Chapter 27

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After their talk in the kitchen a few nights ago, Emily and Taehyung had gotten closer. Maybe it was because Taehyung was the only person Emily really felt close to at the moment, but she genuinely enjoyed seeing him at the end of the day. He'd started walking her to campus on Monday and at first she'd found it strange, but by Wednesday she was glad for the company. She'd always enjoyed her solitude, but she hadn't realized how the company of a good friend could change things. Walking to and from campus was more fun with Taehyung; he pointed out things she hadn't noticed before, and probably even took for granted. She took him to her favorite stores and places.

On Wednesday as Emily was leaving class she waved goodbye to Jungkook, promising she would see him on Friday to hang out. While she'd been kind of, not really, seeing Jimin she hadn't paid much attention to Jungkook, but now with hurt swirling in her chest at the thought of Jimin she was determined not to close herself off again and go so many years without putting herself out there again. Jungkook was handsome and funny and kind, everything she'd ever really looked for in a man. She may not have the exact same feelings for him that she'd started to have for Jimin, but it didn't hurt to give him a chance and see where it might go.

She turned around and slammed into a solid chest, expecting it to be Taehyung. He was usually waiting for her right outside the building her art class was in. She wrapped her arms around his waist and squeezed.

"Are you ready for the best pizza you've ever had in your life?" Emily asked happily. She pulled back and smiled up at who she was sure was Taehyung, only to be met with Jimin's face looking down at her. Something like shock flashed across his face, quickly morphing into hurt when she tore herself away from him, muttering a tense, "Sorry" as she sidestepped him.

Hurt swirled in her chest as she walked away from him. They hadn't been dating; it wasn't like she lost anything. The utter sense of betrayal, the hurt of being lied to was gnawing at her. Every guy she'd ever been with had been a liar; it was like she was a moth to a flame. The thing that grated at her the most was that with the others there had been signs that they were liars. With Jimin, he just seemed private; he was never angry or defensive with her.

Dragging her eyes up from the sidewalk she noticed Taehyung ahead of her. She picked up her pace, ready to be out of here. Before she could take anymore steps, a strong hand wrapped around her arm, bringing her to a stumbling halt.

"What?" she asked whipping around, momentarily shocked to see Jimin grasping her arm.

Jimin looked at her with sad eyes, "Can we talk please?"

"No." Emily answered, yanking her arm out of his grasp. "I have nothing left to say to you."

"If you would just let me explain--"

"Jimin, you did explain! And I don't want to hear anymore from you right now!" Emily turned to walk away and he grabbed her arm again.

"Please, just hear me out! There are things you don't understand!" He pleaded with her. Emily ground her teeth and tried to find the calm inside her. I will not yell at Jimin. I will not yell at Jimin. I am capable of being kind even when I want to punch him in the face. Emily looked over her shoulder and saw Taehyung jogging toward her; maybe Jimin would listen to him. As she made to yank her arm out of his grasp again, a large hand wrapped around Jimin's wrist and yanked him away from her.

"I believe Emily told you no," Jungkook said in a voice so low it was almost a growl. Emily stared at Jungkook, mouth agape. She knew he was huge and that he regularly hit the gym, but he was always so kind and gentle with her that she never really considered his size and strength. Now, though, as he towered over Jimin, gripping the smaller man's wrist in what appeared to be an iron grip, glowering down at him, Emily felt a little worried for Jimin.

"This is between us, dude," Jimin said in annoyance. He tried, and failed, to wrest his arm from Jungkook's grip. "I need to talk to her; it's important."

Jungkook shrugged, not loosening his grip in the slightest. "Be that as it may, but she told you no. I'm not sure how your parents raised you, but my parents raised me that when a woman says no it means no and you back off." He released Jimin's wrist, shoving him backwards in the process.

"Until she tells you yes," Jungkook said, veins standing out on his neck, "You don't get to talk to her and you keep your hands to yourself."

Jimin rubbed his wrist and glared at the taller man. When his gaze fell to Emily his eyes softened and a look of sadness crossed his face. "I'm sorry," he murmured. "For everything."

Taehyung finally reached them as Jimin walked away. He was out of breath and his hair was completely disheveled. Bracing his hands on his knees, Taheyung looked up at Emily and shot her a worried smile.

"Are you okay?" Taehyung asked. Emily nodded and turned to Jungkook.

"Thanks for helping me. He wasn't going to do anything to me, but thank you." She said, reaching out to grasp his hand. Jungkook smiled at her softly, squeezing her hand in return before scowling.

"It doesn't matter if he 'wasn't going to do anything to you,'" he said darkly. "No means no and he needs to respect that."

"I agree," Taehyung said, straightening. "I don't care if Jimin is one of my best friends. That wasn't okay."

Jungkook stiffened at Taehyung's words.

"You're friends with that jerk?" he asked incredulously. Taehyung nodded happily.

"Sure am! He usually doesn't act like that, though." Taehyung said, mouth scrunching to the side. "And besides, just because I'm friends with the dude doesn't mean I agree with his behavior and attitude."

Jungkook considered Taehyung's response for a moment. Sometimes Emily really wished she could know what people were thinking; if she knew what was going through people's heads, then maybe she would know how to smooth things over with people when there was a kerfuffle. As Emily considered the benefits of telepathy, Jungkook extended his hand to Taehyung.

"I don't like your friend, but you seem all right."

Taehyung grasped his hand and shook it. "Thanks! You, too! I'm Taehyung by the way."

"Jungkook," he answered.

Before Emily could really consider what she was doing she found herself gently tugging on the hem of Jungkook's sleeve. He glanced down at her, eyes shining and mouth turning up at the corners.

"Taehyung and I were going to grab some pizza for dinner. Would you want to join us?" she asked, glancing at Taehyung to see how he felt. Taehyung shot her a subtle nod as Jungkook nodded his agreement.

"Yeah that would be great! I'm starving!" Jungkook answered with a chuckle.

"Then let's go!" Taehyung cheered, all but skipping away from them, eliciting giggles from the pair.

I updated!!

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