide in better than me. Someone who spent way more time with you than I ever could because of our schedules and busy jobs." He shrugs his shoulders, looking down at his feet. "I felt like if he really tried, Hoseok could steal you away from me. And some part of me actually realised that it would be good for you if it happened. And that drove me nuts."

    This is the first time he has ever expressed the true extent of his insecurity about Hoseok – the man who is still your boss but is now in a happy marriage, because despite Taehyung's suspicions, neither you nor Hoseok ever had any kind of feelings for each other.

    "Taehyung," you sigh, eyes misting at the way he stands with his limbs curled in, as if trying to make himself look smaller. "It was never like that. Never ever."

    "Then why did you break up with me before a trip with him?"

    Surprised at the way he has twisted up his view of the situation, you quickly step towards him and shake your head. "No. No it wasn't like that, at all. I broke – broke up because we had stopped understanding each other," you try to remind him. "It was never about anybody else. Not Hoseok, not Somi. It was about our trust in each other and the way it was crumbling under the pressure of our demanding workplaces. We were becoming toxic for each other, Tae."

    Taehyung doesn't look like he understands any of that. And you know why. He has always been very simple and raw about his emotions and feelings – never really getting into gritty details of anything other than what he feels when it came to your relationship. He always believed that you could make it work as long as you had each other; as long as you had love. But that is not how it works. And he has to understand that.

    "Do you resent me?"

    He looks at you in surprise at your question.

    "For breaking your heart?"

    "I resent you for breaking both of our hearts," he tells you and a thick layer of comfort washes over you at his acknowledgement of your own hurt. "There were so many other things we could have done, back then… Things that would've saved our mental health as well our relationship. We could've gotten professional help, went to couple therapy, maybe lived separately for a while. But you just gave up."

    You hang your head, fully aware that every single word he is saying is true. 

    Back then, you were obsessed with the idea of salvaging your sanity and not wasting away your youth by crying over your relationship, because you were so full of energy and drive that you felt like you could really change the world if you tried hard enough. Being with Taehyung started to be synonymous to pain and frustration, which you inadvertently brought to work and had it affect your productivity. It started taking a toll on you after a while, so much so that cutting things off to allow both of you to breathe was the best solution you could come up with.

    Now, though, looking back at how difficult it has been to cope with all that world has to offer, by your lonesome self, maybe you'd do things differently.

    But you still stand by the reality that you only did what you felt would be good for you both.

    “Are you still mad at me about the Somi debacle?”

    You are not surprised that he puts up the question. It’s as you have always known; Taehyung doesn’t care much for the complexities in a relationship beyond the baser emotions. When he’s in love, he’s just in love – and when you’re angry, you’re just angry in his eyes. 

    Very silently, you breathe out and shake your head. “It was never really about Somi. I just explained it to you.”

    “I… Then why have you been so cold to me the entire time, tonight?”

    The vulnerability in his small voice tears down all the protective walls you have built up high around your heart. 

    “Tae…” 

    You don’t even know what to say to him, how to explain what you feel. You definitely have been avoiding him, ignoring him and yelling at him – but is it because you are actually angry? Or just trying to avoid your true feelings? You don’t know.

    “I don’t know,” you honestly admit, slipping off the stool, your eyes lowered to his feet. “I’m sorry for being a bitch, but… I just… I don’t know, Tae. I never should have come here. I’m sorry I ruined your night.”

    You turn away from him, closing your eyes to keep tears at bay. You should have left this party the moment you found out Jimin was hosting it with Taehyung. You should have… moved out of the damn apartment after your break-up. 

    But you thought you were strong enough to brave all of this without anything getting to you. Well, you were wrong. A lot of it has gotten to you and you don’t even know how long it will take for you to get back on your feet. Maybe you should start with moving out of the apartment, foremost.

    You’re still ruminating on your regrets, when a strong hand grabs your upper arm from behind. You didn’t even hear him move. Before you can turn to look at him, you feel his presence directly up against your back, his damp exhales warm on the exposed skin of your shoulder.

    “You didn’t ruin my night,” whispers his deep, gruff voice next to the shell of your ear and you shudder. “You ruined me. All those years ago… you ruined me when you left.”

    Breathing sped up, you slowly turn in his arms, coming up so close to his face when you look up, that you have to repeatedly blink to ground yourself. 

    He is so beautiful. Hair up and away from his forehead but still slightly messy because he has this habit of fiddling with it whenever he is anxious. Soft brown eyes wild and liquid with the exact same devastation that compresses your own chest, cheekbones high and dotted with a red hue from his agitation, the same hue that his lips have lost due to how tightly he has them pressed together.

    He is so beautiful that it’s painful to have him so close and yet so far away from you.

    “Tae, I… I understand it was difficult – trust me, I suffered more than I thought I would. But it was important.”

    Now, you planned to elaborate on your point and try to make him see how the years apart made the two of you get to know yourselves better instead of you going down the road of destroying each other you were headed to.

    But before you can do any of that, Taehyung’s face turns cloudy, his overthinking brain obviously drawing all sorts of wrong conclusions from your singular statement.

    “Important? Are you being for real?” is gritted out through his teeth, hand letting go of your arm and feet stepping away.

    “Taehyung—”

    “I cannot fall in love again!” he yells, but all his voice carries in its loudness is immeasurable pain. “It’s – it’s been five years since you left, and there’s still this huge, gaping hole in my chest that nothing and no one can ever fill because it is shaped like you! And you…” His shoulders roll down in a defeated slump. “You think us separating was important.”

    His biggest concern is not being able to fall in love again? Your heart, hurting and paining, jumps up to lodge in your throat. Trembling lips rolled into your mouth, you stare at him with watery eyes but an even gaze.

    “I have a gaping hole shaped like you in my chest too, which will remain like that. And so will yours.” You breathe out. “Remember when I told you anyone would be lucky to have you? And you asked me if I felt lucky, too?” At his hesitant nod, you lean into his face, eyebrows drawn menacingly. “I felt like the luckiest woman in the whole world by your side, Taehyung. But all you could think of was how any other guy would come steal me from you, because you believed I was that easily moved.”

    A tear leaves your eye when his own pair starts to glimmer with the salty water. But you have to tell him – he has to remember he wasn’t alone in his hurt.

    “I was neck deep in love with you. But you just couldn’t learn to trust me. You’re worried about falling in love again? Where will you find someone willing to deal with your insecurities when you drove me away? If I couldn't put up with you, no one else would ever be able to, Kim Taehyung.”

    Your words are met with heartbreak on his face. Lower lip quivering, his own tears brim his eyes and start to topple over in beaded trails down his cheeks. 

    Great, now you both are crying. This is so stupid. This shouldn’t have been happening, God, you should have been working on an article and Taehyung should have been enjoying the launch of his club. 

    And now you will both sob your way into the new year. Like absolute idiots who can’t help hurting one another every time you two come within reach.

    “But I’ve never wanted anyone else to do that,” he suddenly says, voice choked and gritty. “I just wanted you back.”

    “We were going to ruin each other, Tae,” comes your breathy claim, sounding as broken as his does.

    “And now? Do we stand to ruin each other still?”

    What? What does he mean by that? Why would he ask you that? Terrified of the implications, you take a small step away from Taehyung, your eyes wide and not meeting his.

    “Is everything lost for us? Forever?”

    Now, there’s nothing else he could mean by that.

    “I… I think I should leave,” you murmur in a rush, hurriedly stepping away, unwilling to have this conversation with him.

    He is not having it, though because one moment you’re walking off, and the next you have your wrist in his grasp – being spun around and pushed against the nearest wall, his other hand holding onto your waist to fix you in place.

    Your wide eyes look up at him and his narrowed ones look down at you. “No. You pushed me out of your life once, I won’t let you do it a second time. Not when I have you so close to me again…”

    Senses haywire, all you can focus on is the golden skin of his face, the planes of his cheeks glowing with the trails of tears. His heart shaped lips quiver, coming closer to yours. You look up into his dark eyes that lock yours in place.

    “I never stopped loving you,” he breathes a hair's breadth away from your lips and you greedily inhale his air, heart skipping multiple beats at a time as he finishes with, “Did you?”

    And you know, you absolutely know that the sane thing to do, right now, would be to push him off you and leave this place. Tell him to remember himself – remember where the two of you stand in your lives, and not mess up the temporary calm you two have attained with so much difficulty.

    But you do none of that.

    Because his eyes are glassy and lips are glossy and you still love him – love him so much, it feels impossible. Your lips are the one to catch his, but his are the ones that push hard against yours.

    All at once – the world is a very familiar but a very scary place. His lips transport you back to when you were crazy in love. But they also remind you of all the tears. They taste like his favourite strawberry chapstick. But they also taste like guilt, regret and a million apologies.

    Taehyung holds you tighter, pushes you against the wall harder, and slides a leg between yours to jam you in your place. His tongue slips past your lips with practised ease, tangling with yours. The battle – so intimate and so yours – has been perfectly memorised by your body, so much so that you move on muscle memory, gripping the back of his neck and tilting your head just right to taste the delicious cavern of his mouth that you have so desperately missed.

    Your passion is returned in kind, Taehyung’s exploring hands reaching up to hold your breasts, as if relearning their curves. His lips detach from yours with a heavy gasp, wasting no time before travelling down your neck like second nature.

    Well, it is second nature to them – Taehyung has always loved marking up the line of your throat, and the way his teeth make small scrapes against your skin reacquaint you with the fact.

    “Tae,” you breathe, eyes shut and head pressed against the hard surface behind it. 

    You do not know what you are calling out for. But you can’t help saying his name out loud; making this moment of having his skin against yours more tangible.

    “Tae… Taehyung… Tae baby…”

    His groan is sponged into your collarbones by his wet, open mouthed kisses. And then, in a movement faster than the blinks of your rapidly fluttering eyelids, his long, slender fingers curl against the upper hem of your dress and tug it down, baring you from the waist up.

    You do not get the time to show your shock, let alone bring yourself back to the reality of what you are doing and whom you are doing it with, before his hands have your breasts cupped in them again. This time, without the layer of your dress’s padded cloth.

    All that escapes your mouth is a winding moan, body jolting when he pinches both your nipples between his thumb and the knuckle of his index finger of either hand. 

    “So fucking pretty.” 

    His voice is impossibly dark and deep, something you’ve heard multiple times before and lose your mind to, every single time. This time bears no exception. Then he leans down to wrap his lips around one of the pebbled tips of your breasts, and you keel over, screaming his name and digging your nails into his back. Tongue flicking at the sensitive nub, his teeth rub over it lightly before he sucks hard.

    “Tae…” You helplessly whisper, lost in the sensations only he seems to be capable of igniting in your body.

    Raising his head from your breast, he lets his free hand travel down your side to slip past the slit in your dress to trace the hem of your panties, and answers you with a softly breathed, “Yes, baby?” 

    His flushed face greets your vision when you open your eyes again. Your own probably looks the same, because you can feel your ears getting warmer by the moment as the pads of his deft fingers scratch at the fabric of your underwear, right above your wet centre. And you’re lost again, closing your eyes and moaning out an elongated version of his name.

    “Please… touch me…”

    The fingers immediately slide the crotch of your panties aside to brush up against your naked pussy – sensitive and coated with your wetness. A hissed breath is released past your lips, teeth pulling the bottom one between them as you try to keep quiet while Taehyung moves his fingers through your slick centre. His digits travel from the outer edges of your slit, up to your clit and pause there, very lightly tapping at your sensitive nub, before travelling back down.

    You are whimpering now, opening up your legs wider and hooking one over his waist in desperation. Taehyung remains unrelenting, teasing you until thick tears of arousal tumble down your cheeks. With a hum that sounds nothing short of sinister satisfaction, he leans in to plant a soft kiss over the tear tracks on your cheeks, and finally, finally slips two of his fingers past your entrance. They curl against your heated insides with practised familiarity, his hand making small pumping motions until he is a little over knuckles deep. 

    The tips of his fingers know where to touch you and how tenderly – and he drags them against your rough patch of nerves in a flurry of motions, making you wrap all your limbs around him, sobbing his name over and over again.

    Taehyung’s head falls to your shoulder, lips planting kisses between his whispers of your own name back to you.

    “I missed you so much, baby… you’re so gorgeous…” he breathes into your skin, kissing a line up to the back of your ear. “I love you so much.”

    Emotions and arousal churn inside of you, confusing you and dragging you to the point of delirium. All you know is that you don’t want him to stop, never want him to stop. Stop what – talking or doing what he is with his fingers?

    Maybe both. 

    So you allow a moan to escape your lips, push your face into his chest, your cheek against the lapel of his coat, and mumble an aching, “I need you inside me, Tae…”

    “Yeah?” he immediately holds you tighter against his body, nearly lifting you off the floor, his hair brushing your shoulders as he dips to plant kisses over your breasts that are pressed against his form. “Want me to fuck you, my love?”

    “Please… Please, Tae…”

    With a muttered curse, he pulls his fingers out of you, making you open your eyes to watch them wordlessly disappear into his mouth. He looks completely fucked out, cheeks a brilliant rosy red, lips swollen as if he’s been nibbling on them, and eyes glazed over. 

    Taehyung is without a doubt the most handsome man you have seen in your life. But Taehyung during sex? That is a whole other level of irresistible deliciousness that always drives you crazy. Right now, he looks like he is going to devour you. And you so badly want him to.

    Using the hand holding your waist, he twirls you around to press your front against the wall. The roughness of the wall immediately makes your sensitive nipples sting, but you are too far lost in the feel of his hands baring your ass to him – your dress neatly folded over your hips. He grabs the side of your waist to tug your ass back, stepping in between your spread legs. And as you support yourself with your arms against the wall, the sound of his zipper being undone bathes your ears with an echo. There’s a crinkling of foil that follows the sound, which doesn’t surprise you at all. Taehyung has always been very careful and caring in every aspect of your sex life. All of these thoughts just work to heighten your arousal further.

    And then he’s there, the fat head of his cock nudging at your entrance, both hands holding onto the cheeks of your ass, spreading them apart lewdly. His length runs through your juices, nudging against the hood of your clit, and you whine, pressing your forehead against the cold surface of the PVC wall panel in front of you. 

    “Ready, baby?” Taehyung asks you as if to tease you, the knowing lilt in his voice spilling with mischief.

    He knows you are more than ready; have been literally begging him. You try to exhale but a tight groan comes out instead when he pushes just the head of his thick and long – almost too long for you to handle – cock into you.

    “Oh, yeah, you’re so ready,” comes his throaty murmur. “So fucking wet, you’re dripping all over me…”

    He pushes further in without any more words, the only sounds around you both are your heavy breaths and his gasps of effort as he works his girthy length into your tight channel. 

    The way Taehyung fills you up so completely is a feeling you have found nowhere else in the world. The bulging veins running beneath the velvet surface of his cock brush against all the right spots in you despite the layer of latex between you both, and your walls give way for him to be driven all the way in, have him buried to the hilt. He raises your body into a standing position and snakes both his hands to the front of your torso, gripping at your breasts to pull you against him with your back flat against his front. Using them as leverage, he pounds into you hard and fast.

    “Fuck – fuck – Tae!”

    He grumbles an unintelligible response into the back of your neck, nose pushed into your hair and lips tracing wet patterns on your skin. 

    You feel fully surrounded by him – held in his embrace, filled up with him and every breath you take carries the scent of his cologne. Every thrust of his length in you pushes the globes of your breasts further into his large palms, his grunts filtering into your ears. You respond with high-pitched renditions of his name, legs turned to jelly with how hard he is fucking you.

    "Missed you," he gasps into you ear in between his motions, with, "so – fucking – much," enunciated in time with the movement of his hips.

    You blindly nod, eyes shut and tears leaking through your lids. His grip suddenly loosens on you, hands sliding down your body to mould against the dip of your waist and hold you tight again. Your spine arches, shifting away from him when his thrusts slow down to let you adjust, and head settles over one of the arms that you have braced against the wall.

    Taehyung rolls your body onto his cock, growling your name entwined with curses. "Did you miss me too?" he pants, pistoning himself in you, hitting all your sensitive spots.

    A sob leaves you, eyes clenching tighter. You missed him. God knows how fucking much. "I – I did…"

    "Good… Should've never fucking left me, God," he hisses, movements a blur behind you, the push of his length against that one spongy spot deep within you, making your eyes roll back and a coil begin to tighten in your belly. "I should've fought harder… Begged more…"

    His words reach you later than they should because the cloud of lust that envelops you is too thick to permeate. But his words are sharp and extremely heavy – when they get to you, they drop straight down to your stomach, tearing through everything in their wake.

    Because you really destroyed him, didn't you? Cursed him to a lifetime of pain just because you couldn't handle fights?

    Your eyes open and multiple tears dribble down your face, heart torn.  

    "Tae," your whimper, tears falling non-stop even as your orgasm draws closer. "You – you did everything you c–could… fuck… I didn't even try…"

    His pace falters, slowing down, a hand racing up your waist to cup your chin and pull it to the side. Your teary eyes meet his own red rimmed ones. 

    "Do you love me?"

    Oh, God… You're about to say yes, aren't you?

    Desperate eyes scan your own, waiting, hoping – but as your uncertain gaping continues, his hips start to snap harder again. His eyes turn to slits, teeth grind together and then his grip on your chin becomes bruising as he grunts, "Talk to me when I ask you a question…"

    His dominant persona has always been your undoing, so you aren't the least bit surprised when a whimpered moan is coaxed out of you, along with a jumble of confession.

    "I love you! I love – love you so much, Tae! So much, fuck!"

    Taehyung curses against the back of your neck, and then separates his upper body from yours to bring his palm down in a sharp spank against your ass. You cry out, brought to the edge by his action.

    "A fucking brat, left your man all alone as if – as if you could live without me, huh?"

    Beyond the anger and sexual need, you hear pain in his voice and shut your eyes in apology. "Baby… I love you…"

    In response, he pulls his length out of you. 

    But your gasping protests get swallowed by his mouth when he immediately spins you around to press up against you again, lips on yours and a hand wrapped around your throat. The other hand taps at your thigh to get you to manoeuver your legs around his hip.

    He effortlessly holds you up against the wall and slides his cock home again, this time with his teeth digging into your tongue.

    "You fucking killed me, baby," he grunts into your mouth, snapping his hips against yours angrily. "It's been h–hell without you…"

    His jaw tightens just as his hand tightens around your throat. You groan when  the action builds your peak quicker than before.

    "I'm… I'm sorry…" You do not recognise the voice that comes out of you, but you mean your apology with your heart. 

    "And so am I, baby, shit… So fucking sorry, you have no fucking idea…" His words are nearly sobbed, but you feel them seep into your bones.

    Then his lips move to lick a path down your chin, and then, tightening his grip on your throat to the point where you actually feel your air supply getting cut off, he latches onto a nipple with a hum of delight. 

    All sensations crescending in under a minute, you give a muffled shout of Taehyung's name, eyes screwing shut and hips stuttering uncontrollably against his as you are toppled over the edge. The walls of your pussy quiver around his cock in a delicious rhythm which has your back arching and a cry tearing out of your throat.

    Your vision goes completely dark. The zaps of electricity that run across your skin are something only Taehyung has ever been capable of eliciting from you.

    Almost immediately, before you can even catch your bearings, he whimpers your name against your breast and goes stiff over you. You wait in anticipation as he groans, releasing himself into the condom.

    Taehyung still keeps you in the air against the wall despite the jitters that wrack his body, exhaling shuddering breaths that mist over your sweaty collarbones. His arms are the only buoys holding you up from sinking to the ground with exhausted relief, and you cling onto them with desperation. His softening length still rests in you and some part of you feels unwilling to let go of it, making you involuntarily clench. Hissing, Taehyung grips your waist harder.

    A hand swipes at your hair, shifting it off your forehead, which makes you realise your eyes are shut. When a finger tips your chin up, you open them to meet Taehyung's gaze. His cheeks are flushed and eyes tender. Noticing the mess that has become of his hair, you run your hands up to his own forehead, attempting to arrange it. 

    His plush lips spread into a soft smile, then inhaling, "You… said you love me," he breathes out against your face. You stiffen, eyes dropping to his tie and shirt which he didn't even take off. "Did you mean it?"

    You did. You absolutely meant it.

    But something in you holds you back from confirming it.

    A heavy, heartbreaking sigh leaves him, body visibly slumping in defeat. Very slowly, Taehyung pulls out of you and makes to unwind your legs from around his waist, and you—

    You feel like you're about to lose him again. 

    As if releasing you right now would mean that he will never touch you again. Never be near you again. Never look at you again.

    And the mere thought of that frightens you to death.

    So you cross your ankles behind his back and run your arms up his biceps to hold onto the back of his neck. His surprised eyes fly to yours, hesitant but so immensely full of hope, you nearly tear up again.

    Inhaling deeply, you nod. "Yes. I meant it. I love you, Tae. Always have, never stopped."

    A sharp inhale, followed by a gasping chuckle, and Taehyung's eyes widen in wonder. "You… didn't?"

    You shake your head. "Not for a single moment. Even when I wanted to tear your hair out, I loved you more than is humanly possible."

    His grip on you tightens before he brings your head to his chest, embracing you like his life depends on it. And maybe it does, because yours does too, which is why you wrap yourself around him like a koala, unbothered how you're still bare except for the dress bunched up in the middle of your waist.

    The feel of his firm chest and strong, thumping heartbeat under your ear has tears flowing from your eyes unbidden.

    "You," you murmur with a sniffle, "you said you're sorry. Did you—"

    "Meant every word," he whispers into your hair in between pressing multiple kisses over it.

    A weight suddenly lifts off your shoulders. "You do?" 

    "I am so terribly sorry for every damn thing I did to you, baby." His hold on you tightens a bit more. "And I wish… I wish I'd apologised every time you needed me to. I wish I'd fired Somi when you asked me to… I wish I fucking trusted you when you told me not to worry about Hoseok. I…"

    He pulls away to meet your gaze and a sob crawls out of you at the wrecked look on his face.

    "I wish I was better to you, baby. And I wish I can go back and correct all the things I did wrong, but…"

    You nod. "M–me, too. I wish I understood you better. And – and that I was braver, fought for us instead of quitting when things got tough…"

    The two of you stare at each other in silence for a while after that. There's nothing much left to say, anyway. 

    It is no secret to you how much you suffered in his absence. How you laid awake in bed, nights upon nights, missing Taehyung and his warm cuddles. How you cried yourself to sleep in the early hours of the morning, berating yourself for doing what you did to the two of you. How you used to avoid him at any cost when he tried to get to you because you knew he could make your resolve crumble. 

    How you kept hoping you did the right thing.

    How the pain in your heart always argued that the right thing wouldn't hurt so much.

    You have been so stupid. God, you've been a complete and absolute idiot.

    Did you really forget all that time when you and him made plans for your future back in college? Nights spent under the blanket of stars, gazing at the twinkling diamonds in the sky and wondering if you'd both fly high enough to touch them someday.

    You were supposed to do that together.

    Why did you let go of that dream so easily?

    You gave up when you should've done the opposite of that. Kept thinking your happily-ever-after was flawed, when it was you that stopped trying.

    And now when you look into the eyes of the love of your life, you never want to look away.

    "It's not all your fault, baby," he whispers because he reads you. He knows you, the way no one ever has and no one ever will. "I let my insecurities dictate the way I acted around you… Always assumed the worst, let my fears do the thinking instead of logic."

    You exhale. "What if – what if we try again?"

    "What?" His eyes jump to saucers, sparkling with more than just excitement. "You…"

    And he’s looking at you as if it’s surreal. Which doesn’t make sense because of course this is what you would suggest. It is where your conversation was headed, the logical conclusion of the two of you resolving your misunderstandings and apologising for your past mistakes.

    But – he looks at you as if hearing you say it makes his heart drum against yours like a metronome, as if in the last five miserable years the two of you stayed away from each other, he has never considered this to be a reasonable possibility. And if he is thinking all of that, he isn’t too off the mark, is he?

    Because you gave up all hope as well.

    Your grip on him tightens, bringing your faces closer. "I don't wanna be away from you again, Tae. And – and I know we have run away from our problems and caused more problems, but we can try to do better, right? We can learn. Right?"

    Taehyung's response is a watery smile and a nod so vigorous, it jolts both of you. You push your face into his neck with a giggle and he does the same to you, saying, "It might take time, but we will find our way. We will learn each other again."

    And you just nod back, dissolving in his tight embrace. "Promise to trust me more? I promise to understand you better."

    "I promise. I promise, baby, I promise." 

    Jimin passes you a knowing smile when you walk out of the venue with your hand entwined with Taehyung's, telltale rumples in your gown and a shit eating grin on your companion's face. 

    "Missed having you around, kid," Jimin mumbles as you wrap your arms around him in a hug. "Never make me pick sides again, okay?"

    “I never did, but Tae needed you more.” You pull away with a smile. "And I missed you, too."

    Sometime later, Jungkook finds you and nearly cries in happiness when you tell him what happened. Well, minus the r-rated details, that is. 

    You and Taehyung are going back to your own places for the night, which makes both Jimin and Jungkook raise impressed eyebrows when Taehyung and you join them in their respective cars. But you both are determined.

    This time, you don’t want any glitches in your happily-ever-after and you will do things the right way to get to it. This time, there won’t be overthinking and assumptions, you’ll replace them with communication.

    As your cars drive each other by, moving in different directions, you and Taehyung pass each other soft smiles.

    © jimilter | 2022

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  • taehyung-bw
    15.05.2022 - 1 week ago

    this soft taekook moment that could easily be a kdrama scene!

    cr. vid: NUNA V
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