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Worlds Apart

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"Oh my god, he wants you to call him Daddy."

Jungkook frowned, screwing up his face "What? Can you even read?"

"I can read, it's not about what is written it's about what it says between the lines."

"You mean, what you choose to fabricate?"

Jungkook was sitting in the lounge writing notes on some of the things he'd noticed about the choreography he practiced last night after his text conversation with Tae. Ash was laying on the sofa, summoning the energy to get to the library but not being very successful. He'd asked Jungkook about the texts and his friend gave him his phone so he could read the conversation for himself, even though that wasn't the best idea, obviously.

"This is some shit flirting though. You two are lame."

"Thank you. I'm quite enjoying the flirting, it beats bickering."

"A fuck is definitely on the cards."

"Which two lines is that between?"

"Oh come on! Yesterday you acted all stupid when I asked about your evening with him and then there's these texts where you basically tell him you wanna fuck him and he accepts." Ash throws one hand in the air for effect.

Jungkook looks over at his friend being overdramatic on the sofa, "Are you actually reading the conversation I had with him? I didn't basically tell him anything of the sort."

"You told him your sexual preference… same thing. If you had absolutely no plans to fuck him, you wouldn't be flirting, you wouldn't have wanted him to kiss you in the kitchen and you definitely wouldn't have told him you're a giver."

"WOAH! When did I say I wanted him to kiss me?" the look of shock is evident as his eyes widen and his mouth remains open.

Ash lifted his head off the sofa to look at Jungkook "Deny it!! Tell me I misread what you told me and that you didn't want him to kiss you… tell me!"

"But I didn't actually say that." Jungkook said, a light dusting of red creeping up his cheeks.

"Do you still think this is a bet or that he's lost a dare, or whatever it is that you thought?"

"No, he seemed genuine the other night and he didn't have to ask me about my assignment. I was surprised that he remembered to be honest."

"So you have to accept that he likes you and you also have to accept that Saturday is a date."

"I don't know to what extent or why, but yes, okay, I accept that he must like me. As for Saturday, if I acknowledge it as a date then it feels weird because I don't know if he accepted the invitation as a date. It would be really odd for one of us to be on a date and the other, not." Jungkook tapped his cheek with the end of his pen.

Ash lay his head back down "Why are you overcomplicating this? You can tell him that you're a giver but you can't make it clear that you asked him out on a date? Where is the logic?"

"Because if I ask him out on a date then he might say no because suddenly it means we are dating. That changes things and… well… he could say no, then I’ll look like a complete idiot because I am the one who would have made it clear that I want to date him."

"That’s too many 'becauses' by the way."

"Fuck off"

"So you won't use the word date, even though that's what Saturday is, in case he turns you down? And also that it would mean you were dating, even though that's what you are already doing. And you're worried that you might look like an idiot? Well, let me tell you, that ship sailed, Kookie monster."

Jungkook rolled his eyes “I thought we were too different but the other night while we were playing the game, I didn’t feel like there was such a huge gap between us.”

“That’s because you were sitting beside each other.” Ash laughed.

“You aren’t funny!”

“I am and you know it.”

“No, you aren’t, the fact you think you are, is quite concerning if I’m honest. Anyway, as I was saying, he didn’t have that air of stuck up-ness about him the other night, it felt like he was more human than I’d given him credit for.”

Ash giggled “Apart from when he said you were immature for playing games.”

“He didn’t actually say that in those words but yes, you know that irritated me. I try not to bite as much as I can because the look on his face tells me that he may not mean it as it comes across. It’s difficult though because he really can be a rude arrogant prick.”

“A rude arrogant prick that you like… a lot… and you want to fuck while you call him Daddy… whilst not dating him.”

“Haven’t you got an appointment with some books at the library?”

“Taunting you is so much more fun.”

“I’m going for a shower, I’ve got a shift at Dino’s in two hours and I said I’d go up and see Marie before I start.”

“While checking your phone for a message from KTH.”

“No, I won’t. Besides, he's busy today. I’m not expecting to hear from him.”

“Who’s he out for lunch with?”

“I don’t know, why would I know that?”

“Maybe he’s got guys everywhere and takes a different one out each time?”

“He said ‘a friend’.”

“I know he did… a friend with benefits, perhaps?”

“Shut up, Ash. So what if it is? It’s not like we are anything to each other now is it?”

“Wow, that escalated quickly. It bothers you, doesn’t it?” Ash sits up quickly.

“Not at all, he’s free to sleep with whoever he wants. I’m just some busker boy filling his time when he chooses.” the comment was a flippant one but he can't help but wonder if there's any truth in it or even if he genuinely believes it to be true.

“Hey! That’s not how it is and you know it. That jealousy streak of yours is feisty.”

“I’m not jealous. Now I am going for a shower or I’ll tell Marie that it’s your fault I can’t stay for a coffee.”

Ash held his hands up in the air in defeat, Jungkook’s phone in one of them which he grabs before heading for the bathroom. It wasn’t that he was jealous of course but it was the fact that everything Ash said were things that had made their way into his thoughts one way or another and hearing them out loud provoked a certain reaction.

“I would suggest that you sort your head out and make your intentions clear before he looks elsewhere. You have no right to complain if you don’t.” he called out as the bathroom door closed and he collapsed back down onto the sofa.

***

Taehyung’s meeting with the department line manager had gone as expected, two of the four men were renowned for running their mouths about everyone and everything so he’d issued the manager with a warning to get them under control or he would terminate their contracts. He placed high value on respect and trust and if he couldn’t trust his staff then they would have to go, he could always find others to replace them. He was grateful that he happened upon them yesterday and the manager assured him they would be pulled into line. After that he drove downtown for a meeting to discuss a current advertising campaign with a company who own a chain of restaurants. It was a relatively easy meeting, the company always allowed Purple Aura full control of their campaign so Tae simply had to negotiate the terms of the new contract and finalise the plans for their current one. The meeting was a welcome stress reliever after the way his morning had started.

Now he was walking through the doors of Blue Side after handing his key to the parking attendant and knowing that the young man’s enthusiasm was because he would get to drive the ferrari and get a good tip afterwards. He liked the staff here, they always bent over backwards for him and his friends, with the manager often coming out to speak with them if they were dining during the day when it was quieter.

“About time!” Jin said, standing to greet Taehyung.

“You got here 2 minutes ago so please don’t treat me like Joon or Hobi and the fact that you are here before me is a cause for concern.” he replied, taking a seat and noticing they were at a table for four.

“They told you at the front desk didn’t they?” Jin asks, eyebrows raised.

Tae nodded “They did. They said you’d arrived a couple of minutes ago and you were waiting for me.”

“I should tip them before the meal, then maybe they won’t say anything.”

“It’s worth a try but you might need a gag clause to accompany it because that sounds an awful lot like bribery.”

Jin winked and pointed at his friend “Now, that is an idea.”

Tae laughed, picking up the menu as he spoke “Who else did you rope into lunch?”

“Yoon. He was the only one who was free. Jimin has a meeting with a prospective client, Joon is out of town and Hobi has a day of classes.”

“Did I hear my name?” Yoongi said as he approached the duo.

“I’m going to tell Mochi that your hearing is better than he’s led to believe.” Tae said with a smirk.

“You can tell him but you know he’ll believe me.” was the reply.

“Only because he’s so blinded by love, the soppy idiot.” Jin said.

“Are you calling the love of my life an idiot?” Yoongi asked Jin.

“Yes but I tell him he’s an idiot often enough so pipe down.” the model said.

“Who’s the prospective client he’s meeting with today?” Taehyung asked as the waiter brought over some bottles of fruit juice in slender glass bottles, pouring each one into a frosted glass that had fresh fruit in the bottom.

“Park Jisoo, she’s up for a supporting actress award for her role in ‘Reflection’. She has been looking for a Korean stylist because she wants something with a cultural take on it.”

“Isn’t that her first role?” Jin was a big fan of movies, when he had time. It served him well when appearing at events where there were actors and actresses among the celebrities.

“Yeah. I can’t see Mini taking her on though. He’s got offers coming at him from all directions, even some of his regulars haven’t got a chance this season. I think she thinks that being Korean puts her in front of everyone else but if he operated on that premise he wouldn’t be where he is today.”

“Being the same nationality can’t be the reason he takes her on, that’s absurd. Can you imagine if I did that with companies? He could miss out on some really good business that way.” Tae chipped in.

“He has to operate on a cut throat basis, he can’t have favourites. He has some regulars but they are with him all year round. When it comes to specific occasions like awards season, he has to be selective, he’s the best in his field.” Yoongi was proud of his man, he knew that Jimin had a criteria when it came to choosing clients but he also knew the Jimin who had a big heart and behind closed doors, didn’t always enjoy making such decisions.

“He’ll make the best decision for him, he’s been doing this long enough and the fact that he’s well known, says that he knows what he’s doing. If Park Jisoo thinks she’s going to get a good deal, simply based on nationality then she is very much mistaken.” Jin raised his brow, taking a sip of his juice.

“Has he got many spaces left for the season?” Tae asked, waving the waiter over so they could order food.

“Three left. I think he should only take on one more but he wants to take three.”

Tae gave his order to the waiter then turned back to Yoongi “Have you planned your trip for when it’s over?”

“Yeah. I’ve booked to fly to Norway. We are starting off in Tromso so we can see the northern lights, he’s always wanted to see them and then we fly south to Trysil to a ski resort, you know how much he loves snow.”

“Nice! You’re there for your anniversary too… any plans?” Tae asked while Jin spoke to the waiter, it sounded like he was complaining about something which wasn’t anything new for Jin.

“You might have his left hand thrust at you via video call while we are there, put it that way.” Yoongi said with a big smile.

“I knew it! About time too! I hope you had help choosing the ring, I wouldn’t want to pick out a ring for him, of all people.” Tae laughed.

“Are you going to propose?” Jin was just turning his attention back to the table as the waiter left them to it.

“That’s the plan. The ring won’t matter because I’ve written him a song for the proposal so he won’t see the ring through tears.”

Both Jin and Tae laughed.

“Mochi is going to be an emotional mess. You’re going to ruin him, you know that?” Tae said giggling.

“Please video it so we can use it for emotional blackmail purposes.” Jin suggested.

“If anyone is using that video it will be me, thank you very much.” Yoongi laughed.

“I look forward to hearing all about it.” Tae added.

The waiter brought their food over and the trio happily munched away, with talk turning to the charity event rapidly approaching.

“Are you here for the charity event, Jin?” Yoongi asked.

“It’s a week on Saturday, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. Apparently I get to see my suit Saturday morning.”

“Tomorrow?” Tae asked.

“No… of course not.” Yoongi said while the other two giggled.

“I might be here. I didn’t think I would be but there could be a photoshoot the day before which will put off me flying out for three days.”

“I’ll put your name down then. Will you come alone?”

“Now, you know I like to fly solo. This face doesn’t need a plus one, Yoon.”

“What about you, Tae? Mini said you were having problems with the escort company you usually use.”

“I’ve been in contact with them since the last time we were here and they kept passing me around so I threatened to use my contacts to spread the word about their bad business. I was planning on giving them a chance but after the way they have handled the complaint, I’m not so sure now.”

“So you’re coming solo, too?” Yoongi asked his friend.

“Possibly but you know I prefer having someone on my arm. People are used to seeing me with someone, it is a part of my reputation, now.”

“What he means is that he isn’t as handsome as I am, so he needs someone else to make him look good.” Jin laughed at himself.

“No, what he means is that he has a reputation for being a whore so needs to avoid disappointing people.” Yoongi joined Jin in laughing at himself while Taehyung remained straight faced.

“If I ever need a confidence boost, I know exactly where not to go.” Tae said to his friends.

“You would never need a confidence boost, your arrogance precedes you.” Jin said while chewing.

“True. I draw the line at being a whore though.”

“Tae, you are the only guy who has a reputation for being a player, without actually being one. It’s only because you always have a different guy on your arm every time you go to an event. People make assumptions, you know what they are like.”

“Exactly what Yoon said. Once you find someone to settle down with, you wait for that rumour mill to change. They like to gossip and because you are so private, they have to make shit up. They presume you are a playboy because of the different guys you are seen with and who can blame them? You are an extremely eligible bachelor and there are loads of guys out there that would want to be the one in your bed.”

“People will gossip regardless of what I do. When I did Vogue, the first question was about dating, I really don’t get the fascination.”

“Because they want the details. They want to know who’s in your bed. Remember when you dated that idol? Can’t remember his name. It was everywhere and it was beneficial to his career more than it was yours.” Jin remembered the guy, he thought he was a dick.

“Yeah, he is the reason I haven’t ever dated an idol again. It was a shame because he was very attractive and Mochi liked the way he dressed.”

“But Mochi was his stylist.” Yoongi said and the three guys laughed.

“Exactly, that’s why he liked him. It’s easier with escorts, even you lot can’t complain because you know you’ll only see him for one evening.”

“Have you heard the latest from Hoseok? That guy accepted his invitation to the charity event. He phoned me this morning, they are having dinner tonight.” Yoongi pushed his plate away, satisfied that he was finished.

“This one sounds promising, he seems to be more like Hobi from what he was saying.” Tae added.

“Even though, are we ready for another Hobi in the group?” Jin said, waving his hand in the air for the bill.

“That will be an interesting evening. Hobi is pretty taken with this one so I hope he’s a good guy. He doesn’t need a gold digger.” Yoongi was suspicious of everyone, he’d seen a lot of people using others for their own personal gain over the years.

“Hobi thinks he’s well off so I don’t think he’s a gold digger. We’ll be able to give our thoughts once we’ve met him.” Jin always made a point of asking the awkward questions to new people who appear in their group.

“We are meeting beforehand at that bar around the corner. Mini has organised their V.I.P room for us if you want to join us?”

“I will, I can pick Joon up on the way and we might even be on time.” Jin laughed.

“I’ll be there if I can, it depends where I’m meeting the escort, if I arrange one.”

Jin paid for their lunch, it was his turn so the other two didn’t complain. It didn’t really matter when you had as much money as they did, they each knew that they could afford it so taking it in turns wasn’t a big deal.

After leaving Blueside, Taehyung checked his emails while waiting for the parking attendant to bring him his car. A headache was creeping up on him, threatening his temples and lurking behind his eyes so he phoned Stefan and told him he would be working from home as he had everything he needed there, given his afternoon schedule.

Once home, he changed into his loose pyjama trousers and a t-shirt, his slippers making a padding sound on the hardboard floor as he walked through to the kitchen to get a drink. He liked the peace and quiet of his apartment, the only sound usually was the faint sound of classical music or a show soundtrack playing through his speakers. He rarely watched television and preferred the serenity that silence brought with it.

Stefan phoned him once to tell him that his appointments had altered for Monday but to inform him that otherwise his schedule was as it was in the email he’d sent. He couldn’t resist telling Taehyung to have a good time at Neverland tomorrow and that he looked forward to all the details on Monday, adding that he would make sure he arrived at the office an hour earlier so he could hear it all before work started. Tae smiled weakly at his enthusiasm, at least one of them could be enthusiastic, it warmed him that he cared so much.

He sat at his desk, placing some painkillers beside a glass of water as his headache magnified a little more. He thought about Jungkook, unsure of what time he would be at the diner because he hadn’t been specific on his shift times. Taehyung had considered visiting him but the day had got away with him and the lunch went on a bit longer than expected, as pleasant as it was. While he waited for his computer to reboot since it decided to do an update at this critical time, he tapped a message out to Jungkook on his phone.

KTH
Good afternoon, how has the choreo practice gone today?

He always typed out the message several times after deleting it because he thought it sounded ridiculous. It was the initial message that caused him trouble because once Jungkook replied, the conversation seemed to flow one way or another.

The computer beeped to announce that it had completed its update and was ready for use. He stretched out his long legs, crossing them at the ankle while calling up his emails and the spreadsheet he needed. His office was a large open space, not quite as big as his bedroom but it was originally intended as a second bedroom. Taehyung had it decorated and turned into an office, the desk was a walnut Japanese style piece of furniture imported from Japan and custom made. As you walked into the room, the desk was practically in front of you on the other side of the room, the walls were a warm pale lilac, which appeared grey in some lights, the large leather chair that sat up against his desk was the same as the one in his office at Purple Aura Towers because Taehyung liked consistency and if one chair worked for him then why would he have any other?

There had been rare occasions when he’d needed to have a meeting in his home office so nestled in the corner to the far right of the door was a set of two, two-seater leather sofas that faced one another, with a small walnut table between them. There was a large walk-in wardrobe hidden behind doors on the same wall that the desk was against, Taehyung had this completely gutted and it now housed his filing cabinets, spare computer and the crystal carafe that he used for still water on the rare occasion that he had a visitor in the room. The carpet was the same as the one at Purple Aura and the spotlights on the ceiling could be controlled in clusters in various places if needed because it was incredibly bright when they were all on at once. Today, he needed relative darkness because his head was pounding and no longer just threatening so he relented, throwing the tablets into his mouth and taking a mouthful of water, pulling a face as he gulped them down.

JK
Hi, I’m on my way to St Georges now, the subway is closed so using the time to practice. Is your busy day going well?

Taehyung stared at the message, wondering why he was going to the park to practice, not home where he presumed he would.

KTH
You practice in the park? My busy day is still busy, thwarted slightly by a headache.

JK
Are you still working, with a headache? Yes I always practice everything in the park.

KTH
Yes I am still working but from home this afternoon. What is 'everything'?

JK
Singing, dancing, anything that needs practice. Have you taken painkillers?

KTH
Yes, just a moment before your initial message. Now who sounds like Daddy? 😉

Taehyung’s flaccid member definitely reacted as he typed out the message, just the thought of Jungkook naked, taking control, caused said reaction and his mouth pooled with saliva.

JK
That wasn’t the intention on this occasion but okay.

KTH
So, there are occasions for that then?

Taehyung couldn’t resist, he really enjoyed this flirty banter and felt a twinge of excitement knowing that he would be seeing Jungkook in the morning, wondering if this type of conversation would be something that filtered into the day.

JK
There is an occasion for everything, Taehyung.

KTH
And I’m guessing that you will decide when that occasion arises?

JK
Maybe. I’m guessing that you aren’t someone who allows others to control a situation.

KTH
You would be wrong. I much prefer to take a backseat in certain situations.

JK
I stand corrected. Would you like to be more specific?

KTH
Where’s the fun in that? I will allow you to find out for yourself.

JK
Are you still picking me up at 10 in the morning?

KTH
I am. I will be outside just before 10. Are we having lunch there?

JK
I have food vouchers that came with the tickets, so yes.

KTH
If you are covering the tickets and lunch, I will get us snacks or anything else during the day.

JK
Everything that I am providing is free.

KTH
Your time isn’t.

JK
I’m suddenly busy tomorrow. Cancelled.

Taehyung read the message several times, confused… what had he said that was that bad or could Jungkook be joking?

KTH
Why?

JK
My time isn’t something to be paid for and that is not what is happening. Are we back to where you think I am only spending time with you because you are paying for it?

KTH
That wasn’t what I meant.

JK
Sure.

Taehyung took a deep breath and pressed ‘call’ he couldn’t risk any further misunderstandings over the limitations of the written word. He was slightly surprised when Jungkook answered with a defensive "What?"

“That was not what I meant so if you will allow me to explain myself?”

“Go on…”

Tae sighed “I was not referring to monetary value, Jungkook. I was pointing out that your time is not equal to free tickets because it is worth something. I certainly was not intending to cause offense, I apologise.”

“I see, well, I’m sorry for reacting.” he knows for definite that when Ash hears about this, he will say he had over reacted.

“Are we back on for tomorrow?”

“Yeah. I appreciate you calling to explain.”

“Some things can’t be explained over text. Are you at the park now?”

“Yep, just walking to my spot.”

“You have a place?”

“Uh-huh. It’s the same spot I go to. It’s away from people and I can have some peace as the park gets pretty busy.”

“Well, good luck with the practice. I will see you at 10.”

“Thanks and yeah, see you at 10.”

Taehyung ended the call and took a very deep breath, slender fingers rubbed at his temples as he squeezed his eyes shut. It bothered him that he’d once again said something to irritate Jungkook, it hadn’t occurred to him at the time, that it would be taken that way but he was pleased he made the decision to call him.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, Taehyung managed to get a lot done, despite the thunderous pain banging in his head and despite the uneasiness he felt after the misunderstanding with the busker. It was 8pm when he decided to call it a day and then it dawned on him that he hadn’t given any thought to his outfit for tomorrow, having absolutely no idea what people wore on a day out to a theme park. He looked through the website that belonged to Neverland and looked at the people in the pictures for inspiration, sighing as he doubted he had anything suitable. He remembered the Gucci pumps that Hobi bought him last year for his birthday, he’d only worn them once and thought that comfort was key, given that he would be on his feet all day. The rest of the outfit could be matched to the aqua coloured shoes, so he chose a pair of slim fitting jeans, a sky blue patterned polo shirt and one of his favourite navy blue blazers. It was his very definition of outdoor casual, even if the outfit probably cost more than Jungkook’s rent for a year.

He swallowed some more tablets as he climbed into bed, that uneasiness still festering in his core, he looked at the time and wondered what Jungkook was doing at this hour. He decided to fire off a quick text before allowing sleep to take him and hopefully banish the pain in his head.

KTH
Did practice go well?

He wasn’t expecting such a fast response but was pleased that Jungkook replied so quickly.

JK
It did, thank you. How’s your head?

Taehyung smiled a weary smile, the earlier misunderstanding appeared to have been left as the texts returned with their normal tone.

KTH
Not great, I’m going to sleep early in the hope that I wake pain free.

JK
Sleep well then, see you at 10.

KTH
You too. Goodnight, Jungkook.

JK
Goodnight, Taehyung.