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Settlement

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“So, there’s no prenup?” Jeongguk asks, fist clenching against his forehead as his eyes flutter shut, trying his best not to entirely lose his shit. “ Nothing ?”

 

He can’t believe the stupidity of his father. To marry a socialite, a fuckin’ gold digger , just like that, without a prenup and she just — she wants to take half of everything.

 

Half of Jeongguk’s money — his father’s money, half of Jeon Inc., half of his — their fucking life.

 

Something his father had worked so hard for, something he created all on his own. Threatening to be gone and to who? A gold digging fucking socialite.

 

“I — I didn’t think it was going to end like this, Jeonggukie,” his father sounds broken, miserable, but Jeongguk can’t find it in him to feel bad. He’s so angry. “I thought this one was going to last.”

 

Jeongguk sees red. He’s fuming, his body is itching with disappointment and frustration and just—

 

Breathe.

 

“It’s your fourth fuckin’ marriage, how could you have possibly thought—“ Jeongguk cuts himself off and sighs deeply, digging his nails into the flesh of his own palm. “Fuck — I’ll be there. I’ll come to Korea. I’ll represent you.”

 

His father lets out a breath of relief and Jeongguk wants to punch something. The runs his fingers through his hair and twists at it angrily, sharp pain from the root of his hair causing him to almost flinch. Jeongguk thinks he might lose his damn mind.

 

Was he surprised that his father had called to tell him he and his new wife are getting a divorce after less than a year of being together? Absolutely not.

 

Jeongguk had seen it coming before they even got married — hence why he never bothered to come to weddings after wife number two.

 

This wasn’t any different than his father’s other whirlwind romances — dating for a couple of months, marriage proposal, divorce papers signed before you’d even blink an eye. Jeongguk had never even seen her in person — never even bothered to learn her name. All the information he knew about her was from the newspaper he’d read online sometimes, and the pictures his father would send.

 

He knew, vaguely, that she’d been married numerous times before, just didn’t think anything of it.

 

It wasn’t any different than any other one of his previous marriages — except this. This time, he didn’t have a prenup.

 

This time, he made a huge fucking mistake that could cost them half their family fortune, and he needed Jeongguk to fix it.

 

Had called his London office, begging Jeongguk to represent him. To fix this mess, to try and salvage things.

 

Jeongguk would have said no and let his father learn the hard way if all that money wasn’t inherently his money, too.

 

He squeezes his eyes shut and loosens his tie that’s tightening around his neck, making it hard for him to breathe. The air conditioning blows in a cool breeze but the office feels too hot , too small, cramped up — he just needs to breathe.

 

Jeongguk just — he didn’t understand. His father was sharp on his tongue, clever, hard-working man who ran an entire empire, and just when it came to women… His self-preservation skills and decision making were so impaired that it was honestly beyond Jeongguk at times.

 

This marriage lasted for less than two years, and Jeongguk’s pretty sure they couldn’t have been dating for more than a few months before getting engaged and then married. Jeongguk didn’t attend the ceremony — it was honestly pointless. He had no interest in meeting or interacting with someone who was so clearly just after the lifestyle, who didn’t give a single fuck about his father, someone who was clearly going to be replaced sooner rather than later.

 

And he wasn’t wrong. Everything played out exactly the way it always did, only this time, his father fucked up. He fucked up bad.

 

“Thank you, Jeonggukie. I’m so sorry,” his father says, exasperation clear in his voice. Jeongguk doesn’t even feel sorry. It’s his own damn fault. “I know it’s a lot to ask but you know that this concerns you too. And you’re the best divorce lawyer I know and—”

 

“No,” Jeongguk interrupts, clicking his tongue. He looks through the glass door of his office where his assistant is sat behind her desk eating lunch, annoyance rising within him. They had a fucking cafeteria downstairs, he had told her not to eat here at least a thousand times. “That’s Namjoon. I’ll figure it out, though. See if I can get him to, uh, come to Korea with me. You’ll have to pay him a shitload of money, though—”

 

“Money is not a problem.”

 

“—because he’ll have to call in favors to have other partners handle his clients just so he could help me help you. God , do you even understand how fucking ridiculous this is? Fuck, I’ll have to have someone handle my clients while I’m gone. Do you know how much fuckin’ money that’s gonna lose me?”

 

“It’s gonna cost you a lot more if we lose this case, Jeongguk-ah. Billions and billions of won and I know it’s my fault and I shouldn’t have been so reckless and trust me, it’s eating me alive,” his father says calmly and Jeongguk wants to rip his own hair out. He tugs harder on the strands of his hair, gritting his teeth. “But what’s done is done and now we have to try our best to not let her have half of my — our company. We need to protect both our assets Jeonggukie. It’s not about how badly I messed because I know I have — it’s about handling this.”

 

It’s all true, it’s so painfully true that Jeongguk can’t even argue anymore, he’s defeated. What’s done is done and he can sit here and scream at his father’s stupidity, or he can get Namjoon and they can see what the options are.

 

He runs his hand through his hair and rubs his face — desperately trying to calm down. Everything feels so tight around him, so tingly — he doesn’t want to be in this goddamn office anymore. He needs a drink.

 

His father’s words ring in his head and he’s right , Jeongguk will lose a lot more money if his stepmother — the thought of him ever calling that woman stepmother makes him want to gag — gets his hands on it, and he can’t let that happen. Jeongguk needs to protect what’s his.

 

“I’ll get Namjoon and we’ll see what to do. It’ll take me a few days to get things handled here first but I should be down in Korea by next week. I’ll let you know when I book my flight,” Jeongguk finally says, resting his cheek against his palm. “Just — don’t talk to her, don’t talk to her lawyers. If they want something, refer them to me. Don’t say a fucking word. I mean it. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes,” Jeongguk can hear the smile in his father’s voice and he thinks there’s nothing, absolutely nothing to laugh about in this situation. There was so much money on the line it made Jeongguk’s skin crawl. “I understand. Thank you, Jeonggukie. I’m sorry this happened, just — thank you. I can’t wait to see you, despite the circumstances. Dad misses you.”

 

Jeongguk’s stomach twists with nausea, throat closes up. He hasn’t been down in Korea in two years. Last time he’d seen his dad was a little after he’d gotten married and was in London on a business trip, but other than that, Jeongguk’s been preoccupied with becoming a partner that everything else that wasn’t work seemed to take second place in his life.

 

Maybe not even second.

 

Jeongguk had missed him too, he was pretty sure — only not right now. Not after this conversation.

 

“I’m gonna charge you double than my usual rate, just so you know,” Jeongguk says with a sigh, leaning back into his chair. “And I’m expensive expensive.”

 

His dad chuckles from the other end of the line. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

They hang up and Jeongguk gets up from his seat, looking down at the city through the window of his office. He paces back and forth until his heart finally simmers in his chest and his lungs expand enough for him to breathe in some air again.

 

He walks over to the door, forcefully pulls it open and startles his assistant, but he can’t even bring himself to feel bad. She’s still young with a lot to learn, she’ll get used to lawyers being dicks, especially on a bad day.

 

“Kate, get me Kim Namjoon right now,” he orders, voice coming out harsher than he intended it to. “And I don’t care if he’s in a meeting or whatever — pull him out. It’s an emergency.”

 

His assistant — Kate — nods and Jeongguk slams the door to his office shut and plops down onto his chair. He stares at the laptop in front of him where he had been drafting a contract and just — it doesn’t look appetizing anymore.

 

He hasn’t eaten anything all day and he’s nauseous with the news his father had just dumped on him and fuck , he knew today was going to be shit day the second he woke up to a text message from his client complaining about her husband selling one of their vacation homes without her knowledge and just — Jeongguk needs to schedule a boxing session with his trainer tonight. He needs an outlet before he goes crazy or some shit like that.

 

“You called?” Namjoon enters his office without sparing him a look, busy typing out an email on his phone.

 

Namjoon was a partner and probably the best lawyer in the firm — never lost a single case, not even as an associate. He was probably too sharp for his own good, and Jeongguk was happy to have him in his corner. They grew up together, their fathers have worked together and their mothers were the best of friends — while Jeongguk’s mother was alive, that is.

 

Even though Namjoon was three years older they were inseparable throughout the years, so much so that Jeongguk had even followed him to fucking England when he had decided to go.

 

“Hyung, put the phone down,” Jeongguk says and Namjoon’s head immediately jerks up, their eyes meeting. “This is serious.”

 

“Shit, Jeongguk-ah,” Namjoon shoves his phone inside the inner pocket of his suit and pulls out a chair on the opposite side of Jeongguk’s desk. “What happened? Is it your dad? Is he okay?”

 

Jeongguk laughs bitterly and nods, running his fingers through his hair.

 

“Yeah, no, he’s fine, physically ,” he says. “He’s getting a divorce.”

 

Namjoon’s brows furrow and he slightly shakes his head in confusion, spreading his hands.

 

It’s not like Jeongguk had just told him some shocking news, they’ve already been through this — three times before. And it’s never really been an issue before, it was never been this dramatic of a delivery. It was always more like: “Oh, by the way, dad’s getting a divorce. Again,” while they’re having drinks after work or something casual like that.

 

“Okay, and?” Namjoon asks, eyebrows pinched together. “I don’t get it.”

 

“She wants half of dad’s shit.”

 

Namjoon’s expression remains the same. “Okay, so? They have a prenup. She’s not getting jack shit. She can try though.”

 

Jeongguk bites his lower lip. “Not this time.”

 

“What do you mean not this time?”

 

“There’s no prenup.”

 

Namjoon’s brows stay pinched together as he processes the information and then his eyes widen, mouth pops open and he gasps, leaning over Jeongguk’s desk.

 

“No fucking way.”

 

“Way. He just called me. Asked me if we — I could represent him and all that shit. I can’t fucking believe him hyung, I’m gonna have to fly out to Korea and I fucking hate to even ask because I know how busy you are but—”

 

“I’m coming with you,” Namjoon interrupts, face dead serious. “That’s hundreds of billions of won on the line. It’s not a fucking joke. Jesus Christ, I can’t believe he didn’t get a prenup, that’s like the basic fucking…”

 

Namjoon’s voice drifts off and he gestures powerlessly, looking at Jeongguk with such sympathy, it makes Jeongguk want to cry.

 

It’s not about the money — well, okay, it is about the money too, but it’s more about an outsider trying to take something that’s not theirs to take.

 

Jeongguk — he can’t let that happen. Because his father had built their company on his own, with his mother always overseeing everything, supporting him, cheering him on. She was the one who had encouraged him to even start his own business, stop working office hours, she was the one who always silently took care of the family from behind the scenes and losing half the company, to a fucking socialite felt like a betrayal. Towards his mother. And he could never let that happen.

 

He was okay with the girlfriends, with the wives, all of the coping mechanisms or whatever the fuck else he was supposed to call his father’s behavior after his mother’s passing, he was okay with it all because it was never any of his business but this — this hit way too close to home, in every sense possible.

 

This time, his father was reckless enough for it to affect them both, and Jeongguk just couldn’t let things go this far.

 

“Okay, well — the good news is, your father is already signed with us as a client,” Namjoon quickly collects himself, and that was one of the many things Jeongguk admired about him. How quickly he was able to push his personal feelings aside. Jeongguk wished he was half as good as that. “I’m going to let the senior partners know that we’re going to make this case the priority, and I don’t think we’ll have an issue with that judging by all the money it’s going to bring us and the fact that this is a high profile divorce case. So, you let me handle that and you make sure all your other cases are handled. I have a meeting in seven minutes and I have to go, but I’ll tell your assistant to book us tickets to Seoul for Monday.”

 

Namjoon gets up from his chair and Jeongguk follows, nodding his head. He exhales in relief and the tight knot in his stomach loosens after hearing Namjoon’s reassuring words, even though fear still seeps through his skin when he thinks about what he’s going to be hit with once he goes back to Korea.

 

It’s been two years and he did miss it quite a bit, even though he’s been living in London since he was practically eighteen. He missed his dad no matter how pissed off with him he was right now, even though every time he’d go back to Seoul, especially in the last few years — he’d have to deal with a new wife occupying their home, their family home his mother had decorated from start to finish, and that’s the only thing that stung throughout  the years. The only thing Jeongguk couldn’t get past was another woman living there, where they all lived as a family and so he just kind of — stopped coming home as often.

 

Drowning in work in one of London’s top law firms contributed to the lack of free time as well, so that was always considered a good excuse nobody was really going to question.

 

Jeongguk walks around back and forth in his office, trying to take deep breaths and calm himself down so he could actually get important things done with the rest of his day. It’s not worth it — stressing over this now, especially when there are no papers involved yet, no actual procedure, nothing.

 

For the time being, he relaxes just a little bit, sitting back behind his laptop, continuing to draft out a contract for one of his clients. Besides, with Namjoon in his corner — things were bound to be handled.

 

Jeongguk is afraid of how messy the divorce is going to get, if he is going to have to hire a PI, whose side the press is going to be on, all of it — just swirls and floats around in his head, stressing him out.

 

He’s not the type to crack under pressure, but it was one thing winning cases for his clients and another being on the receiving of things.

 

If he was honest with himself, he was terrified of how things were going to go.

 

———

 

It’s six in the morning when Jeongguk and Namjoon land in Seoul, and Jeongguk’s stomach is tied into so many knots it’s been keeping him up during the whole eleven hours they’ve been flying.

 

He’s frantically been looking over the papers his father had sent him during the weekend while Namjoon was sound asleep beside him, and even though Jeongguk hated admitting it — his father’s soon to be ex wife had a really, really solid case against him.

 

Namjoon didn’t seem as fazed — which felt both reassuring and not. Reassuring because it was a good sign, but also kind of not because it was Namjoon , and he was never fazed by anything. Besides, it wasn’t his family’s fortune that was on the line. Jeongguk couldn’t help but feel nervous for what was about to happen.

 

Still, Jeongguk knew he was a good fucking lawyer, maybe not as good as Namjoon was, but still good , nonetheless. And personal feelings aside, he wasn’t about to lose this case.

 

“Did you get any sleep?” Namjoon asks once they get inside of the car Jeongguk’s father sent for them, covering his mouth with his hand as he simultaneously yawns. “I slept like a baby.”

 

“No, I’ve been looking over the papers,” Jeongguk sighs, rubbing at his eyes. His head feels heavy on his shoulders and he needs to sleep, but he also needs to relax. Hopefully, soon enough he’s going to be tired enough that it won’t even matter whether he’s tense or not. “It’s just not good. She has every right to ask for half of his shit.”

 

Namjoon sighs and surges forward, placing his hand on Jeongguk’s knee, gently squeezing it. He looks at him over the thick rim of his glasses and Jeongguk forces himself to breathe.

 

“It’s going to be okay,” Namjoon says firmly, voice so full of reassurance that the knot in Jeongguk’s stomach immediately loosens. “I’ve seen the case and it’s honestly nothing we don’t deal with daily back at the office. Your emotions are running high because it’s your family that’s going through this but Jeongguk — we are good at what we do. Probably the best. If we have to play dirty, we’ll play dirty. She’s not taking jack shit. We have the settlement meeting on Wednesday and we’ll see how that goes, get a feel of what her lawyer is like, what she’s like. Trust me, if we have to play dirty, we’ll play dirty. We’re not losing this case. It’s not gonna happen.”

 

Jeongguk swallows, nodding his head. Namjoon’s words are spoken softly but firmly — and he knows his best friend is right. He leans further into his seat, chin propped into his hand as he looks through the window.

 

It’s all true. They’ve dealt with this type of cases before a million times — Namjoon’s never lost a single one, and Jeongguk’s own success rate wasn’t really that far behind. If they had to play dirty well — Jeongguk was ready to. He had played dirty before, and maybe it wasn’t something to brag about, but that’s how it worked. Especially if you were employed in one of London’s top law firms. Everyone played dirty.

 

That’s what made practicing law so fucking exciting.

 

“I know, like I know you’re right and we’ve had cases like this before,” Jeongguk rolls his eyes, wincing as he feels the sharp pain in flash through his temples. His head throbs and his eyelids feel heavy but his eyes still remain wide open. “But you know how protective I am of him. I just don’t want him to lose something he’d worked so hard for. He’s so… dumb when it comes to women and I’ve always told him to be more careful because I knew that all those rushed marriages and whirlwind romances will come back to bite him in the ass one day and the day has finally come — and it just gives me this horrible, unsettling feeling and I can’t stop thinking about all of the things that might go wrong.”

 

Namjoon cracks his neck and leans back into his seat, chewing the inside of his cheek as he intently watches Jeongguk.

 

“I know Jeonggukie,” he says quietly. “But listen — I want you to get some sleep when you get home. Take a sleeping pill or whatever if you need to, but I want you to get some good sleep. I’ll study case as soon as I get home to make sure we have everything covered. Tomorrow we can meet up either at my place or your place — either works — and we can do a final prep together. You’ll feel a lot calmer by Wednesday, I promise. Just try and relax.”

 

Jeongguk nods his head and lets his muscles relax, sinking further into his seat. His eyelids feel droopy but he still doesn’t feel like he can close his eyes — besides, the car’s just pulled up into the city, and they were going to be home soon.

 

Namjoon takes his phone out and starts replying to emails, fingers quickly typing on the keyboard and Jeongguk only wishes he had half the work ethic Namjoon did. He’d reply to emails anywhere and everywhere, draft contracts within minutes, and his mind was work-work-work at least ninety percent of the time. Except for when he was around Seokjin.

 

“When’s Jin hyung coming?”Jeongguk suddenly remembers their conversation from the other day, when Namjoon had mentioned that Seokjin would try and get days off so he could come to Korea with them. “I thought you said he was going to ask for days off at the hospital.”

 

Namjoon stops typing and his eyes dart up to meet Jeongguk’s, brows slightly furrowing.

 

“Oh yeah. Friday,” Namjoon says, lips curling into a small smile. “Thing is, he has so many vacation days he’s never used because you know how he feels about his interns and subordinates. He thinks every single one of them is stupid as fuck and can’t do anything without his supervision. He’s sure they’re all going to kill his patients, but I’ve managed to convince him to take some time off. It’s been a while since we’ve last been to Korea.”

 

“You came here last Christmas, right?”

 

Namjoon nods. “Yeah, you didn’t want to come because your dad’s wife had moved in.”

 

Right. Well — as bratty as it may seem, whenever someone would move into their apartment,  Jeongguk just didn’t feel comfortable staying there. He didn’t know those women, didn’t care for those women, didn’t want anything to do with them.

 

Still, a pleasant feeling settles within him as the car drives through the familiar neighborhood he’d grown up in, and Jeongguk feels excited to visit his home again.

 

He’d missed his room, missed the dark lavender and deep grey tones of their penthouse apartment, his mother’s favorite colors. Even though the circumstances under which he was coming back to Seoul weren’t the best — he did still miss it quite a bit, and he was kind of glad to be back.

 

It is just going to be he and his dad anyway, kind of like old times.

 

No matter how shitty the whole situation was, somewhere in the back of his mind, Jeongguk was still happy to be back.

 

The car pulls over in front of Jeongguk’s building and he lets out a breath of relief as he looks all the way up to his floor, quickly collects his luggage and says bye to Namjoon who still stays inside of the car, even though he lives right around the corner.

 

“Get some sleep , Jeongguk-ah,” Namjoon warms before Jeongguk closes the door. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”

 

———

 

First thing Jeongguk notices when he walks inside of his apartment — is that it looks nothing like it did the last time he was here. It looks nothing like his apartment. Their apartment.

 

Instead of the familiar deep dark tones, it’s all bright — white and green and yellow and it only makes Jeongguk’s headache double in intensity. His heart pounds in his chest and blood boils in his veins, and it’s all so fucking ugly and disgusting and Jeongguk fucking hates yellow—

 

“Dad?” He calls out, voice much harsher than he intended it to be. He can’t bring himself to care — he’d spent the last twelve hours staring at his father’s divorce papers and he hasn’t slept and he’s so exhausted and drained from all of this bullshit and he just wanted to get home and get some rest. “Dad!”

 

His father’s head pops up from the dining room and he smiles warmly at him, rushing over to help Jeongguk with his bags.

 

“Sorry, I was making breakfast,” his dad says, pulling him into a tight hug. “You look a little thin, Jeonggukie. Have you been eating well?”

 

Fury riles up within Jeongguk and he for the life of him can’t believe that out of all things, that’s the first to come out of his father’s mouth. If he’s been eating.

 

“Have I been — what happened in here?” Jeongguk turns on his heel, vaguely gesturing around the spacious living room. “What is all this? Why is it yellow ?”

 

Jeongguk hates yellow. He really fucking hates yellow.

 

He watches as his father’s face morphs into a mixture of sadness and regret, and it doesn’t really help — but it makes Jeongguk feel bad for snapping.


Still, not as nearly as bad as he feels right now, looking around the apartment he doesn’t even recognize , bright colors screaming at him and making it look like his mother had never even fucking lived here, and it makes Jeongguk sick to his stomach.

 

“About that,” Jeongguk tilts his head and presses his lips into a firm line as his father speaks, trying his best to not come off as completely disrespectful. “I’m sorry Jeonggukie, Jiyeon wanted to redecorate once she moved in, at first I was against it but she wanted to brighten up the place and, well…”

 

His father’s voice drifts off and he looks down, and Jeongguk’s heart tightens in his chest because he can see he really does feel bad about it.

 

“I’m sorry,” he looks up at Jeongguk again. “I just wanted to make her happy and I wasn’t thinking — I — we can call the designer and have him reverse everything. I didn’t throw away any of the old furniture or anything, it’s all in one of the storage facilities.”

 

It’s not about fucking reversing it back , even though that’s exactly what they’re going to do. They’re going to put everything back and make it look the way it had always looked. But it’s not about that — it’s about the fact that this shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.

 

God, his mother would have been devastated.

 

An alarm goes off in Jeongguk’s head. “My room. What about my room? Has that been redecorated also?”

 

His father gives him a small smile. “Your room is still the same. That place was off limits.”

 

A rock that’s been sitting on Jeongguk’s chest feels like it has been lifted and he releases a breath he didn’t even realize he was holding. He’s angry still but he’s way too tired to have this argument, just wants to get out of this awful looking room and wants to go lay down in his own bed and think about all the shit that’s going to hit the fan later.

 

It’s stupid, it’s reckless and it’s such a fucked up situation as a whole, but Jeongguk doesn’t have it in him to hold a grudge for too long. At the end of the day, that’s his dad, and Jeongguk loves him.

 

“You bet your ass you’re calling the designer and telling him to put everything the way it was, as soon as possible ,” Jeongguk tries his best to sound harsh and firm, but his voice just comes out hoarse and strained, cracking at the edges. “I’m really disappointed with this whole situation.”

 

His dad doesn’t even look at him. He just looks… sad. It breaks Jeongguk’s heart a little, but he has to say it.

 

“I’m disappointed that you’ve managed to put yourself in this position when I know you’re much smarter than this,” he continues, determined to say what he needs to say. “I’m disappointed that you let someone basically run over mom’s hard work. It’s not okay and I hope you know it’s not okay. We had an agreement that no matter who lives here, nobody touches anything.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Jeongguk knows, he knows his father is sorry, he knows he just got caught up, too caught up again , and it’s not an excuse — but Jeongguk can’t stay mad forever. He has to do damage control, and he has to start now.

 

He’s thirty years old. He’s not a kid anymore.

 

“It’s — look, I’m really happy to see you dad. And I’m happy to be here just… not like this,” he gestures around the apartment again, unable to help himself from feeling nauseous every time he’s attacked by the yellow tones of it. “I think I’m just gonna — I’m going to go sleep. We can talk tonight. You’re going to work, right?”

 

His father nods, lips curling into a sad smile.

 

“Okay. Make sure to eat first — I made breakfast.”

 

Jeongguk huffs silently and shakes his head as he paces over towards his room.

 

“I’m really not fucking hungry,” he mumbles before he slams the door shut behind him.

 

———

 

“You’re joking when you say the entire place, right?” Namjoon asks while handing Jeongguk filed divorce papers and other documents they need to look over together.

 

With the settlement meeting being tomorrow, they had to prep together, and the first thing that left Jeongguk’s mouth when he stepped foot inside of Namjoon’s apartment was that his father’s soon to be ex wife had flipped their entire place upside down.

 

“No, everything but my room is fucking yellow ,” Jeongguk scoffs, taking his laptop out of his bag and placing it on the other side of Namjoon’s desk. “The whole apartment is white and yellow and green and it’s just a whole headache. Dad said she wanted to “brighten up the place”. Can you imagine?”

 

Namjoon shakes his head in disbelief, settling down in his chair. They both wait for their laptops to turn on and Namjoon takes out his notepad and a few pencils, handing some to Jeongguk.

 

“Your mom decorated that place just fine,” Namjoon says, clicking his tongue. “I would have flipped out if my step mother redecorated the place.”

 

“Ew,” Jeongguk’s face scrunches. “Don’t call her my step mother. That’s disgusting. I’ve literally never even met the woman in my life.”

 

Namjoon laughs and Jeongguk kicks him under the table.

 

“Lucky for you, I did some digging,” Namjoon says. “Not too much as I didn’t have enough time and the meeting tomorrow isn’t particularly important since we’re not settling anyway — and we’ll have a couple of months until the court date to hire a private investigator and dig out all the dirty laundry we need, but I’ve covered the basics.”

 

Jeongguk nods, eyes wide with curiosity.

 

“She has a son, did you know that?”

 

“No,” Jeongguk shakes his head, eyes narrowing. He barely knew anything about the woman, other than the fact that she was a Korean socialite with as many marriages behind her as his father had. “I barely know her name.”

 

“He’s our age or something, not that it matters,” Namjoon hums. “Thought you might know about him. But that’s not important, just something I’ve come across. What is important though, is that she’s had three marriages before this, and not a single one lasted over three years. And after a couple of phone calls I’ve managed to find out that she’s cheated on two out of her three ex husbands, however neither one of them had evidence sustainable enough to hold up in court, and to be fair, they’ve cheated on her too.”

 

Something sparks up inside of Jeongguk, and knowing that she has a son — makes him even more motivated to not lose this case. He’s not in the mood for doing charity work, especially not at his expense.

 

“So she’s done this before?” Jeongguk asks, crossing his legs. “Robbed people out of their money?”

 

“Pretty much,” Namjoon shrugs. “I’m not saying she actually targets people and does it on purpose, but she’s come out richer after every single divorce. So, she probably has a really good lawyer. I’m actually kind of excited to meet the bastard.”

 

A knot rises up to Jeongguk’s throat and he tries to swallow around it, even though his throat feels closed up and dry. That was kind of one of his fears — sure, he and Namjoon are good, one of the best in London.

 

But that’s in London.

 

Jeongguk didn’t know a single lawyer in Seoul, didn’t know how good they were, how dirty they played, didn’t know anything.

 

Still — Namjoon kind of had a point. Jeongguk too was excited to meet the bastard. The more he looked at the papers in front of him and the way Namjoon was taking notes of every single little thing — kind of brought that familiar feeling of giddiness back into his system.

 

He feels kind of… excited. Because at the end of the day, they’re here to do a job — a job they’re both really fucking good at.

 

“Do we know a good PI in Seoul?” Jeongguk asks, clasping his hands together.

 

Namjoon gives him a devilish grin.

 

“My father doesn’t own a top security firm for nothing,” he says and Jeongguk can’t help the smile that spreads across his face.

 

Maybe playing dirty wasn’t fair — but it was always bound to get the job done.

 

———

 

Jeongguk neurotically taps his foot against the marble floor of the lobby, waiting for Namjoon to finish talking to the receptionist. They’re twenty minutes early but Jeongguk already has his game face on, and he’s not in the mood for bullshit.

 

Namjoon returns and plops down onto the sofa next to Jeongguk, sighing loudly as he places his briefcase beside him.

 

“What’s the guy’s name again?”

 

“Park Jimin,” Namjoon replies, frowning down at his watch. “Your father should be here by now. You want to go upstairs and wait for him there?”

 

“Park Jimin,” Jeongguk grimaces at the name, and it tastes bitter on his tongue. “Yeah. Let’s go up, you know I hate being late.”

 

They go up to the twenty-fourth floor, both quiet in the elevator. It’s how they worked best together — both quiet before meetings, but still ready to tear anyone and anything apart.

 

It’s all about focus, and Jeongguk needed all he could take right now.

 

Once they’re out of the elevator they’re met with another reception desk and this time Jeongguk is the one to approach, suddenly feeling as if his bladder is going to burst.

 

“Good afternoon, how may I help you?” The receptionist chirps, pleasantly smiling at him. “Do you have an appointment?”

 

“Jeon Jeongguk and Kim Namjoon,” Jeongguk gestures behind him towards Namjoon. “We have an appointment with Park Jimin and Kim Jiyeon.”

 

She nods and takes a couple of minutes to look through her computer, nodding as she finally finds the scheduled meeting. She looks up at him again and smiles, slowly standing up from her seat.

 

“You’re a little early Jeon Jeongguk-ssi, but I’ll be more than happy to escort you and your partner to the waiting area,” she gestures towards one of the empty offices, one the glass ones where you could see everything inside of, that always made Jeongguk feel like a fish in an aquarium. They had those in London too — he absolutely hated them. “If you’ll follow me.”

 

“Actually,” Jeongguk interrupts impatiently, feeling as his bladder presses down onto his lower stomach even more, and he can’t help but be a little shifty on his feet. He shouldn’t have drunk all that coffee this morning. “If you could point me towards where the bathroom is, that’d be great. I need to freshen up.”

 

“The bathroom in this area is out of order. You can use the partner’s bathroom in the left wing of the building, or the senior associate’s one which is one floor below, right next to the elevator.”

 

None of that means anything to Jeongguk. All he hears is a bunch of useless information.

 

“Which one is closer?”

 

“The one on the floor below. It’s right next to the elevator, on the right.”

 

“Thank you,” Jeongguk says, already pacing back towards the elevator. “You go ahead hyung, I’ll be right there.”

 

Jeongguk has never felt more relieved to be taking a piss in his entire life, and all the coffee he’s had this morning was definitely a bad idea. Jeongguk wasn’t even that big of a coffee drinker — he just felt like he needed all the focus in the world. He was pretty jet-lagged with the time difference and everything, and he couldn’t risk being even remotely sleepy or unfocused in this meeting.

 

He washes his hands and splashes some water onto his face, satisfied with how calm he’s feeling despite the situation. He always functioned well under pressure, and it was comforting knowing that even though this is all so, so personal, he still feels like he feels for any other one of his cases: ready. Jeongguk feels ready.

 

He doesn’t notice when someone walks in until he feels eyes on him and he looks up towards the mirror — and his eyes meet with a pair of dark, gleaming ones, and something about the look inside of them send shivers right down Jeongguk’s spine.

 

Jeongguk turns around and the man doesn’t stop staring — rather looks at him with even more intensity.

 

“Hi?” Jeongguk arches his eyebrow, suddenly feeling intimidated.

 

Jeongguk rarely feels intimidated, but this guy just looks like… wow. High cheekbones, piercing gaze and dark, plump lips, silver hair and — he’s Jeongguk’s type. Jeongguk’s probably never laid his eyes on anyone that was more his type than this guy right here.

 

His frame is smaller than Jeongguk’s but his eyes still make Jeongguk feel so small , so tiny , and it’s ridiculous how just the sight of him almost makes Jeongguk’s cock twitch in his pants.

 

“Do I know you?” The man asks, voice low and smooth. It makes Jeongguk want to shiver again.

 

“I don’t think so,” Jeongguk frowns, taken aback by the question. “I don’t work here.”

 

“That explains it,” the man moves forward, brushing against Jeongguk’s shoulder as he leans over the sink, placing his hands under the running water. “Because if you did, I’d make it my mission to come to the associate’s bathroom more often.”

 

Jeongguk’s lips curl into a smirk and he gets it — he’s flirting with him. Maybe today wasn’t so bad after all, not if he leaves here with a settlement meeting that went well and this guy’s number.

 

“Maybe I should apply,” he shoots back, leaning against the counter. “But it would have to be for a partner position. I don’t like downgrading.”

 

“Partner huh,” the guy walks over to grab the paper towels, patting his hands dry before he tosses it into the trash can. “Good — that’s good. I don’t like downgrading either.”

 

“No?” Jeongguk asks, tilting his eyebrows. “That’s a pretty high standard to have.”

 

The guy laughs and it’s completely opposite than from what Jeongguk had expected — it’s so sweet and genuine, and his eyes disappear into tiny little crescents and he giggles like a fucking kid — and Jeongguk’s stomach drops and his chest fills with warmth, because he no longer looks intimidating, he looks beyond fucking adorable.

 

“Cute,” he replies, crossing his arms over his chest. “What brings you here then, non-employee?”

 

“Physiological needs,” Jeongguk grins back at him, feeling the tiniest bit of tension as it completely dissolves and disappears from his system. “That’s usually why people visit bathrooms, you know.”

 

He likes a little bit of mystery between them and besides — they’re just flirting. Jeongguk isn’t sure how much time he’s spent in here but he knows he doesn’t have much left — and he’s going to have to be bold and ask for the guy’s number. He’d be an absolute fucking idiot to just let him go.

 

“You’re funny,” the guy giggles at him again and then a phone goes off — not Jeongguk’s — and he quickly pulls it out of his pocket, frowning down at the screen. He huffs in annoyance and rolls his eyes, jaw clenching as he shoves his phone back inside of his suit. “ Fuck — look, I have to go. I have a meeting and it shouldn’t take long but — my office is on the twenty-fourth floor. Just go up to the receptionist and ask for Chim. It’s an office nickname — don’t ask, I don’t go by that. Just — this won’t take longer than fifteen minutes. My client and I won’t settle and they have no case. I hate beating around the bush and wasting time so just come by my office and I’d love to take you out for coffee or something, if you’re free, of course.”

 

A wide smile spreads across Jeongguk’s face and his heart jumps in his chest, familiar excitement resonating within him, bubbling underneath his skin. It’s been a while since Jeongguk has met someone that would keep his attention for longer than five minutes — and five of Jeongguk’s minutes cost a lot of money.

 

“I have a meeting I have to attend to as well, but it will probably take a while. I can swing by your office after I’m done,” Jeongguk says, shifting his weight as the butterflies in his stomach rile up. The more he looks at him, the more he likes what he sees. “If you’re too busy to go for a coffee, I’ll have to at least get your number.”

 

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” the guy says, rushing towards the door. “I’ll see you later.”

 

Jeongguk is left alone in the bathroom, stomach all riled up with butterflies and his heart flutters as he stupidly smiles back at his own reflection in the mirror. He really doesn’t remember the last time someone had managed to snatch all of his attention up within seconds , but Jeongguk wasn’t going to complain.

 

There was something about the way he looked at him, like he saw right through him, that made heat coil up in the base of his stomach, that made this day at least a thousand times better.

 

He runs the water again and splashes his face a few more times until he finally checks his watch and fuck — the meeting starts in two minutes.

 

He rushes up to the twenty-fourth floor, spotting Namjoon and his father as they impatiently wait for him, both clicking their tongues as he approaches.

 

“You’re late,” Namjoon tsks and hands him his briefcase, squinting as Jeongguk’s cheeks darken. “What took you so long?”

 

“London office called,” Jeongguk lies, looking away. He’s not about to say he spent the last ten minutes flirting with a really fucking hot guy in the bathroom. “I — uh, they have an issue with one of my clients.”

 

Namjoon squints again, the corners of his mouth twitching downward in disapproval. “It’s five in the morning in the UK.”

 

Jeongguk freezes, avoiding both Namjoon’s and his father’s gaze. Fucking Namjoon, he never missed anything . That’s why he’s so damn good at what he does.

 

Jeongguk fidgets with the hem of his suit, shrugging as casually as he could.

 

“You know how clients can get,” he says, voice smooth and even. “Frantic and what not, they don’t care what time of the day it is — they still expect you to pick up.”

 

Namjoon relaxes his shoulders and he lets out a sigh, nodding his head in understanding. “You’re right, I suppose,” he turns to Jeongguk’s father. “Clients can get really difficult. Are you ready for this? It’s not going to be pleasant in there.”

 

Jeongguk’s father nods, patting Namjoon’s back.

 

“I’m ready, Namjoon-ah,” he says. “Thank you for being here.”

 

Park Jimin’s assistant collects them from the waiting area and leads them towards one of the conference rooms, one of the more secluded, more private ones. Jeongguk is thankful for that — he really doesn’t feel like being watched as if he’s some kind of a zoo animal.

 

Jeongguk sets his giddiness aside and focuses on what he’s really here for — to show his father’s wife and her lawyer that Jeons are not to be fucking messed with.

 

They walk inside of the conference room and—

 

It can’t be. It has to be a mistake because — it can’t be.

 

The knot in Jeongguk’s throat tightens and his eyes are so wide they might as well pop out in surprise, but next to his father’s soon to be ex-wife, it’s him.

 

It’s definitely the man he’d just shamelessly flirted with in the associate’s bathroom, a man he’d seriously considered dropping down to his knees for just ten minutes ago.

 

There’s no other explanation — that’s Park Jimin. That’s Jiyeon’s lawyer. It has to be — it’s him.

 

“Is that Park Jimin?” Jeongguk hisses at his father under his breath as Jimin’s assistant leads them towards their seats, and Jeongguk’s heart feels like it’s going to burst out of its cavity.

 

“Yes,” his father whispers back, eyes wide and defeated as he looks over at his soon to be ex wife. “That’s Jiyeon’s son.”

 

Jeongguk’s stomach sinks and he swears his fucking heart stops — sharp pain piercing through his guts and everything inside of him goes into panic mode, and he’s not even sure if he still has control over his facial expressions.

 

His mouth pops open and anger riles up within him and he wants to fucking punch someone — Park Jimin preferably.

 

He meets Jimin’s gaze and the gag of it all is that he doesn’t even look fucking surprised, he doesn’t even look fucking intimidated , no — his eyes are sharp and focused, lips pressed into a thin line.

 

Had Jimin already known who he is? Does he think this is a fucking game ?

 

Because if so — it’s on. God it’s so, so fucking on.

 

“Before we start,” the tone of Jimin’s voice is cold as ice — nothing like it was in the bathroom just a few minutes ago. “I’d like to make it clear that we’re not settling. There’s no alternative option you can offer to my client that will make us want to settle.”

 

Jimin pauses, lips curling into a wicked smile. “Unless you’re willing to just write over half of your empire, of course.”

 

Jeongguk suddenly sees red and before Namjoon can even open his mouth to speak, he hears himself saying: “Absolutely fucking not, you gold digging pieces of shit.”

 

———

 

“Next time you let me speak, okay?” Namjoon huffs at him while they wait for the elevator together, his father having to leave a little earlier and go back to work while he and Jeongguk finished up. “There’s literally no need for you to refer to them as “gold digging pieces of shit” every two seconds. I think you’ve gotten your point across very clearly the first time.”

 

Jeongguk laughs, running his hand through his hair. “They deserve it. It’s what they are.”

 

“Park Jimin is one of the best divorce lawyers in fucking Korea,” Namjoon hisses back at him under his breath. “I’m pretty sure he’s got plenty of money all on his own.”

 

Jeongguk rolls his eyes and folds his arms over his chest as he patiently waits for the elevator. The meeting didn’t go nearly as well as Jeongguk had hoped it would — even more so because he was so distracted by Park fucking Jimin the whole entire time. Him being his Kim Jiyeon’s lawyer was one thing — but being her fucking son was another. Technically, that made him Jeongguk’s fucking step brother and it makes him sick to even—

 

It angers Jeongguk to even think about it, he can’t believe he was able to get played so easily , just because he didn’t bother digging deeper, doing better research because he figured nothing important would happen until the first court date, didn’t even consider the fact that he might be made out to be the fool—

 

“Jeon Jeongguk-ssi?”

 

Jeongguk looks over his shoulder and he’s met with Park Jimin’s assistant again, and he’s even more annoyed as she pleasantly smiles back at him.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Jimin-ssi asked me to escort you back to his office,” she says politely, tilting her head to the side. “There are certain documents he’s forgotten to hand over to you.”

 

“Namjoon hyung can go get those,” Jeongguk says, lips pressing into a tight line. “Right, hyung?”

 

Namjoon’s face softens and he nods, but is quickly interrupted by Jimin’s assistant.

 

“Actually, he requested you specifically,” she says firmly, a smile still plastered across her face. She turns to Namjoon. “Sorry, just following orders.”

 

“Go ahead, Jeongguk-ah,” Namjoon says and the elevator finally arrives. “I have to meet up with Yoongi for lunch anyway, we’ll wait for you at the restaurant, just come by when you’re done.”

 

Fuck, Jeongguk hasn’t seen Yoongi in like, a year. Probably since he’d last booked his modeling job in London and came for a visit. He takes a deep breath and relaxes as he thinks of seeing one of his oldest friends again, and he just wants to get whatever this is — over with.

 

He follows behind Park Jimin’s assistant quietly and tries his best to ignore his stomach as it rumbles with hunger, anger, disappointment — and all of the other piled up shit  he’s been feeling for the past week.


Actually, Jeongguk needs some good stress relief. He needs to schedule a boxing session at the gym.

 

“Just hand the papers over,” Jeongguk says blandly as he’s met with Jimin’s blank expression. His eyes are dark and intimidating, and they make Jeongguk feel all weak at the knees. “I have places I need to be.”

 

The corner of Jimin’s lips tilts and he crosses his legs, clasping his hands over his knee.

 

“No, you don’t,” he says firmly, eyes locked with Jeongguk’s. “Sit down.”

 

Before he can even protest he finds himself sitting down into an armchair placed right in front of Jimin’s glass desk, and it feels like his knees have given up on him. There’s something about the way Jimin looks at him that makes Jeongguk feel so angry but so fucking weak and so fucking turned on at the same time because his fucking face is just out of this world and it’s so fucking distracting and Jeongguk just wants to drop down on his knees and—

 

“Papers,” he repeats again, his voice not even sounding like his own. “Hand the papers over so I can leave.”

 

Jimin shifts in his seat, his tongue swiping across his lower lip.

 

“There are no papers,” he shrugs casually. “I lied. I just wanted to get you in here alone so we can talk.”

 

“We have nothing to talk about.”

 

“Really?” Jimin tilts his eyebrows, voice calm and collected. Jeongguk fucking hates it. “Because from what I gathered in the bathroom, you and I have a lot to talk about.”

 

Jeongguk scoffs, nervously running his fingers through his hair.

 

“Don’t flatter yourself,” he says, voice trembling. “You played me, good job. Now if you’ll excuse me I have somewhere I need to b—”

 

“No, you don’t,” Jimin dismisses him again, eyes so intent and dark that Jeongguk feels like if Jimin would try hard enough he’d have him do anything he wanted. “You were ready to drop down on your knees and have my cock in your mouth thirty minutes ago and now you’re sitting here telling me you have somewhere you need to be? We’re not children, Jeongguk. We can discuss this like adults. I’m my mother’s lawyer but that’s all I am — her choices don’t reflect my own and I’m not here to either approve or disapprove of her actions.”

 

“Cut the bullshit,” Jeongguk rolls his eyes, crossing his legs nonchalantly, looking through the office window. He notices something about the office — something that makes him even more uncomfortable.

 

Yellow. There’s a pop of fucking yellow everywhere.

 

“You knew who I was when you came into that bathroom,” Jeongguk continues, hands clenching into fists as he remembers how calm and collected Jimin had looked once Jeongguk entered that conference room. Like he had expected him to all along.

 

Jimin shakes his head, sighing exasperatedly. He gets up and walks over to the corner of his office, crouching down to reach for the bottle of whiskey that’s sitting in his mini bar. He fills up two glasses and places one in front of Jeongguk, curling his hand around the other one and taking a sip.

 

“I had no idea,” Jimin says, sitting back down into his office chair. “I was just as surprised as you are. The only reason I kept staring at you in the bathroom is that I found you incredibly attractive.”

 

Heat coils up in Jeongguk’s groin and he could swear his dick twitched in his pants but — that’s the wrong head to be thinking with at this moment. But still — it’s flattering. That someone as gorgeous as Jimin would find him attractive.

 

Not that Jeongguk thought he was ugly or anything — just didn’t think someone like Jimin would find him attractive.

 

“You’re so full of shit, honestly,” Jeongguk laughs, downing the whiskey and getting up from his seat. “You didn’t even flinch when you saw me enter that conference room.”

 

“Just because your poker face is shit, doesn’t mean mine is,” Jimin smiles sweetly, looking at him over the rim of his glass. “You might want to work on that.”

 

Jeongguk’s mouth pops open as Jimin stares at him through his lashes, and he’d probably be so beyond fucking angry if he didn’t find this so, so incredibly hot.

 

“Fuck you.”

 

“I was thinking it could be the other way around but hey,” Jimin shrugs, eyes locked with Jeongguk’s. “Fuck you, fuck me, I like it both ways.”

 

Jeongguk seriously debates to just grab Jimin by the collar of his button up and crash their lips together, let Jimin spread him open right on that fucking desk and just not think about the consequences and be reckless for like, five minutes but he — he can’t.

 

It’s a trap, and he knows it. He can’t fall for it.

 

“Goodbye, Jimin-ssi.”

 

“You’ll be back,” is all Jeongguk hears while he exits Park Jimin’s office, knees so weak he feels as if he might collapse any second.

 

The heat that’s all gathered up in Jeongguk’s lower stomach tells him that Jimin is absolutely right.