Taehyung sat in his parked car watching Jimin for an hour before gaining enough courage to get his plan in motion. Minjun was right about one thing for sure, Jimin’s time was running out, and he was not going to pull the trigger, that was for sure.
The air was crisp and refreshing when he stepped out of his car that had long gotten stale. Looking both ways, he crossed the street to see Jimin up close for the first time in weeks.
Upon hearing Taehyung enter, Jimin’s head snapped up from his phone, his smile blinding. His hair had grown an inch or two and it was now an ash grey. The color lighted up Jimin’s already bright aura. Taehyung couldn’t help but smile himself.
“I haven’t heard from you! Are you doing okay?”
“Yeah, just been busy with work and stuff, I didn’t want to start any conversations I couldn’t give my full attention to or finish, you deserve more than that,” Taehyung explained. Jimin laughed and dug below the counter for what Taehyung suspected to be Cheetos. “I actually want to make it up to you.”
Jimin paused what he was doing and looked up with interest. “Oh yeah? Well, it better be good then because I’ve missed you, dude.”
Chuckling, Taehyung made his way all the way up to the counter and rested his elbows on it. Holding his face in his hand cutely, he looked up at Jimin with his big brown eyes. “You have to forgive me because I already have everything planned! I’m taking you and your father away from here for a few weeks to Japan. I have beautiful rooms booked and activities and I think it would be a great vacation for you both, and we get to spend some time together!”
Jimin was speechless.
“All of this for me and my father? We don’t need all of that, it’s really too kind…” he replied shifting his weight. Taehyung was getting nervous that he made the situation uncomfortable.
“I already have it booked though, Jimin! It’s not a hardship because I got paid well for working, so all of that silence is worth it now! You both have had it so rough for the past few years, let me treat you, please? You’ve been the kindest person in my life, let me do this for you…” he pleaded. There was a little bit of truth in what he said. The Swan did pay him a decent amount monthly to pay for things and Taehyung had never had anything to spend it on, so he had a generous amount stored up.
Jimin did a dramatic sigh and rolled his eyes. “Well, you already paid…”
Taehyung jumped in place with excitement. “Yes! Thank you!”
“When are we leaving?”
Taehyung paused his celebration. This was the hardest part. “Tonight…?” he said sheepishly. Jimin’s eyes widened.
“That is so last minute! You’re lucky my shift is over soon. I’ll go home and pack and tell my father,” he replied shaking his head. Taehyung beamed.
“I’ll be there tonight at seven, is that okay?”
Jimin nodded. “I’ll be re-” he began but was interrupted.
“Whatcha guys doing?” Taehyung heard Irene ask behind him in her bubbly voice. He nearly jumped out of his skin. What was she doing here?
“Just confirming some plans with my friend, Irene,” Jimin replied shortly. Taehyung was annoyed at her sudden appearance but he didn’t understand why Jimin was barely nice to her.
“Where are you guys going? I was about to call you to make plans,” she giggled. “I was on my way for a quick shift at work and stopped here for a snack, it’s a nice surprise to have found a whole meal instead,” she winked.
Taehyung blushed and Jimin rolled his eyes. “Sorry I didn’t tell you, I just finalized the plans myself. I’m going to be gone for a month, unfortunately…” He finally explained.
“I don’t get to see you for a whole month?” she pouted. Taehyung scratched the back of his neck and walked up to her.
“I’m sorry…” he apologized, wrapping his arms around her tightly. He genuinely felt bad because he cared about her, but this time away would help him lose feelings to make the break easier on him. This trip would help solve several of his problems.
“I understand! I’ve gotten to see you a lot lately, I suppose Jimin here should get a turn at some point,” she laughed. Taehyung smiled and looked at Jimin but he didn’t look as amused. “Let me pay for this then I gotta run! I’m happy I got to see you before you left!”
She quickly handed Jimin the cash and took back her snack and headed out the door, stopping to peck Taehyung on the cheek before she left. Taehyung blushed and turned back to Jimin who seemed annoyed.
“Oh, so you two are a thing now?” he asked, looking at Taehyung disapprovingly.
“Why do you have to ask like that? You’ve always been put off by her but I don’t get it,” he confronted. Jimin looked down and thought for a moment. Taehyung had begun to tap his foot impatiently when Jimin finally spoke up.
“When I first met her I had that vibe that I couldn’t explain. I couldn’t remember if I had met her before but I realized later that night that I had. You know what she is, Taehyung? What she does for a living?”
Taehyung shrugged. “She says she dances,” he simply stated. Jimin doubled over in laughter.
“That’s what she told you? I mean she’s half telling the truth, but she didn’t tell you what she danced for?” he asked, wiping a fake tear away with a flick.
“What?” Taehyung asked impatiently. He was worried knowing Jimin knew something about Irene that he didn’t.
“She’s a stripper Taehyung! A dirty stripper! That club we walked home by the last time we hung out, she works there. Before my father got attacked I went there once with some friends and she was one of the sluttiest ones there. She had no shame and did what she could for every penny.” Jimin explained with disgust. “She probably is just using you! You can do way better than her-”
“You don’t know her! Look, she’s lied to me about that but I don’t think the way she acts around me is a lie. I appreciate you looking out for me but the whole thing isn’t serious. I was looking for a way for things to end anyhow,” Taehyung defended. He was hurt knowing she hid that from him, taking him to the place she even worked. He felt stupid but his heart still cared about her.
“Well, I’m glad about that. Look, I didn’t mean to insult you, but there’s something about her that’s off. I can just sense it, you know? You never know who you can trust these days, you need to be careful…” Jimin warned. Taehyung had to keep his reaction controlled before his guilt was obvious. His initial intentions were to kill Jimin as assigned but he changed. Regardless of that fact, if Jimin found out he would never trust him again, and that was the last thing he needed to be able to protect him.
“I appreciate you being there for me, okay? Don’t think that I don’t. Let’s shake this mood and be excited about this trip! Text me your address and I’ll be there at seven to pick you both up, okay?” Taehyung smiled. Jimin sighed and put a smile on his face as well.
“You’re right. This is my time!” he laughed. Taehyung’s spirits immediately were lifted by this. He ran behind the counter and hugged Jimin.
“I’ll see you soon!”
Jimin hugged him tightly in response. “Thank you…” he whispered. Taehyung’s heart swelled. He knew how much this trip would mean to Jimin. He wanted to make sure he treated him while he protected him, it was the least he could do after how much he had changed since meeting him.
Taehyung left the 7-Eleven with a light heart and eager to head home to pack. He knew Minjun would be gone for the day and had to move fast before The Swan could catch up to his plan.