Hey guys, Chapter 21 is here! More Jimin angst, hehehe. Why am I so evil? I blame it on an early start of reading Stephen King, lol. Anyhow, I hope you do enjoy it. ;)
Thank you to all of you who are reading, liking, clipping, following, and commenting.
Disclaimer: Many of the characters aside from BTS are made up and BTS themselves are not BTS in this story. And, of course, I don't know the BTS boys personally so their personalities are probably mostly fictional.
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Warning: May contain mild language
As soon as Hoseok had the chance, he talked to Jin about wanting to find a home health aide for SooJin. He didn’t tell him the whole reason, but he did hint that she didn’t appear to be as happy lately. He didn’t want to lie to Jin, but for SooJin’s peace of mind, he didn’t want to tell him everything. He would leave that up to her. Hoseok was recommended a well-known home health company and immediately set up a meeting between the Kims, Drs. Bae and Lee, and a representative from the company. Jin asked Hoseok to attend since he was familiar with SooJin’s situation more than anyone else.
The doctors agreed that SooJin would likely only need the aide for another 2 to 3 weeks. The company had someone available Friday, the next day. Since it was already later in the day, it was recommended that SooJin be discharged in the morning. SooJin was ecstatic. Ever since Hoseok had said that he would make it happen, her spirits had lifted. The water had started draining from the room. And now, with those words, she was finally able to touch the ground again.
Those present congratulated her on finally getting able to be discharged. After everyone left, she hugged Hoseok tightly and told him ‘Thank you’ over and over again. With a home aide, now she’d be able to go home but not be a burden on anyone aside from needing help up and down the stairs and getting ready for bed at night. Hoseok went back to work for the last couple hours. Not thirty minutes later, Taehyung burst into her room.
“Are you okay?” he asked breathlessly. Had he been running?
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be? Did something happen?” SooJin started to get scared. Taehyung looked back out into the hallway. And then locked the door. “What’s wrong?” SooJin now sitting at the edge of the bed, legs dangling.
“Look, uh, I don’t know how this happened, but... the media found out about you.” He quickly moved next to her.
“The media? Why would the media care about... me...” She was part of the Kim family now. Her family owned one of the biggest companies in Korea. And everyone still thought she was dead. A month of mindlessly watching TV had made it obvious how much the media liked to blow things out of proportion.
Taehyung saw the understanding cross her face. “As soon as the news broke, we alerted security. They’ve been able to keep them out so far, but cockroaches have a way of finding holes to crawl through.”
“What kind of things are they saying to have everyone so worried?”
Taehyung looked away. How bad could it possibly be? “They’re already making up stories about your family faking your death for sympathy or some such nonsense. And then... they managed to get a hold of some pictures of you and Hoseok together. And only of you two. Whoever took them and distributed them is trying to make it look like something is going on. And that’s part of their faked death conspiracy involving a secret marriage and manipulating business deals. It’s like they took the bad parts out of every chaebol TV drama and shoved it into one theory.”
“Why... why would they do that?” After finally finding her family, she was already causing them problems. And Hoseok... he had only been trying to help her and here she was getting him caught up in a scandal.
Taehyung sat next to her. “I can see it in your eyes. Don’t blame yourself. The media doesn’t have a reason for the stupid things they do. They only care about ratings. All celebrities, politicians, and families owning a large company has had this happen at least once in their lives. Usually, more than once. I guess we should be surprised it took this long.” At her still downcast look, Taehyung hugged her. She melted into it. His comforting arms made her feel safe.
“What am I supposed to do now?” she muttered, holding onto his arms.
Taehyung leaned back slightly, not letting go yet. He could sense that she needed the comfort. “Well, you’re supposed to be discharged tomorrow, but we’re gonna see if Dr. Bae can do it today. I know he wanted to wait so that there would be enough time for them to get everything together and make sure you were ready, but given the situation, we asked if it’s possible to do it today. Once we hear for sure, we’ll see about getting you out of here. Hyung obviously can’t stop by, but he asked that I make sure everything goes okay.”
“But what about your work?”
“Don’t worry, we’ve already got everything taken care of on my end. We’re just worried about you. Jin was so upset, but we told him coming by would not be a good idea given everything.”
SooJin nodded. “I understand...”
Taehyung gently pet her head. He was about to say something when his phone rang. He checked the number and then reluctantly let go of SooJin. “It’s Dr. Bae. Let me take this and find out what’s going on.” Taehyung answered the phone but didn’t move from the bed. She couldn’t hear Dr. Bae, but guessing from Taehyung’s end of the conversation, they were going to be able to discharge her in a couple hours.
Taehyung hung up the phone and relayed what he was told. They were going to have to wait another hour or so while they filled SooJin’s medications, but she would be able to be discharged soon after. Dr. Bae had also talked to Dr. Lee and they were working with the hospital to see about sending a physical therapist to their house instead of having her come back every day because of the media. As soon as the medications were filled, Dr. Bae came and gave her her discharge instructions. He said they would send someone to the house for her PT sessions until everything settled down. SooJin couldn’t say enough how grateful she was for him putting in the extra work. And Taehyung had stayed with her the entire time.
After hearing about waiting, Taehyung had already talked to the others about taking SooJin home. Taehyung and Hoseok had come together so she obviously couldn’t go with them. Jin would only bring more attention. He didn’t even bother asking Jimin because of Jimin’s behavior towards SooJin. Jungkook and JiEun were out of classes already and Namjoon and Yoongi would both be at work for a little bit longer, so he asked the two youngest. They gladly said yes.
Taehyung quickly helped SooJin pack up her things. SooJin didn’t have a change of clothes with her, so JiEun brought a set up to her. Jungkook waited with the car at a back entrance and Taehyung took her bags down. JiEun wheeled her down to the car when SooJin was changed. As soon as they were in the car, JiEun stuck to her like glue, constantly asking if she was really okay, if she was happy to go home, and telling her all the things they could do now. She was so excited to have her unnie back home and SooJin was equally as excited.
SooJin was both excited and anxious about going home. She was happy to escape the overwhelming loneliness and even after having just left, she felt like she was back to herself. She looked forward to being able to see the others without being worried that she was inconveniencing them. And she had missed seeing her friends, SunYung, MinJu, and HyeMi who hadn’t been able to visit as much as they wanted to. She looked forward to the home-cooked meals and sitting around the table listening to everyone talk about their day.
But that also added to her anxiety. If she was at home, there was no way of pretending like Jimin wasn’t avoiding and ignoring her. She would have to see him every day. There wouldn’t be a chance to try to settle her feelings. She had fought with herself about whether or not she wanted to push him to explain his behavior or if she just wanted to pretend like nothing was happening. This constant back and forth was probably what was causing her to struggle with her rehabilitation. She knew she still loved Jimin, but she was trying to get over him. It was obvious that, whatever the reason may be, he didn’t or couldn’t return her feelings. So, she decided, without ever telling him, she would try to get over him. It would be a lot harder to do now.
As they drove down the driveway, SooJin could see Jin pacing restlessly on the porch. As soon as he heard the car, he stopped and waited for it to pull up. Jungkook parked the car and Jin immediately rushed to the door. He made a face when the door was still locked.
“Just a second, oppa.” She unlocked the door. He had it open in a second. “So impatient,” she laughed.
He coughed. “Yeah, well, I guess I’m just anxious. I was really worried when I saw the articles. I called Hoseok and he said he would take care of it, that I shouldn’t go to the hospital. I was worried sick, but I couldn’t see you. And you didn’t answer the phone.” SooJin quickly checked her phone. It was still on silent from the night before.
“Sorry, I left it on silent overnight and forgot to turn it back on. Then Tae kept me busy so I wouldn’t look up the articles. I didn’t even think to check it. I’m sorry, oppa.”
He quickly leaned down for a hug. “It’s alright. I’m just glad you’re okay. Let’s get you inside.” SooJin nodded in agreement. She moved her legs to rest outside the door. Her legs weren’t quite strong enough to help her stand up yet so she used the car and car door to help pull herself up. Jin smiled and handed her her crutches. She looked at the two steps with dread. She hadn’t practiced walking up steps yet so she was scared. Jin put one hand on her back and said he wouldn’t let her fall. She smiled gratefully at him and went for it. The only thing that allowed her to make it up was Jin’s hand forcing her to keep her balance.
SooJin made a noise of annoyance. “Don’t worry, anything worth doing takes time,” Jin assured her. SooJin nodded in agreement even though she still felt unhappy at herself.
As soon as she was settled in the living room, SooJin started to look up the articles, even against the others’ warnings. She wanted to know what was being said. She had to see it for herself. She had to know how much trouble she was causing everyone. Within reading one article, she was already angry. The more she read, the angrier she became. How could these people who didn’t know her family or Hoseok just make up stories about them as if they weren’t trying to ruin people’s lives.
Hoseok and Taehyung arrived first. “Are you guys okay?” SooJin asked them immediately.
“Us? We should be asking you that. You had to leave in such a hurry. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. But how’s everything? I’ve been reading the articles,” Hoseok and Taehyung sighed, “and I’ve seen what they’ve been saying. You guys are out in the public eye, not me, so I can only imagine how much worse it is for you. Tae and Jin-oppa said it’s nothing to worry about but—“
“They’re right,” Hoseok finished for her. “It’s okay. We’re figuring out what to do. But something like this isn’t exactly new for us. It’s fine. You don’t need—“
Jin’s phone rang, cutting off Hoseok. Jin left the room to answer his phone. Taehyung immediately tried to get Hoseok to sit next to SooJin by gesturing to JiEun to move over. JiEun stuck her tongue out and Jungkook, watching the two of them, moved closer to JiEun. Taehyung shot them a look which they both ignored. Hoseok looked between the Taehyung and JiEun and rolled his eyes. He sat on the opposite side of SooJin leaving more than plenty of room for Jin. Taehyung sat on the other side of him and tried to force him closer, but Hoseok ignored him. Taehyung threw his hands up in exasperation.
“Are you okay?” SooJin asked him with worry.
“Peachy,” Taehyung retorted with annoyance.
Before SooJin could say anything more, Jin was back. “That was my parents. They’re coming over for dinner tonight. And they said they have something to discuss with the three of us.” The last part, he gestured to himself, SooJin, and Hoseok.
“I’ll be happy to see them,” SooJin responded, letting out a small smile. “I just wish it were under better circumstances. But at least it’ll be nice to see them, regardless.”
Jin smiled and sat down next to SooJin and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “Everything will work out,” he assured her.
SooJin laid her head on his shoulder. She wanted to believe it, but just like every other time in her life, the bad always came to make up for the happiness she had. She was saved by Jiyoung’s grandparents and was happy for a time and they died. She was taken into a nice home and adopted, but the kindness was all a lie. She escaped and was almost raped. She met these people and became happy and she had a bad accident. She finally figured out her feelings and he treated her like she didn’t exist. She found out who she really was and gained a family and now the media was trying to turn them into bad people. Now, she had only barely relearned to walk, and not very well at that. Once she was able to walk, what would happen after that?
“Don’t do that,” Hoseok spoke abruptly. SooJin turned to him. “I can practically see the thoughts going through your head. None of this is your fault. Everything will be fine.” He held her gaze. “The bastards who started this did it with this exact purpose in mind. The pictures they took went back all the way to me taking you down for our ice cream sundae. Whoever took the pictures held onto them and took pictures only of the two of us.
“Everyone visited you, everyone took you around the hospital, but the only published pictures were of the two of us. They wanted this to happen. Besides, I’m willing to bet they were after me. They wouldn’t know who were until they dug into you. They were probably at the hospital to try to find something to make me look bad. So really, this is probably all my fault... I’m really sorry SooJin-ah. And to you too, hyung, and your family.”
“It’s not your fault either,” Jin countered, setting a hand on Hoseok’s shoulder. “It’s not anyone’s fault except the person who did this. Both of you, please don’t blame yourselves. Besides, we’ll handle it just fine.”
SooJin leaned against Jin and grabbed his hand. “Thank you, oppa,” she said quietly.
“Yeah, thanks hyung,” Hoseok added.
They continued talking. Yoongi and Namjoon came home very soon after and joined them next. Jimin was home just after them. The others had told him about what had happened and that SooJin would be coming home. He walked in the house and looked around, seeing if the others were around. He saw them sitting in the living room so he tried to walk past without them noticing. With the way SooJin was facing, though, she saw him. But she didn’t say anything. She saw him glance their way and their eyes locked. Jimin’s eyes went round before breaking away. He continued faster to the stairs. SooJin was more heartbroken.
Most of the others hadn’t seen because of their angle, but JiEun and Jungkook had. JiEun was confused at his actions and Jungkook felt that frustration build up again. He had become more and more frustrated with his brother since SooJin’s accident, especially because Jimin just kept saying he was fine. Hoseok had been facing SooJin when the exchange happened and had followed her gaze as soon as her face fell. When he saw Jimin walking away, Hoseok became angry.
The others hadn’t seen what happened, but they heard Jimin come in, they could see something was wrong with SooJin, and all of them could add 2 and 2.
Jin was quick to change SooJin’s attention. “Why don’t we get ready for dinner? My parents will be here soon to join us. Jungkook, since your brother is here, could you inform him?” Jungkook nodded and everyone went to their rooms. SooJin was content in the clothes she was in and JiEun and Jin stayed with her. About ten minutes later, the doorbell rang just as the others were heading back down. Everyone greeted the Kims and SooJin hugged them. Her parents kept asking if she was okay after the events of the day and she continually assured them that she was.
In the dining room, all the food was already set out. “Your favorite,” HyeMi told SooJin, nudging her playfully.
“Thank you, unnie. And thank you for all the food you made for me as well and for visiting me. It really helped me to feel less lonely.” HyeMi squeezed her shoulder affectionately. HyeMi had a younger sister back in her hometown and SooJin reminded HyeMi of her.
“I see you’re back to playing favorites,” Namjoon said, feigning offense. The others chuckled to themselves. Everyone knew that Namjoon harbored a crush on the woman. She was a few year older than him, but Namjoon didn’t care much about that. HyeMi was a sweet and kind woman who could be tough when need be and didn’t put up with nonsense from anyone.
That was part of the reason why she remained a crush and he had never confessed. A woman like her would never look at a man like him the way he wanted her to. Part of Namjoon had been rooting for Jimin and SooJin to work out. If they did, it would give him hope that a woman like HyeMi or SooJin could love someone like him. It would also show that Namjoon could change the way Jimin had changed. But it looked like that wasn’t going to work out. Even so, it gave Namjoon a little more confidence for it.
The other part of the dilemma was that his parents would never approve of him being with someone like HyeMi. His parents were always trying to set him up with the daughters and granddaughters of their business associates and friends. And HyeMi was definitely not in that social circle. Namjoon had always turned down the matches and, so far, his parents had allowed it since it didn’t seem likely that he was ready to settle with anyone. After falling for HyeMi, though, he had cut down a lot on his womanizing. And the few times he had continued, it was never at the house. Even knowing he could never be with HyeMi, he felt guilty about it and never wanted her to see, even by accident.
“What can I say?” HyeMi shot back. “She’s just too sweet to not spoil. Maybe you should kick it up a notch.” With a wink, she went back to the kitchen. Namjoon’s mouth went dry and he immediately started drinking his wine.
One thing Namjoon didn’t know, though, was that HyeMi actually liked Namjoon as well. She had confided this to SooJin when she had visited the younger girl in the hospital. She knew nothing would happen because of their positions, but she was also knew (thought she knew) that Namjoon wasn’t interested in her. However, she continued flirting with him because “Why the hell not?” It was fun to pretend, even if only for a moment.
Everyone started eating. Most of the conversation revolved around the events of the day and how SooJin was handling it and being home. When dinner was almost finished, though, conversation turned to what they were all worried about.
“I think it would be good to hold a press conference,” Mr. Kim informed them, looking to Jin, SooJin, and Hoseok. “We were going to do something when SooJin was recovered more and the paperwork was finalized, but our hands are tied. We could wait longer, but it would likely only cause problems for all of us.”
This time, Mrs. Kim spoke. “We were hoping to wait until you,” she directed at SooJin, “were more comfortable with being part of the family. I’m sorry that we can’t give you the time.”
“I, uh, I understand,” SooJin said looking at her plate. “I just... I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with all of this, with the press conference.”
“You won’t have to do anything,” Mrs. Kim assured her. “We’ll do all the talking. If you do want to say something, you can, otherwise, we’ll do it. Don’t worry too much.” SooJin nodded in understanding.
“So when are you planning on doing it?” Jin asked.
Mr. Kim answered. “We still want to give SooJin some time so we want to do it next Friday or Saturday. Probably Saturday. We can let you know for sure as soon as we decide. Is that alright with you as well, Hoseok?”
“Me?” Hoseok barely kept from stuttering.
“Of course. A lot of the rumors involve you and my daughter. We know that the two of you aren’t married, obviously. And if you aren’t dating either, then we should correct them on that as well. Is there anything between the two of you?”
“No, sir. We’re just friends.” Hoseok could just barely keep the disappointment out of his voice. They weren’t dating. And they wouldn’t ever do so, no matter how much he wanted it.
“That’s fine then. We can explain in the press conference that everyone came to visit her but only those pictures were released for the obvious purpose of causing problems. If you don’t mind, perhaps you could explain that you and my daughter are just friends just like she is with the others.”
“That’s fine, sir,” Hoseok said, making sure to keep his voice from being completely flat.
And with that, dinner finished. Dessert was served and then Mr. and Mrs. Kim left. As soon as they left, Namjoon suggested a ‘Welcome Home’ party. He said that alcohol was certainly the answer to dealing with the current nonsense. Everyone emphatically agreed. SooJin swore off being the sober one for many reasons including her experience last time (Taehyung and Namjoon coughed and looked away), she wasn’t in a capacity to take care of anyone, and she wanted to drink as much as she wanted. Jin was volunteered to be the more sober one, much to his chagrin. As soon as he could, Jimin slipped away. SooJin watched him sadly.
“Wanna do anything downstairs or would you like to go upstairs?” Jin asked SooJin.
“Upstairs, I guess. I need to try to unpack and then I want to go to bed early.”
“Sounds good. I have a few more things to take care up down here. Hoseok, do you mind helping my sister?”
Hoseok looked at Jin. Part of him was happy to and part of him wanted to stay away from her. “S-sure,” he conceded.
When he started to help SooJin, he heard giggling behind him. He rolled his eyes and continued. SooJin didn’t want to be carried up the stairs, but she did ask for Hoseok to help her walk. He readily obliged. Hoseok held out his hand and SooJin took it. The two of them went up the stairs. Hoseok’s heart raced at being able to hold her even like that. He only wished SooJin felt the same.
Jimin had just reached the top of the stairs, heading to the kitchen. When he saw Hoseok holding her hand and a hand around her waist, he was barely able to keep his anger and jealousy under control. He wanted to punch Hoseok and knock him down the stairs and then help SooJin himself. He wanted to so badly, but he knew he couldn’t let her see. He released his white-knuckled grip on the banister and proceeded down the other side of the stairs.
“Jimin?” Her quiet voice sent his heart racing. He kept walking. Jimin knew that no one could ever hate him as much as he hated himself.
Okay guys, there's the chapter. I'm sure you want to strangle me by now. Dangling Jimin around like that. I know, lol. And I want to hit him too. But... well, use the title and make a guess as to what's gonna happen the next chapter. I really hope you don't hate me more, lol.
Next chapter will be out on Wednesday. Good luck until then! I love you all!!!