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Euphoric Endeavours

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You think, idly, that these kinds of things happen in movies and in YA novels in the back of dusty libraries. Girls huddling in the rain outside of a boy’s apartment, yelling profanities at his back as he leaves them in his wake.

But this isn’t a YA novel, and you aren’t in a movie. This isn’t even your fight, not really.

You probably should take it back a few hours, right? It would make it easier to understand, you suppose.

Okay. Back to the early evening.

You’d just finished your first glass of wine. It was a Friday night, you’d finished work and you had no plans for the evening, so you’d cracked open the cheap pink rose you and Young-mi had bought on a whim, and had turned on the newest episode of Black Mirror on your laptop, snuggling under the shared heated Ryan blanket on the living room sofa. One of your roommates is in her room, ignoring you as usual. The other, your lovely and angelic Mei Li, was on a date. Or something to that effect. You only asked for the location and the time she’d be back, for safety, because she was an adult and even though she had cherub-like pink cheeks and silky long hair, reminding you of a pristine doll, she was an individual and made her own choices. The final, your bestie, Young-mi, was beside you, with her own mug of wine and ice because why not.

The two of you were lost in the world of virtual reality and time-travel when the front door bursts open, dragging a half-scream from your throat. You both stumbled up onto your feet, to see Mei Li in tears. Loud sobs escaped her throat, and she seemed to be unable to breathe, let alone explain herself. It took you nearly half an hour to get her to calm down enough to explain the situation, and when she did, you nearly blew a gasket.

“YN, wait a second, we don’t know everything,” Young-mi tried to placate. She quietened at your intense glare.

“What else do we need to know? That sack of dirt used her,” you growled back, and she let out a short sigh of hesitation.

Mei Li let out another choked off sob and you pat her shoulder, cooing softly. “It’s okay. He’s not worth it.”

“I thought he was the one, YN,” she wailed into her hands. “Why am I so stupid?”

“You’re not stupid, baby,” you soothed. “Boys are dogs. Less than dogs. They’re rats. They’re fleas on rats.”

Young-mi covertly rolled her eyes from where she stood. You’d been watching too much Grease recently. Young-mi asked, “What happened, exactly?”

“We’d gone out for food, and he took me back to his place. He said his brothers were out, so we’d have the place to ourselves. We, you know, did it, and then I asked- hic- I asked when he wanted to go out on our next date. He- hic- he froze and let out this – hic – he laughed at me! He said he didn’t do dating.”

Young-mi’s lips thinned. “Did you guys ever, you know, mention dating before? Or being exclusive?”

She took a moment to think, before she shook her head. “But I didn’t want to come across as intense, you know? I wanted to make it cool.”

“He told you he didn’t want a girlfriend when you first started messing around, right?” Young-mi looked resigned, but you just found yourself getting angrier as Mei Li’s eyes filled with tears once more. Jack ass. “I’m sorry, honey. But, some boys- they’re not boyfriend material. Maybe he’s doing you a favour.”

Shooting to your feet, you snarled. “That’s bullshit! Mei doesn’t deserve some worm making her feel low about herself. I ought to kick his self-righteous ass.”

Young-mi quirks a brow. “For what? Not wanting to date her?”

“For making her come home like this!” You gestured to the sniffling girl, and you felt your heart pulse for her. “He could have done it a hundred different ways, but he decided to make her feel so bad about herself. I can’t forgive that.”

Before she can talk you out of it, you’ve already grabbed your sneakers. Pausing by the door, you looked back and asked, “You coming to kick his ass, or not?”

“How else are you supposed to get there, weirdo?” Young-mi laughed, and the three of you make your way to the boy’s apartment complex.

It started to spit with rain as you drove over the bridge, and, in hindsight, you probably should have taken that as a warning sign, but you were PMSing, a little tipsy on wine and your littlest baby came home crying because of a stupid boy, with his stupid boy feelings and it just- you wouldn’t accept it.

“Woah, there’s no way we’re getting in there,” Young-mi murmured from the front seat of the car, staring up at the sky-rise apartment complex. You both turned to look at Mei Li, who shrugged, seemingly past the initial phase of shock and had fallen into depression.

“He’s loaded,” she explained.

“Who is he, anyway? Some old, rich pervert who likes young girls?” You growled out.

Mei Li shoved your shoulder from the back seat. “Don’t talk about him like that. He- He’s not old. He’s literally only 22.”

“He deals drugs,” you reasoned. “He has to.”

“Or, he’s like the kid of an international gun racketeering ring,” Young-mi helpfully suggested.

You make a face in acknowledgement. “Equally as likely.”

Mei Li scoffed and explained, “He goes to our university. Did I seriously never mention who it was?”

“No!” Young-mi and you chorused.

Before she can answer, the doors to the apartment complex open to reveal a face you know too well. Jung Hoseok – dance extraordinaire and campus jokester. Mei Li ducked beneath the seat, in fear of being seen and she grabbed at both of your collars to do the same.

“Hide!”

Young-mi put two and two together. “You’re sleeping with Jung Hoseok?!”

“I was!”

“Mei Li! Of all people? You know he wasn’t going to date you,” she told her, not unkindly. “Jung Hoseok – those Bangtan Boys – they don’t date. At all.”

“That still doesn’t make what he did okay,” you hissed, anger flickering back to life at the fearful expression on Mei’s face. “You know what, I’m gonna teach this asshole a lesson.”

You tugged out of her grip and slammed the car door shut as you got out.

Young-mi let out a low moan of, “Here we go,” before joining you, leaving Mei Li trembling in the backseat of the car.

“Hey, jackass!”

And that brings you to the present moment, you suppose.

He pauses ahead, head crooking to the side, incredulously, before glancing back, finger pointing at his chest, eyes surprisingly wide and expressive for someone you’re about to fight. He asks, “You talking to me?”

“You’re the only jackass around here, so I guess so,” you snarl.

He inspects you closer, expression funny, before staring at the sky, begrudgingly. He takes out his other earphone and faces you head on, tucking both hands into his hoodie pockets. “Who did it? Jin? Taehyung? God, did was it Jimin?”

“I’m not here for any of your weirdo brothers,” you snap. His eyes go sharp for a moment, a slash of something icy rushing through your system, before you set your shoulders and continue, “I’m here for you.”

“What is this, Mortal Kombat? Is this a duel or something?” He’s making a joke of the situation, and it only makes you more annoyed.

You jab a finger at his chest. “You’re lucky we aren’t in medieval Europe because I would’ve had you flayed by now.”

“If this were medieval Europe, you wouldn’t be able to do much about anything,” he tells you, matter-of-factly. He points to himself, “Man,” then at you, “Woman.” He shrugs. “The optics would’ve been interesting though.”

You think you’re about to blow your top.

“Look, whatever I did, I guess I meant it at the time,” he says, honestly. “But you’re clearly upset. So, have at it. Curse me out, do whatever. But after this, please, move on.”

You grit your teeth so hard you think they’re about to chip, and his lack of accountability is making your head spin. “You’re more of an asshole than I thought.”

“Not enough for you to not sleep with me,” he replies, easily.

“You think that I’d sleep with you? What a joke,” you huff. “You did my friend dirty.”

He lets out a chuckle, and these dimples appear above his mouth, and you’re reminded distinctly of the image of a delighted chipmunk. “So, you’re here to fight for her honour? How noble.”

“Stop being so condescending,” you growl. “I’m here to tell you that you’re an asshole, and you don’t deserve her. Her, or anyone else.”

His jaw clicks in annoyance, seemingly over the conversation. “Let me ask you something. I know myself to know that I don’t give promises and I don’t lie. Did I ever once, once, tell your friend that she’d be my girl? That we’d be special? That she was the one for me? Anything?”

You can’t reply, because you don’t know.

He takes your lack of answer as, well, answer enough and scoffs, approaching you, like a hunter stalks its prey. “You come here, to my home, to curse me out, without knowing the facts? This just gets better and better.”

He takes a step closer to you, and you can smell his aftershave, despite the pouring rain. You try to meet his eyes, but the feeling – the twisting in your gut, the instinct that tells you that you aren’t safe keeps you from glaring into his orbs as fiercely as you wanted, settling for the space between his shapely brows – overwhelms you.

“You should confer with your so-called friend, so you don’t make an ass of yourself in the future,” he advises, mockingly. He puts his headphones back into his ears and turns his back to you, walking on the way he was headed before.

You feel the rain pounding against your back, soaking into your old university hoodie and your leggings feel sticky against your skin.

“That couldn’t have been more embarrassing if you tried,” Young-mi says, blandly. You look back at her, to see she’s already surveying you, curiously. “Let’s go home, okay? McDonald’s on me.”

“Damn right,” you sniff.

The drive back is quiet. Mei Li falls asleep, barely taking two bites of her burger, while you’d scoffed both yours and the rest of Young-mi’s apple pie.

“As much of a car wreck as that was to watch, I must admire your determination,” she says, honestly. The soft music from the radio, combined with the rain colliding with the front screen and the low blow of heat in the car makes you feel sleepy. “You’re a ride or die like that. But- And I love you, you know this, but sometimes you need to look out for yourself first.”

“He could’ve been a crazy, violent kind of guy,” she tells you. “And, we wouldn’t have been able to protect you, or ourselves.”

“I box,” you tell her, pouting.

“On the WII. Sitting down,” she answers with a light peal of laughter. Unable to help it, you join her, knowing now, after cooling off, that your actions were impulsive and potentially dangerous. “Next time, let’s leave him a nasty call instead, okay?”

“Or, we could order a bunch of pizza to his address and make him pay for it,” you suggest.

She grins, evilly, at you. “There’s my maniacal bestie.”

You both smile at each other, before she turns her attention back to the road, and you close your eyes, finally lulled to sleep.

//

Hoseok returns to his apartment after finally finishing what he set out to do – get a couple beers for the boys and snacks so they could have a movie and games night indoors, but in his head, all he can think about is your aggressive chastising and his pink-eared shame. He slams the front door shut, the events of half an hour before still pissing him off.

“Woah, woah, woah, hyung,” Taehyung says, surprise written across his face at seeing his hyung react to seemingly nothing so aggressively. “Where’s the fire?”

“Nothing,” he denies, rolling his eyes as he shoves the beer in the refrigerator. He’s careful to avoid the bagged blood, because Namjoon gets huffy if they mess around with his special AB cocktail. To Hoseok, it mostly tastes the same – bagged blood didn’t touch the hem of the real thing, and just thinking about his annoyance makes his fangs itch to drop and drain. “Just some girl.”

“Somebody finally catch your heart, hyung?” The younger artist says, mockingly. He heaves himself onto the island, chewing happily but loudly on his dried mango snacks. “Tell me about her.”

Hoseok rolls his eyes, leaning against the fridge and crossing his arms over his chest. “You know as well as I do that no girl is catching this heart of mine. I guess I hurt one of her friend’s feelings, and she came to give me a piece of her mind.”

“Oof, it gets better,” Tae laughs, dropping his head back and emptying the bag into his mouth. “Then what?”

“She was outside the apartment, screaming at me, in the rain,” he retells with a shake of his head. “It was embarrassing. Kyungsoo heard everything.”

“He’s the concierge, he’s supposed to see and hear everything,” Taehyung tells him, with a shrug of his shoulders. “So, did she get you to see the error of your ways?”

“Not at all! I never tell lies,” he says, affronted. “She must have got it into her head that we would be something we absolutely weren’t going to be, and got her own feelings hurt.”

“I get it,” Tae replies. “But, you need to understand how human girls work. They’re fragile, emotional. Easy to anger, easy to break.”

“You don’t have to tell me that, brat,” Hoseok tells him, shoving at his shoulder. “I should stop playing around with college girls.”

“You should, you pervert,” the brunet laughs, tossing his waste in the trash bin hidden under the sink. He gets a thoughtful look on his face, before he remarks, blithely, “They do taste delicious, though.”

“They really do,” he agrees, with a low groan, the memory of Mei’s blood spilling down his throat making him itch to do it again. Her blood was good, better tasting considering her diet and her age, but there was better out there, and he didn’t feel like he was missing out by cutting her off.

“What’re you going to do?” Tae asks, with a playful tilt of his head.

Hoseok shrugs. “Nothing, I guess. Mei Li and I won’t ever meet up again. Eventually, she’ll move on. The friend got all her fury off her chest. Everybody should be happy now.”

Taehyung gives him a long look, before snorting. “Here’s to hoping, hyung.”

The dancer disappears down the hall, back towards his room, leaving the artist in the kitchen, scanning the fridge for more snacks, singing lowly to himself, before deciding to quench his low-burning thirst and grabbing a bag of O-neg and piercing it with a straw.

“For someone so much older than me, he really is naïve,” Jungkook remarks, joining his hyung in their neatly designed kitchen, taking a sip of the O-neg before making a face. “Not my favourite flavour, I’m gonna be honest.”

Taehyung snorts. “That’s why it’s on my shelf. Besides, it’s not our place to tell him that.”

“It is more fun to watch the mess play out,” Jungkook agrees. “How much do you want to bet she’ll curse him out in public again?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “I think she’ll be passive-aggressive towards him but won’t do anything in person, but I’m open to change. The normal rate?”

“Bet,” Jungkook says, and the two of them share their secret handshake in agreement, touching thumbs at the end.