Monday – 9:47 am – PoliSci lecture
Everybody likes Park Jimin. Not only is he the star of the drama department – making the Dean cry with his performance of Hamlet during freshmen year. No, he is also the head of the Environmental Club and part of the most elusive fraternities on campus.
Park Jimin is kind, smart and handsome. The guy is constantly surrounded by fellow frat brothers, drooling girls and you even heard a story about a stray kitten following Jimin around, resulting in him adopting the little cat.
So, you aren’t really surprised, when he doesn’t remember you – you only share two classes and one lecture with him. It does sting a bit, though.
“And you are?”, the golden star asks, looking at you with friendly distance in his eyes.
“_______”, you answer.
It follows an awkward silence – all four of you staring at each other with unease. There is no greater hell than group projects. You’ve got no friends, or even acquaintances, in this course. It isn’t like you are a recluse. You just have a very small circle of friends. And you don’t have any desire to change that.
“Well”, Jimin begins and unlocks his iPhone, “let’s start with a shared google docs.” Now he hands his device over to the girl with thick rimmed glasses. She looks like murder and you are woman enough to admit you’re a bit afraid of her. She does start your 8 am lecture with an energy drink and cold pizza. every. single. week.
“We could meet up before class next week to divide the parts among us?”, the guy to your right offers and you haven’t ever heard him speak before. He usually just sits in class and doodles in his sketchbooks. The red one he is resting on right now is the third book you’ve seen him use in the last month.
Your eyes widen as his words reach your tired brain. Meeting up before class? Before 8 am?
The girl gives you Jimin’s phone and you add your contacts half-minded. There is not even a single crack on his screen. Is this guy even real?
“How about after class?”, Jimin suggests instead and winks at you. You nearly drop his phone when you see his left eye closing in mischief. Did Jimin really just wink at you?
“Nah, I’m packed till practice”, the guy answers and takes the iPhone out of your hands.
“What about this weekend?”, the girl asks and opens her calendar.
“I could manage Sunday afternoon”, Jimin says and stores his phone back in his jeans. His way too tight jeans. The jeans you’ve been staring at all through lunch today. He was wrestling for … uhm… fun with one of his brothers – Jungkook you think – and his ass was just… very present pressed against the denim.
“Sounds good”, the sketch guy says and the girl nods in agreement. Now all of them look at you; the person that did in fact have plans for Sunday. But you doubt they’d be very understanding of your self-care day off from the week.
“Yeah, sure”, you agree reluctantly and fish out your own smartphone, an old grandfather of Jimin’s model with many cracks littering the screen. Without looking up, you delete the do not disturb block in your calendar and create a new appointment: group project politics.
“We can meet up at the PoliSci library; I’ll get us a study room”, Jimin says and stands up – his tights directly in your eyesight. There is a hint of blush on your cheeks as you pack your things together yourself.
“Great”, the other guy cheers – way too enthusiastic – and departs from your group. His sketchbook is raised as he waves at you. You turn around to the others and they are both gone too. Well, what did you expect from a group assignment worth 15% of your grade with random people? Did you see Jimin’s back as he exited the lecture room? Maybe. And did your eyes lay a bit longer on his butt? It’d be a crime if they didn’t.
Wednesday – 10:03 pm – dorm room
“No way!”, your roommate shouts, her voice a shrill pain in your head. “Not the Park” You just nod, your late-night ramen hot on your tongue.
“How did you manage that?”, she asks and nibs on some seaweed crackers.
“Random assignment”, you mutter as you swallow down your food.
“You lucky, lucky bitch!” She throws one half-eaten cracker in your face.
“It’s a group project, not a blind date, Jisoo.”
There is a zero percent chance that the Park Jimin is even slightly interested in you. But then you remember his wink and you up your chances to three percent.
“Let’s get some beer to celebrate!”, your roommate suggests and totally ignores your unenthusiastic posture. The day was long – after working a shift at the kiosk on campus.
“I’m tired”, you whine, but your body moves as you get dragged to your feet by Jisoo. “My noodles”, you cry. She just rolls her eyes and pushes the warm cup into your hands. “Eat them on the way.”
You grumble the whole walk to the kiosk you worked just a few hours ago. There are so much more options to get two cans of beer at 10 pm on a Wednesday, but you do get a 5% employee discount – plus the 20% for being a student.
“Do you think he’ll invite you to the fancy parties?”, Jisoo wonders and swings your entwined hands between you. Your other hand holds your food – you want to save the rest up for drinking.
“Before or after I bear his heir?” Jimin’s fraternity is legendary for its exclusive parties. In contrast to most frats, theirs is known for the tight circle of invites. These events had a hand-picked guestlist, no cheap alcohol in sight. There were even rumors that Jimin makes all partygoers use reusable cups to reduce plastic trash. You do remember reading about this in one of the columns of your university paper.
“You’ll be fat after birth, so preferably before”, she reasons. You nod – true.
“I ain’t see any fat”, a male voice slurs and then you feel hands on your butt. You turn around, recognizing a squeeze before the hand leaves your body. As you see the guy who touched you, you feel fear setting in your bones. There are three of them and they do look very drunk. The darkened ally is not the most favorable spot to meet jerks. You can see the light from your store coming up ahead, but it’s late and deserted and they touched you.
“HEY”, Jisoo shouts and moves in front of your body. “NO TOUCHING WITHOUT CONCENT!”
His two friends are shocked by her loud outbreak and take a step back, but the toucher is still standing his ground. “Yo, be chill, bitch”, he says. Oh, he did not. Before you can even think about it, your arm moves on its own account. The lukewarm soup and the noodles splash in his face, coating his shirt and dripping on the cement. The guy’s eyes widen in surprise, but then they light up with anger. Shit. “Shit”, Jisoo whispers out loud.
And then Park Jimin is there, pushing in front of you. He creates a human wall between you and the three guys. His body heaves as he breathes in fast intervals. He must have run after he heard Jisoo’s shouting.
“Back off”, the golden boy says with a calm voice. His blond hair is so close, you are sure you can smell his eucalyptus shampoo.
“Hey man, this is between me and these two bitches”, the other guy answers, insulting you again.
“You’ve got a minute till my brothers catch up”, Jimin states. “Go. Now.”
Maybe the guy was too far gone, alcohol clouding his judgment, but he needs his two buddies nearly dragging him away from you. They whisper in his ears, half bowing to Jimin. “So sorry, man”, one of them says, clearly having recognized the star student even in the dark.
Jimin doesn’t react. Instead, he turns around to you and you get to look at his angered face. “Why are you two out here? Alone? In the middle of the night? Where is your rape whistle? Hm?”, he asks. You just watch him with surprised eyes.
“Hmm?”, he questions again, stepping closer to you. Jisoo stares silently at Jimin. She has never spoken to him but has always been a strong advocate for watching his ass during lunch.
“Uhm”, you try to answer and swallow the fear from moments ago down. “We… we-were getting to the part?”
Jimin just scoffs in your face, clearly not impressed with your fumbled words. “What are you even doing out here at this time?”
You are slightly intimidated by his presence, so your finger shakes a bit as you point to the kiosk behind you. “We wanted beer.”
You have no idea how this happened. One second you were assaulted, then saved by Jimin. Now you’re sitting in front of the store, waiting for the guy to come back out. Jisoo is sitting next to you on the steps, her elbows on her knees. Then you hear the bell at the door and turn around to see Jimin juggling three beers under his right arm and a steaming cup of noodles in his left hand. He comes to a still before you and pushes the ramen in your hands. After that he places two bottles in front of your feet and crouches down facing you. Jimin’s face has cleared and he looks friendly enough.
“Thanks”, you whisper into your cup. Jisoo hums in agreement.
“I called one of my brothers. He’ll get the footage from one of the security cameras tomorrow”, he explains and twists his own beer open, taking a big swing.
“Why?”, you ask confused and blow at your noodles. Jimin’s eyebrows furrow.
“What do you mean why? So, we can write these bastards up”, he says, and you gasp in surprise, the noodles falling back into the cup.
“You’d… do that for us? Even though you haven’t even seen him… uhm… grabbing me?”, you question in wonder. Why would he go out on a limb for you?
Jimin just rolls his eyes at you. “Of course, I’d do that.”
He is halfway through his beer when Jisoo decides to participate in this semi silent semi one-sided conversation.
“What … were you – you know – doing out this late?”, she wants to know in the softest tone you’ve ever heard her speak in.
Jimin’s hand combs through his hair, the thick strands parted by his fingertips. “I was on a date”, he answers casually.
“On a Wednesday?” Maybe not your smartest contribution because both let out a chuckle.
“Some people date during the week”, Jisoo snorts.
“Some people do meth, Jisoo. Doesn’t mean these are good life choices. Wait – Jimin… did you leave your date to…”
“To rescue two girls from danger? Yeah.”, he finishes for you and dusts invisible dirt from his shoulders. You roll your eyes at his puffed chest and eat another bite of your food.
“Nah, I’m just messing with you”, he laughs, “I was just on my way back from dropping her off at thes dorms.”
After that, there is an awkward silence. The three of you aren’t friends – there is no connection, common interest or shared anecdotes between you. Well, apart from your group project and his unborn son. Before you can start to ramble about the specifics of the – still empty – google docs he linked you in two days ago, his cell starts vibrating.
“Yeah?”, Jimin answers absently and collects your empty bottles to dispose them into the recycling bin. His conversation is muffled at best and you look at your roommate. Again, you hear the bell ring as your coworker Jaehyung closes the door and locks the store.
He smiles down at you. “Why didn’t you come inside, ______?”, he asks in greetings and gives you a quick hug. You hold your ramen in a vice grip – you’ll not lose your second midnight snack again.
“Jimin insisted he didn’t need the 5% extra discount”, you shrug and Jaehyung looks at you funny.
“Jimin?”, he wonders and steals a bite of your noodles. Is there even a god?
“That’ll be me”, the man in question responds and locks his iPhone as he joins the extended group.
“Ah, man… I loved how you absolutely killed it last week on stage”, Jaehyung praises and pats the lead actor on the back. You couldn’t agree more. You’d been there with all the student employees from the kiosk. Jaehyung made it his mission to justify the outing as a bonding experience and teamwork task to your boss.
“This one even had tears in her eyes”, he whispers in mock secrecy and points in your face. Jimin looks at you with an unspoken question on his lips. The actor stops studying you and moves his eyes to look at your coworker, who stands very closed to your sitting figure.
“Glad you enjoyed it”, Jimin mumbles and spares a small smile. “I… really have to get to the frat soon”, he starts, “so, … I’ll better get you two to your room now.”
Jisoo stands up in a heartbeat, dragging you up as well. He’s going to walk you home?
“Nah, don’t worry, man. I’ve got this!”, Jaehyung answers. Jimin’s face is blank as he musters the scene in front of him.
“I’d really like to know that you got back okay”, he reasons and looks pointedly at your coworker.
“Their dorm is waaay out of your way, man. Just let me handle this… It’s the same direction for me anyway”, Jaehyung tries to reason and you see Jimin’s eyes flash in frustration.
Jisoo is just looking between both men, not really sure how to react. Has Jimin an ulterior motive to walk you back? Does he even want to walk you back? Is it more than just soothing his conscious?
Maybe your chances of the Park Jimin being interested in you just upped from three to fifteen percent.
“Sure”, Jimin reluctantly agrees to Jaehyung’s plan and faces you, his stare zeroing in on you.
“Write me when you get home?”, he demands more than asks and you can only nod dumbfounded.
“Just,… let me give you my number so you’ll be able to text me”, Jimin reasons and stretches his hand out to get your phone. You look at him in confusion – you exchanged numbers two days ago during class. He was the one messaging all of you.
“I… uhm… have your number”, you tell him. His eyes widen in surprise.
“Since when?”, the campus star asks and musters you in suspicion. Your face colors instantly, a deep red tone on your cheeks, as you realize that Jimin doesn’t remember you’re in his group assignment. He… doesn’t even recognize you. You feel so embarrassed, more so when Jisoo, too, sucks in her breathe.
“Uhm”, this is… very humiliating, “we’re i- in the same.. group for our PoliSci class.”
There is a beat of silence as you see even Jimin’s cheeks dusted with a hint of red.
“Ah, right, sorry”, he says and massages his neck uncomfortably. “I didn’t recognize you without your glasses.” Kill me now.
You just laugh and swallow down the bitter taste in your mouth while moving closer to your friend. Now, he thinks you’re the murderer? There is no mercy for your pride here.
“Let’s get going, ______”, Jisoo says, way too chipper and links your arms as she pulls you away from this disaster. “Thanks again, Jimin-ssi.”
“Yeah”, you agree and bow in front of him to cover the humiliation painted across your face.
Jimin bites on his bottom lip, all too tempted to reply, but settles for a swift nod.
Then the three of you walk away and ss soon as he is out earshot, Jaehyung looks at you.
“I have never seen you wearing glasses, ______”
Well, maybe your predictions were a bit off, maybe your chances with Jimin were no more than two percent.
Sunday – 4:32 pm – PoliSci library
“Should we… just start?”, you ask as Jimin fiddles with his tablet. You’re both seated in one of the small study rooms of your library. There is a half-empty box of chocolates between you. Jimin presented them with a shrug – they were a present he got after his last performance, the sweets a gift from one of his fanclubs… yeah… plural.
Other than that, there is your old laptop in the desk, some of the books from your professor’s reading list spread around the table, and an empty water bottle. What is not here, is the rest of the group.
You don’t have their numbers, Jimin being the organizer out of the four of you. His is the only number that is saved in your phone and was used last Wednesday. There was a small part of you – hell, who are you kidding? – a big part of you, that didn’t want to text Jimin. After the embarrassment died down that night, you were really angry. How could he? He winked at you one day and then forgot he even knows you the next day?
You wanted him to be ashamed; having him franticly messaging the wrong girl in his group would have served him right. And judging by the sheer joy this girl is, he’d have gotten an earful calling her at midnight.
But then you didn’t want to imagine him realizing he had the wrong girl. No, you wanted to be present. So, you texted him briefly and rescheduled the reveal for this Sunday, when he’d see both of you. And now you two are alone. Perfect planning, ______.
“You texted them, right?”, you ask for the tenth time and Jimin nods, picking one more praline from the box.
“Yeah, and I also called while you were peeing”, Jimin answers and pops the dark chocolate in his mouth.
“Don’t say that word”, you say.
“What? Pee?”, he laughs, “Be happy I didn’t say piss.”
“Now you said it too”, you whine.
“What else am I supposed to say, _______?” Oh, the right name; nice.
“Going to the toilette? Stepping out for a second? Leaving the room?”, you list and grab a sweet. The air between you both isn’t exactly uncomfortable. You’ve licked your wounds over the rest of the week and can see your partner for what he is, an overachiever.
He has much on his plate, so many appointments and engagements, it’s no wonder he doesn’t remember one of the hundred of faces on campus. So, you decided to forgive him… to a certain degree. The degree being, that a.) he doesn’t even know there is an issue and b.) your big revenge fell down the drain with your female partner being a non-show.
For the last half hour, the two of you talked, mainly about organisatory stuff like due-dates and presentation formats. But then you pointed to the box of chocolates and you both strayed into more private matters. You complimented him – again – for his performance and Jimin expressed his relief that he received all-around glowing reviews. He even shared that there was a casting coach at one of the stage nights. The golden boy’s eyes lit up, as he talked about the offer to sign a contract with this coach, who was one of the most in-demands in his profession.
“We could just divide the parts evenly among us and pick the ones most to our liking”, your partner offers and shares his tablet with you.
“I doodled with a few topics last night… what do you think, _____?”, he asks, and you look at his notes. Of course, his doodles look like your versions of an exposé.
Why does he have so much resources to prep for this meeting when he can’t even filter your face?
“Yeah, the second theme looks… uhm quite promising”, you say and move to enlarge his mind map. You’re sure the first proposal is just as good, but there were a few words that you don’t even know how to pronounce.
The two of you work productively for the next half hour, separating some key elements of the theory and choosing your own parts. Jimin – being the one coming up with the whole topic – let’s you pick first. You try to decline but he is very adamant.
After you added all your points into the shared document, the both of you pack away your things and Jimin throws away the empty box of chocolates. So much for a healthy afternoon snack.
Jimin is just happily telling you he’ll sleep in tomorrow because your professor canceled your shared lecture. You can’t agree more – having moved your self-care day to tomorrow instead. You’ll skip your tutoring session in the evening, so the whole day is yours. A smile stretches across your face and you hear Jimin stumble on his words as he looks at you.
“There is a party at my frat today, if you wanne come?”, he offers and slings his backpack over his shoulders. Wait… what?
“A Bangtan Party?”, you whisper-shout and look at him – the smile frozen on your lips.
Jimin looks a bit embarrassed as he sees your excitement.
“Yeah… I could set you on the guestlist?”, he say, a bit unsure. Your brain is working overtime. The Park Jimin wants you at his party? The girl he couldn’t even remember a few days ago? A mere group project fail?
“Really?”, you ask as you feel anticipation cursing through your veins.
“Really.” Jimin’s eyes are nearly closed, a bright smile pushing his cheeks up.
Maybe… Maybe your chances of the Park Jimin being interested in you are higher than you thought, now that he knows who you are. You’ll give yourself solid 20 percent. This party is one of the most exclusive affairs on campus, why else invite you if there isn’t some interest at his end?
“Cool”, you say, “can I bring my roommate?”
Jimin nods and holds open the door, closing and locking it behind him.
“I’ll see you tonight then?”, he asks instead of saying goodbye and moves away from you. You see Jungkook… and is that Namjoon?... waiting two aisles behind you, talking to each other in hushed voices. You wave at Jimin in affirmation and turn around.
“Don’t you think this is way too short?”, you ask – your insecurity slipping right out as you brush over the fabric of your dark red metallic skirt. Jisoo and you have been getting ready for the last few hours, which entailed not only some very hairspray-intense styling but also a tree diagram being constructed on the back of your pre-game nachos. Your roommate collected and rated every clue you gave her regarding the Park Jimin mystery – of course only after she squealed for a good minute.
“No touching my stuff”, Jisoo scolds and knocks away your fidgeting hands. She added ten percent to your prediction because she upvoted him rescuing you – and staring at Jaehyung in frustration – way higher than his misjudgment of forgetting your name and face. Even thought you pointed out that Jimin was on a date clearly indicating he maybe isn’t even emotional available.
“Your stuff is on my body, though”, you argue as both of you walk to the frat house. Their house isn’t that far off campus but it still is a 20 minute walk. You’ve got your pepper spray with you this time even if you left your rape whistle at home. There are few students out this evening, tomorrow being Monday making most of them stay in tonight. Before you can take the last turn do that their house comes into view, there is a person calling your name from behind.
You look and see the sketchbook guy from your group project jogging towards you. Jisoo looks at you questionably, not recognizing him. There is suppressed anger on your face and you try really hard not to be too mean to the person who left you and Jimin waiting today.
“Yeah?”, you ask and look at the slightly out of breath guy now in front of you. He’s got a gym bag over his shoulders, his running shoes still on his feet.
“Good workout today?”, you add with slight sarcasm in your voice. There seems to be a slight issue in translation because he just smiles wider at you as he gives you a small bow.
“Thanks to you, of course”, he answers, and you are this close to hitting a person today.
“What?”, you hiss and try to control your anger. This useless excuse of a PoliSci major will not lower your standards. Now the guy looks at you with a puzzled expression on his face – clearly not expecting you to me so hostile.
“You know? Yo- you and Jimin offering to do the selecting and dividing by yourselves really helped me out today.” Come again?
“What?”, you repeat this time without venom in your voice. His face moves to the side as he musters you carefully.
“Uhm… Jimin called on Thursday… telling us not to bother coming on Sunday”, he explains slowly as if you’re the dumb one. Jimin did what?
“What?”, you ask for a third time and now he and Jisoo look at you with worry.
“He.. he.. I mean Jimin – he mentioned that you two were totally fine with doing it alone… Mina and I offered to finalize and proofread the presentation in return”, he continues and you are just confused. So, so confused.
Why would Jimin lie to them – and to you?
“Ehm.. I’m sorry…”, you look at him sheepishly. He seems to understand and adds “Wobin”.
“Yeah, right… Wobin… this is a huge misunderstanding … let me – uhm talk to Jimin”, you say, the confusion slowing down your word flow.
Wobin looks at Jisoo in question and she just shrugs. “You’re staying with her?”, he asks her and she nods. “We haven’t had that much to drink… I think she just needs a minute. Thanks tough, Wobin”, Jisoo calmly states and your partner leaves with an uncertain wave.
“_______?”, another voice joins – because why not make it a whole convention here on the sidewalk literarily five minutes away from your destination. You turn to the male voice and see non other than Jungkook walking towards you with hurried steps.
“Hmm?”, you answer, still reeling from the confession mere minutes ago.
“What are you doing out here alone by yourselves?”, he questions as he catches up. Jisoo is frozen next to you – even tough Jimin is without question the hottest guy at your university, Jungkook is by far the most dangerous. Combined, they are lethal.
“We were just on our way to your house”, you offer and point in the direction of the frat.
“Yeah, I get that”, he says, “but why are you out here alone?”
“You can see Jisoo, right?”, you ask, not sure of anything tonight and look at your roommate.
Jungkook scoffs and shakes his head – clearly not impressed.
“After last Wednesday you’re still walking around alone at night?”, he wants to know. Last Wednesday? Wait how does he know about that?
“Who told you?”
Now Jungkook looks as worried as Wobin before. “Jiminie told me? Hadn’t I stayed longer at practice I would have been with him when he found you.”
“Practice?”, you ask.
“Yeah,… we’re preparing a inprov show to celebrate the anniversary of the drama department, you know?”, he explains and adds after he sees your expression: “Hasn’t Jimin mentioned anything?”
No, Jimin did in fact not mention he wasn’t actually leaving from a date but a late-night practice that day.
“He has been wreaking havoc since that night”, Jungkook shares. “Every brother had to sign up to cover a shift patrolling common paths during school nights.”
Now, he points at himself. “Today is my night so I’ll escort you to our mansion.”
Jisoo just looks at him like he grew a second head.
“You’re pepping for an improvisation show?”, she asks slowly as the three of you begin to walk.
This is the thing Jisoo has a problem with? Really? You feel your head spin while you try to make sense of the last two encounters.
Jimin didn’t go on a date last Wednesday. Jimin himself uninvited your partners from todays meeting. You shared chocolates with a liar.
“Wait… Jungkook?”, you ask not even looking at him. “Do you guys get a lot of gifts after your performances?” The student just laughs and shakes his head.
“Nah, we’re not allowed to anymore. The presents were getting out of hands. I mean… Seokjin-hyung even got a gold bar once, a fucking gold bar.”
You speed up your steps as you see the frat house in front of you, few people mingling around the entrance. There is a guy standing at the door and you’re trying to get your student ID out of the bag – your thoughts making your hands shake.
Jungkook comes up behind you and just shoves you inside, saluting the other guy with a cheeky grin. You don’t have much time taking in the décor, but you do notice how small the group of students are mingling around the living room. There is soft R&B playing from a stereo and you see the infamous reusable cups full of alcoholic mixtures.
And then you see Jimin, how ridged he is standing in front of the fireplace, bottled water in hand. His eyes zero in on you and the blooming smile quickly freezes when he notices your disheveled state. You step around some guys on the couch, making your way towards him. He places his water on the mantlepiece.
“______”, he greets you and you hear the tension in his voice. He knows, you know – maybe not how much, but Jungkook trailing behind you with a guilty look tells him that you know enough.
“Jimin”, you start, completely unsure which lie you should focus on, your brain jumping around in circles.
“______”, he whispers and takes a step closer to you.
“Jimin”, you try again to form a coherent sentence.
Before his lips meet yours in a shy confession, you think to yourself:
Maybe there is a 99 percent chance of Park Jimin being interested in you.