Chapter 1: things have been difficult
It had been eight months since Yoongi sold all of their property and moved them out of the city into a more secluded town. It wasn't meant to be like that. Yoongi was almost convinced into letting them both continue with their lives together in his old apartment, but things took a drastic turn for the worse when he found Taehyung's letter amongst the little of Eunhye's possessions.
He had gone completely berserk upon reading the carefully written words on the piece of paper, his sudden lurch of anger causing him to punch a hole in the wall right next to where she had been standing. She was petrified, a full-blown argument erupting when she locked herself in the guest bedroom, not wanting to deal with his foul accusations and the lividity of his anger.
It was beyond terrifying.
His paranoia only grew the more time went by, restricting her movements and finally deciding to keep her locked in the apartment altogether. She wasn't allowed anywhere without him, and to say it was stifling was a grave understatement.
Eunhye knew he would have overreacted if he knew of the letter's existence which was the sole reason she decided to keep it a secret. She had meant to dispose of it, but with Yoongi latching onto her like a desperate puppy the first few weeks after their release from State Psychiatric Hospital, the act seemed almost impossible to get done discreetly.
Soon after, the thought of the letter completely slipped her mind, the only thing lingering in her thoughts being Min Yoongi himself.
She had her doubts concerning their future together but was surprised when Yoongi seemed almost like himself. He somehow managed to secure a permanent position at a nearby security firm and was providing well for them both despite his already secure financial status.
He was sweet and endearing, affectionate almost, to a degree that alarmed her, yet consoled and soothed her worries at the same time. Things were going so well . . . until the day he chanced upon the letter.
Eunhye remembered the day like it was yesterday. She had never seen Yoongi so angry before and it scared her to no end. It didn't take him long to discard all their possessions and make a run for it; bringing the two of them to as remote a town as he could find.
Needless to say, Yoongi had never been the same since.
The kind, sweet and endearing Yoongi was gone. He was cold, ruthless, and more like Suga—someone Eunhye had not had the reason to think of for a long time. He was gone most hours of the day, and although he claimed to be at work, Eunhye knew better.
There was no way a job at the factory repairing broken computer parts would land him the numerous lacerations and bruises she often found scattered across his body.
The moment now finds Eunhye sitting by the window, watching the flickering street lights below as she awaited his arrival. It was a little past three in the morning yet he was nowhere to be seen.
It was only when the minute hand ticked close to four, did she hear the distinct sounds of the front door unlocking. She rushed forward, worry causing her to stumble over her two feet in a hurry to check on his wellbeing.
"Yoongi," she breathed in an exhale when she caught sight of his battered form in the doorway.
He seemed surprised for a fraction of a second, clearly not expecting her to still be awake waiting for him. But the shock subsided into annoyance as he slammed the front door shut and pushed past her, already moving to unlace his boots.
"Yoongi?" she called out to him a second time.
His hands paused in their act of pulling off his boots and a heavy silence hung between them. After a minute, he sighed.
"Go to sleep," he ordered brusquely, not wanting to deal with having a conversation.
Eunhye dared herself to reach out a shaking hand to tug on the sleeve of his jacket. The action was dappled with fear and shrouded with the meek innocence that was always so immensely beguiling to him. He inhaled sharply.
"Yoongs . . ." she whispered the nickname. "You're hurt."
"Tell me something I don't know," he responded gruffly, shrugging her hand off as he trudged further into the house.
Eunhye was left trailing after him, not entirely confident to leave him alone with his wounds unattended. He had been coming home day after day with numerous injuries and not once had he permitted her to tend to them. In fact, it almost seemed as though he no longer wanted anything to do with her.
Since leaving their old lives behind, he barely spoke to her, kept their interactions to a bare minimum, and was straight up avoiding her. She was kept largely in the dark concerning his business outside the walls of the apartment, she had no idea what he was up to and it was immensely worrying for her.
What was he doing that was so bad it had him coming home with unexplained bruises? What was so bad that he refused to let her know?
In all honesty, she wasn't irked by the fact he was keeping secrets from her. Rather, it did not sit easily with her the way he was able to blatantly ignore her and act as though his actions did not affect her in any way. He was acting almost as if she was redundant in his life and oddly enough, the notion pained her.
Yoongi retreated into the confines of their shared bedroom, pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it aside as he rummaged for something else to wear. Eunhye stood just within the room, awkwardly shifting her weight between her feet as she thought of something to say to him. She inched closer to him, wincing slightly when she noticed the darkening bruises splotched along his back.
She lifted her hand, her fingers hesitantly touching the worse of the lot, earning a sharp hiss from Yoongi as he whirled around, gripping onto her wrist hard enough to elicit a flinch from her.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asked.
"Yoongi, why won't you let me help you? You're hurt. You've been hurt for days on end now and I just–"
"Leave me alone, Eunhye," he cut her off abruptly. "I can deal with my own problems. If I needed your help, I would have asked."
He released her hand with a harsh shove and turned away from her, but not before he caught the hints of unshed tears forming in the corners of her eyes.
"If you don't love me anymore, just tell me and I can go. You don't have to hang onto me or think you're responsible for me in any way. I can take care of myself. I can find a job and I'll leave you. I won't bother you anymore," she heaved, tears of frustration escaping her. "I can't live like this anymore, Yoongi. Worrying for you day after day, not knowing what's going on. You don't even talk to me, and I have to see you hurt every single day, I–"
Eunhye barely got her next words out before Yoongi turned and crashed his lips against hers in a rough and dominating kiss. He gripped the sides of her face, forcing his tongue into her mouth and backing her all the way into the wall. He pushed against her, his chest warm against her own as she melted into his embrace—desperate for any kind of interaction from him.
At this point in their relationship, she was hardly embarrassed being around Yoongi in any intimate way or form. After all, they had done things far more embarrassing than mere kissing.
Yoongi pulled away from the kiss, leaving both of them in a panting mess as he stared at her with eyes darkened by lust. He grazed his thumb over her cheeks as they stayed that way for a few extended seconds.
"Don't ever say something like that again," he said, his voice dropping an octave in a silent threat. "You are not leaving me. You are never leaving me. Not if I have a say in it."
"Then why do you keep ignoring me!" Eunhye asked, her words coming out much harsher than she intended. "I don't care about moving here, about . . . About all this."
She waved her hand dismissively at their surroundings.
"I know you're just paranoid about him. I understand, Yoongs. I just . . . What are you doing? Why do you keep getting hurt? Why are you lying to me—telling me you're still working at that factory? I know it's not true, Yoongi. Do you really not trust me?"
Eunhye lowered her gaze, her voice going soft before she said, "I worry about you, Yoongi. Every single day. I hate seeing you like this. I hate that we're like this. I'm trying every day to make this work, but you just . . . You don't care, and it hurts."
A heavy silence hung in the air between them before Yoongi sighed. He shifted slightly and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her in for an unexpected hug. He kissed her lightly on the top of her head.
He held her close for a few minutes without saying a thing until at least he released her, leaning to look her in the eye.
"Go out tomorrow," he said. "Have a walk around town. Do something."
"You're letting me out? Without you?" Eunhye asked.
"Don't give me a reason to change my mind, Eun," Yoongi said, the stern tone already seeping back into his voice.
He patted her cheek without another word and left her standing there as he made his way to the bathroom.
Although grateful at being given the opportunity to explore the town on her own tomorrow, it did not escape her the fact that Yoongi had smoothly avoided her questions and once again, left her in the dark about the state of their relationship.
Chapter 2: perhaps a friend
By the time Eunhye had woken up the next day, Yoongi was nowhere to be seen. A heavy sigh left her as she lay with her back flat against the queen sized bed, aimlessly staring up at the ceiling of their bedroom with her arms stretched out on either side of her.
She stayed that way for a few seconds before deciding it was best to get a move on. She was disappointed that Yoongi had left without saying a word—again—but at this point, she was used to it and wasn't actually expecting anything else.
She looked down at herself and noticed for the first time that she was wearing Yoongi's loose-fitted shirt and his boxers—both two sizes too big on her. She moved to push herself into a sitting position, wincing at the soreness between her legs as she did so. She exhaled through clenched teeth, closing her eyes until the brief feeling of pain passed.
Yoongi had been close to merciless the night before. Their extended time apart from any form of intimacy having fuelled his heightened lust and desperate need for her. Ironic, considering he was the one who had been avoiding her like the plague in the first place. The memories of him thrusting into her ruthlessly and the way he marked her body left Eunhye's face flushed with heat. She knew why he did it, however. A stark reminder that even if he allowed her a day to roam the town, she wasn't to forget where she truly belonged—with him.
She lifted the edge of the shirt, not surprised at being greeted by the beginnings of a light bruise around her hip. Eunhye couldn't help but wonder at his stamina; briefly remembering how he wasn't satisfied with three rounds, even going for the fourth despite her overwhelming lethargy and state of overstimulation.
She couldn't remember much after that, which explained her curiosity at seeing herself dressed in his clothes upon waking. She did, however, recall a fleeting impression of him carrying her to the bathroom to help her get cleaned up. He knew of her dislike when it concerned going to bed with the remnants of sex sticking to her like glue; especially considering one of his many kinks of releasing inside her.
Oftentimes, he would tire her to the point where standing was a near impossibility, yet he respected her wishes and would take it upon himself to help her get cleaned. She sighed. Yoongi showed his affections in the most unorthodox of ways.
Eunhye took much longer than anticipated to get across the room to the dresser, but when she finally did, a bright yellow post-it note was waiting for her—stuck to the edge of the surface next to a phone and a set of keys.
On it was scrawled four words in a handwriting Eunhye knew only too well.
I do love you.
Yoongi really was keeping to his word and letting her explore the town for the first time since they moved here. Though she was excited, Eunhye couldn't help the tinge of suspicion that permeated its way into her chest. She frowned. What was Yoongi playing at?
She lifted the note off the dresser, her thumb going over the words and smearing the blotch of ink with which it was written.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
The day was unexpectedly gloomy by the time Eunhye left the apartment. She locked the door behind her, shoving the keys in her pocket before inspecting the phone Yoongi had given her—the first form of communication to the outside world she's had in months.
She turned on the device, scoffing when the lock screen image was a photo of her sleeping. Unfortunately, her amusement ended there when she realised the only reason Yoongi was confident enough to hand her the phone was because it had been tampered with. As it turned out, the phone's functionalities had all been disabled except to either call or text the only contact stored in the device; Yoongi's.
Eunhye pressed the number, bringing the phone to her ear as she heard the dial tone ringing.
"Baby, what's wrong?" Yoongi asked the second the call went through.
"Nothing's wrong . . . I was just checking if the phone works."
"I know," she said, an unsettling silence stretching on between them.
Eunhye waited another minute, hoping he would say something more, but when he remained silent, she let loose a quiet exhale.
"Sorry for disturbing you, I–"
At the exact same time, he said, "Are you outside now?"
A soft chuckle left Eunhye's lips and she thought she heard something similar coming from the other end of the line. It was nice knowing that Yoongi still had a sense of humour in him.
"Yeah," she said. "I'm, uh . . . I don't know where I am but I see a diner up ahead so I might stop there for a bit."
"Ah," Yoongi hummed. "That's The Rye, probably. They have good coffee."
Eunhye lifted her gaze to the blazing neon sign above the diner and sure enough, the words—The Rye—in bold cursive stood out to greet her. She muttered a word of acknowledgement to his comment, already distracted by her thoughts. She couldn't help the feeling of loneliness that crept within her thinking of the many times Yoongi must've dropped by The Rye to get coffee or breakfast, or lunch, or dinner . . . All without her.
Suddenly, she didn't want to talk to him anymore. If she felt lonely, now was probably a good time to make new friends, and the diner was the best place to start, judging by the few idling patrons she could see through the glass windows.
"I'll talk to you later, okay? I'm about to go inside the diner now," she said.
"Sure," Yoongi responded, sounding indifferent.
Eunhye mumbled a goodbye and was about to end the call when he stopped her. Hope blossomed in her chest, thinking perhaps he might suggest leaving whatever he was doing to meet up with her at The Rye for a quick spot of lunch, or for the coffee he so loved.
"I expect you to be back by six, Eunhye," he said instead, instantly crushing her hope. "Sharp."
Eunhye pulled the phone away from her face, checking the time reflected on the screen of the device. It was already two in the afternoon.
"I'll be home by six," she promised, though her voice held no conviction whatsoever.
"Have fun," Yoongi said and ended the call plain and simple.
Eunhye was left staring at the lock screen, her sleeping face now irking her as she fumbled to change it to something less personal and more boring; finally settling on a pale blue backdrop. Satisfied with her decision, she pushed open the front door of The Rye, an overhead bell chiming her arrival though none of the customers bothered to look her way.
She took a moment to marvel at the interior of the place, her mouth falling agape at the decor. It was almost like something from the eighties, with the monochrome tilings on the floor and the bright red linoleum seats. She was so immersed in her surroundings, she failed to notice the person standing in front of her up until the moment they collided.
"Oh, no. I am so sorry! Are you okay?"
Eunhye felt a firm grip around her upper arm and she realised that whoever it was that had run into her was keeping her from falling over. She straightened and awkwardly took a step back, causing the grip to loosen.
She looked up with clear intentions to apologise in return for her clumsiness but was struck dumb when her gaze met those of a strikingly handsome young man. He smiled at her, his eyes crinkling at the corners.
"Are you okay?" he repeated.
His question snapped Eunhye out of her trance and she gulped, nodding her head.
"Y-Yes," she stuttered.
"Good! Great! Uh . . ." he looked over his shoulder behind him and gestured to one of the booths by the emptier side of the diner. "Do you want to take a seat? I'll get someone to serve you shortly."
"Oh, you're not a waiter?" Eunhye asked, immediately mentally slapping herself for the stupidity of her question. Why did it matter whether or not he was there to take her order?
"No way," the man, who was obviously younger than her, said in good nature.
He pointed at the dishpan under his arm.
"I'm just a busboy here. I clear the tables amongst other things, but I never take the orders."
Eunhye nodded her head slowly as she inched her way awkwardly towards the table he had indicated earlier.
"Oh, um," the boy said, turning on his heel to catch her attention.
Eunhye raised her eyebrows, tilting her head at him curiously.
He rubbed the back of his neck in a nervous gesture, glancing around him to check if his coworkers were nearby before leaning forward slightly.
In a quiet tone, he said, "I'm Jungkook, by the way. If you wanted to . . . Um, I don't know."
He faltered, fumbling over his words before he brushed it off with a laugh and a wave of his hand.
"Forget it, it's nothing. Just . . . I'm Jungkook."
Chapter 3: sudden anger
Eunhye felt light on her feet as she walked back to the apartment. She had spent the entire day at The Rye in Jungkook's company and was proud to say she had made a friend. He was hilarious and a good listener, much to her surprise. He had introduced himself on a whim because of his curiosity at seeing a new face in town, having never seen her around before.
As it turns out, he was doing his last rounds at the diner when he bumped into her, after which he bought her coffee as an apology. Yoongi was right, the coffee was good. Jungkook was only too happy to keep her company while she had her late lunch, even offering to walk her home to which she hastily refused, much to his disappointment.
He did, however, conveniently mention being her personal tour guide when he learned that it was her first time in town—an offer Eunhye had to put on hold. She didn't know when, or if, Yoongi would even let her out again.
Thinking of Yoongi, Eunhye couldn't help but feel immense gratitude for his generosity. A small smile graced her features as she looked down at the foam cup she held snugly between her hands. She could not go to The Rye and not bring Yoongi some of their coffee after hearing him mentioning it.
Despite having a wonderful time with her newfound friend all throughout lunch, there was no ignoring the hope that kept her wishing Yoongi would drop by as a surprise. Of course, he never showed; an assumption she had made a long time back and was unfortunate enough to see it being proven right.
At exactly half past five, Eunhye arrived back home, pleasantly surprised to see Yoongi's shoes neatly arranged by the front entrance upon her return. She shut the door behind her, placing the coffee on the kitchen island as she rushed through the apartment in search of him. He was never home this early and the thought of spending the evening together with him fuelled her enthusiasm.
The bedroom was empty, so was his office, but the grunts and sounds of fists landing on firm leather were indicative enough that he was currently preoccupied in the gym. The door was left slightly ajar and sure enough, upon taking a peek inside, Eunhye could see Yoongi hard at work desecrating the punching bag with a rare force of strength she hardly saw from him.
Eunhye's enthusiasm died down considerably after seeing him in such an agitated state. She thought better than to interrupt him, choosing to leave him be instead. But as she took a step away from the door, the sharp creak in the floorboard gave her presence away. The sounds from within the room stilled almost instantaneously, and on sheer instinct, Eunhye froze, not daring to move a muscle.
"What are you doing standing out there? Come inside," Yoongi ordered.
He was already taking off his boxing gloves by the time she worked up the courage to push open the door. She gave him a meek smile, somehow cowering in his presence. He was angry, that much she knew for certain. But angry at who, or what, she couldn't tell.
Yoongi said nothing, merely eyeing her with his unreadable blank stare as he wiped off his perspiration with a towel. He chugged down an entire bottle of water, crushing the plastic material in the fist of his hand and tossing it aside when he was done, all the while keeping his gaze firmly fixed on her.
"How was your day?" Yoongi asked rather unexpectedly.
Eunhye hesitated, suspicion starting to seep under her skin. But when she realised Yoongi was actually waiting for a response from her, she figured he must really want to know.
In a soft tone that did not hide her hints of fear, she said, "It was fun–"
"Good," he interrupted harshly, pulling the towel from around his neck and slamming it onto the ground. "Because this will be the first and the last time you're ever leaving this apartment without me."
A cry of protest left Eunhye's lips despite the shock that entailed his sudden actions.
"Don't you dare defy me!" Yoongi yelled.
"I . . . I don't understand! Why are you being like this? You're so unreasonable."
Yoongi paused, taking a second to let her words sink in before a horrible laugh escaped him. Her words had unknowingly angered him to the point he found it easier to laugh off the audacity rather than charging it with rage.
Yoongi took a step closer to her, gripping her chin between his first finger and thumb as he angled her to look him in the eye.
"I trusted you. I trusted you. I let you do whatever you wanted today, and how did you choose to repay me? By talking, laughing, flirting–"
His grip tightened at the blasted word, causing Eunhye to wince and hiss in slight pain.
"–flirting with other men."
"Flirting?" Eunhye repeated, taking a second to free herself from his hold. "What are you talking about? I wasn't flirting with anybody."
"Just because I wasn't there, doesn't mean I don't know what happened. I'll always know, Eunhye. Especially if it concerns you."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Yoongi. I honestly wasn't flirting with anyone! How did you even get that idea?"
"Don't lie to me," Yoongi said through gritted teeth. "What about that busboy at The Rye? Jungkook, was it? As if you didn't try to sell yourself to him like a dirty whore just to get out of having to live with me. Is that right? Huh—when's the marriage? Are you going to run off with him into the sunset or something? Be golly with your new boy toy?"
Eunhye was too shocked to say anything to him; her lips prying apart slowly yet no words came forth. How dare he accuse her of such a thing? How dare he call her a whore straight to her face when he knew he was the only person she had ever given herself to willingly? How dare he?
"Answer me!" Yoongi yelled.
His voice startled her, dragging out a sudden reaction from her as she slapped him across the cheek with enough force to have the winds knocked out of him.
"How dare you call me a . . . a whore?" she said, almost choking on her own words as her tears brought with them rapid emotional distortion.
Yoongi righted himself, his hand automatically moving to cup the cheek that had braved the assault and was now throbbing in immense pain. They stared at each other for an antagonisingly long time before Eunhye stormed out of the gym, making a point to slam the door on her way out.
Yoongi was left to his own thoughts as a yell of frustration escaped him; the punching bag conveniently placed such that it became the next subject of assault. The assailant now being his battered knuckles.
It didn't take a genius to figure out he had inadvertently messed up. Or, a more accurate vocalisation of the seriousness of his current situation—he fucked up.
But controlling his anger wasn't exactly his forte and neither was consolation. He knew for a fact that he had his work cut out for him.
He huffed, "Ah, shit."
If only he had abilities to control his anger instead of letting it control him. But alas, such a thing did not exist; well, not for him at least, which led him to the bigger problem at hand—how was he supposed to apologise for what he did?
Chapter 4: the truth of being uncovered
It was only hours later when Yoongi realised Eunhye was not, in fact, going to look for him. He ran his hand through his hair in frustration and groaned, leaving the gym to find her. He walked past the kitchen, his eyebrow raising when he noticed the abandoned foam cup sitting on the counter.
He lifted the cup, its holder emblazoned with The Rye's logo accompanied by the strong whiff of coffee emanating from within. His sudden guilt only increased when it dawned on him that Eunhye must've bought him a cup after he had mentioned his love for the beverage.
"Eunhye . . ." he muttered with a tired exhale.
He ventured to the bedroom, knowing she would be holing herself in there as she would whenever they argued, which happened to be quite a lot as of late.
Sure enough, Eunhye was on her side of the bed, her back to him with numerous pillows propped up all around her. She had changed out of her clothes and was now donned in her striped blue pyjamas, the shirt of which had ridden up slightly to expose her bruised hip. The sight caused uneasiness to rise within Yoongi as he neared her.
He had been rough again with her last night, something he had not intended for but which he had no control over. He sat at the foot of the bed, his hand easily coming to rest on her legs to let her know he was there. She flinched away from his touch, seeming to curl further into herself if it was even possible.
"Eunhye," Yoongi said, calling attention to himself.
"I don't want to talk to you," Eunhye said. "You're mean."
Yoongi couldn't help but smile at her choice of words. Of all the things she could possibly have chosen to describe his uncouth behaviour towards her, she decided to go for "mean". It was adorable to an endearing degree.
"You really have nothing to say to me?" he questioned, respecting her wish not to be touched and allowing his hand to fall away from her.
A long silence stretched on between them before Eunhye slowly moved into a sitting position. She turned towards him with a pout on her face, her cheeks blotched with the tears she had been shedding not a moment ago.
"I'm not a whore," she said, her voice going soft at the mention of the word.
"I know, and I'm sorry I called you that. I was angry, and I wasn't really thinking, I–"
Yoongi's apology was cut short by Eunhye's sudden state of undress, having unbuttoned the front of her pyjama shirt to expose her chest.
"I'm not a whore," she repeated.
"What are you doing . . . ?" Yoongi sighed, moving to pull the fabric of her shirt over her chest.
"No!" she yelled, stopping him and yanking his hands away. "Look at me, Yoongi!"
She grabbed the sides of his face, turning him towards her, and he noticed for the first time that she was legitimately angry.
"Look at me," she exhaled, dropping her hands from his face.
Yoongi did as he was told—his eyes raking over her delicate skin, clenching his jaw at the numerous love bites running up the length of her torso and ruining her otherwise perfect portrayal of innocence.
"I'm sorry," he repeated, suddenly feeling much too ashamed to look at her. "I was rough with you, wasn't I? Next time–"
"Min Yoongi, you idiot!" Eunhye cried in frustration. "That's not the point."
"Then what is?"
"The point is . . . I let you do this to me. You, not Jungkook. I gave you my firsts, not Jungkook. I didn't even let Tae–" Eunhye stopped herself before she could say his name and sighed.
"Don't you see, Yoongs? I only wanted a friend in Jungkook. You're my boyfriend, not him. He and I are friends. Even back when we were friends, I hardly let you do anything beyond holding my hand. Do you really think I would cheat on you with Jungkook?"
Yoongi blinked his eyes, staring at Eunhye for a full minute in silent contemplation before he shook his head in the negative. She wouldn't cheat on him. She wasn't like that. Not his Eunhye.
"You're right," he agreed. "You wouldn't do such a thing. I'm sorry I was mean to you and called you a whore . . . It just sort of slipped out. I was kind of . . ."
Yoongi let his sentence trail, rubbing the back of his neck in brief awkwardness as he tried to find the right word to describe his feelings.
"Well . . . jealous, I guess. I don't like the idea of you being around people. Especially guys."
"You have nothing to worry about, okay? And if you hate it that much . . . I won't leave the apartment without you, and I'll stop talking to Jungkook too."
Eunhye gave Yoongi a reassuring smile and lowered her gaze afterwards, but not before he caught the glimpse of sadness reflected in her eyes. He sighed. As tempting as her proposal sounded, he knew it would be monstrous of him to agree to it so easily.
"I won't restrict you from seeing him once in a while, but you're not allowed to text or call him. Don't even try saving his number. I'll kill you and him."
Although the threat in his words was full of vehemence that should—under normal circumstances—be worrying, the only thing Eunhye was paying attention to was the fact that Yoongi was giving her permission to meet Jungkook again if she wanted to.
"Thank you," Eunhye said.
She pulled him in for a hug, his face immediately moving to nuzzle against the crook of her neck—taking in her scent as he hummed appreciatively. He trailed his nose along her jaw up to her ear where he playfully nibbled on her earlobe.
His breathing was becoming increasingly heavy, his breath hot against her skin as his hands travelled up her waist to her ribs, his thumb lightly caressing the flesh of her chest; effectively leaving goosebumps in their wake.
"Yoongi . . ." Eunhye said, intending the word to come off as a stern warning, only to have it sound very much like a moan instead.
Yoongi groaned, his eyes falling shut at the mention of his name.
"You know I like it when you say my name like that, baby," he grunted.
His mind recalled the events of the night before and he pulled away to smirk rather suggestively at her—he had fucked her hard and rough, but it was so good and already he wanted more.
"Yoongi, no," Eunhye said, all traces of playfulness lost.
"You can't expect me to see you rip apart your shirt to expose your breasts to me and not want to devour you whole, do you?" Yoongi asked, a pout on his lips.
To hear his blunt description of what she had done so boldly in a rush of anger and adrenaline was embarrassing beyond belief.
"I– I was trying to show you the marks! Not my breasts!" she retorted in self-defence.
Flustered, she pushed his hands away and proceeded to tug the material of her shirt securely over herself.
"Oh, no you don't," Yoongi said.
With lightning speed, he moved to yank the shirt right off her, leaving her seated in front of him clad only in the bottom half of her pyjamas. He pushed her back onto the bed, using his arms to support his weight as he hovered over her with the same mischievous glint in his eyes.
He bumped his hip towards hers and immediately she could feel the hardness of his extremities through the fabric of their clothes. Her eyes widened and she shook her head.
"Don't you dare, Min Yoongi," she warned in all seriousness. "I'm still sore from yesterday."
Yoongi groaned in disappointment, letting his arms go limp as he laid on top of her for a second before turning so their positions were switched. He pushed her into a sitting position so she straddled his waist as he kept his head propped up beneath his arms, silently watching her.
"You should wear this at home more often," he said.
Yoongi grinned, gripping onto her waist and tugging her so she fell forwards, her chest pressed up against him much to his delight.
"Or even better," he whispered hoarsely. "Naked."
"Yoongi, you pervert," Eunhye mumbled.
"Hey, you said you wanted to show me the marks. I can't see them unless you're naked. I'm helping you out!" Yoongi said between fits of laughter.
When his laughter ceased, he gave her a soft smile as he pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, cupping her cheek in his hand.
"But I'm your pervert, aren't I?" he asked, giving her a soft kiss on the lips. "Only for you, Eunhye."
His eyes darkened for a fraction of a second.
"Only for you," he repeated.
Chapter 5: violence in the shadows
Eunhye could feel the blatant stares and soft whispers coming from behind her as she gripped onto the grocery basket with enough force to turn her knuckles white. She willed her mind to ignore the obvious murmurs and kept her gaze trained in front of her, her concentration focused solely on breathing.
She turned the corner at the end of the aisle and jumped back in shock when her basket slammed against someone. The man gave a yelp of surprise and pain which soon transitioned into soft chuckling.
Confused, Eunhye glanced at him, only to realise it was her new friend, Jungkook.
"Is this going to be our new thing now? Literally running into each other all the time?"
"Sorry," Eunhye said, a little breathless.
Jungkook took a second to observe her face, taking into account the light perspiration dotting her hairline and the white sheen of fear that seemed to have settled onto her features.
"Is everything okay?" he asked, his voice lowering as he glanced over her shoulder to meet the sharp gazes of the townspeople.
He huffed, scowling at the women who couldn't seem to mind their own business as he carefully wrapped his fingers around Eunhye's elbow to guide her away from their prying eyes.
"It's normal," he said by means of explanation when they're well out of earshot. "It's a small town and they pounce on any kind of gossip surrounding new faces."
Eunhye nodded. She knew that was the reason behind their curiosity but it was still more than a little nervewracking being the unwanted centre of attention when she was doing something mediocre like shopping for groceries. She glanced behind her once more, heaving a sigh when she wondered what they'd think of her if they knew she wasn't exactly a 'new face'.
It was her first time around town, but she'd been living there for months—hiding in their apartment with only Yoongi as the small piece of constant in her life. Speaking of which, she wondered if perhaps the townspeople would know of him. He has, after all, been going about town on his business since the day they'd arrived.
It was a curious thought, something she wished to know the answer to, but just as she gathered the courage to ask Jungkook about it, he beat her to it, interrupting her with a question of his own.
"Hey," he started, the nervousness in his voice not going unnoticed. "Remember what I said about always bumping into each other? Wouldn't it be so much easier if we met up like normal people instead of leaving things to fate?"
"What do you mean?" Eunhye asked.
"Well . . . What I mean to say is . . . Can I have your number?"
Eunhye stared at him for a whole minute, her silence and scrutinising gaze somehow making him feel the need to justify his question.
"It's just so it's easier for us to keep in contact with each other. Nothing more. I swear."
"I . . . I don't have a phone," Eunhye lied, guilt settling within her when she noted the crestfallen look on his face.
"Oh. Well, that's fine. Don't worry about it."
She whispered a quiet apology in her mind as she continued staring at him. She would have willingly exchanged numbers with him, but she didn't think it was worth facing Yoongi's wrath or getting into another argument.
Besides, she was almost certain if she disobeyed Yoongi's one condition to having Jungkook as a friend, he would keep her cooped up inside the apartment permanently; never seeing the light of day again.
She didn't want to think what a life like that would entail. She had a taste of it for an extended few months and already she was at her wit's end. She couldn't possibly imagine living her life day after day like that until the day she died.
Jungkook would have to make do with thinking she had no phone of her own. It was for their own good. Not to mention what Yoongi would do to him if he ever found out about her disobedience should she choose to go through with it.
Her extended time with the new Yoongi had taught her that though the man had Yoongi's kindness, he also had Suga's thirst for violence and blood . . . Blood he no longer hesitated to spill despite being Yoongi.
She would never wish that upon anyone, let alone Jungkook.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
An overwhelming sense of awkwardness seemed to envelope itself around Eunhye as she stood on the pavement just outside the supermarket. Jungkook held her small bag of groceries after insisting he paid for them.
"There's something I want to show you," Jungkook said rather abruptly.
Eunhye turned a curious gaze his way, her brows pulled low over her eyes, hesitance clear in the way she was looking at him.
"Please? Just for a short while," he said.
She chewed on the inside of her cheek, thinking. She checked the time on her watch—two hours until her imposed curfew. Two hours to spare.
"Okay. But only for a while. I have to hurry home afterwards."
"Of course," Jungkook grinned. "Let's go!"
He grabbed her hand, the contagious smile still on his face as he dragged her down the sidewalk towards a quieter part of town.
"Jungkook, where are we going?" Eunhye asked between each heave of breath.
"There's a lake up ahead! Right at the edge of town! It's really beautiful. I think you'll love it!" Jungkook said.
He turned briefly to give her a smile, one Eunhye reciprocated despite the awkward situation of being forcefully towed down an open walkway.
It wasn't long before they reached an entirely different part of town. The wind seemed colder as it rustled the leaves of the trees lining both sides of the road, an uncomfortable feeling settling within her. Something didn't feel right. Something was off . . . ominous, even.
"It's just through here," Jungkook pointed out, gesturing towards the slight opening in front of them.
The trees were growing in thicker groves now, blocking out the sunlight as Eunhye squinted in the sudden darkness, trying to make out passing shapes; the sun's descent in the evening sky doing little to help.
It was when they neared the lining of trees did she hear it—a distant groan of pain and the muffled voices of men. Eunhye stopped in her tracks, tugging on Jungkook's arm with much force. He skidded to a stop, falling back against her as he gave her an inquisitive glance.
"It's just past those trees up ahead, Eunhye," Jungkook said. "I know the forest is a little scary, but the lake's–"
"Jungkook, listen," Eunhye said, bringing a finger up to her lips to silence him.
Jungkook stilled, straining his ear to pick out any foreign sounds amongst the many in the forest. A few seconds passed with nothing untoward happening and Eunhye was starting to think perhaps she had been mistaken; a trick her paranoid mind must have played on her.
"What are we listening out for?" Jungkook whispered.
Eunhye gave a half-shrug and a shake of her head—ready to brush off her actions as one borne of an overactive imagination—when a sharp cry pierced the air followed closely by what could only have been a gunshot.
The two paused, staring at each other with wide eyes before something seemed to click in Jungkook's mind. He grabbed Eunhye's upper arm, pulling her down behind one of the trees as he peered around it to try his hand at discerning their current situation.
"Jungkook . . . Wasn't that a–?" Eunhye asked, trailing off as she gulped nervously.
Jungkook nodded, his concern immediately shifting to Eunhye's safety rather than the cause of the gunshot.
"I've heard talks about the increased criminal activities in these parts . . . I never knew it was this bad, or I would never have brought you here."
"Gang-related stuff mostly," Jungkook explained.
Taking a rather calculated risk, he hauled Eunhye to her feet and gestured towards the darker parts of the forested area.
"We need to get out of here. I don't think whoever it is knows we're here, and we should keep it that way. We'll keep to the shadows and–"
A loud bang interrupted Jungkook mid-sentence, causing a splatter of warmth to cut across Eunhye's face. She watched in horror as a flower of red bloomed on his shirtfront, his eyes wide with a mix of confusion and surprise. He followed Eunhye's line of sight, looking down at himself before turning back to face her.
It was only a minute later when it dawned on them that someone had shot him.
Chapter 6: of old ways and new
Blood was seeping through Eunhye's fingers as she desperately pushed against the bullet wound on Jungkook's shoulder, her breathing erratic and her sobs mixing in with his huffs of pain.
She was fully aware that she was in a very bad position—alone in the middle of a forest with a maniac running around killing people—but the only thing that occupied her mind was trying to keep Jungkook alive.
The blood felt sticky on her hands and the strong smell of iron was starting to get to her; the feeling of having to puke creeping into the corners of her consciousness.
The sound of snapping twigs in the distance alerted her to the presence of another, yet she remained focused on her task of applying pressure to the wound, not caring in the least to look the shooter in the eye. After all, who else was it lurking in the forest unless it was the very person who had pulled the trigger?
"What do we have here, huh?" a voice asked with nonchalance.
Eunhye forced herself to tear her gaze away from Jungkook, looking towards the newcomer's voice. She had expected to see a hoodlum but was surprised to be met with a rather well-dressed man, the likes of whom was not in comparison to her initial image of him. Her gaze shifted, catching the glint of the weapon in his hand, and her demeanour took a drastic change, a scowl forming on her face.
"Ah, don't like guns, do you, sweetheart?" he asked, a grin on his face as he moved to put the weapon away.
"There," he said with both hands up in surrender. "We good now, darling?"
"You shot my friend!" Eunhye yelled.
"I take that as a no," he said.
He gestured vaguely at Jungkook, scratching the back of his neck with his other hand.
"I thought he was a spy from a rival gang. Didn't think anyone would be lurking in a forested area otherwise. Definitely didn't think it'd be some random guy with a really cute girl."
He winked at her, lips falling apart as he glided his tongue over his bottom lip with a suggestive smirk. Eunhye visibly recoiled, keeping her hands firmly pressed against the bleeding mess on Jungkook's shoulder.
"Hey . . ." the man called out to her to get her attention back on him. "Since you've come all the way here and your friend's about to die anyway, why don't you come with me and have some fun? How about it, huh, darling?"
He wasted no time in waiting for an answer as he lunged forward, his fingers curling into a vicelike grip around her upper arm as he hauled her to her feet with violent force. The man grabbed her roughly by the scruff of her neck when she refused to cooperate with him, listlessly struggling against his hold.
He grabbed his gun, and in a fit of rage, struck her temple with it, the blow instantly turning her limp with surprise and pain; a trickle of blood streaking down the side of her face. He huffed in annoyance, dragging the stunned girl through the forest with alarming familiarity. Within seconds, they broke through the throngs of trees and into a clearing.
In a booming voice, the man called out cheerfully, "Hey, boss! Look what I got! A nice little rabbit and a dog I left bleeding back there."
He pushed Eunhye forward, causing her to land in a heap on the ground, the sudden attack from earlier slowing her actions to something of a sluggish nature.
Eunhye struggled to right herself, managing to sit upright though her head swam with unanticipated nausea. She kept her gaze downcast, focused solely on the rather familiar pair of shoes that no doubt belonged to the "boss".
She sat that way for a few minutes before the person standing over her took a step back and crouched to her level. Eunhye felt his unexpectedly gentle grip on her chin as she was made to look at him, her eyes widening when it dawned on her exactly who it was in front of her.
"Yoongi," she breathed.
It was no wonder she thought the shoes looked familiar. They were Yoongi's. But what was he doing here? And the man from earlier referred to him as "boss" . . . Did that mean–?
Yoongi swiped his thumb lightly over her bottom lip and gave her a soft smile that barely lasted a second. She watched with confusion as his gaze flitted to the still dripping blood on her temple.
Locking eyes with Eunhye and holding her gaze steady, Yoongi asked the man, "Was it you who did this to the little rabbit?"
The endearing term coming from Yoongi's lips sounded condescending and mocking; something that did not go unnoticed. The man faltered, clearing his throat repeatedly before bracing himself to voice an answer.
"Yes, sir. I– I know you're not fond of your women being, well, covered in blood, but this one was being so stubborn, I had to keep her quiet somehow," he rushed to explain.
When Yoongi said nothing, he decided to try his luck.
"Sir . . . If you will not have her, perhaps I could–"
The man barely said another word before Yoongi whipped his gun out, finger ready on the trigger as a bullet whizzed through the barrel, straight to meet its target—the spot between the man's eyes.
The gunshot echoed through the area, causing Eunhye to flinch. She dared not look behind her, knowing full well the man must already be dead.
"Annoying," Yoongi muttered beneath his breath as though his cause to murder had somehow inconvenienced him.
Eunhye sat frozen as he pulled out his phone, dialling a number and instructing for a "clean up in the forest". The time he took talking on the phone, however, was enough for Eunhye to piece together the missing pieces of the puzzle.
The bruises, the late nights, the snappy attitude, the way he was avoiding her . . .
Yoongi had joined a gang. Or started one, who's to know? The man he killed seconds ago did call him boss, after all. The bruises were evident of the fights he's been in, and if that wasn't convincing enough, the snappy attitude would be proof of his murdering spree—having been in the habit of feeling overwhelming annoyance upon taking the life of another as though he had been forced to.
He was avoiding her because he seemed to have the shred of decency to think of her safety—not wanting her to get involved in his dangerous business; the less she knew, the better off she was.
Eunhye seemed to have it somewhat figured out, yet her mind and heart remained restless. What was it the man had mentioned? Something about Yoongi not being fond of–
"Are you cheating on me?" Eunhye blurted, the thought taking precedence over all else.
Her sudden question held enough weight and severity for Yoongi to end his call without a word of goodbye. He stared at her for a good minute before he closed his eyes and exhaled.
"It's not a big deal, baby. It means nothing," he said when he reopened them.
Eunhye felt as though her whole world was crashing down around her, and what made it worse was the nonchalance in which Yoongi admitted the fact. He did not even attempt to conceal it or act otherwise.
Eunhye struggled to her feet, taking steps away from Yoongi when he made moves to approach her.
"Don't come near me," she said, her voice surprisingly calm. "Don't you dare touch me."
Yoongi stopped his advancements, his expression unreadable as he asked, "Where are you going, Eun?"
"Away from you," she snarled in return. "I don't want anything to do with you. I'm going back to check on Jungkook. And then I'm going back home, and I'm . . . I'm leaving. I'm done with . . . with whatever this is, because this sure as hell isn't a relationship!"
She staggered slightly on her feet as she turned to leave, her gaze landed on the man's fallen form, his eyes wide open in shock. Another bout of nausea bubbled in her throat as she moved blindly, navigating the forest as best she could. She did not get far, however, before she felt herself being yanked back.
"Let go of me!" Eunhye shrieked, trying to get herself free from his hold.
Yoongi's grip only tightened as he leaned in closer to her.
"We're done when I say we're done, and baby, I'm not done with you yet. I'll never be done with you."
"Fuck you!" Eunhye screamed, tears dappling her eyes with the overpowering fear coursing through her veins.
"Fuck me?" Yoongi chuckled darkly. "Are you sure that's what you want? I'll be more than happy to oblige."
"Just like how you fucked all those other women? Go to hell, Yoongi."
Yoongi's smile disappeared as a dark shadow fell over his features. He grabbed Eunhye's face, squeezing her jaw and causing her to wince.
"I don't like your dirty mouth. Since when were you so vulgar?" he sneered before a smug look settled on his face. "I didn't cheat on you with several women as the bastard claimed. It was only with one woman."
His words pierced her soul. They felt like sharp knives stabbing her from the edge of her gut, all the way to the ends of her feet.
She felt weak—tired and breathless. Her head was swimming and she just wanted to get away from it all. She didn't understand how or why Yoongi would do such a thing to her. She thought he loved her . . . How could he say sweet words to her, yet turn his back on her and go off into some other woman's arms?
"And that makes it any better, how?" Eunhye asked, her voice quieter now, almost resigned to her fate.
Yoongi kept his silence for a few seconds after having noted the way his words had seemingly knocked the fight out of her.
"Are you really going to leave me?" he finally asked after an extended silence.
"I can't stay."
"I'll make you," he said.
Before Eunhye could flee, Yoongi reached forward and circled his hands around her neck; giving it a harsh squeeze. Eunhye's mouth fell open as did her eyes as she silently pleaded for him to spare her life.
A choked sob escaped her when she realised Yoongi had no intentions to loosen his grip. Dots were beginning to form in the corners of her eyes the longer she was deprived of oxygen; the darkness closing in fast around her vision just before it consumed her whole.
Chapter 7: another nightmare
Eunhye had willingly accepted death as a fact when it occurred to her that Yoongi had gone off the rails and had every intent and purpose to actually kill her. What she wasn't expecting, however, was to find herself within life's embrace yet again when the first inklings of consciousness seeped into her mind.
She groaned, her body sore despite the softness of the mattress she was lying on. Her lips were dry and her throat was parched. She wondered for a second just how long she had been unconscious, though she did not have an ounce of clue as to its answer.
Eunhye struggled to sit herself up, aware of the plaster band-aid on the side of her head and the obvious certainty of her whereabouts—her shared bedroom with Yoongi. She was back in their apartment.
Thinking of him caused a wave of sadness and anger to wash over her, followed closely by the sudden revelation of his affair with an unknown woman. Eunhye knew that Yoongi was a man of many things but she never would have pegged him as a cheater, yet here he was, proving her wrong.
She forced herself out of bed, her primary concern was—as shameful as it seemed—to run away from him. She needed time away to sort out her feelings, something she would get nowhere with as long as she stayed anywhere within his reach.
She tried the door, turning the knob and feeling her blood run cold when it would not budge an inch. Panicked, she tried it a second time, using much more force to the point of rattling the door in its frame. Still, nothing.
She couldn't believe it—Yoongi had locked her in the room.
A crippling fear settled around her at the familiarity of the situation, her mind dragging unwanted memories to the surface. It was happening all over again. Just as it did with him. Her breathing picked up its pace, her entire demeanour verging on a panic attack.
"Y-Yoongi?" she called out, her voice shaking. "Yoongi, please. Please let me out!"
She slid down the length of the door, clutching the fabric over her chest, feeling the thunderous beating of her heart, her breaths coming out in short spurts.
"Yoongi . . ." she said, unable to stop the impending panic from consuming her.
To her surprise, she heard the door unlocking, and just as she scurried away, it fell open to reveal none other than the man she had been calling out for.
Yoongi closed the door behind him, face unreadable as he gazed upon her cowering form. He exhaled, lowering himself to her level as he pulled her into him, rubbing her back in a soothing manner.
"Breathe, Eunhye," he said, voice commanding yet gentle at the same time.
Eunhye fisted the front of his shirt, her forehead pressed against his chest. With her eyes closed, she concentrated on gaining slow, even breaths; the beating of his heart being a soothing guide for her.
After what felt like an eternity, Eunhye was finally able to calm herself enough to pry away from Yoongi's embrace; one which he reluctantly obliged. Neither said a word to the other—Eunhye focusing her gaze on anything other than Yoongi, and Yoongi staring intently at her.
Knowing that Yoongi would never be the first to break the stifling silence, Eunhye decided to step up to the plate by asking him the haunting question.
"Was it worth it?"
The time it took for Yoongi to give her a definite answer was proof enough that he did not, for one second, regret what he did.
In a quiet almost forced tone, Eunhye said, "Let me go."
Yoongi frowned, a snarl leaving his lips as he hissed a sharp no at her innocent request.
"I can't do this, Yoongi. I can't be expected to just . . . sit here waiting for you to come back day after day while you spend your time with some other woman! How can you expect me to be okay with that?"
A conflicted expression crossed Yoongi's features, yet he remained quiet to her onslaught of emotions.
"If you've fallen out of love with me . . . If you've never–"
Eunhye had to pause to take a deep breath before continuing.
"If you've never even loved me . . . If you're happier with someone else, then please just go be with them and leave me out of it. Don't make me watch you doing this to me. It's too much, Yoongi."
"I'm not," Yoongi said with sudden, unexpected conviction.
"I'm not happy with her. I'm only ever happy with you, Eun."
A dry laugh left Eunhye's lips at his brief explanation.
"What are you talking about, Yoongi? You can't be serious. You cheat on me with someone else and you mean to tell me she never made you happy? Then why do you keep running to her? Why did you even cheat in the first place?"
Yoongi closed his eyes with a sharp exhale as though the weight of his actions had finally taken its toll on him. When he reopened his eyes, he could not help but notice the blueish marks around Eunhye's neck. Marks he had left on her in a fit of rage at her mention of leaving him.
He reached out towards her with intentions to caress her cheek but was met with the instant sting of rejection when Eunhye flinched involuntarily, her body having assumed he had wanted to hurt her again.
"I'm sorry," he whispered the words, retracting his hands.
Eunhye gulped, rubbing her neck awkwardly as she scooted away from him. She waited a few seconds for him to say something more but when he remained quiet, she knew she was not getting an explanation from him any time soon.
"I mean it," she said. "What I said back there in the forest—I mean it, Yoongi. I'm done. I can't . . . I can't do this anymore. Not with you."
The hint of sorrow in Yoongi's eyes turned to rage in mere seconds.
"I meant it too. When I said it's not over until I say it is. It's not your decision to make."
"Oh, and it's yours?" Eunhye countered.
"Yes, because I have the means to make you stay if you won't cooperate with me."
"Are you going to keep me locked up here? Just like how Taehyung chained me–"
A sharp pain erupted from Eunhye's cheek at the sudden contact with the palm of Yoongi's hand; the slap instantly silencing her.
"What did I tell you about saying that man's name in my presence?" he asked, anger spilling over the edge completely.
"You know what?" he continued with an unamused scoff. "Maybe I should keep you chained up. Take a page from his book and whatnot since you're making it a sort of habit to continually disobey me."
Eunhye bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself from saying anything else she might regret. The situation seemed to be spiralling out of control. She glared at Yoongi with a mix of emotions she could not seem to decipher.
She shook her head in a subtle motion with her lips pursed as she tried to ignore the throbbing pain from her cheek.
"We're going in circles," she mumbled. "This is impossible, Yoongi. I don't know what more you expect from this. I don't even know it myself, but apparently, my opinion no longer matters to you so why bother, right?"
"Don't you want to know who it was? Why I did it? When it started?" Yoongi asked, getting increasingly peeved at her lack of interest. "Don't you want to know anything at all about this?"
Eunhye stared at him, her face pained though her eyes were blank slates. Did she want to know? Of course, she did. She deserved an explanation, at the very least. But she didn't think she could listen to him without breaking down completely. She wasn't in her best emotional state to endure the pain of betrayal he would inflict upon her.
"I need time, Yoongi. Alone," she emphasised when he was about to retort. "Away from you."
Yoongi dismissed her words with a roll of his eyes as he stood.
"No," he said, giving her one last glance before turning towards the door.
"You're just going to leave me here?" Eunhye called to his retreating back.
"If that's what it'll take for you to get it in your head that you are not going anywhere, then yes, I am going to leave you here—alone, as you requested—until you've learned your lesson."
Yoongi pulled the door shut behind him, turning the locks he had installed outside with a definitive click. He could hear Eunhye's frustrated shouts and he knew without having to look that she was already crying in what could only be a mix of anger and anguish.
He forced himself to ignore her words but he could not drown out the most prominent of all. The question that must have hurt her the most to ask—Min Yoongi, have you no remorse for what you've done?
Chapter 8: a weird comradery
Yoongi stepped out into the hallway after pulling the bedroom door shut behind him, briefly startled when he almost ran into the person waiting for him there. Yoongi gave the boy an annoyed frown, turning to lock the door securely before acknowledging him in any way.
"I thought I told you to meet me later? What are you doing here?" he asked, grabbing the boy roughly by his arm and dragging him away regardless of his attempts at trying to get a glimpse beyond the bedroom door.
Despite struggling in Yoongi's grasp, Jungkook stumbled after him, knowing better than to openly defy the man who would have him killed without a second thought.
"I was just worried about her . . ." Jungkook said.
His words caused irritation to boil in the pit of Yoongi's stomach as he pulled him forward and slammed him against the nearest wall, causing the boy to wince at the pain that erupted from the impact.
Yoongi grabbed hold of his collar, yanking him down to sneer at his face.
"She is not yours to worry about," he said, his words thick with malice. "Is that clear?"
Jungkook nodded his head vehemently, his eyes flashing with the alarm he felt at being so close to death at the hands of the notorious Min Yoongi.
Yoongi released him, huffing at the image of complete patheticness Jungkook seemed to exude—cowering in a heap on the floor with his hands on his chest in absolute fear of being murdered.
Yoongi reached inside his jacket pocket, reaching for the envelope he kept there; the object heavy with the weight of numerous stacks of money. He tossed it at Jungkook who caught it in mild shock.
"Leave," Yoongi commanded. "I never want to see your face here again. Or anywhere near Eunhye."
Jungkook nodded, grateful for the money he had been given to play Eunhye's friend for a short while. He hesitated where he stood, glancing down at the drying bits of blood that coated the front of his shirt.
"What are you still doing here? Leave," Yoongi repeated, his voice penetrating Jungkook's thoughts.
The boy glanced over Yoongi's shoulder towards the bedroom Eunhye was locked in. He couldn't stop the overwhelming guilt that overtook him the longer he just . . . stood there. He wasn't heartless or cold like Yoongi. He still had his consciousness and at the moment, it was yelling at him to apologise.
He glanced at Yoongi furtively, noticing almost immediately the anger in the man's eyes. It was clear his hesitance in leaving was unwelcomed.
"Mr Min, sir . . ." Jungkook started a little awkwardly, his grip on the envelope tightening, causing the paper to wrinkle in its wake.
Yoongi raised his eyebrow curiously, his gaze landing on the envelope. He scoffed.
"What? Do you want more money? Is that what this is about?"
Confused, Jungkook followed Yoongi's line of sight and was immediately made aware of the misunderstanding. He shook his head to indicate his seriousness in claiming—no.
"Then what are you still doing here? You did what you were ordered to do, I paid you, now leave."
Jungkook took a deep, shaky breath, trying to calm his nerves as best he could.
"Mr Min, I was wondering if perhaps I could see Eunhye for a while, just to–"
Yoongi punched him square in the jaw, unable to rein in his temper any longer.
"You little shit," he snarled at the boy who was now sprawled across the floor coughing up thick masses of blood. "I paid you to pretend to be her friend and keep an eye on her. But now you intend to go running to her and be her real friend?"
Jungkook struggled to edge away from him as Yoongi advanced towards him at an alarming speed.
"N-No, Mr Min! It's not like that. I just wanted to apologise. I need her to understand why I did it. Please give me the chance to explain!"
Yoongi crouched in front of him, gripping his jaw in what felt like a death grip. He pulled the boy's face closer to him, his fingers now smeared with the blood dappling across his skin.
"Listen here, and listen well. It was your own stupid decision to flirt with her shamelessly, and to bring her to the forest for god knows what reason. You ruined this for yourself. Good thing that bastard shot you. At least now you can fake your death. Do you understand me? So take your money, stay dead, and don't reappear in Eunhye's life again or I will personally terminate yours."
Jungkook nodded, Yoongi's mild threat having done wonders in scaring him to his very core. The latter watched in amusement as Jungkook scrambled to his feet, racing towards the front door and leaving the apartment at last.
Left alone in the vastness of the place, Yoongi allowed himself a second to relax as he exhaled and slumped into the sofa. He stayed that way with his eyes closed for a few seconds before he shifted to pull off his jacket. It was but a moment later when he heard soft cries coming from Eunhye's room followed by slow thumps against the bedroom door.
She was at it again—trying to get him to let her out.
Yoongi pinched the bridge of his nose, lethargy wrapping its long arms around him in tightening coils. Hearing Eunhye's whimpers was enough to get him to reconsider his actions, her voice floating to the surface in his mind and reminding him of the question she had asked him with pain laced in her tone.
Was it worth it?
In all honesty, it did seem like a good idea at the time, but now he found himself wondering if it really was a good idea.
He sat there with his eyes unfocused on the wall in front of him, his fingers tapping mindlessly against his leg. He was in the middle of trying to decide his next form of action when he felt his phone vibrating in the pocket of his jeans.
He retrieved the device, a heavy sigh escaping him when his gaze settled onto the caller ID reflected on the screen.
Yoongi had half the mind to reject her call but he knew it wouldn't be wise to do that. He took a deep breath, trying to get himself to focus on the situation at hand before he answered, bringing the phone to his ear.
Almost instantaneously he winced, hearing Ji Yeon's high pitched voice on the other end of the line. How in the world did he survive four months with the girl when he could barely stand a minute hearing her talk?
"Yoongi!" Ji Yeon whined into the receiver. "Are you listening to me?"
"Yes," Yoongi responded curtly, knowing Ji Yeon wouldn't mind since he never showed her his soft side. It was only reserved for Eunhye and he would rather die than cosy up to this other bitch. "What is it?"
"You weren't listening."
Yoongi could practically hear her pouting through the phone and it annoyed him to no end. Why couldn't she just say what she wanted to say instead of being such a pest every second of every day?
"So just repeat what you said and we won't have a problem," Yoongi said as calmly as he possibly could.
"Fine," Ji Yeon huffed. "I don't know why you're in such a bad mood. Dad says you did well and he's agreed to let you be a part of us."
Yoongi raised his eyebrow in mild surprise. He didn't think getting into the gang would be that easy which was the reason he decided to seduce the leader's daughter in the first place. But if all it took was killing a few people who stepped out of line, he could've done it without hurting Eunhye the way he did.
Sometimes, even he had to admit he can be immensely stupid.
"On one condition, though," Ji Yeon added with a sly giggle.
Of course, there was going to be a condition. Yoongi rolled his eyes. What was it he was thinking about it being too easy not a moment ago?
"What is it?" Yoongi asked, his voice still devoid of emotion.
"You have one last job. A very important one. Dad says if you succeed, he'll accept you as part of the gang. It's just formalities so you don't have to worry about it."
"What is it, Ji Yeon?" Yoongi repeated, gritting his teeth in annoyance. It was obvious she was beating around the bush on purpose just to get him to stay on the phone longer.
"There's a client. Someone who's paid Dad a lot of money to get him to find someone. Well, when I say 'find' . . ."
Ji Yeon trailed off, leaving Yoongi to finish the blanks on his own.
"He wants me to kidnap someone."
"In not so many words, yes."
"It'll be done," Yoongi said without a hint of hesitation.
"Really?" Ji Yeon questioned, almost as if she knew something more that he didn't.
"You doubt me?"
"Oh, no, darling. Of course, not," Ji Yeon giggled. "It's just . . . Don't be too hasty in your promises."
"What are you talking about?"
"I can't tell you. Although I'll leave you with this—I know your secret, Min Yoongi. I know what you're hiding," Ji Yeon voiced the words in a singsong manner, giving Yoongi goosebumps as he felt an uncharacteristic shiver run down his spine.
What in the world was this chaotic girl saying?
"You'll get your mission details tomorrow, love," Ji Yeon interrupted.
The dismissive tone she used was obvious enough. She no longer wanted to prolong the conversation. It was over when she claimed it to be over and there was no point in trying to get anything more out of her.
Yoongi mumbled a disgruntled 'okay' and was about to end the call when she stopped him.
"Oh, and Yoongi?"
"I don't have to remind you not to let me down, do I? Because if you do, there'll be consequences and they won't be pretty."
Chapter 9: the new girl
Ji Yeon ended the call with a smug smile on her face. She felt giddy with excitement as she twirled with the phone clutched against her chest. Her father watched her from where he sat, eyebrow raised in curiosity at his daughter's antics.
"And what's gotten you so happy today?" Hyeong Sik asked, setting aside the paper he was reading to give her his full attention.
"Oh, it's nothing," Ji Yeon said, the light tone still clinging to her voice. "I've just been on the phone with Yoongi, that's all."
Her father grunted in response, the name causing him to lose interest as he resumed his earlier task of reading the paper.
In an offended and noncommital note, he asked, "Did you tell him he's already been accepted? He starts work officially tomorrow, Ji."
Ji Yeon pouted, sauntering over to her father's desk before leaning against it. She batted her eyelashes at him like a petulant child; a gesture he had grown accustomed to. It meant only one thing—she had disobeyed him and was looking for a free pass.
"What did you do now?" he sighed, the paper left forgotten a second time.
"Well . . ." Ji Yeon fiddled with the hem of her skirt, effectively avoiding her father's gaze.
"Out with it."
"I might have lied about a little detail concerning Yoongi's acceptance into the gang."
Ji Yeon gave her father the sweetest smile she could muster as he heaved another sigh, this one accompanied by the brief closing of his eyes. Seeing her father's look of exasperation, she hurried to justify her actions.
"It's really not as bad as you think!" she exclaimed with her hands up in a form of surrender. "I only told him he has one last mission to complete. A final test to determine his worthiness."
"Why did you do that, Ji Yeon? I told you he was worthy enough to be part of the gang."
"It was necessary!" Ji Yeon said, raising her voice in defence of her actions. "Yoongi . . . He hasn't been truthful to me."
Pure hatred flashed in her eyes as she bit her fingernails in agitation—a habit she could not seem to break.
Having struck a chord of curiosity, Hyeong Sik asked, "What do you mean?"
"I think Yoongi's hiding something from me. Or rather, someone. A man I cannot trust, cannot be part of the gang. Surely you must understand this?"
A grunt of understanding left her father's lips as he nodded his agreement.
"You think he's lying to you?"
"It's just an assumption, for now, but the mission I set forth for him will determine the truth. I have an inkling as to the identity of the person he's hiding. It wasn't difficult to find after a little bit of digging. If he proves himself worthy by passing the test, by all means, Dad, accept him into the group. If he doesn't . . . Well, that's a conversation for another time."
Ji Yeon shrugged nonchalantly, although there was no denying the hint of destructive chaos reflected in her eyes. She was enjoying the coming torment she would put Yoongi through. It would teach him not to mess with her. Just because she seemed a little soft and on the girly side, did not give him the right to toy with her feelings.
After all, at the end of the day, she is the daughter of a gang leader. She did not get by without learning a thing or two from her father's trade.
"And what is it you'll have him do?" Hyeong Sik asked. "This test of yours."
"Kidnapping," Ji Yeon responded easily enough.
"That hardly sounds like a test of worthiness, Ji. Anyone from the gang can carry out a kidnapping."
Ji Yeon raised a finger with a knowing smirk on her face.
"Ah, but it isn't just about the kidnapping is it?" she questioned. "It's about who. The person, Dad, not the act itself."
Seemingly impressed by the cunningness his daughter portrayed, he ventured to ask, "And exactly who might this person be?"
"You'll know in due time," Ji Yeon said with a playful wink. "Let's not spoil the surprise so soon."
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
The silence behind the door was the only indicator that Eunhye had somehow fallen asleep. Yoongi wasn't surprised. She had been begging for him to let her out for hours on end and her lethargy was going to catch up to her sooner or later.
Eunhye was curled up in a ball on the floor by the bed, small whimpers coming from her lips as her tear stained face reflected the light coming from the hallway. Yoongi exhaled, scooping her into his arms as he held her close to his chest in a protective embrace. He laid her on the bed, shifting slightly so he could wipe her face clean with the sleeve of his shirt.
He sat next to her, silently watching her sleeping form; the rise and fall of her chest giving him the comfort he never knew he needed. He stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, lost in the peacefulness her presence gave him.
The scene was disrupted by the buzzing of his phone. He pulled out the device, noting that he had a text message from Ji Yeon informing him that the details of his next mission had been dropped off at their secret location.
Yoongi glanced at Eunhye, caressing her cheek with a gentle hand. He pushed strands of her hair away from her face before leaning down to give her a kiss on the lips. He pulled away a mere fraction as he continued to stare at her.
"Please understand," he whispered the words, though he knew she could not hear him.
But it mattered not, for they were words he kept buried deep within him. Words he knew he could not say to Eunhye if she were standing right in front of him. They were words that held a burden she could not possibly hope to ever know.
"I have to do this," Yoongi said, his lips lightly brushing hers again. "For you. For us. For our future."
"Just trust me, Eun."
With those final words, he left her to her rest, once again pulling the door shut and locking it behind him.
Unbeknownst to him, however, Eunhye was not asleep. And as she heard the locks falling into place, she pried her eyes open, staring at the door with overwhelming confusion etched onto her features.
"Why won't you trust me, Yoongi?" she whispered.
She knew the only reason Yoongi had been stopping himself from confiding in her was because a part of him still held insurmountable distrust towards her. There was a part of him that felt she did not truly love him, no matter how hard she tried proving otherwise.
But what Yoongi failed to realise was that his actions—whether of good intentions or not—would always bear consequences. And with Eunhye being his one weakness, they evidently fell onto her. It was not him who had to face the wrath of the fires he dabbled in without thought. It was Eunhye, and it always had been.
Because the only way to get to Min Yoongi was to get to Eunhye.
And it was a lesson Yoongi was about to learn very soon.
Chapter 10: final mission
The Jade Cobras, the name of Byun Hyeong Sik's gang, was well-known around these parts. Not only did they dominate the town Yoongi had chosen to call home, but the entire district south of the area belonged to them as well. To be part of the gang—especially one of a higher rank—was almost akin to domination of a small degree, seeing as how the group's numbers were large and spanned miles past the south sector.
But it wasn't power or domination Yoongi was after. It was a particular individual associated to the group he was trying to get to and the only way to do that was to try his hand at the surefire speed ticket to the top—Byun Ji Yeon.
Ji Yeon was Hyeong Sik's only daughter and she was as sly as she was beautiful. It wasn't uncommon for her to have men throw themselves at her feet, but none took her fancy quite like Min Yoongi. There was just something about his aloof manner that intrigued her so.
Their relationship blossomed as Ji Yeon wanted—and as Yoongi expected—but it wasn't long before she started suspecting he was up to something. No matter how much she tried to entice him, Ji Yeon never got far with Yoongi in the bedroom; the heated kisses always ended with numerous love bites but nothing more.
It was obvious Yoongi held a degree of attraction towards her. After all, she was quite a sight to behold. She had seen the way he looked at her sometimes, especially with the dresses she often wore to tempt him. There were unmistakable hints of lust in his eyes, yet he never went beyond what Ji Yeon wanted of him.
The only viable explanation she could come up with was obvious—he was either fucking around with whores in the gang's chain of brothels, or there was someone else he was hiding to satisfy his sexual needs. Both assumptions angered Ji Yeon in ways she could not comprehend.
Min Yoongi was hers, and hers alone. If she could not have his undivided attention, she would take it by force. Even if it meant eliminating whoever else he was sleeping with.
It didn't take long for her to figure out that Yoongi wasn't having his fun at the brothels. In fact, the man hadn't even stepped foot within the perimeters of the place unless it was work related. And if it was, he kept his hands to himself and had a reputation of hurting the girls who dared lay their hands on him.
The elimination of one explanation left her to assume the worse of the two must be true. Yoongi had someone else he was keeping from her. The thought of dishonesty did not sit well with Ji Yeon. She hated those who were not loyal, but what she hated more was knowing someone else had the upper hand when it came to getting Yoongi's attention; in bed or otherwise.
The thought bothered Ji Yeon so much, she put all her time and energy into uncloaking the mysterious individual Yoongi had been going through the trouble of hiding, and it wasn't long before her efforts bore fruit.
A smirk found its way to Ji Yeon's face as she read through the documents in the file.
"A pity," she said, her fingers moving to trace the photo of the girl in the file. "You're so pretty . . . It'll be a waste to kill you. For your sake, I hope Yoongi makes the right decision."
She closed the file with a purposeful thud before pressing the button on her desk. A moment later, one of her father's men entered the room. He lowered his head in her direction as a way of greeting, knowing full well to stay just within the premises of the room and not venture anywhere beyond until he was ordered to.
Ji Yeon lifted the file in her hands, throwing it on the floor by the man's feet.
"Get that to the lockers, will you? And be quick about it."
"Yes, miss," he said, bowing once more before retrieving the fallen file and making haste to carry out her instructions.
A bemused chuckle left Ji Yeon's lips as she typed a quick text to Yoongi, letting him know the mission details were ready for him.
She swivelled in her office chair, turning to look out the floor to ceiling windows. She drummed her fingers against the armrest, unable to contain the excitement she felt. Things were going according to plan and she could not wait to see where Yoongi's true loyalties lie.
It would be a shame to have to kill him if he chose wrong. After all, they were only just beginning to have so much fun together.
"Let the games begin, Min Yoongi," she said, her words resonating throughout the empty office.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Yoongi could not have felt more annoyed than he did at that moment even if he tried. The secret location for which he was made to fetch the mission details ended up being at the train station lockers. In all honesty, he would have been fine with it was it not for the fact that the station was almost always crowded, and everyone knew how much he loathed crowds.
After a few solid minutes of pushing and jostling, he finally arrived at the stretch of lockers by the farthest wall of the station. He adjusted his jacket—peeved at the number of people who had nudged him in the process of getting there—before starting for the intended locker.
He made quick work of the lock and pulled it open, surprised upon seeing the thin file within. Most of the tasks he had been put up to thus far had files the size of ancient library books. But this one housed barely ten pages at most.
Thinking nothing of it despite the inkling suspicion he felt, he moved to a more deserted part of the station with intentions of taking a peek at his final mission. Curiosity was something of a fault when it came to him. He could never seem to curb it, especially when it came to kidnappings. There was always that urgent need to know exactly who it was he was expected to kidnap.
And this mission was no different.
Yoongi wasted no time in flipping open the file, eager to see the face of the person who would be unlucky enough to meet him soon. But the eagerness died along with his heart when his gaze fell upon a familiar face grinning up at him from the photograph attached to the document.
He felt the world around him shift in slow motion, the voices of those in the station lulling into nothing but muffled background noise as he tried to comprehend what he was seeing. He flipped through several pages of the file, but there did not seem to be any errors as to what he was looking at.
It was a face he would recognise anywhere despite the nagging feeling in his chest that wanted it to be a dream; nothing but a really bad nightmare. Unfortunately, it was all real, and there was no denying it. For once in his life, he was not looking forward to a kidnapping.
Because his final mission was to kidnap Lee Eunhye.
Chapter 11: the forgotten son
Hyeong Sik dabbed lightly at the corners of his mouth, his appetite long gone as he eyed his children with a familiar sense of wariness. His son, Baekhyun, had arrived rather unexpectedly for dinner that night, putting a strain on those present.
It wasn't as though he was unwelcomed, of course, he was, but Hyeong Sik never did seem to see eye to eye with his son, and Baekhyun was never afraid to let his opinions be known. No words were exchanged between them, merely stiff nods as though that was their way of asking of the other's wellbeing.
Observing the two as she took a sip of her wine, Ji Yeon couldn't help but roll her eyes. She never understood why men find it so difficult just to talk about their feelings more often. It was obvious to her the only reason Baekhyun appeared was to make amends for his outburst the last time he showed his face.
Yet the word 'sorry' seemed as heavy as lead in Baekhyun's mouth, and Hyeong Sik's ego was too great for him to ask what business Baekhyun had in showing himself.
The result of which was an extremely awkward dinner.
Unable to withstand the silence for much longer, Hyeong Sik turned to his daughter and asked, "How goes the kidnapping? Is it underway as we speak?"
The question brought a surprised reaction from Baekhyun who turned a curious gaze in his younger sister's direction.
"You are venturing into kidnappings now?" he asked.
"Oh, hardly," Hyeong Sik said, waving his hand dismissively. "She's just playing with her new boy toy."
Ji Yeon smiled as she watched the two. At the very least, her cunning intentions towards Yoongi had given both her brother and father the opportunity to speak to each other if it were to amount to anything at all.
"He hasn't gotten back to me about it. I reckon he's having a hard time making a decision. But I won't push him . . . This is a decision he has to make on his own."
Baekhyun chuckled at seeing the tenacity coming from his sister.
"What did I miss in my time away for you to be this invested in Dad's business?"
"It's the boy, Yoongi, who has her finding all the motivation she needs to start acting like a member of this gang," Hyeong Sik said, his eyes reflecting a tinge of pride at his daughter's unorthodox involvement.
"Then I must meet this Yoongi you speak of."
Ji Yeon sighed, "Only if he makes the right decision. If he doesn't, I've already made up my mind that he's as good as dead."
Baekhyun raised his eyebrows in shock at her words.
"You would resort to murdering this boy?"
"You know just as well that I do not tolerate disloyalty," Ji Yeon hissed, her anger peaked at her brother's incessant questioning.
"Of course," he responded, unperturbed by her rage. "In that case, I pray Yoongi chooses wisely. It would be a shame not to be given the opportunity to meet the person responsible for getting my sister so riled up."
Thinking it was perhaps time to change the topic of conversation, Hyeong Sik shifted his gaze to his son.
"And how goes your business, Baekhyun?"
A troubled expression crossed Baekhyun's features at his father's words. He looked down, pointedly avoiding his father's stare as he readied himself for the apology he had been practising repeatedly in his head.
"Dad, I . . ." he licked his bottom lip nervously. "I wanted to apologise for not listening to you the last time. You were right."
Though taken aback by his son's unexpected apology, Hyeong Sik chose to focus on the undertones to his words instead. Something was wrong.
"What is troubling you?" he asked, almost immediately taking on the tone he used when dealing with his business associates.
Sensing the change in atmosphere, Ji Yeon placed her napkin on the dining table, excusing herself before flitting away. She did not wish to get involved in whatever they were about to discuss.
Baekhyun waited until his sister had left the dining area before turning his full attention on his father.
"I cannot run the cartel on my own. It's too much for one man to handle. And in moments of distraction, I fear our enemies might take it upon themselves to lay claim to what is ours."
"Has it happened?"
"No," Baekhyun shook his head in the negative, much to Hyeong Sik's relief as he exhaled, leaning back against his chair.
"Then you are forgiven, son," he said, reaching out to pat Baekhyun on the cheek. "I am glad you have returned. We can do something about this before your fears turn into reality."
"That is my aim as well."
"Do you have anyone in mind you wish to share your burdens with? Your sister is out of the question. That girl wants nothing to do with the gang if given a choice."
"Actually . . ." Baekhyun started, the hesitance clear in his voice. "I do have someone in mind, but I did not wish to carry forth with my plans without first seeking your permission."
"Tell me," Hyeong Sik said. "Who is it?"
"Your son," Baekhyun said.
Hyeong Sik stared at Baekhyun for a good minute before it occurred to him the boy might be joking. A low chuckle escaped him as he shook his head in good nature.
"Come now, Baekhyun. You are my son."
Baekhyun raised his eyebrow in scepticism, tilting his head at his father.
"Your other son, Dad. I can't possibly be talking about myself, can I?" he said.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Hyeong Sik shrugged, taking a sip of his wine as a discreet way of avoiding eye contact.
"I know about what happened to Mum when she was taken by the old enemies. I know what they did to her, Dad," Baekhyun said hesitantly.
He waited a few seconds for his father's reaction, taking his silence as a cue to carry on.
"I know you took care of the child and treated him like your own because you loved Mum so much and you knew it wasn't their fault."
Baekhyun noticed the way his father's grip around the wine glass seem to be tightening with each word uttered.
"How long have you known?" Hyeong Sik asked.
"Ji Yeon and I found out about it a few years back. Took us a while since you had his surname altered—to hide his identity, I presume."
Hyeong Sik lowered his hand, placing the wine glass on the table with a little too much force. He stared at the ripples forming on what remained of the beverage before shifting to scrutinise his son. After a moment's contemplation, he heaved a heavy sigh, his shoulders drooping in defeat.
"What do you know of him?" he asked.
"A little here and there. Just a name, really," Baekhyun responded without going too much into detail. "And you? Do you still keep tabs on him? Or is he in the dark as to what his father does?"
Hyeong Sik scoffed.
"But a name is more than enough for those in our trade. Knowing his name is equivalent to knowing everything."
"Then why do you still question me?"
"I wanted to see if you would lie to protect him. Nothing more," Baekhyun said. "It's hard to believe the boy knows things yet remains quiet and goes about his life normally."
"And yet he does, does he not?"
Hyeong Sik sighed.
"Baekhyun, listen to me. If you are worried about being contested for my position in this gang, then you are worrying over nothing. I love my children equally, but you are my first born and I have trained you since you were a child to prepare you for the day I choose to retire. There is no one more fitting to take my place, not even your brother."
An intermission of silence settled upon them, with Baekhyun taking the opportunity to ponder over his father's words. He never once considered himself a man prone to jealousy, but even he had to admit he felt the tinkling of the ugly emotion when he learned that his father had always been present in his stepbrother's life.
"I'm not worried," Baekhyun said at last. And much to his surprise as well as Hyeong Sik's, he found he meant every word.
"I know you care about him in some ways, and I wanted to make certain you were okay with his involvement," he continued. "Of course, I will not force him to do anything he is not comfortable with. The choice in every matter is his, and his alone."
"You would trust him to run the cartel with you?" Hyeong Sik asked.
"I don't see why not. He knows of the gang his whole life. He knows what we do, who we are, yet he hasn't ratted us out to anyone. That has to count as some form of loyalty, I should think."
Baekhyun paused briefly, a faraway look in his eyes before saying, "Besides, I would much prefer keeping the business strictly within the family. You obviously trust him and Ji Yeon is incredibly fond of him as well, so I don't think we'll have any problems there."
Hyeong Sik nodded in agreement.
"I share the same thoughts on keeping the business within the family, but Baekhyun . . . You'd do well to remember I have good reason to care for him away from the Jade Cobras and away from this life. If the members were to know he is of our enemy's blood . . . I fear they will not be as lenient or understanding as I."
"It is a risk, I know that more than anyone, and it's the only reason I seek your permission on the matter."
"In that case," Hyeong Sik said. "Do what you think is best. If you wish to run the cartel alongside your stepbrother, he is to be your responsibility in all matters concerning the gang."
"Thank you," Baekhyun said. "I promise to take care of him."
"I trust you will. Remember Baekhyun, whatever the circumstances may be, Taehyung is your younger brother. Do not let harm come to him."
Chapter 12: to make a decision
The sounds of boisterous laughter and loud music filled the air as Yoongi pushed his way forcefully through the sea of dancing bodies. He was already disgruntled as it is, and the state of the place did not do anything to alter his attitude.
He caught sight of a familiar face by the bar and an annoyed huff escaped him. It took him another minute before he freed himself from the swarm of people. He threw himself into the seat next to the man, heaving from the effort it took just to get there.
The man in question glanced at him with a bored gaze, eyeing him from head to toe before giving him a discreet nod in greeting.
"Of all places, this is where you wanted to meet?" Yoongi asked.
The man shrugged, taking a sip of the bourbon he had ordered, the cubes of ice clinking against the glass as he tilted the liquid down his throat.
"It's loud, it's full of people, and the chances of being overheard—or killed—are slim," he paused, turning to glance at Yoongi from the corner of his eyes. "Still think it's a horrible place to meet?"
Yoongi said nothing, motioning for the bartender to get him a drink.
"It almost sounds like you're scared of the Jade Cobras, Han," Yoongi chuckled humourlessly.
Han turned a vicious glare in his direction.
"You are a fool not to be frightened of them. They don't take too lightly to those who betray them. I took a risk giving you inside information. What else do you want, Yoongi?"
"I came to question the information you gave me," Yoongi said, accusation lacing his tone.
"What are you trying to say?"
"I'm not sure if I should trust you, Han. You told me with confidence that Kim Taehyung is associated with the Jade Cobras. It's been weeks, months! And I haven't seen hide nor hair of that man. I'm starting to wonder if the person I should be most wary of is you."
"I told you what I know. Everyone who's close to Hyeong Sik's inner circle knows who the boy is. This isn't something you make up. Being of the enemy's blood is a serious matter. No one would dare slander anyone's name like that," Han said.
He fixed his beady eyes on Yoongi.
"I'm telling you the truth. Kim Taehyung is part of the Jade Cobras . . . whether directly or indirectly."
Yoongi held the informant's gaze for a minute before he exhaled, looking away.
Han nodded his head, his fingers tapping listlessly against the now empty glass of bourbon. It took him a second to come to the conclusion that Yoongi wasn't really there to discuss the information's authenticity. There was something more he wasn't saying.
Han noted the way the man was downing shot after shot. He was stressed. Either that, or he was worried about something and there was nothing he could do about it.
"What's wrong with you?" Han finally asked, silencing the consciousness that berated him for trying to console a killer like Yoongi.
Yoongi licked the alcohol from his lips, lifting his head from where it rested on the counter. He reached for the file he had concealed in his jacket and slammed it in front of Han.
Han knew better than to rifle through its contents in open view of the public. Instead, he lifted the top of the file, peering inside while using his body as a shield from prying eyes. A low whistle left his lips when he saw the pinned photograph on the front page.
"She's pretty," he commented.
"She's my girlfriend," Yoongi countered.
Han's eyes grew wide.
"I'm sorry—what? I thought you were with Ji Yeon."
"I am. Well, kind of. It's not real. I'm just using her to get in the Jade Cobras."
It took Han a moment before he was able to close his mouth and shake off the surprise that seemed to have consumed him whole. Yoongi was much stupider than he looked.
"Are you crazy!" he hissed under his breath, inching closer to Yoongi. "I told you—no, I warned you—that if there's anything the Jade Cobras cannot stand, it's traitors. Especially Ji Yeon. She will kill you, you stupid boy!"
Yoongi buried his face in his hands, groaning.
"I thought I had it under control. I didn't think she would find out about Eunhye. I didn't think she would go after her . . . Not like this."
"Ji Yeon guards her heart like no other. She doesn't fall for flattery or anything superficial. If she finds herself falling for you, as you so wanted her to, did it not occur to you that she would make it her business to scrape every last bit of secret you've stashed in places you've forgotten? You honestly didn't think she'd find out about your hidden girlfriend?"
"I wanted to protect Eunhye," Yoongi said.
"By charming the daughter of the most feared gang south side of the state? Really, Yoongi, what is wrong with you?"
"I had to!" Yoongi yelled before lowering his voice when he realised that in his anger, he had unintentionally attracted the attention of those around them.
"I had to," he repeated. "The only way for Eunhye and I to be truly happy is if Kim Taehyung disappears. And I need to infiltrate his stupid gang to do that."
Han's face morphed into that of intense incredulity as he stared at Yoongi. He couldn't believe the way the boy was handling things. In his mind, if Yoongi was so bothered by Taehyung, he should have taken Eunhye far away from him, not drag her right into the heart of danger.
Even so, he had to admit that he couldn't help but feel a twinge of pity for him.
He tapped a finger on the file, earning Yoongi's attention before sliding it across the counter towards him.
"You know this is a test, right?" he asked.
"I guess," Yoongi mumbled.
"This is Ji Yeon's way of testing your loyalty. I'm willing to bet she already knows you're hiding this girl from her. What she doesn't know is the depth of your feelings, or lack thereof, for this girl and that's the test."
"Explain," Yoongi said, his interest somewhat piqued.
"If you go through with this mission, you can pretend that your girlfriend is a nobody you keep around for . . . certain activities. You have no feelings for her and you're totally okay with kidnapping her. Basically, you have no care in the world for her fate in the hands of the Jade Cobras."
"And if I choose to forsake the mission?"
"You confirm Ji Yeon's suspicions. You're toying with her feelings. And let me remind you again; she does not take kindly to those who lie to her."
"She'll kill me."
"You and your girlfriend, both," Han confirmed.
Yoongi pinched the bridge of his nose, his head pounding with the weight of the mess he had brought upon them. The noise, the heat and the flashing lights did nothing to ease his mind.
"What are you going to do?" Han asked, though a part of him already knew the answer to his question.
Yoongi remained quiet, resting his chin on the palm of his hand as he focused his gaze in front of him. His finger traced circles on the counter as his unseeing eyes reflected the strobes of light flashing in the dim club.
He tried to think of a way out of the mess; a loophole of sorts, anything he could use in his favour to wheedle his way out. Unfortunately for him, none came to mind and he was beginning to think perhaps his headache was impeding his thought process.
"You know there's only one logical way to deal with this, right?" Han asked.
For some odd reason or other, he felt the need to guide the boy into making the right decision. Well, it wasn't the right decision, per se, but rather the best decision in this case. Any other choice would have them both dead in a ditch.
In all his time as an informant, if he had learned anything at all, it was the one fact that anything which results in death cannot possibly be good.
Yoongi's gaze finally shifted as he downed what remained of his beverage. He slammed the glass against the counter and turned emotionless eyes in Han's direction.
In a voice turned hoarse by alcohol and regret, he said, "I have to kidnap Eunhye."
Chapter 13: once bitten, twice shy
Yoongi stood in front of the bedroom, his hand flat against its surface and his forehead resting adjacent to it. He had his eyes closed as a means to concentrate on his breathing; his right hand clenched tightly around the length of rope.
He had to do it. He had to. There was no other way. The logic was clear, but it didn't make what he had to do any easier on him. He stayed that way for another minute or two before he straightened, forcing his resolve where there were none.
"Think of the future," he muttered words of encouragement to himself. "Sacrifices have to be made. Eunhye will understand. She says she loves you. She'll understand."
He unlocked the door, forcing it open with a sudden ferocity that startled the frightened girl inside. She was seated on the bed, body turned in his direction, his name falling from her lips.
Yoongi's mind was set on the plan. He couldn't—wouldn't—think about anything else. It was the only way to get through it successfully. If he allowed himself a moment to even consider what he was doing to Eunhye, there was no way in hell he would ever get it done.
Eunhye, on the other hand, had taken the time trapped alone in the room to think—really think about her current situation with Yoongi. She wasn't going to lie, she was still hurt, immensely so, by the fact that he would cheat on her without so much as a hint of remorse. Not to mention how he had willingly slept with her despite having an affair.
Was Yoongi really that heartless? Or did he just not have a care in the world for her at all?
That wasn't the end of it either. There was also the problem with him apparently being part of a gang of some sort. As if that wasn't scary enough, the fiasco in the forest further proved Yoongi's falling back into old habits. She was pretty sure he murdered several people there, one of whom was her friend, Jungkook. If Yoongi had left him unattended in the forest in his condition . . . There was no way he'd make it out alive.
Why couldn't he just change for the better?
Why couldn't he remain as the Yoongi he was before?
Why did he have to find Taehyung's letter?
Her endless thoughts and constant pondering led to one question and one alone—did she want to save her relationship with Yoongi?
She knew where he stood concerning the matter. There was no way he would ever let her leave. That much was clear. He did, after all, make certain she knew he was being serious about it. On that front, it felt as though she didn't have much of a choice. Whether she liked it or not, it seemed Yoongi was there to stay.
At the very least, she wanted some form of say concerning the situation. She wasn't comfortable with the amount of control Yoongi had in their relationship. She wanted him to know that just because she was going to stay, it didn't mean she was okay with the way he was treating her. In fact, she outright hated it.
It was decided. Today was the day she would let him know she was willing to work with him to better their relationship, or at least try to because as much as she wanted to ignore it, she couldn't deny the affections she felt for the man.
She was disappointed in herself for clinging onto such a twisted love, but a part of her couldn't seem to get rid of Yoongi no matter how much she wanted to . . . How much she needed to, and how much she knew she had to.
Somehow or rather, she seemed to have started relying on him despite the dire circumstances and if she delved into it, the thought genuinely scared her. Ignoring the small voice of warning gave her brief respite to things yet unknown.
It was a losing battle either way; though she knew it not.
She was about as prepared as she'll ever be when Yoongi barged into the room, effectively startling her. Her proposition and argument had been sealed into her mind with wax and she was ready to free the words but she hardly got past his name before he was onto her.
Yoongi pressed a damp cloth doused with strong remnants of chloroform onto her face, his strong arms keeping her struggling form in place. Eunhye, panicked at the sudden attack, reciprocated in the defence and somehow managed to kick Yoongi in the gut, catching him completely unawares.
He stumbled back with a grunt, giving Eunhye the opportunity to fall out of the bed and make a straight dash for it. She stumbled into the hallway, her earlier thoughts of reconciliation long gone as she tried desperately to justify his actions.
Why was he trying to drug her?
Eunhye felt somewhat sluggish the more energy she exerted and the more she tried to run. She covered a good distance, making it all the way to the front door before her legs gave way and she caved. Her mind was swimming and her vision was hazy. What little consciousness she had left was cursing and swearing because the bit of chloroform she had inhaled was starting to take effect.
She willed herself to stay awake as she reached an arm upwards to try and unlock the door.
"Baby . . ." she heard Yoongi's pained voice from behind her.
A second later, she felt his strong arms lifting her like the lifeless doll she was becoming and carrying her back into the confines of the bedroom. She could hear the rumble of his chest as he spoke, but his words were muffled—distant and unclear.
She felt the soft mattress beneath her as she was carefully laid down. Yoongi looked distressed though he tried to give her a reassuring smile. She could tell he was talking to her but this time, the sounds and the words were completely lost on her.
She could feel the darkness edging into her vision and she knew she only had seconds left before the chloroform consumed her entirely. She managed to lock eyes with Yoongi; his eyes filled with an odd mix of sadness, pain, and regret—the presence and purpose of which Eunhye could not understand nor begin to contemplate.
Her field of vision was getting narrower by the second and with one final push of effort, she managed to force her lips to say a single word drenched in immense charge.
The minute the question was asked and Eunhye's eyes fell shut—her body having succumbed to the drug—Yoongi felt a million tiny knives stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. The only thing he could bring himself to say was his repeated apology—the one word stuck on a loop like a broken record.
He knew she could not hear him, that it was of no use. But he also knew that even if she could hear him, the outcome would be the same. There was no way she would ever forgive him after what he had done and what he was about to do. Despite the obvious, he prayed she would see reason; that she would understand the unspoken cause behind his actions.
The thoughts were recurring as he bounded her fragile form in the thick length of rope he had brought with him, looping them around her wrists and ankles. He took a moment to caress her face with a gentle touch, knowing full well it might be the last time he would ever get the opportunity.
He cupped her cheeks in his hands, bringing his face closer to hers as he planted a soft kiss to her lips. He wished for a second she would reciprocate the kiss, but he knew it was futile and impossible. He sat gazing at her for a good minute before he was interrupted yet again by the buzzing of his phone.
He did not have to check to know it was Ji Yeon. The girl had the uncanny ability to interfere whenever he was trying to have a moment with Eunhye.
Ignoring the call, he moved to pull a piece of cloth from the pocket of his jeans, deftly tying the material around Eunhye's eyes. He kissed her once more for good measure, shifting her unconscious form into as good a comfortable position as he could, before typing a quick text into his phone.
I have the girl.
Chapter 14: recruiting the recruit
Baekhyun stared at the rundown apartment complex with a heavy sigh on his lips. He turned back to his men and motioned for them to wait in the cars. There was no need for armed guards where he was going. He knew the person well enough.
He ascended the short flight of stairs, making a sharp turn and walking to the apartment at the end of the hallway. The door was slightly ajar, the sight causing Baekhyun to click his tongue in disapproval. The boy needed to be more cautious of his surroundings.
Baekhyun pushed the door open with the tips of his fingers, taking a peek inside before stepping foot within. The minute he did, however, he felt a strong grip around the collar of his shirt before he was shoved back against the wall, a dagger held to his throat.
He looked down at the blade with a raised eyebrow before shifting his gaze over to his attacker who wore a brief look of confusion that soon transitioned into surprise.
Taehyung took a step back, tossing the blade haphazardly on a nearby armchair as he gestured for Baekhyun to take a seat on the sofa in the living room. Baekhyun cleared his throat, smoothing down the front of his shirt as he followed after his younger brother.
"Hellbent on killing me are you?" Baekhyun asked.
"I wasn't expecting anyone," Taehyung said by means of apology.
"Yet you left the door open," he pointed out.
Taehyung turned to glare at him in a way similar to that of a petulant child.
"I never lock it and I'm never going to," he said.
He paused, lowering his gaze as he continued in a soft mumble, "Just in case she comes back."
Baekhyun stared at him.
"Who are you talking about?"
"No one," Taehyung said hurriedly.
Baekhyun nodded his head, allowing a short interval to their conversation as he looked around the cramped state of the apartment, trying his best to keep his expression neutral. It wasn't in his nature to judge anyone, lest his own brother.
"I wasn't expecting you to move into . . ." he hesitated. ". . . this. The last time I saw you, you were happily living in that much-too-big house of yours and now, well, look at you."
Baekhyun took a moment to assess his brother, and much like the house, Taehyung seemed the worse for wear. His hair was dishevelled, begging the question—when was the last time he had a haircut? The bags under his eyes were so dark, Baekhyun wouldn't be surprised if they could be seen from miles away.
He looked over-exhausted, his lethargy having seeped into his bones, causing his actions to seem sluggish and heavy.
"Are you okay, Tae?" Baekhyun asked, his voice soft with concern.
"I'm fine, just . . ." Taehyung sighed. "What are you doing here, Baekhyun?"
Baekhyun contemplated his brother's words through narrowed eyes. It was obvious he was hiding something and he was far from 'fine' as he so claimed, yet he refused to admit it. Deciding there was nothing he could do, Baekhyun opted to cut straight to the point; the reason behind his sudden visit.
"Taehyung, listen . . . I need your help."
"This doesn't have anything to do with the Jade Cobras, does it?" Taehyung asked a little distractedly, thinking it was nothing more than a casual visit.
When Baekhyun said nothing, his eyes widened in realisation.
"You're here on the gang's business? You know I don't want anything to do with that, right? I made myself clear a long time back when you first found me."
"I know, and I," Baekhyun paused to correct himself. "We—Ji Yeon, Dad, and I—respect that entirely but . . . there's been a problem and I think you might be able to help us."
"Unless you require some form of therapeutic counselling for your gangsters, I doubt there's anything I can do. Baekhyun, this gang business really isn't my scene. If that's all you came here for, I'd appreciate it if you leave. I'm busy."
"Busy doing what exactly, Taehyung?" Baekhyun asked with a raise of his eyebrow.
"I'm a doctor. I have patients to see," Taehyung refuted. "Obviously."
"Looking like that?"
Baekhyun moved his hand in a sweeping motion, gesturing at Taehyung's overall outlook. Offended at his brother's words, Taehyung tugged on his shirt and combed his fingers through his hair. But there was only so much he could do to make himself look a little more presentable. The fact was nearly impossible after all. Not with the way he had started to fall apart.
"Come now, Taehyung. Who are you trying to fool? You and I both know you have no work to go back to. You haven't had any for a long while now. I know you've been cooped up in here forever and honestly, I don't care. But looking at you now with my own two eyes . . . You really need to go out and do something."
"Like what? Join the Jade Cobras? Fat load of good that'll do to me," Taehyung scoffed. "And how did you know I was laid off work? I haven't told anyone. Were you spying on me?"
"I have my ways, Taehyung. Of which I will gladly teach you if you would just join us."
"If I refuse, are you going to force me?"
"Of course not. We are family . . . Blood. I won't force you to do anything you don't want to. I'm just here to offer you a place in the Jade Cobras, that's all."
Baekhyun gave his brother a smile followed by a slight tilt of his head, as though silently scrutinising him—looking for ways to convince the boy to join his cause . . . Looking for weaknesses. Despite the truth behind Baekhyun's words concerning forcing Taehyung into doing things he did not want to, Baekhyun was much too used to getting what he wanted.
And in this particular case, he wanted Taehyung to join him and be part of the Jade Cobras. The boy had potential if only he'd see it.
"Give it a day. Think about it overnight and let me know of your decision when you're sure of it," Baekhyun said. "I hope to receive a favourable response from you."
He gave Taehyung a firm nod as he stood. He adjusted his jacket and made a move to leave.
"Don't hold your breath," Taehyung muttered, his decision already made. He was not going to join the Jade Cobras. Not now, not ever.
The smile never left Baekhyun's face. He ventured past the living room, about to pull open the front door when something caught his eye. The corner of a piece of photograph peeked out from behind heavyset curtains. Baekhyun raised his eyebrows in curiosity. It was an odd place to hang one's curtains, especially since the area was nothing more than an empty wall.
Looking back over his shoulder, Baekhyun was quick to notice the uncomfortable look on his brother's face, almost as if he was afraid of having an embarrassing secret revealed. He turned back to face the curtains, his fingers trailing along its length before grabbing a fistful and yanking it aside.
The protest died in Taehyung's throat even before he had the chance to voice them. He closed his eyes and exhaled audibly through clenched teeth. His family was not supposed to know about this. About his . . . infatuation.
This wasn't how he intended any one of them to meet her. He was going to introduce her to them eventually, of course. But not like this. They would think him crazy if they knew.
A low whistle left Baekhyun as his eyes raked over the wall he had exposed. It would seem he was mistaken. It was anything but empty as he had first presumed.
On it was photographs and photographs of the same girl—walking, smiling, talking, sleeping. It was the same girl going about her day, unbeknownst that she was being stalked and her privacy invaded in such a manner.
Some of the photographs even had Taehyung in them. It was these that piqued Baekhyun's curiosity the most because dare he say, he had found the boy's weakness.
"My, my, Kim Taehyung," Baekhyun said, turning to give his brother a sly smile. "Sweet on a girl, are you?"
"It's none of your business," Taehyung said, getting a little bit defensive.
Baekhyun reached for the nearest photograph of the two of them, pulling it free of the wall and holding it up for Taehyung to see. The latter remembered the day as clearly as all the others he'd spent with her.
There had been a travelling fair in town and Eunhye had begged him to go with her. He was disgruntled at first because he had no care for fairs but he soon melted at the sight of her having immense fun. They ended the day on the Ferris wheel—Eunhye being one for soppy clichés—and the photo was taken when their carriage arrived at the very top, whereupon Taehyung leaned in for a kiss and the camera shutter went off; capturing the perfect moment.
"You had her," Baekhyun said. "What happened?"
"She was taken from me and now she's lost," he responded simply, not wanting to delve too deep into the details.
"I can help you get her back."
Despite his reservations, Taehyung's eyes lit up just a fraction at the prospect of possibly having Eunhye back in his life again.
"You can find her for me?"
"Of course," Baekhyun promised.
"The same way I know you've been unemployed. Although the details are a trade secret, sorry."
"So . . ." Taehyung hesitated. "You will help me?"
"For the right price, sure."
Without having to ask, Taehyung knew what the price for this specific bargain would be. Seeing the conflicted look on his face, Baekhyun sighed.
"You can't expect me to waste resources on some random girl—no offence—can you? Now if you were to join the Jade Cobras . . . she wouldn't just be any missing girl. She'd be your missing girl and I can't possibly allow my baby brother's girl to remain unaccounted for, can I?"
Baekhyun lowered his voice and leaned in closer to Taehyung, handing him the photograph from earlier.
"I would do everything in my power to get her back to you safe and sound. Trust me. All you have to do is say the word. Join the Jade Cobras, Taehyung, that's all I ask."
Taehyung's gaze fell onto the photo in his hand, a tight knot forming in his throat. He never wanted anything to do with the Jade Cobras but even he couldn't ignore his brother's words. They slithered into his mind and reminded him of how he had gone too long without her; how his efforts at seeking her out thus far had been for nought; how he longed to hold her near once again; to rain kisses upon her delicate skin and to claim her as his.
Perhaps he would do better with help, specifically his brother's. Besides, it wasn't as though he'd have anything more to lose. He lifted his gaze and looked Baekhyun dead in the eyes.
With a firm nod of his head, he said, "Okay."
Baekhyun's grin was almost infectious as he clapped his brother firmly on the shoulder, delighted at the decision made.
"I knew you'd come around. I promise you won't regret it and I'll make certain your girl finds her way back to you."
"When do I begin?" Taehyung asked as the thought occurred to him just then. "And what am I supposed to do?"
The question brought a disgusted look to Baekhyun's face. He huffed, grabbing Taehyung firmly on the upper arm and dragging the boy all the way outside.
"We can start right now by moving you out of this shitty place, and giving you a damn makeover. I have been trying to be polite, but Kim Taehyung you look like absolute crap."
Chapter 15: shackled and bound
The cold nipped at Eunhye's skin and a shiver ran through her. The uncomfortable feeling forced her into consciousness and made her aware of the pain screaming at her from various parts of her body, particularly the dryness in her throat.
Opening her eyes, she was met by a scene that did not immediately register in her mind. It was only after a full minute did she realise she was lying on the floor with her cheek pressed up against the cold white tiles of whatever room she was in.
A low groan formed at the base of her throat as she struggled to push herself into a sitting position—a feat she soon learned to be quite difficult especially with her wrists bound by thick bands of rope.
When she finally succeeded in her task, she was instantly greeted by an overwhelming sense of nausea as it washed over her in great volumes. It took everything in her to hold down what little contents remained in her stomach.
It was only when she felt tiny goosebumps forming on her skin did it occur to her that she felt unnaturally cold. Eunhye looked down at herself and grimaced upon seeing what she was wearing. Or rather, what she had been stripped down to—a pair of black boyshorts and a sports bra.
Never in her life had she felt so exposed and uncomfortable, especially in the situation she was currently in. It was no wonder she felt so cold. The clothes left little to the imagination with the way she was barely even covered.
Her moment of disgust at seeing her state of dress was overridden only by the pain in her throat. She gulped in hopes of pacifying her parched throat but was met with sudden restriction. For a second, her action felt constricted, almost as though she was being choked.
Panicked, Eunhye lifted her bounded hands and reached for her throat, only to realise that her path was impeded by a thick leather collar. She trailed her fingers across its surface and true to her assumptions, it circled her neck and was attached at the back to a metal chain. Of which had been conveniently nailed to the ground behind her.
The fogginess in her mind was slowly beginning to lift the more she started discovering the small and horrifying details surrounding her recent capture. Thinking of how she got there brought a name to mind along with a wretched pain in her chest.
Was it not enough for him to have cheated on her with another? Was it really necessary to degrade her in such a manner? Chaining her to the ground with a collar around her neck like some kind of animal?
Her unbridled anger evoked a strong need to scream. She needed an outlet to release the unbarred emotion or risk exploding. It was when she tried to do the bidding of her inner self, did she realise she could not.
For not only had she been dressed skimpily, collared, and chained, she also had a gag tied securely around her mouth, silencing any form of protests she had planned. In her frustration, she grabbed onto the collar and tried to yank it free, to no avail. The action only caused the chain to rattle violently, the sound echoing in the empty room.
Eunhye did not have time to contemplate her next course of action, or to think of ways to escape, when the metal door at the end of the room slid open with such force, it startled her. The dim setting of the room shrouded the mysterious visitor in its veil of darkness but it lasted a mere second before they stepped into her field of vision.
"I thought I heard noises. It seems I was right. You're awake," the woman said.
She was smiling at Eunhye, but the action did not reach her eyes which were an abyss of their own as they scrutinised her through slightly narrowed slits.
"I hope you're comfortable," the woman continued in a mocking tone. "Don't worry if you aren't though. This is only temporary. I'm still trying to decide where I can put you to good use."
She stood staring at Eunhye without saying a word for the next minute or two, each passing second causing hints of malice to surface on her face. Eunhye noticed the way her jaw clenched before she forced herself to relax, the smile appearing once more.
She tilted her head at Eunhye, taking steps forward before crouching so they were on eye level. The woman grabbed Eunhye's chin with one hand and yanked down the front of her top with the other.
Eunhye could feel her heart beating a mile a minute as she watched the woman's gaze lower. Despite the circumstances she was in, Eunhye couldn't help the blush of embarrassment that crowded her cheeks upon realising the woman was staring blatantly at the numerous blotches of marks Yoongi had left.
"Your days of fun are over," the woman snarled. "With you out of the picture, he'll finally seek me out. He won't have you to satisfy his needs anymore."
She pushed Eunhye's face roughly, causing her head to whip back and hit the wall behind her. The woman stood and brushed off her hands as though Eunhye was the definition of dirt itself and touching her had stained her somehow.
"I can't believe he would choose a slut like you over me," she said. "How disgusting."
Eunhye winced at the pain coursing through her head at the impact of the hit but would not give the woman the satisfaction of hearing her distress. She shuffled awkwardly and adjusted the top to cover herself as best she could.
The woman sneered upon seeing what she was doing and scoffed.
"Don't try to act modestly when you're probably naked half the time with him," she spat the words in obvious distaste.
The woman looked as though she wanted to say something more but a glance at the gag around Eunhye's mouth was enough to get her laughing.
"Poor you. Can't speak, can you?" she taunted. "Honestly, I wouldn't mind taking it off but for your own good, I think it's better to leave it. I fear I might choke the life out of you if I were to hear your voice."
She inched forward again, grabbing a fistful of Eunhye's hair and tilting her head back so the latter was looking up at her.
"Try not to make so much noise, sweetheart. Trust me when I say—I'll be certain the next time you make a sound will be the last."
The woman released her hold on Eunhye and was walking back towards the metal door when it slid open on its own accord. She seemed just as surprised as Eunhye, clearly not expecting anyone to be there, but her surprise soon morphed into gleeful excitement as an uncharacteristic giggle left her lips.
"Yoongi!" the woman squealed, the name causing Eunhye to whip her head in the newcomer's direction.
Sure enough, there stood Yoongi with the woman clinging onto him in a hug. He stared at Eunhye over the woman's shoulder and for a second, Eunhye thought she caught a glimpse of pain and guilt flash in his eyes, but she brushed it off, telling herself it was nothing but a trick of the light.
Eunhye shifted her gaze between the two, noting how Yoongi did not bother to shrug off the woman's touch. In that second of observation, Eunhye realised the person he had been cheating with had to be the very woman who was hanging onto him in clear desperation.
The surprise hit her like a pail of cold water but she was too tired to form a reaction. She felt emotionally and physically tired as she continued staring at them.
They were in on it together.
This had been their plan all along.
Eunhye closed her eyes and leaned back against the wall, welcoming the pain like an old friend as she tried to lose herself in her mind. If she couldn't escape, the least she could do was gain respite from what little her imagination had to offer. She didn't want to think this was her life now, that this was what her reality had become.
Yoongi couldn't bring himself to tear his gaze away from Eunhye as he watched her face screw up in pain. He wanted to run to her, to console her, to tell her he was sorry and everything would be okay.
But he couldn't do it.
Not with Ji Yeon clinging to him like a leech.
She pulled away from the hug but stayed close to him, her fingers drumming lightly against his chest. She looked up at him through her eyelashes as a sly smirk appeared on her lips.
"I didn't think you'd actually kidnap her. I'm impressed," she said.
He remained distracted, not paying her any heed as he continued staring at Eunhye intensely. He didn't like what she was made to wear, his hands clenched into tight fists thinking about the dirty scums in the Jade Cobras that had defiled his sweet Eunhye with their lust filled gazes.
Ji Yeon caught the way he was looking at the girl and she scoffed, following his gaze over her shoulder. She turned back and stood on the tips of her toes to whisper in his ear.
"She's pretty. She has a nice body too. Don't worry, I won't kill her. She has much better use at one of our brothels, don't you think?"
As expected, her words hit a nerve. He grabbed her by the shoulders and yanked her back to glare at her with ferocity in his eyes.
"I thought you said a client commissioned you for a kidnapping. Why are you sending her to the brothels?"
"I lied," Ji Yeon said, pushing off his hands and shrugging nonchalantly. "You didn't really think I'd give your toy an easy way out, did you? Since she loves fucking around with what's mine, she can continue doing that at the brothels and earn us some revenue in return. It's a win-win, Yoongi, don't look so upset."
Ji Yeon placed a kiss on his cheek, her hand resting on the back of his neck. When she pulled away from him, she couldn't help but feel a sense of triumph. Did he really think he could get away with two-timing her with a simple wench? Clearly, he did not know who Byun Ji Yeon is.
"Baekhyun is coming by later. I'll get him to move her to one of the brothels. He might as well have some fun with her while he's at it. A test run, perhaps?" she simpered, pleased with herself.
She walked past Yoongi, glancing back to frown at the girl's pathetic state.
"I can't stand being under the same roof as her for any longer," she muttered.
She grabbed Yoongi's upper arm and dragged them both out of the room, sliding the metal door shut behind her.
Chapter 16: cold as ice
Baekhyun gave Taehyung a satisfactory nod of the head when their eyes met through the reflection of the mirror. The latter broke eye contact first, looking down at the tailored suit he was wearing. It was nice and even he had to admit he looked rather fancy, but it wasn't something he was used to and it resulted in a grimace.
"What?" Baekhyun asked. "You don't like it? I think you look great."
"It's just . . . I don't know about this, Baekhyun. I'm not sure it's me. Besides, aren't you supposed to be gangsters? Why are we dressed like this? Why are you dressed like this all the time?"
Baekhyun allowed his incredulity and shock at his brother's question to appear on his face as he scowled not a moment later.
"Just because I make illegal activities my business, doesn't mean I have to give up looking good in the process. Business is business, whatever it may be, and I want to look snazzy. Always."
He turned and beckoned towards the tailor who stepped forward with his head lowered in respect. Baekhyun pulled out his wallet and handed the man a card.
"We'll take it."
The man said nothing except to receive the card with both hands and lowered his head further.
"Also," Baekhyun added as an afterthought. "Keep his measurements. I'll be needing more suits in the future."
"Of course, sir. Perhaps something on the lighter side?"
Baekhyun shook his head and waved off the man's suggestion.
"No, nothing light toned. It gets messy and obvious when blood's involved," he said nonchalantly.
The man's face paled instantly upon hearing the words and it took Baekhyun a second to realise his slip of the tongue. He was about to come up with a crappy excuse when Taehyung laughed and smacked him lightly on the shoulder.
He turned towards the man with a childlike grin on his face.
"You have to forgive my brother. His jokes can get a little out of hand. He's also really old school and he thinks darker shades gives me a more matured look."
Taehyung leaned closer to the man and lowered his voice, "Between you and me, I think he's being nonsensical but he's older than me and he's paying for everything so let's just go with whatever he wants."
The man nodded, albeit still hesitant, his gaze shifting to Baekhyun for a second before he focused back on Taehyung.
"I will stick to darker shades, then."
"Great," Taehyung said, the grin still on his face as he watched the man disappear behind the counter.
A smug smile immediately replaced the grin, however, when he turned towards Baekhyun, waiting for the latter to say something.
"I could've handled that myself," Baekhyun said, disgruntled.
"Oh, please! You–"
Baekhyun raised a finger to stop Taehyung midsentence. He had received a sudden message from Ji Yeon and had pulled his phone out to read its contents.
"What is it?" Taehyung asked when he noticed the smirk creeping its way to his brother's face.
"You know what, Tae? I admit, you did a good job back there and it's my belief that good deeds should be rewarded."
"You're acting really suspicious," Taehyung said.
"I'm being serious!"
"Then why are you smiling like that?"
"It's because I have the perfect reward in mind for you."
Taehyung made a gesture to urge the man to continue. Despite his apparent reluctance, he couldn't deny the curiosity eating away at him. He did wonder what defined a 'perfect reward' in Baekhyun's eyes.
"Ji Yeon has a job for me—for us actually since you're shadowing me—to ferry a new girl to one of our brothels. She says I can have some fun before sending her over. What say you? You can have the first taste."
Baekhyun raised his eyebrows suggestively but the thought of sleeping with another had not crossed Taehyung's mind even once. The only person occupying his thoughts for days on end being Eunhye and Eunhye alone.
He couldn't possibly devote himself to an act he only ever wanted to do with Eunhye. How could he?
Baekhyun must have seen the conflicted look on his face because he exhaled audibly in mild irritation and swatted him on the back of his head.
"It's just a fling, Kim Taehyung!" he said. "For fun. Don't think too much about it."
"Look, your little runaway girlfriend doesn't have to know about it. It'll be our secret. Just between the two of us."
Seeing he was making no progress in convincing his brother to indulge himself, Baekhyun said, "At least have a look at the girl. If you think you really can't do it, then don't. But I'm still going to fuck her either way. It's just your loss, you know?"
Baekhyun shrugged indifferently.
"Fine," Taehyung mumbled just as the tailor reappeared with Baekhyun's card in his hand.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Yoongi sneaked into the basement that night when he was sure no one would see him. He spent the entire day with his mind preoccupied on thoughts of Eunhye and the way she had looked at him with pure hatred in her eyes. It unsettled him to think she would ever look at him in such a manner; that she would have the capacity to hate, that he would give her a reason to.
The minute he stepped foot within, he was hit with a blast of cold air that had him shivering despite the warmth of his jacket. He thought back to the way Ji Yeon had dressed Eunhye; her choice of clothes a cruel way to make the latter suffer in the cold.
He hastened his steps towards the room at the end of the basement where they had her imprisoned. With quiet precision, he unbolted the metal door and slid it open, cringing when it groaned in protest at his action.
He paused, straining to detect sounds of being caught, and exhaled with relief when he was met with nothing but silence.
He entered the darkened room, his eyes immediately falling on the crouched figure in the corner who had her arms wrapped around herself in a foetal position.
Forgetting all caution, Yoongi rushed to her side, falling to his knees as he shrugged off his jacket to drape it around her shoulders, noticing how her fingernails had started to turn blue from the cold.
Eunhye looked up just then, her eyes hazy with sleep, confusion still fogging her mind. But when she realised who it was in front of her, she panicked, alarm settling into her wide eyes as she struggled to shuffle away from him.
"Eunhye, baby, it's me. It's Yoongi," he said, his grip tightening around her shoulders.
The words only made Eunhye struggle more, pushing her bounded hands harshly against his chest in an attempt to get him away from her. Yoongi could see the way her actions were causing the ropes to twist and rub against her wrists, burning the skin raw.
"Baby, stop, please. You're hurting yourself," he pleaded.
A gurgled cry came from her as she jerked her hands harshly away from him. She fell back, the chains going taut as the collar around her neck caused her to choke. She started coughing, but the action proved to be difficult and painful with the gag around her mouth.
She leaned forward as she continued heaving, clawing at the cloth to try to free herself from its restraints.
"Baby, stop. Stop!" Yoongi yelled at her, shocking her into compliance.
She was breathing hard, her eyes widened in fear and panic as she watched Yoongi in apprehension. He raised his hands slowly, showing her he meant no intentional harm as he slowly loosened the ties keeping the gag in place, letting it fall loosely around her neck.
The second the cloth was gone, Eunhye took a deep shuddering breath with her mouth open, gulping in air as though she had been deprived of it.
The silence between them stretched on, with Eunhye huddled close to the wall away from Yoongi, and the latter just staring at her, unsure of what he should say. Eunhye cleared her throat, trying to find her voice again before lifting her gaze to look at him.
"I'm sorry," she said, her voice extremely soft.
"W-What?" Yoongi stuttered.
Of all the things he had expected Eunhye to say to him, it was not this. It was not to apologise. He expected her to yell at him—curse him out, assault him verbally. Hell, he would even be okay if she physically hurt him. Anything was better than seeing her being this way.
"I must have done something for you to hate me enough that you'd do this to me. That's it, right? That's why you're doing this to me?" she murmured.
"No," Yoongi shook his head, desperate for her to understand yet tormented at not being able to bring himself to tell her the truth.
Eunhye stared at him quietly, and the longer she did, the more miserable she felt. Tears clouded her vision as she struggled to hold them back. She hiccuped and a soft chuckle escaped her as she wiped her cheeks with her hands.
"I'm so stupid," she said, her voice quiet with tired resignation. "You cheat on me, lie to me, drug me, kidnap me, use me, and treat me like trash, yet I still find ways to justify your actions."
Yoongi didn't like the look in her eyes. They were empty voids that held nothing; not even the mix of fear and contempt from a moment ago. In that brief period, Yoongi had the opportunity to look at her, really look at her and he realised how tired she looked—haggard, worn out, and weak. Almost as though all the energy and fight had left her.
He realised now just how much Eunhye had to put up with the past few months. How she quietly endured the emotional baggage and turmoil that came with him, yet she didn't breathe a word of complaint. But this . . . What he had done this time was unforgivable. It was the last straw, even he could see that. He had evidently destroyed her.
"Eunhye . . ." he said, reaching out to hold her.
His movement caught her attention for a second before something else did—the gun in the waistband of his jeans. With sudden and quick reflexes, Eunhye tackled him with her shoulder, catching him completely unawares as she grabbed the gun and fell back heaving, the weapon now pointed straight at him.
"Baby, what are you doing?" Yoongi asked, hands in surrender as he watched her every move.
Eunhye shook her head, her eyes starting to brim with tears again.
"I can't . . ." she said, gulping. "I can't do this, Yoongi, I'm sorry."
She shifted, struggling with her bounded hands but managing to turn the weapon on herself as she felt the cold end of the barrel resting under her chin. Yoongi's eyes widened in terror; it was the first time he'd ever felt such an emotion pulsating through his veins.
"I gave you everything I had, Min Yoongi. Everything!" Eunhye yelled, voice quivering with nerves. "But I can't anymore. I just . . . I can't. I won't be sent to the brothels. I won't be made to do such . . . such things for the rest of my life. If there's no way out of this, I'll make a way. I'll end it all."
"Don't you dare press that trigger, Lee Eunhye, please."
Eunhye couldn't disregard the fear she felt. It was scary. Of course, it was; ending one's life. But it was her own decision. Her words rang true—she could not bring herself to live a life of servitude to men; selling herself for their entertainment.
With her resolve set, she allowed herself a second to focus on Yoongi's face. Though it was twisted in horror, he was still so handsome. He always had been despite his chaotic personality.
She gave him the smallest of smiles before screwing her eyes shut and pulling the trigger.
Chapter 17: a familiar face
Yoongi tackled Eunhye to the ground just as her finger squeezed down on the trigger. He prepared himself for the familiar sound of gunfire and the warmth of spilt blood but was met with neither. Instead, the only sounds he heard was the distinct click of an empty cartridge.
The relief he felt washed over him in tenfolds as he proceeded to grapple the gun out of Eunhye's grip, tossing it to the other end of the room where it landed with a loud clatter. Eunhye looked at him with confusion for a brief second before it dawned on her the cause of her continued living—the lack of ammunition in which to end her life.
She started sobbing then and there, not caring in the least the way Yoongi was practically sitting atop her to foil her attempt at suicide. He leaned forward, shushing her as he gently wiped her tears dry. He rested his forehead against hers—despite her struggles to push him away—rocking them both back and forth with quiet murmurs of endearment.
He closed his eyes, all the while thanking his lucky stars for whatever moment of distraction that had resulted in his carelessness at reloading the ammo in his gun. For if the weapon had been loaded . . . He shuddered, not wanting to think about it.
He opened his eyes, hands cupping both Eunhye's cheeks as he stared at her, trying to reassure himself that she was unscathed and perfectly fine. Her tears had long since stopped, though she remained in a state of hysterics as she mumbled beneath her breath words Yoongi had to strain to decipher.
"I'm useless," she muttered, trying once again to create distance between them as she pushed Yoongi in the chest. "I can't even kill myself. I'm so pathetic and stupid."
She balled her hands into tight fists, clumping the material of his shirt as a result. Ignoring the damage done, Yoongi pulled her into a hug, one arm encircling her in a protective embrace, while he positioned his free hand on the back of her head to keep her nestled in the crook of his neck.
He stayed that way for a while and continued to rub soothing circles on her back to comfort her despite the muffled cries of protests coming from her.
After Eunhye had somehow calmed down, Yoongi loosened his hold on her and moved to whisper in her ear.
"Please don't be angry with me. Even fate doesn't want us to be apart. We're meant to be, baby, I promise you. In time you will understand why I had to do what I did. But for now . . . Just trust me."
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Taehyung had a look of obvious irritation on his face, mirroring the feeling to a T. He was under the impression that he would be allowed a moment of rest after the hellish drive to the Byun's family residence, but instead he found himself being ushered into what seemed to be the basement.
Baekhyun stopped in front of a metal sliding door and gestured at it impatiently, trying to get his brother to get a move on.
"What's in there?" Taehyung asked, irritation now laced with hints of curiosity.
"I told you we were going to get the girl," Baekhyun said as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"What—now? At three in the morning?" Taehyung hissed in disbelief.
"We're moving her to the brothels at eight, but if we want to have some fun, we have to do it now. So get in there before I change my mind about letting you have the first go."
"But I don't want–"
Baekhyun huffed in annoyance, grabbing Taehyung by the scruff of his neck to silence his protests. He slid the door open with his free hand before pushing him inside and slamming the door shut.
Through the door, he said, "I'm locking this from the outside, little brother, and I'm not coming back until later. Have fun!"
Taehyung could almost hear the victorious smirk in the tone of Baekhyun's voice and when he tried the door, it wouldn't budge. He really was locked in. With a short exhale, he turned to survey the room, noting almost instantaneously the chill in the air.
He shuddered despite himself and ventured further within, closing the distance between him and the one other occupant of the room. As he neared the girl, Taehyung couldn't help but feel a tinge of guilt at the sight of the chained collar around her neck. He was reminded of the bitter fact that he used to chain Eunhye in a similar fashion.
The girl had her head bent forward, almost as though the very essence of life itself had left her. Her hair fell in waves, shielding her face from him, but the slow rise and fall of her chest was enough of a sign that she was asleep and very much alive.
There was something oddly familiar about the girl, and despite his disinterest, Taehyung felt a strong desire to move closer to her. He crouched in front of her, reaching a hand to brush her hair aside. The second he did, however, the girl flinched back, startling him.
"Oh–!" he exclaimed, falling back the same way she did. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to–"
He froze; the words stuck in his throat when her face came into full view. He didn't realise he had stopped breathing until it occurred to him that he was starting to get lightheaded from the lack of oxygen. He gulped, hands moving at an almost agonisingly slow manner towards her before he felt the chill of her skin against the warmth of his palms.
He tilted her head to meet his eyes and he could hardly believe what he was seeing.
For a second he assumed he must be dreaming. He was sure of it. What were the odds that he would meet her here of all places? It seemed too good to be true. He thought perhaps he must have yearned for her to the point he was hallucinating.
It couldn't possibly be real. The girl held no familiarity in her eyes as she looked at him. In fact, her eyes were like two voids completely empty of emotion. Even so, Taehyung could not deny the alarming similarity she had with Eunhye in terms of features. They were almost identical.
He didn't want to believe that a figment of his imagination could seem so real, but he of all people should know that the mind is a very powerful organ capable of much more than one would expect.
He scoffed, releasing the girl from his hold as he shook his head in disbelief. He was being so pathetic, it was almost funny.
"I'm sorry," he said to the girl. "It's just . . . You look very much like someone I know."
The girl said nothing except to continue staring at him. He noted the way her shoulders seemed to shiver with either fear or cold, he couldn't tell. She was wearing a jacket though, one that clearly belonged to a man, judging by the ill-fitted manner it clung to her.
"Was someone here before?" he asked.
It wasn't as though he particularly cared, although he couldn't help but wonder if perhaps whoever it was had been the cause of her supposed fear.
Taehyung was certain the girl would not reply. After all, she hadn't said a word since he arrived, merely keeping her gaze locked on him as though trying to place a read on him.
However, he was sorely mistaken when the girl opened her cracked and dry lips, licking its surface before saying with clear hesitance, "Tae . . . Taehyung?"
A hint of recognition seeped into the corners of her eyes and Taehyung could hardly believe it. She wasn't a figment of his imagination. She was real and she was here, right in front of him.
He almost stumbled over himself trying to close the distance between them as he wrapped his arms around her, cradling her to his chest. It took him a second to realise he was crying, incoherent words falling from his lips as he said her name repeatedly.
"Eunhye, my Eunhye," he whispered, his voice hoarse with emotion.
After months, he finally found her.
He finally had her.
And he was never letting her go.
Chapter 18: territorial
Baekhyun heaved a sigh as he watched Taehyung help the girl into his room at the Byun residence. Who would've thought his younger brother would find her here of all places? It was uncanny and the thought perplexed him.
"You know Ji Yeon isn't going to be pleased about this, right?" Baekhyun asked. "I mean, the girl was about to be sent to the brothels and now that plan's thwarted. Not to mention how I actually stole the keys to free her."
"Ji Yeon will understand," Taehyung muttered, his attention divided as he continued staring at Eunhye as if unable to believe she was there with him.
Baekhyun sighed. His words were falling on deaf ears. Nothing he said would have an effect on the smitten boy. Not with the way he was enamoured by the girl.
"I'll try to talk to Ji Yeon for you," he said, only to get another distracted and mumbled response from Taehyung.
Shaking his head, Baekhyun wished his brother a quiet good night before leaving them be. He could tell the boy only wanted some alone time with her.
Taehyung felt an unexplainable sense of contentment just sitting by the side of his bed watching Eunhye sleep. He didn't know how long he spent sitting there but the sun had begun its ascent in the sky by the time Eunhye stirred, groaning as she subconsciously tugged on the leather around her throat.
Taehyung shook her awake, trying to rouse her fully from her slumber. It didn't take long before she blinked her eyes open, startled once again at seeing his face before she reminded herself of what happened just hours prior.
"Good morning, love," he whispered the words, his hand automatically caressing the side of her face.
His gaze flickered to the collar around her neck and he frowned, the smile from earlier vanishing.
"Uncomfortable, isn't it? I can't seem to take it off. But don't worry, I'll talk to Ji Yeon about it and Baekhyun is going to help too."
Eunhye said nothing, blinking once more before shifting her gaze elsewhere. In truth, she wasn't the same Eunhye she was before. The whole situation with Yoongi had left her empty on the inside and she could hardly care less what would happen to her from then on. She thought of herself as a puppet, going whichever way her strings were tugged. It no longer mattered to her whose fingers were pulling the strings and what they wanted her to do.
"You were so tired, you didn't get a chance to take a bath. You were sleeping soundly too and I couldn't bring myself to wake you."
Taehyung's voice interrupted her thoughts and she found herself looking at him once more. He seemed to hesitate, glancing over his shoulder as though contemplating before turning back to her.
"Do you want to take a bath now? We can take one together. How about it?"
There was a tinge of hope in his voice and Eunhye knew he assumed his question would be enough to get her to talk. After all, he was openly suggesting they bathe together—something they had never done before even when they were in a relationship.
Yet, she remained quiet, much to his obvious dismay.
"Come," Taehyung urged, helping her to her feet and guiding her to the adjoining bathroom, trying his best to hide his disappointment at her lack of response.
He noted the way she was clinging onto the jacket, her grip tight on its sleeve, forcing him to pry her fingers from the material before he was able to toss it aside. The task complete, he proceeded to undress her, though it took him longer than anticipated to get her completely naked. When he did, however, he was surprised at her easy compliance to his orders and the way she barely even protested. Even now despite the drop in temperature in the bathroom and her state of undress, Eunhye merely stood there with her gaze downcast; not a hint of embarrassment to her name.
The situation was worrying to the point Taehyung seemed to completely forget the fact that he was seeing her naked for the first time. He inched closer to her, noting how she stood her ground though she refused to make eye contact.
He tilted her head to meet her eyes, the sudden skin on skin contact causing goosebumps to form on the length of her arms. She was cold, yet not a word of protest left her lips.
"Eunhye . . ." Taehyung said, the tone of his voice bordering that of a pathetic plead. "Say something, won't you? Anything. Tell me what you want, if there's anything at all that you desire."
Hope blossomed in his chest when he noticed the way her lips parted and a hint of life seemed to seep into her irises.
"What do you want, Eun?" he encouraged, subconsciously leaning closer to her.
"I . . . I don't want to live like this anymore."
It took her a minute to say the words, but when she finally did, she realised that she meant it. She meant every word.
"I want to die," she reiterated. "I don't want to live like this, Taehyung. You have to kill me. Y-You have to kill me, okay? You said you'll do anything."
Her eyes were wide with desperation bordering on frenzy as she gripped onto the front of his shirt with shaking hands. Taehyung frowned, the meaning behind her words paling in comparison to the weight it bore.
"What are you talking about, Eun? You know I can't do that. I won't. How could you even–"
Taehyung stopped himself when he noticed the scattered bite marks on her chest and the bruising around her hips and thighs. Conflict arose within him as he shifted his hands to grip her shoulders before taking a step back to give her a proper look.
He wasn't an idiot. He wasn't naïve. He knew the marks were remnants of something sexual but he just couldn't envision Eunhye having sex with another man. He couldn't imagine his Eunhye with her legs kept apart by the grip of another man on her thighs as he left his marks on her skin.
The thought alone was enough to make his blood burn with jealousy and his head to swim with sudden anger. The softness in his touch transitioned to something less than kind when he gripped her jaw, pulling her closer to him.
"Did you sleep with another man?" he hissed the words though he already knew the answer to the question. He just wanted to give her a chance to admit her mistake. A chance to redeem herself.
But before she could even say anything, he yelled, "Who the fuck is it!"
His sudden shout caused her to flinch and close her eyes as though she expected him to hit her. Seeing this, Taehyung exhaled in obvious annoyance, letting her go to rub his face in frustration.
"You know what? It doesn't matter. It's all in the past now so it doesn't matter," he said, although it sounded as though he was trying to convince himself of the fact.
"You're mine now, aren't you? You're here with me now."
He took hold of her chin with his thumb and forefinger, leaning in to place a kiss on her lips. When shock rendered her immobile to his advances, he pushed himself against her, deepening the kiss still.
His free hand found its way to her side, keeping her in place as he continued his ministrations. In all their time together, not once had they kissed in such a manner and the thought of where it might lead excited him. His grip tightened considerably and she winced, pulling away from him.
Taehyung huffed in annoyance at their loss of contact. Looking down, he realised that he had unintentionally applied pressure to one of the bruises dotting her skin—the pain causing her to break their kiss.
His attention seemed oddly focused on the purplish marks. The longer he stared at them, the more agitated he felt. Alas, he realised he could not ignore them and it did, in fact, matter. It annoyed him and he wanted to do something about them. He had to, or he'd risk going insane with anger and jealousy.
The love marks dappling her skin were a sign of possession marked by another. It showed that she belonged to someone other than him and it was unsettling and disagreeable. The thought sparked a solution in his mind; one that was as obvious as day.
If the marks were a sign of possession, all he had to do was create marks of his own. It really was as simple as that.
With the thought set in mind, he lowered his head to the crook of her neck, biting and sucking the skin with enough ferocity to draw blood. Eunhye grabbed his shoulders in an attempt to push him off her, the pain too much for her to bear. But the feeling of her touch only deepened his lust and desire for her.
He pulled away, breathing hard as he shifted to nip at her ear.
"I'm going to show you how much better I am at this than he is."
His voice was hoarse with need as he wrapped his arms around her waist, hauling her over his shoulder and carrying her back into the bedroom. He lowered her onto the bed before climbing onto it himself, hovering over her as he started to unbuckle his belt.
"I'll make sure you'll only remember my touch from now on."
Chapter 19: another man's treasure
The sun was high above the sky when Taehyung woke. He groaned, shielding his eyes from the penetrating glare as he fumbled for his phone on the side table to check the time. It was half-past twelve in the afternoon.
He shifted, pulling Eunhye closer to him as he tangled his legs with hers, basking in the warmth shared between their naked bodies. He placed a kiss on her back, just between her shoulder blades, and took a moment to savour her scent as thoughts of the night before rushed through his mind.
"Eun," he whispered, shaking her awake and trying to quell his growing erection.
She turned, a soft exhale of air leaving her parted lips as she blinked her eyes opened, startled when she realised Taehyung was directly above her. His eyes were cloudy and unfocused; and she watched as his gaze seemed to travel to her lips, his Adam's apple bobbing as he gulped.
"T-Taehyung," she gasped when she felt his arousal against her inner thigh. She shook her head, trying to move away from him but found herself trapped between his arms.
"Please," he begged, his eyes wide with silent longing.
Her erratic breathing caused her chest to rise and fall rapidly, a distraction rendering him completely unable to suppress his desires. He kissed her jaw, muttering sweet nothings against her skin as he continued leaving trails of kisses down the length of her body.
He nipped at the skin between her breasts and smirked when he felt her breath hitch at his actions. He stopped, looking at her just as she did him, their eyes interlocking unexpectedly. They stared at each other for another second before he continued peppering her skin with featherlike kisses.
His grip tightened around her when his lips reached her abdomen, his hot breath causing her to shudder. He was too close to her crotch, making her sense of rationality tilt in favour of his biddings.
"I'll take care of you, I promise," he whispered. "I'll be gentle this time. I'll make you feel good."
Though his words made it seem as though he was asking her for permission, he hardly waited before he delved his face into her nether regions, his grip now strong around her legs, keeping them apart for better and uninterrupted access.
His sudden advancement caused her to jerk her hips upwards which only served to further fuel his desires. It was all the permission he needed to carry on with his intentions; all the while oblivious to the sounds of her laboured breathing or the way she was clenching her hands into tight fists by her side, clumping the bedsheets in the process. The only thing either of them could focus on was the unmistakable pleasure that was coursing through their veins.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Taehyung felt lighthearted with glee as he stepped into the sitting room later that day. He was surprised to find his father along with his two siblings already there. Baekhyun laughed when he saw the spring in his younger brother's step, knowing without being told what had taken place in their absence.
"I take it you actually managed to have some fun?" he asked, giving the boy a sly wink.
Ji Yeon eyed him from where she sat by the fireplace, a scowl etched onto her features. She made it a point to roll her eyes at him when he turned to look her way.
"I hope you realise the loss you've incurred by depriving us of an addition to the brothels, Taehyung," she said with obvious poison lacing her tone.
"It's just one girl, Ji," Baekhyun jumped to Taehyung's defence. "I doubt she'll make much of a difference. Besides, she's Taehyung's. You don't expect him to be okay with sending her away, do you? Have some empathy."
Ji Yeon scoffed at his choice of words.
"You know . . . She was someone else's before she came here. He gave her up easily enough. I don't see why Taehyung can't do the same. The girl is a thorn in my side and I would sooner have her dead."
She stood abruptly, tossing the book she was reading onto the settee. She stormed off, stopping next to Taehyung and eyeing him from the corner of her eyes.
"If you weren't my younger brother, I would have had the girl killed. Make sure she doesn't cross paths with me," she said, hurling a single metal key towards him.
Taehyung was left staring at his sister's retreating back after having caught the key awkwardly in his hands; confused at her livid manner towards Eunhye. He wondered about it briefly though his curiosity was not for long. Baekhyun motioned for Taehyung to join him at the far end of the room where Hyeong Sik and himself were having a casual chat over drinks prior to his arrival.
Taehyung greeted his father, apologising for missing him during breakfast and lunch, and for his delay in paying the man his respect despite having arrived at the Byun residence for hours now. He half expected his father to blow up on him and go on a rant about disrespectful sons but was surprised when Hyeong Sik chose to pull him in for a hug instead.
The latter thumped him proudly on the back before pushing him onto the vacant armchair next to Baekhyun.
"I was hesitant about you joining the Jade Cobras, but now that you're here, I couldn't be more pleased with having all three of my children under one roof."
He gestured at his oldest son.
"With Baekhyun as your mentor, you'll grasp the ropes of our trade easily enough. And remember, if there's anything you're not comfortable doing, don't. I've already discussed it with Baekhyun and he is of agreeance on the matter."
Baekhyun nodded his head and gave his younger brother an encouraging thumbs up, not exactly the kind of attitude one would expect from the son of a renowned gang leader.
"About Ji Yeon . . . You shouldn't worry too much about her. She's being like that because she can't torture the girl," Baekhyun commented.
This caused a frown to form on Taehyung's face.
"Why would Ji Yeon want to harm Eunhye? Was she targeted to be sent to the brothels?"
"Well . . ." Baekhyun hesitated, but it didn't take him long to decide that Taehyung probably had the right to know. "Ji Yeon was the one who ordered Eunhye's kidnapping. She had all the intentions to send the girl away to be punished."
"Before you start wondering," Hyeong Sik interrupted with a wave of his hand. "Ji Yeon's lover was keeping the girl behind her back. She ordered the kidnapping as a test of his loyalty which evidently he passed."
"This person . . . He was keeping her?"
"Honestly, I'm not aware of the circumstances. This entire thing was a plan Ji Yeon came up with on her own," Baekhyun said, shrugging to emphasise his obliviousness.
The thought of Eunhye being kept in the company of another triggered a shift in Taehyung's emotions. To think he was chipper just a moment ago, and now he found himself beyond vexed. His fists were clenched tight by his sides as he tried his best to concentrate on the conversation at hand, though all that managed to get through to him were muffled words at best.
"Who was he?" he asked, cutting in rather suddenly without care.
"What are you talking about?" Hyeong Sik asked, just as confused as Baekhyun; seeing as how Taehyung's question had no correlation to their discussion whatsoever.
Taehyung pried his gaze away from the flames crackling in the fireplace to turn resentful eyes in their direction.
"Who was the person keeping Eunhye?" he reiterated.
Hyeong Sik and Baekhyun shared an uncertain glance, the former being the first to shrug as though to let his son know there didn't seem to be any harm in letting Taehyung know. After all, it could be mere curiosity on his part; who's to tell?
"Uh, I think his name was Yoongi or something like that," Baekhyun said.
"Yoongi? Min Yoongi?" Taehyung asked, unable to control the absurd incredulity he felt.
"That's him," Hyeong Sik confirmed. "He joined our ranks recently. Decent boy—good with a gun. Ji Yeon took quite a liking to him and it seems like he did too."
The look on Taehyung's face gave Hyeong Sik sudden pause. There seemed to be something there he'd never seen before; an emotion he couldn't quite place. Yet it was enough to cause his stomach to churn in uneasiness.
"Why are you asking? Is he someone you know?"
Taehyung chuckled unexpectedly at the question, his head leaning back just a fraction as he did so.
"Do I know him?" he repeated as he glanced at his older brother. "Let's just say we're old buddies and leave it at that."
Taehyung had assumed that knowing the identity of the man responsible for Eunhye's demise would lessen his anger, but it only proved otherwise.
Min Yoongi . . . What a surprise.
But then again, who else was he expecting? Yoongi had always been his rival from the very beginning. Though he did assume merging their personalities would cause Eunhye to leave, but as it turned out, he had assumed wrongly.
The new development was cause enough for him to exact his revenge and have some fun while he was at it. Not only had the bastard Min Yoongi hidden Eunhye so Taehyung could not find her, but he also had the audacity to betray her and then throw her to Ji Yeon when he was done.
Had Taehyung not been there, she would have been in the brothels by now. He didn't even want to think of what might entail following her stay at such a place.
No matter; as the saying goes—one man's trash is another man's treasure—and it couldn't be more accurate in this case.
Chapter 20: escape
Eunhye startled when Taehyung barged into the room, slamming the door shut behind him. He was furious, pacing the length of the room as he repeatedly tugged on his hair. He paused, swivelling to face Eunhye who was seated on the armchair facing out towards the garden.
She had on one of his button-down shirts along with the boy shorts from before. Seeing her dressed that way only seemed to agitate him further.
"What are you wearing?" he asked with a fierce scowl on his face. "Are you trying to attract other people's attention by dressing like that?"
She looked down at herself, suddenly feeling self-conscious.
She wanted to lash out; to yell at him. What 'other people' was he talking about? It wasn't as though she was free to come and go as she pleased. In fact, she hadn't left the room since he imprisoned her within. But she was much too tired to deal with anyone right now. Let alone Taehyung's stifling delusions. And so, she opted for the safe way out—she apologised for a mistake that wasn't hers.
"I . . . I'm sorry, I don't have anything else to wear," she mumbled.
"I'll get you something to wear later," he said, exhaling in annoyance as he turned away from her.
But even so, he couldn't keep his mind off the conversation he had with Hyeong Sik and Baekhyun. He heaved a breath, eyes falling shut for a brief second before he turned back to face her.
"It was Yoongi, wasn't it?" he asked, his voice rising with the bubbling anger within him.
Eunhye raised her eyes to meet his but said nothing. Taehyung gripped her chin, harshly yanking her to get her to speak.
"Say something!" he yelled. "It was Yoongi, wasn't it! The guy that's been keeping you, touching you, marking you—it was Yoongi!"
With each word uttered, the strength behind his hold increased. Eunhye held onto his wrist in a desperate attempt to push him away.
"Please . . . I don't know what you want me to say," she said, her eyes starting to water.
He shifted his hold on her, pressing her face between his palms as he kneeled in front of her.
"Tell me who you belong to," he said through gritted teeth.
"Tell me!" he yelled.
"Y-You, Taehyung, I belong to you."
"That's right," Taehyung said. "You're mine."
He pressed his lips against hers, pushing her back into the chair as he deepened the kiss. Having caught her by surprise, Eunhye accidentally bit his lip, earning a low guttural groan from him. He crawled onto the chair, forcefully nudging his knee between her legs.
Eunhye gripped the front of his shirt, tugging on it to get him to move away from her. When he finally broke the kiss, he was panting hard; adrenaline on high from his anger and sudden burst of possessiveness.
"If I see Yoongi anywhere near you again, I swear I will kill him," he threatened. "And if you dare leave me for him, I will kill you. Because the only acceptable reason for me not to have you, is if you're dead."
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Several hours must have passed yet Eunhye remained rooted where she sat. Taehyung had left shortly after their abrupt argument when Baekhyun appeared informing him they had some important business to tend to. He could've left as he was called to, but Taehyung was still angry; needing a few extra minutes with her if only to remind her of his threats of killing her.
With the harshly whispered words embedded in her mind to his liking, Taehyung proceeded to remove the suffocating collar around her neck, much to her immense relief and gratitude. The distinct click of the bedroom door wasn't lost on her but she was used to such treatment by now, though it wasn't something to be proud of.
It wasn't until Eunhye had forced herself into bed later that night did she see Taehyung again. He seemed to be in a much better mood although traces of agitation still lingered beneath the surface.
She watched him with weary eyes as he loosened his tie, tossing it over the armchair as he proceeded to unbutton his shirt. He caught sight of the untouched tray of food left on the floor by her side of the bed, causing him to sigh.
"You didn't eat," he said, voice bland and devoid of emotion.
Eunhye shifted to face away from him, not wanting to look at him nor say another word. What was she going to say anyway? Admit she was opting for a slow death through starvation?
She felt the bed dip behind her and Taehyung's touch as he pushed strands of her hair away from her face.
"Eun . . . Why aren't you eating? Do you not like the food?"
This time, his voice sounded milder with concern and fatigue. It was almost ironic how his demeanour seemed to put her in the wrong; as if she was the one being difficult and wearing him down. She wanted to scoff at the audacity.
It was she who was emotionally and physically drained. Not Taehyung, and definitely not Yoongi either.
Hypocrites—always making her out to be the cause of their problems when they were the problems themselves.
Taehyung moved to get a look at her, alarmed when he noticed how gaunt her face had become.
"You need to eat something!" he said in urgency.
"I'm not hungry," Eunhye managed to say.
"I'm sorry . . . about earlier. I didn't mean to yell at you like that. You must have been scared. It wasn't your fault the bastard kept you. I was just angry, Eun."
He reached for her hands, his thumb drawing circles on her palm and caressing her knuckles in a soothing manner. In a softer voice, he said, "I don't want to lose you again. I . . . I can't have you gone and the thought of Yoongi being here too just . . . It worried me, Eun, and I snapped. I'm so sorry. Please don't be mad at me."
His words seemed to trigger a thought within her and she frowned. She knew Yoongi was here because he joined a gang and had another woman, but why was Taehyung here? And where was 'here' to begin with?
"Where are we?" she asked, the sudden question taking Taehyung by surprise.
"You don't know?"
It was only after he questioned her did it occur to him she couldn't possibly know the circumstances of her situation if she had been kidnapped as Baekhyun had informed him. Thinking perhaps she might be scared, Taehyung attempted to give her a sense of reassurance as to her safety.
"We're at my family home, Eun," he said with an encouraging smile on his face. "There's nothing for you to worry about. You'll be safe here with me. No one will take you away from me again. It'll be just like old times."
He must have assumed his words would bring her comfort, but they only seemed to suffocate her—pushing the invisible walls closer around her and trapping her further. Eunhye didn't want things to go back to how they were before. It was horrendous. She didn't want it to be 'just like old times'.
If this was Taehyung's family home, and this was where they had taken her . . . It was clear even to her that Taehyung was somehow associated with the gang too. There really was no escape. This was the end. She was back to square one—ensnared between Yoongi and Taehyung with no way to flee.
She didn't realise she was crying until she felt Taehyung's hand wiping away the tears that had cascaded down her cheeks. She looked at him, wondering how he could possibly treat her in such a manner when he was gazing at her with incredible softness in his eyes.
"Please don't cry, Eun. This time it'll be different. No one will ever take you away from me. I won't let them. You'll stay here with me and we'll be happy, I promise."
His attention shifted momentarily to the tray of untouched food and Eunhye noticed the way his jaw clenched. He turned back to face her, the gentleness still reflected in his eyes.
"I'll go get you something else to eat, okay? Some food in your stomach will make you feel better. Wait for me. I won't be long."
He raked a hand through her hair, pushing her towards him as he placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
Eunhye waited a few seconds after he had left before struggling out of bed. She staggered to the bathroom, shuddering at the sudden blast of cold air that greeted her from within.
In her time left alone, she had ventured to explore the premises of her confined space, opening cupboards and drawers, looking for anything that might aid her in one way or another. It was in the bathroom that she found her key to freedom, though she spent hours after the discovery pondering its worth.
However, the conversation she had with Taehyung seemed to seal her decision. She had mere minutes before he would return and foil her plans. She reached for the drawers beneath the sink, pulling them open and scouring within until her fingers wrapped around a familiar plastic canister.
She felt relief flooding her when she retrieved it; a part of her terrified that it would somehow be gone when she needed it most. But here it was in her hands—sleeping pills.
Finally, she'd be free.
Chapter 21: sleeping beauty
Han clicked his tongue in disapproval as he watched Yoongi down his alcohol of choice, clearly wasted by the way he couldn't seem to focus on anything around him.
"What is wrong with you?" he asked, signalling for a waiter to clear their table and to stop bringing drinks over.
"I fucked up," Yoongi said, head dropping onto the table as renewed feelings of regret washed over him.
When Han said nothing, Yoongi looked at him through squinted eyes.
"Aren't you going to console me?"
"No," Han said with a grimace on his face. "I told you not to get involved with the Jade Cobras and I warned you about Ji Yeon. You didn't listen to me and look where that got you."
"But I wanted–"
"What? Revenge?" Han interrupted in annoyance. "You wanted to kill Taehyung because of that stupid letter you found? It's been months and he hasn't had any luck finding the two of you. You could've just left it at that. Changed your identity. Gone somewhere else. Lay low. Any one of the hundred solutions I offered. Instead, you chose to join the gang and ruin both your lives. Again—what is wrong with you?"
Yoongi pushed himself away from the table to glare at the man across from him, giving Han the perfect view of his alarmingly bloodshot eyes.
"We would never be happy as long as that cretin lives. I wasn't going to take the chance."
"So you delivered her straight to his doorstep? You're a darn genius, Min Yoongi," Han scoffed.
He took a second to scrutinise him before sighing at the pathetic state the boy was in. Shaking his head, Han said, "But you were happy, weren't you? Until you let that measly letter get to you. And now you've lost everything. I pray to god you at least find some solace in Ji Yeon since the two of you seem to be a thing now."
"I haven't lost everything," Yoongi said, confused. "Taehyung might have gotten Eunhye, but I'll get her back soon enough. I just need some time to finalise the plans to get rid of Taehyung and Ji Yeon. Eunhye is a strong girl. She'll hold out until I can get her out of there."
Han chewed on the inside of his cheek, a somewhat awkward expression crowding his features.
"What is it?" Yoongi asked, unnerved by the face he was pulling.
"You haven't heard, huh?" Han asked though it was more of a statement than a question. "I'm really sorry, Yoongi."
Somehow or other, dread filled him at the unprecedented apology, his mind now clear of the fog cast by the alcohol as he stared at Han in sudden alert.
"What are you talking about?" he asked. "Han, what the fuck are you talking about?"
"I'll tell you, just . . . don't do anything stupid, okay?"
"Han, tell me what the fuck is going on!"
"Eunhye, she . . . They found her unconscious and it doesn't look good. She downed a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Yoongi . . . I don't know if she's going to make it."
Yoongi seemed frozen as Han said the words. He shook his head, denial evident in the way he kept repeating the word 'no'. He felt out of it; almost as though he was floating outside his body.
"No," he shook his head, a nervous laugh escaping him as he forced himself to his feet and started backing away from the table. "No, no, no, no. You're wrong. Eunhye couldn't—wouldn't—do that. She wouldn't leave me. Not like that. She loves me, Han! She can't–"
He stopped, swaying on his feet as he leaned against the wall for support. He pressed his hand against his face to silence the sobs threatening to leave him and expose his sudden state of vulnerability.
"You don't know what you're talking about. Your information is fucked up and it's wrong," Yoongi said, focusing his rage on the informant who had gone after him in an attempt to help. "Eunhye loves me! She would never leave me like this. She wouldn't do this to me . . . Not to me."
Han reached forward to keep Yoongi steady on his feet, realising the torrent emotions the latter was experiencing and knowing full well the feelings were made worse by the consumed alcohol. But something seemed to snap within Yoongi; his show of emotions quelling just as suddenly as it had appeared.
What was he still doing here when Eunhye needed him? When she was probably fighting for her life somewhere? Han was right—what the fuck was wrong with him?
He pushed Han's steady hands off of him, struggling to straighten himself out as he stumbled over his two feet. He pushed past people and out into the crowded street. He could hear Han's voice calling to him from behind—the words muffled and distant—but he continued on, ignoring the man completely.
He had to get to the hospital. The one Han said they had taken her to. That was all that mattered now. Getting there and being with her. Eunhye would be fine. She'd be okay. She couldn't be dead. Not his Eunhye.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Eunhye opened her eyes, her field of vision filled with nothing but the brightness of white. It was supposed to have a soothing effect on her but for some reason or other, the colour seemed to pierce her vision. She blinked several times, the action doing nothing to dull the brightness surrounding her.
She couldn't remember what happened. Her mind was befuddled with the remnants of her last memory coming together in little bits and pieces. She remembered pouring a handful of sleeping pills into the palm of her hand, not an ounce of regret in her system as she swallowed them with water from the tap.
She sat on the floor with her knees drawn up to her chest and her head resting against the cool surface of the bathtub, patiently waiting for the oncoming drowsiness to claim her. It was when she was on the brink of sleep did she hear Taehyung entering the room, his voice cautious as he called out to her on the other side of the door.
She exhaled through parted lips as she closed her eyes, willing for death to embrace her before Taehyung interfered. Unfortunately, her lack of response caused panic to erupt from the man and no sooner had he felt that way did he resort to kicking down the door.
Eunhye was so lost in delirium, she hardly reacted to the door falling off its hinges from the impact of his kick. A moment later, though her senses had been dulled, she felt Taehyung's strong grip around her shoulder as he tried to shake her awake, occasionally moving to pat her on the cheek.
Even if she had wished to respond to his calls, she couldn't deny that the bliss she felt floating in the sea of comforting darkness was too pleasant for her to give up. She was still somewhat alert to her surroundings though, and she could hear Taehyung's desperate cry for help as he held her close to his chest.
She felt warm drops on her cheeks and a part of her knew Taehyung was crying. But did she feel bad for what she had done?
She had no idea what happened after that. For in the next moment, when her consciousness had crept back into her mind, here she was—staring at complete white.
Was this it? Was this the afterlife, or wherever it was people ended up when they died?
She thought about it for a few seconds until she realised she was actually breathing. When the thought occurred to her, other factors concerning her surroundings started to make itself known—the beeping of machines, the quiet murmurs, the sounds of squeaking shoes against linoleum, the scent of stale disinfectant in the air . . .
And then she realised the inevitable truth.
She wasn't dead.
As the realisation hit her, a face came into view, disrupting the flow of white she had been absentmindedly staring at the last few minutes.
"Ah, you're awake," the person commented with a kind smile. "I was getting a little worried."
Eunhye furrowed her brows at the unfamiliarity of the entire situation. She shifted her gaze and noted that whoever it was that had greeted her was wearing a nurse's uniform. She exhaled, her eyes automatically falling shut.
So she really wasn't dead. She couldn't even do the one thing she set out to do. This was the second time her attempt at death had failed. Just how pathetic was she?
"Where am I?" Eunhye asked though she already had an inkling as to the answer.
"The hospital," the nurse said, the smile still fixed to her face. "You had a close call back there with all those sleeping pills. Thankfully, we managed to flush most of it out of your system and bind the remaining from being absorbed into your bloodstream."
Eunhye said nothing in response to her explanation, causing a sudden awkwardness to descend between them.
The nurse, feeling the need to continue the conversation, proceeded to say, "There was a mister here earlier, yelling the whole place down trying to find you, miss. He was worried sick. They sent him away, of course. Told him to come back again later when you've woken."
Of course, someone had been looking for her. What else did she expect? Even in death, they would not leave her alone. Though she was certain the person the nurse was referring to must have been Taehyung. The thought of him coming back sent her into a state of panic, causing the heart monitor attached to start beeping wildly.
"Miss?" the nurse intercepted, alarmed at the spike in her readings. And even more so when she attempted to unplug the wires to silence the ordeal.
The only thought in Eunhye's mind was the nagging voice telling her that if she could not physically leave the world, then she had to run away and hide. Or at the very least, she had to do something. She couldn't just stay in the hospital and wait for Taehyung to drag her away again. She couldn't live with Taehyung, or Yoongi, for that matter. Not anymore.
And now was her chance to escape. As far as she was concerned, they weren't there and she was free to leave. If she let this moment slip by, she would live to regret it. Who knows when another opportunity would present itself again?
"Miss, you have to calm down!" the nurse said. "You can't keep this up. You're still weak. It's not good for you or the baby."
Eunhye stopped, her eyes wide and her mouth falling open. She could not have heard that right.
"What did you say?" she asked, voice gone extremely soft. "What baby? What are you talking about?"
The nurse visibly faltered, the smile on her face now hesitant.
"Your baby, miss."
"I don't have a baby," Eunhye insisted, her breathing getting increasingly laboured.
"Miss . . ." the nurse said, looking the very picture of discomfort. "You're pregnant."
Chapter 22: baby blues
Eunhye could hardly believe what she was hearing. She looked down at herself, placing her palm precariously against her abdomen. The conflict she was feeling at the moment must have shown itself on her expression for the nurse felt the need to console her.
"You didn't know you were pregnant?"
Eunhye shook her head, too lost in thought to say anything. The nurse gave her another one of her comforting smiles as though to reassure her it was okay.
"H-How far . . . ?" Eunhye could barely get herself to say the words, but the nurse understood enough.
"A little over three months, give or take a week."
Eunhye glanced at her abdomen in slight uncertainty.
"But I don't look pregnant," she muttered.
"Aside from almost overdosing on sleeping pills, you were also malnourished and underweight when you came in. We had to put you on a drip just in case," the nurse explained carefully. "It's not really surprising the bump hasn't shown. But it's nothing to worry about. It'll start to show when you put on a little more weight. Thankfully, the baby is fine and healthy."
Seeing the hesitance and clear quandary on Eunhye's face, the nurse continued by asking, "Was the pregnancy unplanned?"
Eunhye felt a thick lump forming in the base of her throat. Everything felt almost too much for her to handle, as though she was being suffocated. She coughed lightly to clear her throat before looking at the nurse.
"I . . . Pills, um, I was on birth control, I shouldn't be– How am I pregnant?"
The nurse frowned, her brows furrowing.
"Did you keep to the schedule, miss?" she asked with caution, not wanting to sound accusatory. "There's a possibility of pregnancy if you've accidentally forgotten to take the pills on any of the days you're supposed to."
The nurse's words caused Eunhye's eyes to widen as a light sheen of tears glistened in her gaze. She gulped, her breathing escalating to borderline panic when she realised the fault behind her current situation. The nurse was right—she had forgotten to take her pills.
With everything that had been happening with Yoongi lately and the sudden negative decline in their relationship, the thought of taking her pills when she was due had completely slipped her mind.
"The baby's father . . . Was it the man from earlier?" the nurse asked, offering her another smile when their eyes met.
Eunhye could only assume the identity of the man who had supposedly been yelling the place down but the baby's father couldn't be Taehyung. The nurse claimed the baby was about three months along so that meant the father had to be . . .
"Yoongi," Eunhye said the name, bringing her hands to cover her mouth as tears pooled in her eyes once again.
"I'm sorry, did you say something?" the nurse asked, not having caught what she said.
Eunhye shook her head, wiping her tears with the back of her hand.
"Could you give me some time alone, please? I just need a moment."
The nurse nodded, aware that the news of her pregnancy was something she needed time to process without the prying eyes of those outside her circle. She left the poor girl to her own devices, pulling the curtains securely around her bed to give her a tinge of privacy.
Left alone with her thoughts since regaining her consciousness, Eunhye didn't know exactly what to feel in regards to her new condition. She looked down at her abdomen again, fingers lightly prodding her belly.
She could hardly believe she was carrying a baby in there. An actual unborn child. The thought of being a mother had never once crossed her mind, but she wasn't against it. However, she couldn't deny the fact that she felt immensely uneasy and it didn't take a genius to figure out where her uneasiness stemmed from.
If she didn't have a will to live prior to the discovery of her child, she did now, and the first thing she had to do was get them both to safety away from Taehyung and Yoongi. She wiped the last of her tears away, resigned to her fate of caring for the child alone. It did not matter, so long as the child would be safe.
She looked around her, eyeing the various machines she was hooked to before methodically removing the wires attached to her. She pushed the blankets aside and slipped on the bedside slippers, having to hold on to the bed as her vision blurred from the sudden movement.
Eunhye exhaled through parted lips, concentrating on her breathing before righting herself and peering out a slit in the curtains. Thinking the coast was as clear as it would get in a hospital, Eunhye slipped out into the ward and made her way towards the hallway.
Her gaze darted this way and that, looking for familiar faces she would have to avoid; the nurse from earlier being one of them. Walking the length of the hallway, she kept her head down and stuck close to the walls.
Not a single soul stopped her on her way out, the exit now within view. She cast one last furtive glance behind her, checking to ensure she was not being followed, but the action was a dire one, for her second of inattentiveness resulted in her bumping into someone who was coming into the hospital.
She turned swiftly, mumbling an apology just as whoever it was grabbed her arms to keep her from falling over in their sudden collision. When she looked up, she felt the world around her stop—the voices and the sounds of people going about their business slowing into complete nothingness—upon locking eyes with the man in front of her.
"Y-Yoongi," she said, already trying to move away from his hold.
His eyes widened and he proceeded to pull her into a bone-crushing hug, taking in her scent and the wholeness of her figure in his arms.
"Eunhye, you scared me," he said the words in a hoarse whisper. "I thought you died. I . . . I thought you left me. Don't ever do something that dangerous again."
Eunhye was about to say something when another voice interrupted her.
"Ah!" the nurse from earlier exclaimed when she saw them hugging in the hallway.
She turned towards Yoongi whose expression had morphed into a scowl at the unexpected interruption.
"I take it you've heard the news?" she asked, directing her question towards Yoongi with the same kind smile on her face. "I know an unplanned pregnancy is always a difficult hurdle in a relationship but I urge you to give it a chance. If it's something the two of you decide against . . . Please don't hesitate to consult us on the safest alternatives for both the mother and baby."
She patted Yoongi on his arm and gave Eunhye a brief nod. As her parting words, she said, "Take care of yourself and eat well, okay?"
Eunhye gritted her teeth as she eyed the nurse in disdain. She meant well with her words but never had Eunhye wanted to slap someone so much as she did the nurse at that moment. She didn't want Yoongi finding out about the pregnancy. She didn't want anyone finding out. It was supposed to be just her and her child. But now the nurse had gone and ruined it.
"Baby?" Yoongi repeated somewhat in a daze after the nurse had left them to tend to her duties with strict instructions that Eunhye head back to her ward. "Eunhye . . . Are you pregnant?"
The question only caused her to struggle more in his grasp, violently thrashing against him to get him to release her.
"Let go of me," she hissed.
Yoongi trapped her between the wall, keeping her there and letting her protests fall on deaf ears. She flinched when he reached to push a strand of her hair away from her face, allowing his hand to rest against her cheek as his thumb caressed her lightly.
"You are, aren't you?" he asked, an underlying hint of excitement and pride in his tone. "And the baby . . . It's mine?"
"No, the baby is mine. Not yours. I don't want anything to do with you. I hate you!" she yelled, pushing against his chest with all she was worth. "I hate you so much! I want you gone from my life. I hate you!"
Yoongi seemed taken aback by her words, though only for a brief second before a dark look crossed his features. It was the first time she had ever openly expressed her apparent hatred for him and though he tried to ignore it, he could not deny the anger he felt. How selfish was she to think he'd leave her alone after the news of her pregnancy? As if he'd let someone else step into the role of playing the child's father when he was the one who impregnated her in the first place.
He brought his hand down from her face to rest it on her waist as he pulled her closer to him.
"I don't care what you think of me. If you're pregnant with my child, I'm not letting you leave."
"You cheated on me," Eunhye hissed, her eyes reflecting the rage she felt at his betrayal. "You gave me up to your girlfriend's gang and you were okay with her sending me to the brothels. What makes you think I'd want you back in my life? Go to hell, Min Yoongi."
Yoongi's eyes narrowed into threatening slits as his grip tightened around her. She could practically see the anger radiating off him and was expecting him to lash out on her as had been his habit the past few months. She was surprised, however, when he closed his eyes briefly and exhaled evenly as though trying to keep his irritation at bay.
When he opened his eyes again, his grip had relaxed and he seemed much calmer than before. He leaned forward, resting his forehead against hers, trying to match her even breaths.
"I didn't cheat on you," he said.
And when he noted that Eunhye was about to refute his statement, he placed a finger on her lips, instantly silencing her.
"Eunhye, listen to me. I didn't cheat on you. Yes, I was meeting with that other girl but I had my reasons. And I never slept with her, Eunhye. You have to believe me, please."
Eunhye glared at him, "What reasons? How could you ever justify what you did, Yoongi? Just because you didn't sleep with her doesn't mean you didn't cheat on me."
"I'll tell you everything, baby, just–"
Before he could finish his sentence, however, he was yanked roughly away from her and thrown across the hospital floor.
"Get away from her."
Eunhye watched in frozen disbelief as Taehyung approached Yoongi, hands clenched tightly into fists by his side.
"You son of a bitch," Taehyung said through gritted teeth. "How dare you keep Eunhye away from me and have the audacity to sell her to the brothels?"
Taehyung's sudden appearance and the fact that Yoongi had been waiting for this moment for months, kept him frozen where he had fallen. He stared at his assailant for another second before he grinned, the sight an unnerving one considering the seriousness of the situation.
"What the fuck are you smiling about?" Taehyung asked, grabbing Yoongi by his collar and yanking him from the ground.
"We finally meet again," Yoongi said, entirely unperturbed by the suffocating grip on his neck. "Kim Taehyung, you crazy bastard. I'm going to fucking kill you."
The threat, accompanied by the insanity reflected in Yoongi's eyes, gave Taehyung a moment of pause. He glanced over his shoulder at a panic-stricken Eunhye before he returned his attention back on Yoongi.
"Not if I kill you first," he said.
And that was all it took for a full-blown fight to break out between the two men.
The entire floor was in disarrays with frightened doctors and nurses ushering the patients to stay hidden, afraid of what might happen should they cross paths with the enraged men. Numerous punches and kicks were being thrown, bringing with it the red of blood. The fight was getting worse by the minute, both intent on keeping their promise of death.
Petrified beyond belief—and in direct line of danger—Eunhye scurried backwards, aiming to get a safe distance from them without gaining their attention. If they wanted to kill each other, so be it. She no longer wanted anything to do with either of them. Her priority was to get out of there while they were distracted and find a way to protect herself and her baby.
Thinking she had gotten as far as possible, she turned on her hands and knees, taking to crawling the rest of the way. She knew any sudden movements would alert them of her plan to escape and as long as she kept low, she should be fine.
Eunhye was aware of the fight carrying on behind her, though her only focus was putting as much distance as she could between them. All that mattered was escaping and getting to safety—words that had become a mantra as she repeated them on a loop in her head.
It was only about a minute later did a loud crash and the sounds of medical equipment falling intercede the sounds of the fight. Eunhye paused, feeling an unexplainable fear creep up her back when only silence remained after the clamour.
Something wasn't right.
Only silence remained—her subconsciousness reiterated, reminding her of the inconsistency that had occurred. And then it hit her.
Only silence remained.
The fight was over.
Without wasting a moment to think or even to check the accuracy of her assumption, Eunhye pushed herself to her feet with full intentions of making a run for it. She didn't get far, however, before she felt strong arms wrapping themselves around her waist and hauling her back.
"And where do you think you're going without me?" Taehyung asked, the annoyance evident in his tone as his breath fanned her neck at their close proximity.
She felt one of his arms free itself from around her waist as his right hand inched closer to her abdomen until it was resting against her belly in an almost threatening manner.
"We have much to talk about, don't we?" he whispered in her ear.
Eunhye felt her eyes prick with tears as the last remnants of her energy seemed to dissipate alongside the horrifying tone of his voice.
She had lost her last chance to escape.
The feeling only made worse by the known fact that she was now pregnant with Yoongi's child.
Chapter 23: complications
Eunhye struggled in Taehyung's grip as he dragged her along the hospital corridors to a destination unknown. From his stride and the way his shoulders seemed tensed, she knew he was angry.
"Taehyung, stop. What are you doing?"
Hearing her voice brought him back to his senses and he stopped rather abruptly. He swivelled to face her, eyebrows drawn low in stern scrutiny.
"You're pregnant," he said as a matter of a fact. "And it's not mine."
Eunhye said nothing. What was she supposed to say? He already knew the truth. If he had overheard her conversation with Yoongi, he must know by now the identity of the child's father.
"I want you to get rid of it," Taehyung said, his face blank as though he felt nothing concerning the weight of what he had asked of her. "I want you to get rid of the baby."
"What—no! Taehyung, what is wrong with you?" Eunhye said, backing away from him with a hand protectively encasing her midriff.
"I just got you back and now you get yourself knocked up with his child? I don't want any part of it."
"I'm not asking you to be part of anything," Eunhye bit back. "The child is mine. I will take care of it."
"Not in my presence, you're not."
"I never said I wanted to stay with you. If you don't want the child, fine, I don't care. But I'm taking care of it and if you have a problem with that, then let me go. I'll be fine on my own. I don't need you or Yoongi."
"And I never said I was going to let you go," Taehyung lashed out. "How many times do I have to repeat myself?"
A passing nurse gave them a curious glance and upon noticing that Eunhye was wearing the hospital's garments, moved to intervene, thinking perhaps Taehyung was aggravating her.
"She's fine," he spat the words accompanied by a vicious glare.
The nurse faltered, shifting to look at Eunhye as if silently enquiring if everything was alright. Peeved, Taehyung moved to block her view of Eunhye, his eyebrows furrowed in annoyance.
"I said leave. This has nothing to do with you."
It took her another few seconds of hesitant contemplation but seeing as how Taehyung wouldn't let down, the nurse eventually left them be, the sound of her shoes clicking against the linoleum floor being the only indicator that she was gone.
Taehyung turned his attention back on Eunhye, his agitation on a high after the brief encounter with the nurse. He spent the next minute staring intently at her, looking for signs of compliance but was met with nothing save for the stubborn pout on her lips. It was clear Eunhye was adamant on keeping the child, much to Taehyung's sheer annoyance.
"If you want to keep the child, fine. But only if the child becomes a Kim," he said, grabbing her face to force her to look his way.
"Become a–" Eunhye repeated in confusion before she stopped herself, the meaning behind his words finally settling in.
She shook her head, yanking his hand free of its hold.
"No," she said in firm authority although there was no denying the slight tremor in her voice.
"Marry me," Taehyung said. "Marry me and I promise I will take care of you and the baby. I'll protect you. Whatever you need, I'll do it. Just marry me, Eunhye."
"W-Why?" Eunhye asked, the seriousness of the matter sending her into overdrives of panic. She felt overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do. All she truly wanted was to be left alone and to be free of all the madness surrounding her.
"Can't you see, Eunhye!" Taehyung yelled, exasperated. "This baby gives Yoongi a hold over you and I can't– I cannot lose you to him again. If you marry me, I won't even care whose baby this is. We'll be a family. A real family—just you, me, and the child."
He placed both hands on her cheeks and leaned closer to her, voice shaky as he whispered his next words.
"We'll be together forever, and you won't leave me. And . . . And in time, we could have a child of our own. You can carry my child, isn't that wonderful, Eun?"
"Y-You're crazy," Eunhye said. "I don't want any of this. You're insane. Leave me alone!"
Taehyung let his hands drop to his sides as a low chuckle escaped him.
"Me? Crazy? Insane?" he repeated, his deep voice causing shudders to run through her.
"And who made me this way, huh? Who made me crazy? Who made me insane?" Taehyung asked, eyes clouding over as he grabbed hold of her and started dragging her down the secluded hallway.
Eunhye struggled to free herself from his grip but found it fruitless and impossible after his hold only seemed to tighten the more she tried. He dragged her out the emergency exit at the back of the hospital, unlocking his car and pushing her inside before getting behind the wheel.
"I did everything for you!" he yelled, his anger unmatched as he started the engine and drove recklessly down the road. "I even fixed your fucking boyfriend, and for what? So you can get pregnant with his child? I do everything for you, Lee Eunhye! Everything! And you can't even do this one thing for me? You can't even fucking marry me?"
Eunhye was terrified, she had never seen Taehyung this angry before and his words didn't seem to be making any sense to her.
He glared at her in unbarred anger as the car sailed over a bump in the road.
"Did you think he miraculously got better? If it wasn't for me, you'd still have to be dealing with his double personality! You should be thanking me! You should be grovelling at my feet after everything I've done for you!"
Eunhye watched in horror as Taehyung drove the car straight through a red light, the chaotic scene that ensued akin to the ones screened in movies. She heard distinct sounds of sirens coming from somewhere behind them, and the ceaseless drones of angry hands punching against steering wheels.
"Stop, Taehyung, you're going to get us killed!" she begged, too frightened to do anything other than pleading with him to see sense and rationality. But he was beyond all that now.
Her words only moved him to step on the pedal, urging the car forward at an ungodly speed.
"Taehyung! Please just stop the car!"
He revved the engine, turning into the road leading away from the city and somewhere more secluded and distant—he was heading for the wastelands; straight for the cliffs with the drop that would end in nothing but death.
"You're going to kill us."
Eunhye's voice was softer this time, the words sounding more like an observation than a question because Kim Taehyung was going to kill them. He was going to drive the car over the edge of the cliff and plunge them to their inevitable deaths.
"If I don't do this, you're going to leave me again. I told you so many times, Eunhye, you can't leave me. And if you try, I'll have no choice but to kill you," he paused, heaving slightly as though an unexpected realisation had just occurred to him. "But I can't live in a world without you so I'm going to do this with you. We'll go together, won't we? It's the only way."
It took Eunhye a second to realise that the mania she had seen reflected in his voice and eyes were gone, replaced by quiet agony, enough of which had him crying. Tears blinded him for a brief second before he brushed them away hastily with the back of his hand and adjusted his grip on the steering wheel, his destination set.
"I know you're scared, Eun," he said, tone determined. "I'm scared too. But you don't have to worry. The pain will last a second and it'll be over before you know it."
He glanced at her for a brief second, giving her a smile that pained her to see. How did he end up being this way? He reached for her hand, grasping it tightly in his as he brought it to his lips, giving her knuckles a quick kiss.
He returned his attention back on the road, eyes still frenzied as he continued muttering beneath his breath.
"It'll be over soon. We'll be together forever in the afterlife. No more Yoongi. No more interferences. Just us."
Eunhye tore her gaze from his face, turning to look out the windshield with horror reflected in her eyes. Her breathing started picking up its pace and she reached for the handle, trying against all odds to get it to open.
She didn't want to die. Not in this way.
"Stop it, Taehyung! Stop the car!" she yelled, her own tears now cascading down her cheeks at the cliff coming into view.
Taehyung shook his head. He wasn't going to stop. He wasn't going to let Yoongi win. He had taken everything from him, now it was his turn.
Eunhye barely got the words out when a strong impact on the driver's side of the car caused it to skid and veer out of control. She felt her head smash into the window beside her, warm trickles of blood oozing down the side of her face as tiny black dots danced in her vision.
From her peripheral view, she could just about make out the outline of another car hurtling their way, no doubt to ram into them again. Her gaze shifted to Taehyung who was trying his hardest to gain control of the vehicle.
Eunhye blinked her eyes rapidly in an attempt to stop herself from delving into the realm of unconsciousness. In the midst of all that, Taehyung had somehow managed to steer the car to face the one that had inevitably collided with them, both vehicles at a complete standstill.
The car's engine revved—a warning for Taehyung to back off; one that fell on deaf ears as he stepped on the accelerator. If he couldn't kill them by running off the cliff, driving head first into an oncoming vehicle was a good enough substitute in his books.
Eunhye felt her heart drop into the pit of her stomach as the distance between the two cars decreased at an alarming rate. But it wasn't the inevitable fate that scared her motionless, it was the face behind the wheel; the face of their assailant—Min Yoongi's.
And his expression mirrored that of Taehyung's. He was just as set to kill them if he had to and it was that one lone fact that scared Eunhye the most.
Chapter 24: the death of one
"You're not really going to drive straight at them are you?" Han asked from the passenger seat of his car as Yoongi revved the engine of the vehicle, his hands gripping the wheel with such ferocity, his knuckles turned white.
"I am," he said with vehemence.
Han's mouth fell slack. He looked at the seriousness reflected on Yoongi's face before turning to look out the windshield at the opposing car. He shook his head, muttering a series of 'no' as he reached for the car handle.
He heard a distinctive click and realised just then that Yoongi had inadvertently locked the doors. In clear denial, he tried the handle anyway, but the door would not budge.
"Let me out! I'm not trying to die here!" Han shrieked, his panic causing his voice to up an octave.
Seeing as how his pleas were falling on deaf ears, Han tried a different tactic. He gestured wildly at the car opposite theirs.
"Look, Yoongi. I mean it, really look. Your freaking girlfriend is in the front seat of that car and you're set on ramming into them again? You already did it once and she's bleeding for god's sake. Are you really that bent on killing her?"
"Not her, just him," Yoongi said.
There was a hint of blandness, of an endless void in his tone which caused Han to peer closely at his battered and bruised face. It was the first time he noticed the way Yoongi's eyes seemed so distant . . . as if he was only there physically, his mind lost elsewhere.
"Min Yoongi!" Han shouted. "The girl is in the car with him. They are both in the same bloody car! How are you going to kill one without killing the other? What is wrong with you, man?"
Han was close to tears at this point which was something he never expected of the evening when he tracked Yoongi to the hospital, only for the latter to take over his car and hop right into a wild car chase with Taehyung.
Han's words seemed to have knocked some sense into Yoongi's mind, causing him to turn with a frown on his face.
"What do you want me to do then? Just let him drive the car off the cliff?"
Yoongi barely waited for Han's rebuttal before continuing.
"No. I have to take the initiative. I have to knock him out. I have to save Eunhye and the . . . the baby. I have to save them both."
Pure incredulity formed an expression on Han's face.
"What the fuck? What baby are you talking about?" he shifted slightly, eyes focusing once again on the girl in Taehyung's car.
And then it hit him.
"She's pregnant? And you rammed my fucking car straight at them? You crazy piece of shi–"
Han was jolted back into his seat from the force of the car as Yoongi stepped on the accelerator, lurching the vehicle forward. He fumbled for a second but managed to grab hold of the ceiling handle above him, yelling at the top of his lungs to get Yoongi to stop.
It wasn't going to work. Of course, it wasn't. But Han had to unleash his fear somehow and he figured he might as well start by screaming at his idiot of a friend. As the car neared the other, Han curled himself into the seat, one hand tightly clutching the seatbelt and the other still grasping the overhead handle.
He closed his eyes shut and braced for maximum impact.
. . . and just like that, everything was over.
Yoongi was slumped forward in the driver's seat, groaning in protest for a second before he shifted to back the vehicle up. He unbuckled his seatbelt and pushed open the door, stumbling out of the car as he started making his way to the passenger seat of Taehyung's similarly wrecked vehicle.
He pulled open the door, panic overwhelming his insides when he found Eunhye with her head against the dashboard. He placed an arm around her shoulder, carefully leaning her into his embrace as he pulled her out of the car and onto the safety of the ground.
He gritted his teeth, brows turned low over his eyes as his heart started picking up its pace upon seeing the state she was in. Eunhye's entire face was covered in streaks of blood, the deep gash from somewhere on her head being the cause of the bleeding mess. He pushed strands of hair out of her blood-caked face and cooed quietly at her when she moaned at the pain of her injuries.
"It's okay, I've got you," he whispered.
But to his dismay, the first word out of her mouth was his name.
"Taehyung . . ." Eunhye mumbled in her pain-filled daze.
Her head lolled to the side facing the open car door, almost as though she was trying to see if he was okay. Annoyed, Yoongi glanced within the wrecked vehicle to determine the brunt of his attack on the man and was pleased to find Taehyung completely unconscious and unmoving.
Yoongi pulled Eunhye closer to him, lifting her carefully off the ground. He walked back to Han's car, placing her in the backseat before making his way to the driver's side of Taehyung's vehicle. He could hear Han coming up from behind him and he turned to see him assessing his surroundings in confusion.
"Are you okay?" Han asked, gripping his side as he glanced between the two cars.
"Yeah," Yoongi said, eyes shifting back to the unconscious Taehyung. "I just have one last thing to do."
Han watched in horror as Yoongi reached for the gun he kept in the waistband of his jeans. He extracted it, checking to see if it was loaded before aiming the barrel at the back of Taehyung's head.
"Yoongi . . . What are you doing?" Han asked, horrified.
"What I should've done the first time he barged into my house to take Eunhye away from me. I should've ended this trifle rivalry way back then."
He cocked the weapon, nudging it even closer to Taehyung's skull.
"Yoongi, you really shouldn't. He's a gang leader's son. They'll come for you in vengeance. You–"
Han's warning was silenced by the ringing of a single gunshot through the empty space. Yoongi kept the weapon, turning a cold gaze in his direction and raised an eyebrow.
"You were saying?" he asked mockingly, before heading back to the car with a stupefied Han following behind him.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Eunhye awoke with aches and pains all over. Her head felt especially heavy and her throat was parched. She looked around her with eyes barely opened, noticing almost immediately the man slouched in the chair next to her bed.
She grappled with the thought of saying something, but she wasn't confident enough to voice her words when her throat felt immensely dry. Instead, she reached a hesitant hand towards him and tapped him lightly on the arm to get his attention.
It took her a while but she finally managed to rouse him from his slumber. When his eyes blinked open, they stared straight at her with intense blankness for a brief second before they widened in shock. He was on his feet soon after, pulling her in for a hug.
"Eunhye, oh my god," Yoongi breathed right next to her ear. "You're awake! You've been sleeping for three days. I didn't want to think about it but I thought you'd never come back to me."
Yoongi pulled away from the hug, keeping her at arm's length as he scrutinised her face. He caressed her cheek lovingly, the confusion on her face lost to the adoration in his.
"Y-Yoongi," she managed to say, her voice sounding hoarse and a little foreign.
Startled, Yoongi grabbed the pitcher by her bedside and poured her a glass of water before moving to offer her some form of assistance as she drank the cooling substance.
"Better?" he asked when she was finished.
She nodded and smiled at him.
"Yoongi, where am I? What happened?"
Yoongi frowned, the question he was afraid of answering now staring him in the face. He sighed. He couldn't lie to her. Not after everything he put her through.
"You're in the hospital," he said before hastily adding, "A different one."
Eunhye furrowed her brows in confusion but said nothing. A different hospital? What did he mean? Had she been in another hospital prior to this one?
"You were in a car accident and–"
Yoongi stopped himself when a thought occurred to him. He bolted from his chair, moving to close the distance between them, almost throwing himself on the bed with her at how close he wanted them to be. He was practically hovering above her at this point, using one hand to support his weight while the other rested comfortably on her stomach.
"Y-Yoongi?" Eunhye questioned, alarmed at his actions.
"The baby is fine," he said, the smile on his face the most genuine Eunhye had ever seen. "The doctor said the baby is safe and well. I'm so glad, Eunhye. I'm so glad the two of you are okay."
He inched closer to her, resting his forehead against hers as he closed his eyes for a fraction of a second as if to immerse himself in the gratitude he felt. When he opened his eyes, he wasted no time in losing what little distance was left between them as he captured her lips with his, pushing his tongue into her mouth to deepen the kiss.
Eunhye was left breathless with a shell-shocked expression on her face when he finally pulled away. She stared at him, her lips still slightly parted and her breathing a little erratic. In an almost hypnotic trance, she traced her lips where he had just kissed her, too surprised to say anything.
It was only a moment later did she come to her senses. The confusion was still evident on her face as she placed a hand on Yoongi's chest and lightly pushed him away.
"Eunhye? What's wrong?" Yoongi asked.
"Yoongi . . . W-What baby?"
"Our baby, Eunhye," he said, the hesitance in his voice proof enough of his sudden state of befuddlement at her questioning. Eunhye wasn't acting like herself at all.
"You're carrying our child," Yoongi reiterated when she remained quiet for far too long.
"Our baby," Eunhye repeated in a daze as she glanced down at her stomach. "Our . . . child?"
She looked back at Yoongi, tears pooling in her eyes from the frustration of the entire situation.
"Are we together?" she asked, remembering the way he had kissed her so intimately. "A-And I'm pregnant? How? What's going on, Yoongi?"
"Eunhye, calm down," Yoongi pleaded when she started sobbing, heaving and exhaling in short breaths. She looked as though she was about to pass out at any second and seeing her in such a state frightened him.
"Please, just tell me what's wrong," he begged, grabbing her hands.
"I don't know," Eunhye cried. "I'm so confused, Yoongi. I . . . I don't remember anything."
Chapter 25: the death of another
Yoongi stared at the doctor with little patience, the feeling of wanting to punch him square in the face causing him to subconsciously ball his hands into fists. After Eunhye's sudden descent into hysterics at the prospect of not being able to remember anything of the past year or more, Yoongi was pulled out of the room and made to wait in the doctor's office while the staff tried to calm her.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on or not?" Yoongi asked for the tenth time since the doctor had entered the office after meeting Eunhye.
The doctor sighed, gaze lowering to the clipboard in his hand as he surveyed the data present there. He moved to the screen behind his desk and placed an x-ray film on its surface before flicking the light on.
The film held negatives of what appeared to be Eunhye's brain scans. He gestured to one section of the scan, highlighting the area with his brows furrowed.
"Mr Min, I'm afraid it is as I have feared," the doctor said, his voice grave and monotonous. "The impact of the accident has caused a mild laceration on this part of Miss Lee's brain—the one responsible for her short-term memories. There was a fifty per cent chance that Miss Lee's memories would not be affected . . . but as we have observed this evening . . ."
The doctor lowered his hand as a solemn look cast a shadow over his face. He flicked off the screen and pulled a chair to sit in front of Yoongi. Words need not be said for the latter to understand where the doctor's sentence had trailed off. It was a fifty per cent chance and they had fallen on the wrong side of the percentage scale.
"Will she get her memories back?" Yoongi asked, voice quiet with resignation.
The doctor exhaled.
"As of this moment, I can only say that things aren't looking too good for Miss Lee. The chances of her regaining her memories are slim at best."
Yoongi nodded his head slowly and after a second, he said in all seriousness, "Good."
The doctor was startled at his nonchalant response to a diagnosis he deemed as terrible. As far as he could tell, Mr Min and Miss Lee were in a relationship. So why was he relieved at the prospect of her memory loss?
The doctor cleared his throat, well aware he was treading on thin ice.
"Good?" he repeated, wanting to ensure he heard the man right.
Ignoring the doctor's blatant curiosity, Yoongi proceeded to prod for more information concerning Eunhye's condition.
"How far back was she able to remember?" he asked.
The doctor reached for his clipboard, going through the notes he had taken earlier when examining Eunhye.
"Well, uh, she said something about possibly passing out when she fell down a hill of sorts? She seemed unsure and very hesitant . . . Perhaps if you would consider letting her see a psychiatrist, she might do better at retrieving her memories and–"
He was abruptly cut off by Yoongi's sudden laughter.
"M-Mr Min? Is something the matter?"
"This is great!" Yoongi exclaimed, unable to keep his euphoric feelings at bay. "This is absolutely wonderful! Can't you see?"
"See what exactly, Mr Min? I don't think Miss Lee's inability to recall anything of the recent months is anything close to wonderful . . ."
"You're right. It's not wonderful . . . It's perfect! The last thing she remembers happened years ago when we were in school. She doesn't even know Kim Taehyung exists. This is amazing!"
He paused, thinking over his words before correcting himself.
"Existed," he said. "She doesn't know Kim Taehyung existed. He's dead now, but that's a different story and no longer one of any relevance."
He exhaled, a self-satisfied smile on his face. Eunhye doesn't remember anything. At least not anything of importance. She doesn't even remember her feelings for him—the apparent hatred she felt towards him and how she wanted him gone from her life.
This was beyond amazing. Just when he thought he was losing his hold on her, the accident happened—giving him a second chance at their relationship and starting the whole thing over again. Although this time, he was the one with the upper hand. What had he been saying all along? Fate wanted them to be together. And if it's what fate wanted for them, things will always fall into place no matter the circumstances.
"Kim Taehyung was a nuisance and a thorn in my side, but at least he did a good turn by driving that car. If he hadn't, Eunhye would never have lost her memories. I have to admit . . . I owe it to him for this one," Yoongi said to no one in particular, the giddy smile still on his face.
The doctor could only stare at him with incredulity, unsure of what to make of the situation and clueless about the context of his words. Before he could say anything more, however, Yoongi stood abruptly and clamped his hands firmly on the doctor's shoulders.
"Thank you," he said with a nod of his head before turning on his heel and leaving the office, the feelings of elation still lingering within him.
"You're welcome . . . ?" the doctor muttered to the voids of his empty office. He had been left staring after the closed door, still slightly dumbfounded.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Eunhye stood just within the entryway of the apartment. Her throat felt constricted with unease and a tight knot formed in her stomach as she surveyed her surroundings. Nothing looked familiar to her. She couldn't remember a single thing and it was worrying her.
She chewed on her bottom lip in nervous anticipation as she glanced over her shoulder at Yoongi who was locking the front door. She felt bad for forgetting, quite literally, everything but Yoongi didn't seem the least bit bothered by it. An inkling of suspicion bubbled within her at the thought though she brushed it off easily enough.
Yoongi must be worried too. Of course, he was. He was just better at hiding it than she was. That must be it. That had to be it.
Eunhye heard the distinct sound of his footfalls as Yoongi walked up to her, snaking an arm around her waist and pulling her to his side before leaning in and giving her a light kiss on her cheek. She stiffened, not entirely used to the intimacy between them. The last of her memories placed them back to a time where they were merely students in the same school. The apparent affections that existed between them still needed some getting used to. But to avoid hurting his feelings, Eunhye stopped herself from pulling away from him.
"You doing okay?" he asked.
She was about to nod her head when she stopped, changing her mind at the last minute.
"Actually . . . No, not really," she admitted, lowering her gaze. "I just . . . I don't remember any of this, Yoongi. I don't even–"
She cut herself off when she realised she was bordering on the brinks of hysteria yet again. She paused, closing her eyes to take a deep breath.
"It's okay," Yoongi assured her, pulling her in for a hug as he comforted her quietly. "I'm here. We can figure this out together, okay? The doctor said talking about things might help. Do you want to talk?"
Eunhye visibly faltered, but after a second of consideration, she nodded. She had to get her memories back as soon as possible and if Yoongi was willing and patient enough to help, who was she to say no?
He led her to the living room where he sat close to her and held both her hands in his. After a moment, he spoke.
"Ask me about anything you want to know and I'll tell you everything."
Eunhye thought about it—questions after questions flooding her mind before she finally settled on one.
"We're . . . We're not in school anymore, are we?"
Her question brought a genuine laugh to Yoongi's lips as he shook his head in the negative.
"No, baby, we're not. We're way past all that school stuff now," he said.
"And we have, uh, you know . . ." she paused, hoping he would catch her drift but he stared back at her cluelessly.
"We have that kind of a relationship?" she asked in a hurry, looking down at their entwined hands. "I mean, uh, we're not just friends anymore? We're more than that?"
Yoongi lifted her hands to his lips and placed a delicate kiss on her knuckles, glancing at her flushed cheeks through his lashes.
"Of course," he said, his words fanning her skin with his heated breath. "You're carrying our child and we live together. Of course, we have that kind of a relationship."
"Are we . . . married?"
She could never imagine sleeping with Yoongi in general, and the thought that she was, in fact, carrying his child clearly meant they had sex. But the only thing in her mind was how she'd only ever do it with him if they were married; her mindset stuck to a time when she was merely an adolescent. He was always the friend figure in her memories and she wondered for a second how—when—that had changed.
Yoongi fell silent at her question. He seemed to be deep in thought before he finally gazed at her with softness reflected in his eyes and a smile on his face.
"We planned to get married," he lied effortlessly.
He had every intention in every fibre of his being to make use of her memory loss to his advantage. He would weave new memories for her and fill the void the past had left. And then he would make certain she'd be wrapped so tightly around his finger, the thought of leaving him would never even be an option to her.
"I'm sorry," Eunhye immediately apologised, guilt starting to overflow within her. "I can't remember anything and I'm ruining all our plans and I–"
She stopped when a sudden thought occurred to her. She looked at Yoongi with wide eyes, her mouth falling open and hints of fear dotting the edges of her irises.
"Eunhye? What is it?"
She loosened her hands from his grip and moved to place them on either side of his face. She leaned in closer to him and peered at him with her eyes slightly narrowed.
"You are different," she said rather abruptly.
"You are a different Yoongi," she said a second time, her thumbs running along his delicate skin as she continued to scrutinise him. "You feel different. Soft, but uncharacteristically pugnacious at the same time. You're not the same Yoongi I remembered from school."
Yoongi resisted the urge to groan. Eunhye was right—he wasn't the same 'Yoongi'. The 'Yoongi' as she knew it still suffered from an identity disorder. She only knew him when he was—as she puts it—soft. She had no idea what he was like without the disorder acting as a screen between his delicate mannerisms and the more chaotic ones.
"This is me, Eunhye," Yoongi said. "This is who I am, as I am."
Eunhye frowned, tilting her head slightly as a sign she did not fully understand him.
"S-Suga, is he–?" she asked, having recalled the name she had been struggling to say.
Yoongi placed his hand over hers and leaned into her touch with his eyes closed. Suga—a name he had not thought of for a very long time and a name he never wanted to ever hear again. It wasn't as though he hated Suga per se. Rather . . . He liked the way he was now. It's been years since he last lived a life without Suga's presence. So much so, he had forgotten what it felt like. But after the merge, he started realising that life with full control over himself was something he could get used to and if given the choice, he'd prefer it if Suga remained nothing more than a forgotten memory in his past.
"You have nothing to worry about. Suga is gone. It's just me, now."
Yoongi paused, opening his eyes before placing a chaste kiss on her palm, not once prying his gaze away from hers.
"Me, you . . ." his gaze shifted to her belly. ". . . and our baby."
In a voice much too soft for Eunhye to hear, he added, "Just us."
Just the way he had always wanted it to be.
Chapter 26: family matters
Han stared at Yoongi with his mouth slightly parted—the very definition of incredulity at its best. After a moment, he heaved a heavy sigh and shook his head.
"You're fucking crazy, you know that?" he said. "I feel as if I've said it a million times and I still feel the need to remind you how bloody insane you are."
"All I did was congratulate you for a job well done at acquiring a new apartment for us at short notice and you're calling me crazy again?" Yoongi asked, scowling. "If you hate compliments so much, I won't say shit to you anymore."
Han opened his mouth to refute the argument but had to stop himself to breathe his anger away. He closed his eyes and kept them that way for a few extended seconds before turning to face Yoongi with a much calmer disposition.
"You really think I'm mad because of what you said about the apartment? Hell, Min Yoongi! Literally, anyone can get an apartment that quickly with the amount of money you gave me. Shit, man."
"Then why are you so angry for?"
"I'm pissed because of what you did. Lying to Eunhye? Yoongi, you stupid asshole. I thought I told you multiple times not to do any more stupid shit. Why the hell are you pulling stunts like this?"
Yoongi shrugged, entirely unperturbed.
"The opportunity presented itself and I took it. Besides, do you know how much of a hassle it's going to be if she finds out she was together with Taehyung and I killed him? This way, she'll think the only guy that's been present in her life the entire time is me and she won't pester me with too many questions."
"This whole thing is just so unbelievably convenient for you, isn't it?" Han scoffed. "Incredible—the way life works for you. I have no words at this point, honestly. Just . . . Do whatever you want, Min Yoongi. I give up."
"Well, good. Because I have something else to say and I don't think I can withstand any more of your nagging."
"What is it now?"
"We're getting married. Eunhye and I. I'm going to marry her," Yoongi said, unable to stop the proud glint in his eyes.
It felt like déjà vu all over again when Han was left speechless just staring blankly at Yoongi. He thought for a second he had it in him to steel himself for whatever else Yoongi was about to say but it seemed he was sorely mistaken.
"What the fuck?" he finally said, allowing his obvious feelings of disbelief to show itself.
"What? She asked if we were married and it hit me—we should be married. So I told her we had plans to marry and I guess that means we'll be Mr and Mrs Min pretty soon."
"Is that wise?" Han asked, deciding not to question Yoongi's thought process any more if he wanted to keep whatever last bits of sanity he had left.
"Why wouldn't it be?"
"I mean . . . You do realise that you've just killed one of the Jade Cobras' heirs. They're not going to let you off the hook that easily. Not to mention the fact that Ji Yeon still thinks you're her boyfriend and now you want to marry Eunhye in the middle of all this mess?"
Yoongi grimaced at Han's words. He clicked his tongue in annoyance. He hated to admit it, but Han did have a point. It was only a few weeks ago he was made to attend Kim Taehyung's funeral as a member of the Jade Cobras. It was melancholic and orthodox, an unusual calmness in the air as the procession wore on.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said once the doors had been closed to the public's eye. As Ji Yeon's supposed boyfriend, Yoongi was permitted to stay behind in the family home after the funeral was over. His job, as it soon dawned on him, was to console Ji Yeon over the loss of her beloved younger brother.
It was there he witnessed Hyeong Sik lose his composure completely. The man was a wreck; emotions of all kinds jumbling together to form a stuttering mess. His words were incomprehensible and he could barely keep it together. He loved his children immensely and to lose his youngest in such a way was something he found difficult to accept.
He grabbed Baekhyun by the lapels of his coat and dragged him down to eye level, noting that his son's eyes were dappled with red from his unshed tears.
"Baekhyun," Hyeong Sik wheezed. "Find the person who killed our Taehyung. Find whoever did it and bring them back to me alive. We will not rest until we've avenged Taehyung's death. Do you hear me?"
Baekhyun nodded, unable to say anything without giving his feelings away. He was beyond distraught at the loss of his little brother but he could not let his underlings see the way it was affecting him.
Hyeong Sik loosened his grip on his son's coat and reached to place both hands on Baekhyun's cheeks. He rested his forehead against Baekhyun's and closed his eyes, patting the latter lightly on the cheek.
"Thank you, Baekhyun," he said in a tired exhale.
Yoongi, who had been standing to the side of the room, was watching the events unfold before him with a stoic expression on his face as he patted Ji Yeon on the back as comfortingly as he could. The girl had been crying nonstop on his shoulder for the past few hours and truth be told, he was sick and tired of it. All he wanted to do was to shove her away and go home to his Eunhye.
But he had to upkeep the pretence if he wanted to keep himself off their radar. For the moment, no one seemed to be suspecting him and that was probably as good as it was going to get.
A rude snapping motion in front of his face brought Yoongi hurtling back to reality. He blinked his eyes before refocusing them on Han's annoyed expression.
"What's up with you? You zoned out in the middle of our conversation," he said.
Yoongi shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose for a second before releasing a sigh.
"It's nothing. Just . . . thinking."
Han chuckled into his glass as he tilted the liquid it contained down his throat.
"About what? How you're going to bring down the Jade Cobras so they'll no longer be a threat to you and your little dysfunctional family?"
Yoongi paused, turning to look at Han in contemplation though he said nothing else. Noting the sudden and uncharacteristic silence that had befallen them, Han eyed Yoongi from his peripheral vision. He recognised the expression on the latter's face almost immediately and he slammed the glass down on the table with a little too much force.
"No," Han said, shaking his head. "No, no, no, no, no. Don't you fucking dare, Min Yoongi."
"It's not a half bad idea, Han."
"It wasn't even an idea, to begin with."
"Then why did you say it?"
"I was rambling!" Han said, exasperated, as he threw his hands up as a sign of utter defeat.
"Well, good job rambling. It might need some work though, but I think it's doable."
"Just because something stupid I said is doable, doesn't mean you have to do it!" Han yelled.
Yoongi's phone buzzed in his pocket just then and he pried the device free, a frown breaking the surface of his face when his gaze landed on the pop-up notification onscreen. It was an alert from the security system he had installed in the apartment. Someone—undoubtedly Eunhye—was trying, and evidently failing, to unlock the front door.
Yoongi slid off the barstool, shrugging on his jacket and patting Han on the shoulder.
"I have to go," he said.
"Go where?" Han argued.
"Eunhye needs me."
"You can't just say something blasphemous and disappear as if nothing happened. Promise me you won't do anything stupid."
"I won't," Yoongi easily promised, much to Han's surprise. "At least, not yet. We'll meet again soon."
"I don't want to see you anymore. You always drag me to do some dumb shit," Han grumbled. "Why the hell do we have to meet again?"
"I'll text you."
"I don't want to see you, you bastard."
"We'll meet when I've finalised the plans," Yoongi said, ignoring his words.
"Plans to take down the Jade Cobras."
Chapter 27: wrong kinds of right
Eunhye had fallen asleep on the sofa by the time Yoongi came home. He made his way to where she lay peacefully in her slumber and kissed her lightly on the cheek. He was careful to be as quiet as possible, but it still wasn't enough because no sooner had he pulled away from her, did her eyes flutter open.
"Yoongi . . . ?" she mumbled sleepily, pushing herself into a sitting position with her legs crossed underneath her.
"I'm here, baby. I'm sorry I took so long."
Eunhye mumbled an acknowledgement, still shrouded in a veil of sleep as she leaned forward and nuzzled into the crook of his neck. Yoongi's breath hitched in his throat at her sudden needy affections. Neither said a word of it, but it was clear there was a certain unspoken strain between them when it came to their state of intimacy.
Eunhye shied away from his touch more often than not—no doubt the feeling still foreign to her—and when he did manage to hold her close, she would stiffen in his embrace; going as still as a statue. Even so, she would never push him away, no matter her state of discomfort. And yet here she was, practically throwing herself at him.
Yoongi hesitated, but after a moment of contemplation, decided to risk it. She had taken the first step after all, and he was always up for more. He wrapped his arms around her, shifting her so that she was practically sitting on his lap. He noted the way her eyes had fallen shut and her breathing beginning to mellow out. She was falling asleep again.
Her hand was resting against his chest, her head still on his shoulder as her soft breaths of exhalation warmed the skin on his neck. He glanced down at her, staring directly at her parted lips. He had never wanted to kiss her as badly as he did at that moment. He wanted to devour her whole if that was even possible.
A quiet moment passed with just him staring at her when she blinked her eyes open rather abruptly.
"Y-Yoongi," she whispered his name in a breathy exhale, glancing at him with wide eyes. "What are you–?"
She paused, not entirely certain with the way to phrase her question. Yoongi, on the other hand, wasn't even helping. He merely kept his gaze on her as his grip around her tightened. He was only too aware—as was Eunhye—of the growing tightness in his pants and he wasn't even ashamed of it.
Eunhye shifted, trying to get off his lap, but her actions proved to be futile, judging by the way she was caged to him by the hold he had on her. Her jittery movements weren't doing Yoongi any favours either; her actions causing the material of her shorts to rub against his erection.
Yoongi hissed through clenched teeth, his eyes rolling shut at the sudden electrifying sensation rushing through him. When he opened his eyes, his gaze was different; hooded in the lust he felt coursing through his veins.
"Eunhye, baby," he said, his innermost desires tumbling carelessly from his mouth. "I really, really, just want to fuck you right now and I'm trying so hard not to."
Eunhye's eyes widened at the blatant crudeness of his words, even more so because of the meaning behind them.
He wanted to . . . He wanted to do what with her? The concept was still strange to her, something she couldn't exactly wrap her mind around—she and Yoongi sleeping together. The thought alone was enough to bring a blush to her cheeks.
It was frustrating; she couldn't remember a damn thing, though logic dictated otherwise because whether she could believe it or not, she was pregnant and it was clear they must've done it before.
"Eun . . ." Yoongi whined, his voice vexed with need. "Please. I promise I'll be gentle."
Eunhye gulped. She could tell he was in some sort of pain by the way his expression was all screwed up, yet he was still asking her for consent. She wasn't stupid though. She could feel the unspoken strain between them; aware of how distant they were despite being physically close to each other. She knew Yoongi had nothing to do with it, the fault entirely her own and her inability to relax in his embrace. For some reason or other, her guard was always up around him and despite the soreness he felt towards her quiet rejection of his advances, Yoongi never pushed her for it.
Eunhye couldn't silence the guilt she felt. He was so good to her and she was being so selfish. Especially when all he wanted was to have her for himself again after an extended time apart. Yet she couldn't even give him that when he barely asked for anything at all and was being so immensely patient with her.
Eunhye wondered for a brief moment if giving in to the lust in his eyes would lessen the distance between them; quieten the strain if only for a little bit. And truth be told . . . she was kind of curious what intercourse with Yoongi would feel like. Already his hands against the bare skin of her thighs felt like a scalding hot sensation she couldn't quite describe. What would those hands on the expanse of her body feel like?
She pushed herself off his lap once his hold had slackened, shifting so that she was straddling him, her knees on either side of his waist. She cupped his face in her hands, keeping her gaze locked on his. She ran her thumb lightly across his cheeks as he stared back at her without saying a word. Her mind was blank save for the one thought—how was he so incredibly handsome? And how had she not noticed it despite all their years of friendship?
Eunhye stared at him through another fleeting silence before she finally said, "I'm pregnant, Yoongi."
She didn't know why she said it, but she did. A part of her knew sex during pregnancy was completely safe, but another part wanted Yoongi to reassure her and tell her he knew what he was doing. She wanted him to be just as aware of it as she was, mildly afraid he would go overboard with his tendencies, should he be inclined to. When the thought occurred to her, she blinked her eyes, biting the inside of her cheek to stop herself from gasping aloud.
She wanted to have sex with Yoongi almost as much as he did with her. She was just too oblivious to her wants and not as straightforward as he was. The realisation hit her hard and she found brief solace in blaming it on her raging pregnancy hormones, although she knew it had nothing to do with it whatsoever.
Yoongi's voice brought her out of her thoughts, his hands now resting comfortably on her sides.
"I know," he said. "Which makes me want to fuck you even more."
Yoongi noted instantly the way her eyes had swarmed with worry at his brash words, a frown dancing on the edges of her lips.
"I'll be gentle. Trust me," he promised, his voice softer as he lifted a hand and swiped it across her lower lip to relax the horrid frown.
Eunhye took a calming breath and nodded, deciding once and for all to give in to her desires and throw caution to the wind.
"O-Okay," she said, embarrassed at the way her voice had shaken. "Please take care of me."
The smile that stretched across Yoongi's face was almost blinding as he placed a chaste kiss to her lips.
"I always do, baby."
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Eunhye awoke the next morning with an irrepressible feeling of bliss. She looked down at herself and realised she was dressed solely in Yoongi's shirt, of which had ridden up quite a bit, leaving only her chest covered. Yoongi's hand was splayed across her abdomen in an almost protective manner, his legs tangled with hers as she lay with her back pressed against him.
She shifted around to face him, his expression content with sleep. She placed her hand on his cheek, inching closer if only to kiss him. Yoongi stirred at her actions, a groan rumbling through his chest before he opened his sleep hazed eyes.
"Good morning, baby," he said, his voice hoarse.
"Hi," she whispered.
"Are you okay?" he asked, his hand automatically running down the length of her side to settle on the flesh of her thigh.
Eunhye shuddered at his touch, moving closer to him to hide her face against his chest as she nodded her head.
"You were so good yesterday, baby," Yoongi complimented, kissing the top of her head and taking the opportunity to inhale her scent. "Your responses were so cute. It felt like we were fucking for the first time all over again."
"Yoongi . . ." Eunhye groaned softly in embarrassment. How could he talk so openly about such things without a care in the world?
Even so, she couldn't deny how good he made her feel the night before. But with such feelings came the inevitable doubt as she chewed on her bottom lip and glanced at him with tinges of worry in her eyes.
"Did you . . . Did you have a good time too?" she whispered the question, ignoring the burning sensation forming on the apple of her cheeks.
She couldn't remember a thing of their past and didn't have a clue what Yoongi liked or disliked concerning their bedroom affairs. The results of which seemed as though he was doing most of the work.
"The best," he reassured her. "You're the only one I can ever feel good with, Eun."
Yoongi gave her a kiss on the forehead before sitting up and stretching. He looked back at her and smiled.
"We should get something to eat. The baby must be hungry too after all that workout we did."
He winked at her mischievously and was about to leave the room when Eunhye stopped him hurriedly in sudden realisation, causing Yoongi to turn to her in alarm.
"What's wrong? Is something wrong?" he asked, grabbing her face and turning her to look his way.
Eunhye shook her head, giggling lightly as she held onto his wrists, prying his hands from her face.
"I'm fine," she said before apologising rather sheepishly. "You just reminded me of what I wanted to speak to you about yesterday before we, uh, got distracted."
"Oh," Yoongi exhaled in relief and permitted himself some leeway to slump back onto the bed. "The reason you were waiting for me in the living room yesterday?"
"What did you want to talk about?" he asked, despite already knowing it had something to do with her attempt at leaving the apartment.
"Um . . . Well, I . . . I was feeling a little queasy yesterday and I thought perhaps I should go for a walk to clear my head but the thing is, I . . . I couldn't open the front door, Yoongi," she said, fidgeting with her fingers. "It was locked."
"And?" Yoongi asked with nonchalance causing Eunhye to look at him in surprise. Did he not understand the seriousness of the issue?
She cleared her throat and decided to try again.
"Yoongi, the door was locked from the outside. I couldn't open it. I couldn't leave the house."
"I know," he said, sitting up when he realised Eunhye was still troubled by it.
"Why are you okay with this?" she asked, an unspoken fear creeping upon her.
He cupped her cheek in his hand and smiled at her.
"Baby, I was the one who bolted the door shut from the outside. Of course, this isn't news to me."
"R-Right," she agreed, a little hesitantly. "But Yoongi, if you do that, how am I supposed to leave the house?"
"Leave?" Yoongi chuckled, amused. "Why would you leave? This isn't a problem, baby. You're not supposed to leave the house anyway. In fact, I'm glad I remembered to bolt the door shut. Imagine the horror if you had actually gone outside for that walk you wanted."
Seeing the confused and mildly worried expression on Eunhye's face, Yoongi sighed before proceeding to explain.
"When we received news that you were pregnant, we moved into this new apartment and installed bolts on the outside of the main door. We agreed that you would stay inside for the duration of your pregnancy to keep you and the baby safe from danger."
"W-We . . ." Eunhye paused, frowning. "It was a collective decision?"
"But then . . . How did I–? The car accident–?"
"Ah . . ." Yoongi exhaled and shook his head. "We got into an argument that day over something stupid. I stormed off, completely forgot to bolt the front door and you ran out. And well . . ."
"I ran onto the road and was hit by the car," Eunhye finished his sentence with the lie he had been feeding her since she lost her memories.
"You see now why it's important to stay inside? The world is a dangerous place, baby. We both know it. And we both agreed to take whatever measures necessary to keep everyone safe."
Though his words resembled every ounce of truth known to her, something still didn't sit right with her and it was starting to show on her expression as she looked away from him.
Yoongi's face darkened. He needed to distract her. He needed to shift her attention elsewhere. And so, he lifted her chin and kissed her roughly, his other hand forming a tight fist in the knots of her hair. He groaned into the sudden kiss, pulling away a minute later. His gaze was intense as he stared at her, his expression giving nothing away.
"Don't fight me on this, okay?"
Eunhye lifted her gaze to look at him.
"W-What?" she mumbled, a little stunned at his sudden shift in behaviour.
"Nothing, baby, I just–" he paused, giving himself a second to get his breathing in order.
"I love you," he admitted in a soft voice. "I don't want anything to happen to you. I love you, Eunhye. I love you too much. You understand this, don't you?"
Eunhye reciprocated the hug that followed; all the while distracted by the fact that Yoongi claimed he loved her 'too much'. It was an odd manner of phrasing which only served to fuel the growing uneasiness she felt.
Chapter 28: awareness
There was a strained silence in the air surrounding the Byun household. It had been weeks since Taehyung's death and although no one would dare say it aloud, everyone was ready to move on. Truth be told, Taehyung wasn't much of a figure to the Jade Cobras but he was still part of the family and respect had to be paid to the late son of Byun Hyeong Sik.
The only people still grieving Taehyung's death was his immediate family, particularly Ji Yeon who was overly fond of the boy.
Yoongi stood by the side of her bed with an irritated scowl on his face. The girl had been crying for days and was so out of it, she could barely bring herself to do anything, let alone leave the recesses of her bedroom.
"You need to stop this," Yoongi said, his voice stern.
Ji Yeon grabbed a pillow and threw it at him, the cushion landing smack on his face before it fell flat on the ground.
"He's my brother!" she yelled.
"And he's dead," Yoongi responded without an ounce of empathy.
Ji Yeon glared at him through bloodshot eyes. She sniffled and turned away, stuffing her face into the crumpled sheets of her bed.
"I fucking hate you," she mumbled. "Go away."
"Find me when you're done being a crybaby," Yoongi said, his footsteps retreating, followed shortly after by the sound of the door being slammed shut.
Ji Yeon pushed herself into a sitting position, throwing her bolster at the closed door after him, a cry of anguish leaving her lips. She was beyond pissed. Here she was needing all the love and support she could garner and Yoongi decided to be a complete jerk about the whole situation. She was beginning to doubt the apparent love she felt for the guy.
Wiping her tears with the back of her hand, she stumbled off the bed and staggered towards the bathroom. She washed her face with ice-cold water, not wanting to risk looking at her reflection in the mirror. She knew for certain she would look like horror itself.
Ji Yeon felt much better after a quick shower. She leaned against the bathroom counter and took a second to compose herself and her thoughts. She exhaled, closing her eyes as an image of Taehyung popped into her head.
She knew it was impractical for her to continuously grieve in such a manner and to some extent, Yoongi was right. She should have accepted Taehyung's death by now and start getting her act in order. But she knew the reason for her grief was solely due to regret.
The last conversation she had with Taehyung wasn't a particularly good one. She had been pissy over his interference with the girl–
Ji Yeon paused. That girl . . .
The shock of Taehyung's sudden death followed soon after by his funeral arrangements and the hectic turmoil of overrun emotions had caused her to completely forget about the girl who happened to be in the centre of the entire ordeal. Thinking of it now, where was she?
The official accident report stated that Taehyung was found in the car alone with a bullet wedged in his skull. The last she heard, he had apparently taken the girl to the hospital because the stupid bitch tried to kill herself.
Following that logic . . .
Ji Yeon gasped, the realisation finally hitting her—Taehyung was not in the car alone. He couldn't possibly have been. She scrambled out of the bathroom and hurried to her adjoining study where reports of the incident were scattered all over her desk.
She shifted the numerous files around until one caught her attention. She flipped it open, eyes scanning the contents within. As she had suspected, Taehyung's vehicle was caught on several traffic cameras leading out of the hospital. She reached for another folder and scoffed when her assumptions bore truth.
There were no official discharge records for the girl. She had simply disappeared right after she had regained consciousness. It was pretty obvious to Ji Yeon from that point forth that Taehyung had somehow sneaked the girl out of the hospital for reasons unknown and a few minutes later was found dead in his abandoned car.
Gritting her teeth with malice, she grabbed her phone and dialled Baekhyun's number. The call went through after the third ring, her brother's tired voice greeting her with a grunt.
"Baek," she said with a tinge of urgency. "About Taehyung's murder . . . I think I'm onto something."
She heard scuffling on the other end of the phone and knew that her sudden proclamation must have shocked her brother enough to cause him to fall off his chair.
"What is it?" Baekhyun asked. "What did you find?"
"The girl Taehyung was involved with . . ." Ji Yeon glanced at the illegally obtained medical records, her finger tracing the outline of the girl's name. ". . . a certain Lee Eunhye."
"Yeah? What of her?"
"I think she killed him."
"What?" Baekhyun sounded genuinely surprised at the sudden accusation. "Ji Yeon, I don't think that's possible. The girl is frazzled. She clearly doesn't have it in her to do anything, let alone kill Taehyung."
"Then how do you explain her disappearance?" Ji Yeon asked, her agitation seeping into the crevices of her voice.
"Baek, she disappeared! There's no trace of her anywhere and the police didn't even find a murder weapon. I don't think that's a coincidence."
A heavy sigh was heard over the phone before Baekhyun spoke next.
"Ji, the girl tried to out herself. I don't think she's the person you're looking for."
Ji Yeon scoffed, "That speaks volumes of her mental stability. Don't you think she might have had enough and just . . . snapped? You cannot deny it as a possibility, Baek."
Baekhyun paused, taking a moment to seriously consider his sister's words. After a minute, he finally said, "Okay, now that you've mentioned it, I do have to admit that her disappearance is suspicious."
Ji Yeon exhaled, relieved that her brother was finally seeing some sense in her instincts.
"Dad put you in charge of finding the person who did this to Taehyung . . . So, please . . . Can you look into it for me?" she asked.
"I will," Baekhyun said with resignation in his voice. "And Ji? Thank you."
"Of course, Baek. Taehyung is my little brother too."
"Just . . . Take it easy, okay? I heard you aren't doing too well. Are you holding up okay?"
"Yeah, well. Yoongi kicked me out of bed and I finally dragged myself to the shower," Ji Yeon said as she glanced at the clock on the wall. "I think I might drop by our offices later and check on how we're doing on the business front of things. Just to keep me distracted."
"Ah," Baekhyun murmured. "Yoongi. I forgot about him."
"What about him?"
"Isn't Lee Eunhye his woman?" Baekhyun asked before hurriedly correcting himself lest he risked facing his sister's wrath at his poor choice of words. "I mean—wasn't she the one he kept before he met you?"
"Are you trying to ruin my mood?"
"No, no, Ji. Look, what I'm trying to say is, don't you think if anyone knows anything concrete about the girl, it would be him? Other than Taehyung, he's the only other person who actually knows this girl, considering the circumstances of their weird relationship or whatever it is that existed between them."
When Ji Yeon remained silent on the other end of the line, Baekhyun continued, "All I'm saying is, perhaps you could try asking him about it. Who knows? He might actually know a few things that might do us some good. And didn't you say you wanted to help too? This is your chance. It'll be awkward for me to march up to him and demand to know about this random girl."
Ji Yeon huffed.
"Fine, fine, fine. Let me know if you find anything on your end. I'll see you soon, Baek. Take care of yourself."
"You take care of yourself, Ji."
Chapter 29: lingering fear
Eunhye was pacing the length of the living room, impatiently gnawing on her fingernails as she repeatedly glanced at the clock on the wall. Yoongi was due home an hour ago but he was late and it was making her jittery with unease.
Where was he?
Her thoughts were rendered to an abrupt halt when she heard the front door unlocking. A second later, Yoongi's figure emerged in the doorway and no sooner had he stepped foot within the premises of the apartment, was he being enveloped in Eunhye's warmth. She clung onto him like a needy koala, though one with a distinct frown on her face.
"Whoa, baby, what's with this welcome?" Yoongi laughed, placing his hand on her back to support her. "Not that I'm complaining of course."
"You're late," she said.
"Did you miss me?" he asked. He set his things down by the door, freeing both his hands to lift her snugly by the waist.
Her grip tightened on his shoulders, eyes wide in alarm.
"Yoongi! Put me down!"
He spun her around without warning, causing her to squeal in alarm.
"That wasn't very nice," she said with a huff when he finally placed her back on her feet. "We'll annoy the neighbours with all the noise."
"We're just having a bit of fun. Besides, what neighbours are you talking about?" Yoongi asked.
"Our neighbours," Eunhye repeated in a tone that claimed it should be obvious to whom she was referring to. But the blank look she received in return was not what she was expecting.
"Yoongi, this is an apartment in a building. We must have neighbours. Aren't there any other apartments in the hallway outside?" she tried again.
Recognition crossed Yoongi's features and his mouth formed a small 'o' at her words.
"Neighbours, right . . ." he said, rubbing the back of his neck.
He glanced at her sheepishly and gave her a smile.
"What is it?" she asked.
"We don't have neighbours, baby," Yoongi said, the same smile on his face. Except this time, it looked a lot more sympathetic. Almost as if he felt sorry for her.
"We don't have–" she stopped herself, a hesitant laugh leaving her lips. "How is that possible, Yoongi? How can we not have neighbours?"
"I bought all the other apartments," he said. "We don't have neighbours, Eun. At least not any on this floor. Or the floor above us . . . And the floor below us too."
Eunhye's mouth fell open but she could not bring herself to say anything. She glanced over his shoulder at the open door behind him. No neighbours? Did he buy all the other apartments? Wasn't that a bit . . . excessive?
"Why?" she finally managed to ask.
"Why?" Yoongi repeated. "What are you talking about, baby? Of course, I had to buy all the other apartments. I have to keep you safe. I have to keep our child safe. We can't profile everyone living near us. We don't know who they are. They could be dangerous."
Eunhye stared at Yoongi for a full minute before shifting her gaze over to the open door again. Yoongi followed her line of sight, his lips forming a thin line when he realised what she had been looking at. He spun on his heel and slammed the door shut, turning the lock in its place before facing her.
"You weren't thinking of leaving, were you?" he asked, his voice soft and bordering on unspoken threats.
"N-No," Eunhye said, surprising herself at the way her voice cracked. "I was just curious about the neighbours, that's all."
"We don't have neighbours. There's nothing for you to be curious about," Yoongi said.
Eunhye fell silent, her straying gaze catching onto the bag Yoongi had placed by the door.
"Why were you late today?" she asked, suddenly remembering his tardiness that evening.
"I had unexpected work that took longer than anticipated to get done," Yoongi replied, mentally rolling his eyes when he was reminded of the last minute inspection Ji Yeon wanted to get done at the brothel. One where she insisted he came along even though he had no business being there.
"Yoongi . . . What do you do?" Eunhye asked, realising for the first time that she had no idea exactly what it was Yoongi did for a living.
"This and that," he replied vaguely. It was clear he had no intentions whatsoever to elaborate further.
"What do you mean? That's not an answer at all."
"Look, Eunhye, I'm really tired and I don't see how any of this matters to you. As long as I'm providing for us, it shouldn't be a problem how I get the money. So stop pestering me about it, okay?"
Yoongi's tone was still nonchalant despite the way his face had gone completely expressionless. Rather unexpectedly, he brought his hand to her cheek and leaned in, giving her a kiss on her forehead before moving past her to the bedroom. The action was a silent declaration that the conversation was over.
But Eunhye couldn't seem to let it go just yet. Something definitely wasn't right with this situation and the suspicion was gnawing at her.
"Are you doing something illegal?" she blurted before she could stop herself.
Her sudden question brought Yoongi to a standstill. Time seemed to slow the longer he stood with his back to her, completely unmoving. After a while, his shoulders sagged as though he was releasing his pent up frustration before he turned back to look at her.
The same expressionless mask was on his face, his eyes cold and calculating when he spoke next.
"And if I am?" he asked.
Eunhye glanced at her abdomen, thinking of the baby growing within. She took a steadying breath, garnering the courage she needed to voice her thoughts.
"I don't think it's a good idea for you to get involved in illegal stuff, Yoongi. I mean . . . We have a child on the way and I don't want to raise them in an environment–"
"So you're going to leave me?" Yoongi interrupted.
"I asked if you're going to fucking leave me!"
"N-No, Yoongi. I never said that. I just said it's not an ideal environment to raise a child if you–"
"That's why you've been asking about the neighbours, haven't you? Trying to find out if there's anyone out there who can help you. You really are trying to leave me," Yoongi said.
Eunhye stared at him, unable to say or do anything at his twisted accusation. He hadn't done anything except raised his voice at her. He hadn't even moved from where he stood, yet she felt the oddly familiar sensation of fear wash over her.
She didn't know why she did it. It was as if her body was acting on impulse—a safety precaution her subconscious had instilled within her—but she took a hesitant step back, her eyes still trained on him. Then she took another step and another before she turned on her heel and raced towards the front door.
She fumbled with the lock, her shaking hands proving to be the biggest obstacle of all. The click of the unlocked door sounded like music to her ears but it was as she yanked the door open did she feel it—hands clenched into a fist in the tresses of her hair.
Eunhye was pulled back just as harshly as she had opened the door, her scalp burning with pain. She groaned, arms outstretched towards the open door, yet unable to move as Yoongi dragged her along and kicked the door shut.
"Yoongi, what are you doing!" she yelled at him, trying to get him to loosen his grip on her hair.
"You really are trying to leave me? You're going to leave me when you're carrying my child?"
He continued dragging her by her hair into their bedroom where he finally released her. She scrambled into a sitting position, scuffling away from him with both hands protectively placed over her belly. Her eyes were red with tears as she glared at him.
"What is wrong with you?" she asked, her voice soft with a mix of fear and confusion.
Yoongi closed the distance between them, crouching to her eye level before grabbing her chin roughly.
"You are not leaving me. You're not going to ever leave me, do you understand? And if you try something like that again . . . I'll kill you."
Eunhye stared at him, blankly at first, as though she couldn't comprehend the threat behind his words until her earlier panic started to overwhelm her yet again. He was going to kill her? There was no way she was going to stay silent if he was blatantly spewing such threats. He was absolutely insane! She lifted a leg, kicking him in the chest as she clambered to her knees and tried to get away from him.
Yoongi grunted, anger at its peak by the retaliation he was facing. Instead of chasing after her, however, he hurried over to the bathroom cabinet where he kept a stash of the prescribed medication given to him by her doctor. He was specifically warned that the drugs were to be used only to induce calmness should Eunhye ever resort to another bout of hysteria as witnessed in the hospital.
But what did Yoongi care? At this point, the only thing in his head was to keep Eunhye from running away from him, even if it meant having to resort to extreme measures.
Yoongi found her in the nick of time. She was already outside the apartment, about to race down the emergency stairs. Without a hint of hesitation, he pulled her back from the doors, clamping a hand over her mouth to silence her cries as she struggled in his hold. He uncapped the syringe with his mouth, bringing the needle to her neck before piercing her delicate skin and carefully releasing the liquid into her system.
Within seconds, Eunhye stopped thrashing about, hands going limp as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. Yoongi tossed the empty syringe aside, shifting his hold on her as he lifted her into his arms. He walked back into the apartment, kicking the door shut as the various electronic locks whirred into place.
Silence ensued once more.
Almost as though the fight had never occurred in the first place.
Chapter 30: raw emotions
Yoongi sat by the side of the bed, watching Eunhye as she slept. The rise and fall of her chest and the sounds of her quiet breathing gave him a peace of mind. He looked down at his hands, clenching them into tight fists when his gaze landed on her, his mind replaying the violence that had occurred just hours prior. He closed his eyes, leaning back against the chair and exhaling through parted lips.
Seeing Eunhye was the only respite he had gotten from his hectic day, and even that ended up being brief because he stupidly lost control and let his agitation get the better of him. He didn't mean to hurt her, he really didn't. He had all the intentions in the world to carry on the make-believe world he had created in lieu of her lost memories but circumstances did not permit him to.
Earlier that day, after his argument with Ji Yeon had somehow managed to put some sense into her head, he found himself having to accompany her to an inspection of one of the Jade Cobras' newly opened brothels. That in itself wasn't a problem since he had gotten used to working with the Jade Cobras in his time with them.
The problem started in the car en route to the site. Ji Yeon had started asking questions. Questions he didn't particularly like.
"Do you remember the girl you kidnapped?" she asked, her eyes fixed outside the window, trailing after the cars that passed them.
Startled at her unexpected question, Yoongi could only manage a grunt of acknowledgement in response, earning a suspicious glance from the girl seated next to him.
"Do you know what happened to her?"
"I don't make it a point to keep tabs on the people I kidnap," he said offhandedly, hoping it was enough to brush off what little suspicion Ji Yeon had of him.
"I thought not," she said, much to his relief. "But I was wondering if you could tell me more about her."
"Didn't you do a thorough background check before you commissioned me to kidnap her? You should know just as much as I do, if not more."
"You lived with her, Yoongi," Ji Yeon said, a bitter taste coating the inside of her mouth at having to admit the observation aloud. "There must be some things only you can tell me."
Having gotten his composure in control after determining that Ji Yeon did not, in fact, have anything concrete on Eunhye, a smirk danced on Yoongi's lips. He huffed in amusement, his fingers trailing the expanse of his lips in a somewhat sultry manner, a far off look on his face.
"You know . . ." he said, thinking back to his darling Eunhye. "She's pretty good in bed if I do say so myself."
Ji Yeon scoffed in disgust, turning back to face the window with a harshly muttered, "Men."
"Why are you so interested in her again? I thought she made you sick," Yoongi commented, unable to keep the smug smile off his face.
When she said nothing, he decided to tease her more, a subtle way in prodding for information.
"Ah," he said as though a thought had occurred to him. "Are you trying to get bedroom gossip on her? Sorry, but you won't get anything out of me. I don't make it a habit of spilling other people's secrets especially where sex is concerned."
Ji Yeon whipped her head in his direction, eyes narrowed into menacing slits.
"Are you trying to provoke me, Min Yoongi?" she hissed. "You and I both know the reason is far from it. Besides, I don't need to compete with any girl. And especially not her."
Yoongi chuckled, genuinely amused at having triggered her.
"Then why are you so concerned about the girl? Leave her be and stop talking about her already. You're only making me think of her more."
"I just . . ." Ji Yeon shifted in her seat before continuing. "I think she might have something to do with Taehyung's death. It's incredibly suspicious the way she disappeared without a trace. I'm inclined to believe she might even have been the one who actually killed him."
Yoongi stared at her profile, all traces of his earlier amusement lost.
"So you're looking for any information you can get on her?" he asked, trying to keep his voice even.
Ji Yeon shook her head.
"We're not looking for information. We're looking for her."
The rest of the day had transitioned into somewhat of a blur after hearing those words. Yoongi could barely concentrate, his mind a mess. He was relieved to finally arrive back to his apartment, Eunhye's sudden greeting reassuring him of her safety.
But his agitation proved to be a difficult hurdle to overcome, his irritation at her barrage of questions sending him completely over the edge.
The thought of her wanting to leave when the danger of the Jade Cobras was looming upon her was too much for him. He couldn't even bring himself to imagine what they would do to her if they managed to get their hands on her.
Yoongi didn't mean to hurt her. He really didn't. A web of guilt clung to him as he stared at Eunhye's sleeping form. He inched closer to her, curling up on the bed right next to her as he nestled his head against her side, his hand gently caressing her belly.
He couldn't keep the smile from his face when he noticed the way her bump was beginning to show.
Soft groaning distracted him for a second and he shifted, watching as consciousness started creeping into Eunhye's expression. Her head lolled to the side as her eyes blinked open, confusion making itself known on her features.
Her gaze travelled the circumference of the room, hoping to make some sense of her dishevelled thoughts. When she saw Yoongi still curled up next to her, her eyes widened, sudden realisation hitting her.
"Stay away from me!" she snarled, pushing him with as much force as her weak limbs could muster.
Instead of moving away from her, however, Yoongi pinned her down by the shoulders, attempting to stop her from thrashing around.
"Eun, you need to calm down! You're going to hurt yourself!"
His words pierced her mind and she stopped abruptly, chest heaving as she stared at Yoongi who was hovering above her.
"You're worried about me hurting myself?" she asked. "What about you, huh? What about when you hurt me? Does that make it okay?"
Yoongi's expression screwed up in pain at her blatant accusations. He shook his head, distractedly righting her hair as he ran his hands down the sides of her face. An apology was on the tip of his tongue ready to make itself known . . . only for it to disappear completely as a hardened look took over his features.
"What are you talking about?" he asked, feigning obliviousness. "When have I ever hurt you?"
"When?" she spat the word. "What about when you . . . You . . ."
She paused, frowning. When did he hurt her? In fact . . . Why was she so angry to begin with? Her brows furrowed in confusion as she lowered her gaze, hand reaching to clutch the side of her head.
"What's wrong?" Yoongi asked, voice entirely bland and without a hint of compassion.
He knew what was wrong with her. He just wanted to make certain his assumptions were right. The doctor did warn him to use the medication only in times of emergencies and in the right dosage. He had a good reason for issuing such a warning too—if handled callously, the drug had dire effects that included the inability to recall events prior to its administration. Yoongi paid his heed no mind, having emptied the contents of the syringe when the correct dosage required only half the amount. In short, his careless administration of the drug would have resulted in Eunhye not being able to remember anything of their fight. Though evidently, the resulting emotions of anger and fear still lingered.
"No, it's nothing," she mumbled, face still reflecting hints of confusion.
After a second's pause, she asked, "What happened? Why am I so . . . angry?"
"I don't know," he lied.
A sudden pain tore through her head yet again, causing her to groan as she squeezed her eyes shut, snippets of unfamiliar scenes flashing and invading the space in her mind.
"Yoongi . . ." she whined. "My head hurts . . ."
Yoongi reached to caress her cheek and exhaled in relief when he felt her leaning into his touch for reassurance; a soft sigh leaving her parted lips as though his touch alone was enough to soothe the pain in her head.
"It's not true. It's just a nightmare," she mumbled to herself. Though Yoongi somehow managed to pick up on her words and ventured to question her about it.
"I keep seeing these images . . . Like flashes of a scene playing out in my head," she whispered.
Yoongi nodded, urging her on.
"You were there and you looked so angry," she paused, shuddering at the image of his lethal expression. "We were arguing, I think. I tried to run away. A-And you . . . You drugged me."
Before Yoongi could add on to her narrative, she moved to grasp his hand that rested against her cheek, squeezing it with consolation. She looked at him, giving him a small smile, though tinges of worry still danced in her eyes.
"But it's not true. I know it's not. It must have just been a nightmare. That's why I woke up so angry," she said. "I know you. You would never hurt me."
It wasn't even a question. It was a declaration—you would never hurt me. She was so confident in her image of him, she never once doubted he would ever do anything that would put her in jeopardy.
And that alone was enough to leave cracks in the facade Yoongi had been so determined to upkeep. He was only too aware of how different he truly was in comparison to her image of him. All her sufferings . . . Everything she had been made to go through up until this very moment, was because of him. And yet . . . Yet, he continued to shamelessly deceive her and toy with her trust.
Yoongi said nothing in response to her sincere words. Instead, he moved to bury his face in her chest, unable to say a word because he didn't know what he could possibly say to assuage the sudden guilt he felt. How could he be so twisted he would hurt the woman carrying his child? All he wanted to do was to keep her safe. Now more than ever because of Ji Yeon and the Jade Cobras.
"Yoongi?" Eunhye asked, surprised at his unexpected show of affection.
"Please, don't leave me," he mumbled. His mind replayed the moment she stormed out of the apartment, causing his stronghold to waver.
There were raw emotions and real pain stemming from his fear of her supposedly leaving him. He was, without a doubt, truthfully frightened she would leave. Though confused at the shift in conversation and his pleads in general, Eunhye found herself compelled to console him, reaching out a hand to caress tufts of his hair.
He wrapped his arms around her, seeking quiet reassurance from the consistent beating of her heart. After a while, he heard Eunhye sigh, her fingers running through his hair and down his back calming him more than it should have.
"I'm not leaving you, Yoongi," she said.
Yoongi tightened his arms around her but refused to look at her. He didn't think he could keep his emotions at bay anymore.
When he said nothing, she continued, "I never said I wanted to leave. What gave you that crazy idea? We are a family, aren't we, Yoongi? And families stay together."
Yoongi pushed himself into a sitting position, keeping his gaze locked on hers as the minutes ticked by in silence. She looked so incredibly beautiful in his eyes and the love he felt for her was overwhelming, almost suffocating.
He reached forward, grabbing her hands and bringing them to his lips. He placed a kiss on her knuckles, eyes falling shut for a fraction before he glanced at her through his lashes.
In a voice deep with emotion, he said, "Lee Eunhye, let's get married."
Chapter 31: unwanted job
Eunhye stared at Yoongi, eyes unblinking until his subtle clearing of the throat brought her back to the here and now. She gave him a nervous laugh and tilted her head at him curiously.
"Weren't we already getting married?" she asked.
"I thought we already had plans to get married."
"Is that a no?" Yoongi faltered.
"You're so silly, Yoongi," she laughed. "Of course it's a yes. I'm just asking why you're proposing to me again."
It took Yoongi another minute before he remembered his lie about them supposedly having plans to wed. It's no wonder she thought it odd he would ask her a second time when she assumed he had already proposed and she had presumably said yes.
"I just wanted to reconfirm," he mumbled, cringing at his own weak excuse.
"You're not proposing again because you want to get married right now, are you?" Eunhye asked. Though she was joking and trying to make light of the situation, she was apprehensive because she knew he had the tendency to be a little impulsive with his decisions.
To her immense relief, he shook his head in the negative.
"No, not now. When the baby gets bigger," he said, eyes falling onto her belly.
"After birth?" Eunhye asked, slightly confused.
She wondered briefly if they would even have the time for a ceremony between juggling with a newborn and everything else in their life.
"No," Yoongi shook his head again. "When the baby gets bigger."
She stared at him, still unable to comprehend the meaning behind his words. What did he mean when he casually used the word 'bigger'? She pondered over it for a few seconds before realisation seeped into her consciousness. And then it hit her—he wanted them to get married when the baby bump was more obvious.
"I don't want to," she argued, panicked at his decision.
She couldn't understand why such an idea would seem remotely appealing to him when it only served to have the opposite effect on her. She didn't think she'd be able to withstand the judgemental whispers of those around her if she ever got married with a pregnant belly.
Seeing the frown on Yoongi's face, however, urged her to come up with the first excuse she could think of.
"I won't fit in any dress once the baby grows."
"We'll get you one that's custom-fitted. It'll be fine."
Exasperated at his insistence, she huffed, "Why does it have to be when the baby gets bigger? Why couldn't it be a few weeks from now, just a simple ceremony; or even one after the baby arrives?"
Yoongi inched closer to her, his eyes slightly hooded as his hand fell comfortably against her belly, the other snaking up to curl behind her neck. He leaned in, lips pressed against her ear as he said, "I want everyone to know I fucked you so good, I got you pregnant."
Eunhye's eyes widened, mouth falling slack and cheeks tinted red in embarrassment at his unexpectedly crude words.
"I want everyone to know that this . . ." he interrupted her, his hand squeezing just a fraction where it lay on her belly. ". . . is mine."
He tilted her head upwards with his other hand, inclining her towards him as he pressed a firm kiss to her lips. He pulled away shortly after, his breath mixing in with hers at their close proximity.
"And everyone should know that this is mine too."
"Yoongi . . ." Eunhye exhaled, transfixed at the way his gaze captured hers.
"I love you, baby," he said, nibbling lightly on her lower lip before kissing her deeply again. "I love you too damn much."
"I–" Eunhye hesitated but decided to push away her doubt with finality.
"I love you too, Yoongi," she said at last, snuggling into his embrace, missing the glint of a smirk appearing on his face.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Another day at the Jade Cobras and Yoongi still had trouble picking up on any traces of their progress on tracking Taehyung's killer. Ji Yeon's obsession with Eunhye was starting to worry him. The girl had successfully convinced the heads of each division in the gang that Eunhye was the one responsible.
She was so enthused about her search, she even offered a reward to any member of the Jade Cobras who manages to capture Eunhye alive.
The Jade Cobras pretty much reigned superior in the entire south side. Their minions were prowling everywhere like the annoying pests they were. All it would take is for one member of the Jade Cobras to spot Eunhye and it's game over. The anxiety of being away from her was starting to get to Yoongi as he paced the length of the room in agitation.
He had to bring the Jade Cobras down and he had to do it soon. But for the life of him, he could not think of a single surefire way to get it done. The longer he delayed, the longer he was putting Eunhye's life in danger. And it wasn't just Eunhye either, it'd be dangerous for their unborn child too.
In that sickening moment, a realisation hit him—Eunhye was right, him working with the gangs and getting involved in their business was not at all an ideal environment to care for a child.
The thought only made him feel even worse than he did before. He was reminded yet again of how he had lashed out on her for showing concern over the safety of their child. If he could barely keep the child safe whilst it was still a foetus, how much worse was it going to get after Eunhye had given birth?
The need for mass murder and the blood of the Jade Cobras staining his hands had never seemed so urgent.
"What's gotten into you?" Ji Yeon's voice dragged Yoongi from the depths of his mind.
He turned to see her standing just within the doorway of the study room, her brows quirked in an odd mix of concern and curiosity. He shook his head and shrugged.
"Nothing. I'm not feeling too good, that's all," Yoongi lied, pulling a chair and wincing, feigning a headache.
"If you're not well, we can schedule a meeting for another day," Ji Yeon said.
It was weird how businesslike their relationship was despite supposedly being a couple. It wasn't as though Yoongi was complaining much. It would be far more disastrous if Ji Yeon was clingy in any way.
Yoongi brushed off her stiff concern and nudged his head in the direction of the file she was carrying.
"It's fine. Just a headache. I'll get over it soon enough. What's that?"
"Ah, this," Ji Yeon took a seat next to him and placed the file on the table. "So . . . You know my brother's been busy trying to get a lead on Taehyung's murderer, right?"
Yoongi forced himself to remain unaffected by her words, nodding his head in silence.
"As you know, Baekhyun is responsible for the cartels we run. We're due to receive a new shipment—our largest, in fact—some time in the next month or two. Taehyung was supposed to be in charge of this. He was supposed to–"
Ji Yeon paused. She cleared her throat and willed herself not to cry. It took her a few minutes, but when she finally continued, her face was expressionless and her eyes seemed almost dead.
"Obviously, Taehyung can't do the job now and Baek has other matters to tend to. Well," Ji Yeon pushed the file towards him. "The responsibility now falls to you. I told Dad you'd do a good job."
Her eyes narrowed a fraction.
"You will do a good job, won't you?" she asked.
Yoongi stared at her, his infuriation shielded behind an arrogant smile that held no value. How naïve and stupid of her to think she was anywhere in control of the situation.
"Sure," he said.
Ji Yeon nodded at him as if to show her satisfaction for his reply and moved to kiss him on the cheek. She pulled away and Yoongi could see the emotion seeping back into her eyes.
"Get some rest. You can read the file later."
And with that, she was gone. Her heels clicking down the hallway outside until the sound disappeared with the closing of the door. Yoongi gritted his teeth, huffing in agitation as he wiped his cheek with the handkerchief Eunhye had somehow managed to slip into his jacket pocket.
He flipped open the file, noting the various documents inside with a bored gaze. A bunch of routine stuff crowded the inside of the file—mostly shipment logs indicating the names of the ships carrying the cargo, their arrival time, and their docking station.
Ji Yeon wasn't kidding when she said the coming shipment was their largest. They were expected to receive several shipments over the span of a week or two. He looked through the logs, frowning at the arrival times indicated. He would have to be away from the apartment for much longer than he'd like and the thought of Eunhye—his pregnant Eunhye—alone for hours on end worried him.
This job was proving to be more of a hassle than an advantage to his cause. He shuffled the papers in annoyance, wanting nothing more than to stuff everything back in the file and head straight home when a loose piece of paper detached itself from the pile.
It was much smaller in size compared to the others; the contents of which were written in blunt lead on a mediocre notebook paper. It was divided into two sections down the middle—the left column held a bunch of names and the right column was filled with a corresponding number. It didn't make any sense to him until he retrieved the document the paper had been attached to before it was ripped loose.
"City Police Department?" he read with an inquisitive tilt of his head.
And then it hit him—the paper was a list of suspected undercover officers and their badge numbers. Officers who were supposedly a part of the Jade Cobras' rival gang looking to somehow intercept the shipment should they catch wind of any information.
Yoongi stared at the piece of paper with a blank look on his face and his mouth slightly agape before a chuckle escaped him. He was wrong after all. It would seem his luck was making a comeback. The job wasn't going to be a waste of time.
Because it was going to be the very job that would end the Jade Cobras.
He'd make certain of it.
Chapter 32: to crack a plan
"Why is it that every time I see you, you have some stupid shit to tell me?" Han asked, exhaling as he rolled his eyes.
"I told you we were going to meet up when I have a plan to bring down the Jade–"
Han clamped his hand firmly over Yoongi's mouth and shushed him with a stern gaze. He looked around the club with a weary gaze before shuffling off the barstool and dragging him to one of the unoccupied private rooms in the back.
Han heaved a sigh when the door clicked shut behind them. He took a second to compose himself, a hand placed on his chest over his hammering heart. When he turned his attention back on Yoongi, he had a fierce scowl on his face.
"How many times do I have to tell you not to talk so openly about the Jade Cobras like that? They might have spies in this damn club for all we know and we'd be dead the second we step foot outside."
Yoongi ignored his words, venturing further into the room as he surveyed the interior with a disgusted look on his face. He kicked at a discarded pair of men's underwear on the floor and turned to look at Han.
"People who saw us go in here are going to think we're fucking each other right now."
Han shrugged, falling onto the bed with nonchalance.
"So? I'd rather they think that then we get ourselves killed. You'll thank me when you walk out of here with your limbs still intact."
"Don't you think you're being kind of paranoid?" Yoongi asked. "We've been meeting on and off for months since I moved here and nothing's happened. Face it, Han—the Jade Cobras really aren't interested in small fry like us."
"Small fry? Bitch, excuse you. You're literally dating Byun Ji Yeon. Trust me, they have some kind of surveillance on us whether you believe me or not."
"But then that means Eunhye–"
"Isn't safe?" Han finished his sentence with an inquisitive raise of his eyebrow before he nodded in a rather sympathetic manner. "Hate to break it to you, lover boy, but no one's safe from the Jade Cobras. Not as long as you live on the south side."
Yoongi gnawed on the inside of his cheek. This didn't make any sense. If the Jade Cobras had been watching him, how was it they haven't stormed the apartment and dragged Eunhye away? Especially since everyone was on high alert to get her back to the Byun residence.
Having read the calculated and strained look on Yoongi's face, Han heaved another exhale.
"Has she been outside lately?" he asked in an attempt to calm his nerves.
"No. Are you crazy? Not with the entire population of the Jade Cobras looking for her."
"Good. Make sure she doesn't go anywhere and keep the windows shut. As long as you keep her out of sight, she'll be fine. The Jade Cobras aren't going to break down your front door and storm your apartment unless you're showing signs of suspicion. So just . . ." Han looked him over and grimaced. "Keep your cool, okay? I know you have the tendency to go batshit crazy when your little girlfriend is concerned."
Under his breath, he muttered, "Well, even crazier than you normally are."
"What did you say?" Yoongi asked.
"Nothing! Just—take care of her. I mean, you know . . . Seeing as how she's pregnant and everything . . ." Han cleared his throat awkwardly and looked away.
"Ah, shit," Yoongi groaned.
"She's pregnant," he repeated. "Is it okay to keep her at home for that long? I mean, what if she goes into labour? I don't know shit about childbirth to have her bleeding on our bathroom floor."
Han stared at him with his eyes squinted and mouth slightly parted. He couldn't decide if his friend was being serious or if he really was that stupid.
"You fucking dumbass," he finally said. "She's what—three? Four months along?—she's not going to push the baby out now! What the fuck? Just make sure you get whatever it is between you and the Jade Cobras settled before then and you can go back to living your life however you want."
"Oh," Yoongi said, blinking his eyes. "Right. Sorry. I panicked."
"Well, then, stop panicking. You're infinitely more stupid when you panic," Han said, still not entirely over their exchange. "You're such an idiot, I swear."
Yoongi glowered and threw the file he had been carrying at him. Han barely caught it when it smacked him in the chest. He sat up begrudgingly and flipped it open to inspect its contents. He whistled when he saw the shipment logs.
"This much cargo? Are the Jade Cobras trying to take over the underground drug world or what? This is an insanely huge amount . . . How are they even finding buyers for everything?"
"I really don't care about any of that but I think there's something off about this entire operation."
He reached for the file, rifling through the documents before pulling out the one headed by the City Police Department. He handed it to Han along with the handwritten note.
"What do you make of that?" he asked.
"Huh . . . Kind of looks like badge numbers to me."
"I thought so too."
"But what would the Jade Cobras want with the police?" Han questioned with a frown. "I've never known them to pay off the cops in any way. Even the dirtiest of them. They don't trust the police at all, going as far as to not want anything to do with them whatsoever."
"I think it's a list of undercover cops. The names don't look familiar to me, so I'm guessing they're part of the rival gang."
"The enemy's been snitching . . . to someone in the Jade Cobras?" Han asked. "Who?"
"It's more than just snitching. Someone wants to get rid of the cops and commissioned the Jade Cobras' help. Someone wants a full-out gang war," Yoongi said. "Who would benefit the most from the Jade Cobras' demise? Who would benefit from the end of both the biggest gangs on the south side?"
"Could be anyone, really," Han shrugged. "Besides, how did this note and this document get into that file of yours? They don't seem to be related in any way as far as I can tell."
"It must have been placed in the wrong file," Yoongi said, not entirely bothered by the small fact. After all, the misplaced note could end up being an aid to their cause in more ways than one.
"Right . . . So, what do you propose we do?"
The two fell into silence after Han's question, the muted dance music coming from outside being the only sound occupying the space between them. After a moment, Yoongi sighed, raking a hand through his hair in agitation.
"I don't know," he said.
"Hold on just a second here," Han said. "You called me here to discuss a plan, but you don't have a plan?"
"I called you here so that you could come up with a plan and then we can discuss it afterwards. I mean, I gave you information on the shipments and the snitching, didn't I? I'm sure you can come up with something."
"You never cease to amaze me with how bloody frustrating you can be sometimes, you know that?"
"Are you going to help me or not?"
"As if you'd let me say no," Han grumbled, rolling his eyes. He took his phone out, snapping photos of the documents before shoving it all back into the file and handing it to Yoongi.
"I think I can work something out with this," he said, holding up the notepaper. "You should focus on the shipments and do whatever you have to do on that front. Finding the snitch would be a good angle for us to work on for now."
"Why is finding the snitch so important?"
Han shrugged, "I don't know. But he might be willing to help us take the Jade Cobras down if he's desperate enough to work with someone from the opposing gang. The dude probably has like, zero sense of loyalty. And besides, if you haven't already noticed, we kind of need all the help we can get."
"Fine," Yoongi said, hiding the file in his coat before reaching for the door. "Whatever you say."
"Be careful, Yoongi," Han called out to his retreating form. "The Jade Cobras isn't a group you want to mess with."
"Too late for that."
Chapter 33: cravings for truth
Eunhye stared at the bedroom ceiling, listening to Yoongi's quiet breathing from next to her. She turned to face him and found him lying on his side with his arm slung lazily across her waist. He looked so peaceful in slumber, yet so tired. She couldn't resist reaching out to caress his cheek, her thumb running across the dark circles under his eyes.
She couldn't help but wonder what work entailed him to come home every day looking the worse for wear and exhausted both mentally and physically. She knew it wasn't something on the law-abiding side of the scale, and despite the many times she had asked, he would not tell her.
With a heavy sigh, she lifted his arm off her and pushed herself into a sitting position. Her feet hung over the edge of the bed and looking down, she could just about make out the visible bump of her belly. The baby was halfway through the three-month mark and already her cravings and hunger pangs were starting to kick in.
And boy, was she craving for some ice cream right now.
She made her way to the kitchen as quietly as she could, praying there would be ice cream in the freezer . . . only to be sorely disappointed when she could not find any. She exhaled with a pout on her face. Now, what?
She chewed on her bottom lip, her brows furrowed as she tried to think of a way to get ice cream without leaving the house. Yoongi would never let her do something like that. Not since he deemed the outside world as 'dangerous'.
"What are you doing?"
Eunhye whirled around at the sound of the voice, a yelp escaping her as she clutched the front of her nightgown in fright.
"Yoongi . . ." she exhaled. "You scared me!"
"You scared me too when I woke up to find you gone," he said, rubbing his eyes. "What are you doing in the kitchen? It's three in the morning, baby, seriously."
"I–" she glanced at the clock on the kitchen wall. It really was three in the morning.
She turned back to face him with a mild shrug and an awkward smile.
"I felt like eating ice cream," she admitted sheepishly. "I'm sorry if I woke you."
Yoongi glanced at the freezer behind her before shifting his gaze to her.
"We don't have ice cream," he said.
"I know," Eunhye said, unable to stop the hint of sadness from seeping into her voice. She cleared her throat and gave him a smile. "It doesn't matter. Let's just go back to bed."
She placed a hand on his upper arm and tried to manoeuvre him in the direction of their bedroom but was stopped when he wouldn't budge.
She watched with curiosity as he grabbed his coat off the hook and reached for his keys, already unlocking the front door.
"Yoongi, where are you going?" she asked, alarmed.
"To get you ice cream," he said bluntly. "You said you wanted ice cream."
"N-No, you don't have to," she protested. "It's late, and you're tired. I don't want you outside alone when it's so dark out and–"
Yoongi interrupted her by grabbing the back of her head and pulling her in for a kiss.
"If you want ice cream, I'm going to get you ice cream, okay?" he asked when he finally pulled away from her. "Whatever else you need, I'll get it for you."
"Do you need anything else?"
Eunhye stared at him as the seconds ticked by. There was one thing she wanted, but she wasn't sure if Yoongi would allow it. No, she was positive he wouldn't allow it. But . . . it wouldn't hurt to try, right?
In a small voice, she spoke.
"Well . . . Can I perhaps . . . come with you, maybe? To the store? To get ice cream? Please?"
Yoongi didn't even need to think before the words of rejection left his lips.
"B-But I just–"
"No, Eunhye. Don't make me repeat myself. How many times do I have to tell you that this was something we agreed on? It's dangerous out there."
"I . . . I know, but you'll be there with me, won't you, Yoongi? You'll keep me safe. It's just for a while. Just for ice cream. A-And, besides, it's three in the morning! There'll hardly be anyone out there."
Yoongi heaved a sigh. He was too tired to argue with her and the way she was looking at him with her wide eyes . . .
"Fine," he huffed. "But you have to stick close to me and do as I say, understood?"
Eunhye nodded her head repeatedly like an excited child. She was finally leaving the apartment after being trapped inside for weeks on end since her discharge from the hospital.
"Also, this," Yoongi said, handing her a heavy coat, a muffler, a cap and a mask. "Put them on."
"Yoongi, it's cold, but it's not that cold," she laughed. "Why do I need to cover up so much?"
Despite her mild protest, she fumbled with the coat, sliding her arms through its sleeves and reaching for the muffler when she was done. Yoongi pulled the cap low over her eyes and fixed the mask over her face, satisfied with the end result. Eunhye was barely recognisable now except for looking like a walking human burrito.
Ignoring her last question, Yoongi slipped his hand into hers and pulled the front door open, tugging her along behind him.
"Alright, let's go," he said.
Eunhye wondered aloud the reason they had to walk so far just for ice cream when there was a twenty-four hours convenience store within their vicinity, but Yoongi's glare and grunt of annoyance silenced her.
She trailed quietly behind him, her hand in his tight grip as the bell over the store's door chimed, announcing their arrival.
He loosened his grip on her and she slipped out of his grasp, immediately racing to the chiller where a vast selection of ice cream awaited her. Yoongi stood a few feet behind and watched her silently, knowing for a definite fact that she would reach for the chocolate chip flavoured one . . . and he was right.
Eunhye didn't have a need or a want for anything else except to eat the ice cream right there and then. Yoongi had his qualms about lingering, but he didn't want to disappoint her so he led her to the small eating area at the back of the store where she could devour her ice cream in peace.
He rested his chin on the palm of his hand as he watched her sighing in bliss with her eyes closed as she finally, finally, swallowed the first spoonful of ice cream. She carefully doled out another of the chocolate chip and pushed the plastic spoon in Yoongi's direction.
"Yoongi, do you want some?" she asked with a ridiculously cute smile on her face.
Yoongi reached forward and swiped off a hint of smeared chocolate from the corner of her mouth before bringing his thumb to his lips, licking it off.
"No," he said, keeping his gaze fixed on hers. "It's all yours, baby. Enjoy it."
"O-Okay," Eunhye said, clearing her throat as she focused on her dessert.
After a moment of silence, a thought occurred to her and she shifted to look at him, only to find him already staring at her as he had been for a while now.
"You're different," she pointed out, repeating the same observation from a few weeks ago.
"You've said that already, baby," he sighed. "Is it a bad kind of different?"
Eunhye shook her head.
"You're still the sweet Yoongi who used to support and always be there for me, but you're also kind of mean and scary sometimes . . ."
Yoongi kept his silence, prompting Eunhye to continue her stretch of curiosity.
"Can I ask you something? About us? A-And Suga?"
Yoongi tensed but nodded his head nonetheless. He didn't want to ruin the comfortable peace they had established between them.
"We started dating right after school?" she asked, trying to remember something, anything, beyond the incident at school. But her mind remained blank and it was frustrating.
"We've known each other forever, haven't we?" Yoongi asked. "We've always loved each other. It was only a matter of time."
Eunhye nodded, it seemed to make sense. They had known each other for years.
"And Suga? He just . . . disappeared?" she asked.
The last she remembered of him, he had just made himself known. She was under the impression he would stick around longer, but to disappear so suddenly? Something didn't seem right.
Yoongi shook his head.
"He stayed around for a bit," he said. "Made our lives a living hell. But we got through it together—you and I. I went to therapy, just like you wanted, and I got better. We moved in together afterwards and our relationship took off from there."
"I . . . I never did anything after school? Work? University?" Eunhye enquired, getting more agitated by the second.
Nothing made sense. Nothing felt right. But the only person she had was Yoongi, and it was his word against her crumbling memory. She wanted to believe him without question, but she couldn't and she didn't know why.
"No. I took care of you Eunhye. I'm taking care of you now, and I'll always be there to take care of you. Listen, baby," he said, reaching out to grasp her hand in his, the ice cream long forgotten. "What's wrong? Why are you asking all these questions all of a sudden?"
Eunhye stared at him for a full minute before slowly shaking her head.
"Nothing's wrong. I just . . . It feels like there's a huge gap missing in my life and I–"
"Of course there's a huge gap missing," Yoongi interrupted her. "You lost your memories."
The frown evident on her face was proof that she was not buying his words at all.
"I'm telling you the truth, baby. I know it might be difficult for you to see it as such, but you have to believe me. I would never lie to you. You trust me, don't you?"
"I've been taking care of you, haven't I? Been good to you. Kept you safe. I would never lie to you, okay?"
Eunhye nodded—if only to placate him—though she felt the unease in her heart swell all the more. She might have lost her memories but not her identity as a person.
She wasn't the kind to blindly rely on others. She was likelier to find herself a job—whatever it may be—and work hard to keep herself afloat. She knew she valued her freedom, so why would she agree to stay locked in the apartment for the duration of her pregnancy?
Nothing made sense before and nothing made sense now. She couldn't brush off the feeling that Yoongi was hiding something from her.
She snapped her gaze back to his direction.
"Are you still troubled by this?" he asked, hints of annoyance flashed in his eyes.
Eunhye gulped, shaking her head as she gave him a hesitant smile.
"N-No, I just . . ."
She grabbed his hand unexpectedly and slid off the stool.
"Let's go home, Yoongi," she said. "I'm tired."
Tired of everything, the voice inside her head whispered.
Chapter 34: unfamiliar familiarity
Eunhye sat in the passenger seat of the car as she stared at the looming building through the window with her hands clasped tightly in her lap, uneasiness swarming her insides. There was something sinister about the place—broken windows on the lower floors, vines creeping up the exterior of the building, paint chipping away on more than one surface, crumbling cement meant to resemble the building's front steps.
Wherever they were, it could not be someplace good.
Without tearing her gaze away from the apartment complex, she said, "Yoongi, what are we doing here? You said we were going to the gynaecologist to check on the baby's health . . . This isn't the hospital, Yoongi. Where are we?"
"Baby, listen to me, okay?" Yoongi said. "I know you're scared, but I need you to trust me."
Eunhye gulped, glancing at the back seat of the car where her small duffel bag of clothes and toiletries sat. She thought it odd that Yoongi had insisted she pack her belongings with her. She argued it was only a doctor's appointment and nothing more, but Yoongi had gotten angry, yelling that if she wouldn't do it, he would. He ended up grabbing whatever he could from their shared closet and stuffing everything in the bag.
"Yoongi . . ." Eunhye shifted away from him, her back now pressing uncomfortably against the car door. She knew that even if she tried leaving the confines of the vehicle, tried escaping, it would be fruitless.
"Yoongi, please don't do this," she whispered, her voice hoarse.
"Do what, baby? I'm not doing anything."
"Is this one of those–" Eunhye inhaled shakily, lowering her voice, unable to bring herself to say the next words. "–those illegal abortion places? Because I'm not getting rid of the baby. I'm not. And it's too late to do it now, the baby's grown so much and I thought you wanted to care for it too, but if you don't then I–"
"Eunhye, shh, shh, calm down," Yoongi cooed, placing his hand against her cheek as he brushed off her tears. "No one's doing anything to our baby."
"Y-You're not trying to get rid of it?" Eunhye hiccuped.
"No, of course, not!"
"Then, why–?" she glanced over her shoulder at the apartment complex they were parked in front of.
She heard Yoongi sigh, his hands searching for hers as he held onto them nimbly.
"I have something I need to take care of—work stuff. I'll be gone for a while and I don't want you to stay alone. So, I . . . Well, a friend of mine lives here. He's trustworthy and he'll take care of you in my absence until I return."
"I can take care of myself," Eunhye said, not wanting to go anywhere near the building. Let alone stay with a stranger in it.
"I know you can," Yoongi said. "But I would be more at ease if someone else was there with you. What if you start having cravings again? What if you need to get something from the store? You can't leave the house, you know that right? At least if you stay here, you can order my friend around, and I know you'll be taken care of properly."
"I don't want to," Eunhye admitted. "Please, Yoongi? Can we just go back? Why can't I leave the house? I promise you, nothing will happen. It's safe, really. Please, let's just go home, Yoongi."
Yoongi gritted his teeth but said nothing. Now more than ever he had to get Eunhye away from their apartment after his stupid mistake of letting her leave to get ice cream. What if someone from the Jade Cobras had seen her? What if they were already planning her demise? He couldn't risk it. Especially not when he's due to deal with the coming shipments and wouldn't be able to keep an eye on her and keep her safe.
He killed the engine, unbuckling his seatbelt before stepping out of the car. He went around to Eunhye's side, pulling open the door and hauling her out with a firm grip on her arm. The door slammed shut despite her whimpers, causing her to flinch. With his free hand, Yoongi retrieved her duffel bag and kicked the back door shut.
Eunhye struggled in his grasp, but Yoongi's stride was true as he dragged her along behind him, deaf to her silent pleas.
"Yoongi, please. This place is scary. I don't want to stay here," she begged. "Don't you care for me at all? Why are you doing this?"
Her question halted him in his step. He whirled around to face her, his eyes tinged with red as though he had been trying hard to keep his emotions at bay. Hearing Eunhye beg was hard enough on him, having her make such false accusations against him was even worse.
"I'm doing this because I care for you," he said, his voice a low snarl. "Why can't you see that? Why can't you understand? Why can't you just accept that I'm doing my best for both of us? For the three of us? Why are you so–?"
He stopped, eyes closed as he drew a calming breath. His agitation and descend into anger were scaring her. He could see it in her face, and he didn't want his parting moments with her to be like this.
With a heavy sigh, he dropped the bag in front of the apartment door. He loosened his grip on her and moved to cradle her face in both his hands, his thumbs lightly caressing her in a soothing manner.
"Baby . . ." he said the word as though it pained him. "Believe me, I don't want to leave you here just as much as you don't want to be here. But I have to, okay? I'm going to be away for quite a while with this job and it's going to be stressful and I don't have it in me to worry about you on top of everything else. If only to give me a peace of mind, please, will you stay here and be good for me?"
Eunhye was just about to say something in return when the door to the apartment they were standing in front of was pulled opened rather abruptly.
"What kind of kinky shit are you spewing in front of my house?" the man asked, staring pointedly at Yoongi with an annoyed glare on his face.
His gaze shifted to Eunhye and his expression softened.
"Hello," he said, giving her a kind smile before it morphed back into a frown when he focused back on Yoongi.
"And you," he said. "I told you to call me before coming here."
Ignoring the man, Yoongi said, "Baby, this is Han. He's my friend and he'll be taking care of you until I get back. Don't cause him too much trouble okay?"
He tapped her lightly on her nose and despite the sour look on her face, he leaned in and gave her a very inappropriate kiss, much to Han's disgust. Pulling away, Yoongi grabbed the bag off the ground and shoved it into Han's chest.
"If she hurts even a hair on her head, I'm coming for you and I'm going to personally drag you to hell," he said in all seriousness.
"Yeah, well, I don't expect any less," Han grumbled. "I'll leave you two alone to say goodbye."
Yoongi turned back to Eunhye, regret already swarming inside him at having to actually leave her.
"I know you're mad at me for forcing you into this, baby, but . . . You know I love you, right?"
"Yeah, I guess," Eunhye mumbled.
"I love you," Yoongi said, lifting her face by the chin to look her in the eye. "I do. If you have to believe anything, believe that."
He placed a chaste kiss on her forehead and turned to leave, only to be stopped by a soft tug on the back of his shirt. He turned to see Eunhye with her hand clenched around the fabric of his shirt.
"What is it?" he asked.
"I know you won't tell me exactly what this job of yours is, but take care of yourself, okay?" she said in a whisper. "If you don't like leaving me here, then make sure you come back for me. I don't feel comfortable being alone with Han, even if you do trust him."
"I'll be back soon, baby. I promise."
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Eunhye sat in the living room in Han's apartment, feeling every bit as awkward as she looked. Han was in the armchair adjacent to hers, typing furiously on his laptop, ignoring her presence completely.
She allowed her gaze to stray from him to the coffee table where a bunch of documents were scattered. She didn't have to ask to know he was busy with work, whatever it was he did to earn a living.
Without looking up from the screen of his laptop, Han asked, "Eunhye, are you bored?"
"I asked if you were bored," Han repeated, this time shifting to look at her.
"Um, no, I . . . I'm fine."
Han raised his eyebrow at the clear hesitance in her voice but said nothing. Instead, he closed his laptop screen and placed it on the coffee table atop the mess of papers. He stood and gestured vaguely to one of the many rooms in his apartment.
"Yoongi mentioned briefly in passing that you like reading so I took the liberty to stock up on some books. I'm not much of a reader myself and I don't really know what titles hold your interest but if you'll wait just a moment . . ."
He gave her an almost excited nod of the head and scampered past her, disappearing into one of the rooms beyond. Eunhye could only watch him, too stunned to say a word as she exhaled and turned back to face the front. She assumed Han would take no more than a second but as the minutes ticked by, she started to wonder if he was okay.
Eunhye stood, glancing in the direction he had disappeared in, contemplating if she should venture to check on him. She took a hesitant step forward but a sudden loud knocking interrupted her, effectively startling her out of her wits.
She paused, and only when the knocking resumed did it occur to her there was someone at the front door. Conflicted, she glanced over her shoulder at the door and back to where Han had disappeared within the confines of the apartment.
When the knocking persisted in an urgent manner, and Han showed no signs of appearing any time soon, Eunhye made the decision to get the door herself. After all, Han never said anything about her not being able to.
She yanked the door open to find a man leaning against the doorframe with his head lowered and his arm midair as though she had interrupted him when he was about to knock again—which was probably an accurate assumption.
"Finally," the man scoffed. "Took you long enough to–"
He stopped short when he looked up only to realise he wasn't looking at Han but rather at someone else.
Eunhye blinked at him, not entirely certain what she should be saying. She heard the sounds of books falling on hardwood flooring, followed by Han's voice spitting a flurry of curses before the man himself rounded the corner.
He looked surprised, seeing Eunhye at the open door, and even more so when his gaze landed on the man standing before her. He glanced between the two before his eyes widened just a fraction and he hurried towards them.
He placed his hands on Eunhye's shoulders and shifted her behind him before laughing rather awkwardly at the man who was still trying to get a glimpse of the girl he was hiding.
"Namjoon!" Han exclaimed, trying his best to get his attention off her. "What brings you here so suddenly? I– Uh, I see you've met my wife!"
"Your . . . wife?" Namjoon repeated, his gaze finally shifting.
"Yes, my wife," Han said with a strained smile on his face. "Eunhye."
Chapter 35: face from the past
"I didn't know you were married," Namjoon commented as he lounged casually on the armchair Han had vacated.
Though it was clear Namjoon was speaking to Han, the former had his eyes fixed solely on Eunhye and for some odd reason or other, there was a tensed atmosphere in the air.
"Well . . ." Han chuckled, sending Eunhye a nervous glance, hoping she would play along with his charade. She returned his gaze but said nothing.
If Han wanted them to collaborate on a lie, he'd have to come up with their backstory, not her. She didn't even know the stranger's identity and the reason he was scrutinising her so closely. She couldn't quite place it, but there was a silent plea reflected in his eyes, almost as though they knew each other and he was begging her to say something in recognition of their acquaintanceship.
But her hunch would be an impossibility. She did not know the man, Namjoon, at all. But whoever he was, Han seemed to be deathly frightened of him.
"How long have you been married?" Namjoon asked when it occurred to him that he wasn't going to get a backstory out of Han without some form of forceful convincing.
"A while," Han said, not caring to elaborate. He couldn't lie as convincingly as Yoongi and he figured it would be best if he kept the details to a bare minimum.
Namjoon nodded his head slowly, his gaze falling to the slight bump on Eunhye's belly. The girl was pregnant. That, coupled with the apparent fact that she was married to Han, was news to him. He didn't know what to make of the situation, not to mention how her inability to recognise him was also another cause for concern.
"I can see that," he said, attention shifting to Han.
He trusted the man as far as his job permitted him to, but having seen Eunhye here rather unexpectedly . . . He wasn't so sure anymore. An awkward moment of silence passed between the trio when Namjoon decided not to prod further into the situation.
Wanting to get the agent out of his house as soon as possible, Han made the first approach at a possible conversation.
"I don't mean to be rude, Namjoon, but it's just . . . What are you doing here?" he asked, unable to withstand the strained mood any longer.
"Why else would I be here if not for information?" Namjoon responded with a raised eyebrow. "You've been my informant for a while now, haven't you?"
Han cleared his throat, nodding his head slowly. He chided himself for the stupid question he had put forth. Of course, the man was here for information. Why else would he be there? He glanced at Eunhye and gave her a hesitant smile before turning back to Namjoon.
"Could we maybe talk about this somewhere else? Just . . . not in front of my wife, please."
"Oh, there's nothing to talk about," Namjoon said, waving his hand in a dismissive manner. "I just need that thing I asked you about the last time I was here. Do you have it?"
Han nodded, a relieved sigh escaping him. All he had to do was hand it over and Namjoon would leave.
"I'll be right back," he said, and it felt like déjà vu all over again when he disappeared to the back of the house.
Eunhye sat with her hands folded in her lap, her eyes looking everywhere but at the mysterious man in the room with her. She was well aware of his gaze fixed pointedly on her and she would be lying if she claimed she wasn't unnerved by it.
"Can I ask you something?" he asked and she forced herself to look at him, though she said nothing.
Namjoon shifted forward in his seat, looking over her shoulder to make certain Han was still nowhere to be seen before he lowered his voice and asked, "Is he keeping you here against your will? Did he force you to marry him?"
"W-What?" Eunhye asked, not at all expecting the questions posed.
"If he is, I can help. I've helped you before—despite how that turned out—and I can help you again. Just give me the word, Eunhye. You know I'll help," Namjoon insisted, all his earlier pretences long gone.
Eunhye paused, her mouth parted as though she were about to speak. This man . . . Do they know each other? What did he mean by having helped her before? Giving in to her curiosity, she asked, "You know me? We . . . We know each other?"
Namjoon fell back against his seat with a heavy exhale, staring at her in surprise. All the while he had assumed she was feigning ignorance to his identity . . . But the way her eyes had lit up in hope when he briefly mentioned knowing her in the past . . . Did she truly not recognise him?
"Hold on just a minute," he said. "Are you really married to Han?"
Eunhye hesitated. She contemplated telling him the truth, but if Han was lying, there must be a reason for it, right? She was in turmoil. She wanted to trust Namjoon. He was the first person she had met besides Yoongi who knew her before the accident. But to trust so blindingly would be sheer stupidity.
She was just about to say something when he interrupted her with a question that completely stumped her.
"What happened to Yoongi?"
She stared at him, eyes widening a fraction before she exhaled in what sounded like relief. If he knew Yoongi, he must be trustworthy . . . to some degree, at least.
"You know Yoongi?" she asked.
"Of course, I know–" Namjoon stopped, taking a second to think before he resumed. "Listen, Eunhye, what's going on? Why are you so confused? What's with all these questions?"
Eunhye took a deep shuddering breath, subconsciously inching closer to him before admitting the truth in a harsh whisper.
"I don't remember anything."
The words felt like lead being forced down his throat as Namjoon stared at Eunhye, not entirely certain what to make of the sudden situation. Thankfully—or not—Han decided to make his appearance just then, sauntering into the living room with a manila folder in his hand.
He stopped in front of Namjoon, completely unaware of the conversation he had just interrupted, and handed the folder to him.
"The records you requested me to look into."
Namjoon, still in a slight daze, retrieved the folder from him with a mumbled thanks. He flipped through its contents as was his habit, making certain they were indeed the documents he asked for.
"If that's all . . ." Han said, hinting without discretion that he wanted the man to leave.
"Thanks again," Namjoon said.
He stood, giving Eunhye one last conflicted look before shifting his attention to Han.
"I will be back when I need more information."
"No hurry," Han laughed, waving at him.
Namjoon was just at the door when he remembered something else.
"Ah," he said, turning back to entertain his thoughts. "I've heard word through the grapevine that the Jade Cobras are on the move. Something about a large shipment of drugs coming in some time this week. Have you heard anything about it?"
Han's eyes widened as he licked his lips in a nervous gesture before gulping.
"Nope, no," he said, shaking his head repeatedly.
Namjoon frowned at the informant's reaction to the news. He wasn't acting at all like how he normally would when presented with new information.
"And you will look into it, won't you?" Namjoon prompted.
"Hm? What?" Han asked before he realised what had been asked of him.
"I mean, yes. Yes, of course, I will," he hurried to rectify his mistake. "That is my job as an informant, after all. So, yes, I will definitely look into it and get back to you as soon as I have gathered enough intel."
Namjoon stared at him for an extended minute before he nodded his head in acknowledgement to his statement. He glanced at Eunhye one last time and then he was gone.
Han exhaled with his eyes closed, leaning against the front door as he heard Namjoon's footsteps disappearing down the hallway outside.
"Remind me never to deal with agents again," he muttered under his breath to no one in particular, although unfortunately for him, Eunhye had heard his words loud and clear.
Namjoon was an agent? As in—a government agent? The news surprised her all the more and she cursed herself for being so suspicious of him. If he was an agent and he knew her in the past, she could have gotten him to let her know more about herself. Perhaps even venture to fill in the missing holes in her memory since Yoongi didn't seem too keen on that prospect ever happening.
At this point, she could only hope Namjoon would come by again and soon. He wasn't the only one who needed information.
She did too.
Chapter 36: the puzzle pieces
Han tapped his finger repeatedly against the back of his phone as he waited with bated breath for the call to go through. After what felt like an eternity, he heard a distinct click followed by Yoongi's disgruntled voice.
"Oh, thank god," Han exhaled. "I thought you might have died or something. What took you so long?"
"I'm working. I gave you strict instructions not to call me unless it's an emergency."
"Well, it is an emergency!" Han argued. "Do you really think I would ever call you unless I absolutely have to? Don't flatter yourself."
"What emergency? Is Eunhye okay?"
"Wha–? Your girl is fine! I'm not calling you about that."
"Then why do you sound so scared?" Yoongi asked.
Han pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at the screen, feeling slightly flabbergasted at Yoongi's ability to pick on emotions so accurately. As far as he was concerned, he didn't sound the least bit frightened despite feeling that way.
Han exhaled, taking a moment to compose himself before resuming the call.
"I had an unexpected guest, that's all," he said.
"Seriously? I didn't think anyone had the power to instil that much fear in you. It almost makes me curious enough to meet him."
"Oh, you don't want to meet him, trust me," Han chuckled nervously. "Besides, Namjoon is more likely your enemy than your friend. You're on the opposite sides of the scale."
It was quiet on the other end of the line after Han's mild joke. If it wasn't for the steady sounds of Yoongi's breathing, Han would have assumed the line had been cut, or the former had dropped the call on him.
"Yoongi? You still there?" he asked with an anxious lilt to his tone.
"What did you say his name was? That unexpected guest of yours?" Yoongi's voice sounded distant and it had nothing to do with the signal's strength.
"Uh, Namjoon. Kim Namjoon. He's a secret agent with the govern–"
"I know who the fuck he is!" Yoongi yelled, his heart beating thunderously in his chest, his mind a mess.
"Han, what the fuck are you doing supplying information to secret agents? And of all people, Kim Namjoon? Fuck, man. What were you thinking?"
"I'm on neutral ground, Yoongi, you know that. I don't give a shit which sides anyone's for. I'm an informant, period. If people seek information, they come to me. Who they are and what they do is not my business. What's up with you? Why are you getting your briefs in a twist for?"
Han could hear Yoongi's erratic breathing and what sounded like pacing feet. He could hear the man taking deep breaths almost as if he was trying his hardest to keep his cool and not blow his top.
"Did he see Eunhye?" Yoongi asked, his voice now unnervingly calm and quiet.
"Yeah, I mean, she opened the door for the guy."
When Yoongi said nothing in the minutes after, Han felt the need to confess by saying, "Also, I might have introduced her as my wife . . . I had no intention to, it's just that she answered the door and it was clear Namjoon was curious. I had to shut him up somehow before he started asking questions, you know?"
"Fuck," the word came out as a low whisper and if Han had not been waiting for a response, he might not have heard it.
"I'm sorry, Yoongi. I didn't think you would be this angry, but I'm sorry, okay? It was just a cover–"
"Shit! Fucking hell!"
This time, the words were louder. So loud, in fact, that Han winced and had to pull the phone away from his ear for a second until Yoongi decided he had spewed enough profanities to convey his anger.
Confused, Han asked, "You can't possibly be this angry over something that minuscule, can you? Calm down, holy crap."
"I don't fucking care about that shit. I just–" Yoongi paused, exhaling. "–I know him."
"I know Kim Namjoon. The guy who stopped by your house."
And in five seconds flat, everything made sense to Han—the sudden surge of anger, the questions, the hint of almost undetectable worry.
"Does he . . . ?"
"He knows Eunhye. He knows both of us. Don't you get it, Han? He knows," Yoongi said. "We're fucked, dude. This guy is going to ruin everything for us."
"Bloody hell. And I told him Eunhye's my wife. What do we do now?"
Yoongi shook his head, despite knowing Han couldn't see him. He took a moment to recollect his thoughts, his grip deathly on the phone in his hand. He really didn't need this kind of trouble when he was knees deep in the Jade Cobras' crap.
"Wait just a second," Yoongi said. "Han, didn't you say Namjoon was there for information?"
"What was he looking into? What did he want you to find out for him?"
"Right," Han exhaled. "He was looking into some kid. The boy's a thief or a hacker or something? Honestly, I'm not sure. His file is super sketchy. Basically, he stole something—a manifest of sorts—from the police and your guy, Namjoon, is attempting to track him down."
Yoongi frowned. He didn't know what he was expecting, but it definitely wasn't something so mediocre.
"Namjoon's some bigshot agent. Why in the world would he be chasing after thieves? Han, that's bullshit."
"Hey, I'm just telling you what I know. Namjoon told me to get info on the kid, and that's what I did."
"What do you know about Namjoon?" Yoongi asked rather abruptly.
"Namjoon. What do you know about him? You must know something. I know you do background checks on all your clients, whether legally or otherwise."
"No part of my job description is legal," Han scoffed before continuing. "But yes, I did try to get something on Namjoon, although the only thing my digging got me was info everyone else already knows. He's a secret agent and he focuses more on tracking drug rings and the likes. That's pretty much it."
"Then why the hell is he going after a thief? And this kid—whoever he is—he's not into drugs, is he? Or involved in any way?"
"No, nothing about drugs on his file."
"Hold on," he said. "Drugs—that's what I called you about. Namjoon said something about drugs before he left."
"What is it?"
"Namjoon was asking me about the Jade Cobras' drug shipment. Your drug shipment. He wants me to look into it. Says he's heard word about it; rumours or whatever. You best be careful."
Ignoring Han's blatant warning, Yoongi said, "Namjoon initiated your help to get information on a thief—which is still pure bullshit—and later on requested you to look into the Jade Cobras' shipment. The Jade Cobras were an afterthought . . ."
Yoongi trailed off, thinking hard but drawing up blanks. He couldn't make sense of anything. Namjoon's sudden appearance and interest in the Jade Cobras was disconcerting. He could, to some degree, understand the curiosity surrounding the new shipment of drugs; seeing as how the man was involved in bringing down drug rings and cartels.
But chasing after a mere thief? To the point of getting an informant to gather intel for him?
"Han," Yoongi said, earning a hum of acknowledgement from him in response. "Who is this kid Namjoon's after?"
"Give me a moment."
Han balanced the phone between his shoulder and ear, tapping commands into his laptop as he pulled out the most recent file he had on the thief. It took another second before the boy's morose looking expression appeared onscreen, followed shortly after by his official records.
"Jungkook," Han said, reading off the boy's birth certificate.
"What?" Yoongi asked, not quite believing his ears.
"Jeon Jungkook," Han repeated. "That's the name of the thief Namjoon's after."
And after a second, "Fucking shit."
Chapter 37: stolen
Namjoon leaned against his office chair, taking sips of his coffee as he looked through the documents the informant had given him.
"Jeon Jungkook," he read the name in distaste.
"This is the fucker that stole the bloody list?" he said to no one in particular, scoffing. "He's just a damn kid. How in the world did he manage it? Must have a hell of a brain in that head of his."
He heaved a sigh, shaking his head as he tossed the folder on his desk, effectively scattering the documents within. He should be concentrating on working the case, but for some reason or other, he couldn't seem to get Eunhye out of his mind. In not so many words, he was worried.
Something seemed off about her. And what was it she managed to say before Han interrupted them?
I don't remember anything.
Namjoon pushed himself to sit upright as her words resonated in his mind. Did she lose her memory? Just what the hell was going on? Where was Yoongi? And why was she staying with Han?
Everything was a mess and he had the unspeakable urge to do something about it. It wasn't in his nature to remain in the dark and not do anything to resolve the issue. Namjoon glanced at the clock mounted on the wall in front of him.
It was late. He should probably wait . . . But then again, he knew better than anyone that waiting sometimes cost people their lives. Did he really want to wait this one out? Especially when he knew for a fact something was up with Eunhye?
No. He did not.
He stood, pushing the chair back with a clatter as he collected the manila folder and its contents. He dropped them into the top drawer of his desk and locked it before heading to his workroom next door.
Namjoon keyed in the security code and entered the room shortly after, making a beeline straight to where his weapons were kept. He stood in front of the shelves and observed each one with thoughtful consideration. He needed something reliable but not too conspicuous.
The longer he stared at his collection of guns, the more something felt . . . off. He huffed and shook his head, grabbing a random handgun and shoving it into the waistband of his jeans. Guns weren't the weapons he should be paying that much attention to.
He wasn't going to kill anyone. Besides, he needed Han alive. Even Namjoon had to admit the man was an amazing informant. He just needed something to knock him out.
Namjoon walked over to the other end of the room. He pulled open the drawer and surveyed the various vials of liquids it contained. He grabbed the one he was looking for along with a needled syringe, carefully placing them both in his inner jacket pocket.
Now he was ready to go.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Namjoon sat in his car watching the apartment building with distaste. If he thought it looked creepy by day, it was even worse once the sun had set. Who in their right mind would live in such a place?
But then again, Han wasn't particularly someone who'd care where they lived as long as it was someplace remote.
Namjoon thought over his hastily put together plan. He pondered over it for a minute too long, wondering if it was the right thing to do. He'd hurt people before, sure. It's all part of the job scope, but not one of those people had ever been innocent. They were wrong in some way or other and it helped soothe his conscience.
But Han . . . Han hadn't done anything wrong—at least not to his knowledge. Was it really okay to hurt someone innocent?
Namjoon frowned at his thoughts, hitting the side of his head lightly with a fisted hand.
"Focus, Joon," he said. "You're not going to hurt him. You're just going to make sure he sleeps, that's all."
He shifted, unbuckling his seatbelt to exit the vehicle, feeling the gun pressing into his back. He exhaled. The gun was for protection—he tried convincing himself—he wasn't going to use it on anyone today. It was only for protection.
He stalked his way over to the building before he could change his mind. He had to get it over and done with. The longer he procrastinated, the more excuses he would create not to go through with his plan.
But he had to. He knew he had to.
If not for the sake of his own selfish curiosity and supposed concern for the situation, then for Eunhye's sake. She could be in danger for all he knew—and he didn't—which is all the more reason to move forward with the plan. No lookbacks. It was now or never.
Namjoon pressed his ear against the front door, hearing muffled words from within. He could only make out Han's voice and no one else's, leading him to believe the man was on the phone. He was distracted, and distractions were always good.
Namjoon knelt, pulling out his set of lock picking tools, getting to work as quietly as he could. Despite the dilapidated state of the apartment's exterior, Han made certain to keep up to date with the latest security he could get his hands on. It made sense, considering his job as an informant. Who knows what dirty secrets the man kept?
Unfortunately for Han, Namjoon was a force to be reckoned with and it barely took him longer than five minutes before the door clicked open.
Keeping his stance on the low, Namjoon pushed the door deftly with his fingertips, peering around the corner only to be greeted by an empty living area. He exhaled, inching the door open further, just enough for him to slip through and close it behind him.
The muffled voice from earlier was louder now that he was inside the apartment, easing his task of locating Han's whereabouts. The closer he got to the room, the clearer the words and it didn't take him long to discern that the bastard was talking about him to whoever it was on the other end of the line.
"Bloody hell," Namjoon whispered under his breath, suddenly glad he decided to go through with his plan.
Han ended the call in the next second, turning around just in time to catch Namjoon attempting to slink back behind the adjacent wall for cover. Dropping the phone, Han reached for the gun he kept under his pillow but was met with an arm wrapped securely around his neck instead.
He struggled against Namjoon's hold but to no avail. The more he struggled, the harder the squeeze on his neck and the lesser the oxygen to his brain. Any minute longer and he'd be passed out cold, or worse, dead.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Han gasped, ceasing his struggles in hopes of prying the agent's arms away.
"Unfinished business," Namjoon responded. "Nothing personal."
"Nothing personal?" Han groaned with incredulity in his voice.
Namjoon hummed in response, pulling out his earlier prepped syringe and plunging the needle deep into Han's neck. The latter struggled for another minute before his eyes rolled to the back of his head and his arms fell limp, his body slumping against Namjoon's chest.
"Yup, nothing personal," Namjoon repeated, hooking his hands under Han's arms as he carefully laid the unconscious man on the floor.
He looked down at him and dusted off his hands with a satisfied huff.
"Right," he said. "Now to find Eunhye and get the hell out of here."
"W-What are you doing?" a meek voice asked from behind him.
"Ah, shit," Namjoon muttered under his breath. He didn't have to turn around to know who he'd find standing there.
After all, there was only one other person next to Han who lived in the place.
He lifted his arms in surrender as he shifted slowly to face the frightened girl standing just within the doorway of the room.
"I have no intention to hurt you. I promise," he said.
He watched as Eunhye's gaze flickered to the unconscious informant lying by his feet. Her breathing seemed to escalate as she took tentative steps away from him, backing away into the hallway.
Namjoon, afraid she would put too much distance between them, started advancing towards her in steps she deemed as frighteningly menacing.
"What did you do to Han?" she asked, her voice hitching in her throat the closer he got to her.
"He's just sleeping. Look, see? There's no blood. He's not hurt. I just put him to sleep for a few hours until we–" he gestured at the space between them. "–can get away safely."
He paused, his feet coming to a stop when he noticed the extent of Eunhye's fear. The girl was practically shaking at this point. He reached an arm out towards her, his hand upturned in an inviting gesture for her to take it.
That it was okay for her to take his hand.
That he wasn't going to do anything to her.
That is was safe.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he promised. "Let's just get out of here, okay? Together."
Eunhye glanced at his outstretched hand and back at Han's unconscious form. She found herself shaking her head slowly.
"No . . . No, I can't. Yoongi won't like it. He says going outside is dangerous. You're dangerous . . ."
It took everything in him not to react in any way to her words. So Yoongi was still part of the picture. Of course, he was. With the kind of possessiveness Yoongi had towards her, Namjoon would be more surprised if he had disappeared on her instead.
Namjoon lowered his arm, heaving a sigh. He wasn't stupid. He caught the way she had phrased her sentence. She wanted to go with him, but a part of her was scared of Yoongi and what he might do upon the realisation she had left.
She wasn't just asking for reassurance of her safety in going with him, she was—as odd as it might be—asking for his permission. She really needed to know that it was okay, that it would be okay.
"Think of it this way," Namjoon said. "You need information and I happen to have the information you're looking for. We're going out for coffee. To talk. That's it. Nothing more to it. And then, if you want, I'll send you straight back here when we're done."
The hesitance was clear in Eunhye's eyes, but he could tell she had found the assurance she needed.
"I can't drink coffee. It isn't good for the baby," she said as a way of welcoming his invitation.
Namjoon nodded his head, taking small steps towards her, relieved when she didn't back away from him.
"How about milkshakes?" he asked. "You good with that?"
"Yeah," she said.
"Good. Let's go."
Namjoon took her hand in his, holding it tight as he led her out of the apartment, neither sparing a glance at the unconscious body left behind.
Chapter 38: shipyard
"There is something very suspicious about your boyfriend," Baekhyun commented as he looked over the shipyard below from where he stood in the office.
There was silence for a few seconds before he heard Ji Yeon huffing. He turned to glance at her.
"Look, Baek, I know you don't like him but he's clean, okay? I tested his loyalty and he passed. I don't have any doubts about him and you shouldn't either."
"Are you forgetting that he was the one who kept the girl that our brother—our dead brother—was obsessed with? And you don't think he has a motive for getting rid of Taehyung? You don't stay with a girl that long and not develop some kind of feelings for her. You just don't. I always thought it was weird how easily he handed her over to you."
Ji Yeon slammed the table, her agitation and stress concerning the entire situation finally getting to her. She lifted her gaze and glared at her brother, trying her best to keep her breathing and emotions under control.
"I thought we were looking for Lee Eunhye. Why are you hounding Yoongi all of a sudden? I already told you he's off the hooks. Leave the man alone, for goodness sake, Baek!"
"Whoa, okay," Baekhyun said, indicating that he was not in any way looking for a fight. "I'm just saying . . . You have to admit it is kind of suspicious. But if you say he's innocent . . ."
Baekhyun shrugged and said little else. He wanted to reassure his sister his suspicions of her boyfriend had been satiated but he knew it wasn't the truth. He was far from satisfied. The prime suspect shouldn't be Eunhye. It should be Yoongi. The man seemed too calm and unbothered by the whole thing. Even during the funeral when Ji Yeon was crying into his shoulder, he remained unperturbed and expressionless.
Baekhyun had been working for the gang for years and he recognised the look only too well. It was the look of a killer and a skilled one at that.
"I'm just looking out for you, Ji. I've already lost one sibling, I don't want to lose another," he said.
Ji Yeon gritted her teeth, closing her eyes as she exhaled through parted lips. She knew where her brother was coming from. Taehyung's sudden death had affected everyone, and not in a good way. She admitted to having let her emotions get the better of her, but only because a part of her knew Baekhyun was right.
She didn't want to believe it, but Yoongi was being suspicious.
"I'm sorry, Baek," she whispered the words. "I just . . . You're right. You always are."
"I am?" Baekhyun asked, unable to stop the surprise from seeping into his voice.
Ji Yeon pushed away from the desk and walked to where Baekhyun was standing at the window facing out towards the shipyard. She stopped next to him, nodding her head in response to his question before looking at the workers below.
"Yoongi hasn't been himself lately. He's been . . . weird," she finally confessed.
"Weird how? What did he do?" Baekhyun asked, his brows drawn low over his narrowed eyes. "Did the bastard hurt you? I'll fucking kill–"
"No! Baekhyun, listen to me," she interrupted with a frown of her own. "You asked a question but choose to jump to conclusions before I even have the chance to say anything."
"Okay, I'm listening. What is it?"
Ji Yeon stared at him for a second longer before saying, "Yoongi's been leaving meetings early every chance he gets. Every day, he finds some excuse to leave. At first, I brushed it off, thinking he's just stressed from the sudden workload he's getting, but I couldn't ignore it the longer it went on."
"I got some of our men to follow him, just to check things out—where he's been going, what he's been doing . . . Apparently, he's moved apartments since Taehyung's death. He didn't tell me anything about it and it was so sudden. I checked the listing and his old apartment was sold fully furnished at a ridiculously low price."
"He's running away," Baekhyun pointed out.
"My thoughts exactly . . . No one in their right mind would sell a fully furnished apartment that cheap unless they wanted to get rid of it in a hurry."
"Question is—who is he running from? Or what?"
Ji Yeon shrugged.
"I don't know," she said, her gaze shifting to look over the shipyard once again.
"And you still think the Lee Eunhye girl is the key to all this?" Baekhyun asked. "Because the way I see it, Min Yoongi is hiding something and I bet you anything, it has to do with our brother's death."
Ji Yeon fiddled awkwardly with the hem of her blouse. She didn't want to believe it, but even she knew Baekhyun was right.
"I know," she managed to mumble. "That's why I insisted you let him take Taehyung's place in the cartel."
Baekhyun shifted, the end of his lips curling into a slight smile.
"You wanted to keep a closer eye on him yourself," he said. "And here I was—wondering why in god's name were you so bloody persistent that I give him work someone else could've handled."
He reached forward and pulled her in for a one-armed hug.
"Good thinking, Ji," he said before she started struggling out of his hold with a disgruntled look on her face. "So, did you find anything new or interesting I should know about?"
"He's hardly been here longer than a day and already he's showing signs of agitation and annoyance."
Baekhyun scoffed, "As if he isn't like that all hours of the day."
"Well, more so than usual," Ji Yeon added with a hard glare in her brother's direction.
"Look, see," she nudged her head at the scuffle happening down at the shipyard.
Baekhyun followed her line of sight only to find Yoongi holding one of the rookie members by the scruffs of his collars and shoving him harshly against the shipping containers. He looked beyond pissed as he yelled indecipherable words straight at the man's face. It wasn't long before Yoongi had him down on the ground and was punching the living hell out of him.
"What can I say?" Baekhyun sighed with a light shrug. "The man has some steam to let off."
He eyed Ji Yeon from the corner of his eyes before saying with caution, "Perhaps due to the aggravating fact that he's being kept away from someone because of this job he has to do."
Ji Yeon snapped her gaze in Baekhyun's direction, a look of conflict crossing her expression.
"You think he still has the girl with him?"
"It would make sense, don't you think? I mean, the girl goes missing at the same time as Taehyung's death. And then you find out he's just up and ran from his old apartment when he's made no indication whatsoever of leaving? If he's running away from someone, it's probably us. He knows we're looking for them—for her—and he's not going to just hand her over, is he?"
"B-But . . . He told me he has nothing to do with her disappearance," Ji Yeon said, hints of denial in the tone of her voice.
"You really like this guy, don't you?" Baekhyun asked. "I've never seen you act this way with anyone. They break your loyalty, your trust, and they die. But here you are, hesitating a mile a minute when anything concerning Yoongi comes up."
"I don't know, Baek. Yoongi . . . He's just different from the others. I can't explain it. I'm frustrated because I can't deny your suspicions. Hell, even I have suspicions of my own when it comes to him. But at the same time, I really wish the suspicions would remain mere speculations."
"And what if they're not? What if Yoongi really is our guy? Then what?"
The question lingered in the silence between them. Ji Yeon's eyes watched as the crowd in the shipyard dispersed, leaving only Yoongi and the unconscious rookie he had beaten half to death on the floor.
She focused her gaze on his figure in the distance as he moved to drag the man's bloodied body away, leaving a trail of blood stretching out across the yard. She kept her sights trained on him until they disappeared behind one of the shipping containers.
It took her another second before she could tear her gaze away from the empty scene before her to face her brother.
"Then I will fucking kill him," she said, her voice as dead as the look in her eyes.
Chapter 39: thief in the night
Yoongi felt an irrepressible urge to kill. He didn't have to kill anyone—of course, not—but he was pissed; angry beyond belief and he needed some way to deal with it. As it stands, killing just seemed to be the best and most convenient option.
He could hardly believe his ears after ending his phone call with Han. Not only did he have to worry about Kim Namjoon messing everything he had worked so hard for, but Jeon Jungkook was involved too?
He pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned in frustration. Things were not going his way at all. Here he was—thinking he could finally take a breather since Eunhye's car accident had rendered her lost in her streams of forgotten memories, but a ghost from their shared past decided to show up instead.
If Kim Namjoon decided to get involved and run his mouth, he'd never gain Eunhye's trust again. The risk was higher this time too. Not only would he lose her, but he'd also lose their baby along with her. There was an odd feeling erupting from within him at such a thought happening.
It made him uneasy. He never would have thought he'd find someone else to love after Eunhye, and hell, loving Eunhye was already difficult enough. But he was already starting to show hints of possessiveness over a child he'd never even set his eyes on.
It was almost too much for him, too overwhelming. But he held onto that feeling. It would be the fuel that'd feed the flames of motivation to keep everyone and everything away from his family.
And if he wanted to get anywhere with his plans of protection, he'd have to start now. Kim Namjoon was a little farfetched, but not Jeon Jungkook. The kid was a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.
Yoongi made the mistake of keeping him away by paying him off, but clearly, that wasn't enough for the bastard if he's crawling back into their lives again. Going after Jungkook was like killing several birds with one stone—he could get rid of his urge to kill, figure out why he's getting involved in things that don't matter to him and get him to spill on why of all people, was Kim Namjoon digging information on him.
If Yoongi knew anything at all about Jungkook, is the fact that the kid's as good as dead if he's in both his radar and Namjoon's. His only concern now was getting to him first, which shouldn't be a problem. The good thing about being in a gang was the number of runners at his disposal that would do literally anything for a price, including tracking down missing persons.
With the thought manifested in his mind and a loose plan starting to form, Yoongi was about to push things into motion when he felt a hand grasping his shoulder. In reflex, he turned and punched whoever it was square in the jaw. He grabbed the rookie by the scruff of his collars and slammed him against the shipping container before lifting him off his feet.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing creeping up on me like that?" he asked.
The rookie struggled in his hold, gasping the words out.
"I– I was told to let you know the shipments–"
Yoongi barely waited for the guy to finish his sentence before he threw him on the ground, sending his fists pounding repeatedly against his face until he was nothing more than an unconscious bloody heap on the floor.
Breathing hard, Yoongi straightened and looked down at the mess he had created. He exhaled, wiping his bloodied hands on his shirtfront, his anger suddenly satiated.
"At least you're good for something," he said before moving to drag the body away.
He'll get the others to clean up the blood later. For now, he had a certain Jeon Jungkook to locate.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Yoongi stared at the neon lights of the bowling alley with his mouth slightly parted in incredulity.
"What the fuck?" he mumbled as he leaned over the steering wheel to get a better look at the location.
He glanced at the screen of his phone, making certain he got the address right. Why the hell would Jungkook be hanging out at a dingy and suspicious bowling alley of all places? He had expected a club of some kind, even if he couldn't afford something on the high end. But a bowling alley? What year were they trapped in—the nineties?
Mumbling incoherencies under his breath, Yoongi exited his car and slammed the door shut behind him. He shook his head as he neared the alley, cringing when he heard pulsating music emanating from within its dark interior.
"Who the fucking shit bowls in the dark?" Yoongi continued grumbling.
A pair of drunk girls stumbled out into the open, giggling when they saw him; only to end up recoiling in fear when he sent them a glare, a silent threat that kept them from even thinking of approaching him.
"Disgusting," he spat, nose reeking at the overpowering smell of alcohol that consumed him the moment he stepped foot within.
The place was dark, crowded and noisy—everything Yoongi hated. Yet here he was, squinting in an attempt to search for Jungkook's familiar face. The longer he stood there amongst the crowd of teenagers, the more he came to realise how fruitless his search was.
He hesitated but a mere second before he decided this was going to amount to nothing. He could barely make out the faces of the people within, no thanks to the dim setting and the flashing lights. He had better luck waiting outside in his car.
Yoongi was just about to leave when a hooded figure with his head bent forward nudged into his shoulder, causing him to teeter back slightly. Instead of walking straight past him, however, the figure paused, looking up to give Yoongi an arrogant smirk.
"Mr Min, I was starting to wonder when you'd show."
"Jeon Jungkook, you piece of shit," Yoongi said, grabbing him by the front of his hoodie and dragging him out of the bowling alley.
Outside, Yoongi released him with a hard shove as Jungkook stumbled to gain his footing. He failed, falling onto his hands and knees, a weak chuckle escaping him before he moved to sit on the gravelled parking space.
"Let's be civil about this," he said, looking up at Yoongi.
"Fine," Yoongi agreed, but not without annoyance tinging his tone. "But only because you had the decency not to run when you bumped into me."
"Please. The only reason your people found me was because I wanted them to. Besides, I didn't run because I wanted you to find me and you did."
Ignoring his jibe, Yoongi continued.
"I only have one question for you—why?"
"Why what?" Jungkook shot back.
"I paid you to leave town. Why the fuck are you back?" Yoongi snarled.
"Because I couldn't stand the thought of Eunhye being with you. You treat her like shit and you think I'm just going to sit around and watch? No way, Mr Min," he said in a mocking tone.
"What the fuck did you do?"
The question brought another smug smile to Jungkook's lips as he grinned with malicious intent reflected in his eyes.
"I used the money you gave me to hire a mercenary from that gang of yours. I'm going to start a gang war and you'll be stuck right in the middle of it," he said, bringing his hands up to reenact signs of an explosion.
"And how do you think you're going to achieve something like that?"
Yoongi had assumed his question would suffice in wiping off the smirk on his face but was proven wrong when it only broadened his smile.
"Who do you think the assassins are going to kill if not the undercover cops?"
The simple question sent Yoongi's world crumbling around him. He felt dissociated as though he wasn't there in the parking lot with the person who ruined everything without even trying. And just like that, everything made sense.
"You're the fucking snitch, aren't you?" he asked.
"Took you long enough," Jungkook commented. "Why do you think I was waiting for you? Who did you think left you a clue in that shipment file of yours? Like I said—I wanted you to find me."
"Son of a bitch," Yoongi muttered under his breath. It took him a minute before he was composed enough to say anything else without punching Jungkook in the face.
"How did you know about the undercover cops?"
"Hacked into the police database. It wasn't that hard, to be honest," Jungkook said nonchalantly. "That's kind of what happens when people get complacent with their internet security."
Yoongi stared at Jungkook. There wasn't a hint of regret or guilt in his eyes, only amusement. The bastard was enjoying the frustration and torment he was putting him through.
"Why are you doing this? You really have nothing better to do, huh?"
"I already told you, I'm doing it for Eunhye. I'm going to bring the Jade Cobras down and I'm going to take you with it. You don't get to live if you're making her suffer like that," Jungkook said. "You don't deserve to."
Yoongi laughed, running his fingers through his hair as a low chuckle reverberated through his chest.
"You . . ." he said. "You are so fucked, Jeon Jungkook."
Yoongi's sudden and unexpected reaction threw Jungkook off guard, his confidence faltering.
"No," Jungkook insisted. "You're the one who's fucked. Don't you see? I stole the list of names. I planted it in your file. I hired the mercenaries. They're all going to be killed and you're going to die along with them."
"Exactly," Yoongi said. "You stole the name list, you dumb fuck."
"I'm not the only one after you. Hacking into police network was easy, wasn't it? But the consequences?"
"I'll let you in on something. Rule one—never get the police involved in any of your shit. Those fuckers catch up faster than any gang I've ever known. You drag them into this, you're digging your own fucking grave. Not mine, yours."
"What are you talking about?" Jungkook asked, all facade gone now that he was back to being the scared boy cowering beneath Yoongi's harsh gaze.
"You've got yourself a tail, Jeon Jungkook. A certain agent by the name of Kim Namjoon. And he isn't letting up until he gets his hands on you. Still think it was wise to steal police information just for a petty revenge scheme?" Yoongi mocked.
Jungkook sat with a shocked expression on his face. His mind was processing the information way too slowly for his liking but even so, he knew there was nothing he could do about it. Yoongi was right. He messed up.
"I just . . . I wanted to help her," he said in a slight daze.
Yoongi was about to lash out on him again when he was interrupted by his phone ringing. He pulled out the device, glancing at the ID for a brief second before answering it.
The minute he heard Han's panicked voice on the other end of the line, he knew everything had gone to hell. By the time he ended the call, he was fuming mad, surprising himself when he managed to somehow keep it together.
He leaned forward, grabbing Jungkook by his shirt and hauling him to his feet.
"You want to help Eunhye?" he asked, earning a desperate nod from the boy.
"Good," Yoongi said. "Because that was my informant on the line, telling me that your tail, Kim Namjoon, knocked him out and kidnapped my girl. If you hadn't stolen the list, he wouldn't be investigating you and he would never have seen her. It's your fuck up, Jeon Jungkook, and you better take responsibility for it."
Yoongi released his hold on him, moving to shove him into the passenger side of his car.
"If anything happens to her, it's on you," he said, menace dripping from his voice. "And you better hope nothing happens or you'll be begging for death's mercy."
Chapter 40: resurfacing memories
Eunhye stared at the tall glass of peanut butter and banana milkshake in front of her, a small smile playing on the edges of her lips.
"If you don't like it, I can get you something else," Namjoon said, about to signal the waiter.
Eunhye stopped him, shaking her head.
"No. No, it's fine. I just . . . I didn't think we were actually going to get milkshakes. I thought you'd take me someplace else, not to an actual diner."
"It's just a milkshake, Eunhye. Even I can afford that much. You're acting as though Yoongi has never taken you out before," Namjoon laughed.
Eunhye lifted her gaze from the drink in front of her, an awkward smile on her face as she subconsciously started scratching on the condensation forming on the glass surface. Her quiet response to his statement caused Namjoon's expression to falter.
He cleared his throat, "Yoongi has never taken you out before?"
The statement was now a question, one that Eunhye responded with a shake of her head.
"He says it's dangerous," she whispered, eyeing her immediate surroundings a little warily.
Namjoon stared at her without saying a word. A second passed before he sighed. The girl seated in front of him looked like the Eunhye he knew months ago. She was the same Eunhye. But yet . . . She wasn't the same either. This Eunhye felt different—meek, cautious, scared. The girl was scared but she didn't know what of. She was reacting to a nonexistent fear Yoongi had implanted in her head.
"Is it safe being here?" Eunhye asked in a soft whisper.
The question caught Namjoon off guard and he scoffed.
"Yes," he said. And when she tilted her head at him as if to ask: Really? He continued, "If I know your boyfriend—and believe me, I do—I think it's safer for both of us if we stayed in the public's eye. Who knows when he'd come barging in with guns ablaze? I trust he'd at least think twice before doing anything stupid with these many people around."
"Is Yoongi that kind of person?"
Namjoon scrutinised her for a second, feeling a huge sense of sympathy overwhelming him. The poor girl really couldn't remember a thing. Yoongi must be having the time of his life working with a clean slate. He could pretty much feed her any memory he wanted and she'd eat it right off his palm.
"Do you not think he's someone like that?" Namjoon asked instead.
He needed to know how far her suspicions lie—if she even had any, to begin with. He didn't want to dump a truckload of information on her and make it look as though he was blindly accusing her boyfriend of the psychosis he so obviously suffered from. It was always easier to confirm one's preexisting suspicions rather than sow the seeds within.
"I know he's mixed in with bad company," Eunhye said, the way she avoided eye contact an obvious tell she felt ashamed at outing Yoongi to a stranger.
"And you'd be right about that. Although, I have to give the guy some credit. He's really good at keeping things on the down-low. I haven't gotten wind of anything he's done in the past year. I actually even considered the fact that he might've turned over a new leaf," Namjoon said. "Could've fooled me, huh?"
An awkward silence transpired between them after Namjoon's jovial admittance concerning Yoongi's not-so-legal profession. But it wasn't anything new to her, considering she had her qualms about it. They even got into an argument about it . . . Or at least she assumed they did, though Yoongi was adamant about it being a false creation her mind had raked up.
Eunhye frowned at the confusing memory, remembering how violent he had been towards her in the supposed dream. Shaking off the thought, she directed her attention back on Namjoon who was silently watching her.
"I have a question," she said.
"Go ahead," Namjoon responded, urging her to speak her mind.
"I don't know how to put this . . . But—how do we know you? I mean, you're a government agent, right? I overheard Han saying something to that extent."
"Let me get this clear, you lost your memory?" he asked.
"Okay. What was the last thing you remember?"
"I was at a camp. In school. And I injured my head. I met Suga there . . . But Yoongi told me it's been years since that happened. Everything else is fuzzy at best."
"Shit," Namjoon cursed beneath his breath, though it wasn't enough for Eunhye to miss.
He knew she must have lost her memory. He had prepared himself for that. But what he wasn't prepared for was its extent. As it turned out, her memory loss was far worse than he had anticipated. He remembered the incident she was referring to. She explained it to him the time they were together in his safe house.
If that incident was the last thing she remembered . . . Her memory was a gaping hole. She would not have known about what Suga did; about her obsessive ex-boyfriend; about the fights that ensued between the two; about State Psychiatric Hospital; Seokjin; even Ga Yeon.
A whole part of her was missing, and Namjoon was willing to bet Yoongi couldn't care less. Losing that part of her life would only play well into the life Yoongi would have created for her. Which begs the question—what exactly did he weave into her head?
"Did Yoongi tell you anything? Anything at all?" he asked.
"He said Suga disappeared because of therapy and that we've been living together for a long time. We were planning on getting married too."
"That's it? He didn't mention anything about your friends perhaps? Or work?"
Eunhye shook her head, uncertainty clear on her face. She didn't want to doubt Yoongi, but even she had to admit he didn't seem entirely convincing the first time she asked him for information about their past.
"Did I have friends?" Eunhye asked, her voice quiet. "And a job too?"
Namjoon felt an insurmountable wave of pity for her and he sighed, shoulders slumping as he leaned forward in his seat.
"You had a whole life, Eunhye, and it didn't revolve around Yoongi. He was just a part of it."
Eunhye felt her eyes tearing as she gulped and looked out the window. A part of her knew Yoongi was lying. There was nothing remotely normal about the way he insisted she stay indoors at all times or the way he had locks installed on the outside of their apartment door. The fear she felt was real—if nothing else was—and it must've been ingrained in her. Even if her mind struggled to remember, her body acted on impulse to the hints of danger he radiated.
Yet, she stayed. No matter the incessant nagging her subconscious kept on repeat in her head; the warning bells ringing at full blast about the dangers surrounding Min Yoongi, she stayed.
Because at the end of the day, he was the father of their unborn child and despite all else, she wanted very much to trust him. To believe he was a good person. There must be something there for her to cling onto—some shred of goodness in him—or was the idea something too farfetched to even consider?
Even so, she had to know the truth. Whatever the cost and whatever pain it might inflict on her, she had to know. She returned her attention back to Namjoon, a shaky smile on her lips as she tried her best to make it look as though she was completely fine and not utterly devastated on the inside.
"Please," she said, the first of her tears falling over the edge of her eyes. "If it's okay with you, will you tell me about him? About Yoongi? I need to know."
Chapter 41: dark truth
Eunhye stood in front of Han's apartment, conflicted and apprehensive about going in. The door was slightly ajar and she could hear Yoongi yelling from within. He found out about her disappearance, of course, he did, and he was openly blaming Han for it.
She had been gone for hours, Namjoon taking up the entirety of their time retelling what he knew of the gaps in her memory. She couldn't recall a single thing that was being said to her, nothing felt familiar, not even her own feelings.
There were people in her life she couldn't remember and incidences that seemed too unreal to have happened to her. But they did, and everything led back to the moment right now—with her standing outside Han's apartment.
Namjoon couldn't understand her decision of wanting to go back. He was hesitant but she insisted. She had to talk to Yoongi and she had to do it alone. Nothing made sense but with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of hope, Yoongi might be able to change that. He knew everything and if she wanted to understand, he was the person she had to convince.
But it wasn't just her memories that were confusing, she didn't know how to feel about Yoongi either. Prior to her meeting with Namjoon, she was certain she had it in her to love Yoongi despite his involvement with the less than honourable crowd. But she wasn't so sure anymore.
Yoongi had done a lot of things according to Namjoon. Even going so far as to murder whoever displeased him. But in his words, it wasn't Yoongi who had done it, but Suga. Even so, it didn't change the fact that Eunhye was still scared. There were remnants of fear clinging to her whenever she was in the room with Yoongi.
It begged the question—how different was the Yoongi now compared to the Suga back then?
One thing she knew for certain, however, was how everything was a complete mess.
Taking a deep breath, Eunhye focused as best she could before she pushed open the door with the tips of her fingers. The second the door creaked open to reveal the occupants within, all heads turned in her direction. Her gaze passed over Han and Yoongi to land on an unfamiliar individual.
The man's face lit up in recognition as he took a step towards her, her name falling from his lips. But Yoongi was quick to interrupt. He rushed forward, pushing the man aside as he fumbled in front of her, hands gripping her shoulders as he started scrutinising her; checking to see if she had obtained injuries of any kind.
"I'm okay," Eunhye said, trying to wrangle her way out of his hold. She didn't need this right now. She didn't need his sudden affections confusing her further.
He said nothing except to pull her in for a hug, his grip almost suffocating, drenched in the fear that she might have been taken from him. The hug lasted a mere second before he fell to his knees in front of her, an act that surprised everyone in the room. His hands rested lightly on her waist and with his eyes closed, he placed his forehead gently against her belly.
"I was worried. So worried," he muttered. "And so damn angry. But . . . But that doesn't matter now. Everyone's safe. You and . . . and my son."
Yoongi looked up at Eunhye to find her staring down at him with an emotion he couldn't decipher reflected in her eyes.
They stayed that way, just looking at each other in silence until she said in a voice so quiet, "Your son? How are you so sure the baby's a boy?"
"I don't," Yoongi said. "I just . . . I want a boy."
"If it's not a boy? Then what? Are you going to get rid of–"
"No! No, of course, not. Boy or girl, it doesn't matter," Yoongi paused, seeming to consider his next words carefully. "I want a child, that's all. My child. With you. And I want them to be safe. I want you to be safe."
Eunhye nodded her head slowly, chewing on the inside of her cheek and putting on a brave front for what she was about to say next.
"Yoongi, get up, please. We . . . We need to talk."
She glanced at the other two watching the drama unfold before them in silence before adding, "Alone."
Yoongi cleared his throat, standing as instructed. He turned a blank gaze towards Han and Jungkook, giving them a brief nod; a silent order for them to leave. Jungkook seemed hesitant but Han caught onto the subtle meaning behind Yoongi's expression and knew it was an order not to be defied. He grabbed Jungkook by his upper arm and dragged him out the apartment, giving Eunhye a small smile on the way out.
The front door closed with a soft click, effectively shrouding both Yoongi and Eunhye in the deafening silence that followed. Yoongi took the moment to bask once again in Eunhye's embrace as he wrapped his arms around her and pushed her head into his chest in a comforting manner.
Eunhye could hear the thunderous beating of his heart and feel the smooth repetitive strokes of his hand on her head. After a few minutes, he pulled away, leaning down in hopes of kissing her only to have her turn away from him.
With a sigh, Yoongi asked, "Namjoon said something to you, didn't he? What did he tell you?"
"So you're going to believe the words of a stranger, but not me?"
"He's not a stranger, Yoongi. He knows us and we know him."
Yoongi chose to ignore her words, focusing on more important matters at hand.
"What did he tell you?" he asked. "And don't lie to me, Eunhye."
His question seemed to cause discomfort in the way Eunhye frowned. This was it. This was what the entire conversation was building up to—her confrontation regarding the lies Yoongi had been feeding her. She had replayed a similar conversation repeatedly in her head—to the point she had the words memorised—yet why was it so difficult to utter a single word when the man himself was standing in front of her?
"Eunhye, what did he say?" Yoongi repeated, cutting through the conflict in her mind.
Just say it! The tiny voice yelled in her head, forcing confidence down her throat.
Say it! Say it!
"Do you kill people?" Eunhye blurted when the voices got too much for her to ignore.
A minute had barely passed and already she was considering taking back her words, to apologise for even thinking he was capable of such evil–
"Occasionally," Yoongi said, bringing the rampage in her mind to an immediate and sudden halt. "When a need for it arises."
Eunhye stared at Yoongi, her lips parted as she exhaled; almost as though a weight had been lifted from her chest and she was finally able to breathe again, or at least she thought she could. Out of everything Namjoon had told her, the one thing she was most concerned and frightened of was Yoongi being a killer.
The possibility was there, sure, and she had somewhat steeled herself for it to be true, but she didn't know what she'd do if he actually admitted the fact straight to her face. And against her better judgement, here he was, outrightly confirming Namjoon's words, leaving her confused and conflicted.
Eunhye nodded her head as a sign she had heard him. She needed to compose herself before saying anything more.
"You– You've killed before?" she asked again, this time rephrasing her sentence.
She didn't know why she felt the need to have him reconfirm the fact, but a part of her still wished he was the Yoongi she remembered. Not the reformed Yoongi she barely recognised who seemed to consider murder an engaging pastime. Even so, it felt odd—questioning Yoongi on his habits of murder in a casual and nonchalant manner. Odd, but necessary.
"It's not a big deal, really," Yoongi shrugged. He paused for a mere second, eyes flashing in her direction, his next words chilling her right to her bones.
"I'd kill anyone and everyone to protect my family. I'd kill for you and for my child if I have to."
"Have you?" Eunhye asked, her voice suddenly gone meek under his steely gaze.
"Yes. For your sake. For us."
"W-Who, Yoongi? Who did you kill?"
This time, Yoongi hesitated, almost as though he was contemplating the risk of uncovering the identity of the person whose life he had ended. Especially when Eunhye was blissfully oblivious, protected by the missing fragments of her memory.
"Your ex-boyfriend," he finally admitted after a lengthy pause. "Kim Taehyung."
"Taehyung?" Eunhye repeated though the name rang no bells for her.
Even so, hearing her say his name caused a bubble of jealousy to course through Yoongi's veins. He felt the sudden need to justify his actions. To prove his case in point. To prove why scum like Kim Taehyung should be dead.
"I had to do it! The fucker was getting in the way of our happiness. He was going to snatch you from me and I couldn't let that happen. He was a threat and I have to eliminate any and all threats to my family. Our family. I did it for us," he seethed. "I shot him in the head and I don't regret it. In fact, I've never felt happier."
The words hung in the air between them, with Eunhye too shocked to say anything at his sudden and intense outburst. She teetered slightly on her feet, clamping a hand over her chest in an attempt to get her breathing in order.
After a moment's pause, she asked, "So you're just going to . . . To . . . kill anyone you deem as a threat to us?"
"Without a second thought."
She didn't know what to say. She didn't know what she should be saying. What she did know, however, was that she needed air. She needed to breathe. The apartment seemed a lot more stifling all too suddenly, as though the walls were closing in on her.
She knew the burden of the truth was a heavy one, but she didn't think it would be this disastrous. It was too much. Yoongi was too much, no matter how she craved not to think that way about him.
She heard his voice, piercing through the thick fog in her mind, attempting to drag her back to reality.
"Eun, baby, you need to calm down. You're breathing too fast."
"I–" she gasped. "I'm fine, Yoongi, I'm o–"
And just like a snap of the fingers, the walls crashed in on her all at once, plunging her tiny world into a never-ending abyss before evaporating and leaving her in a complete state of unconsciousness.
Chapter 42: stress and reconciliation
Yoongi was fuming as he paced the hallway outside Eunhye's hospital room. He glared at the security guards stationed by the door, placed there specifically to keep him out.
"You need to calm down," Han said, ever the voice of reason as he watched Yoongi traverse the floor in obvious agitation.
"Shut the fuck up!" Yoongi yelled, taking his anger out on his friend. "You don't get to tell me to calm down. That's my girlfriend in there, you fucking asshole! And those guards won't let me in to see her!"
Han rolled his eyes.
"You do realise the only reason those guards are there is because of you, right? They let you in the first time and you wrecked the place just because Eunhye wasn't waking up when you wanted her to. Who the fuck even does that?"
Jungkook stared at Yoongi from where he was sitting on the chairs aligning the far wall. He winced when Yoongi raised his voice, still reeling from the negative effects his temper had on him. Nothing good ever resulted from Yoongi's loss of temper, and yet it was a constant that would not stop happening.
When will he learn that his inability to control his rage came hand in hand with consequences that oftentimes ended with those around him being hurt?
"Selfish bastard," Jungkook muttered under his breath.
Unfortunately for him, he wasn't quiet enough and Yoongi heard every word, turning to glare at him with menace.
"What did you say?" Yoongi asked, attention shifting from Han to Jungkook.
"I said, you're a selfish bastard," Jungkook reiterated, this time with venom lacing his tone.
Yoongi was about to lunge at the boy with full murderous intent, but was halted when the door to Eunhye's hospital room opened and out stepped the doctor followed closely behind by a nurse holding onto a tray of medication.
Suddenly, Jungkook and his taunts didn't matter anymore. The only thing that mattered was Eunhye, but as Yoongi's gaze fell upon the tray and the numerous drugs it held, he couldn't help the constricted feeling tightening itself around his throat.
"Doctor," he said, fumbling into the man's path. "I–"
"You're the one giving my staff a hard time," the doctor interrupted. His words were harsh despite the kind and understanding smile on his face.
Yoongi faltered, glancing at the nurse who scowled at him. He recognised her as one of the few who had tried to haul him out of the hospital room. He grimaced.
The doctor looked over his shoulder and nodded his head, a sign for the nurse to leave them as she ventured back to her workstation.
"Mr Min, is it?" he asked, turning back to face Yoongi.
"Yes. Um, I . . ." he gestured vaguely towards the guarded hospital room. "Can I see her now? Eunhye, I mean."
The doctor barely had time to say anything else before Yoongi was attempting to push past him towards the hospital room. He would have succeeded too, if not for the doctor's grip on his upper arm, pulling him back.
"If you would let me finish, Mr Min," he said, releasing his hold. "You are free to see Miss Lee after we've had a talk."
Yoongi didn't like the sound of that. He hesitated, contemplating between punching the guy in the face and trying his luck, or concede to authority for once in his life.
With a heavy sigh, he said, "Fine, but just tell me if they're okay. Eunhye and the baby—are they okay?"
"The baby is completely fine. You don't have to worry."
"And Eunhye?" Yoongi persisted.
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," the doctor said, voice grave.
"What's wrong with her? What's wrong with Eunhye?" Yoongi asked, not wanting to fear the worse but having immense difficulty keeping his sanity whenever it involved Eunhye.
"You should know that carrying a child is not easy. The body goes through numerous changes and how one usually reacts to various situations under normal circumstances changes when one is pregnant."
"Get to the point."
"Miss Lee is under a lot of stress, Mr Min," the doctor said without a hint of hesitation.
"She collapsed because of . . . stress?"
The doctor nodded.
"In not so many words, yes. She seemed to have been put under a lot of strain, probably over an extended period of time, and it proved to be too much for her to handle."
The doctor permitted a few seconds for the revelation to sink in before he continued, "I'm not in any position to assume the state of your household, Mr Min, but I am inclined to intervene. The way you reacted in the hospital room earlier does not bode well for you either."
"What are you trying to say?" Yoongi asked, eyes narrowing a fraction.
"I have reason to believe you might be the cause of Miss Lee's distress. The reason for her sudden collapse."
Yoongi stared at the doctor, his expression morphing into a blank slate accompanied by an almost dangerous glint in his eyes. The urge to punch the doctor was back, his hand already clenching into a fist by his side.
"You're right," he said instead. "You're not in any position to assume anything. I would never hurt Eunhye. She's carrying my child. I would never do that to her."
The doctor nodded his head slowly, keeping his calm facade despite the angry man in front of him.
"Of course, Mr Min," he said, the smile still on his face. "A word of advice—don't worry Miss Lee unnecessarily. She's still in the early stages of her pregnancy and it could result in complications for the baby."
Yoongi bit his tongue to keep himself from lashing out at the doctor. He had caused enough of a scene earlier. He didn't need to get banned entirely from the hospital grounds when he was so close to getting a pass at seeing Eunhye.
"Thanks," he muttered.
The doctor nodded, turning to the guards and giving them the okay.
"You're free to see Miss Lee now," he said, turning back to urge Yoongi forward. "Just promise me you won't break anything else in there."
Yoongi didn't bother with a reply. All he wanted right now was Eunhye and he couldn't move any faster when he rushed to enter her room. He exhaled and felt all the strength of putting up a front draining from him when his gaze finally landed on her—lying on the hospital bed looking tired and pale.
"Baby . . ." he whispered, closing the door behind him before he hurried to her side, taking her hand delicately in his.
She was already awake, staring at him as he brought her hand to his lips to place a kiss on her knuckles.
"The nurse was complaining about you. She said you were making a mess of things," Eunhye said, nudging her head in the direction of the broken vase.
Yoongi let loose a light chuckle.
"Baby, everyone was complaining about me, not just the nurse, and all I wanted to do was stay here with you. But they wouldn't let me. What else was I supposed to do?"
"Maybe you could have waited like everybody else. I mean," she paused, lifting up the hand that was hooked to the IV. "Clearly I'm not going anywhere any time soon."
"Yeah, sorry, I just . . . I wanted to be there with you."
"Yoongi . . ." Eunhye started, the tone in her voice causing him to subconsciously tighten his grip on her. "The doctor said I collapsed because of stress. That I had a lot on my mind when the only thing I should really be focusing on is the baby and trying to have a healthy and stable pregnancy."
Yoongi couldn't help the scoff that escaped him.
"The doctor told me that I was the cause of your stress. That I did this to you."
Eunhye blinked her eyes in shock. She wasn't surprised per se. Yoongi was on her mind all the time, it'd only make sense. In fact, she'd be more surprised if he wasn't the cause. She was, however, surprised at the doctor's blatant accusation. She didn't think he'd go right up to Yoongi and say such a thing to him. It was almost appalling if it wasn't true.
"Yoongi . . ." she said, gulping. "I'll be honest with you. I agree with the doctor . . . And I don't think we should be doing this. I don't think you should be doing this."
"Eunhye, what are you saying?" Yoongi asked. "You don't want the baby anymore? Or you're . . . You're breaking up with me or something? Because we've been through this before and you know I'm not letting you leave me. So, what is it?"
"Of course, I still want the baby, Yoongi. I just . . . I don't want to have the child with you."
Yoongi couldn't believe what he was hearing. The silence that followed was daunting. All he could afford to do was stare at her as he tried to process the meaning behind her words.
"I am the father of our child, Eun," he finally said. "You can't get rid of me. You can't push me away and expect me to be okay with it."
"The doctor is right, Yoongi . . . Can't you see that? You're on my mind all the time and I'm constantly alternating between being scared of you or worrying about you. I don't even know how I feel sometimes. Everything is about you when I should be focusing on myself for the sake of the child. I just think that . . . perhaps it's for the best if you weren't there. If you won't do it for me, then think of the baby. Do it for him, or her."
"This is fucking ridiculous," Yoongi spat, letting go of her hand completely. "I'm supposed to take care of you and you want me to leave? What are you so worried about?"
"Yoongi, you kill people," Eunhye said, aghast. "What do you think I'm worried about?"
"Yes, I'm well aware of that. It's not as though I'm going to kill you. Stop overreacting."
"Stop overreacting?" Eunhye repeated, tears starting to spill over when she realised she couldn't keep her thoughts to herself anymore. "How can you possibly think I'm overreacting? You can't be a father and a . . . a killer at the same time, Yoongi! You can be one or the other, not both!"
This is too much for her. He was being too much.
"You know what, Yoongi? You're right—you are the father of my child. But you also kill people. That alone is aggravating but the worse thing of all is the fact that I still love you despite knowing what you do. I don't even contemplate what's wrong with you anymore. I contemplate what's wrong with me."
She paused, attempting to keep herself from breaking down completely.
"So fuck you, Min Yoongi, if you can't even understand where I'm coming from."
Eunhye was breathing hard by the time she ended her outburst, wiping away her tears as she watched Yoongi's shocked expression change drastically by the widening grin forming on his face.
"Fuck me?" he chuckled, a hint of pride in his voice. "Baby, you're so fucking hot when you get all riled up like that."
"You . . . Did you even listen to a word I said?"
Eunhye was about to cry in frustration again when he shushed her.
"I don't want to keep arguing with you, and I really want this to work. If you're so bothered by the murders, I'll stop killing people. It's that easy, isn't it? So stop trying to push me away."
"Yoongi," Eunhye groaned, aggravation laced in her tone. "You're not listening to me."
They stared at each other for a few seconds before she exhaled and closed her eyes, leaning back against the propped up pillows behind her.
"What?" Yoongi asked. "You said my casual manner of killing is what's bothering you so I'll stop killing. What's wrong now?"
"You're not listening to me," she repeated, shifting to fix him with a glare. "I'm scared of you, Yoongi. We're in a relationship. We have a child on the way. I shouldn't be scared of you but I am. And I don't know why because I can't remember a damn thing. It's not about you killing people again. It's about you having done it before and you . . . You don't feel anything. There's no remorse in your eyes. You speak of it as though it's the most natural thing in the world and I'm sorry, but I can't have my child growing up around any of that. It may be normal for you, Yoongi, but it's not for me. And I don't ever want it to be something that's normal to our child."
"So that's it, then? You're just going to leave me?"
"Please try to understand. I want what's best for our child," Eunhye said. "And what's best right now is for you to leave."
Yoongi scoffed. He stood, shaking his head as his sudden agitation forced him into pacing the room with unease.
"No," he said at last, coming to an abrupt halt as he turned a steely gaze in her direction. "I'm not fucking leaving you, Eunhye. Not now, not ever. As far as I'm concerned, we love each other, and not even that child in your stomach is going to get in the way of that."
Noticing the shift in his demeanour, Eunhye straightened, hands immediately placed protectively over her belly.
"Don't make me regret ever getting you pregnant, Eunhye," he said, cutting her off. "I know what the doctor said . . . And I don't care. In my opinion, it's still not too late to get rid of that thing if it continues getting in the way of our relationship. If I were you, I'd be careful of what I say from now on."
He leaned closer to her, grabbing her chin to make her face him.
"Don't test me, Eunhye. You haven't seen the worst of me yet."
Chapter 43: the girl and the gun
Ji Yeon—whose unreadable expression was shrouded by the shadows of the waiting room—watched in contemplated silence as Yoongi exited the hospital room. She followed him with her gaze as he disappeared down the hallway with two others behind him. Unlike hers, his expression was grim, mouth set in a frown though he could not seem to hide the troubled look in his eyes.
"I'd wager a guess at who's lying stranded in that room," Baekhyun said, voice devoid of emotion.
Ji Yeon exhaled, placing a hand on her forehead as she tried to right her suddenly unstable breathing despite the tears already forming in her eyes.
"I should've known . . ." she said. "I should've known he'd never let her go that easily. I should've known I meant nothing to him. He's just like the rest of them. I don't know why I expected any different."
She turned, hiding her face in her brother's chest as she grabbed the lapels of his jacket, quiet sobs wreaking through her. Baekhyun sighed, rubbing comforting circles on her back as he waited for her cries to die down.
"It's not your fault you fell in love with him, Ji," he said. "You can't control how you feel."
Baekhyun was right, as he always was. Just like his decision to follow Yoongi; one that ended disastrously, if Ji Yeon had a say in any of it. Earlier that day, when the siblings caught Yoongi leaving the shipyard on a supposed errand, Baekhyun suggested he tailed the former on the pretext that he was acting a little suspicious.
In truth, Baekhyun merely wanted to prove a possible theory and if it failed, then he hoped the stalking would somehow determine what other business the guy had.
Unfortunately for him, Ji Yeon begged to be brought along despite his disapproval, but her continued insistence ended with him giving in. He could never really say no to her, after all. Even when he'd rather not have her discover the possible truth in such a manner.
Ji Yeon, on the other hand, was not looking to dispel Yoongi's apparent innocence. Her only purpose was to prove her brother wrong in his negative assumptions. But even she knew she wouldn't like what she'd find on her stakeout with Baekhyun. She was in denial, but the rational part of her knew Yoongi's suspicious behaviour could only mean utter betrayal on his part.
At the end of it, Baekhyun's theory was proven true, and Ji Yeon was made to seem the fool for vehemently protecting Yoongi's honour. Or a lack thereof. Despite her rationality winning and her denial squashed, her wounded pride would much rather have her be right about her blind trust towards him.
But Ji Yeon was not one to dwell on broken hearts and her despondence hardly lasted before it shifted to pure anger. She pushed away from Baekhyun, wiping her tears with the back of her hand. She took a deep breath, much calmer now that her resolve was set.
"Better?" Baekhyun asked, handing her his handkerchief.
"Yeah," she mumbled.
"Good, because you're probably not going to like what I have to say next."
Ji Yeon paused. She glanced at her brother in curiosity and hints of apprehension, though she kept her silence, waiting for him to continue.
"I don't think Lee Eunhye is the one we're looking for," he said. "I don't think she killed Taehyung."
Conflict crossed Ji Yeon's features but before she could say anything in protest, Baekhyun raised his hand to stop her. He wasn't going to let her start her train of rants until she heard him out.
"We have been so focused on finding the girl, we failed to notice the bigger picture—she vanished without a trace not once, but twice."
"What do you mean?" Ji Yeon asked.
"Eunhye was never discharged from the hospital; she was forcefully taken. That we know for a fact. Assuming it was Taehyung who took her, it still doesn't answer the question as to how she wasn't found at the crime scene. She disappeared again, but this time . . . Who took her? Because it sure as hell wasn't Taehyung," Baekhyun said, letting it sink in for a few seconds before continuing.
"We know Taehyung's death wasn't due to injuries obtained from the car accident—it was caused by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. So, he crashes the car, the girl vanishes, and he dies. It makes sense until you start to wonder about the other vehicle involved in the accident. Taehyung crashed into another car, but his car was the only one at the scene of the crime . . . It's obvious at this point that whoever rammed their car against Taehyung's, also killed him, took the girl and left."
"The gun," Ji Yeon said in a slight daze, the cogs in her mind starting to turn at her brother's words. "The murder weapon. It was never found either."
Baekhyun nodded his head.
"That's because the weapon—and Eunhye too, apparently—both belong to the same person. The person who was driving the car responsible for causing Taehyung's accident; the person who had no hesitation gunning down a man; the person who left the scene of the crime with his possessions in tow . . ."
Ji Yeon turned wide eyes in Baekhyun's direction, her mouth falling open when the realisation hit her.
"Min Yoongi," she said in a harsh whisper, hardly believing it herself despite the logical truth behind her brother's explanation.
"Min Yoongi," Baekhyun agreed.
A much needed moment of silence and contemplation passed between the two before Ji Yeon lifted her rage-fuelled eyes to meet her brother's.
"What are we going to do? Dad says he wants the murderer brought to the residence alive . . . Have you told him your speculations about Yoongi?"
Baekhyun shook his head.
"I thought it would be better to let you know first after confirming my suspicions. After all, I knew you were sweet on him and hearing this news secondhand—and from Dad of all people—wouldn't be fair to you," he said. "Now that you've been made aware, the question isn't what we should do, but rather what you think we should do."
"We don't tell Dad about this. I'm keeping a lid on it for the time being."
"Okay, that's easy enough. What about Yoongi?"
"The bastard lied and cheated on me. This ends with his death and nothing else. I'm going to fucking kill him," Ji Yeon said just as a sudden thought occurred to her, her eyes straying to Eunhye's room. "But then again . . . Where's the fun in that, right?"
Baekhyun followed her line of sight, a worried frown etching itself to the crevices of his skin.
"Perhaps I shouldn't kill him that easily. He doesn't deserve it. He deserves to suffer as we did when he stole our brother from us for the sake of a measly girl," she said.
"Ji . . . You can't," Baekhyun said, voice bordering on the edges of a warning. He knew with so little words what his sister had in mind and he had to stop her.
"Why not? So it's okay when he kills Taehyung in cold blood? But not when I have intentions of ripping that stupid bitch from his life?" Ji Yeon asked. "Blood demands to be repaid in blood, Baekhyun. A life for a life. And there's no revenge sweeter than killing Lee Eunhye in front of Yoongi to remind him not to mess with the Jade Cobras . . . Not to mess with me."
"I won't let you do that," Baekhyun said, his gaze stern as he grabbed his sister firmly by the arm.
Ji Yeon glanced at his hand latching onto her and scoffed.
"Are you trying to be the hero now?" she taunted. "Don't make me laugh, Baek. You—the person who has no qualms in taking anyone's lives, including women—trying to defend the helpless lamb? Don't give me this crap. Don't you want justice for what's been done to Taehyung?"
"Of course, I do–"
"Then help me, Baekhyun!" Ji Yeon implored. "Help me kill the bitch."
"I said I wanted revenge on Taehyung's killer. But you know as well as I do Eunhye wasn't the one who pulled the trigger. Min Yoongi is the murderer and Min Yoongi is the one I will exact my revenge on," Baekhyun said, a flash of disappointment in his eyes as he looked at Ji Yeon.
"You . . ." he said, shaking his head with a huff. "You are using Taehyung's death as an excuse to inflict harm on someone you hold a grudge against simply because you are jealous of her. I cannot allow you to dirty your hands for such a weak reason. This is not what I expected from my sister, Ji Yeon."
Ji Yeon's eyes narrowed into slits and her lips trembled in a mix of uncontrollable anger and frustration.
"Yeah? Well, you can take your expectations and shove it up your arse!" she hissed. She yanked her arm free from his hold before turning on her heel and stomping her way towards Eunhye's room.
She had full intentions to kill Eunhye the same way Yoongi had killed Taehyung—a single bullet through the skull. But before that, she fancied a chat with the bitch. For old times' sake. Or perhaps just to scare her a little and watch her quiver in fear.
Ji Yeon reached for the door, her hand deftly encircling the knob, and was just about to push it open when she felt the force of another hand over hers; keeping her immobilised.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
Ji Yeon looked up, her breath hitching in her throat in shock when she met the eyes of her perpetrator.
She had never seen such rage reflected in his eyes before and for the first time in her life, in an ironic twist of fate, it was she who felt genuine fear suffocating her.
Chapter 44: unexpected visitor
"What are you doing here?" Yoongi repeated, eyes darkening with malice the longer he stared at Ji Yeon.
Though he was overwhelmed with immense anger, there was no denying the incessant hammering of his heart in his chest. He was angry, but he was also scared. The last person he wanted anywhere near Eunhye was Ji Yeon. Yet here she was, hand on the doorknob about to enter the room where his pregnant girlfriend was in.
"We were just leaving, weren't we, Ji?" Baekhyun interceded, his own hand loosely clutched around Yoongi's wrist to pry him off his sister.
Ji Yeon, whose fear had given way to frustration upon hearing Baekhyun's words, turned to glare at him.
"No, we're not!" she all but yelled, getting increasingly annoyed by the calm smile on his face.
Ignoring her, Baekhyun addressed Yoongi directly, "We were just about to leave. We came here to visit a friend of ours and–"
"Like hell we did," Ji Yeon snapped. Her hand was still tightly clamped around the doorknob, refusing to budge as she stared Yoongi down.
"We followed you when we saw you leave the shipyard in a hurry. The bowling alley and the abandoned building, I don't get at all. But this?" she paused, scoffing. "Your whore's in there, isn't she?"
Ji Yeon was not expecting a response for a rhetorical question she had asked and was surprised when Yoongi swiped Baekhyun's hand away only to yank hers from the door harshly.
"Don't you fucking dare call her a whore again," he said, voice alarmingly unbothered despite the clear threat in his eyes.
"I should've known," Ji Yeon said, stepping away from the room and shaking her head in disbelief. "Is this all a game to you? Because two can play at this twisted game of yours. I will kill that bitch of a whore–"
Something in Yoongi snapped right then and there. Without a care for his surroundings or his actions, he pulled his gun out, pressing the barrel against Ji Yeon's head as he pushed her roughly into the wall behind her.
"Say another word and I swear to god I will blow your fucking brains out."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Baekhyun said, placing a hand on Yoongi's shoulder and gently pushing him away from Ji Yeon. "Or have you forgotten who you're dealing with? Is killing one of us not enough for you? Are you planning on killing Ji Yeon too? Because no matter how I try to see it, it's not going to end well for you."
Baekhyun watched the confusion cross Yoongi's features for a brief second before the latter took a moment to consider the words being said to him. Even so, the gun in his hand remained trained on Ji Yeon, ever ready to go off at the slightest nudge of his finger.
"You know about Taehyung?" Yoongi asked.
Baekhyun stared at him in silence before exhaling scornfully.
"I know it was you who did it," he said, inclining his head in the direction of the unwavering weapon in his grasp. "With that very same gun, I'd bet."
Yoongi's jaw visibly tightened but he kept his composure as best he could.
"So, what? You're going to go after Eunhye as compensation? The whole 'eye for an eye' bullshit?"
"I have no business with the girl, Yoongi, trust me. But if you pull that trigger, I'll make certain she's my business whether or not you like it. Her, and the little Yoongi junior growing inside her."
Yoongi's eyes darted in his direction the second he said those words, clear hesitation and sudden conflict reflected in their depths.
"Oh, yes, of course, I know about the baby. Or should I say—your baby," Baekhyun chuckled. "You fathered a child with Taehyung's girl. Did you really think you could hide something like that from us?"
"She was mine first," he said through gritted teeth, voice faintly ragged. "She was mine before she was his. He stole her from me."
"Look, Yoongi. I meant what I said. I don't care about the girl and I definitely don't care about the trifle you had with my brother. What I do care about, is that gun you have pointed at my sister's head. Take a step back, and consider your choices carefully. Put down your weapon, or Eunhye's death is on you. So, what will it be?"
Yoongi said nothing. He didn't have to. His choice was obvious and his actions would speak for themselves as he lowered his gun. He was starting to realise just then the stupidity that somehow convinced him to carry through with his plans of getting involved with the Jade Cobras.
He was playing a dangerous game and where he was confident in getting rid of them before, he wasn't so sure now. Not only did the Jade Cobras know of Eunhye's existence, but they also knew of his involvement with her. His association with her was no longer a speculation. It was a fact, and one wrong move on his part could have terrible and irreversible repercussions.
They had leverage over him now. They know his weakness. They could ask anything of him and he'd do it without a hint of hesitation. All it would take is a spoken word of threat against Eunhye's life. It was that simple.
Yoongi wished now more than ever that he had listened to Han when the man told him multiple times to stay away from the Jade Cobras. He shouldn't have gone looking for Taehyung with the measly excuse that his death would make their lives so much more peaceful.
He couldn't have been more wrong. Now the guy was dead as he had hoped for, but nothing good came of it. Yoongi's actions only raked up a whole lot more trouble for himself.
He should've just let life take its course and dealt with Taehyung if and when he turned up. Why did he have to seek him out instead?
Now everything was going to shit.
"There we go," Baekhyun's voice cut through Yoongi's moment of distraction. "It wasn't so bad coming to an understanding, was it? We even managed to mediate the situation without any bloodshed."
The encouraging words were followed closely by a firm—and threatening—grip on the shoulder before he was finally set free.
Turning to Ji Yeon, Baekhyun said in a stern and authoritative tone, "We're going home. Now."
Ji Yeon gave Yoongi one last glare before turning on her heels and stalking off down the hallway in the opposite direction. She knew Baekhyun's character enough to know that arguing with him now would be pointless. She could tell by his voice alone that he was not in the mood. At all.
Baekhyun nodded his head at Yoongi, making a move to follow in Ji Yeon's lead before he stopped, seeming to ponder a notion that had just occurred to him. He turned to glance back at Yoongi, a calculating smile on his face.
"You might want to keep that phone of yours close to you. You can expect a call from me pretty soon. We're not done yet, you and I."
"And if I refuse?" Yoongi challenged.
Baekhyun shrugged, his gaze moving towards the closed door of Eunhye's room. He stayed staring at it long enough to make a point before casually putting his hands in his pockets and sighing.
"It would be a pity, wouldn't it?" he said, turning back to face Yoongi. "If mummy and baby were to both perish in a freak accident. You'd be wreaked, wouldn't you? Completely devastated, I reckon. Especially since you were given a chance to protect them and keep them safe but you would rather feed your ego with tastes of supposed retaliation."
Baekhyun took a few steps forward and leaned closer to him.
"Your choice, Min Yoongi," he said in a low whisper. "We're playing a game of chess—you and I—and it's your move now. Just don't make the wrong one. Otherwise . . ."
He straightened, looking Yoongi in the eyes before moving to drag his thumb theatrically across his throat.
"The end," he said. "For them first. And then you."
Yoongi was left standing in the hospital's darkened hallway, alone with his thoughts, as he watched Baekhyun's retreating form disappear into the darkness beyond.
With no one else around to witness his slow disintegration, he permitted himself a few minutes to give in to his emotions as he staggered on his feet. His back hit the wall as he slid down to the floor, hands automatically moving to cover his face and muffle the erratic breathing that threatened to overwhelm him.
He fucked up.
And it couldn't have come at a worse timing because now, in not so many words, he had become the Jade Cobras' errand boy. He couldn't even say no either. Not with the threat of Eunhye's life hanging over his head on a thin line.
But as the wave of his breakdown slowed and came to a halt, he realised he had to do something about the situation. He couldn't do it alone, of course. He needed help—lots of it, perhaps—and he knew exactly who to look for first.
Chapter 45: doubt
Yoongi sat by Eunhye's bedside, watching as she ate her chocolate pudding with childlike excitement. She was having one of her late-night—or rather, early morning—cravings, and this time it was for chocolate pudding. She didn't know how Yoongi managed to find the exact kind she wanted at such an hour, but she was grateful nonetheless.
Her gaze flitted in his direction, eyes interlocking with his, and almost instantaneously, the excitement she presented just a few minutes prior was gone, replaced with a dulled expression. She pulled the plastic spoon from her mouth, lips pressed into a thin line as she averted her gaze.
"Do you want some?" she asked, despite the bitter tone in her voice. She wasn't quite over their last exchange, though she was still trying to be civil with him.
Yoongi couldn't help but smile, remembering their little trip to satisfy her ice cream cravings when she had asked him the exact same question. She was always eager to share what little goodness she had with him and he felt sorry because he didn't think he deserved it. Especially not when reality sets in and it started occurring to him that he was the cause of all the turmoil in her life.
"Yoongi?" Eunhye said, glancing at him once more when he failed to regard her question.
"What?" he asked, after having been pulled rather suddenly from his inner conflicts.
"I asked if you wanted to try some of the pudding," she held out the spoon for him to take. "It's good."
Yoongi glanced at it and in a distracted tone, asked, "Is it?"
He looked up from the spoon to stare at her face. With his gaze still transfixed, he stood, the chair scraping against the hospital's linoleum flooring. He leaned forward, startling her when he ignored the spoon in her hand and moved to gently hold her chin between his forefinger and thumb. He inched closer and kissed her, his tongue pushing past her lips to taste the sweetness coating the inside of her mouth thanks to the chocolate pudding she had been eating.
He pulled away, face still inches from hers as he swiped his thumb across her parted lips.
"Sweet," he murmured to her frozen expression.
Eunhye frowned despite the embarrassment reflected on her cheeks in bright red hues.
"You're far sweeter and tastier," Yoongi said, leaning in for another kiss only for her to turn away from him with a disgruntled huff.
He sighed, a disappointed smile on his face as he resumed his seat. He knew she was still angry at him over his outburst during his last visit. He didn't blame her. After all, he did threaten to have their baby killed. Not as though he'd actually do it. It was a spur of the moment thing and he'd lost control of his words and actions.
He tried resolving the issue by attempting to make clear his honest intentions, but she remained wary despite having listened to his explanation.
Eunhye cleared her throat, putting the spoon and the unfinished pudding aside. She no longer had an appetite despite craving for it just a moment ago. She was vexed by Yoongi's sudden kiss, but that wasn't the only thing irking her. Something wasn't right. She could feel it in the subtle way he was acting.
"Yoongi . . ." she said, calling for his attention as he turned to fix her with his hooded stare. "What's wrong?"
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"I don't know. It's just . . . Is something wrong?"
"It's nothing you have to worry about," Yoongi said, smiling in hopes of reassuring her of the supposed truth.
But his words only caused her frown to deepen.
"Something is wrong," she affirmed. "What is it?"
Eunhye didn't particularly wish to concern herself with his affairs especially when she had an inkling his source of distress had something to do with the apparent double life he was living. But she couldn't bring herself not to ask. She had to know the truth. Lies, in the dangerous world Yoongi was a part of, had consequences that did not end well. If he wanted to stay in their lives—hers and their child's—she had to know everything; if not for herself, then for the sake of their child's safety.
"You don't have to force yourself," Yoongi said, somehow able to read her innermost thoughts.
Those words, however, were accompanied by the same sad smile on his face—an expression that caused her to furrow her brows in conflict. She was still very much angry with him, but she couldn't suppress the part of her that worried over his wellbeing. Seeing him so unsure and so insecure of himself was not something she was used to and it troubled her greatly.
"Tell me what's wrong," she said again, this time in a softer, more understanding tone.
Yoongi sighed. There was no way he could ever deny her especially when she had that pleading look in her eyes.
"Do you remember anything about your ex-boyfriend? The one I killed?" he asked.
Eunhye inhaled sharply upon hearing the unexpected question. She wanted to listen to his problems but she felt like such a hypocrite for the pinprick of fear that blossomed in her chest at the nonchalance behind his words.
She wasn't used to hearing him speak of murder as though it was a walk in the park; something everyone did to pass the time.
"You said his name was Taehyung," she said, forcing herself to silence her thoughts, preventing them from going haywire for fear of a possible panic attack.
"That's right—Kim Taehyung. Do you remember him?"
She shook her head. Nothing came to mind at all.
"His family . . . They're part of a gang called the Jade Cobras and they're after me as revenge for killing him. They want me dead. Either that or they're going to use me somehow. I don't even care about what they'll do to me, but I . . ." he paused, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves.
"I'm afraid they might try to hurt you too," he whispered, his voice suddenly hoarse. "I'm afraid if they do something to me, I'm going to leave you alone in this world to fend for yourself and I can't have that. I just . . . I can't."
Eunhye stared at him, gulping and nodding her head as she exhaled shakily. This was exactly what she was afraid of and it would seem the very worse of her fears were taking form. She knew something like this was bound to happen sooner or later. It was the reason she wanted to raise the child away from him in the first place, but Yoongi was too blind to see anything beyond his own selfish desires.
Her emotions were a whirlwind of chaos within her and as horrifying as it was to admit, her first instinct was to hurt him. She wanted to hurt him just as much as his selfishness was going to hurt them. She wanted to yell at him, scratch him, kick him. Hell, she even felt the growing urge to punch him repeatedly in the face.
But she knew she couldn't do it.
With everyone and everything against him, Yoongi desperately needed all the support he could get. A part of her knew if she deserted him too, he would have lesser or no regard for the dangers he was about to encounter. He would have no regard for life. His life. And in all honesty, Eunhye wasn't sure if she was ready to face being the indirect cause of bringing death to Min Yoongi.
"They've found my weak spot—you," Yoongi said. "And I swear to fuck they're going to exploit it without mercy. It's finally coming to bite me in the arse. All the shit I've done to people. All the shit I've done to you. This is my retribution."
A moment of silence passed between them with Eunhye just staring at Yoongi as he visibly crumbled before her; burying his head into his arms as he hid his face from her in shame. She closed her eyes, attempting to right her state of mind, and when she opened them again, she found herself gently caressing his hair in a manner she knew he found comforting.
"Go to the police," she said, voice flat yet stern.
She was being serious. This wasn't the time for him to be the hero of his own twisted tale. It was too dangerous. He said so himself that an entire gang was after him. What was he hoping to achieve in so little time?
Yoongi chuckled at her suggestion, chest rumbling and shoulders shaking at the effort it took for him to produce the forced sound. Still, he kept his expression hidden from her, refusing to let her see the panic in his eyes. He knew if she caught wind of his true feelings, he'd worry her even more than she was now.
"The police are going to fuck me over first before ever getting to the Jade Cobras and by the time they do, it'll be too late. I'm always going to be on the losing side of this battle."
"But you have to do something, right? You can't just give up," Eunhye said, bits of frustration seeping into the tone of her voice as she pulled her hand away. "There has to be something you can do."
She couldn't seem to understand the reason behind her exasperation and her desperate need to ensure Yoongi's safety. Why was she willing to go to such lengths to make him see reason? Why was she unable to bear seeing him lose hope in the face of his growing adversities? As fucked up as she deemed him to be, she just couldn't see him let go of himself in such a manner. She couldn't let go of him if it meant he'd just as easily let go of himself.
"You're not making this any easier on either of us," she said.
She had just about enough of his antics as she forcibly pushed him by the shoulders into an upright position. His head hung low, arms limp by his sides as a listless sigh escaped him.
At long last, he said, "I have a plan."
"I'm not sure if it's going to work or if the people involved are even willing to cut a deal with me, but it's still a plan."
"It's better than nothing," she said, leaning back against the pillows as she watched the hints of life seep back into his eyes.
Yoongi kept his gaze lowered for another minute or two, long enough to gather his thoughts before he looked at her, the edges of his lips turning upwards in a hesitant smile.
"I love you so fucking much, you know that?" he asked, nervously wringing his hands. "I really do."
"Yeah?" she scoffed in disbelief.
"Then don't be an idiot and don't let yourself die," she said. "You need to stay alive and you need to carry on with whatever that plan of yours is."
"You're okay with this?" Yoongi asked, genuinely surprised upon hearing her words. "You're okay with me going through with the plan even if it's against the law? Even if I might have to . . . kill someone? Or maybe even several someones?"
Eunhye frowned, looking away in an attempt to avoid his blatant stare that seemed to penetrate her very existence and pierce her soul. He was trying hard to place a read on her but for the life of him, he couldn't do it. He was at a loss as to what she was thinking and so was she.
"I don't know," she finally said. "I don't know if I'm okay with it. I don't even want to know what your plan is because if I know then I'm probably going to stop you."
She took a deep breath before continuing, "If you know your actions are coming back to bite you—to bite us—then take responsibility for the consequences. Protect what you must, but above all, you have to protect yourself. What I'm trying to say, is just . . . Please, don't be an idiot, Yoongi. Don't do anything stupid. Make the right decisions and for god's sake, Yoongi, think before you act."
Yoongi's gaze softened and he found himself in need of her embrace as he climbed atop her bed and wrapped his arms around her, taking a moment to bask in her warmth despite the obvious discomfort his sudden affection was bringing her.
He kissed her forehead, nuzzling into the familiar scent of her hair as a contented sigh escaped him.
He no longer harboured feelings of doubt concerning the Jade Cobras' involvement in their lives. He already had a plan formulating in his mind and if Eunhye was confident of his abilities to rectify his mistakes, then he sure as hell wasn't going to disappoint her.
Eunhye and his child weren't his weaknesses, after all.
They were his strength and the driving force behind his sudden spike in motivation.
Chapter 46: you again
"I need you to contact Namjoon," Yoongi said the second he walked into Han's apartment.
"If I ask why, will you tell me?" Han responded, entirely unperturbed by Yoongi's sudden appearance.
He was used to the ruckus Yoongi left in his wake when he was charged by murderous intent and this was no different. Jungkook, however, was startled enough by the slamming of the front door to have fallen from his spot in the living room. The action caught Yoongi's attention and he scowled when he noticed the boy's presence.
"What is he still doing here?"
Han looked at Jungkook and shrugged.
"Don't know," he said. "And frankly, I don't care because he's not my problem."
"Well?" Yoongi asked, waiting for Jungkook to say something.
"Uh . . ." Jungkook glanced between Han and Yoongi with uncertainty reflected in his eyes.
"If you have no good reason to be here, then leave. I have enough on my plate with the Jade Cobras as it is. I don't want, or need, the extra burden of having to deal with you too."
Jungkook perked up when he heard the name of the gang being mentioned. He struggled to resume his seat on the sofa.
"The Jade Cobras?" he repeated, much too keen for Yoongi's liking. "What's wrong with the Jade Cobras? Did something happen?"
"You'd like that wouldn't you?"
When Jungkook said nothing except to continue looking at him with an expectant look on his face, Yoongi scoffed.
Begrudgingly, he said, "Nothing's wrong with the Jade Cobras except they've made me their dog. Bloody bastards found a hold over me and I need to fucking destroy them before they find a use for me."
He turned to Han.
"So get Namjoon on the line and be quick about it."
Han nodded and moved into the next room, leaving Jungkook alone with Yoongi. The latter walked over to the alcohol cabinet, pulling out the bottle of bourbon and pouring himself a glass.
"The fuck you're looking at?" he asked when he felt Jungkook's blatant stare on him.
"If I find a solution to your problem with the Jade Cobras . . . Will you let me stay?"
Yoongi stared at Jungkook with calculating eyes before slowly downing the bourbon in one tilt of the glass. He placed it down carefully on the table and poured himself another helping.
"You better not be toying with me, Jungkook. I'm really not in the mood for one of your tricks."
"I'm being serious," Jungkook insisted. "I told you—I want to help Eunhye. I'll do whatever it takes, even if I have to help you to keep her safe by extension."
"What's in it for you?"
Jungkook visibly hesitated, chewing on the inside of his cheek as he gathered the courage to state his demands. He took a deep breath before saying, "I want to stay with you and Eunhye when all this is over."
Yoongi stopped midway through taking a sip of his second glass of bourbon as his gaze fixed pointedly on Jungkook. It was almost as though he was having an internal debate with himself—attempting to determine if Jungkook was being serious. Yoongi lowered the glass, beverage suddenly forgotten.
"What the fuck," he said, the words more a statement of disbelief than a question.
"I don't have anywhere to go," Jungkook said in his defence as though it would somehow justify his need to stay with them.
"Stay with Han," Yoongi said with a scowl. "But you're not staying with us."
Jungkook frowned at Yoongi before huffing and crossing his arms.
"Fine. Then I guess you won't be needing my help anymore, huh? Since convincing a government agent to help you would be so much easier," he said sarcastically.
Yoongi eyed Jungkook for a few seconds, seriously considering the latter's words. With a heavy sigh, he finally said, "It's still a no, but I'll hear you out and then you can try to convince me if I'm interested. Although I still don't get how you could ever contribute to anything."
"Did you forget about the mercenaries I hired?" Jungkook asked, unable to stop the grin from appearing on his face.
"The mercenaries I hired with your money to take out the undercover cops and–"
"Incite a gang war, yeah," Yoongi interrupted. He knew where this was going and it annoyed him that Jungkook's help might actually be necessary.
"Well . . . They're still waiting on my word to take out the targets. All you have to do is say when and it's a go," Jungkook said, fidgeting in his seat in sheer excitement.
Han came in just then, glancing between the two—Yoongi, whose face was fixed in a permanent scowl; and Jungkook, grinning like the fool—and decided not to question what had taken place in his absence. Instead, he held up his phone to indicate the conversation that had just ended a few seconds ago.
"Namjoon?" Yoongi inquired.
"I conveyed your message and he says he wants to meet in person," Han said. "Well . . . When I claimed he 'said', it's more of a forced insistence rather than a calm suggestion."
"Your point, Han?"
"Right. He's coming here."
The distaste was clear on Yoongi's face and Han hurried to defend himself.
"He ended the call before I could protest! What was I supposed to do? Besides, I'm pretty sure he'd turn up either way. He's probably coming here as an excuse to check on Eunhye."
"She's not even here," Yoongi said.
"He doesn't know that, does he? But . . ." Han's gaze travelled to Jungkook. "He's going to be in for a surprise when he sees who's actually here."
The realisation of Han's observation hit Jungkook hard, his eyes immediately widening in panic.
"He can't know who I am, can he? I– I mean, it's not possible he'd know what I look like since we've never met before," he stuttered, trying his best to convince himself of his safety.
"He is a government agent. Who knows what he has access to—including, but not limited to, your personal file and whatever that's on it. I wouldn't be surprised if he does know who you are at first glance."
"Thanks," Jungkook hissed. "That's bloody reassuring."
"Jungkook, leave if you're scared," Yoongi interrupted. "Otherwise, stay and keep your mouth shut."
He turned to look at Han pointedly before adding, "Both of you."
Han mimed zipping his mouth and tossing the imaginary key over his shoulder before he moved to slump on the sofa next to Jungkook.
The sudden harsh knock that followed startled everyone, the force applied enough to cause the front door to strain against its hinges. Yoongi gathered himself, expressionless mask back on his face, as he strode towards the door and pulled it open.
"Namjoon," he said in greeting, voice bland though slightly strained.
Namjoon eyed him for a few seconds before he scoffed and pushed past him into the apartment. It was his silent scrutiny of disbelief. After all, it was the first time in months the two had seen each other and their last meeting did not end all too well either.
He stepped into the living room, tilting his head in acknowledgement in Han's direction and raising his eyebrow when his gaze landed on the person sitting next to the informant.
"Well, if it isn't Mr Jeon Jungkook, the very person I've been looking for," he said with hints of amusement tinting his voice.
"He's with us," Yoongi said.
His words were laced with the quiet poison of threat, something Namjoon did not miss.
"Of course, he is. You have a knack for getting all up in my business. Can't say I'm surprised."
Namjoon's move to sit in the armchair furthest from Jungkook was his way of saying he was not there to cause any trouble; a declaration much appreciated by everyone who understood it.
"So," he said, turning to Yoongi. "Han tells me you wanted to see me. Something urgent or whatnot."
"I need your help to take down the Jade Cobras," Yoongi said, not an ounce of shame in his request for assistance.
He needed help and he wasn't afraid to admit it. Besides, he wasn't doing this for himself. He had Eunhye to think about. Her safety came first at all costs, even if it meant having to grovel at the enemy's feet.
Han choked on his saliva, coughing into his fisted hand and disrupting the strained atmosphere. If Namjoon was just as surprised as Han was at Yoongi's sudden state of humbleness, he didn't show it. In fact, if it wasn't for the slight twitch of his lips, none would be the wiser that Namjoon had even heard a word Yoongi said.
"And why should I help you?" Namjoon's gaze unexpectedly shifted to Jungkook for a brief second. "There's nothing in it for me. I could drag Jeon Jungkook out of here, beat the shit out of him, get him to call off the mercenaries and end the day with a nice cold beer. So why should I even bother helping you?"
Namjoon was waiting to be sold on Yoongi's cause, as he should be, but he barely gave the man time to formulate his sentences before launching into his second attack.
"I still haven't forgiven you for the trauma you put my sister through. Not to mention the whole thing with Eunhye. Lying to her? Really? Fabricating an entire false truth about your lives together . . . Just what are you getting at, Min Yoongi?"
Yoongi gritted his teeth, his hands balled into tight fists by his side. It was taking everything in him not to punch Namjoon square in the face. Annoyed was an understatement to just how peeved he was feeling at that moment.
Yoongi managed to calm himself enough to think things through rationally. He thought back to Han's words and taking a deep breath, he said, "I know you came here to check on Eunhye."
"Yeah? Well, where is she? The room's too full of testosterone for my liking," Namjoon said.
"That's exactly the reason I need your help . . . Eunhye's in the hospital—and before you jump to conclusions, she's fine—but she has the Jade Cobras on her back and my hands are tied. If I do anything to touch them, anything at all, they'll go after her and I can't risk her getting hurt. My only chance is to take them down as a whole. End the entire gang. But I can't do it alone. I need your help."
Unfazed, Namjoon said nonchalantly, "Okay, fine. But it still doesn't change the fact that there's nothing in it for me."
"Is that all you care about?" Yoongi asked, frowning.
"You want me to spend my time, effort, and resources to help you, a fugitive, when there's nothing in it for me? Hardly seems fair, don't you think?"
Alas, on this front, Yoongi had nothing. He didn't know what could possibly convince Namjoon to help. He was relying on the man's soft spot for Eunhye, but it seemed he was mistaken. Helping someone like him with no incentives whatsoever was too much of a risk for Namjoon, even for Eunhye's sake.
In the minutes that followed the stretch of silence, Namjoon said, "Let me make myself clear—if there's nothing in it for me, don't bother asking for my help. Sympathy will get you nowhere."
Chapter 47: hatch your plan
Yoongi kept his gaze fixed on Namjoon for another minute before he sighed.
"I'm sorry," he said. "About your sister."
Another round of choked coughs escaped Han, the action of which earned him a harsh glare from Yoongi. Han cleared his throat, gulping as he looked down at his clasped hands. This was awkward. He'd never think Yoongi of all people would apologise for his actions.
He must be desperate enough, needing Namjoon's help to keep Eunhye safe. Though Han doubted the word 'desperate' was giving it any credit to the extreme weight of his exigence.
"Your apology means nothing to me," Namjoon said, annoyed that Yoongi would think for one second an apology would take back what he did.
Yoongi resisted the urge to exhale loudly in frustration. He went on a whim, apologising for causing hurt to Namjoon's sister—though the memory was vague at best—despite not feeling an ounce of guilt for what he had done. Yet, Namjoon remained unwavering in his decision not to render help.
Yoongi had humiliated himself in front of the man and for no good reason. The situation could not have been any worse.
Seeing the tensed and conflicted look on Yoongi's face was enough of a cause for Han to step in. In all honesty, he personally thought it unwise for Yoongi to make any dealings with Namjoon whatsoever. He wasn't in the right frame of mind and he was too emotionally invested; as was always the case when it concerned Eunhye. But who was he to intervene when Yoongi was known for being aggravatingly stubborn?
"I have a proposition," Han said, voice cutting through the thick air surrounding them. He tried to keep his tone light but it was difficult when the two looked about ready to kill each other.
"Something in it for you if you decide to help Yoongi," he added, immediately earning Namjoon's interest.
"Go on, then," Namjoon said.
"A few days back, you asked me to look into the Jade Cobras' drug shipments. Well . . . I did, and you won't believe the information I've managed to gather."
"Please. I did some digging of my own and I know for a fact that Yoongi's involved with the cartel. What makes you think I'd trust anything you say about it now? Conflict of interest is an issue not easily resolved."
"Except Yoongi has nothing to do with the tidbit of information I managed to get my hands on . . ." Han said, unable to stop the smug smile from showing on his face. ". . . and everything to do with Jungkook here who you have been tracking for the past few days."
"Me?" Jungkook asked, just as surprised as everyone else in the room.
"What's up with him?" Namjoon asked, curiosity piqued.
"As we all know, Jungkook hacked into the police database and secured a list of undercover police officers working the drug scene."
Namjoon's gaze flickered over to Jungkook whose eyes widened in panic as he tried to get Han to stop talking. He did not want to be on the receiving end of Namjoon's wrath. Annoyed, Han grabbed Jungkook by the scruff of his neck and yanked him off, pushing him away with a huff and a silent warning in his glare.
Jungkook scrambled back to his seat, giving Namjoon an apologetic bow and an awkward smile.
Keeping his eyes locked onto Jungkook, Namjoon asked, "And what does Jungkook plan to do with his newfound information? Is he really going to kill them? Incite a gang war that has nothing to do with him? And for what?"
He shifted his attention back on Han.
"I still don't get how this is supposed to convince me to help in any way."
"A few years ago, you were involved in a raid on a drug ring that went wrong. I did some sniffing around . . . And that particular drug ring is part of the Jade Cobras' cartel."
Namjoon raised his eyebrow.
"You're lying," he said.
"No, I'm not," Han said. "And I know for a fact you're not one to let things like this slip through your fingers. You want to finish them off, but you never could because you don't know who their leaders are. Well, now you do. It's the Jade Cobras, and we're already working on taking them down. So I'm asking you again—are you in, or aren't you?"
"This changes things."
"Your involvement means we can take the Jade Cobras down together, and this time, they'd be gone for good. Jungkook still has the mercenaries under his instruction, and you know those officers. If we work together, we can end both the Jade Cobras and the opposing gang."
"How do you propose we do that?" Namjoon asked. "The mercenaries have already seen the list Jungkook stole."
"They know their names, not their faces," Jungkook added hesitantly. "The list only contained the names of the officers and their badge numbers. Unless they're capable of hacking into the database themselves—which they're not, by the way—they can't possibly know what the officers look like."
Yoongi, seeing the way Namjoon was starting to sway, added, "We can give the mercenaries false targets and you can inform the officers about the coming altercation. When the fight ensues, your officers will be safe from the mercenaries' bullets and you can intervene at the right time to intercede with the shipments."
Namjoon nodded slowly.
"You'd be free from suspicion on the attack, I'd get my revenge, and both the officers and Eunhye will be safe."
"It's a win all around," Han said.
"Except for you," Namjoon said, looking pointedly at Jungkook.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't bring you in right now for your involvement in hacking into a secured network."
Seemingly offended, Jungkook proceeded to say in defence, "First of all, the network was barely even secure! If it was, I would never have been able to hack into anything. Secondly, I was also doing it to help Eunhye so you really can't hold it against me. And third, if you bring me in now, who's going to tell the mercenaries who to kill?"
"So," Namjoon said. "Following your logic, that means I can bring you in later, right? When all this is over?"
"No!" Jungkook exclaimed, looking appalled. "You can't! I'm going to live with Eunhye so you can rest assured I won't be on the bad side of the law anymore. It was a one-time thing, I swear!"
Yoongi scowled upon hearing his words, "Again with that? I thought I already told you that you're not living with us."
"I am. I said so."
Ignoring the two, Han turned towards Namjoon.
"I take it you're agreeable to the plan, then? You'll help us?" he asked.
Namjoon thought about it for a few seconds. He had two choices in the matter. He could arrest Jungkook, leave the officers to carry out their years-long undercover work and hope they'll yield results . . .
Or, he could help Yoongi, catch them in the act of drug trafficking, and end the day on a good note.
The choice was an obvious one. With a heavy sigh, he nodded his head.
"But only on one condition," he added, causing the whole room to pause and turn to him with apprehension.
"Eunhye comes back with me when all this is over."
Chapter 48: last talk
Yoongi sat unmoving by Eunhye's hospital bed. He held onto her hands, nervously playing with her fingers as he stubbornly refused to look at her. He couldn't stop thinking about Namjoon's condition—asking him to leave her. Or more accurately, wanting to take her away from him.
It was almost cruel. Especially since Yoongi had promised to be there for her and they had gone through so much for them to get to where they were now. Hell, they were even expecting a child together and Namjoon wanted him to just leave?
But it wasn't as though he was given much of a choice either. They needed Namjoon to be onboard with the plan and if leaving Eunhye would get him to agree to it . . .
Yoongi looked at her just then, not entirely surprised to see she was already looking back at him, though she carried the same expressionless look on her face when their eyes met.
If leaving her would mean the plan's success . . . then his decision was already made. He knew what he had to do even before entering the hospital room. It was the thought of breaking the news to her that weighed him down. Each step closer to her made him feel unbearably suffocated. As though the nearer he was to her, the tighter the imaginary cord around his neck, killing his supply of oxygen.
Ironic, he mused—how he once thought sacrificing Eunhye to the Jade Cobras would be for the betterment of their future together and now his mistakes were catching up to him. He knew it was wrong of him to have treated her that way; that Han had been right all along. He should have left Taehyung alone instead of attempting to hunt him down in his own territory, the result of which caused the mess they were currently in.
But why did the decision back then seem so much easier compared to the one he was forced to make now? Especially when he knew for a fact that this was the right thing to do; the right decision to make. That leaving her was the only way to protect her and keep her safe.
Why does making the right decision hurt him so much?
"Something's troubling you," Eunhye said, loosening her hand from his grip to grasp his chin lightly, tilting his head to scrutinise his face.
He caught the unmistakable hints of worry in her eyes and his hesitance couldn't be any more clear—he did not want to leave her at all. But now that he was forced to, he regretted every second of every moment he had overlooked the love and care she had for him. All he wanted now was to bask in the goodness she had to offer him but even that was asking for too much.
"Eun . . ." he said, slowly, hesitantly. He had to do it now before he lost all resolve and foiled the plan by deciding not to leave her.
Sensing the obvious pain in his voice, Eunhye sat up, the seriousness of the situation made clear to her then. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. And she was afraid to find out exactly what it was. Seeing the look on her face, Yoongi knew he couldn't tell her he was leaving her. He couldn't phrase it in that way. Not like that. He'd have to bluff his way through this one.
He'd have to lie.
"It's nothing, baby, just . . ." he tried for the best smile he could muster, though he doubted she'd believe it. "I have to go away for a while again."
The worry in Eunhye's eyes faltered and Yoongi could tell she was hesitant to trust his words. He wasn't surprised. It didn't even feel as though he was trying hard enough to mask his words as a lie. It was almost as though he wanted Eunhye to catch him in the act. But he was being selfish. So he tried again.
"The job last time. Do you remember? I left you with Han to go away for a while."
"It's not finished yet?" she asked, her voice unbearably soft. This time, Yoongi couldn't tell if she believed him or not.
"No, baby, it's not. I left in a hurry to tend to other matters before completing what was asked of me. They weren't too pleased about it but they'll let me off the hook if I go back quietly and resume my duties."
He tried to bury the ache in his heart, faking a laugh at his measly attempt at cordiality. Why was he feeling this way? All these emotions were making things so difficult for him.
"You won't do anything stupid, right?" Eunhye asked. "If you hurt yourself because of your rash behaviour, you'll worry me."
Yoongi gritted his teeth. He couldn't stay here any longer. His resolve was wavering by the second. He'd cave if he didn't leave in the next minute despite his desperate need to stay with her forever. He stood abruptly, the sound of the chair scraping against the floor startling her.
Reaching forward, Yoongi placed a hand on her cheek, thumb grazing her skin lightly. He lifted her towards him, pressing his lips against hers and pushing deeper until his passion consumed them whole.
He pulled away at last, giving her a brief peck on her forehead.
"I'll see you soon, baby," he said, knowing it would be the last thing he'd say to her, and the last time he'd ever see her again.
He left before she could say anything else. He was too weak. Too pathetic. If he heard her voice after a kiss like that, he knew he'd never leave.
The door clicked shut behind him and he was left alone in the quiet hospital hallway. He fixed the expression on his face, cleared his throat, and shook off the haze in his mind. He left the love of his life to focus on taking down the Jade Cobras.
And he'd be damned if he didn't tear them to shreds while he was at it.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Eunhye spent the entirety of the night staring blankly at the ceiling of her hospital room. Yoongi's behaviour and their brief conversation from the afternoon were on a constant repeat in her head, yet she could not make any sense of it.
Why did he seem so unnaturally sad when he was only leaving until the job was done? Why did it feel as though he was saying goodbye for good? As though he would not be returning to her?
The thought unsettled her and she found herself subconsciously resting her hand on her belly.
No, Yoongi would never do that to them. He had practically begged to be back in their lives. He wouldn't toss them aside that suddenly without a reason he deemed valid enough. But 'valid' to Yoongi wasn't always the case, and the thought of what might entail terrified her.
Eunhye cursed her overactive imagination. It was either that, or her increased paranoia due to her pregnant state. Whatever it was, she was firm in believing Yoongi would not betray her for his selfish reasons. She refused to believe it was even a possibility despite his unexplainable mannerisms.
She huffed, tapping her forehead with the palm of her hand as though to rid herself of all the negative thoughts. Yoongi was hellbent on staying together as a family to raise their child. They even got into a heated argument over it when she mentioned leaving him. He wouldn't willingly leave now. It wouldn't make any sense.
No, she was just being stupid. Yoongi wasn't going anywhere. At least, not anytime soon. Yet, there was no denying the discomfort his uncharacteristic behaviour was causing her.
Eunhye shifted, pulling the coarse blanket as comfortably as she could around her, eyes falling shut yet again at her umpteenth attempt at the sleep she so desperately craved.
It was but a minute later, the sound of the door creaking permeated her senses. She blinked her eyes open, a frown settling itself on her features. She could hear soft footsteps creeping up from behind her.
She thought it odd that anyone would be in her room this late into the night. Thinking perhaps it might be a nurse checking in on her, she turned—fully intending to ask for something that might help her get some rest—only to be met by a complete stranger decked entirely in black from head to toe.
She started to say, but could not get her next words out. The stranger covered her mouth with a leather-gloved hand, face inching closer to her terror-filled gaze as he shushed her.
"Don't make a sound and don't even think about retaliating. Mummy wouldn't want her baby to get hurt, would she?" he asked, and it was then Eunhye realised his other hand was holding a dagger; the sharp edge of which was pressed against her belly.
Her breathing escalated significantly at the thought of him stabbing her. She tore her gaze from the glistening blade and looked the man in the eyes. He must've seen the terror reflected in hers, for a tired exhale escaped him and he moved the blade a tiny fraction away from her.
"Trust me, I don't want to hurt you either," he said in a tone that sounded almost bored.
"I'm going to release my hand from your mouth. You're not going to scream, are you?"
Eunhye shook her head.
He let her go and her mouth fell open on its own accord as she took big mouthfuls of air, resisting the urge to start coughing. She remained quiet, eyes falling to the dagger still held in a threatening manner in her direction.
"No," the man interrupted, the flat side of the blade now placed against her lips to silence her. "You don't get to talk. You don't get to ask questions. You just do as you're told. Is that clear?"
Eunhye blinked, too afraid to move, and he gave her a sickeningly annoying smile before pulling the blade away.
"You're going to come with me," he said, hands moving to grab her arm and yank her into a sitting position off the bed. "And we're going to get out of here. If you make so much as a move that even looks like you're asking for help . . ."
The sickening smile was back on his face. That, accompanied by his next words, were enough to cause Eunhye's blood to run cold.
"I will fucking kill you."
And as she followed the man out into the hallway, a disastrous thought crossed her mind—did Yoongi say goodbye because he knew this would happen?
She didn't want to believe it, but she couldn't form an explanation for his short stay and his rush to leave the hospital when under normal circumstances, he would stay as long as he was permitted to.
It dawned on her then the stark obviousness of her denial, because it was just occurring to her how every single one of Yoongi's actions that afternoon screamed at a last goodbye.
Especially the kiss.
He kissed her as though he would never get the chance to do it again.
The realisation was almost too much for her to bear and had it not been for the man's deathly grip on her arm, Eunhye was certain she would've collapsed then and there.
The small voice in her head seemed to puff up in glee as it whispered maliciously in her mind, He's sending you to your grave. Yoongi is sending you away to die. That's what you get for wanting to leave him. Now you'll be gone for good; gone forever.
Chapter 49: plans and purgatory
The room felt unbearably stuffy as Ji Yeon sat on the sofa, her leg bouncing in impatience and her fingers repeatedly curling and uncurling in nervous anticipation. Things hadn't gone quite so well since her confrontation with Yoongi at the hospital.
Her mind was in turmoil, not entirely certain how she felt about his betrayal. One thing she knew, however, was the inexplicable rage she felt towards him. She couldn't believe he had the nerve to show up at the residence, though she had no idea it was Baekhyun who had called him in; unaware of their little agreement back at the hospital after she had left.
All she wanted to do was to choke the living hell out of him and bury him with the dead corpses scattered beneath the grounds the house stood upon. Her hands remained in tight fists as she gritted her teeth. She let out a huff of air, grabbing the nearest pillow and throwing it harshly against the wall.
It crashed into a picture frame, unhinging it from its hook and sending it falling to the floor, effectively shattering it into pieces. Her bedroom door opened just then and a tired exhale coming from behind her alerted her to Baekhyun's presence.
"Stop making a mess in here," he quietly admonished as he walked over to retrieve the assaulted pillow.
He tossed it aside before moving to stand in front of her with his arms crossed as he eyed her.
"How did it go?" she asked, voice uncharacteristically soft as she stared at the ends of his shoes, not wanting to look him in the eye.
"How do you think?"
"Bad," she mumbled.
"That's an understatement, Ji. Father is furious. He thinks the unprecedented attack on the opposing gang from our side has something to do with Yoongi. He blames the guy, and in accordance, blames you for wanting him to be part of the Jade Cobras in the first place."
Ji Yeon lifted her gaze, staring at Baekhyun with unparalleled fury.
"How is it my fault?" she asked. "And how is any of this that bastard's fault? He was here the entire time. As much as I hate to admit it, he couldn't possibly have hired the bloody mercenaries who decided to go on a killing spree behind our backs."
"That's what I told Father but as usual, he's too stubborn to listen and insists the fault lies with the both of you."
Ji Yeon pushed herself off the sofa with the full intention of storming over to her father's office and yelling at him to see sense if need be. But her mission was halted by Baekhyun's strong grip on her shoulders as he forcefully pushed her down.
"And where do you think you're going?" he asked.
"If he won't listen to you, I'll make sure he listens to me. It's preposterous that he'd think I would betray the Jade Cobras like this. I'm not Yoongi," she said in venomous malice.
"Ji Yeon," the seriousness in Baekhyun's tone was enough cause for her to take a pause in her actions. "Father is extremely angry. If you go there now, I fear for what he might do to you; all relations aside. You know betrayal is something he does not take lightly. He will kill you. I wouldn't do anything until the tides have settled if I were you."
Ji Yeon stared at her brother for a minute longer before exhaling and slumping against the backrest, a clear indication that she had given up on her anger and was attempting to let it go.
"It's that bad, huh?" she asked.
Baekhyun moved to take a seat next to her. He nodded his head but said nothing.
"What's going to happen now?"
"The mercenary attack took out a bunch of their guys and they weren't too happy about it. The attack came out of nowhere. I don't know what compelled our men to do such a thing. I tried to break them, but none of them were willing to talk. Whoever paid them to do the job must've given them their weight in gold to gain such loyalty."
Ji Yeon turned a worried gaze in his direction.
"They'll want revenge."
"I have no doubt about that," Baekhyun agreed, chuckling despite the tensed situation.
"It'll be a gang war if they decide to attack us on the day the shipments arrive," Ji Yeon said. "And it's highly probable too. Word's been going around among the smaller gangs about the coming shipment. I wouldn't be surprised if they've heard it too and are planning an attack for then. Even you have to agree that their silence since the mercenaries' attack is troubling. I mean, it's been four days and they've been dead silent about it."
Her words were left floating in the void between them with Baekhyun merely humming in acknowledgement but saying little else. After another minute, she said, "We should call off the shipments. It's too dangerous."
"Dangerous is the whole point of our business, Ji."
"It's too risky!" Ji Yeon countered. "What if a full-blown fight breaks out? We can't divide our attention between moving the shipments and defending ourselves."
"I understand your concern, but it's too late. The shipment's already on its way. If we don't claim it, it'll only fall into enemy hands and it's our loss. This is something we have to do, Ji, whether you agree to it or not."
"And what if we get caught, huh? Then what? If a gang war does break out, the police will be swarming the place and there'll be nowhere for us to run. What are you going to do then?" Ji Yeon asked. "Now's not the time to be taking unnecessary risks or chances, Baekhyun."
"Why did you think I called Yoongi back to the mansion?" Baekhyun asked rather suddenly.
"I was the one who called him here. You didn't think he'd turn up out of the blue for nothing, did you?"
When Ji Yeon said nothing except to stare at him in disbelief, Baekhyun said, "You can't honestly think he wants to be here? Please. I'm sure he'd rather be anywhere but here."
"Then what's the point of calling him here?"
"For if we get caught," Baekhyun said with a raise of his eyebrow, having answered her worries. "If and when we do get caught up in police business, I plan on pinning the blame on Yoongi. He'd be the Jade Cobras' scapegoat. We have a hold over him, so we might as well use it to our advantage."
Baekhyun assumed his little plan to get Yoongi to take the fall would somehow please his sister. After all, she did seem about ready to murder the guy whenever they crossed paths. But somehow, Ji Yeon looked sheepish and nervous, for reasons he could not comprehend.
"Ji Yeon . . ." he said, suddenly aware that something was definitely up with her. "What did you do?"
The hesitance in her demeanour only heightened at his blatant questioning, and she fidgeted anxiously where she sat.
"You know how I was really angry at the hospital, right? Because Yoongi was still hung up on that girl of his and you wouldn't let me do anything to her . . ."
Baekhyun's eyes widened.
"What did you do?" he repeated.
"I might have gotten one of our guys to kidnap her," Ji Yeon said in a rush.
"Ji Yeon, why would you do something like that?"
"I was angry, okay? You wouldn't let me do anything and I couldn't just let it go. I had to do something!"
"Where is she now? Does anyone else know about this?" Baekhyun asked.
"She's in the basement. She's been there for two days and no one else knows except me and the guy who brings her food and stuff," Ji Yeon mumbled.
Baekhyun pinched the bridge of his nose, having to take deep breaths in hopes of getting his anger under control.
"Why do you do such stupid and impulsive things, Ji? Honestly! The girl is pregnant. I meant what I said about leaving her alone until our hands are forced against her. Why did you have to act so recklessly on your own like that? If Yoongi finds out she's here, it could further jeopardise our plan."
"I'm sorry, I just–"
"Forget it," Baekhyun cut her off. "Listen to me, Ji. On the day the shipments are scheduled to arrive, you will go to the shipyard ahead of time and wait for me in the office. Bring the girl with you. In the chaos that's about to ensue, if anyone finds her here, everything is ruined. Do you understand?"
Ji Yeon nodded her head. She couldn't bring herself to say anything more or to even attempt to justify her actions. She knew there was no way she could even if she tried. Baekhyun was right—she acted on impulse and only ever wanted to hurt Yoongi the same way he hurt her. But now she wasn't so sure if it was worth it if it meant the downfall and ruin of her family.
Because at the end of the day, Ji Yeon was only too aware that the only real people she had in her life were her family.
Chapter 50: caught in another's web
The day of the shipment's arrival was soon upon them. At the present moment, Namjoon and his men were situated by the east bank, a place strategically concealed, yet high enough for them to get a bird's eye view of the place. When Namjoon had demanded Yoongi leave Eunhye to ensure his commitment to the mission, he did not, for one second, think he'd actually do it.
But to Namjoon's surprise, he received a call from Yoongi, letting him know that he had said his last goodbyes and would not be seeing Eunhye again. Namjoon was taken aback but as promised, here he was, in position and ready to lend aid to the mission.
A few days ago, prior to the shipment's arrival, Jungkook had given the mercenaries random headshots of various members in the rival gang. He didn't know who they were, of course. They just needed men for the mercenaries to kill and Jungkook was given the task of picking out who the unlucky ones were.
That part of their plan went without a hitch, and needless to say, the gang was furious upon finding out the mercenaries were from the Jade Cobras. As expected, they wanted revenge and what better way to eliminate a rival than to botch their biggest shipment of drugs?
Even as Namjoon stood at the ready and on the lookout, he could make out the familiar faces of those in the gang—ones he had obtained from the agency's database as part of his previous mission. The plan was slowly falling into place. Who knew something as flimsy as this—leaving it entirely up to fate—would actually work?
Of course, it was too soon to tell the outcome when it had barely started, but Namjoon was hoping for the best. After all, this was his last chance to eliminate the drug cartel that had so conveniently played him for the fool years ago. But today, he was going to win and take them all down. He would make certain of it.
Just as the thought crossed his mind, the first signs of a fight started showing from just beyond their hideout. Turning to his men, an almost sadistic smirk found its way to Namjoon's face.
"It's go-time, boys," he said.
Back in Han's apartment, Jungkook was pacing nervously up and down the length of the living room, his thumb in his mouth as he nibbled anxiously on his nails.
"You have a very bad habit of biting your nails," Han said without looking up from the screen of his computer. "And you really need to learn how to calm down. Your pacing is giving me a headache."
"I'm giving you a headache?" Jungkook repeated, appalled. "This whole plan is giving me a headache! I don't understand how you can remain this calm. This is driving me nuts."
"I can see that," Han said, gaze flickering over to Jungkook as the latter began his incessant pacing once again.
"Also," Jungkook said, coming to an abrupt stop in front of him. "Where is Eunhye?"
The question caused unease to flood through Han's veins. He chewed on the inside of his cheek as he closed the laptop shut, putting it aside.
"Odd, isn't it?" Han commented instead of answering the question. Truth was, he didn't know what to tell the guy. He didn't know where Eunhye was and he hadn't the slightest clue either.
It was a few days ago when Yoongi had gone back to the Jade Cobras and pretty much cut off all radio ties with them. He wasn't contactable and he wasn't going to be, according to him. It was around the same time when Eunhye had apparently gone missing.
Checking with the nurse on duty the day of her disappearance, Han was told that a certain Min Yoongi had requested for her early discharge. Though it was a possibility that Yoongi must've moved her to keep her hidden and safe, Han didn't think he would take the risk especially since Namjoon had demanded them to part ways as an assurance of his cooperation.
Yoongi needed Namjoon's help, and even Han knew he was someone who would not leave things to chance. But then again . . . Yoongi was known to be impulsive and perhaps his need to have Eunhye in his life was far greater than his fear of making false deals with Namjoon. Either way, Eunhye was gone and there was no way of contacting Yoongi to confirm her whereabouts.
"Shouldn't we be doing something?" Jungkook asked, exasperated.
"There's nothing to do. Seriously, our job is done," Han said. "You've deployed the mercenaries and the fight is underway. As far as I'm concerned, there's literally nothing else for us to do."
"Well, let's—I don't know—find Eunhye or something. Surely we can do that, at least?"
"And how do you suppose we go about doing that?"
"I . . ." Jungkook faltered. "I don't know."
"Exactly. So just stay here, stop pacing, and when the fight's over, we'll think of something we can do to help, okay?"
"Fine," he grumbled, slumping into the seat opposite Han with a huff of annoyance.
Wherever Eunhye was, Jungkook could only hope that she was safe.
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
Unfortunately, safe was anything but what Eunhye was feeling at the present moment. With her mouth gagged by a cloth, her hands bound behind her, and her entire demeanour in disarrays, the only emotion she was experiencing was fear—and lots of it.
She couldn't even begin to understand what was happening and why it was happening, but the only thing her mind kept bringing up was Yoongi.
She didn't know how many days had passed, except that it felt like forever. The only contact she's had with anyone was with the same man who kidnapped her. At certain times of the day, he would enter her makeshift prison cell and give her something to eat. And when she refused, he would threaten to kill her.
Claiming that—if you insist on starving and killing your baby, why don't I help you out with that?
Ironic, she thought. That he would care for the state of her child when he was the one keeping her imprisoned to begin with.
That day, however, something changed. The man appeared, as per usual, but he did not have a tray of food with him. Instead, he sauntered over to where she was cowering by the corner and hauled her to her feet; his grip painful on her upper arm.
"Let's go," he said, moving to drag her out.
Eunhye protested as best she could, the gag keeping her words muffled as she struggled against his hold. Being imprisoned was scary, but being dragged to an unknown location for god knows what reason was even scarier. At least nothing particularly horrendous had happened to her thus far. In a rather twisted way, the prison doubled as her safe haven. It kept her in, but it also kept them outside; whoever they were.
"If you stop struggling, I'll take the gag off," the man said, too tired of keeping her steady as she resisted against him. "But only if you start being good."
Eunhye paused. She took a second to think before nodding her head repeatedly.
"I don't have to tell you not to scream, do I?" he asked.
Eunhye shook her head. She would be stupid to try.
Without another word, the man loosened the gag around her mouth, letting the material fall to the floor. Eunhye took a deep breath, relieved at being free of the stifling gag. The man hardly glanced at her as he continued dragging her down the hallway outside.
"W-Where are we going?" Eunhye managed to ask.
"It's not my business to tell you that, is it?"
"Please," Eunhye said. "Why can't you just let me go? I promise I won't tell anyone anything. I don't even know you. Why are you doing this to me?"
The man laughed.
"You don't know me. But I sure as hell know your boyfriend."
Eunhye's eyes widened, "Yoongi? You know Yoongi?"
When the man kept his silence, Eunhye pressed on. The need to know too overwhelming.
"How do you know him? What does he have to do with any of this?"
"I'm not exactly at liberty to say. But I will tell you one thing. Maybe it'll help you rest easy for the little trip you're about to take. Or maybe not," the man shrugged.
He stopped walking, pulling Eunhye closer to him as he leaned in to whisper in her ear.
"The only reason you're here right now in this situation . . . is because of Yoongi. So if there's anyone you should blame, it's him."
He pulled away from her with a sick grin on his face, pleased upon seeing how much his words had affected her. Eunhye was too stunned to realise he had retrieved a hood from the pocket of his jeans and before she knew it, he was pulling it over her head, blocking her vision completely.
"Safe travels, Eunhye," was the last she heard of his voice before she was jostled and pushed into what she assumed to be the back of a van.
The rumble of an engine startled her and she let out a yelp.
A voice—someone she'd never heard before—called from up front.
"Hey! Quiet back there!"
She immediately bit the inside of her cheeks to stop herself from making any other unnecessary noises. She felt the van moving and the sounds of her surroundings were lost to the sudden deafening roar of the engine; louder now that they were actually on the move.
But none of that mattered to her. She couldn't get the man's words out of her head. She was in this situation right now because of Yoongi? Thoughts of his possible betrayal consumed her the rest of the journey and by the time the van came to a screeching stop, Eunhye didn't know what to think anymore. Her thoughts were running amok and she could hardly begin to discern them.
All she knew was that she was alone in her fight against her unknown captor and she, at the very least, owed Yoongi the benefit of the doubt despite the damning circumstances. She was veiled in confusion, yet she could not deny the one fact that she had feelings for him, even if such feelings came with deadly consequences she could not fathom.
Chapter 51: reunited with a twist
Eunhye sat with her back against the wall and her legs stretched out before her. It had been a few hours since she was hauled from the van and tossed into another room. After a gruelling and uncomfortable journey in the back of the van, Eunhye was almost grateful for the warmth of the room; almost.
The hood was still securely draped over her head and she was starting to feel a little sick. Her lips were dry and cracked and she could feel a throbbing headache starting to bloom. Clearing her throat, she coughed lightly before deciding she had to do something.
"H-Help . . ." she groaned, cringing at the hoarseness of her own voice. She coughed a second time and tried calling out again.
"Help!" this time, her voice sounded much louder and a lot more stable. She paused, straining to discern any signs of movement from beyond her confined prison, but was greeted with silence.
She took a second to get her breathing in control before yelling once more with all her might. She shouted over and over again until her throat felt too worn out and stretched thin to do anymore.
"Please . . ." she whispered in a final attempt, breathing hard at having just pushed herself to the limit.
Even so, all was quiet around her.
Eunhye closed her eyes as she leaned her head back against the wall. She was so tired, extremely worn out, and she didn't think she had it in her to hold out for any longer. She placed her hands on her growing belly, a small smile finding its way to her face before her eyes started prickling with tears.
"I'm sorry," she said, her voice soft and somewhat choked.
Eunhye had to stop herself, unable to finish her unspoken thoughts as she felt the first of her tears cascading down her cheeks. She stayed that way for a good few minutes, letting her emotions go as she cried in the silence of her solitary prison. When the last of her tears had dried, she cleared her throat and met the world with new resolve.
Her hands tightened protectively over her belly, eyes now glazed with determination.
"We will see each other," she whispered, her weak disposition from earlier long dissolved. "We'll make it out of here alive. I promise you."
She had a moment of weakness—thoughts of giving up crossing her mind; unable to make them go away even if she wanted them to because she knew it was what she craved. The easy way out. How could she, someone carrying an unborn child, ever make it out of this situation alive? She was weak, tired, and dehydrated at this point.
But her source of weakness was also her strength. She was going to make it out of here because of the child. She owed her baby that much. She would not rob the child of its life even before it had lived. She would try her hardest until she could not try anymore.
And as easily as her resolve was set, did the first signs of redemption made itself known—sounds of scuffling feet, a key turning in its lock, and the sound of a door creaking open.
Eunhye could make out the distinct sounds of approaching footsteps and despite anticipating it, she flinched when the hood was roughly yanked from her head. It took her a few seconds to get accustomed to the sudden penetrating light, having to blink her eyes several times before she could keep them open fully.
She tilted her head back, looking up at the giant of a man who was looming over her menacingly, his face shrouded by shadows cast by the overhead bulb behind him. Eunhye felt her throat constricting, sudden fear overwhelming her in his presence. This was not who, or what, she had in mind when she envisioned the enemy. This was someone she needed wit, sheer luck, or a miracle to overcome.
"What?" the man's gruff voice all but growled at her. "Got nothing to say now that I'm here? What happened to yelling your fucking lungs out back then, huh?"
The man crouched in front of her, grabbing a fistful of her hair as he yanked her head further back so she would look directly into his eyes. Eunhye couldn't stop the soft whimper from escaping her when he grinned, displaying a set of yellowing teeth. She felt the rough skin on his hand gripping her chin as he pulled her closer to him.
"You know . . ." he said in a nauseatingly smug tone. "You're actually quite pretty once I look past your shit excuse for a personality."
She watched in horror as his gaze raked down the length of her body, shamelessly checking her out before he whistled lowly.
"I heard talk from the guys that you're carrying the traitor's baby."
He leaned in closer to her and Eunhye squirmed, trying to get as much space between them as she could, but only causing his grip to tighten. She winced in pain which seemed to fuel his delight at seeing her in such an uncomfortable position.
"What I'd do to fuck you senseless right now," he said, voice guttural and filled with lust. "I'd fuck you hard and rough and maybe that baby you're carrying would–"
Eunhye didn't give him a chance to finish. She hardly even gave it a second thought before she straight up spat on his face, watching in brief satisfaction as her saliva dripped down his disgusting face. The action took the man by surprise.
He released her immediately and she took the opportunity to scramble away from him. But before she could get anywhere, he was upon her, grabbing her ankle and yanking her towards him.
"You fucking bitch!" he yelled, slapping her across the face with enough force to draw blood. "You're going to regret the day you were born when I'm done with you."
The man was in the midst of unbuckling his belt when the sounds of panicked shouts and reverberating gunshots made its way to the room they were in, giving Eunhye the little bit of distraction she needed.
During their little altercation earlier, she had noticed the distinct outline of a gun tucked into the waistband of his pants. She also miraculously noticed the hilt of a dagger jutting from where he kept it in his military-issued boots. With the man's back to her, still distracted by the sudden ruckus, Eunhye inched forward and grabbed the dagger, pulling it out in one swift motion before bringing the weapon down into his thigh.
The man's confused screams of agony, coupled with the gushing of blood from the inflicted wound, sounded like music to Eunhye's ears. Especially after the abhorrent things he had the audacity to say to her.
Blood was pooling fast around him as he stumbled to his knees, groaning in unbridled pain as he struggled to remove the dagger. He staggered forward, grabbing onto her with bloodied hands and pulling her in the puddle of red surrounding him.
The man was delirious, losing sense of his surroundings faster than he could count, yet he would not release her from his hold. By now, Eunhye was covered in the blood of her doing—disgusted and repulsed by the overwhelming stench of iron. It gave her enough cause to feel nauseous, wanting nothing more than to puke her guts out, but she kept it in. The fight wasn't over yet. It was far from over.
She could tell the man was losing strength the longer he held out. There was only so much he could do with the amount of blood he had lost and was still losing the longer the seconds ticked by. With a final shove, Eunhye managed to push them both over onto the bloodied floor, simultaneously freeing herself from his hold. She gave him a swift kick to his side, struggling to her hands and knees as she reached for the gun that had somehow gotten loose in their hectic struggle.
Eunhye grabbed the weapon, silencing the panicked voice in her mind as she brought it up and aimed it at the fallen man. Even in his state of delirium, he managed to smile, a low chuckle rumbling through his chest.
"Are you going to shoot me, girlie?" he taunted, dragging himself into a standing position despite the throbbing pain in his leg.
Eunhye's hands were visibly shaking as she brought a finger over the trigger. Stabbing someone in defence was one thing, but to pointedly kill them? She wasn't sure she could do it. Her inner conflict had blinded her to the current state of their surroundings. Neither took notice of the sudden silence that enveloped them save for the man's laboured breathing.
There were no more yelling, no more panicked cries, no hurried footsteps, and no gunshots. There was absolutely nothing. It was almost as though the ruckus that had started the whole ordeal never took place to begin with.
Gritting her teeth, Eunhye repositioned the weapon, pointing it straight at the man's chest. She was determined to do this. She was going to do this. But when she pressed down on the trigger, an anticlimactic click resounded though nothing else happened.
Another booming laugh escaped the man before he doubled over coughing. He straightened, the sick grin still on his face when he levelled his gaze on her.
"You don't even know how to handle a weapon," he mocked, and it was then Eunhye realised the safety was still on.
She fumbled with it, barely managing to turn it off when a loud bang startled her, causing her to drop the gun with a clatter on the ground. She felt the splash of warmth on her face and she winced. Though stunned, she knew full well what it was without having to look. She glanced at the man only to see an equally shocked expression on his face as he looked down to where a rush of blood was pouring out of the fresh gunshot wound to his chest.
His mouth fell slack and a single stream of blood dripped out its side before his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he fell with a heavy thud on his back, no longer alive.
Eunhye stood staring at his fallen form, unable to move a muscle, but when the reality of what had happened finally hit her, her knees buckled and gave way beneath her, causing her to fall in a heap onto the blood-soaked ground. Her gaze landed on the gun by her feet and it occurred to her that she was not the one who had shot him. She did not pull the trigger. Someone else did.
She tore her gaze away from the discarded weapon, realising for the first time that she was not alone in the room.
His arm was still outstretched in front of him, a gun in his hand. Wisps of smoke curled from the muzzle, enough of an indicator that he was the one who had killed the man.
Her eyes widened and she found herself struggling to stand, immediately drawn to his presence.
"Yoongi," she whispered his name.
Chapter 52: born in blood
The fight had started like a spark of flame—slow at first before it spread and consumed everything in its wake. But the main fight wasn't any of Yoongi's concern. That was for Namjoon and his men to worry about. His fight was with Ji Yeon and her brother.
The last he heard from the chatter amongst the Jade Cobras was how the two were cowardly hiding in the main office building. Getting there was easy enough, but once inside, all hell broke loose. Everyone had heard of his traitorous ways by now and when the fight ensued, none were too pleased upon seeing him in the building.
To say the least, Yoongi had his work cut out for him. He was greeted by shouts of profanity and enraged yelling; but when it dawned on them that Yoongi was not one to be messed with, their enthusiasm turned to fear and their shouts were replaced with panicked screaming.
It took a while, but Yoongi managed to successfully clear out the entire floor, casually picking up a discarded gun as he stepped over the fallen bodies of his enemies. Still, there were no signs of the Byun siblings. He wasn't expecting to run into them that easily, but he was starting to get a little annoyed. Hide-and-Seek was not a game he particularly enjoyed.
Yoongi walked past the last room at the end of the hallway, glancing inside casually and fully expecting it to be empty. He was under the impression everyone on the floor had rushed out to greet him—it certainly seemed that way, with the throngs of people he had to kill—and was surprised to see someone inside.
The entire room was a mess of blood and so was the man whose back was to him. Yoongi ventured further into the room, his presence still unknown.
"You don't even know how to handle a weapon," the man said, his smug voice breaking the silence enveloping the room.
Yoongi frowned. Who the hell was he speaking to? Either way, he was running out of time and it wasn't in Yoongi's nature to care or to leave any witnesses alive. Besides, he had far more important matters to tend to—like finding and killing the Byun siblings.
Without thinking much of it, he lifted the gun in his hand and pulled the trigger, sending a bullet straight into the man's back; one which penetrated his chest and caused him to splutter upon its sudden impact. He swayed where he stood for a second before falling backwards, evidently dead.
But the man's sudden appearance wasn't the end of Yoongi's surprises that evening. He could hardly register the scene in front of him when his gaze landed on the person who the man was speaking to. The former's slight figure had been entirely swallowed by the man's intimidating form and when he had fallen over, her presence was made known.
There was no doubt in Yoongi's mind that he was looking at Eunhye. He would recognise her anywhere. But this was not the Eunhye he wanted to see. It wasn't the Eunhye he ever wanted to envision, let alone physically see. She was covered entirely in blood—her clothes, her hands, her face. Every bit of skin was as red as the soaked material of her clothes.
She had fallen over after witnessing the man's sudden death, still unaware of his own appearance in the room. It took them several minutes of staying in that way before she finally locked eyes with him, immediately struggling to her feet and reaching out for him.
"Yoongi," she said, her voice soft and laced with fear.
He couldn't bring himself to say anything. He couldn't even bring himself to approach her. His thoughts were running rampant and there was only one word repeating itself in his mind like a broken record matching the incessant thumping of his heart—blood, blood, blood, blood, blood.
He dropped the gun and fell to his knees, clutching his head and fisting his hair. A loud groan of pain escaped him but the image would not disappear.
Eunhye covered in blood.
His parents covered in blood.
Dead . . . ?
His parents. Dead.
Eunhye . . . dead?
· · ─────── ·· ─────── · ·
[ a few years ago ]
Yoongi lived a lavish life. Sheltered, but lavish nonetheless. His family was easily the wealthiest in the neighbourhood. But with such wealth came a kind of aloof and closed off nature that he developed as a young boy. He hardly had any friends and even the children at school were too wary of his family's status to approach him.
It didn't take Yoongi long to realise he was lonely. Alone and lonely in every sense of the word. His parents were loving, of course. They cared for him and gave him the attention he needed. But he was a child and children needed to play with those of their age, not adults who were years his senior.
His state of deprivation and constant longing birthed a new version of him. A voice in his head he considered a friend—an imaginary friend. Someone he occupied his time with and who lived entirely in his head. Someone he grew to rely on a lot more than he thought he would. Someone who would end up protecting him that fateful night when his whole life changed.
It was date night; a weekly routine for his parents to have some alone time together. After much persuasion on Yoongi's part, they finally agreed to let him stay the night at home instead of sending him to the sitter's. The last thing Yoongi remembered was his mother's gentle hand as she brushed back his hair and placed a soft kiss on his forehead, muffled words telling him she loved him and they'd be back soon ingrained into his memory.
Yoongi remembered staying in his room and reading the time away. He wanted to stay up and wait for his parents' return but was uncharacteristically sleepy that particular night and decided he'd go to bed early. After all, he'd see them at breakfast tomorrow. It was Saturday and they always had pancakes together for breakfast on Saturdays.
The thought of friendly chatter with his parents and warm pancakes drizzled with honey accompanied him as he drifted off to sleep, hearing the voice in his head whisper him a quiet good night.
It wasn't long after when he was abruptly awoken to the sounds of crashing, loud bangs, a mix of shouts and what sounded like his mother's screams. And then, all was quiet.
Everything after that was a blur. Yoongi couldn't remember exactly what happened. It was a memory long repressed. The only thing he remembered distinctively was the blood. There was so much blood. He recalled inching down the stairs in his pyjamas, only to slip on something wet on the last few steps and subsequently falling the rest of the way.
He pushed himself into a sitting position where he fell, noticing immediately the state of complete disarray the entire house was in. The next thing that registered in his mind was the discomfort he felt—the sticky substance coating his clothes, the sharp smell that stung his nostrils when he breathed . . . and oh, god, the colour. It was everywhere. Everything was covered in red.
His field of vision widened and he found his gaze focusing on the two fallen bodies lying motionless in the middle of the red puddle. He could barely make out their features. He probably would have kid himself into thinking they were complete strangers had it not been for the pearl bracelet adorning one of their wrists. Pearls that were soiled with red.
His mother's pearls.
Yoongi stared, his heart hammering wildly in his chest yet unable to pry his gaze away. He stared, oblivious to the way his breathing had gotten heavier, too hectic for him to keep under control. He would have continued staring and potentially lose himself to the traumatic experience had it not been for the voice.
His voice resounding in his head. His friend.
Snap out of it, little Yoongi.
"I . . . They . . ."
Get away from there.
Yoongi scrambled backwards, away from his parents' mangled bodies, only to slip on the blood coating the floor. He fell onto his back, breaths now coming in heaves. He was panicking.
He gripped the front of his shirt, feeling as though his throat was closing in on itself as he tried to gulp mouthfuls of air. He was trying to breathe, but why was it just so difficult?
"I can't," he heaved, shaking his head. "I can't move. I can't."
Yes, you can. Breathe, little Yoongi, just breathe.
"I can't!" Yoongi rasped, completely in a haze of panic by now.
And in a softer much quieter tone he implored, "Please, help me. Please."
He could not hear anything else after that. It was almost as though his friend had vanished, until a minute later when he asked, Are you sure?
Yoongi nodded his head. Anything. He would do anything if it meant he could breathe again. If he could drag himself out of there.
It was too much.
Everything was too much.
The blood was too much.
"Please," he begged. "Help me."
And in the next second, he blacked out.
[ present time ]
Yoongi snapped his eyes open. At least, it felt as though he did, yet his surroundings remained shrouded in darkness. He was lying on his back, staring up at complete nothingness. There was a dull ache in his head; a throbbing pain of sorts.
He stayed in that position, unable to move, just staring up at the darkness. He exhaled, a soft breath escaping him. He was breathing just fine. He was okay.
The realisation caused the darkness surrounding him to disintegrate—darkness turning to fluorescent light and the dark sky shifting to whitewashed ceilings. He was starting to hear things too; muffled voices making its way to his dulled senses.
But even amongst the chaos of his returning consciousness, one voice stood out.
The one in his head.
The one calling out to him in resounding echoes, bouncing off the walls of his head, giving him the false notion of a throbbing headache when there was none.
Do you hear me, little Yoongi?
"Suga," he said the name in a quiet whisper, surprised at his own calm disposition.
I am here, little Yoongi.
Chapter 53: undying conflicts
Yoongi's body felt heavy; as though he had a tonne of bricks weighing him down. He was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, still fully aware of Suga's presence in his head. He managed to move, to turn his head slightly to the side to check if Eunhye was still there. If Eunhye was still alive.
But she was not alone.
Her back was pressed against Baekhyun's chest, a gun pointed to her temple as he kept his other hand firmly around her neck.
"Y-Yoongi–" she called out to him but was immediately silenced by Baekhyun's hand squeezing her trachea. She choked, having to grip onto his wrist to stop him from fully cutting off her air supply.
"It's nice to see you finally joining us," another voice piped up.
Yoongi pushed himself into a sitting position, head swimming with sudden nausea as he tried to locate Ji Yeon's whereabouts after having recognised her voice. His gaze found her at the far end of the room, somewhere just behind Baekhyun where she was leaning casually against the wall.
"I heard you were looking for us," she continued. "Well, we're here. What do you want?"
Yoongi remained silent, still in a slight momentary daze. He wasn't quite sure what was going on but he knew it wasn't good. Being outnumbered had never been a problem for him before, but being outnumbered with Eunhye held hostage in the enemy's hand was a whole different matter.
Annoyed at presumably being ignored, Ji Yeon straightened and took steps closer to her brother, her deadly gaze still fixed on Yoongi.
"I asked you a question," she said, voice hollow and devoid of any emotion save for anger. "What the fuck do you want from us? Is it not enough that you and your little friends have single-handedly ruined our biggest shipment yet? Huh?"
Her voice was getting increasingly louder with each word that left her rage-fuelled lips; sentences bouncing off the walls in eerie echoes in the empty room.
"Is it not enough that you've betrayed me? That you've played with my feelings? Killed my baby brother? And now you're bringing the Jade Cobras down too? Is it not enough!" she yelled, heaving by the time she ended her sudden burst of fury. "What else do you want from us? What more will you trample on before you are satisfied? Min Yoongi, what the fuck do you want?"
Yoongi lifted his gaze to stare straight at Ji Yeon. His eyes were blank slates—a never-ending pit of darkness swallowing every bit of light in its path. They held no emotion and resembled exactly how he felt at that moment just staring at Ji Yeon.
"I want you dead," he said.
A frown of confusion emerged on Ji Yeon's features, her conflicting emotions fluctuating between fear and disconcertment. When she failed to say anything in return, Yoongi repeated with just as much seriousness as the first time, "I want you to die."
Seeing the way Yoongi's blunt confession had taken his sister by surprise, Baekhyun decided it was time the former learned exactly who had the upper hand in the situation they found themselves in. He removed his hand from around Eunhye's neck and proceeded to grab a fistful of her hair. He yanked her head back, earning a petrified whimper from her which effectively gained Yoongi's attention.
His eyes darted towards the two, widening at the assumption of what Baekhyun might do to hurt her.
"Min Yoongi," he said, gun still aimed at her temple. "You haven't forgotten what we discussed the last time we spoke, have you? The little agreement of ours."
Baekhyun lowered the gun and pressed the muzzle to the side of Eunhye's belly. Hearing the click of the weapon caused panic to overwhelm her and she started squirming in his hold.
"Shh, shh," Baekhyun shushed her softly, his lips pressed uncomfortably close to the shell of her ear. "Be quiet now. You wouldn't want the gun to accidentally go off, now, do you?"
Eunhye stilled almost instantaneously upon hearing the threat in his words. She wasn't going to risk it. She knew these people were downright insane. They wouldn't hesitate to do what they claimed they would in the blink of an eye. Despite giving in to his demands, Eunhye was practically shaking from the intense fear and the erratic beating of her heart.
"Byun Baekhyun, you–"
"Ah, not so fast with your vile words, Yoongi," Baekhyun said, a sick smile on his face as he nudged the muzzle against her side in another silent threat. "What did I tell you about making Eunhye and her baby my business, huh? You didn't think I'd forget about that, did you? Or perhaps maybe you assumed I was pulling a fast one on you?"
Yoongi gritted his teeth, eyes straying from Baekhyun's smug expression to Eunhye's petrified one. She stared at him, eyes wide and glistening with unshed tears. She was overcome with fear but Yoongi knew she wasn't scared for the loss of her own life, she was frightened they'd lose the life of their child. The gun pressed to her abdomen was not something Yoongi could easily ignore and neither could she; fully aware that one wrong move could be the end for them both.
The state of bloodied mess Eunhye was in did not help matters either. It was messing with Yoongi's concentration; distracting him from more pressing concerns. His mind was racing—attempting to decipher Baekhyun's motives, keeping an eye out for what Ji Yeon might do, and worrying over Eunhye's safety. Was it her blood she was drenched in? Or someone else's? Was she gravely injured? Was she injured at all? What about their baby?
It was overwhelming him; eating him from inside out, gnawing on his self-worth and capabilities to protect his own family. He couldn't protect his parents and now he couldn't protect Eunhye and their child either. He was going to be the cause of their deaths. He was going to be the cause of everyone's deaths.
The alarming truth resonated in his mind, his face going blank as he stared intently at Eunhye, the world around him buzzing to a slow stop; the edges of his vision starting to blur again.
Stop it, the voice in his head snarled.
Stop it, Yoongi. What are you doing?
Yoongi remained silent, hands clenched into tight fists by his side as he kept his gaze fixed on Eunhye. He was aware of Baekhyun saying something, yelling even, but he was too fixated on watching the first tears slid down her cheeks to react in any way.
Eunhye, he managed to mumble. Though he was too lost to know if it was said aloud or a fiction of the thoughts in his mind.
You need to save her. You need to get up and save Eunhye. Our Eunhye.
The gun, Suga said. Your gun, Yoongi. It's right there where you last dropped it. Get it. Use it. Kill them. Kill the bastards who threatened our Eunhye's life. Threatened the baby's life. Kill them, Yoongi.
Yoongi glanced at the weapon in question, realising for the first time the stupidity that shrouded the Byun siblings in their carelessness to secure the weapon when they first arrived. Suga was right. The weapon was within reach and it was right there. But a glance in Eunhye's direction confirmed his hesitation. He couldn't do it.
Baekhyun was shamelessly using her as a shield, with only his head as an open target. Yoongi had only to look at the way his own hands were shaking to know that pulling the trigger in his state would be a major risk he was not willing to take. One false move and his bullet would miss its mark entirely and he'd be the cause of Eunhye's death. Something he knew he'd never be able to live with should it happen.
He shook his head, gulping.
I can't do it. I'm scared, Suga. The blood. My hands. I– I can't. What if I miss? What if I end up killing Eunhye?
What if he ends up killing her? Look at her, Yoongi. She's alive. But she won't be the longer you delay. If you don't help her, she's as good as dead.
I . . . I can't do it, Suga. I just can't.
You would let her die, Yoongi?
No, I– Suga, you help her. Help me, Suga. Help us.
What are you saying, Yoongi?
Help me. Please.
Are you sure about this?
I can't do it, Suga. She'll die. I can't live with myself if she dies. You're the only one who can help. There's too much blood, Suga. It's too much. Please.
And just as it once was before, Yoongi blacked out, embracing the darkness with relief like an old friend.
Chapter 54: his return
With light penetrating the recesses of his consciousness, Yoongi awoke, eyes blinking open with renewed vigour. A sadistic smirk appeared on his lips when he locked gazes with Baekhyun who seemed slightly taken aback by his sudden change in persona. The threat died in Baekhyun's throat, hands clammy as he nervously adjusted his grip on the weapon he held against the girl in his arms.
What was with this sudden wave of fear that had taken over his body?
Yoongi trailed his tongue over his bottom lip, head tilted with malice reflected in intensity within the depths of his hooded eyes. He grabbed his discarded gun and watched with amusement as panic flashed in the eyes of his enemies as they glanced at each other, no doubt wondering how they had missed the weapon.
He pushed himself to stand, groaning as he stretched his aching muscles, scratching the back of his head haphazardly with the muzzle of the gun. He heaved a heavy exhale as he stared at Baekhyun, boredom lacing his tone when he spoke.
"Let her go."
When Baekhyun failed to react, Yoongi reiterated his demand in a harsher tone.
"Let her go, or I'll blow your fucking brains out, you weak piece of shit."
"I'd like to see you try," Baekhyun said, well aware of his supposedly safe position behind Eunhye.
"Sure," Yoongi replied nonchalantly, lifting his arm and pulling the trigger without hesitation.
A loud bang resonated throughout the enclosed space, and a second later, Eunhye felt the weight of the dead man clinging to her, followed by the warmth of blood dripping onto her shoulder. Baekhyun's arm loosened around her and he fell with a heavy thud onto the ground, the sound causing Eunhye to flinch and take hesitant steps forward on shaking legs before she stopped completely, unable to go any further.
She stood stock-still, eyes wide and staring straight at Yoongi. She was breathing hard, too afraid to move or do anything else, for that matter.
All she could manage at this point was to stare blankly at the man who had pulled the trigger without hesitation. The confidence in his stride and demeanour was a huge contrast to the nervous wreck that was huddled on the ground, not a moment prior.
Eunhye's thoughts were pierced by the bone-chilling scream that erupted from Ji Yeon's lips upon the realisation that her brother was dead. She inched forward, stumbling and eventually falling to her knees as she stared with mouth agape at Baekhyun's lifeless form. She reached forward and placed her palm flat against his chest, reining in her sobs at the horrific state his body was in.
Yoongi had shot him square in the face, the impact of the bullet nearly blasting his whole head off. She turned towards the man responsible, eyes ablaze with fury despite the tears blurring her vision.
"You–" she started, stopping herself to gulp down the rest of her words. She was appalled at seeing the complete lack of remorse on his features.
Yoongi shrugged, nonchalance evident in the way he carried himself.
"I warned him," he said by way of defence. "I told him I was going to kill him if he didn't let Eunhye go. It's hardly my fault he wanted to challenge my words."
Ji Yeon said nothing, merely staring at him; the urge to kill him stronger than ever. Yoongi's gaze trailed to Baekhyun's lifeless body on the ground and he clicked his tongue in distaste.
"He's going to make an ugly corpse," he said with an exaggerated wince. "There's no salvaging that mess."
Yoongi shifted his gaze, now staring intently at Ji Yeon.
"Now, sweetheart, since you were crying so much at losing your brother, what say you about joining him, hm?"
Ji Yeon's breathing hitched in her throat as she stared at him. She glanced at the gun in her brother's hand and reached for it, aiming it at Yoongi despite the obvious fear rushing through her veins.
Yoongi paused, raising his eyebrows upon seeing the weapon pointed in his direction. He chuckled despite himself and lifted his arms in mock surrender.
"Oh, please, Miss Ji Yeon, don't shoot me," he said, with the fakest pout he could muster. It was clear he treated her as a joke and was proving to her the fact that he did not, for one second, fear her.
Ji Yeon gritted her teeth. Though annoyed by his degrading actions, she could not deny the growing uneasiness she felt the longer she was in his presence. She needed him to back off and if threatening his life wasn't going to help . . .
She shifted and pointed the gun at Eunhye, her gaze trained solely on Yoongi. She did not have to say the words for him to know her unspoken intents and purposes. Her move caused his playfulness to disappear, replaced with a darker expression portraying the seriousness of what she had done.
"Do you really think that's going to help you in any way?" he asked, his voice enough to cause a shudder to run down her back. "I just killed your brother because he was threatening Eunhye and you somehow think you'd get away with it?"
Ji Yeon faltered, a huge mistake on her part because her hesitance gave Yoongi the opportunity to disarm her. He shifted his aim, pressing the trigger and sending a bullet straight through her wrist. Ji Yeon screamed in agony, her weapon falling with a clatter to the floor as she staggered back from the impact, immediately grabbing onto her bleeding wrist in shock.
Yoongi advanced towards her, closing the distance between them as he approached her shivering form.
"Y-Yoongi?" she said his name in a breathless exhale. "You wouldn't kill me, would you? After everything we've been through?"
Her words gave him pause. He tilted his head as though he was considering the notion before he dropped his gun, much to Ji Yeon's relief. Her moment of reassurance was short-lived, however, when she was met with Yoongi's mocking laughter. She lifted her gaze to meet his, confusion evident in the way she watched him with wariness.
"You're not going to kill me, are you?" she felt the need to ask as if to confirm the meaning behind the way he had discarded his weapon.
"I wonder," Yoongi hummed, the playful glint back in his eye as he continued his predatory approach.
"Yoongi wouldn't, probably. But I would."
"What?" Ji Yeon asked.
"Just something for you to consider in your next life."
Yoongi gave her a smile that did not match the menacing tone of his voice.
He reached out and grabbed her roughly by the neck, a horrid snarl on his face as his grip tightened without mercy. He relished in the way she was gasping for breath—eyes wide in horror at the realisation that this was the end. Her desperation to live only fuelled his need to end her life.
At some point in his blind rage, Ji Yeon had succumbed to the strength in his hold yet he did not release her. He kept his hands wrapped firmly around her throat, only realising she was long dead when a sickening snap echoed throughout the room and her head fell limp.
Yoongi frowned in disgust and loosened his grip, watching as Ji Yeon's body dropped lifelessly to the floor, her head at an awkward angle. He looked down at his hands and scoffed. He never knew he had that much strength to snap her neck. But hey, he wasn't complaining. At least now the Byun siblings were dead and gone from their lives.
A small sniffle reminded him that he wasn't alone. Yoongi composed his expression and exhaled before turning to look at Eunhye. He had tried to conceal Ji Yeon from her view as best as possible in the midst of his little murderous rampage but failed to consider the aftermath.
Eunhye had obviously seen the very dead Ji Yeon, her horribly snapped neck, as well as Baekhyun's lack of a face. Yoongi should have taken more care in his kills. But he was lost in his moment of anger and all he could really think about was ending their lives.
With nothing else to occupy his attention, Yoongi took a moment to look at Eunhye; really look at her. She was covered entirely in blood, was a shivering mess of nerves, and had gone deathly pale beneath the spatters of red painting her face. She startled slightly when he made the first move towards her but did not edge away. In fact, she welcomed his touch when he placed a gentle hand against her cheek and wiped off the bits of drying blood with the pad of his thumb.
"Hi, baby," he said. "I missed you."
"You're not Yoongi," she said, her voice soft yet unable to hide the fear in the way it shook.
His hand trailed down the length of her face before gripping her chin, tilting her head to look her in the eyes.
"Do you want Yoongi here? I can go get him if you want."
"You're him. You're Suga," she whispered the name with quiet confidence.
It wasn't a question. She knew who he was. She didn't know how—considering her memories of him were still a large blank—but she knew it was him.
Suga groaned, moving to grab her face with both hands as he rested his forehead against hers with his eyes closed.
"I just love the way you say my name."
When he opened his eyes next, he was grinning with a sly mischievousness reflected in his gaze.
He leaned in just then, pressing his lips firmly against hers, though it lasted a mere fraction of a second before he was already deepening it; his lewd moans filling the space around them. He could taste the blood on her lips, the smell of iron just as strong. But in all honesty, he didn't give a damn. After all, he was the part of Yoongi born in blood, and he'd be lying if he said seeing her like this wasn't a complete turn on for him.
He pulled away, slightly breathless, before placing another chaste kiss to the corner of her lips. He mumbled against her skin, voice hoarse with want, "Shit, baby. You look so fucking hot covered in blood like that."