Ease - Part 4
Summary: You and your best friend Taehyung have recently got into the same university in the capital of Seoul. Hoping that this was your year to finally admit your romantic feelings towards your said best friend, uni seems an exciting prospect. But of course, the future never really goes according to plan.
A/N: thank you for all the support you’ve given me so far! nicest fandom to be in tbh
cupcake shop. Be there at 10. I’VE GOT NEWS!!!!
make that quarter past. Jin trapped me in the bathroom.
It was the morning after you had seen Taehyung kissing Yeji at the party, and with that image still fresh in your mind, you could already guess what Taehyung’s ‘big news’ was. It was surprising how quickly Taehyung wanted to discuss the situation, but then again, there had never been any secrets between you two.
Well, all except the one where you had a small crush on your best friend. Almost no secrets.
It took you five minutes to work up the courage to go into the main living area of your house, worried about meeting one of the girls on the way. You couldn’t deal with any more lectures about saving electricity or keeping the noise down, as you had enough on your plate as it was. Did those girls even understand what a tough time you’d been having?
Making your way out of your room cautiously, you paused as you spotted a girl sitting at the table in the kitchen area. Normally you would’ve made a quick exit, seeing as your housemates weren’t exactly the friendliest bunch. However, this girl you’d never seen before. Her short black hair was divided into two ponytails on each side of her head, and her pyjamas were pink and covered in teddy bears, making her very innocent-looking.
At this moment, the girl looked up and caught sight of you, her face lighting up. “Y/N!” she called out happily, standing up and giving you a bow. “Glad to finally meet you! Heard so many good things from Jiwon and Yeona; feels like I know you already!”
You stood there in silence, your eyes wide open in bewilderment.
“Wait… do you even know me?” she questioned, before breaking into fits of laughter, her hair flopping about like crazy. “I’m so sorry, I forgot to introduce myself! I’m Mijung.” When you still didn’t reply, she added, “I live here also.”
“Oh,” was all you could manage, giving Mijung a weak smile. “Nice to meet you too.”
“Don’t tell me the others haven’t mentioned me? Yah, what have I told them about being polite? I bet they’ve been grumpy too. Had a lot of problems, so I’ve been told. But they seem to like you, so they can’t have been too bad!”
You almost choked on your own saliva. “I’m sorry?” you spluttered. “They like me?”
Mijung nodded, her face frowning. “Haven’t they been very nice?” You didn’t reply, but your silence was enough confirmation. Mijung sighed, clutching her forehead as if she had a headache. “Yeona’s been having money problems. Her father lost his job so she’s probably very stressed, the poor thing. And Jiwon, she’s retaking exams and her parents aren’t happy about it. Those two not the most outgoing people to begin with, but I hope they haven’t been giving you too much trouble. I’ll have a word with them, don’t you worry. Then we can have a group meal this evening, get you some proper introductions. Tsk.”
Turning around, she went to the fridge and pulled out some more breakfast, adding to the pile she already had on the table. She was still talking, but quieter this time, as if she was talking to herself. “Those girls… they never do what I ask…”
Deciding it was best to be off, you left to meet Taehyung, immediately noticing how much happier you felt knowing at least one of your housemates wasn’t completely rude. You felt slightly guilty for judging Yeona and Jiwon so quickly, as you didn’t even think that they could be going through complications too. It explained a lot about their complaints. Got to stop thinking about yourself, Y/N, you thought firmly. No more wallowing in self-pity.
With that in mind, you strolled down the street with a new heart, brushing the one that had crumbled so easily the night before under the carpet.
just met the last one of my housemates. imagine you after you’ve had three cups of coffee – that sums her up. 10:20 okay?
I’m not afraid of competition. I’ve drunk two cups already and I can feel it in my bones
Hurry up though, because I will eat your cupcake. The coconut and mango one.
The cupcake shop was fast becoming one of your favourite places to be: set on the corner of a street, the wall of windows soaked up the sunshine of early spring. Small tables were set up in rows opposite the tills and cupcakes in the glass display, with soft brown chairs pulled up at each one. Taehyung was sat in one of those chairs in the far corner, hugging a zig-zag patterned cushion and staring out the window.
You took a moment to watch him, with his carrot-top hair already fading into pastel orange, his soft eyes half-closed as he basked in the warmth of the sun’s rays. As you sat down opposite him, a smile split across his face, making his eyes sparkle. You swallowed forcefully, feeling the familiar flip of your stomach. Diverting your gaze from Taehyung’s relaxed figure, you peered at the huge cupcakes sitting in front of you.
“I see slight abrasions on the icing.”
“That was the person at the counter when they were putting it on the tray,” Taehyung shot back, his voice calm like he had planned his answer.
You narrowed your eyes at him, but you were looking forward to eating too much to ask any more questions. Taking a huge bite of your cake, you smiled at Taehyung sweetly, fully aware you were giving him a pretty disgusting sight. Laughing, Taehyung did the same, covering his mouth with icing in the process.
“Hey, Y/N, do you like my beard?” asked Taehyung cheekily, smearing the icing down his chin.
“You look like an old man,” you teased. “Oh, Master Taehyung, teach me some words of wisdom.”
A naughty glint appeared in Taehyung’s eye. “I’ll show you, if you like.” Before you knew what was happening, Taehyung had shoved your cupcake straight into the middle of your face.
Spitting out bits of icing and wiping your stinging eyes, you heard Taehyung break down in fits of laughter, wiping his chin clean with a single swipe.
“That was evil!” you cried, doing your best to wipe off the icing before it grew sticky. Meanwhile, Taehyung now lay sideways on his chair, tears forming as his laughs grew silent. “Taehyung!”
“Your face!” he cackled, throwing his head back as a new wave of laughs hit him.
“I look disgusting! Tae, has it all gone?” you asked, desperately grabbing napkins.
Once he had regained his composure, Taehyung looked back at you, scanning your face. “Almost.” Reaching across the table, you felt his thumb sweep your bottom lip, then your hairline, then the corner of your eye. Each time you felt his touch your breath hitched, and your hands started to wobble. His expression grew solemn as he concentrated on gently brushing your skin.
“All gone,” Taehyung said, your cheeks beginning to burn.
He remained completely oblivious to the internal meltdown you were having, and instead steamrolled on in his usual fashion. “So anyway, my news!”
That brought your mood down. “Yeah,” you replied, knowing that there was no enthusiasm in your words. “Your news.”
“Remember how I found Yeji in the club yesterday? Well, I said hi to her again and she actually remembered my name! Remember when she called me Taemin? Anyway, then I asked her…”
You began to zone out as his words made the butterflies in your stomach turn into stones. The atmosphere had been so nice until Taehyung had brought up Yeji. Not that it was his fault, of course. He had every right to be happy that he got with his high school crush, seeing as he didn’t know how you felt towards him. When it was just you and Taehyung, you realised, it made you calm in a way that you couldn’t quite understand. He was comfort, and it gave you peace. But now, he was invested in another girl. Would you ever get that same comfort again?
“Y/N? Are you even here?” Taehyung asked, snapping his fingers in front of your face.
Shaking yourself back to the present, you tried to remember what Taehyung was talking about. Ahh, yes. Yeji. “So, you kissed her. Well done.”
“Ye- wait, what? How did you know?”
You blinked. “Uhh… just assumed, I guess,” you lied. The last thing you wanted was for Taehyung to know that you saw his intimate moment, or that you went home without mentioning it. Too many questions, not enough answers. One thing was for sure: you wanted to be happy for Taehyung. He was always pining for a girl he couldn’t have, or turning girls down because his parents wouldn’t approve. After seeing him in his darkest of days, you knew what a girl like Yeji could do for his confidence.
“I think she wants to meet up later. Can’t believe this is finally happening,” said Taehyung, staring at your hands that you lay casually on the table.
Soon after the words left his mouth, you heard a
high-pitched squeal and a ‘Taehyungie’ come from behind you. You barely looked round
before Yeji swept past in a perfume-scented blur to hug Taehyung.
Not that you were embarrassed by the affection, but more worried that it would come across as rude to stare, you looked at the view of the street, trying to even out your breathing. Overnight they’ve gone from bowing to hugging. Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Taehyung glance over Yeji’s shoulder in your direction, but you determinedly kept your head turned, despite there being nothing at all interesting outside to look at.
“Sorry, Taehyung, are you busy?” Yeji asked, suddenly noticing you sat on the opposite side of the table. “You’re his best friend, right?”
You nodded, finally turning back to meet Yeji’s large, innocent eyes. She gave you a soft smile, bowing her head slightly as you did the same. The tension in the air was growing thicker by second, and you could see Taehyung biting his lip as the awkwardness settled upon the three of you. Normally, you would’ve tried to break the silence, but there was nothing you wanted to say to Taehyung or Yeji.
She cleared her throat. “Shall I go?”
“No, no, no,” said Taehyung quickly, grabbing her wrist. “We were just finishing. Did you want to go to the park?” When Yeji nodded happily, Taehyung stood up to leave and shrugged on his coat. “I’ll see you later, Y/N! I’ll text you.”
Then they were gone, and you were left sitting by yourself in an almost empty shop after your best friend left you again for the same girl. What’s more, you could still feel the sticky residue of the cake icing around your face, making you feel even worse. It only took a minute for Yeji to walk in and ruin your good morning.
You didn’t want to go home just yet; although the appearance of Mijung slightly improved the housemate situation, the thought of moping around all day wasn’t appealing. So, you continued to sit in the cupcake shop, staring at the empty chair that Taehyung had filled only moments previously.
You were only pulled out of your statue-like state when two boys, a little older than you, both squished onto the brown seat opposite. Looking up at them in confusion, you realised that they were the two people working behind the counter, as both wore aprons across their black uniforms. They had light brown hair that flopped across their forehead, toned muscles, and concerned looks on their faces.
“Are you okay?” asked the smaller one of the two, his doe-shaped eyes filled with worry. “I’ve never seen anyone so sad in a cupcake shop before.”
The other boy let out a sound of frustration, sucking air in through his teeth to restrain himself from saying anything to his friend. “We just thought you looked down. Can we do anything for you?”
You shook your head, looking down at your lap as you felt your eyes brimming with tears. Hearing the uneasiness in their voices struck a chord, the emotions rising in your chest. “No,” you mumbled, letting the tears spill onto your jeans as they began to overflow.
Suddenly, two pairs of arms were engulfing your small frame, the smell of flour and freshly baked cakes filling your senses. The kind gesture simply made you want to cry harder, but the boys held on tight until you demanded that you were fine.
“I’m sorry,” you sniffed, but they just smiled comfortingly.
“It’s not everyday someone cries after eating a mango and coconut cupcake,” the taller boy grins, his smile wide and bright.
“When you’ve made the icing, that’s debatable,” the other boy jibed, earning a poke in his ribs.
The smiley boy ignored his friend’s whines about bruising, focusing back on you. “I’m Hoseok, and he’s Yoongi. We’re going to close for lunch, but you can hang out with us if you want. Could use some new company.”
You couldn’t help the smile that tugged on the corner of your lips as Yoongi began to tickle Hoseok, causing the taller boy to yell in protest. Struggling to keep Yoongi’s wiggling fingers away from his sides, Hoseok added, gasping slightly, “Please come so there’s a witness for my murder.”
“Okay, yeah,” you said, suppressing a grin. With Taehyung occupied, you realised how badly you were lacking friends. Perhaps Yoongi and Hoseok were exactly what you needed.
“This is my favourite place! I come here all the time, it’s always so quiet here.” For the last half hour, Hoseok and Yoongi had been showing you all the pretty parts in your region of Seoul, from cute flower markets to the insane shopping streets. To be more accurate, Hoseok had been showing you around, as Yoongi just went along with his younger friend. It was refreshing to hang out with new people, although Hoseok reminded you of Taehyung in many ways, making you wish he was here with you to explore. You knew he would’ve loved the gaming shop, which was packed full of everything he could only dream of. Compared to the shops in your small town on the outskirts of Daegu, this was heaven.
Hoseok had lead you down a cobblestone street, lined with cherry blossoms that had buds forming on the branches, ready for spring. The three of you had stopped outside a long white building, with a small, electric-controlled gate. Typing in the pin number, the gate buzzed and clicked as it became unlocked. Proudly, Hoseok walked up the steps, as if he was an estate agent showing off a property.
“It’s a dance studio,” announced Hoseok, his smile stretching wider. You had entered the locker room, with glass windows in the walls showing the practice space next door. “The dance club I’m in owns this place, but only a few people come here because it’s smaller than the main studio and it’s a bit out of the way of the main city,” he explained, entering the empty room.
“Are you into dancing, Y/N?” Yoongi asked, sitting down against one of the many mirrors to continue eating his lunch.
Your mind briefly thought back to all the dancing you’d done with Taehyung, but you pushed it away, not wanting to think of Taehyung for the fiftieth time in half an hour. “I enjoy it,” you said truthfully, “but I don’t do it seriously.”
“Dancing doesn’t have to be serious,” smiled Hoseok. He began fiddling with the stereo in the corner and going through his phone. After putting on an upbeat song, Hoseok started to move to the beat, his body flowing smoothly as he bounced and slid across the slightly sprung floor. “Join in!” he called to you.
Seeing you hesitating, Yoongi shouted, “Dance, you muppet!”
It was a little embarrassing dancing next to someone as talented and professional as Hoseok, but the reassuring smile he gave you throughout the song made the experience a lot more enjoyable. At first, you tried to copy Hoseok’s moves, but as he moved too fast, you gave up and instead let the rhythm control your limbs, throwing yourself into the song. When it ended, you and Hoseok were left panting, but it was exhilarating being able to let yourself go.
“You were great, Y/N! With a bit of practice, you could enter the competition, couldn’t she Yoongs?”
“Yah, what have I told you about nicknames?” Yoongi whined, his mouth stuffed with food. “But yeah, you’d have a pretty good shot.”
“What competition?” you questioned, fanning yourself with your hands.
Hoseok pointed to the wall opposite the door before collapsing down next to Yoongi, taking the half-eaten chicken and shoving it into his mouth. The wall was covered in all sorts of flyers, but a large, red poster caught your eye. It was advertising a dancing competition taking place at the end of May, which anyone could enter. First place had a prize of… ₩ 1,000,000?
“A million won for the winner?” you asked incredulously.
“Interested?” laughed Hoseok. “Yoongs and I are entering as a team, but it’d be cool to have some friendly competition. You’d have to get a dance partner as well, or several if you want, so you can’t enter solo.”
That’s why you found yourself back at Taehyung’s house, waiting for him to come home after his day out with Yeji. Jin was fast asleep on one of the sofas, his head on the arm rest and his earphones in, while Jungkook played a video game on their TV. Namjoon kept you company on the other sofa, his long legs laid on top of yours.
“Introvert or extrovert?” he asked, biting the end of the pencil he was holding.
“Tough. Probably slightly more introverted.”
Namjoon nodded, filling in your answer into the newspaper. He’d found a quiz that would find your ‘quote of the week’, and seeing as Jin was asleep and Jungkook refused point blank to participate, he’d jumped on you as soon as you entered the front door.
“So, your quote of the week is, ‘the stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.’”
“Wow, I’ve been enlightened,” you said sarcastically, watching Jungkook throw himself on the floor as he died at the same spot for the third time.
Your heart jolted in your chest as Taehyung entered, making you decide against telling him off for leaving you for the second time to see Yeji. Which was lucky, because as soon as Taehyung had stepped around the corner, Yeji followed.
Taehyung grinned widely as he caught sight of you sprawled on the sofa, but you were too focused on the fact that they were holding hands, their fingers hatched together tightly.
“Hey guys,” Taehyung said brightly. “I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Yeji.”
All three of your mouths dropped open, while Namjoon’s eyes were wide in shock, Jungkook’s character in the game received a gruesome death as his head whipped round in disbelief, and your heartbeat failed on you completely. You must have misheard…
“Yeji, these are my housemates, Jin, Jungkook, and Namjoon, and obviously, this is my best friend, who you’ve met before.” Taehyung gave you a fleeting smile, looking slightly wary of your frozen expression.
“Hello,” Namjoon and Jungkook both mumbled, bowing their heads.
Taehyung had met Yeji yesterday. How were they already together?
“I’ll be in my room if you need me.” Leaving awkwardly and dragging Yeji along, he disappeared up the stairs.
As soon as you heard the quiet click of the door, indicating them being out of earshot, Jungkook almost exploded. “Girlfriend?” he spluttered, his eyebrows upturned.
Namjoon’s eyes darted between you and the staircase where Taehyung had left the room. “Y/N,” he said slowly, “are you okay?”
The whole reason for you coming to the house was to ask Taehyung if he would dance with you in the competition. Hoseok and Yoongi went back to work shortly after you read the poster, but the instructions were clear: find a dance partner, win the competition, get money. It was like a punch to the gut. You didn’t even want to think about what Taehyung and Yeji would be getting up to in his bedroom.
But were you okay? You weren’t sure. Instead of the usual stone in your stomach, it had become a bottomless pit. Gaping wide open and utterly empty, like all your hopes and visions had been sucked into this hole and you were left feeling numb.
“I can’t ask him to be my dance partner, can I?” Your voice wobbled towards the end of your childish question, but you bit your lip in hope that no one noticed.
“I’m sure you’ll find someone,” said Namjoon gently.
“Namjoon, I don’t have any other friends. I need the money to pay my parents back for my rent. I guess… I guess I can find other ways of sorting it out.”
There was a thoughtful silence following your words, only disrupted by the sound of deep breathing from Jin.
“Maybe you won’t,” Jungkook pondered, absentmindedly picking at his jeans while he stared into the distance. “I’m not too shabby at dancing. I could give it a go, if you’d like.”
Your mouth fell open, not for the first time that day. “Really? You’d do that?”
“We could make a pretty good team.”
“But if you do get annoyed at him,” added Namjoon, “I’m only a phone call away.”
The boys laughed, and even you let out a giggle despite still feeling upset about Yeji. The sudden noise made Jin startle from his slumber, blinking against the harshness of the light.
You watched him notice how there had been a change in atmosphere since he had last been awake, his eyes narrowing in suspicion as he peered at all three of you.
“What did I miss?”