When we exited the theatre, Jungkook rushed to the washroom, leaving me in the lobby. While waiting for him, I paid another visit to the food court, bought us some more junk food, and leaned against a pillar. He didn’t take long, joining me quite quickly for someone doing a bathroom rush.
“Is your place far from here?” I asked, pulling on his sleeve to keep him from stepping outside.
He looked back at me in confusion. “Uh, a bit, I guess,” he said, not sounding so sure. I forgot that coming to the movies wasn’t something he regularly did because of his tight schedule.
“Can we walk, then?” I proposed, shifting on my feet. It felt strange to ask him that. I wasn’t purposely trying to spend more time with him, but the prospect of it didn’t dawn on me until the words were out of my mouth.
Smiling, he nodded.
The buzz of the night air, the smell of food wafting out of the restaurants we passed, and the cool, soothing night breeze. All of it was relaxing. I could never do this because I tended to wander when I was on my own, so I had to find someone willing to come with me. However, no one I knew had the time for long walks late at night. Mostly because they had to wake early in the morning.
“Eun-Ha?” Jungkook’s voice snapped me out of my wandering thoughts. My head turned towards him, hunching my shoulders in embarrassment.
“Sorry, what did you say?” I asked, my cheeks red.
He smiled, shaking his head, looking very much amused. “Nothing, let’s go.”
I don’t know why I startled and turned as red as a tomato every time he took my hand, but I wasn’t the only one. The only difference was he could easily hide his face behind his mask, while everyone could see me blushing.
Not to mention my mind shutting down for a moment.
We walked in comfortable silence, basking in the sounds around us. When we came across a street vendor selling ice cream, I immediately stopped and grinned, pointing at the vendor.
“Do you want ice cream?” Jungkook asked, laughing. I nodded. Scrunching his nose, he pinched my cheek with his free hand. “What flavour?”
His eyebrows shot up. Letting go of my hand, he gently pressed on both my shoulders and told me to “stay right here and don’t move.” I nodded like an eager puppy. Anything for ice cream.
He walked over to the vendor and bought two vanilla cones. When he was heading back, two girls stopped him. I was too far away to make out the conversation, but it was pretty obvious what they wanted when they took out phones and posed for a selca. One girl even asked for an autograph, and I could tell—even from where I stood—how bad Jungkook felt when he had to decline because his hands were full. He looked so apologetic that I wanted to take the ice cream from his hands just so he could sign, but I did not act on it—thank God. Just imagine what those girls would have thought seeing him out with me.
He talked some more before heading towards me, but the two girls still looked at him, taking pictures. We locked eyes, and my breath hitched. My hands trembled. I was terrified, but when Jungkook crushed the cones in his hands, I rushed over to him without thinking.
“You okay?” I asked in a hushed voice when I reached him, digging for a tissue from my snack bag.
“Eun-Ha.” Jungkook sounded slightly panicked, but he was holding it back.
Finding a tissue I held it out for him.
“Eun-Ha, don’t look. They are still recording,” Jungkook murmured, dipping into a bow to express his thanks. When I froze, he quickly added, “Act normal.”
Blinking, I nodded, but I didn’t know what to do. As he wiped his hands, he bit his lip in thought. “Okay, pretend you are just helping me get clean and then continue walking. I’ll follow you out.”
“What if you are followed?” I whispered.
Jungkook chewed on his lips and looked around. We were already talking for a long time, and if we didn’t separate soon, things might escalate.
“Ah, I’ll walk around a bit and meet you there. Under that dead lamppost,” I said.
“No, I’m not letting you walk alone,” he said immediately, not pausing to think it through. “I’d rather be spotted walking around with you than lose you, Eun-Ha.”
“Kookie, I’m so terrified right now because I can’t think of anything else but not being seen with you. I promise I won’t get lost. Please,” I begged, trying to keep my expression happy so that no one suspected us.
He stared at me for a while before dipping into another bow and walking off. It took everything I had not to stare after him and pretend everything was normal. My movements were robotic as I walked over to the ice cream vendor and bought myself an ice cream. Making sure those two girls weren’t around, I started in the direction of the broken lamppost.
A lonely figure stood in the dark. Finally feeling slightly relieved, I cast a glance around to make sure we weren’t being followed and ran over to the lamppost, stopping myself from crashing into Jungkook at the last minute. Seeing me, he breathed out a sigh of relief and instantly latched on to my hand.
“Let’s not do that again,” he said, tightening his hold.
I was struck speechless by his actions but still managed to nod. We ate our ice cream as we walked in silence, letting the sounds of the world wash around us. A moment later, Jungkook’s phone pinged. Fishing out his phone, he continued walking.
“Is there somewhere you want to go?” he asked, pocketing his phone again. I looked at him lazily, his question not properly registering.
“Is there somewhere else you want to go before we head home?” he asked again, an amused smirk lifting the corner of his lips.
I furrowed my brow while he continued watching me in amusement. Where was it that I wanted to go with Jungkook? If this was Suga, I’d already have listed numerous places. But somewhere to go with Jungkook. . . ?
His phone pinged again and I looked at him worriedly. In the rush of enjoying his company, I had forgotten who he was. It never occurred to me that he might have a schedule and that he could be in a boatload of trouble for not following it.
“Is everything okay?” I asked softly, tugging on his hand.
He looked at me quickly and smiled, pocketing his phone.”Yeah, just Hyung asking if I lost you.”
I didn’t need to ask which Hyung to know Suga was the one texting him. Pursing my lips, I nodded.
“Aren’t you late?” I asked. He looked at me, a question in his eyes. Chuckling, I elaborated. “Don’t you have practice to get to or something? You already spent two and a half hours with me.”
“No. I’m free the whole day today. Actually, everyone is. It was supposed to be your graduation present, but everyone planned something else. So they sent me to celebrate with you.”
Because he looked so content saying that, I couldn’t tell if he was forced into this. It sounded like he didn’t want to be here, but he looked so happy that he was.
“So, where else shall we go?” he asked eagerly. “There must be something you wanted to do as soon as you were free from school.”
“Take a long walk in the park after midnight, eat so much ice cream that I’d hate it in the morning, and stay out as late as possible.” I rattled off without pausing to think to whom I was telling this.
“I supposed the park we passed wasn’t the one you had in mind,” Jungkook said, looking back the way we had come.
Giggling, I shook my head. I had thankfully kept one part of my wish to myself.
“Do you have a park in mind?” he asked.
“I couldn’t possibly keep you up all night, Jungko—” his narrowed eyes made me trail off before I could finish. My cheeks flaming, I mumbled, “Sorry. Habit.”
I couldn’t risk calling him Kookie. My blood pressure wouldn’t be able to take it. Standing this close to him was already causing all sorts of havoc in me without adding his nickname in the mix.
“Anyway, I’m not keeping you up all night. You have work tomorrow.”
He pouted, but my last sentence had him laughing. He ruffled my hair before turning around and starting to walk again.
“I still want to stay with you,” he murmured. His voice was so soft I wasn’t sure I heard him right. I bit my lip, wondering if I should ask him to repeat himself or pretend I didn’t hear anything.
“Doesn’t matter, let’s go,” he said louder, looking over his shoulder with mischief.
Without giving me time to answer he started to run, dragging me behind him. A few minutes later he came to a stop, but I was too busy doubling over to catch my breath to make note of where we were.
“Will this do?” he asked looking at me excitedly. He was just short of bouncing on his feet.
Straightening up, I saw that we were in a park. I couldn’t help the burst of laughter that escaped me. Of all places, he had brought me to a children’s park.
I didn’t have the heart to disagree with him, seeing how excited he was. So I nodded and raced over to the swing set, claiming the one on the right for myself. He walked over to me at a leisurely pace.
Not waiting for him to join, I kicked the ground and swung myself high in the air, making all my hair blow into my face. Spluttering, I slid to a stop. I brushed my hair away and pulled it up only to realize I didn’t have a hair tie.
That was when Jungkook extended his hand, a hair tie in his palm. Grinning in thanks, I accepted it and tied my hair into a bun, tucking it into my cap. With that taken care of, I started swinging again.
We ended up swinging for a long time and running around the park doing crazy things until Jungkook got a call from Suga. By then, it was already past ten. Sitting next to Jungkook on the monkey bars, I watched as they talked for a while before Jungkook turned to me with a pout.
“They want us back,” he said, looking around the park like he didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave either. This was the most fun I’d had in a while.
“Can we do this some other time?” he asked, his voice soft and filled with doubt.
His question took me by surprise and I sharply turned to face him. What I hadn’t expected was for him to be as close as he was. My sudden shift in direction planted my lips on his cheek, missing his lip by a millimetre.
Both of us froze, and our fingertips brushed as we grasped the bar beneath us to maintain balance. We both pulled our hands away at the same time, turning our heads, our cheeks blazing. My heart beat fast against my ribcage. I kicked the air nervously, not sure what to do with myself until the shrill sound of “War of Hormones” blaring from his pocket almost made me topple off the monkey bars. Grasping the edge tightly, I looked at him, not realizing that it was my phone ringing and not his.
Not until he dished it out of his jacket and held it out to me with a sheepish smile. “Yoongi Hyung asked me to hang on to it until we got out of the theatre. I forgot to give it to you after.”
I lifted my lips in what I hoped was a smile as I carefully slipped the phone from his hand. This time making sure our hands didn’t touch. One kiss was enough. My heart and my cheeks hadn’t calmed down from that yet. No need to make them worse. Answering, I pressed the phone to my ear.
“Kookie! Where are you two?” Suga demanded before I could say anything.
“We’re still in the park,” I replied, not bothering to correct him. He’ll know it was me anyway.
“Why are you answering his phone?”
“Oppa, you rang my phone.”
“What? Oh. Right. His phone is switched off. Ask him to switch it on before he gets scolded. Also, come home. Do you two even know what time it is?”
“Hm, maybe after ten? And we’re about to head back, so calm down.”
“Good, hurry up.”
And with that, the line cut. Silence settled in again when I looked at Jungkook and found he was already looking at me. Breath catching in my throat, I forgot what I was supposed to tell him. I sucked on my upper lip, my eyes dropping back to my lap.
“Did Hyung ask us to come back?” he asked.
I nodded, something dawning on me when he said Hyung.
He swung his legs, about to jump off. I quickly grabbed his sleeve, stopping him short. Freezing, his eyes darted to where my fingers fisted his sleeve before they trailed back to my eyes. He didn’t have to ask. The question was written all over his face.
“This never happened,” I said, staring straight into his eyes.
His brows furrowed, and he looked at me as if asking what I was talking about. I vaguely motioned to our lips.
“I don’t want Suga Oppa and you to fight,” I muttered.
I could feel his gaze boring into my head. A moment passed and then another before Jungkook swung himself down from the monkey bars. He stepped closer, his face on level with my knees.
“If you don’t want me to get scolded, let’s go,” he said, holding a hand out for me.
Gulping, I looked at the ground, and it seemed a further way down than it had been climbing up. No way was I jumping down from here.
“Can’t I just climb down the way we came up?” I asked, eyeing the ladder with renewed interest.
“Eun-Ha, jump. I promise to catch you. You won’t have a single scratch on your body,” he said, the hand he had been holding out now placed on my knee. It was a gesture of reassurance. Nothing more.
I looked down again before meeting his gaze. He had a soft smile on his lips and looked at me expectantly but reassuringly.
“I still think—” I started but was cut off when his arms wrapped around my waist and hauled me off the monkey bars. I screamed, clutching onto his shoulder and squeezing my eyes shut. My body slammed against his, and then everything stopped.
“Perfectly safe,” Jungkook whispered, his breath fanning across my face.
Heart still racing with the scare he had given, I slowly opened my eyes. First, I noticed he was leaning his forehead against mine. Next, I noticed two things at the same time. The first was that my arms were wrapped tightly around his neck. The second was that my legs were wrapped around his waist.
Cheeks colouring in embarrassment, I instantly dropped my legs from around his waist, but he continued holding me. I kept my arms wrapped around him. Taking a deep breath, I nodded, afraid to say anything in case I embarrassed myself further. He smiled, before carefully lowering me until my feet touched the ground. I expected he’d let go of me once I was on my feet, but he continued to hold me.
“Thank you for today Eun-Ha,” he whispered, his eyes closed.
“Why?” I breathed, my hands resting on the crook of his elbow.
“For everything. I had fun,” he said. His eyelids fluttered open, and when he stared directly at me, my mind went blank.
I could only nod dumbly, too awestruck. My heart was beating irregularly, something he could surely feel considering how close we were pressed against each other. A moment later, he let go, pulling away as if nothing happened.
“We should go,” he said, looking around the park with a sudden awkwardness. I couldn’t get my head around what had happened, so I just nodded. Looking anywhere but me, he grabbed my hand. When I followed him, not only did I not know where we were going, I paid attention to nothing whatsoever.