Music is Hide (Sex Whales Remix) - Spag Heddy & Anna Yvette
Namjoon really can't complain. The truth is he knew this is where he would be, where he would end up. The fine restaurant lights cast an appealing glow around the room, the soft hum of chatter, couples and friends and business partners filtering in and out of the soft melody of the piano near the bar with the jazz singer crooning away. It's a high class establishment, with high class china and well dressed waiters, and Namjoon is drinking a high class glass of wine, watching the chianti spider down the side of the glass.
It's not like Namjoon didn't expect this to happen, knowing that sooner or later in the last few months of stood up dates and forgotten meetings, forgotten everything, it would come to an end. This whole thing would end, and he'd be either the one never showing up for dinner on purpose or be the one left waiting for someone who would never show.
I'm sorry lights up on his phone when Namjoon checks it, and that's all that Namjoon needs to see really to know. There's not any kind of explanation he'd ask for, or want, knowing that the inevitable has arrived.
It's broken. They're broken, and no explanation is going to make that better. Namjoon doesn't need to know exactly why, and in his experience with ended relationships, 'why' never has a clear cut answer. It's a rambling answer, too many words, excuses, and arguments, trying to make it work, hurting each other in the process.
It's easier like this, where Namjoon keeps his menu open without really reading it, sipping his wine and picking at the freshly baked bread from the basket at a table that should be for two but never will be.
"Excuse me," has Namjoon looking up, startled out of staring at the appetizers and wondering if he should just go, pay for the wine, and get take out. Standing at the side of the table, by the chair opposite Namjoon, stands a man. He's smiling a little hesitantly, dressed just right for this high class establishment, and holding something behind his back at an angle that Namjoon can't be sure if it's anything, but is poised to indicate as such. The way he looks down at Namjoon suggests he's not asking for the salt.
"What?" Namjoon asks, wondering who this is, why he's here, and why he can't tell Namjoon wants to be left alone right now. Menu open, one glass of wine, head bowed, Namjoon doesn't look the friendly type - he looks the 'I just got dumped by my boyfriend, go away' type. At least he thinks he does.
"Are you by any chance Namjoon?" the man asks, and his voice is a little softer (which is saying something, considering it's already quite soft and gentle).
Namjoon couldn't complain about finding himself here, stood up and broken up, in a fine dining establishment after seeing the months of signs leading up to tonight and denying it to himself, blaming himself instead, telling himself to get it together - to fix it. To be honest, Namjoon has always been better at breaking things. He's said it as a joke for the most part, but sometimes it's easier to joke about the truth than look at it for what it really is.
This though, a stranger who is watching him intently, asking for him, Namjoon almost wants to complain about, feeling his spine stiffen automatically as the man continues to watch him. He's handsome, but not handsome enough that Namjoon isn't on guard, just a little. "Who wants to know?"
"I'm sorry, where are my manners?" the man says, and shifts his weight, reaching forward with a hand to offer it to Namjoon. "My name is Jimin."
"Hello, Jimin," Namjoon says, staring at the man and ignoring his offered hand. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
"May I sit?" Jimin asks, gesturing to the empty chair that should stay empty. It's supposed to.
"No," Namjoon says flatly.
He half expects Jimin to ignore him, instead sitting in the chair anyway (something about his posture, about Namjoon distrusting that smile, about Namjoon just feeling like shit, has him thinking Jimin would do a shitty thing like that just because it'd be a cocky bastard kind of think to do - like talk to a random stranger in a high class restaurant who clearly wants to be alone kind of cocky). Jimin doesn't though, instead nodding and dropping his hand to rest against the back of the other chair, watching Namjoon a little carefully. "I'm in a bit of a delicate position, Namjoon," Jimin begins to explain, still watching Namjoon evenly and his voice soft, gentle towards him. "And I know you probably really don't want to be with anyone right now, or talk to anyone, and I'll leave at any time if you truly wish me to."
Namjoon frowns, watching as Jimin pauses, as if to let that message sink in. "Why are you here?" he repeats, the slow crawl of dread in his stomach cool and unsettling.
"I'm here because your ex, who I will not bring up again unless you want to, has asked me to," Jimin says. "I'm here to be your companion through the dinner you were supposed to have with him."
Dumbfounded, Namjoon stares at Jimin, slow, cold, realization dawning over him as he stares at him. "Fuck," he says, realizing what Jimin is exactly. "Fucking Hell, I cannot believe this." It's a dirty move, one that he never expected to be pulled on him, least of all like this, where he thought he could at least be broken up with in peace without this kind of humiliation added to it. Eyes beginning to burn, Namjoon's throat aches and his chest feels too hot, too tight, and he has to look away. "I cannot fucking believe that he sent a goddamn break up man to clean up his-"
"If you want me to leave-"
"So that's it?" Namjoon asks, voice tight and anger seeping into it as he looks back up at Jimin with a glower. "You're being paid to hold my hand because he couldn't show up to break up with me properly?"
"Well, if you want to be blunt," Jimin says, still watching him. "Yes, that's exactly what I'm here for." At least he has the sense to look guilty about it, as if he knows what a load of bullshit this is, what it says about Namjoon's ex, what it says about Namjoon, what is says about himself. "I'm here to take the fall for your lame ass ex who didn't have the balls to break up with you in person."
It makes Namjoon angry to the point that he wishes they weren't at this high class establishment, with the high class china and decorations and wine and ambient jazz piano music at the bar. If it weren't a high class establishment with all these high class standards, Namjoon wouldn't give a shit about standing up and shoving Jimin away from him, from telling Jimin what a piece of shit his ex is, what a piece of shit he is, and what a total piece of shit Namjoon is. Namjoon wouldn't have any problem storming out of this fucking miserable situation if he were anywhere else but-
"Un-fucking-believable," Namjoon half breathes, closing his eyes and just letting himself sit back, trying to breathe through his nose. He needs to stay calm, to not explode, to not fall apart. Alone, he could have just ordered food and been done, never had to look at the fact that he had to go back to his apartment - their apartment - and dread running into him.
"He wanted me to say that he's gone for the next week," Jimin says, still standing, not sitting, just standing and watching him. He doesn't look pitying, or judgmental, he just watches Namjoon with a sort of blank honesty that feels more grounding than pity or judgment. It's just watching and letting him be miserable. It's validating. "So you can go back home and-"
"I don't want to go back home," Namjoon spits, angry and upset and humiliated and angry at himself for being humiliated in the first place. Salt on a wound on hot grease.
"Where will you go then?"
"I don't know," Namjoon says, anger fading into exhaustion. That's the problem with this, with these sort of things, where Namjoon gets interrupted with how he's feeling, how he's trying to cope, to make himself numb; it takes concentration. Namjoon was fine shutting down slowly over dinner by himself, processing the information, the new reality, and blocking it down until it didn't hurt.
Now, this has pushed the wound out into the open, the reality that Namjoon didn't want to break up, that the reason he hadn't already broken it off was because he didn't want to.
"I'll call Yoongi, or Hoseok, or someone," Namjoon sighs, fingers hovering over his phone. "Crash with them, or-" his throat chokes off his next words, thinking of trying to explain it, to talk about it all over, to look at their faces, the pity on Yoongi's face because he's actually a bleeding heart when it comes down to it, the worry on Hoseok's because all Hoseok does when faced with his friends in pain is worry.
It's suddenly overwhelming.
"You don't have to do anything right now," Jimin tells him. "Are you hungry?"
"No," Namjoon says automatically.
"Can I buy you dinner anyway?" Jimin asks, and Namjoon looks up at him again.
Taking in Jimin's casual suit, it's rented. It's a nice one, but it doesn't look like Jimin usually belongs in places like this, instead here for just this sort of thing: to be the punching bag for shitty boyfriends who don't want their asses kicked by their new exes. "Is he going to be footing the bill?" Namjoon asks, pretty sure of the answer before the corner of Jimin's mouth twitches.
"You can order the most expensive things on the menu," Jimin says, "and not eat any of it. Go wild, I won't stop you."
"Good," Namjoon says, opening the menu, and looking down the appetizer list. It's petty, but Namjoon can't be bothered to give a fuck. "Are you hungry?"
Jimin blinks. "Yes," he says, the corner of his mouth tugging slightly. "Does this mean I get to sit down, or would you prefer I stand?"
"Sit," Namjoon tells him. "And I'm ordering you wine."
"Thank you," Jimin says, as Namjoon ticks down the appetizers. The lobster looks delicious, and rare, and expensive. "These are for you, by the way." Glancing up, Namjoon's breath stops, aching for just a moment at the small bouquet of flowers.
"I don't like getting flowers," Namjoon says, but reaches for them anyway. "They die, and it's just a ritual sort of thing."
"But I like giving people flowers," Jimin says. "They express in beauty what I can't often say in words, and they themselves have meanings that often go ignored. Like those poppies, which represent consolation."
"Lilies mean death in numerous religions," Namjoon says, taking the flowers regardless. They are pretty, but still not Namjoon's style. Not entirely. It's been a long time since he got something like this, so traditional and stale, but maybe it's the thought- "Are these from him?"
"Me, actually," Jimin says, a small tug of a smile again as he settles into his chair properly. "I wasn't asked to get you flowers, and I didn't know much about you, so I just went with what I thought you might like. I figured that roses or tulips would be a bit too much, though there was a beautiful bouquet of lilies I'm wishing I'd bought instead."
It takes a moment of Namjoon staring at Jimin before he realizes, "you're joking."
"Sometimes, rarely actually, I'm told I'm funny," Jimin says, opening his menu. "And I mean it, anything on the menu, and I'm here for whatever that means."
"Have you ever had a client try to take you home?" Namjoon snorts, glancing up to see Jimin staring at him. There's no returned horror or joke, and Namjoon's laugh dies on his throat. "Oh my god, I-"
"No," Jimin says, but his tone is even, soft, that serious gentility somewhat unnerving. "But I have had someone push me into a duck pond."
"Does that happen often?"
"I'm not around duck ponds enough doing this for it to be a regular occurrence," Jimin says. "Do you want me to order?"
It's then that Namjoon realizes the waiter, who has been giving Namjoon eyes for the last twenty minutes that Namjoon sat there occupying the table, has arrived. He's here, and Namjoon is sitting with practically a stranger because he's been broken up with in a humiliating way that can't even be left in peace, and-
And Namjoon doesn't even want to order the most expensive shit on the menu anymore. It's feeling tired, feeling hurt, feeling angry, feeling stupid, and feeling anything but hungry that fills up inside him. "I-" The words don't come out. His eyes burn, and he tries to cough to clear his throat, but it gets stuck, blocked and bottled up so it makes it hard to breathe.
"We'll both have the special, his steak medium rare, no capers, and mine medium," Jimin says, smiling up at the waiter. "And the lobster appetizer. I'd also like a glass of the cabernet and a hot chocolate"
As the waiter walks away, Namjoon collects himself enough to look up at Jimin. "Hot chocolate?" he asks, hating as his voice wavers slightly. "Cold?"
"It's for you," Jimin says. "You look like you could really use it." The way he looks at Namjoon this time says more than just cool professionalism, says more than just 'I'm here as a punching bag', and instead-
Instead it's like-
Namjoon doesn't mean to cry, doesn't mean to break down, but it just happens. It just happens before he can stop it, and once it starts, it doesn't stop, instead getting harder and harder to keep quiet, to contain as he curls in on himself at the table at the high class establishment with high class food and high class china and high class people feeling worthless.
"I'm sorry," Jimin says, and Namjoon tries to pull away when he feels Jimin's hand lay over his. It's too small, but warm.
"You weren't the one that broke up with me and didn't have the balls to do it in person, you're just doing your fucking stupid job," Namjoon says, fighting to keep his voice even. "You're just doing this to get paid, you don't have to be fuckin' sorry."
"I am sorry though," Jimin says. "For everyone that I see, because it's really fucking shitty to be broken up with, especially like this, and I'm especially sorry for being here with you." Namjoon glances up, and Jimin doesn't look pitying; he looks apologetic. "Because you deserved so much better than this bullshit."
It's not pity, it's not exactly sympathy, and even if some of it is cliche, it does... it feels nice.
"And," Jimin continues, fingers curling just a little over Namjoon's. "I'm sorry that I met you like this, because I'd like to actually get to know you a little."
"Do you usually try to pick people up on the job?" Namjoon scoffs, pulling his hand away and staring at Jimin in mild distaste.
"Am I hitting on you?" Jimin asks, hand staying on the table. "I think anyone who knows some flower meanings and doesn't break down or try to beat me as soon as I show up is worth getting to know." Jimin swallows, and sits up a bit straighter. Finally looking, Namjoon realizes Jimin is a little smaller than he isn, even if he does fill out his suit excellently, making him seem a little taller. "I don't think that means I'm hitting on you. Besides, what kind of self respecting person hits on someone who's just been broken up with?"
"A shitty person," Namjoon tells him.
"I try not to be a shitty person," Jimin says, just as their appetizer and his wine and Namjoon's hot chocolate arrive. "I leave that for the people who pay me. I just try to remind people that they could do better."
"Better," Namjoon asks, his voice still scratching slightly.
"Yes, better," Jimin says. "Considering the trash that hires me, there is a lot better. I'm better than they are, for one."
"I got you flowers," Jimin says. "Your ex didn't."
"Flowers will die," Namjoon says.
"So will the pain he left you with," Jimin tells him. "And you fall in love with someone else, who is kind and doesn't treat you like shit and send someone like me to stand in for them to tell you it's over, and you'll be happy."
"Is this what you tell all your clients?" Namjoon asks, pretty sure it is.
"Not exactly," Jimin says. "Usually they don't ask as many questions, just cry." His mouth twitches. "If you like, I can tell you about some of them."
"To make me feel better?" Namjoon asks, not sure of comparing things will make him feel better, imagining other people's pain instead of his own just making him pity them and hurt for them as well as his own misery.
"What would you prefer to talk about?"
"Music," Namjoon says, not wanting to think about something more than just-- basics.
Jimin smiles, a slow soft smile, and he pushes the hot chocolate towards Namjoon. "Tell me about music."
You're up next ceeri!