Ease - Part 17
Length: 3.1k (sorry)
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.
It became a habit, checking your phone every few minutes to see if there was a text, if there was a missed call. But every time, there would be nothing. Then that same old bitter feeling settled in your stomach, and it became harder and harder to focus on the essay you were writing. Eventually, you gave up and sat back, staring at the paper but not quite seeing it.
It was the day of the competition: the day you’d been waiting for for months, but it wasn’t going quite how you’d imagined it back then. Instead of getting ready excitedly with Jungkook, Hoseok and Yoongi, you were sat in your room tearing your hair out at the memory of Taehyung walking away from you with a betrayed look in his eyes. You’d told Jungkook what had happened, and how Taehyung’s parting words and the lack of communication confirmed that he’d dropped out of the dance, and Jungkook didn’t seem at all surprised.
“He can sulk for a long time,” he had explained, wincing as he walked into his kitchen, his ankle still causing him pain. “After so many years of knowing him, hasn’t he ever done that before?”
You had said he hadn’t, because when you fought, it never lasted long. Over the years, you’d relied on his forgiving nature, but this time was different. He knew how much this dance meant to you and Jungkook, so if he was willing to let it all fall through, he was seriously hurt. You didn’t blame him.
Yoongi had texted you that morning, asking whether Taehyung had given in and if you would be performing, and your eyes stung slightly as you typed out a simple no. You hadn’t forgiven yourself for what happened, so you didn’t expect Taehyung to either. For the past couple of nights, you’d eaten your way through several tubs of ice cream in front of the TV, feeling very sorry for yourself. Your housemates crept around you, not disturbing your binge and letting you eat your feelings away. However, on the day of the competition, it didn’t seem to be working, so you sat down to get some work done. Which also wasn’t working.
You had no energy left in you to win Taehyung round. Deep down, you knew keeping that secret from him would hurt in the long run, but you didn’t realise how much it would hurt. Everything seemed so futile, and it left you feeling empty. You had to force yourself to get out of bed, to eat, to take a shower, but your mind never once strayed from Taehyung.
As you stared out of your window at the cloudless sky, your phone began vibrating angrily against the wooden desk. It flashed up with a name, and your heart sunk when you realised it wasn’t Taehyung. It was your mother.
“Hey,” you answered, switching to English.
“Y/N! You haven’t called recently, is everything okay?” came her chirpy yet slightly worried voice.
“I’m fine,” you swallowed, eyeing the bin that was full of empty ice cream tubs. “How’s home? Did you get the money I sent you?”
“I did, thank you. It’s all been sorted with the rent, so don’t you worry about that. You’ve done us a massive favour. Thank you, Y/N, honestly. But I was mainly calling about something else. I wanted to ask you about Taehyung…”
You took in a deep breath, readying yourself for whatever idea she’d come up with. Usually she’d ask you to invite him to some family outing that she’d spontaneously planned, whether it be a meal at a restaurant or a shopping trip in town. Excuses popped into your head to get out of asking Taehyung without arousing suspicion as your mother continued talking.
“It was quite strange. I was making a quick trip to the market to pick up some groceries, and I could’ve sworn I saw Taehyung walk past. So I called out his name, just to be sure, and he turned and looked around. He didn’t see me, but it meant I could see his face and it was definitely him. Has something happened in his family? Surely he’s missing classes by coming home.”
“What?” you asked flatly, standing up suddenly and sending your chair clattering to the floor. The door to Yeona and Mijung’s room opposite you opened, but you ignored it. “He’s in Daegu?”
“I saw his mum, but of course, I didn’t want to be insensitive so I just asked if Taehyung had some time off. She said he hadn’t, and I didn’t push her any further than that. Plus, I don’t speak enough Korean to ask anything else. Tae looked really sad, too, bless him.”
“He’s in Daegu,” you repeated hollowly, just as your bedroom door opened to reveal a slightly annoyed Yeona.
“Can you keep-”
“I’ve got to go,” you said down the phone, cutting off Yeona’s attempt at a scolding.
Not looking her in the eye, you brushed past Yeona as you hurried towards the front door, your mind in turmoil. Was it really that bad that Taehyung had to go home? Or was it something else? You had no idea, but you were certain that either Jin, Namjoon or Jungkook did.
Really, all you needed to do was send a text to Taehyung’s housemates, but you didn’t want to stick around to be told off by Yeona, and you weren’t doing anything else productive, so you began pacing it towards Taehyung’s house in the hot spring morning.
Taehyung’s house was loud with noise when you arrived, as they were all singing along to a song playing on Jungkook’s phone. Jimin standing in the mix, which took you aback slightly as he danced next to Jungkook and sang his heart out.
“Jimin,” you said bluntly, catching his attention. His face split into a grin as he ruffled his silver hair, but you couldn’t understand why he was there and Taehyung wasn’t, so your smile back was weak. “Where’s Taehyung?” you asked him.
Jimin just shrugged, so you turned the question onto the other boys. Jungkook paused the music so you could be heard properly, resulting in a few grumbles from the others. After repeating yourself, however, you were met with silence.
“Taehyung? I haven’t seen him since yesterday,” said Jin finally, beginning to frown.
“Nor me,” added Namjoon. “Although I heard him bashing around in his room for a bit, but nothing else. We thought he was with you.”
Jungkook’s eyes opened wide as he realised something was up. It was such an innocent look that you understood why he got away with annoying Namjoon so often.
“Taehyung’s gone home,” you explained sadly, hoping against all hopes that you weren’t the sole reason for his unexplained departure. “He found out that I knew about Yeji.”
“Knew what about Yeji?” asked Jin quizzically, the same confused expression on his face as Namjoon. “Wait, is this to do with the thing that you kept from him? When he told you he liked you before you met us in the park?”
Slowly and hesitatingly, you explained the whole situation, with the help of Jungkook and Jimin. You watched as Namjoon and Jin’s faces turned from confused to angry to sorrowfully understanding as you talked, your burdens lifting off your chest as you did so. It was shameful describing what you did, especially to your friends who had always been so kind and considerate . Jungkook and Jimin also looked embarrassed, as they too had kept the same thing from Taehyung, but there was no doubt in your mind it was your responsibility. After all, you were supposed to be his best friend.
“… and now because of that, Taehyung’s gone back to Daegu and I can’t compete in the dance competition,” you finished, looking around at the others and waiting for them to say ‘it’s your own fault’ or ‘what’s done is done’. Because it was true: there was nothing else you could do.
Strangely, however, Namjoon seemed to believe differently. “Well, you need to go bring him back for the competition.”
You just blinked several times, not quite expecting that response. “I need to do what?”
“I’m not seeing all your hard work go down the drain, just because of some silly misunderstanding,” declared Namjoon. “I understand why Taehyung was mad, but it’s plain unfair to ruin this for you. I say drive down to Daegu, apologise, and tell him to get his ass back to Seoul.”
Laughing at the absurdness of it all, you shook your head. “If he’s upset enough to go home and miss classes, then he’s not going to come back if I simply say sorry. Plus, I can’t drive.”
“It’s broken down,” mumbled Jin, his face downcast. “Why do you think I’ve been looking after Jungkook? I’m not doing this out of kindness, you know.”
“How about… train!” Namjoon called out triumphantly.
Again, you shook your head. “Too expensive. I appreciate the thought, I really do, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I was just coming to check if there was another reason that he might’ve left, but I guess not. I’ll see you guys later.”
Walking towards the front door, you almost made it to the handle before a hand on your shoulder pulled you back. Wheeling around, you saw Namjoon standing right behind you, his dark eyes pitiful as he smiled softly.
“Don’t give up, okay?”
Looking down at your shoes, you tried not to let your face go red. “Namjoon, it’s too late. I’m tired of chasing him.”
He just chuckled lightly, giving your shoulder a firm squeeze before letting go and walking away backwards. “It’s never too late to fight for something,” he said, turning around and leaving you standing there, unsure and uncertain as to what to do next.
Going back to your house, you walked into the main sitting area and almost burst into tears then and there. Instead, you gulped heavily to rid the stone from your throat and sank down onto one of the sofas, cuddling a cushion in your lap. How could you fight for a lost cause?
“Y/N! It’s your turn to do the-” Jiwon paused as she saw your stricken face, not knowing how to react. You didn’t bother looking in her direction, as your mind was elsewhere and you couldn’t be bothered to bring it back. Instead, you let her slowly remove her body from her bedroom and tentatively move towards you, her slippers dragging on the wooden floor.
“Is everything okay?” she asked quietly in a high-pitched tone.
When you didn’t respond, she disappeared for a minute, but returned with reinforcements. Before you knew what was happening, all three girls were sitting around you, eyebrows upturned in worry.
“You’ve been acting really weird recently,” commented Mijung bluntly, her ponytails jiggling about furiously as she fidgeted about next to you. “What’s the matter?”
That’s all it took for you to completely spill everything. For so long, you’d been keeping things to yourself and suffering quietly, but you were on a roll. For the second time that day, you told your secrets. You told them all about Taehyung, about how you fell in love over the years, about the dance competition, and all the way up to how you messed up by keeping too many secrets. It felt wrong at first, as your housemates were the last people you thought you’d tell about anything, but eventually you were glad you did. Mijung wrapped her arms around your shoulders while Yeona and Jiwon mothered you with blankets, as well as making sympathetic noises and offering their support.
“We had no idea,” muttered Yeona. She seemed genuinely distressed, which contradicted her usual grumpy aura. Although you had been told it was because she worked so hard, your opinion of the older girl never changed until that moment.
“So, you fancy Taehyung, and he was going to dance with you, but he’s gone back to Daegu because you upset him,” stated Mijung, summarising your points, “and you can’t fetch him and bring him back to Seoul because you can’t drive. Right?”
“Why don’t you text him?” asked Jiwon.
“He’s ignoring them. I don’t think it’s something you can sort out over text, anyway,” you sniffled.
“I can drive.”
Your hanging head lifted to look at Jiwon, mouth falling open slightly.
“I was in a similar situation with my boyfriend,” she explained, fiddling with the corner of a cushion. “I kept secrets because I was scared he would judge me if he found out. It almost ruined things completely.”
“You’d be willing to drive down to Daegu for me?” you spluttered incredulously.
“This will be so fun!” squealed Mijung, clapping her hands. “Road trip!” Standing up, she hurried to her room, but Yeona and Jiwon didn’t question it. You wondered if they ever bothered questioning Mijung’s actions.
“But you… don’t like me?”
“Nonsense,” Yeona laughed loudly. “Sure, you’re noisy, but you’re not so bad. Us housemates have got to stick together, right? And if Y/N’s in a time of need, then it’s our duty to help out.”
“It’s a long drive,” you argued, not quite believing your luck.
“How long will it take to drive?” Yeona asked, biting her lip in anticipation.
“About three hours,” you responded, quickly glancing at Jiwon to see if she was frowning or not. Luckily, she nodded, and internally you cheered.
This was really happening, you thought to yourself. At the start of the year, you never would’ve thought that your housemates were willing to make an impromptu road trip to the other side of the country, just so you could participate in a dance competition. Scratch that, you wouldn’t have even thought that would ever happen an hour ago.
“We’ve got to plan this out,” instructed Yeona, immediately taking charge. “If we leave now, we’ll make it by mid-afternoon, leaving Y/N… not very long to win round Taehyung. By the time we get back to Seoul, the show would just be starting, if Y/N’s quick.”
“Sounds good to me!” cheered Mijung, coming back from her room with a crate of food. “I’ve got the provisions.”
“How…” began Jiwon, trailing off as she stared at the pile of snacks and drink cans that Mijung was struggling to carry, her small frame leaning backwards slightly to support the mound of food. Turning back to Yeona, she added, “We’ll be cutting it fine, won’t we?”
Yeona nodded. “Y/N, you’re going to have to be quick. Jiwon, you need to push the speed limits where you can, because if you’re late for shows like this, they don’t let you perform at all. They’re really strict on schedules.”
Adrenaline filled your body as you realised what you were about to do. Could you make it? The excitement pumped in your blood at the thought of dancing with Taehyung on stage, but it was a distant dream. If you didn’t have long to talk, you might not be able to convince him at all, and you didn’t want to waste people’s time by driving down to Daegu for nothing. But you wanted nothing more than to make Jungkook proud. After messing with his emotions for so long, it was the least you could do for him.
The girls began packing up the car while Yeona gave out strict orders on directions if there was traffic. Your heart swelled at the sight, knowing they were going out of their way to help you. It was strange how their personalities began to show, too. For so long, you’d assumed that both Jiwon and Yeona were crabby and snarky, and Mijung was slightly crazy, but you were pleasantly surprised to find out differently. Jiwon was slightly nervous, but seemed extremely intelligent, Yeona was a natural leader, as she was calm and in control, and Mijung was a devotee for food and seemed to have a positive outlook on absolutely everything. Your spirits were lifting by the second, knowing that your housemates weren’t completely heartless, and that you might still have a shot at the competition. And a shot at fixing things with Taehyung.
This might solve everything, or could be a complete disaster.
And you hoped and prayed it was the first.
An hour later, you were driving down the highway, Yeona sorting out timings and Mijung with you in the back asking you endless questions about Taehyung. The car was a mess already, with sweet wrappers everywhere and a strong smell of vanilla wafting through the air, despite the air con being on full blast. There was also a sticky residue near your feet, which you believed was Mijung’s fault, as during a two minute pit stop her drink went from full to almost empty, but she denied the accusations. Despite the litter crunching under your shoes, it was quite comfortable sinking back into the chair and letting your head rest against the cool glass of the window.
“Basically, you both like each other, and neither of you knew for years?” she asked, sucking on a lollipop that turned her lips blue.
“He was subtle about it,” you explained. “It was only when my friend pointed it out, I realised. I don’t know, I guess I just thought he was being friendly.”
“I wish you’d told us sooner. I would’ve immediately told you he was flirting. I have a romantic eye” said Mijung proudly.
You shuffled in your seat uncomfortably. It wasn’t the fact that you didn’t want to become friends, but more because of the rudeness and constant scolding you received had put you off. Although they were never your dream housemates, and they were nothing compared to what Taehyung had, but they were helping you do something that was completely insane, and you were eternally grateful.
Eventually, a couple of hours later, the buildings started becoming familiar as you reached the outskirts of Daegu, and you began directing Jiwon towards your house. You passed fields and small farms, all of which brought you nostalgia of the times where everything was so much simpler. A time when there was no heartbreak, no confusion, no secrets. High school was extremely stressful, as you were working well into the night just to get a good grade, so even though you’d never go back, you still missed how your life was back then.
“What are you going to say to him?” Mijung asked softly, as if she knew you were growing more and more nervous as you drew closer.
You shrugged, keeping your eyes out of the window and watching the trees and bushes flash by. “I guess sorry would be a start.”
“Don’t panic,” she reassured. “If he really loves you, he’ll let you in.”
Something told you she wasn’t talking literally.