54

He shifts in his bed when he hears the annoying ringtone coming from his phone. With slow, reluctant motions, he reaches do his phone and presses it against his ear. "Hello?"

"Taehyung, your mother's looking for you and I'm not sure if I have any more excuses left in my pockets."

Taehyung pulls his phone away and groans at the time. "Hyung, it's five in the morning."

"Yeah and? You don't hear me complaining about you leaving your responsibilities to me."

"You're doing that right now." Taehyung stuffs his face against the pillow and groans once more.

"That's besides the point. I need you here by next week okay? At least just show your face and then you can skid-addle."

"Fine."

"Good. I'm hanging up now."

-

You have a phone pressed against your ear as you journey through the grocery store. "No, kook. There's a billion reasons why you can't come over."

"Oh really? Name one."

"For starters, mom won't let you since you still have school. I'm busy with work and can't leave you by yourself all the time."

"But you promised me I'd come visit soon." Having a clingy brother who lives on the other side of the city can be a hassle. He calls almost every single time something happens.

"And you will. But not right now. Did you call because you had a fight with mom again?"

"She doesn't want me to dye my hair. All the cool kids at my school are doing it." He whines. "Can you try convincing her, noona? She'll listen to you."

"Sorry buddy. I think I'm with mom on this one. I don't want you going bald anytime soon. And what kind of school allows students to dye their hair? Back in the days, they'd shave my hair off if I dyed."

"You'd think you were over fifty by the way you phrased that. Aren't you only twenty five?"

"Do you love your hair or not?"

"I do."

"Then no coloring of hair or anything. At least right now don't. You're free to do whatever you want in the future for all I care."

"You really think mom will let me?"

"Mom's only acting that way because she knows that school like the back of her hand. And there's always a reason why she sometimes won't let you do things. Just trust me okay? It's for the best."

"If you say so, noona." He sighs. "I guess I have to go say sorry to mom uh?"

You hum. "I'll call later okay?"

"Okay." With that you end the call. A tap on your shoulder causes you to turn around and you meet the gaze of Taehyung already looking down at you.

"Taehyung." You acknowledge his presence. "Uh how are you?"

Today he's clad in a grey hoodie, mask pulled down to rest just below his lips. He raises an eyebrow. "I'm fine I guess?"

"That's good. So what brings you here?"

"Same as you?" That condensing tone of his is setting you off guard. You're trying to have a decent, short conversation with him but his answers aren't it. You peek behind him.

"I don't see a cart with you."

"I forgot to grab one."

"Then go grab one right now."

"I don't want to."

"Why not?"

"You might leave if I do."

What in the world is he going on about? You take a step back when he grabs unto your cart, preventing you from taking another step back. "Are you hungry?"

"It's still ten in the morning." You had your breakfast around two hours ago. If anything, you're still stuffed like a thanksgiving turkey.

"How about brunch? My treat."

"I don't-"

"You said you'd give me a chance. " He intercepts with frustration in his voice. "How can I prove myself to you if you keep pushing me away? You're free now aren't you?"

"What do you mean I keep pushing you away? In case you forgot, I have work Taehyung. I'm not royalty like you who gets to travel out and about whenever I want to. And just so you know, I barely have any free time for myself."

He looks at you like he's holding back on something. Maybe you shouldn't have said that. Just because he's royalty, doesn't mean he has free time too. He's packed with responsibilities- just like you. You bite your tongue and swallow thickly.

You shouldn't have said that.

After a moment, he lets out a sight. "You're right. I'm sorry. It's just that. I've been feeling like you're avoiding me."

"I'm not."

"Can't you make time for me? Even just for today?"

Something tells you he won't leave unless you give him what he wants. "Yeah sure. But let me finish this first."

"I'll help you." He takes the cart away from you and leads the way. "What's left on the list?"

"Uhm. Let's head over the vegetable section." He nods his head and maneuvers the cart towards that direction.

Tomato, cabbage, onions, potato and garlic. So far that's all you need at the moment.

"What's this?" You point at the item you don't remember putting.

"An eggplant. You should try it." He's about to put more when you stop him, placing them back in the fridge. "One thing you need to know about me is that I am not a fan of eggplants."

"Why?"

"I just don't like them."

Taehyung finds the situation so amusing that he ends up chuckling. "Don't tell me you don't like bananas as well?"

There's a long pause where you just stare at him. Once he's finished laughing and clearing his throat, you shake your head like a parent who's disappointed. "You have to get your head out of the gutter, Taehyung. Geez."

He tightens his lips and allows you to take the lead once again, leading the both of you to the meat section. After grabbing a kilo of beef, pork and chicken, you make a beeline to the feminine section.

You're close to having your period and you've ran out of stocks at your place. After grabbing at least ten packs, you dump them on the cart. Taehyung watches is silence.

"You can wait at the side if you're embarrassed to be seen here you know."

"I'm not embarrassed though."

"You sure about that?"

"What's there to be embarrassed about? And besides. If I remember correctly, I knew about periods way before you did."

"That's not something to be proud about."

"At least I was there to explain it to you. Now that I think about it, you were cute when you thought you were gonna die."

"And you laughing like a maniac still hunts me even to this day." You shiver at the mere thought.

"We used to be close back then." He says softly under his breath. "I just wish I never left."