“If I tell you to fuck off, will you?” Jungkook asked Ash.
“No, I’m afraid that isn’t likely. Date number three huh?”
“Ash, I swear to God... “
“You can swear to whoever you want but you are seeing KTH a bit too regularly for these meetings not to be dates.” He stood with his arms crossed over his chest and his eyebrows raised so high they practically blended into his hairline.
“Yeah… I know who it is, you idiot. Why are you calling him KTH?” Jungkook face palmed in despair.
“Because those are his initials, duh! Saying his full name takes too long when everything I have to say is vitally important. Taehyung isn’t short enough and since you haven’t been fucked by him yet and I’ve not seen him in his undies then I can’t really call him Tae or T.”
Jungkook was squinting at his friend, trying to take in everything he’d just said “Wow, there is so much wrong with that, I don’t know where to start.”
“What are you wearing for your date?”
“I’m wearing what I wear every day, Ash because it isn’t a date.”
“You are meeting a guy and buying him lunch, that is the very definition of a date unless you aren’t gay then it’s a bro date but you are gay so it is a regular date.”
“So if you are gay and meeting a guy, it can’t be a bro date?”
“I don’t think so. You and I have bro dates because I’m not gay, I mean I have questioned that in the past, especially when I met you but sadly it wasn’t meant to be.”
“I feel like every time you open your mouth I have more questions than you could answer.”
“Don’t forget you owe me dinner”
“Because I told you that you would go on a proper date and this is a date.”
“Isn’t a date meant to be with someone you are planning on spending time with romantically?”
“Exactly and you fancy the pants off KTH.”
“It doesn’t matter what I say, does it?”
“Nope.” Ash pursed his lips and shook his head.
Jungkook sighed “You are a complete nightmare. I don’t know why we are friends.”
“Because I’m one of very few people that doesn’t want to fuck you and I tell you the truth. Now what are you wearing?”
“You are also deluded. I’m wearing what I will wear tomorrow.”
“Combats and that t-shirt?”
“Yes, it isn’t as if I’m spoiled for choice now, is it?”
“You need to use some of that money for clothes, we should go shopping!” Ash exclaimed with both hands in the air.
“I hate shopping.”
“I know but I love it! We should go. You have enough spare don’t you?”
“I don’t know. It’s in my pot under my bed. I don’t need new clothes. What I have gets me by.”
“You are seriously the only gay I know that doesn’t like shopping or new clothes.”
“Can you stop talking now? If I’m late I will kill you because I hate being late.”
“You just don’t want to miss any precious seconds with KTH.”
Jungkook pushed Ash out of his room “Bye, Ash.”
Ash allowed himself to be pushed but hooked his fingers onto the door frame and made kissy noises, just to exasperate his friend further, managing to pull his hands away just as the door slammed shut.
Jungkook was late and he was cursing Ash as he approached the subway and could see that Taehyung was already there waiting for him. He hated rushing and he hated being late, he was always on time for everything and planned his day accordingly so he took a deep breath because he knew that the time wouldn’t go unnoticed by someone like Kim Taehyung who probably had every second of his day on a schedule.
The very same Kim Taehyung who looked like a model in navy blue tailored trousers and a white silk shirt that showed his forearms because the sleeves were rolled up to just below his elbows. The shirt was neatly tucked into the waistband of said trousers and instead of his usual tie, he had a thin silk patterned scarf tied around his neck. Jungkook felt underdressed as he walked towards him, even Taehyung’s hair was styled so it parted in the centre and the silver rimmed spectacles sat perfectly on the bridge of his nose. Jungkook was far enough away that the dramatic eye roll couldn’t be seen and several eye rolls later he thought he’d better stop it in case Taehyung’s eyesight was better than he thought. He did almost laugh to himself though because if Ash could see him right now he would definitely be reconsidering his sexuality or at least making out like it was an actual option, which he did often because he wasn’t afraid to say when someone was attractive regardless of gender. Jungkook told Ash in the past that he should accept that perhaps he shouldn’t worry about labelling himself and just enjoy whatever it is that he enjoys but he always said he could appreciate a man for his good looks and understand why someone would fuck him but it wasn’t for him… Jungkook thought that he might change his mind if he could see Taehyung right now with his bronzed skin on display at his neckline where the shirt’s revered collar sat open and how his waist tapered and looked so small accentuated by the white shirt into his trousers… of course that wasn’t what Jungkook himself thought… definitely not.
Taehyung raised his eyebrows and looked at the flashy watch on his wrist as Jungkook was within a few feet of him.
“You can add ‘unpunctual’ to your list now.” Jungkook was irked, mainly with himself but seeing the way Taehyung checked his watch irritated him further.
“After that comment, I think I will add ‘impolite’ too.”
“You will need a larger sheet of paper at this rate.”
“Paper? I have enough storage on my phone to keep the list on there.”
Jungkook sighed, his manners eluded him and he should know better “Look, I’m sorry for being late, I would explain but it’s a boring tale involving my best friend, so… anyway, I apologise for keeping you waiting.”
Taehyung tilted his head slightly and looked at the busker with amusement “Your apology is accepted, you can tell me that boring tale over lunch, where is it that we are going?”
“The park on the corner, a few blocks down.”
“St George’s park, for lunch?” Taehyung knew where the park was, he had been there once when he’d been brave enough to skip a few classes in high school. His parents caught him playing basketball with a couple of friends after the school phoned them, he’d been in a lot of trouble that day and lesson learned, he never did it again.
“Yes, there’s a great hot dog stall to the right before you pass through the gates.”
Taehyung turned his head to prevent the very obvious look of disgust on his face, he should’ve guessed it wouldn’t be anywhere remotely civil. This was one of those situations where he knew it was on the list he’d written after watching that drama but after he realised the reality of his dislike for public transport he was more than content with banishing the list to the recycle bin and chastising himself for even considering such idiocy. After spending time in the subway, meeting the busker unexpectedly and visiting the smoothie place and the diner, he thought that was more than enough normality to last him a whole lifetime, much preferring his version of normality. In the drama, the Prince wanted to experience everything that the homeless man did and Tae thought it was endearing at first, now he had decided that he would leave that situation to the drama because stepping out of his comfort zone wasn’t as much fun as he’d hoped especially when so far he'd just spent too much time perspiring. Taehyung also decided that he wasn't a prince and he no longer saw the appeal of public transport etcetera, his friends were right, it was a stupid idea.
They walked down the street side by side, dodging the many people hurriedly going about their everyday lives, unable to talk properly because of the constant interruptions as people walked in between them. The flow of human traffic slowed as they turned the corner near the park, Taehyung wasn’t a fan of walking, it made him feel sweaty and he made a mental note to make sure he found out what the destination was next time so that he could arrange to be driven there… not that he had any glimmer of hope that there would be a next time… no.
“What would you like?” Jungkook asked as they approached the food stall.
Taehyung had no idea what he wanted because usually he would be handed a menu and could look through the items, sometimes written in french or japanese but he could read those.
“What do you usually have?” this was his way out.
“The George and a shake,”he said casually.
“And that is?” Taehyung was clueless, he was kind of hoping that the explanation would be easier for him to grasp but he found reading french easier at this rate.
“Have you been here before?” Jungkook looked at Taehyung, standing side by side in the queue.
“Not really.” he said looking ahead.
“Not really? Or no?” Jungkook raised his eyebrows and smirked.
“No, I haven’t been here before.” Taehyung braced himself for the witty remark.
Jungkook suspected as much “Well, ‘The George’ is a double hotdog with bacon pieces, onions and a cheese sauce on it. I usually get tomato sauce and tell them to hold the mustard, oh and I get a banana shake.”
Taehyung half smiled “You eat all that?”
Jungkook ignored the feeling he got when Taehyung smiled “Yep, but it will probably be all I eat today so it will keep me going. The menu is up there if you want to choose.” he pointed up at the board, trying to ignore the fact that the CEO kept looking at him.
“Why will it be all that you eat today?” Taehyung asked, looking up at the menu written on the board behind the man taking orders.
“It depends what food we have in and if Ash is at the diner I’ll probably just get some studying done. If Ash is working he'll more than likely bring dinner home.”
“My best friend and roommate.”
“If he doesn't bring food home, what if you get hungry?”
“What if you do?”
“Then I will see what we have in. Have you decided what you want?”
Taehyung was too caught up in what Jungkook was saying to absorb the words on the board “I’ll have the same as you.”
“You will? Are you sure?”
“What are you implying? That I can’t eat as much as you?”
“No, not at all, I just didn’t think you’d… I don’t know what I thought.”
Taehyung liked the way Jungkook’s cheeks tinged pink when he was flustered and he liked the way little creases formed at the corners of his eyes when he smiled.
“Then perhaps you shouldn’t think and just order.” Taehyung suggested.
After ordering, they stood to one side while they waited for the food. Taehyung looked at how relaxed Jungkook was, which was the complete opposite to how he felt. Everywhere he looked he saw the type of people that he spent his whole life avoiding, they were the people he employed and who served him in the places he dined. He watched the way the busker joked conversed so naturally with the man like they were old friends, as he handed him the two hotdogs and placed the shakes on the counter, he refused to acknowledge the lone butterfly fluttering around in his stomach as he heard Jungkook laugh at something the man said.
"Do you want extra sauce?" Jungkook asked, turning to face Taehyung.
"No thank you, that's fine as it is." Taehyung couldn't ever remember eating a hotdog, he didn't have any idea whether it was fine or what sauce would be extra. The last sausage he ate was wild boar and apple, served on piped celeriac mash and drizzled with a rich red wine sauce in a restaurant where reservations were three months in advance. The prince in the drama had a hotdog, it was bought for him a well meaning member of public who felt sorry for him... obviously Taehyung knew the actor was playing a role but he was very convincing when he spat it out in disgust.
Jungkook would've been lying if he said that he wasn't enjoying the constant look of uncertainty on Taehyung’s face, opting to carry the hotdogs himself while suggesting that the CEO take the shakes. He was curious as to why a man like Taehyung would put himself through such obvious discomfort for someone as normal as he was. He saw the look on his face earlier when Jungkook told him he probably wouldn't eat again today and he knew it was more than likely because Taehyung could have anything he wanted, whenever he wanted it. He also guessed that Taehyung has never gone without in his whole life.
They found a small table, the two metal chairs were quite weathered but they were sturdy. Jungkook watched Taehyung put the drinks down and give the chair seat a once over with his eyes before actually sitting down.
“Do you come here a lot?” Tae asked, not quite knowing how best to go about eating the hotdog.
“Are you going to ask me that every time I take you somewhere?” Jungkook positioned his napkin so that it would catch any stray sauce or bacon pieces, pulled down the cardboard end so it acted as a lip to the box and took a big bite out of the hotdog.
“How audacious to presume there will be other occasions after this one.” Taehyung knew there would be, he looked into the face of the man who had sauce smeared on his top lip and was happily munching away.
Jungkook swallowed the mouthful he had “When we were at Dino’s, you said there was lots you wanted to ask me so unless you were planning on handing me a questionnaire, it is only natural to presume that we would be doing this again.”
“Maybe next time I will choose the location.” Taehyung said as he took a bite of the hotdog.
“Are you implying that my choices are bad?” he said just before taking another bite, he was halfway through and enjoying it immensely.
“No, I wasn’t implying anything but if that is how you perceive it, that is your prerogative.” he wasn’t sure if he liked the hotdog, it was messy and the cheese sauce glued itself to the roof of his mouth.
“Why do you have so many questions?" he asks after swallowing a mouthful of hotdog.
“Because you spiked my interest and if something interests me I like to find out more about it.”
“Okay but I have a condition.”
Taehyung was intrigued because he’d allowed Jungkook to state his terms a few times now but it wasn’t an option this time. “Do you now?”
“I do…” he swallowed the last bite and screwed up the flimsy cardboard box “...no more big bundles of money.”
Taehyung raised his eyebrows “I told you, I like to show my gratitude and always tip well.”
“You still can, just not with me.”
“But it is because of the money that you are here and it was the reason we had the smoothie the first time.” Taehyung had eaten enough, there wasn’t a lot left but his insides were already complaining about the processed meat and white breaded hotdog roll.
“I am aware of that, which is why I have the condition that I do.”
“What reason would you have for meeting with me again if I haven’t paid you.” as the words left his lips he could see the expression change on Jungkook’s face, he’d offended him and even though it was technically a fact, he could see it hadn’t gone down well.
“For your information, I am not here because you paid me! I am here because I choose to be because I could have taken that money and not contacted you. This was the only way I could accept that money and not feel like shit but thanks for pointing it out and making me feel like shit anyway!”
Jungkook stood up and Taehyung thought he was going to leave. He rose from his seat and started following him as he left the table, grabbing the two cups and cursing under his breath as the squashed box with the remainder of hotdog in it leaked out onto his hand.
“Wait! You misunderstood me.”
The busker turned around when he reached the litter bin, throwing the box and napkins in first “I think you were quite clear but you can add ‘accusatory’ to your list now.”
Taehyung sighed, he was annoyed that this bothered him so much, it was all so much effort and it was quite simply draining but he couldn't just walk away now, it made no sense and he had absolutely no clue as to what 'this' was or what 'this' could be. “Maybe I have conditions too?”
“Draw up a contract and I’ll get my lawyer to look over it.” his tone was dry as the sarcasm dripped from his words.
“I’m definitely adding ‘sardonic’ to the list.”
“Whatever pleases you.” Jungkook turned to leave.
In that moment, Jungkook was the sand pouring through an hour glass, “Can we start again?” Taehyung held out one of the cups in Jungkook’s direction. The scene looked a bit silly, the man dressed in combats, tattered boots and a t-shirt, with his back to the man who looked like he'd just stepped off a catwalk who was clutching one cup and holding the other in his outstretched hand.
Jungkook took a deep breath and looked over his shoulder, stopping at Taehyung's words, his expression less than impressed. "Start again? How far back would you like to go? Should I start singing so you can throw money at me and expect that money to get you whatever it is that you want?"
"I thought we could start today again but I'd be more than impressed if you started singing." Taehyung felt a little out of his depth, he wasn't accustomed to having to work so hard, especially with someone like Jungkook.
The busker turned his body towards Taehyung and took the cup from him "I'm not going to sing and I'm not going anywhere with you again if you've given me money."
"No more tips?"
Jungkook shook his head, "No. No more tips."
Taehyung discarded the rubbish in his hand "Okay. I get to choose where we meet next time though." He thought he may be pushing his luck but a part of him wanted to see if the busker would spend time with him again.
"Providing my condition is upheld, you can choose where we meet next time. You have my number, text me when you have decided." He smiled and turned away, walking through the gates, not looking back but wanting desperately to look over his shoulder.
Taehyung stared after him… what else could he do? No one ever chooses to walk away from Kim Taehyung, he was infuriated, relieved and perplexed all at the same time... what on earth was he doing?