Taehyung woke up with a start, his heart pounding. Blinking his eyes, he stabilized himself and squeezed a fistful of his sheets. He didn’t know why he let Irene convince him to drink as much as he did. Alcohol brought on nightmares. Brought back gruesome memories.
The clock beside him lightly glowed 5:24 at him. Talking to The Swan required him to be awake soon anyhow so he slowly stood up. A light head rush rendered him unsteady for a moment and he closed his eyes tightly to regain his balance. He couldn’t remember drinking as he had with Irene in a long time. This would be the last for that or longer.
The time went by quickly as he sobered up in the shower. Flashes of the night made him smile. Irene had been kind and they laughed so much together. He couldn’t get the twinkle of her eyes as she smiled out of his head. It was evident that things between them were far from friendly as the close of the night.
They had hugged goodbye and Taehyung was ready to leave when she tugged at his hand when he attempted to leave. It was hard to resist those big brown eyes and the tight black dress she wore that rounded all of her features to perfection. The connection drew him to her and they shared a kiss that left Taehyung feeling lightheaded.
He had kissed fellow workers under The Swan in small undercover assignments but none of them were ever real. None of them made him feel like that.
A pounding at his door snapped him out of the memories of the night. He quickly shut off the shower, got dressed and left the room to find Minjun waiting impatiently.
“Sorry to rush you but you knew you were expected for a phone call,” he grimaced. Taehyung nodded.
“I got up early, time just got away from me,” was the weak explanation he gave. He knew it wouldn’t matter to The Swan.
“He’s waiting on the call right now, don’t leave him waiting.”
Taehyung ran down the stairs to the phone that sat in the middle of the coffee table.
“Hello?” he asked weakly. Even though he had only talked to the man on the phone his presence could still be felt in the room.
“Tell me how your surveillance on Park Jimin is going, Taehyung,” he requested plainly. The fact that there was no emotion scared Taehyung the most. In this state he knew The Swan was most volatile.
“I’ve been watching him just about every day as you have requested at his place of work. I’ve recorded his schedules and habits, pathways home, the typical information as I have had to record in the past, sir,” he reported. There was a string of silence that followed. Taehyung’s forehead dampened. His breath was held in anticipation.
“What about Jimin as a person, hm? You have met him, haven’t you?” The Swan finally asked, a light tone of amusement lacing his words. Taehyung knew The Swan knew he had gone beyond his normal parameters.
“Yeah, I don’t know him super well, we’ve only spoken a few times, I’ve been in the store to make purchases and such as a normal customer. I felt like this assignment needed more than what could be seen in a parked car from a distance,” was Taehyung’s explanation. His voice was shaky and he was trying to cover his actions as best he could. He could not risk being thrown off the assignment and The Swan putting Jimin’s life in the hands of another cold-hearted worker.
“Is that so?” The Swan asked. Taehyung gulped. He didn’t want to tell the whole truth but it was hard to know what to say when he wasn’t sure what The Swan knew. He decided to take a risk.
“That’s all, sir. Just trying to do better with the assignment.”
There was another silence. Taehyung was close to spilling the full truth when The Swan laughed.
“That’s my boy. I was scared you were getting bored and trying to skate by. I’m proud of you.” he praised. His tone was just above neutral but it said a lot coming from The Swan. Taehyung laughed nervously.
“Yeah, just trying to do my best…”
“I know you’ve learned your lesson, correct?” The Swan asked seriously. Taehyung nodded and quickly remembered that The Swan needed a verbal response.
“Yes, sir,” she squeaked out. Flashes of Jungkook’s evil sneer flashed across his mind and made him wince.
“Jungkook is a good worker of mine. I suggest you stay within your parameters. Don’t take any more liberties. Don’t get friendly with Jimin. That is a direct order, do you understand?”
“Y-yes, sir,” was Taehyung’s stuttered response. He had to be careful.
“You went on a date last night, is that right?” The Swan asked after a few moments. The weight of the atmosphere seemed to lighten a small amount.
“Yes, sir,” Taehyung confirmed. The Swan chuckled on the other end of the line.
“How was it? It was your first date, hm?”
Taehyung figured The Swan would know through Minjun’s reports, but why was he being so kind about it? Was it a ploy to gain his trust? To make Taehyung comfortable and slip up?
“It went well. I’ve seen her a few times around town, we met the night Jungkook visited me,” he said. He figured he would be honest with him up front. He didn’t want The Swan to put men around her to figure out her identity, He wanted to protect her.
“You don’t have too much fun, do you? You know what happens if she gets too close to the truth…” he asked. Taehyung bit the inside of his cheek guiltily. He knew he should end things soon.
“Yes, sir. The last thing I know you need is someone having to be forced in after accidentally finding out too much information.”
The Swan laughed. “Well, I wouldn’t mind her being on our side if she’s a pretty thing, hm?”
Taehyung grimaced at The Swan’s insinuation. He had to hold his temper.
“I assure she will most likely be out of the picture soon, it’s not love or anything,” Taehyung replied plainly.
“Look, just be careful. I know this job is hard but you are one of my best men. You know I almost think of you as a son, my little Taehyungie,” he cooed. The nickname sent shivers down his spine. The Swan being overly kind for the first time since he was a fragile child was almost off-putting. He noticed movement from the corner of his eye and looked up. Minjun stood leaning on the wall. He stared at the floor looking annoyed.
“Yes, sir. I appreciate your kindness,” he said with a false light tone. He had to be careful, he certainly didn’t want to see the bad side of The Swan either.
“Keep the girl around. Because she’s with you I’ll assure she’s safe. For now. Who knows, you may want to marry in the future. If that happens I’ll make sure she’s well taken care of, for your sake,” The Swan promised.
The statement was enticing but Taehyung knew that he couldn’t put too much trust in the man. He could only imagine how many things he promised to people before stabbing them in the back, figuratively and literally.
“Thank you,” Taehyung said in a neutral tone. The conversation seemed to stall at this point.
“I’ll let you go. Take the day off because I’m sure you had fun last night, but back to watching Jimin in the morning. Remember what I said about minding your boundaries, Taehyung,” he reminded.
The phone clicked without a formal dismissal and Taehyung was finally able to breathe easily for the first time since he had heard about the phone call. The Swan’s rather light tone in the conversation was almost alarming. No matter how kind The Swan could pretend to be, Taehyung’s mind was still made up. He would continue to find out the in’s to The Swan. He had to take him down.
Minjun smiled at him before walking over to give Taehyung a hug. He left himself be enveloped in Minjun’s arms. He still couldn’t trust Minjun but he had to be smart and hang on to what he could. The only person he was honest with was himself. This was only after a whole life of lying to himself, so even that concept was foreign.